Apron Strings http://www.apronstringsblog.com Cooking: it's in our D & A Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:00:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Jalapeno Relish: Your New Favorite Condiment http://www.apronstringsblog.com/jalapeno-relish-your-new-favorite-condiment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jalapeno-relish-your-new-favorite-condiment http://www.apronstringsblog.com/jalapeno-relish-your-new-favorite-condiment/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7740
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Jalapeno Relish: As easy as falling off a log, yet jazzes up just about any savory dish you can think of. 

Jalapeno Relish

Turkey Taco, featuring 3 Nanosecond Jalapeno Relish

I won’t even pretend to call this a Recipe, but simple as it is, it’s turned out to be my favorite new condiment and the best easy tip I’ve heard in a long, long while. So how could I not share it with you?  Tiny backstory: I had a major board exam to prepare for at the end of July, and my study buddy Elka and I did a lot of snacking and quizzing and snacking some more. One day we decided to whip up some fajitas, and she introduced me to this idea. ARE YOU READY? Here we go:


1 jar pickled jalapenos, drained

Pour into food processor. Pulse until mixture reaches relish/spread consistency. Transfer into smaller jar and add to sandwiches, fajitas, crackers, hotdogs, burritos, canapes, hamburgers, tacos, tostadas, flatbreads – you name it.

– posted by Anne


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Honey Lime Pepper Jelly #CanItForward http://www.apronstringsblog.com/honey-lime-pepper-jelly-canitforward/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=honey-lime-pepper-jelly-canitforward http://www.apronstringsblog.com/honey-lime-pepper-jelly-canitforward/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7823
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#CanItForward Giveaway!

Honey LIme Jalapeno Jelly

Are you excited about canning season yet? We are giddily participating in the Ball #CanItForward festivities by joining in a giveaway of Ball products, a longstanding staple in our own homes. On Saturday August 16, Jarden Home Brands will celebrate home canning with the first annual International Can-It-Forward Day, when they will gather in New York’s Union Square for a full day of canning and how-tos, all streamed live on the web. All the festivities will be hosted by host Top Chef Hugh Acheson. What a good time, eh?

I am so, so happy that there has been a canning revival in the last few years. There is just something so satisfying about spending a day hard at work and then stepping back and seeing jars and jars of home goodness lining your counter. And jams and jellies are the perfect thing to start developing your canning prowess – the failure rate is low and the deliciousness level is high! This pepper jelly is something I have been making for years and not only serves as a sweet and spicy treat on toast but can be used as a sticky glaze for all types of meats – it is especially great on pork or lamb chops. Maybe you can make it in your own brand-new set of Ball products - make sure you check out our giveaway instructions (and the Honey Lime Pepper Jelly recipe) after the jump. 


To enter to win all of this canning booty (described below), just leave a comment to this post. Bonus points for tweets, Facebook shares or a mention in your own blog – just leave a link in a separate comment anytime in the next week – prize winner will be announced next Friday.

Here’s the lowdown on the prize:

Ball Heritage Collection Quart Jars with Lids and Bands, Green, Set of 6 – These limited edition jars commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Ball brothers’ “Perfection” Jar and come in a beautiful green tint. These are being produced only in 2014 and are available in both pint and quart varieties. (Pint retail value: $9.99 per case/ Quart retail value $12.99 per case)
Ball Fresh Herb Keeper – Many new to gardening start with herbs as an easy first step. To savor the seasonings, Ball has developed a new product to keep herbs fresh for up to two weeks. (Retail value: $12.99)
Dry Herb Jars – A perfectly-sized solution for storing your dried herbs. Great for storing seasonings, spices and rubs too! Stackable, low-profile design makes pantry or drawer storage more efficient than old, mis-matched containers. (Retail value: $4.99)
Ball Frozen Herb Starters – Preserve your fresh seasonings in ready to use cubes filled with butter, oil or other liquid for easy and flavorful meal starters. (Retail value: $11.99)
Ball 5-Blade Herb Scissors – Stainless steel blades to gently cut and evenly slice herbs like basil, parsley and cilantro. (Retail value: $9.99)
Ball Blue Book – Offering 125 pages that will guide you while you learn about preserving, this book provides information on equipment, instructions for the preserving method and recipes! (Retail value: $6.49)

Happy Canning, All!


3/4 cup lime juice
2 cups honey
2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 cup liquid pectin

Bring the juice, honey, and all peppers to a boil. Add in pectin and boil for 2 minutes.

Pour into half pints. Seal with lids and rings.

Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.

 – posted by Donna

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Peach Caprese Salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/peach-caprese-salad/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=peach-caprese-salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/peach-caprese-salad/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 05:54:57 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7666
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Why should tomatoes have all the fun?
Peach Caprese Salad

Peaches are a wonderful substitute for Tomatoes this time of year!

