Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grilled Sea Scallops with Green Onion Relish and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Take a deep breath. If you enjoy sea scallops grilled combined with the flavor of bacon, this dish will rock your world!  The crispy bacon relish makes a perfect topping for the grilled scallops.

The bacon fat left behind after the bacon is cooked makes for a slightly salty and sweet dressing.

Grilled Sea Scallops with Green Onion Relish and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Serves 4
Recipe from Bobby Flay

Perfectly Grilled Sea Scallops

1 pound sea scallops (about 20), muscle removed
1/4 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Heat your grill to high
2.  Brush the scallops on both sides with the oil, making sure that they are well coated, and season with salt and pepper.  Place the scallops on the grill and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, about 3 minutes.  Turn over and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes longer until just cooked through.

Relish and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons olive oil
8-ounces bacon, cut into a small dice
2 green onions, white and green parts, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 shallots, finely diced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Transfer the bacon to a small bowl, stir in the green onions, and set aside. (Reserve the bacon fat in the pan.)

2.  Increase the heat under the pan to high, add the shallots, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.  Add the vinegar and sugar, bring to a boil, and cook until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat, stir in the mustard and thyme, and season with salt and pepper.

3.  Transfer the scallops to a platter, drizzle with the warm bacon vinaigrette, and top each scallop with some of the green onion relish.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grilled Summer Vegetables with a Scallion Vinaigrette

Healthy foods are easy to come by in the summer months when vegetables are abundant.  At our house, our grill is fired-up at every opportunity.  We grilled a variety of vegetables and served it with a healthy versatile dressing, which is just as good on delicate greens as it is on grilled vegetables, fish, or meat.

Yes, along with those healthy grilled vegetables there was room for a few hot dogs too. 

Until now, it never occurred to us to grill radishes.  Wow, what were we missing!  Radishes really take on a mellow flavor when grilled.  I have added them to our personal list of vegetables that are plentiful and benefit from being grilled.

Grilled Vegetables with a Scallion Vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup
Recipe from Bobby Flay

For the vegetables:
Assorted vegetables suitable for grilling (we used baby portabella mushrooms, radishes, zucchini, yellow squash, and asparagus).

Heat grill to high.  Brush the vegetables lightly with olive or canola oil.  Season the vegetables with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Grill the vegetables for roughly four minutes on each side until tender.

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
6 scallions, pale and dark green parts only, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a blender, puree the scallions, jalapeno, vinegar, water and honey: gradually add the oil.  Add the cilantro and pulse.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Ton Vanvliet

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shrimp, Cucumber and Mango- Sunday Supper Salad

Mangoes and cucumbers are abundant this time of year, and each summer we highlight these ingredients in a wonderful salad.  It is easy to prepare, and when served family style, can serve a crowd.  

This salad has a mild sweet flavor with a hint of spiciness that provides a lot of flavor with minimal effort.  The whole salad can be put together in under twenty-minutes.

We have been making this salad for many years. I have no idea where the recipe came from but, it is one of our easy to prepare for friends and family favorites. 

Shrimp, Cucumber and Mango Salad
Serves 6


For the dressing:
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons mayonnaise

For the salad
4 large pickling cucumbers, peeled, pitted, cit into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 pound cooked medium shrimp
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Hot pepper sauce to taste
12 bibb lettuce leaves

Mix vinegar and sugar in a small bowl until sugar dissolves.  Whisk in mustard and mayonnaise.  Cover and chill (Can be made 1 day ahead).

Combine cucumbers, mango, shrimp and dill in a large bowl.  Pour dressing over mixture.  Toss to coat. Season with salt and hot pepper sauce.  

Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter (or individual serving plates). Top with the shrimp salad.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mango Margarita

Mangoes are in season and they are practically giving them away here in Florida.  When the mangoes are ripe, this drink is perfect. This margarita is smooth and it is spiked with plenty of tequila.

Mango Margarita
Makes 1 drink
Adapted from Margaritas Mojitos and More

1 lime wedge
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup crushed ice
1/2 cup peeled, cubed ripe mango, plus 1 or 2 wedges for garnish
2 ounces good quality gold tequila
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce Cointreau or other good quality orange liqueur

Note: Make sure you use ripe mangoes, and don't use too much ice. This is a cocktail that the mango flavor should have the opportunity to be the star.

Moisten the outer rim of a chilled  margarita or martini glass with the lime wedge.  Spread the salt on a shallow plate and dip the glass in the salt, covering it with a light band.  Set the glass aside.

