Overnight Marinated Shrimp and Avocados

Have you ever been asked to bring an appetizer to a party?  This is the recipe that you will want to keep handy and prepare over and over again.  As you know from the majority of my posts, I love make ahead easy to prepare dishes.  Overnight Marinated Shrimp and Avocados is just that type of recipe.  Always a hit – serve with water crackers or over a bed of lettuce.  The perfect appetizer or first course.

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Overnight Marinated Shrimp and Avocados

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 avocados, firm and ripe, cubed
  • 1 red onion, sliced extremely thin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Place the shrimp, avocados, and red onion in a large zip top bag.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over shrimp mixture.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate overnight, turn bag a few times.  Drain mixture, serve cold.  Serves 12 as an appetizer.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

You all know I am a fan of farmers’ markets and I try to go to one every weekend.  It is always my mission to find fresh seasonal produce and to support our local growers.   During one of my recent visits I purchased one of the early crops of zucchini.  I don’t think any of them measured over 5 inches in length.  I brought them home and had the “now what am I going to make with these?” moments.   I also wanted to incorporate one of my favorite olive oils that I have blogged about previously, Spartan Oil.  You can tell in this photo this is a well-loved bottle of Spartan Oil that has seen many refills.  I am a fan of using olive oil in place of many cooking oils.  For this recipe, the combination of the oil, zucchini and chocolate are divine.  I was off to my neighbors delivering muffins that afternoon after my first taste and realized these are truly delicious.  Check out the second photo – my dear neighbor posted about the muffins on Facebook; a truly delightful post.

Stoney Acres Farm/Pizza on the Farm/Oyster Mushrooms with Sherry Cream

It is always fun to step out of your local area and see what is happening across the country. Have you ever been to a pizza farm? This was my first trip to a pizza farm and I will tell you, it will not be my last visit.  During our recent visit to Central Wisconsin, I was determined to visit a local farm, Stoney Acres.  After searching the internet I found this farm as the one that fascinated me the most about this new concept.  If you are wondering “What is a pizza farm”?, it is a concept where you visit the farm and the pizzas are made onsite with fresh organic ingredients from the farm.  The wheat is ground onsite for the flour for the dough.  The toppings are fresh from the farm, the bacon is cured on the farm, the cheeses are from local cheese shops that make the cheese from the local dairies – you get the point – farm to table onsite.  Many restaurants boost that their dishes are farm to table, on the pizza farm they are from the farm to the farm table.  We arrived at Stoney Acres at our reserved time after driving through miles of beautiful country side and picturesque farm lands.  You bring everything you need (plates, napkins, utensils, and beverages)  and the pizza is made in handmade pizza ovens that cook pizzas in two minutes at over 800 degrees.  You sit at communal tables and we just happened to sit with the parents of the pizza maker and owner of Stoney Acres and their close friends.  It was a banner night for me since I found out how this concept transpired and many details regarding their operation.  I could go on and on about how fantastic the night was and how delicious the pizzas are – but if you are ever in WI and looking for a wonderful food adventure, this is one stop you cannot miss!

Enjoying our communal table at the pizza farm.

Tony Schultz (owner of Stoney Acres) with the pizza peel in hand.

Fried Green Tomatoes Caprese Style

Caprese salad is typically layers of fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil.  When I was at the farmer’s market this past Saturday, I saw the abundance of green tomatoes.  I immediately thought of fried green tomatoes, this time with a caprese twist, Fried Green Tomatoes Caprese Style. Instead of frying the tomatoes with the traditional southern cornmeal crust,  I used ciabatta bread crumbs, italian seasonings and parmesan cheese.   Topped with fresh mozzarella, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. Perfect to serve with any grilled meat or fish.   A wonderful combination.

 

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Fried Green Tomato Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 large green tomatoes
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (I used ciabatta bread and made crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, minced in olive oil
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Slice the two tomatoes in 6 - 1/4-3/8 inch slices.  Combine bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl.  Mix together the egg and 2 tablespoons of water in another shallow bowl.  Dip each tomato slice in the egg mixture and then in the crumb mixture, pat each side of tomato so the crumbs adhere.  Remove to a wire rack and let sit for 15 minutes.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until bubbly around the edges.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Fry the tomatoes in the olive oil and butter until golden brown, 7 - 10 minutes per side, turn carefully.  Remove and place fried tomato slices on baking sheet.  (At this point, you can make ahead and keep the tomatoes on the baking sheet for up to one hour before baking) Top each tomato slice with a dollop of pesto, one slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, and one tablespoon of sun-dried tomatoes.  Ten minutes before serving, place baking dish in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are hot and the cheese has melted.   Serves 6.

It’s National Doughnut Day! Orange Glazed Doughnut Holes

I posted this recipe two year’s ago and it has been one of my most viewed recipes.  I thought it would be worth a repost today.  Just as good today as it was two years ago.

 

Did you know that tomorrow, June 5th is National Doughnut Day?  National Doughnut Day is traditionally celebrated the first Friday of June, which this year falls on June 5. The celebration was first established by the Chicago Salvation Army  to honor women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I and II. The organization’s “doughgirls” once delivered doughnuts to the “doughboys,” and in 1938 it was made an official thing.   What a great tradition to continue.  I know that all of the large doughnut chains are hyping the day and having doughnut specials.  Why not make doughnut holes at home?  This recipe will have you celebrating National Doughnut Day each year!

Here is one more piece of information worth noting.

The dictionary-approved spelling for the ring-shaped cake made of dough and fried in fat is doughnut. The shortened donut has been around since the late 1800s, but it wasn’t popularized until the late 20th century, when the successful American doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts made it ubiquitous. Today, writers outside the U.S. still favor doughnut by a wide margin. Donut appears about a third of the time in published American writing.

