The Food That Sings

Tomato, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Salad June 1, 2010

Filed under: Pasta — alisonfsu @ 1:05 am
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As the weather heats up, I am always looking for quick and fresh meals that do not heat up the kitchen. If you like to eat caprese salad, then you will really enjoy this pasta salad. The flavors are clean and fresh and the meal is quite healthy. I took this pasta salad to a cook out at a friends house for Memorial day and it was a hit! Hope that you will try it as a stand alone meal or side dish!

Tomato, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Adapted from The Washington Post

16 ounces of penne (fusilli, bowties, whatever shape you like)

10- 12 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces

1 container of cherry tomatoes, quartered

Fresh, caprese-style pasta salad

15 to 20 medium to large basil leaves, coarsely chopped

4 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped

2 handfuls of toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar- more to taste

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta until done. In a dry saute pan, toast two handfuls of pine nuts for approximately 2 minutes. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water until cool. When it is completely dry, transfer to a large bowl. Add the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, scallions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper and add additional balsamic to taste. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 4-8.


Roasted Cauliflower with Indian-Spiced Barbeque Sauce May 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — alisonfsu @ 3:42 pm
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I have been trying to eat more vegetables. When I stroll up and down the vegetable aisle, I rarely select cauliflower because I think that it has very little taste. Well, with a little roasting and tangy “barbeque” sauce, my cauliflower was transformed. I was impressed with how much flavor roasting the cauliflower brought out, and was scraping the plate for every last bite. The cauliflower has a slightly burned look on the top of the florets after cooking, but they do not taste burned and provide a crunchy treat. I hope that you too will give cauliflower a chance!

Roasted Cauliflower with Indian-Spiced Barbeque Sauce

Adapted from Bon Apetit


1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 2-pound head of cauliflower, cored and cut into  1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Roasted cauliflower

1/2 cup of ketchup

1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar


Preheat the oven to 400. Toast ground cumin in a small skillet over medium heat until it begins to smoke and is darker in color, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Toss the cauliflower and 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl. Transfer the cauliflower to a medium baking sheet. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

While the cauliflower is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add ginger and garlic; saute until fragrant, approximately 3 minutes. Add ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and toasted cumin. Bring mixture to a boil, slowly whisking to blend. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

Remove cauliflower from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with enough barbeque sauce to coat, approximately 2-4 spoonfuls. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 side-dish servings with extra barbeque sauce


Caponata with Yellow Squash and Zucchini April 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jlcouch @ 1:04 am

I love recipes where you can eat it a number of ways.  This really works well for the various taste preferences in my house.  Recently I was watching the food network and saw Giada make a “caponata panini” with eggplant.  I decided to give it a try with what I had in my refrigerator:  zucchini, green peppers, and squash.  It makes a slightly sweet and delicious sauce that you can eat on pasta, over rice, or between two slices of french bread pressed.  My personal favorite was the latter.


Adapted from Giada’s recipe for Caponata Panini


Simmering Caponata

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 yellow squash, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 red (or green) bell pepper, cored seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices

3 tablespoons raisins

1/2 teaspoon dried oreganoCaponata with Yellow Squash and Zucchini.  Try it on a panini!

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon drained capers

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the celery and squash and zucchini and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, raisins, and oregano to the pan. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, sugar, capers, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Season, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve over pasta, rice, on a hoagie, or between French bread slices (pressed like a Panini with cheese).


Yumm Sauce March 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — alisonfsu @ 6:53 pm
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My husband and I lived in Eugene, Oregon, for a number of years and enjoyed a weekly trip (sometimes by-weekly) to Cafe Yumm. Yumm is a restaurant based in Eugene, that makes interesting and healthy food centered around yumm sauce! If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating a yumm bowl, it is honestly worth a trip to the great Northwest. A few friends who visited us in Oregon have been asking for this recipe, so here it is. The ingredients can be found at your grocery store, and can be enjoyed in a homemade yumm bowl- any creation of rice, beans, yumm sauce, and your favorite toppings. For ideas, check out Cafe Yumm’s website:
Yumm sauce is egg free, dairy free, wheat free, gluten free, sugar free, cholesterol free and low in sodium. Enjoy!

Yumm Sauce
1/2 cup oil (Canola works well)
1/2 cup almonds
1/3 cup brewers yeast
1/3 cup garbanzo beans – drained
1/4 cup soybeans (Can substitute with silken tofu, approximately 1/2 cup)Cafe Yumm, Eugene, Oregon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder

Blend nuts, beans and oil in food processor. Then blend in yeast and liquids one at a time. Puree until smooth.


Baked Lemon Pasta March 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — alisonfsu @ 12:34 am
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I have been looking for a flavorful lemon pasta for a while, well, I HAVE FOUND IT! This dish took less than 30 minutes, required few ingredients, made the entire house smell like Spring, and had a lot of flavor. I used a Meyer lemon olive oil that I purchased at Lowcountry Gourmet Foods in Savannah, Georgia. The store offers a large variety of flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars that are worth checking out online.* If you do not have flavored olive oil, you can increase the lemon zest to balance out the flavor. I hope that you will try this tasty, weeknight pasta!

*Website for Lowcountry Gourmet Foods: Lemon Olive Oil

Baked Lemon Pasta

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

3/4 a box of angel hair pasta

4 tablespoons salted butter or margarine

2 tablespoons of Lowcountry Meyer lemon olive oil (or regular olive oil)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 whole lemon, juiced and zested

2 cups low fat sour cream

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, or more to taste

pinch of red pepper flakes

1 handful of parmesan cheese, or italian blend cheese

flat-leaf parsley (I did not have this on hand, but it would taste great on top of the dish)

Preparation:Out of the oven and ready to be eaten!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook angel hair until al dente. In a skillet, melt butter and lemon olive oil on low heat. When butter is melted, add garlic, red pepper flakes, and squeeze in fresh lemon juice. Turn off heat.

