July 30, 2010

Watermelon-Feta Salad

Holy deliciousness. Foodies, I don't lie.

I know you're probably thinking, "watermelon and feta?" And what would you think if I told you this refreshing summer salad also includes kalamata olives and fresh mint? Crazy, I know.

This delightful summer salad was featured in the Lincoln Journal-Star a couple weeks ago. It had grabbed the attention of my mom, who wanted to make it while my sister and I were both home visiting. Genius.

I know this sounds like a completely odd combo - I'm not trying to persuade you to think otherwise. It is odd. But it's also very, very tasty. I promise.

So please, take a chance on this salad - I know you won't regret it!

Watermelon-Feta Salad
Source: Ellise Pierce, Beat the heat with watermelon

2 pounds watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
Handful of mint, roughly chopped
10 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Small red onion (about two tablespoons), diced
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
7 ounces feta
Additional mint, for serving (if desired)

Combine the first 6 ingredients (through sea salt) in a bowl - tossing gently so the watermelon pieces stay whole. Refrigerate for an hour. Before serving, add the feta, additional mint (if desired), and pepper to taste.

Makes: 4 servings

July 29, 2010

Cinnamon-Oat Scones

Breakfast just might be my favorite meal of the day. And although my normal breakfast usually includes oatmeal or a high fiber cereal with fruit, I can't help but splurge on the weekends.

My husband usually enjoys whipping up pancakes, french toast or eggs during his beloved days off - gotta love him! But last weekend, I decided to head into the kitchen myself and make one of my favorite breakfast goods: scones.

Scones have won over my heart as of late. The dense, buttery baked treat is so indulgent - I just knew I had to feature a recipe on Ice Cream & Wine!

My mom gave me the cutest little recipe booklet from Pillsbury. One section included the category: Baking Up to Breakfast (so fun). This is where I found the Cinnamon-Oat Scone recipe. 

I hope you enjoy these scones as much as I did!

Cinnamon-Oat Scones
Source: Pillsbury, Breakfast & Brunch Booklet 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 oats
1/4 packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat cookie sheet with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. With pastry blender or fork, cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture is crumbly. Add milk all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

2. One floured work surface, gently knead dough 5 or 6 times. Place on cookie sheet; press into 6-inch round, about 1 inch thick. Brush top with melted butter.

3. In small bowl, mix granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over top. Cut into 8 wedges; separate slightly (about an inch).

4. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

July 28, 2010

Insalata Pizzas

Happy Hump Day, foodies! I hope your week has been treating you well!

My husband and I enjoyed a delicious and light (perfect for summer!) dinner on Monday. As you may know, I am quite the fan of my Cooking Light Cook Book. I'm also a fan of the My Recipes website, which features a collection of recipes from the following magazines: Cooking Light, Southern Living, Sunset, Coastal Living, All You, Real Simple and Health. Um, I'd take a subscription to any and/or all of the above. Please and thank you.

Close Up!
This Insalata Pizza recipe stumbled its way into my recipe file on My Recipes - P.S. you should definitely sign up for an account (it's free!). It's similar to All Recipes in that you can create a recipe file of saved recipes - an electronic recipe box, if you will.

Of course, I had to make some minor changes. The original recipe called for cider vinegar and instead of paying $4 for it at the grocery store, I just used balsamic vinegar that I already had and saved some money. Always a plus. I also opted for black olives, instead of kalamata. As much as I love the saltiness of kalamatas (yum!), Trader Joe's only sells them by the jar...which means they're soaked in oil. I just wasn't up to dealing with that slippery mess.

These insalata pizzas were perfect. Light and crisp - they definitely had a gourmet feel to them. Ya know, something you might find at a corner bistro. 

Insalata Pizzas 

4  (7-inch) pitas
2  teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1  cup pre-shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced black olives
2 tablespoons  chopped basil leaves
4 cups packaged gourmet salad greens - I used baby spinach

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place pitas on a baking sheet lined with foil. Spread 1/2 teaspoon garlic on each pita. Sprinkle each pita with 1/4 cup cheese, and divide onion evenly among pitas. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.

While pitas bake, combine vinegar, oil, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in tomatoes, olives, and basil. Add salad greens, and toss gently to coat.

When pitas are removed from oven, top each with about 1 cup of salad mixture. Serve and eat immediately. Enjoy!

July 26, 2010

PB M&M's Cookie Bars

What better way to make my blog come-back than to share this indulgent dessert?! I knew you'd agree.

I cannot put into words how great this dessert tastes. I made a big ol' pan of these Peanut Butter M&M's Cookie Bars for a church potluck, as well as for a friend's 4th of July party. They were a success at both! Below you will find the recipe with the exact measurements I used. 

*Note: Next time I will use less cinnamon, as it somewhat overpowered the peanut butter.

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
12 TBSP unsalted butter (slightly softened)
1 c. smooth peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. M&M’s (+ more to sprinkle on top)

1.  Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.  Alternately, line the pan with parchment or foil and spray with cooking spray.  (Recipe can also be halved and baked in an 8×8.)
2.  Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon & baking powder. Set aside.
3.  Cream the butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Beat in the sugars until combined.
4.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
5.  Mix in the flour mixture. Once mostly combined, add the M&M’s and stir until combined.
6. Spread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle desired amount of M&M’s on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes (for an 8×8 pan, bake for 30-32 minutes). Cool completely before cutting.

A Promise.

I am slightly embarrassed. Ok...completely embarrassed.

It's been one month since my last post. An ENTIRE month. Shameful.

You'd think I'd have all the time in the world to update this blog because I'm currently unemployed for the summer. But if you thought that, you'd be wrong.

Planning a cross-country move is quite stressful. Looking for a job in California eats up a fair amount of my time.

But friends, those are just lame excuses. To be honest, I didn't think anyone actually read Ice Cream & Wine

I found out this summer that I do have loyal readers, and to them I say, "thank you."

It's been so long that I almost forgot the feeling of joy when posting a recipe. 

But it's back. And I'm back. And I'll never leave you for that long again.

I promise.