Appetizer: Grilled Stuffed Jalapeno Chilis

These were the star of dinner last week! They were easy and incredibly delicious. Don’t skip the sauce – it took the dish to a whole ‘notha level. The grill flavor and the melty, cheesy goodness with the slight heat/spice was perfection. The grilling of the jalapeno made these less spicy than I would have expected. The recipe says this serves 4 but really, this easily served 8 for us. Just writing this post makes me want to go make more – a winning recipe from Bobby Flay!

GRILLED STUFFED JALAPENO CHILIS W/GRILLED RED PEPPER-TOMATO SAUCE
From Bobby Flay/Food Network
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8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces soft goat cheese
4 ounces shredded aged white Cheddar cheese (I used regular sharp cheddar)
2 ears corn, grilled in husk and kernels removed
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 jalapeno chiles, halved, stemmed and seeded
1 heaping tablespoon ancho chili powder
Grilled Red Pepper-Tomato Sauce, recipe follows

Heat grill to medium.

Whisk together the cream cheese and goat cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold in the Cheddar, corn and green onions and season with salt and pepper. Fill each jalapeno half with about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and sprinkle the top with some of the ancho powder.

Place on the grill, filling-side up and cook until slightly charred and tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Spoon the red pepper sauce onto a platter and top with the jalapenos.

GRILLED RED PEPPER-TOMATO SAUCE

2 red peppers, grilled, peeled and chopped
2 plum tomatoes, grilled until charred on all sides, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the pepper, tomatoes, vinegar, honey and cilantro in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add oil and season with salt and pepper.

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Off the Shelf: March Magazine Reviews

Cooking Light (Stephanie): Usually I either love Cooking Light, or I’m disappointed by it. This month, though, I felt so-so about it. A few recipes jumped off the pages for me: Black Bean Hummus, Meyer Lemon Curd Tart, Tropical Sherbet, Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tahini Sauce. But most of the other recipes were just kind of forgettable.

I decided to try the Vegetable Korma as Jeremy likes Indian food and I haven’t been very proactive about making it in my own kitchen. The dish was good, but not quite as flavorful as either of us expected. The dish definitely needed some salt and maybe if I’d added a little curry powder, it might have packed more punch. I used chickpeas in place of the edamame, mostly because if we’re eating a meatless meal, chickpeas rank high on Jeremy’s preferred protein list. It was good and something I might make again, but with a little tweaking.

VEGETABLE KORMA
(from Cooking Light March 2011)
Print This Recipe

1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c. frozen shelled edamame
1 12-oz baking potato, peeled and diced
1 c. chicken broth
1 tsp flour
1 13.5-oz can light coconut milk
3 c. cauliflower florets
2 c. hot cooked rice

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp ginger and garlic; saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato paste and spices; saute for 1 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in edamame and potato. Combine chicken broth, flour, and milk, stirring until smooth. Add broth mixture to pan , and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3 c. cauliflower, and simmer for 9 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

Bon Appetit (Stephanie): Bon Appetit was filled with lots of great sounding  recipes, many of which I hope to make. Potato and Yam Soup with Bacon and Spinach; Pork and Lemongrass Meatballs in Lettuce Cups; Roasted Pears with Blackberries, Ricotta, and Lavender Sugar; Savoy Cabbage Rolls with Halibut, Browned Butter and Capers Espresso Pound Cake with Cranberries and Pecans. Don’t these sound amazing?!

But my pantry supplies dictated that those recipes would have to wait until a later date. Chocolate Puddings with Orange Whipped Cream won out for my recipe testing. It came together very quickly (besides the 3 hours for cooling in the fridge, of course). Now I don’t have any orange liqueur, but the recipe suggested Kahlua or amaretto as alternatives. So I dolloped Kahlua whipped cream on my chocolate pudding. I think the best chocolate pudding I’ve ever eaten. Delicious!

CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS WITH ORANGE WHIPPED CREAM
(from Bon Appetit March 2011)
Print This Recipe

1/2 c. + 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 c. whole milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 c. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c. chilled whipping cream
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur (or Kahlua or amaretto)
1/4 tsp finely grated orange peel (omit if using a different liqueur)

Whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp salt in a saucepan to blend. Add 1/2 cup milk and egg yolks; whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining 2 cups of milk. Bring mixture to a boil over medium/high heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove pan from heat; add chocolate chips and butter. Whisk pudding until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Divide pudding evenly among 6 dessert cups. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface of each, covering pudding completely. Chill at least 3 hours.

Beat whipping cream, liquer, zest, 1 Tbsp sugar until peaks form. Dollop whipped cream on puddings.

Cook’s Illustrated (Alaina): One magazine I have not reviewed often (or maybe ever?!) is Cook’s Illustrated. It is a fabulous magazine! My gift subscription is just coming to an end and I will be sad for that. The recipes are amazing, the product & brand reviews are excellent, and the articles & technique explanations are incredibly understandable and helpful. The magazine contains fewer recipes than most cooking magazines but the recipes are well chosen and you know they will turn out well.

They included Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread, Boston Cream Pie, and Spaghetti with Mushrom and Tomato Sauce among other delicious-looking recipes. I decided to try the snow peas. There was an article on how to use them and several variations to make a wonderful side dish. They were so good!

SAUTEED SNOW PEAS W/LEMON & PARSLEY
Cook’s Illustrated, March/April 2011
Print This Recipe

1 Tb. vegetable oil
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 Tb.)
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt & Pepper
1/8 tsp. sugar
3/4 lb. snow peas, tips pulled off and strings removed
1 Tb. minced fresh parsley leaves

Combine 1 tsp oil, shallot, and lemon zest in small bowl. Combine 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and sugar in second small bowl.

Heat remaining 2 tsp. oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add snow peas, sprinkle with salt mixture, and cook, without stirring, 30 second. Stir and continue to cook, without stirring, 30 seconds longer. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until peas are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Push peas to sides of skillet; add shallot mixture to clearing and cook, mashing with spatula, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss to combine shallot mixture with vegetables. Transfer peas to bowl and stir in lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Food Network (Alaina): This magazine was once again great! I must have looked through it 20 times trying to decide which recipe to try. I had several marked like Rosemary Chips, Chicken, Sausage & Peppers, Tilapia Milanese, Citrus Salad, and Gorgonzola Polenta. It was an Italian themed issue and there were a lot of great pasta recipes, too. And the pull-out of 50 recipes for this month was pesto based recipes – yum. I will be sharing one of the pesto recipes next week – it was so good! 

They had a wonderful section on bruschetta with many variations. So inspiring! I decided to try a couple of the sweet ones and they were fabulous! They would be perfect for a tea, shower, or brunch especially. They were no-too-sweet and so pretty and they had eight different ideas for the sweet bruschetta and six ideas for the savory.

ORANGE CREAM BRUSCHETTA
Food Network Magazine, March 2011
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Segment a blood orange (I used regular) over a bowl: reserve juice. Toss the segments with 1 Tb. superfine sugar (I used regular). Simmer the juice and 1 Tb. of sugar in a saucepan until syrupy. Spread whipped cream on the toast rounds (I used a french baquette and toasted both sides of the bread in the oven); top with an orange segment and shaved chocolate. Drizzle with orange syrup.

BANANA-HAZELNUT BRUSCHETTA
Food Network Magazine, March 2011
Print This Recipe

Toss 2 sliced bananas with 1 Tb. melted butter; spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 425 degress until golden, about 10 minutes (mine never really were golden but they were definitely roasted). Spread hazelnut butter (I used a chocolate hazelnut spread) on the toast rounds. Top with the toasted bananas, whipped cream, and chopped hazelnuts (I used toasted almonds).

Superbowl Snacks: Jalapeno Dip

We are being pounded with bad weather and ice here in Indiana and sadly, that means I don’t have a picture of this for you today – I simply didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand to make a batch. But, I have made it several times and I will add a picture as soon as I am able.

