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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Antipasto Platters Made Easy

 

Antipasto Platters

Antipasto Platters (2)

Antipasto Platters (3)

Whenever I’m doing an Antipasto Platter, start with great quality ingredients. I like to assemble a few and dress of few.

For example, the artichokes can be tossed with strips of roasted red peppers, and the cantaloupe and breadsticks, wrap delicious cured meats.

Keeping the same items together gives a more uniform look to the platter. I also always try to utilize herbs in my garden. Here I’m using fresh basil as a garnish for the platters.

Simple dress the grape tomatoes with E.V.O.O. and a sprinkle of Kosher salt.

What’s great about this, all the ingredients are store bought. This makes these platters quick and easy to put together. For the seasoned Bocconcini, my recipe is really simple. I doubled the recipe below for my platters in the pictures you see above.

Ingredients: Marinate For Bocconcini
1-8 ounce package of mini Bocconcini
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of E.V.O.O.

Directions:
Separate all the mini mozzarella balls and place them into a small bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Using a spoon, gently mix together.

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Heirloom Tomato Salad

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The Heirloom Tomato goes back generations. When in season, you’ll see them in many colors as well as multi-colored. Unique because they are beautifully misshapen. If that wasn’t enough, they now come in cherry size! I love to have present them, in different ways. I’ll cut a few into wedges, and the cherry size I like to leave whole, giving a beautiful contrast to the dish.

Bocconcini are small mozzarella cheeses shaped into small balls. They come in a container and the cheese in set in whey or water. They add a creaminess to the Heirloom Tomato Salad. To finish, add fresh basil leaves and finely chopped tarragon.

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
4 heirloom tomatoes cut into wedges
2 pints of heirloom cherry tomatoes
6-8 whole basil leaves
3 tablespoons of tarragon leaves, finely chopped
1 tub of Bocconcini, drained and dried and seasoned
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
E.V.O.O. to taste

Ingredients For Bocconcini Seasoning:
1 tub (18-20 ct.)  Bocconcini that have been drained and dried well
2 tablespoons of *E.V.O.O.
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients for the seasoning of the Bocconcini. Place the drained, and really well dried, Bocconcini into the seasoning mixture and toss really well. In a large bowl add the tomato wedges, cherry tomatoes, and seasoned Bocconcini. Add the Kosher salt, black pepper, and chopped tarragon leaves. Toss everything together gently. Lastly, place the whole basil leaves throughout.

When plating, drizzle each serving with *E.V.O.O. ( A splash of red wine vinegar is optional).

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

 

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Sea Scallop Gratin

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This is one of the most elegant dishes you can serve. It’s my Sea Scallop Gratin. This seafood dish is so delicious. Everyone you know will want your recipe and, they won’t believe how easy it is to make. Let’s start with the ingredients for the topping, my favorite part of this dish.

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There are two ingredients that I need to chop for this dish, garlic, and a leek. Whenever using leeks make sure you clean the sand from between the layers. The best way to do this is to cut the root end first. Then at the other end cut where the dark green meets the light green. Discard the dark green leaves. Next, slice down lengthwise and rinse really well to get any sand or grit the may be trapped in there. Lay the leek cut side down, slice into very thin half moons as seen in the picture.

While I have my knife out, I just go ahead a mince up the garlic and set aside. In a large sautèpan, set on medium heat, I’ve melted 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.

Once the leek is sliced, add it to the pan with the melted butter. Stir until all the leeks are coated. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and Kosher salt. Sautè for 3-5minutes. Once the leeks have softened, (do not brown), add the minced garlic. Allow the garlic sautè for another minute until fragrant and soft. Turn the heat off, and set aside for a minute.

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In a mixing large bowl, add finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley. To that, add a stick of softened room temperature unsalted butter, Pernod, lemon juice, Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, olive oil, the cooled leek mixture, and Panko breadcrumbs. Mix all the ingredients together until combined. That’s the topping. Easy right?

Now for the star of the show, the scallops.

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When you’re ready to work with sea scallops,  there is a side-muscle on each scallop that needs to be removed. You don’t want to eat it. The pictures above help to illustrate what I mean. You also want to always pat the scallops dry using a paper towel to remove any excess moisture before continuing on with your recipes.

