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Saturday, August 31, 2013

MUSHROOM AND RED PEPPER CROSTINI

I love to discover foods I haven't tried or heard of before. Just one of the many reasons I revel in travel, and appreciate eating at some of the more adventurous local restaurants - there may be ingredients in a dish I haven't heard of before and I am always curious, and ask about them, and taste them.
We took a family trip to Eureka Springs over a recent weekend, and after a day of eating, Flea Marketing and sock shopping (my daughters request), my husband stopped at the local supermarket so I could run in and pick up a couple of things I needed to cook dinner back at our lake cottage. While in the produce section, I noticed a mushroom I hadn't ever seen before -  Bunapi, also known as White Beech - an adorable cluster of small, delicate white caps. I bought a package to experiment with, and found this crostini recipe, where they are paired with rich roasted red peppers, and creamy Brie cheese, to be especially enjoyable.

MUSHROOM AND RED PEPPER CROSTINI


1/2 loaf of French bread, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package of White Beech (Bunapi) mushrooms, ends trimmed and mushrooms pulled apart
4 ounces of jarred roasted red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
1 Brie cheese round, cut into wedges

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, swirl in the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and the red bell peppers and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Turn the broiler on. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast the bread for 3 to 4 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Place a wedge of Brie on top of each toast and return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes to let the cheese melt just slightly. Remove from the oven, top each toast slice with the mushroom and bell pepper mixture.
Enjoy!


Recipe adapted from the Hokto Kinoko Website
http://www.hokto-kinoko.com/?p=345#more-345

Thursday, August 29, 2013

PEACHES AND PLUMS WITH SESAME CRUMBLE and PEACH AND ALMOND CRISP

We wanted to see friends after a long, busy summer, that included a lot of time out of town. We invited them over for a catch up and a casual dinner out on the deck.
Because we had found some fabulous Arkansas fruit at a roadside stand, my husband requested a peach inspired dessert, to follow the steak dinner we had planned.
My kids loved the Peaches and Plums with Sesame Crumble, that I saved for them to try the day after our dinner party, and I made the Peach and Almond Crisp because I had a lot of perfectly ripe peaches that needed to be used.

PEACHES AND PLUMS WITH SESAME CRUMBLE


1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 tablespoon tahini
1 1/2 teaspoons of black sesame seeds
1 pound of plums, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds of peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat the oven to 350F.
In a food processor, pulse the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter and tahini and pulse until moist crumbs form. Add the black sesame seeds and pulse to combine.
In a large skillet, combine the plums and peaches with the granulated sugar and lemon juice and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is just softened and the juices are thickened, about 10 minutes.
Scrape the fruit into a shallow gratin dish or glass pie plate and sprinkle with the sesame crumble. Bake in the center of the oven until the fruit is bubbling, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, July 2012
www.foodandwine.com/recipes‎

PEACH AND ALMOND CRISP


3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
1 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup almond paste
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup sliced almonds
8 cups of white and yellow peaches, cut into wedges
1/2 cup peach-apricot preserves

Heat oven to 400F. Butter an 11 by 7 inch glass baking dish.
Blend 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and salt in a food processor.
Add almond paste and process until fine crumbs form. Add butter and process using on/off turns until mixture begins to clump together. Transfer to bowl. Mix in almonds.
Toss peach wedges, peach-apricot preserves, remaining 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger in a large bowl to coat. Transfer to prepared baking dish, sprinkle topping over. Bake until topping is golden, peaches are tender, and juices are bubbling around edges, about 40 minutes. Cool at least 20 minutes before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2007
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BIG AND BUTTERY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES and BLUEBERRY DROP BISCUIT COBBLER and BANANA SPLIT CAKE

Cookies, Cake and Cobbler - three sweet ways to celebrate an end of summer sleep over.
I baked up a storm amidst the storm of my kids and a bunch of their friends.


BIG AND BUTTERY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package of semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Shape quarter cupfuls of dough into balls. Place in an airtight container, separating layers with waxed or parchment paper, cover and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.
To bake, place dough balls 3 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Press a shallow indentation in the center of each with your thumb, reshaping sides to smooth any cracks. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Bake at 400F for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks, cool.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home, June/July 2012
www.tasteofhome.com/recipes‎

BLUEBERRY DROP BISCUIT COBBLER

1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons plus 1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons of chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche
6 cups of fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest

Heat the oven to 375F.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter, using your fingertips, incorporate until only pea sized lumps remain. Gently mix in creme fraiche. Knead in bowl until a biscuit like dough forms, 5 to 7 turns.
Combine remaining 1 cup sugar, remaining 3 tablespoons flour, berries, juice, and zest in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Pour into an 8 by 8 glass baking dish or divide among six 6-ounce ramekins.
Scatter biscuit topping over berries.
Bake cobbler until juices are thick and bubbling and topping is cooked through and a deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes for ramekins, 45 to 50 minutes for baking dish.
Let cool for at least one hour.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2012
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

BANANA SPLIT CAKE


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 packages (8 ounces each) of cream cheese, softened
1 can (20 ounces) of crushed pineapple in juice, drained
4 bananas
2 packages (3.4 ounces each) vanilla instant pudding
2 cups cold milk
2 cups thawed whipped topping
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter, press onto bottom of 13 by 9 inch pan. Freeze for 10 minutes.
Beat the cream cheese and remaining sugar with mixer until well blended. Spread carefully over crust, top with pineapple. Slice 4 bananas, arrange over pineapple.
Beat pudding mixes and milk with a whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of whipped topping. Spread over banana layer in pan. Top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate 5 hours. Just before serving top with nuts.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Kraft Foods, Best Loved Quick and Easy Recipes
www.kraftrecipes.com/‎

