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BPP Pizza

Last night’s beautiful Arizona sunset. No filters, no Photoshop, just pure natural beauty!

AZ sunset

This quick and easy pizza has some of my favorite Italian ingredients and they can all be found, along with the pizza dough, at Trader Joe’s.

burrata

Burrata, a luscious cream-filled fresh mozzarella cheese.

pancetta

Pancetta, Italian-style bacon, already diced into “cubetti” pieces. Actually, I don’t know if the word “cubetti” has anything to do with the diced pieces, but it is convenient!

prosciutto

Prosciutto, this package is actually from Costco and was in my freezer, so don’t be alarmed with the “use by” date. Prosciutto can always be found at TJ’s too.

TJ pizza dough

I prefer Trader Joe’s whole-wheat dough, but while pulling a package from the back of the case (looking for the freshest bag – a selfish little thing I always do with fresh packaged food) I accidentally grabbed the plain dough. The reasons I like the whole-wheat better are two-fold, it is easier to work with due to the texture and I think the taste is superior.

The only other ingredients you need are a little olive oil, a medium ripe tomato and a smidgen of freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

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June 27, 2014   5 Comments

perciatelli pasta

I have a new favorite variety of pasta.

perciatelli

Have you ever had or heard of perciatelli pasta? I hadn’t until I enjoyed it in a wonderful cold pasta salad that my cousin, Michelle, made for a family gathering. The only place I’ve been able to find it is at Fry’s, but it’s possible I haven’t looked hard enough.

perciatelli top view

Perciatelli, also know as bucatini, are hollow pasta strands that are thicker than spaghetti. Spaghetti, fettucini, or linguini may be substituted in the recipe.

lump crab

The lump crabmeat I prefer to use is the Phillips brand, which can be found at Costco.

Perciatelli Pasta with Crabmeat and Peas

Perciatelli Pasta with Crabmeat and Peas

1 pound perciatelli pasta
Salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and light green parts, reserve green tops for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley, divided

Cook the perciatelli in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

green onion

While pasta water comes to a boil, cook spring onions in 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

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June 25, 2014   2 Comments

for my dad

My dad loves pot roast. Winter, spring, summer and fall – no matter the temperature, he wants me to make pot roast.

slow cooker pot roast

The 1971 invention of the slow cooker (also known by its brand name Crock-Pot) made it an even easier meal to make. No heating up the entire kitchen when you use a slow cooker. Still, eating a heavy pot roast when it’s 106 degrees outside doesn’t appeal to most. Not an issue for Dad!

Dave was out-of-town this past weekend, so I indulged my dad by making his precious pot roast for our Sunday supper.  I do my best to change it up each time to try to keep it exciting since I make it so often throughout the year.

This time I reverted to a very classic pot roast recipe … well not so much the recipe … more the technique. Allow me to explain.

In 1963 House & Garden Magazine published a recipe by Elizabeth (Betty) Wason, an American author and broadcast journalist. The classic technique I took from her recipe was the way she floured the meat.

pound in flour

Instead of dredging the beef in seasoned flour, Betty beats the flour into the meat with the side of a plate, which creates a thicker crust and a smoother gravy in the end. It’s rather cathartic, beating in the flour with a dish, similar to that satisfied feeling one gets when kneading bread dough.

If you’re not up to pot roast in June, bookmark this recipe and remember to make it this fall or winter. I am hopeful that the fall or winter is the next time I’ll be called to make it … but it’ll probably be much sooner. Oh well, gotta give the people what they want.

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June 24, 2014   No Comments

pineapple mojito wine cooler

Pineapple Lily1

After not posting a new recipe for over a week – I think the best way to get back into the swing of it – is with a cocktail!

Pineapple Mojito Wine Cooler3

Yes, and not just any cocktail, but a bright refreshing summer-time cocktail. Something you can envision yourself enjoying poolside or with your toes buried in a sandy beach.

Now that’s the way to start a new week. Happy Monday!

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June 23, 2014   4 Comments

cobbler

I found a recipe on the internet that I’m going to recommend you do not make.

do not

On Sunday, Father’s Day, I arrived home from the airport at about 3:45 and immediately began to make dinner for my dad, husband and son.  Since I’d already been awake for 12 hours, I didn’t want to have to think too hard about what to make.

the perfect peach

Since I have a peach tree that was full of ripe peaches, I decided to whip up a peach cobbler for dessert.

I wanted to be able to post the recipe so it needed to be somewhat different from the three peach cobbler/crumble recipes I already have posted here. For that reason I turned to the web to find one that I could “make my own” and get it done easily and quickly.

The recipe I stumbled upon first was the Pioneer Woman’s Peach Cobbler. Her version used frozen peaches and since I was using fresh, I figured that would be a perfect recipe to switch up. I made a few other minor changes, with the addition of spices and such and popped it into the oven while I made the rest of the meal.

I’ve tried many of the Pioneer Woman’s recipes before and they’ve always been wonderful. I thought that this too, would be a “sure thing.”

jalapenopoppers

In fact, I’ve loved a couple of them so much that I reposted them, almost exactly as originally written. This Dip recipe and this Poppers recipe are two of my all-time favorites. So please do not take this as a bashing of the Pioneer Woman and her recipes – but this peach cobbler recipe is one that I can not endorse. No way, no how.

Instead, you should make one of the three peach cobbler/crisp recipes I’ve previously posted – one of the ones I should have made for Father’s Day.

