"Get your Spring On" Recipe Roundup!



Spring is heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere, it really issssssssssssssss! Despite the rain and crazy wind in southwest Virginia this morning, I have faith that spring is here. The blossoms are blossoming, the birds are all cute and fat and singing, and the farmer's market has resumed normal hours, which means more fresh fruits and veggies at your fingertips. So get your spring on with some of these fabulous springtime recipes, courtesy of yours truly, as well as a few of my favorite bloggers!

To Whet your Appetite: 

Red Sangria with Fresh Apples and Oranges



Can't wait to try this: Fresh Mint Iced Coffee from howsweeteats.com


While you wait: 




And one of my favorites: Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Crostini from howsweeteats.com

The main event: 

Chipotle Mango BBQ Chicken with Cilantro Chimichurri



Asian Baby Back Ribs with Pineapple Ginger BBQ Sauce



Turkey Tacos with a Zucchini Rhubarb Slaw



Pulled Pork Sliders with White BBQ Sauce and Homemade Pickles


Sweet Tooth:

Hazelnut Gelato



Easy French Toast Strawberry Shortcake



Blueberry Lemon Creme Brulee


And how amazing do these look? 
Chocolate Cupcakes with Fresh Mint Buttercream  from notwithoutsalt.com 

I hope you try a few of these recipes this spring. Let me know what you think!

Fresh Tomato, Garlic and Prosciutto Toast


If anyone out there is still reading my blog... Sorry I have been so completely, horribly MIA lately. I started working on getting my MBA this spring, and it is taking up a lot of free time that used to be spent blogging. But don't worry, while education IS important, it is not as important as food. I mean, food is a necessity. You NEED it to live. You don't need Operations Management 624 to live.



So, here is a delightful springtime recipe for you made with FRESH tomatoes. (How excited are we that there are fresh fruits and vegetables again?!) This appetizer is perfect outdoor shenanigans and eating in a hammock among friends and family, as long as you are not as messy as I am and spill the tomato sauce down your white shirt. 

Recipe from the one and only Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
2 large, fresh tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper
8 thick slices of bread
8 slices of Prosciutto 

Quarter the tomatoes and remove as much of the seeds and liquid as possible. Place in the bowl of a food processor with the garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Process until everything is a consistently smooth consistency. Let rest for 30 minutes, draining the excess liquid as necessary.



Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (we used a charcoal grill which gave the bread a nice smoky flavor).



Brush olive oil on both sides of each piece of bread. Grill the bread for about 5 minutes on each side. Top with some of the tomato mixture and a slice of Prosciutto. Serve immediately.

Hazelnut Gelato

All of this cold weather is making me long for those seemingly never-ending, warm, beautiful summer nights. Which got me thinkin' about our trip to Italy... and one of their specialties: hazelnut gelato. We had gelato pretty much every night while we were in Italy. That's nine straight nights of gelato. And I miss it!



The coolest part about Italian gelato, besides how awesome it tastes, is that you get to pick a different flavor of gelato for every scoop. They expect you to, and I was 100% on board with this. My go to flavors were hazelnut and pistachio, with an amaretto thrown in there every once in a while!


Once we got our gelato, we'd walk around the streets of Rome, or Florence, or wherever we were, and people watch and look at the beautiful sights around us. It was perfect



THIS recipe will make you feel like you are eating that perfectly nutty, creamy hazelnut gelato from the little corner gelateria on the piazza. It brought me right back there. 

Printable Recipe HERE.

Warning: This made maybe 4 cups of gelato. It was devoured in 1.6 days. So you might want to make a double batch!

Ingredients:
1 cup hazelnuts 
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large pan over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until fragrant, about 5 - 10 minutes, tossing occasionally to toast all sides evenly.



Add the toasted hazelnuts, 1/4 cup sugar and salt to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. 



In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the milk, cream, and chopped hazelnut mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, combine the 4 egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk or beat until the egg yolks are a pale yellow. 

Turn the heat on the milk mixture down to LOW.

Temper the egg yolks: Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, stirring continuously, to slowly bring the temperature of the egg yolk mixture up. This will prevent the eggs from scrambling when you add them to the hot milk mixture. Once the eggs are warm, add them into the remaining milk mixture and stir continuously to combine. Cook for 7 - 10 minutes more (do NOT bring to a simmer), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and scrambling of the eggs! 

Add the Nutella and vanilla to the mixture and stir to combine. 

