Beat the Heat with Summer Salads!

Okay, it’s summer…and it’s hot. 

I don’t like hot…I tend to lose my cherub-like demeanor when it’s hot. 😉 

This time of year, we (at the TeamPerk Clubhouse) tend to live on a lot of no-cook dishes and salads. This morning, I get to share some of my favorites on AM Northwest.

Strawberry VinegretteSimple Strawberry Vinaigrette

  • 1 C strawberries, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider, or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Combine the strawberries, honey, oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree* until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately or store (refrigerated) up to 48 hours.

*For a “chunkier” dressing combine the chopped strawberries with the remaining ingredients and let it rest for an hour or so (do not puree.) This process is called “macerating” (marinating fruit with vinegar).

Summer Salads AMNW

Balance

An interesting dish has a balance of flavors and textures. If there’s a sweet (fruit – fresh or dried), add a salt like nuts, olives, anchovies, etc. Soft textures like tomatoes, or cheese, pair nicely with the crunch of celery, radishes, croutons, chopped apple…you get the idea.

This is one of the reasons I love this recipe, as it hits all the right notes:

  • Sweet: Strawberries & Honey
  • Savory/Fat: Olive Oil
  • Salty: Salt
  • Tangy: Vinegar

Chef’s Note: PLEASE don’t drown the beautiful flavors of your fresh, seasonal ingredients with a heavy, fatty sauce. Dressing should be used with a light hand to enhance the flavor of vegetables, not to cover them up.

Sometimes just a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with your tomatoes, cucumbers, and maybe a little feta, really hits the spot.

Here are a few more of my summer favorites:

shrimpacado

Shrimp-A-Cado Salad

I found the original recipe in my father’s copy of A Chef’s Companion, and substituted the prawns for crab (it was cheaper, and I love prawns!) Dad used to make the original recipe when he’d ticked Mom off, and was tryin’ to make good.

So, we had it… a LOT. 😉

 

downloadBow Tie Pasta with Zucchini Sauce
Serves 4

2 cup bow-tie pasta
2 cloves garlic
2 medium zucchini
1 medium shallot, or small yellow onion.
1 Tablespoon grape-seed oil
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tsp. Better Than Bullion chicken base
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Cook pasta in salted water, according to package instructions. Prepare zucchini sauce while pasta cooks.

Peel and mince garlic, dice the shallot (or onion).

Rinse and grate zucchini.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and minced garlic, with a dash of salt, and saute until the onion are translucent. Add zucchini, and cook until mixture softens and zucchini yields some liquid, about 5 minutes.

Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid, and mix in chicken base (with the liquid) to create broth.

Add 1-2 teaspoons of the broth at a time to zucchini mixture. Add drained pasta. Stir, coating pasta evenly with sauce. Add more broth as needed (I used the whole 1/2 cup).

Transfer pasta to large bowl for serving. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

California Roll

Deconstructed California Roll Salad

First appearing in Los Angeles in the 1960s, the California Roll is a maki-zushi, a kind of sushi roll, usually made inside-out, containing cucumber, crab meat or imitation crab, and avocado.

Though there are many variations of additional ingredients, these are the “mainstay” of the California roll.

As one of the most popular styles of sushi in the US market, the California Roll has been influential in sushi’s global popularityIchiro Mashita, a sushi chef, first substituted avocado for toro (fatty tuna) in hope that removing the raw fish would make it more palatable to Western customers, and realized the oily texture of avocado was a perfect substitute for toro. He also made the roll “inside-out” (with the rice on the outside), because Americans didn’t like seeing and chewing the nori on the outside of the roll.

By the 1980s, the California Roll was the single most popular item in the sushi craze that was sweeping across the United States.

This recipe allows for the same flavors and textures of the traditional California roll, without requiring the skills or equipment necessary to create the more familiar rolled presentation, with Furikake seasoning replacing the traditional nori (seaweed sheets).

Furikake seasoning can be found in Asian grocery stores, or can be ordered from our Amazon.com store.

  • 1 batch sushi rice (recipe below), room temp.
  • 2 Tbsp. Furikaki seasoning
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 8 oz. imitation crab or lobster
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce for serving (opt)

Mise en Place

Prepare the rice (recipe below). Peel, seed, and cut cucumber into half-rounds. Break imitation crab into bite-sized portions. Peeled and pit the avocado, and slice 1/4-inch thick.

Prepare the Dish

Divide the cooled rice between two plates, and sprinkle with 1/2 of the Furikaki seasoning and 1/2 of the toasted sesame seeds. Top with crab, cucumber, and avocado, the sprinkle with remaining Furikaki seasoning and sesame seeds.

Serve immediately with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce (all optional).

Sushi Rice

  • 1 cup sushi or short grain rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt

Rinse rice in a mixing bowl 2 to 3 times, or until the water is clear.

Place the rice and 1 cup of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Combine the rice vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture.

Allow to cool to room temperature before using to make sushi or sashimi.

