Category Archives: Sides

Popovers

Popovers

Popovers

Popovers are the new favorite roll in our host. They are featured at every Sunday Family Dinner. I usually serve two varieties of rolls, biscuits or bread – the popovers always go first! I’ve also been making some flavored butters to accompany the popovers. Both are super easy and the great thing about popovers, as opposed to most other rolls, is that you don’t need to wait for dough to rise. I’m not exactly sure of the science of the popover, but I do know that the pan has to be preheated, and you should not open the oven during the cooking process. I have a popover pan, but I also use my regular muffin tin and, quite frankly, the muffin pan works just as well if not better. I never have enough leftover to serve for breakfast, but these would be great for breakfast, brunch or lunch as well as for a dinner roll.  Makes 12 popovers.

INGREDIENTS:

3 TBS. Unsalted Butter- melted
2 Eggs – room temperature
1 Cup Lukewarm Milk (heat for 30-40 seconds in the microwave)
1 Cup Flour
1.5 tsp.  Kosher Salt (substitute 1 tsp. regular salt)

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place a muffin pan or popover pan in the preheated oven and heat for at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile, break the  eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk vigorously . Add the warmed milk and whisk again. Add the flour, salt and 2 TBS. of melted butter, and whisk until smooth. Remove the muffin or popover pan from the oven and brush each compartment with remaining melted butter. Pour the batter into the warmed muffin tin (fill each compartment 1/2 – 3/4) and return it to the oven to bake until golden, about 35 minutes- avoid opening the oven during the cooking process. Remove the muffin/popover pan from the oven and remove popovers from the pan immediately. If possible, serve warm.
* The popover batter can be made in a blender – follow the instructions above, but blend in blender instead of whisking.
Light and Airy Popovers

Light and Airy Popovers

Honey Almond Butter:

1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter – softened
1 TBS. Honey
1/2 tsp. Almond Extract
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Taste and add more honey or almond extract if desired. Transfer butter to a small bowl or ramekin and refrigerate until butter reaches desired firmness (I usually serve it a little soft).

Savory Cheddar, Scallion, and Chive Scones

Cheddar Scallion Chive Scones

Cheddar Scallion Chive Scones

Scones are one of my baking “go to” options. I have recipes which include seasonal fresh fruit (berries) as well as recipes which don’t rely on fresh or seasonal ingredients. I love scones for breakfast or dessert, and they’re so easy to make. For Easter this year I wanted to make a variety of of homemade breads/biscuits. I have a great cheddar biscuit recipe which is hearty and rustic, but I wanted something a little more “elegant” than a biscuit for Easter dinner. I decided to incorporate the ingredients (with some additions) for my cheddar biscuits into one of my basic scone recipes. I will say that I was a little bit unsure as to how much butter to use (I decided on none at all) because I would be adding cheese. So I subbed out the cheese for butter, but increased the cream (to get a wet enough dough). The result was great – in fact, better than expected. The scones weren’t as flaky as my typical scones, but that was just fine since they were serving more as a dinner roll. You can alter the ingredient flavors by using a different type of cheese (stick with a cheese of similar consistency) or different herbs or substitute leeks, jalapenos, or roasted red peppers for the scallions. Really, the possibilities are nearly endless.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1 TBS.  Baking Powder
  • 1 TBS. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Scallions (green parts only)- chopped
  • 1/4 Cup  Fresh Chives- finely chopped
  • 1.5 Cups Cheddar Cheese (sharp, extra sharp, or medium – or your choice of cheese)- grated
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream (plus a few extra TBS. for brushing tops)
  • Coarse Sea Salt (optional for sprinkling on top)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400°F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add scallions, chives and grated cheese, and mix until well incorporated. Add Cheese and ScallionsUsing a fork, stir in most of the cream until a sticky dough forms. If dough is too dry, add more cream.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead with floured hands (don’t overwork) until dough forms a cohesive ball. Divide dough into two equal balls and flatten each ball to form about 3/4 – 1″   high round disc. shape the doughCut each round into 8 wedges. Brush tops of rounds with additional cream and sprinkle each with a little sea salt.brush scones with cream and sprinkle with salt

