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Corn Salad with a Spicy Twist

2 Jul

With the 4th of July just 2 days away, I needed to try something new, I always love the standards like coleslaw and potato salad but like to add something different each year. As I was scrolling my Instagram I came across a beautiful photo of a corn salad with avocado posted by Bon Appetit Magazine and knew I had to try it! It has a Mexican flair with serrano chile, cilantro and lime juice…delicious! Corn Salad with Hot Honey Lime Dressing for the win!

Now, the recipe calls for grilling the corn but I wasn’t going to start the grill for 4 ears of corn (we only have a charcoal grill) so I pan roasted mine in the cast iron skillet, just as good as grilled.

Also, you may not want it to be too hot, spicy that is; I used a mildly hot yellow pepper from my garden instead of the serrano chile. It’s really up to your personal taste and what you think your friends and family like…you can always add more heat but you can’t take it away.

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Ingredients:

4 ears of corn, husked and kernels cut off

2 Tbs unsalted butter

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbs fresh lime juice

2 Tbs honey

1 1/2 Sriracha

1 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 avocados, cut into bite size pieces

1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Directions:

Heat butter in cast iron skillet over medium heat, add corn kernels. Cook about 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. I let mine brown slightly. Remove from heat, let cool.

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While the corn cools, whisk lime juice, honey, Sriracha, garlic and 1 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl to combine. Add corn, avocados, serrano chile and cilantro to vinaigrette; toss gently. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

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Enjoy! We had it with crab cakes but it would be a great addition to any BBQ.

*To make this dish vegan just cook the corn in vegetable oil.

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Spring Vegetable Tart

6 May

It is asparagus season, this makes me very happy. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables because it tastes great and can be used in so many different types of recipes. Asparagus is great all by itself, in a salad, hot or cold, roasted or steamed…I could go on forever.

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Now when most people think of tarts they think dessert, I know I always did, until I began to cook and opened my mind to all kinds of new things in the world of food. According to Wikipedia “a tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry.” So when I was looking for something to bring to my sisters that was a bit different than the usual, I found a recipe for an Asparagus Leek Tart, it was perfect.

Ingredients

4 small leeks or 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced and rinsed well

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into small pieces

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

1/3 cup milk

2 eggs

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

1 heaping tsp of fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme if you don’t have lemon thyme

1 tsp of fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp concentrated balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or line with foil and grease lightly with shortening or butter. Set aside.

 

Melt butter and olive oil together in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add leeks and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes and remove from heat and keep to the side. While the leeks are cooking blanche the asparagus for two minutes in boiling water and then put into ice water to stop the cooking. Add asparagus to the leeks and set aside.

 

On a lightly floured surface roll out puff pastry dough into a rectangle and transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. Using a fork score around the edges to create a crust and pierce the dough all over so that it doesn’t puff up too much in the middle.  Bake for 10 minutes.

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While the pastry is cooking whisk together the eggs and milk in a mixing bowl until well combined. Add cheese, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

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Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the puff pastry from the oven and reduce heat to 400 degrees. Using a fork gently push the air out of the center of the dough so that it flattens in the center.

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Scatter the asparagus and leeks evenly on the dough, pour the egg and cheese mixture over the vegetables. Bake for 20 to 25 until set. Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle with concentrated balsamic vinegar, serve and enjoy!

 

Thank you The Life Jolie for this delicious recipe!

Stuffy Dressing or Dressy Stuffing?

13 Nov

So, which is it? I only just found out what the difference is between stuffing and dressing, perhaps you already know and it seems pretty obvious now that I do know. Dressing is stuffing that is not “stuffed” into the cavity of the bird and stuffing is dressing that is “stuffed” into the cavity of the bird! There you have it.

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I love traditional stuffing but came across a recipe that seemed too good not to try (which is why I love Pinterest)! Rosemary Mushroom Stuffing, which is ironic because the recipe is vegan so clearly it is dressing and not stuffing. For those of you who are not vegan of course you can use regular butter and chicken stock but I urge you to try it the way it is written, you will never the know the difference.

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Ingredients

half loaf rustic, artisan bread*

1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced

3 celery stalks, diced

1/2 cup currants (they are by the raisins)

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

pinch of sea salt

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

2 tbs vegan butter

2 tbs olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cube and toast artisan bread in oven.

The rosemary and fennel seeds need to be ground up, you can use a mortar and pestle if you have one. I put mine in a small bowl and used the handle end of a large knife to crush them and it worked just fine. Put aside.

In a large saute pan, heat butter and oil over medium low heat. Add onions and celery, stir until onions become soft and translucent. Add mushrooms, cook for about 5 more minutes. Add the fennel and rosemary mixture, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Stir to cook for 3 or 4 minutes more then remove from heat.

