A Med-Summer’s Night Dream: Mediterranean Inspired Party Recipes

It’s that time of year – party time! Barbecues, picnics, brunches, 4th of July, you name it. The heat of summer makes us want to cook outside and firing up the grill evokes the primal urge to gather round the flames with friends.

So what do you cook that’s light, tasty, and will feed a crowd? That’s where we come in. This month, we’re sharing four awesome recipes using seasonal market produce for a truly farm-to-table gathering.

For Starters

Herbed Garlic Dipping Oil

Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. No Mediterranean meal would be complete without crusty bread and a house-made blend of herbs and extra virgin olive oil.

Shareable Sides

“Jerusalem Hummus”

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian/vegan so nearly anyone can get in on the goodness. Top generously with chopped olives (ours are low-sodium and probiotic!) and extra virgin olive oil, serve with raw seasonal veggies, and pour a glass of wine for a simple, satisfying meal.

Main Course

Grilled Vegetables with Marinated Feta and Tabbouleh

The bright colors of the seasonal produce seared with gorgeous grill marks creates a feast for the eyes before you even dig in to the mouthwatering flavors and textures starting with light and fresh tabbouleh made with cucumber, lemon, mint, and parsley, piled high with grilled eggplant, summer squash, garlic, and onions, and then topped with savory marinated griddled feta and a heavy drizzle of olive oil.

The Finale

No Churn Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Blueberry Compote

Pure. Bliss. There are only a few high quality ingredients and no ice cream maker or churning required, so there’s no reason not to treat yourself to this ultra decadent dessert topped with our Balsamic Reduction.

No matter which course is your favorite or how much time you have to prepare, these recipes will have your friends and guests asking for more. Share your favorite party recipes and photos with us in the comments below or on Facebook and Instagram by tagging @healthyharvests

Stay healthy friends!

Amy

No Churn Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Blueberry Compote

Everyone who knows me knows I. Love. Ice Cream. On hot days. On cold days. On all days. But as someone who has a host of negative reactions to sugar, it is a rare treat. I do occasionally make different variations of Nice Cream (hint: frozen bananas with mix ins), but when I came across this Soft Serve Mascarpone Ice Cream by Lady & Pups, I knew I had to re-create my own version using our brand new Balsamic Reduction. 

I was hesitant at first, because without an ice cream maker, my past attempts have turned into a solid block of perfectly good, hard to find, raw whole milk. But the mascarpone and addition of gelatin blended in the food processor assure a luscious, velvety concoction with very little effort.

this laughably good… almost mockingly easy mascarpone soft-serve will very simply put, blow your mind. -Lady & Pups

Mascarpone is a rich, extra creamy cheese that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. You can think of it as cream cheese’s sophisticated older cousin. But despite its elegance, it’s relatively easy to make your own in about 10 minutes. Hailing from Italy, mascarpone is a heavenly for stuffing ravioli, it’s a perfect companion for peaches and honey in the summer, and it is simply divine when turned into silky smooth ice cream. (Imagine if frozen custard and cheesecake had a baby.) The balsamic blueberry reduction cuts the richness and creates the perfect sweet and tangy combo.

First, you evenly whisk whole milk, sweetened condensed milk and granulated sugar in a pot. Then, sprinkle powdered gelatin and salt evenly on top, bringing to a simmer. Cook and whisk for 1 minute until the gelatin has fully dissolved, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until completely smooth and lump-free. (An immersion blender makes this a breeze, but isn’t necessary). Pour the mixture into a shallow pan, then freeze for about 4 hours until hardened. Score the mixture into small cubes with a knife, then freeze again for another hour, or until needed. (You can make this several days ahead!)

While the mixture is freezing, simmer the blueberries in a small pot with enough Healthy Harvest Balsamic Reduction to evenly coat them.

When you’re ready to serve, add half of the cubed and frozen mixture at a time into a food-processor. Pulse until the cubes are chopped into small pieces (it will tumble reluctantly in the beginning but don’t worry, it’ll break), then run the food-processor with long pulses, scraping and breaking up large lumps a couple times in between, until the mixture is smooth and thick but blended. You can now scoop the soft-serve into serving cups, or with a piping-bag with star-tip if you want the swirl effect.