My family and friends can vouch for the delicious goodness of this recipe! I first had Jalapeno Dip this fall – my boss made something similar for an open house we had at work. It is not low in fat or calories so if you want a healthy superbowl party, look elsewhere.  But it is so easy and so popular with everyone – you may become a celebrity with this dip! 🙂 Oh and you can easily halve this recipe…but you won’t want to!

JALAPENO DIP
Print This Recipe

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 (4 ounce) can sliced jalapenos – double if you want it spicier
1 cup bread crumbs (panko or regular)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter, melted

In a food processor, add the first 6 ingredients and process until smooth. You do not need to drain either can of peppers. Spread the dip into a greased 2-quart casserole. In a bowl, mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and melted butter; mix well. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the dip and bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for about 20 minutes. You want the top to get browned and the dip to be heated through and bubble gently on the edges.

Do not over cook this dish or the mayonnaise with separate and you will have a grease puddle in your dip. Serve with Butter crackers or a thinly sliced French baguette (my personal favorite).

Appetizer: Avocado Salsa

This week we will be featuring five days of yummy recipes that are perfect for your next game night or even your Superbowl party on Sunday! We hope you enjoy our collection of snack ideas and even a delicious chili that’s easy to make for a crowd.

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I’m kicking off this week with a light, fresh, delicious and terrifically easy salsa recipe. This would be perfect with any sort of Mexican dish or as a dip with chips or pita, but also I think lovely over a mixed green salad.

I found this recipe in The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, a wonderful cookbook I received for Christmas. The other day I wanted to jazz up my lunch of flounder and rice, so I decided to mix up Avocado Salsa to top the rice. Not only is it lovely to look at, but the taste combination is perfect. Though I must admit, fresh cilantro would have been better than the dried. Ah well, you use what you have.

AVOCADO SALSA
(from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
Print This Recipe

2 large avocado, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2-3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
pinch sea salt, or to taste

Place all ingredients into a small bowl and gently mix. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Market Fresh: Marinated Mozzarella

Antipasti Platters are a beautiful and easy appetizer or snack or simple supper. With a little forethought and an attractive platter, you can quickly put on together. I include cooked and chilled cheese tortellini seasoned with salt, pepper  oil, & vinegar, marinated green olives (the jar salso included pepperoncinis & garlic), crispy breadsticks, salami, and marinated mozzarella. I wish I had a good picture of the platter but alas, the lighting was horrible and we were expecting company at any minute. Hopefully I will have the occasion to make another one soon and take a proper picture.

The marinated mozzarrella cheese is easy to make and absolutely delicious!

MARINATED MOZZARELLA
Print This Recipe

1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tb. dried parsley
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. cubed part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine all ingredients. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes turning occasionally.

Take out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Weekend Fare: Curried Lentil Soup

This delicious soup was featured in this month’s issue of Bon Appetit. I wished I had doubled the recipe – it was creamy, perfectly spiced, and great for a winter supper. I did not have green onions so we just enjoyed it without. This vegetarian soup would be a wonderful starter for meal or served as the main dish. You could omit the butter for a vegan dish but the addition of the butter took the flavor to a whole new place – so good!

CURRIED LENTIL SOUP – Bon Appetit, December 2010
Print This Recipe

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided
2 tablespoons (or more) curry powder
1 cup French green lentils* (I used regular green) 
4 1/4 cups (or more) water, divided
1 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

*French green lentils are small, dark green, and speckled with black; they can be found at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor.

Add chickpea puree and butter to lentil soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Add water by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency. DO AHEAD Soup can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing.Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions and serve with lemon wedges.

