Spring Avocado and Berry Salad

Oh, I wanted to love this.

We eat a lot of strawberries and avocados so this was an intriguing mix and got my attention. This is a layered salad with a base of avocado, strawberries, and Ruby Red grapefruit…topped with jalapeño, pink peppercorn, lime juice, basil, salt and pepper…and then finished with the vinaigrette consisting of grapefruit juice, lime juice, sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Interesting right?! I even went the extra mile ordering the pink peppercorn because I was that convinced we would love this. 😳.

Our first reaction was that we have never had this combination of flavors before. My second reaction was, I don’t think I really like this combination…but I kept eating it because I so wanted to love it haha.

We ended up with a mixed bag…I didn’t care for it, my son liked it, and my husband loved it. We all did agree…very different…quite beautiful and appetizing looking!

Now what to do with this pink peppercorn haha! 🤷‍♀️

Peanut Brownie Sablés

Dorie tells us this cookie is a “combination of a French shortbread and an American brownie…with texture a little sandy here, a little fudgy there”. I was intrigued, I mean chocolate and peanut butter are a fantastic pairing.

The interesting thing about this recipe was it really is a combination…we are asked to make two distinct cookie doughs and then mix them together.

Doesn’t that beg the question, “Can’t I just mix all the ingredients together?” It is an interesting question, and on the surface the answer seems to say what is the difference..sure go ahead, but I was wondering…maybe it is the elementary teacher in me, but I was thinking this would have been a great Science Fair Project haha. Perfect question to test and see if there were any differences to the final product.

My thought was that, each recipe had specific instructions such as chilled butter or room temp butter, full egg beaten or egg yolk room temp. Doesn’t all of that impact the composition of the dough in question. The sugars would cream differently with the two different butters…different consistencies for example. Would all of these minor differences make a change to the overall composition of the combined dough?? I don’t know haha but it sure had me thinking.

Being the rule following person that I am 🤷‍♀️, I chose to make the cookies as directed…two distinct doughs mixed at the end together. I have no idea if there would be any noticeable differences had I made it all combined…and I don’t think I will be making these again to test my theory haha so I will have to see what you all have to say about that.

These cookies were good and we all really liked them but I would have to say though, I was feeling a little underwhelmed at the lack of chocolate taste given all the cocoa and chocolate included. I think the peanut flavor was definitely dominate….which is fine, but not when you are expecting a chocolate punch haha!

So, my professional, fellow bakers…what would be the verdict on the method of combined dough? 😂😂

Mediterranean Shepherd’s Pie

I am not sure I have ever made a Shepherd’s Pie 😳, not even sure why not, but this seemed to be a first for us. We are told, this is a Mediterranean twist on the rustic pie usually made with leftovers, never quite the same twice.

This recipe uses your choice of ground meat and sausage, which I used turkey and a hot sausage, and then you add onion, spinach, tomato and an optional butternut squash…which I did not add. It is the spices though that are what makes this dish special…the harissa powder, cumin, lemon zest, and oregano. The base is made and then topped with mashed potatoes and then cooked for about 40 min.

This was good…really good. Very satisfying and VERY flavorful. We all loved it. What I also loved, was that it made enough for two nights haha.

This one is a keeper!

Tangerine-Topped Cheesecake

I am reminded when we bake these different cheesecakes that although quick to get in the oven, the rest of the baking, resting, and chilling pretty much take you into the next day haha. You don’t just have a craving for cheesecake and have one ready.

This version is a little different in that it uses a mix of cream cheese and ricotta and then also because of the use of citrus…tangerine, orange, or lemon…on top, but also zest on the inside. I refrained from topping my cake until it was served so it wasn’t soggy.

My husband enjoys cheesecake but said he couldn’t ever remember having cheesecake with oranges. He said the oranges on top were so refreshing…that it was just plain fantastic. Another comment I got was it reminded them of a 50/50 creamsicle…even more so when the cheesecake was eaten frozen!

I am not a fan of cheesecake but everyone else that was a taster really enjoyed this…for the same reasons my husband had said. What I loved…was that I could go out in my backyard and pick an orange to use haha. I LOVE my orange tree…they are like candy and so juicy. 😍

I have a feeling this will be a recipe we repeat each year when our oranges are ripe!

This one is a keeper!