Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bocconcini Pops

-12 small to medium bocconcini (soft Italian cheese) Can be found in most grocery or specialty stores.
-3-4 slices of prosciutto
-2 cups of arugula, washed and patted dry
-olive oil
-dry figs cut in small pcs. (optional)
-salt to taste

Cut you prosciutto in 3 strips length wise and lay 3-4 leaves of arugula on the prosciutto strip and drizzle very little olive oil. Place the bocconcino on one end of the strip and wrap the prosciutto around it and pierce a "fancy" toothpick through the bocconcino this will prevent the prosciutto from unravelling. Lightly salt to taste and they are ready to serve.
*you can add the dry figs and sprinkle them on the bed of arugula it add a nice contrast sweetness to the bitterness of the arugula.

Roasted Tomato and Pepper soup

-2 large red peppers halved and de-seeded
-4 large tomatoes cleaned and halved
-1 large onion halved with skins
-2 large potatoes peeled and halved
-olive oil for brushing on vegetables
-chicken stock or boullion (whatever you have available)
-salt to taste

Brush olive oil on all the vegetable skins and place them
on a pizza tray face down. Broil on medium heat until vegetables start to blister and brown (5-7 minutes) keep watching.
Once the vegetables are browned remove and let cool down, remove the skin from the vegetables. Place the vegetables in a stock pot and put about 5 litres of water and add 3 chicken bouillons. (if you have stock use 3 litres of water and 2 litres of chicken broth) then add the potatoes

Bring your mixture to a boil and boil for 3/4 of an hour until all the veggies are really tender, remove your pot off the stove and with a hand processor blend until smooth.
Salt to taste and it's ready to serve. You can put a dash of sour cream with a basil leaf for a nice presentation. It's a healthy and a warming dish on a cold winters day.

Olive Pate

-1 small can of pitted/sliced black olives
-30-35 oven dried black olives pitted
-2 small anchovies
-1/4 teaspoon of dry chilies
-1/4 cup of olive oil

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor, if you see the pate is too thick add a little more olive oil until desired consistency.

This is a quick and easy olive pate and can be made far in advance and topped up with olive oil to maintain it's freshness in the refrigerator.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grilled veggies

Grilled Veggies are great. They are easy to prepare and can be made well ahead of time when your busy preparing other dishes for your guests.

-2x large red peppers
-2x zucchini
-2 medium eggplants
-1 Tablespoon Olive oil
-1 teaspoon of balsamic
-1 teaspoon of oregano
-Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and pat dry your vegetables. Slice the red peppers in slivers 1-2 inch pieces. Slice the zucchini and eggplant in approx. 1/4" slices. Put your sliced vegetables in a large bowl add the olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper. Toss all the vegetables until well coated. If you see that the vegetables are not well coated just add a little more olive oil and balsalmic.

At this point there are two ways you can cook your vegetables.
1. cook them on a barbecue (medium heat) until they are still firm but tender.
2. in a pre-heated oven on the top rack 385 degrees. (20-25 minutes) until browned

tip: use parchment paper on a pizza tray if cooking your vegetables in the oven. It makes the cleanup quick as a snap!