Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Tulsa is so flippin' hot right now that words cannot describe the sweaty, sticky, soppiness of my body. Actually, one word can: Gross. It's gross out there. If lunch time is upon you and if my introductory sentence didn't make you lose your appetite, you might want to consider this pasta salad. Try not to relegate this to the side of that same old can stand alone. And, it's cold. Plus, it features some lovely summer ingredients that will make you really happy and you'll forget that you hate summer and want Fall to arrive with all your heart. Except when Fall comes, you really start to miss all those fresh herbs and tomatoes that actually have's a harsh cycle. One day, I'll embrace the flavors that are upon me when they are upon me but, what can I say? I'm always thinking ahead.  

Let me say one more thing before I proceed here... I typically dislike pasta salad. I can't get beyond the cold pasta with the salty mayo thing. I mean, it always sounds good in theory but I never quite enjoy it as much as I feel I should. This pasta salad has no mayo or unidentifiable cream laden bits. Instead, it is oil based and gains it's flavor from a rich base of sun-dried tomatoes, salty capers and olives ( which I actually enjoyed in this dish.) Throw in some fresh basil and sliced local tomatoes ( I used grape tomatoes from Livesay Orchards) and you're in summery bliss. 

Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad
(Serves 12-16----- makes for great leftovers!)
Adapted from Ina Garten: Barefoot Contessa Family Style

For the salad:
1lb corkscrew pasta such as fusili or rotini
About 1 cup assorted black olives, roughly sliced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
10-15 basil leaves- chiffonade ( roll em up and slice thin!)
About 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

For the dressing:
7 oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil *
4-5 cloves of garlic, slightly crushed.
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil**
Optional: 2 teaspoons capers
Salt and Pepper to taste

* You can also get sun-dried tomatoes that have been packed in seasoned oil. This recipe doesn't call for that but it's not a bad idea if you like the flavor variety. Just check your salt levels.
**You can choose to discard the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and add a fresh cup of oil or you can use it here and just add enough new oil to make the total about 1 cup. It is especially tasty to retain that preseasoned oil we just talked about!

Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor and puree. That's your dressing! This can totally be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge.

For the pasta, boil until al dente in a large stock pot. Drain and allow to cool. Once cool, toss with dressing to coat. Stir in olives, basil, and tomatoes ( NOTE: if you're planning on making this in advance, I found that adding the tomatoes right before serving keeps things fresh and crisp. I have a thing with tomato consistency... you'll notice I don't even have them in there for the pic! Oops.) Keep chilled until ready to serve. Top with cheese.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Peach and Blueberry Galette

It's the peak of peach season 'round these parts and a galette is a great way to whip up a summery treat. I love the charm of a rustic galette, which is basically a free form pie.  I suppose if I was rolling out pie dough already this would only be mildly easier than making a full fledge pie but, since I was cutting corners with premade dough, this was clearly the way to go. Everyone loved it and it made a great Fourth of July dessert.

Peach and Blueberry Galette (makes 2)

1 box pilsbury pie dough
6 cups sliced peaches
1 cup blueberries
1egg whites
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup white sugar

Instructions for one galette- bake individually for best results.

Add 1/2 cup white sugar to peaches and blueberries in a small bowl. Allow to macerate ( mix and do good things with the sugar) for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place one, round pie dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour 1/2 of fruit in center of pie dough, leaving enough room around the edges to roll up around the sides.

Carefully fold the dough around the edges and brush with egg whites. Sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake on center rack for 40-35 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

Miami, OK has two main sreets, one McDonalds, one Wal-Mart, and four Mexican restaurants. I freaked myself out the first time I said, "Anywhere sounds good....except mexican." Needless to say, standard Mexican fare has worn on me. And, by that, I mean standard American Mexican  food which has been reduced to picking a number off of a combo menu. I needed to experiment with more interesting flavors. Enter Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce. Number one- these aren't swimming in some sauce only distinguishable by its color. Number two- I think these might actually be healthy. I adapted this from the orginal because I really didn't want to ruin all the healthiness by deep frying the tortillas. The result was fresh, light, and very different from my standard #23. Bonus: These are super easy to make.

Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo Sauce
Adapted from Simply Mexican by Lourdes Castro
Serves 3-4

1 lb (about 3) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cloves of garlic, slightly crushed
1 onion, halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano ( I only had ground and it seemed to work fine)
1/2 tsp. salt ( plus more to taste)
2 cups Fresh Tomatillo Salsa
3-5 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
Black pepper
9-12 fresh corn tortillas ( this really depends on how full you stuff 'em)
Cilantro sprigs for garnish
1/3 cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese
1 cup mexican crema (OR, you could do like I did and thin out some sour cream with milk)
Optional: shredded iceberg lettuce for garnish

First, poach the chicken. Add chicken, garlic, one onion ( 2 halves), bay leaves, oregano and 1/2 tsp salt to a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Decrease heat and simmer ( low boil) for 35 minutes until chicken is done. To check, just slit the chicken and make sure it's no longer pink and the juices run clear.  Allow the chicken to cool in it's broth and when it's cool enough to handle, shred the chicken by hand or with two forks, pulling apart all those delicious fibers.

Note: You can prepare the chicken the day before. Just keep refridgerated.

Next, saute the second onion that you sliced in 1 tbps of oil. Toss in the shredded chicken when the onion is soft and translucent. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the 2 cups of tomatillo sauce over medium heat. Also, prepare your tortillas by lightly pan frying ( 1 tbsp oil per two to three tortillas) the tortillas in a flat skillet until golden but still pliable.


To build the enchiladas, you need your serving platter or individual plates on hand. To assemble, fill a tortilla with the chicken and onion filling ( about 1/4 cup each) and roll, placing the seam side down on your plate. Once you have placed as many as you like on your platter or plate, top with heated tomatillo sauce and finish with crumbled cheese, mexican crema ( or thin sour cream), and sprigs of cilantro. Serve shredded lettuce alongside if you choose.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

Yes, yes, I know the picture sucks. It's hard to frame up an awesome shot when you're hungry and trying to eat. The important thing here is that I made this and it was GOOD.  Also, I'm feeling real proud of myself because I went shopping for the ingredients on 21st and Garnett which was a pure stroke of genius (great produce, great prices) and I got to feel instantly transported to my homeland--Southern California. I felt... authentic. For those of you not familiar with the Tulsa area, 21st and Garnett is our hispanic district. I was scared to death someone would try to talk to me in spanish only to quickly discover that I'm the worst Mexican ever. Whatever, I can make a mean salsa verde and it's a nice break from the red stuff. Check it:

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa-  yield 2-3 cups
Adpated from Simply Mexican by Lourdes Castro

1 pound of tomatillos (that's about 9- pull them out of the husks, rinse, and quarter.)
2 jalepenos, stemmed and halved (Add more or less depending on your desired heat)
1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems
1 clove of garlic, slightly crushed
1/2 onion roughly chopped ( I used 2 green onions and it was tasty)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. water

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Puree. Ole!

Can be stored for up to a week in the fridge in a container.