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Warm Goat Cheese Crostini

Spring Entertaining: Warm Goat Cheese & Honey Crostini Salad

Warm Goat Cheese Crostini

Warm Goat Cheese Crostini

Easy but sophisticated, this delicious goat cheese crostini is ready in 15 minutes.  Serve it over a bed of greens with sweet dried fruit, crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds, and drizzled with an accompanying vinaigrette for a light, delicious lunch.  It’s also equally great by itself as an easy appetizer for when friends drop by. Pair it with a chilled grass of Sancerre (or your favorite white wine), and enjoy all season long.

 

 

Warm Goat Cheese & Honey Crostini Salad

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 1 crostini

Warm Goat Cheese & Honey Crostini Salad

Ingredients

    For Crostini
  • 4 slices whole-grain bread
  • 4 slices fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup caramelized walnuts (for garnish)
  • Honey (for garnish)
  • For Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tsp. whole grain mustard
  • For Salad
  • 2 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1/4 cup yellow raisins
  • 1/8 cup dried apricots
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup oven-roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix in cranberries, apricots, raisins, pumpkin seeds, greens and shredded lettuce. Set aside.
  2. For the dressing, mix the vinegar, olive oil, mustard and honey in a small bowl, and whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. This can be made in advance and refrigerated until use.
  3. In a large baking sheet, arrange the bread slices, and top with a 1/2-inch slice of goat cheese. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the cheese starts to bubble and just starts to brown.
  4. While it bakes, mix the salad greens with the dressing. Serve the goat cheese crostini right warm, drizzled with honey and garnished with a couple of caramelized walnuts, over the bed of dressed greens.

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans Recipe

A Festive Side Dish! Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

20 days till Christmas! Around here, our holiday preparations include going down the Pinterest rabbit hole while looking for pretty crafts, listening to All I Want For Christmas on a loop, and searching for fab outfits to wear throughout the party season. But, most importantly, Christmas is all about FOOD for us. Great dishes, gourmet ingredients, and impeccable presentation, perfectly exemplified in our featured recipe today, Bacon Wrapped Green Beans by Ashley of The Pike Place Kitchen.

 Bacon Wrapped Green Beans Recipe

A mouthwatering Christmas side dish! Bacon Wrapped Green Beans. Ph: Samantha at The Pike Place Kitchen.

If the picture above didn’t get your mouth watering, you’re stronger than we are. We weren’t able to resist the perfect combination of ingredients: tender and nutritious green beans, wrapped in BACON -crispy, buttery, mouthwatering bacon. We’re pretty much obsessed with bacon around here (so is Samantha, her hysterically funny blog post reads like an ode to the crispy ham). It was unanimous around our office: Bacon Wrapped Green Beans are the perfect side for a Christmas dinner.

The presentation is genius, much more modern and elegant than, say, a green bean casserole. The crispy green beans are offset by the silkiness of the bacon oils. Size-wise, it gives you a taste without overwhelming the plate or the palate, or the main dish. Plus, can we talk about how pretty it looks? The festive green beans are perfectly bundled up with the deep rose bacon. It just add such a lovely note to a dish, without trying to hard to be “Christmas-y”.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans Recipe

Pretty in (bacon) pink: green beans bundled up in crispy bacon. Ph: Samantha at The Pike Place Kitchen.

If you want to up the ante (and you know you do!), you can use Pancetta or Tamworth Cured Bacon. The latter is cured with sea salt, Rosemary and black pepper.  Samantha chose garlic salt to season them, but we think a great sea salt would give it a glamorous touch (try Maldon Sea Salt from England, included in the New York Times 2013 Holiday Gift Guide).

GREEN BEAN TIPS

Green beans are available year-round, but sometimes can be hard to find fresh. If you’re using fresh green beans, don’t buy the whole package, buy them loose so you can make sure to pick out good ones – firm, crisp, and bright green. Avoid anything that looks droopy or brownish.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans Recipe

Festive greens: It all starts with perfectly crisp, bright green beans. Ph: Samantha at The Pike Place Kitchen.

