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Caprise Salad

Caprise salad

This is such a yummy, fresh, and cool summer lunch or dinner side dish.
Alter the amounts to suite your needs and taste.

Tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt
Olive oil
Fresh mozzarella, roughly chopped
Basil, chopped fine
Balsamic reduction (recipe below)

Put the tomatoes in a strainer and sprinkle generously with salt. Let sit for a few minute, giving them a stir every once in a while. This will help them not make everything too runny.

Then coat them lightly with olive oil.

Layer the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on a plate, and drizzle with the balsamic.

Balsamic Reduction:
1 c Balsamic vinegar
2 shallots, diced (or use 1/2 small onion)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Put ingredients in a small pot and boil, stirring occasionally, until it is starting to thicken up, and had reduced in amount.

Caprise salad

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Pudding Bars

chocolate pudding meringue shortcake bars

The other day I started craving the custard and pudding pizza from Pizza Inn. Actually, I’m still sort of craving it, because what I eventually made wasn’t the same. It was GREAT, but different.

So for those of you who are not craving custard and pudding pizza from Pizza Inn, this should satisfy cookie and chocolate cravings.

I did use some custard when I made this, but since the pudding is custard based, and there wasn’t much actual custard to begin with, you can’t taste it, and I think it’s totally unnessessary.

Pudding Bars

Double batch of short bread crust dough
1/2 batch of dark chocolate pudding (make a whole batch and eat some!)
1 batch of meringue pie topping

Preheat oven to 425.

Give a 9×13 baking dish a quick spritz with baking spray and spread the shortbread dough out. Place the dish in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Cook the crust for 13-15 minutes or until golden. Let cool.

Spread the cooled pudding out on top of the crust, and freeze for 15 more minutes.

Then spread the meringue topping out on the pudding.

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes, or until meringue is golden on top.

Be careful if you’re using glass. Pyrex should transfer from the freezer to the oven without cracking, but some cheaper brands or other glassware might crack with the temperature change.

chocolate pudding meringue shortcake bars

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Pop on over for a popover

Actually, don’t pop over for a popover- we ate them all.

I’d never seen a popover before this weekend, but they looked so awesome that I couldn’t resist making a batch.

I made them as a finish to our little fourth of july cookout at Charlotte’s house. She was nice enough to grab her camera and get a couple of pictures.

If you’ve never had a popover, they taste like little french toasts. They are sort of dense and airy at the same time.

I’d also like to point out that they have a grand total of 5 ingredients, and that includes the butter for the pan. They are insanely easy.

Popovers
3 eggs
1 c milk
1 c All Purpose Flour
1/4 csugar
2-3 Tbsp Butter

Heat the oven to 375.

Divide the butter into a 12 cup muffin pan (they make popover pan, but my guess is that if you own one, you don’t need this recipe). Place the pan in the oven for 3-5 minutes.

While the pan is heating, beat the eggs, milk, and sugar together, and then add the flour and whisk.

Remove the pan from the over (the butter will be golden brown) and fill the muffin tin evenly with the batter.

Bake for 5 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for 25 more.

They will start to deflate just a bit when you pull them out, but that’s okay, they’ll still look awesome.

I topped them with homemade whipped cream, raspberry sauce, and blueberries.

I bet they’d look good with savory toppings, too… maybe some chicken salad?

4th_of_July_22804_2009_07_04


4th_of_July_22860_2009_07_04


4th_of_July_22864_2009_07_04

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Veggie Burger

My aunt Lynda sent me a recipe for veggie burgers the other day. I had never even considered making my own before, but they were really great. I did change the recipe a bit, not only because I compusively change recipes, but because I didn’t buy everything I needed at the store. But really, you could change this recipe in a bunch of different ways. Here’s what I did:

Veggie Burger

1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 egg
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp wochestershire sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp olive oil

Mash the beans together in a bowl (I used a potato masher, but a fork or your hands would work well, too)
Add all of the other ingredients together with the beans, and shape into patties. Be careful not to make the patties too thick or too big… they don’t shrink like real meat, and if you make them too thick they’ll be mushy inside.
Cook on medium heat in a greased skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side.

I added a slice of cheese for the last minute or so, and then I topped my burger with a slice of grilled pineapple. I just popped the pineapple down on the skillet as I pulled the veggie burgers off, and let them cook for a minute or two on each side.

You could add all sorts of things to these burgers. Just try to not add too much more moisture. If things seem too mushy, pop the mixture in the freezer for a few minutes to come together a bit more. You can also up the oats just a bit.

veggie burger

veggie burger

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Garlic Scapes

garlic scapes

This isn’t a recipe. This is me jumping on the garlic scape bandwagon. My guess would be that the current infatuation with them started with Dorie. Most infatuations in the food bloggersphere seem to start with Dorie. She posted a recipe for garlic scape pesto, and soon everyone was going to the farmer’s market in search of them.

