Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pistachio Gelato

Gelato is made from whole milk, egg yolks, sugar and natural flavoring. This version calls for pistachio nuts and didn't use eggs. I had a bag of pistachios leftover from a recipe I made for brunch (chocolate lava cake with pistachio sauce) and this recipe was perfect for a weeknight dessert.

Pistachio Gelato

1 cup shelled pistachios, unsalted and lightly toasted
(about 12 ounces in the shell)
3 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar

In a food processor or coffee grinder, coarsely chop the pistachios, reserving a few whole ones for garnish.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat, add the pistachios, cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Strain the milk mixture through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing on the nuts with the back of a large spoon to get as much liquid from the nuts as possible. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Makes 1 quart - serves 4

Grilled Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto Pizza

It was Monday night, I had a long long day at work and a brilliant idea: why don't I make a grilled pizza from scratch on Monday night when I am already exhausted... In the end everything turned out well but I was too tired to enjoy my creation. I started by putting 2 tablespoons of olive oil instead of 2 teaspoons. I made another batch with the right amount of everything and ended up with 4 pizzas. Turns out the extra olive oil (6 times more than the recipe called for) didn't make much of a difference from the other dough with the right amount. The beauty of this recipe is the pesto. It's perfect with the shrimp and buffalo mozzarella.

Grilled Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto Pizza (Throwdown with Bobby Flay)

(1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 3/4 to 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading and dredging
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon for greasing the bowl
Cilantro Pesto, recipe follows
8 ounces buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced
Grilled Shrimp, recipe follows
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Whisk together the yeast and 1/4 cup of the water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes to proof. Place 1 3/4 cups of the flour in a large bowl with the salt. Add the yeast mixture, the remaining water, and oil and stir until combined. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth. Grease a large bowl with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil, add the dough, and turn to coat. Cover and place in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the grill to high. Once the dough has risen, divide it in half. Divide each half into 2 balls. Roll each ball into an 8-inch circle. Brush with oil and grill on both sides until golden brown. Spread a few tablespoons of the Cilantro Pesto over each pizza, top with a few slices of buffalo mozzarella, and then top with 4 shrimp and cilantro leaves. Place the pizza on the grill until the cheese melts. Serve hot.

Cilantro Pesto:
3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Grilled Shrimp:
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Brush each shrimp with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until just cooked through (shrimp will be opaque and turn pink).

Monday, August 11, 2008

My First Pesto

I have been meaning to make this recipe for a long time. For some reason, I always used all the basil I had in other recipes and didn't have enough for a pesto. Now, my herb garden is thriving and I had no excuses. I made Basil Pesto for the first time and loved it! I decided on a lighter recipe where we cut the olive oil in half and add chicken stock to acquire the desired consistency. I served in on Whole Wheat Penne accompanied by California White Wine.

Light Basil Pesto

2 cups loosely packed basil leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoon chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and salt and puree. While the motor is running, drizzle in the oil and chicken stock until incorporated. Season with pepper to taste. Use immediately on pasta or pizza.

The 10 Best Cookbooks for Summer

From NPR (National Public Radio)

Weekend Edition Sunday: This year's collection of bright, colorful, can-do summer cookbooks issues a rallying cry: How long can you go without turning on the oven?
The answer: longer than you think, especially if you take your culinary cues from the latest crop of books, which trumpet the glories of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Read More

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Got Corn? Make Macque Choux!

Looking for something to do with abundant crop of corn and tomatoes in the Summer? Look no further. Macque Choux (pronounced “mock shoe”) is a Cajun corn and vegetable sauté. It's refreshing, sweet with a cajun kick. I served with Mushroom and Herbs Coscous and Grilled Sirloin.

Macque Choux (adapted from

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
1/4 cup water
2 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add corn kernels and water and cook, stirring, until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in tomato, scallions, thyme, paprika, salt and cayenne.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Banana-Citrus Sorbet

My Ice-Cream Maker made its 2008 debut this week. Making ice-cream with my Cuisinart maker is a snap. My only complaint is how loud it is. I can't hear my own thoughts when I am running it in the kitchen. This time I ran it for 20 minutes, put the bowl back in the freezer while we ate dinner and ran for a few minutes more before I served the sorbet. Yummy!

Banana-Citrus Sorbet (adapted from Cooking Light)

3 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice

Place bananas in food processor; process until smooth. Add sugar and lemon juice; process until well-blended, add water and orange juice, stir well. Pour mixture into frozen bowl and run according to manufacturer's instructions.

Yield 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)