Off the Shelf: June Magazine Reviews

Food Network Magazine (Stephanie): This issue is filled with an abundance of summery recipe goodness. Beverages, hotdogs toppings, condiments, desserts, grilling ideas. Some recipes that look particularly appealing to me are Chinese Beef and Broccoli, Cold Peanut Soba Noodles with Chicken, Warm Pasta-Bean Salad, Buttermilk-Pecan Ice Cream, Salted Caramel Milkshakes, and Fresh Peach Cake.

I made the Almost Famous Corn Salsa recipe. This is a copy-cat recipe for the Chipotle Restaurant’s Roasted Corn Salsa. We’re big fans of Chipotle around here, so the other night when I was making soft tacos, I mixed up this salsa to top them. It was tasty and a great addition to our tacos.

ALMOST FAMOUS CORN SALSA
(from Food Network Magazine, June 2011)
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1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded
3 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup fresh corn kernals or frozen corn, thawed
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons red onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat grill to medium high. Brush the poblano pepper with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grill, skin-side down, until charred, but still firm. About 5 minutes. Cool slightly; peel and finely chop.

If using fresh corn, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes; drain.

Mix the corn (if using frozen, add it here), poblano, jalapeno, cilantro, and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, lime juice, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

COOKING LIGHT (Stephanie): I was pleased with all the seasonal, delicious sounding recipes featured in this issue, as well–Curry Chicken Wraps with Nectarine Chutney, White Bean and Sage Pita Burgers, Grilled Apricot Halves, Curried Potato Salad, Pina Colada Sorbet, Cherry-Almond Crisp, and Rich Chocolate Pudding Pie.

I chose the Mango-Coconut Sherbet recipe. I love using my ice cream maker and I like coconut milk ice cream. My one drawback is that I’m not terribly fond of mangoes. However, they were on sale for a $1 last week, so I figured it was frugal enough experiment. The sherbet turned out great, but the mango flavor was just too strong for me. So, if you like mangoes, you are sure to like this recipe. It’s super easy and the toasted coconut on top makes this dessert look fancy. I plan to experiment with other fruits to replace the mango, because I really liked this recipe.

MANGO-COCONUT SHERBET
(from Cooking Light, June 2011)
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2 cups cubed peeled ripe mango
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted

Combine cubed mango, sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and coconut milk in a blender; process until mixture is smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions to soft-serve consistency. Spoon sherbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 2 hours or until firm. Before serving, sprinkle each dish with coconut.

BON APPETIT (Alaina) – This issue has some wonderful, seasonal recipes and an interesting article about Gwyneth Paltrow – by the way, is there anything she doesn’t do? There are some great looking recipes for crostinis and salads and strawberries. As always, the pictures are tempting and I have yet to have a recipe not turn out from Bon Appetit. You can’t go wrong with any of their tantalizing recipes.

I especially loved the section on lettuce, cherry, and chicken. It was from there that I found the recipe I wanted to try – Cherry Clafouti. Cherries are practically my favorite fruit and since I happened to have some, I couldn’t resist. This was delicious. Not too sweet and so pretty!

CHERRY CLAFOUTI
(from Bon Appétit, June 2011)
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1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or frozen pitted cherries, thawed, drained
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Powdered sugar
10″ springform cake pan or eight 2/3- or 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter cake pan or ramekins. Arrange cherries in a single layer in pan.

Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside. Combine eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; whisk until custard is smooth. Pour custard evenly over cherries in pan. If necessary, gently shake pan to allow custard to settle.

Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes for ramekins and 45-55 minutes for cake pan. Let cool 3 minutes, then run a knife around pan sides to loosen clafouti (if using a cake pan). Dust top with powdered sugar; cut into wedges and serve.

EVERYDAY WITH RACHAEL RAY (Alaina) – It’s been awhile since I have really liked an issue of this magazine but the June issue was great. There were so many interesting recipes and photos – just look at the cover!
 
