Tag Archives: summer

Mango, Pineapple Salsa (serve it as an appetizer first and leftovers on pork, chicken or fish)

I love salsa. Fruit salsa. Smokey salsa. Charred salsa. Jarred salsa. Green salsa. You name it, I love it.

But I particularly love this Mango, Pineapple Salsa. One of my best friends makes a similar salsa and this is my version. My salsa won “Best Overall Salsa” at a friendly competition and it was up against an array of excellent salsas.

Aside from being delicious served on its own, this salsa is great on grilled fish or pork. I recently marinated pork chops for 24 hours in Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce (online) http://www.soyvay.com/flavors/veri-veri-teriyaki) and then pan fried the pork and topped it with the leftover salsa. It was fantastic!

 Pork with Mango, Pineapple Salsa

If you don’t have that sauce, use soy sauce, ginger, 1 teaspoon canola oil, 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar  and 1/2 a garlic clove for 3-4 pork chops. That makes a nice marinade. A pork loin marinated in Asian sauce, grilled and then served with this salsa would be spectacular.

This would also be great on chicken or fish tacos.

The key to this salsa is ripe, sweet fruit. Mangoes are hardly ever ripe when you buy them, so I buy them 3-4 days before I need to make this salsa. I also buy extras in case some are not sweet. Whenever I have to use avocados or mangoes I buy extra because you’ll often get a disappointing one in the batch. I bought 5 mangoes to be safe. There were all sweet, so I ate the others for breakfast.

Let this marinate for 2 hours or more before serving. You can adapt this recipe and add 2/3 cup drained black beans to this and it’s delicious, too. In that case, I also add 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

If you can’t find ripe mangoes, you can use the jarred refrigerated type, but fresh is always best!

I like to serve it in a margarita or martini glass for nice presentation. It’s such a refreshing salsa for summer. I adore it!

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Mango, Pineapple Salsa

2 1/2 very ripe mangoes, chopped fine

2 ½ cups finely chopped fresh pineapple

¾ of a medium red onion, chopped

2/3 of a bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine

1 teaspoon cumin seed

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Sea salt to taste

.Directions:

Chop all the ingredients and place in a medium bowl. Add salt to taste. Toss and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

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Chicken, Corn, Avocado, Black Bean Salad in Chipotle Dressing

It’s going to be a scorcher today, so cool off with this delicious, filling salad.

Southwest flavors come together beautifully in this simple meal.  For the dressing, you mix chipotle salsa, mayonnaise and fresh lime juice. Then top romaine lettuce with chopped chicken, fresh corn, black beans, avocado and tomato. Serve it with tortilla chips; shredded cheese and cilantro are optional but add a lot to this salad.

Bell peppers would be a nice addition, too.

It’s that easy. Enjoy

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Chicken, Corn, Avocado, Black Bean Salad in Chipotle Dressing

Serves 2

1 head of Romaine lettuce

1 ear of corn

1 ¼ cups chopped rotisserie chicken breast

1/3 cup black beans, drained

1 avocado

2 campari tomatoes

1/3 cup mayonnaise

¼ cup Pace Southwest Chipotle Salsa

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Tortilla chips

Shredded cheese to garnish (optional)

Cilantro (optional)

Place corn in its husk in the microwave and cook for 3 ½ minutes. Remove and when it’s cool enough to handle, shuck it and slice corn off the cob. Set aside.

Tear romaine into pieces and divide between two bowls.

Pull chicken breast off chicken and discard skin. Chop and sprinkle over salad.

Drain your black beans and divide between the salads.

Slice avocado in half and cut each half into slices and place half an avocado on each salad.

Chop tomatoes and divide between the salads. Sprinkle corn over salads.

For the dressing, whisk together mayonnaise, salsa and lime juice.  Drizzle over salads. Garnish each plate or bowl with tortilla chips. If desired, sprinkle with cheese and fresh cilantro. Serve.

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Fresh Corn Salad- and tips for using corn

Sometimes memories are so vivid you feel like you can taste them.

