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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Pesto Potato Salad

Warm-Red-Potato-Salad (1)

This Pesto Potato Salad requires no mayonnaise so it travels well. As a side dish with chicken, pork, or beef it’s perfect. The fresh basil pesto in this Pesto Potato Salad adds so much flavor. The sweet multi-colored bell peppers add a burst of color. A few really good ingredients make this potato salad a winner.

I’m never shy about taking help from the grocery store. You can now find fresh basil pesto in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, where they display the fresh pasta and marinara sauce. This pre-made fresh basil pesto is a huge time saver. Add basil pesto to warm potatoes and they’ll soak up all those delicious flavors.

Mini Sweet Bell Peppers

Warm-Red-Potato-Salad

Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes (depending on potatoes and size, time may vary slightly)
Total Cook Time: 25-27 minutes
Equipment: cutting board, chef’s knife, 6-quart stockpot, strainer, large mixing bowl. spatula or long-handled spoon, plastic wrap.

Ingredients:
2 pounds of red bliss potatoes, quartered (waxy potatoes work best)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup of multi-colored mini sweet bell peppers, finely diced (red, yellow, and orange)
1 7-ounce container, Rana fresh basil pesto (found in the refrigerated section by the fresh pasta)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
Wash and scrub the potatoes from any grit. Cut them into large, bite-sized chunks. transfer the potatoes to a large stockpot. Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 1-inch.

Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat to keep the water at a gentle simmer. Add a good sprinkling of Kosher salt. Cook until the potatoes are tender all the way through when pierced with a fork, 10-12 minutes. Exact cooking time depends on the size of your potato chunks and the type of potatoes.

Drain the potatoes, then return them to the same pot they were cooked in. Do not set the pot back on the heat. Let any water that may be on them evaporate from the hot pot, about 1to 2 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl add the diced red onion, diced sweet bell peppers. Next, add the cooked, still very warm, potatoes, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Start with half the prepared pesto, using a rubber spatula, toss gently to combine. If more pesto is needed, add an extra tablespoon at a time toss to combines.

 

 

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Sweet Italian Sausage With Roasted Vegetables Over Creamy Polenta

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This recipe is one that brings comfort food and bold flavors together, and that’s all you really want to achieve, in a great dish. I’ts really easy to make. Let me tell you how I pull this together.

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Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time `1 hour 40 minutes
Equipment: 2 sheet pans, 1 large saucepan, indoor grill pan

Ingredients:
2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage, grilled and sliced
1-1/2 cups of unsalted chicken broth or stock
2 cups 1 inch diced zucchini
1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1 inch dice
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1 inch dice
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and 1 inch dice
1 red onion diced
5 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of finely Julienned fresh basil leaves
Creamy Polenta (recipe below)

Directions For Sweet Itaian Sausage:
In a large sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, add 1-1/2 cups of unsalted chicken broth. Using a fork prick all the sausage link on both sides ( 3 sets on each side) to allow for faster cooking.  Turn the heat to med- high, place the links into the saucepan, and place the lid on tight. Let the chicken broth come up to a hard boil.  The sausage links steam for about 10 minutes, turning them, once, halfway through the process.

Transfer the sausage links onto a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any liquid from the steaming process.  Next, place the links onto an indoor grill pan that’s been preheated. On med-high heat, grill the sausages for 3-5 minutes per side. You may need to do this in 2 batches. Once the links all have nice grill marks, transfer to a cutting board and slice links, on the bias.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the vegetables, minced garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper into a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour the vegetables onto two sheet pans, spread out evenly into one layer ( this way they will roast and not steam!). Roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and begin to brown.

Lower the heat to 350 degrees F., Add the slices of grilled Italian sausage to the pans with the roasted veggies and bake for another 10 minutes. Transfer the all veggies and sausage to a large bowl, add the basil and toss. Serve over hot creamy Polenta.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta: serves 6-8
3 cups of unsalted chicken broth
3 cups half and half
1 tablespoon of grated garlic
1-1/2 cups stone-ground corn meal
1 tablespoonKosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup room temperature Mascarpone cheese
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter, diced

D;irections:
Combine the chicken stock, half and half, and garlic in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and very slowly add the cornmeal, whisking continuously to make sure there are no lumps.

Sitch to a wooden spoon, add 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons pepper, and simmer over very low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick. (cooking time may vary slightly .) Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly while stirring. Off the heat add the Mascarpone, grated Parmesan cheese and butter. Taste for seasoning.