Next, I cut the scallops into quarters. Sea scallops are quite large, for this dish, you want them to be bite-size. Slice the scallops in half then into quarters. Divide the quartered scallops into the four gratin dishes. Add one tablespoon of good white wine to each dish. Spoon on the garlic butter crumb topping over each dish evenly.

At this point, if you needed to, you could place the scallop gratins into the frig until you are ready to put them into the oven. Place the dishes onto baking sheets, for 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees F.

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You want to keep a close eye on these beauties because you want the crumb topping to be a light golden brown. I serve with a garnish of fresh parsley, along with a few wedges of lemon on the plate to squeeze on right before serving.

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Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 4 gratin dishes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-12 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 4 gratin dishes

Ingredients:
1-pound sea scallops, sliced in half
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 leek cleaned and sliced
5 tablespoons of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped,  reserve some for garnish.
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoon of Pernod
2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of black pepper
6 tablespoons of olive oil
3/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons of dry white wine
1 lemon, cut into wedges for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
First, prepare the leeks and garlic for sautèing. Have the scallops on ice waiting for you in the frig until you are ready for them. Once the leeks and garlic have been sautèed, set them aside and prepare the topping.

Add all the ingredients for the topping in a large bowl plus the cooled down sautèed leeks and garlic mixture. Mix to combine and set aside while preparing the scallops for the gratin dishes, Have the 4 gratin dishes set up a baking sheet, two sheet pans if necessary.

Remove the side-muscle from each sea scallop. Using a paper towel dry the scallops completely. Quarter them and divide them evenly into the 4 gratin dishes. Add a tablespoon of wine to each dish. Spoon on the topping divided equally between the four gratin dishes.

Add one tablespoon of good white wine to each dish. Spoon the garlic butter crumb topping evenly over each dish.

At this point, you could refrigerate the Sea Scallop Gratin up to an hour before. Bake the gratins for 10-12 minutes.

To Serve: Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley and a few wedges of lemon. Squeeze the lemon over the dish right before serving. I like to serve my Sea Scallop Gratin with a simple arugula salad dressed lightly with a lemon vinaigrette.

 

Homemade Vinaigrette Recipes- Lemon, Balsamic, And Cilantro Lime

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Braised Boneless Short Ribs And Root Vegetables In A Red Wine Reduction Over Cheddar Grits

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This has to be one of the coldest days we’ve had in Orlando in a really long time, so I needed to bring out the big guns for dinner tonight. Steve’s been working on roofs all day and I know he’d want a comforting dish to warm him up. I went to our local Farmers’ Market and decided on short ribs. They offer boneless short ribs which I’ve never seen anywhere else before, so I bought them.

The name of my dish, Braised Short Ribs With Root Vegetables In A Red Wine Reduction Over Cheddar Grits sounds super fancy but really it’s not.

I should tell you that our local Farmers’ Market is called Freshfields Farm. I posted a link at the bottom of this post in case you’d like to click and visit.

I definitely needed good white cheddar for my grits, and Freshfields Farm also offers a variety of cheeses, so this worked out perfectly.

Next, I was onto the produce side of Freshfields Farm to check out the root vegetables available for my dish tonight. I found a beautiful butternut squash and some leaf top carrots. Those are going to be perfect for my Braised Boneless Short Ribs.

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To start this dish, the vegetables need to be prepped. It’s important that they all be approximately the same size so they cook evenly. Besides the butternut squash, carrots, onions, and minced garlic using a food processor purèe the Piquillo peppers.

This is what the boneless short ribs look like. You can see they have great marbling throughout the meat, which will make for a tender and flavorful dish.

Instead of browning the meat off in batches, in my Dutch oven, I’m going to sear the meat all at one time by roasting the short ribs in the oven at a very high temperature. I love this method instead of browning them off in batches on top of the stove. Also, I can start cooking the vegetables off on top of the stove while the meat is searing.

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Be sure to keep checking their progress until they look like the picture above.

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On the stove top, start softening the vegetables in the Dutch oven. It’s really important to season each layer as you go.  I’ll show the total amount of Kosher salt and pepper in the ingredients list.

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For the liquids, first, add the Cabernet Sauvignon to deglaze the pot. Using a wooden spoon to scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pot. After the wine has reduced, add the beef consomme and beef broth.

