Monday, April 21, 2008

TOMATO-CORN SALAD by Jennie Holman Blake

Bart Hosmer, Bradley Ogden’s Parcel 104 restaurant, Santa Clara, CA (Sunset Magazine)

3 ears fresh sweet corn
1 lb. tomatoes, seeded and diced
¼ c. diced red onion, rinsed in cold water and patted dry with paper towels
1 T. rice wine vinegar
¼ c. chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Over a large bowl, cut kernels off corn cobs and stir in tomatoes and onion. Toss with vinegar and basil; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chef’s Note:
Fresh corn is often so sweet and tender that there is no need to cook it. Just cut the kernels off the cob and use. Hosmer also uses basil flowers in this dish. Just pull the flowers from the stalks and sprinkle them like confetti into the salad in place of (or in addition to) the chopped basil. They add a light, floral note.

Serves 4-6.

From my very favorite recipe source—Sunset Magazine. Makes me proud to be a Californian. Did I really just say that? After how much I ridiculed all those freshman Cali girls in the dorms at BYU out frolicking in their swimsuits at their first sight of snow? Oh well. Older. Wiser. NORTHERN CALIFORNIAN—it’s two different countries, you know . . . no offense, Kir.

Only do this with fresh summer corn. Don’t even bother with the packaged ones from the store or Costco. Tried it, hated it. I seed the tomatoes before adding them to take some of the liquid out. I would also rinse the corn before adding to remove some of the starch and make the dressing a little less opaque (purely aesthetic). This just reminds me of summer BBQ’s in the back yard. Can you tell I’m aching for summer already?

Melba's Note: Well, when you live in a place that is already 80 degrees, no wonder you're in the mood for summer! Compare that to my sister Carrie in Spokane where it's 40 degrees and snowing today. Should I post a good hot chocolate recipe, Carrie? Oh, and Jen, no offense taken for the California Girl comment. ( I was born in Redondo Beach. :D )

PANZANELLA (Tuscan Bread and Tomato Salad) by Jennie Blake

7 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 12-inch length of baguette
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 t. kosher or sea salt
1/4 t. coarsely ground black pepper
8 very ripe assorted tomatoes (3 lb.), large ones chopped
1/2 c. basil leaves, torn into pieces or cut into ribbons

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small pan over medium heat, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, the butter, and garlic; stir until butter melts, about 2 minutes.

2. Cut baguette into 1/2-inch cubes and put in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan. Pour oil mixture over bread and mix well. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let bread cool in pan.

3. In a bowl, mix remaining olive oil, the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir in tomatoes and bread cubes. Serve at room temperature in shallow bowls, garnished with basil.

This is my good friend Christy’s recipe and I always assign her the salad for parties. So yummy, especially in the summer with tons of fresh, multi-colored tomatoes from the farmer’s market (because my summer crop usually yields about two tomatoes after the kids have picked all the baby ones before they’re ripe).


1 ½ c. diced cantaloupe
1 c. diced pineapple
1 diced papaya
½ c. diced cucumber
½ c. chopped green onions
½ c. coarsely chopped cilantro
¼ c. rice vinegar
¼ c. sugar
1-2 minced cloves of garlic
1 T. salt
juice of one lime

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate 1-2 hours prior to serving. Good with marinated/barbequed teriyaki chicken (I use Yoshidas) and rice, grilled fish, or just with chips.

OK—this is one of my mom’s staples, and it has become one of mine as well. I’m sure it came from one of the amazing cooks from the neighborhood I grew up in. It seems like there is a statistically impossible percentage of gourmet cooks there, but I just steal all their recipes and claim them as my own in California.


Steak and Creole Seasoning

1 (2-3 lb.) flank steak
¼c. olive oil

2½ T. paprika
2 T. salt
2 T. garlic powder
1 T. black pepper
1 T. onion powder
1 T. cayenne pepper
1 T. dried leaf oregano
1 T. dried thyme

Coat flank steak with olive oil. Rub one tablespoon Creole seasoning mix onto each side of meat. Store unused seasoning mix in an airtight container. Marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Grill the flank steak to medium rare, about six minutes per side over high heat. Let steak rest 5-10 minutes before slicing. Slice steak on a bias against the grain. To serve, fan out slices and top with summer salsa.

