I literally dreamed about this appetizer for like four nights in a row before calling it perfect and giving it a whirl. If you don't dream constantly about food like I do, please just act like I'm not a weirdo. Because OHMY-goodness this turned out delicious and it is totally worth the title.Read More
Caprese Pasta Salad is one of those super easy-peasy recipes that works at any type of gathering and any time of the year. I make this salad a ton throughout the year, to sit in our fridge for lunches or snacks and also for both summer and winter parties. It is so super simple, requiring..Read More
The little boys and I survived our 2,800-mile Kentucky/North Carolina road trip. We packed many smiles, tears and memories into 13 days. One of the greatest gifts I feel I can give to my precious boys is introducing them to ADVENTURE. I love adventure and I want them to seek it, always.Read More
Although I am tired beyond words (excited for this "season" to be done), I am so happy to cheat a little bit and share some forbidden fruit with you all. This sandwich comes from my beloved grilled cheese cookbook that I spent all of last winter creating...in that super cozy favorite coffee shop of mine.Read More
Yesterday at this time I thought I would be writing this post from the hospital. My 6-year-old was supposed to have surgery on his ear yesterday, but there was a different plan for him. After telling him NO EATING, he promptly went downstairs and chewed the chocolate off of a chocolate-covered almond. I called the surgery department and confessed the crime.Read More
I am still alive, can you believe it?! I survived 18 days on the road, in my very old but awesome car, with 2 little boys by my side. We drove 3,800 miles. We met or reunited with 75 people. We visited 17 families. Fourteen of the people we saw were children with congenital heart disease, just like my oldest monkey.Read More
I have been on the frugal side lately, so I scoured our pantry for a salad ingredient in anticipation of a family gathering. I had purchased pearl barley on sale a few months ago, and spotted it on the top shelf. Perfect!Read More
I have felt mildly to moderately insane over the past few days. Dan has been immersed in a skydiving course, so the little boys and I have been flying solo. I try not to speak of bodily fluids too much on my food blog, but I will just say we have had our share of bodily-fluid-related incidents..Read More
Along with this unbelievably gorgeous weather comes my increased yearning for salads. There is something about nice weather that makes me want to consume salads at every meal, perhaps served with a rim-salted margarita on the rocks.Read More
If you aren't afraid of a little heat, this dish is for you. Saute a variety of healthy vegetables in a delicious thai basil sauce to make your own favorite takeout dish. You won’t regret learning to make this bowl full of spicy thai goodness!
My hubby has been rockin' the kitchen lately. He has a really creative side to him, and I love when he expresses it with food. This is a recipe he has been perfecting for a while, and he made me promise not to write a post about it until he got it juuuust right. We were both extremely happy about how it turned out the other night, so I have been granted permission to share!
By the way, it is another beautiful day here in Minnesota. I am loving this weather! I can't wait to get myself out of the house today. It's haircut day (I love haircut day!), so I get to venture out sans boys for a bit. Weeee!
In a medium bowl, combine:
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups water
Fully immerse the basil in the water and let the leaves soak for 10 minutes.
Do the following prep work while the basil is soaking:
- Cut 4 defrosted chicken breast halves into 1-inch cubes.
- Thinly slice 3 shallots.
- Mince 8 large cloves of garlic (add to the bowl with shallots).
- Thinly slice 10-20 Thai chili peppers.
Drain the water from the bowl with the basil leaves.
Tailor the amount of peppers used to your liking. A good substitution for 10 Thai chili peppers would be 5 serrano peppers.
Heat 3 tablespoons of peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the outsides of the chicken pieces turn white.
Add the chili peppers to the skillet, along with:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Add the basil leaves and cook until they become shriveled, about 2 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts.
Serve warm, over noodles or rice.
The end of August, and the end of SUMMER, my dear beloved summer, is approaching, which means I am attempting to squeeze in as many summer-time recipes as I can. I love summer recipes. Salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, anything on the grill, ice cream, cold cold margaritas, I could go on and on..
