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Happy 4th of July

4th of JULY -MY FOX8.COM

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Hi everyone, 

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful 4th of July!

There is no formal tablescape for me this year, Bob and I are going out for the holiday. 

I just wanted to share a new menu item that I have added this year along with the traditional “Diane’s 4th of July potato salad”.

This year I added a flag pizza to bring along to our friend’s house with the potato salad and desserts. I thought it was a cute idea and I saw Giada make it on one of her shows. I have been up early making pizzas.

Photo Jul 04, 12 48 00 PM FLAG PIZZA

I have included the recipe for the pizza and the potato salad below.

4th of July Flag Pizza

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients:

FOR THE SPINACH

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

5 ounces baby spinach, chopped

1-2 teaspoon kosher salt

TO ASSEMBLE

2 tablespoons flour

1-pound pizza dough

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3-4 cup pizza sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon ricotta cheese

28 slices pepperoni

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned. Add the spinach and the salt and cook, stirring often, until the spinach is wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the spinach in a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour on a clean work surface. Place the dough on top and sprinkle it with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Roll the dough out to a 15 X 10-inch rectangle. Drizzle the oil on a rimmed baking sheet and spread it evenly using a pastry brush. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.

Spread the sauce over the entire crust. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, creating a 5 X 4-inch rectangle in the upper left corner with slightly less cheese. Squeeze the liquid from the spinach and spread evenly over the upper left corner. Dot small clumps of ricotta cheese over the spinach to form the “stars. ” Arrange the pepperoni over the remaining surface of the pizza in horizontal rows, slightly overlapping the slices to form the stripes.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and cooked through and the cheese is bubbly.

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Diane’s 4th of July Potato Salad

2015-07-04 07.59.17- POTATO SALAD CLOSE UP

PREP TIME : approx. 2 hours

Ingredients:

5-lb bag of red potatoes -NOT PEELED -boil whole until fork can pierce skin but not mushy/ DRAIN

2 ½ C         Hellmanns mayo -not light

5 TBSP      Red Wine Vinegar

3 ¾ tsp       Kosher salt

2 ½ tsp       Sugar

¾ tsp          Pepper

2 ½ C         Celery (chopped)

1 ½ C         Red onion (diced)

1 dz          Hard boiled eggs – (sliced)

Shredded carrots are optional

Directions:

Safety Check…

Check your eggs for signs of cracks. Since fresh eggs are harder to peel it is best if you purchase your eggs a week prior to boiling. You can test the freshness of the eggs by placing them into a glass of water. The freshest eggs will lie on the bottom of the water on its side. As an egg ages the air pocket inside grows so your egg will start to stand up on end. An egg that floats to the top should be discarded.

Mix mayo and vinegar together—Add salt, pepper, and sugar and mix thoroughly.

Add celery and onions—Next add potatoes WARM  (cut into bite size pieces)

Add eggs (sliced) and fold all ingredients together.

Cooks Note…

I think the potato salad tastes best after it has cooled in the refrigerator for a few hours and all the flavors have blended together.

ENJOY!

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Have a great day !

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Please spread the word and ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments & emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

Soft Shell Crab Recipes…

live-soft-shell-crabs in bucket 2

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Hi everyone, 

Well, it’s that time again. The beginning of the season for soft shell crabs –  May through September. Outside of blue claw crab sauce over linguine, this is my favorite crab meal.

Soft shell crabs remind me of my Dad. He was always the first one to bring me a soft shell crab sandwich at the beginning of the season – never failed. It was piled high with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce and served with French fries and Cole slaw.

It was our tradition.

After our first soft shell crab sandwich of the season, there were many days that my Dad and I would go and have lunch at all the waterfront restaurants near my home and order soft shell crabs to see who prepared them the best. You would think we would get tired of them, but we never did.

Now you know just how much I love soft shell crabs. 

