August 28, 2007

Pesto Pasta

2 cups fresh basil
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice

Combine pesto ingredients in a blender until desired consistency. Heat in a saucepan over low heat. Serve over pasta. Makes 4 servings.

August 25, 2007

Chunky Gazpacho with Shrimp

3 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 small cucumber, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
handful of basil, torn into small pieces
three-inch-thick slice of day-old baguette, cut into pieces
ice cube
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp hot sauce

In a bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, basil, bread, salt, and pepper. Pour half of the mixture along with an ice cube into a blender and purée until smooth. Pour puree back into the bowl, and add olive oil and hot sauce. Stir it all together. Chill in refrigerator until very cold, at least 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, pour gazpacho into three bowls. Place seven jumbo shrimp (or as many as desired) into each bowl for dipping, and garnish with additional torn basil. Serves 3 large bowls. Another great way to make use of August's tomato bounty.


Fresh loaf of bread - baguette, or in my case, whole wheat Italian
2 tomatos or 1 large tomato, diced
1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
handful of basil, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup grated parmesan
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Slice bread and place on baking sheet(s). Rub bread with garlic and brush with olive oil. Bake in oven for approximately 5 minutes, until bread is golden brown and crunchy. Meanwhile, combine tomato, onion, garlic, basil, parmesan and a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. When bread is done, let cool for a few minutes before arranging on a plate. Spoon bruschetta mixture over bread. Makes a great August appetizer with ingredients fresh from the farmers market. Make it vegan by leaving off the parmesan.

Almost Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

7 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chips)
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder (for completely flourless cake) or flour (which I used because I didn't have cocoa on hand)
walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Put a pot of water to boil. Cut chocolate into small pieces if using a bar instead of chips. Cut butter into 1/2 inch slices. Combine choclate and butter in a metal bowl. Once water is boiling, lower heat until just simmering. Place bowl over pot and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter melt. Remove from heat, add sugar, and let cool for a few minutes. Whisk in eggs one by one. Then whisk in honey, vanilla, and flour or cocoa powder.
Use nonstick spray to grease a muffin tray. Pour mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes, and then turn off the oven and leave the cakes in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove tray from oven and let cool completely. They may sink in the middle a bit, it's okay. Carefully remove cakes and refrigerate until serving. Serve with a drizzle of honey and a pinch of chopped walnuts.
Makes 12 "cupcakes." Makes a fantastic romantic treat, with a bottle of red wine and some candles ;-)