Back to School Party

And just like that…school is back! I believe back to school time is cause for celebration (both kids and parents alike). This year, we invited our nieces over for a little soiree to get in the back to school spirit. The kids chanted “back to school is cool” while they indulged in book worms and ruler cake. And what is a party without a favor! We made homemade red play dough and created little apple play dough favors using mason jars. Stay tuned to Haute Apple Pie for a great homemade play dough recipe!

Back to School Party

Lincoln helped me put together name tags for everyone (even the littles who aren’t going to school, because they get to celebrate too right?) with foam letter stickers from Joann Fabrics.

back to school party table

homemade playdough apples

book worms

We placed green grapes on plastics skewers and affixed candy eyes with leftover frosting from the cake to make book worms. These were a big hit!

ruler cake

I didn’t want to make too much work for myself, so I created this ruler cake simply by frosting two pound cakes.

back to school name tag

back to school table

This happy guy is all ready for his first day at his new school! Wishing all the kids and parents out there the happiest of back-to-school as well!

stef

 

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Summer Veggie Salad with Wheat Berries

Between my garden and my CSA box, I can barely keep up with the veggies that are making their way to my countertop. Yet I wait all year for this stuff and can’t bear to let it go to waste or give too much of it away. So I’ve lately been making “cram as much as you can together” type salads to use up the veggies when they’re fresh and taste the best. This is one of those such salads. It’s crunchy, savory, a little sweet, a little nutty and basically tastes like summer should.

This is also one of those recipes that almost doesn’t classify as a recipe because you could easily tweak it to fit the veggies that are overwhelming your counter. Peppers? Sure. Cucumbers? They work too. No wheat berries? So what. While the combo outlined here is rock solid, the options are many.

market-salad2

Summer Veggie Salad with Wheat Berries
2 cobs of corn, kernels shaved off (or 1 1/2 C corn)
1 medium zucchini, cubed
10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 oz feta, crumbled
1/2 C wheat berries, cooked
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
salt to taste

Cook wheat berries according to package instructions or cook 1/2 C wheat berries in 1 1/2 C water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until wheat berries are tender yet toothsome. Drain wheat berries and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Chop zucchini and add to bowl. Shave corn kernels off the cobs. Place in a small bowl with a splash or two of water. Cover with a paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes to steam cook. Drain and let cool to room temperature. Add to zucchini and wheat berries. Add in halved tomatoes, chopped basil and crumbled feta. Stir gently to mix.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and mustard. Pour over salad and gently toss to coat. Season with salt to taste and toss once more.

market-salad
katie

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Chipolte Peach Salsa

Chipolte Peach Salsa

Salsa is this great nation’s number one condiment. I’m a dedicated contributor to keeping that statistic alive. I’ve dabbled in many a fresh salsa recipe but never took the plunge to make the cooked and jarred type. Thanks to the lovely folks at Washington State Stone Fruit Growers, I was able to create this sweet and smokey Chipolte Peach Salsa that has been getting rave reviews across the area.

washington peaches

I want to make a special note that making this salsa is not hard! I’ve always thought this to be a daunting task, but it was pretty painless. This salsa can be jarred and kept for a long time or refrigerated and kept for 3-4 weeks. To get all the tips on canning and preserving, visit www.sweetpreservation.com.

Chipolte Peach Salsa
Makes approx. 10 cups
12 fresh, ripe peaches
8 large tomatoes
2 green peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 C apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP paprika
2 TBSP chipolte powder
1 TBSP salt

To peel the peaches and tomatoes, start with a large stock pot of boiling water. Place tomatoes in the water for 2-3 minutes, or until the skin starts to split. Immediately place tomatoes in ice bath to cool. Once cool to touch, the skins will slide right off. Cut into large chunks.

Using the same pot of water, do the same with the peaches. These will likely only need about 1 minute until the skin starts to peel away. Place in ice water bath, peel and cut into chunks.

In a large stock pot, add tomatoes, peaches, green pepper, onion, garlic and apple cider vinegar. Heat on medium-high heat and stir. Add paprika, chipolte powder and salt. Stir and allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from heat. Using an immersion blend, blend ingredients together to your preferred texture. (I like it a little chunky). Spoon into jars and following preserving instructions.

Chipolte Peach Salsa recipe

This salsa is great as the standard chip dip or taco topper, but it is also a delicious sauce for a sweet, savory and spicy dinner. I’ve used it in the crock pot for pulled pork, pork loin and beef roast. Just pour a few cups over the top of your meat and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Happy canning!

stef

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Classic Mojito

Classic Mojito Recipe

If there is one cocktail that screams summer, it is a mojito. A favorite in our household, these refreshing lime and mint summer drinks are the perfect cocktail for a warm night or the compliment to a summer BBQ. If you grow mint in your garden, you are likely wondering what the heck to do with all of it. Mint will take over. So before you pull it all out like a weed, (because let’s face it, we can only eat so many mint and watermelon salads) make yourself one of these cocktails.

