Summer Broccoli Salad

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I hope you enjoyed everyone’s favorite picnic holiday this Fourth! We had quite a unique celebration, camping for the weekend in Yellowstone National Park. It was Harper’s first camping experience. That child got dirtier than she has ever been before and loved every minute of it. Our scenic campsite included some extremely interesting visitors at nearly every meal. There were two gigantic bison (largest North American animal, by the way) that wandered right into our campsite each day and sniffed around to see what might appease their palates. Thankfully they were satisfied with their grass, but those guys are so huge. It was incredible…and a bit scary to have them so close. Had they decided they wanted to partake in our meal, I’ll be willing to bet their dish of choice would have been this broccoli salad. It was certainly a big hit among the humans.

I brought two cookbooks to Bozeman this summer. One was Martha Stewart’s Living Cookbook, which I was excited to have the time to explore. The other was my Big Green Cookbook, a gift from people who know just how to please me. This book not only  has a lot of great recipes and grand variety, it is full of tips for living a greener life, both in and around the kitchen.

This broccoli salad uses yogurt for the sauce and is ever-so-slightly sweetened with both honey and jam (in my adaptation). Even if you have a broccoli salad recipe standby, you should really try this one. It is different without neglecting the reasons we love broccoli salad. This travelled well in our cooler and lasted through several meals with 6 or 7 munchers.

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SUMMER BROCCOLI SALAD

adapted from Big Green Cookbook,Jackie Newgent, RD

Makes about 8 cups; great for a large crowd.

INGREDIENTS

7 Cups Broccoli Florets

1/2 Large Red Onion, very thinly sliced

3/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar, Grated

1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries

1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt

2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Honey

1 Tablespoon Jam (I recommend Raspberry, but whatever you have on hand will do)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 Cup Chopped Cashews

PREPARATION

Layer the broccoli, onion, cheese, and cranberries in a large bowl.

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Whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, jam, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing evenly over salad and gently toss.

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Sprinkle with cashews and serve.



English Muffin French Toast (With Homemade English Muffins)

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The thing you are going to love the most about this post is that in addition to a sweet breakfast plan, you will walk away with a recipe for the most comforting, butter-melting, honey-drizzling-good English Muffin recipe you never knew existed. It is all thanks to my cousin’s wife, Meredith, who brought a loaf of these to our Thanksgiving family gathering a couple of years ago. I can’t remember the loaf lasting too long, and given the way my large family plunges into something delicious, like pyranah’s devouring their prey in a rapid feeding frenzy, I’m lucky to have tried a slice, or perhaps even two… and I have not forgotten them. “Meredith’s Mom’s English Muffins” is my top page under the breads category in my recipe binder. So, when Southern Living offered a suggestion for English Muffin French Toast recently, I knew I would not be buying English muffins.

Meredith made hers in a regular loaf pan, but she mentioned that her mom had often used a large, empty tin can to make them round. Intrigued, naturally, I had to try the tin can thing. What you see below is one recipe of the English muffins,divided among two cans; the first before the rise, and the second, after. These cans originally held pineapple juice.

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I guarantee these “muffins” are so simple, and yet fail-proof impressers. Baked in a loaf pan, the smell of them baking will wow anyone who sets foot in your house. Saying you made your own English muffins, alone, will require its own set of wowed comments. Make them round, and really, you’re just showing off. I’ll give you one must-do instruction, just as Meredith’s mom’s recipe directs: “Use real butter on these.” But, of course.

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MEREDITH’S MOM’S ENGLISH MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

2 Packages Rapid Rise Yeast
6 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 teaspoons Salt
2 Cups Milk
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Water
*you will also need a food thermometer

PREPARATION

Combine 4 Cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and soda in medium bowl and set aside. 

Heat liquids (milk and water) in a saucepan on the stove until very warm (120°-130°…if it goes over you will kill the yeast and they won’t turn out). Add to dry mixture and beat well with mixer.

Gradually stir in the rest of the flour to make a stiff and sticky batter.

Pour batter evenly into two greased loaf pans or extra large, clean tin cans. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until double or rising out of pans- about a half hour.

Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool.

“Best served with real butter!”

Moving along to the fabulous french toast: I love this spin on the breakfast classic. It’s not too out there- you know, same flavors and everything (with the possible exception of orange zest), but why not change up the bread a little and go for a subtle difference? Your shapes are different, too, which just makes this look so pretty! Then there is the lovely greek yogurt and syrup combo for a topping; a bit of a travesty that no one thought of it until now. It’s just no wonder breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and this one says it with love.

Who will you make this for?

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ENGLISH MUFFIN FRENCH TOAST and CREAMY SYRUP SAUCE

From Southern Living

INGREDIENTS

4 Large Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
2 teaspoons Orange Zest
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6 English Muffins, Split
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
toppings: Chopped fresh peaches,
strawberries, blueberries, or
whatever you have is season

PREPARATION

Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Place English muffins in a 13×9-inch baking dish, overlapping edges. Pour egg mixture over muffins. Cover and chill 8-12 hours.
Remove muffins from remaining liquid, discarding liquid.
Melt butter in large skillet and cook muffins in batches over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until muffins are golden.
Stir together yogurt and syrup until blended. Serve over English muffin french toast and fruit.