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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grilled Cabbage with Smoked Paprika, Honey, Lime Juice, & Feta Cheese

I love cabbage but sometimes I find myself using it in the same ways I have for slaws, salads or sautéing it.  So I set out on a mission...a cabbage mission. My goal was to be more creative with my cabbage friend and add a little more unexpected flavor. Though I had never before thought of marinating it, I decided this is how I would start.  In fact I wasn't sure how much of a marinade it would actually absorb. This being said I knew my flavors would probably need to be bold but not overpowering. 

I came up with a few ingredients that sounded great together in my mind but I suspected that after making it once I might need to make a few tweaks here and there. To my surprise my first experimentation of ingredients was amazing. I loved the flavors and the cabbage actually absorbed a good amount of the marinade. Success!! I marinated my cabbage slices with smoked paprika, lime juice, and honey, grilled them and then sprinkled a nice helping of feta cheese on top. Wow, what a change from my same old hum drum cabbage recipes that I have been using for years. This was deliciously refreshing and new! Using the smoked paprika really lent to the smokiness of BBQ-ing the cabbage steaks without overpowering them with too much heat. The honey grounds the rest of the ingredients and the feta adds a nice creamy and salty flavor to the finished dish.

Grilled Cabbage with Smoked Paprika, 
Honey, Lime Juice, & Feta Cheese

1 small red cabbage
juice of 2 limes
zest of 1 lime
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
salt and pepper
feta cheese

Slice your cabbage into 3/4-1 inch thick steaks. Do not core the cabbage. Leaving the core intact will help your cabbage steaks stay together better. Place the lime juice, zest, honey, olive oil and smoked paprika into a large zip lock bag. Swish around the ingredients in the bag to help incorporate them together. Add your cabbage steaks and let marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes. Heat your grill and add your cabbage steaks cooking until the cabbage starts to char just a bit around the edges, about 10 minutes. Carefully turn over your cabbage and cook on the opposite side, about another 10 minutes. Remove your cabbage from the grill and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a nice helping of feta cheese. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Avocado Mango Salad

Have you ever had a salsa and wished you could just eat it alone as a meal. No chips or crackers or bruschetta to scoop or spread onto, but just a spoon...straight to your mouth. Anyone with me? That is the inspiration of this salad. And to keep it from looking like Im eating a bowl of salsa, I kept the ingredients larger instead of dicing or cubing them into manageable scooping pieces. :)

Nothing beats rip fruit and with a sweet and perfumy mango mixed with a buttery, smooth avocado you could almost stop there! But adding some acid and salt really helps to bring out the flavor of each.Top it all off with some cilantro and it adds a nice and fresh compliment.
This salad is so satisfying. I eat it almost every day for lunch and my husband asks for it almost nightly as a side with dinner.

Avocado Mango Salad

1 ripe avocado
1 ripe mango
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 lime or lemon
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Slice your avocado in half lengthwise and remove the seed. Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon and slice it into thin strips. Arrange onto a platter. Cut your mango away from its pit and remove the skin. Slice into long thin strips and arrange on the same platter with your avocado. Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon or lime over the avocado and mango. Sprinkle chopped tomato over mango and avocado. Sprinkle with desired salt and with cilantro. Serve, and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grilled Bread Topped with Basil, Garlic and Lemon Marinated Cheese

This is a little version of a grilled cheese that we like to make here in the Lichty family. And what sets this cheese sammie apart from any other that you have had is that it is an open faced BBQ'd grilled sandwich with marinated cheese. It is truly truly as good as it sounds and looks, if not better!!

This will most likely be the most flavorful and tasty grilled cheese you have ever had! Its actually a cross between a grilled cheese and garlic bread since the cheese is marinated with a hefty amount of minced garlic. Also adding to its divine taste is the fresh basil and lemon zest. This is the perfect appetizer to any BBQ this summer or a great side with any meal.

Grilled Bread Topped with Basil, Garlic 
and Lemon Marinated Cheese

6 pieces of bread cut from 1 baguette
olive oil for drizzling
juice of 1/2 of a large lemon
salt and pepper
6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
zest of half of a lemon
juice of 1/2 large lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare your marinated cheese by place your cheese slices into a bowl along with the minced garlic cloves, fresh basil, lemon zest, juice of 1/2 of a large lemon and olive oil. Stir to combine and set aside.
Filet your baguette in half down its middle and cut the bread into 3-4 inch pieces. Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon over the tops of the bread slices and drizzle all with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
Heat your BBQ and add your grilled bread, flat and seasoned side down until just crispy and beginning to char.
Turn over and add your cheese slices. Drizzle the bread and cheese with any reserved liquid left in the bowl. BBQ on medium low until the cheese is melty and gooey. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Watermelon Lemonade

Last summer my son was barely 1 years old and though he had an affinity for fruit he was still very much trying new flavors and deciding what he liked and what he liked even more. So now that summer has rolled around again and he is a big 2 year old he definitely has opinions on what he wants. These days most often what he wants is watermelon. Would I call my son a watermelon addict? Well according Merrium Webster's Online Dictionary, the definition of an addict is:

Definition of ADDICT

: to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively 

Most of the time we think of addicts as those obsessively devoted to gambling, shopping, drugs, etc, but I would like to add an additional category. One who is habitually and obsessively devoted to watermelon; namely my son E. He eats a minimum of one watermelon a day. I bet you never knew that eating enough watermelon would turn your poop completely red like beets? Or that eating an entire watermelon a day would equal an entire package of diapers in urine?
He eats so much of it that I have gone to great lengths to buy shopping carts full of watermelons so that I do not have to frequent the grocery store every other day just to buy more. My last trip to the store I might have gone overboard and found myself with an entire counter full of watermelon. Wondering if E was going to be able to eat it all before it spoiled I was forced to take alternative measures to use it. And since it is smokin hot here and I also had plenty of lemons on hand I decided to make watermelon lemonade. I really love a tart lemonade and I really love a ripe why not combine the two! I knew it would more than likely turn out good but I didn't know it would be really good! By scraping out the watermelon into the drink instead of pureeing it in a blender you get a very unexpected texture to this lemonade. It's not a smoothy, but it's not straight liquid. Its perfect, and a little bit of watermelon dissolves into your mouth with each sip. Chill this lemonade and add to a glass of ice and you have my friends, a perfect refreshing summer drink to sip slowly pool side or to pretend you are sipping slowly poolside :)
Watermelon Lemonade

1 cup lemon juice (about 7 lemons)
3/4 cup sugar
1 medium size personal seedless watermelon (about  cups with juice and pulp)

Squeeze your lemons into a large pitcher and add sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cut your watermelon in half and starting with one half take a fork and grate out the watermelon flesh into a large bowl that will catch the juice and pulp.

Continue with the other half of the watermelon. Once finished, remove any black seeds that happen to be in your watermelon. There is no need to remove any of the yellow white ones but if you want to you can also remove them. Add the watermelon juice/pulp to your lemon mixture and stir to combine. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled with ice and a sprig of fresh mint.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

BBQ'd Bell Peppers Stuffed with Marinated Cheese

I love vegetables, I always have. And I especially enjoy them in the summertime when the temperatures are scorching and all you feel like is a fresh and light meal that is still satisfying but without weighing you down. I just knew when I saw the fresh red bell peppers on sale at my grocery market that I needed to do something special with them. I decided that I would stuff these gorgeous peppers. But instead of a traditional meat or rice stuffing I opted for a lighter and much tastier, I might add, version. I marinated some fresh mozzarella and placed a slice onto each of my bell peppers. And in an effort to thwart any increased temperatures in my house I decided to BBQ them. Red bell peppers are so much sweeter than their yellow or green counterparts and BBQ-ing them really intensified the sugars and gave my peppers a lightly smokey flavor. 

The fresh mozzarella is incredibly smooth and creamy and melts perfectly into the bell pepper cups over the BBQ. The lemon juice/zest give a perfect amount of acid and tang, that compliments the heat from the red pepper flakes and earthy notes from the oregano. This is a flavor packed recipe that would be perfect as a wonderfully delicious side or even as a main dish.

BBQ'd Bell Peppers Stuffed with Marinated Cheese

6 slices fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 red bell peppers
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (depends on how much heat you want)
3-4 tablespoons fresh oregano
pinch of salt

I placed 1 piece of sliced mozzarella onto each of my halved red peppers, but depending on how much cheese you would like to stuff them with is up to you. Place your mozzarella into a small bowl and add zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1/2 of a lemon, red pepper flakes, oregano, and a pinch of salt. Stir the ingredients together and let sit to marinate while you prepare your peppers.
Prepare your bell peppers by trimming away the stem, removing the seeds and slicing them in half. Place your bell peppers in a large bowl and squeeze your other half of your lemon over the peppers and drizzle with olive oil. Rub the juice and oil all over the peppers. 
Place oiled peppers onto your BBQ face down for between 5-7 minutes depending on how much char you like on your vegetables.
Turn your peppers over and place 1 piece of marinated fresh mozzarella onto each, and BBQ for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove your peppers from your BBQ and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fourth of July Oreo Berry Tarts

I am always looking for fun and delicious holiday desserts. This recipe happens to be a favorite for my family get togethers. It didn't start out as a Fourth of July dessert; instead just a ridiculously easy and yummy recipe that I would make in huge 9x13 pans to feed the masses. It has since evolved into mini individual tartelettes. And what better way to make it festive for a holiday such as Fourth of July, than topping it with some red and blue berries.

These are a great bite size treat for any occasion, and you probably already have the ingredients on hand! Since fruit is in abundance now thats its summer you can get as creative as you want with your toppings and use what your family likes best. I promise you will be sure to have all of your family and friends thinking you are a culinary chef when you whip these beauties out at your next gathering. So try this scrumptious and simple recipe with a big reward!

Oreo Berry Tarts

1 cup flour
2 rows of Oreos, crushed
1/2 cup cutter
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2, 8 ounce cool whip containers
1 large box of chocolate pudding
2 1/2 cups milk
fresh berries of your choosing

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour, crushed Oreos and butter. Press into small or large tart mold. Bake for 9 minutes and let cool completely. Once completely cooled, gently release the Oreo crust our of the molds.

Mix together 1 container of cool whip, cream cheese and powdered sugar.

Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the tart shell (s). Combine pudding and milk and whisk for 2 minutes. Pipe pudding over cream cheese mixture.

Top your tart(s) with remaining cool whip and decorate with berries. Enjoy!

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