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Lemon & Prickly Pear Pasta Salad, Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Eggs on Crusty Italian Toast and Orange & Avocado Salad with Mixed Greens


Lemon & Prickly Pear Pasta Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 pound Rotini pasta 
1 1/4 cups artichoke hearts, quartered 
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup Queen Creek Olive Mill Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
1/4 cup Queen Creek Olive Mill Prickly Pear Balsamic Reduction
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 ounce pine nuts
1/2 ounce parsley
Boil pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and shock with ice cold water. Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Place in refrigerator, serve chilled. 

Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Eggs on Crusty Italian Toast
Great brunch idea when you can’t decide what to do with all the cherry tomatoes from your garden.
2 tablespoons Queen Creek Olive Mill Master Blenders' Choice Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pints cherry tomatoes stems removed
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
3/4 cup shredded cheese (fontina, Manchego or aged white cheddar)
4 thick slices of toasted crusty Italian bread
Fresh chopped Italian parsley
Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat until oil is hot but not smoking.  Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat, stirring, until blistered and softened, about 5 minutes. Incorporate the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the tomatoes are juicy, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, salt and black pepper.
Add the eggs one at a time by breaking each egg into a small cup. With a spatula make an indentation in the sizzling tomatoes and slip the egg into the indentation.  Sprinkle with cheese and cover and cook over medium-low heat until the eggs are set, about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to scoop out servings of eggs and juicy tomatoes onto think sliced toasted crusty Italian bread. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Orange & Avocado Salad with Mixed Greens
For the Vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
3 tablespoons Queen Creek Olive Mill Pomegranate White Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Queen Creek Olive Mill Master Blenders’ Choice Extra Virgin Olive Oil
a pinch of salt

For the Salad:
5 big leaves of escarole torn into bite-sized pieces
6 endive leaves sliced into pieces about 1-inch wide
3 radicchio leaves thinly sliced
1/2 medium bulb of fennel cored and sliced paper thin
2 blood or navel oranges
1/2 an avocado thinly sliced and then cut again into quarters
1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted 
salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the vinaigrette place the shallots in a medium bowl, add the vinegar, dijon, herbs, salt and olive oil and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Wash and dry the greens in a salad spinner. Add to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt. Add the fennel and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Remove the peel of the orange with a sharp knife including the pith of the oranges and slice into bite-size pieces.
Add to the mixing bowl along with the avocado slices. Sprinkle with salt. Add the vinaigrette and gently toss until all of the salad is lightly coated (add a little more vinaigrette if necessary). Add a few cracks of black pepper to the salad, sprinkle the almonds over the top, and serve.

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