Arrange wedges about 1/2 inch apart on a parchment lined  baking sheet and bake in middle of oven until golden brown, about 18- 20 minutes.scones out of the oven Cool on a rack or serve warm.chedar scallion chive scones center

 

Easter Dinner

Easter Table 3I think I might love Easter dinner almost as much as I love Thanksgiving dinner. Both really embrace and celebrate the season, and I love food that is seasonally fitting. Unlike Thanksgiving, where I it’s almost sacreligious to vary the side dishes too much (although recent years have brought new introductions), there are a lot of side dish options which are fitting for spring and bode well for Easter dinner. I typically serve lamb as the main dish, simply because I don’t really love ham and I do love lamb. If I were feeding a big crowd, I would certainly do both. Sorrel soup is usually a tradition for us (my mother always made it as well), but spring has been so slow in arriving this year, that I don’t have enough sorrel in the garden this year and it’s hard to find any place that sells sorrel. As for vegetable side dishes – the list is almost endless…think green and fresh. This year I plan to serve sauteed snap peas with mint, but I will also serve a light arugula salad. Asparagus is probably the most traditional spring vegetable, and I’ve served that many times in the past. Starchy side dishes are also nearly limitless. Buttered noodles with fresh chopped herbs is simple but appropriate, boiled new potatoes with butter and herbs would be equally great, as would simple herbed white or wild rice. I have made risotto (with mushrooms and asparagus) in the past, however, this year I  will be serving my grandmother’s scalloped potatoes (made with canned evaporated milk). My Dad loved these potatoes and my grandmother (my mother’s mother) was always thrilled to make them. I also usually make a quiche for any vegetarian guests – asparagus and mushroom or leek is always a hit. Bread and rolls are another important component of the meal. Last year I made cheddar scallion scones and they were a huge hit, so I’ll make them again this year, but I’m also going to make popovers because they are my families new favorite. Ah, and for dessert: lemon cakeLemon Buttermilk Cake with Lavender Frosting is the standard and I will serve that again this year since it is Auntie Sarah’s favorite and also because I’ll be making one for my friend Sara, but I think I’m also going to make a rhubarb pie or tart, since rhubarb is another spring icon. Last year I served a coconut cake (now “award winning” since it won our local dessert contest on the Fourth of July).

I love decorating for Easter, and I love coloring Easter eggs. Aracauna egg for EasterBlog thru April 4 003Two years ago I decorated the table with fresh Araucana eggs (they are often called the natural Easter eggs because they are beautiful shades of blue, green, beige and even an almost pink). Last year I died Quail Eggs and I loved the way those turned out.

Mini Easter Eggs (Dyed Quail Eggs)

Mini Easter Eggs (Dyed Quail Eggs)

Click here to see instructions for Dyed Quail Eggs

Click here to see Previous Easter Dinner Menu and Recipes

 

Grilled Leg of Lamb (Recipe by Alton Brown)

I take zero credit for this recipe – normally I can’t resist adding my own personal touches to a recipe to make it my own, but in this case, I wouldn’t change a thing. Click on the link above to go to the original recipe and read some of the nearly 100 five star reviews. Many people comment that, like me, they were skeptical of the mustard, but you just can’t argue with the results. Alton’s recipe calls for a charcoal grill, but you can make this on a gas grill, just turn off the center burner when cooking. It’s important to buy good quality lamb meat; if you don’t find what you’re looking for, ask your butcher. As I’ve mentioned before, we happen to have a farm we buy from, so even though our lamb is frozen, the flavor is always outstanding. This recipe is too good to only serve once a year – it would be great to serve at any occasion.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Boneless Sirloin Leg of Lamb

For the Paste:

  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 8 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1 TBS. Brown Sugar
  • 1 TBS. Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 5 TBS. Strong Mustard, such as Dijon
  • 2 TBS. Canola Oil
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary

