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Posts tagged “Rosemary

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

My friend gave me a bit of this lovely roasted pepper tomato tapenade she made. Ooh it was delicious! I tried spreading it on toast with melted cheese over top. Yum. I put it on a sandwich. Oh yes! I imagined all the things I could do with this scrumptious spread: it would be lovely in lasagna and all sorts of appetizers (little toasts! yes!) and pizzas and things. I only had a tiny bit that she gave me … but … she had told me what she put in it … tomatillos, sundried & fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, olive oil … hmmm …

I still had four of the tomatillos she gave me and a couple fresh garden tomatoes, and oh yes, peppers from mom’s garden … and I even had some of the “sundried” tomatoes (that I dried in the oven), so I thought I would see if I could make a tapenade.

I threw in some fresh herbs and capers for good measure. It’s not exactly like her tapenade, but even if I had had her recipe on hand, I am sure I wouldn’t have followed it precisely. I just can’t properly follow a recipe!

I want to thank my dear friend Denise for giving me her marvelous tapenade … which spurred me to try making it. What a wonderful spread!

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

The best way to roast the peppers, tomatillos and tomato for this tapenade is on the grill, but you could also roast them in the oven.

  • 1 medium fresh garden tomato
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 4 tomatillos
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 hot pepper (I used this big hot red pepper my mom gave me similar to a New Mexico Green Chile, only it’s red … but I think you could use any hot — or not so hot — red pepper)
  • 2 – 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Several sprigs of rosemary
  • A couple sprigs of tarragon
  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons capers

Directions:

  1. Heat up the grill and set the tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers directly over the heat. Roast until the skins of the peppers are charred and black (make sure you turn them to roast all sides of the vegies!) and the tomatoes are soft. This should only take a few minutes if your grill is good and hot.
  2. Let the roasted vegies cool for a bit till they are cool enough to handle, then cut out the stem & core of the peppers and tomatoes, leaving the charred skin ON.
  3. Pop all the ingredients except the capers in a handi chopper or food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Pour the tapenade into a bowl and stir in the capers. Add salt if you like … I didn’t think it needed any.
  4. Serve on toast or crackers, use as a sauce for pizza, stir it into the ricotta mixture for your lasagna, use it as a tasty sandwich spread … or just let your imagination run wild.

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty Tuesday, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Gala Dinner Party, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.


Pesto Rosso

Pesto Rosso

When Sonali at The Foodie Physician posted this Pesto Rosso, I was immediately taken with it. Suddenly I wanted nothing but to make her lovely red pesto. With all the fresh garden tomatoes in my kitchen at the time, I couldn’t bring myself to go buy sundried tomatoes to make this, so I decided to try oven-drying some of them. It worked! I got some really lovely oven-dried tomatoes out of it. I didn’t pack them in oil, though. I just stuck them in a bag and put them in the fridge. They softened up a bit in the fridge, but much to my joy, they had the same lovely sundried tomato taste. So I used them in the pesto rosso and it turned out just as wonderful as I had imagined.

If you want to try oven-drying your tomatoes, here is the post from Love the secret ingredient on how to “sun” dry your tomatoes in the oven. She says it takes 5-6 hours, but it took my tomatoes about 9 hours to dry. I think it really depends on your oven.

Here are some suggestions from Sonali at The Foodie Physician on how to use this marvelous tomato-based pesto:

  • Mix with a little pasta water and toss with hot pasta. Top with shredded Parmesan. Instant dinner!
  • Spread it on hot or cold sandwiches- anything from turkey sandwiches to grilled cheese
  • Top grilled chicken breasts, fish or other meats with it
  • Mix it with a little ricotta or goat cheese and use it as a stuffing for chicken breasts or pork chops (or lasagna!)
  • Add flavor to vegetarian or egg dishes- try stirring a spoonful into sautéed vegetables or a frittata
  • Mix it with Greek yogurt to make a healthy dip for vegetables or chips
  • Spread it on garlic bread for an extra hit of flavor
  • Use it onto homemade pizza dough as an alternative to tomato sauce
  • Spread it on toasted country bread and top it off with some arugula and shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano for a healthy snack (actually, it’s great on bread all by itself!)

I think it would also be marvelous to stir a spoonful or two into an Italian soup, or use a spoonful as a beautiful & tasty garnish on top of a thick, creamy soup.

Pesto Rosso

Pesto Rosso

Adapted only very slightly from The Foodie Physician. Makes about 1 1/3 cups pesto or 8 servings.
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Several fresh basil leaves
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 5 ounces small tomatoes (cherry or grape would work well … I had some tiny romas from mom’s garden that seemed perfect)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese (Sonali recommends Parmigiano Reggiano, but I had Asiago on hand …)

Directions:

  1. Place the almonds, sundried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs in a handi chopper or food processor. Pulse several times until everything is finely chopped.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and olive oil and process until the tomatoes are finely chopped. (Sonali says to add the olive oil in a steady stream while the processor is on … my handi chopper doesn’t allow for that.)
  3. Add the cheese and pulse just a couple times to mix it in fully.

Pesto Rosso

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayLifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck and All my Bloggy Friends.


Tomato Cuke Salad w Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tina at Mom’s Crazy Cooking has a monthly challenge for food bloggers. She asks all of us to make one certain thing on the 7th of each month … the idea is we are searching for the ultimate recipe for that one thing. This month it’s ranch dressing. Ranch I can do! I’ve made plain ranch, garlic ranch, avocado ranch, sundried tomato ranch … they were all really good, but this time I thought I would like to add some tahini (sesame seed paste) to the ranch and then lighten it up by cutting the amount of mayonnaise down. The tahini along with the fresh herbs adds such a complexity of flavor that you won’t even notice the mayo went away. This salad dressing makes an excellent dressing for just about any savory salad or a good dip for veggies or chips.

The tomato cucumber salad uses the fresh garden ingredients that are overflowing in my house right now: tomato and cucumber. I added some sweet onion, toasted walnuts and edam cheese because I thought they would taste wonderful with the fresh tomato & cucumber.

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Edam Cheese & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

For each salad:

  • 1 – 2 tomatoes, that roughly match the diameter of the cucumber, cut into slices
  • 1/2 – 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • A couple thin slices of sweet onion
  • A few thin slices of edam cheese, cut into small rectangles
  • A couple tablespoons of walnuts, toasted
  • A couple Tablespoons of Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. First make the dressing.
  2. Then prep the salad by alternately layering slices of cucumber and tomato on your plate. If it’s a round plate, simply follow the curve of the plate, then tuck the last tomato or cucumber under the starting one.
  3. Top with sweet onion slices, cheese and walnuts. Drizzle each “row” of tomato/cucumber slices with a bit of the dressing. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves.
  4. To eat the salad, take a slice of cucumber, slice of tomato and make sure to get a little onion, cheese, walnuts and dressing on top. It’s a little messy when you’re eating it, but SO worth it!

