Showing posts with label girl food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label girl food. Show all posts


Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad

Summer came a little late here...mid June again this year.
Now that it's late August, tomatoes are finally on! Corn is super sweet. Fresh herbs are plentiful.
Do you love- fresh, simple and absolutely delicious?
This is it.

Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad
adapted from

6 ears corn
3 large fresh tomatoes
1/2 large onion or about 1 cup chopped ( I used a sweet onion)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
two to three sprigs fresh oregano (optional)
2 tablespoons white vinegar ( I used white balsamic)
1/4 cup olive oil
coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Boil corn in large pot of water for about 7 minutes. Drain and plunge corn into cool water. Cut corn off cob and set aside to cool completely.
Chunk tomatoes and onion. Coarsely chop basil and strip the oregano off stems. Place cooled corn, chopped vegetable and herbs into large bowl. Toss with vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste. Serve chilled or room temperature

-The recipe called for white vinegar, but I love white balsamic (sweeter) vinegar. Apple cider vinegar would also work. I don't recommend regular balsamic vinegar. The dark red color will discolor the onion and corn and the overall look of the salad will change.


Erin and Misty's Basil Couscous Salad aka- my new favorite salad

My amazing friend Erin (who recently left our neighborhood for Cali, can't even get started on how much we miss her and her fam) , gave this recipe to me last fall. Erin inherited this recipe from her little sis, Misty . I filed it away until this summer because I thought it looked like a great summer salad. Tried this recipe out the other night, when I needed to make a salad for 60. It was a wedding shower, and perfect for the event. First try, I used the spring mix suggested, but I really dislike it when a salad goes limp. Don't you hate that? I like using romaine in salads that are heavy on other filler ingredients. Reason being- I like the green to be substantial enough to support the other ingredients. Salads are like shows. In this salad, the greens are support, and all of the other ingredients are leads. Melinda, my show-a-holic friend, who is turning 48 (yikes, you're old!) this week will love this analogy.
Anyway, tonight, I made the salad again, with romaine and spinach. Loved it. The Romaine was firm and crunchy. No problem tossing the dressing with the salad. No limp leaves. Hooray for firm lettuce! I know you think I'm weirdly obsessive about ridiculous things.

Basil Couscous Salad
Erin Blake and Misty Mayfield

printable recipe
1 package Olive Oil and Garlic Couscous
12 cups Romaine lettuce (about 1 large or two medium heads)
1/2 cup Craisins
1/2 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups or 3-4 medium ears fresh white corn, cooked, cooled and cut off cob*
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Fresh Basil Dressing:
(enough for a double batch of salad)
1 cup fresh basil leaves*
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 shallot, chopped (optional)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

For best results- a day before, or at least a few hours before:
Cook couscous according to package directions. Cool completely. Refrigerate.
Wash and dry lettuce, set aside in refrigerator.
Cook corn, rinse with cool water. Cut corn off cob and place in refrigerator to cool completely.
Make dressing by mixing all ingredients in blender or by using a hand immersion blender. Refrigerate.

When ready to serve:
Place cooked couscous in a large bowl. Chop lettuce into bite size pieces. Add lettuce and rest of salad ingredients into bowl. Just before serving, drizzle dressing (I only use about 1/2 ) and toss. You may serve additional remaining dressing on the side.

- When I say "large" head of Romaine, I'm not talking about a Costco head of Romaine. Those are Romaine hearts. If you are using Costco Romaine, probably about 4-5 heads will do.
-Misty said this salad was originally served with chopped chicken as a main ingredient. Great for a main dish salad.
-The first time I made this salad, I tried to cook the couscous and cook the corn and let both cool before adding to the salad. It really works best to cook both several hours or the day before and refrigerate. Also best to use really cold lettuce and dressing. I tried both ways, and had the best result when preparing ingredients the day before and then toss the ingredients when all completely chilled.
-*You may use frozen corn. I won't be as delicious, but you won't know the diff if you don't use fresh first. ;)
-*Don't even think about using dried basil.


Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad

Loved reading all of your thoughts about Spring! Winner of the "Bliss" cookbook is Leanne, who said:

"My very favorite thing about Spring is the parallel it draws from Winter---Winter allows the rain and snow, for a couple of months, from dark, threatening clouds. Then, as if nothing ever happened, we rise to a perfectly sunny, cloudless day. A lovely, clean slate from the seemingly neverending cold. Forgiveness.It is my favorite time of year."

