Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts

9/10/14

Strawberry-Coconut Freezer Jam






This recipe was inspired by a trip to a cute little restaurant called Pig and a Jelly Jar, near Liberty Park in SLC.  I'm always looking for a fun place to have breakfast and love places that serve biscuits and jam. One trip to Pig, and I was hooked. The strawberry coconut jam was so good, I had to take a jar home.  I'm in love with the strawberry-coconut combo. I looked for a recipe online, but no luck. So I came up with my own version of their yummy jam.

If you live in SLC, it's worth a visit to Pig and a Jelly Jar.  They have the best ham-hash, Mexican skillet, and Jakes favorite-  chicken and waffles. Order a biscuit while you are waiting for your food (appetizers at breakfast- YES)  and make sure to try both the strawberry coconut and the blueberry lavender jam.






Strawberry-Coconut Freezer Jam
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

2 cups crushed fresh strawberries (about 2 pints)
4 cups sugar
1 (1.75 ounce) package Sure Jell 100% Natural Premium Fruit Pectin
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
2 teaspoons coconut emulsion, or  1 teaspoon coconut extract

Mix crushed strawberries with sugar, and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the pectin into the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 1 minute. Stir the boiling water/pectin into the strawberries. Mix well. 
Add the flaked coconut and the coconut emulsion or coconut flavoring. Mix well. Taste to see if you prefer a stronger coconut flavor. Add a small amount more emulsion or flavoring if desired. Remember, a little flavoring goes a long way. 
Ladle the jam into clean jars or plastic containers.
Place tops on the containers, and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
Place into freezer, and store frozen until ready to use.
Yield 3 pints

Tips:
-Emulsions may be found in stores that sell cake decorating/baking supplies, such as: Gygis (SLC,UT), Michaels, and some restaurant supply stores. It may also be ordered online. Occasionally, I have found it at grocery stores and at TJ Maxx/Marshalls Homegoods Stores.
-It's always a temptation to double the recipe in one bowl. I did this for several years to save time, against the warnings from experienced jam makers. After batches of runny or not quite right jam, I have learned to stick with one batch at a time in a bowl. I still make more than one batch at a time, just use a separate bowl for each batch.
-I always make a double batch.
-Four cups sounds like a lot of sugar, and it is! If you want to cut the amount of sugar, look for the low-sugar box of pectin. It works well. If you cut the sugar in this recipe, and use the Sure Jell pectin I used, your jam will turn out runny. Follow directions, choose the right pectin while at the grocery.
-I have used various types of pectin, and like Sure Jell the best. Some brands require using Corn Syrup in addition to sugar. With the Sure Jell freezer recipe, it's just fruit, sugar, water and pectin.
-9-1-1 for your grainy jam: If your jam seems grainy and you are not able to get the sugar to dissolve, stir in a couple tablespoons of corn syrup, it will help the sugar to dissolve. 
-At Pig and Jelly Jar, the jam is a bit cloudy or creamy looking. To achieve this look, pulse the strawberries with the coconut. This will produce a more milky looking jam, instead of a clear red jam. 




8/30/14

Strawberry-Avocado Spinach Salad with Copycat Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing


 


Spinach salad can take on so many different twists.  You can change it up and add your stamp with your favorite cheese, fruit, cooked chicken, onions, and varieties of nuts. I made this last week for the teachers at Woods Cross High. It's simple and always a crowd pleaser.




I love this salad made with end of summer strawberries, fresh avocado, spinach, Gorgonzola cheese and sugared almonds. The homemade poppyseed dressing tastes like Brianna's, costs a fraction of the store bought bottle, and only takes about two minutes to mix up in a blender.  Such a great salad for anything from a girl's lunch to a family reunion.
Happy end of summer!





