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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SPINACH AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH TAHINI VINAIGRETTE

This was an absolutely delicious salad - it didn't require cooking, and came together quickly - perfect for the lazy, but somehow busy, days of summer.

SPINACH AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH TAHINI VINAIGRETTE


1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
pinch cayenne pepper
kosher salt
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh mint
freshly ground black pepper
5 1/2 ounces baby spinach
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 ounces of feta, crumbled

In a small bowl, mix together garlic, 1/4 cup lemon juice, vinegar, cayenne, and a pinch of salt, let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then whisk in the tahini and 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil.
Meanwhile in another small bowl, combine chickpeas, parsley and mint. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the tahini vinaigrette and set aside.
Place the spinach in a large bowl and arrange shallots and carrots on top, season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil, toss to coat. Scatter half the chickpeas and all of the greens evenly among four plates. Top with the remaining chickpeas and crumbled feta.
Lightly drizzle 2 tablespoons of tahini vinaigrette over each portion, serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Shape, June 2012
www.shape.com/

Friday, July 27, 2012

OMELET ROLL WITH SALSA

I have made this dish for breakfast, and more recently for dinner - and it was delicious both times. In fact, my daughter enjoyed it so much, she asked me to please make it again for her.
This would be elegant enough to serve to guests, or simple enough for a family meal, however, I am sure the first time I made it, it looked a lot prettier!
The original recipe called for bacon, but I used ham as that was what I had on hand. I'm sure there are many add-ins that would be fabulous, and go perfectly in this recipe.


OMELET ROLL WITH SALSA
8 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
1 red pepper, finely chopped
8 slices ham, diced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup salsa, warmed

Heat oven to 350F.
Line a 15 by 10 inch pan with parchment paper, with ends extending over shortest sides of pan. Spray with cooking spray.
Beat eggs, milk and flour in large bowl with whisk until well blended. Stir in next 4 ingredients, pour into prepared pan. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until edges are almost set. Top with cheese bake 2 minutes or until melted.
Roll up omelet immediately. Starting at one short end and peeling off paper as omelet is rolled. Place on platter, cut into slices. Serve with salsa.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Family, Spring 2010
www.kraftrecipes.com/

Thursday, July 26, 2012

GRUYERE WALNUT CRISPS

I made these for a recent happy hour with friends.
I loved that I could make them in advance, throw together another platter with cheese and fruit, open a bottle of crisp white wine, and I was done with preparations.
Simple summer entertaining - absolutely perfect for an afternoon with the girls.

GRUYERE WALNUT CRISPS


3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces finely grated gruyere cheese
4 ounces finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Using an electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in cheeses and salt. Add flour and walnuts, beat just until dough comes together, adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Divide in half, roll each half into a 15 inch log. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
Heat oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut logs crosswise into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange on prepared sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart.
Bake crisps until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2009
www.bonappetit.com/

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WATERMELON LAVENDER MARTINI

There are some ingredients that pretty much ensure I will try a recipe - lavender is very high on that list!! 
I was really excited to make this cocktail for a recent dinner party, unfortunately it didn't live up to expectations. It was unanimously agreed that watermelon should be sliced and eaten and lavender is best saved for another recipe.

WATERMELON LAVENDER MARTINI


1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon culinary lavender buds
4 cups cubed fresh watermelon
4 ounces of vodka
ice cubes

In a small saucepan, bring sugar, lavender and 1/2 cup water to a simmer over medium heat, cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 1 minute.
Cool simple syrup to room temperature, strain out and discard buds. In a blender, process melon until smooth. Strain, reserve juice in a large pitcher, discard pulp. Add syrup, alcohol and ice, stir. Strain into 4 glasses.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Self, June 2012
www.self.com/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CHERRY CREAM CHEESE ICE CREAM

I first made this last year, for a gathering at a friends house, then again for a dinner party we hosted - and it was every bit as yummy as I remembered!! Im not a big ice cream fan, but this one is delicious - I especially love the cream cheese and lemon juice in this recipe - giving it a little tartness to balance the sweet.

CHERRY CREAM CHEESE ICE CREAM


1 cup sweet cherries, stemmed, pitted and halved
1/2 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons sugar, divided use
1/4 cup water
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
juice of 1/2 a lemon
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a small saucepan, combine cherries, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the water, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar, remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and place bowl in refrigerator until cherries are chilled.
In a food processor, combine cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, remaining sugar and salt and process until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract and cream. Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions, adding cherries (drained) when mixture reaches the consistency of whipped cream and continue churning until well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze several hours before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, June 2010
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/

Monday, July 23, 2012

FRESH TOMATO TART WITH BLACK PEPPER CORNBREAD CRUST

Sometimes an afternoon comes together perfectly - the company is fabulous, the setting is peaceful and relatively tidy (sometimes all I can ask for in the summer) and the food is wonderfully tasty for as simple as it was to make. Lunch with a gorgeous friend was all this and so much more - we sat outside, shared a bottle of crisp white wine, ate and conversed, and the food tasted so much better for it.

FRESH TOMATO TART WITH BLACK PEPPER CORNBREAD CRUST


1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 6 ounce package of cornbread mix
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 to 4 medium tomatoes (I used a mixture of green and red)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and ground black pepper

Heat oven to 425F.
Generously coat a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with vegetable oil or nonstick spray, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream and milk. Whisk in cornbread mix and black pepper, whisking until smooth. Stir in olive oil just until blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cornbread will be thin. Cool.
Meanwhile, core the tomatoes, cut into medium thick slices. Drain on paper towels.
In a medium bowl, combine cheeses, mayonnaise, basil and mix well.
Cut out circles of cornbread, using a round cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheet, and divide cheese mixture evenly among them. Arrange tomato slices over cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, June 2012
www.arkansas.com/dining/recipes/

Sunday, July 22, 2012

TACOS de CARNE ASADA

When my husband announced steak night, I was thrilled - I never mind a night off from cooking, plus, there were left overs - perfect for this recipe. I had planned to make these tacos earlier, and had the ingredients ready to go - but due to a busy week, and a couple of spontaneous nights eating out, I didn't get to make it when I had planned. However, the night after steak night was perfect, and the pico de gallo was surprisingly, absolutely delicious!! Actually, this whole dish was wonderfully tasty, and as I was eating it - I realized healthy - no cheese or sour cream - and I didn't miss it at all.

TACOS de CARNE ASADA


FOR THE PICO DE GALLO
5 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
pinch salt
pinch sugar

FOR THE STEAK
1 1-pound skirt steak, trimmed (or left overs - any cut is fine)
1/2 cup chili powder
8 4-inch tortillas, flour or corn
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, cut into 8 slices
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Prepare the pico de gallo: In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro, salt and sugar. Add additional salt to taste if necessary. Set aside.
Prepare the steak: Spritz a grill pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Meanwhile, coat steak on all sides with chili powder and rub in. Cook steak for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until desired doneness is reached. Remove from heat and let rest for 1 minute, then slice into 1/2 inch thick strips and set aside (I used left over steak from the night before, rubbed it with the chili, sliced it then warmed it in a pan).
In a separate pan, heat the tortillas for 1 minute on each side. Top each with 2 tablespoons of pico de gallo and equal amounts of steak, black beans, cilantro and avocado (and I added some pickled jalapeños). Garnish each plate with a wedge of lime.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Shape, May 2012
www.shape.com/