Spring Mix Pesto

Spring Mix Pesto. Why didn’t I come up with this years ago? I’m thinking of all the times that we bought those giant containers of Spring Mix, only to find out they’d gone bad in a day or so. And then I had to throw it all out. What a waste!

Pesto made from Spring Mix and Fresh Herbs (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pesto made from Spring Mix and Fresh Herbs (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Spring mix, also known as Mesclun, is a very popular salad greens blend that is available almost everywhere. At the grocery store, I love to play the “game” of selecting the perfect container to make sure it lasts longer than a day or so at home. Too wet and your Spring mix will suffer the green mush syndrome. Too dry and it will yellow quickly. Checking the “use by” date doesn’t always work either. Delicate greens must be stored at the optimum temperature.

Whole Foods Market's 365 Brand Spring Mix (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Whole Foods Market’s 365 Brand Spring Mix (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Most recently, my large container of Spring mix lasted nicely about four days after opening. That’s when I decided that I didn’t want to throw out the remaining 80% of the container. Pesto is pretty popular this time of year with the abundance of basil in the garden. And my homegrown baby lettuces are starting to wane. So why not make Spring Mix Pesto?

Spring Mix that is slightly past its prime (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Spring Mix that is slightly past its prime (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Start with your past-prime Spring mix. You don’t want a lot of mushy wet leaves, just those that look a bit wilted. Put them in your food processor and pack them in. Add some fresh herb leaves if you wish.

Pack the Spring Mix into the Food Processor (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pack the Spring Mix into the Food Processor (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pulse your food processor a few times to chop up the Spring mix.

Pulse the food processor a few times to chop up the Spring mix (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pulse the food processor a few times to chop up the Spring mix (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some shredded Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts.

Add parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and pulse until combined (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and pulse until combined (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pulse some more and season to taste with salt.

The Spring mix pesto is done!  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The Spring mix pesto is done! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

You can use the pesto right away or freeze it! I usually press some plastic wrap onto the pesto prior to putting on the lid and refrigerating or freezing it.

What to DO with all that Spring Mix: Make Spring Mix Pesto (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

What to DO with all that Spring Mix: Make Spring Mix Pesto (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Usually, I will mix pesto into just cooked pasta or use it as a sauce on a pizza dough. It’s also tasty when spread on toasted baguettes.

Enjoy!

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

Spring Mix Pesto

Ingredients:

6 cups of Spring mix greens
6 – 8 herb leaves such as basil or oregano, or to taste
1 peeled garlic clove
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
2 T toasted pine nuts
2 T olive oil, more if needed
1 t salt

Method:

1. Put the Spring mix greens into a food processor and cover with the lid.
2. Pulse a few times to chop up the greens.
3. Add the garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil.
4. Pulse to blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula between pulsing intervals. Add more oil until you achieve the desired consistency.
5. Season to taste with salt.
6. When smooth and seasoned to your liking, either serve immediately or freeze in a covered plastic container or ice cube tray.

Makes about a cup of pesto. Stir into cooked pasta, serve as a spread for toasted baguette slices, or use a pizza sauce.

Variations: Use baby lettuces, romaine, kale or other salad greens. Substitute pepitos (pumpkin seeds) for the pine nuts. Use canola oil in place of the olive oil. Use a different dry grated or shredded cheese such as Manchego.

Get your own Cuisinart Food Processor from Amazon.com!

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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Broccoli Ham Smoked Gouda Quiche

Broccoli Ham Smoked Gouda Quiche. This quiche is a version of my Brown Sugar Ham and Swiss Quiche that was my first recipe for this site! It’s basically the same ham and swiss quiche with smoked Gouda cheese substituted for the swiss cheese and broccoli florets added to the filling. The pretty green color might actually get your kids to eat their broccoli.

A slice of Broccoli, Ham, and Smoked Gouda Quiche along with a Garden Salad  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A slice of Broccoli, Ham, and Smoked Gouda Quiche along with a Garden Salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

You can eat this quiche hot, cold, or at room temperature. Use it as the star of a brunch buffet along with a Fresh Fruit Platter. There appear to be a lot of steps in making this quiche. Trust me. The labor is worth it!