Beautifully said, Leann!

Spring always steers me in the direction of salad instead of soup. Found this recipe years ago in the cookbook "Favorites". It's another local cookbook, put together by the Ivory family. If you live in our neck of the woods, the Ivory Homes name is familiar. I talked to one of the authors right after she finished this book and she told me it was a compilation of family and friend recipes they had used and grown to love over the years. They originally printed the cookbook for giving to family, and quickly had requests for so many they decided to do a second printing. Ten years later, they are still printing and donating the proceeds to the Make A Wish Foundation. It's available here.
I made this salad last week, much to my son's dismay. Fruit in pasta salad? They hate it.
I love it.
They would, on the other hand, rather eat a frozen (breakfast) burrito (yes, for dinner). Personally, I would rather gnaw my hand off, than eat one of those burritos.

Happy Spring!

Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad
adapted from Favorites, A Collection of Ivory Family Recipes

16 oz Bowtie pasta, cooked al dente

2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 bags fresh spinach (about 8 cups)
1- 6 oz bag craisins
3- 11 oz cans mandarin oranges, drained
2-8 oz cans sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped, green part only
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 small can honey roasted peanuts or cashews (about 2 cups)
2-3 cups cooked chicken, cut into slices

Blend dressing ingredients together in blender or food processor. Mix dressing and cooked pasta in medium bowl and marinate for two hours. Combine rest of salad dressing (except nuts) in large salad bowl, add pasta and dressing and toss gently.
Add nuts just before serving.

-I like to marinate the chicken in about 1 cup of teriyaki sauce overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the chicken and discard the sauce. Broil the chicken for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before adding to salad.
-"Very Very Teriyaki" is my favorite sauce. If using this brand, reduce the amount of teriyaki sauce to 1/3 cup. Make sure to shake the bottle well before using.
_ I usually skip marinating the pasta after it is cooked, I like the pasta to be lighter in color, and the chicken to have a darker color.


Autumn Brie in Braided Bread Ring

I love this Brie appetizer. It is topped with all things fall. Apples, dried cranberries, golden raisins, candied spiced pecans. A beautiful item for a holiday dinner party. The bread ring is made out of frozen dough, so it's really simple. Note: The bread is suppose to be a garnish.

Pronunciation: \ˈgär-nish\
1 a : decorate, embellish b : to add decorative or savory touches to (food or drink)
2 : to equip with accessories : furnish

Have you ever been to a party, where people are eating the garnish?? It's like that scene in "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan is annoyed with Tom Hanks for eating the garnish. In that case it was caviar, but it's basically the same. I don't get it. I'm usually a fairly practical person. But eating the decor on the table? Even if it is edible. It just doesn't seem right to me. I am probably the only person on the planet who cares or thinks this is weird (besides Meg). On cruises, it always AMAZES me that people will eat the fruit or vegetables used as a garnish, even though there are seriously enough prepared food items on the serving table to feed two small countries. Don't they know everyone touches the display, and they are used over and over again without being washed?? Anyway. Whether you eat the garnish or not, you will love this yummy dish. A great appetizer for the big holiday coming up in less than 3 weeks...

Autumn Brie with Braided Bread Ring
adapted from Maine Ingredients cookbook, Portland, ME
Printable Version

1 small apple, I prefer McIntosh
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup apple cider mixed with ¼ cup sugar
1 (4-6 inch) round of Brie
1/3 cup dried cherries or Craisins
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup sugar
dash cayenne
1 loaf frozen bread dough (Rhodes, or 1 round Dicks Market scone dough)
1 beaten egg
sliced baguette or Carr Water crackers

About 2 hours before baking, thaw dough on counter.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Split the loaf into three equal pieces. Roll dough out into long rope so you end up with three long ropes of dough about 18-24 inches long. Starting at one end, place dough on counter and begin braiding. Press dough together and tuck ends under. Shape with hands so dough is even in width throughout braid. Unwrap the Brie from round paper carton, set aside. Cover the empty carton with foil and coat lightly with cooking spray around sides to prevent dough from sticking to carton. Form the braided dough around the foil covered carton on a foil or parchment covered cookie sheet or pizza pan without sides. Brush the dough lightly with a beaten egg. Let rise for about 20-30 minutes. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool and remove Brie carton.

