Friday, August 26, 2022

Summer Entertaining: Cherry Quinoa Salad

When it's cherry season this is the salad to turn to.  This salad has it all, spicy arugula, textured quinoa, tart cherries, crunchy pistachios, and creamy feta. The perfect combination salad!

Cherry Quinoa Salad

This salad is light, healthy and refreshing.  It's something I have made at least 4 times since cherry season has begun.  It's so easy to through together and it's what I love about this salad!

This can be made with any grain but I love it with quinoa.  Keep in mind you can use any leftover grains for this salad the next day.  


What Ingredients do I need?

  • quinoa - white or tri-colored
  • cherries
  • cucumber
  • scallions
  • pistachios
  • arugula
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh mint
  • feta cheese
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • orange juice
  • Dijon mustard

Substitutions and Variations

  • Swap out the arugula base for spinach or spring greens
  • Don't have fresh cherries - use frozen
  • Don't care for mint? try basil or cilantro
  • Leave out the cheese or try ricotta salata
  • Try a different grain.  Farro or bulgur would be wonderful.

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Place everything in a large bowl and toss.
  • Use a mason jar for the salad dressing and shake until emulsified.

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Cherry Quinoa Salad

serves 4

1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 cups of pitted and halved cherries
1 cup cucumber, diced
2 scallions chopped
1/3 cup of pistachios, chopped
2 handfuls of arugula
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled


1/2 cup Olive oil
1Tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the quinoa and it and the water to a pot and bring to a boil.  Stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes until water is absorbed.  Remove from health and keep covered for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.  Allow to cool.  Once cooled, add all salad ingredients to a large bowl.

In a mason jar or a small bowl add dressing ingredients and shake or whisk until emulsified.  Drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette and toss to combine.

Adapted from Diane Morrisey

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Summer Entertaining: Fig Crostini

The perfect appetizer bite or snack using ripe summer sweet figs.

Fig Crostini 

A lot of people don't know what to do with summer figs. Truth be told I have a hard time keeping my husband from gobbling them down before I get to use them in different dishes.   This year we have a bumper crop of figs just waiting to pop on our menus.

Today we are talking more about a method than a recipe. I'll show you how to put together these scrumptious fig crostini that you can serve as a quick appetizer or midday snack. I took these along with our meal for a concert in the park. These are sweet and delicious and oh so simple to make. You're gonna love them!


What Ingredients do I need?

  • Small crusty French style baguette
  • Olive oil
  • Mascarpone Cheese
  • Fresh Figs

Substitutions and Variations

  • Mix ricotta cheese with mascarpone for a different version
  • Serve on crackers instead of crostini
  • Add a dollop of fig jam to the mascarpone cheese for more of a fig flavor
  • Top with a sprig of mint

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Watch the bread closely when toasting to avoid burning.
  • Perfect as appetizers for summer entertaining
  • Great as an after school snack
  • Perfect with afternoon coffee or tea

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Fig Crostini

Makes 12 crostini bites

One French style baguette loaf
Olive oil
3 or 4 ripe figs
Mascarpone cheese

Preheat your oven to 350゚. Slice your French style baguette thinly cutting off 12 rounds.  (You will have left over bread.)  Place the bread on a baking sheet and spread a dab of olive oil over each piece and bake for 5 to 6 minutes until toasted. Remove from oven.

Spread each toasted bread piece with mascarpone cheese. Wash and dry your figs. Slice the figs into thin slices and place on top of the cheese. Place on a platter and serve.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Summer Entertaining: Farmers' Market Pizza

Flatbread pizza made with Brooklyn Bred pizza dough is quick, easy, and ready in less than 20 minutes.  This version is loaded with fresh farmer's market vegetables, turkey Italian sausage, and 2 chesses for the win!

Farmers' Market Pizza

This Farmers' Market Pizza is going to rock your summer weeknight!  Cooked ground turkey Italian sausage forms a base on a square pizza flatbread doused with Caramelized Onion and Garlic Marinara.  Then we add the veggie layers of fresh corn from the cob and cherry tomatoes.  All this topped with creamy chunks of goat cheese, and hunks of mozzarella cheese.  The result is a fresh summer pizza that's so tasty the whole family will enjoy this one.

Perfect to make on a weeknight, or weekend, or lunch.  Even as a snack!  It's ready in about 20 minutes from start to finish.


What Ingredients do I need?

  • flatbread pizza crust - I used Brooklyn Bred square pizza, but any Naan or flatbread will do
  • marinara Sauce - I used a Caramelized Onion and Garlic Marinara for more flavor
  • turkey Italian sausage - mild or hot
  • cherry tomatoes
  • corn on the cob
  • goat cheese
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • fresh parsley or basil
  • red pepper flakes

Substitutions and Variations

  • You could add any summer produce you like.  Zucchini or summer squash, bell peppers, and heirloom tomatoes are all good choices.
  • Use regular pizza dough, store bought or homemade.
  • Use any type of flatbread, Naan is a great one.
  • Change up the cheeses if you like.
  • Can't handle the heat?? Leave off the red pepper flakes.
  • Try this on the outdoor grill, it works great.
  • Anything goes with pizza!

