Tag Archives: cheese

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

So, this is my recreation of a salad I’ve never eaten, from a restaurant I have never been to, but have talked about going to a lot. Blue Barn is a deli in San Francisco that has a creative menu with a local and organic focus. I think every time I have gone to visit my friends in San Francisco we have discussed going there and even attempted to go twice, but every single time something thwarts our plans. Since so many attempts have been made to get to this restaurant I have looked over their menu many times and every time this salad stood out to me.

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

After my last trip to San Francisco and another failed visit to the restaurant, I decided to attempt my own version. I have absolutely no idea how close or accurate an interpretation this is of the Blue Barn original, but damned if I can, it was absolutely delicious!

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

I did make a couple minor changes. Instead of sun-dried tomatoes, I used oven roasted roma tomatoes and instead of grilled balsamic onions, I again used oven roasted balsamic onions (I used this recipe, minus the sugar). For the crispy chickpeas, I made garlic and paprika roasted chickpeas (using this recipe). They were delicious and the leftovers made for a great snack later in the week.

Now, I will admit, there are a lot of parts to this salad and most of them have to be prepared individually ahead of time, which is kind of a major pain, but since I knew I would like all the ingredients in the salad, I didn’t mind taking the extra time and effort to prepare everything. Plus, you’ll have a lot of leftovers of the individual ingredients, so they are perfect for other salads during the week, adding to other meals (the roasted tomatoes and balsamic onions were heavenly with a turkey burger), or as snacks.

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

1 salad

Ingredients

    For the Vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 large handful mixed greens
  • 1 large handfuls arugula
  • 1 ounce grated manchego
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 Tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 whole roasted roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup roasted balsamic onions
  • 1/3 cup roasted chickpeas

Instructions

    For the Vinaigrette:
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. For the Salad:
  3. Prepare all the ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Add freshly ground pepper to taste and serve.
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Halloumi, Snap Pea & Tomato Quinoa Salad

Halloumi, Snap Pea, Tomato & Quinoa Salad I’ve been on a bit of a halloumi kick lately. Normally I would feel bad about sharing recipes with ‘exotic’ ingredients in them, like halloumi, but now that Trader Joe’s now sells this amazing cheese, I would hardly count it as exotic anymore. This salad is not only quick and easy to make, it is delicious too. The snap peas and tomatoes around here are absolutely delicious at the moment. Their sweetness combined with the salty halloumi help makes every bite delicious. The dressing is light and flavorful. It really adds to the salad and helps all the delicious flavors come together. Halloumi, Snap Pea, Tomato & Quinoa Salad

 

Halloumi, Snap Pea & Tomato Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

    For the Dressing:
  • 4 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh basil, minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh chives, minced
  • For the Salad:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pack Halloumi, cut into slices
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 4 ounces snap peas, cut into pieces
  • 12 ounces mixed spring greens
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

Instructions

    For the Dressing:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
  2. For the Salad:
  3. In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add halloumi and cooked until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Place cooked halloumi on paper towels to drain excess oil.
  4. In a large bowl, combine greens, snap peas and tomatoes and about half the dressing. Toss to mix all the ingredients.
  5. Divide between 4 serving bowls. Top with about 1/2 cup of the cooked quinoa and 2-3 slices of the halloumi and serve.
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Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Pesto & Halloumi AND a Giveaway!

Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Pesto & Halloumi

Disclosure: The Veggetti®, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Ontel. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I have wanted to get a spiralizer for a while now, but the cost, size and valuable kitchen storage space it would take up always prevented me. Enter the Veggetti! The Veggetti is a handheld device that quickly turns your veggies into veggie noodles. Veggie noodles offer not only a healthier, lower-carb alternative to regular pasta, but a gluten free one too. The Veggetti is also quick and easy to use and it’s dishwasher safe, which makes clean up a breeze.