INSTRUCTIONS:

Roughly chop the garlic cloves in the food processor. Add the mint and repeat. Add the brown sugar, salt, pepper, mustard, and oil and blend to a paste. Spread the paste evenly on the meat side of the roast. Roll the leg into a roast shape and tie with cotton butcher’s twine. Leg of Lamb MarinadeFire 2 quarts (1 chimney’s worth) of charcoal (natural chunk is best). When charcoal is lightly covered with gray ash, split the coals into 2 piles and move them to the far sides of the cooker. Close the lid and allow the grate to heat. Then, place the lamb, skin side up, on the middle of the hot grate. Add the rosemary sprigs to the charcoal briquettes and close the lid and grill. After 20 minutes, flip the roast and rotate it 180 degrees. Insert the probe thermometer into the roast and continue to grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the roast at 135 degrees. Remove the butcher’s twine from the roast. Cover with foil and rest it for 15 minutes before serving.

 Alternative: Lamb Chop (or Leg of Lamb) Marinade

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12-16 Small Lamb Chops (French Cut) – or 1 Boneless Leg of Lamb
  • 1 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 TBS. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 1/2 juicy lemon)
  • 8 Cloves Garlic – chopped
  • 4 TBS. Fresh Rosemary – chopped
  • 4 TBS. Fresh Thyme- chopped
  • 4 TBS. Fresh Oregano – chopped
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pour olive oil into a glass baking dish. Add garlic, herbs, and lemon juice and mix until thoroughly combined. Add lamb chops (or leg of lamb) to pan and season with salt and pepper, turn over and season other side of meat. Spread marinade (including chopped garlic and herbs) over meat. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour (2 hours is better). Lamb chops in marinate

Easter Table 5

 

Rhubarb Tart

Rhubarb Tart

 

Lemon Cake with Whipped Cream and Edible Spring Flowers

Lemon Cake with Whipped Cream and Edible Spring Flowers

Thanksgiving Side Dishes- Traditional Favorites and some Random Surprises

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving Table 2013

For more photos see posting on Tables

I love turkey, but, for many people, the side dishes are the highlight of the Thanksgiving meal. The other night we celebrated and gave thanks with friends in a gathering aptly named “Friendsgiving,” and, despite a gorgeous 34 lb. fresh turkey (when I say “fresh,” I mean fresh – it was slaughtered the day before), the side dishes occupied the majority of the real estate on the guests plates. My invitation for Friendsgiving suggested that if guests wanted to, they could bring a side dish of their choice – either something reminiscent of their childhood Thanksgivings or a side dish they knew would not be served at the Thanksgiving feast they would attend this year. I think everyone has experienced the disappointment of attending a Thanksgiving feast where your favorite “traditional” side dish is absent. However, the flip side is attending a gathering where you discover a new favorite (for me, sauerkraut and corn pudding – not together- make that list). This year I had a couple of vegetarians on the guest list, so I made two types of stuffing (my traditional stuffing includes sausage); I loved the new Quinoa stuffing and will make it in future years, whether or not I have vegetarians attending. This year’s Thanksgiving featured the following side dishes:

  • Sausage Cornbread Stuffing (with mushrooms, apples and pecans)
  • Quinoa Stuffing with Mushrooms and Apples Dried Cranberries
  • Roasted, Pureed Butternut Squash (click here for recipe)
  • Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
  • Corn Casserole
  • Sauerkraut
  • Ginger Pear Cranberry Sauce
  • Guajillo Chili Cranberry Sauce

I also served vegetarian chipotle pumpkin soup and corn muffins. For dessert we enjoyed homemade pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and apple pie – but that’s a whole separate post.

corn puddingCorn Casserole

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Cans Creamed Corn
  • 2 Cans Corn (do not drain)
  • 2 Cups Sour Cream
  • 1.5 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Butter- melted
  • 2 Boxes (8 Oz.) Jiffy Corn Mix