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Edam Cheese & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley … dill would be wonderful too, but my dill plant has died off)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste as needed) + freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a handi chopper or food processor, blend all ingredients till the herbs and garlic are well chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Taste the dressing and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Store any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This is a Crazy Cooking Challenge post. Click on the button to see all the other wonderful ranch dressings.

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This recipe was also shared at Manic Monday, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTotally Tasty TuesdayTalent Show TuesdayThursday’s Treasures, Weekend Potluck and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Crock Pot Garden Marinara Sauce

Garden Marinara Sauce in the Crockpot

I am guest posting over at Stacy Makes Cents! Stacy contacted me back in June to ask if I would do a guest post for her in August … something made in the crockpot. The only things she asked were:

  • Not a recipe already on the site
  • Submitted a week in advance of your date
  • Only use whole food ingredients

I thought that’s no sweat! I can totally handle that … Well, time went by and the date she had given me as a deadline came and went and I hadn’t sent her anything. You know how life gets so busy … this guest post completely slipped my mind! So I totally failed on the “submitted a week in advance” part, but I did make a new recipe with whole foods!

So head on over to Stacy’s blog for the recipe.

Garden Marinara Sauce made in the Slow Cooker

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck and Manic Monday.


Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles

with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil

Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil

Yikes! I’m caught up a double alphabet challenge! One on facebook that is a daily A-Z health challenge … and then there’s this monthly “Eating the Alphabet” challenge that I just started last month and I really don’t want to miss out on this month since I JUST started.

The monthly “Eat your Alphabet” challenge is focused on the letters M, N, and O this month. Given that I’ve been racking my brain DAILY for “what food starts with this letter”, you think this would be easy, but I’m only on the letter K on the DAILY challenge … and this is a few days ahead of that. I don’t plan that far in advance (most of the time)! I suppose it’s good to think about it now, right? Head start on the daily thing?

So first I thought melon … hey, a watermelon margarita sounds yummy! … but then I spent a couple days gazing at gazillions of amazing photos of garlic and pasta and such, so I had NOODLES on my mind … so I decided to go with something with ONION (for the O) and NOODLES (for the N) … hey that’s a DOUBLE “eat the alphabet” win … and then I threw in another double plus: double garlic! Yeah! This is getting waaay too synergistic now … and then I threw some fresh garden tomatoes and basil on top … just for good measure.

Don’t worry too much over the amount of garlic in here: roasting the garlic makes a very mild, creamy flavor that is just wonderful in the sauce.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention! There’s a bit of zucchini in there too. Cuz, well, I’m all about zucchini lately. I still have two more from my sister to use up and I’m going to my parents’ house soon and they will give me more! We are not through with zucchini mania just quite yet … if you happen to be making this dish outside of zucchini season, I would suggest replacing the zucchini some other mashed cooked winter squash such as pumpkin or butternut.

Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil

Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles

with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil. I think this would serve about 4 people. I have had it for two meals so far and there is still plenty left. It reheats pretty nicely, by the way.

The smoked Havarti cheese was a gift given to me from Dofino cheese. It’s such a good cheese for making the sauce extra creamy because it melts really well and adds a little extra smoky flavor to the dish.

  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 of an onion, sliced fine (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
  • 3 paper-thin slices of prosciutto
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • about 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 teaspoons of flour
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded Smoked Havarti cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1 – 2 cups fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
  • a handful of fresh herbs, chopped (I used tarragon, rosemary, thyme and basil)
  • 1/2 lb. angel hair, spaghetti, or linguini pasta (whole grain or gluten free noodles are cool!)
  • Garnish: Fresh, sliced basil leaves + a little freshly shredded asiago

Directions:

  1. Cut the top off the head of garlic, drizzle with a little olive oil, put in a small oven-safe bowl, cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 F. for about an hour or until the garlic is completely soft. Set aside to cool while you start the sauce, but don’t turn the oven off. We’ll be roasting the tomatoes shortly too.
  2. Prepare all your vegies and heat up the water boiling for the pasta.
  3. Spray a skillet pan with cooking spray, then drizzle with a little olive oil and add the onions. Sautee over medium heat till the onions are soft and translucent, add a little wine, cover and cook for a minute, uncover and stir till the wine has evaporated. Repeat this process till the onions are lightly brown and the wine is gone. Remove the pan from the heat just for a moment while you tend to the tomato and pasta.
  4. Set the chopped tomato in a small baking dish coated with cooking spray and set it in the oven to roast while you finish up the sauce. Hopefully the water is boiling by now? Start the pasta cooking. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and mash it with a fork.
  5. Back to the skillet pan: Add the raw garlic, prosciutto and zucchini, set it back on the medium heat and sautee for about 5 minutes longer. Add the mashed garlic and stir it into the brown mess of vegies. It will all look sort of ugly at this point. Don’t despair! It will get prettier.
  6. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegies in the pan. Lower the heat to medium low and add the milk. Stir until the sauce starts to thicken, then add the cheeses and cook just a few minutes longer till the cheese is melted. Stir in the herbs, reserving some basil for garnish.
  7. Remove the sauce from the heat. Now, the noodles should be about done by now, so drain them, then stir the noodles into the sauce. Put in a serving bowl, top with the roasted tomatoes and garnish with fresh basil and a little shredded asiago. Serve hot.

Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles

This post is for the Eating the Alphabet challenge

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This recipe was also shared at Tastetastic Thursday.


Magic “Feel Better” Soup

Feel Better Magic Soup

This soup is one of the best things to make when you’re feeling sick. I haven’t made it in years, but it was one of those things that has always made me feel better, not just because it’s full of loads of good vitamins and herbs, but also because it tastes soothing and comforting and warm.  It’s so tasty, you don’t really need to be sick to make it. But it will help you feel better if you are.

I have struggled with sinus problems for a good part of my adult life … there was a period in my life when I was getting a sinus infection every month. As soon as I would get done with one, I was getting another one. I was on a constant stream of antibiotics and always felt miserable. I’ve learned ways of coping with it now so I haven’t had one now in over a year, but this morning I woke up and I could feel one coming on … this is NOT a good time to be sick! My sister is coming to visit this weekend … I started thinking of all the things I used to do to make them go away and I remembered this soup I used to make.

