Tuna and Pinto Bean Salad: Spring

April 19th, 2016

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad 1

We have been enjoying warmer weather this week.  David has been working on the boat, getting it cleaned of cobwebs, and checking the engine.  The lake is glistening and quiet.  There is not much boat traffic this early in the season.  I took our kayak out for the first time.  I was sure that I would capsize it, but found my balance quickly.  The alternative would be a dunking in frigid water.  It was relaxing paddling by lakefront houses seeing the improvements that neighbors have made to their properties over the winter.  The Ellis’s have finished their party dock and lakeside cabin. There is a new house going up a few doors down.  Hanging baskets adorn many docks and the dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom.

This was a day calling for a special lunch.  I found a can of pinto beans and Italian tuna packed in olive oil in the pantry.  From the fridge I pulled a jar of peperoncini, lemons, cherry tomatoes, celery and red onion.  The recipe was inspired by one made by Kalyn’s Kitchen; one of my favorite healthy bloggers.  We polished off the whole thing.  David said we should eat lunch like this every day.

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad 2V

The dressing for the salad includes some of the peperoncini juice, lemon juice, olive oil, taco seasoning and a hit of hot pepper sauce.

LL Living Room with tulips 2

While shopping at Trader Joe’s last week, I picked up a small pot of tulips still in the bud stage.  Look at them now in my sunny living room.  Not a bad investment for $3.99.

LL Living room with tulips 1

I love how such a small pot of flowers can make me smile.  Something else that makes me smile is the Spring ritual that my friend Penny and I have formed.  Each Spring when I return from Florida, we get together in Asheville for antiquing and lunch at our favorite bistro, Fig.

Penny and Penny

It was a little cool last week, but we ate at our favorite table anyway.

Fig Lunch 2

Penny had the PEI Mussels with Pommes Frites.  I had Chicken Schnitzel with white beans, andouille sausage and a piquillo pepper coulis.  It was delicious and it was fun catching up after a dreary winter.  . . . But back to this week’s lunch.

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad Close

I think this is a great recipe.  Thanks to Kalyn for the inspiration.

TUNA AND PINTO BEAN SALAD

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T peperoncini juice (brine from the bottle of peppers)
1/2 tsp. Tabasco Sauce, more or less depending on how spicy you like it
1 tsp. Taco seasoning
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 large peperoncini peppers, stem and seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 cup chopped tomato, drained if the tomatoes are very juicy (I used cherry tomatoes cut in fourths)
4 or 5 basil leaves, chiffonade
1 can (5-7 oz) Italian tuna packed in olive oil

Add rinsed and drained pinto beans to a medium size bowl.  Mix together the lemon juice, peperoncini juice, tabasco, taco seasoning, salt and pepper and olive oil. Whisk until combined.  Add rest of the ingredients except basil to the pinto beans.  Pour dressing over and stir to combine.  Sprinkle basil over the top and serve.

Printable Recipe

Broccoli Salad

March 15th, 2016

Brocolli Salad 1

I know all of you have had a raw broccoli salad.  But I have to say that this particular recipe is a little different and, in my opinion, a real winner.  It comes from blogger Kathleen at Gonna Want Seconds.  What makes it so special is the addition of orange zest and juice to the dressing.  It also incorporates grapes into the mix.  It is beautiful to look at and even more refreshing when you taste it.

Broccoli Salad 2

We have had company for the past week.  Our good friends were here for bike week.  David made ribs on the grill for the first night they arrived. Instead of the usual coleslaw, I made this broccoli salad to rave reviews.  This is something you need to add to your Summer repertoire.

Jackie and Barbara

 

I admire Jackie and Barbara for swimming in our frigid pool.  It is not heated and usually swimmable only after April.  We had spent the previous day at the beach and, as you can tell by the picture, Barbara overdid the sun.  I did also.

So with this preview of summer, I hope you enjoy the salad.  Thank you Kathleen for a great recipe.

BROCCOLI SALAD

  1.  In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange juice, sugar, apple cider vinegar, orange zest, Dijon, salt and pepper until smooth and creamy.
  2. In a large salad bowl, toss together the broccoli, grapes, pecans, red onions, bacon, cheese, and dates. Toss the salad with half the dressing. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper and dressing as needed. Serve.  (I used all of the dressing)

Printable Recipe

Onion and Bacon Tart

January 26th, 2016

Onion and Bacon Tart 5

I dare anyone to tell me that they wouldn’t love to eat a combination of buttery flaky pastry with caramelized onions and crispy bacon.  The current contest on the FOOD52 website is to present your favorite appetizer to share with friends.  This is not my recipe.  It belongs to Cathy of the blog Bread-and-Milk.   I didn’t enter the contest, but I did decide to be a recipe tester.  I guess you can figure out why I chose the Onion and Bacon Tart to test. My middle name should be “Tart”, but not in the pejorative sense.  Whether sweet or savory, some of my favorite eats have been tarts.

Onion and Bacon Tart 1When I first read the recipe for this tart, I thought there was way too much filling for the size of the tart pan.  But after the onions were caramelized to a deep golden brown, they had melted to just the right amount.  There is a small amount of egg and cream to bind everything together so that the filling is lusciously rich.  I do need to mention the pastry also.  It has more butter in it than what I would normally use.  But the finished pastry is very sturdy.  That is just the results that work for this appetizer.  You can pick up a small slice and eat it out of hand.

Onion and Bacon Tart 3The slice shown on the plate could easily be divided into two pieces and served on a platter to be passed around.  It would be a neat two bite appetizer.  But I was not hosting a cocktail party, so David and I enjoyed this savory tart with a green salad for dinner.  I love testing other people’s recipes.  It forces me to follow a recipe as written and suspend judgement.  In this case, Cathy knew exactly what she was preparing and I was happy to follow her lead.  Go on over to Food52 to see all of the wonderful appetizer recipes.