Now let’s get cooking! Samantha was super generous to share her recipe with us. For more great recipes and laugh-out-loud ramblings, make sure to visit her blog at The Pike Place Kitchen.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 Servings

Serving Size: 1 bundle

Calories per serving: 28

Fat per serving: 2gr

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Our choice for this Christmas' side dish! Thank you Ashley for sharing your recipe with us

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb Green Beans
  • Cracked Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 tsp Minced Onion Pieces
  • 3 Slices of Bacon (cut in half)
  • Olive Oil Spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray olive oil onto a baking sheet.
  2. Trim the green beans and blanch for three minutes. After blanching, dry the beans on a paper towel. (To blanch: submerge the green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from boiling water, and submerge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.)
  3. Divide the green beans into 6 even piles. Wrap each pile in a half-slice of bacon.
  4. Place each bundle, seam side down, on the baking sheet and lightly spray tops with olive oil. Season the tops with garlic salt, minced onion pieces, and cracked black pepper.
  5. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, and serve.

Delicious anyway you slice it! Pecan Pie.

Thanksgiving Dessert: Easy As Pecan Pie Recipe

Pie Perfect: Pecan Pie For Thanksgiving Dessert

Pie Perfect: Pecan Pie For Thanksgiving Dessert. Photos (left to right): Angela at Unexpected Elegance, Gourmet Food World.

When you talk about Thanksgiving dessert, the first thing that comes to mind is pie. Pumpkin pie, of course, and apple pie, sure. We’re a bit pumpkin-ed out after Halloween, and apple pie seems a bit, well, boring! But a crunchy, sweet and meaty pecan pie recipe, now that’s something that gets our culinary gears churning. This Southern classic is always delicious, but we were astounded to find out that pecans are also really nutritious! Read on!

Delicious anyway you slice it! Pecan Pie.

Delicious anyway you slice it! Pecan Pie by Angela . Photo by: Angela at Unexpected Elegance

Pecans are yummy, yes, but they’re also heart healthy, rich in Omega 6 fatty acids and a good source of protein and unsaturated fats. Studies even show that eating pecans may delay age-related muscle degeneration. So this Thanksgiving you can have your pecan pie and eat it.  Your heart will also be thankful.

Pecan Pie Recipe Tips & Trips

  • For choosing pecans with shells: look for clean shells with no blemishes or cracks
  • If you shake it and it rattles, then roll. It shouldn’t rattle!
  • Pecans have more moisture and spoil more easily, so double-bag any leftover and store in the fridge (3 months) or freezer (6 months)
  • For toasted pecans, bake in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Make ahead: bake your pecan pie fully and freeze, up to a week. Then thaw at room temperature when you’re ready to serve
  • Pretty as pecan pie: decorate the crust by marking the edge with a fork using a crosshatch pattern

Want to give pecan pie a try? To help you out, we’re sharing a delicious (and easy!) Pecan Pie recipe by Angela of Unexpected Elegance. For this Texas native, raised amongst pecan trees, Pecan Pie is as American (if not more!) than apple pie. Her recipe (below), is delicious and easy to follow, which leaves you with more time to spend with your family. Visit Angela’s blog for her full Pecan Pie post, plus more recipes, fun diy home projects and crafty lifestyle tricks. Thanks Angela!

Easy as pecan pie recipe

A generous amount of meaty chopped pecans is the secret to equally delicious slices. Photo by: Angela at Unexpected Elegance.

Angela

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 1 Pie

Angela

Angela's family recipe for Pecan Pie, super simple and simply delicious!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Form the crust into the pie dish
  2. Fill the bottom with chopped pecans. You can have as much or as little as you would like.
  3. Melt butter and whisk in the remaining ingredients: sugar, vanilla, Light Karo, eggs.
  4. Pour the liquid over the pecans, and the pecans will slowly rise to the surface.
  5. Use some foil or crust cover around the edges of the crust during most of the baking so the crust doesn’t get too brown.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for around 45 minutes.