After all these years, I still can’t decide which way I like them better. I like a sandwich of fried soft shell crab with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce on a kaiser roll (traditionally served on toasted white bread), and I like sauteed soft shell crabs in garlic, white wine, lemon and butter sauce with steamed vegetables.

For those of you not familiar, a soft shell crab is the blue claw crab in its molted state, when they shed their hard shells to reveal a paper thin shell. This thin shell hardens within 2-3 hours so there is a brief period to harvest the soft shell crab .

bal-bs-disc-1-023-20130605-- soft shell crab shedding shell photo judy brunk

Eating a soft shell crab is a little difficult for some people to wrap their head around, because you eat the entire crab. That includes claws, head, legs and shell (minus the eyes and the lungs). Your fish monger will clean them for you. Buy live, fresh crabs and have them cleaned before you prepare them. If you see crabs wrapped in cellophane in a grocery or fish store, pass them by, they were frozen. 

If you prefer to clean the crabs yourself, here are some basic instructions:

  1. Remember you are starting with a live crab…
  2. Get a good sharp pair of kitchen shears and cut across the front of the crab, behind the eyes and mouth to remove them (approximately a 1/2 inch cut). This will kill the crab.
  3. Squeeze out the yellow contents of the sack located directly behind the cut you just made. This yellow sack is part of the digestive system and can be eaten – personal preference. ( I choose to remove it. Research shows that chemical contaminants, such as dioxin and mercury can accumulate in this area).
  4. Once you get over the trauma of killing the crab, lift one pointed corner of the top shell and remove the gills by pulling them out of the base. The gills are beige and feathery. Now repeat on the other side of the shell.
  5. Turn the crab over and there will be a flap called the apron. Lift the apron with your fingers and pull it off the body.
  6. Rinse the entire crab removing any more yellow “mustard” from the crab and pat dry.
  7. You are now ready to cook your crab. Enjoy!

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There are many different recipes for preparing soft shell crabs, but this is how I prepare them, both fried and sauteed. 

Start both recipes with cleaned and rinsed crabs patted dry…

Photo May 11, 3 24 55 PM - DEEP FRIED SOFT SHELL CRAB

Fried Soft Shell Crabs

Ingredients:

1 cup AP flour

¼ cup cornstarch

Salt and pepper

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or homemade)

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tbsp. minced parsley

Grated cheese – to taste

To Serve:

Lettuce

Tomato

White toast or roll

Tartar sauce or mayonnaise

Cole Slaw

French Fries

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • Heat 1-inch oil in a 12-inch skillet (I use olive oil, or you could use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable) over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Oil must be very hot, or the crabs will be soggy.
  • SET UP A BREADING STATION…
  • In a bowl combine 1 cup flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, salt, pepper, 1/2 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning – set aside
  • In another bowl, beat 2 eggs with ½ cup milk – set aside
  • In another bowl, combine 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or homemade), 1 cup panko bread crumbs, grated cheese, minced parsley, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Pat crabs dry
  • Toss in seasoned flour
  • Dip in egg & milk
  • Toss in bread crumb mixture
  • Repeat with remaining crabs
  • Place crabs in oil, shell side down
  • Be careful, the crabs can pop and spatter
  • Cook turning once, 3 minutes a side until golden
  • Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle lightly with salt
  • Ready to eat…

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 Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs

