Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts

6/13/15

Cranberry Avocado Salad with Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette


Father's Day is always a grilling holiday at our house. We cook up meat and make a few salads and a yummy dessert and Dad is a happy camper (mom too)! I pinned this Cranberry Avocado Salad with Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette from the Cafe Sucre Farine on my Salad and Veggies Board a few months ago. It's definitely going to be in our regular salad rotation this summer!
The Sweet White Balsamic Dressing and crunchy sweet nuts are the perfect topping for the creamy avocado and greens. I could eat this salad every single day.







Cranberry Avocado Salad with Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Found on Pinterest - from Cafe Sucre Farine

for dressing:
⅓ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
1 ½ tablespoons sesame seeds
½ teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried mustard
1 tablespoon minced sweet onion
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup vegetable oil
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

for salad:
12-16 ounces baby spinach, arugula, field greens
1 small bunch cilantro, washed and dried, leaves removed whole from stems
2 medium avocados, peeled and halved
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup Candied Spiced Almond
For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a pint sized glass jar and shake well to dissolve sugar.

For the salad, place greens and cilantro leaves in a large bowl. Add avocado and dried cranberries and about ¼ cup of the dressing and toss gently. Scatter candied almonds over salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with the extra dressing.

Spiced Almonds
5 cups sliced almonds, or a 1 pound package
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1-1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika* – some smoked paprikas are quite hot, if you don’t like “hot”, just use 1 teaspoon and they will be mildly spiced.
1 teaspoon vanilla
sea salt

1. Place a large sheet of foil on a work surface. Spray with cooking spray or rub a teaspoon of oil over foil with a paper towel.

2. Place sugar in a large non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium heat , occasionally tipping and swirling the sugar until it is all melted into a pale golden syrup.

3. Lower heat immediately and add butter, cinnamon, smoked paprika and vanilla. Stir until well combined and all butter is incorporated into the sugar syrup.

4. Add the nuts and stir gently to coat. Don’t worry if you have some clumps of caramelized sugar – they will melt as you continute to sauté the almonds. Cover and continue to cook on low, stirring every minute or so until almonds are a delicious golden brown. Watch very carefully as they can go from beautiful to burned very quickly! Turn out onto prepared foil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Spread out on foil to cool.

10/17/14

Vintage White Cheddar Dip



I took a trip with my girls to Oregon for a few days in August. We ate our way through Portland, then headed to the coast. Here's a little look into our five- food packed, beach loving days in the great state of Oregon! At  the end, I'll show you how to I made this really simple cheese dip filled with cheeses, corn, red pepper and jalapeno and the Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar I brought home from our Tillamook Cheese Factory tour...


First stop, berry picking by the side of the road.


Multnomah Falls. Right outside the city. Worth the 30 minute drive.  


A trip to Portland isn't complete without breakfast at THE Original, Original Pancake House.
Sit at the community table, chat with locals, highly recommended. 

Cannon Beach, OR. Haystack Rock. Serious beauty. 

More serious beauty, love these two. 

Time to get serious.
Bananagrams.

Hydrangeas the size of your HEAD.

Walks on the beach. 


Once at the coast, we headed to Tillamook to tour the factory. We were met by Leeanne,  our lovely tour guide. She led us through the factory, explaining every detail about the cheese making process. Leeanne is an expert on everything Tillamook!




Guess how many pounds of cheese are stored at the Tillamook facility at any given time? 
Did you guess 50 Million lbs?  You're right! 


Watching all of that cheese being made will make you HUNGRY. 
It's hard work touring the factory. 


Enter our friend, Leeanne with CHEESE SAMPLES! 
The next half hour was spent receiving an education on several types of cheeses,
 made under the same roof. 



We tried Squeaky cheese (usually yellow, but this was a special vintage batch). 
The second was a Medium Cheddar. More trivia- It takes 20 lbs of milk to make one 2 lb baby loaf of Medium Cheddar Cheese. Leeanne guided us through about 12 different types of cheese including: Smoked Extra Sharp, Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar, Swiss and Squeaky. My favorite was the Vintage Extra Sharp  White Cheddar. 








After our cheese tasting, we had lunch. We tried the grilled cheese, of course. And the house made tomato soup. Who can eat grilled cheese without tomato soup? I ordered the Tillamook Mac and Cheese. Creamy, smooth, melty. So good. Made with five cheeses. If you tour the factory in the morning hours, they serve breakfast too. Lots of omelets with CHEESE on the menu.






After lunch, we ventured over to the ice cream counter, where we tried a variety of Tillamook ice cream. This is the 5 scoop sampler bowl. Because we just couldn't decide. So yummy.



Tillamook tour = happy kids.





Stop by next time you're in Tillamook, OR. 
The  self guided tour is free and the ice cream and lunch are reasonably priced. 
And who doesn't want a pic in the baby loaf with their girls?

All of that eating can make you tired. It was a good afternoon for a nap on the beach...


After the nap, a walk through downtown Cannon Beach. Brooke and Corrine making convo with a furry friend. 

More Bananagrams. This time at a restaurant, while waiting for what? More food, of course.
Corriney is determined to win this round. 


The Inn at Cannon Beach was so quaint. Bunnies roaming the property. 


Highly recommend this place. 





We loved out time at the coast. No matter the time of year, the Oregon coast has to be one of the most unspoiled and beautiful beach areas in the world.
After our tour at the factory, Leeanne gave us a round of my favorite, the Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar. The flavor is pungent and the round is a little crumbly when cut. I wanted to create a recipe that featured the flavor of the cheese, and I think my Vintage White Cheddar Dip does just that!
This dip is perfect for spreading on crackers or dipping a tortilla or corn chip. It would even be perfect with celery sticks. I added some fresh corn and red peppers to break up the rich creamy texture of the dish.  We served it at a gathering and it was gone in minutes. It's perfect for anything from a holiday party to a tailgating event. Thanks Tillamook!


