Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie & Cranberry Pear Salad – 2 Easy Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

Easy Make-Ahead Thanksgiving RecipesFor those of you who are working right up until the Holidays- I sympathize. For those of you who work retail, hospital shifts, night jobs, or more than one job- I really sympathize.

If you’re a working foodie- this time of year can be really tough to channel your inner Kitchen Diva, work, be attentive to family and friends, and take care of yourself… I know. I’m right there in the trenches with you this year… Happily, sales of my GF Pie Crust are out of control…I’m excited…but that also leaves little time for much else..blogging? Recipe development? Photography? Housecleaning??!!!?? Thankfully (or not-so-thankfully, depending on how you look at it) a malfunctioning mixer and a delay in an ingredient order left me with time to catch up on some much needed kitchen activity.

I am not hosting dinner this year..But, I still intend to eat well with a few friends and play in someone else’s kitchen. What’s on our menu? Easy stuff. Stuff I’m making tomorrow with the Kitchen Divas in Training so I can sleep in on Turkey Day and loll about in my pajamas taking in the Macy’s Parade with the girls while sipping a mimosa and enjoying a gluten-free scone! So what’s on the dinner menu??

  • Duck Confit (already made, you can check out the pics on our Facebook Page)
  • Smoked Chicken Liver Pate w/ Gluten Free Baguettes
  • Baby potatoes roasted in duck fat and truffle salt (pop in the oven at 400 and cook stirring occasionally until done)
  • Fresh Cranberry Pear Salad (Recipe Below- only 20 min to make and seriously delicious)
  • Roasted Brussels (Check out our Adventuresome Kitchen Recipe with Mint Sauce)
  • Roast Duck or Goose (we’re channeling our Pilgrim roots and dispensing with the Turkey (but I’m not making that!!)
  • Gluten Free Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie (Easy, No Bake, and all the Pumpkin Pie Flavors you love- Recipe Below)

Now that might seem pretty ambitious to some of you- but here’s the deal: With the exception of the baguettes which are a little more involved, everything else listed above is 10-15 minutes of prep and into the oven, or can be completely made in 20 minutes or less… My kind of food these days.. All of it can be made now or on Thanksgiving and still taste great.  My point? Even if you’re crazy busy this year and the thought of cooking makes you want to take a nap…pick one or two fast, easy recipes and eat well. Your tastebuds will be the first to Thank you!!

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Grilled Peaches

Grilled Peaches side 2We are at the tail end of peach season here in Kansas City. The late varieties are showing themselves by the bushel at the farmer’s markets. Three years ago I took the plunge, decided we probably weren’t going to be moving anytime soon, and purchased three dwarf peaches for our backyard. I have been in peach heaven ever since. Why I waited so long to plant peach trees I will never know.

But, for those of you who own fruit trees, you know that when the harvest is in, it is IN! We have had peaches covering every available surface for the last 4 weeks. I know- my life is so hard. I will tell you though that the fruit flies are getting a little bit annoying.

So- what do do with all those peaches? Eat-em of course! We’ve enjoyed:

  • peach pancakes
  • peach sangria
  • peaches on salad, yogurt, and granola

But I think the new favorite would have to be grilled peaches. They are so easy, and are a great way to use up the less desireables- you know the ones I’m talking about- they may be bruised and beat-up. Perhaps you had to cut a bit out, or maybe they’re slightly green. Grilling brings out all the sugars and sweetness, and the flavor here was enhanced with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon. Although I think cumin would be great too.

We enjoyed our grilled peaches plain, and over bitter greens. And the leftovers? They went into a boozy adult shake! Summer in the backyard doesn’t get much better than that!

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Easy Coleslaw Recipe

Fruity Summer SlawThis super easy coleslaw recipe is from the oldest Kitchen Diva in Training. You’ve already seen some of her fabulous pictures, but she and her little sis are pretty regular recipe developers these days, and you really should benefit from their creativity.

All of the recipes from the Kitchen Divas in Training- since they’re designed by young ones- are super easy (which means they don’t take much time to whip up), and they taste great!