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

MANGO LASSI

When we are out enjoying the Fayetteville Trail System, we pass by a gift shop that used to be my daughters favorite tea room and lunch spot, the chosen place for every special occasion.
After months of her asking to see inside, we finally had a free Saturday, and a mother-daughter date was set. The store was delightful, filled with gorgeous things and the owner every bit as lovely as her store. After loading the car with our purchases, and since we were already out and about, we called into a flea market I had driven past many times, and although curious, hadn't yet found the time to stop into and shop.
While my daughter selected a Cookbook, I found a funky purse I couldn't live without.
Once home, she searched the pages and chose an Indian inspired yogurt based drink, as the first recipe she wanted to make from this book. We had all the ingredients ready, so when she came out to the kitchen bright and early, seeking breakfast, we started measuring, pouring and mixing.

MANGO LASSI


2 mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup ice cubes
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 teaspoons rose water
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and process on high speed until very smooth and frothy, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Emerils, There's a Chef In My World, 2006
www.goodreads.com › Food And Drink › Cookbooks‎

Monday, August 26, 2013

PASTA SALAD

A friend gave me a large amount of tiny tomatoes from her garden. I indulged right out of the bag while they were still warm from the sun - a wonderful, fresh burst of the summer season.
I was glad to have enough left to make this light pasta salad, it looked so appealing I was eager to try it.

PASTA SALAD


salt and pepper
10 ounces penne pasta
1/2 cup lightly packed whole fresh basil leaves, plus 1/4 cup sliced basil leaves
1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/3 cup halved pimiento stuffed green olives

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, then rinse under cold water. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. While the pasta is cooking, in a food processor, puree the whole basil leaves, yogurt, mayonnaise, cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the mixture over the pasta and toss well to coat. Stir in the tomatoes, bell pepper, olives and sliced basil. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray, July/August 2013
www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/‎

Sunday, August 25, 2013

ZUCCHINI AND CARAMELIZED ONION QUICHE

A lovely, light, flavorful way to make use of the wonderful summer abundance, and this recipe has the versatility to be delicious for any meal.

ZUCCHINI AND CARAMELIZED ONION QUICHE


1 pie crust
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups sliced zucchini
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup caramelized onions
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 425F.
Fit dough into a 10 inch pie plate. Fold edges under, flute. Line dough with foil, arrange pie weights on foil. Bake for 12 minutes, or until edges are golden. Remove weights and foil, bake an additional 2 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Reduce oven temperature to 375F.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to pan, swirl. Add zucchini and garlic, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Saute 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Cool slightly.
Arrange caramelized onions over bottom of crust, top with zucchini mixture. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, milk, flour, pepper, eggs and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
Pour milk mixture over zucchini mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

CARAMELIZED ONIONS

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons butter
4 to 5 onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat a large skillet, add oil and butter, swirl until butter melts. Add onion and salt, cool 15 minutes or until onion begins to soften, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cook 50 minutes or until very tender, stirring occasionally. Cook an additional 10 minutes or until browned and caramelized, stirring frequently.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, August 2012
www.cookinglight.com › Food › Recipe Finder

Saturday, August 24, 2013

TRUFFLE BROWNIES

We were recently invited to a friends house for dinner, they are from Poland, and had just come back from 6 weeks traveling the country. The photographs and stories were wonderful, the dinner was absolutely fabulous, the company was outstanding, and the conversation was fascinating. It was a wonderfully international, very well traveled group of people.
While I was out shopping, I saw this gorgeous pottery dish from Poland, and had to pick one up for the hostess gift. I didn't want to take it empty, so made these Truffle Brownies to fill it.

TRUFFLE BROWNIES


1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
2/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brewed coffee
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup flour

Heat oven to 325F.
Grease and flour a 13 by 9 inch baking pan, set aside.
Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in coffee until well combined.
Cool to room temperature.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer until foamy. Add sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Reduce speed, beat in chocolate mixture. Stir in flour until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake for 45 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Bars and Brownies
www.amazon.com/Brownies-recipe-Better-Homes-Gardens/.../B004ILT3...‎

Thursday, August 22, 2013

THE BICICLETTA and RICOTTA APRICOT AND CRISP PROSCIUTTO TARTINE and CAMBODIAN GAZPACHO and SHRIMP WATERMELON SALAD and LEMON LAMB LOLLIPOPS WITH CHICKPEA PUREE and COCONUT CORN ICE CREAM WITH BROWN SUGAR SYRUP AND PEANUTS

My husband and I first developed the "Appetizer Crawl" while we were on vacation in Las Vegas, many years ago. There are so many incredible restaurants there, and we usually stay a very short time, so rather than spend the entire evening dining at just one place, we walked and ate our way along the strip, choosing small portions at each restaurant.
We decided to incorporate this theme at a recent dinner party, and made multiple small plates, rather than one larger entree.
This is one of my favorite dinner menus ever, but the guests, their witty repartee, and noises of appreciation was what really made night a memorable one.

