Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil and Feta Cheese

If you're ever unsure of what kind of a side dish to make for a summer meal, corn salads never fail. Last year I was all about the southwestern corn salad, but this year I came across this Bobby Flay recipe and am obsessed. The ingredients sounded a bit odd at first. I couldn't imagine rice wine vinegar mixing well with feta cheese, but the combination is surprisingly good. I'm glad I got my fix of this when I was back in California since the sweet corn available in Switzerland isn't all that great. It makes me realize how well stocked the grocery stores in the US really are.

Last weekend I wanted to throw some asparagus on the grill, only to realize that for the Swiss, asparagus season ends in the Spring time. Living in a tiny village doesn't help either. I'm lucky if they have all the regular produce in stock. I've also realized that my stash of spices and Mexican food products that I brought here will probably run out sooner than expected. I've also started writing a list of things I need to start stocking up on every time I am visiting my family.

So all of you lucky enough to have an abundant supply of sweet corn this time of year, give this salad a try. It will not let you down. The original salad was made with blue cheese instead of feta, so use whichever you prefer. I also think you could easily sub a red onion or scallions for the sweet onion if you don't have access to one. This salad will still taste good the next day, but is definitely best served fresh.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

I never realized I was such a big biscuit fan up until recently. Last year I had some of the best biscuits and gravy (made with lamb sausage) when I was visiting friends in Chicago. I also was lucky enough to try my sister's cream biscuits, which is a recipe I still enjoy making for myself. When I was reading Fine Cooking and saw their picture of these biscuits, I knew I had to try them. I made these for the first time at my sister's house. Her husband is the ultimate biscuit taste tester since he loves them more than anyone else I know. If a biscuit gets approved by him, it's a keeper. These passed the test.

What I love about food magazines are all the tips they give you along with the recipe. For example, I never knew you should place your biscuits next to each other on the baking sheet so they expand up rather than mostly out. I'd also never heard of chilling your food processor and flour before making biscuits, but I'll take all the advice I can get. The recipe doubles really easily, which I have done before. I didn't have buttermilk when I made these once, so I just added lemon juice to milk and still ended up with great biscuits. I love serving these at a barbecue. They also make a great BBQ chicken sandwich if you have leftovers.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Wild Rice

This chicken recipe has been a favorite of mine for years. My mom got the recipe from a family friend after she made this at one of her dinner parties and has turned it into one of my favorites. The original recipe was one without measurements where you sprinkle a bit of this and that, add a dollop of something here and there, and just improvise. Luckily, my mom wrote down what she uses and has come up with a delicious dinner idea.

The combination of sweet and savory ingredients makes this one of my favorite roasted chicken recipes. If you're not too sure about adding prunes to your roast, just try it once. That's all I ask. They are one of the reasons this dish is so good too. When you get a bite of chicken and prunes all at once it sis pretty close to dinner heaven. Last time I was visiting my parents my mom made this and I was absolutely thrilled. It does take a while to roast, but it is worth every minute.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Deviled Eggs with Capers and Dill

Last month, Fine Cooking magazine had a 2 page spread featuring different variations of deviled eggs. Believe it or not, I had only tried deviled eggs once before making them on my own. Years ago at a potluck barbecue in Switzerland a friend of mine made a platter of traditional deviled eggs. I thought I would hate them since the thought of mayo and eggs doesn't sounds all that great, but they were surprisingly good. As usual, I forgot all about deviled eggs until I picked up a copy of Fine Cooking.

As much as I enjoy classic deviled eggs, this version is my favorite. The capers and dill add such a great flavor to the eggs that it makes the original version seem a bit plain. Don't get me wrong, I still love the classic variation (I will eventually write a post about them in case you've never tried them before), but this combination was a very welcomed change. The original recipe uses red onions, but I opted for scallions. Use whichever you prefer, but I imagine using a white onion would be too overpowering.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

With berries coming into season, most summer parties will have some sort of berry dessert option. This past Memorial Day, after making way too many main courses and side dishes, I decided that for dessert there would be fresh fruit and these cheesecake bars. I also cheated and put out a few cute cookies from the bakery. I soon learned that there is no need for bakery items when you make these bars. They were a hit, even with the people who were "too full" to eat any more.

I cut my bars into 12 pieces, but you could have carefully cut these into smaller bite sized bars if you have the patience to carefully slice through the final product. I am not know for my delicate slicing skills, so I kept it a bit bigger. In the original recipe, they are cut into 10 rectangular bars, so you can really do whatever you like. I love that you get the satisfaction of eating cheesecake form the texture and flavor of these bars, but you don't end up eating as much as you would with a New York cheesecake. Which also means you don't end up as ridiculously stuffed. I had 2 squares left over and ate them 2 days later and they still tasted great, even though they were cold form the fridge.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Quinoa Noodle and Vegetable Salad

During the summer, Asian noodle salads are a great dinner option. I already have a few different variations of this dish on my blog (like Asian Beef and Noodle Salad and Soba Noodles with Fresh Vegetables), but I can't seem to get enough it. It is such a fresh and light meal, but I generally end up eating about 3 plates full since it's so good. Yes, I love it that much. Another plus side is that these kinds of salads make great leftovers. Possibly one of the best lunches is a cold bowl of leftover Asian noodle salad. Just be warned, the noodles can be extremely slippery, so don't make this if you're trying to impress someone with your table manners.

When it comes to the veggies in this dish, use whatever you like. If I could have found sprouts at the market, I would have thrown them in. I also would have loved to add peanut or cashew pieces to this, but of course didn't have those either. Baby corn or snow peas would have tasted great in here as well. For the pasta, I used quinoa pasta. Never tried it? It tastes almost exactly like regular pasta, so you won't notice the difference, but it is made from a protein rich grain. If you could care less about the health factor of your pasta, use linguine or spaghetti.

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