Monthly Archives: June 2009

Pasta Salad

This simple pasta recipe is great as a side dish for meals at home or a certain hit when you bring it to BBQs and picnics, a nice variation to traditional macaroni salad.  The Lucini olive oil and artisinal vinaigrette are a healthier alternative to the usual mayonnaise-based dressings and add a lot more flavor to the dish.  Just about any fresh vegetable works well here, so add or substitute your favorites.  I find using about 1.5 – 2 cups of fresh veggies per pound of pasta works best.    I have added pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, onions, pineapple, roasted peppers, finely diced carrots and celery, eggs, cooked mushrooms, corn, leftover greens and even cubed turkey, ham and Spam in the past.

Ingredients:

Use any vegetables you like

Use any vegetables you like

Preparation:

Cook pasta according to directions until al dente.

Drain pasta well and coat with salt, pepper, olive oil and cucumber vinaigrette until well distributed.  Add vegetables and stir well.  Refrgerate for at least 1 hour (I find overnight is best).  Bring salad up to room temperature, top with grated parmesan and serve.

Maine Lobster Roll recipe

Lobster is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of foods from Maine.  Though not as abundant as it used to be, the tasty crustacean is still ubiquitous to coastal towns.  Nothing is more reminiscent of a summer weekend in Maine than a lobster roll served in a cardboard carrier with a side of chips and slaw!!!

Lobster rolls are great when prepared with freshly cooked lobster, but equally wonderful with leftovers from a lobster bake.  I actually like to switch out the mayo for Lucini Basil Infused Olive Oil, as it binds together the lobster ‘salad’ well without overpowering the wonderful lobster flavor that is the star of the roll.   Some people add cayenne or lemon, but I recommend serving the rolls with lemon wedges (and hot sauce) on the side.  There is a lot of debate about adding celery to lobster rolls, but I will add some if i’m in the mood.  So simple and a tasty treat!

Lobster is a great source of selenium, potassium and vitamin B12.

Cotton candy, sweetie, go, let me see the Lobster Roll!

Cotton candy, sweetie go, lemme see the Lobster Roll

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB     Lobster (meat from a 3 LB lobster, chopped or torn in large chunks)
  • 1/4 C   Lucini Basil Infused Olive Oil (or the traditional mayo)
  • 1/4 C  Celery (chopped fine; optional)
  • 4           Hot Dog Buns (preferably the rectangular “New-England style”)
  • 1 TB     Butter

Preparation:

Mix the ingredients, except the butter and buns and refrigerate.  Remove the lobster from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.  Melt butter on a griddle or in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook each side of buns until just golden.  Fill the buns with the lobster mix and serve with lemon wedges, hot sauce, chips and slaw!!

Syracuse Salt Potatoes recipe

One of the dishes I remember well from my youth is Salt Potatoes.  They were particularly wonderful when served outdoors – BBQ, picnic, pot luck, etc.  It turns out that they are particular to Central New York, especially the Syracuse area.  While they are normally served with a melted, partially-clarified butter, I prefer them with olive oil, which adds more of a flavor compliment (and I am a butter lover).  They are awesome with the new Lucini infused olive oils – each adds a different complexity to this wonderful potato preparation.  I remember some families added fresh chives, basil or thyme leaves, but the infused oils provide even more flavor.

The recipe really couldn’t be any simpler and when you use a young potato, particularly fresh from a garden or farmer’s market, you really have a knockout side dish.  This is nice to have in your repertoire for times when you would like a change from baked or mashed potatoes.

Ingredients:

Thats a lot of Salt Potatoes!

Thats a lot of Salt Potatoes!

6 C     Water

1 C      Kosher Salt

2 LB   Potatoes (new, young, red bliss, etc.  should be consistent in size)

1/4 C  Butter (or Lucini Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Preparation:

Add the salt to the water and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook until tender (keep track of the smaller potatoes and removing any before overcooking) – about 20 minutes.  Strain any access water from the potatoes and then toss in butter, or better yet, one (or a selection) of the Lucini infused olive oils.

Maple Chicken recipe – Vermont

Maple Chicken is a traditional chicken preparation in Vermont.  Of course, maple syrup is the culinary pride of the state and I find it pairs well with chicken and pork.  The combination of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar may seem like it will be too sweet, but here the balsamic actually cuts the bright, sugary syrup, adding a sour note to the sauce.  Sometimes I use the balsamic in more traditional savory sauces and gravy and there it contributes more sweetness.

I love paring this dish with broccoli rabe, because its slight bitterness makes a nice counterpoint to the sweet maple sauce, and mushrooms for their earthy, umami quality.