Photo Jul 19, 7 15 18 PM.jpg SOFT SHELL CRAB

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

1 ¼ cup AP flour

3 cloves of minced garlic

4 tbsp butter – divided

½ cup white wine

Juice of 2-3 lemons

2 tbsp minced parsley 

½ tbsp. Drained capers

SEASONING FOR FLOUR

1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. thyme

Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet (I use olive oil, or you could use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable) with 2 tbsp. butter over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Oil must be very hot, or the crabs will be soggy.
  • In a bowl combine 1 cup flour, 1 tsp of each: Old Bay Seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme- set aside
  • Pat crabs dry and season with salt and pepper
  • Toss in seasoned flour and shake off excess
  • Repeat with remaining crabs
  • Place crabs in oil, shell side down
  • Be careful, the crabs can pop, and spatter so stand back or use a splatter shield
  • Cook turning once, 3 minutes a side
  • Remove crabs from skillet and set aside
  • DO NOT clean out the pan.
  • To the skillet, add 2 tbsp. butter. Let the butter melt and turn a little brown
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute
  • Add capers and white wine and cook for 1- 2 minutes until slightly reduced
  • Add lemon juice and parsley and cook for 2 minutes
  • Pour sauce over crabs

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I hope you try one of these recipes and enjoy Soft Shell Crab Season.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to become members of DishingwithDiane.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments & emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Has Arrived…

 

Photo May 12, 12 28 05 AM BUFFET

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Hi Everyone,

I have been very, very busy the past few weeks so instead of sharing a tablescape today, I wanted to share some springtime recipes with all of you. 

 Spring has finally arrived here in the Northeast and it is glorious to finally have some nice weather. Spring makes me want to open all the windows and welcome in the fresh air. What a pleasure!

I am waiting for all the farmers markets and road stands to open. I love going to farm stands and buying fresh produce straight from the fields. Fresh is best and I want to support the local farmers.

I also buy all my organic herb plants from the farms. This year I am growing a larger herb garden than last year because it seems that I am constantly buying herbs in the grocery store only to have them last a few short days.

Last year we planted basil and parsley but this year I am branching out to add rosemary, sage and thyme.

As we all know I have a brown thumb (I killed the bamboo), so Bob will have to take over the garden. I will still be the chef.

To welcome spring and this lovely weather for the past few days, I decided to make a quick weeknight “Springtime Buffet” for Bob and I with some fresh veggies. Nothing fancy, just an ordinary night.

(Once you read the recipes, you will notice that they are all fairly easy). 

I started with one of my favorite salads, an Italian caprese salad which is layers of alternating tomato slices with fresh mozzarella, basil, some olive oil and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. I have this salad all spring and summer.

Photo May 12, 12 28 11 AM CAPRESE SALAD

I made two additional salads for the table, one is a very refreshing carrot salad with pineapples and raisins.

I have been making this four ingredient salad for years. I can’t even remember where I got the recipe from. When I visit my son, I have to remember to bring a container of carrot salad because it has always been a favorite of his. The secret is using fresh topped carrots and not the carrots pre-packaged in bags. Fresh carrots are so much sweeter.
Photo May 09, 7 59 24 CARROT SALAD ING.

Photo May 12, 12 34 03 AM CARROT SALAD

The second salad was a tossed salad of mixed greens with the addition of radishes, cucumbers, fruit, nuts and cheese. I make my own salad dressing with lemon juice, mustard, mayonnaise, garlic & oil and I will include that recipe at the end of the post.

It is officially spring when I start using one of my favorite pieces for spring and summer. A galvanized wheelbarrow that I use for salad. Purchased last year in my home away from home, Pier 1.

 It just puts me in the mood for gardening and springtime.

Photo May 12, 12 29 54 AM SALAD

The main entree for this buffet was a vegetable quiche.

The quiche was filled with yellow squash, green zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. You can add any combination of veggies you want as long as you use the basic recipe. I change the filling all the time depending on what I have in the veggie bin.

I did not have enough time to “attempt” to make my own pie crust ( making homemade pie crust is not my specialty), so I used a frozen organic pie crust.

Photo May 09, 3 18 14 PM VEGGIE QUICHE ING

I always sprinkle a layer of fine bread crumbs on the bottom of the pie crust just in case your filling is too wet  (the mushrooms give off liquid). The bread crumbs will prevent the crust from getting soggy.

Photo May 09, 6 50 53 PM BREADCRUMBS

I find the best bread crumbs for this job are the organic bread crumbs from Trader Joe’s because they are extra fine.

