Friday, August 30, 2013

Strawberry Bruschetta

This appetizer is the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer. The ingredients are fresh and the bruschetta is a cinch to assemble.  I have made this sweet & savory treat about 5 times in the past few weeks and I have had multiple requests for the here it is!

Strawberry Bruschetta  (from Jill Zimmerman)

1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced
1 tbsp. sugar
1 french baguette, sliced on a bias
4 oz goat cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup minced basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper

Combine the strawberries and sugar in a small bowl; toss to combine.  Let the berries macerate for about 30 minutes so they begin to release their juices.

Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on top of each baguette slice.  Top each slice with spoonfuls of the strawberry mixture.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Top off with basil leaves and cracked pepper to taste

* A few notes
1. I usually double the recipe
2. I have found that if I lightly toast the bread, that it doesn't get as soggy with the fruit
3. If you are in Madison, I love the sourdough baguette from Madison Sourdough
4. Thanks Jill!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

BLT w/ avocado and fried egg

You cannot beat a garden fresh tomato, unless of course it is topped with bacon, lettuce, and squished in between two slices of crusty mayo-slathered bread.

Whoever invented the BLT was a genius

Last night we tried a new variation of the classic sandwich, by adding avocado and a fried egg.  The result was exactly what you would expect.....f***ing amazing!!!   The lighting was bad, so the pictures do not do it justice.

Ingredients for 2 sandwiches:

6 slices thick-cut bacon, baked at 400 degrees until crispy
4 slices whole grain bread, toasted
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tomatoes, sliced + seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 avocado, sliced + seasoned with salt and pepper
2 fried eggs

Assemble the sandwiches: spread mayo over the toast. Top with lettuce, tomato, bacon, avocado and eggs, making sure to season each layer.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Banana & Oat Bread

Where the heck did the summer go?  I cannot believe how quickly the past few months have gone and how in just a few more days, the pool will be closed, the kids will go back to school and we will no longer be able to wear our summer whites.
Another thing I cannot believe, is how many freaking over ripe bananas I always have lying around my house.  This recipe yielded a moist and delicious bread and the mound of bananas (and the hovering fruit flies) have disappeared.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 medium bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and set aside (I used 3 mini loaf pans and baked for 40 minutes).
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy.
Sift together the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients alternately with bananas, applesauce and milk. Mix until blended.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes; remove from oven and cover for 5 minutes.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Caprese Quinoa Bake

I am obsessed with quinoa, as many of you may know, so I am always on the look out for some new recipes. I stumbled upon a new blog Half Baked Harvest that has amazing recipes (and pictures). This one caught my eye and made me very curious. The ingredients are the perfect summer combination with my favorite fresh ingredients from my garden.  Furthermore, who doesn't love mozzarella baked!  Needless to say it was a HIT!  It is full of fresh ingredients, flavor (and cheese), but on the healthier side with the quinoa.

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup favorite pasta sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup parmesan
1 cup mozzarella, divided
1/2-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch basil, cut into ribbon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan combine pasta sauce and paste on medium heat. Once warm add cream, parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add quinoa. Fold in half of the mozzarella, half of the tomatoes and half of the basil. Spray 9x9 baking dish and pour mixture into it. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and tomatoes on top. Bake for approximately 15 minutes and then broil for 2 minutes or until cheese is golden. Remove from oven. Top with remaining basil and let sit for 5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Zucchini & Shrimp Tacos

As you may have noticed, Jenny and I love cooking with in-season fruits and vegetables, especially zucchini. Although my zucchini is not ready in my garden, the farmers market has plenty, keeping me busy. Chris and myself are BIG fans of Tacos, a weekly staple in our house, so when I found this new recipe on Bon Appetit I couldn't wait to try it. They are light, filling and have amazing flavor, a new weeknight favorite! And the best part, they only take 15-20 minutes from start to finish, the perfect healthy dinner after a long day.

2 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 large zucchini halved lengthwise, cut crosswise
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, diced
Kosher salt, pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
corn or flour tortillas

*Assorted toppings

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add first 5 ingredients. Stirring often, cook for about 6-8 minutes or until softened. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in a large bowl.

Wipe out skillet and add remaining 1Tbsp of oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and chili powder; season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring often for about 4 minutes. Add shrimp to vegetable mixture. serve with warm tortillas and garnishes.

*We used cilantro, greek yogurt, avocado and lime, which were all amazing!