Watermelon Caprese Cups with Balsamic Glaze

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Once the first of July hits, we are in summer! What is summer without watermelon??? For a new twist on the quintessential fruit of summer…… Watermelon Caprese Cups with Balsamic Glaze.Watermelon Caprese Cups with Balsamic Glaze Let me just say, I had never had watermelon with anything other than salt or vodka (back in the day). Who doesn’t love a nice cold piece of watermelon on a sultry hot days in the middle of summer?

Watermelon Caprese Cups with Balsamic Glaze

A couple of years ago I made Spinach Watermelon Salad
and was pleasantly surprised with feta and watermelon. Why not mozzarella? No reason I could think of. Continue reading “Watermelon Caprese Cups with Balsamic Glaze”


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Cranberry Orange Pork Roast

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Cranberry Orange Pork Roast……cranberries, with a whisper of orange……..the prettiest little pork roast you will ever see….or serve!!

Cranberry Orange Pork Roast

When fall is here and the temperature starts to drop, I think back to Sunday dinners with my family. First off, let me just say that my family is one in a million. As kids my cousins and I spent many a happy Sunday at someones house and there was alway a big Sunday meal. It was usually at noon…….just after church and so us kids could get home and get ready for bed…..school on Monday you know!

Cranberry Orange Pork Roast 1


Now, when I was growing up, crockpots we not the norm. I remember my Grandmother and Aunts cooking up a storm in their kitchens, and the smells that came from those kitchens…..well nothing else can quite compare.

So, in honor of fall and my family… Cranberry Orange Pork Roast. The prep for this is very simple and using the crockpot makes a “start it and forget it” main dish.

A nice boneless pork loin roast, seasoned with salt and pepper and browned in just a bit of coconut oil. Browning the meat seals in the flavor and gives the meat a beautiful brown caramel color. Then into the crockpot.

Cranberry Orange Pork Roast 5

Next in a small bowl, some dried cranberries… deep red, tart and slightly sweet, orange marmalade… bright, sweet, and bursting with citrus flavor. A bit of balsamic vinegar (fermented wine grapes barrel-aged for many years) for its rich, dark brown, sweet-sour flavor and brown sugar for an extra touch of sweetness.

All of this poured over the browned roast and cooked for 3-4 hours on low in the crockpot.

Cranberry Orange Pork Roast 7

I knew the flavors of this dish would work and taste great, but I was not prepared for how really pretty it was……the cranberries reconstituted and looked like they were fresh. The sauce was sweet tart and a dark umber color with little flecks of orange peel…..beautiful!

I did add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce, but only because Tim and I like a thicker sauce.

Cranberry Orange Pork Roast with some new potatoes or rice, and some nice fresh green beans…….a beautiful Sunday family dinner!

Cranberry Orange Pork Roast Collage

Cranberry Orange Pork Roast
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¾ cup orange marmalade
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Brown roast on all sides.Transfer browned roast to a 6-qt. crock pot.
  2. In a small bowl, mix marmalade, cranberries, vinegar and brown sugar until blended; pour over roast. Cook, covered, on low 3-4 hours or until tender and the internal temperature should read at least 145°.
  3. Remove roast from crock pot. Let stand covered with foil for about15 minutes before slicing to allow juice to stay in the meat when sliced.
  4. Remove fat from cooking juices. Serve pork with sauce
Notes
For a thicker sauce use 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of water mixed and add until desired thickness.

 

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Roasted Pear Salad

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Roasted Pear Salad

Roasted Pear Salad

Looking for a special side dish for the upcoming holidays?……… Roasted Pear Salad is it!


I am a recent convert to fruit on a green salad ………..well recent as in the last 10 years……ok so not so recent, but it is a taste to behold.

In my experience, salad was always lettuce,tomato,cucumber…….blah,blah,blah. So, the first time I tried fruit I was surprised how good it was, so I tried it again, and again and it kept getting better and better.

If you read my blog, you know if something catches my eye at the store it will make its way here…….lucky you!

I saw these pears and a fall salad came right to my mind. The pears on a bed of baby greens with walnuts and blue cheese……..sounded yummy. Some kind of vinaigrette to dress the salad……I had a plan.

Now, the biggest problem I have with apples or pears on a salad is that they turn color so easily unless you serve it right away and I am the make ahead type of gal!

I have tried lemon juice and the trick of soaking in 7-up, but never with much luck. I know you all can’t see it, but sometime a light bulb goes off in my head……..no really it does……..

If I roasted the pears the only color they would turn is a pretty, fall golden color, and what’s better than butter to make that happen?…….Paula Deen has the whole butter thing right, everything is better with butter.

Roasted Pear Salad

So, cut side down in butter and 20 minutes later add a touch of balsamic…….it was going in the dressing, so why not add the flavor to the pears?…….light bulb!
When they came out of the oven I wanted them to soak up all that balsamic butter flavor so, even though it was all I could do not too……..I left them cut side down until they were completely cool. When I turned them over…………I swear they were the most beautiful things, all glossy and golden. I knew I made the right choice.
Another plus to preparing the pears this way besides them not turning colors, you can make them ahead,along with all the other things for the salad, and put it together at a moments notice.
Perfect if you are going to a holiday happening and you are ask to bring the salad……totally portable.

 

Blue cheese and walnuts “pear” beautifully with pears. I like gorgonzola better than regular blue cheese. To me it has a smoother creamy flavor, but by all means use what ever blue type cheese you like best. Toasting the walnuts…….or any nut for that matter, enhances their taste, like a million, billion times………if you have never tried it, you really have too!

I used individual plates, but if you were taking this to a get-together you can use a platter and just slice the pears. But, I wanted a fancy smancy plate, so heres how it went…….Baby greens, roasted pear half ( cut side up to show all it beauty), sprinkle with gorgonzola and walnut……serve with Honey Balsamic Dressing.

Both Tim and I thought the presentation was elegant and beautiful…….then we ate the salad…….the seas parted and angels sang……..ok not really, but it was a little piece of heaven.

So, impress your friends, family or significant other with this beautiful looking and tasty fall salad Roasted Pear Salad……..it will “leaf” them breathless !

Roasted Pear Salad Collage

Roasted Pear Salad
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups mixed baby greens
  • ½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 2 Bosc pears,cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Honey Balsamic Dressing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400*
  2. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a 8x8 inch baking dish. Place in oven to melt butter. Remove core from pears halves using a melon baller or a small spoon.
  3. Place pears cut side down in the melted butter and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar,return to oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let set until room temperature. Do not remove the pears from the baking dish until completely cooled.
  4. Divide the mixed green among 4 plates. Top greens with one pear half,skin side up. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts.
  5. Serve with Honey Balsamic Dressing

Honey Balsamic Dressing
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl mix vinegar,honey,and shallot until well blended. Whisk in oil until emulsified. Salt and pepper to taste.

 

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