THE BICICLETTA


ice cubes
2 ounces campari
1 1/2 ounces dry white wine
1/2 ounce club soda
lemon slice for garnish

Fill wineglass with ice. Add campari, wine and soda, stir to mix. Garnish with lemon slice.
Makes one.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2008
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

RICOTTA APRICOT AND CRISP PROSCIUTTO TARTINE


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 fresh apricots, pitted and halved, each half cut into thirds
salt
baguette, sliced and lightly toasted
4 slices of proscuitto
1/2 cup ricotta, at room temperature
freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 mint leaves, roughly torn

Heat broiler, brush apricots lightly with olive oil and season with salt.
Place apricots on a cookie sheet and cook until just tender.
Swirl 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium pan set over medium high heat. Once hot, add prosciutto and cook until darkened in spots, less than 1 minute per side.
Transfer to a paper lined plate.
While baguette slices are warm, spread generously with ricotta. Top with proscuitto and apricots. Garnish with oil, salt, pepper and mint.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Wall Street Journal, June 2013
online.wsj.com/public/page/magazine-food.html‎

CAMBODIAN GAZPACHO


1 carrot shredded
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
pinch sugar
pinch salt, plus more to taste
1 16 ounce can tomato juice 
2 English cucumbers, roughly chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeds and stems removed
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed
10 basil leaves, stems removed
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
20 cilantro leaves, stems removed

In a small bowl, combine carrot, vinegar, sugar and salt. Set aside for 1 hour.
In a blender, combine tomato juice, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, basil and rice wine vinegar. Pulse until slightly pureed. Add salt and pepper to taste and additional vinegar as desired.
Divide gazpacho evenly among bowls or serving glasses. Top each with pickled carrot and cilantro.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Shape Magazine, September 2012
www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-recipes‎

SHRIMP WATERMELON SALAD


2 lemons
1/4 watermelon, rind removed, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 pound peeled and deveined, cooked shrimp
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
salad greens

Grate zest from lemons to equal 1 tablespoon. Cut lemons in half, squeeze juice from lemons to measure 3 tablespoons.
Place onion in saute pan with a little butter or cooking spray, cook until tender. Stir in mayonnaise, celery, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir in shrimp and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place arugula and cubed watermelon on individual plates, sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, top with shrimp mixture.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, August 2012
www.southernliving.com/food/kitchen-assistant/‎

LEMON LAMB LOLLIPOPS WITH CHICKPEA PUREE


1 to 2 racks of lamb, cut into individual chops
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 bunches kale leaves
freshly grated nutmeg

Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, the rosemary and the lemon juice.
Coat the chops with the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the stock and bring to a low boil. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, reserve the saucepan. Add the chickpeas and cheese to the food processor, puree. Spoon the mixture into the reserved saucepan, cover and keep warm over low heat.
Position a rack in the uppermost part of the broiler and preheat to high. Broil the chops, turning once, for 6 to 8 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 cloves of garlic and swirl for 1 minute. Add the kale and cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
To serve, top the chickpea puree with a chop, serve with the greens.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray, March 2013
www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/‎

COCONUT CORN ICE CREAM WITH BROWN SUGAR SYRUP AND PEANUTS


BROWN SUGAR SYRUP
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (I could only find ground coriander seeds)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
salt
ICE CREAM
6 ears of corn, husked
2 14 ounce cans of unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup condensed milk
1 teaspoon salt
GARNISHES
1 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
finely grated lime zest

BROWN SUGAR SYRUP
Toast coriander seeds (or ground coriander) in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, crush with a mortar and pestle (if not already ground).
Stir sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Add coriander and peppercorns, season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Strain, cover and chill.
ICE CREAM
Cut the corn kernels from the cobs into a large bowl, reserve cobs. Heat coconut milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until almost simmering. Add grated corn, corn cobs and condensed milk, cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture barely begins to simmer, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 1 hour. Discard cobs.
Strain corn mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible, discard solids. Whisk in salt. Cover corn ice cream base, let chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Process ice cream base in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. Transfer to an airtight container, cover and freeze for at least 3 hours and up to 1 week.
GARNISHES
Spoon some syrup in the bottom of the bowl, scoop ice cream on top. Garnish with peanuts and lime zest.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2012
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

RUM AND RAISIN ICE CREAM

Ice cream is a delicious treat for most people, the making of childhood memories, and the recollection of joyful summer thoughts. Ice cream is a destination, a treat worthy of its own trip, in the car, on foot, cycling, maybe even crawling for some.
However, for the most part, it is no hardship or act of self control for me to pass up a frozen treat. My husband knows if he buys ice cream, it will still be in the freezer in a week or two, or a month later - however long it takes for him and the kids to polish it off. My one exception is home made ice cream.

RUM AND RAISIN ICE CREAM


900ml of cream
1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup fine sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee
3/4 cup chopped raisins
1 tablespoon light rum

Combine 300ml of cream, vanilla bean, sugar and coffee in pan, stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar and coffee are dissolved.
Remove from heat, discard vanilla bean, stir in remaining cream.
Pour mixture into ice-cream maker, stir in raisins and rum and freeze according to manufacturers instructions.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly, October 1991
aww.ninemsn.com › Food‎

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

CHOPPED EGG CAESAR SALAD

This is a great salad for lunch or dinner, and perfect for the nights you don't want to heat up the kitchen, or spend a lot of time fussing over food.
It was an entire, light and delicious supper for me, while my husband completed his meal by adding salmon.

