Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Big thanks to Meredith at Stocking the Larder who steered me to a recipe at this site which led me to make the wonderful salad pictured here, hence using up a smidgen of what's pictured here, which appears to be a major preoccupation of mine these days.
And if you couldn't follow that: cheese. My preoccupation is with cheese.
Blue cheese, to be specific.
Here's my simplified version of this salad:
Go out in the backyard and pull up a wad of this. Rinse well, pat dry, put in bowl. In small bowl, stir together 1 T. mayonnaise
1 T. vinegar (recipe called for Champagne vinegar; I used balsamic)
3 T. olive oil
Pour over lettuce.
Take one jar or can of pears and slice a bunch of them about 1/4-inch thick. Fan the slices over the lettuce.
In small frying pan, over med.-low heat, toast
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped
for about 3 minutes ("until they are fragrant," say the instructions). Sprinkle nuts over the salad.
Now here's the best part: Sprinkle
1/4 c. blue cheese, crumbled
over lettuce, pears, and nuts.
That's 1/4 c. of blue cheese we're using up, people. Do I hear the marching band blasting out a chorus? Do I hear a woo hoo? Do I hear an Amen, sister?
OK. I think we can all rest easier now. More blue cheese updates to come.

NOTE: Go check out A Slew of Summer Salads at A Heart for Home for more great salad ideas.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Berry Butter

Well aren't these the cutest things? They're softened butter, mixed with berry jam then plopped onto wax paper and shaped into hearts with the back of a spoon.
Wouldn't they be perfect to serve with toast for a special breakfast? Or to serve at tea time with scones?
3 T. butter, softened
1 1/2 T. jam (I used olallieberry)
When the butter is soft, smush it into the jam with the back of a spoon.
Make 5 little piles on wax paper, then use the spoon to shape into hearts. Refrigerate.
Don't you think you could make these ahead and freeze them to whip out for company?
And if THAT works, don't you think you could make up some honey butter and freeze in little heart shapes for eating with biscuits some evening? Or chive butter and freeze for serving with baked potatoes?
The possibilities are endless.
Anyone have any great flavored butter ideas to share?
NOTE: For more great ideas, check out Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy's Recipes.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad

It's been a great food week here at the old homestead. The first of the artichokes is ripe (see beautiful artichoke patch here).
The Kahuna's been firing up the grill, complete with rotisseried Cornish game hens, snagged on sale at one of our favorite grocery stores, Lucky's.

The shrimp and fresh pineapple kabobs were amazing. (Don't you just love that word? Kabob. Kabob. Kabob. Say it with me. Kabob.)
And one of the yummiest dishes of all, strawberry spinach salad, discovered at Kathryn's sweet blog Full Life, Simple Heart. With Kathryn's kind permission, I give you:
(Warning: This makes a lot. I made half of what follows and still had some for the next day's lunch.)
3 T. sesame seeds
1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. poppy seeds
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. plus 2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. minced onion
15 oz. fresh spinach, washed and dried
6 c. strawberries, sliced
1/4 c. plus 2 T. chopped almonds or walnuts
crumbled feta cheese
In medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Cover and chill for an hour.
In large bowl, combine salad ingredients. Pour on the dressing and toss.
Any other favorite salad combinations out there?
NOTE: Visit Shan at What's Cooking Wednesday to see what great food ideas everyone else is coming up with.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Blue Cheese Recipes? Anyone?

I confess that the recipe that follows is not spectacular. But I must post it anyway, because I bought this humungous hunk of blue cheese a couple weeks ago. Seeing as I have been in possession of the cheese for several weeks and seeing as said cheese is still, well, humungous, I can only conclude that I overbought and throw myself on your mercy with the request that you send me your good blue cheese recipes.
And I'd feel guilty throwing myself on your mercy with my self-centered request if I didn't at least share this three-ingredient appetizer recipe
that goes together in minutes. It will whittle down that hunk of cheese just a tad, in case you happen to find yourself in the same over-ambitious cheese-buying predicament as moi.

