Friday, October 13, 2017

Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad

When I'm grilling (lemon pepper) salmon for dinner, this has been my go to salad.  While salmon is grilling, I whip up this salad and dinner can be on the table in 15 minutes.  To top it off, it's healthy!

I've made this salad several times with different tomatoes I've gotten at the farmers market.  The fresh garden tomatoes are what makes this salad so good.  Tomato season is at it's end but when grocery store tomatoes will have to do, it's still a great healthy side salad.

I've only made this for my husband and I so I haven't followed the full recipe.  I just cut up enough ingredients for the two of us then drizzled with olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkled with some salt and pepper.  It's that easy!

cucumber, avocado, tomato, red onion cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper

Go here for the full recipe:  Natasha's Kitchen 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Forequarter Restaurant, Madison Wisconsin

I love going out for Sunday brunch after church and this place is my new favorite.  When I go out for breakfast food, I want something special, something different, something I wouldn't make at home.  Well, Forequarter met all my expectations for a perfect brunch!

Sitting outside on this beautiful Sunday morning sipping their spicy Bloody Mary was a great way to start out brunch.
Their menu changes a little bit everyday.  My husband and I decided to share as we wanted to try a few different dishes.  Since tomatoes are at their peak we started with sourdough toast with homemade ricotta, heirloom tomato and basil.  So simple but so delicious!
Oh my gosh, these potatoes were so good!  Crispy fried new potatoes dolloped with smoked pepper aioli and pickled mustard seeds.  

We were really glad we shared, the potatoes almost filled us up.  Almost, but we manage to have enough room for the main course.  This dish was exceptional in preparation and presentation!  The hanger steak was so tender, the poached eggs were perfectly cooked, and the pickled green tomato salsa was a tasty addition.

We left happy a so very full but worth every bite.

Madison, WI 53703
(608) 609-4717

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mini Cranberry Orange Scones

I used to work at my cousin's coffee shop and she was the baker of the most delicious scones.  I no longer work or live close by so I don't get to enjoy her scones very often.  The scones that I've tried at our local coffee shops always fall short, they're dry and not flavorful.  So, I set out to find a scone recipe that was flavorful, tender and would freeze well.  Well, this recipe is all that and easy to make.  I also like that right out of the freezer they take about 15 minutes to thaw and are ready to enjoy with a cup of coffee.

This recipe is slightly adapted from the wonderful blog, Pinch My Salt.
What makes this recipe quick and easy is using a food processor.
Make sure your butter is well chilled.

Pulse in the butter only until it's mixed in but still pea-sized clumps.

Dough will be sticky but turn out onto floured surface and use floured hand to knead into two 6 inch circles.

If you like a less sweet scone, these are great as is but for me I'll always go for the glaze!

Baked to perfection!

The glaze is thin and will dry and set so you'll be able to stack them in a container without them sticking together.

If you used a large orange like I did, you'll get to enjoy the extra fresh orange juice after you're all done.

After the glaze dries and sets you can stack them in a container to eat later or freeze them.  I do like to put parchment or wax paper between the layers when frozen so they won't stick together.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt *see note
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup half and half
zest of one orange, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces and well chilled *see note
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice (from the zested orange)
1/2 teaspoon orange zest (reserved from above)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
2. In a food processor, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar by pulsing a few times.
3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg, half and half, and most of the orange zest (reserve about 1/2 teaspoon for the glaze); set aside.
4. Add cold butter pieces into the flour mixture and pulse 6-8 times, you want the butter to be pea-sized clumps within.
5. Add the cranberries and the egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once and pulse until the mixture starts to clumps together. Dump mixture out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, gather into a ball and knead once or twice. If it’s quite sticky, just sprinkle a little extra flour on the counter and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Cut dough into two equal pieces and pat each into a 6 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut each circle like a pie into 8 slices. Arrange scones on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely before dipping in the glaze.
In a small bowl that is wide enough to dip a scone, combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons orange juice and the reserved orange zest. Whisk until smooth.  Put some waxed paper or foil underneath the cooling rack to catch dripping glaze. Dip tops of the scones in the glaze and place them (glaze side up) on the cooling rack. Once glaze is dry, scones can be stored in a container or freezer. If not eaten the day they are made, put them in the freezer.  Right out of the freezer they will thaw in about 15 minutes.
*  Sometimes I don't have unsalted butter so I'll use regular salted butter and just add a pinch of salt instead of 1/2 teaspoon.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Garlic and Herb Crusted Lamb Chops