I like to mix up a simple syrup to keep on hand in the refrigerator. One cup of sugar, one cup of water and bowl it down until it turns syrupy. Cool and keep refrigerated. It’s a great addition to any homemade cocktail or juice.

classic mojito

I’m enjoying this drink as I type, so I apologize in advance for any typos.

Classic Mojito
1 small lime, cut into wedges
10-12 mint lives, roughly chopped
1 1/2 oz light rum (like Bacardi)
1/2 TBSP simple syrup
1/4 C club soda
1 C crushed ice

In a tall glass, squeeze limes and toss into bottom of the glass. Add mint. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle mint and lime together to extract mint flavor and lime juice. Add rum, simple syrup, and club soda. Mix together. Add enough crushed ice to fill the glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Enjoy some more summer cocktails with these folks around the web on Food Networks Summer Soiree!

Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Strawberry-Mint Bellinis
The Lemon Bowl: Raspberry-Ginger Bellini
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: White Peach Sangria
The Heritage Cook: Refreshing Lime Coolers
The Cultural Dish: Pimm’s Cup
Virtually Homemade: Frozen Lime Margaritas with a Sangria Swirl 
Weelicious: Strawberry Lemonade 
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Strawberry Gimlets with Homemade Strawberry Vodka
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cucumber and Sage Cocktail
Red or Green: Frozen Tri-Melon Cocktail
Dishing With Divya: Caipirinha
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Cantaloupe Lillet Sparkler
Poet in the Pantry: Pirate’s Booty Call
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Watermelon Malibu Surf
Sweet Life Bake: Boozy Affogato
Devour: 5 Boozy Summer Coolers
Domesticate Me: Blueberry Mojito Royale
Daily*Dishin: Blackberry Rum Shrub
Taste With The Eyes: Korean Soju Kimbap Bloody Mary
FN Dish: Sip Your Way Through Summer (Recipes)

stef

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Roasted Corn off the Cob Salsa

Greetings from St. Louis! And no, I am not blogging while on vacation. The rumors are true. I apologize for the lack of posts the past couple of months, but my family and I have been busy packing up and shipping down south to the St. Louis area. My husband is taking on a one-year stint down here, so we are another stop on our ‘tour of the midwest’ marriage. We aren’t sure where life will lead us after this but we are ready to explore all things from the heartland and enjoy some warmer temps while we are at it. I’m not ready to give up my cheese and sausage just yet, but am excited to explore the culinary nuances down here on the Mississippi. While I plan to bring you some local delicacies – toasted ravioli anyone? – today I am focusing on corn.

We are actually living on the Southern Illinois side of St. Louis. While we are still in a heavily populated area, it is the most “rural” place this city girl/suburbanite has ever lived. Many of you small town, farm folks would probably laugh at me if you saw what I was talking about. In any case, today, instead if BBQ Pork Steaks or Gooey Butter Cake, I am bringing you a recipe with fresh corn. Why? Because this is what my backyard looks like.

Corn Field Backyard

No, I didn’t pick this corn from the field, but did buy it local and it is delicious. Taking the time to cut a little corn off the cob is well worth the few extra minutes. This Roasted Corn off the Cob Salsa is a great topper for tacos, fish or chicken or is great for dipping or just eating by the spoonful. And with this handy little tip for cutting the corn, life has never been easier.

Cutting Corn on bundt pan

Simply place the ear of corn at the top of a bundt pan and slide downward. The kernels will fall into the pan below, instead of exploding all over your counter!

 

Roasted Corn off the Cob Salsa

Roasted Corn off the Cob Salsa
Makes approx. 2 Cups

3 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut off
1/3 C chopped green pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 C chopped avocado
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil. Add corn. Spread evenly, sprinkle with cumin and roast for 8-10 minutes, until corn is a nice golden color. Remove from heat and place in bowl. Mix with green pepper, scallions, avocado and add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Corn Salsa

 

I hope you enjoy and I look forward to bringing you some fresh, new recipes and ideas!

