Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Asparagus and Gruyere Tart

I look forward to asparagus season pretty much the entire year. My parents frequently bought fresh asparagus while I was growing up, and I absolutely love it. My in-laws grown their own asparagus and we are so spoiled to have them share it with us! I also like to grab a few bunches when I am in Door County from a local farmer because their asparagus is really thin and perfect for a tart like this one. 

I made this tart for my family when they joined us for dinner and it was fantastic. I love gruyere cheese and adding flaky pastry and fresh asparagus is a gigantic bonus!  This appetizer is so easy and can be easily doubled if you have more guests (or if you just want more for yourself!). I find that the cook time seems to be a little unpredictable and I like to start checking the bottom of the pastry around the 20 minute mark till it becomes golden brown and flaky. 

Tonight, I am headed to the gym and then home to do a bit of house work. I am also finishing up a few recipe for a blogging event and giveaway starting next week! Stay tuned! 


Ingreidents

1 puff pastry sheet
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp olive oil
20-30 asparagus spears (this will depend on thickness)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Drizzle Olive Oil


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Allow the puff pastry to thaw for about 30 minutes or until it can be easily unfolded. Unfold the puff pastry and place it on the baking sheet. Mix the mustard and 1/4 olive oil. Brush the pastry with the mustard mixture. Evenly spread cheese over the pastry and arrange asparagus evenly over the top. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until dough it light and flaky, and bottom of dough it golden brown. Remove and cut into 8 wedges. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 5/25 - 5/31

Happy *late* Monday!

Today was a good opportunity to reflect on the members of our military who gave their lives. Just over a year ago, Ron and I had the privilege to pay our respects at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France. With certainty I can say it is one of the most moving places that I have had the opportunity to visit. It is a very large place seated on top of a hill overlooking Omaha Beach. It is the final home to young men and women, and a place that comes to my mind frequently during days we recognize our fallen, our veterans and those currently serving. My family and I thank you for your service and ultimate sacrifice. 


This weekend we headed up to Door County to spend time at our cottage. The end of May always feels like the start of the summer and Door County quickly come to life. We spent most of our at The Farm and relaxing by the lake. Here are a few photos from Saturday, Sunday and Monday:


Checking out the grounds.


Meeting a new friend.


Riding the tractor (the favorite). 


Feeding a new friend.


A baby pony!


The goats were so little and cute!


Puzzle time (his Dad got into a puzzle till 3 am the same night)!


Rhubarb Honey Sangria at Parador in Egg Harbor (I must replicate this)!


Our view from the top of the stairs..... It never gets old! 

This week I am getting to the gym and getting stuff done around the house. I am also playing volleyball and we have friends coming for dinner with their little girl on Thursday. On Friday, my co-workers are having a fish fry and I am hoping to get outside with Kellen most of the weekend! 

I hope that everyone had a lovely and relaxing weekend!

Here is what is on tap: 

Monday: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Cous Cous and Salad
Tuesday: Voodoo Chef Roasted Garlic Stuffed Grilled Pork Chops, Wild Rice and Asparagus
Wednesday: Guava Girl Grilled Bacon Wrapped Chicken, Red Smashed Potatoes and Asparagus
Thursday: Grilled Chicken Caprese, Pesto Risotto and Grilled Asparagus
Friday: Out for Fish
Saturday: Slow Cooker Roasted Tomato Caprese Chicken Sandwiches, Wedges and Salad
Sunday:  Brats, Beans and Grilled Veggies

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cilantro Lime Rice

Time for May's Improv Cooking Challenge!

The theme for this month is cilantro and lime- so many possibilities! I recently made a Creamy Tex Mex Slow Cooker Chicken and needed a delicious rice recipe to serve it over. I am a big fan of Chipotle and thought their cilantro lime rice was a perfect side, and perfect to share for this challenge! I opted to use Skinny Taste's recipe (with a few adaptations) for the rice and it was spot on to the Chipotle favorite!  Normally, for these challenges I like to create my own recipe, but this one was too good and too easy not to share with you. My favorite part of this side dish is the use of the fresh herbs, and I can't wait to make it again with a bunch of garden fresh cilantro.  Like I said, I used this to create a burrito bowl, but it would be equally delicious inside a burrito or as a side for a delicious grilled fresh fish. 

Speaking of gardens. I had a little incident last night/this morning. So, early Wednesday morning there was a frost advisory and, since I just planted my garden, I made a mental note to cover my plants and put the pots in the garage. However, the night got crazy and I FORGOT. I woke up this morning to dead peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and basil. Arrrrrrrggggghhhhh!  Thankfully, not everything was lost and I only need to replant a few of the more fragile vegetables. Darn you late May frost....... I guess my Friday night will be a little bit busier, and you better believe that I won't forget again!  