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Adjust the oven temperature to 325-degrees F.

Remove the short ribs from the oven.

Add the seared short ribs and their juices (the juice is extra flavor) to the pot with the vegetables.  Bring all this up to a boil then reduce to a simmer and place into the oven for 2-1/2- 2-3/4 hours. The short ribs will be fully cooked and fork tender.

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Carefully remove the short ribs from the oven. Turn the oven temperature to 350-degrees F. Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot and set onto a plate.

In a small bowl make a *slurry. Add the *slurry to the pot. Bring the sauce back up to a boil. Stirring everything continuously until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. You want it to be like a loose gravy, so when you ladle it over the cheese grits, the sauce will cling to the veggies and soak into the grits.

At this point, add the meat back into the pot and place the lid on. Set the pot on a back burner on very low or warm if that setting is available on your stove.

Next, onto making the cheddar grits.

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Adjust oven temperature to 350-degrees F.
In a large saucepot, I add heavy cream and water. Bring up to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Using a  whisk add the grits. As soon as the liquid is completely absorbed,  remove the grits from the heat and add the unsalted butter. Switch to a wooden spoon, stir until butter is incorporated. Next, added the grated white cheddar, stir to combine.

Next, in a 9 x 11 buttered baking dish, add the cooked grits. spread the grits evenly into the buttered casserole dish. spring white cheddar on top. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until grits are hot and bubbly.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time For Short Ribs: 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours
Cooking Time For Grits: 1 hour
Oven Temp: 325 degrees
Yields: 4-6 servings
Equipment, 6-quart Dutch oven, food processor, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 9 x 11 baking dish

Ingredients For Boneless Short Ribs:

3 cups of water
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups of shredded white cheddar (reserve 1/2 a cup for the topping)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.
To start this dish, the vegetables need to be prepped. It’s important that they all be approximately the same size so they cook evenly. Besides the butternut squash, carrots, onions, and minced garlic using a food processor purèe the Piquillo peppers.

In a large mixing bowl, add the short ribs, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper. Mix to combine. Lay the marinated short ribs, in one layer, spread out, onto two baking sheets. Roast for 20 minutes. Halfway through the roasting process, flip the short ribs to get a good caramelization on all sides.

Note: Oven temperatures may vary slightly. The 20 minutes roasting time for the short ribs is an approximate time.

In a Dutch oven preheated on medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onions, and carrots. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Sautè those for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the diced butternut squash minced garlic, and tomato paste.

Continue cooking adding the remaining Kosher salt and black pepper, stirring occasionally for another 2-3 minutes. Note: It’s important to season each layer as you go. Once the vegetables start to soften, add the purèed Piquillo peppers stirring to combine with the vegetables. Next, add the crushed red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs, stir to combine.

For the liquids, first, add the Cabernet Sauvignon to deglaze the pot. Using a wooden spoon to scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pot. After the wine has reduced by half add the beef consomme and beef broth.

Remove the short ribs from the oven. Turn the oven to 325-degrees F.

Add the short ribs and their juices to the Dutch oven, stir to combine. Bring up to a boil, place the lid on and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours or until the meat is fork tender.

Set oven temperature to 350-degrees F.
Remove the pot from the oven, carefully transfer the short ribs to a dish. Add the premade *slurry to the pot, stir to combine. Bring the sauce back up to a boil until sauce has the consistency of a loose gravy. Turn the heat down to the lowest temperature or a warm setting. Add the meat back into the pot. Place a lid on to keep hot.

Tip: Spray the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray before covering the grits. The will prevent the cheese on top from sticking to the foil.

In a large saucepot, I add heavy cream and water. Bring up to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Using a  whisk add the grits. As soon as the liquid is completely absorbed,  remove the grits from the heat and add the unsalted butter. Switch to a wooden spoon, stir until butter is incorporated. Next, added the grated white cheddar, stir to combine.

Next, in a 9 x 11 buttered baking dish, add the cooked grits. spread the grits evenly into the buttered casserole dish. spring white cheddar on top. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until grits are hot and bubbly.

To Serve:

*slurry:  For each cup of liquid, you want to thicken, start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl. Add an equal amount of cold liquid and stir until smooth paste forms. Whisk the slurry into the hot simmering liquid you want to thicken.

 

Freshfields Farm

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