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
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.
Quinoa with roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, pine nuts and feta…what’s not to like! I often try new recipes to share with others so my Book Club buddies were once again Guinea Pigs. This recipe takes a while to prepare but well worth the effort!
QUINOA WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PINE NUTS & FETA
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
2 large onions, sliced
2 pounds cubed butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
salt French Vinaigrette salad dressing (add generous amounts of dressing to individual portions)
1/2 cup Feta cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Peel the squash and slice it into 3/4 inch cubes, about 2 pounds. Toss the squash cubes in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt.
Put butternut squash on the greased baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until soft. Flip the squash cubes over midway through baking. Cool slightly before adding to the salad.
Caramelize the Onions:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on high heat in a large skillet. When oil is heated, add onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly string with wooden spoon. The onions will start to brown, but not brown.
Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 additional minutes, continuing to stir as onions brown even more. Add a pinch of salt over the onions.
Continue cooking the onions for 10 more minutes on medium to low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions don’t stick to the pan. Add a bit of water if the onions begin o stick. Total cooking time is 30 minutes.
Remove the onions from the heat and sprinkle onions with a small amount of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Using the wooden spoon, mix the onions scraping the bottom of the pan and coating onions with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
Assembling the salad:
In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, and mix with the dressing. Add the dressing only before the serving, and add as much as you want to individual portions, as both quinoa and butternut squash tend to be on a dry side, and this dressing (when generously applied) fixes this beautifully!
Top each individual serving with Feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.
Note: This salad keeps very well refrigerated for up to a week, but only without dressing. Add the dressing before serving.
Our CSA was loaded with beets this year and I’ve struggled with recipes to use one of my least favorite vegetables. Memories of canned, chopped beets in the school lunch flood my memory when I think of beets, but thank goodness there are so many wonderful ways to eat fresh, colorful beets.
I do enjoy a beet goat cheese salad so I whipped one up starting with a wonderful recipe but adapting it to use mixed greens and vinaigrette I had on hand. It was delicious and I was able to put the lunchroom flashback to rest.
BEET AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD
2 bunches medium beets, (about 1 1/2 pounds) tops trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vinaigrette dressing of your choice (I used Brianna Champagne Vinaigrette)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 bunch of mixed greens
4 ounces goat cheese, (preferably aged goat cheese) crumbled
Put the beets in a saucepan with water to cover and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them–the skins should slide right off with a bit of pressure from your fingers. If they don’t, use a paring knife to scrape off any bits that stick. Cut each beet into bite-sized wedges.
Whisk the vinegar with salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow steady stream to make a dressing.
Toss the cut beets in the dressing; set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and oven-toast, stirring once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool.
Toss the greens with the beets and divide among 4 plates. Scatter the walnuts and goat cheese on top. Serve.
The idea of Peach Bruscetta resonates with me as did the Strawberry Bruscetta I’ve made many times. This recipe was delicious and I made it strictly according to the recipe. The grilling of the bread and the peaches took some time, but the end result was worth it.
Next time, however, I may try using Goat Cheese instead of Burrata and skip grilling the peaches, using my tried and true Peach Salsa as the topping with a drizzle of honey.
Anyway you make, you can’t go wrong this time of year with fresh Colorado peaches, cheese and bread. MMMMM….
GRILLED PEACH BRUSCHETTA
1 loaf ciabatta bread, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces burrata cheese, torn
3 medium ripe peaches, halved and cored
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
Flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Honey, for drizzling
Preheat and oil a cast iron or gas grill. Brush 2 tablespoons olive oil evenly over ciabatta slices and grill over medium heat until crisp and lightly charred on both sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Brush peach halves with vegetable oil or spray with non-stick spray. Grill, flesh side down, until lightly charred, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then chop and place in a medium-sized bowl.
Chop tarragon and add to bowl along with salt, pepper and remaining tablespoon of olive oil and mix to combine.
Spread a layer of burrata over each slice of ciabatta and top with a dollop of grilled peach mixture. Season with additional salt and pepper and drizzle with honey.
Spring brings wonderful strawberries to the markets. Honey goat cheese pairs beautifully with strawberries and with a hint of honey drizzle, you have a very simple, delicious appetizer (or dessert). Yummy!
