As you may suspect, there is not a whole lot of recipe-testing going on around here at the jacksonholefoodie headquarters.
Hiking back from Goodwin Lake in the Gros Ventre Mountains, with a view of the Tetons that looks like a mirage.
Gorgeous summer mornings, lazy stormy afternoons and balmy July nights have put cooking on the back burner here for a spell.
The Snake River is still high, but the Tetons are dazzling, especially when spied from a driftboat on a lazy summer day. Photo by Susan Lykes.
Which is not to say that we haven't been doing a lot of eating. This is the best time to soak up the foods of summer, and prepare them simply and easily without much ado.
Summer in the Tetons is made for gathering friends for easy summer eating.
Although I do have a recipe for you today, it couldn't be easier. The Sicilian grilled vegetable salad was inspired by a salad I fell in love with years ago, on my last night in Sicily. Spiked with red pepper flakes and orange zest, the bright spicy flavor always reminds me of Sicily. The dressing does double duty as a marinade for all your grilled seafood, chicken or pork. Whip up a batch in a mason jar, and it will keep for up to a week in the fridge, ready to dress whatever you've pulled from the garden, or the Farmers' Market, that day.
Our last night in Sicily, enjoying one of the best meals of my life: Risotto with grilled radicchio, flank steak with balsamic vinegar, and the Sicilian grilled vegetable salad. (That's my brother John, by the way. He's single, by the way.)
You could grill just about any vegetable for my Sicilian Grilled Vegetable Salad, but eggplant and peppers and red onions seem essential.
It's no secret that I'd rather be mountain biking with my girlfriends (Ellen, Norene and Chris) than slaving over a hot stove right now.
But first, let me give you a few non-recipes, so you can spend less time cooking, and more time enjoying the Tetons, or wherever summer is where you live.
Make a Fresh Corn Salad: Saute a few tablespoons of diced red onion in olive oil. Add fresh corn from 4-5 cobs. Cook briefly then toss with equal parts olive oil and cider vinegar. Salt, pepper and a chiffonade of fresh basil. A classic from Ina Garten (although she first blanches the corn in boiling water: too much work for me!)
Marinate chicken breasts in my Sicilian vinaigrette. Grill. Serve with Chipotle Mayonnaise: 1-2 tsp. pureed chipotle in adobo sauce (comes in can) with your favorite mayo. Wedges of lime would be nice alongside if I wasn't so lazy.
Make a Blue Cheese Tomato Salad: Slice up the best tomatoes you can find (it is fun to use different shapes, sizes and colors), and sprinkle with chunks of blue cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. I found this Blue Cheese at the Jackson Hole Farmers' Market.
When Scott at the Pearl St. Meat and Fish Co. tells me the Day-boat Scallops are amazing, I listen. Take some home, grill them for just a few minutes (I like them almost raw), and toss with fresh greens, fennel, and orange slices, drizzled with olive oil and rice wine vinegar.
Make a warm lentil salad: Boil 1 cup lentils in 3 cups water for 15-20 minutes, salting towards the end. Saute chopped shallot, celery and carrot in olive oil with 1minced garlic clove. Add drained lentils and toss with Sicilian or Mustardy Vinaigrette to moisten (recipes below). Top with goat cheese and fresh herbs, and serve with endive for scooping.
Throw extra vegetables on the grill for great leftovers: tuck into turkey sandwiches, omelettes, salads, paninis, pasta, or polenta for easy meals.
Invest in a cavatelli maker (about $40 at amazon.com) and you will be whipping up mass quantities of fresh pasta without sacrificing time on your bike.
Cavatelli is made from a ricotta-based dough that requires only a quick mix in the standing mixer and a brief kneading on the counter. Its ridges are particularly adept at soaking up sauces.
Ned quickly became an expert cavatelli-maker, but hey, he's Italian. It's genetic.
Cavatelli with a fresh tomato sauce (or Rao's Tomato Vodka sauce from a jar) topped with an overindulgence of summer basil is divine. If that's too much work, just make a quick sage and brown butter sauce.
Make an effortless pasta sauce with sage from your garden: Cook a stick of unsalted butter over low/medium heat in a frying pan. Once bubbling, add a handful of fresh whole sage leaves; cook until crispy and brown. Remove sage leaves, toss browned butter with pasta and garnish with sage and pecorino cheese, salt and pepper.
Make homemade ice cream sandwiches. Any cookies will do, but we like to make pizzelles. Soften ice cream slightly, place a big spoonful between two cookies and smoosh. Nick is an expert.
