Caprese Salad

One of my all time favorite summer flavor combinations is tomato & basil! There is nothing quite like a garden fresh, homegrown tomato and gorgeous, fresh basil leaves – add some fresh mozzarella and you have an amazing salad! We have had the nicest basil I have ever seen through our CSA and we have been thoroughly enjoying it.

I generally make my caprese salad fairly structured on a plate but you can make it however you like! The amount of ingredients are completely up to you – I used 4 small tomatoes and 3-4 ounces of cheese with about 12 large basil leaves on the salad below.

You can serve this with some sliced and toasted Italian bread rubbed with fresh garlic for a nod to bruschetta. Totally delicious!

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CAPRESE SALAD

Tomato
Basil
Fresh Mozzarella (usually available in the deli area)
Salt & Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar

Thinly slice the tomato(es) and fresh mozzarella. Chiffonade the basil (to do this: stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them together from the long side to the other long side and then thinly slice). Arrange the tomato and cheese in an alternating pattern on a plate. Sprinkle with the basil chiffonade. Freshly grind Salt & Pepper to taste. Drizzle with a good quality Balsamic Vinegar (I have some general use vinegar and then I have  some amazing vinegar that I reserve for uses such as this). Let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Enjoy!

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Grandma’s 5 Cup Salad

First, thank you for your kind thoughts and comments. We had a long but beautiful weekend with our family – lots of tears, lots of laughter, and lots of memories. We have a great big, supportive family and it was truly wonderful to be together even for such a sad occasion. We miss her but we rejoice for her.

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A few years back, I was planning and hoping to compile a family cookbook and began collecting family recipes. I still hope to do that. Instead, we had the best kind of interruption and found out that #3 was on the way very quickly – surprise! We learned of our youngest in early July and he was born mid August. His adoption was finalized in November. Whirlwind. Sometimes I still think we are recovering and he is 3. ūüôā My sweet Grandparents were some of the first people I called with the news of our eminent arrival. They were excited for us. I have pictures of my grandma holding him when he was maybe 4 or 6 weeks old. She loved babies and she got to see him quite a bit those first few months as we had 3 family weddings within 6 weeks.

Anyway, I was looking through the recipes she submitted – some were new to me and others were old standbys. This recipe is the latter. It’s quick, easy, and delicious. I most remember it coming to picnics – we are big on pitch-ins and picnics in our family. Oh and I must mention that one thing I really admired about my Grandma is that she regularly tried new recipes. A funny thing is that she sometimes apologized for her food which was, in fact, nearly always delicious. It was not fake modesty, it was genuine humility – she was definitely not a praise seeker.

So here is her 5 Cup Salad to kick off our time of tribute to one of our favorite cooks and one of our favorite people! I made it just as she wrote and chose to add pecans because I think that is mostly what she did. She really liked nuts. You could easily add both coconut and nuts but then it would be 6 Cup Salad or you could add 1/2 and 1/2 or just pick your favorite. ¬†Also, I used red grapes. I’m pretty sure this salad was served at the funeral dinner on Saturday or at least several like it.

GRANDMA’S 5 CUP SALAD

1 c. mandarin oranges, drained
1 c. pineapple chunks, drained
1 c. seedless grapes
1 c. coconut or nuts
1 c. sour cream

Mix and serve.

(P.S. I’ll add the printable link later – my computer is in the shop and I don’t have a pdf writer on my back up one.)

Autumn Chopped Salad

I enjoyed concocting this seasonal salad, packing it full of the colors, flavors, and textures of fall. And to tie it all together, a lovely fall-inspired maple vinaigrette to drizzle over top.

This would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table. It will definitely be a part of our menu because right now, it’s my new favorite salad!

AUTUMN CHOPPED SALAD WITH MAPLE-DIJON VINAIGRETTE
Print This Recipe

6-8 oz. Mixed lettuces (leaves torn or chopped)
1 pear
1 apple
1/4-1/2 c. dried cranberries or fresh pomegranate seeds
1/4-1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
4 green onions, sliced (or chopped red onion, if you prefer)
2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (opt.)
2 oz. plain or honey goat cheese, crumbled

Wash and spin dry lettuce before placing in a large bowl. Top with pear, apple, onion, and dried cranberries. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat. Sprinkle salad with nuts, bacon, if using, and goat cheese. Serves 4.

