Fig Jam & Chevre Cheese Filled Turnovers with Puff Pastry

 

cheese and fig appetizers

I came across a very complicated recipe for fig turnovers that called for a homemade crust, homemade fig jam and a sweetened cream and chevre cheese filling.  The combination sounded absolutely scrumptious but I knew I wasn’t going to go through all that effort.  Instead I streamlined the recipe using puff pastry and purchased fig jam.  The verdict?  Awesome!  Everyone loved it!  And if fig isn’t your thing, replace it with any fruit preserve.

Quinoa Tabbuleh – Healthy & Delicious

healthy quinoa recipes

Forgive me – one more non-sweet recipe.  Too delicious to pass up!

Have you ever tried quinoa?  It’s packed full of protein and can be used in place of bulgur, barley and kasha.  Did I mention that it is absolutely delicious too?!  And so is this healthy quinoa recipe.  The parsley is fresh out of our garden and in another month or two I’ll be using our home grown tomatoes and cucumbers too!


Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cheese

how to grill corn on the cob

Although fresh farmed corn needs little other than salt and a bit of butter, sometimes I like to dress it up.   This recipe from FineCooking.com was perfect – tons of flavor.  And as an added bonus, it taught me how to grill corn on the cob without husks.  Once grilled, you could stop right there and then and eat it.  Or, as a delicious change of pace, spread the ears with a zippy sauce made from mayonnaise, chili powder, and lime zest.  Then give it a roll in some cheese (Cotija, ricotta salata or feta). Finish with a little hit of kosher salt!

Why grill corn versus boiling?  Simple – the high heat brings out the natural sugars of the corn and intensifies them. Yum!!

Key To Success:  The first time you make these, watch them carefully as they grill.  You want some charred spot on the ear of corn; not the entire cob burned.

Thanks to Finecooking.com for the beautiful picture.  Although my corn looked like that when I made – my picture of the corn didn’t:(

Roasted Tomato Cheese Tart

As soon as summer tomatoes grace nearby farmer markets or our own backyard, we serve them at every meal.  This scrumptious Tomato Cheese Tart recipe, and the mouth watering pictures, are from my dear friend Lizzy at That Skinny Chick Can Bake Blog.

Lizzy and I are both ‘from scratch’ bakers.  But if time is short, using refrigerated pie crusts (from the diary section of your supermarket), will still produce a gorgeous and delicious tomato tart!

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Best Guacamole Recipe (at least I think so!)

Best Guacamole Recipe

Summer means guacamole in our house, although as I think about it, this is a wonderful appetizer and garnish year round.  After trying so many homemade guacamole recipe over the years – we’ve come to think of this one as the very best.  I hope you’ll give it a try to see for yourself!

The keys to making this recipe are two-fold: 1) don’t mash the avocados.  Instead, cut the avocados in small pieces and then gently mix all the ingredients together.  The act of mixing will serve to partially mash the avocados while still leaving some good side chunks. 2) Don’t skimp on the cilantro – it really adds to the bright, fresh flavor of this dish.

This healthy guacamole recipe is sure to become a family favorite.

Homemade Guacamole

  • 1 cup of fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup of sweet or red onion, diced
  • 1 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lime, more to taste
  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the all ingredients except salt and pepper.  Gently mix until ingredients are combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Sesame Noodle Recipe – Serve Warm or Cold

I’m a fan of sesame noodles and I have many different recipes for them.  I’ll start off with this recipe – it’s versatile, as well as delicious, served warm or cold!

It’s versatile because you can serve prepare it exactly as the instructions below direct and serve it as a side, or you can add grilled shrimp, bite-size chicken pieces or other ingredients to make it the main dish.  It’s also delicious sprinkled with fresh, chopped cilantro.

This recipe calls for Chinese sesame paste which I could not find in my grocery store.  They did have Tahini which is a middle eastern sesame paste and it would have worked beautifully too.  However, not wanting to purchase an entire jar when I needed only 2 Tbsp., I substituted Hummus which is made from Tahini (and which we eat a lot of in our house) and it worked perfectly.

Also – I can’t get fresh Chinese egg noodles so I always sub fresh fettuccine and it works great every time!

 

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Rosemary Mashed Potatoes (with Lemon and Parmesan too!)

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Truth be told, the hubby and I are not to big mashed potato eaters.  They tend to be a bit on the ‘blah’ side.  That is until I concocted these.  It combines some of our favorite flavors: rosemary (which pairs perfectly with potatoes), lemon and Parmesan to elevate plain mashed potatoes into something a bit more sophisticated and special.  With very little extra effort.  In fact, I didn’t peel or use beaters or a potato ricer to make these; I simply use a wooden spoon to break up the small red potatoes called for in this recipe.  And although this recipe calls for butter, to turn these into low fat mash potatoes, swap out the butter with fat free evaporated milk.

 

Sweet Potato Galette

This sweet potato recipe is a breeze to make yet it looks like you really put a lot of time into it (let it be your little secret).  I always make it in cast iron skillet although you can also make it in a metal skillet (don’t use non-stick; the oven temperature is too hot for its surface).

I like to put a layer of grated gruyere is the middle – sweet potatos and gruyere are a wonderful taste combination.  But you can certainly leave it out.  Also else that is needed is a bit of unsalted butter and salt.

Don’t be put off by the picture below – the galette is not burned.  The dark edges are were the potatoes carmalelized and they are just oozing with sweet flavor!

This recipe is very similar to my Potato Galette recipe – take a look at it for step-by-step instructions on how to make a galette.

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Southern Tomato Pie

Diva Entertains Whole Tomato Pie

So I’ve been staring at southern tomato pie recipes for the last few years and haven’t taken the plunge because, well, they aren’t exactly healthy.  And that is an understatement.  Yes – you do use fresh tomatoes but that’s where the good stuff ends.  Because it also calls for lots of cheese, a cup of mayonnaise and usually a bottom and top crust.  On the recommendation of my dear friend, Karen, I decided to give this one a try.  After all – this recipe doesn’t call for a top crust.  Which I consider one step closer to ‘diet food’:)

Seriously, the reason to make this is simply because it is absolutely fantastic.  Heck, better than that!  Something about the combination of tomatoes, green onions and basil really works, as does the cheese/mayo topping.  The latter forms an absolutely beautiful crust.

best tomato pie

The recipe calls for peeled tomatoes which is kinda a pain.  It involves slicing an “X” at the top of each tomato and quickly blanching it in boiling water.  Then the skin comes off rather easily by peeling away from the “X”.  What this achieves is not having the skins come apart as you eat the pie.

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Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

I’m a carb kinda gal.  Love biscuits! (Wish I could stop at one).  Add goat cheese and chives to a good biscuit and…well…life is good!

I never had luck making biscuits until I discovered making them with self-rising flour.  And then my biscuits worked out perfect every time.  Like this recipe for delicious Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits.  The one caveat with using self-rising flour is do not add salt; it’s already in the flour.  (trust me – I learned the hard way).

Back to this recipe.  It only takes a few minutes to pull together.  So easy and so darn good!

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