Off the Shelf: November Magazines

It’s that time again – the holiday magazines are arriving packed with recipes and ideas! I’ve browsed my issues several times – folded the corners down, made shopping lists, and decided which recipes to try. My favorite of all the magazines – by far – Bon Appetit. I have many recipes that I want to try and it was tough narrowing it down. You will definitely be seeing more recipes from this issue here on TCND before Thanksgiving. Of note – Midwest Living, Saveur, Everyday Food, & Cook’s Illustrated were also lovely issues this month!

Bon Appetit (Alaina) – Like last year, this issue provides several variations of things like potatoes, cranberries, stuffing, turkey and more. They provide menu ideas for various types of Thanksgivings and even include a vegetarian menu. I especially like (it is perhaps my favorite feature) the helpful tips on what can be prepared ahead and how to time your meal. Ths issue boasts 115 recipes and techniques. You are sure to find dishes to suit your menu and palate.

With recipes like Sweet & Spicy Cranberry Sauce, Vanilla-Spiced Caramel & Pear Tart, Roast Turkey Breast w/Potatoes, Green Beans & Mustard Pan Sauce (Thanksgiving all in on dish!), Maple-Braised Butternut Squash w/Fresh Thyme, and Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges w/Smoked Chile Cream, it was a tough choice. I decided on Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/Smoked Ham & Toasted Pecans. I picked it partly because I have a mostly negative relationship with brussels sprouts – something about the texture and so I was eager to try them shredded. They were quite good and I would actually make them again. The smoky flavor of the ham was a wonderful addition and the texture was entirely different. Next week I’m going to share another recipe from this issue that I loved even more!

Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/Smoked Ham & Toasted Pecans
Print This Recipe

2 pounds brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked ham (about 6 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup low-salt chicken broth
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

Trim root ends from brussels sprouts. Using sharp knife or processor fitted with coarse shredding disk, thinly slice brussels sprouts into shreds. DO AHEAD Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.Melt butter with olive oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ham; sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add brussels sprouts and broth; sauté until crisp-tender but still bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with coarse salt and black pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with pecans.

Food Network Magazine (Alaina) – This issue is also quite festive and is packed with lots of recipes. The pull-out section is 50 different stuffing variations which include traditional stuffing, cornbread stuffing, and rice stuffing. They look so good and I plan to pick one to try for our Thanksgiving (did I mention that I will be hosting my very first full Thanksgiving meal?). Food Network does a great job of including side dish ideas and quick dinners in every issue and this one is no exception. The pooled talents of so many great chefs makes for an interesting and diverse magazine.

There were many recipes that sounded wonderful – some holiday and some every day – Chocolate-Toffee Pecan Tart, Endive & Blue Cheese Salad, Parker House Rolls, Butternut, Arugula, & Pine Nut Salad, Spicy Cumin Fries, and Thai Chicken Soup are just a few. Bobby Flay shares a Macaroni & Cheese that I’m pretty sure is amazing. 🙂

I made the Stuffed Baby Bellas. These are great appetizers – the recipe says it will serve 4 but I’m pretty sure 2/person would be an appropriate starter size so you can count on it feeding at least 8. The recipe made too much filling so you can either halve it, make meatballs with the leftover (that’s what I did), or buy more mushroom caps. The lemon zest and fennel made for a bright and flavorful filling. Overall, we really liked these.

STUFFED BABY BELLAS
Print This Recipe

16 baby portabella mushrooms (creminis)
1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1/3 palmful
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
1 lemon, zested
1 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, a couple handfuls
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a clean kitchen towel
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and finely chop them. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, fennel seed, onion, garlic, lemon zest, half of the cheese, the chopped mushroom stems, breadcrumbs and spinach and season with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with EVOO and stuff the mixture into the caps.

Arrange the caps on a rimmed baking sheet or in a baking dish. Leave some room around each mushroom to prevent the caps from getting steamy. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and the nuts on the caps and transfer to the oven. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Every Day with Rachael Ray (Stephanie) – This issue was, in my very humble opinion, quite a disappointment. There were a few recipes that sounded promising, like Potato Cake with Bacon, Sour Cream and Apples or Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach. And I even tried a couple recipes, Roast Mushrooms and Kale over Mashed Sweet Potatoes (not worth making!) and Chipotle-Barbecue Chicken. But, if you’re looking for good Thanksgiving ideas, look somewhere else. Other than four different ways to cook a turkey and small section of unusual side dishes, this issue evokes little Thanksgiving cheer.


