Peach Pistachio Ricotta Toasts

Peach Pistachio Ricotta Toasts. Summer is peach season. There’s nothing tastier than a fresh ripe peach at its best. I wanted to serve a nice elegant appetizer one evening when we had dinner guests. And I’m on a peach theme nowadays. So Peach Pistachio Ricotta Toasts received top billing on my menu.

Ripe peach slices over ricotta-slathered toasted baguette crowned with chopped toasted pistachios, cinnamon basil chiffonade and a touch of honey. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Ripe peach slices over ricotta-slathered toasted baguette crowned with chopped toasted pistachios, cinnamon basil chiffonade and a touch of honey. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Usually I find two or three ripe peaches that are stellar out of a dozen purchased peaches. It’s hard to find a good peach around here. I use the mealy and somewhat sour peaches in my Cucumber Peach Mint Smoothie recipe.

Organic yellow peaches (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Organic yellow peaches (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Recently, I made my own ricotta cheese. As expected, it was pretty simple and tasted so good. You can order a cheese making kit if you want to make your own. I used the fresh ricotta cheese that I made as a base spread for these toasts. You can make your own ricotta or purchase ricotta at the grocery store.

Toasted baguettes spread with sweet ricotta and topped with peach slices, toasted pistachios, basil chiffonade, and a drizzle of honey (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Toasted baguettes spread with sweet ricotta and topped with peach slices, toasted pistachios, basil chiffonade, and a drizzle of honey (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

So…what to do with this wonderful ricotta that I made? Why not spread it on a toasted baguette and top with ripe peach slices, chopped toasted pistachios, cinnamon basil chiffonade, and a drizzle of honey?

Sliced Peaches, Pistachios, and Ricotta decorate Toasted Baguettes as an elegant appetizer (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sliced Peaches, Pistachios, and Ricotta decorate Toasted Baguettes as an elegant appetizer (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Also, you can serve sparkling water or champagne in a glass with a sliced peach as garnish. I made a White Peach Cosmopolitan martini for the ladies to go along with this appetizer.

Peach Pistachio Ricotta Toasts along with a White Cosmo Peach Martini (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Peach Pistachio Ricotta Toasts along with a White Cosmo Peach Martini (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Peach Pistachio Ricotta Toasts

Ingredients:

12 pieces thinly sliced French baguette
1 c fresh ricotta cheese
2 ripe peaches, pits removed, and sliced into 24 slices
2 T chopped toasted pistachios (Trader Joes carries toasted pistachios)
2 T cinnamon basil leaves, finely sliced into chiffonade
Honey for drizzling

Method:

1. Turn on oven broiler.
2. When broiler is ready, toast the baguettes on each side until light brown.
3. Let the toasted baguette slices cool for a minute.
4. Spread ricotta on each toasted baguette slice and arrange the slices on a serving platter.
5. Divide the peach slices amongst the baguette slices on top of the ricotta spread.
6. Sprinkle the chopped toasted pistachios over the peach slices.
7. Sprinkle the cinnamon basil chiffonade over the peach slices.
8. Drizzle the peach pistachio ricotta toasts with honey.
9. And serve!

Makes 12 appetizers. Serve alongside your favorite beverages such as a chilled rose wine or a nice gin martini.

Variations: Use nectarine slices instead of peaches. Substitute softened cream cheese for the ricotta. Use regular basil if you can’t find cinnamon basil. Use toasted pecans if you can’t find toasted pistachios. For a zesty taste, add some cracked black pepper on top. Add some crispy prosciutto ham on top for a savory flavor.

Order this beautiful serving tray from Amazon.com to serve your appetizers:

Peach Pistachio Ricotta Toasts make a great appetizer (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Peach Pistachio Ricotta Toasts make a great appetizer (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)

Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa

Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa. Here’s another simple and tasty option to use all those garden cucumbers. I like to serve this Zesty Cucumber Pineapple, Peach Salsa with grilled fish fillets or even fish tacos. It’s also great with tortilla chips or sweet potato chips as a dip.

Colorful Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa goes great with fish or chicken (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Colorful Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa goes great with fish or chicken (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Salsas are popular ways to use a variety of vegetables and fruits as a healthy accompaniment to main course dishes. They’re also great as party dips.

Combine diced cucumbers, pineapple, peaches, and red bell pepper with minced jalapeno pepper, shallot, mint and/or cilantro. Season with lime juice, honey and salt. And now you have a Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa!

