Grilled Shrimp and Cauliflower with Romesco Dipping Sauce

Cauliflower & Shrimp with Romescu
The first thing you need to know is that this sauce is A M A Z I N G.  Put it on your sandwich, toss hot pasta with it, fresh veggie dip or meat skewer dip …. it wins every time.  Today’s appetizer included these grilled cauliflower florets, lightly marinated shrimp and green onions.

Ingredients for Romesco

1 1/2 CUPS SERVINGS

  • 1 large roasted red bell pepper from a jar
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup tomato purée
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Pulse first 8 ingredients in a food processor until very finely chopped. With motor running, slowly add oil; process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Romesco can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

romescu

To use as a dipping sauce, heat through until easy to stir and warm.

 

Shrimp and Vegetables

  • 1 head of cauliflower – cut into florets
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp – tails and shells on
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 bunch green onions

Lightly steam cauliflower until just tender crisp – be careful not too overcook it.

Season with salt.

In a large bowl, toss shrimp with vegetable oil and lime juice.  Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.

Grill cauliflower, shrimp and green onions just until heated through (and shrimp is fully cooked) – try to get some pretty grill marks on there!

Arrange on a serving platter with the Romesco and dip merrily away.

 

 

Tomato Thyme Bacon Tart

Fresh garden tomatoes and thyme combined with bacon and cheese

Fresh garden tomatoes and thyme combined with bacon and cheese

Nothing screams summer like tomatoes! This tart is quick and easy to make, allowing the tomato to be the star of the show. Today’s tart was made with heirloom tomato – such a big tomato that it only took 3 slices along with a few cherry tomatoes to fill in the gaps.

This works amazingly well as either an appetizer or side dish.

Roll out 1 thawed puff pastry sheet in to 10 x 14 rectangle on lightly floured surface. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle on 1 1/2 cups cheese (gruyere, gouda and cheddar are good choices). Leave a 2 inch border on the long sides……

Crumble cooked, crumbled bacon over the cheese (4 slices)

Slice tomatoes and layer across bacon/cheese.

Sprinkle with fresh thyme, salt and pepper.

Fold the long sides over to create a border, and fold in the short ends to create a seal.

Using a sharp knife, cut vent holes in the pastry and brush with beaten egg.

Bake at 400 until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with fresh basil for serving.

Tomato Vegetable Soup

Feeling like a hearty bowl of soup on a cool night?  This is perfect!  

Serve with Baking Powder Biscuits for a complete meal.

1 large onion – minced                          

3 carrots, sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 large potato, diced

1 small turnip, diced

1/2 cup green beans, sliced

1 cup green zucchini, quartered and sliced

1 14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes

4 cups vegetable stock

2 tbsp basil, chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

olive oil

Any other vegetables are always optional, and always welcomed to a pot of soup!

Heat a large soup pot, then add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom.  Add diced onions and allow to cook long enough to soften and become translucent.  Add potatoes, carrots and celery.  Stir and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes and vegetable stock – season to taste with salt and pepper.

Allow to simmer until vegetables are just barely fork tender.  Stir in green beans and zucchini and cook just until they are cooked through.  Add fresh basil and any other herbs you feel like adding!

Options:  Use more vegetable stock and add barley when the potato mixture goes in or cook some pasta separately and serve the soup over the cooked pasta.  (I like to cook the pasta separately so it doesn’t get too mushy.) If you want a chicken soup, use chicken stock instead of the vegetable stock and add some chopped up chicken with the stock.

Quinoa Couscous Salad

Here we go again – salads without exact measurements, but a general idea.  Recipes are really just ideas on a sheet of paper, what is important is taking them and making them your own – use ingredients that you love!

equal portions of cooked quinoa and couscous

quartered and thinly sliced cucumber

chopped tomato

chopped black olive

diced red onion

feta cheese

fresh basil, mint and dill

salt and pepper

DRESSING

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

6 tbsp good quality olive oil

1 generous tsp dijon mustard

1 garlic clove

salt and pepper to taste

Toss all salad ingredients together first and allow to sit for a few minutes while you mix up the dressing.  Whisk all dressing ingredients together, and toss with salad … TASTE for salt and pepper, and only add as needed – remember the olives and the feta cheese are salty all by themselves!

Feta Greek Chicken Burgers

You are going to love these Greek style chicken, pork burgers

studded with herbs and feta cheese!  

