Leek Prosciutto Gratin

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This dish has become one my favorite ways to prepare leeks, well this and grilling,  I don't know if it's the crispy salty Proscuitto, or the ooey gooey gruyere cheese that makes it so irresistible to me. Well, and what wouldn't be good next to a perfectly grilled steak. 

It's really not all that involved but tastes like you spent a lot more time making it than you did.

Here, let me show you.

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Cut the leeks in half, but only up to the root not through it. Simmer the leeks in water in a large skillet until tender. (I added a bay leaf to the simmering water) Drain the leeks and arrange in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Tear the prosciutto into shreds and cover the leeks with them. 

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Bake until the prosciutto is crisp. Yes, it does shrink but don't be tempted to use more, I think it would be wayyyy to salty. 

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Sprinkle over the leeks the cheese and the nuts. I had spicy pepitas so I used them, not the walnuts the recipe calls for. Now, back into the oven

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until the cheese is all melty and bubbly.

It's wonderful alongside some grilled meat, but it's also great on its own for lunch. 

I used only two leeks and pretty much "eyeballed" the rest.  You'll know how much to use if you are using fewer leeks. 

Leek and Prosciutto Gratin

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    6 Medium leeks, white and light green parts, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise but still attached at root end
    ¼ tsp. kosher salt
    3 oz Prosciutto, thinly sliced
    4 oz, shredded gruyere cheese
    ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the butter in the bottom of an 11-by-7-inch gratin dish.

    Arrange the halved leeks in the bottom of a large skillet in one layer, and add water to cover. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the leeks are just tender about 10 minutes.
    Fish the leeks out with tongs and a spider, draining off excess water as you go, and arrange in one layer in the baking dish, rolling to coat in the butter. Season with the salt. Tear the prosciutto into rough shreds, and layer these over the leeks. Bake until the prosciutto is crisp, about 20 minutes.
    Sprinkle over the leeks the cheese, then the walnuts, and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly about 8 to 10 minutes.

    Serve hot.

    Serves 4-6

    Lidia Bastianich

And that's that!


Fried Green Beans, Halloumi & Lemon-Tiganita Fasolakia

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First of all, it's fried, and crispy and crunchy. Second of all, it's fried and cheesy. Third of all, it's fried, lemony and tangy. Try and top that!

What you'll need to make this delicious Greek staple is,

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Green beans, Halloumi cheese, lemon, flour, cornstarch, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper, soda water, olive oil, and oil for frying. 

According to the notes in the cookbook, the flat Romano beans are ideal for this but the Blue Lake beans will be fine. The batter is also good for young fava beans, the entire pod, and squash blossoms. 

In a large bowl combine the flour, cornstarch salt, and pepper. 

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To the flour mixture, add the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Add the soda water and olive oil and whisk until most of the lumps are gone. 

After a quick toss with flour, the beans, cheese, and lemon are dipped into the batter then, 

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into the 360* spa. It's important to fry a mix of them together, don't fry just the beans or cheese or lemon separately. You'll need the lemon essence imparted into the oil. There was a big improvement in the flavor of the beans that were fried with the lemon slices. Also, I noticed the lemons were a bit sweeter after frying, still tangy but a bit sweeter. 

Another reason you should fry a mix of them together is because lemons are so juicy you don't want the water-hot oil reaction, so don't fry them alone, always just one or two with the beans and cheese.

Just for fun Google water-hot oil reaction. I had that happen to me once, and that was one time too many. 

 

Fried Green Beans, Halloumi & Lemon

Ingredients

  • For the batter

    1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup cornstarch 
    1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
    1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
    Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    2 cups chilled soda water
    2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    For the beans, cheese and lemon
    4 quarts canola oil
    1 pound tender green beans, trimmed and moistened
    8 lemon slices, about 1/8 inch thick
    1/4 pound halloumi cheese, in 4 slices, each broken in half lengthwise
    1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    Minced flat-leaf parsley for garnish Lemon halves for serving

Directions

  1. For the batter: In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and a pinch of pepper. Mix well with a whisk. Add the soda water and olive oil and whisk just until most of the lumps are gone. Don’t overmix, or you will deflate the batter. Let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours. Mix gently before using.