1 can refrigerated biscuits
1/4 c. butter
3 T. crumbled blue cheese
Place biscuits in two pie tins and cut into quarters. In small bowl, melt butter and blue cheese in microwave. Spoon over biscuit pieces, and bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
Your blue cheese recipes?


Fun Fact

"Most French chefs become great experts at canine cuisine early in their careers because the only cooking they are permitted as 16-year-old apprentices is for customers' dogs." from Jeffrey Steingarten's It Must've Been Something I Ate.

Bet your pup wishes she were French.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Glazed Lemon Muffins

Is there anything NOT to like about a glazed lemon muffin? These have a tender crumb and a tangy glaze and if you happen to catch them warm out of the oven . . . well, you just might have a hard time controlling yourself.
1 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1 T. grated lemon rind
1 egg, lightly beaten
8-oz. container lemon yogurt (I used plain yogurt and added a touch of lemonade)
1/4 c. plus 2 T. butter, melted
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. grated lemon rind
1/3 c. lemon juice

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 3/4 c. sugar, and 1 T. lemon rind. Mix well and make a little hole in the center. Into said little hole, dump in egg, yogurt, melted butter, and 1 T. lemon juice. Stir up the wet ingredients, then mix into the dry ingredients, just until moistened. (Can you tell, I was trying valiantly not to dirty up a second bowl?)
Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full (mine made 12). Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden.
Cool muffins in pans for five minutes, then remove from pans. With toothpick, poke holes all over the muffin tops. In small saucepan, place glaze ingredients: the 1/4 c. sugar, 2 t. lemon rind, and 1/3 c. lemon juice. Cook over medium (or med.-high) heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Spoon glaze over muffins.

This recipe comes from Christmas with Southern Living 1995. The fact that we just celebrated Easter does not negate my devotion to Christmas recipes. All. Year. Long.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time . . .

File this under food experiments you don't need to bother to try:
Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs.
And the less said about this, the better. We'll just not mention it again. 'Kay?


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Chocolate for breakfast! Does it get any better?
I got this recipe from Sandra's Keeping it Simple blog. The men who attend the weekly Bible study at our house gave it their highest rating: "two bellies up."
I made a couple changes reflected here: I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream. I also used regular white flour, while the original recipe called for a combination of white and soft white wheat.

1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. plain yogurt
2 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 c. chocolate chips
In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, eggs, and yogurt. Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder and mix well. (If the dough is super stiff, Sandra says you can add a little milk to make it spreadable.)
Grease a 9" x 13" pan. Put half of dough in pan and smoosh it around to try to cover the bottom. Your layer will be very thin.
In small bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar.

Sprinkle half of cinnamon sugar over dough, then sprinkle half of chocolate chips. Repeat with layer of dough, layer of cinnamon sugar, and layer of chocolate chips, using all.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Test with toothpick, if desired; it shouldn't be wet and the middle shouldn't be jiggly.
NOTE: Check out Tammy's Recipes for more kitchen-y ideas and recipes. It's Kitchen Tip Tuesday.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Minty Lemon-Orangeade

Did you know you can grow mint in a pond? That's mint, in the left bottom corner of this picture. Right next to my cute little ice bucket.
Anyhoo . . .
A refreshing punch to use up some of that mint, and a handful of those lemons that just might be proliferating in your neck of the woods:
2 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. fresh mint leaves, crushed
1 t. grated orange peel
2 c. orange juice
1 1/4 c. lemon juice
Ginger ale or club soda
In medium saucepan, heat water and sugar until boiling. Pour over mint leaves. Add orange peel, orange juice, and lemon juice. Cover and let steep at room temperature for at least one hour. Strain out mint and orange peel. Before serving, put ice in glass; pour in about 1/3 c. of juice mixture , add ginger ale or club soda, and stir.