I have used my Veggetti with zucchini, squash, potatoes, and carrots. All of them worked out perfectly, except for the carrots. I think the carrots I tried to use were too narrow. So far I am really impressed by how easy the Veggetti is to use, how sturdy it is and how small it is. It fits perfectly in a kitchen drawer. The only downside I have found, and it’s kind of a silly one, is how insanely long the noodles are. I would definitely recommend cutting them up once you are done spiralizing them.

If you would like to get your own Veggetti® , you can go here to learn more at www.getveggetti.com OR you can enter my giveaway! One reader will win a Veggetti of their very own – plus a $25 Visa Gift Card to stock their vegetable crisper!

TO ENTER: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Pesto & Halloumi AND a Giveaway!

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 pack of halloumi cut into slices
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • For the Cilantro Pesto:
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 4+ garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese (or parmesan), grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro, with most of the stem removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • 1 generous pinch red chili flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Use the Veggetti to spiralize the zucchini and squash and set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add halloumi and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Place on a paper towel to drain.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini noodles with as much cilantro pesto as you like and the rest of the ingredients, except the halloumi. Divide between two plates and top with halloumi and serve.
  4. For the Pesto
  5. Place the almonds in a food processor until they are finely ground. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until desired consistency is reached.
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Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese & Gluten Free Focaccia

Oven Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese & Gluten Free FocacciaSummer seems to be flying by and I feel like the end of it, is unfortunately in sight. This week I want to share recipes that feature some of my favorite summer produce so everyone can get as much tasty enjoyment out of the month or so we have left.

Oven roasted tomatoes became one of my favorite things this summer and if I can keep some around long enough (most are consumed via fork straight from pan), this is one of my favorite ways to eat them. I know turning on the oven in the middle of summer is something only crazy person would do, but just trust me, it’s worth it. Plus, you are turning on the oven so low, you won’t be able to notice any big temperature change. I promise!

I cannot even begin to describe how incredibly delicious these tomatoes are. I used cherry tomatoes in this particular instance, but I’ve used just about every tomato imaginable and they are all just as amazing. I served these with softened goat cheese and gluten-free focaccia, but the possibilities are endless. I’ve used them on salads, in a caprese salad, the top of soups, crackers and, as I already mentioned, my favorite method with a fork straight from the pan.

One minor note, if you are using larger tomatoes: cut the tomatoes in half first, remove the stem (if desired) and place them cut side down on the pan when you go to roast them.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese & Gluten Free Focaccia

Ingredients

  • around 1-1.5 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4-8 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • For Serving:
  • softened goat cheese (or Boursin)
  • gluten free focaccia (I made my own from a Chebe mix)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 225F.
  2. Pour the olive oil into a shallow baking dish or pan and add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the tomatoes with the oil and seasonings in the dish.
  4. Bake for two hours, or until the tomatoes are completely softened and wilted, and start to wrinkle. Depending on the tomatoes, they may take longer to cook.
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Spring Wedge Salad with Carrots, Radishes & Bacon

Spring Wedge Salad with Carrots, Radishes & Bacon

I have said it before, and I will say it again, brunch is my favorite meal. It’s really just great. When it comes to breakfast foods, I kind of have an aversion to sweet and bready things and egg dishes can get a bit boring*, but if I’m at brunch, it means I can totally order a salad at 9 in the morning and it’s not weird. This salad is perfect for brunch or lunch or dinner. I would eat it for any meal really.

Wedge salads are one of my favorite salads and this is such a delicious spring twist on a traditional wedge salad. I was able to get all the ingredients at my farmers market, which made it feel even more seasonally appropriate. The flavors in this salad also worked really well together. I really like the vinaigrette dressing instead of a traditional  blue cheese or ranch, which would have been way too heavy for this salad. The blue cheese crumbles gave the salad a bit of creaminess and tanginess, so you really don’t miss the traditional dressing at all. This was my first time trying radishes and I was hoping that they would be a bit more peppery, they were still a good addition to the meal.