That’s how I feel about the sweet taste of corn on the cob fresh my grandparents’ farm.

My family would visit every summer. Grandpa would harvest corn in late July into August and I’d help my grandma shuck it for dinner. She always boiled it and served it so hot that a slab of butter would melt and slide down the side of the cob the second the butter touched it.

I couldn’t wait to nibble off the golden kernels in horizontal rows. It was a delicious tradition and a wonderful memory.

I still love corn on the cob although nothing compares to the flavor of farm fresh corn. For starters, corn is best consumed the day it’s picked because within 24 hours of picking, the sugars start to convert to starch and some of the flavor is lost.

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That said, I recommend buying corn from a farmers market for the freshest corn possible. If you’re not going to eat it that day, pop it in the refrigerator to slow down the conversion.

If you’re substituting fresh corn for canned, as a general rule, when you cut corn off the cob, you get about ½ a cup of corn.

When cutting corn off the cob, a neat little trick is to place the cob in the hole of an angel food pan or Bundt cake pan and then scrape off the kernels so they fall into the pan without going all over the counter (Bundt works better because the hole is smaller). I saw this idea on Pinterest and it works beautifully.

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Microwaving corn is my favorite cooking method because it’s so simple and fast. Simply pop the entire corn in its husk in the microwave and cook on high for 3-3.5 minutes; two ears for 4-5 minutes; three ears for 5-6 minutes. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before you shuck it.

Another popular cooking method is to boil the corn. I always add a good dash of salt but also 1/3 cup of sugar to the water to bring out the sweetness. I particularly recommend this if you buy corn in the off season when it’s likely been shipped from far away and not as sweet. Boil corn for about 6-8 minutes. The older corn is, the longer it takes to cook because it’s starchier (add 1-2 minutes).

If you’re working with a bunch of corn, don’t toss the cobs when you’re done. Corn cobs can be used to make wonderful corn stock and frozen for corn chowder this winter. I boil 8-10 cobs with 5 cups water, 2 cups chicken stock, a carrot, two celery stalks, 1 bay leaf, and one sliced onion. Boil for an hour and then cool and freeze it for corn chowder this winter. If you want to use it right away, you can use it in place of water when making rice, quinoa or risotto.

That’s all the corn tips I have. I made this for my husband when we first met and it’s one of his favorite dishes to this day. This salad has celery, several types of bell pepper, red onion, parsley, basil and a light vinegar dressing.

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It’s so refreshing on a hot summer day and goes with everything from sausages to chicken to burgers.  It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks. And is an easy side dish for rotisserie chicken. The great thing about this corn salad is you can substitute canned corn in the winter.

Summer Corn Salad

3 ears of corn

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

¾ of a green bell pepper, chopped

½ an orange bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/3 cup chopped parsley

5 basil leaves, sliced thin

Dressing:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 heaping tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For the dressing, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

For the salad, cook corn according to your favorite method. If you’re microwaving, microwave on high in the husks for 5-6 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove husks and corn silks and cut corn off the cob and add to a large bowl.

Chop all your vegetables and add to corn. Add chopped parsley and basil and toss the salad with dressing. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours before serving. Leftovers keep for days in the refrigerator.

Southwest Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Lime Dressing

This is now my favorite Go To Summer dish. I am so in love with this quinoa salad.  It’s healthy, refreshing, low fat, high in fiber, high in protein and loaded with vitamins. And did I mention it’s delicious!

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First, I cook the quinoa with chicken broth to give it more flavor. Then I chilled it and tossed it with chicken, cilantro, red bell peppers, corn, avocado and a lime-cumin vinaigrette. Sliced grape tomatoes are a nice addition and so are black beans. I actually thought I had black beans when I made this and when I realized I didn’t, was too busy to go to the store, so I made it without.

Anyway, this is perfect for lunch as a main course; as a side dish at a picnic; or as a light dinner.

Give it a try.

