We just returned from the upper Midwest where the weather is beautiful, waters are wonderful and the farmers markets are at their peak. When in the Midwest, you absolutely have to try the fresh sweet corn. Abundant and oh so sweet, the ultimate taste of summer. After I purchased corn at the market, it was back to stir up this delicious salsa. I have to admit, it was so delicious, we just could not stop eating it! Great as an appetizer served with tortilla chips, but this salsa would be equally delicious along side grilled chicken or over fish tacos.
I cannot walk past a display of farm fresh ripe tomatoes this time of year. I am such a huge tomato fan, my husband is convinced that I could eat them everyday for every meal. He is pretty much on target with that comment. Tomato Toast is my latest tomato creation. Crispy grilled bread, cheese filling, topped with tomato slices – perfect for an appetizer or side dish.
I am a great fan of picnics. I think it dates back to when I first met my husband and we lived in Northern Michigan. Beautiful parks and lakes were abundant and we always packed a picnic and headed out to explore the area. A great picnic can consist of a run to the deli and a great bottle of wine or a few make ahead specialties that you can prepare in advance and serve cold or at room temperature. This Caramelized Onion Tart is picnic perfect. You can make early in the day and it is easy to transport. I like to pack a bottle of good balsamic vinegar to drizzle on just prior to serving.
The name explains it all – the pizza toppings are on the bottom and the crust is on top. You can add or substitute any pizza ingredients that you like. You simply pour over the crust batter and as it bakes it puffs and turns golden brown. Perfect to serve with a salad for a casual dinner.
You will find many versions of spiced nuts when shopping, how great it is to make your own in under ten minutes. These peanuts are a little salty, a little sweet, and a little spicy. They are quick to prepare and as the name says, perfect to serve along side your favorite cocktail.
Recipe #1 in the Spartan Oil #EVOOChallenge.
When challenged to create recipes using Spartan Oil Olive, I took the challenge with no hesitation. I use their olive oil in many of my recipes and always find the results outstanding. When testing these recipes, we hosted a party for eight, all of our guests serving as my “taste testers”. This proved to be a wonderful evening of great food, olive oil discussions and candid comments. As the week progresses, you will see my other EVOO challenge recipes.
Looking for a make ahead appetizer that you can make up to one week in advance? This appetizer is perfect with a great glass of wine or a cocktail. Serve the marinated cheese on crackers or baguette slices. If you have any leftover, you can refrigerate and it will be terrific in other recipes. Here are a few ideas: mix with warm pasta and roasted vegetables for a terrific pasta dish, spread on baguette slices and broil until bubbly or put the goat cheese in an oven safe ramekin and top with sun-dried tomatoes and bake in a 350 degree oven until melted, serve with crackers.
I don’t know about you but this is one exciting time of year – the football playoffs. Yes, if you know me well, you know that I am an avid fan and especially loyal to one Midwest NFL team. With the Super Bowl just weeks away and play-off games going on now – I thought it was time to post my Game Day Wing recipe. You can serve these with or without the classic ranch dressing on the side. If you like your wings “hotter”, just step up the amount of red pepper you add. These will definitely put you in the game day mood. Cheers for those pigskins!
This is one of my favorite make ahead appetizer recipes. This recipe can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 10 days. This vegetarian pate is delicious served with water crackers. Perfect to serve during the holidays.
Kitchen tip of the day – Ever wonder how to clean mushrooms?
How to Clean Mushrooms: the Wiping Method
- Using a damp paper towel, gently wipe away any visible dirt or grit, working with one mushroom at a time. Use a soft brush or fold a paper towel into a tip to gently remove any debris from delicate gills.
How to Clean Mushrooms (Except Morels): the Rinsing Method
- Mushrooms with a significant amount of dirt, or those that contain grit in hard-to-reach places, may be lightly and quickly rinsed with cool water. Contact with water should be kept to a minimum to avoid waterlogged mushrooms that won’t brown nicely or readily take on seasoning. Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_1352_clean-mushrooms.html
My featured recipe in CEO Magazine for December is Hot Cheese Puffs – you can check out the recipe in this month’s issue of CEO Magazine ( I have pasted the link below); I have also posted the recipe below. .
I can attribute my cooking skills and entertaining skills to my mother. She was an amazing cook with a flair for entertaining. I remember my parents hosting large parties throughout the holiday season. One of the things my mother was a master of was preparing things in advance. This enables you to enjoy your holiday party with the prep work complete. Hot Cheese Puffs was one of her go-to recipes. I think you will agree these are quick to prepare, store in the freezer and then bake when you need them. They are like eating a cube of bread dipped in the most luscious fondue.
Hot Cheese Puffs
1 loaf French bread
1 – 3 oz. package cream cheese
¼ lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces of butter (1/2 cup)
2 eggs whites, beaten stiff
Remove crust from French bread and cut into 1” cubes. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, cream cheese and cheddar cheese over medium low heat, stirring frequently. When creamy, carefully fold in beaten egg whites. Dip cubes into mixture and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze. When frozen, place in a plastic bag and store in the freezer. When ready to serve – preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake puffs for approx. 8 minutes until puffed and golden.