Thursday, May 31, 2012

Asparagus and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil Goat Cheese

Pin It Now! I just love Farmer's Markets, don't you?  I love wandering around the various booths and admiring all of the gorgeous local produce and flowers, listening to the (usually many) local musicians and learning about how the vendors grow their produce or make their products.

When I walked by the Drake Family Farms booth I couldn't help myself...  I just had to sample their goat cheese.  They had several to choose from and I was really torn between the cranberry walnut (it was knock your socks off good) and the basil.  I went with the basil and immediately began shopping for things to pair with it.

The asparagus is quickly blanched to preserve its beautiful color, and when combined with a simple lemon dressing and sweet heirlooms this salad is sure to be a springtime favorite.  Try it with your next BBQ, pasta night, pizza night or even toss it with some brown rice or quinoa and make it a meal.  Delish!

Asparagus and Heirloom Tomato Salad
|Serves: 2| Prep time: 10 mins.|
1 bunch asparagus
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
juice of half a lemon
olive oil
salt & pepper
Basil goat cheese

Fill a medium stockpot with water and set to boil.  Set up an ice bath in a large bowl and set aside.  In the meantime, trim the end of the asparagus and then cut the stalks in about 2" sections.  Cook the asparagus for about 2 minutes in the boiling water.  Remove the asparagus and immediately place in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Allow to cool thoroughly.  Slice the tomato into 1/2" thick slices.

To make the dressing, combine the juice of half of a lemon with about 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Combine asparagus, tomato slices and dressing and toss gently.  Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Energizing Strawberry-Acai Parfaits

Pin It Now! Breakfast is a tough meal for me.  I'm the kind of person that is usually rushing out the door and realizing an hour later that I'm starving.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?  I really need to work on fitting a few minutes into my morning to fuel up.

Luckily this recipe is super quick to put together, and as an added plus, has just the right ingredients to keep your energy up for a busy day.  Acai (pronounced ahh-sigh-ee) is loaded with antioxidants, and is conveniently available in many grocers' frozen section.  Costco carries a bag of individual smoothie-sized packages of acai, which are perfect for these parfaits.

For such a simple recipe, these parfaits are so delicious.  Creamy greek yogurt layered with granola and smooth fruit puree is the perfect marriage.  Feel free to use frozen strawberries if fresh isn't an option.  I found these beauties at the local Farmer's Market and couldn't resist them.

Strawberry-Acai Parfaits
|Serves 2| Prep time: 5 mins|
Greek yogurt (Fage is my favorite)
1 package frozen acai
4-5 strawberries (fresh or frozen)

Blend the acai and strawberries until smooth.  Spoon some yogurt into the bottom of a shallow glass.  Top with a good spoonful of the fruit puree, and then with granola.  Repeat in layers to the top of the glass.  Drizzle with honey if desired.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Apple Crumble

Pin It Now! Ready for an easy dessert that gives you an excuse to buy ice cream?  Look no further!  Honestly there is no other way to eat apple crumble than with a scoop of ice cream slowly melting into it, is there?

One evening last week while Hubby was at the gym I got a random urge to bake.  Luckily this recipe uses ingredients that you probably have in your cupboard at any given time.  It took all of ten minutes to get this baby put together, and before long the house smelled deeeeeelicious.  Apples with cinnamon has to be one of the most fantastic smells ever.

I used fuji apples for this, but really you could use whatever kind of apple you like.

Actually, this is a great recipe to use with other fruit as well.  Peaches make a fantastic crumble.  Whatever is in season will of course have the best flavor. 

Apple Crumble
|Servings: 6-8| Prep Time: 10 mins.| Bake time: 30 mins.|
3 apples, any variety
3/4 c packed brown sugar
3/4 c quick cooking oats
1/4 c flour
1/3 c unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter (or spray with cooking spray) a medium sized casserole dish and set aside.

For the crumble topping...
In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.  With your fingers, mix the butter into the dry mixture until you have little pea-sized pieces throughout.  Set aside.

Next, peel the apples.  Set peeled apples in a bowl of water to keep them from turning brown.  Working quickly enough to keep them from oxidizing - but not so quickly that you cut off your fingers - cut the apples into 1/2" slices.  Layer the slices in the bottom of the buttered casserole dish and cover with the crumble mixture.

Bake approximately 30 minutes or until apples are fork soft.  Serve a la mode, because you'd be crazy not to.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Crustless Spinach & Sausage Quiche {Breakfast for Dinner}

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I'll admit that some nights I just don't have it in me to put a lot of thought into dinner.  Don't get me wrong - I love cooking and I do find it to be somewhat therapeutic.  But at the end of a long day sometimes you need to come home and space out to Friends re-runs instead of standing over a hot stove.  This recipe is great for that.

Quiche is another one of those customizable ("kitchen sink," if you will) dishes.  It's a great way to use up extra veggies, and the cheesy goodness makes any quiche very kid friendly (helloooo, sneaky veggie hiders!)  Make this recipe yours - substitute your favorite cheeses, meats or veggies and see what combo your family loves.

PS - I apologize for the less than stellar photos.  We were rather hungry and eager to dig in.

Haphazardly placed avocado is a great garnish.
Crustless Quiche
|Serves 2-4| Prep time: 10 min.| Bake time: 40-50 min.|
6 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
4 oz. sausage (whatever kind you like)
1/2 small onion, diced
handful of baby spinach, chopped
1/2 c cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray an 8x8 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Note: Make sure to beat the eggs well so that no egg white solids remain.  I didn't do this.  Baked egg whites turn out very tough.  Learn from me, people.  Add the chopped spinach and whisk.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage and onion in a skillet over medium heat until the onions are somewhat soft and the sausage is cooked through.  Drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Once sausage is drained well, spoon it into the bottom of baking dish.  Follow with cheese and any other veggies and then top with the egg mixture.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the quiche is set and top is golden brown.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.