Holiday Goat Cheese Pockets For Salad

Holiday Goat Cheese Pockets For Salad

I love to cook the unusual, the unexpected and something totally delicious. Especially during the holidays. These goat cheese pockets always put an amazing smile on peoples faces when I begin to serve them. They are so unexpected, and no one actually knows what they are until you tell them and then I hear an, “Oooooh” from the guests at the table. I love serving this over a green bean, arugula salad with orange sections from the tangelos I grow on my own tree in my “Victory” garden to highlight the orange zest in this recipe that adds so much to every bite of the goat cheese. Remember….. “Spread Love Like Butter” !

Total Time:

45 minutes

Serves:

4

Ingredients

  • 12 ozs. good goat cheese
  • ¾ c. dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. orange zest about 2 large oranges
  • 8 sheets frozen phyllo dough defrosted
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter melted
  • 4 Tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Remove the goat cheese wrapper and place the goat cheese into the freezer for 15-20 minutes prior to slicing.
  • Cut four equal slices of goat cheese from your log of the goat cheese.
  • Cover the stack of defrosted Phyllo dough with a slightly damp towel to keep it moist and keep it from drying so it is not difficult to work with.
  • Place one sheet of phyllo on a cutting board, brush it with butter, and sprinkle it with 3/4 teaspoon of bread crumbs.
  • Repeat with a second sheet of phyllo on top, brush it with butter, and sprinkle it with bread crumbs, continuing until you have 4 sheets of the phyllo stacked up.
  • Cut the phyllo in half crosswise to make two equal rectangles.
  • Place a slice of goat cheese in the middle of one stack of phyllo, sprinkle 5-8 cranberries on top, followed by a sprinkle of the orange zest.
  • Fold a corner diagonally over the cheese, and pleat the rest of the dough up and around the cheese, enclosing it completely.
  • Place the package, folded side up, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  • Depending on the size of your phyllo dough, you may need to trim the tops of the package so it is flat on top when folded over.
  • Repeat the process, until you have 4 packages filled with goat cheese.
  • Brush the packages all over with melted butter, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • When you are ready, bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm over your favorite salad. Mine is a cold green bean, arugula salad with a Dijon vinaigrette.
  • Enjoy!

Video

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Serves:

2

Ingredients

  • ¼ Red Cabbage shredded
  • ½ c. Green Beans Blanched
  • 1 c. corn when in season May-September
  • 1 c. Cherry Heirloom tomatoes sliced
  • 1 c. black beans rinsed
  • ½ red bell pepper chopped
  • ½ c. Jicama chopped
  • 1 c. Romaine lettuce chopped.
  • Dressing
  • 2/3 c. Avocado Mayonnaise
  • ¼ c. raw whole cashews soaked for 2 hours
  • ¼ c. chipotles in adobo sauce from a can
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp. Sweet paprika

Directions

  • Prepare ingredients including the dressing and have each item ready for layering. Place about a quarter cup of the dressing at the bottom of a mason jar. Layer each vegetable into the jar in the order listed in the ingredients list with the Romaine being the last item you place into the jar on top.
  • To eat shake until dressing is absorbed into the full salad or just dump upside down and the items will all layer on top of the Romaine.

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My husband and I return every year to the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel for our anniversary. We did not get married at the Wynn, but we did get married at The Desert Inn Hotel, which was imploded to build the Wynn, so it is as close to sentimental as we can get. At the Wynn Steak House, I tasted their Kale Salad and it was magnificent. For weeks I tried to duplicate it, and when I was done, I think they should use my recipe. It is a crowd pleaser whether you like kale or not and whether you are eight or 80. Enjoy!

Total Time:

10 minutes

Serves:

8

Ingredients

  • 3 heads of organic curly kale cut chiffonade style – see tip
  • 2 c. chopped pecans
  • 3 oz. organic dark amber maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. French sea salt
  • 1 Gala apple shredded – or 8 oz. of freeze-dried apples
  • 12 to 15 shavings of fresh parmesan cheese
  • Ingredients for Dressing:
  • 2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 oz. organic dark amber maple syrup
  • 2 oz. apple cider vinegar to taste
  • 1 c. blood orange flavored olive oil from Temecula Olive Oil Company Or good quality EVOO
  • 3 Tbsp. good Dijon mustard
  • For the Candied Pecans
  • 1 ½ c. pecans
  • 1/3 c. organic dark amber maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. French sea salt

Directions

  • Tip: Up to 2 days in advance, chiffonade the kale and store in air sealed Ziploc bags or containers.
  • To Candy the pecans:
  • Combine the chopped pecans with 1/3 cup maple syrup on a sheet pan and toss until pecans are completely covered.
  • Sprinkle with French sea salt and roast at least 10 minutes or until you can smell the pecans roasting and they are browned.
  • Tip: I suggest using a Silpat (a mat made of food-grade silicone) as it is easier to roll the pecans off the surface and make into small pieces. There is never any sticking.
  • Allow to cool and allow the maple syrup to harden around the pecans.
  • Tip: Do not touch until cool or you will lose the skin on your hand.
  • On day of serving, combine the kale, apples, pecans and salad dressing and toss. Dressing can be placed on salad up to 10 minutes before serving. Shave the parmesan cheese on top as garnish.
  • Directions for Salad Dressing:
  • Combine the lemon juice, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Drop in the Dijon mustard and then as you are adding the olive oil, whip with a wire whisk and dressing will begin to emulsify and thicken.