CHOPPED EGG CAESAR SALAD


CAESAR DRESSING
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
SALAD
4 slices of country bread, torn into pieces
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 to 2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
2 to 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Whisk lemon juice, mayonnaise, garlic, Worcestershire, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil to make a creamy dressing, stir in cheese and set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Place bread pieces in medium bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
Add bread to a hot skillet, toast, turning the pieces as needed.
Place lettuce and egg in a large bowl, add dressing and toss to coat. Add bread pieces, tomatoes and cheese and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from USA Weekend, June 2011
www.usaweekend.com/section/FOOD04/Recipe-Archive‎

Monday, August 19, 2013

STRAWBERRY CORNMEAL CUPCAKES

The summer vacation went by very quickly, and although I wasn't quite ready for it to be over, I was looking forward to finding our Fall routine, and getting back to the school week rhythm.
I took the requisite "First Morning of School" photographs out the front of the house by the holly tree, as bunches of Sorority girls walked by smiling at the silly faces my kids were making. My husband and I leisurely walked the kids to school, had coffee with a group of other parents, then took a long walk around the beautiful downtown.
Even though my "TO DO" list was long and loomed large after many months of neglect, once I had cleaned up the kitchen from breakfast, and organized a lunch date with a friend, I wanted to make sure there was a freshly baked snack for the kids when they came home from school.
It's a good thing I was wanting more time at home with the kids, two of them developed fevers and chills over the course of the evening, so it looks like school will be postponed for a few more days.

STRAWBERRY CORNMEAL CUPCAKES


2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons cream
1/2 to 1 cup chopped strawberries
confectioners sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 350F.
Line muffin pan with paper liners.
In a bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs and zest on medium speed for 5 minutes. Beat in olive oil and milk. Add flour mixture, beat just until blended. Gently stir in strawberries. Divide among muffin cups.
Bake until toothpick comes out clean, 20 to 25 minues. Dust with confectioners sugar.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, May 2013
www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search‎

Sunday, August 18, 2013

RIESLING SANGRIA and CHERRY TOMATOES STUFFED WITH MARINATED FETA and SHRIMP AND SCALLOPS WITH LEMONY SOY and TWO POTATO SALAD WITH CREME FRAICHE and BAKED BEANS WITH BACON BREADCRUMBS and BLUEBERRY FIELDS SALAD and FRENCH COCONUT PIE

We take a camping trip with friends and their families every year, booking a group camp site months in advance, planning meals and looking forward to the weekend we get to spend in the beautiful Ozark National Forest, with some of the most fabulous people we know.
We take turns laying meals out on the picnic tables, and when it's our time for our shift, you can bet I have prepared as much in advance as I am able to. Nothing is better than the smell of the campfire, eating outdoors, and not spending all of my time cooking. My husband smoked ribs this year, and I blended a cocktail, prepared a couple of appetizers, mixed up a salad and two other side dishes and baked a pie.
Between the discovery of our "instant" tent - which literally pops up in a matter of minutes, my casual camp cooking style, and the fact that the kids all play from morning until night, it has become one of the most pleasant and relaxing vacations we take.

RIESLING SANGRIA


1 (750ml) bottle of riesling
1 1/2 cups of white cranberry-peach juice
1/2 cup peach schnapps
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (1/2 inch thick) lemon slices
2 (1/2 inch thick) orange slices
2 fresh peaches, cut into wedges
10 fresh raspberries
3 cups of ice cubes

Mix the wine, white cranberry-peach juice, schnapps, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla in a large pitcher. Stir in the lemon slices, orange slices, peaches and raspberries.
Chill, covered, overnight. Stir in the ice and serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Add Another Place Setting, Recipes from the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas
www.amazon.com › ... › Regional & International › US Regional‎

CHERRY TOMATOES STUFFED WITH MARINATED FETA


1 7 to 8 package of feta cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 pound of cherry tomatoes
12 pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthwise

Toss cubed feta, oil, shallot and oregano in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut 12 tomatoes crosswise in half, scoop out tomato pulp with small spoon or melon baller. Place tomatoes cut side up, on a serving plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place a piece of marinated feta, and an olive half in each cherry tomato. Drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.
Enjoy!

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

SHRIMP AND SCALLOPS WITH LEMONY SOY


1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 cup mirin
1 cup sake
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 pound scallops

In a dish, combine the soy sauce with the mirin, sake, lemon slices and jalapenos.
Thread the shrimp and scallops onto skewers and add them to the marinade, turning to coat.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through, then drain.
Light a grill and oil the grates. Brush the shrimp and scallops with oil and grill over high heat, turning once or twice, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, June 2012
www.foodandwine.com/‎

TWO POTATO SALAD WITH CREME FRAICHE


1 1/2 pounds of small red potatoes, halved
1 1/2 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3/4 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 18 minutes, or until tender.
Drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar, toss gently to coat. Let cool to room temperature.
Combine creme fraiche, chives and salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk. Add to potatoes, tossing gently to coat.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, May 2003
www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/‎

BAKED BEANS WITH BACON BREADCRUMBS


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces smoked ham, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
1/8 cup worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cans of navy beans, drained and rinsed
4 to 5 slices of bacon
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Heat oven to 350F.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over high heat, add ham, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onion caramelizes, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, worcestershire and hot pepper sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let sauce simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir beans into sauce.
Cover and bake beans until juices are bubbly and thickened, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, place bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven until crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Let bacon cool and reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings.
Coarsely chop bacon, place in a food processor with reserved drippings and panko breadcrumbs. Pulse until bacon is finely chopped, season with salt and pepper.
Remove beans from oven. Heat broiler. Sprinkle beans with bacon breadcrumbs. Broil, uncovered, until crumbs are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2012
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

BLUEBERRY FIELDS SALAD


1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup blueberry preserves
1/3 cup olive oil
spring greens and baby spinach mix
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup crumbled blue cheese

Heat walnuts in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.
Whisk together balsamic vinegar, blueberry preserves and olive oil, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Combine walnuts, greens, blueberries and blue cheese in a large bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of vinaigrette and toss to combine.
Serve immediately with remaining vinaigrette.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, February 2012
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