MAPLE-DIJON VINAIGRETTE

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Shake well.

Raw Kale Salad

If you’re looking for a seasonal salad with a nutritional powerhouse kick, look no further than this, either to grace a holiday table, or for a burst of health in between the sugar-laden days of the holiday season.

Kale is the popular super-food of the moment. Raw kale is particularly vogue. Those two reasons, along with personal curiosity, inspired me to try this raw kale salad (recipe inspired by a Vegetarian Times recipe). And while I enjoy kale slow sauteed with onions and spices, as well as pureed in green soup, I did not find the raw version up to my particular taste buds. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, in fact this salad is loaded with lots of flavor and the health benefits are numerous, I just know kale is a vegetable I’d rather eat cooked. However, I hear rave reviews of raw kale, so give this a try, you’re body will thank you and perhaps you’ll find that raw kale is your style of salad!

RAW KALE SALAD WITH TURNIPS
Print This Recipe

12 oz bunch kale, preferably lacinato/tuscan, stem removed, leaves cut into thin strips or chiffonade
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 c. whole pecans
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup turnip, peeled and grated
1/2 cup carrot, grated
2 green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Dressing
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp agave nectar

Place kale in a bowl, and pour olive oil, vinegar, and salt over top. Using your hands, gently massage mixture into kale for 2 to 3 minutes. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375¬įF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss together pecans, maple syrup, olive oil, dash of salt, and dash of cayenne. Spread nut mixture in single layer on¬†baking sheet; bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until pecans are brown and fragrant, stirring frequently. Cool in pan.

To make dressing, whisk together all the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Stir turnip, carrot, and green onion into the kale mixture. Toss with dressing and garnish with pecans.

Off the Shelf: June Magazine Reviews

Food Network Magazine (Stephanie): This issue is filled with an abundance of summery recipe goodness. Beverages, hotdogs toppings, condiments, desserts, grilling ideas. Some recipes that look particularly appealing to me are Chinese Beef and Broccoli, Cold Peanut Soba Noodles with Chicken, Warm Pasta-Bean Salad, Buttermilk-Pecan Ice Cream, Salted Caramel Milkshakes, and Fresh Peach Cake.

I made the Almost Famous Corn Salsa recipe. This is a copy-cat recipe for the Chipotle Restaurant’s Roasted Corn Salsa. We’re big fans of Chipotle around here, so the other night when I was making soft tacos, I mixed up this salsa to top them. It was tasty and a great addition to our tacos.

ALMOST FAMOUS CORN SALSA
(from Food Network Magazine, June 2011)
Print This Recipe

1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded
3 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup fresh corn kernals or frozen corn, thawed
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons red onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat grill to medium high. Brush the poblano pepper with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grill, skin-side down, until charred, but still firm. About 5 minutes. Cool slightly; peel and finely chop.

If using fresh corn, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes; drain.

Mix the corn (if using frozen, add it here), poblano, jalapeno, cilantro, and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, lime juice, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

COOKING LIGHT (Stephanie): I was pleased with all the seasonal, delicious sounding recipes featured in this issue, as well–Curry Chicken Wraps with Nectarine Chutney, White Bean and Sage Pita Burgers, Grilled Apricot Halves, Curried Potato Salad, Pina Colada Sorbet, Cherry-Almond Crisp, and Rich Chocolate Pudding Pie.

I chose the Mango-Coconut Sherbet recipe. I love using my ice cream maker and I like coconut milk ice cream. My one drawback is that I’m not terribly fond of mangoes. However, they were on sale for a $1 last week, so I figured it was frugal enough experiment. The sherbet turned out great, but the mango flavor was just too strong for me. So, if you like mangoes, you are sure to like this recipe. It’s super easy and the toasted coconut on top makes this dessert look fancy. I plan to experiment with other fruits to replace the mango, because I really liked this recipe.

