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Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies

Got plenty of extra citrus hanging around your kitchen,along with an abundance of fresh grown basil? Well combine lemon, limes and a hint of basil for a delicious cookie that taste like you bought them from a gourmet bakery! 

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit Summer 2012


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Ingredients:

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of powdered sugar plus more for pressing cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
2 Tbsp of sliced fresh basil leaves
1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp of freshlemon juice
1/2 tsp of finely grated lime zest
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Sanding Sugar (optional)

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Place flour, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zest, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until large, moist clumps form. Measure level tablespoonfuls of dough; roll between your palms to form balls. Place on a large baking sheet spacing 2 inch rounds, dusting cup with powdered sugar and press cookies into 2 inch rounds, dusting cup bottom with powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Sprinkle tops of cookies with standing sugar, if using.

Bake until edges are brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire wake; let cool.

 

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Tuscan Panzanella Summer Salad

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Panzanella is a popular summer salad that originated in Tuscany. Its made with chunks of stale bread, vine ripened tomatoes and sweet basil. It’s similar to the middle eastern salad called Fattoush which is made with fried pita bread.

Panzanella is popular in other parts of central Italy and considered a poor man’s salad by using up any remaining stale loaves of bread.

But what makes this salad a summer delight, is the bread soaks up the dressing and all its rich flavor from the center of the tomatoes, red wine vinegar and olive oil.

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Panzanella is the perfect salad for a picnic or day at the beach, just don’t toss the bread until you are 10 min from serving so the bread can really soak up these wonderful flavors, and please DO NOT refrigerate or the tomatoes will lose their wonderful flavor!!!

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Now by making a few recipe adjustments this salad is over the top delicious and healthy to eat. I can seriously eat this entire recipe in 24 hours, it’s that good and my favorite salad.

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To make this salad a success really depends on using a good quality olive oil and freshest tomatoes.

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If you come across any Heirloom tomatoes grab em! Also If you use fresh bread without grilling or toasting it first, the bread will disintegrate into a mushy mess. This is the perfect salad to show off the best summer produce and is visually stunning with the variety of colors.

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Adapted from Cooks Country, 2012

 

Ingredients:

6 cups Italian or French bread, cut loaf or tear into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cored and seeded, then cut into 1 inch pieces
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 medium cucumber, skin peeled, cut lengthwise, then seeded, and sliced thin
1 med shallot, sliced thin 
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400.

Toss cut up bread with 2 tablespoons oil and ¼ teaspoon salt; arrange bread in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
Toast bread pieces until it just starts to turn light golden, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Set aside to cool to room temperature.

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Grilling Bread Method

Get your grill hot and slice the bread. Place slices of bread on the hot grill for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. You'll want to stay near the grill or the bread will burn and too chard and mask the flavors the same. A little char is okay, a lot will kill the dish.

Get your grill hot and slice the bread. Place slices of bread on the hot grill for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. You’ll want to stay near the grill or the bread will burn and too charred and mask the flavors the same. A little char is okay, a lot will kill the dish.

 

Cut tomatoes in half, than using a spoon remove the center and seeds and place into a small bowl then dice tomato into medium pieces.

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Gently toss tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt in large bowl.
Transfer tomatoes from bowl into a colander or sieve and set over same bowl to drain for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.

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Peel and Slice cucumber in half and remove center and seeds and discard, slice cucumber thin.

Slice shallots thin, set aside with cucumbers

If you don't have shallots or can't find any, then its okay to use red onion.Just slice it really thin.

If you don’t have shallots or can’t find any, then its okay to use red onion.Just slice it really thin.

Roll basil and repeat.

Whisk remaining 6 tablespoons oil, red wine vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon pepper into reserved tomato juices and whisk together.

Add bread pieces and toss to coat all the bread evenly, then, let stand for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

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Add tomatoes, cucumber, shallot, and basil to bowl with bread and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

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Three Cheese Pasta W/Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes

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When thinking of dried foods the thought of a gourmet meal may not come to mind. However, a using a small amount of sun-dried tomatoes adds a burst of flavor to many recipes. Throughout history tomatoes have been featured heavily in Mediterranean cuisine, especially in Greek and Italian cooking where they are the base to a large percentage of traditional savory dishes.

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Aside from being a delicious fruit eaten on its own its very versatile with almost every other vegetable available to man, and sun-dried tomatoes are high in lycopene, antioxidants, and potassium, and vitamins A and C. They’re also low in sodium and calories, and free of saturated fat and cholesterol. Sun-dried tomatoes are lipophilic, which means that cooking them with some fat, like olive oil, actually increases their nutritional value.

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But where did the sun-dried tomato originate?

If you said Italy you are correct, Italians dried tomatoes on their tile roofs for use during the winter months when tomatoes were not readily available and before modern canning methods. However sun drying is one of mankind’s oldest preservation methods as evidence shows that Middle East and oriental cultures actively dried foods as early as 12,000 B.C. in the hot sun. To survive ancient man had to harness nature. In frozen climates man froze seal meat on the ice. In tropical climates the sun was used to dry foods.

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American Indians smoked fish and meat, this was an important part of their diet and survival.

During World Wars I and II many foods were dehydrated to develop lightweight, nutritious, stable foods for the military.

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Sun-dried Tomatoes have enjoyed a popularity boost in the United States since the 80’s, initially used in gourmet dishes it quickly became a favorite pantry staple for home cooks being added to everything, salads, soups, dips to name a few. Sun-dried tomatoes are easy to use and really bring a punch of deliciousness to any dish.

So Let Sun-dried Tomatoes Take A Leading Role In Your Next Dish

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Ingredients:

 

2 lb chicken breast; boneless, skinless cut into 1/2 inch pieces

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1 package 3-4 oz sun-dried tomatoes

2 Tbsp olive oil

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3 large garlic cloves, finely minced

2 tablespoon fresh basil

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1 cup half and half

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

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12 oz rigatoni pasta

3/4-1 cup reserved cooked pasta water

1-2 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste.

2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

paprika lightly sprinkled over chicken before cooking

salt, to taste

 

Directions:

 

Julienne slice sun-dried tomatoes and mince garlic; set aside.

Cut chicken into 1/2 inch chunks and season with salt, pepper and lightly sprinkle with paprika; set aside.

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Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, add salt and cook pasta according to instructions. Before draining pasta reserve some of the pasta water.

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Using a large deep pan or skillet over high heat add oil and then sauté garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in 2 oil for a couple of minutes or until garlic is lightly browned.

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Add chicken and cook on high heat for 2-3 minute on each side.

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Add half and half

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and each of cheeses to the skillet and cook over medium high heat until the cheeses start to melt and begins to bubble.

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Reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until a creamy sauce forms.

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Add cooked pasta to the skillet and stir to combine.

Now start to add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water you reserved as by now he sauce has thickened, add more pasta water till you reach the desired thickness.

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Add crushed red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Did I mention I made this same dish but with sausage instead of chicken?

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http://wp.me/p2Gx3m-1Uv

Follow this link to sausage goodness…

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Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of powdered sugar plus more for pressing cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
2 Tbsp of sliced fresh basil leaves
1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp of finely grated lime zest
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Sanding Sugar (optional)

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Place flour, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zest, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until large, moist clumps form. Measure level tablespoonfuls of dough; roll between your palms to form balls. Place on a large baking sheet spacing 2 inch rounds, dusting cup with powdered sugar and press cookies into 2 inch rounds, dusting cup bottom with powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Sprinkle tops of cookies with standing sugar, if using.

Bake until edges are brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire wake; let cool.

 

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