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May 24, 2011

Cantaloupe and Mint Granita

From Giada de Laurentiis


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra, as needed
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh mint leaves, packed, divided
  • 1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) cantaloupe melon, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces to yield about 4 cups flesh
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 large limes)


In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and 1 cup mint leaves over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 20 minutes. Strain before using.

In a blender, puree the cooled syrup, cantaloupe, and lime juice until smooth. Taste, and adjust the sweetness by blending in 1 extra tablespoon of sugar at a time. Add the remaining mint leaves and blend until finely chopped. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-by-2-inch glass baking dish and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

Use the tines of a fork to scrape the granita into chilled bowls and serve.

Carrot and Yam Puree

From Giada de Laurentiis


  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds yams, ends trimmed, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water


In a saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the carrots, yams, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes. Using a ladle, remove 2 cups of the cooking liquid and reserve. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until slightly chunky, adding the reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cook's Note: The carrot mixture can also be drained in a colander and working in batches, blended in a food processor or blender.

Broiled Tilapia with Mustard-Chive Sauce

From Giada de Laurentiis


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 4 (5 to 6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/4 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the fish: Preheat a broiler. Spray a small baking sheet or glass baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

Drizzle the tilapia fillets on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the fillets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and broil until cooked through and the flesh flakes easily with a fork, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

For the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together theyogurt, agave nectar, and mustard until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice and chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer the tilapia to a serving platter and drizzle with the sauce.

My Notes: Pairs with the Carrot and Yam Puree and for dessert the Cantaloupe and Mint Granita. Brandon thought this dish was too sweet. Maybe better to share with my girlfriends.

Bourbon Glazed Salmon

From a friend on a foodie forum on Facebook

  • 6 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • Preparation

    • Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add salmon fillets. Seal bag, and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning bag once. Remove fillets from bag; discard marinade.
    • Preheat broiler.
    • Place fillets on broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 11 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle each fillet with 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon onions.

    May 1, 2011

    Fiesta Salad

    From Mama Chef Michele at Four Sisters Catering

    1 pound penne (quill-shaped) pasta
    1 pound Roma tomatoes, quartered
    1 red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips (match sticks about 1/4 inch wide)
    1 yellow bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
    1 orange bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
    1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed dried and chopped fine
    2 jalapeno's, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine

    Juice of 4 limes (about 1 cup)
    3 cloves garlic, mashed
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper

    Bring a large pot of salted water
    to a rolling boil and cook pasta al dente, or firm to the bite.
    Drain. Place in a large and mix with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
    While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables and set aside.
    Mix ingredients for the dressing together and set aside.

    When the pasta is cooked and drained, add the tomatoes, red, yellow
    and orange bell peppers, cilantro and jalapeno's. Stir the dressing and pour over the pasta and
    vegetables, mixing gently but thoroughly.
    Serve at room temperature
    serves 10-12 pp