Thursday, June 27, 2013

Shrimp and Arugula Pesto Grilled Pizza

Perfect Pairing:  Grill gadgets

This meal was something I made on a random Wednesday night.  I really didn’t intend on photographing or writing about it because it seemed a little odd and maybe a bit disjointed in my head.  I had no idea how it would turn out but I was on a happy cooking mission. 

I combined lots of things that don’t seem to make sense like, grilled scallions (fell in love with them in Mexico and they changed my life), my favorite marinade for shrimp (Italian dressing and honey), cheese (everyone says you are not supposed to combine cheese and fish), arugula pesto (contains curry paste, coconut milk, and honey roasted peanuts).  Weird, right?

WELL, it tasted awesome and looked super pretty, so I decided I needed to share this wacky creation with the world.  It might seem like a lot of ingredients and steps but I had the whole thing done in about 40 minutes and that includes clean up.  You’ll end up with some extra pesto but I think it would be pretty fantastic on a number of other things like toast, chips, crackers, and pasta.  It won’t go to waste.

I enjoy my share of cooking gadgets.  This is the perfect time to drag out those grilling devices like a basket for the shrimp and peppers, tongs for the scallions, and a grill safe pan for the pizza.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Un-Recipe Files: Omelet Station

Here is the situation.  You are at a nice hotel breakfast buffet.  Do you go for the custom omelet station or the waffle station?  I have a hard time with that decision.  When I travel with my mom we will each take charge of one station and then share the results.  The best of everything!  During vacation in Cabo this year we talked about doing an omelet station for a big family breakfast.   We told my dad he was in charge of watching and learning from the chef.  He took his role seriously, and did an amazing job back in the Midwest!

This is what we included in our lineup.


A few tips from Chef “J”!

  • An electric griddle works great.
  • To keep things moving we put out small plates for diners to pick out their toppings and then lined them up so they were ready to go as soon as Chef “J” was ready for them.
  • Have your eggs cracked, whisked, and waiting in a bowl.  We figured two and a half eggs per person, or about one ladleful.  We didn't add anything other than salt and pepper to the eggs. 
  • Before each omelet, pour a little olive or vegetable oil on the griddle.
  • Sauté the fillings on one side of the griddle and pour the ladleful of eggs on the other side.  Smooth out the eggs so they cook evenly.
  • Wear a homemade chef’s hat.
  • Right before the eggs are finished cooking add the fillings right down the middle and sprinkle with cheese.  Fold up the omelet and serve!

Everyone agreed this was a new favorite breakfast! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Quinoa Produce Salad

Perfect Pairing:  Summer meal

I don’t think you can have too many good quinoa salad recipes.  This Quinoa Produce Salad is perfect for summer. 

It finally feels like summer around here!  I had a wonderful weekend celebrating Father's Day and all things summer.  My dad came home from his week of fishing in Manada (more appropriate than Canada).  Apparently he caught so many fish his hands hurt from reeling and cleaning the fish.  We did all of our favorite warm-weather activities like boating, swimming (more like bobbing on floats), sunset cruises, grilling, and doing everything we can outside.  It was a perfect weekend.
morning view-001

linz and dad-001

favorite view-001
Quinoa Produce Salad is filled with fresh ingredients like multi-colored grape tomatoes, corn, green onions, and basil.  It is simply dressed with a little olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

You wouldn’t think that something so simple could be so tasty.  I love the slight sweetness from the corn and nuttiness of the quinoa.  You could easily adapt this recipe by adding other favorite produce like roasted asparagus, edamame, roasted peppers, or other fresh herbs like tarragon or thyme.

This healthy and delicious salad is going to be a regular on my summer menu!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Perfect Pairing:  Last rhubarb of the season

There are not many desserts you can make with a vegetable.  Rhubarb is such a funny ingredient.  The raw form is anything but tasty, but once it is cooked with some sugar?  Amazing. 

