Category Archives: recipe

Arugula Strawberry Spring Rolls With Honey Lime Dipping Sauce ~ Vegetarian Delight!

kobari

Its Spring signOn Saturday I popped by our local Grandin Village Farmer’s Market and picked up some Kohlrabi.  One of the farmers offered the purple variety of this vegetable that looks like a turnip with a nice crunch and a little bit of a peppery flavor.  Kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip” and it’s a member of the cabbage family.  To make a yummy Kohlrabi Slaw, peel Kohlrabi then cut it in matchstick pieces, toss with julienne strips of peeled apple and carrot and a bit of coleslaw dressing, then sprinkle with crispy crumbled bacon or sunflower seeds (or both!)  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

What do you call a sad strawberry? ….A blueberry!

Why was the little strawberry sad? … His mom was in a jam!

Christina with salad

Culinary Teacher Extraordinaire Christina Nifong

Displays Her Greens and Berries Salad

Spring rolls on plate

Christina Nifong is a food writer well known in our region for the stories she’s written about the Virginia food scene and the recipes she creates and shares during the culinary classes she teaches. The class I attended on Saturday at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op was Local For Lunch: Berry Bonanza. I always walk away from Christina’s class with a new favorite. This time my new FAV is Arugula Strawberry Spring Rolls.  So easy to make and as Christina explains , “These are basically a fresh and delicious handheld salad.”   Here’s her recipe:

Makes 10 – 12 spring rolls

Ingredients

Brown Rice Wrappers (available on-line or at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op)

4 cups lettuce, spinach or other green, torn or chopped into bites-sized pieces

4 cups arugula, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces

4 ounces plain chevre (Curtin Dairy is a good choice), softened

2 pints ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

Mint leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat large bowl of water. Dip one brown rice wrapper into hot water. Hold it there for 30 seconds.
  2. Set damp wrapper onto cold, dry, flat surface. (Make sure the surface is non-porous, granite is a good choice; do not use wood because it is porous.) Add row of lettuce in the center of the wrapper.
  3. Top with arugula, then a slight smear  of goat cheese. Then stack a row of strawberries.
  4. Fold top of wrapper down. Then fold bottom of wrapper up (about an inch). Then roll from the left, tucking and rolling until spring roll is closed.

spring rolls roll upspring rolls

  1. Set onto serving dish. Repeat until all ingredients are gone.  Make sure not to let spring rolls touch on serving plate as they will tear.
  2. Refrigerate until time to eat. Garnish with mint. Serve with honey-lime dipping sauce.

Honey Lime Dipping Sauce ~ Juice of one lime, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 garlic clove minced, salt and black pepper to taste, dash of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint. Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Here’s another spring roll recipe with a yummy peanut dipping sauce on Christina’s website…christinanifong.com

http://christinanifong.com/2017/05/vegetarian-spring-rolls/

The  brown rice wrappers are more sturdy (gives the spring roll a nice bite) than the white rice wrappers and they have a lovely nutty flavor.

Rosalee

My bubbly friend made some awesome spring rolls!

VA sign

spring rolls granitaLooking for the perfect palate cleanser between courses or a light dessert to serve al fresco? Raspberry Lime Granita!

Christinas raspberries

Christina made the granita with fresh raspberries from her garden!

Makes 12-15 servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup organic granulated sugar

1 3/4 cup water

Juice and zest of 2 limes

2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh mint leaves

2 pints (4 cups) fresh, ripe raspberries, pureed (force raspberry puree through a fine sieve to remove seeds, discard seeds).

Instructions

  1. Bring sugar, water, lime zest and juice and mint to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute.
  3. Let the syrup cool. Strain out mint leaves (optional). Mix together syrup and berry puree.
  4. Pour into 9 x 13 freezer-safe baking dish. Freeze overnight or up to 24 hours.
  5. To serve, remove from freezer and let thaw for 10-20 minutes. Scrape with cold ice cream scoop into serving dishes.

Thank you Christina! Looking forward to your next class!

Christinas blueberry salad

GREENS AND BERRIES SALAD

carrotsturnips

 

lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce Fresh From The Garden

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Shishito Peppers Stuffed With Fontina And Prosciutto

Shishito Peppers ~ local Farmer’s Market, fresh from the garden or Fresh Market

15 Shishito Peppers

6 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into 5 slices and then cut each slice into 3 strips

3 ounces prosciutto, cut horizontally into 15 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Rinse and dry Shishito Peppers. Cut a slit in the side of each pepper (lengthwise – keeping the stem end in-tact) and remove the ribs and seeds.  Wrap the cheese with prosciutto and stuff into peppers (wrapping the proscuitto around the end of the cheese will help the cheese to stay in the pepper as the cheese melts).  Arrange the stuffed peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and lightly with sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the peppers start to brown and the cheese is bubbly. Serve warm.