FRENCH COCONUT PIE


Pastry for 9 inch pie, unbaked
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup coconut

Heat oven to 325F.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs until fluffy, add sugar, vanilla, buttermilk and butter.
Add coconut, mix thoroughly.
Pour mixture into pie shell and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
note: crust will cook to a crisper texture if pie is placed on the bottom rack.
Enjoy!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS and FRENCH BREAKFAST PUFFS and BREAKFAST BABY CAKES and POPOVERS and OATMEAL TEA CAKE and BASIC BUTTERMILK PANCAKES and BANANA SPLIT BREAD and CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS AND PLUM OAT DROP BISCUITS and BITSY BACON AND CHEESE ROLLS and NUTELLA CREPES

It seemed like my kids were having friends to sleep over every weekend before school was out. Now, with school almost back in session, the overnight parties have increased in frequency, and it seems there is one almost every night.
I usually present a breakfast of convenience, but when there are additional kids expecting sustenance, it is a good excuse to look through the recipe books for something a little more interesting than cold cereal or Nutella toast.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS


2 cups half wheat-white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup buttermilk
melted butter

Heat oven to 450F.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles small peas.
Stir in buttermilk with a fork until the dough forms a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle dough with flour, and flatten into a disk. Cover and chill for 15 minutes.
Remove paper (I left it on the paper) and turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Sprinkle with flour. Pat dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter.
Place biscuits 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush immediately with melted butter.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, February 2013
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

FRENCH BREAKFAST PUFFS


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Heat oven to 350F.
Grease 12 muffin cups or line the cups with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, cream together 1/2 cup sugar and shortening. Beat in egg. Stir flour mixture into shortening mixture alternately with milk. Beat well. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. While muffins are baking, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Remove muffins from oven and muffin pan. Immediately, dip the tops of the muffins into melted butter, then into the sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Repeat with each muffin, until all muffin tops are covered. Serve warm.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from All Recipes
allrecipes.com/recipe/french-breakfast-puffs/‎

BREAKFAST BABY CAKES


1 1/3 cups milk
6 eggs
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons melted butter

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine milk, eggs, flour, sugar and salt and mix until smooth. Let batter stand for 30 minutes before baking.
Heat oven to 450F. Place bottom oven rack in lowest position.
Brush 6 pie tins with 1 tablespoon of butter each. Divide batter equally among pans, about 1/2 cup each. Place baking sheet with tins in oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until puffy and golden.
Serve 1 pancake per person, topped with desired toppings.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, May 2007
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

POPOVERS


In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of melted butter and 1 large egg. Whisk to blend.
Generously brush a popover pan with melted butter. Pour batter, dividing evenly among the 6 cups. Place pan in a cold oven on the middle shelf.
Heat oven to 450F, bake popovers for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F, and bake 17 minutes more. Do not open the door while baking. Remove pan from oven, pierce popovers to let out steam.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Parents, May 2003
www.parents.com/recipes/‎

OATMEAL TEA CAKE


1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
CARAMEL TOPPING
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons half and half
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350F.
Place oats and raisins in a medium bowl, pour boiling water over the mixture and let stand until warm.
In bowl of electric mixer, cream butter with sugars until light and fluffy . Blend in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in oatmeal mixture.
Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add flour mixture, blending lightly. Spread batter in a well greased, 9 inch square baking pan.
Bake until top of cake springs back when touched, 45 to 50 minutes.
CARAMEL TOPPING
In a small pan, melt butter. Remove from heat and mix in brown sugar, half and half and walnuts.
Spread topping on warm cake and place under broiler, about 4 inches from heat, until topping browns and bubbles, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 2003
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

BASIC BUTTERMILK PANCAKES


1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs and melted butter, add to flour mixture. Whisk until evenly blended.
Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat.
Grease griddle or skillet. Spoon batter for each pancake onto griddle, cook about 3 minutes or until air bubbles form on top and underside is golden brown. Flip pancakes, cook about 2 minutes more, until golden brown on bottom. Cook remaining batter. Serve with butter and maple syrup.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Red Book Magazine
www.redbookmag.com/recipefinder/‎

BANANA SPLIT BREAD

1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup bananas, mashed
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F.
Cream sugar, eggs and butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Stir in other ingredients. Spoon into well greased and floured large loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Holiday Cookbook, November 2007


CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS


1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup sour cream
1 egg
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Heat the oven to 375F.
Line muffin pans with paper liners.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the sugar and chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Put the sour cream, egg and vegetable oil into a separate bowl and mix together with a whisk until smooth.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the paper liners, so that each liner is half to three-quarters full, and bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen, pale golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from 100 Magnificent Muffins & Scones, Felicity Barnum-Bobb 2006

PLUM OAT DROP BISCUITS


2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup snipped pitted dried plums
1 cup milk

Heat oven to 450F.
Stir together sugar and cinnamon, set aside.
In a large bowl stir together the flour, oats, 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar, the baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Cut in the butter, using a pastry blender or your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in dried plums.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add milk. Stir until moistened. Drop dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, June 2004
www.bhg.com/recipes/‎

BITSY BACON AND CHEESE ROLLS



1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
6 slices bacon, chopped, cooked and drained
1 cup grated cheese