    In a large, heavy pot, heat the canola oil until it registers 360°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Put the beans, lemon slices, and cheese in a colander set over a bowl. Toss with the 1/2 cup flour, then shake off the excess. Working in small batches, dip a few of the beans, lemon slices, and cheese in the batter. Lift them out, letting the excess batter drip back. Fry until the lemon and the cheese start to brown (the beans will not brown much), about 2 minutes, agitating them frequently in the oil with tongs or a wire-mesh skimmer. Lift them out with tongs or a skimmer onto a tray lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remainder.

    Transfer the fried beans, lemons, and cheese to a platter and garnish with a light sprinkle of parsley. Serve hot with the lemon halves.

    Kokkari: Comtemporary Greek Flavors Cookbook

And that's that!


Ratatouille Confit Byaldi

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Piperade sauce,  perfectly cooked vegetables, and a herbal vinaigrette. 

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I don't think I could prepare these vegetables any other way and enjoy them as much.

Let's start with the Piperade sauce. You'll need 

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Olive oil, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, fresh thyme, parsley sprigs. The recipe calls for different colors of peppers. I used all red, they were on sale.  

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I was tempted to use some of the jarred roasted red bell peppers I have in the cupboard but I'm glad I didn't. These little blackened bits add a lot of flavor. 

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After the onion and garlic are cooked until the onions soften but not brown, add the tomatoes, their juices, and the herbs. After this cooks down a bit add the peppers, salt, and pepper and cook until the peppers soften. Take out the herbs. 
My tomatoes weren't very juicy so I had to add a splash of water. Also, don't do what I did and forget to set aside some of the sauce for the vinaigrette. 

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Speaking of which, for the vinaigrette, you'll need olive oil, garlic and I added a pinch of fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. 

Now let's get the vegetables ready. 

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The vegetables needed are tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, yellow squash, and zucchini.  I wasn't going to run all over town looking for Japanese eggplant so I bought the one and only eggplant Smith's had. It was a nice one too. 

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I used the spiralizer for the squash. The one I have slices, peels, and cores. All I had to do was slice down one side of the "slinky" and I had nice even pieces. Easy Peasy

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I used the mandoline for the tomatoes and eggplant. Since the eggplant was so big I had to cut the slices in half and that worked just fine. 

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Spread the piperade in the bottom of an 8" square baking dish and arrange alternating slices of the vegetables over it and sprinkle the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Cover tightly with foil and bake

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Hot out of the oven and it's as delicious as it looks. 

What would I do differently next time you ask?
I would peel the tomatoes for the ratatouille as well as the piperade, and I would peel alternating strips off of the eggplant. 
Have you tried peeling a tomato with a potato peeler? It works a charm, you don't have to go through the boiling water routine. 

I'm posting the original recipe but I'm also including the other recipe I mainly followed from the blog Just As Delish

I strongly encourage you to read through both recipes. The main idea is there, just some little differences. 

Thomas Keller's Ratatouille Confit Byaldi

Ingredients

  • Piperade

    • 1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
    • 1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
    • 1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
    • 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, divided
    • 1/2 c. finely diced yellow onion
    • 3 tomatoes (about 12 oz.), peeled, seeded and finely diced, juices reserved
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme
    • 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
    • 1/2 bay leaf

    Ratatouille

    • 1 zucchini (4 to 5 oz.) sliced in 1/16-in. rounds
    • 1 Japanese eggplant (4 to 5 oz.), sliced into 1/16-in. rounds
    • 1 yellow squash (4 to 5 oz. ), sliced into 1/16-in. rounds
    • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-in. rounds
    • 1/8 tsp. dried thyme leaves
    • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Directions

    Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the peppers cut side down on a foil-lined sheet. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.
    Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juices, fresh thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.
    Add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt and discard herbs. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

    Reduce the heat in the oven to 275 degrees.

    Down the center of the skillet arrange a strip of alternating slices of zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash and Roma tomatoes, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap the vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled.
    Mix 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons olive oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the vegetables.
    Cover pan with foil and seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.

    For the final topping combine the reserved tablespoon of sauce with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Drizzle around plate. Serve hot.