To stuff peppers: Rinse and dry peppers. Slice peppers lengthwise to split open (leaving stem end intact).

pepper

snack sign

Alfred champagne

Alfred Basely – Champagne Brut

  Alfred Basely is a smaller producer based near Epernay.  Ripe lemony citrus with notes of white flower, mineral and freshly baked bread. Fine bubbles with a long, clean finish.  $30 range.

corn on grillfeta mayo

Grilled corn is one of my favorite summer treats.  Here are links to two of the most yummy spreads to top grilled corn on the cob…Spicy Taco Butter and Feta Lime Mayonnaise:

https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/grilled-corn-on-the-cob-with-spicy-butter/45ecbca2-a940-441a-bcd1-9ace22a2090c

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/grilled-corn-with-feta-cheese-recipe-1918855

squash

Scenes along the Greenway…Squash Blossom

senda verde alberino wine in glass

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Summertime Is Sangriatime … Try These Fun Sangria Recipes!

Fresh Strawberry Blackberry Sangria

This fresh berry sangria is very sweet and refreshing…perfect to sip on a summer evening.

Prepare sangria the day before serving. Place sangria glasses in freezer the day of service to chill glasses.

1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed and cut in fourths

6 ounces fresh blackberries

10 ounces Bacardi frozen Strawberry Daiquiri mix

Fill empty Daiquiri mix can 1/2 full with Blackberry Flavored Brandy

1 bottle Broadbent Rosé Vinho Verde

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons simple syrup

1 33.8 ounce bottle Lime Perrier Sparkling Water

Make a day ahead to allow the fruit to macerate. Place the strawberries, blackberries, strawberry daiquiri mix, blackberry flavored brandy, Rosé Vinho Verde and simple syrup together in a large glass pitcher.  Mix lightly to combine all ingredients.  Place in refrigerator for 24 hours.  When ready to serve, stir lightly before pouring into chilled glasses.

Pour Lime Perrier Sparkling Water into chilled glass until 1/3 full and then fill the rest of the glass with Strawberry Blackberry Sangria. (More or less water can be used to taste.) Stir very lightly. Dip a few of the berries out of the pitcher and into each glass of sangria.

Note: Traditional sangria pitchers have a pinched lip so that the fruit and other solids do not plop into the glass and splash.

Peachy Rosé Sangria

This recipe was originally published in the South Roanoke Living Magazine, July 2016 issue.

This Peachy Rosé Sangria is a lighter, fruity version of classic Sangria. The Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach is a blend of the natural flavors of succulent European raspberries and rare red peaches from Ardèche in the south of France, combined with the world-renowned Grand Marnier…makes any get together a FIESTA!

1 bottle Rosé

5 ounces Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach

6 ounces fresh raspberries

12 fresh strawberries, capped and sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

3 small fresh peaches, pitted and chopped

1 cup seltzer water

Ice for service

Place strawberries in a small bowl, sprinkle with sugar, stir to combine. Set aside.

Place Rosé in sangria pitcher.  Add Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, raspberries, sugared strawberries and peaches. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator overnight.  When ready to serve, add seltzer water and stir lightly to combine with other ingredients.  Serve in glasses over ice.

Authentic Sangria Recipe from my Bubbly Friend who is a native of Spain.  Traditional Sangria tends to have more “perfume” from the fruit and red wine and can be an aquired taste.  It is enjoyable on a very hot summer day. I especially enjoy it with Tortas De Aceite – pictured below ( a light, crisp,  flaky and slightly sweet biscuit in the shape of a torta – available on-line or locally at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op), Spanish cheeses and Chorizo Salame.

Sangria

1 orange

1 lemon

1 Lime

1 medium apple (I used an Ambrosia apple), pared, cored and sliced

18 pitted fresh cherries cut in half or frozen sweet red cherries

3/4 cup brandy. (I used blackberry brandy.  Do not use an expensive brandy for this recipe.)

1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine.  Use Rioja to get the authentic Spanish flavor, but definitely choose a wine you like.

1 (12 ounce) can lemon-lime soda to taste. Some people use orange  soda, it depends on how you like it.

1 cup orange juice to taste

Directions

  1. Slice the orange, lemon, and lime into thin rounds. Place the citrus in a pitcher with the apples and cherries. Pour in the brandy and refrigerate for 2 hours of more. Chill the bottle of red wine, lemon-lime soda, and orange juice at the same time.
  2. Gently crush the fruits with a spoon, and then stir in the red wine, lemon-lime soda, and orange juice. Add additional brandy or orange juice to taste.

You can leave it in the refrigerator until you need it  or you can add ice. The problem with the ice is that it waters down the mixture.

