This fresh and fruity salad was something I discovered at a potluck. I love all the healthy ingredients in it—slices of fresh peaches (or nectarines) and strawberries, with some slivered or sliced almonds added in—all tossed in a slightly sweet-and-tangy vinaigrette. Crumbles of delicious Feta cheese top the salad.Continue reading
Throughout the summer, I love eating slices of juicy watermelon, but I thought I’d try something different with it for a change. I found a Watermelon-Cucumber Salad with Feta recipe at Food.com, and it sounded like the perfect thing to try! I omitted some ingredients and added some others, and I really like the slightly sweet and savory combination of tastes this salad has! It’s a great way to use your garden veggies if you’re growing cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, too!
WATERMELON-CUCUMBER -TOMATO SALAD WITH FETA by NancyCreative, adapted from Food.com
Makes 6 servings
- 6 cups watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium English cucumber, peeled or unpeeled and thinly sliced or cut into chunks
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced or chopped (chop the green stems and the white part of the onions)
- 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- I/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or you can use a whole 4-ounce container if you want to have extra cheese in your salad)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped (optional)
Combine watermelon, English cucumber, green onions, olives, and cherry tomatoes in a large salad bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, and olive oil.
Add lime juice mixture to watermelon and other ingredients in large bowl; toss gently to coat.
Sprinkle with feta and chopped fresh mint, if using; toss gently again and serve.
Have you made any unique watermelon recipes this summer?
Linked to Inspire Me Monday.
Spanakopita is one of my favorite appetizers. I have always loved these bites of cheesy spinach filling and flaky phyllo crust. But I’ve never tried making them. So, when I received a review copy of 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes: Sweet to Savory and discovered a recipe for them in the book, I knew it was time to give it a try! I’m really glad I did–they were really good! I’m sharing the recipe with you later in this post. But first I’ll tell you more about the book, because there are all sorts of mini pie recipes in it…and I have a giveaway copy you can enter to win, too! See the end of the post for the giveaway details!
175 Best Mini Pie Recipes (softcover), by chef and food writer Julie Anne Hession, has all kinds of wonderful sweet and savory recipes. Here are just a few…Blackberry Sugarplum Cornmeal Pies, Raspberry Nectarine Gallettes, Caramel Apple Hand Pies, Brown Butter Custard Pear Tarts, Southern Banana Pudding Pies, Carrot Cake Pies with Cream Cheese Crust, Chocolate Cappuccino Pocket Pies, Pesto Chicken Hand Pies, Pork Empanadas with Salsa Verde, Mini Cheese and Sausage Calzones, Croque Madame Breakfast Cups, Minestrone Pot Pies…and lots of other tasty treats for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. The book also includes helpful tips in the chapters on Creating Perfect Mini Pies and Working with Dough. So if you’re new to pie-making, you’ll find this book helpful and easy to understand. And if you’re an experienced pie maker, you’ll enjoy the wide variety and creative recipes to choose from!
Here’s the recipe for Spanakopita…no need to make any dough for this, since it calls for purchased phyllo dough. If you haven’t ever used phyllo sheets in a recipe, you may find it a little tricky to work with because they are so thin and delicate…but after folding a few spanakopitas, you’ll get the hang of it! 🙂
SPANAKOPITA from 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes
Makes 24 Triangles
When people think of Greek food, spanakopita is likely one of the first dishes that come to mind. Serve these crisp spinach and feta phyllo pies as a flavorful vegetarian appetizer at parties–they will quickly disappear!–Julie Ann Hession
- 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces (375 g) fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped green onions
- 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) chopped parsley
- 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (250 mL) crumbled feta cheese
- 24 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C), positioning racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
1. Filling: In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
2. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach, then transfer to a cutting board. Chop coarsely and place in a large bowl. Add green onions, parsley, lemon juice, egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; stir to blend. Add feta and toss to blend.
3. Place one sheet of phyllo on clean work surface, short side facing you. Working quickly, brush with melted butter and fold in half lengthwise. Brush again with butter.
4. Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon (20 mL) spinach filling onto bottom left side of strip, leaving about a 1-inch (2.5 cm) border at the bottom. Fold bottom left corner over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold triangles up the strip of phyllo to the top as if you were folding a flag. Brush top of triangle with butter, pressing end to seal. Place triangle, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling, making 24 triangles.
5. Bake in preheated oven at 375˚F for 18 to 20 minutes, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through, until phyllo is deep golden brown and crisp. Cool slightly and serve warm.
Tip: The key to making perfectly crisp spanakopita is to ensure that excess liquid is removed from the spinach before filling. If your filling begins to produce liquid while you are still constructing the triangles, remove it by straining or by pressing the spoonful against the side of the bowl before placing on the pastry. This will make the difference between soggy and spectacular bits.
Make Ahead: Spanakopita can be assembled and frozen for up to five days. Freeze pies for 30 minutes on baking sheets, then seal in zip-top bags. Bake from frozen as directed.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Congratulations to commentor #18, Marie, for winning the book!
Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Saturday, June 1, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday, June 2. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.