Tonight, I am heading to the gym for a quick workout, then home for dinner and off to my Thursday night volleyball game! 

If you want to join the fun of the Improv Cooking Challenge visit Lesa of Edesia's Notebook for details! 

Stay tuned for next month's recipe using fish and avocado! 

Ingredients

4 cups cooked basmati rice
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil


Instructions

Place cooked rice in a medium bowl, combine chopped cilantro, lime juice, rice, salt and remaining oil and toss until completely mixed. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

BBQ Chipotle Mango Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Time for May's Crazy Ingredient Challenge!


The ingredients for this month are chipotle and mango. I was really excited when Dawn unveiled the ingredients in the beginning of the month because I love all of the possibilities with sweet and heat. Considering that it has warmed up in Wisconsin my thoughts immediately went to my grill and a pork tenderloin. I have been hankering for barbecue and I knew that mango and chipotle would be perfect partners for my barbecued pork. I love grilled pork and with the char from the barbecue I am in heaven!  Besides being delicious, I loved how quick this recipe is for a easy weeknight meal. Many time I marinate my pork before I put it on the grill, but I opted for wet rub with a bit of seasoned olive oil followed by a heavy brushing of barbecue at the end of grilling, and finished it an extra drizzle of sauce. The result was a juicy, spicy, sweet and tangy pork tenderloin AND 3 happy full bellies! I served my pork tenderloin with a fresh arugula salad, but I can't wait for corn to be in season because it would have been perfect with a salty buttery grilled ear of corn. 

Today, I am finishing up a training for work (here is a link a local news station did on the training yesterday) and my friend Emily is coming for dinner and a little play time in the evening. I am also going to make a quick stop at the gym for a little weightlifting after my training wraps up. I was planning on enchiladas for dinner, but the idea of pizza is slowly creeping into my brain..... 

If you are interested in joining our challenge, stop over to Dawn of Spatulas on Parade to say hello and to get more information.  I am excited to see what everyone else made, and what next month will bring! 

**I also need to give a special birthday shout out to my Sister and belated birthday shout out to my Sister In-Law! Happy Birthday Rachel & Julie!!!**


Ingredients

1 (about 1 - 1 1/4 lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbl olive oil
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1/2 cup ripe diced mango
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce +1 tsp adobo sauce


Instructions

Whisk oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder in a small bowl. Rub into pork tenderloin and set aside. 

In a food processor or blender, add mango, bbq, peppers and adobo. Pulse till smooth and set aside. 

Heat grill to medium-low heat. Think of the tenderloin as having 4 sides. Cook the pork 4-5 minutes per "side" (you can test with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches desired temperature). During last 2 minutes of cooking brush all sides with sauce. Remove from grill and allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice and serve with extra sauce drizzled over the top.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Love Paris

Like I said yesterday, in a few weeks I will be participating in a new blogging/giveaway events called #HotSummerEats.  One of the generous sponsors is Quirk Books. As I said yesterday, Quirk Books is a company based in Pennsylvania and publishes 25 titles per year.  As Quirk Books says, "every title is a labor of love" and some of the bloggers were fortunate enough to receive one of their publications. I received "Summer Cocktails" by Marta Del Mar Sacasa. 

Yesterday, I shared a recipe for a lavender infused white wine spritzer called, The Lazarus.  Today, I am sharing a twist on The Lazarus called, I Love Paris. The drink is very similar but uses Rosé wine. Rosé is a light pink wine (color coming from the red skinned grapes) that varies in sweetness from region to region. I prefer a dry wine, but you could use sweet if you prefer.  I really enjoyed this drink and it's cute name! I don't often drink Rosé, but I really liked the slight bubbles and light flavors. The flavors from the lavender syrup were delicious and the bubble from the wine and club soda were a delicious pair. 

Like I said, I loved the name of this drink and I had to serve it with my macaroon tea towel! When I was in Paris last May with my family one of my favorite stops was at Ladurée to get a box of macaroons. I remember there were tons of flavors and it was hard to choose just one! However, I am partial to the salted caramel, pistachio and lemon! I have a wonderful memory of Kellen inhaling a lemon macaroon and licking his chubby fingers before digging into the box to try and find more cookies! 

So, the moral of this story is: buy a box of macaroons, make this drink and pretend you are in the Tuileries Garden under a shady tree..... makes me wish I was back in Paris right now! 