MANGO-COCONUT SHERBET
(from Cooking Light, June 2011)
Print This Recipe

2 cups cubed peeled ripe mango
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted

Combine cubed mango, sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and coconut milk in a blender; process until mixture is smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions to soft-serve consistency. Spoon sherbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 2 hours or until firm. Before serving, sprinkle each dish with coconut.

BON APPETIT (Alaina) – This issue has some wonderful, seasonal recipes and an interesting article about Gwyneth Paltrow – by the way, is there anything she doesn’t do? There are some great looking recipes for crostinis and salads and strawberries. As always, the pictures are tempting and I have yet to have a recipe not turn out from Bon Appetit. You can’t go wrong with any of their tantalizing recipes.

I especially loved the section on lettuce, cherry, and chicken. It was from there that I found the recipe I wanted to try – Cherry Clafouti. Cherries are practically my favorite fruit and since I happened to have some, I couldn’t resist. This was delicious. Not too sweet and so pretty!

CHERRY CLAFOUTI
(from Bon Appétit, June 2011)
Print This Recipe

1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or frozen pitted cherries, thawed, drained
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Powdered sugar
10″ springform cake pan or eight 2/3- or 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups

Preheat oven to 375¬į. Butter cake pan or ramekins. Arrange cherries in a single layer in pan.

Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside. Combine eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; whisk until custard is smooth. Pour custard evenly over cherries in pan. If necessary, gently shake pan to allow custard to settle.

Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes for ramekins and 45-55 minutes for cake pan. Let cool 3 minutes, then run a knife around pan sides to loosen clafouti (if using a cake pan). Dust top with powdered sugar; cut into wedges and serve.

EVERYDAY WITH RACHAEL RAY (Alaina) – It’s been awhile since I have really liked an issue of this magazine but the June issue was great. There were so many interesting recipes and photos – just look at the cover!
 
There are many different burgers and sandwiches, popsicles, and many salads and sides. The Crispy Cheese w/Strawberry Salad, Antipasti Bowl, Thai Style Chicken w/Basil & Pineapple, Lemon-Scented Carbonara, and the Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Ice Pops are just a few of the delicious recipes! I decided to try one of the more unusual looking recipes – Spicy Cucumber & Blueberry Salad. It was suprisingly refreshing and delicious. The flavors really worked together!
 
 
SPICY CUCUMBER & BLUEBERRY SALAD
(from Everyday with Rachael Ray, June/July 2011)
Print This Recipe 

2 lbs. english cucumbers, halved lengthwise
Salt
1 large jalape√Īo chile, seeds and ribs discarded, finely chopped
4 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup EVOO
1 1/2 pt. blueberries
1 cup cilantro leaves

Using a hand held slicer, slice the cucumbers into half-moons about 1/8 inch thick; season with salt.

In a large bowl, combine the jalape√Īo, lime juice, garlic and cumin; whisk in the EVOO. Add the cucumbers, blueberries and cilantro and toss to coat.

The Salad Bowl: Honey-Balsamic Bean Salad

Spring seemed to pass us by and jump right into summer and I’ve been craving salads! Instead of adding salad to my meal, I want to plan my meals around the salad. The other day I made this protein packed salad. It was a tasty change of pace for a salad. The dressing is vinegar based, so it’s an ideal salad for picnics or your next cookout.

HONEY-BALSAMIC BEAN SALAD
(from 101cookbooks.com)
Print This Recipe

8 oz (about 1 1/2 cups each of cooked chickpeas, pinto beans, and black beans (choose other beans if desired)
1 small head of romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and shredded
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons runny honey
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 + teaspoon sea salt
10 sprigs fresh thyme

Combine the beans, lettuce, and most of the almonds in a large salad bowl. Set aside. Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and salt in a small container. Taste, and adjust to your tastes.

Run your finger up each thyme sprig, removing the leaves. Add to the salad bowl along with a good amount of the dressing. Toss well, and add more dressing if needed. Top with remaining almonds. Serves 4-6.