In a blender, combine the ice, cubed mango, tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau.  Blend at high speed until smooth.  Pour into the prepared glass.  Garnish with a mango wedge or two.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dill Pickle Cucumber Slices

The cucumber pickles in this recipe will not take you more than 10 minutes to prepare. They will be sweet and crunchy, and maybe a bit sour too.  You can serve them up as an accompaniment to your favorite sandwiches, as a side dish to your favorite grilled meats, or placed on grilled or pulled meat sandwiches.

Dill Pickle Cucumber Slices
Makes 1- 1/3 cups
Recipe from Sara Moulton

One 5-to 6 inch-inch piece seedless ( English) cucumber
Note: I used 4-6 small kirby cucumbers
2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1- 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Thinly slice enough of the cucumber to make 1-1/3 cups.  Finely chop the dill (about 1 tablespoon).  Combine the cucumber with the vinegar, dill, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small nonreactive bowl.  Set it aside at room temperature and use within an hour, or cover and refrigerate for later use.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bloody Manny

I want to introduce Andy Wallack from the blog That Jew Can Cook  I am honored that he agreed to guest post for Tomatoes on the Vine.  If you have not had a chance to properly welcome Andy to the food blogosphere, please visit his website.   He has an amazing food blog that includes mouthwatering photos, cooking videos, and recipes.  Check out his blog post on his backyard pig roast .  He is a fun guy and a talented cook.

Hi, my name is Andy and I am Velva's online drinking buddy.  I met Velva through our mutual blogs and when she asked me to guest blog on her site, I thought it would be really apropos to serve up some Bloody Marys using some fresh tomatoes.

My cooking style is usually a little over the top, and my Bloody Mary should be called a "Yes".   Does it have horseradish?  Yes.  Does it have olives?  Yes.  Does it have celery?  Yes.  Lemon?  Yes.  Hot Sauce?  Black Pepper?  Extra vodka?  Of course!

Before we get started, a little background on me.  I am Jewish and was raised in a very Italian neighborhood where I picked up a love of food and cooking.  Growing up, I usually got a ribbing from my friends when they hear I like to cook.  Us Jews are not widely known for our cooking prowess, but we are out there...I embraced the stereotype and named my site  "That Jew Can Cook"

Of course, my friends still haven't stopped giving me grief, and last summer when drinking bloodies by the beach, my version was nicknamed the Bloody Manischewitz or Bloody Manny for short.

Bloody Marys are strange beasts.  A good one is sublime, and a bad one is usually good enough to get the job done.  For example, the worst Bloody Marys are served on airplanes, but on my last trip to Vegas we had half the plane buying rounds for each other.  After 3 or 4, they became the best Bloodies I can recall!  Too bad I don't recall much after that.

A few notes about the tomato juice:  I recommend using a juicer and making your own tomato juice.  Previous to the juicer though, I went with V8.  It was thick and salty, and almost a perfect starting point to build your drink.  Using fresh tomatoes however, turns it into a summer pool drink instead of some hair of the dog recovery tonic.  Just look at how bright it is in the pictures.

There are a lot of differences using fresh juice, and not everyone in my posse have bought into this "gourmet crap".  Fresh juice is much lighter and little more acidic than the canned juice, so it needs to be balanced with some extra salt and vodka.

So, if you have a juicer, grab yourself a handful of tomatoes and juice away.  Any tomato will do, I've done it with cherry tomatoes, beefsteaks, and special this week for Velva, "tomatoes on the vine".

As far as vodka, use the good stuff please and don't get me started on Absolut.  Absolut is crap in my opinion.  An especially pleasing vodka for this application is Bacon Vodka (I think they spell it Bakon).  Pig makes everything better.  Always remember " The power of the pig".  If you don't have bacon vodka handy, you could always stir in a bacon strip or some rendered pancetta.  By the way if you haven't guessed, I don't keep kosher.

Here is the basic formula for the Bloody Manny.  I am reticent to call it a recipe, as it is too darn adjustable based on your tastes.

  • Use fresh tomato juice.  You can use V8 or that canned stuff too, but not for me thanks.  If you make the juice fresh, use some extra salt and keep tasting it.  If you don't go with any bacon (vodka or a cooked strip), then smoked sea salt is a nice way to get a similar effect.  Put it on the rim and you can charge a few bucks more.
  • Since you have decided to follow my advice and make the juice fresh, you might as well juice up an extra celery stick and some of the olives.  Just because you can.
  • Horseradish.  Making it fresh is usually beyond my time commitment, plus you run the risk of blowing out your sinuses.  I add a heaping tablespoon.
  • Add a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce(s).  I go for El Yucateco green habanero, whoa Nelly!
  • Bacon Vodka, or my old standby Ketel One.  Make sure you use more for each subsequent round of drinks.
  • Green olives with pimento.  Drinks are one of the few occasions I don't go with Kalamata or Sicilian olives.
  • A few splashes of worcestershire sauce
  • Lemon wedge
  • Black pepper
  • Celery


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Rachel Cotterill

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Oktoberfest in July-Beer Simmered Grilled Bratwurst with Onions and Red Sauerkraut

Welcome to Sunday Supper and the dog days of summer.  Friends have arrived, the music has been turned up, the beer is cold, the cocktails are whirling in the blender, and the grill is fired up.  To avoid the stifling Florida heat, we are moving our weekly eating festival indoors where the a/c and ceiling fans are humming.