Grilled Halibut with Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Grilled Halibut with Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa

Ingredients:

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1/4 cubes (unpeeled if English cucumber)
1 c finely diced ripe pineapple
1 ripe peach, peeled or unpeeled, pit removed, and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 finely diced red bell pepper
1 t minced jalapeno pepper
1 T minced shallot
2 T finely chopped mint and/or cilantro
1 T honey
1 T lime juice
pinch of salt

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a non-metallic bowl. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour. If you are not using the salsa right away, refrigerate it a few hours or overnight.

Makes about 3 cups. Serve as an accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.

Variations: Add some diced mango or strawberries to the salsa. Add some freshly squeezed orange juice instead of lime for a sweeter flavor. Try a dash of cumin powder for a spicier version.

Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Zesty Cucumber Pineapple Peach Salsa (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)

Smoked Duck Salad with Grilled Peaches

Smoked Duck Salad with Grilled Peaches. It’s summer and it’s peach season. Nothing is better than a juicy ripe peach on a hot summer day. Smoked duck is served over a bed of arugula centered by a grilled peach stuffed with herbed Boursin cheese and drizzled with balsamic vinegar syrup. Sweet shallots, dried cherries and toasted pistachios add to the flavor and texture. The whole salad is dressed with a lovely orange blossom honey balsamic vinaigrette perfumed with cinnamon basil from my kitchen herb garden. My Smoked Duck Salad with Grilled Peaches is a light salad that’s perfect on sweltering days when you don’t really want to cook.

Chilled Grilled Peach tops a Smoked Duck Salad  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Chilled Grilled Peach tops a Smoked Duck Salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My husband likes to smoke meats. Earlier this year, he smoked a whole D’Artagnan duck. Normally, as a winter dish, I make crepes with smoked duck, mushrooms and Comte cheese. We also love smoked duck with scrambled eggs for a nice brunch entree. This salad is based upon my Chilled Grilled Peach Salad with Baby Arugula that I first tasted at Patsy’s Restaurant in Bethany Beach, Delaware and has been an inspiration for this Smoked Duck Salad.

Smoked Duck Salad with Grilled Peaches  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Smoked Duck Salad with Grilled Peaches (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Since it’s summer, I’m using seasonal ingredients. The ripe peaches are split in half and grilled and then chilled for a few hours. If you don’t have time to chill the peaches, they can be served warm.

Chilled grilled fresh ripe peaches  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Chilled grilled fresh ripe peaches (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

For the dressing, mix together some orange blossom honey balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, chopped herbs (I use cinnamon basil), and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Alessi's Orange Blossom Honey Balsamic Vinegar (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Alessi’s Orange Blossom Honey Balsamic Vinegar (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Now, toss some arugula (or your favorite mixed greens) with some of the dressing. Add the dressed arugula to your two serving plates.

Fresh Arugula is the base of this salad  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Fresh Arugula is the base of this salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Slice a shallot and chop some pistachios.

Smoked duck, dried cherries, sliced shallots, chopped toasted pistachios (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Smoked duck, dried cherries, sliced shallots, chopped toasted pistachios (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Boursin cheese is readily available in most areas (Photo Credit: boursin.com)

Boursin cheese is readily available in most areas (Photo Credit: boursin.com)

Add the sliced shallot to the arugula. Place a chilled grilled peach in the center of the arugula. Put a scoop of Boursin or goat cheese in the center of each peach. Toss the smoked duck meat in some of the dressing. Now add the smoked duck to the arugula, arranging around each peach. Sprinkle some dried cherries on the smoked duck. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar syrup over the peach and the rest of the salad. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped toasted pistachios and an herb garnish.

Add some crackers to the Smoked Duck Salad and serve  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some crackers to the Smoked Duck Salad and serve (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Smoked Duck Salad with Grilled Peaches

Ingredients:

1 fresh peach, halved and pitted
Coconut oil
2 c mixed greens such as arugula, baby lettuces, radicchio
Orange Blossom Honey Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1 small shallot, sliced thinly
2 T Boursin cheese or goat cheese
6 oz shredded smoked duck meat or 2 smoked duck breasts, cooked, sliced into medallions
2 T dried cherries
Balsamic Vinegar Syrup for drizzling
2 T chopped toasted pistachios (Trader Joe’s sells toasted pistachios)

