Orange Macadamia Salad with Crispy 'Butterflies'

Hi friends! I'm still on vacation, with unreliable internet connection but I'll be home soon.

I wanted to pop in to say hello and let you know how much I miss catching up on your comments and visiting your blogs.

I can't wait to get home, to catch up with you all.
(And to be back to my own kitchen!)

This post is a repeat from January of this year, it has been on my mind and I think it will be one of the first things I make when I'm home again.


I love everything about this salad, it's a combination of a couple of other recipes. I wasn't quite satisfied with any of them, so I played around and bumped up the flavors with a few additions until I was happy with the results.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I prefer either simple straight forward salads, or composed salads with more elements which add flavor and textural interest, then arranged in a not-too-fussy way on the plate. You could add some grilled or poached sliced chicken if you like.

The little crispy "butterflies" are optional, I happened to have a few wonton wrappers leftover so used them here. Quickly shaped and fried, they add a whimsical garnish and a crispy crunch.

You can just peel and slice the orange(s), but I like to cut the sections into


eliminating all pith & membrane from the sections.
I use bagged, organic baby field or spring mix for the greens in this salad. Baby spinach leave would work very well, too.

Be sure to toast the macadamia nuts to bring out the flavor. Toasted almonds (sliced or slivered), hazelnuts, or pecans would also be very good.

Besides the wonton wrapper "Butterflies", as a final garnish I slivered some candied ginger and sprinkled it over the orange segments.

Here are the ingredients for the vinaigrette (and basic proportions.) I rarely measure when I'm cooking, only when I'm baking, so taste as you go along. You may like it sweeter or more tart than I do. :)

If you would like a
printable copy for the Orange Vinaigrette, directions and ingredients for assembling the salad, and making the wonton butterflies,
you can find it HERE on my recipe blog.

It's one of my favorite salads, especially in the middle of winter!

A little sunshine on your plate. :)

Blogcation ~

I'm off for a short break ~ I'll be back soon.

Happy Autumn Friends!


Coffee Crème Brûlée

Coffee Crème Brûlée

Rich with eggs and cream, it is a once-in-a-while indulgence,
so when I make it it had better be very good!

Vanilla bean is my very favorite, but for a change this is one version that I like.

I like to bake these in sturdy coffee cups. For an dessert buffet table assortment, espresso cups are the perfect size if you are serving sampler-size desserts.

Recipe courtesy Bob Blumer Show from the Food Network.
Here's the link if you would like the recipe:

The Surreal Gourmet

If you try it, I hope you like it too.

Thank you for stopping by today. :)


Lemon Seared Scallops on Wonton Crisps

Do you like scallops? I don't recall my parents ever preparing them at home, but scallops would be my favorite choice as a child when we would go out for a seafood dinner. Mildly flavored, bite size and no bones ~ they were the perfect vehicle for a squeeze of lemon and loads of tartar sauce. :)

One of us doesn't care for scallops as much as I do, so I don't prepare them very often... however THIS recipe received thumbs up, even from the one who doesn't normally care for scallops. I love when that happens, don't you?! :)

Prepared this way they make a perfect appetizer or starter with a glass of dry sherry, wine of your choice ~ or any cold drink for that matter!

You can shallow-fry the wontons in advance, then just sear the scallops in a little olive oil, butter and lemon zest. To assemble, sprinkle a few slivers of scallions on each wonton, top with a scallop, drizzle with a little of the pan juices and sprinkle with lemon zest.

The delicate crunch of the crispy wonton contrasts perfectly with the mild, tender scallop while the scallion and lemon zest provide the a delightful flavor spike.

I will certainly make these again ~ they are delicious! If you try them, I hope you like them as well.

If you would like a printable copy of this easy recipe, you can find it on my recipe blog by clicking HERE.


Stacked Pear Salads

Shared by a friend, from a magazine ~
when I saw it, I knew I wanted to make it!

This one is fun because you can play around with it by swapping out the various ingredients with whatever combinations sounds good to you.

The wow factor comes from slicing the upright pears horizontally; these pears were small so I sliced them into thirds; if you use larger pears you could slice into fourths.

The greens, cheese and nuts are tossed with a mild vinaigrette (I used raspberry vinaigrette) which holds the pear slices together when the pear is reassembled.

