Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Disney Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Recipe ~ Field Greens with Strawberries, Toasted Almonds & Farmstead Stilton

This light and tasty dish was served at the Buttercup Cottage in the United Kingdom area in Epcot. It is simple to make, but packs a flavor punch, and the vinaigrette has become a favorite staple in my kitchen.
1/2 lemon juiced
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (I had peach vinegar on hand so used that)
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon roasted garlic puree
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

12 cups spring mix greens
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons crumbled Farmstead Stilton ( I couldn't find this so used bleu cheese)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

Combine lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, shallot, garlic and honey in a large bowl, whisking to combine. Slowly whisk in oil until dressing comes together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Combine spring mix greens and strawberries in a large bowl; top with 1/4 cup dressing, tossing gently to combine. Divide evenly among plates (meant to serve 6). Top each salad with 1 tablespoon Stilton and 1 tablespoon almonds; drizzle with additional dressing.



Friday, January 2, 2015

Adventures by Disney ~ New York Dreams ~ Part Five ~ Day 2

We met downstairs on this second day of our Adventure very early...about 6am if I recall. We were instructed to have breakfast on our own, but this is Disney, so never fear. We then walked in the quiet early morning lull down to the Good Morning America set (those unable to walk the distance had other accommodations made, but it was an easy and enjoyable walk).
We were then escorted to the green room, which was our holding area, and had a lot of breakfast sweets available for the taking. We were then taken in groups onto the actual set to watch Good Morning America live. After we had all had our time on set, we went outside with the crowd that always gathers, and were given, as usual with Disney, prime viewing spots. I will say that Robin Roberts was very kind, open and caring to all, and we were impressed with her. I will also tell you that George Stephanopoulos chews bubble gum and yes, blows bubbles.

After this, we boarded our bus and headed to Harlem, where we met our Harlem Heritage Tour guide. This was something I wouldn't have thought of doing on my own, but what a full and fascinating history I would have missed learning about if I'd not been with Disney. The guide is a local and introduced us to several interesting folks that happened to just be out and about. Harlem is full of gorgeous architecture, and the tour was enjoyed by all.
Then is was off to the famous Apollo Theater where we were honored to have Billy Mitchell, Apollo historian, fill us with stories and history as well as a tour. Brave souls had an opportunity to perform on the Apollo stage and we all got to rub the good luck stump and see the wall of signatures.

Lunch found us at Amy Ruth's soul food diner. Authentic and delicious.

We then had an optional guided walking tour of Central Park. Do not skip this if you go! It wasn't strenuous, and although we only explored a tiny part of the park, what we saw was loaded with iconic areas seen on movies and TV, and our Disney guides were well versed in trivia and history.
Again, thank goodness for our bus, who took us to the front door of our hotel in time for a brief rest before our evening experience.

We boarded our trusty bus and headed to the lower east side to the Tenement Museum. Again, this is probably not something the average tourist would consider visiting. The Tenement Museum has an actual unrestored tenement (as much as possible) attached, and is a living museum. Rooms are decorated in the style of the day and the experience includes visiting three apartments of different eras, with visitors playing the part of newspaper reporters. The actresses that played the parts of immigrants; Irish, Jewish and Italian, from eras from the late 1800's to 1930's did a wonderful job and truly transported you to the time and place.
We then had a tasting meal with loads of ethnic foods, beer and wine were served if desired, that went on and on. No one left hungry! We then went to a theater type of room where we learned the rest of the true stories of the characters we had met. This was in an incredibly rich experience that would not have been possible without the Adventure.

It was an amazing and full day of history and thought provoking experiences.