Orange Blossom Honey Vinaigrette

1/4 c olive oil
1 T Alessi orange blossom honey balsamic vinegar (or use plain balsamic vinegar)
Juice of half a lemon
1 T honey
1 T chopped fresh herbs such as tarragon, dill, basil or my favorite cinnamon basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Heat a grill pan over medium heat until hot or use your outdoor grill if you prefer.
2. Spray the grill pan with some non-stick coconut or other cooking spray.
3. Grill the peaches, cut side down, for a few minutes until grill marks appear.
4. Turn the peaches to add an additional grill mark like a grid.
5. Remove the peaches to a container and chill for a few hours or overnight.
6. Mix together the olive oil, orange blossom honey balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and chopped herbs (I use cinnamon basil). Season with salt and pepper.
7. Toss the arugula with some of the dressing.
8. Add the dressed arugula to your two serving plates.
9. Add the sliced shallot to the arugula.
10. Place a chilled grilled peach in the center of the arugula.
11. Put a scoop of Boursin or goat cheese in the center of each peach.
12. Toss the smoked duck meat in some of the dressing.
13. Now add the smoked duck to the arugula, arranging around each peach.
14. Sprinkle some dried cherries on the smoked duck.
15. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar syrup over the peach and the rest of the salad.
16. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped toasted pistachios and an herb garnish and serve.

Serves 2 as a main course. Offer with crackers or crusty baguette on the side. A nice crisp rose wine or a light red burgundy wine will both pair well with this salad.

Variations: Substitute the shredded smoked duck meat with sliced cooked smoked duck breasts or shredded smoked pork shoulder. Use your favorite greens. Substitute another spreadable herb cheese for the Boursin. Substitute dried cranberries for the dried cherries. Substitute chopped toasted pecans for the pistachios. Use your favorite herbs in the dressing. Alternatively, slice the grilled peach half into smaller portions and arrange on the salad.

Order some Alessi Orange Blossom Honey Balsamic Vinegar from Amazon.com:

Buy your own smoked duck breast from D’Artagnan (click on BUY NOW below and scroll down for smoked duck breast):

Smoked Magret Duck Breast

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Price: $17.99


www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)


Cucumber Peach Mint Smoothie

Cucumber Peach Mint Smoothie. What to do with all those garden cucumbers? My Cucumber Peach Mint Smoothie is the answer. If you like cucumbers as much as I do, you’ll love this smoothie. Even if you just want a refreshing drink to cool down in summer, it’s a great way to use cucumbers and in-season ripe peaches.

Atticus watches from afar, hoping for a taste of Cucumber Peach Mint smoothie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Atticus watches from afar, hoping for a taste of Cucumber Peach Mint smoothie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My neighbor has a large garden. She asked if I’d like some cucumbers. She’d just picked FORTY cucumbers. I said I’d take TEN cucumbers. With those ten cucumbers, I made two kinds of pickles, sweet and sour pickles with tarragon and dill pickles with garlic. Then she brought more cucumbers yesterday. I had to get creative!

Cucumbers from my neighbor's garden (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Cucumbers from my neighbor’s garden (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My husband is a vegetable lover. As we embarked on our Eating Healthier trek a few years ago, we started adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to our diet. Yet a daily diet of even my Simple Cucumber Salad as a side dish to use this abundance of cucumbers wasn’t going to work for him. I came up with this smoothie so that I can use cucumbers in a different way. Of course, our dog Atticus loves cucumbers, too. There are few vegetables and fruits that he won’t eat. While I was testing this recipe, Atticus was whining and fussing because he wanted a taste. He loves both cucumbers AND peaches and was certainly letting me know. Follow his Facebook page and you’ll see the “Atticus Wants A Smoothie” video.

Atticus loves bananas (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Atticus loves bananas (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Recently, I’d purchased some ripe white peaches. I did not peel the peaches, just halved and pitted, and put them into my trusty Vitamix blender. Then, I added a peeled and quartered cucumber and half a peeled banana. My chocolate mint is very happy in my herb garden, so I added a few sprigs to my Vitamix.

Add the fruit and cucumber to the blender (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the fruit and cucumber to the blender (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Unsweetened almond milk, fresh mint leaves, honey, optional protein powder, and a few ice cubes completed the ingredient list. Blend the ingredients until smooth.

Use a Vitamix for a spectacularly smooth smoothie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Use a Vitamix for a spectacularly smooth smoothie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Puree the ingredients for a tasty smoothie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Puree the ingredients for a tasty smoothie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately.