Strawberry-Avocado Spinach Salad with Copycat Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

16 oz baby spinach
1-pint strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1-2 avocados,  ripe but still slightly firm cut into chunks or sliced
6-8 oz Gorgonzola or Bleu Cheese, crumbled
1 cups almonds, sliced
1/4 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon
dash salt
Homemade Poppyseed Dressing (below)

Place a sheet of foil (about 12 inches long)  or parchment paper on the counter.  Give the foil a light spray of cooking oil.
Place the almonds and sugar in a large teflon pan over medium-medium high heat. Stir when sugar begins to heat up. It will give off a fragrance similar to cotton candy :) Be careful not to turn the heat up too high, or you will burn the sugar and have to toss the almonds.
Stir the almonds and sugar constantly after sugar starts to melt. This takes about 5-8 minutes to get to this point. Once sugar begins to melt or caramelize, remove pan from heat and pour onto foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle with an additional tablespoon of sugar. Let cool. Break apart when cooled if necessary.
Place the spinach in a large bowl. Toss with strawberries, avocado and Gorgonzola cheese. Or place the spinach in a bowl and top with avocado, strawberries and cheese. Top with cooled sugared almonds.
When ready to serve, toss with about 1/2 cup of the poppyseed dressing, or serve on the side.
Serves about 6-8 as a side salad.

Tips:
-If you are making this ahead, wait to cut the avocado until no more than an hour before serving.
Add the almonds just before serving.
-I usually double or triple the amount of sugared almonds for future use. I like the salad to be heavy on the almonds, so I probably use two cups total of sugared almonds.
-I also love this with a little thinly sliced red onion or bunch of green onions, chopped.

ABK Copycat Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing

1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup mayo, light or regular (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 teaspoon grated onion (white, yellow or sweet onion, optional)
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard and onion and process for 30 seconds.
With blender or food processor on high, gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream.
Stir in poppy seeds.

Tips:
-If you don't have a blender or food processor, you can make this in a large bowl using a whisk or a hand mixer.
-You may make the dressing without the mayo and add it after all of the other ingredients if you prefer. If the dressing is not as creamy as you would like, or too tart, add the mayo.
-Keeps for weeks in the refrigerator.
-This recipe is enough dressing for 3 times the salad above. 



7/10/14

Fruit-Filled Virgin Sangria




A few months ago, I attended a food blogger event at the City Creek Harmons. They served a delicious non-alcoholic basil sangria. I loved the drink and thought it would be fun to recreate my own version at home when fresh fruits were in season!

Sangria is traditionally served in Spain and Portugal and made with wine, sweetener, fruit and a bit of brandy. I'm not a drinker, but love drinks made with fresh fruit.






Last week, we watched the fireworks, soaked up the sunset and enjoyed a pitcher of this colorful drink from our patio. The kids and adults loved the fruit-filled pitcher. When it was empty, we just added more of the liquid base, mixed and enjoyed. This is a perfect addition to any summer party. It travels well- just take the cut up fruits, canned juice, soda and ice in a cooler and mix when the party starts.
Hope you're keeping cool this summer!




Fruit Filled Virgin Sangria
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 frozen can of Welch's (or other brand) White Grape and Peach concentrate (not mixed up), thawed a bit*
one 2 liter bottle Ginger Ale or Sprite, sugarless is fine as well
ice, about 2-3 cups
a cup of water, if desired
Approximate fruit (for one pitcher)
2 limes, washed, sliced
1 orange, washed, peel on, sliced
1-2 cups strawberries, washed, a few sliced, a few left whole
handful of cherries
1 peach, peeled and sliced
mint leaves

Using a large glass pitcher, pour in half of the can of concentrate. Add half of a 2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale or Sprite. Add ice, about 2-3 cups. Mix a bit. Add chopped fruits and mint and stir lightly with large wood spoon.  If needed add a bit of water. You may leave the spoon in the pitcher if you wish to help scoop out the fruit while serving.
When the liquid is empty from the pitcher, simply add the remaining juice concentrate, ginger ale and more ice to the remaining fruit in pitcher. Stir and enjoy. You may also add more fruit if needed.
Serves 8

Tips:
-I used a white grape and peach blend but you can use any type of juice. I suggest white grape, pineapple, apple, grape, cranberry, peach, mango. The possibilities are endless.
-Most instructions for Sangria will advise to let the mixture to sit in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Since I was using a carbonated liquid (and I was short on time), I made it right before serving. Either way works fine.
-If you would like the fruit to sit at the bottom of the pitcher, place the fruit in first, then the ice and the juice and carbonated beverage last. The weight of the ice will help the fruit to sit at the bottom instead of float on the top.
-You may use any combo of fresh fruit in season. I liked the look of the orange and green and red together with a splash of dark green.
-This recipe would also work well in a punch bowl.