Here’s how: Use a store-bought frozen pie crust or make your own crust. Bake the pie crust (if frozen, let it sit at room temp for 10 minutes first) for a few minutes with parchment and pie weights so the crust doesn’t bubble up. When the pie crust has baked slightly, remove from the oven. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Blanch some broccoli florets and plunge them into ice water.

Broccoli : Eat Your Trees!  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Broccoli : Eat Your Trees! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Whisk together eggs, creme fraiche, salt and pepper. Use plain Greek yogurt if you can’t find creme fraiche. Sprinkle some shredded smoked Gouda cheese, diced ham, and minced onion over the pie crust bottom. Add half of the broccoli florets. Pour the egg mixture over the ham and broccoli. Sprinkle more shredded smoked Gouda, ham, onion, and the rest of the broccoli over the egg mixture. Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil so it doesn’t burn.

Broccoli, Ham, and Smoked Gouda Quiche ready for the oven!  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Broccoli, Ham, and Smoked Gouda Quiche ready for the oven! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Bake the quiche at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes or until the filling is set and browned on top. Remove the foil covering the crust about 10 minutes before the quiche is done so the crust will brown nicely.

Broccoli, Ham, and Smoked Gouda Quiche hot from the oven  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Broccoli, Ham, and Smoked Gouda Quiche hot from the oven (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before cutting into slices. And serve!

Serve my Broccoli, Ham and Smoked Gouda Quiche with a side salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Serve my Broccoli, Ham and Smoked Gouda Quiche with a side salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Offer this quiche with a garden salad with my Roasted Walnut Oil Dressing, my Minty Fruit Salad, or a plate of sliced ripe tomatoes dressed with olive oil and herbs.

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

Broccoli Ham Smoked Gouda Quiche

Ingredients:

One frozen pie crust shell
1 c raw broccoli florets
4 large eggs
6 oz. crème fraiche or 1 c plain Greek yogurt
pinch of salt
1/4 c milk for thinning
a couple grinds of fresh black or white pepper
4 oz smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
1/4 lb brown sugar or maple ham from the deli, thinly sliced, then cut into 1/2 inch squares
1/3 c minced Vidalia onion
Parsley or orange slices for garnish

Other items:

Parchment paper
Dry beans or pie weights
Large cookie sheet
Large bowl
10 ice cubes and cold water

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Remove pie crust from freezer, let sit for 10 – 15 minutes at room temperature, then poke holes in bottom of crust with fork.
3. Cut a piece of parchment paper to cover the pie crust’s interior/bottom, add pie weights or dry beans to cover so that crust doesn’t bubble up during baking.
4. Cover crust edges with aluminum foil so crust doesn’t prematurely brown.
5. Bake crust for 8 minutes at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet.
6. While pie crust is baking, heat some water to a boil in a deep sauce pan.
7. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli florets.
8. Cook the broccoli florets for about four minutes.
9. While the broccoli is cooking, in a large bowl, add 10 ice cubes and water to fill the bowl 3/4 full. Then drain and plunge the broccoli florets into the ice water. Let sit for a few minutes. This is called “blanching” and will help to maintain the broccoli’s bright green color during baking.
10. When the pie crust has baked for 8 minutes, remove it from the oven.
11. Remove pie crust from oven.
12. Remove foil coverings, pie weights or dry beans, and parchment paper.
13. Whisk together in a bowl: the eggs, crème fraiche, salt, and pepper. Add milk to thin if too thick, but be careful as too much liquid/stirring can thin the mixture.
14. Sprinkle half of the smoked Gouda cheese over the bottom of the pie crust.
15. Repeat with half of the ham, onions, and broccoli.
16. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese, ham, onions, and broccoli.
17. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese, ham, onions, and broccoli over the egg mixture
18. Cover the pie crust edges with foil again, being careful not to dip the foil into the egg mixture.
19. Place on the cookie sheet and bake 40 minutes, removing the foil covering during the last 10 minutes of baking. Bake until center is set, crust has browned, and filling is puffy.
20. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
21. Garnish with parsley or an orange slice.