Heat oven to 375F.
Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Remove crescent rolls from container and lay on a flat surface that has been lightly dusted with flour.
Cut each crescent roll in half lengthwise to make two long, thin triangles.
Place approximately 1 teaspoon bacon bits and 1 teaspoon grated cheese along the triangles. Roll up each crescent roll jelly roll style, starting at the widest end.
Place rolls seam side down on prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes on pan and serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Pink Princess Tea Parties cookbook, 2008
www.amazon.com › ... › Where We Live › House & Home‎

NUTELLA CREPES


4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
10 tablespoons nutella
sliced strawberries and bananas

Beat the eggs with a whisk until they are smooth. Add the milk, and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt and nutmeg.
Slowly whisk in the milk mixture. Set aside for at least 15 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
Before using, whisk the mixture to dissolve any remaining lumps.
Heat an 8 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, brush with butter. Add 1/4 cup butter and tilt the pan to swirl it around. Cook until lightly golden on the bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Use a large spatula to flip the crepe, cook until lightly golden on the bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Brush the pan with butter again. Repeat, using up all the batter.
Working one at a time, spread the surface of a crepe with 2 teaspoons of nutella. Place the strawberries and bananas in a single layer on one quarter of the crepe.
Fold the crepe in half, then in half again, forming a wedge shape.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Parenting, December/January 2011
www.parenting.com/recipes‎

Thursday, August 15, 2013

HONEY JASMINE LEMONADE

I first made this cocktail for a fabulous friends fabulous party around Christmas time. She invited everyone to bring a cocktail and the accompanying recipe, she put out little bites and small sampler cups, and it was such a great blend of personalities, drinks, people and food.
The tea, honey and fresh juices seemed like the perfect combination to ward off the end of winter illness, but I have found it is also an excellent mix for the summer sense of well being.

HONEY JASMINE LEMONADE



1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup hot water
3 cups freshly brewed jasmine tea
1 cup gin
3/4 cup Limoncello
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

Stir honey and water in a bowl until honey dissolves. Combine honey mixture, jasmine tea, gin, Limoncello, and juices in a large pitcher and stir to blend.
Serve over ice.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
www.bonappetit.com/recipes‎

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ORANGE APRICOT AND PECAN BROWNIES

A wonderful friend and generally graceful and lovely lady had an Open House at her Pilates studio. I am a huge proponent, making it to classes as often as I can - along with yoga, walking, weights and biking, she helps me stay a healthy weight through all my cooking, sampling and dining.
I really wanted to contribute something to the buffet table, and have had this superb sounding brownie recipe for a while. I look longingly at the ingredients, yearning to bake it every time I see it, and decided it was finally time to indulge and share the deliciousness.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ORANGE APRICOT AND PECAN BROWNIES


100 grams of dried apricots
100 grams of butter
60 grams of cocoa powder, sifted
120 grams of sugar
90 grams of Manuka honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
finely grated zest of 1 orange
90 grams of flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
80 grams of milk chocolate, chopped
80 grams of white chocolate, chopped
100 grams of pecans, lightly toasted

Pour boiling water over the apricots and leave for 2 hours to plump up. Drain and cut into thick slices.
Heat oven to 180C. Line a 24 cm square cake tin with baking paper.
Melt butter in a small pan then mix in cocoa. Beat in sugar, honey, vanilla, eggs and orange zest together for a minute. Mix in the butter and cocoa.
Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda together and stir into egg mixture. Stir in chocolate, pecans and apricot slices.
Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for 14 minutes, or until it is set.
Take from the oven and leave to cool, then place in the refrigerator to firm completely before cutting.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from new Zealand House and Garden
www.nzhouseandgarden.co.nz/entertaining.asp‎

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

BOLOGNESE SAUCE and CHICKEN AND SPINACH PASTA BAKE

There is something rich and comforting about a pasta dish - whether humbly dressed with a few simple ingredients or tossed in an elaborate sauce, baked in a casserole or piled on a plate.
I have made these dishes for lunch with friends and for dinner with family - paired with a green salad, a loaf of rustic bread and a glass of wine for the adults, it is fine fulfillment indeed.

BOLOGNESE SAUCE

1 pound ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 carrot, shredded
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
42 ounces of canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
8 to 10 ounces dried or fresh pasta
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese for serving

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Stir in the beef, onion, garlic and carrot. Cook and stir until the beef is crumbly, evenly browned and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Stir in the oregano, garlic powder, bay leaf and salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
Serve pasta in large bowls, top with desired amount of sauce and cheese.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from All Recipes
allrecipes.com/video/...bolognese-sauce/detail.aspx Jan 19, 2012

CHICKEN AND SPINACH PASTA BAKE


8 ounces of uncooked rigatoni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 cups cubed cooked chicken breasts
1 (14.5 ounce) can of Italian style diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) container chive and onion cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.
Meanwhile, spread oil on bottom of an 11 by 7 baking dish, add onion in a single layer.
Bake at 375F for 15 minutes or just until tender. Transfer onion to a large bowl and set aside.
Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels.
Stir rigatoni, spinach, chicken and next 4 ingredients into onion in bowl. Spoon mixture into baking dish and sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake, covered, at 375F for 30 minutes, uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, February 2007
www.southernliving.com/

Monday, August 12, 2013

ARUGULA FENNEL SALAD

With Summer Vacation drawing to a close and school about to commence, it makes me realize how much I love transitions and a change in routine.
I look forward to the late mornings, travel, and visitors of summer, and how every day is different and usually a little crazy. But I also enjoy the quiet days after the kids are safely in school, being able to set my own schedule, to actually have time to think, and the seemingly endless potential for productivity.
I must admit, I even adore the small transitions, when the weekend is approaching after a long week, and again when Monday morning dawns bright with the promise of a fresh start, when it is finally time for an anticipated mid-year vacation or when a club or extra-curricular activity begins or comes to an end for the season.
I originally made this salad for friends over for a casual dinner, and it immediately became a favorite for any time, any occasion.

