Main Dishes

New England Classic Quesadilla

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m going to jump right to the point here with this post. It is the last post in my apple series and I wanted a recipe that would blow your socks off. My alma mater, Boston College, has some unbelievable sandwiches. They spark constant debates, long lines and even extensive blog posts.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

However, there is no denying that the New England Classic Panini is among the top contributions to society that this New England college has ever shared. Turkey breast, slices of Granny Smith apple, creamy honey mustard and sharp cheddar cheese come together in sandwich perfection. The sandwich is pressed until the cheese is gooey, which is of course the best way cheese can be consumed.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

Boston College’s version, and the reason it is so remarkable, is the special cranberry-apple bread they serve it on. I do not have their amazing bread so instead of trying to completely replicate the New England Classic I decided to make my own spin on it. This quesadilla brought me right back to the dining hall and I was so absorbed in how delicious it tasted I devoured it with unusual speed.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

The crispy fried tortilla envelopes the turkey, apple, honey mustard and cheddar cheese perfectly. Tartness from the Granny Smith, saltiness from the cheddar and creaminess from the honey mustard come together in sweet lip-smackin’ harmony. If you really want to get fancy with it you could grab some cranberry sauce for dipping. Okay fellow Eagles, it’s your turn:  what do you crave the most from BC dining?

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

New England Classic Quesadilla
 
Yield: 1 quesadilla
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard, plus more if desired
  • ⅓ cup shredded yellow extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices deli turkey
  • ¼ Granny Smith Apple, peeled & thinly sliced
Directions
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat.
  2. Spread the honey mustard all over one side of the tortilla then place in the skillet, honey mustard side up. Evenly sprinkle the cheese all over the honey mustard so it’s completely covering the tortilla. Place a lid or splatter screen over the skillet to help the cheese melt.
  3. Once the cheese is melted evenly place the turkey slices so they are covering the whole tortilla. Evenly place the apple slices on one half of the tortilla. Carefully use a spatula to fold the tortilla in half.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium-high to crisp the exterior of the quesadilla. Watch carefully, this should only take a minute or two. Once browned, flip the quesadilla to crisp up the other side. When the quesadilla is browned on both sides remove from the heat. Let sit for a minute or two then cut into sections before serving.
Notes
To make your own honey mustard mix together 1 tablespoon honey, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons dijon mustard. Adjust honey-mayo-mustard ratio according to taste.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Five minutes into making this soup I knew I had a winner sitting on the stovetop in front of me. Intense smells swirled around me while the softening onions took on a rich color from all the spices. I don’t get cravings for soups unless they pack a lot of flavor and this sweet potato and apple soup hits the mark so I am extremely pleased to be posting it for as the second post in my fall apple series.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

This soup does take a shortcut by using applesauce instead of whole fresh apples, but you could easily turn your apple picking finds into an impromptu applesauce by peeling, coring then crushing them. And then making this soup of course.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The original recipe uses curry powder, but since I didn’t have any on hand I substituted with what was in my cabinet. Feel free to use my version or substitute with curry powder according to the notes in the recipe. The soup has that delicious warming quality that all fall soups should have as well as an exciting complexity of taste.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finishing the soup with a splash of curry butter really deepens this complexity. You might think, “Oh, it’s just a garnish, I’m going to skip the curry butter,” but do not make this mistake my friends! Although it’s just a simple concoction of butter, spices and apple cider vinegar, it adds a final richness and tang to the soup.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The apple chip pictured in the soup photos is the perfect crunchy texture addition and I’ll be sharing the recipe later this week in my third apple post.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1¼ cups applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Directions
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl then set aside.
  2. Place the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once warm add the onions and garlic then cook until the onions are soft, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger, additional nutmeg and 1¼ teaspoons of the spice mixture that was set aside in the first step. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and vegetable broth then cover and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the applesauce then let simmer, covered, on medium-low for 20 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are tender, puree the mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while you prepare the spiced butter.
  6. In a small skillet over medium heat melt the butter then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of the spice mixture. Stir over the heat until browned, just a couple minutes, then remove from the heat. Mix in the apple cider vinegar then drizzle over each serving of soup.
Notes
If you are using curry powder instead, substitute 1.5 teaspoons curry powder for the first 5 ingredients.

Recipe adapted from September 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pizza is a wonderful thing. Unless you’re lactose intolerant or soulless, otherwise, truly wonderful. The combination of crispy and chewy crust, gooey savory cheese, and whatever inventive toppings your tastebuds desire is irresistible.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Last Christmas my stepmom got me this countertop pizza oven from Sur La Table. Ever since then Matt and I have been pizza making machines! Well, the pizza oven is the machine, we’re just an extension of its awesomeness. This bad boy cooks up crispy bottom pizzas with chewy crust and molten cheese in under ten minutes. Oh yeah!

