Off The Shelf: September Magazines

**Just a reminder that we are planning to try another edition of Foodie Fridays tomorrow! Hopefully we will get some participants! It’s a great opportunity to share your cooking adventures, best recipes, and more with fellow home cooks and foodies!**

Everyday FOOD — (Heather) This is a very seasonal issue, filled with late summer, early autumn food. The spread on tomatoes is beautiful, and the six fresh recipes all look amazing. The Cuban Dinner feature looks delicious, and not too hard to put together.

The Gnocchi dishes made me wish I wasn’t eating gluten-free just now (I wonder if I could substitute gluten-free flour blend??). A clever article on new ways for muffin tins features deep-dish pizzas, toast cups, mushroom tartlets, eggplant pies, and tortilla cups with fruit.

There is a helpful article on freezing summer produce, and then recipes to use your frozen produce in. And, there is a bake sale article filled with sumptuous baked goodies. Scattered throughout the magazine are one-pot dishes, side dishes and weeknight dinners. Definitely a great issue!

I chose to try the tomatoes with eggs baked inside. It was perfect for a light supper on Sunday evening, or if you’ve had a large lunch earlier in the day.

BAKED EGGS IN TOMATOES
(Everyday FOOD, Sept. 2010)

4 large beefsteak tomatoes
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
4 large eggs
2 tsp. snipped fresh chives
1/4 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese (1/4 ounce)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch baking dish or pie plate with parchment. With a serrated knife, cut off the top 1/2 inch from each tomato. With a spoon or a melon baller, gently remove seeds and inner membrane, being careful not to break through flesh of tomato. Place tomatoes in dish and season with salt and pepper.

Divide corn among tomatoes. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and chives and season with salt and pepper. Divide egg mixture among tomatoes and top with cheese. Bake until egg mixture is set, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

Better Homes & Gardens(Alaina) This issue has some really great looking recipes. I like that BHG includes all kinds of things around your home – organizing, cooking, gardening, decorating and more. It highlights some wonderful recipes including Donuts, Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Stew,  Mushroom and Poblano Vegetarian Enchiladas, and Buttered Apples in Maple Syrup Custard.

I made the Rustic Swiss Chard & Mozarella Tart. It was delicious and most of my family really liked it. The crust was amazing and I’m imagining all the wonderful combinations I could put inside of it. Sometimes getting my family to eat greens (which are incredibly nutritious) is challenging and I think this recipe is a great way to incorporate them into our diet!

RUSTIC SWISS CHARD & MOZARELLA TART
(Better Homes & Gardens, September issue)
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1  recipe  Pastry, recipe below
1  bunch  Swiss chard, washed and chopped (about 5 cups)
1  cup  chopped leeks (I actually substituted sweet onions since I didn’t have any leeks on hand)
4  cloves  garlic, minced
1/4  tsp.  dried thyme, crushed
1  Tbsp.  olive oil
3/4  cup  shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (optional)

Prepare Pastry, below. Wrap and refrigerate (up to 1 hour) while preparing filling.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. For filling, in a large skillet cook chard, leeks, garlic, thyme, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper in hot oil over medium heat for 4 minutes or until chard wilts and leeks are tender. Cool slightly. Stir in cheese; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment-lined greased baking sheet. Spoon filling into center of the pastry circle, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold dough over filling, leaving center open and pleating edges of dough. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden. Serve hot. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 4 main-dish or 8 appetizer servings

Pastry: In a large bowl combine 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cut up 1/2 cup cold butter; cut into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine 1/4 cup ice-cold water, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 2 tsp. lemon juice. Add half the sour cream mixture to flour mixture; toss with a fork. Add remaining sour cream mixture; toss with fork until mixture is moistened. Form into a ball.

Cooking Light(Alaina)  This issue is packed with healthy, easy recipes. It’s perfect for the home cook. It includes a list of the Top 20 ingredients to have on hand for quick cooking. And it has a section on cooking with your pressure cooker (I have yet to get one but they look awesome!). I think the October issue of Cooking Light will be a bit more fall-ish but this is a great magazine overall!

I made the cover dish – Maple-Glazed Salmon. It was wonderful – the dry rub really masked the fish-y-ness and gave great flavor! The kids liked this better than the last time I made salmon. I will definitely make this again. It’s also a quick recipe – 20-30 minutes from start to finish.

