New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Peach Quinoa Salad

Fresh Colorado Peaches are the best!  Quinoa is a favorite so why not pair them together with other scrumptious ingredients for a yummy, cool summer salad!

PEACH QUINOA SALAD

1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp. agave nectar or honey
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
2 fresh Peaches cut into chunks
1/2 cup dried wild blueberries (or bing cherries)
1/2 cup spicy pecans chopped
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup red onion diced

  • Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
  • Add the other ingredients together in a larger bowl.
  • Mix in the dressing. Garnish with parsley. Serve.

Recipe from reluctantentertainer.com

Family · New Traditions

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake is delicious, even though the photo of the finished product is not.  I was disappointed by the appearance of the finished product, but the taste was delicious.

Next time, I would use a slightly bigger pan, since the batter cooked over the side.  However, a few crispy bites of dessert are equally good!

FRESH PEACH CAKE

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
  • Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

  • Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Family Favorites · Garden · Vegan · Vegetarian

Panzanella

Panzanella, or panmolle, is a Tuscan chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes.  It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar. It is also popular in other parts of central Italy (per Wikipedia).  The first time I had this salad, about 10 years ago, I fell in love.

It’s a scrumptious salad, any time of the year, but especially when I have fresh tomatoes from my garden.  Fresh, flavorful and healthy!

PANZANELLA

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/2 inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20 large, fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers, drained

VINAIGRETTE:

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
  • For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
  • In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil and capers.  Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette.  Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Recipe from Food Network, Barefoot Contessa

Book Club · Gluten Free · Health · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Watermelon Heirloom Salad

Book Club almost always inspires me to try making something new and the Watermelon Heirloom Salad has been on my list of ‘must try’ since my sister-in-law, Betty, told me about it.

I served this in July with tomatoes and watermelon in season. It is a refreshing salad especially during the hot days of summer. The salad was served with the feta on the side since some of our members are Vegan.  Easy peasy and satisfies all.  What a wonderful fusion of great flavors.  It’s now one of my favorite summer treats.

WATERMELON HEIRLOOM SALAD

3 large heirloom tomatoes (about 1.5 pounds), cored and cute into chunks or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I used multi-color cherry tomatoes)
4 cups cubed watermelon
1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used Champagne vinegar)
juice of 1 lime
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh feta (don’t skimp on the quality of the feta)
1 lime, cut into wedges

  • Combine the tomatoes, watermelon, mint and basil in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour olive oil mixture over the fruit and toss to mix.
  • Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle the feta over the salad (or on the side). Serve with lime wedges and sea salt.

Recipe from FreyFarms

Garden · New Favorite

Beet Greens with Pine Nuts

In 2020 I planted golden beets for the first time in my garden.  I love a fresh beet and goat cheese salad but the big surprise for me was how delicious beet greens are.

My friend, Jan, told me about a Swiss Chard with Tahini recipe, referenced below, which I adapted to use with beet greens, minus the extra sauce.  I made it several times last year and will be making it every year that I grow beets or can purchase beets with greens.  Out of this world!

BEET GREENS WITH PINE NUTS

2 3/4 lb. beet greens or Swiss Chard
2.5 tbsp. unsalted butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil
scant 5 tbsp. pine nuts
2 small cloves garlic, sliced very thin
1/4 cup dry white wine
sweet paprika, to garnish (optional)
salt and pepper

  • Clean the beet greens or Swiss Chard. Chop into strips.
  • Put half of the butter and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large frying pan and place over medium heat.  Once hot, add the pine nuts and toss them in the pan until golden, about 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the pan.
  • Throw in the garlic.  Cook for about a minutes until it starts to become golden
  • Carefully pour in the wine. Leave for a minute or less, until it reduces to about one third.  Add the chopped beet greens and the rest of the butter and cook for 2-5 minutes, until the beet greens are wilted.
  • Season with slat and black pepper. Divide the greens among the individual serving bowls, and scatter with pine nuts.  Drizzle with additional olive oil and paprika, if you desire.

Adapted from Jerusalem Cookbook 

Full recipe for Swiss Chard with Tahini, Yogurt & Buttered Pine Nuts from the Dallas News

New Favorite

Gin and Tonic Drizzle Cake

Gin & Tonic Cake sounded delicious when my sister-in-law, Betty, told me about it a few years ago.  Summer time evenings on the patio with a G&T and good friends inspired me to make this wonderful cake.  Warning…it is a bit boozy but oh, so delicious!

I converted the recipe to American measures (in parenthesis) and it worked well.  Instead of baking a big pan of cake, I baked in several smaller cake pans and froze a few cakes, minus the lime slices.  It freezes well.

GIN & TONIC DRIZZLE CAKE

Cake:
250g unsalted butter (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
250g sugar (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
250g self rising flour (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
5 medium egg
1 lime, zested

Drizzle:
75g sugar (2.6455 oz. or 1/3 cup)
5 tbsp. Gin
5 tbsp. Tonic Water

Icing:
200g powdered sugar (7.0548 oz. or .8819 cup)
3-4 tbsp Gin

Decoration:
1 lime, zested
lime sliced

For the Cake:

  • Grease and line a 2 lb. loaf tine (i used several small loaf pans instead).
  • Preheat the oven to 180 centigrade or 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light an fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, flour, and lime zest. Beat again until smooth and combined.
  • Pour the cake ingredients into the cake pan(s) and bake for 40-45 minutes.  When baked fully, a cake skewer should come out clean and the cake shouldn’t be making a bubbling sound.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool slightly while making the drizzle.

