Tag Archives: Fruit

Blackberry and Ginger Spiced Jam

Lately I’ve been making some recipes that require many different steps or “recipes” within the recipe.  To make it easier on me (and probably for you, too!), I’ve decided to split these recipes up into a few different posts.

Because I want to share this stellar Lemon Cheesecake with Blackberry and Ginger Spiced Topping (jam) with you guys:

Lemon blackberry ginger cheesecake

I’ve got to first tell you how I made the topping.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE CHEESECAKE RECIPE

Because the jam can take quite a while to thicken (around 45 minutes from start to finish), I use this time to make the cheesecake crust and filling (recipe coming soon!).  If you choose not to make the cheesecake and just want the jam…that’s awesome, too!  Just know that it takes a little time to make.

But trust me, this jam is so fabulous, it’s definitely worth the time spent on it.  You will not be disappointed! Continue reading

The Easiest Chocolate Cake Ever (and it’s Vegan)

I have a “thing” for chocolate. I love everything about it.  It’s smell, it’s taste and–most especially (at the risk of sounding like some sort of chocolate obsessed crazy lady who is in clear need of psychological assistance)–it’s ability to “pick me up” when I’m feeling down.

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Dressed up with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Rasberries and Pistachios

The only thing I might love more than chocolate is cake; and if it’s a chocolate cake, then I can promise you that I’m a happy lady!

This cake is magic, and will definitely lift anyone’s mood.  The recipe is fool proof, and the cake comes together quickly and without much effort.  It is also a vegan!  That’s right, there are no eggs or butter–and yet the cake is still deliciously decadent!  Who would have thought?! Continue reading

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Fig, Prosciutto, and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Pistachios, Chevre, and Honey

This weekend was a whirlwind of events; and I’m glad it’s over.

My gorgeous niece, Madelyn, was very sick and was admitted into the hospital.

She was full of bruises and her blood counts were not normal.  It was incredibly scary, but hopefully everything is figured out now (fingers crossed!).  Her counts are still not normal, but they are improving; and that is a good sign.

Because I spent my days worrying and my evenings working, I didn’t have time to post this incredible pizza I made last week.

Fig, Prosciutto and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Pistachios, Chevre and Honey

It was a pure pizza masterpiece.  

Fresh figs are one of my favorite things.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to find really good ones here in Minnesota.  Because figs are so delicate, they don’t ship well.  They started showing up at Trader Joes a few weeks ago–and you better believe I did a little happy dance!

But sadly, they weren’t good.

I was lucky enough to find a few cartons of them at my local co-op, and they were just right (the price was also significantly higher–unfortunately).

Fresh Figs: Black Mission. This little guy isn’t quite ripe, but it sure is pretty!

I sliced about 1/2 lb of figs along with some prosciutto (a very salty and thin sliced ham) and set them aside to top my pizza.  I also crumbled a couple ounces of chevre (goat cheese.  I used Trader Joes Honey Chevre) and chopped up some pistachios.

Prosciutto, Figs and a log of Chevre

If you love baking or cooking with pistachios, here’s a little tip I’ve learned:

To make it easier to shell and remove that paper-like skin over the pistachio, keep your pistachios in the freezer.  It seriously makes using pistachios a lot easier and takes a lot less time.  

I used my go-to whole wheat pizza crust recipe.  It never fails me.  You can get the recipe by clicking on the printer icon below.

While the dough was resting, I caramelized some onions with some fresh thyme (leaves off a few sprigs).

I used some onions that I had left over from another recipe, so It was probably 1/2 of a large onion.  I would definitely use 1 large whole onion, or maybe even 2 next time.  The pizza was amazing, but more caramelized onions would have made it even better.

Caramelized onions with fig preserves

Once the onions were caramelized, I tossed in about 2 tbsp. of fig preserves and let it all melt together.

I thought that by adding the fig preserves to the onions instead of just spreading them out on the pizza I would get better flavor, and it might help keep the pizza from becoming too sweet.

I was right.

After my crust had been precooked for about 5 minutes (I always precook my crusts), I spread the caramelized onion mixture on top of it.

