Thursday, August 29, 2013

Double Pesto Grilled Cheese Bites | Friday Night Bites

Today begins my five day mini vacation.  I guess you can call it a stay-cation.  Just needed a few extra days tagged onto the long holiday weekend to relax, take care of things around the house and do fun things around town. If you live in the Bay Area like I do, you know that living outside of San Francisco for the next five days will make it challenging to head over the bay bridge, since it is officially closed for preparations to opening the brand new bridge.  Years in the making, it is an exciting time for bay area residents.  Luckily, our plans do not include heading into the city for the long weekend.

As for this week’s Friday Night Bites, I was inspired by the sun dried tomato pesto that I made last weekend for the sandwich I entered into the Mezzetta Make That Sandwich contest.  Hubby couldn’t get enough of the pesto and said it was the secret weapon to a winning sandwich.  My fingers are crossed. In addition to that pesto, I made another wonderful pesto a couple weeks ago, that was equally as delicious.  I thought; why not combine them together to create a suburb little bite.  I love anything mini when it comes to an appetizer – oh heck – I love appetizers.  Oh and I adore a great grilled cheese sandwich, so why not make mini grilled cheese sandwich bites with the sun dried tomato and walnut arugula pesto.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Mezzetta Italian-Etta Sandwich

I absolutely adore a wonderful sandwich that is jam packed with flavor.  It can have a few ingredients or a million, as long as it tastes delicious.  I often gravitate towards a grilled or toasted sandwich over the soft bread type sandwiches – although those have a place in my repertoire too.  Probably my favorite staple sandwich is the classic grilled cheese.  Growing up it was the one with those slices of American cheese that came in the wrappers – you know what I talking about. Smile. The cheese melted really well and oozed out as you ate the sandwich.  As a grown up, my palate has refined a bit and my grilled cheese now is with jarlsburg, light rye and a bit of pepper jam inside. Still might sneak a childhood version now and then.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gin & Tonic Sorbet | Friday Night Bites

At our last book club get together, we had the most amazing dessert.  We alternate between the 10 ladies in the club as to who will be the hostess (with the mostess). A couple weeks ago, Cindy opened up her lovely home to all of us to discuss our book selection – Transatlantic by Colum McCann.  The overall majority enjoyed the book and we had some lively discussion, which is a good thing. Sometimes the book doesn’t resonate with everyone and that is okay; just means the discussion is shorter.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Brown Butter & Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies | Secret Recipe Club

The third week of the month means it is Secret Recipe Club time.  It is a time when I get to experience the great reveal and who clandestinely had my blog for a month.  Did they look through every post or simply go to their favorite category to make their decision?  Sometimes I am astonished how far back the viewing goes; sometimes a post from several years ago makes the great reveal.  What post will it be this month? If you want to get in on the action, simply click on the Secret Recipe Club and learn how to join in the fun. 

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fig Crostini Trifecta | Friday Night Bites

My adoration with figs continues.  A new fig season begins and many recipes to be made with these purple little gems.  One day soon I will be setting aside time to make 60 plus jars of Balsamic Fig Jam to have for gifts and of course for personal enjoyment.  Thinking about it now, I will probably lean on the side of making more than sixty.  It is actually quite simple to make – I just need to secure the time.

When I spied figs at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, I knew the window had opened but before I know it, that window will close.  The time is now – carpe diem.  Don’t be shocked if you see several upcoming posts featuring figs.  The most common figs on the market are the Brown Turkey and Mission figs.  You may see both green and purple figs, which both taste similar but visually quite dissimilar. 

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Fig, Beet and Watermelon Salad with Caramelized Shallot Dressing

A trip this weekend to the farmers market proved to be fruitful once again.  If you remember, I made a Farmer’sMarket Salad with Honey Lime Dressing about a week ago.  It was simply divine and this week I have another delightful summer salad to share.  Okay, if you know me or have been follow Authentic Suburban Gourmet for sometime, you know I have a slight obsession with figs.  I never really had them as a kid, except for the good ole fig Newton.  My affinity with these perfect little gems spans from my making my Balsamic Fig Jam to strategically placing on a Proscuitto and Fig Pizza.  The vivid colors of this salad scream fresh and tasty. 

A great salad can be a masterpiece, perhaps even your own Mona Lisa of sorts.  The possibilities are endless.  Often when I head to the farmers market I will browse the vendors to observe the seasonal offerings.  The simple clue is when 2 or 3 vendors are carrying the same items, and then you wrap back around and choose the vendor with the freshest produce.  Summer time is particularly bountiful with heirloom tomatoes, berries of all sorts, stone fruit galore, colorful peppers and sweet corn.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Harry's Bar Famous "Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich" | Friday Night Bites

Who doesn’t want to be transported to Venice Italy for an evening?  I can’t imagine someone turning down such a special invitation – certainly not me.  If you have ever traveled to Venice, then you probably have stepped into the famous Harry’s Bar.  This is the home of the world famous Bellini cocktail which derived its name from the unique pink color, which reminded the owner of the color of the toga of a saint in the painting by 15th century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini.  It is simply pureed white peaches and Prosecco.

Harry’s Bar is steeped in history with its roots beginning in 1931 by the bartender Guiseppe Cipriani.  History dictates that Harry Pickering, a wealthy young man from Boston frequented the Hotel Europe where Cipriani was bartending.  Harry exclaimed one day that his family cut off his funds due to his excessive drinking, Cipriani loaned him 10,000 lire (about $5,000 dollars).  Approximately two years later, Harry returned and gave Cipriani 50,000 lire in return.  Cipriani was very thankful and appreciative.  Harry said – “Here’s the money.  And to show you my appreciation, here’s 40,000 more, enough to open a bar.  We will call it Harry’s Bar.”

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Farmer’s Market Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Strolling through my local farmer’s market early on a Saturday morning is incredibly relaxing.  I try to enter without preconceived ideas of what to purchase or planned recipes.  I have every intention of letting my mind be open to what bounty is available while exploring each vendor’s booth.  I must admit, I have a few favorites.  With the seasons consistently changing, the selection is embryonic and thus my repertoire evolves.

With my global friendly bag in hand, my mission begins.  A few baskets of small orange sweet tomatoes and ripe red tomatoes make their way into my basket from one of my favorite vendors, which happen to have prime real estate at the entrance of the market.  I guess that could be looked at two ways – people pick up right away or choose to stroll the rest of the market and then have a full bag.  I am the first scenario.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Manchego and Sausage Bites with Apricot Jalapeno Dipping Sauce | Friday Night Bites

Although I have never actually stepped foot in the country of Spain, I am utterly obsessed with Tapas. Spain is definitely on my bucket list. Tapas are small appetizers or snacks in the Spanish cuisine.  They are served cold and hot.  The most common ingredients, types and flavors include olives, peppers, and seafood including anchovies, ham, meatballs, garlic, salted cod, chorizo, garlic, empanadas, roasted pork, mushrooms, manchego cheese and frittata. Quite honestly, the combinations are simply endless.

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