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • No need to cook the corn.  Cut raw corn off the cob and put it fresh on the pizza.  It will taste roasted and sweet once done.
  • Flatbread and Naan cook quickly, so make sure to set a time or watch closely.
  • I bought a fresh ball of mozzarella and just pulled off chunks of cheese and scattered them around.  Same with the goat cheese.  This way the cheese doesn't overwhelm the veggies but compliments them.
  • Make sure to double the recipe for more servings.

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Farmers' Market Pizza

serves 2 people

1/3 cup of Marinara Sauce - I used a Caramelized Onion and Garlic Marinara
1/2 1lb. turkey Italian sausages (about 3 links, casings removed)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large corn on the cob, corn removed
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, chunked
2 oz goat cheese, chunked
1 square Brooklyn Bred pizza crust

Lay the pizza crust out on a baking sheet.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, and the sausage, casings removed.  Cook, crumbling the meat, until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.

Spread about 1/3 cup (or more if you like) of marinara sauce over the crust of the pizza.  Top with the cooked sausage.  Add the fresh corn and cherry tomato halves distributing them around the pizza.  Top with chunks of fresh mozzarella and goat cheese.

Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cut in to 4 slices. Serve.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

The Best Finds from the Farmers' Market by Season

Here are the top picks of produce you should get from the Farmers' Market for each season.

The Best Finds from the Farmers Market by Season

Food from the Farmers' Market tastes sweet, crisp, and fresh!  There's no better way to get fresher fruits and vegetables than those that were picked just hours before the farmers' market opens.  Plus these items are local and usually travel less than produce you buy in the grocery stores.

The benefits from buying local produce are many.  

One is taste.  The fruit offered are farmers' markets is usually sweeter because tree ripening causes higher sugar content. 

Another is cost.  Let's face it, food costs have gone up...everywhere.  However, if you eat seasonally you will get items at their peak and in-season items usually cost less.  

Organic Produce.  Most stores have an organic section but it may not be all that robust.  Farmers' markets will typically have a mix of organic stalls and non-organic stalls.   You may find that it is cheaper to buy organic produce at a farmers market since you are buying direct, plus the variety may be more abundant.  

Produce Guide by Season

Listed below is a handy guide to the best items to buy from the farmers' market by season.  Keep this reference with you when you are planning your next trip and have recipes in mind for seasonal items.  Don't forget your bags and some cash!

Summer is filled with fresh produce so make sure to enjoy the abundance available now while it is at it's tastiest!

Recipe Inspiration for your Farmers' Market haul

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Summer Entertaining: Corn and Stone Fruit Salad

This salad adds corn to bring a sweet crunch that pairs with ripe plums, nectarines, and herbs.  All topped with a bright vinaigrette.  Summer in a salad!

Corn and Stone Fruit Salad

Summer is filled with fresh produce and to make good use of it's abundance I like to put all varieties of fruits and vegetables in my salad.  Today's salad is a true winner!  It features fresh green leaf lettuce, crisp corn right off the cob, juicy plums and nectarines, and a sprinkling of mint.  This is all topped with a bright vinaigrette that allows the produce to shine.

This salad is easy to make and will be on the table in a flash.  Making a homemade vinaigrette is easier than you think, and this one is only 4 ingredients, foolproof, and much better than anything bought in the store.  I served this salad for dinner with a grilled steak and some crusty bread.  It was wonderful!  

This salad would be great to take to a pot luck, alongside any grilled protein, take along on a picnic, or have with some added shredded chicken for lunch.  It's the new perfect summer salad!


What Ingredients do I need?

  • green leaf lettuce
  • corn on the cob
  • nectarines - you want ripe but a little firm
  • plums - you want ripe but a little firm
  • green onions
  • mint -fresh is best
  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use red leaf or romaine lettuce
  • Add peaches to the mix
  • Add chives
  • Don't like mint? Add basil or parsley
  • Red or white wine vinegar would be a good choice instead of apple cider vinegar
  • Get bold and add some feta or ricotta salata cheese

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Did you know you can eat corn raw?  Yes you can.  Fresh corn right off the cob is sweet and crisp.  No cooking makes this even easier!
  • To easily keep corn from scattering all over the board when cutting, place the cob standing up in a bowl and cut down the cob.  The bowl will catch all the kernels.
  • Fan your slices of fruit for a pretty presentation.
  • You can arrange this on a platter for a pretty presentation that's easier for guests to serve themselves.

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Corn and Stone Fruit Salad

serves 6

5 cups green leaf lettuce, chopped
3 ears corn, husks and silks removed
2 - 3 nectarines and plums, sliced
2 green onions, white and green parts chopped
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl or platter place lettuce.  Remove corn from the husks using a knife.  Add corn to the bowl.  Add sliced plums and nectarines to the bowl. Add green onions and mint.

In a small bowl add vinegar and whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Add salt & pepper and stir. Add to the dressing and toss. Serve.


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