This is one of my husband's favorites for a summer grilling dish that serves a crowd. The bratwurst is simmered in dark beer, and infused with warm spices like mustard, coriander, ginger, and caraway. Placed on the grill till crisp and golden brown, it will get your guests to sit-up and take notice.

The grilled bratwursts are served up with a quick homemade red sauerkraut, grilled onions and a spicy brown coarse mustard.

We are submitting this summer favorite to the Battle of the Sandwich hosted by Chez What? at

Beer-Simmered Grilled Bratwurst with Onions and Red Sauerkraut
Serves 6 can be doubled easily to serve 10 or 12
Recipe from Bobby Flay

For the Sauerkraut:
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 large head red cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the vinegar, water, and sugar in a large saucepan (not aluminum or cast-iron), bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until sugar has dissolved.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the cabbage is soft, about 20 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. (the sauerkraut can be made up to 2 days in advance, cooled, covered and kept refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature and drain before serving.)

For the Bratwurst:
3 large onions, thinly sliced
3 pounds bratwurst, pricked with a fork
6 (12-ounce) bottles of dark beer
2 cups water
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Hot dog buns, hoagie buns, or bratwurst buns
Various mustards ( spicy brown, sweet-hot, and coarse-grain)

1.  Arrange the onion slices on the bottom of the medium stockpot.  Place the bratwurst on top and add the beer, water, coriander, caraway, mustard seeds, and ginger.  Bring to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.

2.  When ready to serve, heat your grill to high

3.  Lift the sausages out of the pot.  Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl.  Discard the remaining liquid and aromatics.

4.  Grill the sausages until crisp and golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total.  If you like grill the buns until lightly toasted.  Serve the bratwurst on the buns with sauerkraut, onions and mustard.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Classic Buffalo Style Hot Chicken Wings

I realized while viewing the photos that I took for this post that my photo completely missed the natural feel of eating traditional buffalo wings.  This is a dish that should be served up with a casual flair, not on a white platter.  I blew it on this one but, I am hoping that you will overlook my faux pas, and concentrate on the delicious, multiple napkin experience that these wings will deliver to you.

A nice twist on this Alton Brown recipe is that wings are steamed initially before they are oven roasted. This allows some of the fat in the chicken skin to boil out providing a less calorie dense version of buffalo wings, without sacrificing any of the flavor. This is a good thing when you can easily eat a dozen at a time.

Buffalo Wings
Serves 4  (Appetizer servings)
Recipe from Alton Brown

12 whole chicken wings (note: this recipe was easily doubled)
3 ounces unsalted butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Place a 6-quart saucepan with a steamer basket and 1-inch of water in the bottom, over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.

Remove the tips of the wings and discard or save for making stock.  Using kitchen shears, or a knife, separate the wings at the joint.  Place the wings and discard or save for making stock.  Place the wings into the steamer basket, cover, reduce heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes.  Remove the wings from the basket and carefully pat dry.  Lay the wings out on a cooling rack set in a half sheet pan lined with paper towels and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Replace the paper towels with parchment paper.  Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes.  Turn the wings over and cook another 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and skin is golden brown.

While the chicken is roasting, melt the butter in a small bowl along with garlic.  Pour this along with hot sauce and salt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken and stir to combine.

Remove the wings from the oven and transfer to the bowl and toss with the sauce.  Serve warm.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Chris Butterworth

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Australian Lamb and Wine, No Better Way to Dine!

What is the best way to showcase Australian wines? 

Grilled baby lamb chops with garlic and mustard

Elegant, romantic and makes an impressive presentation.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic and Mustard
Serves 4
Recipe from Bobby Flay

1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
Coarsely ground black pepper
12 ( 3-ounce) baby lamb chops, frenched
Kosher salt

1.  Heat your grill to high.

2.  Whisk together both the mustards, the garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, oil, honey, thyme, paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.  Pour half of the mixture into a second bowl and set aside for serving.

3.   Season the chops on both sides with salt.  Brush each chop with some of the mustard mixture and place on the grill, mustard side down.  Grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip the chops over, brush with more of the mustard mixture, and continue grilling to medium-rare, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

4.  Remove from the grill, brush with the reserved glaze, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.