During my childhood we had rhubarb growing in the backyard.  My dad kept a keen eye on its process and as soon as there was enough for a pie he would bring it to my mom.  His favorite thing in the world is rhubarb cream pie.  In fact, about 30 years ago my mom decided to start up her own business with Longaberger.  She needed a few hundred dollars for her start-up kit and asked my dad if they could spare the extra money.  He jokingly said he would lend it to her, but would charge interest of two rhubarb cream pies.  I am sure he would have said yes no matter what, but was serious about the pies.  It ended up being a very good investment on his part as my mom is still with Longaberger today!  I plan on making my dad a rhubarb cream pie this weekend for Father’s Day.  If you are looking for some manly recipes, check out last year’s Father’s Day post.

On a recent trip to the grocery store I saw a huge display of rhubarb.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but bought a bunch since I knew it was going to be going out of season soon.  I decided to make a quick dessert with rhubarb’s perfect pairing, strawberries.  This Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is so simple and delicious.  I used orange zest and juice to give it some freshness; it also helps to balance the sugar.  The topping is pretty standard, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts.  Of course this is best served warm with vanilla ice cream! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Brown Sugar Pear Sauce

Perfect Pairing:  Sandwiches and Ice Cream
Oh man, this sauce.  It is good, really good.  How can you go wrong with brown sugar, pears, and rum?  You can’t.  It is fantastic on all sorts of things, including a spoon.

I made grilled sandwiches with roasted turkey, brie, and the pear sauce.  I pulled the pears out of the sauce with a fork before layering them on the sandwiches so that I did not have a complete mess.  A good amount of the sauce clings to the pears but you could also drizzle a little extra over the top if you are feeling... saucy.

So good.

My mom served the sauce on ice cream.  She poured the warm pear sauce over good vanilla ice cream and topped the whole thing off with a few salted pecans.  Yep, that works too.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Raisin Bran Muffins

Perfect Pairing: Spring loaded ice cream scoop
A few years ago my parents started talking about moving to the lake full time.  If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t think it would happen for years.  Then on a walk in the fall of 2010 my mom happened upon “the perfect lot for a house”.  Things really started moving after that. 

My parents sold our family home last summer.  They built that house in 1989.  It was very bittersweet to say goodbye to my childhood home, but I am thrilled that my parents are living at the lake full time.   I always say it is my favorite place on earth, so I am happy to have a bed there! 


Even though the original lake house is just a mile down the road/coast (can you call it a coast on a lake?), I was sad to say goodbye to it.  We had so, so, so many good memories there.  When my parents bought it 15 years ago it was not exactly a pretty sight.  The entire outside of the house (including lots of decking) was painted an awful rust color.  The bathroom doors in the master bedroom were saloon doors.  You know what I mean, the half doors that are on old timey western movies?  Um, who in their right mind puts saloon doors on a bathroom?  Especially when the bedroom opens out onto the deck?!

We didn’t care about the saloon doors or rust colored paint.  My mom said to my dad, “We won’t have to change a thing!  We’ll just move in and have fun!”   Ha, famous last words!  Through many renovation projects (and a lot of hard work) they turned it into a beautiful home.  We all feel very fortunate that the new owners seem to love it as much as we did.  I am excited to see them make new memories in that house.  I just feel better knowing it will be loved.

We not only made a lot of great memories in this house, we made a lot of really, really good food.  We even started having chef challenges there.  If you ask any regular houseguest what food reminds them of the lake house, I think they would all say raisin bran muffins.  My mom has been making these muffins since there was a saloon door on the master bathroom.  They are, without a doubt, my favorite muffins. 

The recipe calls for an entire box of raisin bran cereal, so it makes a large quantity, probably about 50 to 60 muffins. The beauty of this recipe is that the batter just gets better with time!  You can keep it for up to eight weeks in the refrigerator.  Just scoop out the number of muffins you need, and bake them up.  We found that a spring loaded ice cream scoop is the perfect tool.  This is our go-to breakfast at the lake, whether we are feeding 2 or 20.  Mom always has a batch ready to go in the fridge.

So even though there will be no more raisin bran muffins made at the saloon door lake house, there will definitely be countless batches made at the new address! 

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