You can see it needs more onions

Then, I topped the onion mixture with the prosciutto, sliced figs and chevre.

Unbaked Pizza

I baked the pizza on a stone for about 10 minutes in a preheated 450 degree F oven.

One the pizza was done baking, i tossed on a bunch of chopped pistachios (they were previously salted and roasted) and drizzled a bunch of pistachio honey over the entire thing.

The saltiness of both the prosciutto and the pistachios really helped even out the sweetness of the figs and the onions.

The chevre added an invaluable tang.

Piyush and I enjoyed our pizza while we watched the American women win Olympic GOLD in gymnastics!  So exciting!

All Sliced Up!

Now, here’s to hoping this week is less stressful…

…and if you liked this pizza, you may also like my Caramelized Onion, Purple Potato and Pistachio Pizza!!!

  Check it out here!

Cantaloupe, Arugula and Mint Salad with Chevre

Cantaloupe, Arugula and Mint Salad

I haven’t felt so good the past week.

In fact, I’ve felt completely crumby for the past week and a half.

4 days ago I noticed a few little red “bug bites” near my left eye.  I figured I got bit when I was out tending to my (struggling) garden, so I didn’t really think much of it.  I scrubbed my face with cleanser and put a bunch of hydrocortisone cream on the bites, but they only got itchier.

The next day, I had a headache and was incredibly tired.  Man, was I tired!  Actually, I’m still tired!

I did a whole lot of nothing, thinking my body just needed some rest.  Then, I noticed the side of my face hurt.  Like, really hurt.  I also  had a giant, swollen lump in front of my ear.  I knew it was my lymph node; so I figured those bug bites were maybe a spider bite and my body was trying to fight off infection–or something.

I didn’t want to think about a spider crawling on my face (that gives me the heebie jeebies!)…so I didn’t.  Instead, I took ibuprofen and went to bed.

When I finally crawled out of bed the next day, my eye felt funny.  It was really swollen and itchy; and my lymph node was huge (as big as an egg!).  I decided I better see the doc.

She walked in the room, looked at my face, and said “I think it’s shingles.”

What?!  Shingles?!  But…I’m only 27!

I’m young.  I’m healthy.  I shouldn’t have shingles!

Unfortunately, I do.  Apparently they are becoming more common among younger people; and they’re often related to stress.

Stress about what?  I have no idea.  I don’t feel stressed. There is absolutely no reason why I should be stressed; but I guess I am.  Hmphf.

The worst part about having shingles is that I can’t wear my contacts and have to wear my glasses (does that make me vain?).  …Also, I can’t be around my niece, my nephew, or my grandparents.  I’ve been told I can’t go to work either (sorry co-workers!).

Having shingles is unattractive, inconvenient, unpleasant, and BORING! I’m going stir-crazy being stuck in the house!  You’d think I’d have a good time…you know, maybe get caught up on blogging and do some experimental cooking.  But the truth is, I just now opened the computer (4 days into this ordeal)…and haven’t had the energy (or motivation) to cook.

I couldn’t stomach the thought that I’d have to eat takeout for another day.  I’m sick of takeout.  So this afternoon I rummaged through the refrigerator and found a bunch of random ingredients.  I had arugula,  lots of mint and a bunch of chopped shallots hanging out in my produce drawer.  I also had some cut up cantaloupe.

Salad, it was!

Cantaloupe, Arugula and Mint Salad with Chevre

I had no idea how this salad would taste, or if my husband would even eat it, but it turned out to be a success!  The arugula added a little bitterness to what would otherwise be a very sweet salad.  It balanced really nicely.

I think it would make an incredibly beautiful fruit salad as well.  I can imagine less arugula and more cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon.  Maybe add a little more mint and a smidgen of honey drizzled over everything.  Yum!

 

As for a recipe, I simply tossed my greens (I used baby arugula), chopped mint, and chunks of cantaloupe together.  I then drizzled with a little homemade dressing, and garnished with some chevre.

The dressing was quite simple, and used things I had on hand.  If you decide to try this recipe, feel free to substitute whatever you think would taste good.  You could even make a simple balsamic vinaigrette with some olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.

