Peach Caprese Salad

August 11, 2014 in Healthy Fare

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

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Slow Cooker in the Summer: Mediterranean Eggplant Salad

July 30, 2012 in Uncategorized, Vegan Recipes

Slow Cooked Mediterranean Eggplant Salad

 

It’s more or less accepted that Portland is the Food Cart Capital  of the nation, right? Naturally, I get a lot of inspiration from the highly evolved food truck fare around here. My most recent inspiration came from the cart called Gonzo, which specializes in Israeli and Mediterranean street food. Their falafel, made from dried and soaked chickpeas, is by far the best I’ve ever had – and I consider myself at least a casual authority on the matter after eating it from various sources nearly daily during the second trimester of my pregnancy. (I was a tad obsessed.)

So it was the falafel that pulled me in, but another menu item kept me coming back – a cold eggplant salad with a fantastic, mildly smoky slow-roasted flavor. I set out to make it right away, but the thought of keeping a pot on the stove for hours during July temperatures was less appealing, even if the result was a cool salad. Solution: Slow cooker, of course!  I tried this two ways: once sauteeing the onion and peppers first and then transferring them to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients, and then a second time just throwing it all together at once. Honestly, the difference was negligible, so I say go with option 2 if you need to save time.

The overall flavor results were terrific – and a good reminder to me to make more regular use of the slow cooker in the summer. Read the rest of this entry →

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Home-Made Ricotta in a Ricotta Salad Stack – A Beginner’s Adventure in Cheese Making for Fab Frugal Friday

September 24, 2010 in Frugal Tips, Healthy Fare

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Ricotta Salad Stack made with home made ricotta

Home made cheese? I never thought I would be so bold as to attempt this, but life has a way of changing us, sometimes allowing us to do the previously impossible. When you tell someone “I made my own cheese,” they will be astounded  – – – that is, until they find out how easy it really is. To make ricotta: 5 minutes max is all it takes.

I decided it was time in my progression as a cook to attempt a home made cheese. In all the recipes I reviewed, ricotta seemed the most do-able. A good step for beginning cheese makers. And, I am happy to report success! You don’t even need a thermometer – that’s how easy this is!

Here’s the entire “recipe:”

I was inspired by posts on two blogs – Recipe Girl and  Eggs On Sunday and followed them pretty closely. Bring 2 cups whole milk and 2 cups half-and-half to a boil with a pinch of salt and boil exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Strain in a fine mesh strainer. That’s it. Really.

True, it is creamy and yummy and a little less than purchased ricotta. But. To be honest, the main satisfaction you will get is not savings or taste, but in feeling competent enough to make cheese.

To show off my newly acquired cheese-making talent, I just shaved some zucchini very thin, used some sliced garden tomatoes and basil leaves, a little s & p, and – Voila! - effortless, fresh and delicious first course – Heavy on the ricotta, of course!
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My Salad Days: Spicy Thai Peanut Drizzled Wilted Spinach

September 7, 2009 in Appetizers, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Entrees

It’s strange. I don’t like peanut butter, but a good spicy Thai peanut sauce is one of my favorite things. I love it drizzled on just about everything. I had trouble making good peanut sauce until it finally dawned on me: to have really good Thai peanut sauce, you must start with really good peanut butter. It was one of those “Duh” moments for me! So, forget the popular brands and go for the good stuff for this recipe. It is a little more expensive, but you only use a little and it is well worth it. I like the all-natural kind that says “dark roasted” on the label, and only has two ingredients: salt and peanuts. I made this recipe with the idea of serving it cold on salads, so it is more like a vinaigrette than a sauce you would serve warm with chicken.

With a garden full our second crop of of spinach and Swiss chard, I have plenty of dark greens to spare, and they are a perfect match with peanuts, it turns out! I very lightly and briefly sauteed some rough chopped spinach for less than a minute until it just barely started to wilt. You could also blanch it quickly in boiling water. I then drained it and drizzled it with my Thai peanut sauce recipe, and sprinkled with some diced roasted peanuts. Wow! Such an explosion of flavors!

This peanut sauce is so delicious I just want to sit and eat it with a spoon!

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