Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Refreshing Watermelon and Feta Summer Salad

Watermelon might be my second favorite fruit after mango. This summer, try this delicious and simple watermelon salad. It will take you less than 10 minutes and the taste is thirst quenching and refreshing. I first saw this on the TV show 'Next food network star' last season but since then I've seen it literally everywhere -I've seen versions with olives (Nigella, Oprah) and red onions (Paula Deen) but I like it just simple.
It's hip, cool, healthy, refreshing and a perfect complement to your July 4th bbq celebrations. And if you are a little hesitant about combining feta with watermelon, let me just tell you that it is the perfect combo of sweet and salty and you have to try it to see what I mean.
Pick a good watermelon that has deep red color. July is a good time because they are in season and everywhere!

Watermelon sliced, no seeds
Feta cheese crumbled
Balsamic vinegar
Mint leaves chopped

Spread the sliced watermelon on a plate or dish. Crumble feta with fingers and spread over the watermelon. Drizzle balsamic vinegar. Top with mint leaves. How simple is that!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Night Italian -- Easy Penne with Sundried Tomatoes, Artichoke & Sausage

This is super easy and great for a quick Monday night meal. Inspired by the Molto Gusto (Mario Batali) & my friend Sara Eapen who made a version of this when Maureen and I went to visit her in her new condo in Boston.

1 bottle of sun dried tomatoes in oil.
1 can artichoke hearts quartered
1 sausage from the fresh meats section -- I just got 1 regular sausage but usually the mild flavored freshly made sausage like apple, garlic or other from whole foods also works well.
Garlic - 3 pods
Shallots 1-2
Dry spices: Red pepper flakes, oregano, crushed pepper
Parsley fresh chopped fine
Parmesan cheese -- freshly grated very fine
Penne pasta
1) Boil pasta per directions -- about 15 minutes for penne. Add oil and salt to water
2) In a skillet (cast iron if you have it or other) sautee and cook sausage (remove casing and break for more of a crumble texture). Set aside
3) Add some of the oil from the sun dried tomato bottle and sautee minced garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes. pinch of oregano
4) Add rest of the sun dried tomatoes. Sautee and add the artichokes. Season with crushed pepper and a bit of salt as needed
5) Turn off and focus on pasta -- it should be slightly firm and not overcooked. When done add to skillet. Toss & add sausage.
6) Serve in a bowl. Add freshly grated parmesan & parsley. Enjoy with a glass of Pinot Grigio!!