There are many different burgers and sandwiches, popsicles, and many salads and sides. The Crispy Cheese w/Strawberry Salad, Antipasti Bowl, Thai Style Chicken w/Basil & Pineapple, Lemon-Scented Carbonara, and the Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Ice Pops are just a few of the delicious recipes! I decided to try one of the more unusual looking recipes – Spicy Cucumber & Blueberry Salad. It was suprisingly refreshing and delicious. The flavors really worked together!
 
 
SPICY CUCUMBER & BLUEBERRY SALAD
(from Everyday with Rachael Ray, June/July 2011)
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2 lbs. english cucumbers, halved lengthwise
Salt
1 large jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs discarded, finely chopped
4 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup EVOO
1 1/2 pt. blueberries
1 cup cilantro leaves

Using a hand held slicer, slice the cucumbers into half-moons about 1/8 inch thick; season with salt.

In a large bowl, combine the jalapeño, lime juice, garlic and cumin; whisk in the EVOO. Add the cucumbers, blueberries and cilantro and toss to coat.

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My Kitchen View

This past weekend, I had a chance to rediscover my love for cooking and baking. Life has been busy enough lately with many things and I have really missed just enjoying the kitchen. It was wonderful. I paged through my new magazines, planned a menu to serve my brother and his girlfriend for Sunday dinner, and then made three new recipes. They were successful, dinner was lovely, and I loved having some creative time in the kitchen!

Our garden is getting closer to having ripe produce and I can’t wait. The green tomatoes are just starting to turn red and yellow and the zuchinni is almost ready to harvest. I’ve been using a lot of basil from my plants and using some thyme as well.

We are looking forward to the Indianapolis Devour Downtown which is August 2-15! You can check out all the amazing restaurants that are participating – they have some delicious looking menus!

I’m going to give you a little preview of the August issue of Saveur and share this yummy Greek Salad. It was flavorful, fresh, colorful, and really tasty. I used less feta then the recipe suggested but put a little extra on the table to pass for those who wanted more. We really enjoyed this salad!


GREEK SALAD (Horiatiki) – Saveur, August 2010
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2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1 1⁄2″ pieces  
1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise into 1⁄4″ pieces
1⁄2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1⁄8 tsp. dried oregano, plus more
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
6 oz. feta, cut into thick slabs
8 kalamata olives
Combine parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions in a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and oregano; season with salt and pepper and pour over cucumber mixture. Toss. Transfer salad to a serving bowl and top with feta and olives. Garnish with more oregano; season with pepper. Serves 2

Market Fresh: Cucumbers

Cucumbers are one of my favorite raw vegetables. I especially like the English cucumbers – they are the seedless ones that are usually wrapped in plastic. I’ve noticed that cucumbers are generally the first to go on a vegetable platters and they make a great addition to lettuce salad.

We always grow cucumbers in our garden and I enjoy coming up with different use for them. One of the simplest ways to serve it is sliced on a platter with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Today, I’m sharing a couple of other recipes that we enjoy.

 The inspiration for the first is a combination of my love tomatoes & cucumber together (I’ve been combining them in salads for years!) and the salads we ate in Kazakhstan which included lots and lots of dill. We ate something very similar to this and I loved it!

CUCUMBER-TOMATO SALAD
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1 english cucumber, cubed
2 tomatoes, diced (olr a 1/2 pint of tomatoes halved)
1/4 c. fresh dill, chopped
2 Tb. Olive oil
2 Tb. Vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Combine cucumber, tomato, and dill. Sprinkle on sugar. Add salt & pepper to taste. Dress with olive oil and vinegar. Can be served chilled or at room temperature. The flavors develop if you allow the salad to marinate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 4.

My mom has made cucumber onion salad for as long as I can remember. It frequents our family gatherings. It’s also wonderful dressed with vinegar and oil.

