Tomato, Basil and Corn Salad with Lobster

Here’s a recipe from one of my best friends’ who also happens to be a fabulous cook!

Servings: four as a main dish.

Ingredients:

4 ears fresh corn, shucked, silk removed
Sea salt 
2 live lobsters, about 1-1/4 lb. each (or 9 oz. cooked lobster meat)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. white-wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and minced (to yield about 3 Tbs.)
2 shallots, minced (to yield 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
5 oz. (about 4 cups) mixed baby greens

Directions:

Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil over high heat. Add the corn and cook for 3 minutes. With tongs, remove the ears of corn from the pot and set them aside to cool. Salt the water generously (it should taste like the sea) and return the pot to a boil. Add the lobsters and cook uncovered for about 8 minutes. Check for done-ness by twisting the tail off one lobster. The meat should be opaque throughout. If it’s still translucent, continue cooking for another minute or two. Drain and let cool. Crack the shells; remove the meat from the tails and claws. Slice into 1/2-inch pieces and refrigerate in a bowl until ready to use.

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice and vinegar with 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds pepper. Whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream. Slice the corn kernels off the cobs. Add the kernels to the vinaigrette, along with the tomatoes, jalapeños, shallots, and basil. Toss gently, taste, and adjust the seasonings if needed. Put the greens in another bowl.

Tilt the bowl with the tomatoes and spoon off about 4 Tbs. of the juices. Add this to the bowl of greens and toss to coat. Spoon off about 3 more Tbs. of juice from the tomatoes and add this to the lobster; toss to coat. Taste both the greens and the lobster; adjust the ­seasonings as needed.

Divide the tomato salad, lobster, and greens evenly among four plates, arranging them in separate mounds, and serve.

Classic 4 Bean Salad

I actually use more than 4 varieties of beans for my salad, the choices can be varied to your personal tastes, but the classic version always has one or two of the cut green beans.

1 can each, drained and rinsed, cut green beans, cut yellow wax beans, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans

1/2 each, yellow and green pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 of a small sweet onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium size bowl toss the beans with the chopped vegetables. Blend in the remaining ingredients until well incorporated. Allow to chill before serving. 

Caramelized French Onion Soup

Serves 6

4 1/2 lbs. mixed onions, such as sweet onions, 2 large red onions, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 cup cooking sherry

3 cups each of vegetable broth and bone broth

8 fresh thyme sprigs

1 tbsp. kosher salt, to taste

3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

6 slices day old rustic whole grain bread, or bagette

4 oz. each, high quality emmanthaler and jarlsberg swiss cheese sliced with a cheese plane

Combine the onions, oil and butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Toss together with tongs. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions start to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring and scraping browned bits from bottom of pot, until onions are tender and golden in color, about 25 minutes.

Add sherry and cook, stirring to scrape up any remaining browned bits. Simmer over medium heat stirring constantly until sherry is mostly evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Stir in broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered until flavors are blended, 20-25 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Preheat oven to broil with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Divide soup evenly among 6 oven-proof crocks or bowls and place on rimmed baking sheet. Place a slice of bread on the soup in the bowls. Add cheese slices to cover the bread and the bowls. Broil until melted, bubbly and browned, 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Split Pea Soup with Ham

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 stalks celery, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, chopped 

3-4 carrots chopped 

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups) 

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf  

1 pound split peas, picked through for pebbles then rinsed with cold water 

One left-over ham bone

Chopped ham from the bone – or add 1-2 cups of chopped smoked ham

8 cups ham bone broth 

To make the broth:

Place the ham bone in a large pot and cover with approx. 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to gently boil for approx. 2 hours to create a flavorful broth.  Remove the bone and cut up any of the remaining ham and set aside.  This step can be done a day or so in advance. 

Directions:

In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the celery, garlic, carrots and onion, and saute for 15 minutes to build flavor, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Add the thyme and bay leaf, and cook on low for 3 more minutes. Add the split peas, ham and stock. Remember to season lightly as you cook. Cook until the peas are tender and the soup has come to desired consistency.  If you prefer a less thick soup, just add more water or broth.  

Garbanzo Bean Salad

This simple salad can be mixed together in no time as an easy summer side.

