Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cookies-N-Creme Glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups sandwich creme cookies, crushed
2 Tbs butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 Tbs milk

1) In a medium bowl, mix the powder sugar, cookies and butter, until well blended. Mix in salt and vanilla extract.
2) Continue mixing, while adding milk until the desired consistency is achieved.

Review: For this birthday, we went with a cookies-n-creme theme. For the cake, I used two boxes of Trader Joe's vanilla cake mix. It's a snack cake mix, so it's dense and designed to make an 8x8 cake. So, to fill the castle shaped bundt pan, I needed two boxes. I added one cup of crushed cookies (Trader Joe's Joe-Joe's). It's definitely a rich, dense, moist cake!! I came up with the glaze recipe after consulting a few vanilla glaze recipes. I must be the first person ever to want this flavor glaze, because I couldn't find a recipe online ANYWHERE!!  It looks kind of odd, but we couldn't decide if the glaze made it look like it was covered in mud or if it just looked like an older castle. Regardless, I think it looks delicious. We'll also be serving this up with ice cream on the side. Oh, what kind? Trader Joes' Joe-Joe's ice cream (cookies-n-cream). Yum!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Edamame & Corn Salad

2 qts water
1 pkg (16oz) frozen shelled edamame
3 ears (2 cups) fresh corn, cooked and kernels cut from cob
1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
4 (1/2 cup) green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbs oregano leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1) Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a medium saucepan on high heat. Add edamame; cook 4 minuts, or until edamame are bright green and tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
2) In a small bowl; mix olive oil, cider vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper, until well bended. Add edamame, corn, red bell pepper, green onions and parsley; toss well to coat. Cover.
3) Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Toss before serving.

Review: I always enjoy cold salads in the summer. Especially when it's unseasonably hot, as it has been lately. This particular salad was quite interesting. For the first time, I used Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, instead of Heinz or the store brand. Oddly, it seemed to have a sweet taste instead of a vinegary bite. Mike asked a few times if I had put sugar or honey into the vinaigrette!

Adapted from:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Berry Salad With Lime-Basil Vinaigrette

1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 Tbs lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs honey
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
8 cups baby spinach
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
4oz soft goat cheese, crumbled

1) Place almonds in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, shaking skillet constantly, until almonds are light golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
2) Place lime zest and juice, olive oil, honey and basil in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
3) Place spinach, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a large bowl. Add dressing and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Top with goat cheese and almonds. Serve immediately.

Review: I found this recipe last week and knew I had to make it soon, instead of filing it away for some future dinner. I thought the idea of berries, almonds and goat cheese sounded amazing. Of course, I left out the raspberries since I hate them (I do love blackberries, though). This was unbelievable! The sweetness of the berries perfectly complemented the tang of the goat cheese and the acidity of the vinaigrette. Mike doesn't usually like acidic salads, as he much prefers creamy, ranch type salads. But, we both ate two bowls and there were no leftovers. Also, this made for such a pretty salad, which makes it a great option to take to parties.

Adapted from:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Garlic Scape & Swiss Chard Pesto

1/2 cup pine nuts
roughly a dozen garlic scapes
1 bunch Swiss chard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups Quattro Formaggio (Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina & Mozzarella)
salt to taste

1) In a small pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until evenly browned. Remove from heat and set aside, allowing the pine nuts to cool.
2) Clean garlic scapes and chop into smaller pieces. Place all the pieces into a food processor and chop until finely shredded (2-3 minutes.)
3) Clean Swiss chard and remove leaves from stem. Throw the stem away and add all of the Swiss chard into the food processor. Chop for another minute.
4) Add the lemon juice, olive oil, pine nuts and salt to the food processor and run for another minute.
5) Add the cheese to the food processor and chop until everything in finely shredded and mixed well.

Review: Last year I discovered garlic scapes at the farmer's market. Many of the booths also sold garlic scape pesto. Of course, I couldn't just buy their versions!! I bought a bag of garlic scapes yesterday and did an internet search for recipes. I found very few recipes, but I found one that really intrigued me, and then I made it my own by changing it up a bit. I really like this version of pesto, as it's not the typical basil flavor, but is still quite yummy. This doesn't have the typical garlic bite, so while it has garlic flavor, it's a little easier on the palate. It also has more nutrients, with the addition of Swiss chard. I can't wait to take it to a potluck!!