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Spinach Salad With Pecans, Bacon, Feta and Bourbon Vinaigrette

I’m not from Kentucky and I don’t drink Bourbon, but I became intrigued when I found this recipe for Bourbon vinaigrette.  It seemed like a fun way to jazz up my spring salad.   The Bourbon vinaigrette gives this crunchy hearty salad the perfect kick.  The radishes, green apple and candied pecans are a perfect forkful.  This salad is full of flavor…plus doesn’t it just sound cool?
Note:  You will have leftover dressing.  It will keep up to a week in the fridge.
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Wrap It Up–Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Our family is heading out-of-town for vacation in a few days.  That means slim pickins’ for meal time around here.  I opened our fridge and found blue cheese dressing and egg roll wrappers.  I opened the freezer and found leftover buffalo chicken from our last party.  Whala… I have dinner, lunch, and (maybe breakfast) for my family.

Egg roll wrappers are my new favorite wrap idea.  You could put any kind of shredded chicken, beef, or veggie in these and make a meal.  They are also a great make-ahead recipe for when your short on time.  Freeze on parchment paper until ready to cook and add 5 minutes to the cooking time below.

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Easter Appetizer—Goat Cheese With Fig And Walnut Tapenade

A friend of ours brought this to a party years ago and it was such a hit we added it to our catering menu.  Goat cheese and figs are a perfect pairing.  The kalamata olives, capers and balsamic vinegar elevate this tapenade to spectacular.

Make this showstopping platter for your Easter Brunch or cocktail party.  It’s simple, beautiful and unique—my favorite combination.

Note: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Goat Cheese with Fig and Walnut Tapenade

  • 1 cup mission figs, chopped
  • 1/3 cup kalamata Olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 Tbls. olive oil
  • 1 Tbls. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbls. capers, drained & chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. thyme, chopped
  • 10 0z. soft goat cheese (Montrachet), cut crosswise into ½” rounds
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • Fresh Thyme Sprigs-Garnish
  • Assorted Breads or Crackers

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In a medium-sized bowl, add figs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, olives, capers, and chopped thyme. Mix thoroughly and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange overlapping cheese rounds in a circle in the center of a platter. Stir chopped walnuts into tapenade; spoon into center of cheese circle. Garnish with walnut halves and thyme sprigs.  Serve with breads and/or crackers.

 

 

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Sockeye Salmon Over Mushrooms, Roasted Peppers And Pesto Cream Gnocchi

We had our fun foodie friends over Saturday night for dinner.  They are adventurous eaters and will try just about anything.  I had a beautiful Sockeye Salmon filet–direct from Alaska, and wanted to give our friends something special.  Mission accompished.  Your guests will love this and you will too because with a little prep work most of this can be done ahead.  And that equals fun and a relaxing dinner for all.

I have made homemade gnocchi in the past, but without an Italian grandma to show me the magic, I’m just never that satisfied with my own.  I found that buying it can be just as good.  Here’s the trick—after you cook the gnocchi (Trader Joes or a higher end grocery has really good stuff), let it cool for a bit and then put a little butter in a pan on high and sear the gnocchi until it gets a little golden brown.

I also found this crazy good balsamic glaze at Trader Joe’s that you can drizzle over the plate at the end, top with pine nuts and it looks like you’ve plated a restaurant quality meal–tastes even better.

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