Archive for the ‘Lunch’ Category

Radishes, turnips and parsnips are veggies I’ve gazed at on the grocery shelves since I was a kid. However, I never really made an effort to eat them, even though I read a lot about how good they are for me. Perhaps this will be my first foray into radish-land.

Makes 2.5 cups


2 small bunches radishes, greens attached (about 20 to 25 radishes)

½ bunch fresh basil leaves (about 1½ cups)

⅓ cup macadamia nuts, toasted

1 small shallot, coarsely chopped

1 small garlic clove, coarsely chopped

½ cup grated Piave cheese (substitute Parmagiano-Reggiano if Piave isn’t available)

1 lemon, juiced and zested

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste


1. Separate the radishes from the greens; clean each radish thoroughly and set aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the radish leaves, basil, macadamia nuts, shallot, garlic, cheese, lemon juice and zest and oil and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Serve the pesto alongside cleaned, whole radishes. To store, place in an airtight container and cover with a thin layer of olive oil.

From: Tasting Table 

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BLT Pasta Salad

I consider the BLT the Groundhog of Summer. The earlier this sandwich comes out and fails to see its shadow the faster summer can begin.  Now the Food Network has come up with a pasta salad version. Sheer genius! Serves 4.


12 ounces corkscrew-shaped pasta

1/2 cup milk

12 ounces lean bacon

3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

4 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens

5 heads Bibb lettuce, quartered, or 5 cups chopped romaine hearts



Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.

Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons chives with the pasta until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce; toss again to coat. Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve at room temperature.

From: Food Network 

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This open-faced sandwich of sorts reminded me of an earlier trip down this lane where my wife and I chowed down on open-faced Brie, apple and arugula sandwiches. Recipe is here.  Similar concept with this offering, but with different ingredients. I bet you could also make this on the grill during the summer if you don’t want to heat the house up. Just make sure you’ve cleaned the grates thoroughly.

It is also a recipe that really stretches a few ingredients. It isn’t like you need to buy a pile of pears or cheese to make this one come to life. Any ideas on different cheeses to use with this one?


8 slices crusty bread of your choice, toasted lightly

2 ounces Goat Cheese

1 Pear or Apple, sliced

1-2 tablespoons Honey

2 tablespoons sliced Almonds, toasted


Lightly toast slices of bread in 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes.

Spread each piece of bread with a thin layer of goat cheese. Fan 4-5 slices of pear over the goat cheese and drizzle with honey. Sprinkle the top of each with the sliced almonds.

From: The Fifth Tine 

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These came highly recommended by one of my co-workers named Erin. I quickly made them for dinner tonight and we dove in. They are really tasty and the basil mayo adds a nice touch. Only now do I realize that I forgot the cheese. They still tasted pretty good.

The recipe seems to have left out a step. Before you marinade the mushrooms gently pop out the stems and then turn the caps upside down. Take a large spoon and gently scrap out the gills. You don’t have to remove all of them from every crack and crevice of the mushroom. Just remove the bulk of them and then give the cap a light rinse to remove any loose pieces. The gills won’t hurt you. They just taste funny.

Serves 4


4 large portobello mushroom caps

3/4 cup light balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

4 slices mozzarella cheese

4 Hy-Vee bakery onion hamburger buns, halved, toasted


Place mushrooms in shallow dish, gill-side-up. Pour vinaigrette over mushrooms. Let marinate at room temperature 10 minutes; remove mushrooms from marinade. Discard marinade.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and basil; cover and refrigerate.

Preheat grill for medium heat; brush grill grate with oil.

Grill mushrooms, turning occasionally, until tender and grill marked, about 10 minutes.

Top each mushroom with a slice of mozzarella cheese during last 2 minutes of grilling.

Spread half of each toasted bun with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise mixture. Top with grilled portobello mushroom and remaining half of bun.

From: Hy-Vee 

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Crab Cake BLTs

Crab cakes and salmon patties are some of my “go to” items when I’m cooking in a hurry. The BLT is also a “go to” summer sandwich. It has a meaty texture from the bacon and the light summer taste of fresh tomatoes and crunchy lettuce.  This recipe puts it all together. 


¼ c red bell pepper, finely diced

1 celery stalk, finely diced

2 sprigs fresh thyme, minced

2 tsp fresh parsley, minced

12 oz. lump crabmeat

¾ tsp fresh lemon zest

¼ tsp Old Bay seasoning

2 dashes Tabasco sauce

¼ c dry bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbs olive oil

4 hamburger rolls

Tomato slices

Lettuce leaves

8 slices cooked bacon

Old Bay mayo (recipe below)


In a large bowl, combine the red pepper, celery, thyme, parsley, crabmeat, lemon zest, Old Bay seasoning, and tabasco. Break up lumps of crabmeat as you stir. Add bread crumbs a little at a time, and stir to combine. You may not need entire amount. Divide mixture into quarters, and form into patties.

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place crab cakes in the pan and browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and let the crab cakes rest for 5 minutes. To assemble the sandwiches, layer lettuce, tomato, crab cake, and bacon on a bun. Cut bacon in half if necessary so it doesn’t hang too much over the edge of the sandwich. Top with Old Bay mayo.

Old Bay Mayo


¼ c mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp salt

Black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

From: My Adventures in Food 


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I’m a fan of everything about Chipolte…except their tortillas. In my humble opinion they tear too easily and then it stops being a burrito and becomes a pile of rice and meat. When that happens this rice tends to save the day. 

Chipotle’s Basmati Rice Recipe


1 teaspoon vegetable oil or butter

2 tsp. fresh cilantro

2/3 cup white basmati rice

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Lime


In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil or butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Add rice and lime juice, stir for 1 minute. Add water and salt, bring to a full rolling boil. At boiling, cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork.

Basmati is a long-grained rice, with a fine texture. It can be found in Middle Eastern and India markets, as well as some supermarkets.

The source of this recipe is attributed to Chipolte’s Executive Chef (and CEO), Steve Ells.

From: Chipolte Fan 

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This is one of those recipes that when you read it you wonder why you didn’t think of putting it all together yourself.  It uses some simple ingredients and comes together in a hurry. Plus I think it also opens your mind to interpretation and improvisation. Pears? Different cheese? Hummus instead of mustard? 

I ate two “halves” and part of a third. My wife had just a half. Pair with a creamy soup and you have a heck of a lunch. Mine also didn’t look this good.


8 slices rustic artisan bread (about 2-1/2 by 6 inches and 3/4 inch thick)

8 tsp. Dijon mustard

4 cups packed baby arugula

1 medium Fuji apple, cored and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 oz. Brie, thinly sliced


Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high.

Put the bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet and set under the broiler. Broil until nicely toasted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, flip the bread over, and spread 1 tsp. of the mustard evenly on each untoasted side. Top with the arugula and then the apple slices. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and then arrange the Brie slices in a single layer over the apples.

Broil just until the Brie starts to melt, 1 to 2 minutes (don’t let it melt too much or the apple will get warm and the arugula will wilt). Sprinkle with a little black pepper.

From: Fine Cooking

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