Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho Recipe
June 22, 2009, 9:29 pm
Filed under: chris, gourmet kids recipe, lillie, picklesandcake, recipe, sadie, sauter

It’s summertime in Florida which means hot soups are off the menu. Gazpacho is a traditional chilled raw-veggie soup from Spain with a tomato base. It’s like a refreshing liquid salad. I remember John Croatti occasionally making an amazing grilled vegetable gazpacho at the Berkeley Grille so I gave him a call to find out how it’s done. Grilling off a few veggies adds a complexity and heartiness to the soup that is worth trying.

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho

3 ripe tomatoes, cut in half
1 bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 6 pieces
1 zucchini, cut into 1/3″ strips (see photo)
1/2 onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro
2 average sized cucumbers, peeled, halved and seeded
3 cups V8 or tomato juice
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp course salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

The first step is to brush the veggies on both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and place on a hot grill.

Grill for about 3 minutes on each side. You want the zucchini to still be a little firm in the middle. Drop veggies into an ice bath (large bowl filled with ice and water) for a few minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove the skin from tomatoes and peppers.

Pulse tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs in the food processor (the blender would work too) until finely minced but not pureed. 12 pulses should do it.

Finely dice peppers, cucumbers and zucchini by hand. Pour puree into large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. If it is too chunky, add a little extra tomato juice. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours – overnight if you can. The grilled veggie flavor was perfect 24 hours later.

Serve up with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little more cracked pepper.

Sadie quietly ate her whole cup of soup.

Lillie loved the gazpacho as well! Another winner!


Best Guacamole Ever
May 25, 2009, 10:45 pm
Filed under: gourmet kids recipe, guacamole, picklesandcake, recipe, sauter

Best Guacamole Ever

3 ripe Haas avocados
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 small tomato, seeded and 1/4 inch cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
ground pepper to taste (1/4 tsp recommended)

Cut avocados in half and use your blade to twist and pop out the pit.

Slice a crisscross (Jump Jump!) pattern down into the halved avocados without piercing the skin.

Flip inside out and drop the two softest avocados into a mixing bowl. Save the firmest avocado for last.

Use a fork to mash the first two avocados.

Add the remaining ingredients…

Mix well with your fork and then gently fold in the last avocado for some more solid density and texture.

Serve! Here is a video of me serving the girls guacamole in the musical sombrero. The reaction is priceless.

This easy fresh-flavored dip is perfect for chips or fajitas.

Lillie and Sadie love Mussels!
March 6, 2009, 4:59 am
Filed under: gourmet kids recipe, lillie, mussels, pickles and cake, recipe, sadie

Lillie teaches us how to properly use a mussel shell to pull out the next mussel.

Smokey Pumpkin Seeds
November 25, 2008, 1:06 am
Filed under: gourmet kids recipe, kids food blog, pickles and cake, pumpkin seeds, recipe

The only thing better than a triple mushroom, bbq pumpkin burger is a batch of delicious smokey pumpkin seeds.

Split open a fresh pumpkin very carefully!

Pull all the seeds out of the pumpkin and rinse in a colander. Massage with your fingers to eliminate most of the pumpkin fiber. Rinse one last time…

Transfer to a bowl and shake on your favorite savory season blends. This batch was flavor-blasted with a combo of smoked paprika, Penzeys bbq 3000 and Penzeys smokey seasoned salt. Maybe a 1/4 cup for a large pumpkins worth of seeds.

Spread over a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until they are nice and crunchy. Use a spatula to remove and let cool.

Eat them shell and all!

Lillie can’t stop snacking!

Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
November 13, 2008, 1:06 am
Filed under: gourmet kids recipe, kids food blog, meatballs, recipe, spaghett squash

I acquired a spaghetti squash a few weeks ago and the girls were immediately fascinated. Spaghetti inside a squash? Could it be true?
Each night I pick them up, I ask them what they want for dinner and ever since the words “spaghetti squash” pinged onto their radar, Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs was the clear winner.