CHIPOTLE BARBEQUE CHICKEN
Print This Recipe

Serves 4

6 Tbsp butter
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ c. chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
¼ c. ketchup
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)

Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a deep skillet, heat 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the chipotle chiles in a adobo sauce to the skillet. Add the ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Using tongs, coat the chicken in the sauce and place skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Cooking Light (Stephanie) — This issue was packed with lots of yummy looking recipes Broccoli Slaw with Oranges and Crunch Noodles, Apple and Cranberry Turkey Roulade (which I hope to try!), Egg Nog, Pecan Spice Cake with ample Frosting. There is also a 50-page holiday cooking section divided up by appetizers, sides, main dishes, desserts, etc. 

Although there were many recipes I considered making, I decided on Apple Kuchen. I thought it was a bit of work for the result, but my husband declared them delicious. I altered the recipe to make it gluten free, as well as cut back the sugar by about a 1/3 of a cup.

APPLE KUCHEN
Print This Recipe

3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 c. sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt, divided
6.75 ounces (about 1 1/2 c.) all-purpose flour or all-purpose gluten free + 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c. butter, softened and divided
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c. nonfat buttermilk
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 c. apricot preserves
2 tsp apple juice

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine apples and lemon juice, toss. Add 1/4 c. sugar, cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt. Toss to combine.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, and baking powder in a bowl, stirring well (if making gf, add xanthan gum here). Place remaining 3/4 c. sugar, 6 Tbsp butter, and cream cheese in a bowl; beat with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in walnuts.

Scrape batter into a greased 13×9-inch metal baking pan. Arrange apples over the batter. Melt remaining butter; brush over apples. Bake for 45 minutes until set.

Combine apricot preserves and apple juice; microwave on high for 30 seconds or until meltd, stirring once. Brush over apples; cool. Cut into 15 squares.

Market Fresh: Blueberries

How I love blueberries! They are one of the chief delights of summer, a time when we can enjoy them fresh rather than frozen. 

Some years we’ve been able to go and pick our own. Most years I buy them on sale and freeze them in quart bags, ready to pop into muffins, pancakes, cobblers, and occasionally a blueberry pie (one of my very favorites!). Blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup and butter soaking in is a golden memory of childhood summers at Grandma’s house.

I do like to enjoy blueberries fresh: eaten straight from the bush, bucket, or plastic shell; dropped into a fruit salad with seasonal melons, sprinkled on morning cereal or oatmeal, and enjoyed for dessert with whipped cream. But, blueberries do gain a different level of delicious-ness when cooked, so be sure to buy enough berries for many different dishes.

I was intrigued to find this recipe for Blueberry Salsa and felt compelled to try it. The result: terrific! The sweetness of the blueberries, mixed with cilantro, lemon juice and red peppers, melded nicely with the salty tortilla chips.

BLUEBERRY SALSA
(Southern Living, Summer 2010)
Print this recipe

2  cups  chopped fresh blueberries
1  cup  whole fresh blueberries
1/4  cup  fresh lemon juice
3  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
2  seeded and minced jalapeño peppers
1/3  cup  diced red bell pepper
1/4  cup  chopped onion
1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt

Coarsely chop 2 cups fresh blueberries. Stir together chopped fresh blueberries, 1 cup whole blueberries, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 2 seeded and minced jalapeño peppers, 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped onion, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Makes 3 cups.

    BLUEBERRY SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE AND PECANS
    (The Cooks Next Door)
    Print this recipe

    10-12 oz. mixed greens and spinach (or just one of these)
    1 pint fresh blueberries
    3/4 cup toasted pecans
    3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

    Dressing (adapted from Country Living):
    3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1/4 cup olive oil

    Make Dressing: combine lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, add the oils one at a time in a steady stream. Remove garlic and serve (or store refrigerated up to 1 week).