Add a scoop of the blueberry compote and drizzle with a touch of Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil.

There are only a few high quality ingredients and no ice cream maker or churning required, so there’s no reason not to treat yourself to this ultra decadent dessert. You only live once, right?

No Churn Soft Serve Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Blueberry Compote
 
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An ultra decadent, deceptively simple treat made with mascarpone and balsamic blueberries.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert, vegetarian
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • Ice Cream
  • 1½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2½ tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • ⅛ heaping tsp salt
  • 1¼ cup mascarpone cheese
  • Topping
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • Healthy Harvest balsamic reduction
Instructions
  1. MAKE THE MASCARPONE SOFT-SERVE: Evenly whisk whole milk, sweetened condensed milk and granulated sugar in a pot. Sprinkle powdered gelatin and salt evenly on top, then bring to a simmer. Cook and whisk for 1 min until the gelatine has fully dissolved, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until completely smooth and lump-free (an immersion blender could be used). Pour the mixture into a shallow pan, then freeze for about 4 hours until hardened. Score the mixture into small cubes with a knife, then freeze again for another hour or until needed. Can be made several days ahead.
  2. While ice cream is freezing, make compote. Add blueberries to a small pot, add enough balsamic reduction to coat berries evenly and simmer on low for a few minutes until thickened.
  3. Add the cubed and frozen mixture into a food-processor (no more than ½ at a time). Pulse until the cubes are chopped into small pieces (it will tumble reluctantly in the beginning but don't worry, it'll break), then run the food-processor with long pulses, scraping and breaking up large lumps a couple times in between, until the mixture is smooth and thick but blended. You can now scoop the soft-serve into serving cups, or with a piping-bag with star-tip if you want the swirl effect (do it quickly before it melts). Add a scoop of balsamic blueberry compote and a drizzle of Healthy Harvest greek olive oil. Garnish with basil if desired.

 

Caprese Stuffed Garlic Butter Portobellos

 


I don’t think I have had an opportunity yet to express my love for portobello mushrooms. As someone who eats meatless meals quite often, they are such a good meaty main course, from Portobellos Fajitas and Enchiladas to Fried Mushroom Steak Fries, and now these Caprese Stuffed Garlic Butter Portobello Shrooms. It’s also a nice option for any gluten free friends or family.

You start off by simmering some chopped garlic in butter on low until fragrant. (Just like olive oil, REAL butter is important). While that’s happening, gently clean your shroomies with a damp cloth and remove the tough stems. Then, brush both sides of the portobello caps with the garlic butter, and place top down on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Layer in the mozzarella and tomatoes, and voila – you’re ready to pop these bad boys in the oven. Place in the middle rack of the oven set to broil and cook for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.

Remove from the oven, drizzle with Healthy Harvest Balsamic and True Tuscan, and add some fresh basil for those classic caprese flavors. This could easily stand on its own as an entree but would also make a great side. Serve with a glass of wine and you’ll be eating your way to happiness.

Show us your favorite way to use our new Balsamic Reduction by commenting below or on Instagram by tagging @healthyharvests

#eatrealfood #cookmore #jointhetable

Caprese Stuffed Garlic Butter Portobellos
 
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A quick and easy vegetarian main dish or side stuffed with the classic caprese flavors of Italy
Author:
Recipe type: entree, side, vegetarian
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-5 servings
Ingredients
  • 4-5 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5-6 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomates, halved
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • fresh basil, thinly sliced for garnish
  • Healthy Harvest Balsamic Reduction
  • Healthy Harvest True Tuscan extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to broil; place rack in middle. Heat butter and garlic in a small saucepan until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant. Brush both sides of each mushroom and place them top side down on a baking sheet. Fill each mushroom with the mozzarella slices and tomatoes, and broil until cheese is melted and golden, about 10 minutes. To serve, top with the basil, drizzle with the Balsamic and True Tuscan and sprinkle with salt to taste.

 

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes with Walnuts and Balsamic Drizzle

It’s a sure sign of Spring when the sweet crispy stalks of asparagus start popping up at the farmer’s market. Although you can typically find asparagus in your grocery store several months of the year, this nutrient dense veggie is at its absolute peak in flavor if you can get the ultra fat stalks from your local market right now.