 

 orange glazed doughnut holes

 

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Orange Cucumber Mussels on the Half Shell

Mussels are one of our favorite dinners.  I typically cook a large pot of steaming mussels every Friday night.  They are perfect to cook after a busy week and there is nothing better than a pot of angry mussels, crusty bread and a great bottle of wine.  This time, I wanted to serve cold mussels as an appetizer.  Orange Cucumber Mussels on the Half Shell are so easy to make and a show stopper of an appetizer!  Steam the mussels in shallots and wine, remove the mussels from their shells, toss with orange and cucumber relish, load back into the shells and refrigerate until serving.  As a quick side note – when shopping for mussels, I always ask at the fish counter for the freshest bag of mussels they have, ask  ice to go and always keep the plastic bag open so they can breathe.

 

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Orange Cucumber Mussels on the Half Shell

Ingredients

  • 1 -2 pound bag mussels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 orange, finely diced, save the juice
  • 1 seedless cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 tomato, finely diced, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add shallot and garlic, cook 2 minutes stirring frequently.  Add white wine and bring mixture to a boil.  Add mussels and cook covered for approximately 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened.  Stir once or twice while the mussels are cooking.  Drain mussels in a colander.  Throw away any mussels that did not open. Remove mussels from their shells and place in a medium size mixing bowl.  Reserve shells.  Toss mussels with the orange, cucumber, tomato, and parsley.  Add the white wine vinegar and salt and pepper.  Refrigerate.  Rinse shells and place on a serving platter.  After the mussel mixture is chilled, approximately 2 hours, spoon one mussel into each shell half, top with some of the minced vegetables.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

When a friend gives you the cutest dessert plates that say The Best Things in Life Have Chocolate Chips, what is a food blogger to do but bake some chocolate chip cookies.   I just could not resist since I thought these dessert plates were just too cute.  The other plates in the box she gave me all have wonderful food sayings as well and I can’t wait to use them during my next dinner party.  My mom used to call this cookie recipe, Cowboy Cookies, not sure where the name came from.  I have since added dried cranberries to her original recipe, therefore the name change to Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies.  Any name you give these cookies, it is hard to eat just one.  I have to think the saying on the plate is pretty correct – The Best Things in Life Have Chocolate Chips!

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Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together shortening and sugars.  Add eggs, water and vanilla.  Add flour, baking soda and salt to the creamed mixture, mix well.  Add oats, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and walnuts until well combined.  Drop rounded teaspoons of dough on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes.  Remove and cool on racks.  Yields: 4 dozen cookies

Marion’s Orange Salad Dressing

I am so happy I found this recipe for Marion’s Orange Salad Dressing.  This is a recipe that my mom made for many year’s; she received this recipe from Marion, our next door neighbor.  Marion always recommended serving this over fresh sliced fruit.  I remember my mom always serving this drizzled on a bed of greens with sliced avocado and grapefruit.  My favorite way to serve this dressing is over blood orange slices, blueberries and avocado slices.  Any way you serve this dressing, it is fantastic.  Top your salad with a sprinkle of coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 

 

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Marion's Orange Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 orange, juiced and zested (1 teaspoon), approx. 2/3 cup juice
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested (1 teaspoon), approx. 1/2 cup juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Beat the egg until well beaten, add remaining ingredients including one teaspoon zest from lemon and orange.  Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat; stirring constantly until the mixture is boiling around the edges and thickened.  This will take 8 - 10 minutes.  Immediately remove from the heat.  Cool.  Refrigerate.

 

 

 

 

Fingerling Potato Picnic Salad

With Memorial Day around the corner, it is time to start thinking about picnics.  I have a fondness for picnics ever since I meet my husband and when we were dating we picnicked almost every weekend.  I wish I could tell you that that has continued, we still love to picnic, however, not as frequent as we would like.  But I still call eating on our porch, picnicking!  Anyway, this Fingerling Potato Picnic Salad is perfect to take along.  I know many do not like mayonnaise based dressings, this salad is topped with an herb sour cream dressing.   Fingerling Potato Picnic Salad is especially good served at room temperature.  Do not hesitate to add any other raw vegetables you might have on hand.  With the farmers’ markets opening, be on the lookout for farm fresh potatoes and vegetables. 

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Fingerling Potato Picnic Salad

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces fingerling potato medley, various colors
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro

Instructions

  1. Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch segments.  Add to a medium saucepan, cover with water, add one tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar.  Bring to a boil over high heat reduce heat, cover and cook until fork tender  15 - 18 minutes.  Drain potatoes and place in a shallow bowl, mix with 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar.  Cool to room temperature.  In a small bowl mix together mustard remaining 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, olive oil and chives.  Add cucumber and cilantro to the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss with dressing.  Mix well.  Serve at room temperature or refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature prior to serving.

 

Cheese Wafers

When we lived in Texas, cheese wafers were extremely popular snacks.  I think they are perfect with a glass of wine or add Cheese Wafers to any cheese and fruit tray.  Making Cheese Wafers is similar to making slice and bake cookies. I often divide the dough; bake one now and freeze the other cheese log to bake at a later date.  The sharp cheddar and Parmesan cheese are just the perfect combination.  I like to add a bit of cayenne pepper, you can certainly adjust the amount if you like a cracker with spice.  These are best if stored in an airtight container.

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Cheese Wafers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups flour

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until you have a smooth dough.  Turn dough out  onto 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Form into two logs approximately 1 inch in diameter.  Refrigerate logs for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Slice the logs into 1/4 inch slices.  Place on baking sheet and bake 30 minutes or until they begin to brown around the edges.  Cool.  Store in airtight container.  You can freeze the logs, just place in refrigerator to thaw overnight, slice and bake.