German Potato Salad

YIELDS | 12 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 25 MINS

COOK TIME | 20 MINS

Recipe Image

The is a savory, tangy and salty German potato salad to eat alongside a good bratwurst and sauerkraut. Bonus it is a Double Duty Recipe because the leftovers make a delicious potato pancakes. Recipe at Verysmartideas.com search “pancakes”.

INGREDIENTS

* 3 cups diced peeled potatoes
* 4 slices bacon
* 
1 small onion, diced
* 
¼ cup white vinegar
* 
2 tablespoons water
* 
3 tablespoons white sugar
* 
1 teaspoon salt
* 
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
* 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place the potatoes into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, and set aside to cool.

Place the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Fry until browned and crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Add onion to the bacon fat and cook over medium heat until browned. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil, add the potatoes and parsley. Crumble in half of the bacon and stir.
3. Heat through and transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the remaining bacon over the top, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and serve warm.

NOTES

Pierogies with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 35 MINS

Recipe Image

This is a semi-homemade, family pleasing, easy to make and incredibly tasty dish! The secret to this fast, savory and delicious dish is the store-bought pierogi. This dish comes together in minutes and I guarantee even Brussels sprout haters will become converts! Use vegan bacon or omit all together for a vegetarian version.

INGREDIENTS

* 8-10 strips thick cut bacon
* 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, about 30, rinsed, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
* 2 packages (24) frozen Mrs T. Potato and cheese pierogies
* 1/4 cup good quality balsamic dressing
* 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
* Freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425° on a baking sheet lined with parchment, spread the bacon on the parchment and cook the bacon for 15 minutes.
2. Remove the bacon (it won’t be cooked all the way through), set aside.

3. Add the sliced Brussels sprouts and still frozen pierogie to the bacon fat and mix together until coated. Pop back in the oven and cook for 10 minutes more.

4. While the pierogie and Brussels sprouts bake, chop the bacon.

5. Remove the Brussels sprouts and pierogie from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped bacon. Bake for 10 more minutes.

6. Remove the pierogie mixture from the oven and let cool slightly and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

7. Carefully place the pierogie, bacon and Brussels sprouts on a serving platter. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, a few good cranks of cracked black pepper and flaky salt.

NOTES

Gigi’s Peach and Bourbon Sangr

YIELDS | 1 Pitcher, about 6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | X MINS

Recipe Image

Fresh, juicy peaches, mixed with sweet nectar and bourbon make this cocktail especially light and refreshing with a kick from Kentucky Bourbon. This is a great transitional cocktail and once you make this recipe you may not go back to traditional sangria again.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 lb fresh yellow peaches, sliced, about 3-4 medium plus a few slices for garnish
* 10-12 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1/4 cup sugar or to taste, optional
* 1/2 cup peach liqueur or peach schnapps
* 1/4 cup bourbon
* 1 bottle light wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Rose.
* One cup peach nectar
* Club soda to top off.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the thyme to infuse the mixture.
2. Pour into ice-filled glasses, top off with club soda.
3. Garnish with a slice of peach, a couple thyme sprigs, optional.

NOTES

Tomato Peach and Panzanella Salad

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS plus 20 MINS marinating

COOK TIME | 25 MINS with grilling

Recipe Image

This recipe is a take on the classic Italian Panzanella bread salad. I decide to take full advantage of this seasons gorgeous tomatoes and ripe, juicy peaches. I omitted the onion and basil and added mint and oregano to brighten the dish. Grilling the peaches highlights the rich, sweet flavors of the peach and combines beautifully with the fresh tomatoes. The burrata, optional, adds a creamy cool note that brings this salad together.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 loaf crusty bread, torn into chunks about 5-6 cups
* 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle
* 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
* 3 large tomatoes, quartered
* 3 large ripe peaches, pitted, sliced. I like to grill the peaches but this is optional
* 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 1-8oz ball burrata cheese, ripped into pieces, optional
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper plus more as needed
* 2-3 sprigs each, fresh mint and oregano, stems removes and chopped
* 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts


INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large bowl, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil. In one layer, place the bread on a rimmed baking sheet I and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Shake the pan halfway through the cooking time and bake until golden brown. 

2. While the bread toasts, in the same large bowl, add the tomatoes, (if grilling the peaches do this now, let cool) and then add the peaches, remaining olive oil, vinegar and a sprinkle of kosher salt and mix gently. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
3. Place the tomatoes and peaches onto a serving platter but leave the accumulated juices in the bowl. To the bowl, add the remaining olive oil, vinegar and a few cranks of fresh ground pepper.
4. Scatter the bread mixture evenly over the tomatoes and peaches, sprinkle on the fresh herbs and then nestle in the burrata cheese into the salad. Pour the dressing evenly over the salad.
6. Finish with a garnish of pine nuts, a generous drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste.

