Wondering what to make for dinner this week? Here's a variety of recipes to try whether you want to grill, keep things light, or recreate stadium recipes at home (plus a dessert, just because).
Fire up the grill for a delicious dinner
This healthy dinner recipe is perfect for using up whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand. Just pay attention to cook time. Denser vegetables, such as peppers and onions, take a bit longer than softer ones like zucchini and squash. Smaller ones, like cherry tomatoes, may need to be cooked in a grill basket.
2 ears corn, husked and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2 portobello mushroom caps
2 medium bell peppers, cut lengthwise into 6 pieces
2 medium zucchini, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices
1 Japanese eggplant, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium red onion, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
8 ounces Italian pork sausage
1. Whisk oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade in a small bowl. Brush beef with 1 tablespoon of the remaining marinade. Add corn, mushroom caps, peppers, zucchini, eggplant and onion to the large bowl and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature, stirring the vegetables once or twice, for 1 hour. Or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
2. Preheat grill to medium-high.
3. Grill the beef and sausage, turning once halfway through, until the beef is cooked to your liking, 12 to 14 minutes for medium, and the sausage registers an internal temperature of 165 F, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board.
4. Grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred, turning once or twice, 8 to 10 minutes total.
5. Slice the beef, sausage and mushroom caps. Arrange on a platter with the vegetables. Drizzle with the reserved marinade or serve it on the side.
Marinate beef and vegetables in the refrigerator for up to four hours.
(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at www.eatingwell.com.)
Recipe of the Day: Chicago-style hot dogs
If you're watching your favorite sports team from home this year, you're probably going to miss some of those classic game day foods. Luckily, we've found a way to bring the stadium to you with these Chicago-style hot dogs.
The secret to this hot dog recipe is the way it's assembled. Instead of a regular bun, the Chicago-style hot dog uses a poppy seed roll and is topped with onions, pickle relish, peppers, tomatoes, pickles, mustard and celery salt. It's a delicious stadium food that pairs well with beer.
The dish can be made in less than one hour by simmering the hot dogs in water for about 10 minutes, but make sure you check out what the best hot dog brands are before giving this recipe a go.
Most of us are familiar with the celebrated tomato, basil and mozzarella salad named caprese. Some people think this salad was created as a symbol of the Italian flag, because the red, the green and the white components are artfully layered on the plate. I’ve made many versions of this Italian classic when tomatoes and basil are at their best.
Recently, I was scrolling through a food website when I happened upon this clever take on the tomato salad by Mollie Katzen. She is an award-winning cookbook author and artist who wrote “Moosewood Cookbook,” among many others. If you are not familiar with her, check out her body of work at http://www.molliekatzen.com. She posted the photograph you see here that thrilled me with its smart reinterpretation using summer fruits instead of tomatoes. It is a stunning and colorful plate that will probably entice the pickiest eater in your family.
There isn’t a recipe, per se, but more of an idea. The ingredient amounts depend on the number and appetites of the eaters. You can make this for breakfast, brunch or lunch. It’s very quick; the only thing you need to do ahead of time is make sure to first heat a grill pan (for the bread) over low or medium-low heat.
Then brush thick slices of whatever artisan bread you have on hand with olive oil. The bread goes on the preheated pan while you assemble the caprese. Keep an eye on the bread; turn over to grill the second side when the first is slightly crusty and golden.
Serve the bread slices on the side, cut into large croutes, if desired, and mop as you go. You can add a handful of toasted walnuts to the bread plate if you want. This loose recipe/idea requires simply layering the ingredients on a large platter or on individual plates; separate plates might be a good idea due to the pandemic.
Fruit Caprese Salad
Serving size and ingredient amounts vary
First layer: sliced fresh mozzarella in a single layer.
Second layer: slices and pieces of peaches, nectarines, pluots, whole red or blue berries, halved pitted cherries, and figs.
Third layer: a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Fourth layer: random drops of excellent (real Italian) balsamic.
Fifth layer: torn basil leaves.
1. Once you have layered all the ingredients on individual plates, top with salt and pepper. No mixing or tossing necessary!
2. Serve the toasted bread on the side and enjoy.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)
When life gives you lemons, make Greek potatoes
Typically, when you order a souvlaki dinner it comes with salad, rice and Greek potatoes.
