Monday, July 16, 2012

apple avocado salsa

Last post for tonight.  This is a salsa I had when we were eating at a friend's house.  I loved it so I got the recipe.  It was so good - spicy from the jalapeno, but sweet from the apples.  Wonderful combination of flavors.  I think I could eat it as a lunch "salad."  Ha ha!


  • 2 unpeeled apples, cored and diced (she had used some type of green apple)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime/lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, (about 1 clove)
  • dash pepper
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained.
  1. Mix all of the ingredient together.
  2. Serve with chips.

Family Tuscan Pizza bowl

This is another recipe I saw at my moms  in her Demarle catalog and had to try.  I loved it.  The kids all griped about it.  I think Benjamin ended up actually liking it once he ate it because he ate his whole piece.  Tavio said he wasn't hungry, but ended up finishing his piece - but I know he didn't like it much.  Brandon, myself and my mom all liked it.
Again I had to make some changes and rearranges with this recipe - starting with the fact that we didn't have the size pan they wanted.  We also didn't have their dough mix or spices.  So here is what we did and I LOVED it.  Very fresh tasting because the veggies only got to crisp tender because they were only heated until the cheese melted.

Lets start with the pizza dough recipe.  I looked up my quick wheat recipe and clicked the link back to Mel's kitchen cafe and used her recipe with some extra spices.  Turned out great, and we really did make it quick and easy - mom didn't knead it long at all.  Super simple


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each thyme, oregano and basil
  1. Heat oven to 425.  Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined.  Let the mixer knead it for a minute or 2.  
  2. Roll out into a very large circle.  WE put this over a 14 X 2 inch pan.  I know I don't have one of these at home, but that is what my mom had, so the circle was probably 16 inches.  
  3. Either brush the dough with oil or spray your pan with cooking spray.  Gently lay the dough over the reverse side of your pan (ours was 14 X 2 - original recipe's was 11 1/2 x 2. You may also get away with 2 smaller cake pans.) 
  4. Bake 12-15 minutes until center is light golden brown and edges are cooked.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.  Take it off the cake pan and place it on a pizza peel or cookie sheet (if it fits - ours went on the peel because it didn't fit anywhere else.  
While the crust is baking and cooling, prepare the veggies for the rest of the pizza

  • crust above
  • 12 stalks asparagus, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 golden bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (That was 8 for me.  I didn't use all of the whites, but I did use most of them and all of the greens.)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (I stuffed the cup somewhat - not tight, but not super loose for both the Spinach and the basil.)
  • 1 vine tomato, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (Mom had kosher so that is what we used.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash garlic and herb seasoning.
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (optional - we didn't measure this and we used the powder stuff because that is what we had but we just sprinkled)
  • cheddar cheese - we just added a tiny sprinkle of cheddar for color and flavor-maybe 1/4 cup
  1. Prepare veggies while the crust is cooking - chop and put in a bowl.  Add the salt and garlic mix.  Toss to combine/coat everything.  
  2. Pour veggies into the pizza crust bowl made above.
  3. Top with Mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and cheddar.
  4. Return to oven and cook until the cheese melts.  (We placed this directly on a pizza stone to cook the second time around.

Lemon Meringue Tartlets

Although I'm on vacation, I still have been able to cook a bit and try some new recipes.  I really need to get them posted before I forget what we did.  This first one is a tartlet that I made for Brandon's birthday.  He and I both have an unhealthy addiction to the lemon tarts at La Madeline.  I was trying to find something similar to make him for his birthday.  This came close.  The meringue was different but so pretty I had to try it.  I really liked it.  The lemon on the bottom was a bit more tart than those at La Madeline, but I liked it that way with the sweet meringue top.  I thought the custard center was a bit too dry/ not creamy enough/ overdone.  I think if I were making these again I may try to either get the custard off the oven a little sooner, or let it thicken the same amount, but pre-cook the shells partially to all of the way, depending on how creamy the custard was.  I think the oven time just made the texture different - It was still good, and probably more like a lemon meringue pie - I was just going for the custard type tart from La Madeline and this didn't hit the texture factor.
This recipe comes from a book my mom got from Demarle called Classic French Pastries.  The recipe was horribly written in the book - good thing we know how to cook or we never would have made it through the recipe.  The book is full of recipes that look super yummy, but none look like they are written particularly well.  OK- I best get on with the recipe if I want to do a second recipe tonight.  :)  Here is what we ended up doing -with much better directions.  :)
I'll get pictures posted of these cuties when I get back from vacation.

Shortbread Ingredients

  • 7 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 oz sugar (this was just shy of 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 2-3 Tablespoons ice water if necessary
Lemon custard ingredients
  • 3 lemons (zest and juice)  -original called for 2, but 3 oz of juice.  3 gave me 3.3 oz juice so that is what I used.  I zested all 3.    Be the judge of the size of your lemons.
  • 6 1/2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
Meringue ingredients
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 2 egg whites
  1. To make the shortbread; Beat butter and sugar in a mixer.  Blend in flour and salt.  If looking crumbly, add ice water a teaspoon at a time until a dough forms.  (original called for no water, we just found it necessary.)
  2. Roll out dough on a silicon mat and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Using a 3 7/8 inch round, scalloped dough cutter, make 12 circles of dough. Line a tartlet mold with the dough circles.  (As a reference, we used a Demarle tartlet tray.  It made 12 tarts that were 3 1/4 " x 3/4" and 2 oz.  I loved the idea of cutting the tart crust out with the scalloped circle. It made the tarts so cute with no extra effort.  You could adjust the size of the tart as necessary, but may need to adjust cooking time as well.)  
  4. Heat oven to 340.  
  5. For the lemon custard;  Heat lemon juice and zest with butter until melted.  Add powdered sugar.  Slowly whisk some of the hot liquid into the beaten eggs to temper the eggs.  When they have warmed a bit, pour them slowly into the remaining lemon mixture whisking continuously.  
  6. Heat over low heat until thickened.  
  7. Fill the tartlet shells with the cream.  Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. To make the Meringue.
  9. Heat sugar and water.  When the temperature reaches 200, whip up the egg whites until firm.  
  10. When the sugar syrup reaches 225, remove from heat and slowly pour into the egg whites while still beating them.  Beat until mixture has cooled down.
  11. Place the meringue in a pastry bag with a small fluted tip.  Pipe onto the tartlets in a circle pattern (or as desired.)
  12. Place tarts on a baking sheet and broil for a few seconds - until browned on top.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chocolate chip peanut butter granola bars

Yea, on vacation and getting to blog a recipe.  I found this granola bar recipe on marathon mom as well, but I thought it had a bit too much flax, and they were too thin so I redid them and loved them this way.

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 Tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Grease and 8 X 8 pan and set aside.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine oats, wheat germ, flax seed and peanuts. 
  3. Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil together in a small sauce pan stirring constantly.  It should not take very long.  Pour over over oats mixture and stir until combined
  4. Press coated oat mix into prepared 8X8 pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and press down again.  Cool and cut into bars.


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