First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite kind of pie is.
Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.
Can’t wait to hear what kind of pies you all like! 🙂
One of the reasons I was interested in reviewing FOOD: Vegetarian Home Cooking is because I’ve gradually been eating less meat and more veggies, but it can be challenging to make interesting veggie meals. I’ve never actually been a big meat-eater, but I do crave a juicy burger now and then! I may crave one less frequently now though, because there are so many great veggie recipes to try in this book! If you are wanting to eat less meat and find delicious ways to make fresh and simple vegetarian meals, you may want to check this book out, too.
Author Mary McCartney, an acclaimed photographer, grew up on vegetarian cooking and remembers many happy times in the kitchen with her mother, Linda McCartney. “During those times,” she writes, “I soaked up her knowledge, and gained an understanding of how certain extra-simple ingredients or cooking techniques could transform an ordinary dish into something special.” There are many gorgeous color photos throughout the book, taken by Mary, and even a few old family photos at the beginning that include her mother and her father Paul.
There are a wide range of great-sounding recipes, with chapters on…
- Breakfast and Brunch
- Snacks and Sandwiches
- Soups, Salads, and Starters
- Basics and Sides
- Desserts and Baking
I thought the Deep-Filled Omelette, Lip-Smacking Minestrone, Asparagus Summer Tart, Mac and Cheese with Crispy Topping, Linda’s Lemon Drizzle Cake, and Peaches and Cream Pavlova sounded especially good. But I couldn’t resist trying the Black Bean, Sweet Corn and Feta Tacos first, because it was such a unique recipe! I’m so glad I did, because I thought they were great–I love all these flavors together. They are a little messy to eat, like most tacos are, but you can always wrap the ingredients up in a soft taco or tortilla shell if you prefer. Here’s the recipe…
BLACK BEAN, SWEET CORN AND FETA TACOS from Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking
I’ve always loved tacos but this is a little deviation from how I usually make them, to include the corn. My mum loved Mexican food and she also loved corn, eating it from the cob when it was in season. I think it adds a lovely, crunchy texture to this particular taco combination. The added bonus is that these are quick and easy to make. –Mary McCartney
Serves 2 (2 tacos per person)
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable or light olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 15-ounce can black beans
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 slices pickled jalapeno (from a jar), chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, or 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh red chili
- pinch sea salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 ounces sweet corn, cut (1 large cob fresh, frozen, or canned)
- 4 taco shells
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- juice of 1 lime
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat and saute the chopped onion for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the black beans in a sieve, and then stir them into the onion in the pan. Add the garlic, jalapeno or chili, the sea salt, and the cumin, and heat for 5 minutes until cooked through.
To cook the corn (if fresh), place it in a small saucepan with boiling water and simmer for a couple of minutes until hot; drain.
In the meantime, wrap the taco shells in aluminum foil and put them in the oven for 5 –10 minutes to heat up.
When the taco shells are warm, remove them from the oven, then divide the bean mix evenly between the 4 tacos, top with the cooked corn and, finally, sprinkle the crumbled feta over the top. Finish off with a little squeeze of lime juice, and serve hot.
Are you more of a veggie-eater than a meat-eater? What types of veggie meals do you like to make?
I like Split Pea Soup but have never made it before. I was looking through a little soup cookbook I had called Soup Gourmet and found an easy recipe I thought I’d try. I made my version thicker because I like thick and hearty soups. I like this soup because, in addition to peas, it has lots of other good-for-you veggies in it–carrots, onion, and celery. And you can add ham or bacon if you want, or make it without any meat.
After looking at some other recipes, I decided I would try garnishing this with croutons and feta, and I’m so glad I tried that out–I really liked it! The feta cheese gives a nice zing to the soup, and the crispy croutons make a nice touch, too. Serve this soup with a salad and some crusty bread–it makes a great lunch or dinner during the cold winter months!
EASY PEA SOUP WITH HAM OR BACON by NancyC, adapted from Soup Gourmet
Makes 4-6 servings
- 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen peas, thawed (or you can use 2 (16-oz.) cans of peas)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken or vegetable broth (this is a thick soup, so if you’d like it to be thinner, add an extra 1/2 to 1 cup of broth)
- 1 1/2 cups boiled ham or cooked bacon, diced (if you’d like this to be meatless, leave out the ham or bacon)
- 1 cup carrots, finely diced or grated
- 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- additional seasonings to taste, if desired
- croutons for garnish, optional
- crumbled feta cheese for garnish, optional.
Place peas and broth in blender or food processor and puree until smooth (the peas and broth will fill your blender almost to the top, so you can blend them half the amount at a time, if you prefer–you’ll need to do this, too, if you are adding extra broth to make a thinner soup).
Transfer blended mixture to a large pot. Add ham or bacon, carrots, onion, and celery. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Halfway through cooking, add salt and pepper, and additional seasonings, if desired.
Serve hot in soup bowls or cups and garnish with croutons and crumbled feta cheese, if desired.
I really like it served with the croutons and feta cheese–they add an extra special touch to the soup! Have you tried any new soup recipes lately?