Greek potatoes have a delicious lemon flavor, and if they’re done well, they’ll be fork-tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. It’s an easy potato recipe to serve as a filling side dish to a Greek-themed meal.
Most Greek potato recipes I found online include fresh garlic, but according to my Greek friend, Natale, there’s no garlic in Greek potatoes. I can understand why, as the high heat of the oven would cause the garlic to burn and turn bitter.
To make these potatoes extra crispy, I’m using the same technique that I use for my breakfast home fries: Par-cook the potatoes in boiling water and finish them in the oven. Cooking the potatoes this way makes them super crispy and also allows you the option to start the recipe now and finish it later.
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds potatoes, peeled, and cut into wedges
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2. Add potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Boil for 8 minutes. Drain potatoes.
3. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a baking dish large enough to hold the potatoes in one layer. Add potatoes, and gently toss in lemon mixture. Spread potatoes in an even layer and sprinkle with oregano.
4. Roast potatoes until crispy, turning halfway through, about 40 minutes.
You can use baking potatoes (thick skin) or boiling potatoes (thin skin).
Juice the lemons over a thin mesh strainer over a bowl - this will help catch the lemon seeds.
Sprinkle the oregano on the potatoes after I’ve tossed them with lemon and olive oil. This makes the oregano stick to the potatoes, as opposed to falling to the bottom of the baking dish.
Another great way to serve these potatoes: allow them to cool to room temperature and then drizzle with olive oil, a splash of lemon juice and some chopped fresh oregano.
(Kary Osmond is a Canadian recipe developer and former television host of the popular daytime cooking show “Best Recipes Ever.” Her easy recipes include helpful tips to guide you along the way, and her love of plant-based cooking offers healthy alternatives to some of your favorite dishes. Learn more at karyosmond.com.)
How to make the best vegan pesto
Homemade pesto couldn’t be easier to love. The simple Italian sauce tastes great on everything from pasta and pizza to sandwiches and grain bowls. It’s particularly delightful in the summer months, when fresh herbs are bright and bountiful, and plump in-season veggies need little more than a smear of the stuff to shine.
Traditionally made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and plenty of Parmesan cheese, classic pesto is a no-go for vegans. But it’s actually incredibly easy to make a dairy-free version, and it’s so darn tasty you’ll never miss the cheese. Here’s how to make the absolute best vegan pesto in just 15 minutes.
Reach for lemon juice
While some vegan pesto recipes call for replacing the cheese with nutritional yeast, I think the beauty of cheese-less pesto is that you can really taste the brightness of the fresh basil. So I simply reach for a lemon. A generous squeeze of lemon juice not only enhances the bright flavors of the pesto, but it also helps keep it vibrant and green.
3 tips for the best vegan pesto
1. Use pine nuts or walnuts. While pine nuts are the traditional nut of choice, they’re also expensive. Walnuts deliver just as much buttery flavor, making them an excellent alternative. Toasting the nuts first intensifies their rich flavor and mellows any bitterness.
2. Go heavy on the basil. You’ll need 6 cups of fresh basil leaves, or about 2 healthy bunches, to make 1 cup pesto. If you have basil overflowing in your garden, making pesto is a great way to use it.
3. Be smart about storage. Even with the addition of lemon juice, pesto will inevitably start to brown. If you plan to use it all up within a week, pack it into a small container and pour a thin layer of olive oil over the surface to prevent it from oxidizing, then store in the fridge. Otherwise, your best bet is to freeze it.
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup raw pine nuts or walnuts (2 ounces)
2 cloves garlic
6 ounces fresh basil (2 healthy bunches)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium lemon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Toast the nuts. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F. Place 1/2 cup raw pine nuts or walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven, tossing halfway through, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes total. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and let cool.
2. Pick the leaves from 6 ounces fresh basil to get about 6 lightly packed cups.
3. Smash 2 garlic cloves. Add to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, 5 to 6 pulses.
4. Add the basil leaves and pulse until coarsely chopped, 6 to 8 pulses.
5. Add 1/3 cup olive oil, the juice of 1 medium lemon (about 3 tablespoons) and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined, about 10 seconds. The pesto should not be completely smooth but rather a rough but uniform paste.
Recipe notes: Store pesto in the smallest container possible with the smallest top surface area and thoroughly pack it in to eliminate air pockets. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the surface or press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pesto. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Pesto can also be frozen for several months.