My children gave me this pizzelle machine for my birthday years ago...now they are the official pizzelle makers in the family. Each pizzelle is unique, like a snowflake.
Our pizzelles are made with anise extract and anise seeds for a very Sicilian flavor that pairs well with mint chocolate chip or chocolate ice cream.
Nick made dozens of ice cream sandwiches for his dad's 50th birthday party. I suspect he ate at least a dozen while testing out his recipe.
For a printable version of each recipe, click on the file below it.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Sicilian Vinaigrette
You could use just about any vegetable for this salad, but I especially love eggplant, red onion and sweet bell peppers. I like to serve this as an antipasti, and let everyone dig in with their hands, using the vegetables as scoops for the spicy vinaigrette.
This recipe will make lot of extra Sicilian Vinaigrette to have on hand. Use it to marinate chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, scallops, shrimp, or fish fillets before grilling. Toss with salad greens and top with pistachios and orange segments. Toss with lentils or quinoa, and leftover grilled vegetables, for a great lunch.
This recipe was adapted from Mario Batali's recipe for Capri-style grilled vegetables in his amazing book Italian Grill. He had this salad on the Isle of Capri; I had a similar version in Catania, Sicily. Those Italians are famous for stealing ideas from the Sicilians!
Please make sure your Colman's Mustard is fresh. No Colman's? Try a teaspoon of Dijon mustard instead.
For the Sicilian Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Colman's dry mustard (please make sure it smells fresh; stale mustard won't give the dressing the same bite)
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 orange
- zest of 1 orange
- kosher salt, to taste
Sicilian Vinaigrette will keep in a tightly sealed Mason jar for up to a week, maybe longer!
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, oregano, cumin, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, and the fresh orange juice. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
- Add salt to taste.
- If you are using only as a marinade, add the orange zest too. Otherwise, it will be sprinkled over the vegetable salad before serving.
After my vegetables were nicely prepped, my crazy dog Gunner knocked over the platter, and I had to start over.
For the grilled vegetables:
- 1 medium or 2 small eggplant, 1/2 inch slices
- 2 red and 2 yellow bell peppers, quartered, seeds removed
- 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices (use a mandoline if you have one)
- 2 medium red onions, cut into 6-8 wedges each, keeping root intact
- 1head radicchio, cored and cut into 6 wedges
- 12 spears of asparagus, woody ends snapped or cut off
- 12 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
Keeping the root end intact will help prevent your onions from slipping through the grill.
- Make the SIcilian Vinaigrette. Set aside.
- Heat the grill to medium high. Make sure you vigorously clean the grill to get rid of last night's fish or steak remnants.
- Prepare the vegetables. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer, and brush with Sicilian vinaigrette. Sprinkle with salt.
- Grill the vegetables in batches, until soft and nicely charred on both sides. Set aside on a nice platter when done. Cut the peppers into smaller pieces, and the eggplant into strips.
- Drizzle the vegetables with the Sicilian Vinaigrette, and sprinkle with the orange zest. Top with the slivered basil. Garnish with whole basil leaves. Add more salt to taste.
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Warm Lentil Salad with Mustardy Vinaigrette
Lentils cook so quickly that they are perfect for an impromptu warm summer salad. They are beautiful with a grilled piece of fish perched on top, or alongside grilled sausages.
You can toss the lentils with the Sicilian Vinaigrette, or try this decidedly French mustardy version. This recipe is loosely adapted from Patricia Wells' Bistro Cooking. l like her mustardy vinaigrette very much on so many things. If you have some nice salt in your pantry, such as fleur de sel or Maldon, sprinkle it over your warm lentil salad for a contrasting crunch.
Serves 4, with leftover vinaigrette
For the lentils:
- 1 cup French green "Puy" lentils, or black "Beluga" lentils (the ones that look like caviar)
- 3 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon, or fleur de sel, for garnish
- handful of Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish
- optional and delicious: a few tablespoons of goat cheese on top, and/or homemade croutons
For the mustardy vinaigrette:
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar or Banyuls vinegar if you have some
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Pepper, to taste
- Wash the lentils in cold water, and pick out any pebbles. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with 3 cups of water. Throw in a bay leaf.
- Bring lentils to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook at a gentle simmer (barely bubbling) for 15 minutes. Check for doneness: they should be soft all the way through, but not mushy. Add a pinch of salt in the last few minutes of cooking.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Whisk in the olive oil slowly to form an emulsion. Add pepper and more salt to taste.
