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
- 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
- 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.
- In a screw-top jar combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover tightly and shake until combined. Immediately drizzle over salad.
Posted in Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Salad
Tagged bacon, carrots, cheese, cooking, food, gluten free, recipes, salad
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
- 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
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a food processor, pulse bread and garlic until fine crumbs form; set 3 tablespoons aside.
- Add the goat cheese, parsley, red-pepper flakes and lemon juice to food processor. Season with salt and pepper, and pulse filling until combined.
- 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.
Posted in Appetizer, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged Appetizer, cheese, cooking, food, gluten free, goat cheese, mushrooms, recipes, vegetarian
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
For the Taquitos
- Heat oven to 400. Line two large baking sheets with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
- Combine chicken and barbecue sauce.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place baking sheets in oven and cook 20-25 minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy.
- 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.
For the Avocado Ranch Dip
- 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.
Posted in Appetizer, BBQ, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes
Tagged Appetizer, cheese, chicken, food, gluten free, onions, recipes
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
- 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)
- 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.
Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Holidays, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged Appetizer, cheese, food, gluten free, goat cheese, mexican, mushrooms, onions, recipes, spinach
This dish is pure comfort food if you ask me. It’s hearty enough for a cold winter’s night, but still light enough to be a great transitional meal when spring hasn’t quite decided if it wants to be hot or cold yet. The meat and vegetables make it both filling and nutritious. You will get a lot of leftovers out of this recipes, which is a plus in my book. I also thought that the ragout tasted even better then next day.
Polenta is not everyone’s favorite food, but I happen to really like it. I think it makes a great base for a meal and keeps amazingly well for leftovers. You can top it with just about anything. I really like making my polenta with added goat cheese. It gives it both a creamy and tangy bite that I think goes really well with tomato based sauces.
Goat Cheese Polenta with Turkey & Veggie Ragout
For the Turkey Ragout:
- 1 1/4 pound extra-lean ground turkey
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (14 1/2) ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
- 1 large red sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
For the Polenta:
- 1 cup quick-cooking/instant polenta
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese, slightly crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For Serving (optional):
- Fresh basil, chopped
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet, cook ground beef until brown. Drain off any extra fat.
- In the same skillet, heat olive oil. When heated add onions and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add in carrots, zucchini and garlic, along with undrained tomatoes, broth and salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook on low-heat until all the vegetables are cooked through and tomato and broth have slightly thickened.
- Meanwhile, prepare polenta according to package directions. I recommend using low-sodium vegetable broth for extra flavor. When polenta is almost cooked through, stir in goat cheese and butter.
- Spoon polenta into individual serving bowls and top with ragout mixture over polenta. Top individual bowls with pesto and garnish with basil and freshly ground pepper.
Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes
Tagged cheese, food, gluten free, onions, polenta, recipes, tomato, turkey
Oh, haloumi, how I love you! Let me count the ways! I really, really love haloumi. I also really, really love caramelized onions and tomatoes and arugula. I basically just really, really love this salad. There is something about the salty (and squeaky) haloumi and the kind of sweet, kind of not caramelized onion dressing that just makes for the most amazing flavor combination. The peppery arugula was also a flavorful addition that worked really well with the rest of the ingredients.
I’m not going to lie, making the dressing is going to take you a bit of time. To get really delicious, rich, sweet caramelized onions, you are going to need about an hour. Don’t believe anyone that says it will only 10 to 20 minutes, that’s a lie. And don’t believe anyone that says you can add sugar to caramelize them, that’s just gross. (I am very passionate when it comes to caramelized onions and these two points, if you couldn’t tell….) The onions will get naturally sweet and it is definitely worth the effort, you just need to give them time. You can definitely blend the onion dressing in a food processor if you prefer a more vinaigrette-like dressing. I left the onions un-blended (more like a chutney almost) because I felt it would make for a heartier salad.
Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing
For the Salad:
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 block of halloumi, sliced
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 bag of salad greens (I used arugula)
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
- Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions when oil begins to shimmer. Let onions sit for 10 minutes and sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat low and continue to stir onions every 10 minutes until they are a rich, caramelized brown. It's going to take about 1 hour, give or take 10-20 minutes either side.