(Sheela Prakash is senior contributing food editor for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Old-fashioned buttermilk bar donuts are crispy, fluffy perfection
I am an equal opportunity donut lover. I love them all, from the mass-produced to the artisanal. But if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the old-fashioned buttermilk bar, which boasts craggy edges and a glazed top that I can’t get enough of.
Buttermilk bars rose to popularity in Los Angeles-based mom-and-pop donut shops in the 1960s. They are still the top seller at many Los Angeles donut shops today, including Primo’s. Because I have yet to try one in LA, I did what I do best: I developed a recipe at home. The ones I’m sharing here are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and make for a fabulous weekend baking project, if I do say so myself.
3 tips for making buttermilk bars at home
Buttermilk bars, as their name implies, are shaped into rectangles rather than circles — but otherwise, they’re pretty similar to classic old-fashioned donuts made with buttermilk. Here are some helpful tips for making them at home.
1. Use whatever type of sugar you have on hand. I like to make the dough with equal parts granulated and brown sugars, but you can use either all granulated sugar or all light brown sugar with equally successful results.
2. Be generous with the flour. Although the donut dough is very sticky, it can take some tough love, so don’t be afraid to generously flour your hands and the work surface to prevent it from sticking.
3. Use a fish spatula or a spider to transfer donuts to the oil. I find a fish spatula is the easiest tool for transferring the donuts to the oil and retrieving them, but many others prefer to use a spider. Use whatever frying utensil you are most comfortable working with.
Perhaps most importantly, don’t be too precious! These donuts are meant to be rustic, and no matter what shape they enter the oil in, they’re guaranteed to be delicious all the same.
Buttermilk Bar Donuts
Makes about 30 bars
For the donuts:
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup buttermilk
About 2 quarts vegetable oil, for deep frying
For the vanilla glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup boiling water
Make the donuts:
1. Place 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Place 3 1/2 cups cake flour, 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Place the melted butter, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use a large bowl and electric handheld mixer.) Beat on medium speed until fluffy, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, about 2 minutes.
4. Reduce the speed to low. Add 1 large egg and 3 large egg yolks one at a time, stopping and scraping down the bowl as needed. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk and mix until combined.
5. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix just until a few streaks of flour remain. Remove the bowl and continue mixing by hand until there are no dry bits of flour. The dough will be quite sticky. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight. The rest in the fridge makes the dough easier to work with: it remains sticky, but firms up considerably.
6. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Heavily flour a work surface and your hands with cake flour. Transfer half of the dough to the work surface and sprinkle it with flour. Pat the dough into a 3-by-24-inch rectangle with the long side facing you, adding more flour to the work surface as needed. The dough is extremely soft and sticky, so don’t be afraid to use as much flour as you need.
7. Use a floured bench scraper or butter knife to cut the rectangle into 1 1/2-inch wide bars, flouring underneath the bars, the work surface, and the bench scraper as you work. Once all the bars are cut, dip the bench scraper in flour and very gently press it down the center of each bar, making a slight indentation (this will give your donut the quintessential buttermilk bar look).
8. Using a brush, lightly brush the excess flour off the bars. Use a floured bench scraper or thin metal spatula to gently transfer each bar to one of the prepared sheets, flipping it over so that it is indentation-side down. Brush the excess flour from the other side of the bars. Refrigerate and repeat with shaping and cutting the remaining dough.
9. Fill a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven with at least 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat the oil on medium-high heat until 350 F, or a bit above (the temperature will drop when you add your donuts). Meanwhile, fit a wire rack over a baking sheet.
10. Remove the first tray of bars from the refrigerator. Frying in batches of 4 to 5 so as not to crowd the pot, use a thin metal spatula to carefully transfer the donuts into the hot oil. Fry until dark golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Carefully transfer the donuts to the rack with the spatula. Repeat frying the remaining donuts. Let cool to room temperature before glazing.
Make the glaze:
1. Place 2 cups powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 1/4 cup boiling water and whisk until shiny and smooth.
2. Dip a donut indentation-side down halfway into the glaze. Lift it up and allow the excess glaze to drip off. Return to the rack glazed side up and repeat with the remaining donuts.
Recipe note: The donut dough can be made and refrigerated up to 24 hours before frying.