RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: Red Onion

Grilled Chicken Breasts and Tomato Mix Bruschetta

We had a nice break in weather yesterday afternoon and T decided he would grill chicken breasts.  It has been weeks since our last barbecue.   I put the chicken breasts to marinate before he changed his mind.  First I crushed some garlic and in a zip lock bag I put some olive oil, the crushed garlic, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a mix of herbs: oregano, sage, and a little parsley.  A couple of shakes of smoked paprika and mixed it up and added the chicken breasts.

I decided it was time we could use some of our cherry tomatoes that I had frozen last summer.  I have been saving what was left of them for exclusive uses… celebrating that spring is springing and that we had some sun and would be having a grilled meal seemed special enough.  I would use a third of them and hideaway the rest for a couple of other exceptional meals for their use.

T cut up the veggies for the bruschetta: red and yellow cherry tomatoes, red onion, green and black onions.  While he was busy chopping I cut the French Bread down the middle and put some butter on to melt adding a small clove of well minced garlic and some fresh dried parsley to the butter.  Once the butter had melted and had simmered just a bit I spread it on half of the bread.  T was through with the veggies about the same time.  We misted the veggies with just a little olive oil and sprinkled some seasoning on them (basically the same mix as I had just put in the marinade for the chicken.) 

While I was broiling the bread and veggies… I decided to throw together a quick apple salad… T was getting the grill ready.  I waited until the chicken on the grill was about finished to add the broiled veggies to the bread and topped it off with some shredded Apple Smoked Gruyère Cheese.  About the time he was coming in with the grilled chicken breasts, that smelled like heaven I put the bruschetta under the broiler to melt the cheese some, just to add a little color.

The meal took no time at all to come together and it was delicious.  All the blends from grilled chicken, the seasonings and the wonderful little tomatoes, crusty bread were a wonderful blend of flavors and textures that we both enjoyed immensely.  The leftovers would be really good tomorrow….

Taken last summer by one of my deck gardens

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Florida Pink Shrimp Salad

We eat a lot of salads for our main course dinners.  I love to make richer dinners and deserts as you all know… but to make up for the caloric highs, fat and such we revert to lots of wholesome salads.   It makes up for the guilty pleasures in life.  Cannot have too much of a good thing all the time.  We also eat a lot of homemade cabbage soup and such for lunch.

Tonight we had a lighter dinner with our Florida Pink Shrimp Salad.  I make my own croutons… they have very little olive oil misted on the bread cubes I have cut from my bread with adding seasoning of garlic powder, onion powder, a little dry sage or oregano (depending on the meal I am mixing with,) parsley, smoked paprika, freshly ground black pepper and a little sea salt.  I put them in the oven and bake to a golden brown… I bag them and then have the extras for many others uses.

The shrimp I marinated for about an hour in olive oil with crushed garlic, pepper flakes, parsley, some fresh ground black pepper and a little sea salt.  I stir fried them in a little olive oil.  Then I placed them on a paper towel to drain some of the oil off before adding them to the salad.

The salad can be any lettuce you like or a mix of lettuce and add anything you like, in ours I added some avocados, red onions, cherry tomatoes and julienne carrots  (basically what I had on hand…) adding the croutons and shrimp.  The dressing can be your choice.

T had been working on the wood pile this afternoon so I made up a small 6” skillet of baked rolls for him to have with his salad.  When I make bread I always take some and make dinner roll size dough and place on baking sheet several inches apart and place in freezer.  When frozen I put into a freezer bag… when I need to have rolls for dinner I take out what I need (they will rise as they thaw) doing this we always have fresh dough dinner rolls ready anytime we should want.   

The Pink Florida Shrimp salad makes for a nice light dinner and fills you up with a very appealing as well as appetizing meal.  It was delicious….   

Taco Pizza

First I have an update to my last post… Hummingbirds!  I was stating that the Rufus Hummingbirds were late in arriving this year.  While I was having my first morning cup of tea I was watching the feeder and a bright little male Rufus Hummingbird arrived and shortly after he was followed by a female Rufus Hummingbird.  They made repeated trips to the feeder all morning.  It has been a long haul for them coming all the way from South America.  It sure was good to see them!  Before long we will have lots of hummers… the Anna Hummingbirds were not too happy with the new arrivals… but they will get use to them pretty quick.  I will give them a few days to get use to the area again and get settled in before I start pointing my camera in their direction!

