Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Strawberries and Fresh Mint

This is fabulous too, not to mention absolutely beautiful!! 

adapted from eating-made-easy.com

thinly sliced baguette
goat cheese, at room temperature
fresh strawberries, sliced
fresh mint leaves
agave nectar or honey

Place baguette slices on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Let cool, then spread a little goat cheese on each slice, top with a few strawberry slices and place on a platter.  Drizzle with agave nectar or honey, then place a mint leaf on each crostini and serve.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

This is fabulous!!
Be sure to plant some basil early in the season so you can enjoy it in this recipe. 

Source:  adapted from shutterbean.com

25-30 crostini (see below)
1 pt. strawberries, hulled and quartered or cut smaller, depending on size
5-6 basil leaves, sliced thin
sea salt

Place strawberries in a bowl with vinaigrette and let sit for 10 minutes.  Spread 1 T. goat cheese on each crostini, top with a few basil shreds, then place a spoonful of strawberries on top.  Sprinkle salt on top of each crostini and serve.

(Makes 20-25 small crostini, depending on how thin you cut the bread)

1 baguette, cut into 1/2" thick slices
2-3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place bread slices on large rimmed baking sheet; brush both sides of slices with olive oil.  Season lightly with salt and pepper, then bake until pale golden, about 10-15 min. 

*Note:  Be sure to use Chef Tim's Balsamic Vinaigrette - it's the secret to the fabulous flavor!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mother's Classic Spinach Salad

I love mushrooms, so this is the perfect spinach salad for me!
Source:  Mother
3/4 c. oil
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. dried onion
1/3 c. ketchup
1/4 c. vinegar
Add ingredients to a pint jar and shake until blended.
1 bag raw fresh spinach
1 pt. fresh mushrooms
1/2 lb. bacon, fried crispy, then crumbled
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped.
Toss salad ingredients.  Add dressing just before serving.
Serves 6-8

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quick Strawberry Jam

I LOVE strawberry freezer jam, both the color and the flavor, but have been wanting to get away from all the sugar and the who-knows-what's-in-them ingredients in the traditional pectin mixes, so I was delighted to come across this recipe.  (Do you really want to know just how much sugar is in the Sure-Jell version??)  It doesn't yield a whole lot because it doesn't have the sugar volume.  Also, it has a distinct lemon flavor and it's darker in color since it's cooked,  but it certainly results in a lot less distress when consumed when you consider the wholesome ingredients.  :)

1 qt. strawberries, hulled
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. fresh lemon juice

In a food processor, process strawberries until coarsely chopped.  Transfer to a large skillet and stir in sugar and lemon juice.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until jam is thickened and bubbles completely cover surface, about 9-10 minutes.  Transfer jam to a jar and let cool to room temperature. 
To store, seal jar and refrigerate for up to 10 days, or freeze.

(I honestly don't remember if this is the picture of this version of the jam or if it's the Sure-Jell version - I made 3 different versions on the same day and lost track!!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Strawberry Romaine Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

Source:  tasteofhome.com

1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. slivered almonds
1 bunch romaine lettuce, torn
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 c. halved fresh strawberries

1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 T. sugar
1 T. sour cream
1 T. milk
2-1/4 t. cider vinegar
1-1/2 t. poppy seeds

In a small heavy skilled over medium-low heat, cook and stir the sugar until melted and caramel in color, about 10 minutes.  Stir in almonds until coated.  Spread on foil to cool; break into small pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, onion and strawberries.  Combine the dressing ingredients; drizzle over salad and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with coated almonds.

Serves 10.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Source:  adapted from tasteofhome.com

1/4 c. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
2 T. honey or agave nectar
2 c. cut fresh asparagus (1" pieces)
2 c. sliced fresh strawberries

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil and honey; mix well.  Steam asparagus until crisp-tender, about 2-4 minutes; drain and cool.  Arrange asparagus and strawberries on individual plates; drizzle with dressing.

