Tag Archives: Recipes

POACHED PEAR SALAD WITH PINOT NOIR VINAIGRETTE

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Ohh man, this salad. I just ate this salad, right before I wrote this blog post. It was seriously delicious.

To be truthful, this is a little more involved than the average dinner salad. It’s not difficult, but there’s more steps. That’s where all the flavor comes from! Flavor building steps.

Even so, it’s not difficult. Beautiful autumn pears are peeled and tossed into a bath of warm, sweet, spiced red wine. I used Pinot Noir, but you can use whatever red you have on hand. They cook down for about a half hour, but this step can be done way in advance of plating your salads.
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We’re not done with the wine after the pear-wine pool party. I take using wine for uses other than consumption seriously, and waste as little as possible. I suppose it’s a principle residual from college.

We reduce that wine down and use it as the base for the perfectly complimentary dressing for this salad. Done and done.

Sweet pears with a hint of red wine pair with tangy blue cheese like you wouldn’t believe. This is a really classic pairing, and if you haven’t tried it before this is the perfect place to start.
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This is a perfect salad to have before a really easy main dish. We had it while some pre-seasoned salmon baked in the oven.

It’s also the perfect thing to bring to a friend’s house for dinner as your contribution to the meal. Poach the pears and remove the cores beforehand. Slice the onion and prepare the dressing, then pack it all up and prepare to impress.
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POACHED PEAR SALAD WITH PINOT NOIR VINAIGRETTE

Makes 4 small salads

Ingredients
4 pears, peeled (I used Bosc pears)
1 whole grapefruit
1 1/2 cups red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
4 large handfuls mixed greens
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. minced shallot
salt and pepper

Instructions
Slice the grapefruit in half. Squeeze the juice from one half into a large sauce pot. Add the red wine, water, sugar, cloves, and allspice berries to the pot. Add the peeled pears and place over medium heat. The pears should be at least half way submerged.

Let the pears simmer in the wine mixture for 30 minutes or until they are fork tender and the outsides turn pink. Stir the mixture and rotate the pears ever 5-10 minutes to keep from burning and to keep them cooking evenly in the wine.

When they are finished, remove the pears to cool on a plate. Raise the heat under the wine mixture and let reduce to at least half, about 15 minutes. Let the reduced wine mixture cool to room temperature.

When ready to plate your salads: squeeze the juice of the remaining grapefruit half into a mixing cup. Remove and seeds and add 1 cup of the reduced red wine mixture, the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and minced shallot.

Arrange four small plates, and to each add: a large handful of mixed greens, 1/4 of the sliced red onion, 2 tbsp. blue cheese, and 1 tbsp. chopped walnuts. Slice each pear in half and use a melon baller or paring knife to remove the core and seeds. Slice into 1/4-inch sliced and lay half a pear on each salad.

Stir the dressing again if it has separated and drizzle over each salad. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy immediately.

GRILLED PEACH AND PROSCIUTTO PIZZA

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Alright guys, I think this is my last call for peaches…this summer, anyway. Now that we’ve got the cocktail and the dessert, this Grilled Peach and Prosciutto Pizza is completing the peach trifecta.

What is the peach trifecta, you ask?

Nothing, I just made it up right now. Moving on.
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If you’re really not into the close of summer, this pizza is for you. Fresh peaches are grilled till they’ve got beautiful grill marks. That gives them a deeper flavor and makes them look pretty.

Salty Prosciutto comes in to balance out that sweetness. Have you had prosciutto on pizza before? It’s like fancy, paper-thin bacon. It crisps up so nicely. It’s the best.

The unsung hero of this pizza is really the bottom layer of goat cheese. It’s gently warmed to become nice and spreadable and flavored with honey and thyme. Ah-may-zing.
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We’re not using too much and not just dropping huge dollops on top, so it’s fairly subtle. Which can be hard to achieve in the goat cheese department. It’s still there, but playing as much of a supporting role as diva goat cheese is capable of doing.

This is such a perfect end of summer meal. If you’re craving it in the winter, though, just defrost some frozen peaches and throw them onto a grill pan. It’ll be like summer vacation in your slippers.
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GRILLED PEACH AND PROSCIUTTO PIZZA

Ingredients
Pizza Topping:
Makes enough for one 10-inch pizza
1 peach
2 oz. soft goat cheese
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
3-4 slices prosciutto
4-5 large basil leaves, chopped
aged balsamic vinegar, for topping.

