Blackberry Basil Vinaigrette

Have you guys taken note of all of the gorgeous berries in stores right now? I’ve been enjoying all of them, but hard pressed – I’d say juicy, plump blackberries are my favorite. And, they’ve been REALLY good this year. So when Driscoll’s reached out to me and ask me to come up with blackberry recipe to share with you guys, how could I say no?

While I’ve had my usual fun baking with them, I thought a more savory application would be a fun twist. In an effort to shed a few pounds before sandbar season, I’ve been trying to eat more salads. I always make my own dressings, but have never made one with a fruit puree as the base before. Wow, I’ve really been missing out!

I added a handful of fresh basil to the blackberries before I pureed them, which added a wonderful aroma and freshness. The thick puree acts as a wonderful emulsifier, and the sweetness from the berries really rounds out the flavor. I also used champagne vinegar, for it’s subtle flavor…to really let the blackberry and basil shine. But, white wine vinegar would be an excellent substitute.

I like to serve it over a bed of mixed greens with some candied walnuts, herbed goat cheese, and plenty of fresh blackberries. Makes the perfect simple salad for these warmer days we’ve been having! Would also be wonderful to use as a marinade for chicken or pork. I’ll definitely be trying that in the very near future!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at Driscoll’s. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mexican Chorizo and Corn ChowderA few weeks ago a huge box of goodies arrived on my door sent by the good folks at V&V Supremo. They specialize in Mexican products – chorizo, cheeses, cremas ans sour creams. I have a hard time finding good, authentic Mexican ingredients here in my rural area, so it was a real treat to have so many yummy ingredients at the ready!

I’ve long wanted to make a spin on my Southwestern Potato & Corn Chowder using chorizo for a Mexican twist. So, that’s pretty much what I did. The flavor from the chorizo just melts down into every bite of the soup. Chunks of tender potato and crunchy corn make for a filling soup that fills you up, but doesn’t weigh you down. I used some quesco fresco to crumble on top, and a little fresh cilantro. It was amazing!

I’ll definitely be stocking up on more of their chorizo next time I’m doing a stock-up trip in the big city. It’s great to have around for so many applications, and has so much more flavor than traditional sausage…that isn’t spicy either – just intensely flavored. If you’ve never used chorizo in your kitchen before, this soup is a great place to start! Make this one soon, guys – it’s a winner!

Disclaimer: I was provided with products courtesy of V&V Supremo. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Dill Pickle Soup

I know. I know what you must be thinking…pickle soup? WTF? Right? I thought the same at first when I’d overheard several people mention this soup. It’s also on the menu at one of my favorite little spots to grab a bite here on Chincoteague, Poseidon’s Pantry. So naturally, I had to give it a try at home.

Last week Jon ventured to San Francisco for work stuff. What better place to have to go to for a 49ers fan? I was at home with our 3 boys, and we survived. I’m blessed with pretty well behaved kids! Towards the end of the week I had two of my best girlfriends over to for dinner to try this odd soup…

Turns out it’s REALLY good. Chunks of potato, dill pickles, carrots, chicken broth, sour cream and fresh dill all combine together to create a wonderfully rich, and filling – yet light soup. I think the key is to use really good quality refrigerated pickles in the soup. They stay crunchy and retain their briny flavor. Whereas some of the guys from the shelves in the jars are flabby and crunch-less from the get-go.

We all really enjoyed it, especially the boys. With all the bright flavor from the pickles and the dill, it’s a great soup to welcome springtime. Definitely one I’ll be making again and again, it’s just too much fun not to!

Souce: adapted from The Noble Pig

Southwestern Egg Rolls

With Super Bowl upon us tomorrow, I thought it was only prudent to share a great appetizer recipe with you before the big game! I’ve wanted to make these guys for a couple years now, but just never managed to get around to it. Traditional homemade egg rolls are one of our very favorite things ever, and we love Mexican food – so it was totally no surprise when we all loved them!

Corn, red pepper, black beans, red onion, spinach, garlic, and cilantro are given a quick saute to soften. Then they’re mixed with a blend of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, rolled into an egg roll wrapper, and quickly fried. I suspect that they would also be great baked, if you’re looking for a healthier route. But it’s Super Bowl, and I’m not.

I served with an avocado ranch dipping sauce, which couldn’t have been any easier. I just mashed up an avocado well and mixed it with ranch dressing. I think salsa would also be another great option for dipping, which is again- much healthier! I hope everyone enjoys the big game tomorrow – we’ll be rooting for the Patriots (anyone BUT the Seahawks!). Stay safe and warm, everyone!