This quick and easy side dish is a breeze to throw together, and it features our BRAND NEW Balsamic Reduction! I swear, anything you add it to looks and tastes even better. (Yes, even ice cream.)

First, you trim the woody ends of the asparagus. You can find the proper cutting point by bending the stalk and finding where it snaps naturally. Once you’ve snapped a one or two, simply bunch up the rest and cut them at the same length.

Then slice a pint of grape or cherry tomatoes in half. Arrange all the veggies in a single layer on a sheet pan, toss in Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan (you could use cashew shavings to make it vegan!) and roast in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, giving a stir halfway through cooking.

Related: Should you heat olive oil?

Serve the asparagus and tomatoes warm drizzled with balsamic reduction. Top with walnuts for texture and some fresh basil for a bright finish.

This recipe is so easy, yet tastes amazing and would be a great dish to bring to a potluck or picnic. Show us your adaptation on Instagram by tagging @healthyharvests or using the hashtags #eatrealfood and #cookmore

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes with Walnuts and Balsamic Drizzle
 
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A quick and easy spring side dish made of roasted asparagus and tomatoes topped with walnuts, parmesan cheese, and drizzle of balsamic reduction
Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1-2 bunches of asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ c shredded parmesan
  • ¼ c chopped walnuts
  • 1-2 tbsp Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp Healthy Harvest Balsamic Reduction
Instructions
  1. Arrange asparagus and tomatoes on a sheet pan. Toss in Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange veggies in a single layer, sprinkle with parm and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve asparagus and tomatoes warm topped with walnuts, a drizzle of Healthy Harvest Balsamic and a touch of fresh basil.

 

Greek Salad with Falafel and Quinoa

greek salad with falafel and quinoa

This weather has me craving fresh, vibrant salads that are full of life! Does anyone else FEEL the energy they get from eating leafy greens and ripe, juicy tomatoes?

Greens are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamins and iron. They help to detoxify and hydrate the body. And right now at the farmer’s market, there are tons of greens to choose from: mizuna, arugula, spinach, lettuce, baby kale, sorrel and more. If you’re not familiar, they each really do have their own personality. You should be able to ask for a sample of each kind before you buy at your local market.

And if you think salads are what your food eats, don’t worry, you won’t be hungry an hour later. Both the quinoa and chickpeas in the falafel add a healthy dose of plant protein that even my meat-eating man loved.

Falafel are a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean chickpea patty mixed with herbs and spices. Typically, they’re rolled into balls and fried like hushpuppies, but I like mine more like a slider. Our version is made with tons of garlic and enough fresh parsley and cilantro to turn them bright green. They are so fresh and full of flavor. You can dip them in a tzatiki sauce for a snack, wrap in a pita sandwich, or try this amazing-albeit, unexpected – salad.

This Greek Salad with Falafel and Quinoa is great with either green or black olives. It’s light, yet filling – and like most simple meals, since there are only a few ingredients, it’s best to use the highest quality you can. If you had feta on hand, you could add that for another special touch.And our Healthy Harvest Lemon Garlic dressing adds a boost of live active cultures to support digestion.

 

Greek Salad with Falafel and Quinoa
 
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A light, bright vegetarian entree salad for spring and summer.
Author:
Serves: 2-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cups fresh parsley leaves, tightly-packed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, tightly-packed
  • ½ cup diced white or red onion
  • ⅓ cup rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4-5 tablespoons HH Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups greens, washed and chopped
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked as directed
  • handful HH olives
  • 2-3 small tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • ½ cup red onlon, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Add garlic, chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, onion, flour, lemon juice, baking powder, salt, cumin and black pepper to a food processor. Pulse until smooth and evenly mixed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed. If the mixture is too goeey, add a little more flour. They turn out best if the batter has been chilled, but you fry them right away as well.
  2. Take a spoonful of mixture and form into a small disk with your hands. You could make all your disks on parchment paper first, but I just form them as I drop them into the oil.
  3. Heat oil in a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until it is shimmering. (If you add a drop of water to the oil, it should sizzle.) The key to perfect crispiness is a hot pan and not too much oil. Carefully transfer 4 or 5 falafel disks to the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes per side, or until both sides of the disk are browned. Transfer to a plate. Then repeat with the remaining falafel disks, adding extra oil to the pan if need be.
  4. To prepare, assemble a bed of greens. Top with heaping serving of quinoa. Place tomato wedges and olives evenly around plate. Add falafel. Dress with lemon juice and a liberal drizzle HH Greek or use True Tuscan for an extra special treat. Or try our Lemon Greek dressing. Additionally, you could add crumbled feta.

