Endive, Orange & Bleu Cheese Salad

Endive, Orange & Bleu Cheese SaladSalad Queen
My sister is the Salad Queen. No matter what the occasion, she can be counted on to bring a bowl of greens in any of a thousand iterations. It’s a good thing, as everyone could use more greens in their life. But, her leafy predictability has also become kind of a family joke. She can also be counted on for a rockin’ good cake. But, I digress….

One thing I have noticed over the years is that while she loves to experiment, she does have her favorites. And, they change with the seasons—as you would expect. A couple of weeks ago, when the weather actually started to feel like Fall, we were at her house for dinner. We enjoyed a lovely pork tenderloin along with some spicy sweet potatoes and this Endive, Orange & Bleu Cheese Salad. It is one of my favorites as well. And, it is a more accurate signal that the seasons have changed than anything else I know…as one or both of us will make it as soon as we have a reason too.

This salad is a great side for any fall-themed dinner. But it is also good the next day for lunch—especially with some sliced cooked chicken or whatever is left over from the night before. This also works for Thanksgiving if you’re someone who is thinking ahead.

Endive, Orange & Bleu Cheese Salad
Yields 2 Servings
Adapted from Ina Garten and The Food Network
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Cheddar Beer Rolls

Cheddar Beer RollsLet the Good Times Roll
I am not a huge beer drinker. I really have to be in the mood for a beer. And even then, I have very specific beer tastes. It’s either a lighter beer like a Corona when it’s hot or I am on a beach. Or, usually, when it’s cold outside at the tailgate, it’s a Guinness or other type of stout. Nothing in between.

I do, however, cook with beer…a lot.

I have a number of recipes that involve beer from Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onion to Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak but one of my favorite ways to cook using beer is to make bread.

Sure you could do a straight-up beer bread like my Classic Beer Bread recipe which is a great addition to any fall chili or soup dinner. But, if you are looking for something with a twist give this Cheddar Beer Rolls recipe a shot. They are great on the table as dinner rolls. But, they work equally well when made into hamburger buns for a little something unexpected to up your tailgating game…and if you really want to get crazy, add some diced jalapeños.

Cheddar Beer Rolls Recipe
Adapted from NY Times Cooking
Yields 12 dinner-sized rolls or 6 hamburger buns

The addition of beer makes these Cheddar Beer Rolls recipe especially light and fluffy. And, you can also make delicious burger buns. Read more…

George’s Garden Salsa

George’s Garden SalsaMy husband could live on chips and salsa. It is by far his most favorite thing in the world behind ice cream and tacos which is why whenever we discuss planting a veggie garden, I always have to include the components for salsa. I have been making fresh salsa from our garden for forever. But, it wasn’t until the kids went back to school this year that my husband figured out how to do it himself.

My other half is one of the many who have been working from home for the past eighteen months—this wasn’t too awful. Since the kids were doing distance learning, he occasionally had people to talk to when they chose to come out of their caves. And, he had the option to send them to the store in the case of a salsa emergency.

Now that school is back in person and the kids are gone, the only one he has left is the dog. And, she can’t reach the gas pedal. So, out of desperation and in an attempt to use the tomatoes and chilies that we have coming out of our ears, he made his own salsa. And, it’s actually really good. (I say actually because his experiments can be well, concerning.) His salsa is even better if it sits for a day in the fridge and the flavors are allowed to meld. Beware though, this salsa is hot. By his standards, if you ain’t sweatin’ it ain’t worth it!

There is no actual recipe for George’s Garden Salsa which means it’s a little different each time. Everything is done by eye and taste testing. But, I have tried to lay it out the best I can below. Feel free to mess with it as you see fit. Roast the chilies on the grill, dial back on the heat, or add some avocado…it’s your canvas to do with as you please.

For those who like their salsa a little less chunky, throw half of the salsa (or all of it) in the food processor.

George’s Garden Salsa Recipe
Yields 6 servings Read more…

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon KebobsMutiny Because of the Bounty
Come with me and let me take you on a little journey to see if this is something you can relate to. It’s February and you’re sitting at the kitchen table, a stack of the latest seed catalogs in front of you. (Ahhhh…that new catalog smell!) The excitement and anticipation of the fresh bounty to come are impossible to contain. And, you are convinced that you actually need every variety of those heirloom tomatoes and squash because who doesn’t like tomatoes and squash? And of course, the best part is sharing with others. So, having too much shouldn’t be a problem. And, you never know when Better Homes and Gardens will call to ask if they can come to do a photoshoot in your garden because it’s Just. That. Awesome.

Fast forward to the end of July. It’s been hot and some of your plants are showing the damage. You’ve battled a round of blossom end rot on your tomatoes. The ants are taking over your bell peppers and your squash “cup” runneth over.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to pawn a lot of my produce off on my sister which, frankly, is one of the reasons I plant a garden. (She loves the produce but her yard is too shady.) But there is still a lot of produce on the vine.

Planting and taking care of a garden is a lot of work but it’s worth it for the fresh produce. There will never be anything that can hold a candle to a homegrown, vine-ripened tomato. But, during the peak months, you will find yourself scrambling to come up with ways to use everything so it doesn’t get wasted. And, in doing so, you might find that you never want to see another pepper in your lifetime. Zucchini is notorious for this.

I love squashes of all kinds. But, even I will get tired of them day after day—especially if they are prepared the same way each time. That being said, I like them cooked simply so you can actually taste the flavors of the squash. Grilling them is my favorite but can be tricky. Cook them a heartbeat too long and they will be mushy.

I saw this recipe for Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs in the New York Times and wanted to try it because it looked like a great way to avoid soggy squash and the ribbons seemed fun. Play around with the seasonings you use. You don’t have to go with BBQ. Salt, pepper, and olive oil are always fantastic as is your favorite Mediterranean blend. Za’atar would also work really well…

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs Recipe
Adapted from Stephen Raichlen and New York Times Cooking
Yields 6 servings

To keep the zucchini crisp during grilling, slice it thinly and cook over a hot fire. The edges char and get crisp like the burnt ends of a rib.

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