Ingredients
(makes 1 drink)

1 oz lavender syrup
4 oz chilled Rosé wine
Splash of Chilled Club Soda


Instructions

To make the syrup: 
In a small sauce pan whisk together 1 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer and allow sugar to disolve. Add 1/4 cup dried culinary lavender. Remove from heat and allow lavender to soak for about 10 minutes. Strain and allow syrup to cool. Once cool, store in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Place syrup in a wine glass and add the Rosé wine. Top with a splash of club soda and enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Lazarus

In a few weeks I will be participating in a new blogging/giveaway events called #HotSummerEats.  Like previous events I have done, there are tons of great prizes and many generous sponsors. 

One of these sponsors is Quirk Books.  Quirk Books is a company based in Pennsylvania and publishes 25 titles per year.  As Quirk Books says, "every title is a labor of love" and some of the bloggers were fortunate enough to receive one of their publications. I received "Summer Cocktails" by Marta Del Mar Sacasa. The books is specifically recipes for, you guessed it, summer inspired cocktails. I couldn't have been more excited to dive into this collection of fresh, innovative cocktail recipes. I love trying different cocktails and am always scanning the drink menu at a restaurant to try something new and different.  When I was scanning the different recipes I had one thing I was really hoping to find- recipes using lavender syrup. I recently made some syrup with some dried culinary lavender and loved the flavor.  Thankfully, I came across the recipe for a drink called The Lazarus and I was sold. 

The Lazarus is a type of a wine spritzer. However, it is not a wimpy wine spritzer by any means (sorry spritzer fans)! The drink uses a dry white wine and the unique flavors of the lavender syrup and the splash of club soda make this different than any wine spritzer I ever tried! I loved that it wasn't too sweet and the floral syrup was perfect with the dry wine. I served this with my Mother's Day brunch (lavender lemonade for the kids!) and my family absolutely loved it! 

Tune in tomorrow to get another delicious and lavender inspired cocktail recipe! 


Ingredients
(makes 1 drink)

1 oz lavender syrup
4 oz chilled dry white wine
Splash of Chilled Club Soda


Instructions

To make the syrup: 
In a small sauce pan whisk together 1 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer and allow sugar to disolve. Add 1/4 cup dried culinary lavender. Remove from heat and allow lavender to soak for about 10 minutes. Strain and allow syrup to cool. Once cool, store in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Place syrup in a wine glass and add the white wine. Top with a splash of club soda and enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 5/18 - 5/24

Sunday is here already?! I feel liked I was just writing my meal plan last week and Poof! another week has gone by. 

After a chilly week, this weekend was delightfully warm and perfect for garden planting!

On Friday night, my sister in-law, brother in-law and their kids came for dinner and to celebrate my sister in-law's birthday a few days early. They are from Appleton, but were in town because she is running the half marathon on Sunday. We feasted on grilled brats, a few different deli salads, grape salad and a birthday cookie cake for dessert (plus a few grapefruit margaritas). The kids were so cute and had a blast running around the backyard and playing with Kellen's playset.  After they left, Ron and I relaxed with a t.v. show and put Kellen to bed. 

On Saturday, Kellen and I headed to Appleton for Ron's cousin/goddaughter's wedding shower (Kellen was having an overnight with Ron's parents). It was lovely and it was fun to see everyone. The bride-to-be was glowing and beautiful (as usual!) and I even got to snag an extra cupcake to bring to Kellen.  I headed home shortly after and Kellen stayed for a sleepover with his grandparents and cousin. Since it was still early, Ron and I headed to the greenhouse to pick up our plants and got the garden and pots completed! Ron even had time to build a great cage to keep the critters out.




In the evening, we cleaned up, ordered subs, finally watched Taken 3 and headed to bed early.  So relaxing!

On Sunday, I headed to the gym and to the grocery store before we headed out to get Kellen. The remainder of the afternoon was odd jobs around the house, rain storm and ribs on the grill once the sun came back out. 

This week we are getting ready to head to Door County! I am really excited because it finally feels like summer when it starts to get warm and we head up to the cottage. Kellen has been begging to go to the cottage for weeks now, and I am really excited. 

Have a great week! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Honey Mustard Ale Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Green Beans
Tuesday: Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chili and Rice
Wednesday: Steak Enchiladas with Jalapeno Cream Sauce, Rice and Black Beans
Thursday: Cajun Ceasar Grilled Chicken, Creamy Parmesan Noodles and Salad
Friday: Out/Leftovers
Saturday: Door County
Sunday: Door County