Chill the gelato mixture completely.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the solids. (I had a hard time throwing out the hazelnuts, but I'm glad I did. The flavor from the toasted hazelnuts definitely still came through in the ice cream and I really liked the smooth texture.)

Churn the gelato and freeze until ready to serve.

Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes with Peanut Butter Sauce


When I think of Valentine's Day, I think of CHOCOLATE! Maybe that's because of all the chocolate-filled heart-shaped boxes every where you look this time of the year, or maybe it's because chocolate supposedly stimulates the release of endorphins in our brains, making us feel happy. Either way, I'm on board.



That is why these chocolate molten lava cakes are the perfect ending for your Valentine's Day plans. They literally ooze chocolate. I mean, what could be better than that? And the outer parts of the cake are so light and fluffy from the whipped eggs. So despite how rich this dessert is (i.e. make sure you have a glass of milk nearby), I have no problem gobbling up a whole cake by myself. Or, if you want to be extra romantic, just grab one cake and two spoons and dig in! 


This time around, I added some homemade peanut butter sauce to the cakes because my husband needs a side of peanut butter with his chocolate, but strawberry ice cream is also a great accompaniment to these little babies. 



(Please excuse the picture of cheese beneath the cake... Kinda forgot that was there!)

xoxoxoxox

Printable Recipe HERE.

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for coating 
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for coating
2 tablespoons Truvia (or other natural sugar substitute)
12 ounces good quality semisweet or dark chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
Peanut Butter Sauce (recipe follows) or strawberry ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter 5 8-ounce ramekins and lightly coat them with sugar. Set the ramekins on a large rimmed baking sheet. 

In a large bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the stick of butter and chocolate until smooth, stirring a few times. Set the melted chocolate aside and keep warm; keep the saucepan of water simmering. 

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and Truvia. Set the bowl over the simmering water and stir the eggs until warm. Remove the bowl from the heat. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs at high speed until doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Sift the flour over the chocolate mixture and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Working in 2 batches, fold in the warm egg mixture.
 
Spoon the batter into the ramekins.

Side note: I prepared the cakes well before dinner, but didn't cook them until when we were ready for dessert.  I only cooked 2, and kept the other 3 in the fridge and made them the next night! 

Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the cakes are set around the edges and wobbly in the center. Remove the ramekins from the oven and let the chocolate cakes stand for 3 minutes.
 
Carefully invert the ramekins onto plates to un-mold the chocolate cakes. Top each cake with peanut butter sauce or a scoop of strawberry ice cream, and serve right away. 

Peanut Butter Sauce:
In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup natural smooth peanut butter and 
2/3 cup light Karo syrup over low heat, stirring until melted and combined.


Recipe adapted from Food&Wine

Garlic and Brussels Sprout Stuffed Pork Roast

Melodramatic Monday alert: I hate winter! I'm soooo over it. The cold, the dry skin, the stuffy nose, the lack of actual snow days, the static-y hair, I could go on and on. 



And to add to my troubles, I bought a jacked up pork roast at the store. It looked all cute and fat in the package when I bought it. 



But when I got home and opened up the package to start preparing this meal I was so excited about, I was shocked. Shocked! My cute, fat pork roast was actually TWO measly, hole-filled, pitifully butchered pork roasts. WTH Kroger? You've made a fool out of me. 



So basically, I'm mad at my grocery store and winter. Groundhog Phil - I'm mad at you too! 


Oh - I remember why I got on this rant. I'm sick of the SHORT days! It's pretty much impossible to find daylight hours to photograph dinner. So, please excuse the yellow-ish pictures. Don't judge the food by that! 

Also - I'll be in a better mood tomorrow. I promise.

Ingredients:
1 lb Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup sliced scallions
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
1 pork roast or pork loin (2 - 3 pounds)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. 

Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts and place in a mixing bowl. Add the sliced scallions, garlic, and Swiss cheese and stir to combine. 

Trim the pork of any excess fat. Butterfly the pork roast or loin (If you have no idea how to butterfly something, I found this great how-to on "Meghan's Cookin"). Stuff the Brussels sprout mixture inside the pork. Roll the pork loin back up, tie shut with kitchen twine and place on the baking dish. Season the pork with salt and pepper. 

Bake for about one hour to an hour and a half, until the roast registers 160 degrees in the middle. 

If you have any Brussels sprouts left that wouldn't fit inside the pork roast, place them on the baking dish with about 30 minutes left to go on the pork. 

Recipe inspired by the Two Bite Club