Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shredded Rainbow Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Have you ever seen Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution?  I love him and what he does with food.  This salad just screams Jaime Oliver; totally reminds me of him.  I ripped this recipe out of a magazine and I can't remember where it's from, but I absolutely love it.  It's just what I like in a salad.  Bright, colorful and very flavorful! My girls like cabbage.  I don't know if that's weird or not.  Of all the veggies they DON'T eat, they choose to like cabbage...whatever.  The first time I made this salad, my 2 year old asked to share it with me.  At first I thought she was going to take one bite and spit it out but she kept asking for more...she really liked it!  I was so surprised, but definitely happy at least one of my children is taking after my love of salads. 

This salad is great really any time of year as most of the veg is hearty and you can get it year-round.  Cabbage salads are high up there on my favorite salads list.  I think it has to do with that crispy-crunch.  And I especially like it with cilantro. The citrus dressing is the perfect pairing for this salad.  It's light and slightly sweet from the orange and just brings out all the different flavors.

Shredded Rainbow Salad
1/2 head red cabbage
2 beets, peeled (raw)
2 large carrots, peeled
2 apples, cored and peeled (if desired)
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
3-4 large kale leaves, chopped

To shred veggies, you can either use a food processor, with a shredder blade, or a regular cheese grater will work too.   Shred apple first and toss in with a couple spoonfuls of the vinaigrette (below) to keep from browning. Set aside.  Shred the carrots, cabbage and beets.  Make sure you saves the beet for last or everything will turn purple!

Toss veggies in a bowl with chopped cilantro and kale.  If you want to keep the apple from being colored by the beet juice, divide out salad portions and place a bit of shredded apple on top of each portion.  Otherwise, you can toss the apple right in with the rest. Serve with orange vinaigrette.

Orange Vinaigrette
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4-1/3cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
Pinch if salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together and store in the fridge, in a jar with a tight fitting lid; I like to use half pint mason jars with the plastic lids.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tomato Vegetable Soup

'Tis the season for fresh garden tomatoes.  It's the time I look forward to every year! You can do so much with them.  I usually home can tomatoes in one way or another each fall (salsa, a variety of spaghetti sauces, etc.), but the past few years I've been doing more and more just plain or stewed tomatoes.  I do this mostly because I LOVE to turn them into soup.  My kids and I absolutely adore this fresh tomato soup, but sometimes I like to make something a little more calorie friendly.  Enter this soup.

I don't tend to like soups that are really thin, they just don't fill me up.  I like my soups thick and tasty. That's what this soup delivers.  It still has that fresh tomato taste but the flavor is punched up with some extra veggies.  I love to serve it up with some fresh artisan bread or even a heaping spoonful of this Southwest Cabbage Slaw (which really needs it's own post by now).

Tomato Vegetable Soup
6-8 cups tomatoes, blanched, peeled and cored
3 carrots, chopped
1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch dice
1 small onion, cut into 1-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. smoked paprika
 2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
handful of fresh basil (about 1/2 cup or so loosely packed), roughly chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

To blanch and peel tomatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil and fill a sink with ice water.  Score the tomatoes by making an "x" on them with a serrated knife. Drop about 4-5 tomatoes at a time in the boiling water for 60 seconds.  Remove from boiling water and immediately submerge in ice water.  Continue with remaining tomatoes.  Once tomatoes are cooled skins will slip off easily. remove core with knife or coring utensil.  Set tomatoes aside.

In a  large pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil.  Add chopped onion, carrot and peppers and saute over medium-high heat about 5-6 minutes.   Add garlic and paprika and saute another 60 seconds, making sure the garlic doesn't burn.  Next add tomatoes by crushing them in your fist over the pot as you put them in.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are tender; about 10-15 minutes.

Remove soup from heat, add fresh basil and puree to desired consistency.  You can either do this with an immersion blender or in a upright blender, blending by batches.  Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, to taste. Feel free to add a splash of whole milk or heavy cream, although it's delicious without it.

SOURCE:  Adapted from Season with Spice

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fresh Peach and Corn Caprese Pizza

So, now that I've basically taken the whole summer off from blogging, I'm going to cram all the summer-luvin' food in your faces the next couple weeks before fall starts.  EEEK!  I'm just a little excited. 

Summer was busy for us, but, hey, who wasn't it busy for?  Our most exciting time was a week up in Island Park, Idaho near Yellowstone, with my WHOLE family; all my siblings, their spouses and kids, and of course my parents.  It was just awesome to get away and be together, but we also got to see and do some fun things as well.  The rest of the summer has not been too incredibly exciting.  Lots of trips to the pool and water parks, playing with friends and such.

Anyway, I digress.  We got out of our regular Friday night pizza night over the summer and had missed several.  I was craving it big time!  I was just craving a regular caprese pizza but my mom always gives me stuff from her garden.  She gave me some corn and peaches from her tree (fresh peaches=heaven!), and I thought, hey, why not throw it onto a pizza? So, not only does this pizza have homegrown corn, peaches and basil but I also threw on some fresh mozzarella and smoked jack cheese.  MMMmmm!  I discovered my love for smoked cheese last year, thank you Trader Joes, and it's one of my most favorite things to put on pizza.

This pizza is the essence of summer!  It will not disappoint.

Fresh Peach and Corn Caprese Pizza
1 recipe Perfect Pizza Crust
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small peach, thinly sliced
handful of grape tomatoes (halved or whole)
corn cut from 1 fresh ear
4 oz. fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup smoked cheese (such as mozzarella or jack), shredded
2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil, chiffonade

Mix pizza dough according to directions.  While dough is rising, make balsamic reduction.

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium high and cook until reduced by half, about 2 tablespoons.  Set aside.

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees F.

Once dough has risen and doubled in size,  roll out on a pizza peel generously dusted with corn meal.  You can also roll it out on parchment paper (which you can slide right into the oven with the pizza); the more toppings the harder it is to slide off onto the baking stone.  Brush the entire top of the dough with olive oil.  Spread the garlic around the dough as evenly as you can, either with your fingertips or a pastry brush. 

Slice the mozzarella and layer on top of dough, followed by the sliced peaches, tomatoes and corn.  Top with the shredded smoked cheese. If you want you can tuck in a few basil leaves too.

Slide pizza onto pizza peel and bake 8-10 minutes or until top is lightly golden and cheese is bubbly.  If you're using parchment, slide pizza on top of an inverted cookie sheet, then either place that right into the oven or use it to slide it onto the pizza stone. 

Remove pizza from oven, allow to cool slightly, then drizzle the balsamic reduction over the top.  Slice and serve warm.
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