No Cook Blueberry Lime Curd Tarts

July 29, 2014 in Desserts

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Blueberries and Limes – together at last!

Blueberry Lime Tart

Have you tried Blueberries and limes together?

Lemons and blueberries are a famous culinary pair – but I decided to switch it up and use blueberries and limes together. No, the fact that I had no lemons on hand had nothing to do with this innovation. Okay, a little.

And of course this meant making a lime curd. Making curd of any kind sounds really intimidating – until you make it. Punk Domestics has a catalogue of curds that shows how truly wondrous curds are – check it out. I love making lemon curd in my blender - so subbing lime juice and zest was all I needed to do.

I love no-cook desserts in the summer – and this one is creamy, tart, sweet and luscious. SO yummy. I love leaving the blueberries raw and whole – they add such a nice pop of freshness. This recipe makes six little tarts – and takes only about 20 minutes of prep time – plus you need to factor in at least 4 hours of chill time.

– posted by Donna

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Grilled Fig and Halloumi Salad

July 25, 2014 in Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

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This salad gives a whole new meaning to Grilled Cheese.

What's better than grilled figs and grilled cheese?

What’s better than grilled figs and grilled cheese?

I just tried halloumi cheese for the very first time a few weeks ago and now I just crave it. When you sear or grill this cheese, the texture is truly remarkable: crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Another foodie milestone: halloumi cheese tasted. Check!

I used a Finnish cheese similar to halloumi,I used juustoleipa, a word that means ”bread cheese.” If you live in my neck of the woods, I highly encourage you to check out Heber Valley Artisan Cheese  - and their juustoleipa alone is worth the drive!

The flavors and textures of this simple summer salad mix together perfectly. I like to grill the figs, but I cooked the cheese slices in a skillet over medium heat – to get a nice crust on the outside of the slices and melt the inside of the cheese. This is a salad I will make again and again – and will definitely try new ways to use grillable cheese!

Grilled Fig and Cheese Salad

Grilled Fig and Cheese Sal

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Lemon Tarragon Watermelon Salad

July 22, 2014 in Appetizers, Side Dishes

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Watermelon Salad gets a new flavor profile with lemon and tarragon.

A fresh take on Watermelon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Tarragon.

A fresh take on Watermelon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Tarragon.

I love that classic watermelon and feta combo, and I make this salad often in the summer. So sweet/salty/tart – and few things are better in the summer than cold, crunchy ripe watermelon fresh in the summer.

So I decided to try out some new flavors with this salad. Lemon and Tarragon pair perfectly with this watermelon salad. You just whack up a little lemon vinaigrette – and Voila! – instant watermelon salad. I tried a new method of plating this salad as well – just lay a watermelon slice on a plate and then cut into cubes, leaving the round watermelon shape intact. Pretty and yummy for a light summer dinner.

Happy Summer all ~

– posted by Donna

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Japanese Crab and Cucumber Salad

July 16, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

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Easy. Refreshing. Elegant. And stunningly delicious.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant.  Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant. Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

This delightful crab and cucumber salad is simple and elegant and just stunningly delicious. I have made this salad three times this week alone – it’s that good. And, Okay, my garden is overflowing with cucumbers right now. So, yeah. Cucumbers on the menu every night. It is a very flexible salad – I have used the paper thin cucumbers as a base and then put different things on top – nectarine slices, feta cheese and green onions are two different combos I have tried. All yummy.

There are three ingredients plus a dressing so delicious I may have eaten half a bowl of it with a spoon. Not confirmed, just sayin’.

The key to the salad is the dressing – it is sweet, sour, tangy and smokey – full of umami and a perfect ying-yang dressing. The Japanese name for this salad is Sunomono – which literally means “Vinegared Thing.” I made a whole bottle of the dressing just to keep in the door of my fridge.

Also, the cucumbers have to be sliced paper thin so that they are soft and pliable. Use chilled cucumbers and crab (or shrimp!) and toss with the dressing at the last minute. Amazing. And Addicting.

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Curried Chicken Salad with Mango Chutney

July 11, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Healthy Fare

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Easy Curried Chicken Salad with a touch of mango chutney. Summertime simple.

Curried Chutney Chicken Salad

Curried Chicken Salad with Chutney and Craisins (I really didn’t plan for that much alliteration, I promise.)

You might have noticed I have a bit of a chicken salad fixation. I love the many variations on the theme, especially as a light warm weather meal. Great on top of greens, great on a sandwich, or all on its own. Creamy or not, savory or slightly sweet. In the latter category is one of my favorites: Curried chicken salad. Alas, so many of the ones I’ve tried go WAY overboard with the sweetness. A little is nice, but I don’t really want my chicken salad to taste like dessert. I discovered a creative solution to this that adds a tangy twist of its own recently – Zupan’s Market in Portland uses a bit of mango chutney as an ingredient, and that alone serves as the main touch of sweetness (the craisins add a tiny bit as well, but nothing else). Here’s my very simple version of their recipe:  Read the rest of this entry →

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Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Skillet

July 6, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

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Don’t you just love zucchini season?