The last time I made this soup was long before I had all the fresh herbs I have now and I don’t exactly recall what herbs I used to put in it back then. I remember the basic formula for it, though. And this is how it goes …

Magic Feel Better Soup

Magic “Feel Better” Soup

  • 1 large potato, cut into hunks (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups of chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups of fresh swiss chard or spinach, washed and chopped
  • A handful of fresh herbs: I used basil, thyme, rosemary, & parsley
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or fat free half and half
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste (to open up the sinuses)
  • Freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put the potato, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, onion and broth into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer (medium low) and cook for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the potato is fall-apart tender and the other vegies are soft.
  2. Fish out the bay leaf and stir in the chard. Cover the pot and cook for just a couple minutes or until the chard is cooked. Add the herbs.
  3. Pour the soup into a blender (or use an immersion blender), add the yogurt or half and half and blend until smooth. Add more broth if you want a thinner soup. I like my soup pretty thick. Serve hot, topped with Sriracha and shredded cheese and garnish with fresh parsley. That red swirl you see there … that’s the Sriracha.

Feel Better Magic Soup

This recipe was shared at Foodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Fridays, Scrumptious Sundays, Family Fresh Meals and Manic Monday and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.

Your Child’s Food made a Thai-inspired version of this soup that is dairy free. I really love her twist on it! Her recipe is here.


Red Cherry Rosemary Sangria

Red Cherry Rosemary Sangria

I made this sangria last weekend and finished it off last night and I miss it already. I am going to have to go get more fruit so I can make it again … the recipe came to me when I read my friend Ann’s recipe for classic Spanish Sangria. It looked so good, but of course I had to mess with it. I can never follow a recipe. I had to add some of my current obsessions … cherries. and rosemary. yes. wouldn’t that be perfect in Sangria? OMG, it was … soooo perfect.

(Slight basil tangent here, but bear with me, this will make sense later …) Last weekend at my party when I was explaining to one of my friends “what that taste was” in the watermelon sorbet … (basil) … and also mentioning that I put basil in my daughter’s berry syrup for the Italian Cream Sodas … he said (jokingly) “Ann, it sounds like you need a basil intervention!” … I laughed so hard! … yes, I probably do … I really love basil … (and can you believe I didn’t even mention the basil gelato!)

Red Cherry Rosemary Sangria

Of course then I mentioned this basil intervention joke on facebook and another friend said I need an intervention for roasted garlic and rosemary too. Yes, he’s right. On both counts. I have two garlic cookbooks from the Gilroy Garlic Festival (which I dream of attending someday!) … and I have a rosemary plant that I tend in a pot year round so I ALWAYS have rosemary. Yes, you could definitely say I have a rosemary obsession. I recently discovered it goes very well in drinks. Water (yes, water! put a sprig of rosemary in a jar of water in your fridge in the morning … it adds such a lovely flavor to it!), cocktails, and now, sangria. I have yet to try it in tea, but yes, I will try that too.

So this beautiful dark red sangria features two of my current obsessions: rosemary and cherries. It has been years since I’ve had fresh, sweet cherries so I am reveling in them.

Red Cherry Rosemary Sangria

Red Cherry Rosemary Sangria

Adapted from the Fountain Avenue Kitchen

  • 1 lime, halved and sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 handfuls of sweet cherries
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary syrup (recipe here)
  • 1 bottle fruity red wine (I used a bottle of my dad’s Trinity Red)
  • 1/2 cup berry or cherry brandy (I used my mulberry liqueur)
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • A couple sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup seltzer or club soda, chilled
  • ice cubes

 Directions:

  1. In a large pitcher or bowl, add the lime and some cherries. Muddle the fruit a bit with the back of a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the seltzer or club soda and ice.
  3. Chill several hours or overnight. Just before serving, stir in seltzer or club soda and ice. What I did, actually, was as I mixed each glass, I put a few cubes of ice in the glass, add some fruit from the sangria, add a bit more ice and fruit, then pour in the sangria to fill 3/4 of the glass and put a splash of club soda over each glass.

Red Cherry Rosemary Sangria

This is my self-portrait/blooper shot. Do you see me there?

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayTastetastic Thursday and Weekend Potluck.


#Tomatolove: Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

Sundried Tomato Ranch Salad Dressing

After making Melissa’s Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette, I still had a few sundried tomatoes left and I thought perhaps I should try throwing them in some ranch dressing too? Yep, it works. Tastes mighty fine. The sundried tomatoes do make it thicker, so if you want a drizzle for your salad, you’ll need to thin it out a bit.

Sundried Tomato Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing (or Dip)

  • 1/3 c. light mayonnaise
  • 2/3 to 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. nonfat greek yogurt
  • 3 heaping tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 2-3 big fresh cloves of garlic
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Several fresh parsley leaves or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • A few fresh dill twigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 green onions (tops only)

Whir all the ingredients in a handy chopper or food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add more buttermilk as needed to get the dressing to the desired consistency. Mine was pretty thick, but I was using it for a pasta salad so that was just perfect.

Use for pasta or potato salad, on green salads or as a dip with vegies. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing (or Dip)

This is a post for #tomatolove.

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This recipe was also shared at Summer Salad SundayScrumptious Sundays, Weekend PotluckManic MondayTip Junkie, Cast Party Wednesday and EveryDay Mom’s Meals


Vanilla Rose Vodka Iced Tea

Vanilla Rose Vodka Iced Tea

Hey, it’s Friday! Time for a cocktail … I’m using my roses and rosemary to make a beautiful cold beverage to cool me down on this hot summer night. And there is so much to celebrate! So many of my foodie friends are reaching 3k and 5k milestones and my page is up to 8,000 plus … wow. I’m so grateful and blessed and happy. Thank you. We had a garden party to celebrate … if you want to see all the wonderful things my friends brought, go visit the Pinterest board.

Vanilla Rose Vodka Iced Tea

You can buy the rose vodka or if you have a good organic rosebush, it’s quite easy to make! (Rose vodka recipe is here.)

