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Archive for August, 2011

The Donatella Cocktail

Donatella Cocktail Recipe

Celebrity chef, restauranteur and Next Iron Chef judge Donatella Arpaia has partnered with Italian winemaker Martini to serve as the brand’s culinary and entertaining expert. To kick things off, she’s created her signature cocktail, The Donatella. The tasty new libation includes Martini Bianco and Prosecco, cucumber, basil, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and Grey Goose Vodka, all served on ice and garnished with a Campari tomato. It’s like summer in cocktail form.

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Meatless Monday: Grilled Squash Quesadillas with Tomato Salsa

squash quesadilla

Manchego and squash-filled quesadillas served with homemade tomato salsa.

It’s not too difficult to go meatless on Mondays in the summer. I mean, have you been to the farmers’ market lately? The stands are overflowing with tomatoes in every variety and color, squash, zucchini, onions, beans, watermelon, and peaches; from a produce standpoint, it’s the best time of the year. My struggle with the market is restraining myself from wiping out the full stock of heirlooms or those tiny, yellow tomatoes that taste like candy. And if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, you’re bringing in quite the bounty from your yard, too. So like I said, eating vegetables on a summer Monday shouldn’t be a challenge. It might be tougher to stop scarfing down vegetables than it is to start.

So while you’re at the farmstand or in your garden, grab a bunch of zucchini or summer squash and some tomatoes. You’ll need them for this irresistible squash quesadilla. It’s comforting in the way that Tex-Mex food is, with little pockets of melted cheese topped with spicy salsa, but this version of the standard quesadilla is full of smoky, grilled squash. It’s so good, you might want to make two batches.

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The Best 3-Ingredient Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce Finished

I’m what you’d call a tomato purist. Yep, you know the type: picking tomatoes off salads three quarters of the year, throwing expletives when restaurants dare use mealy, tomatoes in the summer, then eating my weight in caprese salads and tomato tarts and roasted tomatoes and BLTs (heavy on the Ts) all August long.

And of course, there’s tomato sauce — lots of it. If the stuff is made with summer tomatoes, it’s pretty hard for it to be bad. But the best way to highlight summer tomatoes is with three simple ingredients: tomatoes, garlic and olive oil.

I know, not exactly revolutionary. Throw these guys in a pot together haphazardly and you’re likely to get something pretty delicious. But with a little extra care — slivering the garlic, softening it in olive oil, chopping and seeding the tomatoes — it turns into something spectacular, and spectacularly addictive. Here’s how you make it.

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Choose-Your-Fruit Crumbles

Summer is crumble season with fruits at the peak of deliciousness, yet I persist in making the same old classic crumbles: apple, or peach and blueberry. This summer I vowed to break out of my crumble rut and so I embarked on an epic bake-off, testing dozens of fruits and fruit combinations. In the process I discovered some surprising new crumble loves — like banana, mango and pineapple — along with the realization that just about any jumble of fruits wrapped in a crumble topping are winners.

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Summer Fest: Fresh Corn Muffins

Week five of our season-long garden party Summer Fest 2011 welcomes food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We’ll help you to enjoy all that this season has to offer. So far, we’ve delved into eggplant, peaches, cucumbers and cherries. Now we’re on to a new crop: corn.

Yes, I turned on my oven. It was worth it though to work sweet summer corn into a classic corn muffin recipe. These savory corn muffins are a great accompaniment to any summer dish but since I prefer to snack all day, I made them miniature. I saved time by using a corn muffin mix in this recipe because I knew I was going to get the sweetness from the fresh corn and a moist texture from adding sour cream to the mixture.

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Fan Favorite Recipes for Fresh Summer Produce

Giada's Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad

This time of year, there’s tons of fresh fruits and vegetables to put to use. Whether it’s blueberries, heirlooms, corn, squash or eggplants you crave, we’ve got recipes galore to get you going. From Bal Anerson’s Zucchini Paneer to Kelsey’s Cucumber, Meyer Lemon and Lavender Granita, we couldn’t help but notice how Cooking Channel Fans have been keeping up to date with the summer’s freshest bounty. With all the great reviews, twists and tweaks piling up, we’re back for another call out to the ones that caught our attention.

Light and summery, Giada’s Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad (above) comes to life with fresh basil and mint, and crunch pine nuts.

“YUM… a super easy/fast recipe with intense flavor. I used an herb-garlic goat cheese — it’s what we had in the fridge. My wife loved it. I loved it. I’d make this for guests. Thanks Giada!!!” — digrst in Southern California

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Campfires and Cowboys with Mo

Yippee ki yay!  Git along, little Foodographists!  We’re hittin’ the trail, cowboy-style!

Just mosey on up to a chuck wagon in Buffalo Gap, Texas for some chicken-fried steak, and don’t forget to grab some cheddar and black pepper biscuits, done up right in a Dutch oven!

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Grill Your Way Around the Globe

Pork Chops with Yuzu-Miso Marinade

There’s something about grilling – firing up some coals or igniting the gas, popping open a bottle of beer and throwing meat on the grates – that makes us think about all-American burgers, dogs and simply grilled steaks. But grilling (whether over an open flame or on a griddle or grill pan) is a cooking technique adopted worldwide, so why not shake up your routine by incorporating ingredients from across the globe into your next barbecue?

Chicken, beef, pork, seafood and even burgers need little more than fresh herbs and, occasionally, special sauces to become global fare. A good marinade, for example, such as the Yuzu-Miso marinade featured in the pork chop recipe above, can transform ordinary pork chops into a feast from the Far East. (Worried you’ll stock up on bottles of exotic sauces that’ll never again be used? Our By the Book writer proves a few Japanese sauces go a long way, so fret not.)

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Meatless Monday: Mark Bittman’s Zucchini-Pear Soup

Mark Bittman's Zucchini-Pear Soup

Happy Meatless Monday, folks. Have you accepted the challenge of going meatless once per week? We have. Doing so has health and environmental benefits, plus, if cooking without meat is new to you, it means you’ll be adding new, exciting vegetarian recipes to your regular repertoire every week. It also means that one night each week, you won’t hear your family whine, “Chicken again?

This week we’re excited about a green soup. It’s made with potatoes, so it’s quite hearty, and it gets its verdant hue from zucchini, which are in season and very abundant right now. And the green doesn’t stop there, the soup is made with pears, perhaps a surprise ingredient if you’re used to more standard soups. The pear deepens the flavor of the other vegetables in the puree without a fruity flavor. Garnish the soup, which can be served hot or cold, with a sprig of mint, because at this point, you might as well add a touch more green.

Note: The original recipe calls for either chicken or vegetable broth. If you’re going truly meatless, use the vegetable broth.

Get the recipe for Mark Bittman’s Zucchini-Pear Soup:

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Celebrating Julia Child’s 99th Birthday

Celebrate Julia Child and the flavors of summer with her Pan-Fried Burger recipe.

Today would have been Julia Child’s 99th birthday.  We’re just as devoted to Julia and her love of classic cooking technique now as we ever were, and celebrate her birthday this year with one of her simplest recipes.  Julia’s pan-fried burger is deliciously juicy and perfect for summer.

Get the easy recipe below, and catch a special episode of Chefography: Julia Child tonight at 8pm ET on Cooking Channel.  Happy Birthday, Julia!

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