CUCUMBER ONION SALAD
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1 Cucumber, thinly sliced
1 Onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/3 c. Mayonnaise
2 Tb. white vinegar or lemon juice 
Seasoned Salt or regular salt
Pepper 

Combine cucumber and onion. Season with seasoned salt and pepper. Dress with mayonnaise & vinegar. Serve chilled and allow to marinate for 1-2 hours before serving. Serves 4.

Off The Shelf: May Magazines

Bon Appetit — This month’s issue is labled the “travel issue” and contains a collection of recipes from Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. Each collection is lengthy, filled with beautiful photos and art, as well as stories and recipes. There is also a feature devoted to carrots, which, apparently, are in season just now.

I tried the Chicken with Tarragon for a Sunday dinner and it came out very well. I was skeptical of taking time to roast garlic in a pan, but it was quick and easy and worked well. We paired the chicken with the green rice and cucumber salad (also included in this post) and together it was a scrumptious meal. We ended it with the Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble from Monday’s post.

CHICKEN WITH TARRAGON AND QUICK-ROASTED GARLIC
(Bon Appetit May 2010)
Print this recipe

3 large unpeeled garlic cloves
4 small skinless boneless chicken breast halves or cutlets
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Heat small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cover and cook until browned in spots and tender when pierced, turning occasionally, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer to work surface to cool.

Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate (do not clean skillet).

Peel garlic. Add garlic and wine to same skillet; cook until reduced by about half, mashing garlic finely with fork, about 1 minute. Add broth and tarragon; simmer until liquid is reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cream and simmer to sauce consistency, about 1 minute. Return chicken to skillet with any accumulated juices. Simmer to heat through, turning occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; spoon sauce over.

Serves 4.

Everyday Food — of interest in this issue is a feature on raspberries (apparently these are in season too? Perhaps at the grocery store, certainly not in my backyard) with some amazing-looking recipes included. Another feature tells what to do with jarred, roasted peppers. The Breakfast for Dinner feature dishes up some very tempting meals that look easy and delicious. As always, there are a number of great, everyday meals, side dishes and desserts included as well.

I made the Green Rice and the Cucumber and Snap Pea Salad. Both were easy to make and turned out well. The salad was so fresh and delightful that we’ll be having it again soon. Honestly, I couldn’t stop eating it. A perfect salad for spring!

GREEN RICE
(Everyday Food May 2010)
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1 cup packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 3/4 cups water
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

In a blender, combine cilantro, parsley, onion, garlic, water, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add rice and stir to coat. Add herb mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit, covered, 5 minutes. Add lime juice and fluff with a fork. Serve rice with lime wedges if desired.

Serves 4.

CUCUMBER AND SNAP PEA SALAD WITH MINT
(Everyday Food May 2010)
Print this recipe

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. white-wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound snap peas, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal in 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup fresh mint, torn

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Add cucumbers and peas. Toss to combine. Stir in mint just before serving.

Serves 4.

Everyday with Rachael Ray — Once again I am keenly aware that many magazines don’t follow seasonal eating very closely. While this magazine does include a number of seasonal-appropriate recipes (like Asparagus, Ham and Egg Pasta, and Rhubarb Fool), I question the appeal of recipes such as Potato-Leek soup, Chili, and Spaghetti Squash for this spring season. I felt this issue belonged more in fall.

However, there is a large section devoted to parties and weddings, which was fun to look through and might be beneficial if you are looking for ideas along those lines.

I tried the Gemelli with Fennel and Hot Sausage and it was an easy and delicious weeknight meal that is worth repeating.

GEMELLI WITH FENNEL AND HOT SAUSAGE
(Everyday with Rachael Ray, May 2010)
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3/4 pound hot Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used mild)
1 large bulb fennel, cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced
3 carrots, sliced on an angle
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
1 pound gemelli pasta (I used penne)
1/4 cup chopped flat parsley

Preheat oven to 425F. On a baking sheet, toss the sausage, fennel, onion and carrots with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.