After the bread ring has cooled for about 10 minutes, unwrap the cheese, and place in center of the bread ring. Prepare the fruit and nut topping.
Core and chop the apple. Place in a saucepan with raisins, cider, and ¼ cup sugar. Boil gently until the apples are tender, but not mushy (approx 5 minutes). Strain the liquid from the apples, mix in dried cherries or Craisins, and place on top of Brie. In a separate pan (preferably Teflon) , cook the pecans with ¼ cup sugar and cayenne over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes. Remove from pan, break up the nuts when cooled a bit and sprinkle on top of fruit mixture. Bake the braided bread and Brie with topping for about 10 minutes or until Brie is softened. Take care not to over cook. The Brie melts quickly when overheated. Slide the bread ring filled with Brie onto a serving platter. Serve immediately with baguette slices or crackers.

-I like to purchase the Brie at Costco. Usually found with the specialty cheeses.
-Carr brand crackers are my favorite (if I don't serve with a baguette) because they are big and substantial enough to hold the cheese and fruit mixture. "Water Table" crackers or sesame flavors are great because they are simple and won't compete with the flavors in the appetizer.


Spiced Pear Flatbreads with Goat Cheese and Mustard Cream

I was entering some recipes on the index last week, and noticed I was a little heavy on desserts, and sparse on appetizers. Wow! Surprising. Since I could practically live on desserts and appetizers. So, while sitting at a double header (I know it's FOOTBALL season, not thrilled about the fall baseball thing, but trying to be a supportive non-martyr-mother) I flipped through September Bon Appetit, and found several yummy looking recipes. This recipe caught my eye. It originates from the Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore. Flatbread. Love it. Pears and goat cheese - is there a more perfect combo? Add a little spinach, sauteed onion, grainy Dijon and cream. Can you say Chick food?

Spiced Pear Flatbreads with Goat Cheese and Mustard Cream
adapted from Bon Appetit September 2009

Oven Prep
30 minutes before cooking flatbreads, preheat oven with *pizza stone or baking sheet placed in oven upside down, to 500 degrees.

Mustard Cream

6 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon water
pinch of kosher salt

Whisk together in bowl. Set aside.


3 cups flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup plus 7 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon yeast


2 firm but ripe Bosc pears (I used red pears for color) halved lengthwise, cored
Olive oil
cayenne pepper
sea salt
5 cups arugula or spinach
8 oz crumbled goat cheese
1/2 chopped sauteed onion, (optional)

Pizza Stone

Combine all ingredients in a bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with a dough hook. Beat at low speed until dough forms and comes away from side of bowl, about 2 minutes. Scrape dough off hook. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes. Clean hook and re attach to mixer. Mix dough at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic again and let rise until light and slightly puffed about 1 hour.
Using floured hands, turn dough out onto floured surface, turning and kneading a few times until dough is no longer sticky. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Cover and chill for 45 minutes. (I skipped this step)

Topping & Assembly

Cut pear halves vertically into 1/4 inch thick slices. Brush both sides with oil and place on foil lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little cayenne. Bake in oven at 350-400 for about 7-10 minutes or just until pears loose their shape. Or- just throw the pears into the oven that is preheating to bake the pizzas for about 5 minutes.

Stretch and roll each dough ball into a 9 inch round . Place on a floured rimless baking sheet or pizza peel. Brush dough with oil, sprinkle with sea salt. Scatter spinach over dough. Drizzle lightly with oil. Top with pear slices, sauteed onion and 1/4 of cheese. Slide flatbread onto hot pizza stone or baking sheet in oven. Bake until crust is golden brown and crisp and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining flatbreads.
Transfer flatbreads to plates. Drizzle with mustard cream, slice and serve.

-*If you don't have a pizza stone, check out this article for an inexpensive way to create your own at home.
-I also added fresh mozzarella to one pizza. If you like nuts, pine nuts would be a perfect addition too.
-Don't overload the flatbread. If you want to try different toppings, stick to 3-4 per flatbread. In the world of flatbreads appetizers, in my opinion, less is more.
-We ate these hot out of the oven, but they were also good later in the evening at room temperature. Perfect party appetizer.