- When the lentils are done, drain in a fine mesh sieve and discard the bay leaf.
- Using the same pan, sauté the shallot, carrot and celery in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. After a minute, add the garlic and sauté briefly, taking care not to burn the garlic. Remove from the heat.
- Add the warm lentils to the sauteed vegetables and toss.
- Toss the lentils with about half of salad dressing to moisten; use more if you like. Top with goat cheese and croutons, if using, and the crunchy salt and fresh parsley.
- Serve alone or with endive spears, or atop a bed of greens, drizzled with more vinaigrette.
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Happy Trails Everyone!
Driving home from "town" in the 85 degree heat (which feels like 105 if you are a mountain dweller), I had a sudden urge to make this soup.
My craving for icy-cold gazpacho was immediate and visceral. Gazpacho... made from the first good tomatoes, and maybe some herbs from my garden. That's what I needed to make.
Then I remembered a recipe for a unique gazpacho, emailed to me by a friend many, many moons ago. I had wanted to make it right away, but I didn't. Instead, I filed it away in the part of my brain that stores Recipes From Friends and promptly forgot about it. Until today. (Believe me, this part of your brain anatomy does exist).
A Wildflower Quiz for you: 1. We'll start with an easy one.
If you are like me, friends email you recipes, lots and lots of recipes, either by request or out of the blue. As you tackle your Inbox, you will skim through the recipe, decide to save or delete, and mentally remind yourself to thank the person next time you see her.
Here's a closer-upper view. Photo by Susan Lykes.
Then days, weeks, months, maybe years later, you remember the recipe, and hopefully who sent it, so that you can search your Inbox with a few key words. And if you haven't been too diligent in deleting emails, your recipe will still be there.
2. Sometimes pink, sometimes purple.
Which is how I recovered Janna's recipe for Strawberry and Fennel Gazpacho...I merely had to type in Janna and Gazpacho, and was instantly rewarded by the original email with recipe from August 2010. Apparently, a large part of my brain is reserved for this purpose.
3. Another easy one. What's the yellow flower in the foreground? Bonus points if you can name the trail.
4. Name that flower.
Janna doesn't share that many recipes, as far as I know, and she has excellent taste and has travelled the world, so I had a hunch that this would be good. And it was good. Extremely good. The perfect gazpacho for right about...now.
5. Name this stunning purplish/pinkish wildflower.
6. It is very important to have your socks match the flowers, but what are they? Another great photo by Susan Lykes.
If you live on either side of the Tetons, you will of course know who I am talking about. Janna is the organizer of the WHALES, the Women's Hiking And Literary Epicurean Society. I am only an occasional WHALE participant, but I always read Janna's weekly emails nose to tail to see what's going on in Teton Valley, Idaho, epicurean and otherwise.
7. These are all over my yard. Think "Hester Prynne".
My wildflower quiz is thus dedicated to the wonderful WHALES, who like all of us, must relearn the wildflowers anew every July. Apparently that part of our brain is not as big as the one that stores Recipes From Friends.
8. Hint: Fox on socks....
9. Here's a tricky one...think....what does wine come from?
For a printable version of the recipe, click on the file below it.
Strawberry and Fennel Gazpacho
This recipe is from Janna Rankin, by way of The New Spanish Table, by Anya von Bremzen. As you will see, the amounts are not an exact science. The ingredients aren't even an exact science. If you use good fresh tomatoes and strawberries, you won't go wrong.
I know the recipe calls for a green pepper, but I didn't have one, so I substituted a cucumber and 2 red jalapenos (deseeded). My version was slightly spicy, just what I was craving.
Also, for once in my life I did not have any stale bread on hand. So I tore up a nice fresh loaf of ciabbata (no crust) and toasted it in a 350 degree oven until dry and slightly browned. Works like a charm.
- 1 cup cubed day-old country bread, crusts removed
- 2 pounds ripe, flavorful tomatoes, seeded
- 2 pounds strawberries, hulled
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced (or substitute 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced, plus 2 red jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
- 1/4 of a medium sized fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- kosher or sea salt, to taste
Nick and Reed are enjoying their "strawberry soup", hee hee. I failed to mention all the nutritious veggies they are ingesting.
- Set aside 2 Tbsp. diced strawberries, 2 Tbsp. diced tomatoes, and 2 Tbsp fennel fronds for garnish. (As you can see, I forgot to do this).
- Soak dried bread with enough water to cover, for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the water, and place the bread in a large bowl.
