Thursday, July 30, 2015

Grilled Pesto Chicken with Roasted Pepper and Fresh Mozzarella

Prepared pesto gives this recipe a big flavor punch and makes it easy for you to get dinner on the table in 20 minutes.  Which leaves you more time for the beach, or the pool, or cocktail hour or however you like to spend your summer days.

Recipe developed for Baker's Joy
photography by Paul Gelsobello Studio 

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes
4 servings

1 can Griller’s Joy Grilling Non-Stick Cooking Spray 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 Tbsp. refrigerated prepared pesto, divided
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered lengthwise
8 fresh basil leaves
4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

Spray grill grates with Griller’s Joy spray and preheat grill to medium.  Coat chicken all over with 2 tablespoons pesto.   Arrange peppers skin side down and grill 4 to 5 minutes until skin begins to char.  Turn and grill until very tender.  Remove from grill and wrap in foil or place in bag for 2 minutes.  Remove skin from pepper.

Grill chicken 8 minutes, turning once and brushing with remaining pesto until cooked through.  Top each piece of chicken with one pepper quarter, 2 basil leaves and mozzarella.  Grill covered, 2 minutes or until cheese melts.

Time saving tip:  Use jarred roasted red peppers instead of roasting your own.
Serving suggestion:  Serve on Italian rolls for a hearty sandwich.

My new favorite refrigerated pesto is Rana Basil Pesto.  While it's nice to make your own, there's really no need since this pesto tastes as good as home-made.  I keep it in the fridge for a quick flavor boost in everything from pizza to pasta.  

If you can't find Rana, Buitoni is a good second choice.

Food Stylist: Catherine Paukner
Prop Stylist: Heater Bean
Creative Direction/Food Stylist Assistant: Lauren Dellabella

Friday, July 24, 2015

Coconut Tequila Colada

I must admit, I love a Pina Colada, but rarely drink them because of the fat and calories and because they are just so damn filling!
I'm also a tequila girl at heart.  So when 1800 Tequila came out with a Coconut Tequila, it was the perfect excuse to come up with a more guilt-free version of a Pina Colada.

This Tequila Colada is only 3 ingredients and it's light, refreshing and delicious! 
The perfect beach cocktail!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes 1 to 2 servings 

2 ounces 1800 Coconut Tequila
2 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces coconut water

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker.  
Shake until chilled and frothy.  
Serve over ice and garnish with fresh pineapple.

Equal proportions make it easy to double, triple, quadruple...pour into a plastic pitcher and you're good to go for cocktails on the beach!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Unless you're an avid gardener, squash blossoms are a delicacy found only at Farmers' Markets.  Because they are so perishable, they need to be used almost the day that they're picked.  These lovely blossoms are typically thought of as either a trendy menu item or 'something my grandmother used to make'.

I first discovered them at a seaside farmers' market.  I experimented with them a bit, stuffing, frying, sautéing.  By far, our favorite way to eat them is stuffed with cheese, dipped in batter and quickly fried.  What's not to love?!

I like to keep the batter on the light side, as the blossoms are delicate in flavor and texture and heavy  batter would overtake the blossom.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Makes about 4 servings

about 16 squash blossoms
1 cup ricotta
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 to 1 cup beer or club soda 
Oil for frying

Remove stamen from blossoms. 

Combine ricotta, basil, Parmesan, garlic and lemon zest.   Using a pastry bag or spoon, fill each blossom with about 1 tablespoon cheese mixture.  Twist ends gently to close.

Combine flour and salt; gently stir in beer until smooth.  (The batter is very light, if you like a thicker coating, use less beer.)

Pour about 1 ½ to 2 inches oil into deep skillet and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. (or add a drop of batter and when it starts to sizzle it’s ready.)

Dip blossoms in batter shaking off excess batter.  Gently lay them in the oil, without crowding the pan. Cook, flipping once with a slotted spoon, until golden, about 3 minutes. 

Transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fruity Brownie Pizza

Looking for an easy and delicious summer dessert?  You can't go wrong when you combine 2 favorites - pizza and brownies!  Top it off with a sweet cream cheese layer and luscious, seasonal fruit for a dessert everyone will love.

photography by Paul Gelsobello Studio
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Makes: 12 servings

1 can Baker's Joy non-stick spray with flour
1 package (18 oz.) brownie mix
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 package (8 oz.)  cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons raspberry liquor (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups fresh cut-up fruit (such as strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries)
chocolate syrup (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 12-inch round pizza pan with Baker's Joy spray.

Combine brownie mix, egg, oil and water in medium bowl; stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepare pan and spread evenly with spatula. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely in pan on  wire rack.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in raspberry liquor and vanilla.   Add heavy cream and beat 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over top of brownie leaving a ¾- inch border .   Arrange fruit on top and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Recipe developed for Baker's Joy
Food Stylist: Catherine Paukner
Prop Stylist: Heater Bean
Creative Direction/Food Stylist Assistant: Lauren Dellabella

More decadent chocolate desserts!
Salted Caramel Brownies
Mocha Torte with Hazelnut Ganache