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Autumn Salad with Maple & Spiced Pear Vinaigrette

 

I know, I know… Two maple recipes in one week? Yes, I do like maple in the fall! This salad is a great side dish for Thanksgiving or as a quick lunch option. The vinaigrette can be stored in the fridge to quickly use when assembling salad for just one meal at a time. The blue cheese can be swapped for feta, goat cheese, mozzarella, aged cheddar, or whatever sounds good to you (or whatever is about to get moldy in the fridge, let’s be honest!) Regular balsamic vinegar would be a good swap for the spiced pear version, though I’d highly recommend a flavored vinegar for the extra pizzaz.

 

Autumn Salad with Maple & Spiced Pear Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/4 cup spiced pear flavored balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Salad ingredients:

  • About 6-8 cups of mixed lettuce
  • 2 pears, chopped and peeled, if you prefer
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/3 dried cranberries
  • 3 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Instruction:

  1. Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a bowl and whisk together, or add to a dressing mixer and shake to combine.
  2. Put salad into a bowl and top with pears, pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese. Do not mix or all the toppings will fall to the bottom.
  3. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

Eggplant Parmesan Bake

Nothing beats a meal showcasing fresh summer vegetables and lots of cheese! Try this eggplant parmesan bake for an interesting meat-free meal. I like to serve the bake with a side salad and spaghetti tossed in oil and balsamic vinegar. You can easily use canned sauce, homemade sauce, or a mix between the two, like this recipe does.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs (or regular crumbs with a tsp of Italian seasoning added)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 16 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil (more if needed)
  • 1/2 cup Italian cheese mix
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella (1/2 log)

Instruction:

  1. Peel and slice eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and layer into a colander, covering directly on top with plastic wrap. Place a heavy bowl or cans on top of plastic wrap. Let sit in sink for 45 minutes to pull out bitter liquid. Uncover and rinse with cold water.
  2. Preheat oven to 400º. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup bread crumbs with 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. In a separate bowl, crack egg and lightly whisk. One by one, dunk eggplant slices into egg, coat in bread crumb mixture, and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip slices, and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. While eggplant is baking, add chopped tomatoes, minced onion, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, chopped basil, chopped oregano, minced garlic, and cayenne pepper to a small sauce pan. Cook on medium-low until heated through, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add a little water or stock.
  4. When eggplant and sauce are ready, reduce oven heat to 350º. Pour olive oil into a small casserole dish and swish around until surface is covered. Put about a 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Top with a single layer of eggplant slices. Cover with a sprinkle of each cheese (Italian cheese mix, fresh mozzarella, and remaining parmesan). Continue sauce-eggplant-cheese layering until it’s all used up. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Marinated Berries with Shortcake and Whipped Cream

 

This dessert is perfect for using up berries that are a little past their prime. The balsamic vinegar hides any berry imperfections while providing a tangy sauce to contrast the sweet whipped cream. We used sliced strawberries and whole raspberries, but this recipe can easily work for blueberries and blackberries too. Mint adds depth and color for the perfect summer treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Cannon River Traditional Shortcake Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar
  • 1/4 cup Coteau des Prairies 18 Year Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint, minced (about 1 teaspoon when minced)
  • 2 cups berries of your choice, sliced (fresh or thawed from frozen)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Instruction:

  1. Make shortcakes according to package instructions by combining mix with 1 stick melted butter and 1/2 cup water. Place nine spoonfuls on baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 375º for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, then move shortcakes to a rack to cool completely.
  2. While shortcakes are baking, prepare the marinated berries. In a medium bowl, mix together balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and minced fresh mint. Stir until combined. Add berries and stir to completely coat. Place in fridge for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  3. To prepare whipped cream, beat heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar at the very end, beating until just combined.
  4. To assemble, cut shortcakes in half. Add a dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of berries. Drizzle with balsamic mixture if more sauce is desired. Top with other shortcake half. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Spanish Style Gazpacho

Prep Time:  30 Minutes

Cook time:  0 minutes!!

Chill Time:  Up to 6 hours
Total time:  Up to 6 hours, 30 minutes

Difficulty Level:  Easy
Serves: 4-6
Modified from this recipe on Epicurious

 

INGREDIENTS:

Soup:

10 oz. of day old bread, crust removed
21 oz. of fresh summer tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
1 tsp Ellbee’s Original Garlic blend
1 medium sweet onion chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground Cumin
8 tablespoons of good Spanish Olive oil, extra virgin
2 tablespoons of good Spanish Sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons cold water, or more as needed

Garnish:

1 cucumber, peeled and finely diced, for garnish

Sour Cream, for garnish
Croutons (preferably homemade, optional) or crostini (grilled bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil)

Cracked Peppercorns

 

DIRECTIONS:
In a bowl, soak the bread in 1/2 – 1 cup of water for 10 min. Squeeze out, by hand, as much water as possible from the bread.

In a food processor (a Vitamix purees everything quickly and like a dream!) puree all the chopped vegetables.  Add the cumin, garlic, the soaked bread, sherry vinegar, olive oil and 2 Tbsp cold water. Puree in the food processor until the mixture is entirely pureed and smooth. Add more cold water if needed to get the right consistency; it should be slightly thick but should pour easily. Add salt to taste (start with 1-2 tsp).

Refrigerate at least 2 hours and re-taste for salt.

Serve chilled with garnish of chopped cucumber, cracked peppercorns, and/or croutons as desired.  You can also serve with crostini.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Sugar Snap Pea Salad Recipe

Ingredients
Servings: 8-10
• 1 1/2 pounds sugar snap peas, trimmed, stringed, cut in half on diagonal
• Sea Salt
• 4 tablespoons Smude’s Lemon Infused Sunflower Oil
• 1 teaspoon Clover Valley Farms Juneberry Currant vinegar
• 1 bunch radishes (about 6 ounces), trimmed, thinly sliced
• 4 ounces  feta, crumbled
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint

 

Preparation
• Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

• Whisk oil and vinegar  in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.

• Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and serve.

• Adapted from Recipe by Sara Dickerman- Bon Apetit

Preparation
• Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

• Whisk oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.

• Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and serve.

• Adapted from Recipe by Sara Dickerman- Bon Apetit

Preparation
• Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

• Whisk oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.

• Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and serve.

• Adapted from Recipe by Sara Dickerman- Bon Apetit

Preparation
• Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

• Whisk oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.

• Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and serve.

• Adapted from Recipe by Sara Dickerman- Bon Apetit

Recipes

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Sugar Snap Pea Salad Recipe

Ingredients
Servings: 8-10
• 1 1/2 pounds sugar snap peas, trimmed, stringed, cut in half on diagonal
• Sea Salt
• 4 tablespoons Smude’s Lemon Infused Sunflower Oil
• 1 teaspoon Clover Valley Farms Juneberry Currant vinegar
• 1 bunch radishes (about 6 ounces), trimmed, thinly sliced
• 4 ounces  feta, crumbled
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint

 

Preparation
• Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

• Whisk oil and vinegar  in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.

• Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and serve.

• Adapted from Recipe by Sara Dickerman- Bon Apetit

Preparation
• Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

• Whisk oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.

• Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and serve.

• Adapted from Recipe by Sara Dickerman- Bon Apetit

Preparation
• Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

• Whisk oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.

• Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and serve.

• Adapted from Recipe by Sara Dickerman- Bon Apetit

Preparation
• Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.

• Whisk oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.

• Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and serve.

• Adapted from Recipe by Sara Dickerman- Bon Apetit