Photo May 12, 3 14 00 AM BREADCRUMBS

All the ingredients are mixed and now the quiche is ready for the oven…Photo May 09, 7 10 45 PM READY FOR THE OVEN

Once our springtime buffet was complete, we enjoyed eating this meal outside on the patio. I just love when we can dine al fresco.

(Although in Italian, the expression al fresco usually refers to spending time in jail and not eating outside. Very shocked when I heard that bit of information, but we aren’t in Italy.)

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Photo May 12, 12 29 07 AM VEGGIE QUICHE

I hope that some of the recipes today inspired you to try something new.

Give them a try and find a new favorite, and enjoy the nice weather too!

I’ll be back soon with a new tablescape…

Photo May 12, 12 31 16 AM FLOWERS

HERE ARE THE RECIPES…

CARROT SALAD

2 bunches topped carrots

1-cup mayonnaise

1/2 pineapple peeled and chopped OR a 14oz can of pineapple tidbits, drained

1/2-cup raisins

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Peel the carrots and grate them in a food processor fitted with the large grating attachment. (if you lay the carrots on their sides in the feed tube, you will have nice long grated strands)

Place the carrots in a large bowl and add the mayonnaise, pineapple, raisins, salt & pepper. Toss well and season to taste. Serve chilled or at room temp.

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FAVORITE SALAD DRESSING

3 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1 TBSP cider vinegar

1 TBSP mayonnaise

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

4 tsp sugar 

1 very small garlic clove, chopped OR  1 TBSP minced garlic in a jar

1 cup olive oil

In a food processor, blend all ingredients EXCEPT the oil until smooth…..with the motor running add oil in a stream, blend until emulsified. Transfer dressing to a jar and keep it covered and chilled until serving, yields 1- 1/4 cup

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VEGETABLE QUICHE

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1- 1/4 cup half and half OR heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  •  1- 1/2 cups sharp or mild cheddar cheese OR Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups diced veggies
  • 1- 9-inch unbaked frozen “deep Dish” pie shell OR 2 regular pie shells

COOKS NOTE: I sprinkle a layer of fine breadcrumbs on the bottom of the pie crust in case your filling is too wet, it will prevent the crust from getting soggy.

COOKS NOTE: if you add spinach, buy frozen it’s easier…thaw and squeeze out excess water. Break apart the spinach and add to the ingredients.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium-mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch, deep-dish piecrust. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.

6-8 servings

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Enjoy Spring!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to become a member of DishingwithDiane.com

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your emails and comments, I LOVE hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Linda

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Hi Everyone, 

I posted this on my personal Facebook page today but I was so deeply touched that I had to share it with my Dishing with Diane family as well…

“I have to share this… I have been blessed with a true friend that is a treasure to me. Not only is she talented, she is thoughtful, caring and very loving. This is my friend Linda (Radziminski). Her husband Glen is as wonderful as she is and I consider him a treasure as well.
Today I received an unexpected package in the mail and it was from Linda. She saw my blog post about the vintage red truck and tree and made me this beautiful reversible table runner to match my dishes. 
I want to say “thank you” Linda from the bottom of my heart. You are one of a kind and I love you.”

Her talent is endless.

Photo Dec 21, 9 41 50 PM LINDA - PHOTO 1

Photo Dec 21, 9 41 17 PM LINDA 3 WITH FRAME

Photo Dec 21, 9 40 50 PM LINDA 4

Photo Dec 21, 9 41 29 PM LINDA 2

Good News…

good-news-ifor-site-good-news

Hi Everyone, 

Good News for DishingwithDiane.com.

The photo enlargement feature is back up and running on the site.

 Browse the posts and if there is a photo you want to see larger and in more detail,

now you can !

Just click the photo to enlarge and then hit the back arrow to return to the original size.

So happy to be able to provide this feature after so many members requested it.

Enjoy and happy reading…

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” DishingwithDiane.com  .

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.