I love this tangy and refreshing soup in the summer! You can serve it as a light lunch or serve it as an appetizer at your next summer BBQ. This is my version of the recipe I recently found in The NY Times from Chef Brian Streeter at Cakebread Cellers. Here it is!
Serves 8 (or 12 if appetizer portions)
1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped*
3 cups watermelon, cut in 1 inch cubes
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 large red pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 bulb fennel, coarsely chopped
1/4 – 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
2 T. Extra virgin Olive Oil
3 T sherry vinegar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 T finely diced watermelon (optional for garnish)
To make tomatoes easy to peel, fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill a separate bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes to create an ice bath while water boils. Make a small X with a sharp knife in the bottom of the tomatoes just enough to penetrate the skin. Gently place the tomatoes in the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes from the pot and place in the ice bath. You can now easily peel the tomatoes. Next, seed and coarsely chopped them and place in a large bowl. Place all the other fruits and vegetables in the large bowl together.
In a blender, in batches, puree all the ingredients except the last two ingredients (salt and watermelon garnish). add a little bit of ice water (about 1 cup) to achieve a soup-like consistency. Season with salt, taste and add a little more vinegar if necessary. Chill Thoroughly.
Divide the soup among eight cold bowls or 12 small appetizer cups. Garnish each serving with a spoonful f diced watermelon. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if desired and serve.
This tangy sauce provides the perfect balance of heat, acidity, savoriness and sweetness to dumplings. It can also be used over noodles, wontons or mixed with fried tofu. My dear friend Bini taught me how to make home made dumplings for Lunar New Year several years ago. It’s a lot of work but oh, so fun to do with a big group of friends. I cheat and buy frozen dumplings in the freezer section of my grocery store to save time. They are not as delicious as Bini’s but ALOT easier. Freezer-section dumplings come in chicken, pork or vegetable varieties and are the key to an easy weeknight meal (or a great party appetizer).
Pair the dumplings with this tasty sauce and you’ll be hooked!
2 tbsp water or broth from dumplings (if boiling dumplings)
1 tbsp Chile garlic sauce (I use “Tuong Ot Toi Vietnam” or you can use Go Chu Jang which is a Korean chili pepper sauce)
1/2 tbsp chili oil
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chinese black vinegar (or Worcester sauce)
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp minced garlic
chopped fresh scallions (cut on a diagonal)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
12 pieces store-bought or handmade dumplings
Wash and chop the fresh ingredients (cilantro, scallions, garlic)
2. Mix all except the last ingredient (dumplings) together in a small bowl.
3. Prepare handmade or store-bought frozen dumplings based on your preference (steamed or pan-fried). The package often tells you how to prepare them. Check out the process at the end of this post on steaming and pan frying dumplings.
4. Pour the sauce over the plated dumplings and garnish with more scallions and cilantro. You can also dip the dumplings into the sauce if you prefer. Adjust the chili oil or chili garlic sauce to your heat preference. Enjoy!
Preparing Chinese Dumplings
Boiling (option 1)
Fill a pot two-thirds with water and bring to a boil.
Add the dumplings, so they can fit in a single layer.
Cook them until they float (about three minutes)
Fish them out of the pot and drain them.
Pan Frying (option 2)
Using a small amount of oil, you can pan fry frozen dumplings. Cooking frozen dumplings is a process that takes between 20 and 25 minutes and is best done with a non-stick pan with a thick heavy bottom to distribute the heat better.
Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pan and heat on medium-high heat.
Add the frozen dumplings and cook for 2-4 minutes on each side. Don’t move them too much. You just want them browned.
Add boiling water to cover half the height of the dumplings and bring to a boil.
Cover the pan and let the dumplings steam until their bases are golden and the water has almost evaporated.
I recently went blueberry picking for the first time while visiting my sister and her family in VT over the summer. We stumbled upon the Organic Sunshine Valley Berry Farm right off the Vermont Route 100. They gave us a blue bucket and pointed us to the rows of blueberries just ripe and ready for picking.
You may not know this but blueberries have several health benefits along with being a tasty treat. They boost memory, support heart health and are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and fiber. That little adventure to the Berry Farm inspired me to share one of my favorite pizza recipes that boasts beautiful and sweet blueberries. This savory pizza is oh so good! I often make it for special occasions during blueberry season because it both pretty and tasty. But don’t feel you have to reserve it for just special times – It’s easy, has just a handful of ingredients, and is delicious too.
Blueberry, Feta and Carmelized Onion Flatbread
1cupthinly sliced red onion
pinchred pepper flakes
1/2cupfeta cheese, crumbled
1cupblueberries, rinsed and dried
micro greens or baby arugula
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the naan/flatbread on the baking sheet and lightly spray or brush with water. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium low heat. Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt to taste and red pepper flakes. Cook the onions until it is wilted, about 3-5 minutes and stir in the honey, and continue to cook a fe more minutes letting the onions caramelize. Remove from heat.
While the onions cook, stir the ricotta and feta cheese in a small bowl. Spread the ricotta mixture over the naan/flatbread, and top with the honey caramelized onions. Sprinkle the blueberries on top.
Place the naan pizzas into the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the blueberries are just about ready to burst, the cheese has softened, and the naan is toasted. Remove from oven, cut into squares or slices, sprinkle with arugula and enjoy immediately.
My dear sorority sister shared this festive holiday soup recipe with me. Vichyssoise is usually served cold but this is terrific served hot, cold or at room temperature. It is a perfect first course for your next holiday gathering. You can have a pot simmering on the stove and your guests will be coming back for more. Thank you Teddy for sharing this yumminess! It is my new favorite!
Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour Makes approximately 10 cups (serves 6-8 in bowls or 20 in small appetizer glasses)
6 Tbsp butter
3 medium leeks (white and light green parts only, thinly spliced crosswise)
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes (the smaller the chop, the faster they cook)
5 cups water
3 cups of apple juice or cider
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 cup heavy whipping cream (unwhipped)
Chopped fresh chives for garnish
1 apple, julienne (cut into sticks) for garnish
1 Melt butter: In a large (6-quart) pot or saucepan, heat the butter on medium high heat until it melts and foams up.
2 Sauté leeks and onions: Toss in the sliced leeks and onions and salt. Stir to coat with the butter. Cook for several minutes, reducing the heat to medium, until the leeks and onions are translucent and softened. Then stir in white wine and simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated.
3 Add potatoes, water and apple juice and bring to simmer. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked through. Remove from heat.
4 Purée until smooth: Purée using an immersion blender or working in batches, blend in a regular blender. (Careful! With hot liquids only fill the blender 1/3 of the way full, and hold the blender top on with your hand while blending.) Purée until completely smooth, then return the soup to the pot.
5 Cool and stir in sour cream and heavy cream: Allow to cool a bit before stirring in the sour cream and heavy whipping cream. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Add more liquid if needed for desired thickness. Season with more salt if needed.
6 Serve warm in bowls or glasses: If serving warm, pour into bowls or glasses and garnish with chives and julienned apple on top. As an alternative, allow to cool completely and chill in the refrigerator if desired. The soup can be served just below room temperature (maybe 65°F or 18°C).
PSST! You can swap out heavy whipping cream for 1/2 & 1/2 for a lighter version of this rich and delicious soup with no loss in taste.
I’ve added my own little twist to the old time favorite Chex Mix around the holidays. This party mix can even be enjoyed by your guests with dietary restrictions or gluten free preferences. It’s a modified recipe from the original Chex Mix. I nix the Wheat Chex, use gluten free pretzels, and also add my own little twist. Your guests will be coming back for more so you might want to make two batches!
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion power
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup pretzels (gluten-free versions available from Snyder’s or Snack Factory)
1 cup fancy mixed nuts
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
1. Melt butter in a 13X9 in baking dish in a 250 degree oven.
2. Remove dish from oven and stir in the seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
3. Add cereals, pretzels and nuts and stir until coated.
4. Bake @ 250 degrees for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes or so.
5. Remove from the oven and cool (if you can keep your family from nibbling)
6. Store in an airtight jar or large ziplock bag.
Looking for a healthy low carb appetizer for your next party? Try this simple recipe. It has just 4 ingredients and is a perfect snack or appetizer. Dried apricots topped with creamy goat cheese, nutty pistachios and just a drizzle of honey make a perfect combination.
18 dried apricots (I like the larger Turkish ones)
2 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
1-2 T of honey, for drizzling
Place apricots on a platter or serving tray
With the back of a spoon, spread a small dollop of goat cheese onto each apricot
Sprinkle a pinch or two of crushed pistachios onto each
Drizzle with honey*
Tip: To avoid putting too much honey on each apricot bite, place honey in a ziplock plastic baggy. Cut off a small corner of the baggie and squeeze honey from the hole onto each apricot to add just the amount of sweetness to each bite.
Creds to Jess @ jessfuel.com for this yummy recipe. Her recipe is for a larger crowd and yields 3 dozen of these yummy treats. I simply cut the recipe in half. Check out all her other easy recipes.
I stumbled upon this recipe for Moroccan Lamb Meatballs and made it last night after browsing Pinterest and I will definitely make these flavor packed meatballs again. These lamb meatballs are simple to make and there are some fabulous spices in them. I served them with a simple salad and homemade yogurt sauce. Store-bought Tzatziki is great too. Shout out to Claire @Sprinklesandsprouts for the recipe.
Prep Time: 15mins
Cook Time: 5mins
Total Time: 20 mins
1small onion (I used a red onion)
1sliceof white bread ( I used a slice of whole wheat bread)
1/2tspcracked black pepper
2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
500g/1.1lb lamb mince(ground lamb)
Peel the onion and garlic and place them in a food processor, then blitz until you have an onion mush. Use a spatula to push the mixture down from the sides.
Crack in the egg and pulse mix until you have an egg mush.
Remove the crusts from the bread, rip it into small pieces and add it to the food processor.
Measure in the cinnamon, oregano, parsley, cumin, allspice, paprika, smoked paprika, black pepper and salt, then pulse chop until everything is well mixed. Remove the blade.
Place the ground lamb in a medium bowl. Add the mixture from the food processor using a spatula. Use your hands to squish and squash the mixture together until it is well mixed.
Once the mixture is well mixed, use two teaspoons to measure out a ball of mixture. Roll it around in your hands and then set the ball aside on cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
I aim for 36 meatballs.
Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan. Once it is smoking hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the meatballs. (Use a screen to prevent splatters and ease in cleanup).
Cook for 2 minutes and then roll them all about to cook the other sides. They will take about 5 minutes in total to cook.
Hint: I have a pretty packed spice cabinet so I had all the ingredients. If you don’t, you can take a shortcut and buy spice mix. Williams-Sonoma has Ras El Hanout in a jar that has a similar but not equal combination of moroccan spices that you could use instead. Just replace the cinnamon, cumin, allspice, paprika and smoked paprika and pepper with 1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon of Ras El Hanout.
Sometimes you just need something sweet and crunchy. It’s tempting to reach for something pre-packaged that’s easy and tasty but makes you feel guilty right after you put it in your mouth. Not these. They are crunchy and satisfying while also being high in nutrition Get your snack fix with this easy to prepare treat that you can feel good about.