I was excited to make this apricot tart because I thought it would be a fresh, light end-of-the-summer (sniff) treat. It was totally scrumptious. I have to mention that the shortbread crust on this thing? OMG! Better than the best Christmas cookie I've ever tasted. LOVED IT TO PIECES.
First, make the pastry cream.
In a saucepan, combine:
3/4 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
Remove the basil from the pan.
In a bowl, whisk together:
1/4 cup whole milk
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Slowly whisk the yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until melted.
Scrape into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.
Looks like lemon curd, doesn't it? Well it is a little bit shocking when it tastes nothing like lemon curd!
Now make the pastry (the yum yum delicious pastry that I'm madly in love with).
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray a 14x4-1/2-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Or do like I did and use a 9-inch round tart pan without a removable bottom.
Add to a medium bowl:
1 large hard-boiled egg yolk
1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
(Do you see a person in a coffin? Or perhaps a child sleeping?)
Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Beat at low speed until just combined.
Using lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for about 30 minutes, or until chilled.
Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until golden. Cool for 1 hour.
Now prepare the topping!
Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange 6 apricots, halved, cut side up, on the paper and sprinkle all over with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the apricots are tender and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Unmold the crust onto a serving plate and spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the apricots on the cream, cut side down, and brush all over with 1/3 cup melted apricot jam.
Cut tart crosswise into strips and serve.
You might notice that I left the tart in the tart pan and cut it like a pie. It worked just fine this way!
Decorate with basil leaves, if desired.
A modern day version of this Spanish soup is so delicious and perfect for a summer meal! Sweet cherries, fresh vegetables and spicy flavors all blended together with some basil to create a refreshing bowl of soup that is so tasty!
Bing cherries are the first things I see upon entering the grocery store. I almost always put a bag in my cart. Usually I end up snacking on them throughout the week and ultimately eating the entire bag by myself. My four-year-old tells me, "Mommy, you're going to turn into a cherry! And Sammy is going to turn into a blueberry!" It's true, I can see both things happening. Sam adores his blueberries and I adore my cherries. I rarely think to cook with cherries because then I would need to buy two bags every week! One to snack on and one to cook with.
I desperately wanted to make this Cherry Gazpacho. And I'm glad I did. Upon taking my first bite of this summery soup, the following words popped into my head: FRESH, cherries, cucumbers, FRESH, summer, basil, YUM.
PREPARE A BOWL OF CHERRY GAZPACHO SOUP
It’s a summery version of the traditional tomato-ey Spanish soup.
You will need two slices of 1-inch-thick Pullman bread. Drizzle 1 slice of the bread with olive oil on both sides.
In a medium skillet, fry the bread over moderate heat, turning once or twice, until golden, about 4 minutes.
Rub the fried bread slice with 1 whole garlic clove. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and transfer to a medium bowl.
ADD TO THE BOWL:
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound bing cherries, pitted (reserve 12 cherries for later)
3 ounces tomato juice
1 1/2 ounces red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Let this mixture stand at room temperature for about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, remove the crust from the remaining bread slice. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes and toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil.
Add the bread cubes to a skillet along with:
1 thyme sprig
1 whole garlic clove
Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the croutons are browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer the croutons to paper towels to drain. Discard the garlic clove and thyme sprig and season the croutons with salt.
Working in batches, puree the cherry and bell pepper mixture in a blender until completely smooth. Strain the gazpacho through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Season the soup with salt, pepper and Tabasco.
Finally, ladle the cherry gazpacho into shallow bowls. Garnish with:
Reserved cherries, diced
Torn basil leaves
Serve right away! Then make sure to have a Sparkling White Sangria ready to go with it!
HOW LONG GAZPACHO IS GOOD
Once you’ve prepared and enjoyed your first bowl of Cherry Gazpacho with Basil Soup, you can save the remainder for another 4-5 days in a air-tight container in the refrigerator.