One thing I love about this recipe is that it doesn’t call for mayonnaise, making it the perfect picnic item. No chance of food spoilage here. Likewise, it’s paleo, vegan, egg free and dairy free. With all that ‘free-ness’ happening you might also think it’s free from flavor- but it’s not!! The sweet from the apples and raisins,  and the crunch from the cabbage, carrots, & nuts make this quite addictive!

So- without further ado- I present to you ‘A’! (PS- she took the food pictures too!)

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Hey little chefs, it’s ‘A’  from the Adventuresome Kitchen!

Today I made a delicious Summer Salad. It works great for a refreshing snack, or even for lunch. I’m calling it ‘Fruity Summer Slaw’. It’s easy to make and tastes good too.

 

 

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Chickpea Salad (Garbanzo Bean Salad)

garbanzo bean salad

For many of us, the month of July is filled with celebrations. Canada Day (1st of July), Independence Day (4th of July),  or Bastille Day (July 14th) are just a few that come to mind. With celebrations including afternoon picnics, evening fireworks, and long hours in the hot summer sun, this is a perfect recipe for foodborne illness. So- what to bring to a picnic that won’t spoil or melt, and that will taste good warm or cold?

You could bring a summer pie. Gluten-Free pie is always a great option, especially when they’re packed full of fresh fruit. Check out these combinations here and here.

Gluten Free Maple Glazed Peach Tart

Or you could try out this colorful & delicious Chick-Pea Salad. This recipe is super easy and packed full of antioxidants. And, like most salads, the potential for variations is endless. There’s nothing in here that will spoil, and it tastes great both lightly warmed, or right from the fridge. A winning combination for an outdoor party. This recipe size is perfect for a complete meal for 4 people with leftovers, or to bring to a party. You can probably get 16-20 party sized servings

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

4 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained

1 large sweet potato, diced into cubes

1 large red onion, diced

1 pint of cherry tomatoes- the bigger ones sliced in 1/2

1 bag, or several bunches of spinach, de-stemmed if necessary, and sliced in large pieces

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil + extra for cooking

3 tbs red wine vinegar

1 tbs dried rosemary

1 tbs herbes de provence

salt to taste

gluten free chickpea saladDirections

Dice the sweet potato and onion. Place on a large cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and cook in a 350 degree oven until softened- about 30 minutes.

Drain chickpeas and place in a large bowl. For those of you who prefer to cook dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) soak 2 cups dried beans in water for 2 hours. Then cook over medium heat in salted water until softened- about an hour.

Add tomatoes. When the sweet potato onion combo has finished cooking, add to the bowl.

Place a large pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add about 1tbs extra virgin olive oil and give the pan a little shake. Add the spinach and lightly saute until the greens are barely wilted- about 2 minutes. Add to the bowl.

Using a large spoon, gently toss all the ingredients together.

Drizzle the 2 tbs olive oil, and the red wine vinegar over the salad and gently mix again.

Sprinkle the rosemary and herbes de provence, and any salt you’d like to add over the salad and mix one last time.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vegan Tacos w/ Quinoa & Black Beans

This post is a little bit special to me, as the recipe was developed with great enthusiasm by the Kitchen Divas in Training. I love more than anything that my girls are expanding their culinary horizons and working to create delicious, nutritious meals. I also love watching how a recipe idea takes shape and then morphs as they move through the process. This originally started out as a quinoa-salad, but as the flavors combined the girls thought it would be even better in a taco- and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree! The recipe is pretty simple, and could be used as a salad if you don’t have taco shells available. Enjoy, and don’t forget to play with your food!
Vegan Tacos- serves 4 with leftovers

Ingredients

1 cup red quinoa (white is also okay)

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 large tomato

1/2 large onion

1 can black beans

1 small cucumber

1 small red pepper

1/2 cup cilantro

2 tbs apple cider vinegar

2 tbs lime

salt and pepper to taste

8-10 cabbage leaves

Avocado and hot sauce for garnish

Taco Shells

Directions

Rinse quinoa, and place in medium pan with stock. Bring to a boil and turn to low. Cook about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, chop the tomato, onion, cucumber, pepper, and parsley and set aside. Thinly chop the cabbage leaves, squirt with a 1/4 lime and set aside for garnish.