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Spray or grease a 9×12 baking dish or equal sized casserole dish and pour in mixture. Cover and bake for 30 minutes; remove cover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing 2Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Lbs. Breakfast Sausage (can combine 1 package country style, 1 package sage sausage)
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion (about 2-3 Cups)- chopped
  • 6 Stalks Celery (including leaves)- chopped
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples – peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 12 Oz. Mushrooms (button, baby bellas – or combination) – chopped
  • 6 Oz. Pecans – chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Sage- chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 3 TBS. Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1-3 Cups Turkey or Chicken Broth
  • 14 Oz. Cornbread Stuffing
  • 14 Oz. Herb Cubed Stuffing Mix
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook sausage in a large saute pan. Remove sausage from pan and set aside. Add butter to pan and melt. Add chopped onions and celery and saute until softened. Add mushrooms, apples, pecans, sage and thyme. Cook until apples and mushrooms are softened. In a large bowl or stockpot, combine sausage, sauteed vegetable mixture, and two types of stuffing. Mix well and add broth (a bit at a time) until stuffing mix is moistened as desired. Season with salt and pepper. Add stuffing to cavity of turkey and cook accordingly. Heat remaining stuffing in an oven safe baking dish (you may want to add extra broth to the stuffing which is not cooked in the bird).

quinoa stuffingVegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 Cups Quinoa
  • 3 3/4 Cup Vegetable Broth – plus extra
  • 4 Stalks Celery- chopped
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion – chopped
  • 12 oz. Mushrooms – chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples – peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2-3 Oz. Dried Cranberries – chopped
  • 1 Bag (12 oz.) Herb Cubed Stuffing
  • 4 TBS. Unsalted Butter (or Vegan margarine)
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Sage – chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and cook for 15 minutes until quinoa is cooked. In the meantime, in a large saute pan melt butter and saute celery and onion until tender. Add mushrooms, apples, cranberries, and herbs and saute until tender. Combine quinoa, stuffing, and vegetable mixture, season with salt and pepper and moisten with additional vegetable broth if desired. Heat at 350 Degrees in a covered casserole dish until warmed through.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 Lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes (or Russetts) peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1 Cup of Buttermilk (or Heavy Cream)
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

To a stockpot, add enough water to cover potatoes. Bring water to a boil and add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are fork tender (but not mushy), about 10 minutes depending on the type of potato and the size of your chunks. In the meantime,aAdd buttermilk (or cream) and butter to a small saucepan and heat to just below boiling. Drain the potatoes and mash with a masher or potato ricer. Add hot buttermilk mixture, salt and pepper (to taste) and mix thoroughly (if you like really smooth potatoes, you can use a hand mixer and whip the potatoes). Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as necessary.

Guajillo Chili Cranberry SauceGuajillo Chili Cranberry Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Cups Fresh Cranberries (about 1.5 bags)
  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Orange Zest
  • 1 Cup (1 block) Piloncillo (can substitute light brown sugar)*
  • 1 Dried Guajillo Chili
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds – optional, for garnish

* Piloncillo is available in most Mexican markets – it has a deep earthy brown sugar taste and is worth seeking out. It is usually sold in a cone shaped block.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Rehydrate guajillo chili in warm water for 20 minutes. Bring orange juice to a boil in a medium saucepan and add piloncillo until it melts and dissolves – stirring regularly. Add cranberries and simmer over medium heat until cranberries start to pop. Use a spoon to slightly mash up the cranberries. Remove the stem and seeds from the guajillo chili and finely chop. Add chili, orange zest and cinnamon to cranberry mixture. Allow to cool and serve at room temperature garnished with pumpkin seeds.

