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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Candied Grape Tomatoes

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My Candied Grape Tomatoes are so delicious. They’re great in salads, a garnish for soups, over chicken or steak. even a nice piece of halibut. These little jewels are a staple in my frig and are so easy to make.

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I have 2 pints of red grape tomatoes that have been halved. In a bowl, add olive oil, Kosher salt, and black pepper. I toss everything together so all the tomatoes are coated.

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Candied Tomatoes

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Yields: 16 ounces
Equipment: rimmed baking sheet pan, 2 8-ounce jelly jars
Shelf life: 7 days

Ingredients:
2 pints of halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon extra fine sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300-degrees F.
Halve 2 pints of grape tomatoes. In a large mixing bowl add the halved tomatoes, olive oil, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Spread the grape tomatoes out into one even layer on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Slow-roast the tomatoes for 2 1/2 hours. Once out of the oven and still hot, sprinkle extra-fine sugar over the top and gently toss to coat. Allow the Candied Grape Tomatoes to cool completely before placing them into tightly sealed jelly jars and right into the refrigerator. These sweet little gems will be ready whenever you need them.

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Philly Cheesesteak Dip

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The Philly Cheesesteak has to be one of the most loved sandwiches today. Now think about those flavors in a dip. Set this dip out at one of your parties and I promise you it will be the first dish to disappear.

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The type of steaks I’m using are top sirloin fillets. They’re nice and lean and great for this dish. The first thing that I do for this recipe is to make the steaks in advance. If you can, the night before would be ideal. The reason is after they’ve finished cooking, you want the steaks to be cold and firm before cutting them up into bite size pieces.

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I have a one-quart casserole dish that I’ve buttered generously.

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Take the reserved diced steak pieces and push them down into the dip a little allowing it to show through the top. Do the same with the reserved veggies. I like the fact that it shows what’s in the dip. Plus it looks great too. I also add some minced chives before placing the dip into the oven.

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Yields: 3 to 4 servings
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour for the steak to cool in the refrigerator.
Prep Time: 20-25 minutes
Bake: 350 degrees F. 25-30 minutes (time may vary slightly)
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Equipment: large mixing bowl, one-quart casserole dish, 8-inch sautépan, 12-inch cast iron skillet

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of diced red onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup of good mayonnaise, room temperature
8-ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 a cup of grated Provolone cheese
3/4  cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese (1/4 cup for the dip mixture and 1/2 cup for the top)
2 4-ounce Top sirloin filet steaks, cooked, cooled, and diced into bite-size pieces (reserve 1/4 cup of cooled diced steak for the top)
1 tablespoon minced chives for top
minced chives for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

First, pat both sides of the steaks as dry as possible. Season the steaks with Kosher salt, black pepper, and a sprinkling of garlic powder on both sides. Also, it’s important to remember to let your steaks come to room temperature before you set them into a hot pan.

First, make sure your overhead fan is on while you sear the steak(s). Preheat a cast iron skillet on high-heat .you want the skillet to be smoking hot for searing. Place the steak into the skillet and let sizzle for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip over and sear for another 1 minute.

Immediately transfer the skillet into the preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature is between 125 and 130 degrees F., medium-rare is ideal. Pull the steaks out of the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes before placing them into the frig for at least one hour.

Note: Refrigeration allows the steak to be cold before dicing them into bite-size pieces.

While the steaks are in the frig, go ahead and get started working on the ingredients for the dip. Dice red onion, and red and yellow bell peppers. In a small sautèpan, on medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the diced red onion, red and yellow diced bell peppers. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper for around 3 to 5 minutes, or until they’re just tender. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Set them aside reserving a 1/4 cup for the top of the dip. You want to also reserve 1/4 cup of the cooked and cooled diced steak too.

Next, prepare the base mixture for the dip.

In a large mixing bowl add the mayo, shredded Provolone cheese, full-fat cream cheese, shredded Mozzarella cheese, and a tablespoon of Montreal steak seasoning. Next, add in the cooled diced veggies along with the diced steak.

 Mix all the ingredients together. Using a spatula, transfer the mixture into a one-quart buttered casserole dish. Spread the mixture out evenly into the baking dish.