6/27/14

Red, White and Blueberry Tart







Are you planning a 4th of July bash?
This is one of my favorite desserts, reinvented. Remember when fruit pizza was all the rage years ago? Sweet cookie crust, with cream cheese and powdered sugar icing, topped with fruit and glaze. Sometimes the fruit was arranged beautifully, other times it was dumped on top of the crust and cream cheese layer.
That was the 80's. Time to update this classic dessert.




First, I headed to Harmons to buy the sweetest, most plump, fresh berries. If you live in Utah, you're in business!  Harmons consistently has the best produce in the state. With the exception of picking berries yourself, Harmons is as fresh as it gets.




How do you update a classic? I decided switching from a pizza pan to tart pans made a big difference in presentation. Other subtle, but game changing differences- a little lemon flavoring, fresh fruit only (nothing canned) and no sugary glaze.
When you break this dessert down, it's a sugar cookie crust, lemon-cream cheese icing, topped with fresh fruit. So simple, a kid can make it.
I know you're going to love this for your summer gatherings!
Happy Fourth, and happy baking :)





Red, White and Blueberry Tart
A Bountiful Kitchen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon flavoring or lemon emulsion*
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Individual tart pans or 9-10 inch tart pans

Cream together butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add the lemon flavoring or emulsion and egg, beat until combined and smooth, about 1 minute.
Add the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar all at once. Mix just until flour disappears and wet and dry ingredients are combined,
Using individual tart pans (14-16  4-inch pans), or
2-3  9-10 inch or equivalent tart pans, lightly grease the pans with cooking spray.
Scoop the dough into the pans, and press into the pans lightly with hands.
If the dough gets too soft, place the dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes to help the dough firm up.
After all of the tart pans are filled, pre-heat oven to 375 and set the racks in the middle of oven.
When oven is pre heated, bake the tarts for about 10-12 minutes or until tarts are golden brown. For a
9-inch tart pan, bake about 15 minutes. Remove and set on rack to cool. Let cool completely. This step may be done up to two days ahead if kept covered after baked and cooled.

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling:
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1 1/2  8 oz blocks cream cheese)
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
dash of salt
splash of milk (if needed to thin)

Beat all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth and blended well. The filling should be the consistency of  frosting.
Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use. If making ahead, refrigerate and cover.  Remove from refrigerator  about 30 minutes before ready to use.

Fruit topping:
fresh blueberries
fresh strawberries
fresh raspberries

Wash and drain the fruit thoroughly before using on the tarts. If the fruit is still wet from washing, it may bleed onto the cream cheese filling. I usually wash the fruit, let sit in a colander, then place on paper towels and pat lightly.

When ready to assemble:
Spread the cream cheese filling onto the tarts using a small spatula. Spread the filling almost to the edge of the tart. Arrange the fruit on top of the filling. Place tarts in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
May be prepared early in the day and covered until ready to serve.

Tips:
-Lemon emulsion and lemon extract are found in  most bakery supply stores or stores that sell cake decorating supplies.  Do not use lemon juice as a substitute in the tart shell. Fresh lemon juice is called for in the lemon cream cheese filling only.



6/23/14

Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad




Have you tried Panera's most popular salad? According to the girl who helped me last time I was there, it's the Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad. She promised I'd love it. She was right.
I loved all of the fruit in this salad: fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges. As I was eating the salad, I knew it was going to end up on ABK...




If you're a Panera purist, you're probably wondering if a homemade salad is really going to taste like Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad. This recipe comes via  Panera's website. They demonstrate the recipe online through video (as far as I could find, only the dressing is in print).  I followed the recipe for their dressing (tweaked it just a bit reducing the Stevia and Dijon mustard) and made a note of the salad ingredients. They didn't disclose the recipe for their chicken, but it seems to have an herb/citrus type flavor. I came up with a version that has a nice herb crust that is flavorful, moist and easy to prepare in a home kitchen.

Herb-Crusted Chicken
I made this for dinner last week- twice, and guess what?
Don't tell our friends at Panera Bread, but it tasted  even better at home.
Every thing is better homemade.
Promise.


Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

Chicken:
3 chicken breast halves, about 1 1/2 lb total skinless, boneless
salt
*Mrs. Dash seasoning
olive oil
Lay the chicken on a plate. Generously salt and season one side of the chicken breast with Mrs. Dash seasoning.
Heat a heavy pan over medium to medium-high heat. Pour the olive oil in the pan while it's heating up and place the chicken, seasoned side down in the pan and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, season the side facing upward. If needed, add a little more oil to the pan when turning chicken. After the chicken has cooked for a total of ten minutes ( 5 minutes on each side), remove the pan from heat and cover loosely with foil. Let sit for an additional 5-7 minutes in pan. Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool completely on a cutting board.
Slice thin and set aside for salad. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Poppyseed Dressing:
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon stevia sweetener (or two additional tablespoons sugar)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar, stevia, vinegar, orange juice, salt, mustard, and onion, and process for 20 seconds. With the blender on high, gradually add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Remove from the blender and stir in the poppy seeds. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. Shake well before using on salad.

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, chopped
1- 6 oz bag spinach or spring mix
(greens combined should equal about 15 cups total)
1 can mandarin oranges, drained well
1/2 lb strawberries, washed and sliced
1 pint blueberries, washed and patted dry
1 cup pineapple, sliced into chunks, then thinly sliced (about 1/2 of a medium size pineapple)
1 cup pecans, toasted and cut in half 

To prepare salad:
Using a large bowl or platter, arrange the greens on the platter. Sprinkle with a few pieces of fruit. Layer additional greens. Place the remaining fruits and chopped pecans on the greens. Top with sliced chicken. Drizzle about half of the dressing on the salad. Toss before serving. you may also plate the salad individually. In this case, toss the greens with the dressing and place on plates. Top each plate with fruit, nuts and chicken. Serve immediately. 
Yields about 15 generous side servings. 


Tips:
-*Mrs. Dash is found in most grocery stores near the spices.



5/8/14

Strawberries and Cream Sheet Cake






Strawberry Shortcake is one of my all time favorite desserts. I mean, what mom doesn't love Strawberry Shortcake? This cake takes the dessert to a new level. Fresh strawberries, cream, cream cheese...it doesn't get much better than this. And it's easy to mix up. Make the cake on Saturday, and the frosting on Sunday.
Trust me.
Mom's going to love this.





Strawberries and Cream Sheet Cake
adapted from Southern Living Magazine
print recipe

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin (powder)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup chopped fresh strawberries
Shortening
Parchment paper
Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.
Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients; add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in strawberries.
Line a 9x13 with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper before spreading the batter onto the paper, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over long sides.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Lift cake from pan, using parchment paper sides as handles. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove parchment paper. Or just lift cake from pan and frost after cooled.  Cool completely (about 1 hour). Spread Strawberry Frosting on top and  sides (optional) of cake.
Fresh Strawberry Cream Frosting

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 -2  cups powdered sugar
dash of salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries

In a deep bowl, beat cream until stiff, add 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Scrape out of bowl and set aside in another small bowl. 
Using  the same large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar a little at a time. Add a dash of salt.  Beat again until smooth. Add 1/2 cup fresh chopped strawberries. Mix just until fruit is incorporated.  Fold the whipped cream mixture and the cream cheese mixtures together. Frost the cake immediately. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Tips:
-I altered the ingredients in the frosting to create a more stable frosting. The Southern Living version calls for granulated sugar and fresh lemon juice, which produces a delicious frosting, but does not hold its shape well. This frosting is delicate and should be served within two hours of frosting. 
-My Sister in Law, Sheri made this and followed the SL directions exactly, except she baked the cake in a jelly roll pan. The recipe calls for baking in a 9x13. After trying the cakes baked in a 9x13 and a jelly roll pan, I liked the cake baked in the jelly roll pan a bit better. 

-Be careful to not over bake. The cake is done when a few moist crumbs are attached to a toothpick when testing.

4/11/14

Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast



Easter is just around the corner. In our home, we love to celebrate with a family gathering. No matter the time of day when the meal is served, we make brunch dishes, along with the traditional ham, rolls, salads and of course, desserts. 
I love this recipe for Blueberry Stuffed French Toast.  It can be made for two, or twenty. Most stuffed french toast recipes are made the night before, layered in a dish,  set in the fridge, and baked the following morning.  I wanted to create a dish that mimics an overnight french toast, but takes only a few minutes to create before serving. Most of the overnight stuffed french toast dishes serve 8-10, this one is perfect if it's just you and your sweetie, or great for a crowd as well. Everyone can join in and help assemble, and the bread can be cooked to order. I used blueberries, but strawberries, blackberries and/or raspberries would be delicious as well. 
Come back soon, I'll be posting dishes for Easter for the next several days! 





Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

6 Thick Slices bread, preferably Texas Toast or French Bread about ¾ inch thick
4 large eggs
⅓ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

for filling:
4 oz cream cheese, softened (room temperature)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons butter, for cooking

Mix the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with whisk until smooth.

Beat the eggs, milk and vanilla in a bowl until mixed well. Pour into a shallow dish that will allow for dipping of bread completely ( a square pan works well).

Spread about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on one side of each piece of bread. Make sure to spread evenly and all the way to the edge of the bread. Sprinkle a few blueberries on top of the cream cheese mixture on three of the slices of bread. Make a sandwich with the bread slices. The “sandwich” should have the following:

one slice of bread with cream cheese mixture
one slice of bread with cream cheese mixture and a few blueberries sprinkled on top
Melt some butter in a pan, preferably a non-stick pan over medium high heat.
Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture.

Place the sandwich into the pan with the melted butter and fry for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden browned. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove and serve immediately or keep on plate in oven until all pieces are cooked and ready to serve.

Place on plates and sprinkle with additional remaining berries. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and serve with jam or syrup. Serves 2-3

4/2/14

Pineapple Mango Breakfast Muffins



I've been making this recipe forever. With twist here and there. Sometimes I use pineapple and mashed banana, other times pineapple and applesauce. Last week, I had a few mangoes sitting on my counter, getting close to the too-ripe stage.
The ripe mangoes were perfect for baking, and for my newest combo- Pineapple-Mango Breakfast Muffins. A great fit for breakfast because of the fruit and yogurt, and not too much sugar... so you can eat a muffin without the guilt.
Because none of us need a helping of guilt to start the day, do we?
Have a great day :)



Pineapple Mango Breakfast Muffins
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 cup white flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar ( if you like your muffins sweeter, increase this to 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1-8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1 large ripe mango (important that it is ripe and sweet), pitted, peeled and diced
7-8 oz plain or vanilla yogurt ( I used Greek yogurt)
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil

additional sugar (about one tablespoon) for top of muffin, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 with rack in center of oven.
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, place drained pineapple, diced mango, yogurt, eggs and oil in the well. Or just mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then pour all at once into the dry ingredients. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, just until the flour disappears. Do not over mix.
Scoop the batter into a muffin tin that has been greased or lined with cupcake liners. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until tops are golden and muffin springs back when touched lightly.
Makes approximately 10-12 muffins.


3/14/14

Springtime Salad with White Chocolate Pecan Croutons and Harmon's $250 Gift Card Giveaway!




I'm in love.
With a grocery store.


Last week, I was invited to a blogger event at Harmon's City Creek in downtown Salt Lake City. We were treated to a cooking class taught by Aaron, chef and director of the cooking school in the Harmon's City Creek location.



Aaron taught us how to make a creamy asparagus risotto with topped with duck bacon.  Oh my. We were also served a pork tenderloin, cooked using the Sous Vide method.  The tenderloin was served with a balsamic reduction, wilted baby kale, shaved white asparagus and a piece of french cut purple potato.  Absolutely delicious.
Harmon's cooking school  offers a variety of cooking classes at three locations, covering a wide range of classes, individual tailored small group classes and even private parties.



Harmon's is a home grown business, started by Jake and Irene Harmon on the corner of 330 South and Main in SLC.  Harmon's humble beginning in 1932 has grown to 16 stores and over 3,000 associates. Their focus on customer service and fresh, quality products has made Harmon's, in my opinion, the best of the best in Utah.


Original Harmons Market Spot








What started at The Market Spot over 80 years ago has flourished under family ownership. Do you wonder why some businesses fold overnight, while others have long term staying power? After spending the afternoon at Harmon's I can tell you why they have not only survived, but thrived.  Customers are #1 at Harmon's.
Bob Harmon (grandson of Jake and Irene) spent over three hours with us, in the cooking class, and then gave us a department-by-department tour of his store. Bob shared his enthusiasm for everything in the store from the house-made guac to the cookies in the bakery.




It tastes as good as it looks.
















I knew Harmon's had the best in-store bakery in the state, but didn't know each and every one of their cookie, cakes and pastries are baked in house.  Everything, right down to the frosting on the cookies are made in-store, with fresh ingredients. That sugar cookie pictured above was one buttery piece of heaven. I may have eaten two of the four I brought home.