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Southwest Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Lime Dressing

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken (breast is preferred in this recipe)

Half a large red bell pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons red onion

½ cup of chopped cilantro

Half a can of corn, drained

½ cup black beans, drained (optional)

1 avocado

Dressing:

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon canola oil

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon ground cumin

For the quinoa: Bring quinoa and chicken broth to a boil in a medium pot with a tight fitting lid. Let it boil 3 minutes, cover with lid and cook another 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when a hook is released from the grain. Chill for later.

To prepare: Chop chicken, red bell pepper, onion and cilantro and place in a medium to large bowl. Fluff the quinoa and add it to the mix.

Drain corn and black beans (if you’re using those) and toss with quinoa. Then pit your avocado and chop.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over quinoa. Toss to coat and serve.

If you are making this ahead of time, leave the avocado off until the last minute.

Note: This recipe is also good with about ½ cup halved grape tomatoes, too.

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It’s summer … Let’s throw a margarita party!

By Juliana Goodwin

Nothing livens up a hot summer day like a margarita party.

Margarita parties are one of my favorite, laid-back summer rituals. Now, if you don’t entertain very often because you think it’s too much work, then the margarita party is for you. This is simple, fun entertaining (and women tend to particularly enjoy these).

The idea behind it is to provide a variety of margaritas for guests to sample and finger food, so you have plenty of time to visit with friends. It’s a blast.

I make a wonderful basic margarita and it’s not overly acidic. I love margaritas but find that so many recipes (especially ones that use sour mix), make my stomach hurt after one drink. What’s my secret? I use frozen limeade and fresh lime juice in my classic margarita which makes it smooth and less acidic.

When throwing a margarita party, I always offer a pitcher of plain margaritas and then put out some liqueurs that people can use to add a shot to the classic margarita.

For example, for an Italian margarita, add a shot of amaretto (that one is a little too sweet for me). For a top shelf margarita, add a splash of Grand Marnier (that’s my favorite). A shot of brandy is surprisingly good in a margarita.

Add a hint of raspberry with a shot of Chambord or another raspberry flavored liqueur. Curacoa will add a hint of orange flavor and turn your margarita blue (it’s very pretty). If you don’t have a well-stocked bar, then buy a few airplane size bottles of liqueurs for guests to experiment with.

If you don’t want to add the extra cost of the liqueurs, simply make all the margarita recipes here (I have three) and you will have plenty of samples for guests.

I like to offer garnishes of lime and orange slices and then both coarse salt and sugar for guests to rim their glasses. You can buy specialty margarita salt or just serve coarse sea salt. A drop of food dye can color your salt or sugar and make it more festive.

Aside from the classic margaritas, I always have a pitcher of flavored margaritas, usually frozen cranberry margaritas. My mother got this recipe years ago from her cousin Jane Hightower and it has been a huge hit in our family. It’s wildly popular when I serve it at parties because it’s a great balance of sweet and tart. It’s also a frozen margarita which is particularly welcoming on a hot day. It also makes a large batch.

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For this column, I also whipped up a blueberry margarita too, which is delicious but sweeter than a classic margarita. My mother-in-law loved this recipe. There’s only four ingredients so it’s pretty easy to make and uses natural juice (again, less acidic). This makes a small batch, enough for three regular margaritas or six samples.

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Another flavored option is mango margaritas. To make a batch, simply make your favorite pitcher of classic margaritas (if you’re making mine, omit the orange and orange liqueur), then add ¾ of a pint of mango sorbet and stir until it’s melted. This makes a fairly sweet margarita, but it’s delicious and refreshing. Serve it over ice. A twist on this idea to make margarita floats and serve a class margarita with a float of frozen sorbet (mango and raspberry are best) and let guest eat the sorbet out of the drink (like a root beer float).

As you can see, you’re only limited by your imagination that’s part of the reason I love these parties; I come up with something new every time.

Since you will be serving several options of drinks, I suggest using smaller glasses, like juice glasses or even dessert cups so people can sample without drinking too much.

The great thing about this party is you can make all the margaritas in advance and pop the pitchers in the refrigerator so you don’t have to stop to make more drinks.

Also, don’t forget to have buckets of ice for drinks.