Now for the pizza… When my children were young Friday night was usually reserved as  Pizza night.  They loved pizza, and Taco Pizza was their favorite, mine too.  I do not know why we have not had taco pizza in a very long time… I cannot even remember the last time we had it!  T says he has never had Taco Pizza and I have been with him for fourteen years! 

I have to admit at this point in time I have a little secret that I do not tell too many people.  I like Taco Bell Taco Sauce.  Not much else at Taco Bell makes me want to eat there, but I do like their sauce.  I noticed at Amazon the other day when I was looking for some things I needed to buy they had Taco Bell Taco Sauce by the bottle, you had to buy two, but hey… maybe I will make Taco Pizza more than once every fourteen years!

While there I decided to see if they sell Santa Fe Instant dried beans… Santa Fe Bean Company makes the best instant dried beans and has a variety of beans including black beans, pinto beans, southwestern style beans and I think there is one more.  I was introduced to the dried beans several years ago and they are delicious.  The store we usually shop at quit stocking them, we have not said anything… maybe if we spoke up they would restock… but I now know where I can buy the instant dried beans!  I could not make any better beans from scratch!   I do not normally go with instant anything but the taste and texture of these beans is incredible.  They are so good and Amazon did sell them (and at a better price)… you had to buy at least eight packages… but that was okay I love these beans, they are that good, I would give them a high hummingbird score!  They make a nice side dish with so many different meals.

The pizza dough was from Central Market; they have ready-made pizza and sell their dough too!  It is very easy to use and makes it so much quicker to make your own pizza.   There are many good recipes out there for making pizza dough if you want to make your own.  Besides when you are basically for the time being a one-armed person… you take all the help you can get! Once I have the dough spread onto the pan I spread the dough with a layer of the Santa Fe beans I have already made per package directions (you can use canned refried beans or make your own they do not have to be instant beans.)   I spread half of the pizza with seasoned cooked ground turkey meat (when cooking I added some onions and when cooked I add some taco seasoning, chopped fresh parsley and then mixed well.)  Next you will spread on some Mozzarella Cheese.  Bake in 475˚ oven, placing rack on the lowest position for 9-14 minutes… when the crust is golden brown it is done.  Watch it carefully, you do not want to over-cook and let it get dried out!

Once you have your pizza out of the oven you cover with thin sliced avocados, some thin sliced lettuce, thin sliced red onions, and diced tomatoes, then throw on a few black olives.  I put some sour cream and taco sauce into squeeze bottles and put the finishing touches on the pizza.  It was now ready to eat.

T said the pizza was really good and would like to have it again… I do not know why it took me so many years to revisit one of my favorite pizzas; it was delicious and full of flavor… excellent to the last bite ….

Making a good dent!

 

 

Parmesan Cheese Nests with Grilled Veggies

We needed to use up the veggie’s in the refrigerator and decided to do some grilled veggies.  I heated up the Panini Grill and misted the veggies with a little olive oil.  We had cherry tomatoes, sweet little peppers, asparagus, and red onions.  To top it off I sliced some garlic and fried it in a little olive oil.  Once the garlic is done place on paper towel to absorb some of the oil. 

The parmesan cheese nests are so easy.  First make the cheese bowls and then do the veggies.   To make the nests use about a half cup of parmesan cheese per bowl and put in a heated stainless skillet, spread the cheese a little.  When it is melted and a golden brown flip it onto an inverted bowl (I used cereal bowls.)  Then gently press the melted cheese around the bowl put aside until you have your veggies grilled. 

Mound two nice piles of spinach on grill when they are each browned some flip over and brown the same.  I left the cherry tomatoes whole, sliced the red onions and mini sweet peppers around ¼ inches thick.  Grill the asparagus whole, grilled each until you see the grill marks. 

What a nice mix with the drizzled balsamic vinegar.  We had some mushroom soup and bread sticks to finish off the meal….

I wanted to let everyone know that a friend of mine Geraldine, at My Real Life Reviews has some contests going on right now that gives away “free prizes!”  She has invited all of us to visit and to join in on the prize give-aways!  Hope to see you there!

I am still waiting for the face of spring….

Almost!

Nothing kills moss… here is deer moss or deer lichen.

