Even thought it’s technically been spring for almost a month now, it hasn’t felt like it. For us, it’s been more like a cross between very early spring and mid-fall: lots of gray days, a ton of rain and chilly breezes, with just a few sunshiney days thrown in.
And for the past month, all I’ve wanted is a strawberry.
Not an apple, not another orange, not anything else. Just one strawberry.
But because of the late start to real spring around here, ours aren’t ready yet. Our plants are loaded with berries – they’re just not ripe. In another couple of weeks, I’ll probably be complaining that I have too many, but right now, I want all that I can get.
Since I’m not so good at waiting (for anything), I walked over to the farmer’s market in town the other day and bought a gallon this week. I just couldn’t take it anymore. And they’ve been even better than I remember.
So….get ready for strawberry season around here. I’ve got about 3/4 of a gallon to get through before ours start ripening this week or next and then – strawberry overload. I can’t even handle it.
I’ve got some grand new plans this year for our berries, but some of them will definitely be used in these old favorites:
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Strawberry Wheatberry Salad
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Bars
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Strawberry Feta Skewers
And one of my favorite strawberry-season breakfasts: homemade waffles topped with butter and strawberry rhubarb jam.
What’s your favorite way to use strawberries? Leave me a recipe or a link and I’ll add it to my list.
I am a sucker for pizza – especially made-at-home pizza. I like having full reign on toppings and being able to load it up with pepperoni or double the cheese or nix the sauce if I feel like it without having to pay extra or justify my choices. Don’t you hate that? When you order something and people give you weird looks? If I want olives and tomatoes and mushrooms and bacon on my pizza, I’m allowed to have it, thankyouverymuch. This is America.
Plus, I love making pizza because they’re easy! Besides whatever kind of pizza base you want to use, you don’t really need a recipe, either.
It’s like a salad….on bread. It’s whatever you want! Leftover chicken? Throw it on there. A few hunks of veggies in the fridge that need to be used? Sure, they’ll be great. Some of our best pizzas at home have been random mixes from the fridge.
FlatOut recently sent me some of their new Thin Crust Flatbreads to experiment with. Have you seen these yet? I went through a huge phase with their wraps a few years ago because they were awesome to have on Weight Watchers and to make little pizzas with. But these flatbreads are even better for a pizza base!
They’re soft, but bake up crisp, and they’re the perfect size for a little personal pan pizza without having to make a homemade dough. For my first trial, I went with something quick and easy: a Hummus and Olive Flatbread Pizza.
Do you make flatbread pizzas at home? I can’t wait to try some other toppings – these will be nice to have for easy lunches at home or even for breakfast! If you’ve got some more ideas for me, make sure to tune in to our Twitter Party on Thursday April 25 at noon EST with Susan of Doughmesstic, Angie from Eclectic Recipes, and of course, FlatOut, where we will all be sharing our ideas and PRIZES! Hope to see you there!
You can find FlatOut flatbreads at your local Walmart – or use their product locator. For more inspiration, check out the 30 Days of Grilled Pizza going on over on the FlatOut Facebook Page.
Hummus and Olive Flatbread Pizza
Makes: 1 flatbread
- 1 FlatOut Flatbread
- 1/4 cup hummus (I used Sabra Roasted Pine Nut)
- 5 olives, sliced
- 1 scallion, sliced
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 tsp each cumin and paprika
- drizzle of olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the flatbread on a baking sheet and bake 3-4 minutes, just until the flatbread is warm.
- Remove it from the oven and spread the hummus on top of the flatbread. Place the sliced olives on top of the hummus, sprinkle on the sliced scallion and the parsley. Top with the cumin and paprika.
- Bake the flatbread again for 4-5 minutes until everything is warmed through.
- Remove from the oven, drizzle with olive oil, and slice into wedges.
GIVEAWAY: A two night trip for 2 to Taste of Chicago Food Festival – July 10-14, 2013!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I am a paid ambassador for FlatOut Bread. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Prizing is supplied by, fullfilled by, and courtesy of FlatOut Bread.
What is up with this weather? It is spring? Are we going straight from early spring back to fall? I’m ready for real spring – 70s temps, warm breezes. Not cold mornings, frost in May(!) and days of cold rain.
After being cooped up in the house all last week thanks to crummy weather, Nick and I made Saturday a day-long date. Maybe we should do this anytime it rains.
Friday night, we rented Guilt Trip and we started the movie that night…but I knew we wouldn’t finish it. If we try to start a movie after 9 pm, it’s just not happening. So we ended up watching the movie with breakfast on Saturday – and it was good! Funny. Barbara Streisand was hilarious and we love Seth Rogan and his stoner laugh.
And then Saturday.
Gatsby. Great, great Gatsby.
