July 28, 2010

Summer Berry Salad with Chevre

{printable recipe here}
It's too hot. Too hot to bake, too hot to even WANT to bake. Plus, my recent attempts have not ended so well. I made yesterdays Dorie treat twice in the last month and somehow forget to take a picture either time? Plus, they came out over cooked and gooey at the same time- BOTH times (tasty though)! So right now at our house, it's all about quick, low heat meals. I'm not kidding when I say I ate this salad three nights in a row! I normally try to have "vegetarian night" about once a week but unless my Tall Man wants to fire up the grill, almost every night has been vegetarian night around here. While you could certainly add some shredded rotisserie chicken, this salad is so good I don't think you'll miss the meat! The berries are cheap and delicious right now- you can use whatever you find. The goat cheese is tangy and cooling at the same time. And best of all? The only appliance needed is the blender to whirl up the dressing!

Summer Berry Salad
from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}

1 large bowl of greens (I like spring mix and romaine mixed together)
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts (candy them if you're feeling fancy- it's extra delicious!)
3 tablespoons chevre (goat cheese)
1/3 cup poppy seed dressing (recipe below)

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

Poppy Seed Dressing
from Anne Strawberry

1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard (or mustard powder)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4- 1/2 onion (to taste)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor until perfectly smooth. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks in a tightly sealed container.

July 14, 2010

Bastille Day

(I snapped this pic of la Tour Eiffel two years ago. I think I'm going to make a big print for my bathroom)

Did you know today is Bastille Day? I love the French language, the country, the art, and French food of course (my car allegiance lies with Germany, though, I'll be honest). So, we celebrate French independence day every year. My husband used to laugh but after a few years he figured out I'm serious about this tradition so now he just enjoys the food and helps me clean the kitchen. Most of the recipes came from my beloved Ina (the Barefoot Contessa). I invited my "Frenchie" friends (only people that lived in France/speak French/etc- there's just not room in my house for everyone unfortunately) and they were so nice to bring appetizers, drinks (Orangina!), and more. I realized that I only have 12 sets of silverware and not enough serving spoons. Live and learn. Last year we had kids running around every where so we had a "sans enfants" policy (except for the little tiny ones). It was much smoother this year and I think that will be a permanent rule for Bastille Day!

PhotobucketFirst we had delicious Salmon Mousse made by my beautiful friend Naomi (she's the one in the front left on the pictures below) and Brie and crackers. Yum.

Next was a spring mixed salad with a traditional vinaigrette, beets, walnuts, and goat cheese topped baguette. I love goat cheese anything. Quinton touched up the dressing with some thyme and it was delicious. He even made the croutons and did all the work for me while I ran around the kitchen like a crazy person trying to get everything ready.

PhotobucketFor our main course I made (with much help from my mom, in the chopping, shopping, and baby sitting areas particularly) Boeuf Bourguignon using Ina's recipe. It was touch and go for a while and I was very grateful it turned out. We ate it over French bread and I wish I had more for leftovers tomorrow.

I planned to make a berry tart, one of my very favorite desserts, but when I flipped through looking for the pastry cream recipe I caught my eye on this tart. I loved it last time and it didn't let me down tonight, either. I even used 1/2 white whole wheat flour in the crust and you couldn't tell the difference.

PhotobucketSince I'd already bought berries, I served those with my Coeur a la Creme. I made some strawberry coulis and oh wow, I remembered how much I love that stuff! I used Ina's recipe for the coeur and it made enough to fill my mold and make another, so I just used my collander. It sets over night and tastes like the freshest, more delicious dairy you've ever had. It reminds me of no bake cheesecake, ice cream, and whipped cream all tangled up for a great treat. You buy a mold on Amazon and it's a really fun addition to the kitchen (although far from necessary, it makes me happy everytime I use it! They also have minis!)

I also made crunchy Palmiers to balance out the creamy Coeur- just sugar and puff pastry. The only downside is that they require a very hot oven in my already hot house! They do make my husband very happy, though, so I am going to try to remember to make these more often.

PhotobucketEveryone is too busy eating to properly look at the camera. I even outsourced lots of the picture taking to Kristi when I remembered at all. We were busy and I'm pretty sure everyone ate. I guess that makes this Bastille Day a success!

Anne's New Favorite French Vinaigrette
inspired by Emeril's

2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake to combine. Serve over spring mix or other greens and enjoy! This dressing will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

July 13, 2010

TWD- York Peppermint Brownies

I love brownies. If I were Will Ferrel's Elf I would have brownies as a food group like his "Candy, candy corn, candy canes, and syrup"- "Cookies, Cheesecake, Brownies, Lasagna (oh and Strawberrries of course!)"  Alas, my life/diet is not made up only of brownies and cookies but you might think so from my blog! These brownies were great to add to my reportoire. Quick, delicious, almost even refreshing with the York Peppermint patties. They were also pretty flexible. I was out of baker's chocolate so I subbed in cocoa powder, a little extra milk chocolate (mixing everything up), and it all turned out. Thanks Dorie- you're brilliant.

PhotobucketGet the recipe from Karen and make these stat. It'll ease the heat of the summer, I promise. And let me know what your favorite food groups would be. Hopefully I'm not the only one with dessert issues.

PS Did you know tomorrow is French Independence Day? Come back tomorrow for our Bastille Day menu. Oh, and bring some butter. I'm making Dorie and Ina's recipes so you'll need it!