Pressed Mozzarella, Tomato and Fresh Basil Sandwich

Yesterday, my sis in law brought me a sandwich from Tulie Bakery in SLC. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Oh so yummy. We shared two sandwiches. One turkey and one mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil. The turkey was good, but you know how it is when you eat something, then think about it for DAYS? (okay, so it's only been one day) Goodness. Last night I lay in bed thinking about what I should cook for Sunday dinner, but all I could think about was that sandwich. Started to make a mental checklist - I coincidentally had all of the ingredients! If you know me, you know I don't believe in coincidence. In my world, THERE ARE NO MISTAKES. It was a sign. Kind of like the planets colliding. I wanted that sandwich, and I had all of the ingredients! POW. Sunday dinner. I know you are thinking - sure - you just happened to have fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella, Italian bread, and fresh tomatoes? Well, yes, all of those things made their way into my grocery cart on Friday or were already in my fridge - before I ate the sandwich, AND I have fresh basil growing out in my very tiny and pathetic garden, which consists of a large pot on my large deck. Remember, we sacrificed our garden space for a batting cage years ago. Only 6 more years of baseball. Then, I can have a real garden again.
This is the perfect summer dinner. At least in my mind. So, not only was the Tulie Bakery sandwich out of this world, but the desserts.
Three desserts.
We'll just have to save obsessing about those for another post.

Pressed Mozzarella, Tomato and Fresh Basil Sandwiches

Crusty Italian Bread or Ciabatta buns
fresh mozzarella, sliced
fresh tomatoes, sliced
fresh basil leaves
avocado, sliced (optional)
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Heat up Panini grill. Brush the outer sides of the bread with olive oil. Layer the cheese, tomato, basil leaves and avocado. Douse with a good amount of balsamic. Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground pepper. Grill for about 5 minutes, or just until cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.


Brownie Cupcakes

Do you ever get a brownie craving? I do. Often. They usually come late at night. When I don't feel like baking, or after every place that would sell a respectable bakery brownie is closed. I'll express my feelings to Grant. I'll tell him how much I need a brownie. He will say - "I'll go get one for you". After many, many years of being married, he KNOWS I won't send him to Albertsons for a brownie, so he's safe offering at ELEVEN PM. When I want a good home made brownie, nothing else will do. Not a boxed brownie. I want one of Sheri's really dense brownies, or a legendary (in our neighborhood) Carol Merrill brownie (actually I love the frosting even more than the brownie!), or a Barefoot Contessa "Outrageous " brownie, or a Cooks Illustrated Classic Brownie.... So a few nights ago, I found this recipe and thought - my troubles are over. I can make a batch of these, wrap and freeze each cupcake, and have them for emergencies. Kind of a Brownie 911. Crisis averted.
Oh and btw- these brownies are really, really delish. Fudgy, chewy and chocolaty. I LOVED the frosting* too. The piping isn't necessary, but it looked fun, so I thought I would give it a whirl.

Brownie Cupcakes

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/3 to 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place rack in center of oven. Line 10-12 muffin cups with paper or foil baking cups.

Melt the chocolate and butter in double boiler. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove and let cool for a few minutes. Mix in sugar a little at a time, until all sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the flour and salt just until blended. Don't over mix*.

Evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE*. Remove and let cool on a wire rack. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost. You can either spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a small spatula, or if piping, use a medium to large closed star tip to make little rosebuds.

Chocolate Frosting:

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Beat the butter in a separate bowl until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat until all ingredients are incorporated. Increase speed on mixer and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 minutes).

Recipe from the

-If you don't have a double boiler, you can either: Melt the chocolate and butter in a stainless steel or other heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Or, use the microwave. Be careful not to scorch the chocolate. Heat for about 30 seconds at a time, then stir.
-I made 12 cupcakes in a standard size muffin tin. After removing from the oven, they sank a bit in the middle. If you baked longer, they wouldn't sink as much, but the cupcake would be dry. I just filled in the indentation with a little frosting.
-**Two of the most common mistakes in making brownies are to over mix (once the flour is added) and to over bake.
-*The third most common mistake/sin: Canned Frosting. Don't go there.


Fruit and Feta Salad

Fruit and Feta Salad is another recipe that originated from my friend Kristen. Kristen, Dave and their 5 kids lived in Japan for a few years. While living in Japan, this was one dish they could always enjoy, even overseas. She would buy the dressing, Craisins and pecans when she came home to visit family in the States, and could always find apples, Feta cheese and Romaine lettuce in Japan. We love this salad. The spices on the pecans are what set this salad apart from a hundred other "fruit, nut, cheese and greens" type of salads. When you toss the sweetened pecans, coated with nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon into the salad - Oh my.
I use a different dressing than Kristen, I prefer the Brianne's Poppy Seed dressing to the Girard's (probably because it's sweeter). It's a great salad either way. Really yummy topped with grilled chicken for a main dish.