Next, sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella cheese all over the top. Then take the reserved veggies and steak and push them slightly into the dip so they will show through the top. Sprinkle with some minced chives. Bake uncovered at 350-degrees F. for around 25 to 30 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is light golden brown on top.

Finally, after the Philly Cheesesteak Dip comes out of the oven, sprinkle again with more of the minced chives.

Serve with some homemade tortilla chips for dipping.

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Scalloped Potato Gratin

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Making a gratin is so easy and so incredibly delicious that you’ll want to make them all the time. The flavor options are endless. You can add any type of veggies you like. My favorite is to add some Poblano peppers that have been roasted, seeded, then diced.  They give the dish a slightly smokey flavor. Today, I’m making them with thinly sliced onions. Let me show you a few simple steps to making a potato gratin.

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First comes the prep. I have a casserole dish that I generously buttered. Second, I have one large onion that I’ve sliced very thinly and set on a plate. Third, I have 3 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes that I’ve cooked until just fork tender, cooling on a plate. Let me explain, I placed the potatoes in a large pot, covered them with cold water, brought them up to a boil. I let them continue to boil, on med heat, for around 15-20 minutes. I then take a knife and stick the knife into one of the potatoes. If there is still some resistance removing the knife, turn the heat off, and let the potatoes sit in the hot water for another 5-7 minutes and they should be perfectly cooked. It really all depends on how large the potatoes are.

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In a saucepan on medium-low heat, I start to melt some unsalted butter. Once that’s melted I add in flour, Kosher salt, cayenne pepper, and ground smoked paprika. I whisk the spices and flour into the butter until the flour becomes clumpy and has absorbed all the butter. To that, I add in half and half. The liquid will take on a pink hue from the cayenne and paprika. Continuously whisking the half-and-half in with the flour mixture, the sauce will thicken, once it just starts to bubble. You’ll know when the thickness is right when it coats the back of a spoon.

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Off the heat, I add in some fresh chopped chives and freshly grated cheese to the sauce. Here I’m adding a mixture of grated white cheddar and some yellow cheddar for color. I’m saving some back for the top. this way the potato gratin will have a nice golden crust. I make sure to add the cheese in slowly to the sauce, mixing it with a wooden spoon, until all the cheese has melted.

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Next, along with the onions, I sliced earlier, I thinly slice the cooked potatoes. Now it’s time to layer the dish. First, I place a layer of the potatoes topped with half of the sliced onions. I add a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper to the first layer and then pour over half of the cheesy sauce. Then I repeat doing a second layer the same way, finishing with the rest of the cheese sauce. I sprinkle on the reserved grated cheese mixture, and on top of that, I also add a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan. I have some fresh finely chopped flat-leaf parsley that I sprinkle to the top before placing the dish into the oven, This bakes uncovered at 350 degrees F. for one hour until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes (includes cooking time for boiling potatoes)
Equipment: 1-quart casserole dish
Baking Time: 1 hour at 350 degrees F.uncovered
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients:
1 2-pound bag of baby Yukon gold potatoes, sliced, 5 cups
1 large sweet onion sliced very thin
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of half and half
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
3/4 cup of grated white cheddar
1/4 cup of grated Colby Jack cheese
1/2 cup grated Colby Jack cheese to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Directions:
In a small saucepan, melt butter, then add in the spices with the exception of black pepper, followed by blending in flour with a whisk. Next, add in the milk products. Next, add in the black pepper. I like to see the black flecks throughout the milk so I know that it will be distributed evenly. Over medium-low heat, continue whisking the milk with the roux until the mixture comes up to a boil and sauce becomes thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until completely combined. Next, add in fresh chopped chives. In a buttered casserole dish start layering with half the sliced potatoes then, half of the sliced onions. Pour half the cheese mixture over the potatoes and onion. Repeat this step once more finishing with the other half of the cheese sauce. Top with the reserved grated Colby Jack, then the Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350-degree F. oven, uncovered for 1 hour until the top is bubbly and golden brown. Once the dish comes out of the oven, I like to let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. This gives the dish a chance to set before cutting.

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