Peaches are so fabulous this time of year, and I thought they might be a great addition to a caprese salad. I just love, love, LOVE caprese salad. In any way, shape or form. But the other day I did not have any toemotes on hand. I did have peaches, so. Peach Caprese Salad was born!

My favorite way to eat a ripe juicy peach is to hold it over the sink and eat, letting the juices drip down through my fingers – on down to my elbows. Summer bliss!

This is really a great combo – ripe peaches,fresh mozzarella,mint leaves and a drizzle of really good olive oil. Tomatoes are really fruit, after all, so why not try peaches as a sub in?  According to Science Bob, both tomatoes and green beans are fruits. Hmmmm . . . . the green beans will have to await another discussion. The drizzle of balsamic vinegar, slightly reduced, is a perfect match for the sweetness of the peaches. And mint stands in for the basil here. Let’s just call this a Summer Caprese.

Desperation, not inspiration, is often the mother of invention in my kitchen!

Happy Peach Season, everyone!

– posted by Donna

Other creative capreses:

Caprese Garlic Bread, Two Peas and Their Pod
Caprese Stuffed Avocados, Laylita’s Recipes
Avocado and Chicken Caprese, Iowa Girls Eats
Burrata and Heirloom Caprese, Foodie Crush
Watermelon Caprese Salad, How Sweet It Is
Strawberry Quinoa Spinach Caprese, Closet Cooking
Make Ahead Caprese Baked Eggs, Cookin Canuck
Olive Garden Shrimp Caprese, CopyKat Recipes


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Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie http://www.apronstringsblog.com/blueberry-cheesecake-smoothie/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=blueberry-cheesecake-smoothie http://www.apronstringsblog.com/blueberry-cheesecake-smoothie/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 15:00:07 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7738
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Cheesecake for Breakfast? With this creamy vegan blueberry smoothie, YES.

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie

As Donna is an intrepid go-getter who’s always on the move, I’ve never gotten the honor of helping take care of my inspirational blog partner and mentor before. But I recently had the opportunity to help out just a little last month, when she was in need of a non-chewing diet for a thankfully short spell. In my ensuing exploration of the latest in smoothies, from green to protein and everything in between, I encountered this great collection by The Blender Girl.   I only had a few days to fill Donna’s freezer with smoothie-stock (frozen into ice cube trays then cubes stored in ziploc bags) and gazpacho, but I’ll happily come back for another round of TLC someday.

Of all the fantastic, ridiculously healthy recipes in Blender Girl’s book, my personal favorite was the luscious Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake. The innovation, used here and in several other smoothies, is using soaked raw cashews for the creamy texture. Brilliant! I’ve made it for myself at several times since getting back hope, and experimented with variations, my favorite of which is the blueberry version here (in no small part thanks to it being berry-picking-with-kiddos-season in Portland). As with any smoothie, add probiotics, flax, or any other supplements you like. 


3/4 cup raw cashews
4 Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 banana
1 cup water or coconut water
juice and zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup ice
1 pinch salt

The night before you plan to have this (or 8-12 hours in advance), soak the cashews and dates together in warm water. Drain and combine with remaining ingredients (and any probiotics or supplements you need) in high-speed blender until smooth. Ta-dah!

P.S. This can also be done as a straight-up  CHEESECAKE smoothie, if you prefer it that way. I made it with a beautiful Meyer lemon, a whole banana, and a heaping tablespoon of raw honey.

– posted by Anne



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Grilled Zucchini Boat Tacos http://www.apronstringsblog.com/grilled-zucchini-boat-tacos/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=grilled-zucchini-boat-tacos http://www.apronstringsblog.com/grilled-zucchini-boat-tacos/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:34:58 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7797
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Healthy tacos with zucchini as the “tortilla.”
Grilled Zucchini Boat Tacos

Zucchini is the new tortilla!

The most fun food event of the year just might be Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day which is coming up this Friday, August 8th.

In the spirit of this event, I decided to think outside the shell – the taco shell, that is, and stuff hollowed out zucchini with taco filling.

It really is a genius way to use up lots of zucchini in a very tasty way.

Just slice some medium sized zucchini in half lengthwise and then use a spoon to scoop out the seedy part of the zucchini, making a space for the taco filling. The, just grill the zucchini until they are softened but not mushy and stuff them with your favorite taco fillings, or use my simple recipe below.

Such a great, simple grill recipe that will surprise and impress your unsuspecting neighbors – sneaky or not!

Happy Zucchini Season, All!

– posted by Donna

Grilled Zucchini Boat Tacos

Serves four

4 medium-sized zucchini
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Favorite taco toppings, such as grated cheese, lettuce and salsa

Cut zucchini in half width wise and then each piece in half lengthwise, making 8 zucchini “boats.” Placer zucchini over a medium hot grill and grill until zucchini is softened.