Weekend Fare: Brunch & A Giveaway!

This Giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

I’m late getting this post put together. My husband was home working on some paperwork today and the boys were busily cleaning their rooms. As the hours passed and we still really hadn’t eaten breakfast, I decided it was the perfect morning to make brunch. And thus this morning became a lovely morning of cooking for the men I love!

We enjoyed breakfast egg sandwiches and a fruited spinach salad. It was wonderful to spend time preparing for the day and feasting on the delicious, seasonal food.

The sandwich began with an inspiring loaf of rosemary olive oil bread. I decided to use parmesan as the cheese because I felt it would compliment the bread and not detract from it. The combination of flavors and textures proved fabulous.

BREAKFAST SANDWICH
Print These Recipes

1 egg
fresh grated parmesan cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer)
pepper to taste
2 slices bread (I used rosemary olive oil bread)
butter
1 slice cooked bacon
a few leaves of baby spinach
2-3 slices of tomato

Fry the egg in a litte butter – breaking the yoke. When it is almost finished, sprinkle parmsan cheese and allow to melt. Sprinkle with a little pepper.

Toast the bread – I put it under the broiler to crisp one side, leaving the other side soft. Butter one side of each piece.

To Build:
Top first slice of bread with baby spinach, then bacon, then the egg, then the tomato and top with remaining slice of bread. Serve immediately.

The salad was a delightful combination of fresh. The granola was perhaps the most interesting and most surprising addition. It took the salad right over the top and solidified it as a brunch salad. Simple and delicious.

BRUNCH SPINACH SALAD

Baby spinach or mixed greens
Creamy Balsamic Dressing (or dressing of your choice – a sweet poppy seed would also be lovely)
Fresh berries (I used raspberries and sliced strawberries)
Granola

Toss the greens with the dressing and place on plate. Top with berries and granola. Serve.

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It’s been a very ¬†LONG¬†time since we’ve had a giveaway! Things have been busy and quite frankly, I just haven’t gotten around to it! However,¬†a very thoughtful and generous¬†reader and friend offered us this delightul book to giveaway. Thank you!

Do you like to entertain and set a beautiful table? Do you wonder how to pull together things you may already have to create ambience? Do you just enjoy creativity and love looking at beautiful inspiring photos? Then this is the book for you! The gorgeous photos of table ideas for all occasions will definitely inspire you. You can keep it simple or dress a table the would make Martha Stewart proud. Table Inspirations by Emily Chalmers is a lovely addition to any home. You won’t be disappointed!

Here’s the all important information on HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment on this post telling us 1 of your favorite summer dishes or a favorite summer recipe.
– Make sure we have a way to contact you!

For additional entries (just leave us a comment telling us which ones you have done!):
Subscribe via the link to the right or with google reader.
– Add us to your blog roll.
– Join our facebook group ‚Äď The Cooks Next Door.
Facebook about this giveaway.
Tweet about this giveaway.
Blog about this giveaway.

There you go! You could earn as many as 7 entries. And if you already are in our group, subscribe etc, let us know and we will add in the extra entries!

This giveaway will be closed on Tuesday, June 7 and the winner announced on Wednesday, June 8!

Market Fresh: Strawberries

I’m so excited that it’s strawberry season and grill season! I combined the two into a Balsamic Grilled Chicken Strawberry Salad. This was so delicious and so summery and the colors are stunning! This will definitely make a frequent appearance on our summer menu!

CREAMY BALSAMIC GRILLED CHICKEN STRAWBERRY SALAD
Print This Recipe

1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. herbs de provence
1 tsp. salt
1 Tb. heavy cream
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or chicken tenders

Combine first five ingredients. Place chicken in a bag or container and pour marinade overall. Marinate for at least 1 hour. Grill until chicken is fully cooked – juices will run clear.