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened fruity iced tea (I made up some Lipton Peach Passion Tea using one of their iced tea bags and a quart of hot water)
  • 2 Tablespoons rose vodka
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary syrup (recipe below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • Club soda to top
  • Garnish: Organic rose or other edible flower petals, frozen into the ice cubes + a sprig of fresh rosemary

Fill a tall glass with ice cubes (for extra effect, freeze rose petals in the ice cubes). Add the tea, rose vodka, rosemary syrup and vanilla and stir to mix the flavors, then top with club soda and garnish with a sprig of rosemary (or better yet, a rose!) … and enjoy :)

Vanilla Rose Vodka Iced Tea

Rosemary syrup

  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar (to reduce calories, substitute stevia for part of the sugar)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rosemary leaves (I just cut a bunch of twigs from my little rosemary plant … I didn’t measure them, and I didn’t bother to take them off the stalks either … they are going to get strained out in the end, after all)

In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and water for the rosemary syrup and heat to boiling, stirring till the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the rosemary. Let the rosemary sit and steep for at least 15 minutes, then strain out the rosemary. Store in a covered bottle in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious SundaysWeekend Potluck, Manic MondayTotally Tasty Tuesdays and Foodie Friends Friday.


Spiedies {Legendary Italian Marinated Meat Kebabs}

Spiedies: Legendary Italian Meat Kebabs

My Italian friend Linda tells me “the name Spiedies has nothing to do with speed and everything to with the Big Daddy of spiedies which is spiedini, the Italian kebab or skewered and grilled meat.” Spiedies are an upstate New York Italian favorite that really started in the Middle East. When the Middle Eastern conquerors invaded Italy, they brought with them many ingredients and cooking ideas that stuck – meat kebabs being one of them. As conquered lands tend to do, the Italians adopted and adapted … and then …  made them better. Italians in upstate New York now strive to perfect them and even host an annual festival to celebrate Spiedies.

I didn’t know all this before my Italian friend Linda posted her recipe for Spiedies … when I saw those mouthwatering pictures and read the ingredients in that marinade, I knew right away I wanted to try it with venison.Venison has a stronger gamey flavor that can overpower some marinades, but this marinade was just magic. I made these for a little dinner party with just a few good friends and everyone loved them. My friend told me a few days later that the dinner I made for them was legendary. Legendary! And according to the story, they really are.

Linda says to serve these kebabs in good Italian bread, but I served them over rice because I wasn’t sure if my girl would like them and she loves rice, so I knew at the very least she would eat the rice. But she ate them! Most of the time when I make venison as steaks or kebabs, she doesn’t really care for it. But THIS … this she ate. I was so excited.

I did try them later in Italian bread, but like I tend to do, I smothered the meat with cheese and veggies and by the time I got done, you couldn’t even see the meat. But you could still taste it! That incredible herbilicious meaty flavor shone right through. Mmmm!

Spiedies: Legendary Italian Meat Kebabs

Spiedies

Adapted from Linda’s Italian Table. I cut down the amount of oil and substituted my balsamic sundried tomato “ketchup” in place of the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. I didn’t measure the amounts for the fresh herbs, just threw in what looked like would be about right, and it turned out marvelous. I think fresh herbs are very forgiving that way. Definitely use fresh herbs as much as you can in this dish … it makes a big difference.

  • 3 lb. tender leg of lamb and/or pork tenderloin, or venison, or chicken breast – cut up into pieces about 1 1/2 inches
Marinade:
  • 1/4 c. Olive Oil
  • Zest of 1 fresh lemon
  • Juice of a Large Fresh Lemon
  • 1/3 cup balsamic sundried tomato “ketchup” (recipe here … or use 1 Tablespoon tomato paste + 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 c. Dry Red Wine
  • 5 Cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 2 Tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tsp. Paprika
  • 1 Crushed Large Bay Leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme or Lemon Thyme
  • 3 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary – chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Mint – chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano – chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. Fresh Basil – chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley – chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt or more ( make sure to be generous with the salt as it brings out the flavors)
  • Plenty of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
To serve:
  • Good Italian Bread (or rice!)

You can chop the herbs and garlic by hand if you like, or toss them all in a handi chopper or food processor. I found that didn’t chop them fine enough, so I added some of the balsamic sundried tomato sauce to get it to blend fine. Once you get your herbs chopped, then whisk them together with the rest of the marinade ingredients. TASTE the marinade to make sure it has enough salt and pepper. The salt and pepper brings out the flavor. If you don’t add enough, your spiedies will be bland.

Mix the marinade with the meat so that all the meat is covered in marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. I made my marinade early in the morning and started them grilling around 7 pm in the evening.

Skewer the meat just before grilling. Heat the grill so there is a hot spot for searing and a cooler spot to finish the meat. Sear the meat over the hot spot first, turning to sear all sides of the kebabs, then move them to the cooler part of the grill to finish. They shouldn’t take long if your grill is good and hot. (We had a little trouble getting the grill to heat up, so mine actually got slow cooked for a while over very low heat, then we restarted the charcoal and got it searing hot and then seared them, then moved them to the cooler part. Once the grill was hot, they didn’t take long at all to finish.)

Be careful not to overcook them (especially with venison), because the meat will get dry.  They should cook up fairly quickly on a hot grill. Do a taste test as you go …

Spiedies: Legendary Italian Meat Kebabs

This recipe was shared at  Thursday’s TreasuresTastetastic ThursdayFoodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Fridays and EveryDay Mom’s Meals.


Rhubarb Rosemary Country Cocktail

Rhubarb Rosemary Country Cocktail

In the continuing saga of my search for something “different” to do with rhubarb, I discovered this cocktail recipe from Bon Appetit that really intrigued me. They call it a Double R Daiquiri, and I had a little time last night and it was SO hot outside that a nice cold cocktail sounded totally perfect. So I decided to give this little cocktail a try.

Now, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly — I accidentally threw all the sugar into the rosemary syrup, leaving none left for the rhubarb. Also, I didn’t wait several hours after cooking up the syrups like the recipe said. The two contrasting liquids seemed quite cool enough within a half hour or so to throw over rocks to me …

But really, I have to say the taste of this drink struck me more like a country cocktail than an upscale daiquiri. Perhaps it had something to do with the mason jar glass I put it in, but that light pink lemonade-ish tone along with the combination of sour, sweet, and earthy flavors just said “country roads” to me. I could almost break out singing a John Denver tune when I sip on this one … so forgive me, Todd Thrasher (the creator of this drink), I love your drink recipe and I hope I don’t offend you by doing so, but when I serve it, I’m going to call it a country cocktail.