When the quinoa has cooked, pour into a large bowl. Add all the vegetables except the cabbage and combine.

Fill taco shells, and garnish with cabbage, avocado, and of course- New Mexico Red Chile Sauce! Squirt with a lime and eat your heart out!

Citrus Fennel Salad

To coin a Cole Porter phrase- It’s Too Darn Hot. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found as I’ve matured that I have an increasingly smaller temperature gradient that works for me… not too hot, not too cold…and truthfully, if I had to choose- as much as I love hot weather, I’m more comfortable bundling up in silk long johns, furs and mukluks, than I am spritzing myself with cooling spray and sticking my head in the freezer. Quite frankly, I don’t know how you folks who live in hot areas do it… Heat just makes my head want to explode.

So when the thermometer goes way up what do I do? Pop the wine in the freezer, make a batch of gazpacho (something we’re doing in June these days thanks to an overly warm winter), and follow it with a fennel-citrus salad. Super-fast, super-easy, super-cool. It’s all I have energy for. And for dessert? Fresh peaches from the trees in the backyard. Pure unadulterated sweetness. Eat your heart out Julia Child. Sometimes the best recipe is food the way nature intended it. Until my next post- stay cool- whether by pool, air-conditioning, or basement.

Citrus Fennel Salad 2Citrus Fennel Salad

ratio: 1 orange to 1 head of fennel

1/8th lemon & lime

1 tbs + olive oil

drizzle of champagne or other light vinegar

1 tbs sesame seeds for every fennel/orange combo

Directions: Slice fennel and orange into small pieces. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the mix. Squeeze the lemon & lime over the mix and toss. Add sesame seeds and toss again… This is a very laissez faire type of recipe- meaning do what is easy and what feels right to your tastebuds. It’s too hot to do anything else. Really- if you could twitch your nose and have the ingredients mix themselves- that would be best.

Strawberry Gazpacho

It’s 5 Star Makeover time again, and this month’s subject was Gourmet Picnic food. This subject is near and dear to my heart, as I love nothing more than dining al fresco. My inspiration? The movie Anne of Avonlea (renamed Anne of Green Gables, the Sequel)- a sweet, albeit somewhat cheesy and not very accurate adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars….but my favorite scene involves a picnic that is simply inspiring. Not only do the blankets and picnic baskets come out, but so does the porcelain, the silver, and of course, delicious food. I have enjoyed some pretty epic picnics in my time, and had high hopes that this evening would be another one for the annals of picnic lore……… of course the weather had other ideas.

Today was a day that I hope not to repeat for years to come, if ever. Tornadoes and Spring go hand in hand in this part of the country. If you’ve been following the news at all over the past few days, you know what I mean. In some ways, the frequency of the sirens creates an attitude of nonchalance. Of course, as we have witnessed in the tragedy of Joplin, Missouri- a few hours to my south- some who chose to ignore the sirens and go about their business did not survive. This has weighed heavily on my mind this week, as the other night I had to wake my children up at 11:30 pm and get them down to the basement. As usual, at least until today, the area of concern- while still in our county- was miles away. Nothing to worry about. And so we let the girls fall asleep in the basement in front of our favorite weatherman, and went about our business.

Today was supposed to be a day for celebration- and indeed, it turned out to be- but not in the way we intended. The big girl lost another tooth today- her last that the tooth fairy will visit for- and we were to have a beautiful picnic outside to celebrate a dear friend who is moving across the country this week (complete with pictures of a resplendent table for this post!). While we were out and about this morning, we heard the radio mention more tornado warnings for the area. But, as we didn’t hear any sirens in the vicinity, we decided to make a last stop at our local Lowe’s to grab rabbit repellent for the veggie garden.  The bunnies and squirrels have been having entirely too much fun with my beets and strawberries, and need to be redirected to the other plants in my garden set aside for them. Not long after we arrived- about 45 seconds actually- the sirens blew. My first reaction was to get home as we were less than 5 minutes away, but the big girl was very anxious due to all the tornado activities over the past few days, and so we decided to stay. Honestly, I didn’t think much about it because every time the sirens have blown in the last 8 years the storms have been in a far corner of our county.