Pizza Dough:
Makes enough for two 10-inch pizzas
1 tsp. dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions
If making your own pizza dough: Combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer* and mix with a fork until the water becomes cloudy. Add the flour and salt and mix slowly with the paddle attachment until a wet dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook attachment and kneed the dough for about 3-5 minutes. It should be tacky and elastic. If it is too sticky, add more flour 1 tbsp. at a time.

Pull the dough out of the bowl and set aside. Add 1-2 tbsp. olive oil to the bowl and put the dough back in. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 90 minutes. Once it’s risen you can either use the dough immediately, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze it.

To make the pizza: Place a pizza stone in the center of your oven and preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Make sure your pizza dough is at room temperature. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Cut an “x” in the bottom of the peach through the skin. Place the peach in the boiling water for 60 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon. Once it’s cool enough to handle, peel the skin off the peach.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Slice the peaches in 1/8-inch slices. Grill each slice until dark char-marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Place the goat cheese in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 15 seconds. If the cheese isn’t spreadable after 15 seconds, heat for another 10 seconds on medium heat. Add the olive oil, honey, and time and mix to combine.

Gently work your pizza dough into a rough circle and place on a piece of parchment pizza. Evenly spread the goat cheese over the dough, leaving a border for crust. Evenly distribute the peaches. Use your hands to tear to prosciutto into 3-4 pieces per slice and place around the peaches.

Use a pizza peel to slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately top with the chopped fresh basil. Drizzle with the aged balsamic and enjoy immediately!

If you don’t own a stand mixer, you can mix the dough by hand in a large bowl and and kneed 5-10 minutes on a floured surface. Oil the bowl and return the bowl to rest.

SPICY BLACK BEAN ENCHILADA DIP

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not-so-subtly building up my arsenal of football season snacks. (See here and here.) It’s quite deliberate, actually. And this Spicy Black Bean Enchilada Dip is another winner for your game-day menu!

I’m not kidding about the spicy part, though. The chipotle chiles in adobo sauce juuust might make your nose run. That means it’s good, though, right? Right.

(If spicy is not your thing just skip the chipotle chiles! That’s where all the heat comes from.)

It’s not all fiery, though. All that heat is balances out by flavors of black beans, sweet corn, and mild green chiles. Plus some roasted tomato, red onion, and garlic. All the best things get stirred up and baked in the oven until warm and gooey.
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Oh yeah, gooey….that’s because (obviously) there’s a ton of cheese in here! Gooey, melty, yummy cheese.

I couldn’t decide if the cheese would be better in the dip or on top.

So I put it in the dip. And then I put some more on top.

That’s just how I roll.
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This dip is vegetarian. But, if you’re a meat enthusiast, feel free to stir in some shredded chicken before baking. Totally allowed. It can be made earlier in the day and then warmed up in the oven!

Just be careful bringing it to a party as it will likely make you lots of friends.

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SPICY BLACK BEAN ENCHILADA DIP

Ingredients
3 vine-ripened or roma tomatoes
1 large red onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 7-oz. can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 bunch cilantro
2 15-oz. cans black beans (divided), drained and rinsed
1 8.5-oz. can corn, drained and rinsed
1 4-oz. can mild green chiles
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt to taste
4 cups grated cheddar cheese (1-1 1/2 blocks)

sliced avocado, for topping
tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a skillet over medium heat.

Slice the tomatoes into 3 slices each. Add the olive oil to the hot skillet, and then carefully add the tomato slices to the pan. Cook until slightly golden, about 3 minutes per side.

While the tomatoes cook, cut the onion into 1-2 inch chunks. Once the tomatoes are done cooking, add the tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Place the onion into the hot skillet and cook until just golden, about 5-6 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the onions and sauté for 1 minute. Remove the onions and garlic to the food processor with the tomatoes.

Add the canned chiles and their sauce to the food processor. Add the cumin, oregano, and salt. Pulse a few times until the mixture is chunky but without any large pieces of onion. Add 1 can of the black beans and a handful of cilantro to the food processor and pulse a few more times.

