Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘picnic’

This is one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes (and that’s saying a lot!)  It’s so versatile – you can serve to kids for a casual, weeknight dinner or with a fancier meal if you are entertaining.  You can also make them ahead and reheat them in the oven if you need to.  I don’t know about you, but our family can’t get enough of sweet potatoes, so this is a fun way to mix it up.  Note: I slice my sweet potatoes a little thinner than Ina and I always double the recipe!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Level: Easy
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt (if needed) and serve hot.

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I’m always looking to try a new steak marinade and this one is delicious.  Tri-tip is a wonderful cut of meat for grilling — it’s less expensive than rib eye and very tender and full of flavor.  I did have to buy malt vinegar for this recipe, which I found at Whole Foods.  Note: I used less garlic than the recipe calls for – 2 tablespoons seemed like so much!

Tri-Tip Marinade

Recipe from blog The Kitchn.

A Really Good Tri-Tip Marinade

“My friend Bill shared his tri-tip marinade recipe with me, and recently I gave it a try. It was delicious! The marinade was garlicky and peppery, sweet and savory, and just wonderful. The meat was tender and succulent.”

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion salt or garlic salt
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1/4 cup malt vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
A nice piece of trip-tip, anywhere from 1.5 to 4 lbs.

Preparation:
In a saucepan, mix together 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1/4 cup of the water and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. When the sugar gets a dark color, add the spices and stir. Bring back to a boil for a minute, and then add the vinegar, the other 1/4 cup of water, the soy sauce, and the fish sauce. Mix well and taste. If you feel like it needs more “balance,” add a little more salt. Add the garlic and the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring back to a boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Let cool.

Place the tri-tip roast in a shallow baking dish or a Ziploc bag and pour the cooled marinade over. Place in fridge and let marinade for a hour or overnight. (I did this overnight.)

Cooking Method:
This can be cooked on the grill or roasted in the oven. If roasting in the oven, do it at 425 degrees F and stick a meat thermometer in. When it reaches an internal temperature of 128 degrees, remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

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This is such an amazing salad!!  My friend Nicole does catering and cooking classes in San Francisco (Savory Pear) and she came up with this brilliant creation.  She says it gets even better the next day, so a great “make ahead” dish.  To save time, I often buy the container of butternut squash that has already been cut up (but use immediately – it doesn’t last that long!)

Farro Salad with Roasted Squash, Radicchio & Sage

Recipe from blog Savory Pear in the November 2012 Newsletter.

Farro Salad with Roasted Squash, Radicchio & Sage

Ingredients:

1 medium sugar pie pumpkin, butternut squash, delicata squash, or kabocha

1 cup olive oil, divided

1 cup semi pearled farro

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 medium head of radicchio, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 bunch sage

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Peel, seed, and cut the squash or pumpkin into 1/3 inch cubes.  Toss with 1/2 cup olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper.  Spread into a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserts easily and the squash or pumpkin is nicely browned.  Let cool.

Place the farro in a large pot of lightly salted water.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the grains are tender, 15-20 minutes.

While the farro is cooking, combine the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some fresh ground pepper in a small bowl and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil.  Drain the farro and add to a medium or large bowl.  Toss in the vinaigrette (you might not need to use it all) and add radicchio, tossing well and allowing it to wilt slightly.

Heat 1 cup vegetable oil in a saucepan to 350 degrees.  Add 5-6 sage leaves at a time and fry until crispy, 20-30 seconds.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining sage.

Just before serving, toss in the roasted pumpkin, crumbled fried sage, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6

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I love this simple and versatile side dish.  The texture of Israeli couscous is fun and the fresh herbs make it beautiful and tasty.  I’m not a big fan of tarragon, so I substitute with sage (since I grow it).  If your couscous is at all sticky (mine was), just add another drizzle of olive oil and work through it w/ a spoon, breaking up any clumps.  This can be served warm or at room temperature.

Herbed Israeli Couscous

Recipe from The Culinary Institute of America’s Gourmet Meals in Minutes.

Herbed Israeli Couscous

Total Time: 25 minutes

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups israeli couscous
  • 4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the couscous and sauté, stirring constantly, until well coated and aromatic, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until just tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add the herbs and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
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Tate’s chocolate chip cookies have always been my favorite store bought cookies (and they’re now pretty widely distributed – you can find them at Whole Foods and major grocery stores).  They have nicely shared their wonderful recipe so we can make them at home!  I think it’s the perfect chocolate chip cookie – thin, chewy yet crispy, salty and buttery…  You can cook them anywhere from 8-12 minutes (8 minutes make chewy cookies, 12 minutes make crispy cookies).  I like to cook them for 10 minutes.  Try them with dark chocolate chips too sometime.  Enjoy!

Tate's Choc Chip Cookie

Recipe adapted from Tate’s Bake Shop and posted on Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog Goop.

Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 40 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) lightly salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Nestlé can’t really be beat)

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 350º.

2. Whisk the flour, soda and salt together in a bowl.

3. In another large bowl, mix the butter with a wooden spoon to lighten it a bit and then mix in the sugars.

4. Add the water, vanilla and eggs to the butter mixture.

5. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined and then fold in the chocolate chips.

6. Using two soup spoons, drop the cookies 2″ apart onto two nonstick or greased cookie sheets.

7. Bake for 8 minutes, rotating the sheets after 4 minutes.

8. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool, and repeat the process with the rest of the batter.

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When I came across Katharine Hepburn’s family recipe for brownies in Gourmet Magazine, my curiosity was piqued.  Katharine Hepburn — wouldn’t you think she would hold something to the highest standards and be associated with something very classic, old-fashioned, and American as a delicious homemade brownie?  I did…  Indeed, this is the best brownie recipe I’ve tried. You can really taste the butter, salt, chocolate and nuts in each bite and they are nice and moist in the middle yet crispy on the top.  Delicious!  The recipe only makes 9 brownies, and that’s just not going to be enough (trust me), so you might want to double the recipe.  Note:  I thought 1/2 cup chopped walnuts was plenty.

Brownie

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine.

Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies

Makes 9 brownies.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate (2 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preparation

1. Melt together 1 stick butter and 2 squares unsweetened chocolate and take the saucepan off the heat.

2. Stir in 1 cup sugar, add 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and beat the mixture well.

3. Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (In the original recipe, 1 cup chopped walnuts is added here as well.)

4. Bake the brownies in a buttered and floured 8-inch-square pan at 325°F for about 40 minutes.

You can cut these brownies into squares, once they have cooled, and eat them out of the pan, but it is so much nicer to pile them on a fancy plate, from which people are going to eat them with their hands anyway. If you want to smarten up your act you can put a square of brownie on a plate with a little blob of créme fraîche and a scattering of shaved chocolate.

Original source: “A Harried Cook’s Guide to Some Fast Food” by Laurie Colwin

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