Notes

A lot of pecan pie recipes call for the dark syrup, but make sure to get the light for this one!!

wagyu steaks

How To Grill the Perfect Steak

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us once again, and that can only mean one delicious thing: Barbeque! Ladies and gentlemen, brush out the grills, and sharpen those knives, because grilling season is now open! We show you the way to your best Memorial Day barbeque, with tips, tricks and techniques to grill perfect, juicy, sizzling steaks, all summer long! We consulted with the experts and prepared the essential how-to guide to grilling like a pro.

perfect wagyu steaks for grilling

Australian wagyu steaks

Step 1: Get the best meat possible

This is perhaps the simplest and most important thing to do to achieve the perfect steak. Look for high grade cuts with lots of marbling (the white fat than webs across the meat). That beautiful marbling means gorgeous flavor and lots of juiciness.  Also look out for grass-fed beef, as it’s more intense and flavorful than grain-fed.

Step 2: Fire It Up

In the battle of man versus meat, the most powerful weapons in your arsenal are…a grill and good, hot fire! Keep in mind that as soon as you start putting meat, the grill will start cooling down. Pre-heat your grill well before tossing those steaks on top. Get it really hot, so hot you can barely put your hand over it, and then start grilling. Next, create grill zones using the 2-Zone technique, where you have a hotter side of the grill (direct radiant heat), and a less hot zone on the other size (indirect convection heat).

smoked sea salt for grilling the perfect stake

Smoked sea salt

Step 3: Seasoning

Keep it simple. Season on BOTH SIDES with salt and pepper, which will help it develop that beautiful brown crust. If your meat is high in fat and marbling (like Wagyu beef, for example), it already has enough natural oils to develop the crust, so don’t brush it with olive oil, as it will only hide that delicious flavor. Don’t start with a steak right out of the fridge; let it come to room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Step 4: It’s Grill Time

Your steak is seasoned, your grill is hot, and it’s game time! First, make sure that there’s plenty of room on the grill that you can move the steaks from one heat zone to another, otherwise there’s no point to the 2-Zone technique. Second, leave it alone! Don’t move the meat around the grill or flip it around until it’s good and ready, or otherwise it will stick to the grill, and you won’t get that delicious flavor from the grilling. Only move it from one zone to another, and to flip it. We consulted our expert, The Reluctant Gourmet, who recommends: “start with the hot side for a quick sear, and then finish cooking on the indirect side”.

Step 5: Cooking Times

How long do you cook a steak for? The Reluctant Gourmet had this to say about proper grilling times for steaks, “I start by grilling for 2 1/2 minutes, then turning it 90 degrees and cooking for another 2 1/2 minutes, flip the steak over to it’s other side and repeat the process thus giving the steak the classic grill marks”.

THE TOUCH TEST

To test if the steak is done, you’ll compare it with how the fleshy part of your hand feels in certain positions.

Rare: a rare steak should feel like the fleshy, spongy triangular area between your thumb and index finger (relax your hand when doing this).

Medium: make a loose first, and touch that same triangle area. See how much firmer it is? That’s the feel of a steak when it’s medium-done.

Well done: make a hard fist, and try again. The area is now tight and hard, which is how a well-done steak should feel like.

Step 6: Rest

Once the steak is done, take it out of the fire and set it on a plate. And wait. At least five minutes. We know you’re hungry, but trust us; it’s worth the wait. The juices need to settle inside the steak, if you cut into it too soon, you’ll lose those delicious juices.

Step 7: Eat!!

You now have the perfect steak, cooked to perfection, enjoy!

