Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Favorite Salad

 A special friend passed away a week ago today and I was asked to furnish a salad for the luncheon after her memorial service...
 I thought about a broccoli salad but that seemed quite I started with that concept and tweaked it up a bit and the result is a keeper!
 After the hiatus from cooking because of the heat and humidity it seemed good to be in the kitchen once again!  And it was a pleasure to make this salad in honor of a special lady!

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 pound package of bow-tie pasta
1  1/4 pounds broccoli, separated into small pieces
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/3 cup Raspberry Blush Vinegar, plus a little
2 cups red grapes, halved
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup dried cranberries, or a few more if desired 
1 cup Light Hellmann's Mayonnaise
1 pound bacon, cut into bite-size pieces, cooked and drained

Toast the pecans and set aside~
Prepare pasta according to package directions~ do not over-cook~
Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients (except the pecans & bacon).  Stir carefully but thoroughly and chill for 3-4 hours.
Shortly before serving add the toasted pecans and bacon.
Place in your favorite serving dish and enjoy~

Janice was a kind and talented lady and her legacy lives on. Someday I will share a candy recipe that I received from her many years ago!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Toooo Hot To Cook!!!!

 Yes, it is way to hot and humid to cook in our neck of the woods!
 The daylily's are blooming despite the heat and lack of rain...
 And the lupines bloomed beautifully, but look at the is crunchy underfoot and looks awful!
The wicker stand was a gift from a special lady many years ago and we continue to love the piece and treasure the memories of her!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fresh Fruit Tart

 I saw this recipe in Better Homes & Gardens magazine and decided to prepare and serve it for our July 4th celebration.
While it is good, it is not great...our family would prefer a cookie crust rather than the crescent roll dough.
Nonetheless, it was just fine and here is the recipe:

8 ounce package crescent roll dough
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup mixed basil and mint leaves
2/3 cup mascarpone or cream cheese, softened
2-3 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup whipping cream
4-6 cups fruit

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 13 x 9 x 2" pan with heavy foil, extending beyond pan edges.
Press dough evenly into pan and bake until just golden 11-14 minutes.  Cool~
In a small pan, combine 1/2 cup honey, water, mint, and basil. Bring to boiling, then turn down and simmer about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.  Strain the syrup and remove basil and mint.
In a medium bowl stir together mascarpone and 2 tablespoons of honey.  If you choose to use cream cheese beat thoroughly.
In a well chilled bowl beat the whipping cream to soft peaks and then gradually stir into cheese.  Spread this mixture on the cooled crust.
Separate your fruit in individual bowls and toss with about two tablespoons of syrup.
Place fruit on the filling and place in fridge for a few hours.
 Remove from fridge and lift foil edges to remove tart and place on serving dish. I actually removed the foil before spreading the cheese mixture onto crust...I thought that would be easier!
Just before serving I drizzled a bit more syrup over fruit to make it look glisteny!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wild Blueberry Pork Loin

 This is a reminder of Maine...the wild blueberries are a favorite at our home!
The pork loin was marinated in rosemary and garlic (purchased that way at the market) and to dress it up a bit I spread wild blueberry jam, from Maine of course, on the top during the last few minutes of baking.  How simple is that? And tasty for sure!
Thinking of Kim and Karen while dining on this delicious dish...I know it is not Lobster (or is it Lobsta) but a touch of Maine & lots of fond memories just the same!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer-Time Salad

 Summer certainly provides beautiful produce and this recipe is quite refreshing!  

Summer-Time Salad:

1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Coarsely ground pepper, to taste
4 ears fresh corn
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, seeded (not peeled)
1/2 cup orange pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons parsley, torn
1 tablespoon basil, torn
2 cups fresh arugula
Prepare dressing and set aside:
In a glass bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper.
For salad:
Blanch corn and immediately place in ice water.  Drain thoroughly and slice from cob. Toss together in a large bowl, the corn and remaining ingredients (except arugula).

At serving time, transfer corn mixture to chosen serving bowl; add the dressing mixture.  Add the arugula gently and throughout and you are ready to serve.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Deviled Eggs

It seems that Deviled Eggs are synonymous with the 4th of July!!

After cooking a dozen eggs, peeling, cooling, cutting in half and scooping out the yolks, it was time to doctor up a tasty filling.

The yolks were mashed and to them was added:
2 heaping teaspoons Cherry Honey Mustard,
about 1/3 cup Hellman's Light, 2 tablespoons diced red onions, a small amount of drained sweet relish, a quick squirt of Tabasco, a sprinkle of salt, freshly ground pepper, and a little paprika.  Stir together well and transfer mixture to a disposable decorating bag with a large star tip.  Place the bag in fridge for a little while and then place the "whites" on a tray, and then with bag in hand do your magic to fill the eggs.  
Garnish as desired (such as parsley, cilantro, radish slice)

I wanted to place a 4th of July decorative pick in the middle of the tray and was pondering how to do it...when Mom said what about a marshmallow...well Mother was right again!!!
Cut a large marshmallow in half and with sticky side down press into the middle then simply add the pick!   Clever!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mini Pizza

 I would classify this tasty treat as fresh and summery!  Perfect for a family get-together!
It served as an appetizer for our July 4th celebration!

Mini Pizza
with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella & basil:

Pizza Dough:
2  1/2 - 3 cups flour
1 package yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (120-130 degrees)
2 tablespoon olive oil 
In a large mixing bowl combine 1  1/2 cup flour, yeast, and salt...whisk together well.  Add the warm water and oil-beat on low speed for 30-40 seconds (until blended).  Beat on high for 3 minutes and then stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible with wooden spoon. 
Turn the dough out onto a floured mat and knead in in flour until dough is smooth and elastic (8 minutes)

Divide dough in 1/2, cover, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and brush two large cookie sheets with olive oil 

Divide the pizza dough in half (four pieces total)
Roll each piece of dough into a 9 x 6 inch rectangle and transfer to prepared cookie sheets. Roll the edges up slightly.  Brush each with olive oil and prick the dough with a fork.  Bake one sheet at a time for 15 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned.


1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 cups fresh red/yellow tomatoes, halved
Garlic minced 1-2 teaspoons
1/2 cup fresh basil, snipped
Freshly ground black pepper 
Olive oil

Meanwhile, pat cheese dry with paper towel.

Remove pizza crust from oven and top with cheese, tomatoes, and garlic.
Bake an additional 5-8 minutes, until cheese just melts.

Top with basil and pepper and finally drizzle a little olive oil over entire surface!

You will not be disappointed with this is tasty!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Star Appetizer

Looking for a cute little appetizer for summer entertaining?  This just might be the one for you, if in fact, watermelon, provolone cheese, and blueberries appeal to you!  The combination is quite tasty!
I measured the depth of my cookie cutter and then sliced the watermelon to fit nicely.   After cutting the watermelon stars, I decided to use a smaller star cookie cutter and cut the provolone cheese.  I cut both the watermelon and provolone a few hours ahead...I put paper towels in between the watermelon stars to dry them a bit.
Just prior to party time, stack the stars and then thread two or three blueberries on picks and attach to stars.
For an added touch I made tags to match the July 4th holiday!