MAPLE-GLAZED SALMON
(Cooking Light, September 2010)
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1  teaspoon  paprika
1/2  teaspoon  chili powder
1/2  teaspoon  ground ancho chile powder
1/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/4  teaspoon  brown sugar
1  teaspoon  kosher salt
4  (6-ounce) Alaskan salmon fillets
Cooking spray
2  tablespoons  maple syrup

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 6 ingredients; rub spice mixture evenly over flesh side of fillets. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Brush fillets evenly with syrup; broil 1 minute.

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My Kitchen View

So, we have lots of tomatoes! And I’m thinking that I simply must make a tomato pie one of these days. I’ve never made one and never eaten one but I’m pretty sure I would love it. I also must make BLTs (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato on buttered, toasted bread with real mayo) – they are a summer staple and one of my mom’s favorites! Do you have favorite tomato recipes?

Last night, we had vegetarian taco salad…so simple and filling. We really enjoy using black beans and cheese as the proteins over mixed greens with sour cream or plain yogurt, salsa, avacado, tomatoes, and tortilla chips. It was delicious and healthy. One of my personal goals lately has been to incoroporate more vegetarian meals into our diet. My family doesn’t mind eliminating meat for a few meals a week and I love the challenge of finding creative ways to enjoy meatless meals.

My latest, fun project was the cupcakes for my two-year-old son’s birthday. He chose them from a great book – Hello, Cupcake. The book has amazingly creative cupcakes that are do-able for the home baker. Last year I made circus cupcakes from the book – they were super cute but I’m happy to report that these were less time consuming and generally easier. 🙂 My little guy was thrilled with the results and I changed up the cupcakes to work with the time constraints and ingredients available. I did a cupcake display instead of 24 nearly identical cakes. I liked the result! Check out the book if you are a cupcake fan! The picture below is the main design – little fishbowls.

Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY! It’s a super cool, fun, and inspiring cookbook!

Market Fresh: Okra

Okra is abundant in our garden at present. You can also find it at the Farmer’s Market. It has never been a favorite vegetable of mine (it’s a texture thing) but my husband loves it and, as we have discovered this sumer, so do our boys! I enjoyed it more this time than I ever have before – perhaps in part to these wonderful recipes (both of which happen to be by Alton Brown). If you have never tried okra or have had a past negative opinion, I encourage you to give these okra recipes a try.

I love how the cornmeal compliments the okra but doesn’t overpower it. The textures work great together. I also like that is pan fried – not deep fried. Actually, these were just plain amazing – we couldn’t get enough of these tasty pieces!

WET FRIED OKRA (Alton Brown)
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1 pound okra, stems removed
1/2 cup cornmeal
Vegetable oil, for frying
Kosher salt

Cut the okra into 1/4-inch pieces and place into a colander. Rinse under cold water and allow to drain only slightly.

Place the cornmeal into a sealable ziptop bag. Add the okra and shake to coat thoroughly.

Add enough vegetable oil to a cast iron or stainless steel skillet in order to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Place over medium heat and heat until the oil reaches 370 degrees F (when you put a drop of water in, it sizzles). Add the okra all at once and fry until golden brown on 1 side, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Do not disturb until the bottom is golden brown. Turn the okra with a spatula and do not disturb until the majority of the other side is golden brown as well, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Now stir occasionally until all of the okra is golden on all sides, approximately another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the okra from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula to a cooling rack set over a newspaper-lined sheet pan. Season, to taste, with salt and allow to cool for 1 to 2 minutes before serving.

My husband absolutely loved this dish and all of the boys declared, “Yum.” I think it’s definitely a keeper. The flavors are excellent – the texture of the okra bothered me a little cooked this way but the flavor contrast makes me overlook the texture.


OKRA & TOMATOES (adapted slightly from Alton Brown)
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1 pound okra, rinsed and trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups peeled and chopped tomato
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon freshly black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Cut each okra pod in half lengthwise and set aside. If there are any pods longer than 4 inches, cut them in half crosswise and then lengthwise.

Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions along with the salt and cook until they begin to turn golden, approximately 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and add the ginger, pepper, cardamom and okra. Stir to combine. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve immediately.

