Monday, June 30, 2014

Honey & Strawberry Panzanella


This panzanella salad is incredibly easy to put together and incorporates great summery ingredients. To make the balsamic vinegar syrup I just heated some in a sauce pan until it was thickened. I've used honey goat cheese previously and have never had an issue finding it in the store. You could sub any other kind of cheese. Fresh mozzarella would be good in this recipe if you prefer that over goat cheese.

Recipe from The Housewife in Training Files

-4 cups sliced strawberries
-4 cups cubed Baguette
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-4 oz honey goat cheese, crumbled
-20 fresh basil leaves
-Balsamic Vinegar Syrup

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle the cubed bread with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake about 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
2.) On each plate layer the bread cubes and strawberries. Add basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic syrup.

This recipe had a great color contrast and the salad seemed really fresh. The strawberries were sweet and the honey goat cheese added a more subtle sweetness. The balsamic syrup helped to add a tangy element to the dish which cut through the sweetness a little bit. This would be a great starter for a summer dinner party. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mexican Polenta

Polenta is quickly becoming one of my favorite ingredients to work with. It is very versatile and gluten-free (for all of my gluten-free readers!). Most recipes feature polenta with Italian ingredients, but this recipe makes a Mexican based polenta which is just as tasty as the Italian versions.

Recipe from Oh My Veggies

-1 (24-ounce) tube polenta, cut into 16 slices (I used Quinoa)
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 medium yellow onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
-1/2 teaspoon oregano
-Pinch of cayenne
-1 medium zucchini, diced
-1 red pepper, diced
-Salt and pepper to taste
-1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1/2 cup jarred salsa
-Shredded mozzarella
-Lime wedges, and additional salsa for serving
Slice the polenta into disks. 
Lightly brush the top of the polenta slices with olive oil.
Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, flip once. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes. 
Stir in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne; cook for about 30 seconds. 
Add the zucchini and red pepper to the skillet cook about 3 minutes. 
Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

In a saucepan heat the black beans and salsa until heated through.

The polenta slices will be the bottom layer.

Add the sauteed veggies. 

Add the black bean/ salsa mixture. 

Top with cheese.

Sour cream.

Garnish with lime slices.

Dave and I both really enjoyed this. The flavors were complex, but it was easy to pick-out the individual flavors as well as the mixture of ingredients. I took the leftovers in my lunch and it reheated beautifully at work in the microwave. I recommend squeezing a lime over the dish before eating it, I think it helped to tie the flavors together.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole

Sometimes when you leave someone else in charge of part of a recipe you end up with an adaptation. This was intended to be a slow cooker enchilada recipe, but while making this Dave forgot how he needed to roll the enchiladas. The result was a little bit of a mess in the crock pot...but the flavors were spot on. We ate 90% of this recipe for dinner because it tasted so good.

Recipe from Skinny Ms.

2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 tablespoons flour 
1/4 cup chili powder 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano 
2 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced 
1 cup cooked black beans 
Juice of 1 lime 
12 corn tortillas 
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided in half 
Reduced fat sour cream
Salsa, for serving 

In a medium sauce pan heat together the olive oil and flour, whisk until combined.
Add seasonings and stir well.

Add the stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for five minutes. 

To make the filling heat olive oil in a large skillet.
Cook the diced onions until soft, season with salt and pepper.
Add the black beans and lime juice.
Remove from heat.
Spoon filing and cheese into each tortilla and lightly roll.
Add to crock pot.
They do not need to be perfect, you will just be cutting out pieces. 

Pour the sauce over top.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Top with the rest of the cheese in the last 15 minutes and heat until cheese is melted.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

This recipe was so good. The sauce recipe was just like something you could have in a Mexican restaurant. I think this was great served with sour cream, you could also serve it with a little cilantro (which I don't like, hence why it's not here). This is a recipe that I would certainly be making again, if we hadn't been so hungry we could have stretched the leftovers.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dill Potato Salad

Potato Salads are another quintessential picnic food (like pasta salad). This recipe switches the traditional potato salad up a little bit with some dill. This is adapted from the original because as I started cooking I was told that no one liked half of the happens.

Adapted from A Food for Thought.

-2 lb small new potatoes
-15-20 red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
-2 cups fresh sugarsnap peas, sliced lengthwise
-1 large handful of fresh dill, coarsely chopped
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-1 cup of Miracle Whip
-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Clean and quarter your potatoes.
Boil for twenty minutes or until fork tender.
Drain and set aside until cool.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and serve. 

This got good reviews -- the dill added extra flavor to the salad, but it wasn't too strong. I like dill, but sometimes it is overused in dishes. The tri-colored potatoes are fun to use because they add to the presentation. You could easily add any fresh vegetables to this that you want to use -- the grape tomato and sugar-snap peas added freshness.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Food Tour of New Hampshire with a trip to Boston

Dave and I got home on Monday from our final summer vacation. This time we traveled to New England, Dave is from New Hampshire and we went back to his hometown for several family events. We spent a day in Boston, did a little hiking in the mountains and spent time at the beach. All of those activities were mixed with family events and meeting so many new people.