- Place strawberries, tomatoes, bread, bell pepper (or cucumber/jalapeno), and fennel in a large bowl. Toss and let sit for about 15 minutes. (Note from Janna: she never takes time to do this. She is not the sitting type).
- Puree ingredients in a food processor in 2-3 batches, adding olive oil through the feeding tube as you go.
- Mix pureed ingredients with water, garlic, and the rest of the olive oil. The soup should have the consistency of a smoothie. Taste, and add salt. Keep adding salt until it tastes right to you.
- Chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. It will also be perfect if left to chill overnight.
- Serve garnished with reserved chopped strawberries, tomatoes and fennel fronds. Drizzle with olive oil. A diced avocado also makes a nice garnish.
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Wildflower Quiz Answers: The first person to correctly identify all the wildflowers in the comment section or on Facebook will receive....well... a special foodie gift from me. If you live near me, it could be a fresh jug of gazpacho, a batch of brownies, or some fresh pasta. If you live elsewhere (within the U.S. please) it will be a less perishable foodie item. Good luck!
When I wrote about morel mushrooms last month
, I thought the season was coming to an end as quickly as it started. But it kept raining. And the morels kept growing. And we kept heading out mushroom hunting, although we had lots of better things to do.
Nick proved to be a diligent and talented mushroom hunter.
Morel season is definitely winding down, although I hear the hardcore hunters amongst are still finding a few. Most of us are moving on to more summery foodie obsessions, like sliced tomatoes, grilled vegetables, and mojitos.
As an ode to the very special morel season we enjoyed in Jackson Hole, here are some of my favorite morel photos, along with my new favorite way to prepare them, in case you are lucky enough to have some stashed away in the freezer, waiting for a special occasion.
Late season hunting was most successful when traipsing through boggy wet recessions in the woods.
This is a very happy sight for a mushroom hunter...a cluster of morels, each as big as Nick's fist.
I spied this morel while kneeling down to take some wildflower photos.
Happiness is a sack filling up with mushrooms. Bogs are the perfect morel-hunting footwear.
The first morel of the season, dripping with dew.
Discovered this dress while window-shopping in a chic part of Rome. Oh, how I wanted that yellow morel dress.
Chris and I after hunting all day in the rain, cold and soggy, but happy.
Nick with the fruits of a full day of hunting. He quickly learned to request morels with a fried egg and toast for breakfast every day during morel season.
You know it's been a good year for morels when you see them at the grocery store.
This recipe for Morels with Madeira
caught my eye, while reading the Ad Hoc at Home
cookbook by Thomas Keller. According to Keller, the legendary chef of The French Laundry in Napa, California, and a dynasty of other restaurants, "Morels are not a mushroom you want to sear--they're best cooked gently in butter".
Seared morels are pretty darn good, especially on top of scrambled eggs or toasted bread with olive oil. I have been a big fan of the pan-fried morel
, but Keller's madeira sauce is winning me over.
Morels soak up the simple sauce of shallots, thyme, butter and madeira, a fortified wine that is a tad sweet. Keller serves his morels in madeira with caramelized sea scallops, but we served ours with just some toast to soak up the juices. I wish I had a picture of my morel-obsessed friends attacking the morels with madeira with their toasts, and then their fingers. This sauce will have you licking the bowl so you don't miss a drop.
Morels with Madeira
Adapted from Thomas Keller's recipe in Ad Hoc At Home.
Serves 6, as part of a larger meal.
- 1 1/2 lbs. morels
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
- 1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped thyme
- 1/4 cup good quality Madeira (I used Sandeman brand from Portugal, about $15 at Westside Wine and Liquor Store)
- Kosher salt
- 1 baguette, sliced and toasted
- Wash the morels in cool salty water, and dry thoroughly. If the morels are very large, halve or quarter them. Keep the smaller ones whole.
- Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
- Melt the butter in a very large frying pan (I used a wok) over medium heat.
- Add the shallots, and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the thyme and madeira, and bring to a simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary for about 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol.
- Add the morels, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until tender, about 6 minutes.
- Transfer to a warm bowl, and serve with toasted baguette slices.
Culinary word for today: Madeira
Just what is madeira wine? Named for the island in Portugal where it is made, madeira is a fortified wine that can range from quite dry to very sweet. Often served as an aperitif, or an after-dinner drink, it is also an excellent cooking wine for both sweet or savory dishes. When cooking with madeira, look for a product made in Portugal, and buy the best bottle you can afford. Once the alcohol cooks off, the flavor will be concentrated in your dish, and a cheap madeira could ruin it.