Balsamic Pea Salad

Balsamic Pea Salad

So, I have a billion bags of frozen peas in my freezer and by a billion, I mean 3, but they were taking up a lot of space and were starting to bug me. This is the perfect summertime recipe. There is no cooking or heat involved, which is definitely a plus on a super hot day. The ingredients might sound a little odd at first, but trust me, they work together perfectly. The sweetness of the peas definitely bring out the flavor of the feta and onions. It’s not too creamy either, which is usually a problem with a lot of summer salads. I used a scant 1/3 cup of greek yogurt and a tablespoon of mayonnaise and 5 Tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar. I really like vinegar, so I thought it was just the perfect amount.

Balsamic Pea Salad

  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt/mayonnaise/sour cream
  • 3-5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I would recommend white balsamic vinegar if you can, regular is fine, it will make the color a little off looking)
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Place peas in a colander, and run warm water over them until they are thawed. Drain and place in a large bowl.
  2. Toast almonds in a skillet over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. In the bowl of peas, stir in onions, feta cheese, and greek yogurt/mayonnaise/sour cream. Mix in balsamic vinegar, and season with pepper. Cover, and refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in almonds and serve.

Cheddar Cheese Crackers (Gluten Free!)

Read this recipe and then run to the kitchen to make them! Even if gluten isn’t an issue for you or if you are attempting to figure out gluten-free snack everyone can enjoy, these are going to be the perfect addition to any upcoming holiday gatherings you have coming up. I used freshly grated sharp white cheddar. I think sharp or extra sharp cheddar is going to be essential in making this (Seriously, why do people even bother with mild cheddar? Life’s unsolved mysteries…).

I plan on making these again as one of my Thanksgiving appetizers. I’m thinking of taking these to the next level though. Parmesan-Rosemary, Chipotle-Cheddar, Gorgonzola! The possibilities are endless. It’s going to be exciting.

The crackers will keep for a few days in a sealed plastic bag, but I don’t imagine them being around that long.

Cheddar Cheese Crackers (from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook via Cookistry)

  • 1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 baking soda
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 large egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Cut two pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Grate 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and cheese. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well-combined.
  3. Take parchment paper, place dough on one piece of parchment paper and place other piece on top. Take rolling pin and roll out dough until about 1/16-inch thick.
  4. Remove top parchment and cut dough into pieces 2 inches square. (A pizza cutter would be perfect for this if you have one.) Slide the parchment with the cut dough onto baking sheet and bake crackers 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  5. Let crackers cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Macarons: The Test Run

When I was back visiting Budapest a couple of weeks ago, my friend Amy set about making macarons for the first time. I was fascinated. I’d never had a macaron before, so I had no idea what was entailed.  Since we are having a St. Patrick’s Day party next weekend (there will be more recipes on the way for that!), I decided it might be fun to attempt to make macarons myself, but after seeing a great baker like Amy having a battle with the recipe, I knew a test run was very necessary.

Originally, I thought ‘they only have four ingredients, they can’t be that complicated, right?’. Riiiiight. HA.

I used Tartelette’sDemystifying Macarons‘ that Amy had shown me for guidance. When I first saw it I laughed and thought ‘there is no way someone can write that much about a cookie…’, now I wish there was more!

I used Tartelette’s Basic French Meringue Macaron Recipe. And the results were rather interesting.

Basic French Meringue Macaron

  • 100 grams egg whites (preferably aged overnight in the fridge or on your countertop if the kitchen is relatively cool)
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 110 grams almonds

I meant to add green food coloring to making them more appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day, but completely forgot until I was already piping them. A couple did get some sprinkles thrown on in a feeble attempt to make up for the distinct lack of green.

 

When I took them out of the oven, they looked vaguely macaron-ish. I was fairly impressed for my first attempt. They had the elusive ‘feet’, even if they were more side feet than standing feet, but they didn’t look as bad as I expected them to.

 

I let them cool and as I popped on off the baking sheet only half the cookie came up… They were under baked! I’m thinking that I might have piped mine bigger than the suggested size and they could have used a few more minutes in the oven. Such a disappointment.

I have turned my initial macaron defeat, into a macaron challenge! I’m going to give them one more shot before the party on Saturday and here’s hoping they turn out.
Any macaron experts out there have some words of wisdom to share?