Spinach, Cherry Tomato, Feta Bruschetta with Blackberry Balsamic Syrup

 

One of the things I dearly love to start a dinner party with is Bruschetta, it always brings with it conversation.  Happy conversation with lots of explicatory expressions and too the added wonderful ooh’s and aah’s!  It makes me feel so good!   The variables are as many as you could possibly think up and then add some more.  It is one of those things that goes well with wine and most any kind of drink before dinner.  It is also good as part of a dinner, I love it with a salad or soup… it is as endless of what you can serve this with as the variables of how to make Bruschetta.  I also have been known to eat just Bruschetta when I do not have an appetite, almost always it is just what I needed.

Lemon-Garlic-Herb Dressing   

     Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon mix of chopped basil, oregano, thyme (this can be one or a mix of all three or even other herbs… your choice I prefer to use fresh, but you can use dried, just remember it does not take as much they are more intense in flavor!)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice (I go very light on the lemon mix because of using the blackberry balsamic vinegar later, just a hint)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Flake Sea Salt to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

I put all the ingredients in a pint size jar with a tight-fitted lid and shake thoroughly.  I usually have some in the refrigerator or make this the morning I need.

I learned something as a young bride.  I had no idea about herbs… fresh or died.  I was finally enlightened… if you did not know about how much seasoning  to add…  then to your mix add just a pinch and taste, you will know if you want more or not and add a pinch more and taste just remember you can never take away a herb once it is added.  I did a lot of pinching and tasting those first few years!

For the spinach, tomato, red onion topping:

       Ingredients:

  • About 2 cups of assorted cherry tomatoes – I used red and yellow that I had on hand, halved (I quarter if large)
  • ½ small red onion sliced in ½ inch length about half that width
  • Fresh Basil or Oregano, Thyme (your choice, or even something else)
  • One loaf of Ciabatta Bread (I like to cut about 3-4 inch squares and then cut diagonally
  • One garlic clove peeled and halved
  • 3 Cups of steamed (de-stemmed) spinach
  • Feta Cheese
  • Black Berry Balsamic Vinegar

 

Black Berry Balsamic Vinegar

     Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar

Put vinegars in sauce pot and bring to boil, reduce to simmer and reduce by half.  It should have a nice thickened-syrup consistency, will lightly cover a spoon.  Let cool and pour into a cruet or small pitcher.  You could also use one of the plastic dispensing bottles (it makes it easier-less messy to drizzle the blackberry balsamic Syrup on the Bruschetta.)

Combine the halved-quartered tomatoes, red onion, and drizzle with the Lemon-Garlic Herb Dressing, set aside and let set at room temperature. You can make this in the morning, just refrigerate.  Preheat oven to 400˚when you are ready to bake-roast the tomatoes and red onions.

Steam the spinach.  Get the Ciabatta Bread sliced and take the halved garlic and rub on the top of each slice of bread.  Place the tomato mix on jelly roll pan, I sprinkle a little of the herb mix and just a pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper on the tomato mix (does not take much you have already added to the tomatoes with the herb dressing.)  Place in oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the skinned are starting to get browned and blistered, take out of oven.

Dip the jelly roll pan until the tomato-juices mixed with the Lemon-Garlic Herb Dressing has went to the one end of the pan.  I set the tomato end of the pan at an angle on a folded pot holder so the juices kind of stay at the other end of pan.  I then take a pastry brush and brush each piece of the garlic-ciabatta bread with the tomato juices.  Place bread under broiler until the bread is nicely toasted.  Lay jelly roll pan with tomato mix flat so the juices blend again.

Put a layer of steamed spinach on the toasted ciabatta bread.  Top with some of the roasted tomatoes and onions.  Scatter some of the feta cheese on top, and then drizzle each with blackberry balsamic syrup.

Roasting the tomatoes concentrates their flavor and intensifies the taste with the lemon-garlic herb dressing adding to that blend the flavor of the feta cheese and the topper of all this is the blackberry balsamic vinegar, what a wonderful mix, united it is a fusion of nothing but pure ecstasy… definitely over the top!  It makes such a wonderful pairing of the whole and makes it so easy to savor every bite… it wakens up your taste buds from first bite.  This is something that I love to serve knowing full well that the instant my guests start eating I can see on their faces what they think of this Bruschetta….

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