Man can live by bread alone. 

The artisan breads are phenomenal. If you love bread like I do, Harmon's is the grocery store for you. Not only do they sell whole loaves, but half loaves and single slices of bread. Oh, happy day!
Sometimes, I sneak in and get a couple of slices of my favorite breads, including sugared challah and a bowl of soup to take home for lunch.  This is the White Chocolate Pecan artisan bread, it's making a guest appearance in my salad today :)

Harmon's famous White Chocolate Pecan Bread












The produce is local when available, and always the highest quality. I recently purchased a 4 lb bag of Harmon's oranges from Brandt Farms in Reedley, CA. The oranges are packed for Harmon's and shipped immediately, which guarantees the freshest product for Harmon's customers.



  I compared a Harmon's orange to one from a warehouse store I had at home, and the Harmon's orange won the sweetness and juiciness test hands down.



Bob's Kabobs


Are you tired of reading about my love affair with Harmon's?  Don't answer that question.
Last chapter.
Meat.
Harmon's is the only grocery in the state to offer only Prime and Choice beef, the two highes grades on the USDA grading scale. Hormones? You won't find them in any of the meats or poultry sold in Harmon's meat cases. A while back I was looking for Italian sausage without additives. Could not find it.
Anywhere.
Except Harmon's.
I purchase a few kabobs for a quick dinner last week. Threw them under the broiler, (because I was too much of a sissy to go outside and grill in the snow). Outstanding.  Even the leftovers were tender, juicy and full of flavor. The quality? = to that of a high end steak house, with a much smaller price tag, $4 for a 8 oz kabob.




Have you worked up an appetite after reading my epistle on Harmon's??
I've got a special dish for you. With Spring approaching I decided to use a few fresh ingredients I found on my most recent trip to  (you guessed it)  Harmon's.  One vegetable in particular, white asparagus, was especially interesting to me. Chef Aaron served it raw and thinly sliced with our lunch.  You can steam it, or serve it raw.  I love it both ways.  It adds a nice white healthy splash to the salad instead of somewhat predictable white grated cheese.


The frosting on the cake (or salad) in this case, are the sugared croutons. They are made from the White Chocolate Pecan Artisan bread found at Harmon's bakery.  They take the place of the commonly used sugared nuts in a sweet and savory salad. I know they're going to be your new favorite. Try this out for your next gathering. It's the perfect salad for your upcoming Easter brunch or the wedding shower you're hosting. Fresh, simple and unique.





If you've been thinking about checking out Harmon's enter this giveaway using the rafflecopter code below. You could win $250 to spend on your next visit to Harmon's!
Good luck :)





you may want to slurp up any leftovers...



Springtime Salad with White Chocolate Pecan Croutons and Fresh Strawberry Dressing
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

croutons:
3 thick slices (3/4 inch thick) White Chocolate Pecan Bread (about 4 cups)*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
coarse salt

dressing:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 canola oil
1 cup fresh strawberries, washed and cut in half
3-4 tablespoons honey or sugar, to taste
dash salt
pepper to taste

salad:
8-12 oz mixed greens, spinach, baby kale, etc.
3 green onions, sliced
4-5 asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off, sliced thin* (optional) or green asparagus may be used
16 oz sliced strawberries (1 cup to be used for dressing)
2 cups fresh blackberries or blueberries

prepare croutons:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rack on top third of oven . Cut bread into cubes. Use all parts of bread, do not remove crust. Place bread cubes on cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden browned. Remove from oven and let cool.

Prepare salad dressing:
Place all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth. Set in refrigerator until ready to serve salad.
May be made a day ahead. Stir before serving.

Prepare salad:
Place all greens on a platter or in a salad bowl. Arrange fruits and vegetables on top of the greens.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. Place the croutons on the salad just before serving.  Serve with fresh strawberry dressing.
Serves 8-10 as a side salad

Tips:
-If this bread is not available, you may substitute any type of bread to make the sweet croutons. i suggest using  raisin bread or other artisan bread.
-The white asparagus may be steamed lightly, then cooled quickly in a ice water bath. Place the asparagus in between paper towels to remove excess water and sprinkle lightly with salt. The asparagus
may also be served raw. Wash well and drain, slice thin on an angle.