Next time, there is only one thing I would do differently. I would make sure to cut the radishes and carrots as thinly as possible. Even though I used a mandoline to cut them this time, they were still quite thick (my fingers and I don’t have the best track record with the mandoline, so I try not to mess around with it too much) and it made them a bit difficult to chew compared to the rest of the ingredients. I think the carrots would probably be best done thinly with a vegetable peeler and maybe the radishes too.

* – there is one brunch dish and only one brunch dish that combines sweet, bready and eggy that I absolutely love and I’ll be posting it later in the week. Trust me, it is definitely worth the wait!

Spring Wedge Salad with Carrots, Radishes & Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and halved
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 6 radishes, sliced and/or chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Trim stem from lettuce while leaving the core intact. Cut lettuce in quarters then place the wedges on individual serving plates. Arrange bacon, carrots, green onions, and radishes on and around each wedge. Sprinkle each wedge with blue cheese.
  2. In a screw-top jar combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover tightly and shake until combined. Immediately drizzle over salad.

Notes

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Gluten Free Goat Cheese & Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

Gluten Free Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Now that all those cinco de mayo shenanigans are out of everyone’s systems, let’s talk about more important things, like our mothers. I love my mom (hi mom!). She’s one of the few people that religiously reads my blog and she always makes sure to point out when I misspell something. It’s Mother’s Day in the US this upcoming weekend and I have a wonderful weekend of wine tasting and brunch planned for my mama. This week I thought I would share some easy and delicious recipes that would be perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or any other brunch events you have on the horizon.

This is the simplest appetizer in the world and it’s pretty tasty to boot! You really don’t need all that many ingredients either. Some biggish mushrooms, goat cheese, garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and a food processor (or a strong mixing arm) and you are good to go. I used fresh parsley, because my parsley plants are out of control at the moment, but you can definitely substitute in any fresh herbs that strike your fancy (basil would probably be really delicious). If you aren’t using a food processor, I would recommend letting the goat cheese soften a fair bit before trying to mix it. I would also make sure to finely chop all your garlic and herbs too.

I recently discovered some new to me gluten free breadcrumbs from The Fresh Market. The Fresh Market just opened a new store in my town and it is wonderful! My aunt on the east coast has raved about TFM for years and I definitely see why! Their own TFM brand gluten free breadcrumbs are great. They are almost like panko. I have had great success with them in meatballs and burgers. I recently tried them as coating/breading with baked chicken and with these mushrooms and have been really happy with the results! If you have a TFM near you, I recommend picking up some breadcrumbs!

Gluten Free Goat Cheese & Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe from Martha Stewart.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs(I used TFM gluten free breadcrumbs)
  • 2 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 5 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 12 large mushrooms, wiped clean, stems and gills removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, pulse bread and garlic until fine crumbs form; set 3 tablespoons aside.
  3. Add the goat cheese, parsley, red-pepper flakes and lemon juice to food processor. Season with salt and pepper, and pulse filling until combined.
  4. Spoon filling into each mushroom, and roll filled side in reserved breadcrumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet; bake until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
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Gluten Free Barbecue Chicken Taquitos with Avocado Ranch Dip

Gluten Free Barbecue Chicken Taquitos with Avocado Ranch Dip

This recipe is a combination of things I was craving and things I needed to use up. If you have some leftover chicken and tortillas (both are pretty standard leftovers around my kitchen), this is the perfect recipe to use them all up. I really like to make a batch of shredded barbecue chicken to use throughout the week (this is my favorite recipe, but you could easily combine any leftover chicken with bbq sauce). It’s perfect to add to salads or as your meal’s main protein, but I wanted to try something a little different and these taquitos seemed like an easy way to do just that. I was able to get 24 taquitos out of the barbecue chicken recipe I mentioned above (I could have made a couple more but I had already put away the tortillas and cheese), which is a whole lot of taquitos. After a couple dinners and lunches, I froze the leftovers, which defrosted easily in the microwave and I crisped them up again with a few minutes in the oven.