Pour vegetable stock and currants into the pan and stir.

Add toasted bread cubes to pan and mix well. Transfer to medium size baking dish.

Bake dressing covered with foil for 45 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.

Let dressing stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving and enjoy!

*The original recipe calls for rosemary artisan bread, I used plain as I thought it might be too much rosemary but obviously you can use what you like.

**Recipe adapted from canned-time.com

 

 

 

Chapter 3: The Best Mac n’ Cheese

17 Jan

I almost can’t believe it. I have been on the search for the best macaroni and cheese recipe for what seems, ever. And apparently it has been; my last blog post on my search for the best mac n’ cheese was on May 23, 2011! I started a 3 chapter post and chapter 2 was all the way back then….

Well, I have found it. This is the recipe that will be the base of all my future mac n’ cheese recipes. Thank you Martha Stewart. (Of course.) I did change it slightly after reading and researching what makes the best mac n’ cheese. (How many times can I say mac n’ cheese?!) I did use some cream instead of milk and I used dry mustard instead of nutmeg. I DO NOT like nutmeg in recipes that are supposed to savory but I do like it in desserts. My husband thinks I’m crazy but I can detect the slightest bit of nutmeg and it just grosses me out.

Also, in this recipe Martha does a bread crumb topping which I omitted, just not a fan.

6 Tbs unsalted butter

3 1/2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream (yup!)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp dried mustard

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar

2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere

1 pound elbow macaroni (I used shells, holds the sauce better)

1/4 cup pecorino Romano cheese

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Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil. Cook macaroni according to package instructions but about 3 minutes less, until it is just underdone. Drain in colander, rinse and set aside.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish;set aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk and cream. Melt remaining 6 Tsp butter in a high-sided skillet or large saucepan over medium heat. When butter is completed melted, add flour. Cook, stirring 1 minute.

Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove the pan from heat. Stir in salt, black pepper, mustard, cayenne pepper, 4 cups cheddar, 1 1/2 cups Gruyere; mix well. Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce and then pour into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving….Enjoy!

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I have big plans for future mac n’ cheese recipes….

 

 

 

Tangy Twangy Slaw

7 Jun

I love coleslaw but am trying to lose a few pounds so I was looking for healthier version and found this tangy slaw recipe.  This is great alternate and it’s vegan, dairy and gluten free. My husband loved it and even asked to me to make it again!

Slaw fixin's

Slaw fixin’s

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded

4 tablespoons medium red onion, thinly diced

1 grated carrot

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon celery seed

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Refrigerate and allow slaw to chill for at least at an hour or two before eating. Enjoy!

Serve it up!

Serve it up!

 

 

Easy Orzo!

4 Jul

Happy 4th of July! Need an easy, fast salad to bring to BBQ?!  Well, this is it! Now, it may not be the prettiest or most colorful salad on the block but it has great flavor and is not something that everyone else will bring.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

GREEK ORZO SALAD

1 Box Orzo Pasta

3/4 Cup Ken’s Italian Dressing & Marinade (or your favorite italian dressing)

1/4 Red Wine Vinegar

1 Can Artichoke Hearts-I used quartered and then chop them in half

1/4 Cup Diced Red Onion

1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

 Cook pasta according directions on package, drain and cool.  Mix the rest of the ingredients  in with the pasta in a large bowl. Chill and eat!!!  Have a safe and happy holiday!

*You could certainly add some chopped black olives for some more color but I’m not a fan.

Dillicious Dilly Beans!

6 Sep

Hello all!  This post was meant to be up last week but with Irene causing all sorts of problems here on the East coast I am finally getting around to it today!

So, my last post was about pickles and this post is about a pickling experiment that actually turned out well. When I was out in California 3 years ago for my nephews wedding we went on a winery tour and not only was there great wine but lots of yummy treats.  One of those treats was spicy pickled green beans-they were delicious! My nephew keeps threatening to send us some or bring them when he visits but has yet to do so. When I was making the pickles I decided why not try it with green beans and just add some red-hot pepper flakes?! And they are great! Now, I know that some of you are wondering why didn’t I just go buy them? Well, I couldn’t find them anywhere in New Jersey until, of course I decided to make them myself.

Dillicious Spicy Dilly Beans

Basically, use the same recipe as the pickles but use pint Mason jars and green beans. I used about 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and they were only slightly hot, I would use more next time.  I also didn’t cook the green beans and got different opinions on whether I should or not, about 50/50. My next batch I’m going to blanch them for about 2 or 3 minutes, it just depends on how crunchy you want them. They are a great addition to an appetizer spread, game time munchie or added to a martini or bloody mary!

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