July 12, 2010

Fruit Salsa with Triscuits and Cream Cheese

{printable recipe here}
Oh it's so hot. It's not as bad as last summer (when I was super pregnant) but it's really, really hot. To compensate, we've been spending all of our time in the pool. Baby Strawberry, Ms. Happy herself, loves it of course and my Little Man is getting used to the idea. I think three is the age of irrational fears but hey, we're all afraid of things (me? Mayonaise. SUPER creepy.) Well last weekend was no exception and we were in the water almost all day Saturday. We had a Church swim party and there was also a Salsa contest. While it seems contradictory I love super hot food in the summer and I think everyone else agreed, practically drinking up the hot salsas. I brought this fruit salsa for something different and even though it didn't win, when I took it home and tried it on top of triscuits I couldn't believe how great the combo was. Then I got thinking, "This just needs some cream cheese" (not a rare thought for me, I'll admit) and so I spread a little on and it was perfect. Creamy, crunchy, sweet, salty, everything. It even distracted me from the heat so I think this is a winner!

Have you heard about the home farming movement from Triscuit? They sent me a couple of boxes of Triscuits that include seed packets to start an herb garden. I have a pretty good little one growing on my front patio and love the smell of the fresh basil as I walk outside. They also included a giftcard to buy supplies to grow the herbs (basil and dill) and I have a new little pot sitting on my counter waiting to sprout. I've never grown anything from a seed before so we'll see. It was a really fun little project for my Little Man and I and Baby Strawberry loves Triscuits (I love that they don't make an enormous mess!) Try the reduced fat Triscuits with this salsa (and my favorite- Neufchatel reduced fat cream cheese) and let me know what you think.

Anne Strawberry's Fruit Salsa
{printable recipe here}
Note: This recipe easily accomodates whatever fruit you have on hand- try to chop everything to the same size for better presentation. A food processor makes nice work of this (particularly with the copious strawberries) but make sure to pulse, not puree, to end up with perfectly chopped fruit.

2 pounds of strawberries, chopped
2 peaches, peeled and diced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 pint of blueberries, roughly chopped
1 mango, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons fruit jam (I used raspberry)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
zest and juice of two limes
3 ounces neufchatel cheese, softened
1 box of reduced fat triscuits

Prepare all of the fruit and stir together into a large bowl. Stir in the jam, brown sugar, zest, and lime juice until nicely combined. Refrigerate for an hour and serve with Triscuits spread with cream cheese.

July 2, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar for the 4th

Happy Fourth everyone! We are spending the weekend with family- it's going to be crazy and fun. We had a BBQ last night with my family and I made these Red Velvet Cupcakes for dessert. I saw these Cupcakes in a Jar a few months ago and couldn't wait to try them out. We had to laugh because the women saw right away that they were cupcakes, just the trifle version. As for my Dad, I asked him if he wanted a regular cupcake or one of these, and he picked this, saying, "I don't want a cupcake, yuck." So we thought we could trick him into eating one of these if we didn't tell him what it was (you do that too, right?) It worked for a minute until he realized it was still a cupcake! These were really cute, though, and simple to make. Just bake a cupcake without a liner and cut it in half after it cools. Layer up cupcakes, frosting, and topping until you like it.

Because my tall man can't have chocolate, I made a "Lemon Velvet" cupcake. I know it's not at all true to form but it tasted great. Basically, I made my regular doctored cake mix red velvet style, but I used a lemon cake instead. I topped them with blueberries for color and because lemon blueberry is one of my favorite combos. A light, lemony cream cheese frosting on top sealed the deal. Give these a try next time you want to serve cake. Even if the guys didn't care, the presentation really went well with the women! Happy fourth of July- be safe and enjoy it!

Quick Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe
My Favorite Frosting Recipe

July 1, 2010

Mango Sorbet

{printable recipe here}
Oh I know you've all waited in suspense to see my Mango Sorbet. I actually made it for Father's Day and as you can tell from the picture, my family wasn't willing to wait for a final freeze. It started melting but no one cared. I'll tell you who loved this recipe the most though- Baby Strawberry. One little taste and she would not be left out. I didn't feel too bad since it's just mangos, lime juice, and a little sugar. All fresh and delicious. I served this with my mom's famous Molasses Crinkles (and she's forbidden me from sharing the recipe, though I'll secretly say the closest recipe I've found is Dorie's) and we were all happy campers. Big thanks to the brilliant David Lebovitz for his wonderful Ice Cream book. Buy it here.

I used to splurge on Dreyer's (or is it Breyer's?) Whole Fruit Sorbet and loved the Strawberry- shocker- and the Mango versions. While this does require a little forsight in freezing your ice cream bowl, unless you don't overcrowd your freezer like I do and can keep it in there, it's fun and quick to make this. My son loved the turning of the bowl and the bright color. Give it a try.

Come back tomorrow for my Fourth of July dessert idea. Nothing new but it will be pretty and delicious- perfect!

Anne Strawberry's New Favorite Mango Sorbet
{printable recipe here}
From David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop

2 large, ripe mangoes
2/3 c sugar
2/3 c water
4 t freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
1 T dark rum (I omitted this)
pinch of salt

Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh away from the pit. Cut the flesh into chunks and put them in a blender with the sugar, water, lime juice, rum, and salt. Squeeze the mango pits hard over the blender to extract as much of the pulp and juice as possible. Puree the mixture until smooth. Taste, then add more lime juice or rum if desired. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.