Zucchini Noodles Skillet

Thinly shaved zucchini is the pasta for this fresh summer “pasta” skillet.

Imagine all the best flavors of summer tossed in one extra healthy skillet. And then SEE ABOVE.

Some folks complain about zucchini stashed on their front porches, but I am not one of them. I just love zucchini season. It just tastes like summer to me – I love it raw, cooked, any which way. I crave Michael Symon’s zucchini Crudo salad.  And Oven Fried Zucchini Crisps are a real treat at our house! C’mon – I have even made Zucchini S’mores! Only a serious zucchini fanatic would make those!

And so my obsession with zucchini starts early this year- with this skillet.

You just shave the zucchini into thin planks and then treat them like pasta noodles. A few minutes in the skillet is all it takes to soften them perfectly for your dish. Add a few other summer veggies and – let’s just call it Summer in a Skillet.

Happy Zucchini Season, all!

– posted by Donna

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Balsamic Chicken Salad with Asparagus, Peppers and Mushrooms

July 3, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare

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Light and easy balsamic chicken salad recipe – can be grilled or broiled!

Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad with Asparagus, Pepper and Mushrooms

I love a good chicken salad, especially any I can find that aren’t heavy with  mayonnaise-laden dressings. (Not that I have anything against good mayonnaise in the right place, either, but it really can weigh a dish down.) Back in the pre-Lily era, when I was working in West Hartford, CT, I used to frequent the Wild Oats prepared foods on an all-too-regular basis; his was before Whole Foods came to town, if you can imagine such a time. Seems positively Jurassic now.

Anyway, my favorite dish of theirs was a grilled chicken salad with a balsamic dressing. Perfect light fare, ideal for South Beach phase one, paleo, or low-carb in general – and perfect for any cookout if you opt for the grilled version. Read the rest of this entry →

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Summer Cantalope Slush – Three Healthy Ingredients

June 29, 2014 in Healthy Fare, Snacks

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Three ingredients buzzed into a frozen melon summer slush. 

Cantalope Slushie

Summer sunshine in a glass: Cantalope Slushie

A minor miracle happens when you throw frozen cubes of melon into a blender. That, plus a little lime juice and zest turns into a delicious, smooth, creamy frozen delight.

Here’s the entire recipe: freeze 4 cups of cantalope cubes – about 2 hours minimum. Put the cubes in a blender with 1 cup of water and the juice and zest of one lime. Taste as you go – depending on your cantalope, you may need a little sweetener.

That’s it. Really. Summer sunshine in a glass!

– posted by Donna

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Cherry Bomb Tarts

June 26, 2014 in Desserts

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Little Cherry Tarts to light up your picnic – so easy with phyllo!

Cherry Bomb Tarts

Like edible firecrackers, these little cherry tarts will light up your fourth of July!

A sweet treat based on a firecracker to light up your Fourth of July picnic. Whodda thunk it?

I saw these Smoked Cherry Bombs in this month’s Cooking Light magazine – but I skipped the smoking step – which just seemed too complicated. I also doubled the filling amounts, because c’mon – almond paste whipped with cream cheese! They are fun to serve on a platter – and this recipe achieves the perfect balance of flavor and texture – creamy and crispy all in one bite.

Next to Christmas, the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday of the year. I love the picnics, parades, fireworks – I love it all. And so, I am always on the hunt for recipes that are patriotic. Two from the past - Red White and Blueberry Cookie Tarts,   and American Flag Fruit Skewers.

Have fun on the Fourth!

– posted by Donna

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4 Ingredient Pina Colada Macaroons

June 23, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten Free, Snacks

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A four-ingredient, easy, healthy dessert!

4 Ingredient Pina Colada Macaroons

4 Ingredient Pina Colada Macaroons

I see a lot of friends adjusting to new summer schedules with their kids – and along with that comes the neverending quest for healthy sweet treats. Plenty of frozen goodies to come, but if you don’t mind firing up the oven for 15 minutes, this 4 ingredient twist on a regular macaroon makes for a great little snack cookie.

3 dried pineapple rings (about 1/2 cup)great little treat.
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 325. Cut pineapple rings into 3 pieces, then pulse in  a food processor until very finely chopped (will clump together a bit). Beat egg whites with a whisk until frothy, then whisk in the honey. Stir in coconut and pineapple and mix until well distributed.

Using a cookie dough scoop, pack mixture firmly into balls and place on parchment or silpat-lined cookie sheet. (Mixture will be crumbly when raw; just shape with fingers as needed.) Bake for 14-16 minutes, until starting to become golden brown. Let cool completely before eating.

. — posted by Anne

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