Remove the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the remaining black beans, corn, and green chiles. Stir in 2 cups of the cheddar cheese, and move the mixture to a large baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve warm with tortilla chips and topped with sliced avocado.

SHRIMP AND SAUSAGE OVER CREAMY POLENTA

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Mmmm comfort food. Filling and satisfying and all the other good things. I know it’s summertime and it’s hot and even kind of sticky in some places, but that still does not make comfort food any less comforting.

This Shrimp and Sausage over Creamy Polenta is kind of a play on southern shrimp and grits. The flavors are much more Italian, though, with a chunky tomato sauce loaded with fresh thyme and oregano.

It’s comfort food to the max.
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I don’t cook with a lot of meat, but sausage is one of my favorites to use when I do. It’s so flavorful when browned in a hot pan. You could easily substitute in vegan sausages if you want. Or add veggies. Or just make this sauce with shrimp only.

Or just skip the sauce and eat a whole pot of polenta. I would totally understand if you just did that instead.
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Believe it or not, this was the first time I’d ever made creamy polenta! It was way easier than I expected and somewhat similar to making rice. I found this article to be super helpful!

I didn’t add a ton of cheese, which is somewhat shocking for me. But I really just wanted enough to give the polenta a little extra salt flavor. This whole meal came together in under an hour, and was pretty stress-free. It’s a great choice if you’re cooking for friends at home!
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SHRIMP AND SAUSAGE OVER CREAMY POLENTA

Serves 4

Ingredients
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb. Italian sausage (I used mild)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

4 cups water
1 cup polenta
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prick your sausages in a few places with a fork and place them on the sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the sausages bake, bring a pot with the 4 cups of water to boil over medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the salt. Whisk the water and slowly stream in the polenta. Keep whisking as the mixture thickens.

Once it thickens to the point that the polenta does not fall to the bottom if you stop stirring (about 3 minutes) turn the heat to low-medium. Keep whisking another 2-3 minutes as the polenta continues to thicken. Place a lid over the pot and set a timer for 30 minutes. Then, every 10 minutes stir the polenta with a rubber or wooden spatula, being sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot.

By the time you place the lid on the polenta, the sausage should be done baking. Heat a skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Slice the sausage into 1/2 inch pieces. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to the hot pan and then add the sausage.

Once the sausage starts to brown, add the diced onion. Cook the sausage and onion for another 5 minutes or so, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute, and then the diced tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium and let the sauce cook down a little bit.

Once the timer goes off on your polenta, remove from heat. Stir in the butter and cheese until melted. Stir the shrimp into the tomato sauce and place a lid on that pot. Remove the lid once the shrimp are cooked, about 4-6 minutes. Remove the pot from heat.

Ladle about 1 cup of polenta into the middle of each dish and top with the shrimp and sausage sauce. Garnish with fresh thyme as desired. Serve immediately, paired with a light red wine like Pinot Noir.

PIZZA PRETZELS

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Ohh man, guys. It’s back to reality for me today. If you follow me on Instagram (@boxesandjars.com) you know I just spent a super long weekend at the Jersey Shore visiting my family.

Long story short, it was great. And instead of getting back to work, I’d really rather sit back and just have a beer.

And what’s better with a beer than a hot pretzel? Except maybe pizza…sooo…

I just decided to go ahead and roll them into one. Like, literally roll them. InoYou guys, I made Pizza Pretzels!
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We make a traditional pretzel dough, roll it out into long skinny rectangles, fill ‘er up, seal ‘er shut, and bake them to perfection. After boiling in a little baking soda/water potion, of course. Did you know that’s what makes pretzels so pretzely? Baking soda is magic.

I made these pretzels with just tomato sauce and cheese, but you can stick more fun stuff in there if you want. Try pepperoni!
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Whatever you try, don’t overstuff. We want to keep everybody inside the pretzel. I also recommend making sure all of your filling is finally chopped to make the pretzel-folding part easier.

Make these for football game watching or for a fun dinner. Make them to hoard or make them to share. Make them for an excuse to drink some beer.
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PIZZA PRETZELS

Makes 4 large pretzels

Ingredients
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking soda
1/2 cup tomato sauce, divided, plus extra for dipping
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tbsp butter
garlic powder, dried oregano, and sea salt for topping

Instructions
Add the water, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer* and froth with a fork to combine. Let sit for about 5 minutes while the mixture becomes foamy. Add the flour and salt and mix with the dough hook attachment on the lowest speed. Once the dough comes together, move up to a medium speed. Gradually add 1/4 cup to a half cup more flour to allow the dough to come together into a sticky ball.

