Last month, I signed up to bring pasta salad to a potluck. In typical me fashion, I decided that I had to make it myself. After cruising the internet for a bit, I came across a recipe with smoked gouda, which was all I needed to be sold. Roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts? Total bonus.
I choose to use gemelli for my pasta because it is my favorite and it is really structurally sound - it holds up to anything. While that was boiling, I diced up my roasted peppers and artichoke hearts (I was lucky to find grilled ones at the store). I had a couple of tomatoes hanging around, so I chopped those up and threw them in too. After I rinsed the pasta in cold water (normally a big no-no, but good for pasta salads), I tossed it with the veggies and the cubed gouda.
Then came the dressing, where I inexplicably decided to take the opposite route and go quick and easy. I used mayonnaise and bottled Italian dressing and it came out just right - light and flavorful. You are of course welcome to make your own dressing from scratch. Top with fresh herbs and go! This is hearty and fresh and super yummy - it was very popular at the potluck, thank goodness!
Fast, easy, simple, and perfect for summer - this pizza is creamy and fresh and super yummy.
All pizza starts with dough, and I highly recommend the Jim Lahey no-knead recipe. It comes out tender and crisp and full of air pockets. You can see some bubbles in the dough in the photo above - that's the good stuff! I do need to try and remember not to stretch it out too much, though. I think I made the pizza a little too large this time.
Top the dough with minced garlic, bits of anchovy, and a drizzle of olive oil. The anchovy adds little pops of salty and umami flavors. Along with the garlic, this richness is what elevates this pizza from being boring, do not skip! Melissa (who I made this with), said that she might make it with capers instead of anchovies next time. I think that is a really good suggestion for vegetarians who don't eat fish, but still want to get that briney flavor.
On Monday, I promised you a recipe for the side dish I served with the Garlic Butter Salmon with Dill. And here it is - a Greek style salad made with shredded raw zucchini, so healthy! The dill in this dish helps tie it in with the flavors in the salmon (plus it helps me get rid of more dill).
The raw zucchini - along with mint, dill, green onions, and feta - is marinated in a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and garlic. The original recipe recommends chilling for several hours to allow the flavors to meld together, but we found that 30 minutes was enough.
This salad is bright and fresh, perfect on it's own or as a side. Make it all summer, take it with you anywhere, and enjoy!
I grew a monster dill plant - I'm talking like 3 feet tall with stems as thick as pencils. So I went to Melissa and begged her to help me use up a ton of dill. We brainstormed for a bit and came up with this salmon recipe. I mean, what goes better with dill than salmon?
This recipe couldn't be easier - pour melted butter over a flank (or filet) of salmon, spread on minced garlic, top with dill, lemon slices, salt, and pepper. Then just pop into the oven for 10 minutes, for a regular sized fish. I picked up salmon from my favorite fish shop (MediterraFish at Mosaic, if you are a local), because their Norwegian salmon is healthy, sustainable, fatty, and HUGE. Like really, really thick. So it was more of a 15 minute fish (though I cut off a piece for me a bit early because I like my salmon medium - not quite opaque in the center, but still able to flake).
The house smelled Ah. Maze. Ing. while this was cooking, and just a few ingredients imparted a lot of flavor. It would have been just fine on it's own, but we also made a sauce with sour cream, horseradish, lemon, shallot, and dill that took it to the next level. So good, simple, and summery - get on it, people, and make this! Stay tuned for the side dish recipe - Greek style zucchini salad.
Through a combination of being really lazy and really busy, I haven't been cooking that much at home lately. Or at least anything new or interesting (I mean, how many vegetable pastas do you want to see, right?). So I haven't been posting very frequently, either. Thank goodness for my lunches with Melissa, from Smells Like Brownies, or I wouldn't be posting at all! We made this savory tomato cobbler on a rainy day with terrible lighting, and it was just the right kind of comfort food.
Caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes get bound together with the help of a little flour, and flavored with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. I love using multi-colored cherry tomatoes, so pretty!
Then the mixture goes into a baking dish and into the oven. We used the same cast iron skillet that we caramelized the onions in.
While the tomato mixture cooks, roll out and cut out some biscuits. The dough, made savory with the help of sharp white cheddar and black pepper, will have been resting in the fridge while the filling was put together. You want that butter cold in order to achieve maximum flakiness. We used whey in place of buttermilk, because we will never run out of whey (so much whey).