It’s Summer Soiree over at the Food Network! Check out these other great fresh summer corn recipes from friends around the web:

The Lemon Bowl: Corn on the Cob with Lemon Basil
Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Corn on the Cob with Honey-Basil Butter
The Heritage Cook: Mexican Elote Corn Casserole (Gluten-Free)
The Cultural Dish: New England Seafood Boil
Dishing With Divya: Corn on the Cob with Roasted Garlic Herb Butter
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Corn with Tomato Basil “Butter” (Vegan)
Devour: 4 Cobs, 4 Ways
Daily*Dishin: Quick Thyme Corn Cobbettes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Farmers Market Salad with Grilled Corn
Red or Green: Grilled Corn on the Cob
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Buttery Corn on the Cob
Weelicious: Cheesy Corn on the Cob
Domesticate Me: Charred Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Cheese (aka Mexican Street Corn Salad)
Swing Eats: Corn Pasta with Fresh Summer Corn, Tomatoes and Chives
Taste With The Eyes: Grilled Corn, Soy Mirin Glaze and Wasabi Goat Butter
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Corn and Lemon Thyme Ice Cream + Homemade Creamed Corn
FN Dish: Off-the-Chart Corn on the Cob Recipes

stef

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Korean Style Bear Tacos

So I admit that we’ve been pretty bad slackers about posting new recipes lately. I suppose that’s just what happens when you combine summer with jobs, more babies, interstate moves, potty training, the list goes on. But fear not, we’re still alive and cooking (even if we’ve got some standby recipes on repeat) and experimenting with some new things when we can.

This recipe is my most recent experiment with bear meat. Of course, most people don’t have bear hanging out in the fridge and that’s totally fine – beef, pork shoulder or other wild game would work great as well. This one is inspired by this delicious “globally-inspired” taco place by my house and adapted from this recipe. It’s a nice little way to mix up your ho-hum taco night without too much extra effort.

korean-bear

Korean Style Tacos
For the Roast
2-3 lb bear (or beef) roast
1/2 C soy sauce
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 granny smith apple, julienned
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger
1/2 C honey
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
black pepper
3-5 C water

Place roast in a glass baking pan.  Scatter apples and green onions on and around roast in pan. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, oil, honey, garlic, ginger and pepper, then whisk well to combine.  Pour marinade over meat and vegetables. Marinate overnight.

In the morning, transfer roast and marinade to a slow cooker. Add water one cup at a time until the roast is 1/2 to 3/4 covered with liquid. Slow cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once meat is tender and falling apart, remove roast from slow cooker and gently shred with two forks.

For the Tacos
small taco size tortillas, warmed
1 C cabbage, shredded or chopped to coleslaw-like sized pieces
1/2-1 granny smith apple, julienned
3/4 C matchstick or julienned carrots
4-5 radishes, julienned
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch kosher salt

1-2 tsp sriracha, to taste
1/2 C mayo

Prepare cabbage, apple, carrots and radishes and combine in a medium bowl. Add cilantro and toss to combine. Whisk together lime juice, oil, cumin and salt and pour over slaw mixture. Toss again to combine. Slaw don’t need to be exact – make your slaw to taste and for the appropriate amount of people you’ll be serving. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together sriracha sauce and mayo, adding sriracha until you reach your preferred heat level.

Assemble tacos by spreading sriracha mayo on each tortilla and topping with meat and slaw. Drizzle with additional sriracha if desired.

korean-bear-tacos

katie

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Filed under Healthy, Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal

Balsamic Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes

Le Creuset Crepe PanMy husband and I recently celebrated our sixth “iron” anniversary and he surprised me with a beautiful Le Creuset crepe pan. I’ve always wanted to delve into the art of crepe making and now I have my chance. I have yet to sink in to the savory – which I do plan to do and share! – but my first test run with making a sweet breakfast or dessert crepe was extraordinary.

Crepes are a really simple batter and easy to make as long as you have a good pan, good utensils and a  good eye for flipping. These are best made to order or keep the crepes warm in an oven warmer while you make the rest.

This mixture of the balsamic vinegar and strawberries is one of my favorites and paired with the creamy sweetness of the mascarpone and whipped cream filling, it tasted just like a small gift from heaven. This will be a great recipe in a few weeks after we pick strawberries!

Balsamic Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes

Balsamic Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes
Makes 5-6 large crepes, or 8-10 small crepes

Batter
1 C milk
1 C AP Flour
2 eggs
6 TBSP water
3 TBSP butter melted, cooled
1/2 tsp salt
butter for crepe pan

Filling
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 C mascarpone cheese, softened
1/4 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 C sliced strawberries
1/3 C balsamic vinegar

For crepe:
Preheat crepe pan on medium high heat.

Add all ingredients and beat with electric mixer or hand blender for 4-5 minutes until smooth.

Add small pat of butter to pan and melt. Pour batter into center of pan, making a circle about half the size of the pan. Using crepe utensil, spread batter in a circular motion and allow to fill toward the edges. Cook crepe for about 2-3 minutes (depends on temperature of pan) and flip when edges become firm. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

For filling:
In a cold bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

With a paddle attachment, beat mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream and set aside.

For strawberries:
In a heated saute pan, add strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Cook until vinegar reduces to a syrup consistency and strawberries soften. About 10-15 minutes.

Assemble:
Spoon mascarpone mixture down center of crepe and add strawberries. Roll to fold and add more strawberries and balsamic syrup to the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

stef

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