As for the food, I keep it simple. I am a big believer that variety is the spice of life and so I offer three or four different flavored salsas, like classic, chipotle, black bean, peach or pineapple. I always throw in a fruit salsa. I have made salsa for these parties and bought it, too. I like to serve some salsas in margarita glasses to add height to the table setting. Walmart sells giant margarita glasses you can use to serve dips or chips. A dollar store is a good place to buy margarita glasses if you don’t have any; TJ Maxx also tends to have an affordable selection. Pier 1 has beautiful glasses if you’re budget isn’t too tight.

Chips and salsa isn’t enough to sustain everyone, so I usually make a taco bar. To do this, I just make taco meat and shredded chicken and leave those in slow cookers and just put out taco trimmings so people can help themselves whenever they want. That is one of the keys to a margarita party is guests can help themselves. It makes them feel at home and you don’t have to slave away; you can enjoy your own soiree

As for the tequila, you can use silver or gold but I prefer gold because it’s been aged in barrels so it tends to be smoother.

Other than that, all you need for the perfect party is to invite your friends and enjoy a summer day. Have fun.

Pitcher of Margaritas

1 ( 12-ounce) can of frozen limeade

2 ½ cans of water from the limeade can (note, this is cans not cups)

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or another good quality orange liqueur

1 ½ cups gold tequila

1 orange

1 lime sliced up

In a large pitcher, stir together limeade, water, lime juice, Grand Marnier, tequila and juice the orange and add it to the mix. Slice up a lime and use it to garnish drinks or float a few slices in the pitcher.  Keep refrigerated until serving. Serve over ice.

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Blueberry Margaritas

Makes 3 margaritas or 6 sample size

1 ½ cups Naked Blue Machine juice

½ cup gold tequila

½ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup orange liqueur

Fresh blueberries to serve

Stir together juice, tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur. Serve over ice and top with fresh blueberries.

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Frozen Cranberry Margaritas

1 (12 ounce can) frozen cranberry juice

1 can jellied cranberry sauce

1 ½ cups of tequila

½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice

6 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

3 ½ cups ice

This makes a large batch, so you have to split it into two batches in the blender. Add half the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Then transfer that to a large pitcher. Repeat and transfer the other half to a large pitcher. Stir and serve immediately.

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Source:  From Hope Goodwin’s cousin Jane Hightower

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Ultimate, Classic Chicken Salad

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I’ve posted on here. It’s been a crazy two weeks. I’ve been dealing with shingles, which if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to have it you know it’s so painful. Miserable!

Then, I headed to Chicago for the weekend to meet one of my longest and best friends. We’ve been best mates for 23 years and counting. She lives in Switzerland now and we continue to meet every year in some city. We’ve never missed a year

Then, my sister from California was visiting and we went to Branson and just hung out. So it’s been hectic.

But now, I am back in the kitchen cooking up a bunch of rotisserie chicken recipes. Here’s my classic chicken salad, which is always popular. Everyone loves chicken salad.

You can serve this as a sandwich or appetizer with Ritz crackers. I love it either way

Ultimate Classic Chicken Salad

3 ½ cups chopped rotisserie chicken

½ cup coarsely chopped pecans

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup halved white grapes

1/3 cup chopped red onion

¾ cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (can substitute apple cider vinegar)

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove skin from the rotisserie chicken and pull the meat off the bones. You will use most of the chicken for this recipe, but not all. Chop chicken into chunks.

In a large bowl, add first six ingredients (through the red onion) and toss gently.

In another bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Stir together until chicken salad is well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve or cover and refrigerate until it’s time to serve.

The Biltmore Estate is incredible

I wrote this story last month for The Joplin Globe, but somehow forgot to share it here. If you have never been, The Biltmore Estate is incredible. I’ve visited many times and will continue to go back. It’s the equivalent of visiting an amazing European castle, but you don’t have to leave the United States. This castle is SPECTACULAR at Christmas. And imagine, this was someone’s personal home?

Anyway, here is the story:

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, has something special to offer in every season.