Ginger Pear Cranberry SauceGinger Pear Cranberry Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 Oz. Fresh Cranberries
  • 2 Medium Pears (ripe but firm) – peeled, cored and diced
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 3 TBS. Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBS. Orange Juice
  • 1 TBS. Freshly Grated Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 5 TBS. Crystallized Ginger – chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except crystallized ginger. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer until cranberries start to pop (about 5-7 minutes) and use a spoon to help mash cranberries – continue cooking until mixture thickens (about another 5 minutes); stir in crystallized ginger. Remove cranberry mixture from heat and allow to cool – serve at room temperature.

Vegetarian Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soupAnother “re-post,” but this is a little different because I am making the soup vegetarian. This soup will be the starter course at my “Friendsgiving” gathering this Sunday. I’m expecting 26 adults and a couple of little ones, so I will be doubling the recipe. I am serving buffet style, so I will serve the soup out of a hollowed-out pumpkin, but guests will eat out of small bowls. I’m really mixing traditional Thanksgiving recipes with some non-traditional dishes for this gathering, and I’m hopeful that my guests will enjoy the eclectic  menu. Serves 8-10 as a starter, or 5-6 as a main course.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 15 oz. Cans of Pumpkin Puree
  • 4-6 Cups Vegetable Stock or Broth (homemade is ideal, but if not available use a good quality brand)
  • 1 Medium Sweet or Yellow Onion – chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – chopped
  • 1-2 Chipotle Peppers (canned in adobo sauce) – chopped
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 2 TBS. Lime Juice
  • Salt to taste (about 2 tsp.)
  • Creme Fraiche (optional – garnish)
  • Cilantro (optional – garnish)

INTSTRUCTIONS:

Add olive oil to a large stockpot and heat over medium. Add the onions and cook until softened (but not browned). Add garlic, chipotle, and cumin and cook until garlic is aromatic (about 1 minute). Add the pumpkin puree, 4 cups of vegetable stock, oregano, and salt. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes. Check consistency; add more vegetable stock to thin the soup. Puree soup in blender (or use an immersion blender). If you prefer, you can skip this step (soup will have bits of onion, garlic and chipotle), but I think it’s worth the little bit of extra work to get a smooth soup. Taste, and add more salt, cumin or chipotle (if you want more heat). Return to stockpot and add lime juice. Serve warm and garnish with creme fraiche and cilantro (optional). This re-heats well, so it’s a good make ahead recipe.pumpkin soup in pumpkin

 

Chorizo Con Queso Dip in a Pumpkin

Chorizo Con Queso Dip Served in a Pumpkin

Chorizo Con Queso Dip Served in a Pumpkin

This is really a re-post, (click here to see the original post) but I love this recipe, and it’s so great for Halloween! If you can find festive black and orange tortilla chips to serve with the dip, they add a fun element; Black and Orange Corn Chipsblue corn tortilla chips also work well because they sort of look black. You could make this dish vegetarian by eliminating the chorizo and substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Because of scheduling conflicts, I won’t be hosting a gala Halloween party this year; however, this leaves me more time to post Halloween themed food and party ideas.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 15-20 as an appetizer)

  • 1 Lb. Ground Chorizo Sausage*
  • 4 Cups Shredded Chihuahua Cheese (can substitute mozzerella)
  • 2 Cups Mexican Cheese Blend (4 Cheese blend – NOT Taco cheese because it contains spices)
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper (remove seeds and membranes for less heat) – finely chopped
  • 4 Oz. Can of Chopped Green Chiles
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup of Flour
  • 2-3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro – for garnish
  • 1 Large (about 3 Lbs.) Sugar Pumpkin (or medium sized regular pumpkin) for Serving- Optional

*If you can’t find loose ground chorizo, you can substitute chorizo that is cased – just chop it into small pieces. You could also substitute regular breakfast sausage, but you will have to increase your Mexican spices.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium saute pan, cook chorizo over medium to high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off excess fat from the pan. Add jalapeno, green chiles and spices to pan, and cook until jalapeno is tender. Add flour and cook until the flour starts to brown (3-5 minutes). Add 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in all of the cheese, stirring until the cheese is thoroughly melted. Check the consistency and, if necessary, add additional chicken broth to thin the dip- the dip should have a creamy texture. Pour cheese mixture into a baking dish (use a baking dish you would serve out of) or an oven-proof bowl. Bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown on top. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

If you would like to serve out of a pumpkin, cut the top off of a 3 Lb. sugar pumpkin and remove the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin on a baking dish, fill with the con queso, cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until pumpkin starts to brown and become tender). Do not overcook, or your pumpkin will be too soft to move to a serving plate. Remove foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes until cheese dip is bubbling and browned on top.

