Simple combination with an explosion of flavors! I first experienced this appetizer (or salad) at a restaurant with my friend, Jan. It was amazing and, yet, so simple. It was easy to replicate at home with four ingredients: watermelon, goat cheese, pecans and balsamic reduction. Done!
Watermelon Goat Cheese Appetizer
Cubed Seedless Watermelon
Crumbled Goat Cheese
Balsamic Reduction (I used purchased balsamic reduction but you can make your own)
Butternut Squash is a fall favorite. Roasting the squash for this delicious soup sounded amazing, and it was. I did not roast the Squash with bacon but chose to keep it a bit healthier, only adding bacon bits to the final product. It is delicious with goat cheese but I also tried it with shredded Monterey Jack (shown below) and it was equally as good. Think of this soup as a spoonful of autumn in your mouth. Yum!
Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup
1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 slices bacon, diced (I did not add bacon to the roasted squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more, to taste
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
Place butternut squash, onion, bell pepper and bacon in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine.
Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender, stirring at halftime.*
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add butternut squash mixture and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in chicken stock and puree with an immersion blender.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.
Serve immediately, garnished with bacon, goat cheese and chives, if desired.
Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Goat Cheese is such a treat. My daughter, Megan, suggested I make it when I asked what I could make with leftover canned pumpkin.
The recipe is so easy and is plate of fall goodness complimented by a great salad and bread. Easy peasy dinner that will please a family or guest!
Pumpkin Pasta Dinner with sausage and goat cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15-ounce can pumpkin puree or a scant 2 cups of pumpkin puree
A few fresh sage leaves and a few sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
A good pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2–2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Serve with 1 pound al dente linguini pasta, or any cooked pasta you like.
Well-browned ground Italian sausage
Goat cheese crumbles
Toasted pine nuts
Red pepper flakes
To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and chopped herbs.
Increase heat to medium and add all of the spices. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until thickened to your desired sauce consistency. Add more stock as you see fit. Taste and season with salt and pepper (and even more spices) to your taste.
Toss boiled pasta in the warm sauce. To serve, top with sausage or sausage alternative, goat cheese crumbled (or parmesan), toasted pine nuts (or any kind of crunch) and chopped parsley.
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