I always bake my taquitos because I just don’t have the patience to fry things. Plus, baking them healthier, you don’t have to stand over a hot pot of oil and it’s less of a mess to clean up, which are all big pluses in my book. I put about two tablespoons of chicken and a sample sprinkling of cheese in each tortilla. I was able to roll them tight enough that they stayed shut when I placed them seam side down on the baking sheet. If you want more filling or are having trouble getting them to stay closed, wooden toothpicks will easily solve that problem.I like my taquitos (and just about everything else) on the crispier side, so while the ends might look a bit burnt, it was really just a combination of caramelized barbecue sauce and cheese.

Gluten Free Barbecue Chicken Taquitos with Avocado Ranch Dip

Ingredients

    For the Taquitos
  • Leftover chicken (I recommend {this barbecue chicken recipe|http://www.thekitchn.com/dinner-recipe-barbecue-pulled-chicken-in-the-oven-or-slow-cooker-recipes-from-the-kitchn-168003])
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 24 corn tortillas
  • For the Avocado Ranch Dip
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and cubed
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons ranch dressing powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

    For the Taquitos
  1. Heat oven to 400. Line two large baking sheets with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Combine chicken and barbecue sauce.
  3. Wrap 12 tortillas in a damp paper towel. Place in microwave and zap for 30 seconds. Flip over and microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove from microwave.
  4. Add around two tablespoons of chicken to one side (almost to the very edge) of a corn tortilla and sprinkle with cheese. Tightly roll the side with the chicken toward the other side of the tortilla and place seam side down on the baking sheet (use wooden toothpicks if they won't stay together). Repeat until all tortillas are filled and then begin again with the next 12 tortillas until all are filled and rolled.
  5. Place baking sheets in oven and cook 20-25 minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy.
  6. Serve immediately. For your leftovers, I recommend that you let them cool completely and place into large freezer bags and freeze for future dinners and snacks.
  7. For the Avocado Ranch Dip
  8. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add more juice if needed to thin out dip. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
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Gluten Free Green Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso

Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso

Last weekend I popped up to San Francisco for a quick visit with friends and my blog and computer decided they wanted a vacation too. Technical problems seem to be resolved for the most part, so let’s get back to it. Cinco de mayo is rapidly approaching and since I like any excuse to eat Mexican food, I plan on taking full advantage of the fact this week. Most of these recipes aren’t super traditional or exactly authentic, but they are delicious enough for any fiesta.

This queso is super tasty. I added some of my favorite spring ingredients (mushrooms, leeks and spinach) and they really added a lot of flavor to the queso. They mushrooms added a great earthy flavor, which worked really well with the tangy goat cheese. The chiles add just a little bit of spiciness. I served my queso with tortilla chips, but it would also go well with veggies, crackers or bread.

My oven, like all the other machines in my life, has also been a bit temperamental lately (had to get the igniter replaced… again…), which has changed my oven’s personality somewhat. It seems to be cooking a bit lower or slower (I’m still trying to figure it out).  After 25 minutes the queso was definitely bubbly and ready to serve, but there was absolutely no color to the top of it, which made it look like a blob of boring, white cheese. It’s not a requirement, but I like a little bit of a brown crust on my baked dips. It took me at least 35 minutes to get any type of color to the dip and as you can see in the picture it still came out a bit splotchy. Despite my odd requirements for baked dip coloration, the end product was delicious.

Gluten Free Green Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso

Adapted from Whole Foods.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced baby spinach leaves
  • 1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 (10 ounce) can green chiles, diced (chop finely if using whole chiles)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and onion cook until softened and starting to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are dry and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add chopped spinach and cook until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Spread leeks, mushrooms, spinach over the bottom of a small ovenproof casserole or gratin dish. In a large bowl, combine goat cheese, Jack cheese, and chiles and mix until combined. Spread cheese mixture evenly over mushrooms and bake until bubbling, about 25-35 minutes. Serve hot.
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