 

 

Spring Farm-To-Table Frittata

The farmer’s markets have finally started and we couldn’t be more thrilled. I am SO ready for fresh, local produce full of aliveness and vitality. When I eat veggies grown by my community, I can FEEL the energy as I eat it.

And if you think there’s not much in season yet, think again! I made this Spring Farm To Table Fritatta mostly with ingredients from yesterday’s Boulder County Farmer’s Market 

We got spinach from Toohey & Sons Organic, shallots, mushrooms from Hazel Dell Mushrooms, goat cheese from Haystack Mountain Cheese, and of course our Healthy Harvest Oregano Green Olives.

But no matter what you picked up at the market or have in the fridge, you can use whatever you have on hand to make this frittata. Frittatas are basically an Italian crustless quiche. It’s a one-pan meal that is so quick and easy to make on a Sunday and eat for breakfast or lunch throughout the week. Simply sautee whatever veggies or mix-ins you want, wisk together eggs and cream with a little S&P, then add the eggs to the veggies, pop it in the oven, and voila!

Share your farm to table meals and and tag us on Facebook or Instagram @healthyharvests or by using the hashtag #eatrealfood.

Happy Market Season Everyone!

Spring Farm-To-Table Frittata
 
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A versatile dish that goes from breakfast to dinner and easily works with whatever mix-ins you choose.
Author:
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup thinly slice shallots or onions
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1½ cups spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1-2 oz goat cheese
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add spinach and mushrooms, cook until spinach is wilted. Add olives.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and cream. Add to skillet and stir to combine. Place small dollops of goat cheese evenly around mixture and bake until center of quiche is just set, 30-40 minutes.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Zucchini Roll-ups with Herbed Goat Cheese and Olives

vegetarian zucchini herbed goat cheese rollups with olivesImagine you’re having guests over for dinner and you need a quick snack before the meal is ready…or you’re going to a party and you definitely want to bring something homemade, but it has to be easy…This is the perfect recipe for you. It is light, fresh, and perfect for spring. It looks classy, but takes zero effort. And in the spring and summer, you’ll likely have the ingredients on hand.

You can make these using a saute pan, but grilling the zucchini will really enhance the flavor and eye appeal.

You simply cut the zucchini into 1/2 inch thick slices, brush them with Healthy Harvest Greek Olive Oil, grill a few minutes on each side, add the goat cheese and olive mixture, roll ’em up, and voila!

Related: Read why Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil is better

You could add your own favorite herb mixture to a plain chevre, but we took the easy road and used our local favorite Haystack Mountain goat cheese. You’ll find us next to them at the Boulder County Farmer’s Market starting April 1. We can’t wait! Local produce, friends, fresh air…What else could you ask for on a Saturday?

So grab these 3 simple ingredients at your next local market (See our Market Calendar) and let us know how these Zucchini Roll-ups with Herbed Goat Cheese and Olives turned out!

Click here to buy your raw, fermented Greek Koutsourelia Olives for this recipe.

Zucchini Roll-ups with Herbed Goat Cheese and Olives
 
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Quick and easy vegetarian appetizer that looks fancy but takes zero effort.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, Vegetarian
Serves: 8-10 rolls
Ingredients
  • 1 very large or 3 small zucchini
  • Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3½ oz. herbed goat cheese (We love local Haystack!)
  • 1½ oz. (about 7 or 8) kalamata olives, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to high heat or saute pan to medium-high.
  2. Slice a strip lengthwise from the zucchini to expose the inside of the vegetable. Discard or reserve for another use. Cut the 2 ends from the zucchini to make straight edges. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into ½-inch strips.
  3. Brush both sides of the zucchini pieces liberally with Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lay the zucchini pieces on the grill at a 45-degree angle (for more attractive grill marks). Cook until the zucchini is very tender, but not mushy, about 3 minutes per side.
  4. Remove zucchini from the grill and drape over cooling rack.
  5. Place goat cheese in a medium bowl. Stir olives into the goat cheese.
  6. Spread a layer of the goat cheese mixture onto one side of each zucchini piece. Gently roll each piece of zucchini. Serve.

