Random Recipe: Mozzarella Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Last weekend we were at a house-warming party for a friend. She made the most amazing salad. Seriously, it has been a while since I have had a new salad and one that truly hit the spot. The guests cleared out the bowl, and she saw how enamored I was with it. She pulled me aside and said she would make more. It is easy and has very few ingredients. We then made it this week, and it was good, but I need to find out what she did. She sometimes cooks in the oh I’ll add more of this here and that there. And, somehow her version just tasted better. Hmmm.

We cut the recipe in half (even though the original recipe says for 2).

Smoked Mozzarella Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing [Adapted]

Serves 2

Salad_

2 oz mixed greens

1/2 lb smoked mozzarella cheese, sliced

Dressing_

2.5 oz jarred sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (drained weight)
1/8 c fresh basil, shredded
1/8 c fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 tbsp capers, rinsed
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 garlic clove, chopped
extra olive oil
salt+pepper to taste

Directions_

Put all the dressing ingredients into a blender. Use the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes and add extra as needed to equal 1/3 cup of oil. Blend until smooth. Toss the mixed greens, sliced mozzarella, and dressing together and serve.

Try it — I am curious what you think, and how it could be tweaked.

Random recipe: Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie

In Portland, summer is often equated by sun. Yes, when the flip-flops come out and day after day is blue skies and no rain. Usually in Portland it is a given that you begin to have that AFTER the Fourth of July, and ends sometimes around Labor Day or after. Often I think why do I live here? I love sun. But. I also love Portland. This summer, however, it has been gorgeous out, between 80-90 degrees and sun, sun, sun.

When it is sunny out, everyone wants a refreshing drink. Right? We have been exploring new, refreshing recipes for the summer, especially ones that hit the spot. This one is tangy and sweet all in one glass.

Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie [Adapted from Kitchy Kitchen]

1 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup sweet coconut flakes, packed
2 1/2 cups hot water and 1 1/2 cups cool water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Toast the coconut on a baking sheet for about 6 minutes, mixing them up after 3 minutes. While the coconut is toasting, juice the limes in a blender. Put all of the used lime halves into a separate bowl along with the coconut and vanilla bean and then add the hot water.  Let it soak together for about 10 minutes. Strain into the blender and add the cold water and agave nectar. Blend! Pour into a pitcher and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. When ready, add equal parts of the limeade and ice into the blender to make your slushie!

Enjoy drinking in the sun with your feet up this weekend!

Random recipe: Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Blender Muffins

Oh man, these were good. So easy, and really nothing to call the dessert police on. There is no flour or sugar (just a tiny bit of honey). It can all be made in your blender. Since they are mini muffins you can have one, wait a bit and have a few more and not feel guilty at all. You can taste the chocolate, peanut butter, and banana. Yum!

A few notes: since we have a Vita-Mix, we blended a bit too long, and the chocolate chips were no longer in solid form, thus the look of a brownie mixture and the darker color than if the chocolate chips remained solid. Oh, and to change it up a bit we added toffee chips to the mix. Why not?

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Blender Muffins (Original version from Averie Cooks)

Prep time: A few mins
Cook time: 8-9 mins
Yield: 15-18 muffins

1 banana
1 egg
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 dash of salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I also added some heath bar bits)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Prepare mini muffin pan(s) with cooking spray or canola oil. Flour the insides or make sure they’re greased very well if you don’t want to use flour.

3. Add all ingredients except chocolate chips into a blender and blend until creamy.

4. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

5. Use a tablespoon and distribute batter evenly to muffin pan(s).

6. Bake for 8-9 mins. Let them cool in the pans for about 10 mins before removing.