Serves 6 for a main course. Serve the quiche warm from the oven. Accompany with a green salad or a fresh fruit salad. Also appropriate served cold or at room temperature depending on your preference.

Variations: Use a different cheese other than Swiss. Goat cheese chunks, shredded sharp cheddar or Swiss, or creamy Havarti cubes all work well. Omit the ham and add some finely chopped cremini mushrooms for a vegetarian version.

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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Delaware House Breakfast Sandwich

The Delaware House Breakfast Sandwich. Many of you have followed my Delaware House renovation and update project postings on Facebook. Delaware House is my inlaws’ vacation home which needed some renovations and updates before it would go onto the housing market. This breakfast sandwich provided much needed energy for my husband and me during that almost year-long process.

Breakfast Sandwich: Sausage, Smoked Gouda, Fried Egg on a Toasted English Muffin  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Breakfast Sandwich: Sausage, Smoked Gouda, Fried Egg on a Toasted English Muffin (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

It all started with some English muffins that were on sale. My husband bought “buy two, get one free” packages of Thomas’ plain English muffins at a local grocery store. So what was I going to do with a dozen and a half plain English muffins other than freeze some of them? Sure, we could eat English muffins with butter and jam alongside plates of scrambled eggs. But how about a hot breakfast sandwich instead?

Sausage, Smoked Gouda, and Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sausage, Smoked Gouda, and Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Just split and toast an English muffin, butter it, and top with a hot sausage patty or hot deli ham, a fried egg, and a slice of Smoked Gouda or Swiss cheese! That’s the Delaware House Breakfast Sandwich! Be sure to sop up that runny egg yolk with the English muffin!

This recipe is in no way low fat or super healthy! You could definitely use whole grain toast, turkey sausage or bacon, scrambled egg whites, and a vegan or fat-free cheese to lighten it up.

Melty Cheesy Fried Egg and Sausage Breakfast Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Melty Cheesy Fried Egg and Sausage Breakfast Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

All along, this sandwich represented the fun that I didn’t get to have during the Delaware House renovation and update. I saw the ocean only a few times throughout 2014 despite being less than 5 miles from it when visiting the Delaware House. Just like the Delaware House Ham and Cheese Sandwich, this Breakfast Sandwich will always offer me a fond taste of what I have missed at the Delaware Beaches.

Beautiful Bethany Beach, Delaware (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Beautiful Bethany Beach, Delaware (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

NOTE: I’m happy to report that Delaware House has been sold and has a new and very happy owner!

Enjoy!

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

Delaware House Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients:

Two fully-cooked breakfast sausage patties or 8 slices deli ham
2 farm-fresh eggs
2 slices Swiss or smoked Gouda cheese
2 split English Muffins
Butter

Method:

1. If using ham, separate the eight slices into two “mounds” of four ham slices, one for each sandwich.
2. Heat the ham mounds or sausage patties in a non-stick pan over medium low heat, turning several times, until warmed through.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.
4. In another non-stick pan, fry two eggs in butter.
5. When the eggs are done to your liking, remove their pan from the heat.
6. Top the ham mounds or sausage patties with the fried eggs.
7. Top the eggs with the cheese slices. Put a lid on the pan, keep it warm, and the cheese will become melty.
8. Toast and then butter the four English muffin halves.
9. Arrange the meat/egg/cheese filling on the bottoms of the English muffin halves.
10. Cover with the English muffin tops, plate, and cut each sandwich in half if you wish. That way, if you have a runny yolk, it will ooze out onto the plate for dipping.
11. And serve!

Makes two Delaware House Breakfast Sandwiches. Serve with my Minty Fruit Salad and hot coffee or tea.

Variations: Substitute crispy bacon for the ham or sausage patties. Use your favorite cheese in place of the Swiss or smoked Gouda. Scramble the eggs instead of frying them. Add some mayonnaise, spicy mustard, or a slice of tomato to the sandwich. For super decadence, substitute a warmed croissant for the English muffin. To lighten this recipe, use whole grain toast, turkey sausage or turkey bacon, scrambled egg whites, and a vegan or fat-free cheese.

