Saturday, August 24, 2013

Farmers Market Salad


Farmers Market Salad
Cover Photo
 

I love the farmer’s markets in Michigan!  We have such a short season for fruits and veggies, and the Grand Rapids area has an abundance of local farmers.  Some even know who I am when I’m walking down and checking out all of the wonderful fruits.  Visser Farms is one of those, and this week I purchased all my fresh garden veggies for my salad at Rylees Ace Hardware. 

 

Rylees has an abundance of wonderful kitchen tools and house wares and I collaborate with them frequently, so much that they bought me a beautiful new stainless steel demonstration table!  What fun.  This weekend we did a farmers market salad and let our customers work with the corn peelers, tomato stemmers, graters, knives and more, all helping me create a great salad. 

 

I’m not one to be a “stickler” on ingredients, if you want to add to this summer time salad, please do!  I actually added in zucchini because it look so good, and we used the roma tomato’s instead of grape tomatoes.  Anything goes with a fresh salad.  I hope that you take the time to try this simple, but delicious salad.


 

Oh, and the guys in the aprons?  I have no idea who they were, but they were having fun, that’s what the weekend demo’s at Rylees Ace Hardware are all about!

  
Photo: Look who shops at rylees


Farmers Market Salad
INGREDIENTS
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 ripe avocado optional
2 ears of fresh sweet corn
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups chopped veggies from the farmers market – your choice

HONEY LIME DRESSING
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper
DIRECTIONS


Remove husks from corn and grill over medium heat for 10 minutes. The corn should have some brown spots and be tender and not mushy. Cut the corn off the cob then scrape the cob with the back of your knife to get the juices. Set aside and let cool. Slice the tomatoes in half. Dice the avocado and chop the cilantro. Add in any vegetables of your choice!

HONEY LIME DRESSING

1 Add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
2 Combine the sliced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and grilled corn and honey lime dressing and mix gently so everything is evenly coated. Be careful not to mash the avocados. Let the salad sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors mingle. Enjoy.


1 pint grape tomatoes
1 ripe avocado optional
2 ears of fresh sweet corn
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped



2 cups chopped veggies from the farmers market – your choice


HONEY LIME DRESSING
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper
DIRECTIONS


Remove husks from corn and grill over medium heat for 10 minutes. The corn should have some brown spots and be tender and not mushy. Cut the corn off the cob then scrape the cob with the back of your knife to get the juices. Set aside and let cool. Slice the tomatoes in half. Dice the avocado and chop the cilantro. Add in any vegetables of your choice!


HONEY LIME DRESSING

1 Add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

2 Combine the sliced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and grilled corn and honey lime dressing and mix gently so everything is evenly coated. Be careful not to mash the avocados. Let the salad sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors mingle. Enjoy.


 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cherry Sugar Cookie Macaroons


Cherry Sugar Macaroons

 


My sister Sue Odren makes a good cookie!  I’m not biased either, she’s actually a finalist in the 2013 Pillsbury Bake Off Contest!  Seriously, for a cookie?!  Yes she is – and I’m really excited for her.  She gets to go to Vegas in November and compete, and well, she’s a bit nervous and a lot excited!

I wasn’t sure what was going on about 4 months ago, I got plenty of phone calls asking about ingredients, and what might taste good together, and frankly it was a bit annoying!  But now….Wow! She did it!  She Really did, and I have to say that this week I helped her with a batch, to get organized for the actual bake off in November, and they are darn good!  Even my husband thought so!

 

She needed to use several Pillsbury ingredients and she chose the Sugar Cookie Dough,  Bakers Flaked Coconut and the Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Michigan Red Tart Cherry Preserves.  Hey, we are from Michigan and we have the best cherries!

 

I got to her home, and we started getting organized.  I haven’t done any real competition cooking, but I’m familiar with blind baskets, mystery baskets, being in a different kitchen and other people’s ovens!  This is going to be a blast.

 

We started by taking some notes, and then getting into the dough of it!  I helped to stream line a few items and then we were ready to roll.

 

We chopped dried tart cherries; added the macadamia nuts, and then the flaked coconut to the bowl.  Mixed it up well and then added the Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough and vanilla.

 



This is where it got a bit sticky! (pun intended!)  My sister and I made cookies growing up, and well, my Dad didn’t think it was a cookie unless it was several times bigger than the recipe!  I almost failed 9th grade home economics over that one!  I showed her how to use a scoop, then scoop all of the cookies at one time, and then roll them at one time, and we used all the dough, and had all the cookies we needed.