Sandy’s Peach Mango Sangria

In the south of Spain Sangria is often called Zurracapote or abbreviated as Zurra. This version of sangria is created with peach or nectarine.

In a large pitcher mix together:

10 oz. Bacardi frozen peach daiquiri mix

2 cups sparkling water (I like S.Pellegrino sparkling mineral water for this recipe)

1/2 cup triple sec

1 ripe mango, pitted and chopped into small pieces

1 large ripe peach, pitted and chopped into small pieces

After all ingredients are mixed together, add:

1 bottle chilled (750 ml) rosé Korbel sparkling wine or cava

Garnish with fresh raspberries.

 Serve well chilled.

I enjoy Korbel Sweet Rosé “California Champagne” for this recipe.

Refreshing Sangria From Paso Robles, California
Glunz Family Winery And Cellars

Delicious served over ice with a garnish of fresh white or red fruits…

de la costa SANGRIA ~ White

Made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes.  Bursting with ripe citrus flavors and a bit of sweetness to balance it out. Available on-line or locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.  $12 range.

de la costa SANGRIA ~ Red

Made with a blend of Zinfandel and Merlot grapes.  Intensely flavored with cherry and berry flavors finishing with a dash of citrus and sweetness.  Available on-line or locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.  $12 range.

“A smile starts on the lips, A grin spreads to the eyes, A chuckle comes from the belly; But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, Overflows, and bubbles all around.”

~ Carolyn Birmingham

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Discover The Secret In The Sauce ~ Herb and Cheese Parisienne Gnocchi

Herb and Cheese Parisienne Gnocchi

Zoe Campbell, Pastry Chef, demonstrates preparation of Herb and Cheese Parisienne Gnocchi during the  Center Stage Catering Country French Culinary Workshop.

from: http://www.ouichefnetwork.com

from Thomas Keller’s cookbook –  “Bouchon”

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chervil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded Emmentaler cheese
  • 5 to 6 large eggs

Method:

  1. Set up a heavy-duty mixer with the paddle attachment. Have all the ingredients ready before you begin cooking.
  2. Combine the water, butter, and the 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour all at once, and stir rapidly with a stiff heatproof or wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean, with no dough sticking to it. The dough should be glossy and smooth but still moist.
  3. Enough moisture must evaporate from the dough to allow it to absorb more fat when the eggs are added: Continue to stir for about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent the dough from coloring. A thin coating will form on the bottom and sides of the pan. When enough moisture has evaporated, steam will rise from the dough and the aroma of cooked flour will be noticeable. Immediately transfer the dough to the mixer bowl. Add the mustard, herbs, and the 1 tablespoon salt. Mix for a few seconds to incorporate the ingredients and release some of the heat, then add the cheese. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Increase the speed to medium and add another 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Turn off the machine. Lift some of the dough on a rubber spatula, then turn the spatula to let it run off: It should move down the spatula very slowly; if it doesn’t move at all or is very dry and just falls off in a clump, beat in the additional egg.
  4. Place the dough in a large pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature. (If you have only a small pastry bag, fill it with half the dough two times.) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Because this recipe makes such a large quantity of gnocchi, your arm may get tired: An easy way to pipe the gnocchi is to place a large inverted pot, canister, or other container that is slightly higher than the pot on the right side of the pot (left side if you are left-handed) and set the filled pastry bag on it so that the tip extends over the side and the container serves as a resting place for the bag. Twist the end of the pastry bag to push the dough into the tip. (From time to time, as the bag empties, you will need to twist the end again.) As you squeeze the back of the bag with your right hand, hold a small knife in your left hand and cut off 1-inch lengths of dough, allowing the gnocchi to drop into the pot. Pipe about 24 gnocchi per batch. First, the gnocchi will sink in the pot. Keep the water temperature hot, but do not boil. Once the gnocchi float to the top, poach them for another 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon or skimmer and drain on the paper towel–lined baking sheet. Taste one to test the timing; it may still seem slightly undercooked in the center, but it will be cooked again. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. When all the gnocchi have drained, place them in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day. Or, for longer storage, place the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the gnocchi have frozen solid, remove them from the baking sheet and place in a freezer bag in the freezer. Before using frozen gnocchi, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and defrost in the refrigerator for several hours.

Beurre Blanc
The “secret” to this sauce is 2 pounds of butter!

source:  Larousse Gastronomic

Yield:  1 quart

1 fl. oz. white wine vinegar

4 fl. oz. white wine

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 oz. shallot, minced

2 lb. whole butter, chilled

  1. Combine the white wine, white wine vinegar, salt, white pepper and shallot in a small saucepan.  Reduce the mixture until approximately 2 tablespoons of liquid remain. If more than 2 tablespoons of liquid are allowed to remain, the resulting sauce will be too thin.
  2. Cut the butter into pieces approximately 1 ounce in weight. Over low heat, whisk the butter a few pieces at a time, using the chilled butter to keep the sauce between 100 degrees Fahrenheit  and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, remove the saucepan from the heat. Strain through a chinois (or fine-meshed sieve) and hold the sauce at a temperature between 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 130 degrees Fahrenheit for service.

