Saturday, June 18, 2016

Pasta with Snap Peas and Parmesan

This is a super simple pasta side that requires just a few ingredients but is extremely tasty. I serve it with fish or any type of grilled meats.
Play with the vegetable you add. I made it different times with broccoli, snow peas. asparagus and baby carrots.

Pasta with Snap Peas and Parmesan
adapted from Bon Appetit April 1992

1/4 lb. ziti 
1/4 lb snap peas
1 1/2 Tbsp Tuscan herb olive oil*
Shaved Parmesan Cheese, to taste
Wild Garlic Crystal Salt Flakes, to taste **

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the snap peas and cook 2 minutes until tender crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and run under cold water to cool. Allow to drain and dry.

Add the ziti or the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the snap peas and olive oil. Toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Top with Parmesan cheese and salt flakes and serve.

*You can substitute plain olive oil for the Tuscan Herb listed below. I just love the flavor of the Tastealotta Tuscan Herb infused Olive Oil
Falksalt Crystal Flakes Natural Sea Salt Wild Garlic 4.4 Oz
picture from
** Falksalt Wild Garlic Crystal Natural Sea Salt Flakes is a new favorite. The flakes are very large so they can be used as a garnish as well as a seasoning. Use them sparingly, a little goes a long way. You can always use kosher salt, garlic salt or any finishing salts that you have on hand.

Barramundi with Tomato-Basil Salsa

With my son away, I am cooking all the things that he chooses not to eat. My husband is going to get tired of healthy food over the next two weeks. 

Barramundi has  delicate, sweet, buttery taste and a firm moist texture with large flakes. It has a high oil content but no fishy taste. If you can not find barramundi, you can substitute striped bass, red snapper or grouper.(

Fun Facts about Barramundi thanks to
  • Barramundi's native waters span from Northern Australia up to Southeast Asia and all the way west to the coastal waters of India and Sri Lanka
  • Barramundi is known by many around the world as Asian Seabass, although its Scientific common name is Barramundi Perch, Giant Perch, Silver Barramundi and Australian Seabass.
  • The name Barramundi is Aboriginal for "large-scaled silver fish".
  • Virtually all Barramundi are born male, then turn into females when they are 3 - 4 years old. This means female Barramundi can only be courted by younger men!
  • Barramundi live in fresh water, salt water and estuaries (where fresh and saltwater meet).
  • Barramundi can travel great distances in a lifetime; one fish was tagged and found 400 miles away.

Barramundi with Tomato-Basil Salsa
adapted from Food & Wine April 2008

4 caprese tomatoes,seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 small red onion, minced
1 Tbsp finely chopped basil
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 6-ounce barramundi fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler.

In a small bowl, toss the tomatoes with the onion, basil and olive oil. Set aside.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place on a foil line baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Place lime halves on the baking sheet cut side up.

Broil until the fish is white throughout. Transfer to plates.

Serve the fish with the salsa on the side.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Jalapeno Lime Butter

I am usually a purist when it comes to corn on the cob - butter, salt and pepper -  but this recipe has converted me. Be careful, it is spicier than you would think ! To make it a little more Mexican sprinkle on some cojita cheese before serving.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Jalapeno Lime Butter
adapted from Bon Appétit August 2004 

1 jalapeño chiles
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp grated lime peel
6 ears fresh corn, husked

Broil the jalapeno until it is charred on all sides. Remove from oven and place in a small plastic bag to steam for about 15 minutes. Peel the pepper and remove the seeds and ribs.

Place the jalapeno in a small food process or with the butter, garlic, and lime peel; process until smooth. Season the jalapeño-lime butter to taste with salt. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

Wrap each ear of corn in aluminum foil and grill over indirect heat until cooked through. Will vary depending on the size of the ears and how charred to like your corn. Remove the foil and serve immediately with the jalapeño-lime butter and salt.

Grilled Beer Brats

There is something about the snap of a sausage when it has been braised and then finished on the grill. This recipe is no exception.

When it comes to sausages I usually go straight for the hot Italian kind. Today we decided to branch out an try bratwurst. It type of German sausage made from vealpork or beef. The name is derived from the Old High German Brätwurst, frombrät-, finely chopped meat, and Wurst, sausage, although in modern German it is often associated with the verb braten, to pan fry or roast. (

Grilled Beer Bratwurst
adapted from Taste of Home Summer 2016

5 uncooked bratwurst links
2 bottles of a hoppy beer - I used Sam Adams Crystal Pale Ale
1 1/2 small onions chopped
1 Tbsp fennel seeds

Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook covered until the meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain and discard the braising liquid.

Grill the bratwursts over indirect heat until the internal temperature reaches 160F, about 7-8 minutes.

Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pineapple Hibiscus Cocktail

I bought some hibiscus flowers for an aqua fresca but the smallest quantity I could get was a pound. Hence I am looking for hibiscus recipes. On this beautiful summer day, what better way to spend it than sipping a cocktail on the deck with my honey!

Pineapple Hibiscus Cocktail
adapted from Bon Appetit May 2016

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar substitute
1/2 cup water
1/2 20 oz can pineapple slices, quartered
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp hibiscus flowers
6 oz boiling water

1/2 jalapeno, sliced into rounds
3 mint sprigs
1/2 lime, thinly sliced
1 cup good quality tequila - We like Avion Silver
1/2 cup lime juice

Bring the sugar substitute and the 1 cup of water to a boil and cook, stirring frequently until the sugar substitute is dissolved. Add pineapple, bring back up to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes to infuse the pineapple flavor.
Strain into a bowl, reserving the pineapple. Stir in the vinegar. Set aside

Place the hibiscus flowers in the boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the tea and set aside.

Reserve 3 slices of jalapeno and 4 pices of pineapple for serving. Combine the mint, lime slices, tequila, lime juice, tea, pineapple simple syrup, remaining jalapeno slices and pineapple into a pitcher. Chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

Serve in ice filled rocks glasses garnished with reserved pineapple and jalapeno slices.

Carrot Soup with Star Anise

I am still determined to find a vegetable soup that my friend Tanya will like. She is my Weight Watcher's buddy at work. According to the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder this is a 1 PointsPlus soup. If I had used canned fat free broth instead of my homemade stock it would have been 0 points. It tastes creamy without cream and only a little fat from the stock.

Star anise is a star shaped pod that con a small seed in each of its segments.It is native to China and gives a licorice flavor to savory dishes.

Carrot Soup with Star Anise
adapted from Bon Appetit December 2005

3/4 cup chopped onion
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 1/2 star anise seedpods
1 small bay leaf
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 lb peeled baby carrots
2 cups chicken stock
Non-stick cooking spray

Cook the onion, thyme, star anise, bay leaf and garlic in a pot coated with cooking spray until the onion begins to soften. Add the stock and the carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the carrots are soft, about 30 minutes.
Remove the thyme stems, start anise pods and the bay leaf. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return o the pot and heat through before serving.

Marinated Chickpeas

I had half a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) left over from the Greek Pasta Salad last night. I am marinating them overnight them adding them to our salads for lunch tomorrow. They could also be served on a lettuce leaf as part of a larger meal.

Marinated Chickpeas

1/2 15-oz can chickpeas, rinse and drained
2 thin slices of onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 small pinch tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic powder, oregano and tarragon in a small bowl and which to combine. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Add the chickpeas and onion to the bowl. Toss well to combine. Let marinate overnight before using.