Hearty Breakfast Sandwich: Sausage, Smoked Gouda, and Fried Egg on a Buttered Toasted English Muffin (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Hearty Breakfast Sandwich: Sausage, Smoked Gouda, and Fried Egg on a Buttered Toasted English Muffin (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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Chocolate Almond Martini

Chocolate Almond Martini. Sometimes you just want to “drink” your dessert. This is a delicious dessert martini that you can serve along with dessert or on its own.

Chocolate Almond Martini (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Chocolate Almond Martini (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Drizzle some chocolate syrup in a decorative pattern in a martini glass. In a cocktail shaker with ice, shake two kinds of chocolate liqueur with almond liqueur and heavy cream. Strain into a martini glass. Lightly dust the top of the martini with cocoa powder. And you’ve got a chocolatey martini that tastes like a liquid chocolate almond mousse.

Trader Vic's and Godiva chocolate liqueurs along with Disaronno Amaretto liqueur (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Trader Vic’s and Godiva chocolate liqueurs along with Disaronno Amaretto liqueur (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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

Chocolate Almond Martini

Ingredients:

1 oz chocolate syrup
Martini glass
Cocktail shaker
1 oz Trader Vic’s Chocolate Liqueur
1 oz Godiva Chocolate liqueur
1/2 oz Disaronno Amaretto liqueur
1 oz heavy cream
6 – 8 ice cubes for the cocktail shaker
Powdered cocoa to garnish

Method:

Drizzle the chocolate syrup inside the martini glass in a decorative pattern. In the cocktail shaker, combine the liqueurs and the heavy cream. Shake the liqueurs and cream with the ice cubes. Strain the liquid into the martini glass. Lightly dust the martini with cocoa powder using a fine strainer. And serve!

Makes one dessert martini.

Variations: Before drizzling the chocolate syrup in the martini glass, dip the glass’ rim into a shallow saucer of amaretto and then dip the rim into a saucer of very finely minced almonds. Try mini chocolate chips or shaved chocolate on the rim. If you can’t find Trader Vic’s chocolate liqueur, use 2 oz. of Godiva liqueur. You can use half and half instead of heavy cream. Garnish with a few stemmed red maraschino cherries on a cocktail pick. Or, as a fun treat, you can “hide” a stemmed maraschino cherry at the bottom of the glass after you drizzle the chocolate syrup into the glass. This is by no means a low calorie beverage!

Please remember to drink responsibly.

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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Chilled Grilled Peach Salad with Baby Arugula

Chilled Grilled Peach Salad with Baby Arugula. Wow, doesn’t that sound refreshing on a hot summer’s day? Think about a juicy grilled peach that’s been chilled and filled with creamy herbed cheese and drizzled with a sweet and savory balsamic vinegar syrup and served alongside a baby arugula salad tossed with a citrus-herb-vinaigrette and sprinkled with crispy bacon bits. That was certainly a mouthful! Sweet and succulent and savory and smoky and crunchy all together on one plate!

A chilled grilled peach stuffed with herbed cheese drizzled with balsamic syrup and served with baby arugula (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A chilled grilled peach stuffed with herbed cheese drizzled with balsamic syrup and served with baby arugula (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

This salad’s inspiration began at Patsy’s Restaurant in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Patsy’s is a favorite food spot when we are visiting the Delaware Beaches. Check out my posting about Patsy’s here: Patsy’s Restaurant in Bethany — Key West Seduction at the Delaware Shore.

The chilled grilled peach, prosciutto, and herbed cheese appetizer at Patsy's Restaurant (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The chilled grilled peach, prosciutto, and herbed cheese appetizer at Patsy’s Restaurant (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Here’s my version which in no way outdoes the original, but it hits the spot when I can’t get to Patsy’s for the real thing.

Organic Yellow Peaches (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Organic Yellow Peaches (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Just halve and grill some ripe peaches in a grill pan with some coconut oil until the grill marks have set, just a few minutes.

Grill the peach halves in a pan with coconut oil (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Grill the peach halves in a pan with coconut oil (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Peaches have nice grill marks and are ready to chill (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Peaches have nice grill marks and are ready to chill (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Chill the peaches for a few hours or overnight. When ready to plate the salad, divide the chilled grilled peach halves amongst four plates.