In fact, a flavored olive oil or balsamic vinegar would really enhance the dressing.  I didn’t have any flavored oil or vinegar that would work, so I used a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil.  I also used apple cider vinegar–for a little flavor.

Cantaloupe, Arugula and Mint Salad Dressing

This recipe makes quite a bit of dressing.  I only use about 2 tbsp to dress my salad, so I’d say this makes enough for 6-10  salads (depending how much dressing you use).

  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil (use all olive oil, if you prefer)
  • Honey, to taste (I used a few tbsp.)
  • 3 tbsp. mustard (I used Blueberry mustard, but any Dijon or dark mustard would be great–steer clear of the yellow stuff in the Heinz bottle).
  • 2 medium-large shallots, diced
  • salt-to taste
  • pepper- to taste

I toss all the ingredients in a mason jar (the medium sized one) and shake it until everything is mixed really well.  Drizzle it over the salads, and store the remainder in the jar.  It’ll stay good for a week (even longer…) if kept in the fridge.

Fresh salad of Cantaloupe, Arugula and Mint

Hopefully I’ll get back to blogging more regularly soon!  In the mean time, I hope you enjoy this salad!

 

 

Raspberry Risotto with Herbes de Provence and Chevre

Raspberry Risotto with Herbes de Provence and Chevre

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

When Driscoll’s Berries contacts you and asks if you’d like to try their raspberries, you tell them yes; and then make a risotto!

Raspberry Risotto with Herbes de Provence and Chevre

The truth is, I’ve been buying Driscoll’s berries for years.  Even when the berries aren’t in season, they’re usually pretty good.  But during the summer, when the raspberries are at their peak, they are out-of-this-world-amazing!

I was sent some coupons for $2.00 off a package of berries–which is a good deal, but I was sort of sad that I still had to pay a little over $2 out of pocket per package–especially when they’re in season.  Berries are expensive!

I brought the berries home and devoured a small handful!  They were plump and sweet.  Just how I like them! :)

I knew I had a really busy week ahead, and wouldn’t have a chance to get to the berries before they lost their freshness, so I decided to freeze them.  Freezing the fruit at it’s peak ripeness is a great way to enjoy the berries all winter long.

In my opinion, frozen berries picked in-season always trump fresh berries out-of-season.  Always.

Driscoll’s sweet red raspberries

I had all sorts of sweet ideas about how to use the raspberries.  Pies, tarts, jams, jellies, quick breads…and they would all be equally delicious; but I wanted something savory.  And I didn’t want a sauce.

I found this recipe on Driscoll’s website that looked pretty good, and I’m probably going to give it a try eventually (probably during the holidays…yum!):

But it wasn’t what I wanted tonight.

I did a lot of searching, and had a hard time finding inspiration.  There’s not really many savory raspberry recipes–aside from salads or sauces–that I’m aware of, and that’s quite unfortunate.

So I ventured a little outside of the box and decided to try the raspberries in a risotto.  I was pretty sure it’d taste good, but I was also pretty sure Piyush would hate it.

I was right; the risotto tasted amazing.  But I was also wrong.  Luckily, Piyush didn’t hate my risotto.  Quite the opposite, actually.

In fact, Piyush loved it; and that means something.  He’s such a food critic.

Raspberry Risotto with Herbes de Provence and Chevre

Serves 4

If you are bothered by the seeds in the raspberries or would like a pink colored risotto, you can puree the berries and run them through a fine sieve before adding to the risotto.