As the training room began to fill up with customers and shortly after, employees, it became clear to everyone present that this was the real deal. The sirens really were for us this time. Tables were broken down and moved to the far wall, chairs were pushed to the corner, head counts were taken, and we sat down on the floor against a wall to wait and hope we’d be missed. I thought about the Home Depot in Joplin that had been flattened, and tried to reach Mr. Kitchen Diva to let him know where I was and that we were safe. But apparently everyone in the metro area had the same idea and the phone lines were completely jammed. There would be no contact with my husband until this event was over. The radar showed circulation over my neighborhood and I realized that if I was at home, the girls would be in the bathtub in the basement wearing their bicycle helmets. This was a day we had practiced for. This is why, even in our homeschool, we go over our tornado protocols once a month. Thirty minutes slowly ticked by as the sirens cycled off and on. We could hear the rain pick up, then the wind, and then calm. The girls were scared, and I was scared for them. The last thing you want to see as a parent is your children terrified, knowing you’ve done everything you can to protect them, and realizing that against the forces of nature, it’s not very much.

We were lucky today. I am grateful for my 85 year old house, and the 100+ year old houses a block away. They stand as a reminder to me that the chances of my house getting flattened by a tornado are astronomically small- even in an area like Kansas City. I’m grateful for Spring- even with the threat of tornadoes lurking in the back of my mind- for fresh strawberries, mint, and arugula, and for picnics with porcelain, delicious food, and dear friends- today the indoor kind because of the ongoing rain. You can’t tell from the pictures, but it’s actually raining quite steadily in them!

 

This month’s inspiration came from one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. I honeymooned on Prince Edward Island, and enjoyed a stellar meal at the Inn at Bay Fortune, a beautiful estate once owned by Colleen Dewhurst who played Marilla in the aforementioned Anne of Green Gable Movies. The inn specializes in producing incredible meals using as much locally sourced food as possible, and a different version of this strawberry gazpacho (in one of my favorite cookbooks), using balsamic vinegar and strawberry salsa, was one of the most memorable components of our meal there. I changed the recipe and used champagne instead of vinegar, and paired it with an arugula salad and a champagne-mint vinaigrette. I love the contrast of the slightly bitter arugula against the sweet acid of the strawberry. The mint brings a freshness and brightness to both. For transportation purposes, place the gazpacho in a mason jar, and pour into bowls, or even glasses. I often picnic with glass and porcelain- unless I have to hike a distance- then I use acrylic. Good food deserves good dishes. These recipes are simple and easy to prepare, and their flavor will leave you asking for seconds. You can use the salad as a garnish to the soup, or serve it on its own. If you are uncomfortable using alcohol that’s not going to be cooked out, you are welcome to substitute champagne vinegar. You will get a similar brightness and delicacy from the vinegar. Enjoy, and may your picnics be sunny and warm!

Be sure to stop by Lazaro Cooks and Five Star Foodie this Friday, for a complete round-up. You’ll be sure to discover some fabulous picnic food!

Strawberry Gazpacho

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 lb strawberries, cleaned with the stems removed

1/2 cup champagne, or champagne vinegar

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

Directions

Puree ingredients in a food processor for 3-4 minutes; until soup is glossy and smooth. Remove to a pitcher or jar and refrigerate until serving.

Arugula Salad with Champagne-Mint Vinaigrette

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 cups arugula, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup mint leaves, finely chopped

2 tbs  grapeseed oil

1/4 cup champagne, or champagne vinaigrette

juice from 1 lemon

2 tsp sugar

Directions

Place arugula in a bowl. Place remaining ingredients in a small jar. Cover and shake vigorously. Just prior to serving coat arugula with dressing and toss. Serve as a garnish to the gazpacho, or on its own.