Yield:  8 servings

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Steamed Asparagus with Warm Goat Cheese

Well, my goat cheese disk doesn't look anything like the picture on Martha Stewart's website (maybe the goat cheese was too creamy, or maybe I didn't freeze it long enough, maybe I cooked it too long, or maybe I shouldn't have substituted regular bread crumbs for the panko?), but the flavor definitely wasn't compromised.  How yummy!  It was especially delightful knowing that the goat cheese came from Dove Song Dairy. a local farm; I just discovered them!  Their products can be purchased at Root's Market via the Fertile Valley Dairy Farm stand.  (I purchase my eggs from Fertile Valley since they are free range and are not fed any GMO soy.)

5 oz. fresh goat cheese log
1/4 c. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 T. olive oil
lemon wedges

Slice a 5-oz. fresh goat cheese log into 4 disks; dredge in flour, then in panko.  Freeze for 15 minutes.
In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add cheese disks; cook until browned, about 1 minute per side.  Season asparagus with salt, and serve with cheese disks and lemon wedges.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Asparagus and White Beans

1 c. quinoa, regular or red, thoroughly rinsed
2 c. water
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 16-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into 1/4" x 2" strips
1/2 c. celery, thinly sliced
salad greens for serving
2 T. fresh parsley or basil, chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the quinoa with water in saucepan and bring to boil.  Salt the water, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10-15 min. or until all liquid is absorbed.  Drain well and place in a large bowl.  Set aside to cool.

Arrange the asparagus on a light oiled baking pan and drizzle with 1 T. olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Roast until tender, about 10 min.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Add the white beans, roasted pepper, celery, and scallions, along with the roasted asparagus and cooked quinoa.  Toss gently to combine.  Serve on salad greens garnished with parsley.

4 servings

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chilled Asparagus with Creamy Mustard Sauce

Oooh, this is nice served chilled....

2 T. mayonnaise
1 T. olive oil
1 T. white-wine vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
sea salt and pepper

In a bowl, stir together mayonnaise, olive oil, white-wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle over chilled steamed asparagus.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cream of Asparagus Soup

This recipe needs a bit more tweaking, but it's a start.  Maybe the fact that I substituted onions for the leeks affected the flavor....

Source:  adapted from allrecipes.com

3 medium leeks (white part only), chopped
3 T. butter
4 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
2 c. diced peeled potatoes
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. white pepper
additional sea salt and pepper to taste
heavy cream
fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, saute the leeks in butter.  Add broth, asparagus, potatoes and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth; return to the pan.  Adjust seasonings.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cream and parsley.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Asparagus with Poached Egg

Now why didn't I think of this combination?!  Delish.

Source:  adapted from marthastewart.com

1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
4 large eggs
olive oil, for drizzling
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Lightly steam asparagus until crisp tender.
In separate pan, poach eggs approximately 3 1/2 minutes.  Remove from water with slotted spoon, draining excess water.
Divide asparagus among 4 plates; top each with an egg.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Parmesan, and season with sea salt and pepper.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mushroom & Asparagus Frittata

This is so simple, it hardly warrants being considered a recipe, but it was good!  It's basically a simpler variation of the Mushroom Spinach Frittata from last spring.

sliced mushrooms
asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" lengths
3 eggs, lightly beaten
sea salt and pepper to taste

Simply saute the mushrooms and asparagus in butter until almost tender, then pour eggs over top.  Cook over low heat until eggs are set.  If desired, slide frittata out of pan onto plate, invert, and slide back into pan to brown top.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sauteed Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Today's recipe was a tad bit on the boring side, but still good.  I served it over red quinoa - I'm hooked on that grain!

Source:  marthastewart.com

1 T. olive oil
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6), cut into 2" pieces
1 lb. button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 2" lengths
1 c. water
coarse sea salt and pepper
cooked noodles or rice (optional)

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in two batches, turning occasionally, until browned and opaque throughout, 6-8 minutes; transfer to a plate.

To skillet, add mushrooms, asparagus, and water; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, tossing once and scraping up browned bits, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 4-6 minutes.  Add chicken; cook, tossing, until warmed through, about 2 minutes.  Serve on top of noodles or rice, if desired.

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This is a simpler version of yesterday's salad plus the addition of sun-dried tomatoes; I actually liked it better - sometimes it's best not to have too many competing flavors in a dish!

red quinoa, cooked according to package directions
fresh asparagus, lightly steamed
sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste

oil from sun-dried tomatoes
sea salt and pepper to taste