It's time for another collaboration with Smells Like Brownies (although we actually made this back in June, oops!) - not vegetarian this time, but rather pescetarian. A hearty tomato based broth filled with all kinds of seafood - Cioppino. Melissa actually chose this dish for her blogging group, the Secret Recipe Club. For more info on that, check out her post here.
Making the broth takes up the most time in this recipe, but you want to let it simmer and develop deep flavor, so it's worth it. Olive oil, garlic, shallot, oregano, and a bay leaf go in first; followed by bell pepper, tomato paste, and red wine. Oh yeah, and red pepper flakes - watch it here, this is where you determine your spice level. Next comes canned tomatoes in their juices, clam juice, lemon juice, and veggie broth (not stock). Let it do it's thing for 30 minutes before adding in some mussels.
I meant it when I said this soup was full of all kinds of seafood. While the mussels simmer away; prep the rest of the seafood - scallops, red snapper (or something similar, like halibut), and shrimp. Who knew a bunch of raw seafood could look so pretty?
After the rest of the seafood is cooked through, top with fresh basil and parsley and dig in. Serve with some crusty bread for dipping and eat right away! This Italian stew is perfect for any time of year - hearty and warming, but not heavy - so enjoy!
As promised - what to do with leftover quiche base, if you have any. Make mini quiches! So easy and totally portable - once these are cool, you can just pick one up and eat it on the go.
All you do is thaw some frozen spinach, squeeze the liquid out of it, and split it between mini tart pans or ramekins. Then sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese, pour the quiche base over it, and bake until set. Voila! A healthy little snack or breakfast and no wasted custard.
Mini Spinach Crustless Quiches
a Well Dined original
makes 4 mini quiches
1 cup leftover quiche base (from this recipe, for example), or 1 egg mixed with 3/4 cup cream and seasoned with salt, pepper, and nutmeg
10oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
Divide the spinach between four mini tart pans or ramekins. Sprinkle with the cheese, then pour the custard over the top. Bake at 375 deg F until set, about 15 minutes.
Ah, summer - a time for all the fresh produce you can get your hands on. I particularly like the combination of tomatoes and corn, which you can see here, here, and here. Add in some herbs from the garden, eggs from the farmer's market, and a flaky pie crust for an awesome summer quiche.
Quiche is best served right around room temperature, so it would be pretty easy to bring this to a potluck or dinner party, as long as it doesn't sit out for too long (2 hours max) and isn't out in the heat.
I hope everyone had a fun holiday - we certainly did! We grilled and played games (these ones to be precise) and watched Jaws (the original, duh). My special contribution (because there always has to be one) was this gorgeous gelatin mold with champagne and fresh berries. It is light, refreshing, not too strong, and totally gorgeous. It looks really impressive, but it's actually pretty easy to make!
The base is sparkling wine (I used Prosecco), peach schnapps, plain gelatin, and a little sugar. I'm trying to be really accurate in my title here, so I had to change it from "Champagne Jello Mold", which was my first instinct. Jello isn't even a real word! It's Jell-o, a brand name that got appropriated to mean all gelatin (like Popsicle or Coke, if you live in the south).
I had heard of this place in some magazine or other because of the homemade poptarts. So when I was in Reston and craving some mid-day breakfast, I decided to try it out. It's kind of like an upscale version of an old-fashioned diner. If that makes any sense.
The menu is a mini newspaper (or bulletin, if you will) that also has some articles on the namesake and how the restaurant was founded. They have boozy milkshakes (very on trend right now), so I tried the Bananas Foster with banana rum and caramel. Very good.
Then I tried the signature breakfast combo - The Big Mark - which comes with 3 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausage, hashbrowns, toast, and a poptart (I chose the brown sugar bacon flavor). Everything was great except for the sausage, which was way too spicy for me. The poptart was indeed tasty, but I thought it needed a higher filling to crust ratio.
I brought a couple more flavors of poptart home (blueberry cheesecake and strawberry, I believe) to sample a range and so that Jasper could try them. Again, they were good but we both agreed they needed more filling.
Here's the fun news for breakfast-loving me - they are opening up a location at Mosaic, which is very close to me! I might even sample some non-breakfast items... maybe... probably not.