Rhubarb Rosemary Country Cocktail

Rhubarb Rosemary Country Cocktail

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Rosemary syrup

  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rosemary leaves (I just cut a bunch of twigs from my little rosemary plant … I didn’t measure them, and I didn’t bother to take them off the stalks either … they are going to get strained out in the end, after all)

Rhubarb juice

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 3 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

For the cocktail:

  • 1/2 cup rhubarb juice
  • 1 shot rum (I used Bacardi golden rum)
  • 2 Tablespoons rosemary syrup (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 of a lemon
  • Slice of lemon and sprig of rosemary, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and water for the rosemary syrup and heat to boiling, stirring till the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the rosemary. Let the rosemary sit and steep for at least 15 minutes, then strain out the rosemary.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the rhubarb, water, and lemon juice in a blender and pulse into a coarse puree. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. I strained it through a cloth, then squeezed the cloth to release most of the juice out of the puree.
  3. Now, the recipe says to refrigerate the rhubarb for 4 hours or more … I didn’t have THAT much time last night! So stick them in the fridge (or freezer?) and wait until both the liquids are cooled down enough to make a cocktail. You can make these in a pitcher if you want … see the original recipe for instructions on that. I wasn’t going to drink a pitcher-full last night by myself, so I had to improvise on an individual serving. This is what I came up with: fill a tall glass (or mason jar) most of the way with ice. Pour in 1/2 cup of the rhubarb juice, add a shot of rum, a couple tablespoons of rosemary syrup, then squeeze the juice out of 1/4 of a lemon and put it in the glass along to release the oils from the peel as well. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of lemon (or a lemon peel twist) and enjoy!

Rhubarb Rosemary Country- Cocktail

This recipe was shared at Summer Drinks Potluck Party.


Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

The idea of a chopped cucumber salad with rosemary popped into my head the other day. I had some cucumber I bought for my daughter, but she hasn’t shown much interest in eating them lately, so I decided to go ahead and use them up. I cooked up some barley and red lentils to go with it and they took over and outnumbered the cucumbers, but all in all, I was very pleased with the results. Barley is something I usually think of putting in soups, but I thought it would be fun to try it in a salad. It’s a very healthy grain, full of fiber.

Dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and seasoned with a little Moroccan seasoning and some cumin, it turned out to be quite a nice salad. Great for lunch or as a nice side dish to serve with fish or meat.

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

  • 1/2 cup dry barley
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils (you can use any color: I chose red ones)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced and chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (like a Vidalia)
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Moroccan seasoning (I used some I purchased from Mystic Blue Spice Company, but if you are in a pinch, there is a recipe for making your own here)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: About 2 Tablespoons toasted pinons (pine nuts), lemon slice(s) & fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Cook the barley and lentils (in separate pots) according to package directions.
  2. While they are cooking, chop the cucumber and onion and gather the herbs.
  3. Zest and juice the lemon into a small bowl. Add the garlic, rosemary, cumin and Moroccan seasoning, then whisk in the olive oil.
  4. In a larger bowl, mix the cooked barley and lentils, the cucumber, onion, parsley and green onion, then drizzle on the dressing and stir to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh lemon slice(s), toasted pine nuts and some fresh parsley leaves. Serve hot or cold. It’s good both ways.

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Full Plate Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Summer Salad Sundays.


Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing (Low Sodium Option)

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

I found some lovely ripe avocados at the store today and it just occurred to me that avocado would be delicious in a Ranch Salad Dressing. Maybe I live in a hole, but why haven’t I ever seen that before?

Before today, that is. Because here it is! Tada! Super quick, super healthy, super delicious, and if you have someone who is watching their sodium, then just leave out the salt! It’s still fantabulous.

Lowfat Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

To reduce sodium: If you leave out the salt altogether, this salad dressing has 75 mg of sodium per 2 Tablespoons; with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, this dressing has 149 mg sodium. I did a quick check and store-brand ranch dressings have sodium content ranging from 200 to 500 mg in 2 Tablespoons of dressing.

Makes about 1 cup of dressing (8 servings/2 Tablespoons per serving)

  • 1/3 c. light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 c. 1% milk
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • About 1/2 a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Several fresh parsley leaves or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • A few fresh dill twigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Several chives
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 green onions (tops only)
  • 1/4 of a ripe avocado (you could probably even add more avocado if you want …)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (Leave out the salt altogether if you want less sodium … I made sure to taste it before I added salt, and it was delicious.)
  • 1/3 c. nonfat greek yogurt

Whir all the ingredients except the yogurt in a handy chopper or food processor until smooth. Stir in the yogurt. Adjust seasonings to taste. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.

Lowfat Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky and Full Plate Thursdays.


Bean with Bacon Soup

Bean with Bacon Soup

What was your favorite soup growing up? I remember I really, really loved Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup. I’ve discovered lately, though, that the canned soups just don’t have as much flavor as I remember … so when Melissa from ChinDeep posted a recipe for Bean with Bacon Soup, well, I just had to try it. I love making soups, and it was raining this morning and this seemed like just the perfect thing to make … I ate two bowls of it for lunch. And now I’m tempted to go have another bowl of soup for supper.

Bean with Bacon Soup

Bean with Bacon Soup

Adapted from ChinDeep

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped including the leaves
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 teaspoons chopped, fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups cooked Great Northern Beans
  • 1 large red potato, cut into chunks
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes with juices
  • Several baby carrots, sliced (or 1 long carrot)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • freshly ground pepper
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

In a large pot, cook the bacon until just lightly browned. It should still be floppy. Remove the bacon, set on a clean dry towel to soak up the fat, and pour out the excess fat from the pan. Loosely chop the bacon and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, and celery to the pot and sautee over medium high heat until the onion is translucent and soft. Add everything but the reserved bacon and parsley leaves and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so or until the potatoes are tender.

Add the bacon, and heat just until the bacon is hot. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley leaves.

Bean with Bacon Soup

This recipe was shared at Sunday Night Soup Night.


Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza with Goat Cheese

Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza

There’s a local pub in town that serves Mashed Potato Pizza. It’s my favorite pizza ever. I have tried to duplicate it SO many times … and while I’ve come close, it’s just not the same when I try to duplicate it. So this time I decided I’m not going to try to re-create someone else’s potato pizza … I’m just going to make one of my own.

Duh! That was SO much better! For all those messages I post on facebook about “just be yourself”, you think I would have learned by now … I think this would be even prettier with purple potatoes … I think I may have to do this pizza again, in purple.

Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza with Goat Cheese

Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza with Goat Cheese

  • 1 – 3 yukon gold potatoes, sliced thin (I was making an individual pizza, so just one potato)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Red Robin Seasoning (recipe here … or use your favorite seasoned salt)
  • 1 thin pizza crust (I used my Sunflower Rosemary Flatbread)
  • Some Skinny Garlic Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dip (recipe here)
  • Goat cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh rosemary leaves
  • Sliced green onion (optional)

Directions:

  1. Slice your potatoes thin. If you have a mandolin or fancy shmancy potato slicer, that would work just perfect here!
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, onion powder and granulated garlic. Lightly brush both sides of the potato slices with the olive oil, sprinkle them with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and grind a bit of pepper over them and set them on a baking tray sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes and flip the slices, then bake for 5 more minutes on the other side or until the potatoes are tender. If your slices are thinner than mine, it might not take as long … watch them!
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, whip up your garlic basil buttermilk ranch dip and spread it all over your crust. Serve the rest of the dip with vegies to tide over your hungry crowd while you’re finishing up the pizza.
  4. Turn the oven up to 425 F.
  5. Arrange the potato slices in a spiral pattern on the pizza crust and top with goat cheese crumbles and rosemary leaves.
  6. Bake on a pizza stone for about 10 minutes or until the goat cheese gets puffy and just a tiny bit browned on top.

Garlic Ranch Rosemary Potato Pizza with Goat Cheese

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday Midweek FiestaTastetastic/It’s a Keeper ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays Weekend Potluck, and Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.


Skinny Garlic Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dip

Skinny Garlic Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dip

This is an incredibly flavorful dip, but it doesn’t have to be a dip … add a little extra buttermilk and it’s a salad dressing. Or use it as the sauce for a pizza, instead of the red sauce. Spread it on little toasts and top with your choice of bruschetta toppings. It could be a sandwich spread. There are so many things you could do with this stuff!

I have actually shared this dip before, with my Blue Devil Jalapeno Poppers, but I made it again to use in a different way, and I think it deserves its own post. You can serve it with vegies or chips or jalapeno poppers or chicken nuggets. Add some blue cheese and use it for dipping buffalo chicken wings. This is such a versatile dip. You really need this in your life.

Skinny Garlic Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dip

Skinny Garlic Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dip

This dip has an intense garlic flavor … if you don’t like things too garlicky, reduce the garlic.

Inspired by Mother Thyme and Alice Q. Foodie

  • 1/3 c. light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. nonfat greek yogurt
  • 2-3 big fresh cloves of garlic
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Several fresh parsley leaves or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • A few fresh dill twigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 green onions (tops only)

Whir all the ingredients in a handy chopper or food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Skinny Garlic Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dip

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Midweek Fiesta and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Rosemary Cream

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

I am obsessed with little toasts. They are just so beautiful and tasty … just look at these gorgeous little things! I simultaneously want to gobble them up or just sit and gaze at them forever. I feel so torn …

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

The Realistic Nutritionist started this obsession when she posted her beautiful pictures of Pan Seared Bruschetta … I just longed to make them from the moment I saw them … and the sad thing was she couldn’t even taste the pretty little toasts because she was sick. I hope she makes them again because while they are lovely to gaze at, they are even better to taste.

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

Are you tempted yet?

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Rosemary Cream

Adapted from the Realistic Nutritionist. This recipe doesn’t make a lot, so if you are making these for a large party, you want to double or triple the batch. It was just about the right size for a lunch for little me.

  • 8 slices of french bread (whole wheat preferably)
  • Rosemary cream cheese (recipe below)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • About 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • a small sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of finely chopped mushrooms
  • Several basil leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup tomato, finely chopped
  • Crushed red pepper & sea salt to taste
  • To garnish: toasted almonds and basil flowers and/or leaves

Directions:

  1. Mix up the rosemary cream and set aside.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  3. Add onions, garlic, rosemary and mushrooms and cook about 2 -3 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and cook until vegetables are soft, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and add spices, salt, pepper and basil. Stir until just mixed.
  5. Toast the bread lightly, then spread with rosemary cream. Place the little toasts on a baking sheet and sprinkle a bit of mozzarella on top of each toast. Bake or broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Top each toast with a scoop of the mushroom/tomato mixture, then sprinkle with toasted almonds and basil flowers. Serve immediately.

Pan Seared Basil Mushroom Bruschetta with Blue Cheese Rosemary Cream

Once I started eating them, I inhaled them. I should have slowed down and savored them, but I lost all control.

Rosemary Cream

  • 3 ounces of light cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons blue cheese (optional … for those that like blue cheese! I do, but I think the flavor would be a little too intense for some)
  • 1 small sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Cream together ingredients until fully blended.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysFabulous Friday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Talent Show Tuesday, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Rosemary Pear Crostini with Walnuts & Pomegranate

and three cheeses: Gouda, Blue, and Cream Cheese

Rosemary Pear Crostini with Walnuts, Pomegranates & Three Cheeses

I love the word “crostini” … it sounds so fancy. Like you are at a posh dinner party where everyone is wearing tuxedos or dinner gowns with long white gloves, and sipping champagne. It’s sophisticated.

I have been working on this crostini for days, playing the name over and over in my head, thinking forward to the time when I will have my house in order enough to have a REAL party. Last night I made this crostini for the 2nd time, trying to perfect this recipe, and my daughter asked me what I was making. When I said “crostini”, she asked “what’s that?” … and basically my answer was “it’s a fancy little toast.”

You see, when you add some lovely fruit and funky cheeses and vinegar and toasted walnuts, well, then you have transported toast way beyond your simple breakfast or garlic toast. It is simply sublime. It’s party-worthy. It’s get-all-dressed-up-and-get-the-good-dishes-and-real-napkins-out worthy.

Rosemary Pear Crostini with Walnuts, Pomegranates & Three Cheeses

Rosemary Pear Crostini with Walnuts, Pomegranate Seeds, & Three Cheeses

I didn’t include amounts on most of the ingredients, because it depends on how many you want to make. I was making them as a snack for myself, so I didn’t need very much, but if you’re making them for a party, well, then, you’re going to need more toast, and pear, and cheese and stuff …

  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons loose blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Thinly sliced crusty french bread or baguette, toasted
  • Habanero pepper jelly (or if you don’t like hot peppers, try another jam or jelly)
  • Vinaigrette salad dressing (I used my maple cranberry vinaigrette from this post, but I think just about any vinaigrette would work)
  • If you like: Paper-thin sliced prosciutto (I tried it both with and without prosciutto and honestly, I like it both ways)
  • Fresh pear slices
  • Slices of gouda cheese
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Pomegranate seeds

Directions:

  1. First, mix the cream cheese, blue cheese crumbles, and rosemary in a small bowl. Set aside while you prepare the other things.
  2. Toast the bread and then spread it with a very thin layer of pepper jelly, then brush the little toasts with a low-fat vinaigrette salad dressing — or if you prefer, just a balsamic (or your favorite flavor of) vinegar.
  3. Spread a layer of the cream cheese mixture over the jelly. It will be a little messy, but it’s ok.
  4. Set the little toasts on a baking sheet.
  5. If you are using proscuitto, add a thin slice of that.
  6. Now arrange pear slices on top to cover the little toasts, then some slices of gouda cheese.
  7. Bake or broil the toasts until the cheese is melted and a little bubbly.
  8. Immediately top with the walnuts and pomegranate seeds, pressing them into the melted cheese to help the little things to stick to the top of the crostini.
  9. Serve immediately, garnished with sprigs of fresh rosemary and extra pomegranate seeds and a nice glass of wine.