I was so excited for this movie and was not disappointed. I wasn’t sure how I would like the modern music mixed in this roaring 20s setting and story, but I think the music was one of my favorite parts! Leo was the perfect Gatsby – all of the characters were genius, actually, especially Carey as Daisy.
And Nick hadn’t read the book and he really like the movie, too, so even if you haven’t read it (you should sometime!), you won’t miss out by seeing the movie first.
After seeing Gatsby, all I’ve been thinking about is Midnight in Paris, one of my favorite movies from the past few years. I think it’s about time I just buy it. A young Hemingway, F. Scott, Dali, all playing in their hey-day in Paris with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams? I loved it.
The highlight of last week was definitely eating hummus for 1.5 days straight. I headed to Richmond to see a friend and spend some time with the team at Sabra, visit the factory, and taste as much hummus as I could.
And I only have 2 words: lemon hummus. I had no idea they made lemon hummus! I had no idea I would love lemon hummus! Lemon hummus! Can you tell how excited I am about this flavor? It was the best hummus I’ve ever had. Ever. I’ll be doing a full post about the trip soon – so much hummus info to share!
No surprise here: I want everything in Target right now. I’ve seen everyone with these sandals in the brown/glitter option…and I think I may need to go get them in that color, too. I found them in this cognac + kelly green and LOVE them. So comfy.
Currently drooling over Meredith’s Popovers with Strawberry BUTTER, Cassie’s Fajita Flavored Popcorn with Queso Fresco, and Rachel’s Vanilla Bean Cookie Bars.
This time of year is always weird for me, food-wise. It’s spring – technically – but none of our spring produce is really coming in yet because of the weather. We’re still waiting on strawberries to ripen and I have so many ideas and plans for those, but I feel like I’m just sitting around, twiddling my thumbs until they’re ready.
So….get ready? It’ll be strawberry overload pretty soon. Any requests?
Technorati Tags: weekend wrap up
Every week, I have the same issue: what do I make for lunches this week?
I would love to have dinner leftovers to take to work with us every day, but that doesn’t always work out. And when both of us need lunches during the week, sandwiches get old pretty quickly….and then, if I don’t try to plan a head a little bit, we’re left with no choices at all.
Most weeks, I try to either make something that Nick would like and something for me to have for lunches thru the week, and then we take dinner leftovers when we have them. And that works – usually.
Plus, doing this every week means our lunches get repeated….a lot. So I’m always looking for new recipes to make or new ideas for lunches for us to keep us from being bored by the same chicken salad every other week.
A few weeks ago, the folks at Heluva Good! Dip asked me to join in their blogger recipe contests and it was perfect timing! I was looking for something new to use for lunches, and this gave me the perfect excuse to use a rainy afternoon to mix it up and make something out of the norm for us.
And as soon as I picked up the dip, I knew what I had to make: a good, old fashioned casserole. Nick loves casseroles. I should make them more. They’re so easy! But if I don’t already have cooked chicken or grains in the fridge, they can take a while to put together, so planning ahead is key. I had some cooked chicken ready to use in the fridge, and – I totally took the cop out here – I used those microwave packets of rice. I love those. Total weeknight meal savers.
The french onion dip is mixed with milk and some extra seasonings and used as the liquid/binder for this casserole, which is full of diced chicken, rice, and fried onions on top for even more onion flavor and some crunch.
Want to see the other recipes and help me out with a vote? You can check out the recipe contest here – I can’t wait to try the rest!
French Onion Chicken and Rice Casserole
Makes: 6 servings
- 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1/2 cup Heluva Good! French Onion Dip
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 and 1/4 cups fried onions, half crushed, half kept in pieces
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a 3 quart / medium casserole dish, mix the cooked chicken and the rice together.
- Put the dip in a medium bowl and stir up a little bit with a spoon to break it up and smooth it out a little. Add the milk to the dip and stir together, gently, until the dip is mixed in with the milk. Add the garlic powder, pepper, and paprika to the milk and dip.
- Pour the dip mixture over the chicken and rice and fold everything together.
- Crush half of the fried onions and sprinkle the crushed onions and the bigger pieces over the casserole dish. Sprinkle more paprika, if you want, over the top.
- Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes until the casserole is heated through and the onions are toasted.
Heluva Good! provided me with coupons to get the dip – all recipes and opinions are my own.
So….I’ve been hoarding this recipe for 8 months.
I didn’t mean to, I promise. I just kept waiting for the right time or for inspiration to hit me on what to write about it or maybe for lightening to strike to make me finally post about this dish, which is one my favorite things I’ve made in the past year.
I’m sure the waiting-8-months to post this doesn’t give you any kind of clue about how much of a procrastinator I am. Someone please give me a deadline for all the backlogged posts I have waiting.
This dish is one I made just after I got back from my trip to Memphis last fall to visit my sister and her husband. Instead of a regular dinner, we made our own little food tour around the city – drinks and appetizers at one bar, shared burger and sides at another restaurant, and finished with a few more appetizers and sides at another place in town.