The original recipe called for blue cheese, which would be delicious ~ but since we're watching the fat I substituted the blue cheese with reduced fat Feta cheese.

After assembling, honey is drizzled over the pear. I placed each pear on an organic, non-sprayed grape leaf from the garden.

If you try this recipe, I hope you love it!

Thank you for stopping by to visit ~ 
I would love it if you would leave me a message.
 I always look forward to hearing from you.



Crispy Wonton Chicken Stacks ~ Thai Style

Now here is a delicious little appetizer or starter ~ not too filling with layers of interesting flavors.

Crispy and crunchy, wonton wrappers piled high with basil, mint, cilantro, slivers of chili, shredded chicken and finished with a sweet & savory drizzle.

I always end up with a few extra won ton skins at the end of the package and this is a great way to utilize them.

If you're fond of Asian food, I think you may like this recipe ~ they went over really well at my house. :)

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe you can find it HERE on my recipe blog.

Thank you for stopping by! Please leave me a comment if you'd like.


Chicken Breast Roasted on Tomatoes and Eggplant with Oregano

Oh . . . I know some abhor eggplant (aubergine)

But not me.

Having grown up in California I feel fortunate my parents introduced us to almost every (fresh) vegetable imaginable which were available here while we were young.
Although I wasn't overjoyed [understatment !] when eggplant was on the dinner menu back then ... I learned to tolerate it.

Now I like it very much.
And there are so many ways to prepare it ...
such as this way ~

This is such a delicious and easy recipe.

A thick slice of eggplant, slices of tomatoes, then sea salt, cracked pepper, oregano leaves (fresh or dried), topped with a boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Put it in the oven to bake at 350* (F) for a bit, then topped with grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, returned to the oven to finish until cheese topping is melted and slightly golden.

It's soo good ~ And fairly healthful ~ I hope you like it too.

Truly, no recipe needed, ... but I've posted it on my recipe blog if you would like a printable copy ~ click HERE.

Thank you for stopping by ~ Please leave a comment!
I truly appreciate the messages and words you leave for me.
xo ~ Mari


Tablescape ~ Fleur de Lis and Crowns

Hello and welcome to this weeks Tablescape Thursday!

This teapot, a gift from my friend Jain (Once in a Blue Moon), was the seed for my table inspiration this week. I love all things Fleur de Lis and Crowns so this was a fun one for me to put together.

(Sources are listed at the end of the post)

I set the antique claw foot table in the dining nook with a vaguely autumn theme. Although I set the table with silver and crystal, I wanted a less formal table so I skipped the tablecloth ~ I like this look for a change.

Please pull up a chair and visit for a while~

A verse from Jane Austen ~

A whiff of woodsmoke on the wind,

The first chill in the air ~

The woods just edged in gold,

And without looking at the calendar

We know we've turned the page

And it is September.

Time to air the quilts

Pick bouquets of sunflowers

Light the first fire.

Time to put the 'Sweet'

In "Home Sweet Home"


There is nothing like staying home for real comfort.

~ Jane Austen

Thank you so much for stopping by to visit today!

You're warmly invited to leave a comment and/or to sign up to follow my blog.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


"M" Crown Chargers and Plates ~ Home Goods (With thanks again to my special Personal Shopper!)

Cutlery ~ Towel Sterling Silver, "Candlelight" pattern

Napkin rings ~ Fleur de Lis Abstract French Design Napkin Rings

Water Goblets ~ Williams Sonoma at Home

Silverplate Fleur de Lis Place card/ Menu holders ~ Nell Hill

Pedestals beneath pumpkins & pears ~ Nell Hill

Silverplate Soup Tureen ~ Antique

Crystal Champagne Flutes ~ Vintage, unknown pattern

Crystal Salt and Pepper ~ Vintage

Sterling Pepper Mill ~ Vintage

Candles ~ Colonial Candles, of course!
They have been my favorite candle brand for years; I'm so happy to see so many of our tablescaping friends using them. The are exceptional, fine-quality candles.

Please click on the button above to visit Susan's blog
to leave her a nice comment and see a list of all of the fabulous tables this week.

A Sampling of my food . . .


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