Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Taste The Love

Heirloom Tomato Salads

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Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes are in season so I’m buying them fairly regularly. I have two, really easy and delicious salads here that can be the main course or a side dish with any protein you like. The second of the two is completely vegetarian.

Let’s talk about my first of the two Heirloom Tomato Salads. Heirloom Tomato Salad With Bocconcini And Sopressata.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Local Grown Florida Heirloom Tomatoes

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Red Onion

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Arugula

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The second salad is my Artichoke, Heirloom Tomato, And Orzo Salad.

Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad (2)

Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

 

 

 

 

1). The first tomato salad is an Heirloom Tomato Salad With Bocconcini And Sopressata.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, large salad serving bowl, a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk

Ingredients:
8 cups of heirloom tomatoes, halves, and wedges (depending on whether whole or grape size tomatoes)
1 1/2 heaping cups of diced Sopressata, OPTIONAL (substitute diced Genoa salami)
1 8-ounce package of Bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls or pearls)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O.
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1 1/2  tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

Salad Dressing:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O.
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions For Salad Dressing:
Place all ingredients into a (2 cup) measuring cup. Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined.

Herb Marinade For Bocconcini:
1 (8-ounce) package of mini Bocconcini
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Italian-flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of *E.V.O.O

Directions:
Separate all the mini mozzarella balls and place them into a small mixing bowl along with the other ingredients. Using a spoon, gently toss to combine. Set aside.

Direction For Heirloom Tomato Salad:
In a large mixing bowl, add the tomato halves and wedges. Add the marinated bocconcini and chopped tarragon. Pour the dressing over and toss all the ingredients together. Transfer to a large salad serving bowl. Serve with your favorite bread.

2). The second tomato salad is an Arugula, Heirloom Tomato, And Orzo Salad. This one is a vegetarian salad, totally meat-free!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 6-quart saucepot, large mixing bowl, large salad serving bowl, large mesh sieve

Ingredients:
1 pound of orzo, cooked drained and cooled
2 cups of arugula leaves
4 cups of diced and halved heirloom tomatoes (depending on whether whole or grape size)
1 (14.6-ounce) jar of long-stemmed artichoke hearts, halved
1 (8-ounce) package of Bocconcini ( mini mozzarella balls
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl add the diced and halved heirloom tomatoes, cooked and cooled orzo pasta, halved artichokes hearts, bocconcini, arugula leaves, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and drizzle the two tablespoons of agave nectar over the top, gently toss to combine. Next, transfer to a large salad serving bowl. My Artichoke, Heirloom Tomato, And Orzo Salad are so delicious you’ll be asked to make it over and over again.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

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Caponata Chili

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Caponata is a Sicilian relish of eggplant and assorted vegetables. Usually, the skin of the eggplant is removed before adding it to any dish. Smaller eggplants, like the ones I’m using in this dish, the skin is tender and edible For this recipe, I’m using the ingredients from a Caponata-style dish and spinning it into a non-traditional chili. This is my Caponata Chili.

Caponata Chili

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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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Fennel bulb

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Fennel

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Oregano

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Caponata-Chili

 

 

 

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, chef’s knife, 3 medium-size bowls, 2 small bowls, 2 large plates

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (substitute hot Italian sausage)
1 small (1 pound) eggplant, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 Poblano pepper, seeded and diced
2 1/2 cups of zucchini, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 pint of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
1/2 cup beef stock, unsalted
1 (15-ounce) can of Cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
1 (9-ounce) package of frozen (Birds Eye) artichoke hearts, thawed
2 tablespoons of fresh oregano leaves, extra for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated for garnish
1 pound (16-ounce) box of orzo pasta, cooked

Directions:
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat add olive oil and sausage. Using a wooden spoon break up the sausage. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until browned with no pink. Using a slotted spoon to drain the excess fat, remove the sausage, transfer to a medium-size bowl.

Remove all the fat leaving about 2 tablespoons in the bottom of the pot. Over medium-high heat add the diced onion, diced fennel Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Stirring frequently, cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until soft.

Add fennel seeds, dried oregano, chili powder, ground cumin, tomato paste, stir to combine. Next, add the diced orange, red, yellow, Poblano peppers, and minced garlic, and Fresno chili, stir to combine. Stirring occasionally, cook for another 4 to 6 minutes or until just tender.
Add beef stock to *deglaze. With the back of a wooden spoon, scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pot. Continue to cook for 2 minutes allowing the beef stock to reduce by half.