In the spring, a sea of more than 100,000 vibrant tulips and daffodils sweep across the landscape during the Festival of Flowers.  The Biltmore is America’s largest privately owned home and the original gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York and the grounds around the U.S Capitol. A visit to the gardens is a must for any flower lover.

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In summer, visitors can soak up the beauty of more than 250 varieties of roses in the rose garden; take one of several gardening classes offered; or enjoy float trips, hiking, horseback riding, carriage rides, kayaking and other outdoor activities around the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is the backdrop for this mansion. There are sporadic concerts on the lawn in the summer, too.

Fall is a feast for the eyes and taste buds. There are wine and food-centered festivals and events (particularly in September), and the gardens glow with orange and gold mums. Plus, there’s the golden blush and amber kiss of autumn on the trees.

Fly fishing, Segway tours and horseback riding are all popular attractions this time of year. Cooler temperature means it’s a perfect time to explore the 8,000 acres that make up this estate.

In winter, the Biltmore house, a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, is decked out in Christmas glory and is a must for any holiday enthusiast. There are 50 Christmas trees in the home, including a 35-foot tree in the banquet hall.

The 65 fireplaces in this castle are adorned with garlands, wreaths and give the mansion a warm glow.   Antique ornaments, twinkling lights, Christmas carolers and many more Christmas trees decorate the surrounding estate.  There are candlelight night tours of the mansion showcasing its holiday beauty.

In every season, you can enjoy estate wines, wine tasting classes, a selection of fabulous food from a variety of restaurants on the property, outdoor activities, and shopping,

But no matter what the season, a tour of the Biltmore House is the main attraction.

It is 175,000 square feet of magnificence—to put that in perspective, the White House is only 55,000.

The extravagant mansion features original paintings by Renoir and a library stocked with more than 10,000 books.

Construction on the “chateau” began in 1889 and was the vision of George Vanderbilt. He was the grandson of the famous shipping tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was one of the richest families in that time period.

It took six years to complete the Biltmore and nearly 10 million pounds of limestone was used in the construction. The limestone was harvested in Indiana and shipped to North Carolina.

When George Vanderbilt opened the doors of his mansion, it showcased four acres of floor space, 43 bathrooms, an indoor pool, and a bowling alley (keep in mind, this was built in the late 1800s).

The banquet hall is stunning and boasts a 70-foot ceiling. When you tour this house, it feels like you’re in Europe. The opulence is jaw dropping. I’ve visited several times and I am continuously blown away, especially when I consider how long ago this mansion was constructed.

Vanderbilt was a bachelor when he built this, but he married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser shortly after in 1898. Many of their original artifacts are still in the home.

The couple welcomed for their only child, Cornelia, in 1900.

Vanderbilt died in 1914. He was 51.

Cornelia went on to marry a British diplomat John Francis Amherst Cecil, and they had two sons together.

In 1930, she opened the house to the public, hoping that this would lure tourists in during the Great Depression and help the surrounding city of Asheville.

Both sons grew up and helped preserve and manage the estate.

Their son William Cecil planted the first vineyards on the property in 1971. Today, the Biltmore is knowns for its wine and the website claims it’s the most visited winery in America.

There is so much to do, see, taste, and experience here; the Biltmore is a banquet for the senses and a wonderful getaway.

If you go:
A tour of the house will take an entire day, especially if you opt for an audio tour.  People with limited mobility may want to split it up over two days because the house alone stretches over four acres.

Depending on when you visit, you could safely plan three to four days at the Biltmore Estate, especially if you enjoy gardening or the outdoors. If all you want to do is tour the home and take a few classes or eat and shop, two days is sufficient.

There are many restaurants, seminars, classes, shops and outdoor activities on the estate. Some are free and some have a fee. Aside from spectacular gardens, there are gardening classes, wine tasting seminars, a plethora of outdoor activities.

The Biltmore has several inns and hotels, but they are pricier options than staying in Asheville and driving in to the estate.

Depending on the season, there are discounts online (there are often discounts in the fall). Visit www.biltmore.com for more information.

Photos courtesy of the Biltmore Company