Cream of Zucchini Soup & Haricorts Verts with Shallot Mustard Viniagrette

Joyeux Noel!!

In this household we celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas, and although we’ll have to leave our mini-tree here in the beaucoup petite Paris apartment, the Spirit of Christmas we’ve encountered here will follow us all the way home to Kansas City! It is remarkable that The Adventuresome Kitchen’s first-ever roadtrip is beginning to wind down- just as my french is beginning to show signs of improvement! Today nobody asked me if I prefer to speak in English! Of course, I am far from being able to converse about topics other than food, but I am happy with small improvements!

One of the things that has really impressed me about cuisine here is the availability of high-quality fresh produce in every neighborhood. I think it is one of the reasons that as a culture the Parisians tend to be far healthier than their city-dwelling American counterparts. For example, in Kansas City, there are vast stretches of the city that have no grocers- so no fresh fruits and vegetables, no quality meat or dairy.. How can you be healthy if the only option close to you is a QT or a DQ?? Here, the produce is so fresh, and so beautifully and artfully displayed you can’t help but fall in love with an attractive looking clementine, or a beautiful leek. I think we’ve actually eaten more produce here than at home- and that’s saying something! When you have access to quality ingredients, often they demand a simple preparation. Fresh greens with a simple vinaigrette, or even just a squeeze of lemon. Or a few veggies brought together in a simple soup. Being here for two weeks, and living with a dorm fridge has radically altered how I approach meals- and I have to admit, I like it. There’s a local grocer I go by every day on the way home from picking up the girls from school, and when I get home I plan to try to shop like I have here. We’ll see if it works stateside. But I digress…

For our family, Christmas Eve has always been the pinnacle of Christmas Preparations. As a former full-time Church Musician, the entire focus of my fall, starting in about October, was Christmas Eve. In years past, Christmas Eve began with a festive family luncheon of seafood and champagne before heading off to several hours of services, culminating in a late-night drive home through the Christmas lit streets. Now, even though there is no marathon of Christmas Eve services to oversee, the tradition of seafood, champagne and Christmas lights still continues. Here in Paris, among other things, it’s oyster season (it’s also Truffle season, but that’s a future post!) So what better way to spend Christmas Eve than visiting my local market street in search for stellar ingredients including freshly harvested (as in that morning!) seafood? We enjoyed a lunch of fresh oysters and lentil salad (also a new favorite!) right on the street, then bought a dozen to bring home. Champagne is always a stellar accompaniment to oysters, but we’ve also learned that Muscadet, a white wine from France’s Atlantic coast, is an often suggested pairing with oysters here. If you love oysters, it’s certainly worth checking with your local wine vendor to see if you can purchase a muscadet- it’s a briney, mineraly compliment to a fresh oyster!

Christmas Eve in Paris wouldn’t be complete without Foie Gras!  I confess, that I absolutely Love foie gras. Can’t get enough of it, and I’m also proud to say that my girls seem to be following in my footsteps. How lucky were we to learn that the local butcher we’ve befriended makes it in house? Maybe it was knowing the maker, maybe it was the excitement of being in Paris for Christmas, but it was the most heavenly foie gras I’ve tasted- like silk, with a perfectly seasoned flavor that just melted in your mouth! We paired it with fresh greens and a simple mustard vinaigrette (recipe below!). You can see from the picture, that a little goes a long way- and that really is the key with any rich food- be it foie gras, caviar, oysters, chocolate or macaron- indulge moderately.

Our evening ended by celebrating Christmas Eve with our temporary neighbors at the parish church- for us, St. Eustache. Although this church was built during the 1500’s, there’s been a parish present there since the 1200’s… talk about history. The soaring gothic cathedral houses an enormous pipe organ, and every window and side chapel was lit with candles. It was quite an  experience to sing ancient carols in such a place.

Christmas Day dawned, and the first sunny day of our whole visit shined gloriously down on us. We enjoyed a second round of feasting, including the pinnacle- a Bresse Chicken! The bird is every bit as delicious as it’s rumored to be, and deserving of its own post. But as a teaser, here are the preludes- a creamy zucchini soup recipe given to me by a dear friend of my grandfather’s here in Paris, and simple haricorts verts (that’s green beans for the rest of us!) A delicious and necessary contrast to the preparation of the Bresse Chicken. It’s only the third day of Christmas, so keep feasting, wherever you are!

