Monday, June 24, 2013

Recipes for July 4th! Honeyed Three Bean Salad & Honey Cheese Cake Squares

Honeyed Three Bean Salad

I'm trying to make up for my two-month hiatus as a blogger by posting a few recipes at a time. The first is a take on the classic three bean salad, with a few twists--including using edamame (soy beans) as one of the three beans.  Like its classic cousin, this salad a bit on the sweet side--but it's delicious and refreshing and sure to please at a July 4th cook out.  The poppy seeds make it special.  You could skip the edamame for classic green beans instead.  If you do, don't make the salad too far in advance as the vinegar in the dressing will turn the green beans a dull grey.  The inspiration for this salad came from a recipe in a May/June 2007  issue  of Vegetarian Times.

The second recipe, for Honey Cheese Cake Squares, is one that I pulled from an April 2003 issue of the now defunct Gourmet Magazine.  Recipes from Gourmet are all now available on Epicurious. The honey cheese cake squares were a hit for dessert this weekend when my cousin, his new wife and son were visiting from North Carolina (they're adorable newly weds!). The honey in this recipe really shines through--and a lighter honey I think works best.

Need more recipe ideas for your July 4th cookout or family get together?  Check out a past post for Memorial Day Picnic Recipes (including honey baked beans and grilled skirt steak).

Three Bean Salad
1 10-oz package frozen shelled edamame beans (2 cups) 
1 15-oz can dark kidney beans, drained
1 15-oz can navy beans, drained
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced (about 1/4 inch)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Cook edamame according to package direction and then immediately put in ice water to cool and stop cooking.  Drain and put in a large bowl along with drained kidney and navy beans.  Add red onion and celery to bowl and toss. In a jar (or food processor), combine the vinegar, honey, mustard, oil and poppy seeds and shake (or process) until well combined.  Pour over beans and toss to evenly distribute.  Taste and season with salt & pepper.  Let the flavors meld for a few hours and up to one day.  Serve cold.  Makes about 8 servings

Makes about 24 1 1/2 inch squares

For the crust:
6 whole graham crackers, crumbled
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup light (spring or summer) honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Pulse the graham crackers, sugar and butter in a food processor.  Press mixture evenly over the bottom of a 8x8 square baking dish and bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove and let cool for about five minutes.

For the filling, blend the cream cheese, egg, milk, zest, lemon juice and honey in the cleaned food processor.  Pour filling over crust and bake in the middle of the oven until the filling is set (and a bit puffed)--about 30 minutes.  Cool and then chill for at least three hours.  When fully chilled, cut into squares--they'll still be a bit rough around the edges, though--just like most of us! :)

Honey Cheese Cake Squares

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