Add diced eggplant, mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and cooked sausage, stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium, cook for 45 minutes.

Add dice zucchini, artichoke hearts, and Cannelini beans, stir to combine. Over medium-low heat, simmer for another 45 minutes until the sauce reduces slightly and thickens. Turn the heat off before adding 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano leaves, stir to combine.

To serve, I like to spoon a good helping of orzo pasta in the bottom of a porcelain bowl. Ladle the Caponata Chili on top, garnish with a few oregano leaves, from my garden, then finish with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I have to tell you it’s not your traditional chili but if you love Caponata-style dishes, then you’ll definitely love my Caponata Chili.

*Deglaze is the process of diluting sediments in (a pan) in order to make a gravy or sauce.

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Chicken Meatball And Kale Stew

 

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Everyone has their own family meatball recipe but this one is a little different because I’ve given these chicken meatballs the flavor of Italian sausage. Chicken is a lot leaner than pork so we are going to cut some fat there, and that’s a good thing. Whenever I make meatballs I almost always make a double batch. It’s really just as easy to double the recipe if you’re going to make them. You can easily freeze the cooked meatballs and then you’ll have them ready to add to any future recipe.

Kale, another superfood, is packed full of vitamins. I feel really good about my Chicken Meatball And Kale Stew,  I just might even have a piece of crusty bread for dipping, Oh yeah!

Dutch Oven

Olive Oil

Kale

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Onions

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Cookie Dough Scoops

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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Cremini Mushrooms

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Yields: 30 meatballs
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, cookie-dough scoop, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, parchment paper, chef’s knife

Note: Use half the meatballs for this recipe. After the meatballs are cooked allow half of them (15 meatballs) to come to room temperature. Place into a resealable zip-lock bag and transfer to the freezer.

Ingredients For Chicken Meatballs:
3 pounds of ground chicken
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 7-ounce container of store-bought fresh basil pesto (use 1/4 cup for this recipe)
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs
3 cloves of garlic, freshly
2 tablespoons of Ketchup
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (reserve the rind)
2 cups of Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Ingredients For the Stew:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced (1/4-inch dice)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (1/4-inch chunks)
2 (14.5)-ounce cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 pints of mushrooms, quartered
2 quarts of chicken stock, unsalted
1 reserved cheese rind, cut in half
1 (9-ounce) box of (Birds Eye) frozen whole artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered
2 bunches of organic kale, chopped (8 to 10 cups)
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch

 

Directions For Chicken Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper, of each pan, with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl and add all the ingredients (except the ground chicken) for the meatballs. Once everything is in the bowl mix to combine. You want the flavorings to have the consistency of wet sand. Next, add the ground meat to the bowl. Using a fork, evenly distribute the flavorings throughout the ground chicken. It may take a few minutes but it’s so worth it for your meatballs to be light and tender.

Using a cookie-dough scoop ensures the meatballs will be the same size. Scoop the meat mixture into your hands forming a ball. Continue until all the meatball mixture is finished.

Arrange the meatballs onto two baking sheet pans with space between each one. Lightly spray the tops of the meatballs with non-stick cooking spray to ensure they will brown evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

In the meantime prep the *Mirepoix for the soup. Dice the carrots, celery, and onions. Finish by mincing the garlic. Next, dice the potatoes and quarter the mushrooms. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Set aside.

In a preheated Dutch oven over medium heat add olive oil, diced onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Stir until the onions start to soften. Add the diced carrots, mushrooms, Stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms release their liquid and the carrots begin to soften 12 to 14 minutes. Add the minced garlic cook for 1 minute more.

Add the diced potatoes, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Add both cans of fire-roasted tomatoes and sugar, again stir to combine.

Remove the meatballs from the oven. Gently transfer them into the pot. Add the chicken stock, cheese rind, stir gently.

Still, over medium heat, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 35 to 40 minutes. After 40 minutes add thawed artichokes and chopped kale. The kale may need to be added in stages allowing it to wilt down into the liquid. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

In a small bowl add cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water, mix until smooth and paste-like. Slowly add the cornstarch *slurry into the pot and stir gently so as not to break the meatballs. Again continue to cook until the broth thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve with a piece of crusty bread and you will be in heaven. This is my Chicken Meatball And Kale Stew.

*Slurry is a mixture of a cold liquid with cornstarch, also known as a cornstarch slurry. It’s used as a thickening agent. A typical cornstarch slurry will consist of 2 parts cold water and 1 part cornstarch. A slurry can also be made using equal parts of flour and water.

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