I really don't care for lamb but my husband loves it so I thought I would give this recipe a try.  Boy, was I surprised as we both loved these chops!  Perfectly cooked (3-4 minutes per side), pink in the center, so flavorful and no gamey taste.
 This recipe comes from Natasha's Kitchen.  I'm not going to post the recipe here because her recipe is perfect as is.  The only change I made was I strained the sauce before pouring it on the chops.  Also, I'd like you to check out her blog, it's one of my favorites.  So, if you want to make this delicious recipe go to Natasha's Kitchen for this easy to follow recipe and video.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Italian stuffed Zucchini Boats

My daughter, Megan, told me the other day about this delicious recipe from pinterest, Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats.  The next day I looked it up and the recipe came from the blog Valerie's Kitchen.  I happened to have met Valerie years ago at an event.  I've made many of her recipes so I wasn't surprised how good this was.  This serves 4-6 but I have no problem making this for just my husband and I as the leftovers were just as good!
Valerie's recipe serves 6 but she served it with rice.  I didn't make any sides and ended up eating two.  So GOOD!

Recipe slightly adapted from Valerie's KitchenI made a few changes but you can view Valerie's recipe here.  

I loved this sauce, it was packed with flavor!
Favorite brand of Ground Turkey

3 medium zucchini
1 (26 ounce) jar tomato basil marinara, divided (I used Muir Glen)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic 
1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms or cremini (baby bella)
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons Italian style panko bread crumbs

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
2.  Measure out 1 cup of the marinara sauce and set aside. 
3.  Trim ends from zucchini and slice in half, lengthwise. Use the tip of a teaspoon to scoop out the flesh from the interior of the zucchini, so they resemble boats.  Chop the zucchini flesh and set aside.
4.   Place the scooped out zucchini boats into a 13" x 9" baking dish Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until just slightly fork-tender. Remove from oven, and set aside. (Don't worry about the liquid in the pan as you'll wipe that out before adding the sauce)
5.  Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper saute for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute. Then add the mushrooms and cut up zucchini.  Saute for another 5 minutes.  Add turkey, stirring to break up the ground meat as it cooks until thoroughly cooked. Drain off oil/liquid and return the skillet to the heat.
6.  Add the parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and remaining marinara sauce in the jar (remember 1 cup is set aside for later).   Continue to cook and stir well until combined. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and allow to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.
7.   Remove partially cooked zucchini boats from baking dish and pour out any water, using paper towel dry the dish. Pour the 1 cup of reserved marinara sauce into the empty baking dish and place zucchini boats on top of the sauce.
8.   Divide the filling between the zucchini boats.  Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 20 minutes, or until zucchini is fork tender. Remove dish from oven and remove foil, sprinkle zucchini boats with mozzarella, Parmesan and the panko bread crumbs. Place dish in oven, cook for 15-20 minutes until cheese has melted and bread crumbs are golden brown.  
Serves 4 - 6

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Seared Scallops with Warm Corn Salad

This is another one of Chrissy Teigen's yummy recipes from her Cookbook, Cravings.  So far, every recipe I've made of hers has been really good.  This one for seared scallops, I'm in love with.  I've made them several times because it's so quick, easy, healthy and delicious.  I've made these with fresh and frozen (thawed) scallops.  I like the convenience of having scallops in the freezer but fresh is best.  Just make sure the scallops smell sweet and good.

Warm Corn salad:

2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh corn kernels (approximately 3 ears of corn)*see note
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1-2 green onion (scallion), thinly sliced
salt and pepper

In a large heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.  When it foams, add the corn, bell pepper and green onion.  Saute, tossing lightly  about 5 minutes. Season to taste with the salt and black pepper.  While the corn sautes, sear the scallops and they'll be done at the same time.

8-10 large scallops (fresh is best but thaw if frozen) **see note
1 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
Rinse then Pat the scallops dry with paper towels.    Don't salt and pepper just yet, it makes the tops wet.   This is a pretty important step. You want the scallops to caramelize, not steam.
Heat a medium skillet (NOT nonstick) over medium-high heat.  You want it hot, but not smoking hot.  Add 1 tablespoon of the oil then add 1/2 tablespoon of the butter.  Swirl in the pan.  Sprinkle half of the patted dry scallops with salt and pepper.  Add them to the skillet seasoned side down.  DO NOT TOUCH OR MOVE THEM.  Cook for 2 minutes to form a caramelized crust.  Pat the tops with paper towel, salt and pepper and flip.  Cook another 1-2 minutes
Serve with the warm corn salad.

Serves 2

*With it being corn season, I'll buy a dozen at the farmers market, cut the corn off the cob and freeze it.  Great to use for recipes like this.

**Fresh scallops are better if you can get them but I really like having a bag of frozen scallops (from Costco or Trader Joe's) for a quick lunch or dinner.

Adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat

Easy to half the recipe and make for one.