After about five minutes it should be smooth, but still fairly sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Once the dough is ready, divide it into 4 equal pieces. One by one, roll each piece out into a rectangle about 24 inches long and 4 inches wide. Evenly spread about 2 tbsp. of tomato sauce in a thin layer along one edge of the dough, lengthwise, leaving about 2 inches bare at each end. Lightly top the sauce with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Starting at the edge with the sauce and cheese, gently roll the dough up to seal the sauce and cheese inside. Wet your finger tips with water and gently pinch the seam to make sure it stays shut. Carefully shape the dough into pretzel shapes and place 2-3 inches apart on an oiled baking sheet to rest for 20 minutes.

While the pretzels rest, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Just as the water starts to boil, add the baking soda. Once the pretzels have rested, one by one boil each in the water for 1-2 minutes per side. The longer you boil, the browner your pretzels will get.

Once they have been boiled, return the pretzels to the baking sheet. Melt the butter in the microwave and brush each pretzel liberally with the melted butter. Top with garlic powder, dried oregano, and sea salt as desired.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned. Let cool about 5 minutes, then serve with a side of warm tomato sauce.

*If you don’t own a stand mixer, you can mix the dough by hand in a large bowl and and kneed on a floured surface. Return the bowl to rest.

TORTELLINI SALAD WITH SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO

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Is it weird to really love cold tortellini? Like at least as much, maybe more than warm tortellini? You can just keep popping them in your mouth like popcorn, one after the next.

Of course, that’s also a really easy way to eat a pound of cheese-filled pasta by yourself without realizing it. I’m not saying I recommend it…but it sure is great. When I was a kid my mom used to cook extra tortellini at dinner and put the leftovers in a tupperware container in my lunch the next day. Best mom ever!

Even so, I digress.
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As great as plain, cold tortellini is (to weirdos like me), it’s about a hundred times better in this delicious tortellini salad! Sun dried tomato pesto comes together super fast in a food processor. It’s sweet, and salty, and tangy and awesome. The whole flavor is rounded out by some sliced artichokes and chopped kalamata olives.

I got my olives and artichokes from the fresh olive bar at my grocery store, but both are easily found in not-so-perishable forms too. That makes it super easy keep everything on hand and throw this together as a last minute meal.
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This pasta salad is a delicious side to complement any BBQ or grilled fish. It’s crazy easy to pull together but will impress your friends nonetheless. It’s also an awesome summertime main dish for when you need something substantial but cold.

Enjoy it beside a fresh green salad or don’t, but just tell everyone at work tomorrow that’s exactly what happened. No one will know.
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TORTELLINI SALAD WITH SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO

Makes 6-8 side servings, serves 3-4 as a meal

Ingredients
22 oz. frozen cheese tortellini
1 cup dry sun dried tomatoes
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 large cloves garlic
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnut halves
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 cup marinate artichoke hearts, sliced
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
fresh basil and parmesan cheese for topping

Instructions
Cook the tortellini according to package instructions and set aside in a large bowl to cool. While the pasta cooks and cools, make the pesto: place the sun dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parmesan cheese, walnuts, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until the ingredients are finely chopped and then slowly stream in the olive oil. If the pesto is too dry or pasty add more olive oil 1 tbsp. at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Once the pesto is ready, add it to the tortellini along with the sliced artichoke hearts and olives. Stir with a rubber spatula until all the tortellini is coated in the pesto and the artichokes and olives are evenly dispersed. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. Serve topped with fresh chopped basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

CRAB FRITTER TACOS

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So crab cakes are kind of my thing. I make a really mean crab cake. They’re one of the reasons John married me. Just one of many, but a reason none the less.

So what’s this East Coast girl to do when she moves faaarrrr away form Maryland and even the West Coast Dungeness crab meat is about $30 per pound? Sure as hell not make crab cakes.
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So while thinking about creative ways to stretch my crab meat, I was also thinking about tacos. Because I’m thinking about tacos about 50% of the time. Pretty much anytime I’m not thinking about pizza I’m thinking about tacos.