 

Savory Lentil Pancakes with Olives

lentil, vegetarian recipe, gluten free

A handful of Healthy Harvest’s Greek koutsourelia olives make a great snack on their own, but adding just a few to a recipe can completely transform its flavor, making it exceptional. Plus, they’ll add a boost of healthy fats and antioxidants.

Related: Read what makes our olive unique here

I love making veggie patties. You might have seen my Spicy Lentil Veggie Burgers last summer. It’s so easy to mix together the ingredients, then leave the bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to fry them. I’ve made a ton of different varieties, but these Savory Lentil Pancakes with Olives are by far my favorite. They are great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner depending on what you pair them with.  I ate them with a side of sautéed swiss chard and loved it, but I think they would be OUTTA THIS WORLD with some Cucumber Yogurt Sauce, so I’ll have to update next time I make them.

vegetarian recipe, vegan, gluten free

This time around, I used red lentils, rinsing them, then boiling for 15 minutes. Then, I drained the cooked lentils as much as I could before adding them to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Here’s where it gets fun. You mash everything together. Now, you can do this with a boring old fork, or dig right in with your hands. The mix should be a batter-like consistency. If it’s too wet to form into patties, simply mix in a little more almond flour.

This recipe is great, because it’s easily adaptable for vegans, people with gluten sensitivities, and everyone else. I used nutritional yeast, almond flour, and rice flour to help bind the mixture, but you could substitute an egg and/or breadcrumbs if you wish. (See recipe for details.)

After the mixture is well incorporated, heat a pan or griddle to just below medium-high, add a tablespoon of Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil, and fry until golden brown as you would any other pancake.

Related: UC-Davis Find 86% of US Olive Oil Doesn’t Meet Standards

The key is to not touch or flip the cake until it’s nice and golden, so they don’t fall apart. Top with fresh herbs, a sprinkle of paprika, a couple olives, and a wedge of lemon, and voila, you have a crispy, savory, flavor-filled hashbrown of sorts that’s really good for you!

This could be a great meatless recipe to try during your lenten celebrations this spring. Comment below to let me know what you paired it with our share your pics on Instagram and tag @healthyharvests #eatrealfood
vegetarian recipe lentils gluten free vegan

Savory Lentil Pancakes with Olives
 
Author:
Serves: 8 pancakes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and hard pieces removed
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsps ground flax seeds + 3 Tbsps water (or one large egg)
  • 4 Tbsps nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup sliced Healthy Harvest black olives
  • ⅓ cup almond flour
  • ⅓ cup rice flour (or replace both flours with ⅔ cup breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. Mix the ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
  2. Add lentils in a pot and cover them with water. From the moment they start boiling, let them boil for about 15 minutes and then remove from heat.
  3. Strain the lentils very well and put them in a large bowl. Start mashing them a little, using a fork.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, except oil.
  5. Using a fork, or your hands, start mixing the composition. It has to be sticky and easy to shape. If it’s not just add more almond flour/breadcrumbs until it has a dough-like consistency.
  6. Heat a pan with oil. Form a ball and use a spatula to flatten into a pancake on the frying pan and let it fry about 2 minutes on each side.

 

 

Lemon Olive Oil Cakes

It’s starting to feel a little like Spring, so Jonathan, the baker in our family, made these light, spongy Lemon Olive Oil cakes that will add a little sunshine to your day. Baking with heart healthy Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil will help your treats last longer and give them a fluffier texture.

And these could easily be served sweet or savory. We topped them with a lemony glaze and enjoy them alongside a cup of tea. But you could add a little time and have them as a savory side as well.

Try these for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments!

