Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cauliflower and Ham Chowder

If you served a traditional Easter meal at home, you likely served ham with all the fixings.
Still have some leftover ham from Easter and want something to do with it?
 How about a creamy Smokey Cauliflower Corn and Ham Chowder?
So easy and delicious and healthy because there isn't any cream.

And, BTW, if you have any chowder left over, it tastes even better the next day.

2 bags of frozen cauliflower
2 tablespoons of Smoked Olive Oil (found at Joe and Son's)
1 medium onion chopped into very small pieces
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 cups chicken broth ( You can use fat free, if you like)
1 can of  whole kernel corn (15 oz), drained  or thawed, frozen corn
3/4 cup of chopped cooked ham
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic on medium heat in the Smoked Olive Oil till tender.

 Add the cauliflower and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook till the cauliflower is very tender, about 20-30 minutes. 

Using an emersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add the corn and ham. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir over low/medium heat until all of the ingredients are hot.

Serve and drizzle with a little more Smoked Olive Oil.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Schiacciata di Gidi

Gidi is the Italian name for Swiss Chard.  Swiss Chard used to be easy to find, but nowadays you have to be lucky and know someone who is growing it in their vegetable garden.  I'm not that lucky, so I improvise using fresh spinach.  Spinach is a good substitute and the result is a tasty variation of the original recipe.

I had assumed most people were familiar with this recipe, but I have just learned that this isn't so.  This takes only about 20 minutes prep time and maybe 25 minutes of cooking time.  So, in less than an hour you have a great appetizer, buffet table addition or a delicious snack.  Trust me, even people who refuse to eat spinach become quick converts once they taste this.

This version of the recipe only uses grated Italian cheese in the filling, but feel free to top the spinach filling with about a cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese before adding the top layer of dough.


Cooking Spray

2 Pillsbury Pizza Crust Tubes (refrigerator style)                                                        

1 bag washed and dried spinach leaves 12-14 oz

¼ cup Joe and Son’s Ultra Premium  EVOO…medium or robust intensity   (I used Coratina robust, from Italy)

5 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

¼ teaspoon salt

¼  teaspoon pepper


garlic powder

1-2  teaspoons  Joe and Son’s EVOO

¼  cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese


Spray a 9 x 12 baking sheet (1" high sides) with cooking spray.

Open 1 tube of pizza dough and spread evenly on bottom of pan.


In a bowl, combine spinach leaves, 1/4 cup Joe and Son’s EVOO, garlic, salt & pepper, grated cheese.  Toss until spinach leaves are coated. Place the spinach mixture on the base dough...taking care to leave about 1/8" of dough plain around the edges for sealing purposes.

Open the 2nd pizza dough tube and place it on the spinach mixture.  Press and seal the edges around the baking sheet.

With a fork, pierce the upper dough at least 24-30 times.

Using a pastry brush, moisten the upper crust with the additional olive oil.  You’ll want to use enough oil to really moisten the crust, but not so much that it pools on the crust.

Sprinkle garlic powder over the crust and top with a sprinkling of grated cheese.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool for 30 minutes before cutting into 2" squares.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Nicoise Salad Sandwich

When is a salad not a salad?  When it becomes a French Sandwich. 

This is not my recipe; I give credit to Waverly, who put together this combination of ingredients that come together to make an incredibly delicious sandwich.

Though this is not my recipe, I have made this sandwich and it is just too good not to share with you.

A decidedly Nicoise tuna salad is pressed between two garlic and oil slicked halves of a baguette.  It is then wrapped and left in the fridge overnight, which allows all of the juices to soak into the roll.

Serves 2


Nicoise Salad Sandwich
1/2 loaf crusty French baguette
1 clove garlic, cut in half
4-6 basil leaves
1 (6oz) can solid white chunk  tuna, drained
¾ cups Nicoise or Kalamata olives, sliced
½ small red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 jar or can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (optional)
¼ cup blanched French green beans, sliced into thirds (optional)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons Joe and Son’s Galega Ultra Premium EVOO
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

PREP THE BREAD: Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Remove some of the insides of the bottom half to create a trough into which the filling will go. Brush both halves with a little extra virgin olive oil. Rub each with the garlic. Line the half with the trough with the basil leaves.

MIX THE SALAD: In a mixing bowl, combine the tuna, olives, red bell pepper, onion, parsley, artichoke hearts and green beans. In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the lemon juice into the EVOO until it is emulsified/combined. Pour the vinaigrette into the tuna mixture and stir to combine. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLE: Spoon tuna mixture into the trough of the baguette over the basil leaves. Wrap sandwich well in plastic. Crush it down by placing a brick or heavy cast iron skillet and refrigerate, preferably with the weight, overnight.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spinach, Squash and Artichoke Casserole

I was  thinking ahead to Easter and what to fix as a side vegetable dish.  I was looking for a recipe that, of course, was quick and easy to fix and that would appeal to the kids in the family as well as the adults.

I had prepared something like this in the past, but I felt like playing around with it and added a little of this and a little of that to the original recipe.  I must say the end result is a rich, filling, tasty casserole that would be perfect for a holiday meal.

Don't be dissuaded by what appears to be a lengthy list of ingredients and processes.  If you look closely, you'll see very little slicing and dicing is involved and this is very easy to put together.  This will  serve from 10 to 14 people.


Spinach, Squash and Artichoke Casserole

2 cups diced celery

2 red bell peppers, diced

1 ½ cups yellow onion, finely chopped

2 medium sized yellow squash, sliced into thin rounds

3 Tablespoons Joe and Son’s Milanese Gremolata Olive Oil

5-6 cloves garlic, finely sliced

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup half and half cream

1 cup milk…either whole or 2%

½ cup softened cream cheese

1 ½ cup shredded mild Cheddar Cheese

1 ½  cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

2 packages frozen chopped spinach (10 oz) thawed, drained and patted dry

2 boxes of frozen artichoke hearts (I use Bird’s Eye) cooked al dente and drained

½ cup of grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large Dutch Oven, or saute pan, warm the Joe and Son’s Olive Oil to medium temperature and saute the celery, bell peppers, yellow squash and onions until the onions and squash are soft and slightly transparent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, or so.

Stir in the flour and gradually add the milk and cream, followed by the softened cream cheese. Cook over low heat for a few minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the grated cheeses and stir until they are melted.

Add the spinach and artichokes and stir to mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the creamed mixture into a 9 x 13 pan that has been prepared with cooking spray. Sprinkle with the Parmesan Cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until casserole is hot and bubbly.