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Lemony Chickpea (Garbanzo), Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Okay Cousin Bonnie, here is the salad recipe you asked for…it was yummy!

 

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Lemony Chickpea, Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Recipe by Michela Chiappa from Michela’s Tuscan Kitchen

Ingredients –

600g ripe tomatoes (I just drained a can of diced tomatoes)

 1 small bunch fresh basil

 extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

small handful walnuts

½ jar good quality chickpeas (about 300g)

pinch of dried cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 lemon

2 good handfuls of arugula

1 small round of crumbly, soft goat’s cheese

 

  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to a serving bowl. Rip in most if the basil leaves, keep the baby leaves to one side. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and season with black pepper and salt.
  2. Place a small frying pan on a low heat, add the walnut halves and cook for 5 minutes until toasted and smelling delicious. When ready tip into a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, drain and the chickpeas. Add the cumin, oregano, lemon zest and half the juice and a drizzle of oil. Toss together with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas to the tomatoes and toss together. Add the arugula and crumble over the goat’s cheese and walnuts.
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Grape, Avocado and Arugula Salad

ATTENTION GROCERY SHOPPERS! I just thought you might be shopping today for tyhe weekend dinner so I am posting this great salad recipe early this week. It is incredibly easy to make. We used seedless green grapes and toasted almonds, but the choice is yours. So get in your car and go buy these ingredients!

Grape, Avocado and Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

Salad Ingredients:

  • 6 cups fresh arugula, loosely packed
  • 2 cups halved seedless grapes, red or green or a mix
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
  • half a small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • balsamic vinaigrette (ingredients below)

White Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or traditional balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey or agave nectar, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

To Make The Salad:

Add salad ingredients to a bowl, and drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Serve immediately.

To Make The Vinaigrette:

Whisk all ingredients together for 30 seconds until combined.

 

 

Grilled Portobellos with Goat Cheese and Fresh Figs

Most of you know that Larry loves to experiment in the kitchen, while I am strictly a cookbook cook! A friend shared her portobellos with us the other night.

“What’s for dinner?”, he asked.

“How about basil and prosciutto pizza with goat cheese?” I replied.

“Uhm” he replied. “What about using the mushrooms?”

“Go for it!” I replied. Et voila, here is the result complete with a pic so you can see how great it looked. BTW…it was fantastic!!!

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The recipe…two per person!

Grilled Portobellos with Goat Cheese and Figs
Ingredients
4 large Portobello mushrooms
200 g package of (herbed) goat cheese
1 tsp chopped garlic
3 strips of precooked bacon or use slightly cooked prosciutto
3 Tbs of fresh basil , small pieces
Balsamic glaze
Olive oil
10 fresh figs, thinly sliced

Chinese 5 spice powder* available in most supermarkets…

Preparation
Soften the goat cheese so it is spreadable.
Prepare a ribbed grill pan, brush it with olive oil and place over medium heat. Remove stem from mushrooms, chop it finely and set aside.
Brush both sides of the mushrooms liberally with olive oil.
Cut bacon into one inch pieces onto a doubled sheet of paper towel and microwave one minute. Set aside.
Into a small fry pan, put a Tbsp. of olive oil and put over medium heat. Add the chopped mushroom stems and the garlic and fry for about 3 minutes. Turn off heat.
Place the sliced figs in a single layer in a pan large enough to accommodate them. Sprinkle water, one tablespoon at a time, enough so that the slices won’t stick to the pan and simmer them just long enough to soften the slices. Turn off heat and let sit until needed.
Place the mushrooms topside up on the grill and grill for about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a microwavable plate and microwave on high for one minute. Transfer back to the grill, topside down this time. Cover the surface of each mushroom with a generous coating of cheese, place the chopped mushroom mixture, then the slices of fig over the cheese.
Then add the bacon bits, and finally the basil pieces. Sprinkle sparingly with Chinese 5 Spice powder. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. By this time the mushrooms should be cooked through….soft but not mushy. Plate and serve.

Cherry Tomato Salad (Found on Annie’s Eats)

What happens when you buy too many cherry tomatoes at Costco? You get desperate to use them up…LOL. This salad was great!

Cherry Tomato Salad http://www.annies-eats.com/

2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 4 cups)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 medium shallot minced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

ground black pepper

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch chunks

4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (about 1 cup)

1-2 tablespoons parsley minced

Combine the tomatoes, salt and sugar in a medium bowl and toss. Let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a salad spinner and spin until the seeds and excess liquid have been removed (about one minute). SAVE 1/2 cup juice.

Return the tomatoes to the original bowl.

Combine 1/2 cup of the liquid with garlic, oregano, shallot and vinegar in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Simmer until mixture is reduced about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the oil and season with pepper to taste.