Add the sausage -vegetable mixture to the pasta. Add the reserved pasta cooking water to the baking sheet, scraping up any browned bits; transfer to the pasta mixture. Toss in the parsley; season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: My kids liked this with grated cheese sprinkled on top.

Serves 4.

Cooking Light — While I didn’t get any recipes made from Cooking Light this month, I did bookmark a number of recipes that looked appealing. This issue includes an article on sandwiches, healthy eating while in the DC area, and a great round-up of seasonal recipes in the Dinner Tonight feature.

If you are into homemade ice-cream, you may want to check out their cooking class article on light ice-cream. There is also an article on smoothies.

The longest feature is devoted to pizza, with recipe after recipe of delicious and ingenious combinations for this favorite American food.

Other articles include: Haitian-American food, simple spring recipes, spring risottos, and budget cooking.

If you want a magazine that says SPRING!, this is probably the one for you.

Weekend Fare: Black Bean Salad

The recipe I’m sharing today actually came from the April issue of Food Network Magazine. It easy, fresh, and delicious! I had never tried watercress and decided to go ahead and add it as called for in the recipe and it was so good. I will definitely be buying it again.

This would be perfect with grilled chicken or a white fish if you want to dress it up a little. You could also use it as a side dish or as serve it with pita bread, tortilla chips, or crusty bread as a main dish. It’s great for the weekend and once spring hits, I always start craving fresh vegetables and salad!

BLACK BEAN SALAD
(adapted from Food Network Magazine, April 2010)
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2 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1 tsp. cumin seed
2 tsp. olive oil
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 c. cucumber diced (I like the English ones)
1 1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved (I used cherry and quartered them)
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 bunch watercress (I used mostly the leaves and not much stem)
Salt to taste

Heat garlic cloves, jalapeno and cumin seeds in a skillet with olive oil over low heat, 5 minutes. Toss a can of black beans, diced cucumber, tomatoes, scallions, lime juice and cilantro in a bowl. Add the hot garlic mixture to the beans. Season with salt and toss with watercress. Serves 4-6.

Off The Shelf: The Essential Tea Companion

The Essential Tea Companion is a gorgeous little book published by the makers of Victoria Magazine. It is exactly the kind of book you want to flip through and think thoughts of spring, tea, and friendship. Photos grace each page spread and give you a feast for your eyes while at the same time telling you how to create an edible feast for yourself and your friends.

The book is divided into five sections: Getting Acquainted with Tea, Making Time for Tea, Tea and Special Occasions, More Delightful Recipes for Tea and Treats, and Resources. Sprinkled throughout the book are the recipes, which include: Raisin and Nut Scones, Tomato and Goat Cheese Sandwiches, Poppy Seed Jam Tarts, Honey Tea Sandwiches, Butter Sponge Cake, Rose Petal Scones, and Lemon Thyme Bread to name just a few.

I chose to try the Cucumber Sandwiches with Mint Butter. The recipe seemed a perfect thing to serve in spring and I couldn’t help but add a bit of lemon zest to the mint butter since lemon pepper is one of my favorite companions to cucumbers. The result was very refreshing.

CUCUMBER SANDWICHES WITH MINT BUTTER
(The Essential Tea Companion)
Print this recipe

1/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves, chopped
8 very thin slices white bread, crusts removed (I used a White Wholegrain loaf from Pepperidge Farms)
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (I prefer the English cucumber for this sandwich)
1/2 to 1 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
freshly grated pepper (optional)

Burnet sprigs and ripe black olives (optional)

In a small bowl, combine butter, mint and lemon zest along with the pepper if you are using that. Spread the mint butter on the bread slices. Lay the cucumbers on four of the slices and top with the remaining bread to make four sandwiches. Cut in half diagonally and then in half again. Or, cut into three long rectangles. Just before serving, garnish the sandwiches with burnet sprigs and olives, if desired.