Finding a delicious low-fat meatball probably should have been a priority before creating this meal…In the end, my “fly by the seat of my pants” culinary approach worked to my advantage and once again reminded me that intuition and creativity beat out a recipe every time….at least for me.

I went to my recipe bible, America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook – BAD NEWS! The meatball page was missing! What the hell?! These 3-ring binder pages of this 848-page book are so thin and the most popular get torn occasionally. I’m pretty sure the meatball page also includes the fresh sauce section….crap.

Now what do I do? I pulled Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano off the shelf – he has got to have a rock-solid meatball recipe in there somewhere. I modified his Neapolitan Meatball recipe to suite my needs. I love a cheesy meatball and the low-fat ground chicken I’m using is very lean, so the first thing I changed was to double the amount of shredded Pecorino Romano cheese.

Double Cheese Chicken Meatballs

3 cups day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound ground chicken/turkey
3 eggs, beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Pecorino Romano, grated
¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ cup saltine crackers, crushed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoon Penzeys smoked seasoned salt (any seasoned salt will work)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a shallow bowl, soak the bread cubes in enough water to cover. Remove the bread cubes and squeeze by hand to wring excess moisture.

In a large bowl, combine everything and mix by hand to incorporate bread into meat. It will be a little soupy so chill (covered) in the fridge for a few hours. I let mine sit overnight.

With wet hands, form the mixture into 12 to 15 meatballs, each of a size of a golf ball. Place on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the center of the oven on 375 for 35 minutes.

Steamed Spaghetti Squash

Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Wrap in one layer of saran wrap and cook in microwave for 7 minutes. Let sit to cool in microwave for 10 minutes. Remove with caution because it will still be really, really, really hot. Really. Remove wrap and use fork to pull out the string-like layers of squash.

Plate the squash, top with your favorite marinara (I used my 5-minute creamy marinara – recipe to follow in a few days). Top with some sliced meatballs and dust with some microplaned Pecorino Romano.

Sadie was the first to give it a try. The meatballs were so flavorful and moist! I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they turned out.

Lillie was skeptical of the spaghetti squash at first but loved the meatballs from the start. They were so full of flavor.

Another fun dinner with dad!

Big bite! Even Daddy has got to eat!

Sadie cleaned the plate. Finger lickin’ good.

Miami Cream Cheese
October 14, 2008, 1:09 am
Filed under: gourmet kids recipe, miami cream cheese, pickles and cake, recipe, todd halstead

Todd “The Senator” Halstead came for a quick visit this past weekend and we couldn’t help but whip up a batch of Miami cream cheese for old time’s sake. An everything bagel loaded with this savory spread was a staple during our Framingham recording sessions back in the late 90’s.

Miami Cream Cheese

1 block of regular cream cheese, softened on the counter for 15 minutes
3 small scallions
1 cup smoked salmon
2 tablespoons of horseradish

These small scallions add some crunch and savory goodness.

Get yourself a good fresh prepared horseradish – if it has been in the fridge for more than 3 months, replace it for recipes like this.

Chop up the salmon into bite sized pieces and thinly slice the scallions.

Lillie monitors the whipping process. Whip until blended and the salmon begins to flake.

The final product won’t be around for long.

Fresh veggies for the most flavorful sandwich ever.

Slice and toast your everything bagels in the oven!

Now that’s a sandwich!

Sadie ate the whole thing.

A skilled bagel muncher, Lillie shows off her one-handed sandwich skills.

Halstead only ate two fingers this time.

Purple Haze Carrots

The first batch of Purple Haze Carrots have been harvested. I probably should have waited until they were a little bigger, but my little ravenous rabbits were chomping at the bit. They will eat anything from the garden on the spot so I had to get these carrots in the kitchen fast!

The skin is so tender I just left it on and cut carrots into small bite-sized pieces.

After steaming them for a few minutes, I tossed them with a very light drizzle of olive oil and local honey.

Lillie picked them up with her hands and ate them one by one like popcorn.