Weekend Fare: Tomato Basil Bean Salad

This is an orginal recipe I came up with for a picnic using ingredients I had on hand.  The tomato and basil came straight from the garden. This can be served at room temperature or for fuller more balanced flavors, chill for 1 hour before serving. It is a perfect picnic dish because nothing will spoil. Have a great weekend!

IMG_6580

TOMATO BASIL BEAN SALAD
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1 – 16 oz. can white beans, drained & rinsed
1 med. red onion, finely diced
1/4 c. fresh basil, finely chopped or chiffonade
3-4 c. fresh cherry tomatoes, halved*
1/2 c. mozerralla cheese, small diced or shredded**
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
2-3 Tb. balsamic vinegar

Gently combine all ingredients. Chill, garnish with fresh basil (opt) & serve.  Makes 8-10 side dish servings.

* I used a combination of three types of small tomatoes including yellow pear which gave great color and flavor but is not necessary.
** Since I used everything that I already had on hand, I used shredded Italian Blend cheese.  I would have prefered to use a fresh mozzerella or a block of mozzerella cubed.

Off The Shelf: August Magazines

It’s so fun browsing the various food magazines we receive in the mail and then deciding which ones will make the cut and what recipes we will try. It gives us a chance to try things maybe we wouldn’t and to enjoy our subscriptions. So here are our picks for this month!

Saveur (Alaina) – This magazine features Greek food which I love! I thoroughly enjoy this publication – it has interesting articles about travel, food, techniques and more. It perhaps does not have as many recipes as some of the more well-known cooking magazines but the recipes they feature are excellent. I like that they choose a theme (or a couple of themes) and include several recipes that tie into that theme.

It was tough choosing the recipe I wanted to try, so I made two.  The first I already mentioned a couple of weeks ago – a Greek Salad. The second was this Greek Lasagne. It was wonderful! I’m not generally a big casserole fan but I loved this – it was a little time consuming but so worth it. The flavors and textures worked so well together. It made alot – I served 4 adults and 3 kids and still had half a casserole left which we enjoyed as leftovers. This recipe would be excellent for the occasions that you take a meal to someone.


GREEK LASAGNE (PASTITSIO) – Saveur, August 2010
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FOR THE MEAT SAUCE:
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and minced
2 medium yellow onions, minced
1 lb. ground beef, veal, or pork
3 oz. dry-cured chorizo, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1⁄3 cup red wine
1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1  2″ cinnamon stick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,  to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL AND PASTA:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cups  flour
4 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs, separated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1lb. No. 2 Greek macaroni, bucatini, or elbow macaroni
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1. Make the meat sauce: Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, 8–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onion mixture to a plate and set aside. Add ground meat and chorizo to skillet and cook, breaking meat up into tiny pieces, until browned, 6–8 minutes. Add reserved onion mixture, along with tomatoes, wine, chile flakes, bay leaves, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove sauce from heat, discard bay leaves and cinnamon, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; let cool.
2. Make the béchamel: Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and slightly toasted, 1–2 minutes. Add milk; cook, whisking often, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat, add 3⁄4 cup cheese and egg yolks; season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until smooth; set aside.
3. Heat oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add pasta and cook halfway through, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Stir in remaining cheese; drain pasta in a colander and then toss with egg white–cheese mixture to coat evenly. Set aside.
4. Grease a deep 9″ x 13″ baking dish with olive oil. Place half the pasta mixture on bottom of dish and cover evenly with meat sauce. Top with remaining pasta mixture. Pour béchamel over pasta, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack; cool 20 minutes before serving.
SERVES 10 – 12

Bon Appetit
(Alaina) – Yum. That describes this entire issue. I was especially tempted by their many desserts – just look at the cover! Even my 2 year old was taken by this issue and insisted on looking at it several times and pointing out the photos of delicious looking food while saying, “Mmm!”
This is an issue I will hang on to and hopefully make many more of the recipes. I chose to make the Sour Cream Pound Cake w/Lavendar Peaches. Cooking with lavendar is new to me and so I really wanted to give this a try. And the verdict is – go.make.this.recipe. It was so summery and absolutely delicious. Halfway through the recipe as I was making the lavendar simple syrup and I was a little nervous – it smelled so floral. But by the end, with the peaches infused into the syrup, the result was a perfect balance of fruit and floral. And let’s not forget the cake – with vanilla bean and sour cream, it was moist and flavorful. I will definitely cook with lavendar again!

SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE w/LAVENDAR PEACHES – Bon Appetit, August 2010
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CAKE
3/4 c. plus 1 Tb. flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
3/4 c. sugar
10 Tb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 lg. egg
1 lg. egg white
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 325. Butter a metal loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 inch). Dust pan with flour; tap out excess. Sift 3/4 c. plus 1 Tb. flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Combined sugar and butter in large bowl; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve bean for lavender syrup). Using electric mixer, beat sugar mixture until fluffy. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla extract; beat until mixture is pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Beat in sour cream. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 56-58 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out, then turn top side up. Cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil and store at room temperature.)

LAVENDER SYRUP & PEACHES
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 Tb. dried lavender blossoms
4 medium firm but ripe peaches, pitted, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
3 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1 c. chilled heavy whipping cream

Combine 2 1/4 c. water, sugar, lavender, and reserved vanilla bean in saucepan. Boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 10 minutes. Strain syrup into medium bowl; discard lavender. Pour 2 Tb. lavender syrup into small bowl; reserve for whipped cream. Cover and chill. Return remaining syrup to same saucepan; add peaches and lemon juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer about 5 minutes. Transfer peaches to bowl. Boil syrup in pan until reduced to 1 c., 12-14 minutes (it took longer for me). Pour over peaches. Chill uncovered 2 hours.

Beat cream and 2 Tb. reserved syrup in medium bowl to soft peaks. Slice cake. Serve with peaches, syrup, and cream.
Cooking Light (Heather): The August edition is a thick, summer issue with plenty of good ideas. We tried the Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia and it was so very good. I don’t cook a lot of fish, but this recipe makes me want to put it on our menu more often. It was easy and delicious and everyone had clean plates.
I also tried their recipe for Quick and Easy Pickles and a huge jar is sitting in my refrigerator right now. It was a great way to use garden surplus (it works for cucumbers and zucchini!).
Summer Squash and Corn Chowder is on my list of things to make — it looks so delicious in the magazine picture and would be a great way to use up extra corn and squash!
The issue is very festive with page after page of summer food. Many of the recipes are a bit more gourmet than I would make, but they are fun to look through and there are a handful of really good and useful recipes for the average cook.

SWEET AND SPICY CITRUS TILAPIA
(Cooking Light, August 2010)
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4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
cooking spray
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. lower sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. paprika
Arrange fish in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Combine orange juice and next 9 ingredients (through garlic); pour over fish. Let stand 15 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Sprinkle fish with paprika; broil 15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Drizzle sauce over fish. Serves 4.
NOTE: I didn’t have any orange juice in the house (and Alaina didn’t either!) so I had to improvise: I removed the brown sugar and put in about 3 Tbsp. of orange marmalade to replace the orange juice and brown sugar. It was perfect!
  Martha Stewart Living (Heather): We don’t often include Martha Stewart magazine because it’s not exclusively a food magazine. However, this month it included the most amazing summer recipe that is also extremely easy — all it takes is time to boil the pasta and you are finished!

Tomato and Basil Pasta is the pasta version of Caprese Salad. If you love that salad, you will love this pasta. My kids loved it too. We’ve made it twice and it is on the menu for this week again. You could also add some Kalamata olives to dress it up a bit.

TOMATO AND BASIL PASTA
(Martha Stewart, August 2010)
Print this recipe
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cooked short pasta
4 medium tomatoes
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
basil leaves

Combine olive oil, garlic cloves, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss in cooked and drained pasta. Tear tomatoes and mozzarella and scatter over pasta. Garnish with basil leaves and sprinkle with pepper. Serves 4.

Market Fresh: Tomatoes

‘Tis the season for tomatoes! These days you can have your tomato in a rainbow of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown. If you haven’t tried some of these fascinating varieties, now is the time!

My very favorite way to eat tomatoes is in Caprese Salad. I love the flavors and textures of the tomato, mozzarella and basil all mingling together.

CAPRESE SALAD
(The Cooks Next Door)
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tomatoes
mozzarella (authentically it should be buffalo mozzarella)
basil
salt & pepper
olive oil

Layer slices of tomatoes and mozzarella on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over all. Tear basil leaves and sprinkle over top.