STRAWBERRY HONEY GOAT CHEESE BITES
1 dozen large strawberries
8 oz. package Honey Goat Cheese (I use Haystack)
Wash, stem and halve strawberries.
Allow them to dry on paper towels.
Place a small piece of Honey Goat Cheese on top of strawberry and drizzle with honey.
My first recollection of asparagus was slimy canned asparagus served with school lunches. Yuck! My Mother would occasionally gather wild asparagus in the spring, but it was not a regular visitor to our home dinner table.
As an adult, I’ve learned to love asparagus and the many ways it can be prepared. I ran across this recipe AND I had all of the ingredients. This recipe is so simple and quite elegant. Tonight I paired it with salmon, always a wonderful combination.
Next time I try this recipe, I may use chopped pecans for a little different twist.
ASPARAUS WITH CRAISINS AND PINE NUTS
1 bunch asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 up dried cranberries (Craisins)
pinch of salt
Break off or trim the woody ends from the asparagus and discard. Set the spears aside.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Stir in the pine nuts, cranberries, and salt.
Cook and stir until the pine nuts start to look translucent, 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Add the asparagus spears to the skillet and cook, adding a little more olive oil if needed, until stalks are bright green and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Serve on a platter and top with the cranberries and pine nut mixture.
Adapated from allrecipes.com, Asparagus with Cranberries and Pine Nuts
As daughter Sarah and I planned for appetizers for their wedding reception, we found this Grape and Goat Cheese Bite appetizer. What’s not to like…goat cheese, pecans and grapes. Simple. Luscious. And, again, a Pinterest find.
GRAPE AND GOAT CHEESE BITES
Finely chop pecans in a food processor.
The hardest part of this recipe is rolling the goat cheese into balls. Only take a small amount of goat cheese from the frig at a time since it is easier to roll when cold.
Roll room temperature goat cheese balls in chopped pecans (so nuts will easily stick to goat cheese).
Put goat cheese ball on a toothpick and top with a fresh, washed green grape. Voila!
Spring is just around the corner and while I really don’t care about swimsuit season, I do care about looking and feeling better and looking ‘fabulous’ for daughter Sarah’s summer wedding.
While I love to indulge in wonderful foods, I find that a healthy, Mediterranean style diet works well for me. I tried this recipe and loved it. Fresh asparagus and goat cheese with protein…a winner! Each omelette only has 180 calories, an extra bonus.
ASPARAGUS GOAT CHEESE OMELETTES
1 cup liquid egg substitute or egg whites
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons chopped scallions or red onions
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons crumbled reduced fat goat cheese
Whisk together egg substitute, eggs, and milk. Stir in the scallions, thyme, parsley, pepper and salt.
Place the asparagus in a microwaveable bowl and add water. Cover with waxed paper and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave 2 additional minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Pour one-quarter of the egg mixture into the skillet, allowing it to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom just begins to set. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon goat cheese and one-quarter of the asparagus. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are almost set.
Using a large spatula, fold the omelet in half. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the omelet is golden and the cheese is melted. Turn onto a plate and keep warm.
Coat the skillet with cooking spray and repeat for 3 additional omelettes. Garnish with chives, pieces of asparagus or goat cheese.
Recently I discovered this recipe on the bag of mini peppers I bought at Costco. I’ve experimented with the recipe and love a variation of this recipe, combining goat cheese with the Savory Seasoning of Tarragon Shallot Citrus. The sweetness of the red peppers combined with the goat cheese and citrus blend is scrumptious. When the peppers come out of the oven, you can also top with half of pecan (or walnut). A very simple appetizer for your holiday parties.
Mini Red Peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese
Mini Red Peppers
Softened goat cheese (or cream cheese)
1/4 cup snipped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, thyme, basil) or Savory Seasoning Tarragon Shallot Citrus Seasoning
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse red peppers and cut a slit down the side of the pepper. Remove seeds.
Combine softened cheese and herbs. Place a heaping teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture in each pepper. Bake for 20 minutes until peppers are soft-crisp and goat cheese is hot.
Optional: Serve with pecan or walnut half (or basil leaf) on each pepper.