Thursday, June 16, 2011

Basil Pasta with Cheesy Tomatoes

Summer is here in the south and, aside from mind numbing heat, that means loads of beautiful tomatoes at the farmers market.  Seth and I made a quick run out to the big farmers market on Sunday and were pleased to also snag some beautiful fresh basil.  This dish did a wonderful job of highlighting both the tomatoes and basil and was super quick and easy to make.  All in all, this is a great summer dinner.

Basil Pasta with Cheesy Tomatoes 
Real Simple

12 oz. spaghetti
3 large tomatoes, cut into thick slices
3 tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 c. cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 cup torn basil leaves

1. Preheat your broiler.  Cook your pasta according to directions, drain and return to pot.
2. Arrange the tomato slices on a baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Layer with mozzarella and parmesan.  Broil until the cheese in nice and bubbly, 3-5 minutes,
3. In a small sauce pan, warm oil with the garlic and pepper until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Add the garlic oil and basil to the pasta and toss well.  Serve topped with cheesy tomatoes and additional parmesan.



Monday, June 13, 2011

An Herbal Pleasure Dish

There's this Thai restaurant in Greensboro that designates certain items on their menu as herbal pleasure dishes.  I know its an accurate description, but it never fails to make me giggle.  Something about it just makes me think of a hooker covered in basil...  And in typical ironic fashion, both Saturday's dinner and desert ended up being what can only be described as herbal pleasure dishes.  Sadly, no basil covered hookers were present...

Seth planned the meals this weekend (I love not having to figure out what we're gonna eat!) and he decided he wanted to try Dave Lieberman's Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Mango Basil Salsa and Lime Jasmine Rice.  This recipe was super simple to make and absolutely divine.  It was a perfect balance between spicy marinated shrimp with sweet mango and lovely fluffy rice to set it all off.  Perfect for a sweltering hot summer night.

And speaking of a hot summer night, given the temperatures we have been experiencing (hello 90's in early June!), I got the itch to break out the old ice cream maker.  I found a recipe for frozen yogurt using Greek yogurt, fresh  mint, honey and lemon.  I served this up with fresh raspberries and it was so very refreshing.  A perfect finish to our spicy sweet dinner.

Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Mango Basil Salsa and Lime Jasmine Rice

1 mango, peeled and diced
3 scallions, sliced
5 basil leaves, cut into ribbons
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate.  Can be made up to a day in advance.

2 jalapenos, slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 in piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbs. brown sugar
2 tbs. soy sauce
1/2 lime, zested
1/4 c. coconut milk
small handful of basil leaves, torn
2 tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
15 grinds pepper
1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp

Combine all ingredients, except for the shrimp.  This makes your marinate.  Marinate the shrimp in this mixture for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat.  Using tongs, remove the shrimp from the marinade and place in an even layer, reserving the marinade.  Cook the shrimp until well browned on each side, turning once, about 3 to 4 minutes total.  Transfer to a serving plate.

Add the reserve marinade to the pan, bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).  Pour over the shrimp and serve with rice and salsa.

1 c. jasmine rice
3/4 c. coconut milk
3/4 c. water
pinch salt
1/2 lime, zested

Place the rice, coconut milk, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Cover and gently cook until liquid is absorbed (about 12-15 minutes).  Fluff with a fork and stir in the lime zest.

Frozen Greek Yogurt

2 c. non fat greek yogurt
2 c. 2% greek yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. honey
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Place in your ice cream maker and freeze according to your manufactures directions (generally 15-25 minutes).  If a firmer texture is desired, you may need to place in a freezer container and freeze for a few more hours.