Summer Salsa

½ cantaloupe, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 c. blackberries
½ c. red bell pepper, small diced
1 medium red onion, large diced
½ lemon, juiced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
chopped fresh parsley and cilantro to taste
season with salt and freshly ground red pepper

Yield: serves 4-6

JENNIE'S NOTE: There is a very small, somewhat unknown camping area right after you cross the Golden Gate Bridge on the Sausalito side. There are only four camp spots on a bluff overlooking the beach and you have to book a year in advance. At night you can leave the kids sleeping in the tent and take the little path down and sit on the beach with the bridge lit up and watch the enormous freight ships pass through. It’s pure summer magic. We’ve done this for about six years with a group of friends, and this meal has become an annual request. You’re welcome to come join us any year!

Melba's Note: How do I describe Jennie? She was the first LDS democrat and feminist that I ever knew. We shared a boyfriend (without knowing it) our senior years of high school, and spent four months in Israel 2 years later laughing about it. (Hi Ben!) Jen and her husband both have law degrees from BYU and three adorable kids - including a set of twins! Jen's one of the most intelligent and wonderful people I know. I miss lying awake in our room in Israel listening to the interesting things she says in her sleep. :) Jen - I hope we get to join you for the camping trip soon!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Crispy Potato Quiche from Lori Boyer (the mother of all children)

1 24 oz. pkg. frozen shredded hash browns thawed
1/2 c butter, melted
1 c pepper jack cheese (shredded)
1 c swiss cheese (shredded)
1 1/2 c. cooked ham (diced)
3/4 c half and half
6 eggs
3/4 tsp seasoned salt

Press thawed hash browns between paper towels to remove moisture. Fit hash browns into a 10 inch pie plate that has been greased with some of the melted butter, forming a solid crust. Brush crust with melted butter, making certain to brush top edges. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 min. Remove from oven. Sprinkle cheeses and ham evenly over bottom crust. beat half and half and eggs with seasoned salt, pour over cheeses and ham. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Mom made this for her high school friends and they loved it. (Or at least they said they did.)

Melba's Note: Mom is famous for her breakfasts. Not because they ever happened, more because they didn't. Well, actually, she tried many times to make abelskievers (sp?) but, let's just say, they're known around our house now as "damn abelskievers." It's a real feat for Mom to have made a quiche recipe because she's always been allergic to eggs. She says she's getting over that now, and likes this.
To Mom's credit, she doesn't fix breakfast because she's not really a morning person. But she's ALWAYS up for a late night sugar fest. Love you Mom!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Chicken Capri

This is from the South Beach Diet Cookbook

1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup crushed tomatoes
4 slices reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

In a blender or food processor, combine the ricotta with the oregano, salt, and pepper. Process to blend.
Rub the chicken with the garlic powder. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 12 minutes per side. Place the chicken breasts, side by side, in a large baking dish and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture and 1/4 cup tomatoes onto each chicken breast. Top each chicken breast with 1 slice mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 340 calories, 15 g fat, 5 g sat. fat, 44 g protein, 6 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 115 g cholesterol, 470 g sodium.

Melba's note: Sammie and I LOVE this! For those of you fluent or at least conversant in South Beach-ese, this is a phase one recipe. Sammie didn't believe me when I told him that. He thought I had just splurged. It's like Chicken Parmigiana, but lighter. I made it last night for Jennie (little sister) and my Dad. (Quick update on my life - I'm in SLC taking care of Dad after a mountain biking accident sent him in to hip surgery Sat. night. He's doing great.) They loved it!

Oven-Roasted Winter Vegetables

10 small red potatoes
4 small leeks
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 red onion, peeled and cut into pieces
2 red peppers, cut in wide strips
8 oz. fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Lightly coat a 9"X13" baking dish with olive oil. Scrub potatoes and steam in a small amount of water for 20 minutes, then drain (I think Mom skipped this step and they were fine). Cut leeks in half and wash well to remove grit. Cut each potato in half. Arrange potatoes, leeks, carrots, onions, red peppers and mushrooms in baking dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over veggies and sprinkle on thyme, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, until vegetables are cooked and tender when pricked with a fork, basting about every 15 minutes with pan juices.

This is from the "Favorites" cookbook. It's a cult classic in Salt Lake created by the Ivory family. My Mom made this in St. George and we had it with grilled steaks. It was YUMMY!!!!

Greek Chicken Wraps from Julie Markham

3 chicken breasts, marinated and grilled

Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, grated
1 t garlic powder

3 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 T dried onion, hydrated
2 t minced garlic

tortilla shells
chopped cilantro
Feta cheese
diced Roma tomatoes
thinly sliced lettuce or spinach
lemon quarters
Marinate one hour. Grill chicken, then thinly slice. Place chicken and garnishes in warmed tortillas with yogurt sauce. Serves 4. Serve with rice.

Melba's Note: Julie says she tried this with pita bread and didn't like it as much. But, it was good enough that the day after she made it, her husband was already asking for it again. Looks yummy to me!!