Me and my cheese.




Vintage White Cheddar Dip
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 cup sour cream, regular or low fat
16 oz cream cheese regular or low fat (not no-fat) at room temperature
1 cup Tillamook Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar, grated
1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen, not thawed*
1/2 -1 Jalapeno, chopped (seeded if you do not like spicy foods)
1 red pepper, seeded, chopped and divided (a few bits separated for garnish)
1/2 to 1 cup cilantro, chopped (a few bits separated for garnish)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 drops hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

Mix the sour cream and cream cheese together in a bowl until smooth.
Fold in the remaining ingredients, (leaving some of the cilantro and red pepper to sprinkle on top after baking).
Spoon into a  lightly greased dish for baking. I used a 10 inch round tart dish.
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes on top third of oven or until bubbly and slightly golden.
Serve immediately.
Serves about 10-12 as an appetizer.

Tips:
- If using fresh corn, cook the corn and then cut the corn off of the cob before using. Measure out 1 1/2  cups of corn for the recipe.
-You may make this ahead and bake when ready to use. Remove from refrigerator about 30-45 minutes before baking.  and set on counter. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
-You may add chopped peppers, tomatoes that have been seeded, onions (chopped fine), green chilies,  and/or other types of grated cheese.
-If you cannot find Tillamook Extra Sharp White Cheddar, you may use other brands of cheese.  This would also be great with an Extra Sharp (yellow) Cheddar cheese. I would stay with a "sharp" variety of cheese. It will cut the richness of the cream cheese and sour cream combination and add a depth of flavor.


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. 



8/13/14

Margherita Pasta (updated)





It's summer and if you're like me, you're thinking of every way to avoid turning on the oven, but not eat a sandwich or salad. Again. You're in luck. This recipe involves the stove, but only for a few minutes.
I originally posted this recipe in 2010, but have updated it a bit. Spaghetti Margherita is a simple and straight-forward dish. While the pasta is cooking, you can throw together the sauce.

Some people think- Margherita Pasta? Is that alcoholic? The answer is no. Legend (some question this) says that Pizza Margherita was created in the late 1800's, and named for Queen Margherita to reflect the colors of the Italian flag. The pasta variation followed.

I know I say this all of the time, but EVERYONE loves this dish. When I make it for my boys, they love it, even though it isn't a meat dish. Now that's saying something. Since they have never jumped aboard the "meat is not all that good for you and you should eat it sparingly" train.
Lazy summer days mean lazy summer nights.
This dish fits perfectly with that theme.





Spaghetti Margherita (updated 8/2014)
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

3/4 lb. spaghetti, cooked "al dente", drained
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter (optional) optional, but highly recommended for flavor
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. Roma tomatoes (about 10-12) coarsely chopped or grape tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
½ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
additional basil leaves for garnish

Cook pasta. Set aside, or while pasta is cooking prepare sauce.
In large skillet, heat oil and butter over low heat. Saute the garlic until fragrant over low heat, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add basil, and pasta to pan with tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes, just until all pasta is heated through. Just before ready to serve, pour into serving bowl, toss with fresh mozzarella and grated cheese. Serve at once with additional grated cheese, and more fresh basil if desired.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.

Tips:
-Fresh Mozzarella differs from mozzarella that is sold in most cheese cases at grocery stores. Some grocery stores, such as Harmons in Utah, make their own fresh mozzarella daily.
Make sure you are purchasing fresh mozzarella for this dish. Fresh Mozzarella is made from whole milk in small batches, usually round in shape and surrounded in liquid.
-If you aren't growing basil in your back yard, you can purchase fresh basil at farmers markets, grocery and garden stores. One plant will yield fresh basil for several recipes this summer.

7/31/14

Caprese Panini

Caprese Panini





This is my favorite summer lunch/dinner that really doesn't involve much cooking. Slice, drizzle and grill. You can make this on a Panini Press, on the stove top, grill, or even  simply broiled.
The other morning, I was at Harmons picking up some groceries. Racks of just baked Artisan breads were sitting on cooling racks.  I took a loaf, along withe some fresh mozzarella (do you know Harmons makes their own fresh mozzarella every day?)  to make my favorite summer lunch.  A few snips off of my basil plant, a couple of fresh tomatoes and I was in business.
Even Jake declared this "legit", and wanted one more instead of a grilled ham and cheese.
There's hope.
He may end up having good taste in food, after all.

















Caprese Panini
A Bountiful Kitchen

Artisan Bread, sliced, or Ciabatta bread
olive oil
sliced tomatoes
fresh mozzarella
fresh basil
fresh ground pepper
coarse salt


Brush one side of two slices of bread with olive oil.
top with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and sliced fresh mozzarella. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. Sprinkle with a little fresh ground pepper, and salt.
Place on grill, gently close pan, and grill just until cheese begins to melt.
enjoy immediately or at room temperature.

Tips:
-If you don't have a Panini press, heat up a pan over medium to medium high heat. Grill the sandwich, just as you would a grilled cheese. then turn gently to the other side. You may press down the pan with another heavy pan to make a more compact sandwich. Lots of people like to use a cast iron pan to grill or weigh down the sandwich. You may also toast the bread and broil the sandwich lightly.
-Sometimes, I like to drizzle a little balsamic just before grilling.