Makes 2 cups

Morrocan Carrot Salad.jpg

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Paprika and Cumin

I love Moroccan food, especially the numerous “small dishes” that lead up to the entree. The cold carrot salad is one of my favorites, and this is my favorite recipe for that dish

  • 1 lb. fresh carrots
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, partially crushed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Slice carrots into 1/2 inch thick rounds, and boil in salted water until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and immediately cover the carrots with cold water to stop further cooking. Once cold, drain again.

In a medium pot or skillet, gently sauté the garlic cloves in the olive oil for two or three minutes over low heat. Discard the garlic, and add the carrots, lemon juice, cilantro, mint, and spices.

Sauté over low heat for another two minutes, and remove from the heat.

Serve either warm or chilled (I prefer chilled).

Marinated-Asian-Cucumber-Salad

Asian Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup fine sugar
  • 2 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

Toss together the cucumbers and onion in a large bowl. Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and pour over the cucumber and onions.

Cover and refrigerate until cold. Stir in sesame seeds, and serve.

This can also be eaten at room temperature, but be sure to allow the cucumbers to marinate for at least 1 hour.


 

Cover in frameThe Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen

Something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.

The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.

It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.

Welcome!

Chef Perry P. Perkins

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Organizing Your Kitchen Like a Pro (AM Northwest appearance)

Free Printable Shopping List Reminder

If, like, me, you have the memory span of a brain-damaged goldfish, keeping one of these list reminders on the fridge is a HUGE help in having the ingredients you need, when you need them.

Just right-click on the image and save this PDF to your desktop, for a handy list reminder that you can print as needed!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Oh, and if you tuned in to AM Northwest this morning for my segment on Kitchen Organization (I’ll post the link to the clip here, this afternoon), thank you!

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the video…(click on image)

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

And here’s some notes on what we talked about (and a couple we ran out of time for…)

The “two step” kitchen plan

  • The tools and utensils you use most for cooking should be within two steps of the cooking area
  • The tools and utensils you use most for prep should be within two steps of the cooking area

Your Knives

  • Have them sharpened (honing is NOT sharpening)
  • Magnetic holder vs. knife block.

Your Spices

  • No spices, oils, or vinegars over the stove
  • Write your purchase dates on bottles
  • Buy in bulk, and refill bottles (squeeze bottles for oils)

Cupboards

  • Middle (eye level to counter): Items you use most
  • Upper (eye level and above): Items you use frequently, and/or hard shelf life (cookies, crackers, cereal)
  • Lower (Counter and below): Items you use the least, bulk storage, etc.

The Fridge

  • Meat on the bottom shelf
  • Leftovers on the Middle shelf
  • Names and dates on kitchen tape
  • Packaged, unopened on the top

The Freezer

  • Names and dates on kitchen tape
  • Vacuum sealers
  • Have a defrosting schedule

Make a List

  • Checkbox shopping list & pen, on fridge
  • Download mine (above)
  • Make your own
  • Pre-print the items you get every time you go to the store
  • Organize list for a single path through the store
  • Never shop hungry, or without your list

Or, check our my FREE 52 Weeks of dinner plans, and weekly shopping lists.

Available in Classic, Heart Healthy (Diabetic Friendly), and Gluten Free!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

Home Chef Cookbooks

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Pasta Fajioli…an easy way to empty the fridge

Pasta Fajioli AM Northwest

Had great fun being back on AM Northwest last week (watch the clip, below), and got to talk about one of my all-time favorite subjects…comfort food. It’s getting chilly up here in the PNW, and nothing warms you back up like a good pot of soup.

One of my Facebook friends commented that whenever I’m on the show, I always do Italian recipes.

It’s true.

I love French food, and Asian food, and pretty much ANY food, but if I’m going to present the best version of something, something you can taste the love in, it’s probably going to be an old Italian Grandmother’s recipe.

The Home Chef's Guide to Frugal Fine CookingI love this recipe, not just because it’s delicious, and brings back great childhood memories, but because it’s one of those dishes that proves you don’t have to spend a lot, to make an amazing meal.  Pasta is cheap. Beans are cheap. Carrots, onions, celery? Cheap. Add whatever leftover meat and veggies from last night’s dinner, and presto…you have soup!

(For more tips, tricks, and recipes for great eating on a budget, check out my new book, “The Home Chef’s Guide to Frugal Fine Cooking” on Amazon.com!)

Soggiorno caldo!

~Chef Perry

Pasta Fajioli Recipe for AMNW
(pasta va-zool)

1 lb meat, cooked and chopped (roast chicken, sausage, hamburger, etc.)
36 oz “Quick and Easy Chicken Stock
28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained (or 6 Romas, freshly roasted*)
15 oz tomato sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
4 celery ribs, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups beans (cannellini, kidney beans, etc,) rinsed and drained
2 tsp minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tsp coarse black pepper
8 ounces uncooked pasta (ditalini, macaroni, etc.)
4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Additional veggies: Whatcha’got? Pretty much any leftover veggies will compliment this soup. Peas, corn, sauteed mushrooms, green beans, cabbage…empty that fridge!

Mirepoix for soup

Make the mirepoix: In a saute pan, heat oil over medium low, and saute onions, celery, and carrots until just beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat, and transfer to a stock pot.