Shop Grilling Essentials:

Australian Wagyu Steaks >
Grilling Salts >
Gourmet Pepper and Peppercorns >

Our grilling expert: The Reluctant Gourmet is G. Stephen Jones, a self-taught chef and stay-at-home dad from Philadelphia, attempting to overcome his own “reluctant” tendencies in the kitchen. You can find more great cooking info on his website, http://reluctantgourmet.com/.

Pound Cake French Toast Stacks with Sweet Goat Cheese Mousse and Warm Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

We’re Making French Toast For Mother’s Day! Two Great And Delicious Gourmet French Toast Recipes to Celebrate Mom!

Every May, the rain stops, the flowers bloom, and, around the country, moms gets ready to relax.  This is the one day of the year where the mop and dust pans are left in the closet and the alarm is shut off … Yes, this Sunday the 13th of May is Mother’s Day!

Time to tie on that apron, and get the eggs cracking, because this year we’re making Mom gourmet French Toast for a delicious breakfast in bed. Breakfast is probably the most rushed, hectic moment of the day for mom; she runs around making sure everyone is up and dressed, the coffee brewed, the toast/cereal/pancakes served, lunches packed… exhausting! This Mother’s Day, SHE rests, and YOU get to work. We searched high and low to bring you the best, most delicious French Toast recipes to make Mom for Mother’s Day 2013!

We selected two mouth-watering options to choose from: first, a perfect traditional French Toast with a twist for homey moms, and second, a more intricate recipe for more adventurous foodie moms. Either way, she’s guarantee to love it (especially since she didn’t have to make it)!

For… the traditional gourmet mom

Overnight French Toast Casserole Topped with Bananas Fosters by Gina’s Skinny Recipes

This recipe won us over from the word “bananas”, but there were several other reasons why it was a winner. One very practical one? You can make this ahead, and the casserole format suits a larger family. Gina soaks the bread for eight hours in a mixture of eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and rum (yum!), then bakes it to puffed golden, spongy perfection and tops it with bananas that she expertly caramelizes in light butter, rum, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. If you’re afraid of packing on the pounds, don’t! The clincher is that that Gina’s recipes are all Weight-Watchers © friendly, so she lists all the calories and points information, so mom (and you) can enjoy it guilt-free.

View Full Recipe here

French Toast Casserole Topped with Bananas Fosters

Bananas Fosters Topped Overnight French Toast by Skinnytaste.com

Want to try this recipe? We can help with your shopping!

Vanilla Beans and Extract > Cinnamon (ground) > White Sugar > Gourmet Salt > Brown sugar >

For…the adventurous foodie mom

Pound Cake French Toast Stacks with Sweet Goat Cheese Mousse and Warm Balsamic Roasted Strawberries by Lorie’s Mississippi Kitchen

We just about died when we found this recipe by the Mississippi Kitchen blog run by the extraordinary Lorie Roach. This is no regular French toast, no sir! It pretty much combines just about everything we love so much about a dish: an unfussy dish made with top of the line gourmet ingredients and tons of culinary creativity.  The “toast” is actually pound cake dipped in the traditional French toast “batter” of eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk, then heated until golden brown. She then proceeds to continue blowing our minds by whipping a delicious goat cheese mousse, where the tangy flavors and creamy texture pair perfectly with the sweet balsamic strawberries topping she roasts in a sauce of aged aceto balsamico and sugar. Extra serving idea by Lorie: put the ingredients in a mason jar for an alternate cute presentation.

View Full Recipe here

Pound Cake French Toast Stacks with Sweet Goat Cheese Mousse and Warm Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

Pound Cake French Toast Stacks with Sweet Goat Cheese Mousse and Warm Balsamic Roasted Strawberries by Lorie’s Mississippi Kitchen

Want to try this recipe? We can help with your shopping!

Vanilla Beans and Extract > Cinnamon (ground) >Powdered Sugar > Fresh Goat Cheese Log > Aged Balsamic Vinegar >

All that’s left is a wonderful flower bouquet, a heart-felt card, and lots of hugs and kisses for Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day!