Salad:
1/2 lb. baby spinach
1/2 lb. strawberries, cleaned and sliced
1/4 c. feta cheese (blue or gorgonzola would also be great!)
1/4 c. pecans, chopped

Arrange on a platter or in a salad bowl. Top with grilled chicken. Drizzle dressing over all.

Dressing:
3 Tb. olive oil
3 Tb. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. heavy cream

Combine all ingredients and shake or whisk well to combine.

Off the Shelf: April Magazine Reviews

Bon Appetit (Stephanie): The advent of spring is celebrated throughout the pages of Bon Appetit with recipes highlighting ingredients like asparagus, radishes, peas, strawberries, leeks. After the long winter months, it’s such a pleasure to cook with fresh seasonal produce again. So many recipes sounded tempting: Garganelli with Asparagus, Artichokes, Favas, and Peas; Soba Noodle Salad with Salmon and Asparagus;¬† Radish, Arugula, and Red Onion Salad with Tangerines; Orange-Flower Pavlovas with Strawberries; Bacon and Leek Risotto with Poached Egg; Ginger-Pecan Scones. Doesn’t all of that sound springy and delicious?!

My pantry ingredients enticed me to make the Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs. I didn’t have the fresh parsley or basil on hand, so I did substitute 1/2 tsp of the dried herbs, though I’m certain fresh would have been better. Still, this made a nutritious, delicious, inexpensive lunch. I served it on a bed of shredded romaine. This will definitely become a standby recipe.

CHICKPEA SALAD WITH LEMON, PARMESAN, AND FRESH HERBS
Bon Appetit, April 2011
Print This Recipe

1 15- to 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Combine rinsed and drained chickpeas, chopped fresh basil, chopped Italian parsley, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and pressed garlic clove in medium bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Season chickpea salad to taste with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

DO AHEAD Chickpea salad can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.


ÔĽŅEveryday Food (Stephanie): Every couple of months I get my hands on an issue of Everyday Food, and while I’m not wowed by every page, there are always several recipes that pique my interest. In this issue I¬†did find recipes I hope to try sometime: Sauteed Collards with Bacon; Raspberry Cornmeal Crumble Bars; Shredded Chicken with Kale and Lentils; Mushroom Risotto with Spring Herbs. Overall though, I felt like a Celebration of Spring theme seemed rather absent (other than¬†the Easter Dinner menu: Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze; Salt and Pepper Rolls; Asparagus and¬†Green Beans with¬†Chili-Orange Oil; Balsamic Red Onions; Simple Lemon Cake). I would have enjoyed more lightened-up, spring produce featuring recipes.
We don’t eat much cereal in our house, but I love a bowl of granola now and then. So, I decided to try two variations of granola recipes: Pistachio-Apricot Granola and Cherry-Lime Granola. Both were quite tasty! (Though I didn’t have enough of the lime zest, so the lime flavor didn’t come through as strong as I would have liked.) I make my granola with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, so my husband can enjoy the bounty as well. These recipes are a little on the pricey-side as the nuts and dried fruits can be expensive, but it’s fun to experiment with different flavors. The basic quantities are endlessly adaptable to your pocketbook and palate.
PISTACHIO-APRICOT GRANOLA
Everyday Food, April 2011
3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used 3/4 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup dried apricots, diced medium
Preheat oven to 300¬įF. In a large bowl, combine oats and pistachios. In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey, cardamom, and salt over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (Or, place ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes; stir until combined.)
Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and toss until oats and nuts are completely coated. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
Bake until oats are lightly golden, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool completely; stir in apricots. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 weeks.)
CHERRY-LIME GRANOLA
Everyday Food, April 2011
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
1 packed Tablespoon fresh lime zest, finely grated
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup dried tart cherries
Preheat oven to 300¬įF. In a large bowl, combine oats and pistachios. In a small saucepan, combine butter, agave, lime zest, lime juice, and salt over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (Or, place ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes; stir until combined.)
Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and toss until oats and nuts are completely coated. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
Bake until oats are lightly golden, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool completely; stir in apricots. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 weeks.)
Saveur (Alaina): This is consistently a great magazine full of information and great recipes. They nearly always include international recipes which I really like.
Sandwiches was the tantalizing theme of this month’s issue. You may recall, that I¬†am crazy about sandwiches. So, of course, I had to feature this magazine in the review. I made two of the over 40 sandwich recipes. It was a little hard to narrow it down! They were quite different but both were popular with my crew.
The first¬†was the Elena Cruz – yes, I partly chose it because¬†it¬†shares my name and¬†also because it sounded delicious – it was. The second was the California. Yum. I made it as written and then after I tried it that way and loved it, I added some bacon and loved it even more. Sigh. Sandwich Nirvana. There are so many more to try…
CALIFORNIA SANDWICH
Saveur, April 2011
Print This Recipe
¬ľ cup buttermilk
¬ľ cup sour cream
¬ľ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
¬Ĺ tsp. garlic powder
¬ľ tsp. onion powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices multigrain sandwich bread
2 slices Monterey Jack cheese
¬Ĺ cup alfalfa sprouts
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 ripe tomato, cored and thinly sliced
Whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, chives, parsley, and garlic and onion powders in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and spread on all bread slices. Place 1 slice cheese each on 2 slices of bread and top with sprouts, avocado, and tomato. Season with salt and pepper, and cover with remaining 2 slices of bread.
Makes 2 sandwiches (You will have extra sauce, which would be delicious as a salad dressing.)