    Make salad: toss together the greens and blueberries. Just before serving add the pecans and blue cheese. Toss with dressing and serve.

    These amounts feed 8-12 but can easily be halved.

    Weekend Fare: Strawberry Soup

    When I first learned about chilled, fruit soups, I was not inclined to give them a try. It was just too weird. However, my opinion has changed! They can be a delicious addition to brunch, a wonderful appetizer, or even a light dessert. I think this recipe would be perfect served in shooter glasses as an appetizer at a garden party. It’s also super easy and great for weekend cooking!

    STRAWBERRY SOUP
    (adapted from Food Network)
    Print This Recipe

    1 lb. strawberries, cleaned and hulled
    3/4 c. half & half or cream
     3/4 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
    1/4 c. sugar
    4 tsp. lemon juice

    Blend the strawberries until pureed. Pour into a bowl and stir in the half & half, sour cream, sugar and lemon juice. Chill until serving. Top with fresh mint or strawberries if desired. Serves 4.

    Market Fresh: Radishes

    Radishes are one of the fastest and earliest crops to harvest from the garden. I think that’s why my mom always let us kids plant them when we were young. Our patience wouldn’t be as tried by the radishes as it would be by the tomatoes or green beans.

    I think we only ever planted the bright red variety of radish that is most commonly seen in the supermarkets. But, there are many varieties of radishes. Last year I planted “Easter Egg” and “White Icicle” (as seen above on this month’s header). Most of us found the White Icicle radishes to be a bit too spicy for our liking, but we enjoyed the more milder Easter Eggs.

    Usually, when our family enjoys radishes we eat them either as part of a veggie tray with dip, or alone with salt sprinkled on them, or sliced into a green salad. It was fun to find some recipes that used radishes in a different way. You might want to give one of these a try!

    RADISHES WITH BUTTER AND SALT
    (adapted from the Barefoot in Paris)
    Print this recipe

    2 bunches of radishes, tops intact
    sea salt
    good salted butter or herbed butter
    1 French baguette, sliced diagonally, and lightly toasted

    Herb Butter:
    4 oz. (1 stick) butter, room temperature
    1 1/2 tsp. minced green onions
    1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh dill
    1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh parsley
    1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (or, try 1 tsp. lemon zest)
    1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    Combine the herb butter ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until combined. Do not whip.

    Thinly slice the radishes. Spread the herb butter on the toasted and cooled bread. Arrange the radishes on top of the buttered bread. Sprinkle with plenty of salt.

    Serves 6-8.

    This salad was delicious! We loved the taste of the sesame combined with the cucumber and radish.

    RADISH AND CUCUMBER SALAD
    (www.bbcgoodfood.com)
    Print this recipe

    1 cucumber, halved, peeled and thinly sliced
    10 radishes, thinly sliced
    1/2 red onion, finely chopped and soaked in lemon juice for 10 minutes
    1/4 cup rice vinegar
    1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
    2 tsp. sesame oil
    1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (I left this out)
    2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
    salt & pepper

    Put the cucumber, radish and onion (straining off any excess juice) in a bowl.

    Whisk the rice vinegar, oils, chilli and some seasoning together and pour it over. Toss well and leave to sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

    Serves 4-6.

    I could not resist trying a recipe for cooked radishes. Although it was a completely foreign idea to me, I thought it was definitely a novel idea to keep in mind when you need something new and exciting to accompany a dinner. The taste seemed somewhere akin to a Brussel sprout, but a different texture.

    GLAZED RADISHES
    (Food Network)
    Print this recipe

    radishes
    butter
    salt
    sugar

    Place radishes in a saute pan and add water until it comes a third of the way up the vegetables. Add a slab of butter (I used 2 Tbsp.) and a hearty pinch of salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-high heat until most of the liquid evaporates; toss radishes in the buttery glaze.