Friday, August 19, 2011

DIY Fabric Bead Necklace

Here's a fun DIY project for your weekend: A fabric and bead necklace. It's easy to make an it's a great summer accessory. To make the necklace above, you will need the following supplies:

1 piece of thin fabric measuring 5" x 44"
2 1-inch wooden beads
3 1.25-inch wooden beads
thread
sewing machine

 Step 1: Hem each of the short ends of your length of fabric.

Step 2: You will sew the length of fabric into a tube with the wrong side of the fabric facing out. Place one of your larger balls in the fabric to measure how narrow you should sew your tube.

 Step 3: Pin the length of the fabric and then sew it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Roasted Black Sea Bass with Tomato and Olive Salad

Last week, we hosted a dinner party for my mother's birthday. With ten guests, it was out biggest sit-down dinner party to date, and it was a huge success. I cooked a menu out of one of the last issues of Gourmet, which included this fantastic pairing of sea bass and a tomato and olive salad. 
 
Black sea bass was wildly expensive (and not ocean-friendly) so we opted for local, wild striped bass, which was delicious. I skipped the recipe's instructions to sandwich the fillets over the onions and oregano and simply roasted the fillets with the onions and herbs on top -- they turned out just fine.

The tomato salad is just delicious: It's requires a little more effort than my usual simple, tomato salads, but it's definitely worth the work. The use of anchovy paste in the vinaigrette was a revelation to me. You could serve this as a side dish for any number of summer menus. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
 
Roasted Black Sea Bass with Tomato and Olive Salad
From Gourmet magazine

For salad:
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound grape tomatoes (preferably mixed colors), halved if large
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes (preferably mixed colors), quartered if large
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped oregano

For fish:
4 (6-to 8-ounce) black sea bass fillets with skin, any pin bones removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
6 (3-to 4-inch) oregano sprigs

Make salad: 
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in anchovy paste, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in oil. Toss with remaining salad ingredients. Let stand, stirring occasionally, while fish roasts.

Roast fish:

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Oil a 1 1/2-to 2-quart gratin or other shallow baking dish.
Rub flesh sides of fish with 2 teaspoons oil (total) and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (total). Divide onion slices and oregano sprigs into 2 portions and sandwich each portion between 2 fillets, skin sides out. Tie with kitchen string crosswise at 2-inch intervals and transfer to baking dish. Score skin on top in several places with a sharp knife and drizzle with remaining 4 teaspoons oil.
Roast fish until just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Cut off string and cut sandwiched fillets in half crosswise. Serve topped with salad.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ravioli Salad with Pepitas and Black Olives

Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day is winning me over: I made her Ravioli Salad with Pepitas and Black Olives earlier this week using some red pepper raviolis from Fairway, and it was pretty darn great. However, I think this recipe should really be called Ravioli Salad with Pepita and Cilantro Pesto. Swanson is the queen of creative pesto and the combo of cilantro, lemon and toasted pepitas was a nice twist on the usual herb-and-nut combos. Note that we had 14 oz. of ravioli and were left with extra pesto afterwards.

Ravioli Salad with Pepitas and Black Olives
From Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
Serves 4 to 6

1/3 cup s pepitas, toasted
1 cup  lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
2/3 cup  extra-virgin olive oil
Fine-grain sea salt
16 ounces  fresh or frozen ravioli
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and torn or chopped

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. In the meantime, make the cilantro pesto. Combine most of the pepitas, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice and a splash of the olive oil and blend with an immersion blender (or in a food processor or standard blender) until smooth. Continue blending as you gradually drizzle in the remaining olive oil, until the pesto comes together into a vibrant green sauce. 2. Taste and add salt or more lemon juice, if needed.
3. When the water boils, salt it generously, add the ravioli, and boil until they float and are cooked through, usually just 1 or 2 minutes.
4. Drain immediately and, while still hot, toss with a big spoonful of the pesto. Allow the pesto to soak in a bit. Then add another 1/2 cup of the pesto along with most of the black olives. Toss well, but gently, and then decide whether you want to add more pesto.
5. Turn everything out into a large bowl or platter and sprinkle with the remaining olives, pepitas and flowers. Serve warm or at room temperature. Reserve the remaining pesto for tossing with leftovers.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

An Interruption in Programming...

The next two weeks are going to be hectic! (And not because of wedding planning!) My parents arrived on Sunday for a two-week visit (they are staying in my sister's empty apartment while she is out of town, not here in our teeny one-bedroom apartment.) My future sister-in-law gave birth to a little girl last night, making me an almost-aunt. We we are going to meet this evening and I am so excited. As a result, my fiance's parents are high-tailing it to New York this weekend to meet their granddaughter and to take a quick trip out to Shelter Island to see where we will be married. Oh yeah, and one of my best friends from college is getting married next weekend and my fellow and I are both in the wedding party. AND it's my mom's birthday on August 10, and it's MY birthday on August 14.

On top of all that, work's pretty busy, and I'm working on a personal project that's eating up some time. So, I apologize for an what will likely be a quiet few weeks of blog posting. I'll be back soon enough with more details about our wedding plans.


In the meantime, you should all go out and buy David Tanis's The Heart of the Artichoke -- it's a keeper. On my parents first night in town we made most of the recipes in the 'Spices for a Summer Night' menu. All were absolutely delicious and easy to prepare.

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