ARUGULA FENNEL SALAD


Make a French style vinaigrette with 1 tablespoon of minced shallot, 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, adding the oil gradually and whisking all the while. Put the vinaigrette in a salad bowl, put in 6 ounces of clean and dry arugula, and half a fennel bulb, thinly sliced. Season and toss.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine, December 2009
www.foodandwine.com/.../recipe-of-the-day-archive-december-2009

Sunday, August 11, 2013

SALMON RED QUINOA AND ARUGULA SALAD

I find such joy and satisfaction in putting a simple meal on the table for my family and returning to familiar household routines after being away from them. I adore travel - the excitement of packing up and disappearing on an adventure - but I love to be home too.

SALMON RED QUINOA AND ARUGULA SALAD


1 cup white wine
4 salmon fillets
1 onion, sliced
3 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup red quinoa
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 to 2 cups of arugula
juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime
1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons harissa
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds

In a large pot, boil wine and 4 cups of water. Add salmon, onion and thyme. Reduce heat to simmer, poach salmon until cooked through, about 7 minutes.
In another large pot, boil 4 cups of water. Add quinoa and cook until tender, about 11 minutes, drain.
In a bowl, mix quinoa, chickpeas, raisins and spices, cool.
Toss quinoa mixture with arugula. Dress salad with lemon juice and oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Divide salad and poached salmon among 4 plates. Top each salmon fillet with 1 tablespoon harissa. Garnish with cilantro and almonds.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Self Magazine, May 2013
www.self.com/search/recipe‎

Saturday, August 10, 2013

FUDGY COOKIE BARS and CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

The Fudgy Cookie Bars were heavenly, rich and chocolatey, especially in small pieces with a cup of tea. I love bar cookies, because they are quick and easy to make, and although my children aren't fans of nuts in sweets, I thought the walnuts were a delightful and delicious addition. 
However, the chocolate chip cookies were a HUGE hit with the kids - they absolutely loved them, and I loved that they were so easy to make. These are definitely sweet recipes I will keep and use over again.

FUDGY COOKIE BARS


1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup of butter, softened
1 (14 ounce) can of condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12 ounce) package chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine first 3 ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add butter and mix until it just comes together.
Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove pan and place on a wire rack.
Stir together condensed milk, vanilla and 1 cup of chocolate morsels in a small saucepan over medium heat stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until smooth.
Pour mixture evenly over prepared crust, spreading to edges of the pan. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and remaining chocolate morsels.
Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour or until completely cool. Cut into bars.
Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups self-rising flour
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels

Heat oven to 350F.
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add flour, beat at a low speed until well blended. Stir in chocolate morsels.
Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheets.
Bake at 350F for 11 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool on baking sheets on a wire rack 5 minutes, transfer to wire racks, and cool completely.
Enjoy!

Friday, August 9, 2013

ROSE SANGRIA WITH PINEAPPLE AND GUAVA and ASPARAGUS WITH POACHED EGG AND CRISPY PROSCIUTTO and POTATO CRUSTED SALMON WITH HERB SALAD and BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK ORANGE TART

We had been trying to find a time to have dinner with friends, and after many attempts we finally established a time.
Our Son and their Daughter had been best of friends in Pre-School, but had moved to different Elementary schools and then their family spent a year in Austria, so we lost touch a little.
It was wonderful to reconnect with them and with another dear family who had recently moved back to the area from Cincinnati.
On the day we determined, I was picking up my son from camp, a 5 hour round trip, so I made sure to keep the menu quick and uncomplicated. Nevertheless, the simple meal was greatly enriched by seeing friends and the fascinating conversation.

ROSE SANGRIA WITH PINEAPPLE AND GUAVA


1 750 ml bottle of rose wine
8 ounces of light rum
24 ounces of pineapple juice
24 ounces of guava nectar
4 cinnamon sticks
2 cups 3/4 inch cubes of fresh pineapple
2 oranges, halved through stem end, thinly sliced crosswise
ice cubes

Mix wine, rum, pineapple juice and guava nectar together in a large pitcher. Add cinnamon sticks, pineapple and orange slices.
Cover and chill at least 6 hours or overnight. Fill glasses with ice, pour sangria over.
Garnish with orange slices if desired, and serve.
Enjoy!

ASPARAGUS WITH POACHED EGG AND CRISPY PROSCIUTTO


1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 slices of prosciutto, cut into strips
1 1/2 pounds of asparagus, tough ends trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese strips
2 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, sliced

Heat oven to 425F.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Scatter prosciutto strips in an even layer in the skillet, cook until crisp, about 2 minutes, turning pieces as they crisp. Drain on a paper towel.
On a large baking sheet, toss asparagus with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and arrange in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast 12 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
While asparagus is roasting, poach the eggs.
Divide asparagus among 4 plates, season with salt and pepper. Place a poached egg on each serving. Top each with crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and basil.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Red Book Magazine
se by Ingredient ... - Redbook

POTATO CRUSTED SALMON WITH HERB SALAD


2 to 3 cups of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons snipped chives
2 tablespoons flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 8-ounce salmon fillets
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
herb salad mix

