Leslie is a new friend I run with in Boca Ratón… She is a salad lover like me.
I always end up talking food with everyone I meet and this is one of Leslie’s favorite salads to make. I hope you enjoy it as much as Leslie and I enjoy it.
SPINACH AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD
Baby Spinach leaves
Goat Cheese crumbles
Spiced Nuts – like almonds or pecans
Dress with Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- Mix all the ingredients in a large salad bowl and dress with Balsamic Vinaigrette. Toss well to combine.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Mix all the ingredients in a small glass jar and shake well.
After a week without eating solid foods, you certainly want to maintain your system as clean as possible. We are encouraged to eat only fruits and salads after we finish our spiritual retreats.
This was the salad I made right after we came back to the “land of the eaters”… it was improvised by what was freshest at the market on New Year’s Day, but it turned out to be so delicious, that we prepared it exactly the same for a few days after because I got so enamored of the flavors.
This is my way to get you enamored with salads too… hope it works!!!!
MIXED GREEN SALAD
2 large handfuls of Baby Arugula
1 large handful of Baby Spinach
1 handful of Alfalfa sprouts
1 Tomato, sliced
¼ cup sliced Almonds
¼ cup dried Cranberries
Lemon Vinaigrette – Lime juice, Extra Virgin Olive oil, Salt and Pepper
- Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large salad bowl. Squirt the juice of ½ a lemon, drizzle some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss all the ingredients with your hands to combine well.
- Eat immediately… as the lettuces will wilt if you let this salad sit for too long.
This is a recipe from my friend Jeanette Quiñones from Sazón Boricua…
When she read about my fascination with the gandules Lula made for our recent baby shower, she told me she had a great recipe she always serves as an appetizer for parties and family gatherings. She offered to give it to me and you all… she only needed the pictures.
I am glad to have waited because the pictures are gorgeous!!!! I have not had time to make the recipe myself, but if you do, please feel free to write me a comment so we can all let Jeanette know how we feel about it. OK??
If you like to invite people over to your house and feel you always end up making the “same old, same old” appetizers as always, I invite you to make these pigeon peas in escabeche. It’s an easy and delicious alternative I am sure will please many.
PIGEON PEAS ESCABECHE
2 cans of green pigeon peas, drained (KarmaFree highly recommends organic brands)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 small bay leaves
2 tbs sofrito, optional
1 tsp of black peppercorns
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp salt
1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
½ cup of pimento-stuffed olives
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
½ cup celery, chopped finely
- Cook the onion until translucent over about 2 tbs of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sofrito, peppercorns, vinegar, bay leaves and the rest of the olive oil. Take off the heat.
- On a separate bowl, add the roasted red pepper, olives, celery and jalapeño. Transfer the cooked sofrito mixture and add the drained pigeon peas to the bowl. Stir well to combine. Finally, add the fresh cilantro and season with salt.
- Let the mixture stand and macerate for at least 2 hours before serving them.
You can serve these pigeon peas with mini pita breads, pita chips, salted crackers, home-made tortilla chips or even as a filling for tostones made into small baskets, we call these tostones rellenos. I feel a class is coming up on how to make those… OK???
Jeanette is the CEO and founder of Sazón Boricua. She started her blog from Puerto Rico on 2008 to share recipes, advice and tips for the home. She collaborates with Qué Rica Vida, has been selected as a Top Bloguera by LATISM 2012 and is also the founder of Red Bloguera de Puerto Rico. You can follow Jeanette on Facebook, on Twitter @sazon_boricua or via her blog Sazón Boricua. Contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is my take on a baklava-inspired puff pastry sweet appetizer… I wanted to do something completely nutty in the filling, but taking advantage of the unsulfured dried fruits available when I travel to the US, I decided to look for a recipe using dried fruit.
I started out with Giada’s Apricot Walnut Phyllo cups, but to make it easy on me, I would do palmiers out of puff pastry. I usually do not use orange zest in my cooking because I find it too bitter for my taste, but the crowd seemed to like it a lot. It brought out the apricot taste even more.
APRICOT WALNUT PALMIERS
1 1/2 cups dried apricots, unsulfured preferably, chopped a bit
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon orange zest, from 1 large orange, plus more for garnish, optional,
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
- In the bowl of a food processor mix together the dried apricots, walnuts, honey, orange juice and zest. Pulse a few times so it creates a choppy mixture.
- Open the puffed pastry (which comes folded in three). Place some flour onto a clean surface and flour the rolling pin too. Roll out the pastry so that it loses the creases where the folds were.
- Spread the apricot walnut mixture in an even layer leaving a border on one edge.
- Start rolling from the farthest edge from the border you left without filling. Roll the pastry onto itself until you create a log. If you prefer to make them in palmier form, roll them from two opposites sides until the 2 rolls meet somewhere in the middle.
- Repeat with the second pastry. Place logs in the fridge covered with a moist paper towel for about 10-15 minutes or until you’re ready to bake them. This is important for the pastry to harden a bit again. It’ll be easier to cut if the pastry is cold than if it is at room temp.
- Slice the logs into ½ inch pieces. Place onto a baking sheet. I put some organic sugar on top, but I did not love how those turned out, but I forgot to take a pic without it.
- Bake in a 425F oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden delicious.
I suggest that if you have leftovers, heat them back a bit in a toaster oven… This will soften the apricots in the filling, which tend to harden when they’re colder.
Next time… I promise to make the nut only mixture I envisioned originally. But these ones were a nice twist on my original idea…
I planned the whole menu for my sister’s baby shower… and appetizers is my thing. So I had a few ideas already in my mind. I would work with puff pastry to make something savory and something sweet. I would make a version of Rosemary Almonds but using cashews, which are easier on more adult teeth. Gotta think of the grandmas…
I brought with me an exquisite Pigeon Peas Antipasto too, but I was missing something else. Like a dip. But I was running out of ideas. I can’t make Veggie Dip one more time!!!
Then… I remembered a recipe I had seen from Giada DiLaurentiis – a savory cheesecake recipe designed to use a small cheesecake pan, just like the only one I have!! I had to adapt the recipe to make it egg-free and integrated some ideas I have learned while making Pumpkin Cheesecake over Thanksgiving.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we all did… this recipe is a keeper. Great for making in advance… great to bring to a party too!!!
SAVORY BASIL CHEESECAKE
Butter, for greasing the pan
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
2 tbs sour cream
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tsp egg replacer + 4 tbs water
Pinch of salt and freshly cracker pepper
1/2 packed cup chopped fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
- Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl mix together the egg replacer and the water. Whisk well to combine and set aside. The mixture will foam and grow a bit.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 4 1/2-inch diameter spring-form pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of heavy-duty foil. If you don’t have heavy-duty foil, just double on the foil.
- Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese and sour cream in a food processor. Pulse until mixed.
- Add the brown sugar, the egg replacer mixture, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until incorporated.
- Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared spring-form pan. Place the pan in a glass baking dish that’s slightly larger. Pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the spring-form pan. Make sure the foil top edge is above the water line.
- Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the cheesecake will become firm when chilled), about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the spring-form pan from the baking dish and remove the foil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3-4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the spring-form pan. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.
- Drizzle the top of the cheesecake with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with assorted crackers.
This is a great recipe to make the day before you need it. Just chill in the fridge and get out before your guests arrive. The cheesecake will hold very well at room temperature.