WHAT IS GAZPACHO
A soup that hails from Spanish cuisine, it’s a soup that is served cold. It infuses a variety of flavors together from tomatoes, raw vegetables and spices. Gazpacho is fun to twist different flavors into the soup and this Cherry Gazpacho soup is just that - an amazing twist on adding a sweet fruit to recipe! It’s also been known to be called a “liquid salad”.
This is a great toss and serve recipe! Loaded with flavor, lots of crunchy vegetables and juicy ingredients helps make this a full meal with chicken. Chopped basil and mint highlight all the vegetables. This light dressing doesn’t drown out the ingredients either, so enjoy!
I made this chopped salad on Sunday and I have had it for lunch every day since. Well, except for yesterday when I met my husband for sushi only to return to work to find that roasted chicken, glazed carrots and mashed potatoes had been brought in by the company. My intention was to take just a teeny sampling of the food because, goodness, I had just eaten lunch. But my "sampling" turned into an entire heaping plate of food, which I had no problem stuffing into my face. Then someone said to me, "You have to try the carrot cake!" I do? Ok. So I tried the carrot cake. And then my belly hurt until dinner, which I wasn't at all hungry for.
What is chopped salad?
Chopped salad is famed from back in the 1960’s over in Los Angeles when it became quite the thing to have a salad chopped - meaning the salad and all its ingredients are now cut into tiny, fine pieces. The idea is that each bite is filled with all the flavors of the salad, you aren’t missing any. Chopped salad today doesn’t always mean that it’s finely chopped, because, to each his own!
Does a chopped salad have specific ingredients?
Nope! A chopped salad can consist of whatever proteins, vegetables and dressing you desire. There’s no limitations, it just suggests that any ingredients selected are cut into bite sized pieces so each bite is flavorful.
So aside from that ridiculous double-lunching day, I have been enjoying this salad for my lunches all week. It's the absolute perfect lunch, packed with flavor and nutrients and it didn't leave me feeling either hungry or full. I'm pretty sure I emptied the salad bowl this morning, so tomorrow I'll be back to Ramen noodles. Wooo.
In a large bowl, combine:
1 heart of romaine, coarsely chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup diced cooked chicken (I used meat from a Rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup green grapes, halved
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Toss all ingredients together and serve!
By the way, I combined the ingredients for the dressing separately since I knew I would be eating the salad over the course of a few days.
I loved it! Totally delicious!
I received the call last week that I had been waiting for, but dreading. It was the call that determined a date for something that I never want to happen. On June 10th, 2011, my 4-year-old son will have his third open heart surgery. I'm still dealing with the trauma and emotions from his second open heart surgery that took place three years ago. Will we all still be in one piece after experiencing this again?
It is such a very strange thing to have something of this nature on your calendar. Amidst birthdays and dentist appointments sits, "Elijah OHS #3," like it's the most normal thing in the world. I stared at the words on my calendar and knew I had to get out of my office. Crying at work = not fun times. I started driving, with no destination in mind, shedding a few tears into my lap. Then I had the thought that I sometimes have when I'm feeling sad about something. Do something nice for someone. This often helps to lift my spirits. A few minutes later I found myself at Barnes & Noble, purchasing a favorite cookbook. Not for myself, but for YOU. Well, one of you!
So. If you would like to win a copy of Everyday Food: Great Food Fast by Martha Stewart Living Magazine, here's what you need to do!
Subscribe to this blog via RSS feed or friend us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Leave a comment stating which one you did. If you do all three, comment three separate times to be considered for three separate votes.
Check back on April 10th to see if a cookbook will be heading toward your mailbox! I will draw one winner randomly at 6:00 a.m. on the 10th, and I'll put the cookbook in the mail for that person on April 11th.
