Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese and Olivess




Warm weather and refreshingly different salads two of my favorite things.  I find salads not only fun to make trying different combinations of ingredients but easy to make.  Almost any salad you can think of is do ahead and easy to transport to family and friends homes or on a picnic. Being of Italian heritage I love the flavors of the Mediterranean areas with the wonderfully flavorful seasonings.  What I like most about this salad is the interesting combination of orzo, a rice shaped pasta, with chick peas, goat cheese and olives. Just add some lemon, garlic, oil and fresh oregano to bring out the other ingredients.  I almost forgot, I have been adding Sesame Tahini to many of my salads for a more intense taste.  I think you'll really enjoy this salad!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese and Olives

1 1/2 cups orzo, cooked according to package instructions
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Sesame Tahini
15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoon chopped oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup kalamati olives chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice and sesame tahini. Add the chickpeas, orzo, oregano and pepper. Gently stir in goat cheese then olives.  Serve over a bed of lettuce.  Chill until ready to serve.

Enjoy



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Moroccan Couscous and Orange Salad





I just love fresh delicious summer salads, that sing with taste.  So wonderful to use fresh fruits and vegetables to add interest and color to a summer salad.  I enjoy all different types of food and I especially like to use seasoning from all over the world to punch up the flavor of a salad.  I started experimenting with Couscous and Moroccan spices and simply loved this salad.

Moroccan Couscous and Orange Salad

1 cup couscous
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup boiling water
1 large orange or yellow bell pepper cut into bite size slices
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced, just the white part
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 16 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoon olive oi
3 tablespoon white vinegar
juice of one navel orange
one navel orange, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces

Place couscous and cranberries in medium bowl. Add boiling water, cover with plastic wrap and let set for about 5 minutes or until water is completely absorbed.
Add next seven ingredients to couscous and cranberries mix thoroughly.
Whisk oil, vinegar and orange juice together.  Pour over salad and toss to coat. Add cut orange.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Refreshing Spring Greens Strawberry Salad




I love making salads and I am always looking for new and different ways of combining all my favorite flavors into a wonderfully delicious salad. My Strawberry salad makes me feel as if I am savoring all the best that Springs offers!  Refreshing, crisp, sweet and tangy all in a wonderful salad.

Refreshing Spring Greens Strawberry Salad

1 1/2 (5 ounces) cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 (4 ounce) package of mixed spring greens
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup English cucumber, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled


Place snap peas in steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam for 1-2 minutes until tender.
Plunge peas into water to stop cooking; drain. Slice peas diagonally in half.  Toss together greens and next five ingredients and snap peas arranging on a large plate. Top with Gorgonzola cheese. Serve with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a blender except oil. Process until smooth. Slowly add oil in steady stream; process until smooth.

Enjoy!




Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baked Polenta with Vegetables and Fresh Mozzarella



Polenta is a wonderful alternative to pasta. Wonderfully versatile from creamy to baked to grilled, I love polenta any way I make it.  This dish is very easy to make and can be prepared in advance, just baking before you are ready to serve.  I chose vegetables that I like but you can use any combination for a different taste. I you like you can cook some sausage and add to the vegetables or leave it as a meatless meal. Either way this dish is favorable and satisfying!


Polenta
2 cup quick polenta
4 cups vegetable broth

Bring broth to boil.  Lower heat and slowly add polenta stirring until combined. Remove from heat and continue to stir until no lumps remain. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Put polenta in baking dish. Set aside.

Vegetables

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 shallot, chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 large red peppers, sliced
1 can(14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, I like not salt added
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon salt(optional)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375F. Heat oil in pan. Add garlic and shallots, cooking until translucent. Add mushrooms and peppers.  Continue sauteing for 5 minutes on low until vegetables are cooked. add diced tomatoes and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add Italian seasonings, salt and pepper.
Place vegetables on top of polenta. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Enjoy!