For the Drizzle:

  • In a small pan, add the sugar, Gin and Tonic.
  • Heat on a low-medium heat while stirring.  Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat.
  • Poke the cake lightly with a cake skewer and drizzle over the cake. Allow the cake to cool fully in the cake pan.

To Decorate:

  • Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the cake pan.
  • In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar and gradually mix in the Gin until you get a thick, pourable consistency.
  • Pour the icing over the cake, sprinkle with lime zest. Add lime slices to the top for decoration.

Recipe slightly adapted from Janespatisserie.com

Garden · Health · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Arugula and Cinnamon Basil Salad

Cinnamon Basil…who knew there was such a thing.  I grew Cinnamon Basil in my garden, not really sure what I would do with it.  It truly has a cinnamon essence and is great in salads.  I adapted this recipe, adding chopped walnuts and Craisins to add a fruity, crunchy addition to the salad.  Next time, I may add a little crumbled goat cheese.  Mmmmm.

ARUGULA AND CINNAMON BASIL SALAD

6 cups rocket (arugula)
1 cup cinnamon basil, torn (I used a little less)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup Craisins

DRESSING

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 dash salt

  • Put the dressing ingredients in a jar, cover, and shake well.
  • Put the rocket, onion, walnuts, Craisins, and basil in a salad bowl and toss, with a little dressing.

Recipe adapted from Food52.com

Czech Heritage · Family

Chlebíčky — Czech Open Faced Sandwiches

Chlebíčky are open-faced sandwiches served in the Czech Republic.  The sandwiches include meat, cheese and vegetables and are meant to be eaten in a few small bites.  Think of them as an appetizer, often served with wine or beer.

Czech hospitality is like a warm hug from your Babicka, or Grandma.  While visiting the Czech Republic and visiting my ancestors villages, we were almost always asked to enter their home and enjoy a treat, be it Chlebíčky, pastry, dandelion tea, or even a little sip (or two) of Slivovice.

Our Colorado Czech/Slovak/Rusyn Genealogy Group used to gather once a quarter (before COVID), often sharing Czech treats.  I made Chlebíčky for one of our potlucks, using recipes from Czechcookbook.com.  They are easy to make and you can customize the ingredients to your liking. I’ve included links at the bottom to the recipes as well as a link to more information on the history of these delightful bites!

Chlebíčky

Czech Spread (vlašský salát) (Recipe follows)
thinly sliced ham
thinly sliced cheese (baby swiss)
hardboiled eggs, sliced
dill pickles, sliced
bell peppers, cut into strips
french bread
cheese for grating

Czech Spread – Vlašský salát

3 small potatoes (13 oz.)
10 mini carrots or 2 medium (4-5oz)
2 pickles (preferably dill pickles)
1 tsp pickle juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
little bit pepper
1 Tbsp.  yellow mustard
1/3 cup canned peas
4 oz. bologna or ham
1 cup mayo

http://www.czechcookbook.com/czech-spread-vlassky-salat/

Open-Faced Sandwiches – Chlebíčky

https://www.196flavors.com/czech-republic-oblozene-chlebicky/

Family Favorites · New Favorite

Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Crush Cookies

Daughter Megan found this recipe and shared this mega cookie with me.  I have never heard of Levain Bakery in NYC but if I ever get back to the City, I will try to go! The cookies are delicious!

A batch of these cookies would make a wonderful Father’s Day present, or if you aren’t a baker, you could order them from the bakery!  Slightly warmed in the microwave, topped with vanilla ice cream, it would be a wonderful dessert for two or more!

LEVAIN BAKERY CHOCOLATE CHIP CRUSH COOKIES

1 cup Cold Butter cut into small cubes
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Cake Flour*
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Chocolate Chips
2 cups Walnuts roughly chopped

  • Preheat oven to 410 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together cold cubed butter, brown sugar, and sugar for 4 minutes or until creamy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one.
  • Stir in flours, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined to avoid overmixing. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  • Separate dough into large balls and place on lightly colored cookie sheet. They are bigger than you think! You will fit 4 cookies on one large cookie sheet. The dough makes 8 extra large cookies.
  • Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes to set.
Recipe Notes

*can substitute all-purpose flour for cake flour

*Levain Bakery has stated they don’t use vanilla extract in their cookies. If you would like to add vanilla extract, I would suggest adding 1 teaspoon when adding the eggs to the batter.

Recipe from Modernhoney.com

Family Favorites · Garden

Mediterranean Feta Dip

Mediterranean Food is so fresh and delicious.  Daughter, Sarah, has made this recipe many times with rave reviews.  I decided to make it but add diced cucumber, making this more like a Greed Salad.  Using fresh Feta cheese, in block form, allows the cheese to absorb the olive oil and seasoning.  My family agrees that the cucumber takes this dip to a new level.  If you like Greek olives, you could add those as well.  I served with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips.  Scrumptious!

MEDITERRANEAN FETA DIP

1/3 cup olive oil
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
4-5 green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 diced English cucumber
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (I used fresh block Feta)
2-3 teaspoons Cavender’s Greek seasoning
fresh baguette, sliced thinly or Pita chips
optional balsamic vinegar

  • On a large platter drizzle olive oil until you have a thin layer on the entire platter. You may use more or less here depending on your preference.
  • Add the tomatoes, green onions, and feta on top of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the Greek seasoning to taste.
  • With a spoon carefully combine the ingredients. We found that we like a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top. If desired, drizzle a little balsamic on top.
  • Serve with warm sliced baguettes for scooping up the dip.

Recipe modified from the-girl-who-ate-everything.com