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Toasted Quinoa Salad

 

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I took this salad to a graduation celebration and it  was a hit! Something as simple as a salad, using a few fresh ingredients, has had friends asking me for this recipe. I knew I needed to post this ASAP!

If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa first. The outer coating is called saponin and it’s bitter. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.

The directions are basically two to one. Two parts liquid to one part quinoa. Cooking quinoa is very similar to cooking rice.  Follow the directions on the back of the package, then all you need to do is to add the other ingredients.

Many times I’ll toast the quinoa first. this adds another layer of flavor to the quinoa. All you do for that is to add canola oil ( a neutral oil), add your quinoa and stir over med-low heat for about 6-8 minutes. Next, you’ll add the boiling liquid to the pot and follow the timing directions on the package.

 

Whenever I’m adding different vegetables to a salad, I like to make sure they are about the same size. You can see above how I diced up the hothouse cucumber (English cucumber), the grape tomatoes are just halved.

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Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes (add 6-8 minutes cooking time if you are toasting quinoa)
Total Time: 22-24 minutes

Ingredients:
1-12 ounce package=1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups of vegetable stock (optional choices are water or low sodium chicken broth)
1/2 diced red onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced orange bell pepper
2 cup of diced feta cheese
1-1/2 pints of halved grape tomatoes
2 cups of diced hothouse cucumber
1/4 cup of fresh basil- Chiffonade style
2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley ( dried 1 tablespoon)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon juiced
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions For Toasting and Cooking Quinoa:
First, rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve before cooking.
Best with pot with a glass fitting lid.

In a pot, on med-low heat, add 2 tablespoons of Canola oil ( any neutral oil). Add in the quinoa. Stir slowly coating all the quinoa with the oil. Continue stirring for about 6-8 minutes or until quinoa is golden brown.

Directions:
In a another pot have you liquid ( vegetable stock) at a boil. Add the boiling liquid to the quinoa. Give a stir and cover. Turn the heat down to low simmer. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, the quinoa is done. It’s really important to keep your eye on the quinoa, it cook pretty fast. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa cool down for about 5 minutes.  I use a fork to fluff the quinoa around in the pot it helps it to cool down quicker.

While the quinoa is cooking dice up all the vegetables, zest and juice of a lemon, dice the feta, and place into a large bowl.  Add in the cooled cooked quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss through gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving I like to add a drizzle of really good E.V.O.O.

 

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Fennel Slaw

Photo Mar 31, 11 03 20 AM (1)

Fennel slaw has to be one of our favorite side dishes. The key to a great salad is to have a lot of different colors and textures.

Food Mandoline Slicer

The Mandolin Food Slicer is one of the best kitchen gadgets ever! The Mandolin slices veggies and potatoes paper thin. It’s just wonderful.

Fennel bulb

This is a Fennel bulb. It’s so delicious! Slightly sweet, crunchy with an Anise or Liquorice flavor. It can be eaten raw, roasted, in soup, stews, or pureed. Adding Fennel to slaw add depth of flavor. I always save the green leafy fronds for garnish and added color.

Photo Mar 31, 11 03 20 AMPhoto Mar 31, 11 03 20 AM (2)

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:
1 head green cabbage, cored and sliced (using Mandolin)
1 Fennel bulb, cored and sliced  (using Mandolin)
1/2 cup of store bought shredded carrots
1/2 a large red onion sliced (using Mandolin)
1/2 cup of raisins
2 tablespoons of finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
2 tablespoons of chopped Fennel fronds

Dressing For Slaw:
3/4 cup of good mayonnaise
1/4 cup of milk
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar ( if you like a slightly more tart flavor add more vinegar)
2 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of celery seed
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Directions:
Add sliced cabbage,  sliced fennel, sliced red onion, shredded carrots, fennel fronds, chopped flat leaf Italian parsley, and raisins into a large bowl.

In a second bowl add the mayo, milk, apple cider vinegar, celery seed, agave nectar, granulated sugar, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Whisk all those ingredients together.

Everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to Cole Slaw.  You may like your slaw either on the vinegary side or a sweeter side. Taste to make any adjustments to the level of sweetness (sugar) or tartness (vinegar).

Pour the dressing over the fennel slaw mixture and toss through. Place in the frig and serve chilled.

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