Haricots Verts with Honey Orange Dressing

Haricots Verts (French for green beans) are those skinny (and usually more expensive) green beans you see next to the regular green beans in the grocery store.  I will always chose them over the standard green beans mainly because they are more tender and more flavorful.  I was looking for something a bit different to do with my beans the other day and happened upon this recipe.  I remembered my Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar in the fridge and substituted it for the white wine vinegar the recipe called for.  The result was a delicious, very flavorful dish with a nice hint of orange.  Pretty AND tasty!  🙂
Hericots Verts with Honey Orange Dressing

Hericots Verts with Honey Orange Dressing

Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

Haricots Verts with Honey Orange Dressing

slightly adapted from Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound haricots verts (French green beans)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice plus 1 teaspoon zest
  • 2 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼  cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup ricotta salata, grated

Preparation:

To a large pot of boiling salted water, add the haricots verts.  Bring back to a boil, and cook about 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain and immediately plunge beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain and pat dry.

For the dressing, whisk together the orange juice, zest, vinegar, honey, and some salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

Combine the haricots verts, almonds and about half of the ricotta salata in a serving bowl. Pour some of the dressing over the top and gently toss to coat. Taste and add dressing a little at a time adding salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and serve.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • If you don’t have Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, use white wine vinegar.
  • If you can’t find ricotta salata cheese, use feta.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Sweet and Sour Black-Eyed Pea Succotash

Trader Joe’s is one of my all-time favorite grocery stores.  Initially, I wasn’t so quick to hop onto their bandwagon, but fast forward and I’ve since become one of their most loyal customers!  I truly love their products!  If you’re still skeptical about all the hoopla, hop on over to one of many websites to see all the lists of some of the most popular products, and see what you’ve been missing.  I’ll post my “TJ’s Favorites” list in a future post, but for now, here are a few you can check out.

http://www.refinery29.com/best-trader-joes-food-products

http://www.today.com/food/22-trader-joe-s-products-we-re-totally-obsessed-t109415

Today, though, it’s all about their steamed blackeyed peas.  I’ve posted before how I love their steamed lentils (see this post), so I thought I’d blog about their blackeyed peas along with a great recipe to showcase them.  Since summertime is all about using the abundance of fresh garden produce, this succotash fits the bill.  Feel free to add whatever produce you’d like to make it your own.

Sweet and Sour Black-Eyed Pea Succotash

Sweet and Sour Black-Eyed Pea Succotash

 

Trader Joe's Steamed Blackeyed Peas

Trader Joe’s Steamed Blackeyed Peas

Sweet and Sour Black-Eyed Pea Succotash

Adapted from: Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small chile pepper, finely diced (can use fresno, jalepeno, etc)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s steamed blackened peas (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and chile and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook about 30 seconds more then add the blackeyed peas cooking another 2 minutes or so. Add the sugar and vinegar, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Fold in the corn and parsley and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Bobby Flay grilled 4 ears of corn then cut it off the cobb.  In the essence of time, I used frozen and it was great!

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Marinated Garden Tomatoes

One of my favorite things about summertime is all the fresh produce.  Having your own garden is great, but even if you don’t, you can always find garden fresh produce at local farmers markets.  If you’re lucky, you might even have a friend or two looking for someone who might enjoy their garden bounty (thank you Stephanie and Pat!). Tomatoes are definitely one of my favorite things about summer.  They are fantastic on their own with a bit of sea salt, but they’re also delicious marinated in vinegar and herbs. I’ve made this recipe with large tomatoes that I sliced, and I’ve also done it with smaller ones including really small cherry tomatoes. It really doesn’t matter what size you use, they will all be delicious.  I love serving them over an avocado for a light lunch or a side dish for dinner!  Thank you, Corrie, for this great recipe!  🙂

Marinated Garden Tomatoes

Thickly Sliced Marinated Garden Tomatoes

Can also be made with many different sizes

 

Marinated Garden Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup sliced green onion (green and white parts)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • ¼ cup snipped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 fresh tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar

Preparation:

Combine first 6 ingredients and sprinkle over tomatoes. Mix oil and vinegar and pour over tomatoes.  Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Spoon dressing over tomatoes several times while chilling, and drain before serving.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Cannellini Bean Salad

 Continuing on my quest for great summer salads, this winner comes from the magazine, “Eating Well”.  I love all kinds of beans and always keep a good variety of canned ones in my pantry just for throwing together a last minute salad.  They’re good for you and make a great, quick “go-to” lunch.  Fresh herbs make all the difference in this light summery salad, and I love the crunch of the celery against the creamy beans. Everything about it screams healthy!  Eat it on it’s own as a salad or use as a base to top with fish, grilled shrimp, scallops or chicken!  Bon Appétit!
Cannellini Bean Salad

Cannellini Bean Salad

Cannellini Bean Salad

adapted from “Eating Well” Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed well
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup finely diced celery

Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, sage, chives, salt & pepper. Add rinsed beans, celery and tomatoes.  Toss well.  

