Caprese Salad bites

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Caprese Salad is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh summer tomatoes. I needed a light starter for my pizza party, and caprese salad was the first idea that popped into my mind, however I also wanted something that was easy to snack on, so I decided to make mini caprese salad bites on a stick, drizzled with a balsamic glaze. They turned out beautifully and are so easy to make!

Caprese Salad Bites

  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella cut into 20 cubes
  • Crema di balsamico, or homemade balsamic reduction
  • salt and pepper
  • toothpicks

Directions

  1. Wash tomatoes and basil, cut tomatoes in half
  2. Cut mozzarella into cubes
  3. With your toothpick in hand, add tomato, basil leave (folded in half) and mozzarella, repeat until you have assembled all of the bites
  4. On a plate or platter arrange the salad bites, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with crema di balsamico

Pizza Party

I read an article in Bon Appetite magazine about a great dinner party idea, homemade pizza. Turn your kitchen into a pizza parlor for the evening and let guests assemble their own pies. The pizza’s turned out perfectly, and the key is to have all the toppings prepared before your guests arrive; I chopped tomatoes, garlic, and artichokes, caramelized onions, and thinly sliced red onion, and since I don’t eat meat, my guests brought their favorite meat toppings.

The key to perfect homemade pizza is a pizza stone and an extremely hot oven, the no-knead dough is made the day before and left to rise for 18 hours. Bon Appetite’s recipe calls for white flour, but I used a mix of whole wheat and white. Make sure the dough is in a large bowl, because it will double in size and try to spill over the edges, it’s a very sticky, lively dough with lots of bubbles!

No-Knead Pizza Dough

  • 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams) plus more for shaping dough
  • 4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

Preparation

  1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).
  2. Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.
  3. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2–3 hours before shaping.

To Make the Pizzas

  • During the last hour of dough’s resting, prepare oven: If using a pizza stone, arrange a rack in upper third of oven and place stone on rack; preheat oven to its hottest setting, 500°–550°, for 1 hour. If using a baking sheet, arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to its hottest setting, 500°–550°. (You do not need to preheat the baking sheet.)
  • Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 10″–12″ disk.

If Using Pizza Stone

  • When ready to bake, increase oven heat to broil. Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless (or inverted rimmed) baking sheet lightly with flour. Place dough disk on prepared peel and top with desired toppings.
  • Using small, quick back-and-forth movements, slide pizza from peel onto hot pizza stone. Broil pizza, rotating halfway, until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, 5–7 minutes.
  • Using peel, transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat, allowing pizza stone to reheat under broiler for 5 minutes between pizzas.

Recipe from Bon Appetite

Carrot, Cilantro, and Chili Slaw

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I was searching for a salad with a bit Asian flair to go with take away sushi, when I came across a carrot, cilantro, chili slaw from Bon Appetit. The salad takes about 20 minutes to make and it’s absolutely delicious! If you don’t like spicy food you might want to tone down the jalapeño, I used red chili instead of jalapeño.

Carrot, Cilantro, and Chili Slaw
recipe from Bon Appetit

  • 12 ounces carrots (preferably assorted colors), peeled, julienned (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, minced
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Toss carrots, oil, lime juice, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and jalapeños in a large bowl. Let marinate for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Add cilantro, coriander and sesame seeds; toss to evenly incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

15 minute breakfast: Broiled Grapefruit with Cinnamon Sugar

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Is grapefruit season, and grapefruit is a lovely, healthy, quick breakfast. My mom used to serve it for us in the mornings before school; I remember she had a Pampered Chef grapefruit knife perfect for cutting between the segments (I’ve been searching for one like it but have had no luck).

I stumbled across this recipe for broiled grapefruit with cinnamon sugar. It looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it this morning for breakfast!

Broiled Grapefruit with Cinnamon Sugar

  • Serves two
  • 1 large ruby grapefruit
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
  1. Heat the oven to broil. Cut the grapefruit in half across its equator. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut around the inside edge of the grapefruit half. Then make small, deep cuts next to each segment’s membrane, to loosen the fruit from the membrane. (If you have serrated grapefruit spoons, this step is less necessary.)
  2. Sprinkle each half with cinnamon sugar and put in an oven-safe dish, sugar-side up. Broil for 15 minutes, or until the top turns quite brown and caramelized. Let cool for 5 minutes and eat while warm.

Recipe from the Kitchn

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

I recently stocked up on shredded organic coconut. It was only after I had purchased it I realized coconut has a relatively short shelf life, so I’ve been searching the web for a way to use all of this coconut.

Luckily, I found David Lebovitz’s simple recipe for Coconut and Chocolate Macaroons. I made a few modifications to the recipe: I substituted organic raw sugar for white sugar, I melted 4 squares of 85% organic chocolate to dip the macaroons in, and I made my macaroons a bit larger, and made 15 instead of 30 cookies.

Coconut and Chocolate Macaroons

by David Lebovitz

30 Cookies

From Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed)

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2½ cups unsweetened coconut (see note)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  1. In a large skillet, mix together the egg whites, sugar, salt, honey, coconut and flour. Heat over low-to-moderate heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom as you stir.
  2. When the mixture just begins to scorch at the bottom, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature. (At this point, the mixture can be chilled for up to one week, or frozen for up to two months.)
  3. When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch mounds with your fingers evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until deep golden brown. Cool completely.
  5. To dip the macaroons in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a microwave.) Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Dip the bottoms of each cookie in the chocolate and set the cookies on the baking sheet. Refrigerate 5-10 minutes, until the chocolate is set.

Note: Unsweetened coconut is available in most natural-food shops or you can purchase it online.

It goes under various names, such as coconut powdermedium shredded coconut, and coconut flakes. All will work well in this recipe.


Aquavit Spritzer

I live in Scandinavia, the land of Aquavit. The Danes drink ice cold shots of Aquivit or Schnapps during a smørrebrød luncheon which usually includes the infamous pickled herring.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Danish summer than with Bon Appetit’s Aquivit Spritzer! Find the recipe here Aquavit Spritzer: bonappetit.com.

Photo by: Ditte Isager

crostini

This looks delicious, I will definitely make it for my next cocktail party!

PrettyGirlsCook by Candice Birdsong

This crostini is great for cocktail parties or a quick snack. It takes just a few minutes to put together so it’s a great option if you have a few people over and only have a little prep time. You can use any fresh herbs you like, whatever you have around will work. I used truffle honey but any honey will do. Use a good quality hand dipped ricotta for this, it will really make a difference. Serve with a nice glass of bubbly and enjoy!

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