Rosemary Pear Crostini with Walnuts, Pomegranate, and Three Cheeses

By the way, my daughter calls the pomegranate seeds her “beauty seeds” … and they are terrifically good for you, so I am sure they make you beautiful inside and out … and besides they look beautiful, so make sure to eat plenty of them with your crostini.

This recipe was shared with Wonka WednesdaysNewlyweds Recipe LinkyMidweek Fiesta, Fabulous Friday and Foodie Friday.


Pomegranate Walnut Salad with Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

Pomegranate Walnut Salad with dried cranberries, apricots, mixed cheeses and Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

Pomegranates are so beautiful. I’ve been entranced with them since I studied Greek mythology way back in junior high school.

Then when we lived in California, our neighbors had a pomegranate tree … one long branch of the tree stretched into our yard and that one branch always gave us plenty of pomegranates. Not that it really mattered, because the neighbors let us go into their yard and pick pomegranates whenever we wanted. My kids used to sell pomegranates like some kids sell lemonade. The neighbors loved it.

When you open up a pomegranate, it is full of all these gorgeous little jewels; it looks like a treasure chest to me. And the taste of the little jewels when you bite into one … oh my.

If you want to make this salad, you will first need to make the Cranberry Raspberry Vinegar, and that takes about a week … just giving you fair warning. You could do some clever substitutions, perhaps, but the jewel-toned vinegar with the little pomegranate jewels in the salad is really quite nice.

Pomegranate Walnut Salad with Mixed Cheeses and Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

Pomegranate Walnut Salad with Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

with Dried Cranberries, Apricots and Mixed Cheeses

  • Organic Herb Mix (or mixed greens)
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Shards of Parmesan Cheese (cut very thin slices off the edge of a hunk of parmesan)
  • Toasted Walnuts, chopped roughly
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Chopped dried Apricots
  • Blue cheese crumbles

First make the dressing and let it set to mix the flavors while you prepare the salad.

Fill the salad bowl 3/4 full with the organic herb mix, and sprinkle with remaining ingredients as you please. Drizzle with Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette.

Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

  • 3/4 cup cranberry raspberry vinegar (recipe here)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon strawberry or raspberry jam
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon, Spicy Brown or other fancy mustard (I used garlic peppercorn mustard)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard seed
  • A couple of basil leaves, a small sprig of rosemary, and several sprigs of fresh dill weed

Mix all ingredients together in a handi chopper and whir until the herbs and garlic are well chopped and everything is mixed well. Refrigerate any of the remaining dressing.

Pomegranate Walnut Salad with dried cranberries, apricots, mixed cheeses and Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTotally Tasty Tuesdays, and Full Plate Thursdays.


Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

The color of this soup turned out a little funny since I used yellow tomatoes … I think with red tomatoes it would be a much prettier orangey color. But the flavor is very delicate and earthy all in one. I loved how the cream made swirls in the soup when I added it–that didn’t quite come through in the pictures either. So just trust me that it was lovely, okay?

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Adapted from this recipe on Food.com

Ingredients:

  • About 1/2 of a medium eggplant (1 c. after roasted peeled & chopped)
  • 3 – 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 of a large red (or white or yellow) onion, chopped
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 1 c.) — or 1 c. canned tomatoes with juices
  • 1/2 T. fresh thyme or 1/2 t. dried
  • A few “leaves” of fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c. fat free half and half
  • Goat cheese crumbles

Directions:

  1. To roast the vegies: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place eggplant slices, onion and garlic on large baking sheet. Brush vegetables with oil. Roast until vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and chop into hunks.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the tomatoes by dipping them briefly in boiling water, then pulling the peel off. (It should pull off very easily.)
  3. Add the tomatoes (with juices!), roasted vegetables, thyme, and rosemary to a saucepan.
  4. Add the broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 30 – 45 minutes. Cool slightly.
  5. Puree the soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
  6.  Stir in fat free half and half. Bring to simmer.
  7. Season soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls.
  8. Sprinkle with goat cheese; serve.
Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods in your blog post.

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Eggplant Bloghop.


Rosemary Tomato Focaccia

Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia

I have always wanted to make one of those funky flat focaccia breads with the tomatoes baked right into the top. So today I just did.

It is lovely to have a wedge of this with your soup at lunchtime (like I did today). And you can make a killer turkey sandwich on focaccia like this (um, yeah, that was dinner …)

It turned little more dense than I would have liked, and I thought the flavor of the herbs REALLY came through. If you want a more subtle herb flavor, cut down the amount of italian seasoning.

I threw a little pumpkin in the dough just because I have pumpkin coming out of my ears right now. I baked up a gargantuan pumpkin the other day and filled up 4 quart jars with the puree from this one big orange pumpkin. I hope I have time to make something ELSE with pumpkin before the busy weekend starts …

Tomato Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary Tomato Focaccia

Bread Dough:

  • 2 c. bread flour
  • 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 T. vital wheat gluten
  • 2 1/4 t. yeast
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 c. + 1 T. water
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. shredded Asiago cheese

For the top:

  • Fresh garden tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Finely chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:

  1. Throw the ingredients for the dough into your bread machine and set it on the “dough”setting.
  2. When the dough is finished, I cut it into two pieces and made two smaller focaccia. You could also make one larger focaccia.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten it gently with your fingers or use a rolling pin till it’s 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
  4. Brush lightly with olive oil or spray with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and let rise until it’s about doubled in size, about 40 minutes or so.
  5. Arrange the tomato slices on top, then sprinkle with garlic, sea salt, pepper and rosemary.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until the crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it.
Rosemary Tomato Focaccia
Let the bread rest for about 10 minutes after removing from the oven. Cut into wedges and eat it while it’s still hot. Or save some to make sandwiches later.
Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia

Rustic Rosemary Bread

Rustic Rosemary Bread

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.

I had a lovely date last weekend. This bread was not part of it, but that phrase keeps going through my mind today.