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

I didn’t make a list of possible pizza combinations as I usually do with other foods, but I don’t think we have made the same pizza twice. When my Uncle Rob sent me a huge jar of his homemade honey I instantly knew I wanted to use some of it for a pizza. I love recipes that combine sweet and savory.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

This is a white pizza, which does not mean that it has heliophobia or that it is attending a Diddy party. It simply means it doesn’t have any sauce. Which is fine because the honey, cheese, pear, prosciutto and arugula do more than alright on their own. They come together fabulously for a delightful sweet, savory, salty, herby, cheesy and thirds-don’t-mind-if-I-do dinner.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Okay, time for you to go ahead and make this pizza! I’m going to be sitting here writing a pizza combination list, don’t mind me.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Honey Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula
 
Yield: 3 servings
Ingredients
for the pizza
  • 1 ball pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 slices prosciutto
  • ⅓ cup crumbled gorgonzola
for the arugula salad
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the pizza
  1. Preheat oven and prep dough according to pizza dough instructions. Lightly pierce the dough all over with a fork to help keep it from puffing up in the oven.
  2. Mix the honey with the olive oil and brush over the dough, leaving the crust untouched. Top with the mozzarella then the pear slices. Tear the prosciutto slices and place evenly over the top of the pizza. Add the gorgonzola then bake according to pizza dough instructions.
for the arugula salad
  1. While the pizza is baking whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the arugula, being sure not to overdress. Place on top of the pizza after it comes out of the oven just before serving.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

Remember my Uncle Rob from the filet tailgate sandwiches with whiskey marinade? Well he is a multi-talented man. In addition to grilling up delicious tailgate eats he also harvests honey! As in he has bees in the backyard and a complete beekeeper’s suit. “Rob’s Love Nectar”- check it out! I may be afraid of the bees, but I certainly love their honey.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

Recently Uncle Rob mailed me a big bottle of his honey so I decided to make a series of honey posts out of it. These sticky and sweet honey baked wings are the first of four honey installments and are definitely the best way to kick off this series.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was am will-always-be obsessed with these wings. The marinade consists of honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and rice wine vinegar to create a balanced flavor profile. The honey caramelizes while the wings are baking in the oven and makes these bad boys incredibly addictive. Finger-lickin’-can’t-breathe-too-busy-eating addictive.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

They are also extremely low maintenance as you can just stick them in the oven and let the magic happen. I was very nervous to break down the wings myself, but after a couple snips with a pair of kitchen shears I had the process down.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

Currently Rob’s Love Nectar is only available through personal gifting, but shop local honey and support your neighboring beekeepers! Also honey pollinated from bees local to your area is said to help with seasonal allergies so that’s another reason to source your honey locally.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 pounds chicken wings & drumettes
  • 1 scallion, chopped, for garnish
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9" x 13" with nonstick tin foil and set aside.
  2. Combine the soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger in a medium saucepan with a whisk. Bring the honey mixture to a boil then simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place the split chicken wings in the prepared pan. Pour the heated honey mixture over the wings then toss to coat.
  4. Bake the chicken wings for about 1 hour or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and the skin has darkened. Garnish wings with scallions and sesame seeds before serving.
Notes
To break down the wings follow the steps below:
*Clip off the wing tip at the knuckle using a pair of kitchen shears. Dispose the wing tip or save for homemade chicken stock.
*Make a small snip in the fat between the wing and the drumette so it's easier to get to the joint.
*Cut the knuckle between the wing and the drumette to separate them.
*Cut off any excess fat.

Recipe from the Cookin’ Canuck.

Diane’s Orzo Pasta Salad

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

My stepmom’s orzo pasta salad is a delicious regular at all our family barbecues. It has a great combination of ingredients with the saltiness from the feta cheese and the sweetness from the bell peppers and grape tomatoes. Also whole olives which olive lovers enjoy and non-olive lovers rejoice that they can easily pick them out and plop them on their fellow olive lovers’ plates.

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The best part is the orzo tossed in the simple vinaigrette. What is orzo? Although it may be shaped like rice pilaf, orzo is a pasta. It is typically made with semolina flour, which is denser than white flour and helps the orzo keep its shape and bite after being cooked. This makes it the perfect choice for a make ahead pasta salad since most traditional pasta can get mushy from sitting in a vinaigrette overnight. Not this dish!

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

My stepmom has been making this exact winning combination of ingredients for the Greek orzo pasta salad for years so it would be ill-advised to mess with the best.

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

However, as with any pasta salad one of the beauties is that with a good base and vinaigrette you can mix and match according to your own tastes and preferences.

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Not a feta fan? Swap in some goat cheese. Not big on bell peppers? Toss in some sliced snow peas. The possibilities are endless! But make sure you try this possibility first :)

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad
 
Yield: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound box orzo, cooked as directed being sure not to overcook
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼” by 1” pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into ¼” by 1” pieces
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into ¼” by 1” pieces
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into ¼” by 1” pieces
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 4-5 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 can large black olives, drained
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. In a large bowl combine the cooked orzo with the olive oil until completely coated. Add the bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix until combined.
  2. Mix in the feta cheese. Adjust salt and pepper according to taste. Refrigerate until serving, making sure to mix well before serving.