This Food Tour includes four different places. One in Boston, three in New Hampshire. Dave and I have mini-vacations planned for the fall -- one to Pittsburgh and one to Toronto so there will be additional food tour blogs in a few months. 

The Boston location was Panza which is in the North End.

I had the eggplant parmigiana -- which shouldn't surprise people who know me well because it's my favorite.
I found it to be very tasty, but I liked what Dave ordered much more than I liked this.

Dave ordered the Butternut Squash Tortelloni in a Butter Sage Sauce.
This was delectable, it was pretty rich, the butter sauce had hints of cinnamon.
Our next destination was Pickity Place in Mason, New Hampshire.

Make sure you leave enough time, the grounds and little shops are so much fun to explore.
The flowers were so beautiful and we had a great time looking at all of the herbs that they sell. 

Lunch was five courses -- the menu changes every month.
We started with a sweet pepper and onion dip.
Dave really enjoyed this one. I think everyone did, it had good flavor, but wasn't overpowering. 

Next was stracciatella (egg drop) soup.
This had a little bit of chili in it, but I didn't find it to be too spicy, the chili gave it a nice flavor.

I had a Spiced Mocha with my meal. The cinnamon and chocolate flavor reminded me of a Mexican Hot Chocolate. 

Dave had Raspberry Orange Tea. 

The salad was a potato salad served over greens tossed in a peppercorn dressing. This was also served with parmesan.
I really enjoyed this salad, I thought it was interesting to serve the potato salad over the greens.
The flavors over all went well together.

Next were savory rolls served with some sort of butter.
These were a hit. 

The vegetarian meal option was Ginger Stir Fry over Scallion Pan Cakes.
This had nice flavor to it, the stir-fry sauce had a nice ginger flavor and it was really different than other stir-fry which you might order somewhere else.
All of the flowers were edible! 

Dessert was a Key Lime Pie with Toasted Coconut and Jamaican Rum Plantains.
I hate bananas...Dave got my plantains and banana whip cream.
Otherwise, this was fabulous. The key lime pie was nicely complemented by the lime sauce around the edge of the plate.  
We made it to the ocean!
Thinking about blogging or Dave? Maybe Dave making a blog?

Another lunch location was the Winter Garden Cafe in the Currier Museum of Art.

I had the Roasted Portobello Sandwich piled high with roasted garlic mayo, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions and roasted red peppers.
This was full of flavor, although a little messy. 
Dave had the Roasted Root Vegetable Salad: parsnips, turnips, celery root, rutabagas and sweet potatoes over spinach.  

Dave's mom also ordered this salad, I think everyone was surprised that the roasted vegetables were served cold.
The balsamic dressing went well with it all and it was a nice colorful presentation. 

That evening was a party for Dave's parents' 40th wedding anniversary.
These cupcakes were from Who You Callin' Cupcake in Salem, New Hampshire.
There were several flavors: Tiramisu, Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Buttercream, Red Velvet and Irish Carbomb.
The mini cupcakes were a hit and very tasty the Snickerdoodle was my favorite. 

We had a wonderful time in New England with Dave's family. My favorite location was Pickity Place, the food was all so good and it was a fun location. Dave said he liked the food from Panza, but Pickity Place was a fun location. Overall a successful trip! While I was away, I also got some blog testing done with the help of Dave's mom and his sister-in-law Michelle, look for those recipes soon!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grilled Corn and Tomato Fettuccine

This recipe is a continuation of my journey to make more interesting recipes on the grill. The veggies in this pasta are all grilled before they are tossed with the other ingredients. It was a nice, colorful summer dish.

Recipe from How Sweet Eats.

Other Grilling Wednesday Posts: Bean and Squash Burgers, Halloumi & Asparagus Skewers with Orange Sauce and Grilled Barbeque Onion and Smoked Gouda Quesadillas.

-1 pound whole wheat fettuccine
-4 large ears of corn
-3 vine tomatoes, cut in half
-1 green pepper, seeded and sliced
-1/4 cup + 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese
-salt and pepper

Remove the corn from it's husk, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

I created loose packets out of foil.
Grill on high for 5 minutes on each side.
Slice each tomato in half.
Brush the tomatoes and the pepper with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the tomatoes for five minutes on each side (make sue to oil that spot well or these will stick).
The pepper will take 6-8 minutes total to grill.

Dice the tomatoes, the pepper and then slice the corn off the cob.
Mix with the fettuccine and the 1/4 cups of olive oil and parm.

This recipe was enjoyable. The grilled veggies were good, but the grilled flavor wasn't too distinct -- I think we could have left the corn grill a little longer than we did. Our corn had a slight char on it, but we could have achieved more. Overall, I thought that the light flavors in this as well as the color made it an excellent recipe for summer.