Organic Yellow Peaches from California (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Organic Yellow Peaches from California (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Mix together some herbed Boursin cheese and some goat cheese and fill the peach centers with a dollop. You can use Boursin or another herbed cheese.

Boursin Cheese (Photo Credit: Boursin.com)

Boursin Cheese (Photo Credit: Boursin.com)

Then whisk together a citrusy vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice, orange blossom honey balsamic vinegar, chopped fresh herbs, and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the baby arugula in the vinaigrette and divide amongst the plates. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar syrup over the peaches and the baby arugula. Then sprinkle some crispy bacon crumbles over the baby arugula. Add some of your favorite salad crackers or a slice of buttered baguette and you’re ready to serve!

Citrus-vinaigrette-dressed Baby Arugula with a Chilled Grilled Peach stuffed with Herbed Cheese and Drizzled with Balsamic Syrup (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Citrus-vinaigrette-dressed Baby Arugula with a Chilled Grilled Peach stuffed with Herbed Cheese and Drizzled with Balsamic Syrup (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Be sure to use ripe juicy peaches that are in season. Try to buy local, if possible.

Local White Peaches from Saunder's Brothers in Piney River, VA (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Local White Peaches from Saunder’s Brothers in Piney River, VA (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

I like 34 Degrees crackers because they are thin, light, and crispy. Look for them at your local grocery store.

34 Degrees makes plain and flavored crispy crackers that compliment salads (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

34 Degrees makes plain and flavored crispy crackers that compliment salads (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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

Chilled Grilled Peach Salad with Baby Arugula

Ingredients:

(You will want to make the grilled peaches ahead of time so you can chill them at least for a few hours or overnight.)

Cooking spray or 1 T coconut oil
2 ripe peaches, halved and pitted, centers slightly scooped out with a melon baller or spoon to remove pit fibers
1/4 c herbed Boursin cheese
1/4 c plain goat cheese
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, or basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 c baby arugula
4 T balsamic vinegar syrup
2 T crumbled crispy bacon (optional)
Fresh herb sprigs such as tarragon, dill, or basil, for garnish
Your choice of salad crackers for serving

Method:

1. Heat a grill pan over medium heat on your stove.
2. Melt the coconut oil into the grill pan or lightly coat the pan with cooking spray, being sure to coat the raised grooves.
3. When the pan has heated, but the oil is not smoking, place each peach cut-side down on the grill to make nice brown grill marks and cook just for about 2 – 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the peaches — you just want grill marks.
4. With a spatula, carefully remove the peach halves to a container after their grill marks are set. Cover the container and chill the peaches for a few hours or overnight.
5. When you are ready to assemble the salad, mix together the Boursin cheese and the goat cheese in a small bowl until well-combined.
6. Place a chilled grilled peach half on each of your four serving plates.
7. Put a dollop of the Boursin goat cheese mixture into the indentation of each peach half.
8. Now, make the vinaigrette. In a non-metallic bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, and honey. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
9. In larger bowl, toss the arugula with the citrus vinaigrette.
10. Divide the dressed arugula amongst the serving plates.
11. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar syrup over the filled peach halves and the baby arugula.
12. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the baby arugula.
13. Put an herb sprig in the Boursin goat cheese dollop for garnish.
14. Add the salad crackers to the plates, and serve!

Makes 4 salads. If making for two diners, you could easily offer two peach halves per plate and some additional arugula for a “main course” salad.

Variations: Use mixed baby greens instead of arugula. Try bleu cheese instead of the Boursin. Use prosciutto instead of bacon just like the original at Patsy’s Restaurant.

My Chilled Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad inspired by Patsy's Restaurant in Bethany, Delaware (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My Chilled Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad inspired by Patsy’s Restaurant in Bethany, Delaware (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Baby Greens Salad served with Chilled Grilled Peach topped with Prosciutto instead of Crispy Bacon (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Baby Greens Salad served with Chilled Grilled Peach topped with Prosciutto instead of Crispy Bacon (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Organic Yellow Peaches in Baskets at Whole Foods Market (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Organic Yellow Peaches in Baskets at Whole Foods Market (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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