And that's that!


Mexican Watermelon Cucumber Salad

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Citrusy, crunchy, and spicy with cooling watermelon and cucumber. 

Let's start with spicing up the pepitas.

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Just a bit of ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, oil, and fresh lime juice. 

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Combine them all in a bowl and mix well. 

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The recipe calls for raw pepitas and toasting the spiced pepitas in the oven. Since the pepitas I have are already roasted and salted, I just gave them a little sauté in a non-stick skillet to bloom the spices and get a little more color on the seeds. 

While the seeds are cooling let's attend to the melon. 

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In the bowl are the watermelon, cucumber, and red onion slices that had been chilling out in some ice water. To that, you are going to add the oil, ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, lime zest, and juice.  

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Sprinkle on the spiced pepitas and chopped mint right before serving. 

Make it, you'll be happy you did 

Mexican Watermelon Salad

Ingredients

  • Ingredients

    For the Smoky Lime Pepitas
    1 cup raw pepitas
    1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
    ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
    ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or ancho chili powder
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Juice from1 medium lime

    For the Mexican Watermelon Salad
    ¼ cup thinly sliced red onions
    1 small seedless watermelon about 5 pounds, cubed
    1 English or Japanese cucumber cut into ½-inch slices
    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
    ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2 medium limes finely grated zest and juice
    2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

Directions

    1. Let’s make the spiced pepitas first! Preheat the oven to 325°F with the rack placed in the middle position. In a medium bowl, combine the pepitas, olive oil, salt, paprika, cayenne, and lime juice. Mix well.
    2. Spread the seasoned pepitas in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Toast the seeds for 12 to 15 minutes in the oven, stirring at the halfway point, until fragrant and crunchy.
    3. Cool to room temperature. Reserve ¼ cup for this recipe, and keep the rest in a sealed container for up to 1 week to munch on.
    4. While the pepitas are in the oven, soak the onions in a bowl of ice water for about 10 minutes to take the bite off ’em.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, cucumber, drained onions, olive oil, chili powder, salt, cayenne pepper, lime zest, and lime juice. Toss to mix. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.
    6. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and toasted pepitas. Serve immediately!

    Michelle Tam Ready or Not Cookbook

And that's that!


Havasu Olive and Garlic

Havasu Olive and Garlic was high on my list of places I wanted to check out when I moved here to Lake Havasu City. It took a few months, but I was finally able to check it out this week. 
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It's a family-owned business and soon they will be celebrating 10 years in business. 

The first thing that hit me when I walked in was the wall full of vats of olive oil. 

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If I counted right, there are 30 different types.

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Then there are the olives and garlic, and the olives stuffed with garlic and other things. 

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Not to mention the wall of different flavored pasta and even some gluten-free offerings. 

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Have I told you about the variety of pickled veggies like okra, asparagus, pearl onions, etc...

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Then there are the flavored salts, BBQ sauces, and other condiments. I think I'm getting dizzy with all the options available. 

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I really wanted to buy one of everything they have, I probably eventually will but for now, this is what I bought. 

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I have never seen gluten-free orzo so of course I have to try it. I love the shape of Mafaldine and decided to Google it. It's a sad story but there's a great recipe attached to it.

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I haven't met a gadget yet that I didn't like so, of course, I had to get the olive stuffer. I'm thinking I could use it for stuffing garlic slivers into lamb and pork roasts too, why should only the olives have all the fun. The black truffle oil is going into the safe along with my treasured saffron. I've not seen green pea pasta before so I have to give it a try. 

 

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I'm surprised I have any olives left, I could eat them all in one sitting if I let myself. They are garlic stuffed gordal olives I'm going back for more.

 

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I picked up 3 bottles of olive oil, two flavored, and one unflavored. the unflavored is made from Cobrancosa olives.
I did a taste testing of the oils and the first words that came to my mind were rich and buttery. It will be really hard for me to get an olive oil off the grocery store shelf now that I'm spoiled.

Next oil I get will be one of the savory ones, I'm leaning toward the wild mushroom and sage. We'll see. 

I'm sure I'll be posting a pasta recipe pretty soon, I'm already working out some recipes in my head.

And that's that!