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Italianfoodforever.com

Italianfoodforever.com

Caponata is a great summer dish as the eggplants and plum tomatoes are at their best at this time of year and it can be served cold which is great in summer heat. It is a spread which can be used on bread or on toast (bruschetta)

 

2 medium to large eggplants (young and firm are best)

8 to 10 ripe medium plum tomatoes

1 1/2 cups chopped white or yellow onion

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

1/2 cup olive oil

1 jar of capers, drained (usually 3-3.5 oz)

2 generous tablespoons of pignoli nuts

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

 

You will also need a large frying pan with a lid.

 

  1. Leaving the skin on, cut the eggplants into 1 inch cubes.
  2. In a clean sink spread the cubed eggplant. Salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes to remove any bitterness.
  3. While this is draining, prepare the onions and celery. Chop the tomatoes.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the eggplants and pat dry with paper towels or a clean towel.
  5. Put olive oil in frying pan and allow to heat up.
  6. Put eggplant in the hot oil and fry until soft and slightly browned.
  7. Use a slotted spatula to remove the eggplant into a bowl and put aside.
  8. In the oil remaining in the frying pan, cook the onion until golden brown.
  9. Add tomatoes and celery. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  10. While that is simmering, put the sugar and vinegar in a small pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste. The pepper should make a thin layer on the top. Heat on the stove to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Stir constantly while heating. Make sure you get all the sugar off the bottom.
  11. Add eggplant, capers and pignoli nuts to tomatoes.
  12. Add vinegar mixture.
  13. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir frequently being sure to scrape the bottom.

 

Serve with crusty Italian bread, pieces of toast  (bruschetta,) chunks of provolone or parmesan cheese and pepperoni. The flavors meld after a few hours or it is even better the next day.  Serve hot or cold.

Caponata freezes well, but also keeps in the fridge for at least a week.  The vinegar acts a pickling agent and preserves it.

Enjoy!

Miss Pegi is a gardening columnist for Blogfinger and a radio talk show host. Her actual name is Pegi Costantino and she is the President of the Woman’s Club of Ocean Grove. 

BETTE MIDLER:   Try doing the mambo while you make this recipe.

 

 

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Sea Spray Inn Cinnamon Raisin Scones

19 Broadway : Ocean Grove, NJ 07756

732-897-0700

innkeeper@theseaspray.com

These scones are moist and delicious – and easy to make! You’ll make a scone lover out of anyone with these delicious treats.

Makes 12 – 16 scones

Ingredients

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons very cold butter cut into ½ inch bits

½ cup raisins

1 cup heavy cream, plus 1 tablespoon

Demerara sugar for topping the scones

To make:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, place the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mix well on low speed for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add butter to flour mixture and mix on medium low for 3 – 4 minutes until the mixture looks like small crumbs. There should be small pieces of butter apparent in the mixture. If you think your butter is too soft, place the mixing bowl with the flour and butter pieces into the freezer for 5 minutes before mixing.
  5. Lower mixer speed to low and add raisins to mixture. After no more than 30 seconds, begin adding the heavy cream to the bowl until the mixtures comes together and a soft dough forms. Do not over mix!
  6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangular or circular form.
  7. At this point you can continue with the recipe or wrap the scone dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for a couple of weeks before baking.
  8. Cut scones in any shape – squares, wedges, rectangles. Place on the baking sheet at least an inch apart. Brush tops of scones with remaining heavy cream and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  9. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes (5 – 10 minutes longer for refrigerated or frozen dough) until golden brown on top.
  10. Either serve as soon as possible or let cool on a baking rack until ready to eat.

Enjoy!

NANCY WALKER.  “I Can Cook Too”  from Wonderful Town:

 

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Chef Ronaldo at work in an Ocean Grove kitchen. Photo by Mary Walton

Chef Ronaldo at work in an Ocean Grove kitchen. Photo by Mary Walton

By Mary Walton

Over the holidays, one Ocean Grove partygiver of Blogfinger’s acquaintance imported chef Ronaldo Linares, a master of Cuban-infused cooking, to cook for her guests. Linares is executive chef of Martino’s Cuban Restaurant in Somerville, NJ, and has made frequent television appearances. He arrived with several assistants and servers. The end result was a display of dishes that brought a standing ovation. (Everyone in the food line was standing.)

We offer you here Linares’s recipe for “Old-Fashioned Ropa Vieja.” Ropa vieja translates to “old clothes,” but we guarantee a flavor far superior to your average shredded tee shirt. It serves 4-6 people and the total preparation time is 90 minutes.