NOTES

I like this salad served at room temperature. I let it sit for 15-20 minutes before serving to allow for the bread to soak up some of the dressing but not get soggy.

Creamy Feta and Tomato Tart

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15-20 MINS

Recipe Image

Seriously gorgeous, easy to make and a perfect way to highlight summer’s luscious tomatoes. The feta, lemon and garlic make a delicious cream to perfectly compliment the ripe, sweet and slightly acidic tomatoes.

Double Duty Recipe: Stir leftover feta cream into mashed potatoes or add a little more olive oil and drizzle on roasted vegetables or chicken and fish.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 1/2 pound tomatoes, sliced pat dry with paper towels.
• 1 sheet puff pastry, store bought or homemade, thawed. See Pate Brisee (tart dough) recipe below.
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• Zest from one lemon, plus the juice
• 1 cup feta, cubed, be sure to use feta that will melt. Crumbles usually do not melt
• 1-2 Tbsp plus more to drizzle
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• Basil, thyme leaves or chopped chives for garnish, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. On a floured surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry or dough into a 12” square, if making a circular tart, place the tart pan on top of the dough and trace a knife around the pan leaving 1″ around the pan.
3. Place the sheet on a parchment-lined baking sheet or tart pan of choice.
4. Bake the puff pastry, dough or Pate Brisee for five minutes and then remove from oven. It will be slightly puffed.
5. While the pastry bakes, make the feta spread by adding the feta cubes, garlic, lemon zest and juice to a high speed blender of food processor.
6. Turn the machine on low to medium and drizzle in the olive oil until it reaches a creamy consistency. Add a few cranks of freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste.
7. Spread the feta mixture onto the bottom of the tarts and then layer the tomatoes, slightly over lapping them.
8. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Bake 20 minutes and until edges are puffed and golden.
9. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, garnish with basil, thyme leaves or chopped chive and a drizzle of olive oil.

Paste Brisee, makes 2-9″ pies or tarts:
For this recipe, the pastry should be baked blind because we are using using tomatoes which have a high water content. Blind baking will keep the bottom firm and not soggy.

Ingredients

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 10 Tbsp cold butter cubed
* 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 Tbsp white vinegar
* 6 Tbsp ice water

Instructions

1. In a food processor, combine flour, butter, shortening, and salt. Process to a coarse meal.
2. Add in vinegar and water and process again until dough is moistened and pulls together in a mass.
3. Turn dough out and pat into two discs. Wrap and chill dough 15-30 mins (freezer 10 mins)
4. Roll out or pat the pastry evenly in the bottom and up the sides of an 8-9 inch tart pan, cover with plastic wrap and chill 30 mins or freeze 10

Blind Baking
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Lightly prick the bottom of the pastry crust and press aluminum foil into the crust, fill with pie weights or dry beans
2. Bake for 5 mins then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 10 mins.
3. Remove the foil and weights and bake 10 minutes more or until lightly golden.

NOTES

If using a circular tart pan, start at the edge of the pan and overlap, right to left as you make your way to the middle of the pan.
If crunched for time consider using a store bought off pastry or pie dough. They work just fine.

Tomato Bread with Smoked Olive Oil-Lemon Ricotta and Sardines

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

Recipe Image

My son, Adam, and I created this recipe together. It is so easy to make yet it delivers a complex layers of flavors. The smoked olive oil gives the creamy ricotta an earthy flavor and pairs perfectly with the sardines. The lemon brightens the entire dish and is a delightful compliment to the overall umami profile. This tomato bread bursts with flavor. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself making it over and over again.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
* 2 Tbsps smoked olive oil plus more to taste
* 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
* 2- plump garlic cloves, peeled
* 1-2 large, fresh ripe tomatoes, halved
* 1- large loaf crusty bread, such as a French boule or baguette
* 1-tin, 3.735 oz skinless, boneless sardines, packed in olive oil
* 2 Tbsps room temperature butter or olive oil to brush onto the bread
* One small bunch chives, chopped for garnish, optional
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices. Spread each side with butter or olive oil and grill or toast in the oven until golden brown, set aside.

2. Add the ricotta, lemon zest and juice to a food processor or high powered blender. Turn the machine on low to medium and slowly drizzle in 2 Tbsp smoked olive oil and blend until the mixture has a silky texture. Add more smoked olive oil as needed.

3. Pour mixture into a small bowl and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Set aside.

4. Rub the fresh garlic on to each side of the toasted bread.

5. Generously rub each side of the toasted bread with the tomato. Be sure to get the tomato into every nook and cranny.

6. Top tomato toast with the heaping Tbsp of the creamy ricotta-Lemon mixture.

7. Top each slice with 2 to 3 sardines, sprinkle with additional kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and garnish with chopped chives, optional.

NOTES

Use any leftover ricotta mixture to mix into mashed potatoes or stir into rice for a savory side dish. Top grilled chicken or fish with it and garnish with chives or another favorite herb.