Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tuna Steaks with Olive-Caper Sauce

This is another recipe from my Cuisine at Home magazine.  I wanted to try some different recipes with ingredients I have never used before.  This recipe calls for Farro.  What the heck is Farro I asked myself and will my local grocery store have it???  Sure enough they did.

This recipe was super super easy to make.  It was tasty.  My local fishmonger did not have tuna so I went with swordfish steaks.  I chose not to buy frozen tuna since the last time I bought some I did not like the frozen taste.

Tuna Steaks with Olive-Caper Sauce

For the sauce:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

For the Tuna:
4 fresh tuna steaks
olive oil, salt and black pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Heat 1/2 cup evoo in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it shimmers.  Add capers, olives and shallots; simmer 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in parsley and lemon juice just before serving.

Rub tuna lightly with oil and season with salt & black pepper.  Grill tuna, covered, 3 minutes per side for medium-rare steaks.  Remove from the grill, tent with foil and rest 3 minutes.  Serve steak with sauce and lemon wedges.

Farro Salad with Tomatoes & Feta

1 cup dry pearled or semi-pearled farro
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
minced zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Cook farro in a saucepan of boiling salted water according to package directions; or until tender 15-20 minutes; drain and set aside.

Combine tomatoes, feta and parsley in a medium bowl.  Stir in farrow, zest and lemon juice.  Season with salt & pepper.

Margherita Pasta with Grilled Chicken

This is a very simple and fast recipe I found in my Cuisine At Home magazine (August 2010).

For the pasta:
8 oz dry spaghetti
3 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes (12 oz)
2 cups diced fresh mozzarella (8 oz)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
toasted pine nuts

For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4-5 oz each)
evoo, dried oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

Preheat grill to medium-high.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Combine tomatoes and mozzarella for the pasta in a bowl; set aside.

Coat chicken with oil, oregano, salt, pepper and pepper flakes.  Grill, covered until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove chicken from grill and tent with foil; rest 3-4 minutes.  Slice each breast into strips.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Toss tomato and cheese mixture with the garlic-infused oil and pasta.  Stir in basil; season with salt, pepper and pepper flakes.

To serve, divide pasta mixture among 4 bowls, and top with sliced chicken and pine nuts.

Penne Alla Vodka

This was an easy recipe to make.  I was a little concerned about igniting the vodka.  When I did it I was excited but standing there saying holey moley that flame is pretty high.  I tried taking a picture of the flame but realized I had the flash on.. Oh well maybe next time.

Penne Alla Vodka

3 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped prosciutto
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup of vodka
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1/2 cup sliced imported Italian black olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package (16 ounces) penne or mostaccioli
2 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat butter and oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute garlic and onion in butter mixture.  Stir in prosciutto and chicken.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is brown.  Stir in vodka.  Heat over high heat until hot.

Carefully ignite.  Stir in whipping cream, olives parsley and pepper when flame dies out.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.

Cook penne as directed on package.  Mix penne and cream mixture; top with cheese.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Homemade Limoncello

This past May my sister-in-law Kathy and her husband Bob went to Italy for a week.  After they got back we went over to see them.  They were so kind to bring me back a dish towel that had some lemons on it and the recipe for Limoncello (in Italian & English).  Thanks Kathy & Bob.  They also brought back some Italian Limoncello.  Mmmmm... Is all I had to say. 

Since I liked the what I had at their house I thought I would give the homemade version of it a try. 

First you will need an air tight container.  A bottle of vodka (I used 80 proof).  The peels of 8 lemons.  I used a vegetable peeler.  Make sure you do not get any of the white pith. 

In your jar, place the lemon peels and vodka then put the cover on. 

Let the lemon peels and vodka sit for seven days.  I sloshed mine around everyday.  After 7 days your lemon peels will look somewhat pale. 

Now strain the vodka from the peels and set aside. 

Meanwhile, mix 5 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar together in a sauce pan.  Let it cool to room temp.  Next pour the vodka mixture into the water.  You will notice a slight cloudiness.  This is normal. 

After mixing the water with the vodka pour into bottles that can be sealed.  I used a variety of bottles.  One of my best friends Melissa told me to use the small wine bottles, so of course I had to go buy some and drink them.  lol...  I don't know why I didn't keep the vodka bottles that I emptied for the recipe.  I guess just dumb thinking on my part.

I thought it came out pretty darn tasty.  One night we had about twenty people over to the house and I took out one of the larger bottles for everyone to try.  It was a hit especially with one neice's husband who doesn't like lemon.  Another night we took a large bottle over to a brother-in-law's cookout and it was a hit there.  Actually someone put an order in for Labor Day weekend.. 

I will be making this over and over...

P.S. Don't forget to make homemade lemonade with all those naked lemons.  I had doubled the limoncello recipe so I have alot of naked lemons.