Add the cucumber, goat cheese and parsley to the bowl of tomatoes. Toss with the dressing and serve.

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Tart

While attending the 2012 Wine and Herb Food Pairing Festival in Niagara on the Lake in May, with our friends Tom and Kathy, we had the opportunity of sampling this great appetizer! The recipe was prepared by The Pie Plate Bakery and Cafe in nearby Virgil http://www.thepieplate.com/  and served at Reif Winery   http://www.reifwinery.com/

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Tart (or Quiche)

1. THE POTATOES:

Roll pastry and line 9 inch French tart shell or 24 mini tarts. Pre-bake at 450 degrees using weights to prevent the pastry from bubbling up.

Peel and dice 3 – 4 large sweet potatoes. Place on a sheet pan and sprinkle generously with olive oil, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence, season with salt and pepper. Toss again.

Roast in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so potatoes cook evenly.

The potatoes should be soft when pierced with a fork and the edges should be caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

2. GOAT CHEESE FILLING:

130 gram package of goat cheese

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence

Combine these ingredients until smooth.

3. EGG FILLING:

5 large eggs

1/2 cup 10% cream

Beat together.

4. THE ASSEMBLY:

Crumble prepared goat cheese mixture evenly on bottom of tart shells.

Fill tart with prepared sweet potatoes chunks.

Pour egg mixture into tart slowly till it comes close to the top edge of the pastry.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until tart souffles in the center (about 10 minutes for tarts).

Peach, Prosciutto and Fresh Basil Pizza with Goat Cheese

This one is for all of our Southern Ontario friends who are  now seeing some peaches fresh from the trees. Yeah, it is a day early, but why not go buy those peaches and have it for dinner tonight? LOL

Peach, Prosciutto and Fresh Basil Pizza with Goat Cheese

Ingredients

1 Pizza Crust [see note below]

½ ‘roll’ (part of a log) of goat cheese crumbled as much as possible

(The original recipe called for fresh, sliceable Mozzarella, but we LOVED the goat cheese)

3-4 Slightly Under Ripe Peaches

Fresh Basil (and a bit of rosemary if you like it)

6-8 Slices of Prosciutto shredded

3/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar (if you are making the reduction) OR store bought Balsamic glaze for drizzling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (or as high as your oven will go).
  2. If making your own dough, follow that recipe first.
  3. Pour your balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Once it starts to boil reduce to medium and let simmer until it has reduced to about 1/4 cup. (We can buy Balsamic Glaze here so you can skip the step of reducing the balsamic)
  4. While the balsamic is reducing, roll out your pizza dough onto your pizza pan or stone.
  5. Crumble the goat cheese OR slice up your mozzarella, peaches and basil. Your mozzarella should be about 1/4 inch thick and your peaches should be thinly sliced. You can leave the peel on if you like for color.
  6. Top pizza with goat cheese or the fresh sliced mozzarella, being careful not to overlap.
  7. Layer peaches on top of the cheese in an circle – starting from the outside crust and moving inward.
  8. Put your pizza in the oven for 6 minutes.
  9. Remove pizza from oven and drop roughly shredded prosciutto over the pizza. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the pizza along with the basil and rosemary and return to the oven.
  10. Cook pizza for another 6-10 minutes depending on your crust.  Check on it frequently!!!

NOTE: Here at Costco we are able to buy packages of a really nice flatbread instead of using the pizza dough. We tried Burger Ones from SuperStore/Zehrs/Longos but they were not as good nor were tortillas).

Stacked Tomato Salad

With the BBQ season soon upon us, this is a great alternative to the traditional salads…

Stacked Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade and Sweet Basil Dressing

Ingredients

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, (beefsteak, yellow, and heirloom), sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds

Tapenade, recipe follows*

1 pound goat cheese, thinly sliced (or use Mozzarella, but goat is better)

Fresh basil leaves and sprigs, for layering and for garnish

Sweet Basil Dressing, recipe follows

Directions

Place a tomato slice on a plate and spread with some of the tapenade. Then place a slice of the goat cheese on top, add a few basil leaves, and finish with another tomato slice. You can add another layer to make Napoleon as high as you desire. Top with another small spoonful of the tapenade and then drizzle the Sweet Basil Dressing over the tomato and around the plate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and repeat to make 4 to 6 plates.

Tapenade (Honestly, I buy a small jar at the store…a whole lot easier)

2 cups kalamata or nicoise olives, pitted

3 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped

5 anchovy fillets

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine olives, garlic, anchovies and pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sweet Basil Dressing

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup pure olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (roll the leaves in a little tube shape and slice across the leaves)

Whisk together vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and then stir in the basil.