Mustard Vinaigrette

use for salads or over vegetables

Ingredients

2 tbs olive oil

1 tbs good quality mustard

2 tsp sherry or red wine vinegar

Directions

Mix ingredients together vigorously until an emulsion has formed. Adjust mustard/vinegar to taste and drizzle over fresh salad greens.

Cream of Zucchini Soup

This recipe came to me from a dear friend of my grandfather’s. The original recipe calls for zucchini, bouillon, and Vache qui rit (laughing cow) the small triangle processed cheeses that you see in the grocer. I couldn’t find at my local grocer, and opted for creme fraiche, as well as adding a few extra ingredients. Whatever incarnation you choose to use with this recipe, the end result is a simple and tasty soup.

serves 4

Ingredients

2 small-medium zucchini, peeled and diced

2 shallots, finely diced

2 tbs butter

2 cups water

1 bouillon cube (I used chicken, but vegetable is okay too)

1/2 cup creme fraiche, or 2 triangles of vache qui rit

1/4 cup fresh tarragon, finely minced

Directions

Place butter in a 4-quart sauce pan. Heat on medium until butter foams. Add shallots and gently stir. When the shallots have begun to turn translucent, add the zucchini. Stir to incorporate, and cover. Allow to cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Zucchini is a high-water content vegetable, so the water in the zucchini should be enough to prevent them from sticking. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them, and add a little butter or water if necessary.

When zucchini has softened, add 2 cups water and one bouillon cube. Bring to a boil and turn heat to low. Using a heavy fork, or an immersion blender, puree to your desired degree of thickness. Add creme fraiche or the cheese and stir gently to incorporate. Add tarragon, stir for another minute, and serve immediately.

Haricorts Verts (Green Beans) with Shallot Mustard Vinaigrette

serves 4 as a side dish, double for more substantial portions

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups green beans, stems removed

3 tbs butter

3 shallots, diced

1 tbs sherry or red wine vinegar

1 tbs good quality mustard

Directions

Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil. While you are waiting for the pot to boil, place a bowl in the sink, fill it halfway with water, then fill the remaining part with ice.

When the pot is boiling, add the beans. Cook for 3 minutes, until the color has turned bright green. Pour off the boiling water and add the hot beans to the ice-bath. This stops the cooking, and preserves the brilliant green color of the beans. When you are ready to serve the beans, place a saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter, and when the butter is foaming, add the beans. Sautee for 1-2 minutes and add remaining ingredients. Cook until beans are warmed through and still bright green. Serve immediately.

3 Ways to Prepare Napa Cabbage

This gorgeous specimen was sitting on the table at my CSA pickup this last week. It was so beautiful I just had to grab it. At first glance it looks like romaine lettuce, but it’s actually chinese cabbage. Once you peel away the outer layers the stalks get whiter, leaving a ruffled edge of brilliant green at the top. It has a faintly cabbage-y taste, but in my estimation, it’s far too delicate and lovely to be resigned to coleslaw. This green needs to be lifted up and its slightly bitter flavor complimented by fruits, acid, mint and aromatics. We enjoyed three distinctive and delicious salads from this one head. Each version serves 4-6 people and makes for a refreshing meal on a hot day. Bring on the summer!

Cabbage Salad: Version 1, Raspberries, Goat cheese & Toasted Pecans

 

Ingredients

4 cups julienned cabbage (about 7 large leaves)

2 pts fresh organic raspberries, about 3 cups

1 cup crushed pecans, toasted

4 oz goat cheese

Dressing

1/3 cup mint, chopped finely

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

2 tsp agave nectar

3 tbs olive oil (optional)

Directions

Place crushed pecans on a cookie sheet and lightly toast at 350 for 10 minutes, or until you start to smell the nuts. We did this in our toaster oven and it worked beautifully.

