Strawberry Caprese Salad

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This time last year: Marinated and Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Almonds & Goat Cheese (2013)

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It is hard to believe summer is coming to a close! This happens to me every year. One day I’m perusing my cook books- picking out recipes that are in season with the summer heat, and the next second it’s fall and I’ve still got strawberry and watermelon recipes to post! Woops.

This recipe, a delicious variation on the classic tomato and mozzarella caprese salad, is a perfect summer side dish. The fact that it is served room temperature or chilled makes it ideal for that summer heat, and the addition of strawberries and walnuts makes it a creative crowd pleaser!

It may not be quite time for pumpkin and cider, but time is flying before our eyes. So, while the nights are still long, give this dish a try, in honor of summer. I promise you will not regret it.

Come back soon!

xo A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rinsed, sliced strawberries
  • 1 bunch chopped basil
  • 1 cup bocconcini (mozzarella balls)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sea Salt (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Combine the strawberries, basil, mozzarella, and walnuts in a bowl. Toss gently.
  2. In a separate dish or jar, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt to taste.
  3. Drizzle the strawberry salad with the dressing and serve!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Edible San Fransisco
  • Store chilled
  • Like this recipe? Try these other scrumptious and healthy dishes from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links found below:)

Berry Quinoa Salad with Citrus Honey Dressing

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This time last year: Cranberry Field Roast Panini (2012)

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Oh Hello again!

It’s been a while. My b.

Once again, life got crazy, and I am now in my THIRD rented kitchen. What’s up, change?

I could give you a whole host of reasons why I have not been able to post much in the last two months, but who has time for that? The real point is that I have so many fun summer recipes I want to share with you guys, this one in particular is scrumptious, and after almost two months away, you have to start of big. Cue Berry Quinoa Salad with Citrus Honey Dressing.

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Summer is the perfect time for dishes like this, because they are so refreshing, they use seasonal ingredients, and they are best served chilled- perfect for a summer day picnic or a porch dinner.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did, and I hope you are able to share it with someone you love.

I have come to realize recently, how special that exchange really can be. Here’s to nourishing your heart while nourishing your body.

With love,

a rented kitchen

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Citrus Honey Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped basil

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups strawberries, cut in half
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup roughly chopped honey roasted cinnamon almonds or mixed nuts*
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped basil

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside for later.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss the quinoa, berries, almonds, mint, and basil. Drizzle the salad with the dressing, and gently stir once more. Serve fresh and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • If you cannot find red quinoa, regular quinoa will work as well! Feel free to make it a day in advance, as long as the quinoa is cool prior to making the salad.
  • Blue Diamond, as well as stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market, carry honey roasted cinnamon almonds and/or bags of mixed nuts! If you cannot find that exact combination, aim for something similar, or substitute with sunflower seeds or mixed nuts!
  • Source: Two Peas and Their Pod 
  • If you like this recipe, try these other delicious dishes from A Rented Kitchen (Links below photos!):

 

Fried Plantains: Sweet and Salty

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This time last year: Pudding Pops (2012)

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There was this perfect little Cuban restaurant just down the street from my apartment in Richmond.

I would run by it early in the morning and smell the freshly brewed Café con Leche. My friends and I would roll into it late at night- snag a booth and split some fresh warm cornbread, a beer, and fried plantains. It was perfect.

It was there, in that tiny neighborhood corner restaurant that I learned to love fried plantains.

I have had the privilege of enjoying fried plantains prior to that Cuban restaurant, however it was the many nights in those warm booths that caused me to appreciate fried plantains in a new way- as dessert, a salty appetizer, a warm crunchy salad topper, the perfect side dish, my snack craving on the go- the list goes on, and my appreciation runs deep!

Fast forward many moons, and I am missing those warm Richmond nights with the strong sweet smell of Cuban food floating through the neighborhood. Therefore, I did the only thing my nostalgia would let me do. I decided to try my hand at this classic recipe myself.

There are a few different ways to approach plantains- sweet and salty. I tried my hand at both, and have to say- you truly can’t go wrong! So, go ahead, try your hand at both, and let me know your favorite!

You have nothing to lose, and sweet new memories to gain.

Happy snacking!