Old Fashioned Ropa Vieja “According to my Papi”

Ingredients:

1 flank steak

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 quarts of water

 1 tbsp. peppercorns

1 bunch of cilantro

4 tbsp. kosher salt

1 green and 1 red pepper, cores only (remainder used in sofrito)

1.      In a large stockpot, add the core of the green and red peppers, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, cilantro, salt, water. Bring to boil and add flank steak.

2.     Simmer for one hour until meat pulls away from pot, turn off heat, remove flank steak from water and shred.  Place meat on a plate and cover with a damp towel. Set aside.

Sofrito

1 medium red pepper (sliced)

1 medium green pepper (sliced)

1 medium onion (sliced)

8 pitted olives (diced)

½ tsp. cumin

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic (minced)

½ tsp. oregano

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. cracked black pepper

1 tsp. tomato paste

2 bay leaves

 6 oz. canned diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken stock

1 tbsp. olive oil.

Method:

1.      Preheat large sauté pan, add olive oil (wait 10 seconds), add sofrito and garlic.  Saute for 1 minute on high heat and turn down to medium low.

2.      Add cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, pepper and tomato paste.  Saute for 3 minutes to allow flavors to marry.

3.     Add diced tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves and simmer for 10 minutes on medium low heat.

4.      Add shredded flank steak to sauce and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.  Check seasonings.  Add salt and pepper if needed and simmer for a few additional minutes.

5.     Fold in cilantro and serve.

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PG photo

Clam Chowder with Red Potatoes  by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @Blogfinger

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1 medium onion, diced

8 small red potatoes, quartered and parboiled

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ ancho pepper, seeded and minced

9 San Marzano canned whole plum tomatoes, diced

¼ cup marinara sauce

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

2  6 ½ ounce cans chopped clams, drained

2 dozen littleneck clams in their shell

2½  cups chicken broth

¼ cup white wine

1 cup clam broth

½ cup water

freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Broth:

In a 5 quart stock pot, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and ¼ cup of chicken broth; sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, approximately 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to low-medium, add garlic and ancho pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and marinara sauce; stir and cook for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of chicken broth. Then add clam broth, water, wine, potatoes, black pepper, canned clams, and parsley to the broth. Stir contents of the pot. Place cover, slightly ajar on the pot.  Simmer liquid for 30 minutes, stir occasionally.

Littleneck clams:

After  the soup broth has simmered for 15 minutes, in a large fry pan, add the remaining olive oil, chicken broth and wine, and heat on medium.  When the liquid starts to simmer, add the littleneck clams to the pan and cook until all the clams have opened.  As the clams open, remove them from the pan and set them aside. Discard any clams that do not open after 15 minutes.

Set out two large soup bowls and place a dozen clams in each one. Ladle broth over the clams.

Serves 2

Editor’s Note:  This recipe is adapted from Eileen’s “Seafood Chowder with Red Potatoes” found in “Prevention Does Work: A Guide to a Healthy Heart.” by Paul Goldfinger MD and Eileen Goldfinger.

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By Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @Blogfinger

This is an easy and delicious end-of-summer meal which consists of three components: flounder meuniere, grilled zucchini, and Greek salad.

Flounder Meuniere:

1/2 pound flounder filets

2 tablespoons pan-searing flour (purchased at Wegmans) or you can place regular flour through a sieve several times.

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Smart Balance margarine

2 cloves minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a 10 inch non-stick fry pan add olive oil, margarine and garlic. Heat on low for 15 minutes. While the oil is heating in the fry pan, place a cast iron griddle on the stove and pre-heat on medium. This will be for the zucchini.

Use a paper towel and dry the flounder fillets. Sprinkle them on both sides with the flour, salt and pepper. Raise the heat in the fry pan to medium-low. When the oil gets a shimmering look to it, place the fillets in the pan. Add the lemon juice and parsley to the pan and sauté the filets for 10 minutes. Then gently turn them over and cook on the other side for 10 minutes.

Grilled zucchini:

While the fillets are cooking, slice the zucchini in 1/2 inch circles, rub with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and place them on the pre heated grill. Cook on one side until you see grill marks and then turn them over until you have grill marks on the other side. Cook them until they are fork tender. This should take about 15 minutes.

Greek Salad:

Greek olives : 6 black and 10 green, pitted and halved

feta cheese: 1 ounce, diced.

spring mix salad, triple washed ( I use about 5 ounces or 1/3 of the package)

Romaine leaves: 3 leaves sliced across in 1/2 inch pieces

English cucumber (also called a seedless cucumber): cut off a 4 inch length; then slice in half lengthwise; finally cut each piece crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces.

red radishes, 2 thinly sliced

Vidalia onion: 1/2 of a medium onion, diced

1 tomato, cut in cubes

Mix the above ingredients in a large bowl.

Vinaigrette:

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon

12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese

Wisk these ingredients together and pour over salad and toss.

Serves 2

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