Lemon Olive Oil Cakes
 
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A light and bright olive oil cake with a hint of sweetness and lemon
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2½ to 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Prepare the cakes: Brush 12-cup muffin pan with the melted butter. Lightly dust with flour and shake out the excess.
  2. Pulse the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a blender until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then gradually pour in the olive oil and milk, pulsing until emulsified into a thin batter, about 30 seconds. Don't over mix or the cakes will be too puffy.
  3. Whisk 1 cup flour, the baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon thyme in a small bowl. Add to the blender in 2 batches, pulsing lightly until just combined; stop to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cakes just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and spring back when lightly touched, 22 to 25 minutes for a 12-cup muffin pan. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the sides with a small knife and invert the cakes onto a rack.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth, adding more lemon juice if the mixture is too thick. Drizzle over the warm cakes and garnish with thyme sprigs.

 

Jaime’s Classic Jambalaya


Ah, Mardi Gras. I’ve always had a special affinity for Fat Tuesday. Maybe it’s because I was born in Louisiana (although Shreveport is hardly cajun country), maybe it’s because in the belly of winter I’m just looking for reason to celebrate, or maybe, most likely, I love a holiday so closely connected to food that it has Fat right in the name.

In preparation, I start listing off more cajun dishes I want to make thanBubba in Forrest Gump…shrimp gumbo, cajun shrimp pasta, shrimp etouffee, shrimp po’boy…

But somehow, my year round cajun go-to always ends up being jambalaya. This year, I persuaded my friend Jaime, owner of Mamalo’s Cajun Kitchen in Frederick, CO, into sharing her recipe.

“This is why cajun food is love. It all takes time. You can’t rush it.”

Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Jaime has a food science degree, a catering background, and a whole lotta hospitality. One of my fondest memories is
the time she flew in 200 pounds of live crawfish from Louisiana to Colorado just to throw an authentic crawfish boil, an all day affair in the backyard with food and friends. And beignets. Yum.

Striking a creepy pose with my crawly friends.

Among her friends, Jaime is known as the Jambalaya Queen. So I spent a Saturday in the kitchen cooking up a classic version of jambalaya whilst drinking Cajun Bloody Mary’s with garlic olives.

I missed the shrimp boil rim in this photo!

She started off by seasoning chicken thighs (dark meat, my kinda girl!)with homemade cajun rub and tossing them in a heavy-bottomed pot heated with Healthy Harvest Greek Olive Oil just until browned, not cooked through, then removes them to a plate.

Read why Healthy Harvest Greek adds so much flavor to your meals

Then, she added onions, part of the cajun Holy Trinity – celery, onion, and bell peppers – to the pot. One of the first secrets she let me in on is to saute the onions nice and slow until they’re browned. It’s key to the traditional brown color and rich, deep flavor. “This is why cajun food is love. It all takes time. You can’t rush it,” she explains. You can add in a little stock to keep the onions from burning or sticking. While the onions are browning, she slices the chicken into fork-sized pieces.

After the onions are nice and browned, she adds in the bell peppers, celery and garlic, along with the chicken and sausage to cook. Once the meat is cooked through, she adds long grain white rice and tops with homemade stock.

She adds more seasoning to taste, covers the pot, and gives me this advice. “Once the lid is on, bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat to low, then DON’T TOUCH IT.  If you have the heat too high, the rice will burn to the bottom, so turn it to low, and let it take all the time it needs, which is about 30-40 minutes. You don’t want to check on it, stir it, nothing, because the magic is in the steam. All the cooking power is gone if you open the lid.”

Once cooked, serve in heaping bowls, and toss with green onions. This recipe serves a crowd, so call up your friends and let the good times roll!

Jaime's Classic Jambalaya
 
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A Cajun classic! Chicken and sausage, veggies, rice and stock make a hearty one pot meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Cajun
Serves: Serves 8-10
Ingredients
  • 3 medium white onions, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 lb andouille sausage or Louisiana links
  • 1.5 cup long grain white rice
  • 3 cups chicken or veggie broth
  • salt and pepper
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp salt
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Season chicken and add to pot. Cook until browned. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add onions to pot and cook over medium-low until browned. Don't rush!
  4. Once onions are browned, add garlic, peppers, and celery. Stir. Add in chicken and sausage and heat until cooked through.
  5. Add rice, stock, and season to taste.
  6. Add lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to low and cook for 30-40 minutes. Do not touch until you are ready to serve.
  7. Garnish with green onions.