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil + more for frying as needed
  • Two large plantains
  • Freshly cracked Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Sugar

Directions:

1. Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.
2. Peel the plantains and slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the plantains to the oil, flipping occasionally, and frying 2-4 minutes- or until a golden brown color. (The longer you fry the plantains, the sweeter they are)
4. Remove the plantains from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.
For salty plantains– sprinkle the tops of each piece with a generous dose of sea salt.
For sweet plantains– combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dredge the plantain slice through the bowl until coated with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining slices.
For salty sweet plantains– dredge the plantain in the cinnamon sugar mix and then sprinkle with sea salt.
Enjoy!

 

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Notes and Tips!: 

  • Adapted from: The Food Network 
  • Ways to enjoy plantains:
    • The perfect crunchy and warm salad topping
    • Appetizer snack!
    • Serve them with whipped cream, ice cream, or drizzled with caramel sauce
    • Enjoy as a delicious side dish
    • Add them to your lunch box for a perfect office snack
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious snacks from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links found below photos)

Strawberry Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Mint and Caramelized Onion

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The World’s Most Delicious (and EASY!) Chocolate Cake (2014)

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I don’t know about you all, or if this is just a Georgia thing, but there are strawberries Everywhere! It’s awesome!

For the last few week I have been eating strawberries like they are going out of style, and I have no intention to stop.

My normal method of eating strawberries is to slice them up and put them in my morning oatmeal or on top of a bagel. However, I have grown to really love strawberries in the main course and in side dishes. People do not expect to see strawberries in their wraps or in their salad, but I have never received a complaint!

So, if you’re feeling a little springy, healthy, and like trying something new, give these delicious quesadillas a try! Strawberries on the dinner table or in the lunchbox will make everybody happy. 🙂

Come back soon!

Love, Sarah

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Ingredients*:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 box of button mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (or regular BV)*
  • 1 pint of strawberries, rinsed and sliced thin
  • 5 sprigs of mint leaves, rinsed and diced
  • 6 ounces honey goat cheese
  • 10 whole wheat tortillas* (Use gluten free quesadillas if needed!)

Directions:

  1. Slice the onion and mushrooms into small strips/ bite size pieces.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and beginning to brown. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, and cook for another few minutes until the onions look slightly caramelized. Remove from heat.
  3. Assemble the quesadillas by spreading a layer of goat cheese on a tortillas. Top with sliced strawberries, diced mint leaves, and a hearty spoonful of the onion/mushroom mixture.
  4. Place in a large frying pan over medium heat, and top with another goat-cheese spread tortilla. (Do not use oil or non-stick spray! The oil will make the tortilla soggy and ruin the quesadilla!). Cook for a few minutes on each side, remove from the skillet, and cut with a pizza cutter.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • I made these quesadillas for a potluck, which is why there are 10 tortillas listed. Feel free to half the ingredient list to fit your own serving needs!
  • Looking for Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar? I got mine at a specialty Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil store in Kansas City, however grocery stores such as Whole Foods also carry a variety of vinegars, and any fruit flavored balsamic vinegar will have a similar affect! If all else fails, regular BV will also work well!
  • Like this recipe? Try these other spring dishes from ‘A Rented Kitchen’ (recipe links found below photos!):

Honey-Roasted Pears With Lavender

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So this dish is delicious. Seriously and dangerously delicious.

I know I say that about a lot of things, which I hold to be true, but THIS! This is good.

There is something really special about this dish. The pairing of the zesty lemon juice with the fragrant herb, and the sweet savory mascarpone cheese- yes please. I promise you will love it.

One additional pro, (I could go on, but I will spare you!), is that this dish is very simple to prepare, but is very elegant in presentation and appearance. Bookmark this one for the next time you have company, and come back tomorrow for one more lavender recipe!

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Lavender Week

Day One- Lavender Hot Chocolate with Homemade Whipped Cream

Day Two- Roasted Yukon Potatoes with Lavender

Day Three- Lemon Lavender Loaf

Day Four- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts and Lavender

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Ingredients

  • ½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 large, ripe pears, halved
  • ¼ cup local honey
  • 2 sprigs fresh lavender
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mascarpone cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F, and smooth a thin layer of butter on a 7 x 11 inch baking dish.
  2. Arrange the pears, cut side up, in the baking dish. Drizzle with honey, and then sprinkle the lemon zest and lavender over top.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and spoon the honey from the dish back over the pears. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the pears are soft and golden.
  4. Remove from the oven and top with 1 teaspoon of mascarpone cheese, drizzle the remaining honey in the baking pan, serve warm and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Adapted from: Health
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links below):