Summer Greens, Fresh Apricots, Goat Cheese & Sunflower Seeds + Blenheim Apricot Vinaigrette
I never used to be much of a fresh apricot fan, but now I find them irresistible! Available in stores and Farmer's Markets for the next few months, these little darlings of summer are a sweet-tart, beautiful fruit with their happy, orange, sun kissed color. Use them in salads, wrap them in prosciutto or make them into salsa. High in antioxidants, iron and beta-carotene they are super good for you too!
1/2 lb of mixed baby greens, including arugula
1 5 oz chub of goat cheese
1/4 cup toasted, salted sunflower seeds
2 fresh apricots, cut in half and sliced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
Toss all ingredients with the vinaigrette and serve. Make sure the lettuce and the goat cheese are nice and cold, the cheese crumbles better when it’s cold. Serves 8.
2 t Dijon mustard
1/4 c Blenheim apricot balsamic vinegar (available at Marisolio in Murphys & on line)
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
pinch of kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
Whisk the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper together well. Slowly add in the olive oil, whisking to emulsify. This may make a bit more than you need but it’s great to have on hand for the next salad!
When I was in high school, I would sometimes go over to my friend Kim's house after school. She always had a jar of this awesome, ready to spread pizza topping in the fridge.
We would pull out a piece of bread (English muffin, sandwich bread, French bread, whatever!), toast it and then spread this yummy mix on top and put it back into the toaster oven for a few minutes to melt and get crispy. What I love about this 'instant' pizza is just that - once you make a batch, it can hang out and be ready for you anytime you crave pizza...which is all the time for me! Top it with pepperoni for a classic taste or capers, anchovies and hot pepper flakes for a puttanesca style toast. It's also good with parmesan, fresh basil and arugula. I made these into an appetizer for my bocce league friends by using these super cute Naan bread 'dippers' that I found at my local supermarket, but any sort of bread will work. Now "that's amoré"!
Mini Pizza Flatbreads
1 cube of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 small can of tomato paste
1 1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated (you could also use jack)
1 /2 tsp dried oregano
6 green onions, chopped finely
20 Stonefire Naan (flatbread) 'dippers' (or sliced baguette, English muffin, bagel)
olive oil for brushing on the Naan
grated parmesan for topping the pizzas (optional)
hot pepper flakes (optional)
fresh basil, torn (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the dippers on a sheet pan and brush with olive oil.
Bake for 8 minutes to get them on their way to being crispy. Mix the first five ingredients together by hand or in a stand mixer. Spread a tablespoon or so on to the middle of each mini flatbread leaving the edges exposed. Bake for 7 minutes or until starting to brown. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes if desired and top with a bit of parmesan and fresh basil leaf. Put the leftover spread in a jar for the next time.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"