Meanwhile, julienne (slice in thin strips) cabbage leaves until you have approximately 4 cups. Place leaves in the serving bowl.

Place lime juice (preferably squeezed fresh) in a small bowl or 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Finely chop the mint, add to the lime juice and whisk vigorously. Add agave nectar and keep whisking. If you want to make a thicker dressing, drizzle 3 tbs of olive oil into the mixture while whisking vigorously. This is optional- we enjoyed the dressing both ways this past week.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage leaves and toss. Add the toasted pecans to the bowl, crumble the goat cheese into the bowl and top with fresh raspberries. I recommend organic because raspberries, like strawberries, tend to be a fruit that contains numerous traces of pesticides. I personally don’t want that yucky stuff in my body, so I always get organic. For a prettier presentation, plate individually or toss at the table.

Cabbage Salad: Version 2, Raspberries, Blueberries and Mint Dressing

 

Ingredients

4 cups julienned cabbage leaves

1 pt fresh organic raspberries

1 pt fresh organic blueberries

Dressing (Compliments of Auntie Alex!)

1/2 cup finely chopped mint

4 tbs fresh lime juice

2 tbs red wine vinegar

2 tbs scallions (green parts only)

1 tbs finely chopped basil

3 tbs olive oil

Directions

Julienne cabbage and place in a bowl with the raspberries and blueberries. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients vigorously until thoroughly emulsified. Pour over the cabbage and toss until all the leaves are coated.

Cabbage Salad: Version 3, Shrimp, Mango and Jalapeño

Ingredients          

4-6 cups julienned cabbage (figure on 1 cup per person)

1 lb cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

1 mango, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 jalapeño, chopped (seeded if you want it milder- the seeds have the heat)

8 oz tomato, chopped (about 2 cups)

1/4 lime (for squeezing)

sprinkle of lemon pepper seasoning

Dressing

1/2 cup mint, finely chopped

1/2 cup lime juice

1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

 

Julienne the cabbage leaves and place in a serving bowl. Make the dressing by adding freshly chopped mint to lime juice and whisking. While still whisking, drizzle in olive oil until mixture has thickened slightly. Pour half of the mixture over the cabbage. Toss the cabbage to coat with the dressing and set aside.

In a separate bowl add the shrimp, garlic, jalapeño and toss gently. Squeeze the lime over the mixture and gently toss again. Add chopped tomato and give another gentle stir. Peel and chop the mango. I learned to peel and eat mangoes from my grandparents who lived in southeast asia for 20 years. If you’ve never peeled a mango, follow this link for a quick how-to: http://www.mango.org/en/about-mangos/how-to-cut-a-mango.aspx

Add the diced mango and toss gently. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so that the flavors have a chance to marry. When you’re ready to serve, make a circle (like a donut hole) in the center of your cabbage and place the shrimp mixture in the center. Pour the remaining dressing over the shrimp mixture, sprinkle a little lemon pepper over the bowl, and serve.

May these flavor combinations inspire you to experiment with what’s in your kitchen! Happy Adventuring!

 

Gluten Free Pizza & Strawberry Spinach Salad.

Sometimes it’s just gotta be quick and easy. Delicious dinner doesn’t have to mean a two hour cooking extravaganza. Of course it’s fun to cook your heart out, but on those days when you find yourself bone tired and you still have to make dinner, give yourself permission to create something simple and flavorful. Even if it means getting a little help from the freezer. I have yet to perfect a ‘from scratch’ gluten free pizza crust. It’s coming, but when you need something fast- a high quality gluten free frozen crust that can be decorated according to your taste is a huge help! Pair it with a fresh salad from your local CSA, and you’re good to go. The girls and I were on our own for a few days and we came up with this together.  A little pizza, and a delightful farm-fresh strawberry spinach salad (Thanks for the awesome ingredients Farmer Jill!). It took about 35 minutes total and was deeply satisfying. Enjoy!

If you’re not ‘gluten free’ and you stumbled upon our blog- simply use a crust of your choice and follow the rest of the recipe! Remember, that we’re about Good Food First, here at The Adventuresome Kitchen!