If you want to do the same “tour” we did in Memphis, this is what you’ll need:
- A beer and meatballs from Bar Dog
- Local beer, deviled eggs, and the burger with bacon from The Local
- Fried avocado with olive tapenade and the duck confit fried rice with egg from SOB (plus – they bring popcorn to your table. genius).
I’m pretty sure I need to do a mini food tour like this in every city I visit – it was the best way to sample lots of restaurants and different foods while not spending all of my money on one huge dinner AND we weren’t stuffed at the end of the night. Just enough food. Lots of bites of the best things at each place. And walking in between. Best idea ever.
And while everything I had in Memphis has stuck with me (I still dream about those barbeque nachos), the one dish that really stood out was the duck fried rice at SOB.
First, it was duck fried rice. Perfectly cooked. And I actually saw SOB on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives just before the trip so I knew one secret ingredient in the rice.
Allspice! Allspice is the secret in this dish – it’s what makes it, totally. The flavor is incredible – a mix of sweet and savory, salty and tangy, and covered with rich egg yolk when you slice into the top to dig in.
Anytime I’ve made fried rice at home, I have never thought to put allspice in the mix, but it’s been in every version that I’ve made since that trip. And this first batch was definitely my favorite.
It may not be duck confit, but the flavor from the allspice brought me right back to Memphis.
Also, for fried rice, it’s best to use cold, already cooked rice – the texture is better and it absorbs more of the flavors of the dish that way. But, if you don’t have cooked rice leftover, you can definitely make some rice before you start on the beef and veggie part and have it set aside to cool a little before mixing it in.
Spiced Beef and Leek Fried Rice
Makes: 4 – 6 servings
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 leeks
- 6 scallions
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3/4 tsp allspice
- 2 cups cold, cooked brown rice (or any rice you have)
- eggs, for topping
- Pour the olive oil into a large skillet or wok and place over medium heat.
- Halve and slice the leeks, then toss them into a bowl of cold water and swish around to remove the dirt. Let the leeks sit in the water for a minute while you slice the scallions.
- Remove the leeks from the water and add to the oil in the pan. Stir in the scallions and let them cook in the oil for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened.
- With your spoon, move the leeks and scallions to the edges of the pan and crumble the ground beef into the middle of the pan.
- Cook the beef, breaking it up with your spoon, until it’s full browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Toss the garlic and ginger to the pan and stir everything together. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, allspice, and rice to the pan and gently mix everything together. Let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until the rice is heated through and everything is combined.
- While the rice mixture is cooking together, cook your eggs in a separate pan, on low heat until they’re how you like them (I’ll be doing a post soon on how I cook my sunny side up eggs!).
- Divide the rice between your plates and top each serving with an egg. Serve warm.
uh….can I still call this a weekend wrap-up if it’s happening on Thursday?
I’m a few days ( plus a week! ) behind on these finds, but I just had to share before my list gets too long.
How’s your week going?
Good? Drenching? That’s a good word for ours. It’s been raining – no, downpouring – since Sunday night, and I don’t know if I can handle it anymore. I know it’s great for the garden and our strawberries and blah blah blah….but the gray days are just too much when you have 4+ in a row.
So here’s what’s been keeping me from going stir crazy this week.
1. Nick Offerman (aka Ron Swanson) break dancing. I can’t stop watching this. It’s Ron Swanson….break dancing. And, with his dancing name as tik-tok, i have to ask – doesn’t he resemble tik-tok from Return to Oz? Just a little?
2. 26 Reasons Kids are Pretty Much Just Tiny Drunk Adults. Truth. These reasons (and the pictures) are hilarious. I’ve definitely seen a few of these things in person with my nephews, and I love it. And why can’t I just take a nap wherever and whenever I want to? That should be perfectly okay for adults to do, too.
3. 33 Dogs that Cannot Even Handle It Right Now. Do you like dogs? You’ll love this. Do you not like dogs? (Is that even possible?) Even if you don’t, these pictures people somehow got of their dogs making these faces will have you crying by the end. I just can’t even….I wish I could catch Maggie doing this sometime, but she moves too fast for me.
4. Did you enter the Dole cookoff yet? I can’t wait to find out if my recipes made it!! I’m really excited about the one with jalapenos I made last week.
5. Shovels & Rope. Have you found them yet? I hope so. I can’t stop listening to them, especially with the album in the car and this set playing constantly.
6. And the most exciting thing. One of my friends is an insanely talented banjo maker and I’m officially having him make me my own custom, one of a kind banjo. This is just one of his (it’s actually one he just made for Scott Avett!) and I can’t wait to try to decide what I want on mine. I’m the worst decision maker ever, so it should be fun.