Ingredients:
  • 1 c. uncooked arborio rice
  • 5-6 c. veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large shallots – chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves- smashed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. herbes de provence
  • 3 tbsp. dry white wine (I used a dry Marsala)
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 oz. chevre (goat cheese)
  • 1 c. frozen Driscoll’s raspberries
  • salt- to taste
  • cracked black pepper- to taste
Directions:
  • Bring Stock to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  • Pour 2 tbsp. olive oil into a heavy bottomed pan (I used my dutch oven) and heat over medium-high flame.  Once the oil is hot, add the shallot and garlic–stirring constantly.  You don’t want the shallot to take on a brown color, but you want it to be cooked through and semi-translucent –approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Once the shallot and garlic are cooked, add the Herbes de Provence.  Stir to combine.
  • Add the uncooked rice to the pot and cook (stirring constantly) for about a minute.  Add 3 tbsp. wine to deglaze. Keep stirring the rice until all the wine seems to be absorbed and the pan is looking dry.
  • Add one ladle of stock (approximately 1/2 c.) and stir until nearly all of it is absorbed by the rice.  Keep stirring and adding stock 1/2 c. at a time as the rice absorbs it.  I ended up using about 5 cups of stock, but it will really depend on how long your rice takes to cook (you want the rice to be al dente –it should have a little bite to it) and how creamy you like your risotto. This process will take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Add the goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Keep cooking and stirring until the cheese is completely melted.  The risotto should have a nice thick, creamy consistency at this point. Fold in the frozen raspberries. Cook 1 or 2 minutes longer, until the raspberries are no longer frozen. Remove from heat.
  • Serve as soon as possible for best flavor.  Garnish with extra chevre.

Raspberry Risotto with Herbes de Provence and Goat Cheese

Herbes de Provence is a fantastic French dried-herb blend.  It usually includes herbs such as: lavender, rosemary, tarragon, basil and thyme.  Aside from this risotto, it’s also wonderful to use when roasting a chicken.  It smells so fragrant and floral!

Raspberry Risotto garnished with a sprig of lavender from my garden!

This was a perfect meal on a hot, summer day.  Nothing beats a bowl of risotto and a nice, chilled glass of wine!  :)

Well….almost nothing!  You see, I also made a batch of Kala Jamuns.  Kala Jumuns–blackened gulab jamuns– are amazing Indian sweets, and I finally recreated them perfectly (thanks Maa, Baba, and everyone else that helped with the sweet-making advice)!

Homemade Kala Jamun

You can read about kala jamuns and gulab jamuns HERE, and see my first attempt to master this sweet.  …and if you’re interested, check back.  I’ll have the basic recipe posted soon!

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It’s Clemen-time!

You know what I love about winter?  It’s not the snow or the cold (actually, I hate both of those things).  It’s not even the holidays.  Nope.  What I love most about winter is the clementines!

Look at this guy:

One bite…and I was in love.  It didn’t stand a chance.  The only problem?  (aside from the price $$$) I don’t have nearly enough to last the week!  I love clementines and we try to keep them on hand—they’re the perfect snack.  I bought these guys from the co-op, and they rock my world!  They are a million times more scrumptious than the “cutie” ones we usually buy from the grocery store.

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to shop at our local co-op, The Good Food Store.  You can find practically anything there!  It kind of reminds me of whole foods, actually—it’s just smaller, filled with local produce, and the people are so much more friendly.  All good things!

I had a few items I wanted to pick up including romaine, herbs, beans, salsa and some cheese.  I’ve got bean taco salads and a pasta dish on the menu for this week, and I’m hoping that a little extra planning will really make dinner preparations seem a lot less tedious.

Since I was out and about, I figured I might as well make a quick stop at Goodwill.  Deals wait for no-one, you know! (haha!)

I want to find a tiny desk for our laptop, but had no luck today.  Instead, I did find an amazing, little serving dish for $3 that will be awesome for chutneys or salsas!

How cute is that?!

After I finished up at Goodwill, I stopped in at Michaels to get some knitting supplies.  I’ve always wanted to learn to knit and never really knew how to make that happen.  I thought about taking classes, but with my work schedule it’s not that easy to commit.  I don’t have a set schedule and it’s hard to get certain days off in during the week.  So, I decided I’d buy some needles and yarn and check out youtube.

It's not much...but it's a start.

Aside from knitting, I’m also doing a little “gardening”…I have green onions growing on top of my refrigerator!

I just threw some old roots in a jar…and wham!  I’ve got onions!

Does anyone know if I can grow other herbs this way?  I don’t think they get the greatest sunlight, but they really seem to be thriving!

Now, it’s Greek for dinner (we got some take out from a local restaurant we haven’t tried before), then some mind numbing television (Teen Mom)  before I shower and head to bed!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!!!