Pasta Fajioli AM Northwest

Add broth, sauce, beans, oregano, and black pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add pasta, parsley, and any additional veggies; simmer, covered, 10-14 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Pasta Fajioli AM Northwest

Stir in meat, and serve with crusty, warm bread.

Yield: 10-12 servings

*To roast your own: Place 6 Roma tomatoes on a very hot grill, under a broiler, or directly on above a gas burner. Char, rotating frequently, until blackened on all sides. Place tomatoes in a large zip bag and seal, allowing them to steam 20-30 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the bag, and peel off most of the charred skin (I ike to leave a little, for flavor). Dice the tomatoes, place in a bowl, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, and just cover with hot water. Allow to come to room temp before using the tomatoes and water in this recipe.

Here’s the clip from AM Northwest:

Pasta Fajioli Recipe AM Northwest
Click on image to be redirected to AM Northwest’s video page

 

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Mother’s Day Chili Egg Puff

Green Chile Egg Puff

Here’s one of my all-time favorite egg-wonderful breakfasts…granted, it has to be started the night before, but the ‘fridge really does most of the work…

My mother-in-law, Dixie, served this on Christmas morning, after the presents were opened. She was kind enough to share the original recipe (jotted down before I was born), and gave me the okay to share it.

Easily, the best egg dish I’ve ever had, and it’ll be the traditional Christmas breakfast at our house from now on!

Light, fluffy, savory, ethereal…like eating an egg-flavored angel!

I’ll be preparing this dish this morning, on AM Northwest (9am PST, KATU2), if you want to see it made live!

Home Chef AM Northwest

UPDATE: You can watch the clip from this morning’s show, here, on the AMNW page!

Here it is…

Nana’s Chile Egg Puff
10 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 pint small-curd cottage cheese
1 lb Italian 5-Blend cheese, grated
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 oz can diced green chilies
 
12-24 hours in advance:
 
Beat eggs until a very light lemon color, add flour, baking powder, salt, fold in cottage cheese, cheese, & butter. Stir in chilies.
 

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to my free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

 
Pour mixture into a well- buttered 9×13 dish. Cover and refrigerate over night.
 
Preheat oven to 350′ and bake 45 minutes covered. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until center firms.
 
Note: the center of the dish will remain very “liquidly” until the contents reach a specific heat, and then will firm up very quickly.
 
Serves 12
 
PS- If you like a little spice in your life, Tillamook’s Hot Hananero Jack cheese launches this already-awesome dish right into the freakin’ stratosphere!
 

The Home Chef: Transforming the American KitchenFor many more delicious dishes to make Mom and family, which out “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen!”

Available in the Chef Perry Bookstore and on my page at Amazon.com!

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Pasta alla Carbonara on AM Northwest

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As the saying goes, “a great time was had by all.”

Well, I can’t speak for all, but I can tell you, this guy had a blast cooking Pasta alla Carbonara (recipe below) on AM Northwest yesterday morning!

There were some oddities for this television newbie…(a prop sink with no water, and a kitchen counter on wheels took a little getting used to), but getting to work with the supremely talented and funny Helen Raptis at KATU, was awesome. 

(Thank you, Helen, for the second bite…that meant a lot!)

I can’t think of a better way to have launched “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen”, and the guidebooks, classes, and podcasts to follow.

Here’s the clip, if you didn’t get a chance to watch:

VideoImage1
Click here to watch

Thank you, again, to Helen, Janice, and every at K2 for this amazing opportunity, I can’t wait to come back!

~Chef Perry

Chef Perry’s Pasta alla Carbonara

(serves 4)
1 pound dry pasta (I used campanelle)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces guanciale (pork jowl bacon), cubed small
1 large shallot clove, finely chopped
2 Tbs sweet cream butter
4 large egg yolks
Roasted mushrooms (optional)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (optional)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped

campanelle pasta
“Campanelle” means Little Bells in Italian.

Note: make the sauce while the pasta’s cooking so the pasta will be hot and ready when the sauce is done; the pasta needs to be hot when adding the egg yolks, so that the heat of the pasta cooks them.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (“al dente.”)  Drain the pasta well, keeping a 1/2 cup of cooking water, in case you need to it in the sauce.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the guanciale and saute for about 3 minutes, until the meat is crisp and the fat is rendered, drain off all but about 2Tbs of the fat. Toss the shallots into the fat and saute for less than a minute to soften, add the roasted mushrooms and butter.

Home Chef Pasta alla Carbonara
Add the hot, drained campanelle to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the pasta in the fats. Beat the egg yolks and Parmesan together, stirring well to prevent lumps.

Carbonara with egg yolks

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but not scramble.

Adding pasta to sauce

Thin out the sauce a little with the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with a large pinch of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve with small bowls of extra cheese.

Chef Perrys Pasta alla Carbonara
“The Italian’s were eating with forks, when the French were still eating each other!”

~ Mario Batali


Bacon A Home Chef's GuideThe Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen” was your overview of the basic concepts and tips for taking your cooking to the next level, but let’s face it, you can only fit so much information into one book!

Each Home Chef Guidebook delves more deeply into the professional quality recipes and techniques of specific cooking styles and cuisines.

This one is all about BACON.

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