Great dinner when served with Quinoa Couscous Salad

Burgers are really just ideas … following are the ingredients in my burgers, with an approximate portion plan:

equal portions ground chicken and hot italian sausage meat (approx 1 pound each)

2 tbsp minced basil

2 tbsp minced mint

1 large minced garlic clove

3 scallions, sliced fine

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp each of salt and pepper

Lightly toss all ingredients together until just mixed.  Do not overmix your meat or it will end up with the texture of a meatloaf!  Form burger patties and place onto lined baking sheet.  Set aside, either in freezer or fridge until you are ready to grill and they have had time to rest.

Grill on greased surface until cooked through.

Serve with:

Grilled thin slices zucchini (lightly coated with olive oil, salt and pepper)

Grilled thick tomato slices (dusted with salt and pepper)

Coat each side of your pita style bun with a generous dollop of mint/dill yogurt sauce:

MINT/DILL YOGURT SAUCE

1 cup greek style yogurt

1/2 cup grated, drained cucumber

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp finely chopped dill

1 tbsp minced mint (try to say that a few times!)

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, and put in fridge to set up and allow flavours to blend.

Middle Eastern Couscous Salad

 

kosher salt

olive oil

1 1/3 cup dry couscous

2 cups water

3 tbsp chopped fresh dill

3 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint

1/2 English cucumber, quartered and finely sliced

1 1/2 med size tomatoes, diced

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup really good olive oil (I prefer unfiltered)

fresh ground black pepper

Cook couscous according to directions, i.e, bring water, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp olive oil to a boil (If you want to add an extra hit of flavour use a tsp of chicken stock extract).  Once boiled, stir in couscous and remove from heat.  After 5 minutes stir and fluff with a fork.  Allow to cool.

This recipe is based on rushing home from work and wanting a tasty, but delicious quick salad – if you have the time, and inclination – go with cracked wheat and cook according to those directions.

When couscous has cooled, add to bowl along with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, fresh herbs.  Season with juice of lemon, oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Toss well and allow to sit – serve at room temperature.

Spaghetti Bolognese ala Kat!

Any Italian would probably take offence if I said this was true bolognese …. so it is ala Kat!  The best part of this recipe is the fact that it is loaded with vegetables, and simmered until the aroma fills your kitchen, and your taste buds can hardly wait for the reward!  We have a vegetarian in our home right now, so this version allows for any vegetarians to get a great, hearty meal as well as those carnivores (like myself …).

 

2 onions, finely diced

2 medium size leeks, finely sliced

8 garlic cloves (yes, eight)

2 medium size carrots, finely diced

4 celery stalks, finely diced

1/2 each of red, green and yellow peppers, finely diced

olive oil

1 pound / 1/2 kg each of ground beef and pork

1/2 pound / 300 gms  of bacon, finely sliced (depending on how much you like bacon)

1 28 oz / 796 ml can good quality tomatoes

1 24 oz / 680 ml good quality tomato sauce

1 5.5 oz / 156 ml can tomato paste

1/2 cup good red wine (always use wine you would like to drink!)

bay leaves

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp dry basil

1 tsp dry parsley

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

enough pasta to feed your crowd – the above Bolognese will probably feed 6-8

Saute the onions in olive oil until just starting to carmelize, add the rest of the diced vegetables.  When the carrots are fork tender, add the garlic and the tomato sauce.  Simmer just until all the vegetables are tender.  Using either an immersion blender or your food processor (being VERY CAREFUL to allow steam to escape by leaving the lid ajar or center portion removed) whiz vegetables and sauce until a thick paste forms.  ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SPACE FOR STEAM TO RELEASE FROM BLENDER, BURNS CAN BE A DISASTER (and so will the mess).  Return sauce to sauce pan and stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine and seasonings.

If you have fresh herbs, a nutmeg that you can grate, and fresh cinnamon – so much the better!

In a separate fry pan saute the bacon, beef and pork until cooked through.  The biggest reason I use a separate sauce pan is the vegetarian …. This is the point where you can separate the amount of sauce you need for a vegetarian, and then add the rest of the carnivorous goodness to your stock pot.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Personally, I like to take the amount of salt and pepper I would add in total, and with each layer sprinkle a bit of each.  That way all the vegetables end up seasoned, and I think the flavour goes right through.

Cook pasta until just al dente – drain and add just a bit of the bolognese to the pasta to coat the noodles.  Serve with extra sauce over top, then a generous grating of parmigiana.