 



Then off to her oven and the baking.  Out of the oven, and waiting, till we could make a “dent” in the cookies for the Cherry Preserves to go in! 

 



This is a delightfully easy recipe, and I hope you try it.  Good for kids, because they can get the sensory feel of ingredients by mixing it up with their hands. 

 

I’m proud of what my sister has done, and I hope she wins, and if she doesn’t, she’s still a winner in my recipe book! 

Sue – I’m going to use your recipe in some of my classes!

 


 

Cherry Sugar Cookie Macaroons

1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough

¾ cup chopped macadamia nuts

¾ cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries

1 bag (7oz) sweetened flaked coconut (about 2 ½ cups)

1 cup Smucker’s Orchards’ Finest Michigan Red Tart Cherry Preserves

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Let cookie dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften

 

In a medium bowl, break up cookie dough.  Add nuts, cherries, coconut and vanilla.  Mix with wooden spoon or knead with hands until well blended.  Shape rounded tablespoonfuls of dough into balls.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

 

Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.  Cool 3 minutes.  With back of teaspoon make indentation in center of each cookie.  Spoon 1 teaspoon preserves in each indentation.  Cool completely, about 20 minutes.  Store in covered Container.

Northwest Apple Salad & Hearty Egg Burrito


I’ve had a busy couple of weeks.  Some of it has been relaxing, some busy, some well just overwhelming.

I have been helping my sister with my Aunt’s estate.  Overwhelming – and I only have a small piece of the “pie” so to speak, and so excited that my sister has a cookie in the Pillsbury bake off!  I’m going to bake it, take pictures and post it later on this summer, but I have so many other projects going on in the kitchen. (That news to come at a later date)

This past week I got the joy of volunteering at the KROC Center for the MSU Extensions Cooking Matters.  This particular version of the program is working with middle school teens on the basics of cooking.  Our first week has been organization and getting to know my teens.  And I’ve been told that the numbers could swell to 30 (15 each day)  so I’d best be prepared! 

Every recipe that we work on is a healthy recipe.  And it is important to get these young adults to try the food.  I remember Chef Campbell in culinary school telling us that you have to try a food numerous times, at least 13 to get your palate used to it.  Then you can form an opinion!  It’s hard to explain that to teens whose palate has been formulated by fast foods, boxed foods, and quick and easy.  I bless my mom for teaching me how to cook, and each and every time I work with someone new in the kitchen, I remember how slow and uncertain I must have been.  I didn’t realize it then, but now I do – my mom is a saint!  She had so much patience, and we always thought she didn’t!  What a few decades of perspective brings to the table!

Our teens made Northwest Apple Salad and Hearty Egg Burritos giving them the chance to use knifes, skillets, the stove top and EAT!

 

Northwest Apple Salad

 

2 medium Granny Smith Apples
2 tablespoons dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, or currants)
3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon whole, shelled walnuts
1 Tablespoon honey
 

Rinse and remove cores from apples.  Do not peel.  Cut into 1 inch pieces.  Place in medium bowl.  Add dried fruit and yogurt to bowl.  Mix well.

In a small Skillet over medium heat toast nuts until golden brown and fragrant.  Watch closely, so they do not burn.  Remove from pan and let cool.

Chop cooked nuts with a knife.  Add chopped nuts to bowl and add honey.  Toss and serve.

Hearty Egg Burritos

3 green onion
1 medium red or green bell pepper
1 medium clove garlic
2 ounces low-fat cheddar cheese
1 (15 ½ ounce) can black beans no salt added
1 teaspoon canola oil
4 large eggs
¾ teaspoon ground cumin divided
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
non stick cooking spray
4 (8 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
¼ cup fresh cilantro

 

Rinse green onions and bell pepper.  Peel garlic clove.

Slice green onions.  Remove core and dice bell pepper.  Mince garlic

If using fresh cilantro, rinse and chop leaves now

Grate Cheese

In a colander, drain and rinse beans

In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil, add beans, green onions, bell pepper, and garlic.  Cook until peppers are soft, about 3 minutes.  Add ½ teaspoon ground cumin and black pepper.  Transfer mixture to a plate.

In a small bowl, crack eggs.  Add remaining ¼ teaspoon cumin.  Beat mixture lightly with a fork.

Wipe out skillet with a paper towel .Coat with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat at medium-low.  Add egg mixture.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are firm as you like.  About 3- 5 minutes.  If using cilantro add now.

Soon egg mixture into center of each tortilla, dividing evenly.  Add beans and veggies.  Sprinkle cheese on top.  If using yogurt, add a dollop to each tortilla.  Fold over mixture and serve.