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together, chill and serve

*try serving with freshly toasted pita bread and tzatziki

Lemony Asperagus Pasta

This dish is the taste of spring.  So fresh, could be served as a main course or a side.
INGREDIENTS
 
1 lb. penne pasta
1 lb. thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
1/4 c. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
 
DIRECTIONS
 
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta water, then drain. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Cook asparagus until crispy, then season with pinch of salt. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream, white wine, lemon juice, and zest. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add in salt, Parmesan, and black pepper. Reduce heat to low and mix until well combined.
  4. Turn off heat and mix in pasta, asparagus, and parsley until well coated. Add small amounts of pasta water until you reach desired consistency. Serve with more grated Parmesan, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Classic Cole Slaw

1/2 head of cabbage

2 large carrots

1/2 tbsp. celery seed

1/2 tbsp. caraway seed

Dressing:

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Slice the cabbage very thin with a large knife (food processor can be used as well, but I prefer to hand slice).  Place in large bowl.  Grate the carrots and add to the cabbage.  Add the celery and caraway seed.  Set aside. 

Dressing:

Mix together all the dressing ingredients until well blended. 

Dress the cabbage mixture with desired amount of dressing shortly before eating.  This keeps the mixture crunchy and fresh.  I prefer my slaw lightly dressed, others like a little more.  This is up to you.  Enjoy!

Fresh Green Salad

This is just a basic fresh green salad.  I typically keep it simple for a cleaner more pure flavor.  Below are my basic ingredients, quantities are up to your discretion.

Organic mixed greens

Fresh crumbled blue cheese or Feta

Dried cranberries

Thinly sliced scallions, mostly white parts

Seasoned croutons

salt/pepper

Good quality seasoned olive oil and white balsamic vinegar

Fresh Cream of Tomato Soup with Mini Meatballs

This has got to be one of my easiest recipes ever!  Here you can present your family or guests with tomato soup made completely (well almost, except for the meatballs) from scratch.  Try this once and you’ll be hooked!

I mention in another post under “Garden”, what I do when I’ve got too many tomatoes coming from my garden, I mean, you can only eat so many!  I wash and freeze them, and this is a recipe using those frozen tomatoes.  Of course, canned can also be used.  But for the freshest flavor, nothing beats the produce from last summers’ garden.

I start by using 3 of my quart sized bags of frozen tomatoes, (see pic).  If you are using canned, use 3 large cans (quart size) of peeled whole tomatoes.

salt and pepper to taste

fresh finely chopped or dried basil (about 1 tbsp.)

1/2 cup fat free half and half

approx. 12-15 mini frozen meatballs

Place the tomatoes in a large pot and bring to a gentle boil.  Boil until tomatoes are completely mush, about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat.  In a blender, in small batches, process the tomatoes completely until they are finely ground.  The soup should already look ‘creamy’.  Pour into a stock pot, add salt and pepper and the basil to taste.  Stir in the half and half.  Add the meatballs. Return to low heat and heat until warmed through and meatballs are heated through as well.  Do not allow to boil.

Cream of Roasted Cauliflower Soup

1 medium size head of cauliflower, trimmed of greens

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

salt and pepper

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup 1% milk (more depending on the amount of cauliflower – see note)

2/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese

freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste

roasted pumpkin seeds (optional garnish, recipe on blog)

maggi seasoning (optional garnish, see link below to purchase)

Cut the cauliflower into large chunks and place in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle over salt and pepper and place in a 350F oven.  Roast for approx. 1 hour, (tossing the cauliflower occasionally to cook evenly) or until fork tender.  Remove from oven.

In a blender or food processor, in small batches, puree the roasted cauliflower, adding the chicken stock as necessary just to blend smoothly.  Pour into a large saucepan.  Continue until all the cauliflower is processed.  Add remaining stock and milk*.  Add the grated cheese and heat over low heat until cheese melts.  Season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper as needed.  Serve.

*Note – the amount of liquid to add can vary depending on how large or small the head of cauliflower is.  You are trying to achieve a somewhat thick, bisque-like consistency.  Use your judgment when adding the remaining milk.

Tip – Maggi seasoning is a Dutch product that is used to add a little more ‘robust’ flavor to soups and stocks.  It is like a very condensed/reduced liquid broth seasoning. I highly recommend it for use in any soups or gravies. It is what you see in the photo above.