ONION AND BACON TART

Dough

  • cups All purpose flour
  • teaspoon Salt
  • cup Unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Ice water

Onion Filling

  • Onions, thinly sliced
  • tablespoons Butter infused olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Thick cut Bacon, diced
  • 1/2cup Heavy cream
  • Egg
  • tablespoon Thyme
  • teaspoon Rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
    1. Prepare dough, combine flour salt and butter in a food processor. Pulse until small balls form then add water until dough comes together. Roll into a disk and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    2. Prepare Filling, heat olive oil in a nonstick and gently sauté onions until translucent and caramelized. Next sauté bacon, until crisp. Combine onions, bacon, cream, egg and thyme rosemary and garlic powder.
    3. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Roll out dough, 1/8 inch thick and press into a 4 X 13 rectangular tart tin. Dock the dough with a fork. Spoon in the onion mixture and top with salt and pepper bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Printable Recipe

Crock Pot White Bean and Sausage Soup

January 7th, 2016

Crock Pot White Beans 2

Guess what I got for Christmas?  Yes, I broke down and asked for a new crock pot.  I thought long and hard about it.  I own two; one in Lake Lure and one in Florida.  The one in Lake Lure died this year and the one in Florida was on its last legs.  Both were very, very old.  My hesitation came because I don’t use a crock pot all that often and I thought maybe I could do without one.  But there are times when they come in handy and this new one has some features that my old ones did not have, including a meat temperature probe and a programmable set and forget cooking mode.

Crock Pot White Beans 1

 

A warming soup sounded like the best first recipe to try in the new slow cooker.  It has been rainy and cool in Florida since the holidays, so while I dismantled the Christmas decorations I set the crock pot up to take care of our dinner.  I soaked the dried cannellini beans overnight to give them a head start.  To the pot I also added sauteed turkey kielbasa, sauteed red peppers, celery and onions with garlic and tomato paste.  The liquid ingredients were a mixture of chicken broth and water.  Near the end of cooking I added diced canned tomatoes and Tuscan kale.

Crock Pot White beans 4

Top this lovely soup with toasted bread crumbs and you will feel warm and happy.  I am happy that I have a new crock pot.

CROCK POT WHITE BEAN AND SAUSAGE SOUP (Adapted from William Sonoma)

    • 3 Tbs. olive oil
    • 2 lb. kielbasa sausages, cut into rounds
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3 celery stalks, diced
    • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
    • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 fresh thyme sprig
    • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
    • 1 fresh sage sprig
    • 1  lb. dried cannellini beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
    • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
    • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
    • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 bunch Tuscan or regular kale, washed, stemmed and chopped, about 3 cups

    Drain soaked cannellini beans and add to crock pot.  In a large skillet saute kielbasa rounds until lightly browned.  Add to crock pot.  In same skillet saute onion, celery and red bell peppers until wilted.  Add the tomato paste, garlic and pepper flakes and stir together until mixture is fragrant.  Add the mixture to the crock pot along with the chicken broth and water.  Place the bay leaf and a tied bundle of the herbs, plus the salt and pepper to the pot.  Stir to combine.

    Cook the soup on low for 8 hours.  1/2 hour before soup is done, add the drained diced tomatoes and the kale.  Stir into soup.  Return lid to crock pot and continue to cook until kale is wilted, about 1/2 hour.  In a small pan melt butter, add bread crumbs and cook until bread is golden brown.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with bread crumbs.

Printable Recipe

Appetizers for New Year’s

December 30th, 2015

Crostini Appetizers

This will be a very quick post, but an important one.  Because we loved these Crostini Appetizers that our DIL made for Christmas, I had to share them with you.  Either one of them would be perfect for your New Year’s Eve celebration.  I plan on making the roasted beet, dill and boursin crostini for our contribution to the appetizer table when our friends’ get together this year.

We celebrate with the same group of long time friends each year.  This year we will be in Hilton Head SC.  We spend three days together eating, laughing, playing cards, shopping, golfing for the guys, and movie going for the gals. The menus vary little from the traditions that we have established. New Years Eve includes numerous appetizers, filet of beef, potato casserole and a gorgeous salad.  New Year’s Day is slow roasted pork, black-eyed peas, rice, collard greens and corn bread.

Either one of these appetizers would be a colorful addition to your appetizer tray.  The radish and butter crostini is very simple and elegant.  The beet and dill appetizer is colorful and delicious.  Happy New Year to all of you.  I look forward to starting 2016 here with all of my blogging friends.

OPEN-FACE RADISH AND BUTTER SANDWICHES

A mandoline or V-slicer makes quick work of slicing the radishes.

2 1/2 bunches radishes, trimmed

Unsalted butter, room temperature

20 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices baguette, lightly toasted

Maldon sea salt or coarse kosher salt

Place radishes in medium bowl of ice water and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Drain radishes and slice thinly.

Spread butter generously over baguette slices and sprinkle lightly with sea salt or coarse kosher salt. Arrange radish slices atop buttered baguette slices and serve.

ROASTED BEET, DILL AND BOURSIN CROSTINI

3 to 5 beets peeled and cut into small dice

Olive oil and garlic powder

Sourdough baguette slices, lightly toasted

Fresh dill fronds

1 50z, package Garlic and Fine Herbs Boursin Cheese Spread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place diced beets on small roasting pan.  Coat with olive oil and a little garlic powder.  Roast until cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Cool.

Lightly toast baguette slices.

Assemble crostini;  Spread with cheese, top with dill and sprinkle with cooled diced beets

 

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.