 

Roasted Golden Beets with Feta, Basil and Pumpkin Balsamic Drizzle

Roasted Golden Beets with Feta, Basil and Pumpkin Balsamic Drizze

Roasted Golden Beets with Feta, Basil and Pumpkin Balsamic Drizzle

I’m kind of bummed that this doesn’t look that great in the photo because my “roasted beet loving friend” and I loved this new creation. I’m a huge fan of roasted beets, and an even bigger fan of roasted golden beets – they don’t turn all of the other ingredients pink, and they have an earthy less sweet flavor. If you can’t find golden beets, by all means use red/purple beets. You could also substitute mint for the basil, but I prefer basil. For the drizzle, I used pumpkin oil and cherry balsamic vinegar. Again, there are plenty of options for substitutions here. In fact, when I was first thinking about a drizzle, I thought I would use walnut oil, but I didn’t have any. However, the pumpkin oil adds a great contrast to the beets, so it’s worth trying to find. I love fruit flavored/infused balsamic vinegars because I feel like they have a little more depth than just plain balsamic, but if you prefer, use plain balsamic or any other hearty vinegar. The measurements here are not exact and don’t need to be – adjust all according to your taste. Serves about 6.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-8 Medium to Large Golden Beets (can substitute red/purple beets)
  • 2-3 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 2-3 TBS. Pumpkin Oil (can substitute walnut oil or other favorite oil)
  • 10-12 Basil Leaves – chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Feta Cheese
  • 2-3 TBS. Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (can substitute regular balsamic or other favorite flavored vinegar)
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Place unpeeled beets on a foil lined baking sheet and coat generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover beets with another piece of foil and crimp edges to seal and form a packet. Roast beets for 30-45 minutes (depending on size of beets) until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Peel off skins, cut off ends, and slice beets into bite-sized pieces. through Sept 24 014When beets are completely cool, add crumbled feta and chopped basil. Through October 9 011Gently mix – adding more feta or basil as desired. Season with oil and vinegar and salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

 

Mixed Green Salad with Beets, Fennel, Orange and Greek Yogurt Dressing

Mixed Green Salad with Fennel, Beets, Orange

Mixed Green Salad with Fennel, Beets, Orange and Greek Yogurt Dressing

I served this salad about a year ago when our visiting author Julie Otsuko came for dinner. I still don’t know why I feel the need to experiment when I entertain guests, but I do. I mean you really can’t go wrong with a salad if you have a good sense of complimentary flavors. I love beets, and while they’re earthy and rustic, they are also sweet. The orange, obviously, adds another level of sweetness, but the citrus balances it. The fennel, which has a mild but distinctive licorice flavor adds a really nice contrast. The creamy, cool Greek yogurt dressing just brings everything together. This was really one of my favorite salads – as I say that, I wonder why I am just now getting around to publishing it. As with all of my salad posts, I only list ingredients, not amounts. Adjust according to your preference, whether your salad is a starter or main dish, and how many you are serving.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Mixed Spring Greens (or your favorite greens)
  • 2-3 Beets (combination of purple and golden)
  • 1-2 Oranges – sectioned, membrane removed
  • 1 Fennel Bulb – sliced thin (use a mandolin if available)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Greek Yogurt Dressing:

  • 3 TBS. Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 TBS. Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 TBS. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1.5 TBS. Finely Chopped Chives
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Cut the ends off of the beets. Brush beets with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Wrap in a foil pouch and roast in oven until tender but not too soft – about 20-25 minutes depending on size of beets. Remove beets from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, peel and slice into 1/4 inch slices. In the meantime, prepare the dressing by adding yogurt, Parmesan, vinegar, olive oil and brown sugar to a blender. Blend on medium until all ingredients are well combined and sugar is incorporated. Season according to taste with salt and pepper, and mix in chopped chives.
Assemble the salad on individual plates, adding the beets just before serving. Drizzle generously with dressing and serve.