Video

Notes

It also may seem tedious to roll the kale leaves together as a cigar and cut them into tiny chiffonade pieces. Just put on your favorite music and get down to it. I promise you when you are done, (which is why you do it the day or 2 before you need them) the tiny little pieces make the kale so tender and easy to absorb the dressing and it is key to a great salad

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I love stone fruit in the summer, especially nectarines. I rarely reach for peaches over nectarines, but this recipe would not be as good without a peach to accompany it. It looks like summer, smells like summer and tastes like summer! Enjoy!!

Total Time:

25 minutes

Serves:

7

Ingredients

  • 4 peaches cut in half lengthwise and pitted
  • 2-3 squirt avocado oil spray
  • 2 Tbsp. Blood Orange Olive oil
  • 1 qt. Vanilla flavored Greek yogurt
  • ¼ c. local honey
  • ½ c. granola homemade or store bought
  • ½ c. chopped pistachio nuts.
  • 8 to 10 fresh mint leaves

Directions

  • Using a sharp knife, slice the peaches in half lengthwise. Twist the peach to remove the first half from the pit. Use a grapefruit spoon to wedge the stone pit out of the second half.
  • Heat a griddle to about 425° and grease with avocado oil spray. While it is heating brush the blood orange olive oil onto the meat side of the peaches. Place meat side down onto the griddle and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes until the golden brown grill marks are evident on the meat.
  • Transfer the peaches to a lovely serving plate and then dollop the vanilla flavored yogurt into the hole of each peach half. Drizzle the honey onto the yogurt and even onto the plate for décor. Sprinkle with the granola and add a fresh mint leaf to the top of each peach and chopped mint sprinkled over the plate. It will be beautiful!
  • Enjoy!

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Total Time:

25 minutes

Serves:

5

Ingredients

  • 3 c. Arugula
  • 1 c. Chopped basil
  • 3 Satsuma Oranges
  • 2 Dragon Fruit red and white variety
  • 6 oz. crumbled feta
  • 1 blood orange juiced
  • ¼ c. Blood orange olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Add the Arugula into the serving bowl. Arrange fruit slices around the arugula. Top with the feta cheese.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the blood orange juice, blood orange olive oil, salt and pepper until blended. Drizzle over the salad. Toss gently and serve immediately.
  • This could also be served with sliced grilled chicken or grilled salmon to add protein. Enjoy!

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Homemade Ricotta With Roasted Tomatoes

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When I first started to cook, there were somethings that just seemed like total extravaganzas that I would never learn and really had no desire to learn. So, the idea of making my own homemade ricotta cheese never, and I mean NEVER occurred to me. Then I saw a chef demonstrate how easy it was and I was sold. The truth is, when I serve my own homemade ricotta cheese as an appetizer, I WOW my guests whether they are family or friends. Frankly, you can serve the most simple and unimpressive meal but if you start by saying, “I hope you enjoy this homemade ricotta cheese that I whipped up about 2 hours ago,” whoever “they” are, “they” won’t be able to stop talking about what a fabulous cook you are. Enjoy!!!

Total Time:

45 minutes

Serves:

7

Ingredients

  • 4 c. whole milk
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. White wine vinegar
  • For the roasted tomatoes:
  • 3 c. cherry tomato medley
  • ¼ c. EVOO extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • ¼ c. Basil Chiffonade

Directions

  • Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line a large sieve with the cheesecloth.
  • Set the sieve over a deep bowl.
  • Pour the milk and cream into an enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
  • Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. Transfer the ricotta remaining in the sieve to a bowl. Use immediately and eat warm or place in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
  • For the Roasted Tomatoes:
  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss until well coated. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and lay the tomatoes out on the parchment and then place into the oven for 10-12 minutes.
  • Place the ricotta in the center of a platter and spoon the roasted tomatoes over the top and around the sides. Sprinkle with coarse French sea salt and the basil and ENJOY!!

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Beet Salad With Whipped Roquefort, Pistachios And Beet Dust

I recently tasted this dish at one of our favorite restaurants in Laguna Beach. I am not one for beets, but I have found in the summer they are ubiquitous on many restaurant menus in the southwest. I bit into the salad and the layers of flavors with the beet dust, pistachios and whipped Roquefort layered with the sweetness and yet tartness of the beets just placed me in heaven. I knew I had to duplicate this recipe even though at the time I never knew there was such a thing as beet dust!!! (better known as beet powder) This is a summer salad winner. Enjoy!