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and dry the chicken parts well, then season with the salt, pepper and, if using,  paprika/cayenne pepper.  Allow the chicken to sit for 10 minutes.  While the chicken sits, make the sauce by heating the maple syrup over medium flame for 1 minute and then add the balsamic.  Simmer until the syrup ‘melts’ and the sauce has an even color.

Place the chicken in a well-oiled baking dish and then top with half of the sauce.  Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, until the internal temperature of the breast is 160 degrees.  Drizzle the chicken with the lemon oil, turn down the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes – the chicken should have a deep brown color, but not black.  Remove from the oven, top with the remaining sauce and serve.

Hummus Recipe – Prepared Four Ways

This hummus recipe is a great way to enjoy Lucini’s new infused extra virgin olive oils.  It is also a great way to see (and taste) what a difference some simple substitutions make in recipes.  Each hummus preparation presented here creates a very different final product and would make a great dish on its own.  Making the hummus four ways is a great time saver – after the  hummus ‘foundation’ is complete, the steps to create the four different flavors is quite simple and you will get four dishes from the effort needed for just one.

‘Hummus’ means ‘chickpea’ in Arabic and chickpeas are a main ingredient in all traditional hummuses.  Tahini is a sesame butter made with sesame seeds, similar to the way peanut butter is made from peanuts.  It has a pale tan, almost grey, color and often sparates in its container, so make sure to give it a good stir.  You can get it at many grocery stores in the Mediterranean or Middle Eastern sections, at most international food stores.  It has a lot of nutty bite to it, and makes good sauces when mixed with some lemon juice, garlic and water.  It is essential to the flavor of hummus.

Because hummus is a homonym in Arabic (and Ancient Greek), it is difficult to assign a history to the food.  Both Plato and Aristotle make mention of hummus, but it is unclear whether they are referring to the chickpea or the dish.  They do discuss the health benefits of hummus.  According to Dr. Andrew Weil: “Garbanzos are an excellent source of fiber, which can help to improve cholesterol ratios. Their high fiber content also slows digestion and helps prevent spikes (and subsequent dips) in blood sugar following meals.

Delicate Lemon Hummus

Delicate Lemon Hummus

Ingredients:

1 can     Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans, Ceci)
3 TB      Tahini
2 TB      Lemon Juice, fresh
1/2 tsp  Salt
2 cloves Garlic (chopped)
1 TB      Water
2 TB      Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil

for the Tuscan Basil Hummus:
1 tsp       Tuscan Basil Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp  Lemon Juice (fresh)
1 TB        Basil (chopped) for garnish

for the Delicate Lemon Hummus:
1 tsp      Delicate Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp  Sweet Paprika
2 tsp      Black pepper (fresh, ground)
1 TB       Pine Nuts (finely chopped) for garnish

for the Fiery Chili Hummus:
1 tsp      Fiery Chili Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp  Lemon Juice (fresh)
1/4 tsp  Cumin seeds (roasted, ground)
1/4 tsp  Smoked Paprika or Chili Powder (plus more for garnish)

for the Robust Garlic Hummus:
1 tsp       Robust Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp  Lemon Juice (fresh)
1/4 tsp  Sweet Paprika
1 tsp       Garlic (fresh, chopped) for garnish

Preparation:

The first six ingredients are used to create a base used to start all four types of hummus.  Taste a bit of each ingredient so you can get an idea of how they come together to make the final product. That will help you decide what you like more or less of.  To start, drain the garbanzo beans and then pour into a food processor or blender.  To this garbanzo paste, add the tahini, lemon juice, water, salt and garlic. Blend well and then add the olive oil, continuing to blend until all the ingredients are well distributed. Taste this hummus base for salt and tahini and adjust as necessary. More lemon and garlic will be added later. If the mixture is too thick, add more olive oil.

Once you have your base ready, split it up evenly into four separate bowls. Into the first (the Basil hummus), add the basil oil, lemon juice and ground cumin.   Stir well and adjust to taste.  Finish with the chopped basil and a drizzle of the basil oil before serving.

To the second bowl(the Lemon hummus), add the lemon oil, black pepper and sweet paprika. Stir well and adjust to taste.  Finish with the  pine nuts and a drizzle of the lemon oil before serving.  If you are a serious lemon fanatic, sprinkle 1/4 tsp of finely grated lemon peel before serving as well.

In the third bowl (the Chili hummus), add the chili oil, lemon juice, smoked paprika or chili powder and ground cumin.  Stir well and adjust to taste.  Finish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika (use dried red pepper, chili power or cayenne if you are looking for more serious heat) and a drizzle of the chili oil before serving.

For the fourth bowl (the Garlic hummus), add the garlic oil, lemon juice and sweet paprika.  Stir well and adjust to taste.  Finish with the chopped garlic and a drizzle of the garlic oil before serving.

