June 8, 2015

Fresh Strawberry, Ricotta & Mascarpone Individual Trifles

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I always feel when the strawberries are ready at our local farms it signifies summer is here. The strawberries are sweet & delicious at both Manoff Farms and None Such Farms. We ate the first two quarts I brought home in less than 24 hours. Most just popped in our mouths naked of anything but their juicy goodness. The rest were strategically smashed up in bowls and topped with our favorite vanilla yogurt from Siggi’s. Holy Cow! That’s a good breakfast!

I brought home the next two quarts and decided that I needed to do something more constructive with them. Something that I could share with everyone that would feel like summer. These individual strawberry trifles scream summer to me. So easy to make with so few ingredients, they’re perfect if you’re entertaining or just because they’re awesome!

Bucks County locals run to None Such or Manoff’s and pick up some of their strawberries. It’s a short season. Before we know it they’ll be gone. Supporting local farms is a great way to give back to our community and their strawberries are amazing! Look at these beauties…

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 8oz mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 3oz package soft ladyfingers

* Mascarpone cream was adapted from Giada

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In a medium bowl, place one cup of whole strawberries and mash them with the back of a fork. Slice remaining strawberries and add to the bowl. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar over the strawberries, stir and set aside for about 20-30 minutes. The strawberries will macerate in the sugar and release all their juices.

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In another bowl, stir together the mascarpone, ricotta, vanilla and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir until well combined and set aside.

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Select a pretty glass to make your trifles and just begin layering the ingredients starting with a couple of ladyfingers in the bottom of the glass, top with the strawberries, then a dollop of the mascarpone cream and repeat. Once the glass is full, top with a very small dollop of the cream and place a sliced strawberry on top – or not… I just did that because it looked so pretty.

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Place the trifles in the refrigerator so they chill completely. An hour or so would do just fine but the longer they sit, the more the flavors will meld together. They were delicious the next day. Enjoy!

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* The size dessert dish or in this case, glass you use will decide how many trifles the recipe will make. The glasses I used here are 8 ounces and I made three trifles. The portions are definitely too large but I wasn’t turning back, therefore the recipe would easily make 4 generous servings in a smaller glass. They would be really cute if you made them in those small glass dessert cups for a party. So pretty!

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May 14, 2015

Lentil Salad with Radicchio & Gorgonzola

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Lazy lentil lovers rejoice! I recently discovered one of the greatest short cuts in the kitchen, canned lentils. Food snobs feel free to ignore this recipe if you’re turning your nose up at the thought of using lentils from a can. I guess it’s not that complicated to simmer dried lentils, but it does take time. Time that you might not have during the week. I have always used dried lentils, but now when I’m in a pinch, I have my arsenal of canned lentils.

If you’re making lentil soup or any dish that uses warm lentils, I’d stick with traditional dried lentils. Canned lentils are on the softer side and you obviously don’t have the control you have when cooking them on the stove. But for cold salads like this one… so good!

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This salad is not for those who prefer milder flavors. Between the gorgonzola, bitterness of the radicchio and the onions – this salad is full of flavor. It would go perfectly with grilled meats or fish, or even as a vegetarian main course. I’ve used inexpensive Goya brand lentils, as well as pricier organic brands. I have to say I didn’t find one better than the other. Your grocery store might only carry one option. They are not available in every grocery store where I live.

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INGREDIENTS

For the salad…

  • 2 – 15oz cans lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small head of radicchio, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • A big handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • Wedge of gorgonzola, sliced

For the dressing…

  • 2 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt & pepper

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over the lentils. Toss and serve with a wedge of gorgonzola on top. A hunk of baguette might be a necessity here, too.

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Enjoy!

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