 

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Great for picnics or outings! Can be made and stored in the refrigerator a day ahead.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Cucumber Melon Salad with Lime, Mint and Feta

It’s summertime, and that means salads!  All kinds of salads!  What I love about this particular salad is the sweet, tangy and salty combo. You can use one melon or mix several different melons together. Tonight, I happened to have a watermelon and honeydew that needed to be used, and since I have a huge pot of mint growing outside, I decided to make this cucumber melon salad I saw from the NY Times.  Lime and mint go together beautifully, and the saltiness of feta cheese made this salad a winner!  This is a great salad for those of you lucky enough to have a garden full of cucumbers!  You can also dice everything a bit smaller and serve as a salsa. 🙂

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Cucumber Melon Salad with Lime, Mint and Feta

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cubed melon (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe)
  • 2 cups diced cucumber, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, sliced thin
  • ½ to 1 serrano chile, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • feta cheese (to taste)

Preparation:

Combine everything in a large bowl and toss before serving.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Fresh Peach and Blackberry Trifle

I just love Sundays when I can spend all day in the kitchen trying out new recipes.  Now that it’s summer, our neighborhood produce stand is up and running, and this week they had their fresh Fredericksburg peaches.  Yay!  I wait all year long for these, and when they finally arrive, it’s time to pull out all the stops and…BRING ON THE PEACH DESSERTS!!

This trifle is not only pretty, but really delicious.  It’s perfect for a large crowd or to take to a potluck.  Leave your diets at home…you won’t be sorry! 🙂

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Trifle

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Trifle

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Trifle

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup plus ⅔ cup sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pre-made angel food cake or pound cake
  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (room temperature)
  • 3 cups fresh peaches
  • 3 cups fresh blackberries

Preparation:

In small saucepan, heat lemon juice, ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup water over medium high heat.  Stir until sugar dissolves, then remove from heat and stir in almond extract.

Cut cake into 1 inch slices, brush both sides with the lemon/sugar liquid, then cut into 1 inch squares.

Beat cream cheese and remaining ⅔ cup sugar with mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Slowly add in the cream, beating constantly, until mixture is smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.

Cut peaches into small pieces and combine with blackberries.  In a trifle bowl, lay about ⅓ of the cake squares on bottom, followed by ⅓ of the fruit, then ⅓ of the cream mixture.  Continue these layers ending with fruit on top.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Try this with any combination of fruit you desire.  Try strawberries and blueberries for the 4th of July!  🙂

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

Spicy Quinoa Cucumber and Tomato Salad

 

Lately, I’ve been determined to make more room in my pantry, so I’m making a concerted effort to use ingredients I already have to plan my meals. It’s kind of like an overcrowded closet…until you start cleaning it out, you really don’t even know what all you’ve got!  Such is the case with my pantry, so when I ran across some organic red quinoa, I decided it was time to make a meal! Hubby had the Traeger Smoker fired up and ready to smoke some chicken breasts, so I thought a nice healthy quinoa salad topped with a bit of protein sounded like perfect way to top of a beautiful day of sunshine!

Spicy Quinoa Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Spicy Quinoa Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Spicy Quinoa Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Quinoa:

  • 1 Cup Organic Red Quinoa (or use any quinoa you like)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (can use vegetable broth or water)

Rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking. Combine broth and quinoa and pinch of salt in medium saucepan.  Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

Salad:

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped (or more to taste)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ – ½ serrano pepper, minced (can use jalepeno for milder spice or omit altogether)
  • 1 lime, zested then juiced
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Combine cucumber, tomatoes, mint, shallot, serrano, lime zest and lime juice.  Toss together, and drizzle with olive oil.  Add cooked quinoa, fold to combine and add salt & pepper to taste.  Add more lime juice if desired.

  • If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 
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