I was no exception. Char and I went to the North Hills farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago, and I had hopes of finding garlic scapes. But I didn’t really think I would. Their season at the market is so short, and since they were currently showing up in markets all around New England, I figured I was too late for them in North Carolina. But at the first booth we came to, I saw a woman holding a curious green onion looking thing, and I said, “What are those?” “Garlic scapes” she replied, looking like she was about to explain what in the heck they were. I stopped her, “that’s just what I came here for!!!” She said they were the last two bunches of the season, and that there would be no more until next year. They were also the only two bunches I saw at the whole market (to be fair, it’s a small market).

Anyhow, garlic scapes are just the stem of a certain type of garlic. They have a very concentrated garlic flavor, and raw they have quite a bit of a bite to them. Since the ones I got were so late in the season they were tough, and definitely needed to be cooked. From what I’ve heard, the earlier ones are more tender and are great raw.

Here are a few more garlic scape posts from the past few weeks.

Not Without Salt’s garlic scape post

Foodie Reflections did garlic scape pesto on gnocchi

Amateur Gourmet did a post about them

Since I could only come up with two bunches of garlic scapes, I didn’t really think I had enough for pesto. So I added one bunch to the regular basil pesto I was making, and another bunch I diced up and threw in a pot of boiling water with some green beans.

I know it’s a bit cruel to tell you about these now that I possibly got the last garlic scapes for the year in the whole wide world. But… next year, right?

garlic scapes

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Black Bean and Corn Salad: take 2

Black bean and corn salad: take 2

I posted a black bean and corn salad a while back, and this one is similar, but still different enough to warrant it’s own post, I think. The main differences are the lack of salad dressing, changing green onions to regular, getting rid of the basil, and using fresh corn.

We went over to Char’s the other night to cook on the grill, and she had a ton of fresh farmer’s market organic corn, and wanted to make some sort of corn salad. We were brainstorming about what goes well with corn, and I suggested blackbeans. She had a can on hand, so we dumped them in. Then we decided that some tomatoes would be good, we used canned with garlic and onion, but fresh would work. Some lime juice, cilantro, vinegar, and olive oil later and we had a great salad.

You don’t cook the corn for this, so the fresher the better. If you can get yummy corn from a farmer’s market, do that. I went with Harris Teeter corn, and it was good, too.

Black Bean and Corn Salad: take 2

6 ears of corn (I used 4 yellow and 2 white)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can tomatoes, rinsed and drained
2-3 tablespoons chopped onion (use less if you use flavored tomatoes)
1 tsp garlic powder (or use some minced garlic, again, use less if you use flavored tomatoes)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro (or to taste)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1-2 limes (or 1 lime and the zest)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Remove husks and silk from the corn, and cut the kernals away from the center into a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. Serve with goat cheese on top (optional)

Black bean and corn salad take 2

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Blueberry Custard Cupcakes

First off, I want to mention the amount of pressure I suddenly feel about this blog! I found out that a fried actually COOKED something from here, and had plans to cook something else! Whoa. I am so very super glad about that, so super glad that I’m using terms like, “super glad.” But… the pressure! I hope both types of BBQ turned out well!!!!

Speaking of BBQ, for the past week or two I’ve been churning out some summery recipes. Last weekend we went to my sister’s house for belated father’s day. I knew I wanted to make cupcakes, and I knew that my dad loves custard and loves blueberries. Luckily, that was easy enough to work with!!!

Blueberry Custard Cupcakes

Blueberry custard cupcakes

In addition to everything below, you’ll need some extra blueberries.

Vanilla cupcakes
Vanilla cupcake

1 recipe yellow cupcakes

Replace the sour cream with vanilla yogurt, and increase the vanilla to 1-2 tablespoons.

Blueberry Sauce

11 ounces blueberries, mashed up
1/2 cup sugar

Heat on low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until syrupy. Then strain through mesh strainer to catch skins.

Custard filling
Custard
1/4 c sugar
1 c milk
1 ts flour
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend sugar, flour, and salt in a pot. Stir in the milk. Bring to boiling; stir and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add a small amount of the hot mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly (this helps keep the eggs from cooking). Blend into mixture in saucepan. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool immediately by pouring custard into a chilled bowl and setting it in refrigerator or pan of cold water. Add the vanilla. Let chill in the fridge.

Blueberry Swiss Meringue Icing
1 batch swiss meringue icing
half the blueberry sauce

Mix the half of the blueberry sauce in with half of the icing. Keep the other half in a separate bowl.

Putting it all together

After the cupcakes have cooled somewhat, use a small spoon (I used a melon baller) and scoop out a chunk of the inside of the cupcake. Drizzle a bit of blueberry sauce down in there. Fill the rest of the way with custard. The plop a few whole blueberries on top of that.

Fill an icing bag with one side regular frosting, the other side blueberry frosting. Pipe the frosting on. Top with a blueberry and a bit more blueberry sauce drizzle.

I also made some with no blueberries for the blueberry haters.
Blueberry custard cupcakes
Blueberry custard cupcakes

Eat!

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