Friday, July 30, 2010

Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad

This recipe is brought to you by the Fine Cooking magazine.  Ben found the recipe while browsing through the magazine and knowing that I love peaches and basically any kind of cheese he decided we needed to try it out.

We couldn't immediately find any Buffalo mozzarella, so we just grabbed a ball of the regular kind and I don't think it made a difference, or if it did I didn't notice.  I also suggest making this salad when you already have food to prepare on the grill, so you aren't lighting the grill just for the peaches.

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Kosher salt and ground pepper
2 ripe peaches, halved and sliced
4 1/2 teaspoon EVOO
4 cups baby arugula
1 ball mozzarella cheese, cut into 3/4" chunks

Prepare a charcoal fire grill.  Combine the vinegar and thyme in a 2 quart saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture is thick, syrupy, and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6-9 minutes.  Remove from the heat, discard the thyme sprigs, and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Rub the peaches all over with 2 teaspoons of the oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Grill cut side down until lightly charred, 3-4 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly.  Slice each piece into thirds.  In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange on a platter.  Top with the mozzarella and peaches.  Drizzle with about 2 teaspoons of the reduced balsamic vinegar.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chocolate Covered Bacon

At first I was skeptical about this food venture, but since I love the combination of sweet and salty foods I thought why not give it a shot?  Our friend Rob's birthday presented the perfect opportunity to try this recipe.  He will be the first to tell you that he loves bacon (and whiskey), but since I don't have a recipe that calls for whiskey I had to go with the bacon.

package of Petit Jean thick cut bacon
24 ounces of semisweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 375.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place bacon on the baking sheets (you'll probably be able to fit 6-7 on each one).  Bake bacon for 18 minutes for soft bacon or 20 minutes for crispy bacon.  About half way through flip each slice of bacon so it will evenly cook on both sides.  Take the bacon out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes.  Transfer it to a papertowel lined plate.  Set up a double boiler and heat the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Pour half of the chocolate morsels in the double boiler and stir with a fork until melted and smooth.  Slowly add the remaining morsels.  Lay 2 sheets of parchment paper on the counter.  Dip the bacon slices in the bowl of chocolate, rotating to coat both sides.  Place on the parchment paper to cool, then transfer to the refrigerator to harden.

The chocolate covered bacon was great!  We even had a piece for breakfast one morning! (what? it is bacon!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fried Squash

I am loving all of the fresh veggies people give us from their gardens.  This year we only planted tomatoes (bleh) so I'm having to rely on the generosity of other to get my summer veggie fill!  Apparently fried squash is not a new dish, but it was new to Ben and me.  Yes, we've made fried okra, but squash?  Who knew?

5-7 medium sized squash
1 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, minus the Parmesan.  Pour butter milk in a medium bowl.  Wash and slice squash and place in the bowl with the buttermilk.  Make sure to coat the squash really well with the buttermilk.  Transfer squash to the dry mixture and make sure to coat well (you will have to do this in shifts). Place a large skillet on medium high heat.  After about 1 minute carefully pour the vegetable oil so it covers the bottom of the skillet.  Place about 6-8 squash rounds in the skillet and let them cook until golden brown, then flip to the other side.  Transfer to a paper towel and sprinkle Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Are there any other fried vegetables out there that I need to try (NOT tomatoes, though)?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee

This weekend I made dark chocolate creme brulee, because I was trying to be healthy by using dark chocolate, duh.  And after making creme brulee three separate times, I think I've finally realized Ben's favorite part - the torch.  Do you know any guys who don't love fire?  Oh, you do?  Well that's unfortunate, because the torch is pretty fun.

2 cups whipping cream
2 cups half and half
8 egg yolks
10 oz dark chocolate morsels
1/3 cup sugar, plus extra for the torch

Preheat oven to 300.  Pour whipping cream and half and half into a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl.  Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture.  Divide mixture among 10-12 ramekins.  Place in a baking pan (you will need at least two) and add enough hot water to come half way up the sides of the cups.  Bake until the custard is set, about 50 minutes.  Chill for 2 hours (or more).  Right before serving sprinkle sugar on top of each ramekin and using a creme brulee torch, lightly brown the sugar.

Here's a YouTube video that shows how to use the torch if you've never done it before!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Little Chick Boutique

I wanted to share the cutest online baby boutique with y'all - The Little Chick.  All of the items are handmade right here in Little Rock.  Stacy (Ben's aunt and the owner of The Little Chick) specializes in baby and toddler items, but no project is too big for her to handle, so if you have a special request send it her way!

I saw one of the baby blankets last week and it was so cute!  The fabrics are so soft and colorful.  Stacy really does a great job at matching fabrics to create unique bibs and blankets.

And even though Stacy has an adorable little girl, she makes sure not to leave out the baby boys!

If you have a baby shower coming up make sure you take a look at Stacy's store!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Check out my guest post!

If you have a minute go check out my guest post on Arkansas Women Bloggers today.  I made a special Southern summer meal complete with fried okra and caprese salad!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Homemade Lemonade

I know most people know how to make homemade lemonade, but rarely take the time to do so.  Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of that, too.  It's so easy to grab a pack of lemonade mix, add water and be done.  But nothing can replace the taste of homemade lemonade, especially on a hot summer day. 

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Key Lime Pie

While we were out of town for the 4th of July this past weekend I made a key lime pie.  Well, actually it was just a lime pie because Kroger didn't have any key limes, or I couldn't find them.  The recipe is featured in this month's Southern Living and is supposed to be healthier than most because you use fat free ingredients.  I don't mind using fat free ingredients, just as long as it doesn't take away from the taste, which I don't think this did!

Rest assured that the swan in the background is not mine.
1 (14 oz.) can of fat free sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup egg substitute
3/4 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime rind
1 graham cracker crust (reduced fat or not)
8 oz. fat free whipped cream, thawed

Pre heat oven to 350.  Mix condensed milk, egg, lime juice and grated lime with a mixer.  Pour into the crust.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Place on a cooling rack for 1 hour.  Top with whipped cream and chill in refrigerator until time to serve.  Garnish with lime wedges or curls.

Sorry the picture is terrible quality - my camera was not wanting to focus that evening.