Fruit and Feta Salad

1 large head of Romaine lettuce *
2 apples, chopped, not peeled
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 to 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
sugared pecans (see below)
Girards Champagne or Briannas Poppyseed Dressing

Sugared and Spiced Pecans:
1/2 lb pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread pecans on baking sheet, drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle all spices and sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, toss pecans so all are coated with spice mixture. Set aside to cool.

Wash lettuce, dry or spin thoroughly, and chop. Add apples, Craisins, and crumbled feta cheese. Toss with pecan mixture and about 1/2 bottle of dressing. Serve immediately.

-* If using Costco Romaine lettuce, use two heads (they're kind of small). Approx 10-12 cups of lettuce
-Make sure the apples are chilled. If you try to use apples that are warm, they will immediately brown after chopping. You may also dip the apples into a bowl of cold water , about 4 cups cold water to 1/4 cup lemon juice. Drain well before adding to salad.


Queen Elizabeth's Favorite Quiche

After all of the hubbub over the Obama's visiting Queen Elizabeth, what did we really learn? That it is HIGHLY unusual for the queen to touch commoners, or for commoners (like Michelle Obama) to touch the queen. I mean, I could hardly believe the media made such a huge deal out of the "half hug". I'm thinking it's a good thing my brother in law, Scott, didn't visit QE II, or we could have had a national crisis on our hands. He is from the South, and he BEAR-HUGS EVERYONE. Grant's family is a touchy feely bunch. I came from a family that is a little more reserved- we just weren't all about hugging and kissing every time we entered and left a room. As a matter of fact, the first disagreement Grant and I got into after we were married was in a grocery store, where he wanted to lay a big one on me in the frozen food aisle, and I told him "later". So now we know it's not OK, to touch The Queen. What I really want to know- What were they talking about?

QE II- " Your biceps are so toned, where do you work out??"

I found this recipe on Epicurious in 2006. There was a really weird "garnish" on the original recipe that calls for tuna and capers to top the quiche. I passed on the garnish. I have made this several times, and often change up the vegetables in the filling. It works with almost any combo of (blanched) fresh vegetables. 
A brunch dish, fit for The Queen.

Queen Elizabeth's Favorite Quiche
Epicurious, 2006
print recipe

For quiche pastry:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons ice water

For filling:
3 green onions, tops only, sliced
1 can artichokes, drained and quartered
1 small zucchini, core removed, quartered and sliced thin,
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped or 1/2 can chopped tomatoes, well drained
4 slices cooked chopped bacon
1 cup cheese, cheddar and/or parmesan cheese
6 asparagus spears, blanched
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
3 eggs
salt, pepper, nutmeg (about 1/4 teaspoon)

To make pastry:
Combine dry ingredients in food processor and pulse several times. Place chilled butter, cut into pieces, into food processor and pulse until a crumb like substance appears. Add water and pulse until a ball begins to form. Form into a flattened patty, and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for one hour.
Roll out dough on a well floured surface, place in a 9-10 inch quiche or pie plate.

To make filling:
Sauté zucchini in small pan over medium high heat for about 2-3 minutes.
Layer all vegetables in pie crust. Grate cheese and place on top of vegetables in pan. Beat eggs. Mix in whipping cream and seasonings. Pour egg mixture on top of vegetables and cheese. Place asparagus spears in pinwheel pattern on top of quiche.
Bake at 350-375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Let sit for at least 20 minutes before serving. May be served warm or at room temperature.
When I make this for my kids, I use about 1 1/2 cups of chopped asparagus, because they don't care for artichokes.
-If you don't have a food processor, soften the butter to room temperature. Cut the butter into the flour and salt with a pastry cutter. Add the water and mix until dough forms a ball. Wrap and refrigerate.


Mini Corn Bread Crab Cakes with Creamy Lemon Sauce

My dear friend Diane made these scrumptious (don't you love that word) appetizers for our Recipe Club group last year at our holiday dinner. Diane is a great cook. Always up for trying something new. She is one of the few people I know who actually makes recipes out of "Cooking Light" magazine. She has a talent for finding good recipes that are low fat. I'm not a big fan of low fat, but I LOVE this recipe. I made these last year for a family party. The adults were shooing the kids away, and directing them to eat the store bought cheese ball, instead of our yummy crab cakes. The only thing I would do differently next time I make Cornbread Crab Cakes is - DOUBLE the recipe.