Mason Jar Peach and Berry Cobbler

masonjarcobbler

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

cobblercloseup

Blueberry-Nectarine Crumble

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June 19, 2014   1 Comment

raw and green

This light summer salad is so delicious and refreshing. An added bonus – no cooking or heating up the kitchen is involved!

Shaved Asparagus, Parmesan and Sugar Snap Pea Salad1

One more thing … it’s pretty as a picture.

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June 11, 2014   1 Comment

firecrackers

On May 29, 2011, I posted a recipe for Jalapeño Poppers.

openjalapeno

Poppers are jalapeño peppers, cleaned out, filled with cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked. And in this case, brushed with apricot preserves. The spicy morsels make for one delicious and addictive appetizer.

firecrackers

A little more than three years later, I have another delicious and addictive recipe for you … not little poppers, instead, great big firecrackers!

chicken and jalapeno firecrackers

I’m calling them firecrackers because they have an extra flavor explosion – chicken and BBQ sauce. The firecrackers can be sliced and served as appetizers or cut half, on a diagonal, and served as a main course.

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June 5, 2014   2 Comments

Skinny Stuffed Peppers

When you live in the restaurant world, you work late nights and all too often eat fast food, late at night, after a long shift. I know this after years of working with chefs and seeing the burger wrappers and French fry containers in their cars and because my son, Connor, is now in that very position. He gets off sometime between 10 and 11 PM and picks up drive-thru on his way home.

Even though there was often a plate ready for him in the fridge, for whatever reason, he would eat the fast food at night and save the plate for lunch the next day. Eventually, he got sick of it and finally asked for a healthy, vegetable and protein heavy, but still light “something” for dinner. Sometimes, it takes time to realize what the body really wants.

3 peppers

These colorful stuffed peppers fit the bill.

Since I saw no reason to use half a package of turkey, half a can of beans, half a can of chiles, and so on – the filling makes enough to fill at least 6 peppers, or 12 servings, which is a lot of servings. Instead, this is a wonderful “cook once, eat for two days” recipe. With some lettuce or taco shells, the filling is perfect for a main dish salad, lettuce wraps, or tasty tacos for lunch or dinner the next day.

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June 3, 2014   5 Comments

Grad Salad

Two of Peggy’s kids graduated in May. Samme from ASU and Stevo from Desert Mountain High School.

 

Neeraj, Samme, Stevo

Peggy’s ex-husband, Kevin along with his girlfriend, Sushil, hosted a graduation party on Sunday for the kids and for Sushil’s son, Neeraj, who is also a proud high school graduate.

 

Black Bean and Corn Salad

 

The food was mostly Mexican with a little Indian and vegetarian thrown in. There were chips and Kevin’s famous (and fabulous) salsa, guacamole, queso dip, and somosas for appetizers. Freshly made margaritas, beer, wine and Samme’s Bloody Mary bar for drinks. And the main meal – I know, that already sounded like enough, but there was much more – including Peggy’s beans and rice, Kevin’s beef brisket tacos, Sushil’s butternut squash tacos, vegetarian and chicken enchiladas, and finally – this salad that Sushil made.

I requested the recipe from Sushil and she told me she found it on foodnetwork.com, but made it her own by adding a bunch of cilantro. Good call – it’s another great refreshing summer salad to add to your repertoire.

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June 2, 2014   1 Comment

a recipe request – from Tokyo

My dear friend and former neighbor, Lori, sent me a recipe request all the way from Tokyo, Japan. Here is a condensed version of her email.

“Last night we took friends to our favorite restaurant here – Ivy Place. They have a drink that blows me away-it is lemongrass lemonade. Everyone was wondering, “How do you think they make this?!?” I said the only person in the world besides this restaurant who could possibly figure it out is Miss Linda! Ever heard of lemongrass lemonade? Here is a picture of what they serve.

Ivy Place Lemongrass Lemonade

It seriously is the most delicious, refreshing drink I have ever had (and I am a lemonade freak-so all the better). In all your spare time, :) can you help us with this mystery and how to make this concoction? You may get a better idea though if you could just jump on a plane and get over here already!”

Now I’m pretty good at deciphering recipes and recreating them at home … once I’ve TASTED them! But to try to recreate something I’ve never tried – that’s a serious challenge! Quite honestly, it’s impossible. I can only make a guess, and not even an educated guess, as to what the bartender or mixologist at Ivy Place in Tokyo uses to make their Lemongrass Lemonade.

herb garden

Otherwise, it wasn’t difficult to come up with a recipe. I have lemongrass growing in my exceedingly overgrown herb garden. I am going to clean all that excessive oregano and rosemary out of there and start over, soon, very soon … maybe this weekend!

At the end of the post you’ll find directions on trimming garden lemongrass. If you don’t have lemongrass growing in your yard and you aren’t close enough to come over and get some of mine, you can often find it with the herbs in the grocery store.

One thing I did figure out after I made several attempts, Ivy Place makes the drink differently then I do! I can see that from the fact that their drink is clear and garnished with mint and mine is yellow and garnished with lemongrass. The yellow in my drink comes from the use of lemon zest. I don’t want to leave that out because the oils in the peel give you the most intense lemon flavor. I like my lemonade to be really lemony!

All that being said – Lori, here is my version of Lemongrass Lemonade. I’ve named it after you. Please make a batch, taste it and then give me some feedback about what you think and what might be added or taken away to make it most like the concoction that Ivy Place serves.

One last thought – Lori claims that this makes a seriously tasty cocktail when you add vodka. Strangely enough – I believe her!

Loris Lemongrass Lemonade

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May 30, 2014   4 Comments