ELENA RUZ (Cuban Turkey Tea Sandwich)
Saveur, April 2011
Print This Recipe
1 Cuban roll or brioche bun
2 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. strawberry jam
3 oz. sliced turkey breast
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Split roll, spread cream cheese on bottom half, and top with turkey. Spread jam on top half of roll and close sandwich. Heat butter in a 10‚Ä≥ skillet over medium heat; cook sandwich, weighing down with a cast-iron skillet and turning once, until golden brown and heated through, 3‚Äď4 minutes. Cut in half, and serve hot.

Thanksgiving Sides

The traditonal Thanksgiving menu can be updated and brightened with some new variations on side dishes!

(Alaina) This green bean recipe is adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe. It is delicious and I plan to make it for our celebration. I like that it is served at room temperature and the vinaigrette adds great flavor. I wasn’t sure about the mint but it added a whole flavor profile that was amazing.

GREEN BEANS w/TOASTED WALNUTS & CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE
Print This Recipe

1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c. minced red onion
3 Tb. plus 2 tsp. Champagne Vinegar
2 Tb. chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper plus additional (for sprinkling)
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1 1/2 lb. trimmed slender green beans (such as haricots verts)
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted, chopped

Whisk first 6 ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Mix in dried cherries; set aside. DO AHEAD Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; whisk before using.

Fill large bowl with water and ice; set aside. Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl with ice water; cool. Drain. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in paper towels; enclose in resealable plastic bag and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.Toss green beans, walnuts, and vinaigrette in large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Transfer to platter and serve.

(Stephanie) We are big fans of broccoli around here and I’m always looking for new variations.¬† This is a tasty, slightly sweet/slightly tangy recipe I created. Feel free to mess around with the honey and mustard quantities to suit your taste.

ROASTED BROCCOLI AND PEARL ONIONS w/ BACON AND HONEY MUSTARD
Print This Recipe

2 heads broccoli separated into large florets
6 oz frozen pearl onions
4 slices bacon
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
water (optional)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400¬į. In a large bowl, drizzle melted butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil over broccoli and onions; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a greased baking pan and roast until fork-tender, about 25 minutes.¬† Place strips of bacon on baking pan and bake until crisp.

Mix together, remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, and minced garlic (if it seems to thick, thin down with a 1-2 tsp of water).

Drizzle honey mustard mixture of broccoli and onions, toss to coat.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Top with crumbled bacon.

Here are some Thanksgiving ideas from previous posts!
Roasted Sweet & Savory Squash
Mashed Potatoes & Turnips
Green Beans & Walnuts w/Lemon Vinaigrette

Real Creamed Corn Pudding
Catherine’s Streusel Cranberry Sweet Potatoes