Our dog Atticus is letting me know that he would like a taste of this delicious smoothie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Our dog Atticus is letting me know that he would like a taste of this delicious smoothie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Cucumber Peach Mint Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 ripe peaches, pitted but not peeled
1/2 banana, peeled
1 c unsweetened almond milk
handful of fresh mint leaves
1 T honey or agave syrup
1 T plain or vanilla protein powder (optional)
3 – 4 ice cubes

Method:

Place all ingredients in Vitamix or regular blender and blend on high until smooth. Serve right away.

Variations: Use sweetened almond milk and reduce the amount of sweetener. Add a tablespoon of almond butter for a nutty taste. Use your favorite sweetener if you don’t like honey or agave syrup.

Buy your own Vitamix at Amazon.com:

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)

Italian Potato Salad

Italian Potato Salad. Summer picnics and barbecues are upcoming. Everyone wants to enjoy the warmer summer weather. What to take? Guests will bring their favorite side dish while the host usually provides the meats. The usual pasta salads, deviled eggs, baked beans, and mayo-based potato salads will grace the buffet tables. My Italian Potato Salad with Sundried Tomato Dressing is a more unique version of the usual potato salad.

Chilled Italian Potato Salad served with Warm Italian Sausage (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Chilled Italian Potato Salad served with Warm Italian Sausage (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Potato salad has its origins in Europe. German potato salad usually has a clear vinegar-based dressing. Potato salad made in other countries tends to have mayonnaise-based dressing.

My Italian Potato Salad is simple to make with a vinegar-based dressing. Just cook some potatoes in a pot filled with enough water to cover them.

Boil some potatoes in water in a pot (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Boil some potatoes in water in a pot (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Drain and cool the potatoes. Then peel and dice them.

Peel the potatoes when they are cool (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Peel the potatoes when they are cool (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Toss the diced potatoes in a bowl with some red wine vinegar.

Sprinkle red vinegar onto the potatoes and stir to mix (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sprinkle red vinegar onto the potatoes and stir to mix (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some diced red bell pepper, finely chopped shallot, and quartered black olives.

Add the red bell pepper, black olives and shallots (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the red bell pepper, black olives and shallots (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some chopped basil, chopped parsley, and chopped oregano.

Add the herbs (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the herbs (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Toss with my Sundried Tomato Dressing and shredded parmesan, let sit in the fridge for a few hours.

Add the sundried tomato dressing (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the sundried tomato dressing (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Stir the ingredients together (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Stir the ingredients together (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve!

Add a little more parmesan and a sprig of parsley (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add a little more parmesan and a sprig of parsley (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Serve my Italian Potato Salad with a grilled sausage (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Serve my Italian Potato Salad with a grilled sausage (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Italian Potato Salad

Ingredients:

5 lbs red or yellow potatoes, unpeeled
1 T red wine vinegar
pinch of salt
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
20 pitted black olives, quartered lengthwise
1 T finely chopped fresh basil or 1 t dried basil
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley or 1 t dried parsley
1/2 T finely chopped fresh Italian oregano or 1/2 t dried oregano
1 c Sundried Tomato Dressing
1/4 c shredded Parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste

Parsley sprigs and additional shredded Parmesan cheese to garnish

Method:

1. Wash and scrub the potatoes and put them into a pot.
2. Fill the pot with water to cover the potatoes by an inch or more.
3. Add a pinch of salt.
4. Over high heat, bring the potatoes to a boil.
5. Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender.
6. Drain the potatoes and cool them on a cutting board.
7. Carefully peel the potatoes and then dice them into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a non-metallic bowl.
8. Sprinkle the potatoes with the red wine vinegar and pinch of salt and stir to combine.
9. Add the chopped shallot, diced bell pepper, quartered black olives, basil, parsley, oregano, sundried tomato dressing, and parmesan. Stir to combine.
10. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
11. Garnish with parsley sprigs and additional shredded Parmesan cheese and serve!

Makes about 8 cups of potato salad. Serve as a side dish with some grilled Italian sausages or my Hearty Meatball Sandwich. This salad travels well for picnics.

Variations: Add some mini mozzarella balls. Serve this potato salad as a warm main course with hot sliced cooked Italian sausages mixed in. Serve over a bed of salad greens for a vegetarian main course. You could add some diced salami, pepperoni, or cooked bacon bits for a different flavor.

Take along this pretty potato salad serving bowl with lid and serving utensils from Amazon.com:

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)