In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with the chives and flour and season with salt and pepper. Lay the salmon fillets on a work surface and season with salt and pepper. Evenly pat the shredded potatoes onto the top of each fillet.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Carefully add the salmon fillets to the oil. potato side down, and cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until browned, about 8 minutes. Carefully flip the salmon and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer. Using a fish slice, transfer the salmon to plates.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice, mustard and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the herb salad mix and toss to coat. Transfer the salad and salmon to plates and serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine
www.foodandwine.com/‎

BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK ORANGE TART


PASTRY
500g flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
300g butter, melted
FILLING
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup cream
zest of 2 oranges
juice of 1 orange
120g butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 to 2 cups of blueberries

PASTRY
Heat oven to 180C.
Mix flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Add melted butter and mix with a wooden spoon. Press into tart pan and bake about 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
FILLING
Whisk the sugar and eggs together. Add remaining ingredients except blueberries and whisk until smooth. Place blueberries in the pre-baked shell and pour filling over. Bake about 40 to 45 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool.
Enjoy!
NOTE: a pan size was not specified, I used a 10 inch one, and had crust and filling left over, which I made into mini tarts.

Recipe adapted from New Zealand House and Garden
www.nzhouseandgarden.co.nz/‎

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

OVEN BAKED FRENCH FRIES and CHEESY BROCCOLI and MASHED POTATO VEGETABLE STRATA and SWEET TART THREE BEAN SALAD and BAKED STUFFED SQUASH and GLAZED CIPOLLINI ONIONS and BAKED POTATO FRIES

My goal is to make one new recipe a day - although there are times I will undertake five new recipes for a dinner party, or make a complicated family dinner, there are definitely days where life is exceedingly busy, and I barely have time to make a cup of tea, let alone put elaborate fare on the table. However, whether it has been a bustling day, or I'm going out for the evening, or I'm not in the mood to cook, I usually find it attainable to put together something quickly, or to make the dish in advance, so it just has to be warmed up, or taken out of the refrigerator.

OVEN BAKED FRENCH FRIES


cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 1 pound of potatoes, cut into strips
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 325F.
Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, mustard and lemon juice. Add potatoes and toss to coat.
Spread potatoes out on the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until light brown and tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Shape Magazine, April 2004
www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-recipes‎

CHEESY BROCCOLI


1 bunch of broccolini
2 tablespoons of olive oil
6 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
juice of half a lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steam the broccolini until tender, about 6 minutes.
Heat the broiler. Drain the broccolini and place it in a baking dish. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with cheese, chile flakes and oregano. Broil the broccolini until the cheese is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice onto the broccolini, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from USA Weekend, April 2013
www.usaweekend.com/section/FOOD04/Recipe-Archive‎

MASHED POTATO VEGETABLE STRATA


1 pound of potatoes, peeled and cut up
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1/2 8 ounce container of sour cream
1 tablespoon of basil pesto
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350F.
Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large saucepan cook potatoes in enough lightly salted water to cover, for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. Drain potatoes. Return to saucepan, mash, then spread evenly in baking dish.
In a blender, mix roasted peppers until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, whisk in sour cream, pesto and 1/4 teaspoon salt, until smooth. Spread sweet pepper mixture on mashed potatoes.
In a skillet, cook zucchini, summer squash, peppers and onions in hot oil over medium high heat until crisp tender. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon vegetables on roasted pepper layer. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes, until heated through. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, May 2012
www.bhg.com/recipes/‎

SWEET TART THREE BEAN SALAD


1 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 10 ounce bag of frozen, shelled edamame
3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the green beans and edamame in a pot of boiling water, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain well, then transfer the beans to a large bowl and put them in the refrigerator to cool for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, apricot preserves, sugar and ginger.
Add the black beans and green onions to the green beans and edamame. Drizzle with the dressing  and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature or chilled.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from USA Weekend, June 2012
www.usaweekend.com/section/FOOD04/Recipe-Archive‎

BAKED STUFFED SQUASH


2 yellow summer squash
1 cup cubed velveeta cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup butter
fresh herbs, chopped

Heat oven to 425F.
Halve the squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, making a well for the stuffing.
Combine velveeta and cheddar cheeses with onion, garlic and tomato. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place the squash on a baking tray, and fill the center of each half with the mixture, then dot each one with butter. Sprinkle herbs, along with salt and pepper over the top of the squash.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Dining Guide, August 2012
www.nwaonline.com/news/2012/.../beat-heat-fresh-summertime-recipes/‎

GLAZED CIPOLLINI ONIONS


20 to 24 cipollini onions
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped chives

To peel the onions, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Cut an 'X' in the root end of each onion. Drop the onions into the water for a few seconds, just long enough to loosen the skin. Remove the onions from the water and peel off the skin.
Place the onions in a 3 or 4 quart saute pan. They should fit in a single layer with room around the onions. Pour in enough stock to reach halfway up the sides of the onions. Add enough water to just come to the top of the onions.
Add the butter, salt and sugar to the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Adjust the heat as necessary to cook the onions at a gentle simmer for about 50 minutes.
When the cipollini onions are tender, the liquid should be reduced to a glaze that coats the onions. If there is excess liquid, continue to simmer the liquid to a glaze. Sprinkle the chives on top just before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Chef Thomas Keller
www.all-clad.com › Home › Elevate talent

BAKED POTATO FRIES


FOR THE SPICE MIX
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of sugar
FOR THE POTATOES
about 1 potato per person
olive oil

Heat oven to 375F.
Combine all the spice rub ingredients in a small bowl.
Cut the potatoes lengthwise into three-sided wedges. In a medium bowl, toss them with the olive oil, then toss with the spice rub.
Put the potatoes on a cookie sheet, and place in the oven. Cook the potatoes until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, June 2011
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/