Add sour cream, lemon zest, and salt, mixing together. Pour sour cream mixture over drained angel hair and stir together. Put angel hair in an oven safe dish.

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes- watch pasta to make sure that it does not dry out.

Place a final squeeze of lemon on the pasta, and top with chopped parsley.

Serves 4-6


Aged Cheddar and Guinness Fondue and Irish-American Soda Bread March 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jlcouch @ 1:11 am
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Today, in many homes across the world, families are making their favorite Irish traditional dishes: Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Soda Bread, Shepherd’s Pie.  I too wanted to participate in this nod to my Irish ancestry, but with the hectic day that I had, I decided to go with something a bit less usual.  Fondue.  My family loves Fondue.   We have been enjoying the delicious (and traditionally Swiss) meal for years and every time we make it, and we try to make it slightly different each time, we look at each other and promise to make the quite simple dish more often.  Here is a recipe that was modified from a previous German Stout and Cheddar fondue that we have made in the past.

I’ve also included a recipe for Irish-American Soda Bread.  Irish-American soda bread is a sweeter, lighter take on the traditional bread.  This one has currants and caraway seeds in it as well. This is my first time making it and it was a success.  Delicious!


2 apples, cored & cut into chunks

Ingredients for fondue

2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cups of sweet gherkin pickles (surprisingly delicious with fondue)
2 cups baby carrots, each halved
1 baguette (or any bread with lots of crusty crust)
lil’ smokies sausages or pigs-in-blankets

1 lb good aged cheddar, grated
2 ½ tbs all-purpose flour
8 oz. Guinness stout + more if needed
6 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp powdered mustard
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp olive oil

Mix in the cheese gradually

Cut the bread into 1” squares. You may want to toast the bread. If your bread is day-old, skip this step.Turn oven to 250F. Toast bread pieces for 15 minutes. Remove and cool.

Make fondue: Toss grated cheese with the flour (a very important step!). In your fondue pot over low heat, or in a saucepan, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and garlic. Fry until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn heat to medium-high. Add Guinness, apple juice concentrate, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Bring to boil. Add cheese a little at a time, stirring constantly until fondue is smooth and melted. Thin with more Guinness, if needed throughout the meal. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve: Arrange bread, vegetables and fruit around the table. Enjoy!

Irish-American Soda Bread

Fondue and dipping ingredients

From King Arthur

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar

2 large eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1/2 cup yogurt)
1 cup (5 ounces) currants or golden raisins, firmly packed
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon milk, for glazeRight out of the oven
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, for topping

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, and beat on high speed until the mixture is thick and light-colored, about 2 minutes. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then 1 cup of the flour. Gently beat in half the buttermilk (or milk/yogurt mixture), then another cup of the flour. Add the remainder of the buttermilk, and the final cup of flour, mixing until smooth. Stir in the currants and caraway seeds.

Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 8″ x 3 1/2″ round pan (or a 9″ x 3″ round pan), one whose capacity is at least 5 1/2 cups. A souffle pan or panettone pan is a good choice. Drizzle the milk atop the batter, and sprinkle with the sugar.

Bake the bread in a preheated 325°F oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Tent a sheet of aluminum foil over the top for the final 15 minutes, if it appears to be browning too quickly. Remove the bread from the oven, wait about 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a rack to cool. Allow the bread to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing. Yield: about 12 servings.


Eggplant Rollatini with Basil and Goat Cheese March 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — alisonfsu @ 3:58 pm
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I am very excited to begin this food blog and connect with other busy foodies! I constantly look for interesting recipes that can be made during the week. This recipe makes a wonderful weeknight meal that features goat cheese, one of my favorites, and eggplant. By making your own marinara, you will have leftover sauce to freeze for another meal. This recipe was easy to put together and will impress family or friends! I hope as our food blog progresses, my food photography skills will improve!

Eggplant ready to be broiled

The tasty completed recipe

Eggplant Rollatini with Basil and Goat Cheese

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

For the Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot or 1/2 large carrot, finely chopped
1 small stalk of celery, including the green tops, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, including the juice (Recommend San Marzano)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the eggplant rolls
1- pound eggplant
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella
4 ounces herbed goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
2- 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the tomato sauce:
Heat olive oil in a large wide skillet on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and parsley. Stir to coat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened and cooked through.
Remove cover and add the minced garlic. Increase the heat to medium high and cook the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, including the juice and allow them to break down. Add the tomato paste and the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered until thickened, about 15 minutes.

For the eggplant rolls:
With a sharp knife cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Pat the slices dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. In a bowl stir together the mozzarella, the goat cheese, and the shredded basil. Arrange one layer of eggplant on the oiled rack of a broiler pan, and brush it with olive oil. Broil the eggplant under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it is golden. Turn the eggplant, brush it with some of the remaining oil, and broil it for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until it is golden. Transfer the eggplant to a large platter to cool and broil the remaining eggplant, brushing it with the remaining oil, in the same manner. Spread a mounded teaspoon of the cheese mixture lengthwise down the middle of each eggplant slice, leaving a 1-inch border at the wide end, and, beginning at the narrow end, roll up the eggplant jelly-roll fashion. Cover the bottom of a shallow baking dish with tomato sauce, and arrange the rolls, seam sides down. Cover the rolls with sauce and top with any remaining cheese mixture. Broil eggplant for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is just melted and bubbling.

Yields: 8-12 rolls and 2 1/2 cups of sauce