• Cherry Almond Cookies

  • Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

  • Whole Wheat Cheese Crackers

  • Berry Pom Smoothies

  • Kale and Lentil Soup

  • Toasted Almond and Farro Salad with Tahini Dressing

  • Bourbon Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce

  • Lasagna Bolognese

Hamptons Lane: Find Your Taste (Recipe: Brie & Apple Panini)

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This is a sponsored post written by me for Hamptons Lane. I received a box from Hamptons Lane to review and was asked to create a recipe for their company. All opinions are 100% my own.

One of my most favorite times of year is the week or so leading up to the Fourth of July. Although our town is close to a major city, it has the charm of a small town. Around this time of year, I like to go on long walks or bike rides at dusk to admire the beautiful old historic homes with wrap around front porches that are draped with patriotic bunting. I love our town, our village. I love hearing laughter from the neighborhood children playing an extra round of tag compliments of the lingering sunlight, seeing fireflies magically appear amidst the mature maple, oak, and magnolia trees. I love falling asleep with the windows open to the lullaby of crickets and cicadas. I love that we celebrate summer big here, and the Fourth of July is a centrical part of that summer celebration.

In our town, everyone heads to the park for traditional Fourth of July fireworks. We bring blankets and many families enjoy picnics under the stars while waiting for the fireworks to begin. This year, the content of my summer picnics have gone from okay to gourmet thanks to one company: Hamptons Lane. I am simply blown away by this company. The experts at Hamptons Lane search high and low to bring the best culinary goods and products straight to your door in a themed box each month. The value of these boxes is amazing, and there is no charge if you aren’t interested in that month’s box and want to wait for the following month.

Furthermore, I am impressed by their customer service. I think a company with great products can really shine when their customer service is top notch, and this is one of those companies. They are personable, warm, and friendly people that are truly grateful to share their passion for good food and products with you.

This month, the box theme is “Gourmet Picnic.” It’s perfect to tote along to your local fireworks celebration, trip to the beach, or backyard BBQ.

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Within this box, I received an American flag wine tote (LOVE THIS! and such a good idea), a custom olivewood and carbon steel knife, meaux mustard, fig and onion jam, sweet heat pickles, and deals from Murray’s cheese shop. You can read about the companies these products came from on this page.

Using some of the products from this month’s box, I made delicious brie and apple panini, perfect to carry along to a picnic. Simply buy fresh whole wheat bread and butter the side of one slice. Place on a hot non-stick grill pan and stack thin cut slices of apple and brie on top.

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On another other slice of bread, spread a generous helping of meaux mustard found in your picnic box. Check out how grainy it is! This is mustard.

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Place this piece of bread mustard-side down on the sandwich and brush it with butter. Press down with weight using a spatula, until grill marks appear. Flip and repeat.

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I really do hope you look into Hamptons Lane and learn what they’re all about. I’d be interested to hear what boxes you try and what recipes you create with the contents of each box. *Update: This month, they are featuring a “Summer Cocktail Party” box! Sign me up!*

This Fourth of July, and all summer long, I encourage you to simply celebrate. Take time to celebrate our great country and those who have served and are currently serving to protect it. Celebrate the freedoms that we so often take for granted. Celebrate your own village and the reasons you love calling it home. Celebrate big, friends, and celebrate often.

Brie and Apple Panini
Prep Time: 5 min. Cook Time: 10 min.

Ingredients:

2 slices whole wheat bread
6 half moon slices of granny smith apple
3 slices of brie
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1+ tablespoon(s) meaux mustard

Preparation:

Heat a non-stick grill pan over medium high heat. Brush some butter on one side of a slice of bread and place it buttered side down on the pan. Pile apples and brie atop this piece of bread. Spread mustard on the other slice of bread and place this piece mustard-side down to top the sandwich. Brush remaining butter on the sandwich.

Using a spatula, press the sandwich with some weight until grill marks appear. Flip sandwich and repeat until grill marks are on both sides and cheese is melted.

Serve warm. Makes 1 panini.