Easy Gluten Free Pizza (or bruschetta for the non-dairy folks)

serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 8-inch frozen gluten free pizza crust (Udi’s is my favorite- I keep these on hand in the freezer for quick creative meals)

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

1 ripe tomato, chopped

4 large basil leaves, julienned (this is a fancy word for finely chopping in thin strips- place the leaves on top of each other, roll them up lengthwise and start slicing thinly. The result will be little thin strips!)

1/2 cup shredded parmesan- (optional)

1/2 cup shredded romano (optional)

olive oil for brushing

Directions  

Pull the frozen crust out of the freezer and allow to thaw on a cutting board.

Take a pizza stone, other stoneware, or a stainless steel cookie sheet and place it on the top rack of the oven. Turn oven to 425 and allow to heat. This will heat the stone and allow the crust to cook from the top and the bottom, creating a crispy, bistro-style crust.

While the oven is heating, chop the garlic and tomato, shred whatever cheese you’d like to use, and julienne the basil.

When the crust is thawed- about 10-15 minutes- brush with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic, tomato and basil over the crust. If you are going non-dairy, I recommend combining the garlic, tomato and basil in a little bowl and drizzling a tiny bit of olive oil over the ingredients and gently blending. This will ensure that the ingredients don’t dry out in the oven.

Sprinkle the cheese on top. When the oven is ready, take the pizza- either on the cutting board or by hand- and gently slide it onto the hot pizza stone. Pull the pizza from the oven when the cheese is bubbly and is just starting to turn golden- about 15 minutes. If you’re cooking without cheese, look to see if the tomatoes are bubbling and the edge of the crust is turning golden- about 10-15 minutes.

While you’re waiting for the pizza to cook, make this colorful and delicious salad.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

serves 3-4

Ingredients    

4 cups fresh spinach, washed and stemmed (meaning the stems have been removed)

1 lb fresh strawberries, cleaned and diced

1/3 cup fresh goat cheese- crumbled

2-3 tbs olive oil

2-3 tbs balsamic vinegar

Directions

Once spinach has been washed and stemmed, rip into bite-sized pieces and place in a serving bowl. Drizzle olive oil over leaves and toss until leaves are evenly and lightly coated. I confess I eyeball this. The leaves should glisten, and if you pop one in your mouth you should just be able to taste the olive oil flavor, but the leaves should not feel oily, nor should there be a pool of oil in the bottom of the serving bowl. If you do this enough, you’ll be able to eyeball it too.

For a lovely presentation, add chopped strawberries to the top of the spinach and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Crumble goat cheese on top of the strawberries. Again, if you’re non-dairy, leave out the goat-cheese and add a little pepper. I’m a cheese head and put cheese on just about everything, but that doesn’t mean you have to!

Serve with pizza and voilà- easy, beautiful, delicious dinner!

Remember, use whatever ingredients you have on hand- out of tomatoes? Use olives or peppers. Don’t have strawberries? Use citrus, other berries, pears or apples!


Arugula Salad

If you’re following a gluten free diet or  just need more veggies, this delicious and easy arugula salad is perfect for lunch or dinner. Arugula is an overlooked green, usually relegated to garnish status. When paired with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little goat cheese, the typically bitter arugula greens become almost sweet. Put down the frozen burrito- in the time it takes to unwrap the burrito and thaw it in the microwave, you can be eating a nutritious salad full of antioxidants that’s good for your tastebuds and your waistline!

This recipe has been filed under our Junior Chef’s category because it actually belongs to one of our Kitchen Divas in Training. She came up with this little beauty all on her own, and I’m impressed with her willingness to experiment in the kitchen and try new things. I’m a particular fan of bitter greens like arugula, but children generally take some maturing before warming up to them. This needs no seasoning but the Kitchen Diva in Training says you may add some if you like.

For her dairy-free friends, she recommends substituting dried sour cherries, pine nuts, or something else you enjoy! Children love to eat what they’ve made, so grab your favorite young chef in training and practice making a salad!

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