The most common way I fix tomatoes for the family is to slice them on a plate and pour heavy cream over top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and it is finished! Adding chopped herbs makes it even better. If I don’t have any heavy cream I use mayonnaise thinned with a little bit of milk.

Roasted tomatoes are a nice side to have on your plate with something like fish or chicken. They are even delicious for breakfast along side eggs and bacon!

GARLIC-ROASTED TOMATOES
(Everyday Food Magazine)
Print this recipe

4 large beefsteak tomatoes (about 3 pounds), cored and halved crosswise
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into 8 thin slices
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
coarse salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Place tomato halves, cut side up, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Dividing evenly, top with butter and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Bake tomatoes until tender, 40 to 45 minutes.

Serves 8.

Weekend Fare: Black Bean Salad

The recipe I’m sharing today actually came from the April issue of Food Network Magazine. It easy, fresh, and delicious! I had never tried watercress and decided to go ahead and add it as called for in the recipe and it was so good. I will definitely be buying it again.

This would be perfect with grilled chicken or a white fish if you want to dress it up a little. You could also use it as a side dish or as serve it with pita bread, tortilla chips, or crusty bread as a main dish. It’s great for the weekend and once spring hits, I always start craving fresh vegetables and salad!

BLACK BEAN SALAD
(adapted from Food Network Magazine, April 2010)
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2 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1 tsp. cumin seed
2 tsp. olive oil
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 c. cucumber diced (I like the English ones)
1 1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved (I used cherry and quartered them)
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 bunch watercress (I used mostly the leaves and not much stem)
Salt to taste

Heat garlic cloves, jalapeno and cumin seeds in a skillet with olive oil over low heat, 5 minutes. Toss a can of black beans, diced cucumber, tomatoes, scallions, lime juice and cilantro in a bowl. Add the hot garlic mixture to the beans. Season with salt and toss with watercress. Serves 4-6.

Weekend Fare: Easter Brunch

I love holidays and Easter is the one I most often host for my great big family! Planning the menu, setting the table, designing the favors/placecards, and then actually cooking are all so fun for me.


For the past couple of years, I have done an Easter brunch with ham as the centerpiece. I’m always looking for an excuse to serve brunch. Unfortunately, I’m not hosting this year since we are still living in a hotel from the smoke damage a couple of weeks ago. We are making the best of it and I will still be helping with some of the cooking at my parent’s house and I’m planning to do the favors. Anyway, here are a few recipes that we enjoy for a special brunch.

I often use asparagus and tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette so I’m posting two version of this recipe but only have one photo. These are both beautiful with lots of color!


MARINATED VEGETABLE SALAD
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1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch asparagus, blanched and sliced into 1 inch pieces
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 english (seedless) cucumber, sliced or diced
Italian dressing (you can buy this or make your own)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine all vegetables in a pretty serving dish. Season with salt & pepper. Dress with Italian dressing and toss. Allow salad to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 8 or so.

TOMATO ASPARAGUS SALAD
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2 bunches asparagus, blanched and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pints tomatoes (I use cut up campari or romas, cherry, and sometimes yellow pear)
salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Combine tomato and aspargus. Season with salt & pepper. Dress with twice as much olive oil as balsamic vinegar (or you can purchase a Balsamic Vinaigrette (Newman’s Own is excellent). Toss to coat. Makes 8 servings or so.

These tiered platters make fruit presentation gorgeous! For Easter, I would add strawberries even though it’s a little early for them, I love that they remind me of spring! You can use whatever seasonal fruits you want. Arrange them on a platter and serve with this simple dip.


GREEK YOGURT FRUIT DIP
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1 – 16 oz container plain greek yogurt
1/4. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all ingredients. You can add more honey if you prefer it sweeter. Serve with fresh fruit.

I made these blueberry lemon scones and they were delicious! They are also beautiful! Lemon is another spring-y flavor to me. So these would be an excellent brunch addition.


BLUEBERRY LEMON SCONES

(adapted from food network)
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2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tb. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tb. sugar
5 Tb. unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 c. heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tb. fresh lemon zest

Lemon Glaze
1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 Tb. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Using 2 knives or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the lemon zest. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

For the glaze, combine the lemon juice, sugar, zest, and melted butter. Whisk to incorporate and remove any lumps. Drizzle on warm scones.