Sunday, August 26, 2007

Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches

Knowing that my parents and sister were straining in the heat to unload her things and unpack her dorm room, I knew I could only be a good daughter and sister if I brought them a picnic lunch. I lay in bed, trying to sleep in on a hot Saturday morning, but all I could think about was roasted vegetables and pasta salad, until I had to get up and get cooking.

I decided to forego the pasta salad (instead I brought leftover salad from the night before). But the roasted vegetables persisted. We still had a zucchini from my uncle's garden, tomatoes from my great aunt, an extra loaf of bread from the fondu, feta from salad making, and balsamic vinegrette from the boy's experiments with a medditerranean tortellini dish. With these powers combined, huzzah! Roasted summer vegetable sandwiches. Somehow I managed to divy the bread into six sandwiches, but I would say a safer bet would be four (the sandwiches were quite skinny a hard to eat, though tasty). Also, any summer veggies would do--eggplant, summer squash, onions--this is just what we had on hand. They could also be good with cheese, olives, and a variety of other toppings/condiments.

The rest of the picnic consisted of: salad, cheese (cheddar and fontina) and crackers, iced tea, and pound cake with cool whip.

Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches
Serves 4 - 6

olive oil
1 large zucchini, cut into thin, diagonal rounds
1 large tomato, cut into thin slices
3/4 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/2 jarred roasted red pepper, drained and cut into thin strips
1/2 cup balsamic vinegrette (2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 large loaf of crusty italian bread
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
2 - 3 TBS sour cream

1) Brush the zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2) On a grill or grill pan, grill the zucchini until seared, about 4 minutes each side, adding more oil as necessary. Remove and transfer to a large plate or platter, laying the slices in a single layer.
3) Grill tomato slices and artichoke hearts until just seared (only about 1- 2 minutes per side). Transfer to the plate and layer on top of the zucchini slices.
4) Add roasted red pepper strips to the vegetable platter. Pour balsamic vinegrette over the vegetables. Season with oregano, and salt&pepper to taste. Cover and refridgerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the vegetables to cool and the flavors to mingle.
5) Combine the feta and sour cream to form a spread. Cut the loaf of bread length wise. Spread the feta spread evenly across the top half.
6) Remove vegetables from the fridge and drain. Apply the vegetables in an even layer across the bottom half of the bread. Put the top half back on and cut into equal portions for sandwiches.
*If picnicking, wrap each sandwich individually in foil or wait until you arrive at your picnic destination and divy up the sandwich there.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fondue Party

My parents, sister, and uncle came over last night for dinner since my sister is moving back into school for the fall. So I wracked my brain for something fun and easy to serve to a crowd that I could mostly prep ahead of time. Inspired by the latest specials at The Melting Pot (one of our favorite fancy restaurants) I decided to try my hand at a cheddar fondue.

First, let me say, it came out fine. However, like last time when I made an Italian Cheeses fondue (the recipe of which I will include another time) I ran into the same problem: the fondue was too liquidy. I still attribute this to too much wine and/or not letting some of the wine cook off first. So be aware of this, if you try said recipes. I'm going to include half as much wine next time and see if that helps.

Anyway, cheddar/fontina fondue, a make-your-own-salad bar, and chocolate/marshmallow fondue was what was served up. Enjoy!

Cheddar Fontina Fondue
Serves 5

1/2 cup of dry white wine (could also use beer or hard cider)
2 - 2 1/2 cups of grated sharp cheddar
2 cups grated fontina
1 TBS flour
1 1/2 TBS spicy brown mustard
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of red pepper flakes or hot sauce

30 mini smoked franks
3 granny smith apples, cut into cubes
1 loaf of crusty french bread, cut into cubes

1) Heat wine in heavy bottomed pot until simmering over med-high heat. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
2) Lower the heat to medium. Toss the grated cheeses together with the flour until coated. Add the cheese in handfuls to the wine, stirring constantly in a figure eight pattern until smooth and incorporated.
3) Add mustard, Worcestershire, and red pepper and stir until blended.
4) Transfer cheese to a warmed fondue pot (I would recommend allowing the water in the fondue pot to heat up to a simmer before transferring).
5) Serve with dippers!

Make Your Own Salad

Romaine lettuce
Red bell pepper, diced
Carrots, diced
Cucumbers, sliced
Red Onion, diced
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Hard boiled eggs, sliced
Sun flower seeds
Salad dressings of your choice!

Chocolate Marshmallow Fondue
Serves 6 - 8

1 bag (~2 cups) Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup light cream
1 toasted marshmallow

Marshmallows dusted in graham cracker crumbs
Strawberries, halved
Pound cake, cubed
Bananas, sliced

1) Heat cream in a sauce pan over medium heat until simmering around the edges.
2) Add chocolate chips and allow to sit for 1 -2 minutes until softened. Whisk together until smooth and creamy!
3) Transfer chocolate to warm fondue pot.
3) Toast a marshmallow over your sterno or gas stove (or heat one in the microwave until gooey, about 20 seconds). Plop onto the chocolate fondue.
4) Serve with dippers and dig in to deliciousness!