Total Time:

1 hour

Serves:

5

Ingredients

  • 3 Golden whole beets
  • 3 Red whole beets
  • 4 oz. Roquefort room temperature
  • 3 Tbs. mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 c. baby arugula
  • 1 Tbs. Olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ c. chopped pistachio nuts
  • 1 Tbs. beet dust
  • 1 Tbs. sugar

Directions

  • Wash the beets thoroughly and trim off the beet leaves. Before cooking, peel the beets and dice them in 1” square pieces. Start with the golden beets and separate them in a separate bowl when finished. Then peel and dice the red beets and place separately from the golden beets. (this is done to keep the red beets from bleeding over and staining the golden beets).
  • Keeping the staining in mind, steam the golden beets in a steamer basket for approximately 25 minutes or until tender and pierces easily with a fork.
  • If you have steamed the golden beets first, you can now add the red beets into the basket of the same steaming water without fear of staining. Again, steam for approximately 25 minutes or until tender enough to pierce with a fork. If desired, chill for 30 minutes or serve room temperature.
  • In a food processor add the Roquefort, mascarpone cheese, lemon juice and olive oil and pulse until combined. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
  • In the meanwhile, chop the pistachios into a rough chop, and toss the arugula with 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.
  • Plate the arugula and then layer the beets starting with the red beets on the bottom with the golden beets on top.
  • Form the whipped Roquefort with two spoons into ovals and place them onto the platter. If plating individually, place two ovals per salad plate. Sprinkle the pistachios over the top of the plate.
  • Lastly, combine the beet powder and sugar together in a small bowl making the beet dust. Sprinkle the beet dust over the top of the entire salad, especially the Roquefort ovals and the plate so it glistens and shows the beet dust generously. Enjoy!

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Total Time:

30 minutes

Serves:

9

Ingredients

Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp´. honey
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad

  • 2 bags 5 ounces each fresh baby spinach (about 10 cups)
  • 1 c. fresh basil leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries hulled and quartered (3 cups)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 containers (8 ounces each) Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Fresh Mozzarella cheese – Ciliegine (cherry-sized balls), drained and each ball cut in half
  • 1 package (16 ounces) Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Fresh Mozzarella cheese – Log
  • Fresh basil leaves

Directions

Vinaigrette

  • Whisk balsamic vinegar and honey in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Salad

  • Combine spinach and basil in a large bowl; toss with half of the vinaigrette.
  • Place half of the spinach mixture in a serving bowl. Top with half of the strawberries, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella ciliegine.
  • Drizzle with half of the remaining vinaigrette.
  • Repeat layers, starting with the spinach mixture.
  • Cut fresh mozzarella log lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices.
  • Cut slices with a bunny-shaped cookie cutter, about 2 inches.
  • Garnish salad with bunnies and basil.

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Total Time:

30 minutes

Serves:

9

Ingredients

  • 1 English cucumber cut lengthwise and seeded, then chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 pt. cherry tomatoes sliced lengthwise
  • 4 scallions minced white and green parts or 1 chopped red onion
  • 1 bell pepper red, yellow, or orange, chopped in ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ c. basil minced (reserve 1 Tbsp. for garnishing the top before serving)
  • 1 2.63 oz. bottle of McCormick Salad Supreme
  • 1 bottle Newman’s Own Italian salad dressing
  • ¼ c. shaved parmesan cheese for topping

Directions

  • Prepare the Rotini pasta per directions on package but cook one minute less than package directions.
  • Chop all of the necessary vegetables and then combine pasta and all ingredients in one large bowl.
  • Mix the salad dressing and poor liberally onto the salad mixture and toss. This can be done an hour before serving or overnight and placed back into the refrigerator. Top with the basil and shaved parmesan cheese.

Video

Notes

Tip: If you do place it back in the fridge before serving, when you take it out reserve a good 1/2 C. of dressing to re-toss the salad with as the pasta will absorb the dressing while resting a bit too much and it will taste slightly dry. Once you add the other dressing it springs right back to life.

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Pasta Salad

I love a great pasta salad. I love it at an outdoor barbeque or at a Sunday sports party. It is so inviting. To me it feels like love in a bowl. Everyone enjoys it – kids and adults alike. Hope you think so too. Enjoy!

Total Time:

1 hour

Serves:

7

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. rotini curly pasta
  • 1 English cucumber cut lengthwise and seeded, then chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 heirloom or beefsteak tomato seeded and chopped
  • 4 scallions minced white and green parts
  • 1 bell pepper red, yellow, or orange, chopped in ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ c. basil minced (reserve 1 Tbsp. for garnishing the top before serving)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. celery seed
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsps. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seed
  • 1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • For the Salad Dressing:
  • ½ c. EVOO
  • ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¼ tsp. Herbs de Provence

Directions

  • Prepare the Rotini pasta per directions on package but cook one minute less than package directions.
  • Chop all of the necessary vegetables and then combine pasta and all ingredients in one large bowl.
  • Mix the salad dressing and poor liberally onto the salad mixture and toss. This can be done an hour before serving and placed back into the refrigerator.

Notes

Tip: If you do place it back in the fridge before serving, when you take it out reserve a good ¼ C. of dressing to re-toss the salad with as the pasta will absorb the dressing while resting a bit too much and it will taste slightly dry. Once you add the other dressing it springs right back.

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