I add a sprig of parsley or basil to each bowl depending on what i have available at the time.  Serve your four bowls of hummus with cut-up pita (I warm it up quickly in an oven), vegetables (carrot, celery, bell pepper, mushrooms, cauliflower, cucumbers), bread, crackers, etc.

Bloody Mary recipe

Just in time for Fathers’ Day, here is a tasty Bloody Mary recipe.  I love the new Lucini Infused olive oils and have been working on creative ways to get more of them into my belly.  Here, three of the infuseds mix with tomatoes and a bit of horseradish, salt and pepper to create my favorite Bloody.  I think the drink stands up fine without the worcestershire sauce and celery salt, but in my testing most people preferred the drink with those traditional ingredients, so they are included below.

A lot of places, including the King Cole Bar in midtown NYC, claim to be the ‘birthplace’ of the Bloody Mary, but it is more likely that the drink developed over time rather than in a single birth.  What began as a simple vodka and tomato juice added different ingredients until the tasty beverage we know today was achieved.

I was worried that the olive oil would separate in the drink, but the emulsification held and the drinks look great!

This Bloody Mary is best enjoyed outdoors ...

This Bloody Mary is best enjoyed outdoors ...

Ingredients:
2 C     Lucini organic tuscan plum tomatoes
1 TB  Lucini chili infused extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp  Lucini basil infused extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp  Lucini lemon infused extra virgin olive oil
2 jiggers ice-cold vodka (two large shots, not the little 1oz)
Dash of worcestershire sauce
Ground black pepper (to taste)
Horseradish (to taste)
Celery Salt  (to taste)
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
Sea Salt (to taste)

Preparation:
Combine the tomatoes, oils, vodka, worcestershire sauce and black pepper into blender and puree.   Stir in the horseradish and celery salt, to taste.  Mix together well the celery salt, cayenne and sea salt mixture in a small bowl or plate. Dip the glass rims into water and then the salt/spice mixture.  Fill the glasses with good quality ice.   Add the Bloody Mary mixture.   Garnish generously (see below).

Garnishes:
Celery stalk
Pickled Green Beans
Pickled Asparagus
Basil (leaves and stalk)
Cerignola Olives (all 3 colors)
Crab Leg
Oyster
Bocconcini
Pepperoncini
Special Pickles (Homemade, Guss’, McClure’s…)
Anchovy
Bay Leaf
Shrimp
Scallion
Pickled or fresh carrot
Lemon Wedge

Burgoo Recipe

Burgoo is a spicy stew that got its start in Kentucky, before spreading to nearby areas.  It actually looks, cooks and tastes similar to chili, but swaps in local ingredients.  If beans are used they tend to be lima, heat comes from tabasco or other hot sauce, okra and turnips are common and the meats are different then those generally found in chilis.  Burgoo always contains multiple meats and can include:  mutton, pork, beef, chicken and even squirrel.  Many of the famous burgoo purveyors are in and around the Owensboro, KY area, but I have also seen references to Indiana and Illinois burgoos.  I have subsituted pickled okra for fresh on occasion, but that is definitely NOT a traditional choice.

Burgoo

Ingredients:

  • 1           Chicken, cut up
  • 2 LB    Beef shank  (other lean beef will also work)
  • 2 C       Lucini Tuscan Harvest Plum Tomatoes
  • 4 C       Water
  • 2           Onions (chopped)
  • 1 C        Lima beans (fresh or 10 oz frozen)
  • 1 C        Corn
  • 1 C        Okra (fresh or 10 oz frozen, You can substitute chopped green pepper if you do not like okra.)
  • 3            Bay leaves
  • 1 TB      Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TB     Lucini Pinot Grigio Italian Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp     Hot Pepper sauce (Tabasco, etc.)
  • 1 tsp     Salt
  • 2 TB     All-purpose flour

Preparation:

In a large kettle or Dutch oven combine chicken, beef shanks, tomatoes, 5 cups water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 2 hours or until meats are tender and falling off the bone.
Remove meats from the pot and let stand until cool enough to handle.  Cut the meat from bones and chop.  (Save the  skin and bones for stock!).  Return the meat to the broth mixture, then add onions, lima beans, corn, okra, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, hot pepper sauce and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add water, if necessary, and stir from the bottom to prevent scorching.  Add salt to taste towards the end of the 30 minutes.
If you are not using okra, combine 1/2 C cold water with the flour and stir until the flour is fully dissolved, then mix this slurry into the burgoo.  Cook and stir into the mixture until it thickens slightly.  Okra acts as a natural thickener, and I have not found any need to add flour when using okra.  Remove bay leaves and serve.