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Entries in Summer (14)


Tomato, Ricotta, & Prosciutto Tart

Tomato Ricotta Prosciutto Tart

This year, we grew 7 tomato plants in our garden, in several varieties. Wouldn't you know it, they are all starting to ripen at once, leaving us with more tomatoes than we know what to do with. In an effort to use them all before they start to get too soft, we've been incorporating them into every single meal in some way, shape, or form. One such way was this tart, which also helped me to use some of my herbs that are growing like weeds in our garden box! This tart screams summer; insanely easy to put together, minimal baking/cooking time, and the use of fresh produce and herbs. I know we will have one more round of tomatoes that will ripen before the end of summer, so when they do, you better believe I'm coming back to this tart!

1 sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
6 ounces Proscuitto, thinly sliced (I only used about 6 slices)
1 1/3 cups Ricotta Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon Chives, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Basil, chopped
1 3/4 pounds Tomatoes, sliced thick

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to desired size. Place the pastry on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Using a sharp knife, lightly draw a border around the perimeter of the pastry, leaving about 1-inch margin. Pierce the inside of the border all over with a fork to prevent it from puffing up while baking. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Meanwhile, cut the prosciutto slices into ribbons. Remove the pastry from the oven and sprinkle the prosciutto ribbons over the top. Return the pastry to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the prosciutto is slightly crisp. In a bowl, combine ricotta, salt, pepper, lemon zest, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Remove the pastry from the oven again and spread the ricotta mixture over the top of the prosciutto. Arrange the tomato slices over the ricotta and sprinkle with the chives and basil. Cut into pieces and serve. 

SOURCE: Slightly adapted from My Recipes


Citrus-Kissed Honey Buttons

Citrus kissed honey buttons

Our block party was this past weekend. My neighbor and I made up the planning committee and while I run the risk of sounding a bit conceited, I think we did a fantastic job! There were plenty of games for the kids to play and our local fire company even sent over a fire truck so that the kids could squirt each other with the hose. It was quite the sight to see! For dinner, everybody brought their own meat and one of the men from down the street manned the grill. Each side of the street was asked to bring a dish to share; my side was in charge of dessert and the other side had appetizers and side dishes. Even though the temperature was perfect, I didn't want to bring anything that could potentially melt, so I decided to make these citrus cookies. At first, I wasn't sure if the kids would like them (which is fine because I knew the adults would), but as soon as I put the plate on the table, they seemed to disappear! These cookies were a great alternative to typical cookie flavors; like a little bite of summer in these last few days of August.

1 3/4 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Sugar
4 tablespoons Butter, softened
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Honey
1 tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 tablespoon Orange Zest
1 teaspoon Lemon Extract

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg, honey, lemon zest, orange zest, and lemon extract; beat until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating on low speed until just combined (the dough will be crumbly). Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. Scoop out 2 teaspoons of dough at a time and press/roll into balls with the palms of your hand. Place the dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes, or until the cookies have puffed slightly and the tops begin to crack. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes about 36 cookies. 

SOURCE: Eating Well via Huffington Post


BBQ Chicken & Blue Cheese Salad

Bbq chicken salad

Since I made a heavy dish Thursday night, and we ate the leftovers for lunch yesterday, we needed something on the lighter side for dinner last night. This salad fit the bill. I had leftover chicken and blue cheese in the fridge, and pecans in the freezer, so it took very little planning to get this on the table. The tang from the BBQ sauce gave the chicken great flavor, and the sweetness from the candied pecans gave this salad a delicious crunch. This hearty salad was not only delicious, but filling, yet light at the same time. *See those super cute giraffe salad tongs? My cousin brought them back from her trip to Africa. They were hand made, purchased by trade. While I'm sure that they can be used, I think that they are too cool to possibly mess up, so they are just for show and I hung them on the wall in my kitchen.

For the Salad:
1 Chicken Breast
1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (we used Dinosaur BBQ)
1 head Butter Lettuce
1/3 cup Candied Pecans (recipe below)
1/3 cup Dried Cherries 
1/3 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled 
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below) 

Coat the chicken with the BBQ sauce and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Cook the chicken over medium heat on the grill until cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool slightly, then slice. Gently rip the lettuce leaves and place into a large bowl. Place the sliced chicken over the top. Sprinkle on the nuts, cherries, and blue cheese. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and enjoy!

For the Candied Pecans:
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
1 tablepoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Pecans

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine the syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt, stirring to blend well. Add the pecans and gently stir to coat. Transfer the pecans to the baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring the mixture half way through baking. When the nuts are still hot, separate them with a fork. Allow to cool and store any leftover nuts in an airtight container.

For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Garlic Cloves, crushed or minced

In a bowl, whisk together the honey, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is fully emulsified. Store in a jar with a lid in the refrigerator. Makes about 13 ounces of dressing. 

SOURCE: salad from Bake at 350 Goes Savorycandied pecans and vinaigrette from Chinese Grandma


Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad

Broccoli pasta salad

I love a good pasta salad. They are the perfect summer dish, great as a side to a grilled meal or eaten in a big bowl as a main course. They are so versatile too, made up of seemingly random ingredients, tossed with pasta and dressing, creating a perfectly easy dish. Aside from broccoli, I generally have all of the ingredients of this pasta salad in my fridge or pantry at all times. I picked up a head of broccoli at the store for about 75 cents and got to work throwing this salad together.  We had it along side of chipotle bacon burgers, which sadly I didn't get a picture of, but this salad made enough for us to eat for another 2 days.  Between the fact that it was so cheap to put together, so easy to make, and so delicious, I can see this pasta salad becoming a summertime staple in our house!

1 pound Tri-Color Pasta 
4 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 medium Broccoli Head, chopped into 1/2-inch florets
8 ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return to a pan or a large bowl. Add one tablespoon of oil and toss until well coated; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the broccoli, feta, and olives to the bowl with the pasta and toss. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the vinegar, then pour over the pasta and toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

SOURCE: The Kitchn


Easy Cherry Tart

Cherry tart

To celebrate the end of the school year, my friend Lynn wanted to host a small get-together for a group of friends at work, including a friend that retired last year. She opted for an appetizer/dessert party rather than a full dinner, to keep things casual. When I asked her what I could bring, she responded by saying that she knew I enjoyed cooking and baking, so to make something new-to-me that I've been eyeing up, and let them be the guinea pigs. You won't hear me complain when my friends are just as eager as I am to try something different! I started searching and noticed a recipe that showed up in a few different places. I had pinned this recipe on my Sweet Treats board, and I had also bookmarked it in my reader. To make things even better, Joel and I just bought a quart of fresh cherries from the farmer's market on Saturday and I had a puff pastry waiting to be used in the freezer. It was as if this recipe was destined to be the one I made. Once it was made, it was devoured. It took me everything I had not to dig in before heading out the door to Lynn's house. While this is a great dessert, I could totally justify eating this for breakfast, too!

1 sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
8 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons Butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups Powdered Sugar
3 cups Cherries, pitted and halved

Lay the thawed puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface and gently roll it out to an even thickness, using a rolling pin. Transfer the puff pastry to a baking sheet and score a very thin border around the outside using a knife. Then, use a fork to prick several holes in the middle of the pastry, to minimize inflation during baking. Bake the pastry at 400 degrees according to package directions until it begins to puff and turn golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, and continue beating on medium-low speed until smooth. Add more powdered sugar to thicken, if necessary. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled puff pastry. Sprinkle the top with the cherry halves, slice, and serve. 

SOURCE: Imperial Sugar, via Gimme Some Oven