We had dark dark beer and mashed potato pizza. He had never tried any of the beers or the pizza–kept ordering the same beers I did–and I think he really enjoyed them. He likes that I like dark beer, keeps telling me about this meatball pizza he had in Omaha. Hmmm. Meatball pizza. That sounds good.

It’s so nice at the end of the evening to hear him say, “so when can I see you again?” … and to realize that I actually DO want to see him again.

That hasn’t happened to me for a long time.

Rustic rosemary bread

This bread turned out crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside. That might be because I forgot about it rising in the microwave and baked it 2 hours later. But it turned out just how a rustic bread should be.

Rustic Rosemary Bread

Adapted from Learn, Laugh, Cook (she posted the recipe on facebook and I didn’t want to lose it!)

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (I forgot the Italian Seasoning but I do think it would be nice in this bread)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper — or more, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh or dried rosemary (I used fresh–you can tone down the amount if you use dried)
  • 2 and 1/2 cups of bread flour (can substitute whole wheat flour for part of the flour … I used 2 c. bread flour, 1/2 c. whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in the pan of a bread machine. I set mine to the “dough” setting, took it out and shaped it, then baked it in the oven, but if you want, you can just let your bread machine do all the work.

Your nose will go crazy from the warm rosemary scent while it’s baking.

I think next time I will add more pepper. A little more “bite” would make this bread just perfect. And maybe a little freshly shredded parmesan cheese.

Rosemary pepper bread

This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.

This recipe was shared at Best Bread Recipes of 2011.


Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

I think I always want French Dips in the fall. But a French Dip isn’t entirely what I want –what I REALLY want is a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich with the onions and peppers piled high and lots of melted cheese oozing all over AND I want that tasty au jus for dipping my cheesesteak sandwich. Most restaurants offer a French Dip with just the meat and the au jus (which is good, but it’s just not quite there!) — or they will give you the Philly Cheesesteak, but they don’t include the au jus! I gotta have the best of both worlds.

And if you want the best of both worlds, sometimes you gotta make it yourself.

(Well, actuallly I find most of the time it’s just better if you make it yourself …)

I tried a lot of other French Dip recipes in my crock pot and I sort of liked them, but found some of them were too salty and others just didn’t have quite enough flavor, so I set out to make my own. I had found this Zaatar seasoning at the World Market and I was curious how it would go in this. Zaatar is a middle eastern seasoning that is strongly scented with thyme and sesame seeds. It adds a lovely flavor to the meat along with the other spices. The garlic mellows as it cooks and permeates the meat beautifully (and makes your house smell heavenly!)

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

For the meat:

  • 3 lb beef or venison roast
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled (yes, the entire head!)
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar seasoning ( a middle eastern spice) — or if you can’t find Zaatar use 1 teaspoon thyme + a few drops of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 15 peppercorns

For the sandwiches:

  • Hard rolls
  • Onion, thinly sliced
  • Bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Provolone or other mild white cheese, sliced

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients for the MEAT into a crockpot and cook on low for 7-10 hours or until the meat is falling-apart tender.
  2. This is the #1 MOST IMPORTANT STEP that I always forget. Take the meat out of the juices and IMMEDIATELY put it in a covered dish and let it rest for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the au jus. (This is so important for sealing the juices into the meat and I am so bad at remembering to do it!)
  3. Strain the liquid & vegies through a strainer, catching the juices in a bowl beneath. Set the liquid aside while you slice the meat. (You can save the strained out cooked vegies for piling on the sandwiches along if you like. I like to do that. The garlic cloves are really tasty especially after cooking in the meat juices all day!)
  4. Now, slice the meat thin — or if it is falling apart too much to slice, just shred it with a fork.

If you just want French Dips, pile the meat on the buns now and enjoy with the au jus! BUT if you want the Philly version, here’s what you do.

  1. Saute the onion and bell pepper briefly in a pan sprayed with cooking spray until the onions are translucent. I usually pour in a bit of the au jus as well while I’m sauteeing–it adds a nice flavor. (I think a few mushrooms tossed in at this point would be sublime, but I never seem to have any on hand when I’m making this!)
  2. Set the bottom half of the rolls on a baking sheet.
  3. Pile the meat on the bottom half of the hard rolls, top with sauteed onions & peppers, then with slices of cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese melts all over the meat. When the cheese is almost melted, toast the top of the buns.
  5. Pull the cheesy meaty buns out of the oven and top them with the toasted “tops”.
  6. Serve with the au jus in little bowls on the side for dipping. With a nice colorful side salad.

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dips

The salad on the side is one of my Summer Berry Salads.

This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food. I got my daughter to finally TRY the meat (had to bribe her with pictures of fairy houses) and she loved it! She took just a little taste of the meat to start, then a BIG hunk. YES! Now  … do you think I can convince my son to try it? Ah well, probably not.

I am really looking forward to feeding this to my parents this weekend!

This recipe was shared at Gooseberry Patch’s Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup.


Baked Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms

Baked Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken

I made this chicken along with some Garlic Knots for the $5 meal challenge yesterday … the goal was to make a meal for $5 per person or less. I think this whole meal cost about $5 for the two of us and we had leftovers! You can adjust this to make more servings. I was cooking for two last night, so I just made 6 chicken legs, which actually turned out to be way too much for us!

Baked Herbed Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken legs (or other parts … I used rather small legs, so if you have larger pieces, you will need to add more of the other ingredients)
  • 7 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • About 1/2 of a small carton of mushrooms, cut in quarters
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 t. dried thyme
  • Several sprigs of fresh oregano or 1 t. dried oregano
  • A small sprig of fresh rosemary, snipped or 1/4 t. dried rosemary, ground
  • Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning blend) and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt

Directions:

Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and arrange the chicken parts in the bottom.

Top with garlic, lemon zest, tomato, mushrooms, and herbs. Squeeze the lemon juice all over the chicken.

Herbed Chicken with Lemon Garlic and Mushrooms

Here they are, with the rolls, all ready for baking:

Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms

Bake covered at 400 degrees F. for about 1 hour or until the chicken juices run clear when you make a small cut into one of the chicken pieces.

Now after moving the chicken to a serving dish, take out about 1/4 c. of the vegies and herbs with a little bit of the juice from the bottom of the pan and put in a handi chopper or food processor with 1/3 c. of plain yogurt. Whir until well blended.

Serve the sauce on the side with the chicken and some fresh homemade rolls or bread. I should have made a salad to go with, but it was a long day and I was too exhausted to make anything more … so dinner was served just like this. We had been munching on the mushrooms and some watermelon from dad’s garden earlier, so I am counting that as our “salad”.

Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms


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