The recipes in this cookbook are great. They are simple and easy, and this suits my lifestyle so well. I got this particular linguine recipe out of the cookbook and oh my goodness, it is fantastic! It is a simple yet flavorful meal.
Start by seasoning 1 1/2 pounds of medium, peeled and deveined shrimp (tails removed) with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat 4 teaspoons of olive oil over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until opaque throughout, turning occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
To the same skillet, add:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
A 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes (plus juice)
2 cups water
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened and are saucy, about 15 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in:
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Add the tomato sauce, shrimp and basil and season with salt and pepper. Toss. Serve immediately, and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
I brought this deliciousness with me to work for the following two days after making it and beginning at 9:30 each morning, I could not wait to eat lunch.
Heart surgery, however, I can most definitely wait for.
My idea of the perfect tea party recipe involves a huge burst of flavor in a teeny tiny bite. Or two teeny tiny bites. I thought of some of the flavors I have fallen in love with recently and incorporated them into two delicious tartlet recipes. If a tea party is on your agenda, you will want to remove the plastic food from your table and make these!Read More
Bruschetta is not an appetizer I typically think to make. I'm not sure why that is because it is so simple and this recipe in particular is flavorful and delicious. I am a huge lover of anything tomatoey, so bruschetta should be at the top of my appetizer list.Read More
My first attempt at adultifying the good old Grilled Cheese turned out fabulous, if I do say so. I could hardly stand to take the photos. I was dying to sink my teeth into its sandwich-y flesh! And once I did, it did not take long for me to shove the entire thing down my throat. Delicious, I'm telling you, delicious!Read More
Dishes optional! Grab a fork and dig in!
'Tis the season for squash. I see squash everywhere I look. I have even been receiving squash-related recipes in my email inbox almost daily. As I stood in checkout lane number three at the grocery store last weekend (Elijah never lets me forget which lane we visit), I spotted a magazine with, gasp!, a squash on the cover! And ooooohhh, did it look delicious! I am not one to typically purchase magazines, but I swiped this one up and prepared the squash recipe a few days later. It turned out to be as delicious as it looked. I sat on the floor of our living room and ate it all by myself! Both halves!
So, if you are a squash lover like I am, give this recipe a try and check out my Butternut Squash Soup while you are at. It is comfort food, at it's finest! Fall in a bowl!
Purchase a spaghetti squash at the grocery store. If you don't know what a spaghetti squash looks like, it is long and yellow like the one in the photo below.
There are a couple different ways to cook spaghetti squash:
1. Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds and bake for 45 minutes in preheated 350-degree (F) oven.
2. Poke holes into squash with a fork and microwave on high for ten minutes. Let cool for five minutes. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon.
I am usually in a hurry, scurrying around with with two little ones at my ankles. Or, one at my ankles and one strapped to my chest. Anyhow, the faster, the better in my world, so I opt for microwaving.
While my beautiful yellow squash is being cooked in the microwave, I prepare a filling to go inside of it.
Mix together in a small bowl:
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 small chopped tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, broken into pieces
3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
When the spaghetti squash is finished cooking and cooling, scrape the insides with a fork to create strands.
This recipe doesn’t use Spaghetti Sauce, but you could change it up with a delicious red-sauce that’s perfect to incorporate veggies into! The Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce is the perfect recipe, quick to make but doesn’t lack in flavor and will delight your taste buds!
IF YOU LOVE SPAGHETTI SAUCE, THIS INSTANT POT SPAGHETTI SAUCE VIDEO TUTORIAL IS FOR YOU!
Enjoy the step-by-step video tutorial we have created for this recipe! Our goal is to make your time in the kitchen as easy as possible and to ensure that your version of this recipe is a success. See our full collection of cooking and baking videos on YouTube!
Fill the insides of both squash halves with the prepared filling.
I used the squash "boat" as my bowl and dug in with a fork. I suppose a more refined individual might scoop everything out and put it on a plate? Whichever manner you choose to consume this tasty squash, enjoy!