And so, these crab fritter tacos were born! Good thing, too, because I’m pretty sure these crab fritters are way better in a taco than they would be on a pizza. That actually sounds pretty gross.
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Anyway. Moving on.

A little bonus in this recipe is the secret to making quick pickled onions! You’ll likely have more than you need for the tacos, so use the rest on sandwiches…or just make more tacos. They’re a super tangy compliment to creamy avocado. We’re tying things together with a simple spicy mayo, and down the hatch it goes!
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CRAB FRITTER TACOS

Makes about 10 tacos

Ingredients

For the Crab Fritters:
8 -10 oz. lump crab meat
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4-1/8 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
4-5 dashes hot sauce (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2-1 cup vegetable oil

For the Quick Picked Onions:
1 red onion
3/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Optional flavoring: 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme, 5 black peppercorns, 1 clove garlic, halved

To assemble:
corn or flour tortillas, taco sized
1 avocado, halved and sliced
equal parts mayonnaise and hot sauce
lime wedges

Instructions
First, make the pickled onions: fill a kettle with water and set on high heat to boil. Fill a jar or plastic container with the vinegar, sugar, salt, and flavorings. Slice the onion in half, and then slice each half about 1/4-inch thick. Place the onions in a mesh strainer or sieve over your sink.

Once the water boils, slowly pour it over the onions. Carefully move the onions into the container with the vinegar and stir to combine. Place the lid on and store in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest, at least 30 minutes.

To make the crab fritters, add all the ingredients except the oil to a medium mixing bowl. Gently fold together with a rubber spatula, careful not to over-mix the crab. Use your hands to shape the crab into oval-shaped patties, about 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches long. Place on a plate and into the refrigerator to chill.

While the crab fritters chill heat a skillet pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil, filling it about 1/2 inch deep. Wait a minute or two and add a very small bit of the crab mixture to make sure the oil is hot enough to cook. When it’s ready, add a few fritters, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook in batches until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cool slightly on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Warm your tortillas if/as desired – in the microwave or on a grill pan. Mix the mayonnaise and hot sauce together to make a sauce. Fill each tortilla with 2-3 fritters,top with avocado, pickled onions, and spicy mayo. Squeeze with a fresh lime. Enjoy immediately!

SINGLE SERVE SANGRIA

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Do you ever get tired of wine?

Wait, that’s a silly question. Of course you don’t. Let me rephrase: do you ever want to spice it up a little? Come home from work and want more than just the same-old weeknight glass of Pinot Grigio or Merlot?

It definitely feels like a bit much to mix up an entire batch of sangria (but if you do, try this one!) for these occasions. Lucky for you, there’s a better way.

This Single Serve Sangria is not only an excellent use of alliteration, but also a perfect solution to nights (or afternoons) that don’t warrant a full pitcher, and it will definitely still satisfy! It’s also great if you and a bud can’t agree on whether to go with white or red. To each their own!

This recipe is about as basic as it gets, but you can totally look at it as a starting point. It will get the job done as is, but substituting or adding different fruit juices can be awesome! Substituting peach schnapps for the triple sec will take you to a whole new level.

It’s true, this may not have the same fruit “developed flavor” as a pitcher of deliciousness that hangs out in your fridge overnight. But when it’s crunch time, this is your best option. And really, who doesn’t feel a little safer with an emergency sangria recipe up their sleeve?
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SINGLE SERVE SANGRIA

Makes 1 drink

Instructions
1 cup wine of your choosing (red or white)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp. brandy
1 tbsp. triple sec

Optional: sliced citrus fruit or berries for garnish

Instructions
Fill a glass with ice and pour all the ingredients over the top. Toss the mixture back and forth into another cup 2-3 times. Garnish with fruit as desired and enjoy immediately!

BALSAMIC TOMATO JAM CROSTINI

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I had a little party for a few lady friends the other night. Nothing crazy, just some wine and some snacks. One of the best kinds of Tuesday nights if you ask me!

But it’s worth noting that it was about 90 degrees outside.

I’m absolutely loving how much more tolerable a Rocky Mountain 90 degrees is than an East Coast Swamp 90 degrees. However, it’s still oven-free territory, which meant snacks that could be made without turning on the oven and could be enjoyed cold or at room temperature.