Close-up

Roasted Beet Salad

Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad

Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad

I figured since my next post is going to be another ice cream post, I’d better post something a little healthier. This salad is super easy and very delicious. I served this with a citrus vinaigrette, but I’ve had it with a walnut vinaigrette dressing which is also delicious. (I intended to make a walnut vinaigrette, but I was out of walnut oil). The star of this salad is the roasted beets. Two keys: buy good quality beets – try to find heirloom varieties if you can- and roast the beets rather than boiling them. The roasting process really amplifies the flavor of the beets and when you season them in advance with salt and pepper, you end up with a great combination of savory and sweet flavors. I used goat cheese, but you could use feta or another good semi-soft or crumbly cheese. I also used straight arugula because I love the peppery flavor, but you could use any good combination of mixed greens (even something hardy like kale would be good).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-6 Medium Sized Fresh Beets (Purple, Golden, or other Heirloom variety)
  • Fresh Arugula or other Greens
  • Goat Cheese or other semi-soft or crumbly cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vinaigrette (citrus vinaigrette recipe follows)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees. Clean beets and cut off both ends (leave skin on). Rub beets with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place a piece of tin foil (large enough to easily cover beets) and add the beets. photo (88)Place another piece of foil on top of the beets to cover and crimp the two pieces of foil together to form a sealed packet. Roast beets for 20-35 minutes (depending on size and freshness of beets) until they are fork tender. Allow cooked beets to cool enough to handle and then peel off the skins and slice to desired thickness (or cut into chunks if you prefer). Assemble the greens on salad plates, add the beets, and cheese; drizzle with vinaigrette.

Citrus Vinaigrette:

  • 3 TBS. Olive Oil (use orange, blood orange, or lemon infused olive oil if available)
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 TBS. Orange Juice
  • 1 heaping tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a jar or container with a lid. Shake well until all ingredients are well combined.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

photo (84)It’s still summer and I am still inventing recipes which utilize leftover fresh Michigan corn. This one might be one of my new favorites (although you can never go wrong with risotto or salsa). Not only did I use leftover corn, I used my leftover chimichurri sauce. This is one of those “so easy, but such a big hit” recipes. I chose to use orzo as my pasta, but really you could use any type of pasta – whatever your favorite is or whatever you have in the cupboard. You could also mix in a variety of other vegetables, I stuck with tomatoes and corn. I also added queso fresco, but it would be great with feta cheese (that would take away a bit of the southwestern flavor, but it would sure taste good). My measurements are approximate – add or reduce as you enjoy. Keep in mind that the chimichurri sauce is loaded with garlic, so this pasta salad packs a good punch. If you’re serving this at a party and are worried about the garlic content, certainly reduce the amount used in your chimichurri sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 oz. (1/2 a box) of Orzo Pasta (or your favorite pasta, but larger pasta will shapes will require more pasta)
  • 1.5-2 Cups Grape or Cherry Tomatoes cut in 1/2 or 1/4s)
  • 1.5-2 Cups Corn (leftover fresh or canned or frozen)
  • 1.5 Cups Queso Fresca- crumbled (or substitute your favorite cheese)
  • 1/4+ Cup Chimichurri Sauce

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook pasta (according to directions) to “al dente” phase. Drain pasta and run under cold water to cool completely and stop the cooking process. Combine pasta and vegetables in a large mixing bowl – adjusting vegetables and chimichurri sauce; mix and adjust ingredients to desired amount). photo (77)Add cheese and mix again until well combined. Serve cold or at room temperature.