- When onions are caramelized place in bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust flavors and spice to your taste. If you prefer a smoother dressing this can be done in a food processor.
For the Salad:
- Wash and prepare lettuce and tomatoes. Divide between two plates
- Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat (you can reuse the same pan you caramelized your onions in). Once oil is hot add haloumi slices and cook until starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the haloumi and repeat on the other side.
- Top tomatoes with halloumi, then add the onion dressing and freshly ground pepper.
- Serve and enjoy!
Posted in Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Salad, vegetarian
Tagged cheese, cooking, food, gluten free, onions, recipes, salad, vegetarian
In another round of my second favorite kitchen game*, clean out the fridge roulette, I was lucky enough to come up with a winner! I am sure I am not the only one to do it, but sometimes you buy some vegetables and then kind of forget about them for a week
or two. I always feel awful if I don’t rediscover them until after the use it or lose it stage, but luckily I found a kind of wilted bunch of broccoli, a cauliflower that was about to cross to the dark side and some lonely looking carrots.
I like to let my onions get nice and brown (preferably caramelized) in most of my soups, so I diced up the onion and shallot and threw them on first thing. I let them get soft and caramelized while I chopped and washed the rest of the vegetables. I don’t mind my veggie soups having a bit of a bite in them, but if you prefer a softer or more blended soup, you might want to add the carrots with the onions so they get super soft. I added them after the onions were well softened and thought they came out perfectly. Truth be told, I used less stock than usual (3 cups instead of my usual 4) because that what I had left on hand and didn’t feel the need to open or make more. This resulted in a much thicker, almost chowder-like soup, which was delicious and filling.
I topped my soup with a sprinkle of cheddar, freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of dill. After tasting the dill with the soup, I wish I had added some to the main recipe. Next time!
* – my favorite kitchen game is Don’t Cut a Finger While Cutting Onions, but I’m really not all that good at that.
Broccoli-Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 6+ garlic cloves, minced (I used a whole head)
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 large head broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and shallot and cook until soft and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, broccoli, spices and 3 cups stock. Bring broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook 10-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and easily cut, stirring occasionally. The broth will not totally cover the vegetables but don't worry- stirring will be enough to ensure the cauliflower cooks through.
- Using a regular blender or immersion blender, blend the cauliflower mixture until desired consistency is reached. (If you are using a regular blender, you will probably have to do this in batches so pour the blended soup into another large pot as you go. If using an immersion blender, you can blend the soup right in the same pot. Once blended, stir in the cheese and serve.
Posted in Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Soup, vegetarian
Tagged broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, gluten free, recipes, soup, vegetarian
I doesn’t look like much, but I cannot even begin to put into words how amazing this is. Amazing! That’s all I can say. I was faced with the awkward situation of having a whole bunch of cheese, but not enough to make a legitimate cheese plate. You know that awkward spot where you’ve had a wine and cheese night and there is some cheese leftover, but not really anything worthwhile. It’s always a dark day. There are just tiny bits of that, something with a bit of a rind, some soft stuff that was kind of sad looking, a tad of blue begging to find a second chance. I poked around the internet for a bit and thanks to the magic of Google, I discovered the most glorious way to save the cheese! Fromage Fort! You can’t really go wrong with the combination of cheese. I used some blue, Boursin, goat, brie and parm. Delicious.
Serving wise, baguette, crackers, even some crudités would be great to serve with this. I used toasted gluten-free bread. If I had been by myself, I probably would have just used a spoon.
Final word of advice, get on this. Stat!
- 1 pound mix leftover cheese, harder cheeses grated, softer ones cut into chunks
- A couple pats of butter, if using mostly firm cheese varieties
- 1-3 small clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
- 1/2 to 1 cup leftover white wine
- 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary or chives
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Blend cheese, butter (if using) and garlic in food processer until combined. Drizzle in wine with the motor running until you get your desired consistency — some like it completely smooth, others prefer chunks. Add herbs, pulsing the machine until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Fromage fort can be used right away, or kept in the fridge until needed. In the fridge, it will thicken and age a little; the flavors will mingle and deepen. Let sit out for a few minutes to slight soften and make serving easier.
Posted in Appetizer, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged Appetizer, blue cheese, cheese, food, gluten free, goat cheese, recipes, vegetarian