 

To serve:  toss the Herb and Cheese Parisienne Gnocchi with the warm Beurre Blanc.

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Lovin’ Avocado Toast ~ Happy Healthy New Year!

avacado-toast

Lately I’ve been craving Avocado Toast…rich ripe mashed avocado on toasted baguette…it’s like butter baby!

Here’s “the rules” for making Avocado Toast which is an easy and healthy way to make dinner in a hurry:

  1.  Purchase a good quality baguette from your local bakery (Big box store baguette won’t give you the yummy toasty goodness required for this recipe).  Slice the baguette diagonally into 1/2 slices and place on baking sheet.  Broil the baguette slices in the oven until lightly toasted.  Remove from oven.  (No butter or oil required!)
  2. Spread toasted baguette slices with ripe avocado.  Keep avocado, tomatoes, red onion and other Avocado Toast ingredients in your refrigerator along with a baguette or two in your freezer so  you will always be ready to make Avocado Toast.
  3. Have fun being creative with toppings ~ my personal favorites are chopped fresh tomato, finely chopped red onion, arugula and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Many more ideas for toppings include balsamic vinegar drizzle, crumbled bacon, finely chopped hard boiled egg, chiffonade of fresh basil, squirt of lime juice, fresh corn off the cob, chopped green onion, crumbled goat cheese and toasted pine nuts.  There are hundreds of ideas to top Avocado Toast on Pinterest too. https://www.pinterest.com/
  5. The important thing about the toppings for Avocado Toast is that they are fresh. I tried topping the avocado with a pre-made bruschetta topping instead of fresh tomatoes and it just tasted mushy. Embrace fresh for this toasty treat!
  6. Avocado Toast is easy to pair too…equally delicious with a chilled bubbly, red wine or fruity Sangria.

CHEERS TO A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

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Spicy Bacon Butter Recipe For The Holidays!

bacon-butter-on-rock

I am always looking for a fun delicious spread to serve on crackers or spread on hearty ridged potato chips during the holidays.  As a Chef friend of mine says…”Just add bacon and everyone will love it!”…so I added bacon to one of my favorite spreads to create “Spicy Bacon Butter”.

Spicy Bacon Butter

2 (2.52 ounces) packages pre-cooked bacon (microwave bacon until crisp), crumbled

8 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1 ounce ranch dressing and dip mix

2 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 bunch green onions, white and some of the green part, chopped

2 ounce jar pimentos, drained

1 tablespoon medium peri-peri hot sauce (add a little more if you like super spicy!)

Cracker assortment for serving

Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and bring to room temperature to soften.  Add ranch dressing and dip mix and mix until well combined.  Add cheddar cheese, green onions, bacon, pimentos and peri-peri sauce and mix until well combined. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve on assorted crackers.

As we get ready to greet a new year…

 thought I would share some of my favorite signs from the past twelve months…Happy New Year!

cat-signkittycatcat with champagne

champagne-sign-dancestart-celebrating-sign

wag-more-sign

wine sign

chocolate-sign

 virginiabloggers11

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Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Cherry in bottle

Fabulously quick way to pit cherries…Remove stem from fresh cherry.  Place cherry on top of the opening of an empty wine bottle, stem side down.  Take a chop stick and poke a hole through the cherry knocking the cherry pit into the empty bottle.

cherries

cherries1

cherries-outside

Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Homemade Maraschino Cherries are yummy and boozy with fresh cherry flavor,  just not as colorful as the bright red ones we purchase in the grocery store. Delicious addition to bourbon cocktails…here’s a link to lots of Maraschino Cherry cocktails.  I will plop a couple in a glass of bubbly Cava: http://www.barnonedrinks.com/drinks/by_ingredient/m/maraschino-liqueur-9.html

  • 1 pound sweet Bing cherries, washed and pitted
  • 1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped, pod and seeds reserved
  • 1/2  cup maraschino liqueur
  1.  Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place pitted cherries on a baking sheet. Bake cherries in preheated oven for 2 hours. Increase oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sprinkle the cherries with a little bit of fine granulated sugar.  Bake the cherries for 1 and 3/4 hours more.
  2. Place sugar, water, vanilla bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the maraschino liqueur to the syrup and stir to combine.
  3. Place cherries in a 1-quart glass container with a tight-fitting lid and place the vanilla bean pod in the center. Pour the maraschino syrup over the cherries, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

cherries-on-baking-sheet

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