Blood Orange Salad with Fennel and Goat Cheese

It’s blood orange season and spring is around the corner. I call it the “sassy” fruit because it it has an attitude with its dark red flashy flesh. You can basically use blood oranges any way you would use other citrus. Unfortunately, I think many shy away from it because of its dark color. Sometimes these oranges are hard to find as they blend in with all the other fruit on display at the grocery store. You may have to seek them out but it’s worth it.
I think of this salad as an on the edge of spring salad. The citrus takes it from an ordinary salad to a bright, wake up your taste buds salad. When I’m making a salad, I try to incorporate all kinds of textures and flavors to make it interesting to your tongue. I know most of us usually fall back on the lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad with bottled dressing. I hope every now and then, you’ll give something different a try. Be creative. Add some herbs and different veggies. Make your own dressing. I know you’ll love it and if you’re like me, you’ll never go back to bottled dressing!
Blood Orange Salad with Fennel and Goat Cheese
Salad Dressing:
1/4 cup of blood orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper
Add all ingredients to a jar and shake to mix well. Taste for seasoning.
Salad:
1 head of curly romaine, washed, dried and cut or torn into bite size pieces
1 fennel bulb, cleaned and sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh, chopped mint
1/4 cup fresh, chopped basil
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds
Add all of the salad ingredients except the almonds and goat cheese to a large bowl and toss to mix. Add the dressing a tablespoon at a time until dressed. Sprinkle the goat cheese and almonds on top and serve immediately.…

Peach Crisp (Gluten Free)

I almost posted another salad but I thought to be fair I should give you something else equally as delicious. I also love dessert!

I have wanted to make a gluten free crisp for a while now. Apple crisps are one of my favorites in the winter but I’m always trying get away from using flour where possible. The challenge is making it so you can’t tell you didn’t use flour, which can be challenging.

Peaches are gorgeous right now. They smell delicious and taste even better. Sometimes it’s hard to eat them though before they go bad. It seems they all ripen at the same time. This recipe works great for those peaches that are getting a little too soft.

I remember growing up my mom used to fix us sliced peaches with milk and sugar. We didn’t have it very often but it was a treat. This crisp, like the peaches and milk, is all comfort. Add some vanilla ice cream and really take it over the top. You’ll be happy you did.

Peach Crisp

Peach Mixture:
2 large peaches, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending on the sweetness of the peaches)

Crumb Topping
1 cup gluten free oats (regular, not quick cooking)
1/4 cup almond meal/flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter cut into small cubes, plus 1 tablespoon for the ramekins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter four ramekins.

Add the peaches to a small bowl with the cornstarch and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the butter. Mix the ingredients with a fork. Using your hands, add the butter and incorporate the butter by working it into the crumbs to form small pieces of dough, until almost all the crumbs are gone.

Divide up the peaches and add them to the ramekins. Using your hands, add the crumb mixture to each.  Place them on a tray and place in the oven.

Baker for 15-20 minutes. Let sit another 20 minutes before serving. Great with vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream.…

Date Nut Cookies & The 2013 Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap

Before I get to the Date Nut Cookies, let me share with you all the delicious cookies, biscotti and brownies I received in the 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. There’s nothing like opening a package full of cookies from all over the U.S. It’s really fun to see where they came from and to check out each of their blogs.

You might recall us having done the Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap the past couple of years where money is raised for Cookies for Kids Cancer. This year the bloggers raised over $13,000! It’s always a challenge to get the cookies made and out in time since we have to ship them out right after Thanksgiving. I’m always scrambling the last day to ship them but it’s worth it. This year mom was here visiting me so we were able to do them together.

All of the goodies we received were delicious. Lots of chocolate! Below you’ll find a picture of each and a link to their blog. I’m taking a photography class for fun and have to turn in a portfolio of photos this weekend. Of course I chose food. I used my new friends goodies as props as you’ll see below.

I choose my grandmother’s Date Nut Cookies to send to my swap partners which were Ink Foods in Dallas, TX, Yums and Loves in Issaquah, WA, and Eat Bake Drink Cook in Washington, DC. They all have beautiful blogs.

I have very fond memories of these cookies. My grandmother always had these around at the holidays. She would usually have some in a tin or they would be in the freezer. I loved eating them right out of the freezer. They’re a little crunchier but the date filling stays soft. Here’s a step by step rundown on how to make them.

Hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I have over the years.

Date Nut Cookies 

Date Filling:
1 cup water
1 cup finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
2 pounds of pitted dates, chopped
1 cup of sugar

Dough:
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 cups flour, sifted
2 teaspoon cinnamon
10 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups sugar

To make the filling, heat a large saucepan and add the dates, sugar, nuts and water. Stir over medium heat about 10 minutes until it all melts together and thickens.

To make the dough, cream together the sugar, butter and eggs. Add vanilla. Stir together the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Once it is mixed well, freeze for at least one hour. It makes a soft dough.

To make the cookies: split the cookie dough in quarters and take one of these quarters, put the rest back in the freezer or fridge. Roll dough into a rectangle or oval and a 1/4 inch thickness. Make sure you flour the board and rolling pin to keep it from sticking. Spread a quarter of the date mixture over the dough. Roll up the dough on the long end. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer for at least an hour. Do the same with the remaining quarters of dough. When you want to make cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees, take a roll of dough out of freezer, slice the dough in 1/4 inch thickness and place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should not get too brown but have a slight golden color to them when you pull them out. Cool on cookie rack. Makes ~8-10 dozen cookies. You can cut this recipe in half if you want less cookies. It’s really nice to have these in the freezer though, either cooked or in a roll so that you can have/make cookies anytime you need them. Enjoy!

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