Friday, July 1, 2011

July 1, 2011

Here we are, in the midst of our vacation out east. I haven't gotten into the kitchen too much to cook, but I have tasted some fabulous and varied dishes all week. As a result, I dedicate this week's edition to my mom - one of the most fabulous cooks I know! Our family had a large family reunion on Saturday; a sit down dinner for almost 60 relatives right here at my parents' home. The three keeper recipes here are my mom's and used this weekend during the festivities. A light and delicious green bean and tomato salad; a marinade perfect for everything from grilled tuna to chicken breasts; a moist and tasty crumb cake reminiscent of the corner store and bakery near my grandmother's house on Long Island. These three recipes got double thumbs up from everyone that tried them.

For the party, we used the marinade on grilled shrimp that were then refrigerated and served room temperature at the party. In fact, the first thing to run out at the party was the whopping 10 lbs of shrimp that we made! You will have to take my word for it - all these recipes not only taste fabulous but present beautifully. I didn't think to snap any pictures of them, but when I make them, I will update the recipes with a photo. These are all well worth you making!

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
Citrus marinade
Tastes like "Phil's" New York Crumb Cake

Green Bean and Tomato Salad


* 1 1/4 pounds green beans, trimmed
* 1 1/4 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
* 1 tablespoon minced shallots
* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Blanch beans in boiling water 3 - 4 minutes; drain and shock in an ice water bath.
2. Place beans, tomatoes, and oregano in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.
3. Combine shallots and vinegar, stirring with a whisk. Let vinegar mixture stand 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, and pepper to vinegar mixture, stirring with a whisk until well blended.
4. Pour vinaigrette over bean mixture right before serving; toss well.

Citrus Marinade

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. In a large non-reactive dish, mix together all the ingredients. Place in the protein of your choice (raw shrimp, chicken breasts, tuna steaks). Turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
2. Grill over high heat. Enjoy hot or chilled!

Tastes Like "Phil's" New York Crumb Cake

Ingredients for the Cake

1/2 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Ingredients for Crumb Topping

2 cups of flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
confectioners' sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 12 pan
2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer (or your stand mixer) to combine all cake ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Spread batter in pan and bake for 10 minutes or until partially set. Set the pan aside until ready for topping.
3. Combine the all crumb topping ingredients except the confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Mix until it forms a crumb consistency. Sprinkle crumbs over the cake pan, pressing lightly and ensuring full coverage of the cake batter. Bake 20 minutes or until light brown. Let the cake cool for at least an hour.
4. Before serving, dust the entire cake with confectioners' sugar. Cut the cake and serve!

This cake doubles beautifully and uses the entire cake mix and so forth. Double all the ingredients. If doubling, use either two 9 x 12 pans and keep the time the same, or use one 12 x 16 pan (a jelly roll sheet will work very well) and increase the time for the initial baking to close to 20 minutes (keep an eye on it).