In a skillet over medium high heat, cook onion in oil until softened. Add in cumin and chile powder and salt and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant.

Add in turkey and cook until browned, breaking up into small pieces as you cook. Stir in tomato paste and remove from heat.

Fill cook zucchini with skillet mixture and top with desired taco toppings.


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No Cook Blueberry Lime Curd Tarts http://www.apronstringsblog.com/no-cook-blueberry-lime-curd-tarts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=no-cook-blueberry-lime-curd-tarts http://www.apronstringsblog.com/no-cook-blueberry-lime-curd-tarts/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:40:40 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7784
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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


5 large eggs
1/2 cup lime juice (requires about 8 limes)
1 tablespoon lime zest (zest of about two of the limes)
1 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter, cubed

6 purchased graham cracker crusts – small individual tart size

ONe cup fresh blueberries

Blend for exactly 5 minutes – the curd needs to “cook” from the heat of your blender. Pour into tart pans. Top with fresh blueberries. Let chill 4 hours, or until set.

See also:

Lime Curd, The Perfect Pantry
Microwave Lime Curd, Salad in a Jar
Blackberry Lime Curd, Beantown Baker
Homemade Lime Curd, Nutmeg Nanny
Blueberry Lime Curd Tart, Janine’s Rustic Kitchen

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Grilled Fig and Halloumi Salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/grilled-fig-and-halloumi-salad/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=grilled-fig-and-halloumi-salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/grilled-fig-and-halloumi-salad/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:54:59 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7742
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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

Other food bloggers do haloumi:

Zucchini Ribbon Halloumi Salad, A Cozy Kitchen
Grilled Halloumi Skewers with Mushrooms and Onions, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Grilled Caprese Skewers, Foodie Crush
Grilled Asparagus Halloumi Salad, Closet Cooking


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Lemon Tarragon Watermelon Salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/lemon-tarragon-watermelon-salad/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lemon-tarragon-watermelon-salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/lemon-tarragon-watermelon-salad/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:06:09 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7756
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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


1 2-inch thick slice watermelon, chilled
2 ounces feta cheese, cut into cubes
1 bunch fresh tarragon
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper

Place slice of watermelon on a platter. Cut into cubes, while retaining the shape of the slice. Sprinkle feta cubes on top. Sprinkle some of tarragon leaves on top.

Blend in a blender a few tarragon leaves, the zest and juice of the lemon, the oil, mustard, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Drizzle dressing on top. Serve immediately.

Other fabulous watermelon salads out there:

Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Reduction, Damn Delicious
Strawberry Watermelon Feta Salad, Foodie Crush
Watermelon, Feta, Basil and Quinoa Salad, How Sweet Eats
Watermelon Feta Guacamole, Two Peas and Their Pod
Watermelon Feta Salad, The Novice Chef
Watermelon, Avocado, Mint and Feta, Foolproof Living

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Japanese Crab and Cucumber Salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/japanese-crab-and-cucumber-salad/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=japanese-crab-and-cucumber-salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/japanese-crab-and-cucumber-salad/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 01:56:26 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7748
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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.


1 chilled cucumber, sliced paper thin
4 ounces cooked and chilled fresh lump crabmeat (or shrimp)
14 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce (I used Tamari)
1 tablespoon sake (optional, but highly recommended)
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Place the cucumber slices in a bowl. Stir together the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sake, sesame oil. Toss the cucumber slices in the dressing and arrange on a plate.

Add crab or shrimp.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve.

Other fab cucumber salads by food bloggers:

I have had this strawberry cucumber salad by my blogging friend Carrian at Oh Sweet Basil – and it is unique and refreshing.
This Hungarian Cucumber Salad was served at our family reunion last week – can’t go wrong with any Kalyn’s Kitchen recipe!
I must try this Cucumber, Avocado and Feta Salad by Two Peas and their Pod.
Her’s another Japanese Cucumber Salad that looks fab at Appetite for China.

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Curried Chicken Salad with Mango Chutney http://www.apronstringsblog.com/curried-chicken-salad-with-mango-chutney/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=curried-chicken-salad-with-mango-chutney http://www.apronstringsblog.com/curried-chicken-salad-with-mango-chutney/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:30:40 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7662
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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:  CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD WITH MANGO CHUTNEY

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons mango chutney
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Toss together the chicken, celery, onion and cranberries. Stir remaining ingredients together in a smaller dish, then add to chicken mixture and stir to combine. BOOM.

Other unique takes on curried chicken salad:

Curried Chicken Salad with Endive from Simply Recipes
Curried Chicken Salad with Asparagus and Peanuts from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Curried Chicken Salad with Apples from The Lemon Bowl
Apricot Curry Chicken Salad from Week of Menus

– posted by Anne

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