Spring into Simplicity

The weather is finally starting to feel like Spring and pretty soon even warmer temperatures will give way to the "Dog Days of Summer." The grocery stores and local markets will begin to be full of beautiful produce tempting us with fresh flavors.

The Gathering of Friends Cookbook Vol. 4 has some great recipes utilizing an array of fruits and vegetables...below are a few from this volume. (for more recipes, visit us at the store and check out more volumes of The Gathering of Friends Cookbooks)


1 lb. pkg. bow tie pasta
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red onion
1 c. cilantro, minced
1 c. corn, frozen
12 oz. spicy Jack cheese, diced
15 oz. can black beans

Cook pasta al dente. Remove seeds from red and yellow pepper and cut into long strips and cut in half. Peel and chop red onion and mince rinsed cilantro. Rinse and pat dry frozen corn. Dice spicy Jack cheese into small chunks. Drain and rince black beans. Toss all ingredients together and fold in Texan Spicy Dressing. Chill before serving.

1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dry basil
1 tsp. garlic pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together in blender and chill before serving.


3 10 oz. rib eye steaks
Worcestershire sauce
kosher salt
coare black pepper
onion salt
garlic salt
cayenne pepper
3 hearts of romaine
2 mangos
3 avocados
1 lg. red onion
1 bunch cilantro

Using a meat fork, poke holes on top of each steak. Then generously sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce and season with kosher salt, pepper, onion salt, garlic salt and cayenne pepper. Turn steaks over and repeat. Grill steaks for 6-8 minutes on each side for medium rare or longer as desired. When ready to serve, cut steaks in bite-size pieces.

Remove bottom 2 inches from each head of romaine. Cut or tear lettuce into bite-size pieces. Clean, rince and pat dry. Chill. Peel mangos and cut into chunks. Cut avocados in half and remove pits. Slice avocados into bite-size pieces. Chop red onon and mince cilantro. Set aside. When ready to serve, place lettuce on each plate. Arrange mango, avacado, red onion, cilantro and Roasted Macadamia Nuts evenly onto romain. Top with slices of steak. Finish with Honey Lime Dressing and serve.

10 oz. macadamia nuts
2 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
5 tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place macadamia nuts ina small bowl and coat with sweetened condensed milk. Sprinkle with brown sugar and coat evenly. Spread out on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper and separate nuts. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring nuts after 5 minutes. Continue baking until nuts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

1/2 c. honey
1 c. vegetalbe oil
3/4 c. rice vinegar
juice of 4 limes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
6 drops Tabasco sauce

Place honey, vegetable oil, rice vinegar, juice of 4 limes, salt, pepper, dry mustard and Tabasco sauce in a blender and puree. Chill before serving.



1 c. almonds, chopped
3 c. chicken, cooked
1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper
3 celery stalks
2 green onions
1/2 c. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 heads butter leaf lettuce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread chopped almonds on jelly roll pan and bake in oven for 8 to 10 minutes and set aside. Using two forks, shred cooked chicken into bite-size pieces. Season with pepper. Chop celery stalks and green onions. Fold oven roated almonds, chicken, celery and onions together. In a separate bowl, combine rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Pour over chicken and mix together for a tuna salad like consistency. Separate lettuce leaves in sections, creating cup shapes. Fill with chicken salad. Place filled lettuce cups on serving tray close together to help keep cup shape. Chill. Drizzle with Szechwan Dressing when ready to serve.


1 c. rice vinegar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red peppers
1/3 c. peanut butter

In a blender, mix vinegar, oils, sugar, red pepper and peanut butter. Chill before serving with lettuce cups.

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