Spicy Black Bean and Radish Tacos

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My husband is a really good cook. This might blow your mind, but he doesn’t write this blog. However, a majority of these recipes come from his genius mind. One of the things I love about Neil is his vision and ability to execute specific tasks in a unique and beautiful way. For example: tacos. I think, “Great, taco night. Let’s set up a bar of our favorite ingredients and go to town.” Neil, on the other hand, makes THESE. Even if you just make the sauce, it will launch your everyday tacos into orbit. It’s super spicy, so if you can’t handle the heat, just look at the pictures and skip this recipe. If you’re ready for a kick, keep reading.

We found the dried chili peppers at Whole Foods hanging up in the produce section by other dried spices. You can use a variety of peppers, but this time we tried chipotle and ancho peppers and it was a good combo.

Instead of flour, try white corn tortillas.

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Heat them in a small skillet then wrap them in foil to keep them warm at the table.

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I love the radishes in this recipe. The crunch is irresistible, and the zingy flavor pairs well with the spicy sauce.

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Even though the ingredient list for this one is lengthy, it won’t take you too long to make these. Trust me, it’s worth the extra ingredients to make these gluten free wonders. Once you’ve had these tacos, you won’t go back to the ordinary.

Spicy Black Bean and Radish Tacos
Prep Time: 20 min. Cook Time: 25 min.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

1 dried ancho pepper
2 dried chipotle peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cilantro stems, chopped
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the tacos:

5 radishes, thinly sliced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 pinch red pepper flake
1 pinch chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
8 small white corn tortillas

Preparation:

Heat four cups of water in a kettle. In a small bowl, pour water over the peppers to rehydrate. After 30 minutes, bring hydrated peppers to a cutting board, but reserve the water. On a cutting board, remove pepper stems, and scrape out seeds. Slice peppers and place in a small food processor.

Add 1/4 cup of the water with the white vinegar, oil, and orange juice and blend in food processor. Scrape sides and add garlic, cilantro stems, salt, pepper, chili powder, and red pepper flake. Continue to blend until smooth. Add more water until it reaches desired consistency. Set sauce aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté red peppers and onion slices for about a minute. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add the black beans to the pan, along with the red pepper flake and chili powder. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and 1/4 cup water from the peppers and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan.

Bring a separate small skillet to high heat. Add one white corn tortilla shell, and cook for 2 minutes per side until warm and spots are beginning to brown. Or, place on a cookie sheet under the broiler until lightly charred. Place shells in a foil pocket to keep warm at the table.

Serve tortilla shells with fresh cilantro, radishes, black bean mixture, and spicy sauce.

Makes 8 tacos

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Baked Avocado Fries

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Adults need after-school snacks, too. If I’ve had a busy afternoon, around 4:00pm I usually need something to munch on to carry me through dinner. Maybe that’s why happy hour was invented. Kids have after-school snacks… we have happy hour.

I am hooked on these avocado fries. I love the crunchy whole wheat breading paired with the creamy rich avocado.

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These snacks won’t leave you feeling as guilty since they are baked with whole wheat ingredients. It’s easy peasy. First, make an assembly line and bread each avocado slice.

DSC_0001Bake avocados for a quick 20 minutes, finish with course salt and a fresh squeeze of lime and serve warm alongside your favorite beverage.

DSC_0043-682x1024So whether your teen is grazing the pantry for an after-school snack or you and your girlfriends are declaring it happy hour on the back patio, these avocado fries are sure to please.

Baked Avocado Fries
Prep Time: 10 min. Cook Time: 20 min.

Ingredients:

1 large avocado, pitted and sliced thick (into about 8 pieces)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 lime

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°. In one bowl, combine whole wheat flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. In another bowl, mix the whole wheat bread crumbs with the other 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg. Set up an assembly line, first dredging each piece of avocado in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, followed by a generous coating of bread crumbs.

Transfer avocados onto a wire rack and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Once removed from the oven, finish with a sprinkle of course salt and fresh lime juice. Serve warm.

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