The second fastest way to kill a party is to heat up your apartment on an already hot day and then serve hot food. (The first, of course, is to run out of booze.)
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These Creamy Pesto Crostini were already a no-brainer. I wanted something that would pair nicely with them and be just as easy, and thus this balsamic tomato jam was born!

This takes a little bit of time to come together only because the tomatoes need to cook down for about an hour and then cool slightly. But, it can be made days in advance whenever you have that kind of time. Once the tomatoes are chopped it’s really just some stirring. Done and done.

Spoon it onto some toasted baguette slices and you’re in business. Top with a little Parmesan cheese as the salty to the balsamic tomato jam sweetness and everyone will think you are super fancy. Spread any leftovers onto sandwiches…or just eat it with a spoon.
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BALSAMIC TOMATO JAM CROSTINI

Ingredients
6 vine-ripened or plum tomatoes (about 2 lbs), cored and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for brushing the baguette
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1 French baguette
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

Instructions
Heat a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then the finely diced onion. Sauté the onion until it starts to break down and become translucent, about 8 minutes. Before the onion starts to brown, add the garlic and sauté for one minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir combine and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes and then reduce the heat. Let the mixture simmer until it becomes very thick. Timing will depending on how much liquid your tomatoes have – mine took about 1 hour. Stir every 15-20 minutes and then more frequently towards the end to make sure the tomatoes do not burn.

The jam is done cooking when it reaches the consistency of a very thick stew. It may seem a little too liquid, but it will thicken even more as it cools. (If you find that it has not thickened enough, just put it back on the stove to reduce for another 20 minutes or so.) Let cool to room temperature and set aside until ready to assemble your crostini.

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Slice the baguette into 1/4-inch slices and brush each side with olive oil. (This is a good time to use infused oil if you have it!) Grill the bread slices until it has dark charred marks, about 3-5 minutes per side.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the tomato jam onto each crostini. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy immediately!

MINI MATCHA ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

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So I guess it’s only fair if I start off by telling you the title of this recipe is a lie. This isn’t actually ice cream.

BUT…stay with me…

If you’ve ever dreamt of having ice cream sandwiches for breakfast, this might be the recipe for you! That because the ice cream is actually whipped frozen bananas. Have you seen that one-ingredient ice cream floating around the web and on Pinterest? This is the one. With a few extras.
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Seriously, whether you are dairy-free, looking for healthier dessert alternatives, or just want to eat ice cream for breakfast, I highly recommend you try this at least once. It’s crazy how the “ice cream” just kind of…happens!

Admittedly, halfway through the blending process I started having those “oh no, this is so not going to work…now what am I going to post?” feels. Those are some of my least favorite feels. But, I persevered, and next thing I knew, there it was.

If you want to go big, make yourself some homemade ginger cookies. I did not do this. Usually my cravings for ice cream sandwiches and baking cookies do not collide.

These would be such a fun treat to bring to a summer BBQ. Either bring them already assembled (and frozen), or bring the “ice cream” and cookies separately so people can make their own.

And then eat them all.
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MINI MATCHA ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Makes 2 dozen mini sandwiches

Ingredients
2 large bananas
2 tsp. matcha green tea powder
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp. honey
48 mini ginger cookies (the softer the better)

Instructions
Peel and slice the bananas and place in a plastic container or freezer bag. Freeze for at least 4 hours or until completely frozen.

Combine the matcha powder with the milk and stir vigorously with a fork or baby whisk. Dissolve as much of the matcha powder as you can.

Add the frozen banana slices and the match-milk mixture to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Run the processor for about thirty seconds. Use a rubber spatula to to scrape down the sides and push the bananas towards the bottom of the bowl. Repeat this process for about 5 minutes, running the processor for longer periods of time as the bananas break down. As the bananas get more broken down, about 3 minutes in, add the honey.

For the first few minutes it will look like you’re not making much progress, but eventually smooth, creamy “ice cream” will appear! If the mixture is thick enough for you to work with, you can assemble the cookie sandwiches immediately. Otherwise, pour into a plastic tuperware container or small casserole dish and place back in the freezer until it becomes more solid.

If you make the cookie sandwiches before you’re ready to serve them, they can be stored in the freezer. Remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving so the cookies can defrost.