A Few Of My Favorite Things!

Since I’ve been in and out of the hospital with Mr. T since last week I’m reposting one of my most favorite menus for all of you to enjoy.  We have weeks full tests and procedures but I’m doing my best to keep things going on-line.  All the best to all of you!

We’re going a bit lighter this week.  These are some of my most favorite recipes.  Easy, healthy and so delicious!  Here’s the menu for four:

Champagne Cocktails

Lemony Zucchini Bruschetta

Roasted Tomato and Fresh Herb Pasta

Pan Roasted Grouper

Fresh Berry Napoleons

Sauvignon Blanc


Champagne Cocktails

For each flute, soak a sugar cube in Angostura Bitters, top with icy cold champagne and a twist of fresh lemon.

zucchini and lemon bruschetta

Lemony Zucchini Bruschetta

1 whole wheat baguette

1 small log goat cheese

1 organic lemon

2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

1 organic zucchini

Shaved parmigiano reggiano

Slice the baguette on the diagonal, 1/4 inch thick.  Place in a single layer on a sheet pan and toast at 325 degrees until crisp, about 15-20 minutes.  Let the goat cheese soften at room at room temperature.  With a lemon zester or the fine edge of a grater, remove the zest from the lemon (the peel), mix with the softened goat cheese, adding 1 tablespoon of juice from the lemon and the fresh herbs.  Wash the zucchini and with a mandoline or very sharp vegetable peeler, cut thin strips lengthwise.

To assemble:  Spread each slice of bread with a thin coating of the cheese mixture.  place a strip of zucchini on top and curl, like ribbon candy (see picture).  Squeeze any leftover lemon juice over the top.   Top with a small bit of shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese and serve.


Roasted Tomato and Fresh Herb Pasta

1 pound angel hair pasta (I use the gluten free variety made from Quinoa)

2 pounds organic plum tomatoes roasted (see instructions below)

Extra virgin olive oil

1 cup each of fresh basil, flat leaf parsley and scallions, finely chopped

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 cup shredded asiago cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  The pasta takes very little time to cook so I usually leave this step to last, so after the water boils turn it down and let it simmer so it’s ready.  Chop the roasted tomatoes and place in a large saute pan with 1 tablespoon good olive oil.  As the tomatoes begin to sizzle, add the fresh herbs and cook for about five minutes.  You want the herbs to be slightly crunchy.  Bring the water back to a boil, cook your pasta, drain it well and add it to the saute pan.  Add the toasted pine nuts and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the pasta mixture to a large platter and sprinkle with asiago cheese.  Garnish with large basil leaves.

Roasted Tomatoes:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  place halved plum tomatoes on the pan and drizzle with good olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt.  Place in the warm oven for 3-5 hours.  You want the tomatoes to be slightly browned.  You can keep these stored in a container in your refrigerator for up to one week for use in all sorts of dishes that call for tomatoes.  Roasting the tomatoes in this way really enhances their flavor and gives them a sort of “candied” taste.

pan roasted grouper

Pan Roasted Grouper

1 1/2 pounds fresh grouper cut into 6 ounce serving pieces

2 tablespoons good quality olive oil

juice of one lemon

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon butter

sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the olive.  Lightly salt and pepper the grouper pieces, carefully adding them to the hot pan.  Cook for three minutes on each side, remove to a warm plate and set aside.  Add the lemon juice and wine to the pan, swirl in the butter and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and pepper as you desire.  Return the grouper to the pan to coat with the sauce.  You may add capers and lemon wedges if you wish.

berry napoleons

Fresh Berry Napoleons

Do not be afraid of filo dough.  It is in your grocer’s freezer and it is a wonderful thing to keep in yours.  I have done both dessert and main course Napoleons and they are always delicious.  Take a deep breath and have fun with it!

1 package filo dough, thawed

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter, melted

1 carton each fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

1 jar good quality raspberry jam

1/4 cup chambord liqueur

1 small carton whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon good vanilla

Heat the oven according to the instructions on the filo dough package.  On a sheet pan, carefully place one sheet of dough, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Repeat this until you have eight layers of dough.  With a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 3″x4″ rectangles.  Bake until golden brown.  You’ll probably need to do two pans of this for four people.

Rinse the berries and toss together in a bowl.  In a small pan melt the jam, adding the chambord at the end, if the mixture is a bit thin you can add 1 teaspoon or so of cornstarch that has been dissolved in 1 tablespoon water, stir well over a low flame until slightly thickened.  Chill a medium sized metal bowl and use this to whip the cream until stiff peaks form.  Add just a bit of vanilla to give the cream extra flavor.

To assemble:  On each dessert plate place one square of pastry.  Spoon the jam mixture on the pastry and top with a heaping spoon full of berries.  Repeat this two more times, ending with berries on top.  Spoon a generous amount of whipped cream on each Napolean ad serve.  A nice cup of espresso is the perfect accompaniment to this yummy dessert!

3 Responses

  1. thyme (sarah) Says:

    Your menu line up for the week is so perfect. The bruschetta is so pretty…I love anything with goat’s cheese. The toasted pine nuts go so well with pasta.

  2. Melissa Says:

    Thank you Sarah! I love your blog too, so pretty and beautifully presented. Great to hear from you!

  3. Judith Says:

    all sound good…wondering if you remember the Champagne Cookies

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.