Mini Corn Bread Crab Cakes with Creamy Lemon sauce

1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise ( I used Regular Best Foods Mayo)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped ( optional, in my opinion)
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Crab cakes:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise ( or regular)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups crumbled Corn Bread
1 pound lump crab meat, shell pieces removed
Cooking spray
Fresh chives (optional)


You can bake the cornbread a couple of days in advance, and save 2 cups for making crab cakes.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. In a bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
2. With a fork, beat buttermilk, oil and eggs to blend. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients; mix just to moisten. Pour into an 8-inch square or 9-inch-wide round greased cake pan.
3. Bake in a 400° oven until bread springs back when gently pressed in center, 20 minutes.

4. Let cool.

Combine first 8 ingredients; chill.

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare crab cakes, heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; saute 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Combine bell pepper mixture, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, and next 6 ingredients (through Old Bay); stir in egg. Fold in Buttermilk Corn Bread and crab meat. Scoop mixture into 16 portions (about 1/4 cup each) onto 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Lightly cover, and refrigerate 1 hour. Uncover and bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet with a metal spatula. Serve with sauce. Garnish with chives.


Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad

Can you tell I have a peach obsession? Here is yet another recipe made with peaches. You are going to LOVE this one. Do I say that every time I post? Trust me on this one. You have died and gone to (peach) heaven.

Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad

5 peaches
3 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3-4 tablespoons honey
dash salt
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 cup canola oil
lettuce, butter or red leaf
3/4 lb mozzarella, cut into thin slices

Peel and chop one of the peaches. Cut remaining 4 peaches into 28 rounds-leaving skins on-about 1/4 inch rounds, cut through stems and bottom ends. Cut each peach inward from sides, cutting each side just until you reach the pit. Discard the pits. Don't worry if the peach splits and is not whole.
Process the single chopped,skinned peach, green onions and next 6 ingredients in a food processor 10 seconds or until smooth. Add oil and pulse 3-4 times until thoroughly combined.
While grill is cold, coat with cooking spray. Heat to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of peaches with dressing. (actually i skipped this step). Grill peaches for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Arrange lettuce on salad plate. Layer peaches and mozzarella cheese. Drizzle with more dressing.

This comes from one of my favorite magazines- "Southern Living." It's the "Sunset" magazine of the South.


Gorgonzola Pecan Crunch Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

I love this salad. It has sweet, salty, sharp, creamy, and crunchy textures and flavors all mixed together. When I first experimented with this recipe I tried adding the grapes and bacon and loved what they added to the salad. Save some of the chopped bacon and Gorgonzola to crumble on top of the salad after it has been tossed with the dressing. What is Gorgonzola Cheese? Here is a little Gorgonzola 101 -

Gorgonzola : Gorgonzola is a traditional, creamery and co-operative, blue cheese. The greenish-blue penicillin mould imparts a sharp, spicy flavor and provides an excellent contrast to the rich, creamy cheese. (Sounds kind of sick, as Jake, my 12 year old would say). Gorgonzola is made in the northern Italian village, according to which the cheese has its name, either from unpasteurized or pasteurized milk to which the mould is added. At about four weeks the cheeses are pierced with thick needles to encourage the spread of the mould. Gorgonzola ripens in three to six months. The taste ranges from mild to sharp, depending on age.

Gorgonzola Pecan Crunch Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

7 cups lettuce or mixed greens, I like red leaf lettuce best
6-8 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
3/4 lb. bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped
1/2 lb. seedless red grapes

Pecan Crunch:
2/3 cups pecans, chopped coarse
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Hazelnut Vinaigrette:
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup hazelnut oil*
1/4cup light olive oil

Wash and dry the lettuce. Combine with chopped bacon and grapes in large bowl. Chill.
Combine pecans with butter, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne in non stick pan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes. Stir often. Place the mixture in a small paper bag to cool. Shake to break up pieces, or chop on cutting board.
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in bowl, whisk until well blended. Refrigerate leftover dressing.

-Usually, about half of this dressing is enough for one salad.
-*If you are unable to find hazelnut oil, or can't afford it (it's about $6 for an 8 oz bottle) you may substitute 1/2 cup canola oil and omit the hazelnut and olive oils. When I make this in large quantities-50 servings or more, I always sub and just use Canola oil.