Category Archives: Recipes

Charcuterie – Fancy Name, Easy Appetizer!

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Charcuterie – Fancy Name, Easy Appetizer!

Talk about SUCCULENT! You may have noticed the latest appetizer trend at bistros and dinner parties is the fancy-named Charcuterie (shahr-cute-uh-ree) board. But this is not a new thing – Charcuterie can be traced back to the first century in France as a variety of unrefrigerated meats, primarily from pork.

There’s several ways to put together this easy appetizer. Focus on a few meats such as prosciutto and salami, then add in cheese, pickles and spreads. I also like to add in grapes or thinly sliced apples for even more variety and texture. A quick trip to the deli counter and farmers market, and you’re ready to go.

I purchased a large butcher block board on Amazon like this one, and use it only for charcuterie. You can also use interesting  baskets for bread, or additional smaller boards. Add in branches from a lemon tree, wild mint from the garden, or any edible plants you have growing in the yard such as a sprigs of rosemary or flowering nasturtiums. Think about color and contrast when developing your plate.

 

 

Here’s a quick list of ingredients you can use. Focus on about 6 – 8 items. Simple boards for smaller parties might just have 4 items. Stock up on olives, pickles, and other pantry-ready items, so you can put something together in a few minutes!

  • Meats: Prosciutto, Salami, Mousse or Pate, Pepperoni
  • Cheese: Hard Cheddar, Soft Brie, Goat Cheese Log, Spicy Swiss
  • Bread: French Bread, Toasted Pita, Crackers, Toast Triangles
  • Fruit and Vegetables: Grapes, Sliced Apple, Dried Apricots, Thin Sliced Radishes
  • Pickles and Olives: Cornichon Pickles, Stuffed Jumbo Olives, Black Kalamata Olives
  • Spreads: Whole Grain Mustard, Honey, Fig Jam
  • Nuts: Spicy Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, Salted Cashews

This easy appetizer is super easy to assemble for any party. Use what you have on hand and make it simple! The most important thing is to have fun and make your Charcuterie Board your very own!

 

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Goat Cheese Dipping Sauce

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IMG_0657I love Bon Appetit magazine – it helps me to think outside the box and cook things with a little more flair and elegance. Cooking boxed mac and cheese for ten years can really shut you down. While thumbing through a recent issue, it was the photo of the whole cauliflower that caught my eye, not so much the recipe. Here was a whole roasted cauliflower prepared like I had never seen before. Because I am on a lighter diet, I changed it up, left out the sugar, and really modified the goat cheese dip, but it was such a treat! I served it with blackened tilapia and a green salad, a simple dinner but so amazing. You gotta try this!

Here’s my  variation, but all the credit goes to Bon Appetit.

Ingredients

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes1 bay leaf
  • 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed

Goat Cheese Dip

  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup non fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt (for serving)

Preparation

Roasted Cauliflower

  • Preheat oven to 475°. Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, juice, butter, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.
  • Using 2 slotted spoons or a mesh spider, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet, draining well. Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.

Goat Cheese Dip Assembly

  • While cauliflower is roasting, blend goat cheese, yogurt, milk, and oil in a small bowl until smooth; season with sea salt. Transfer  cheese mixture to a serving bowl and drizzle with oil.
  • Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with goat cheese sauce.
  • DO AHEAD: Whipped goat cheese can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Read More http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2013/05/whole-roasted-cauliflower-with-whipped-goat-cheese#ixzz2TJP8eJv1

Spring Spinach Salad with Pears, Walnuts & Chicken, & Pear Mustard Dressing

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ImageYou know some of us bloggers – you hear nothing for weeks then boom! Blogger frenzy! I’m just in a salad/low calorie/lose a few pounds mode, so I am making a lot of soups and salads. Spring always provides some good fresh ingredients, like pears! When you buy what’s in season, you sometimes end up with a 10 pound bag of whatever from Costco, and that’s exactly what I had, along with a huge container of fresh baby spinach. I used a similar recipe from Whole Foods, but made some subs and changed it up a bit. ENJOY!

Spring Spinach Salad with Pears, Walnuts, Feta and Cucumber

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 Anjou pears
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon deli-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3/4 pound spinach, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 4 ounces low fat feta cheese
  • 1/2 large english cucumber, sliced
  • Optional: shredded rôtisserie chicken
Chop 1 pear and slice the remaining two. Put chopped pear, oil, vinegar, mustard and honey into a blender and purée. If needed, stir in 1- 2 tablespoons water to thin for a pourable dressing. Put spinach, onion, walnuts, feta, sliced pears, cucumber and dressing into a large bowl and toss gently to coat. Plate and top with a toasted walnuts and handful of shredded chicken. Serve immediately.

White House Kale Salad

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My garden is overflowing with kale – I’m not complaining! It just gave me more incentive to try a new version of kale salad. This recipe was served at the White House to the Obama’s on Thanksgiving and was written up in the Washington Post. I made it a couple nights ago (it’s perfect for spring time) and it was BOMB! We had some leftovers, which made an amazing lunch the next day – not too soggy and the flavor maybe even better. Having not been acquainted with fennel, it was really a nice addition and not too overpowering. And don’t leave out the fresh jalapenos! I also used regular toasted almonds spiced with cumin and smoked paprika, since marcona almonds are not available at my local market.

White House Kale Salad

6 servings
MAKE AHEAD: The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Whisk to recombine before serving.

Ingredients:

For the dressing

  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • Juice of 2 medium lemons (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad

  • 2 bunches young kale, washed and spun dry, stacked and cut into thin slices
  • 1 bulb fennel (fronds, stems and outer layer removed or reserved for another use), cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, white and light-green parts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved or cut into slivers
  • 4 ounces spiced marcona almonds (one cup; see NOTE)

Directions:

For the dressing: Combine the shallot, lemon juice and vinegar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad: Place the kale in a large serving bowl. About 10 minutes before serving, add the dressing to taste and toss to coat evenly. (You might not use all the dressing.)

Add the fennel, radishes, jalapenos, scallion, cheese and almonds, tossing to incorporate.

Serve immediately.

NOTE: Spiced marcona almonds might be hard to find in a store, but you can make your own. Whisk an egg white in a medium bowl, add 1 cup of marcona almonds and toss to coat. Combine 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika in a separate medium bowl. Add the almonds and toss to coat. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 15 minutes, watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Cool before using.

Pad Thai with Lime, Chicken & Shrimp

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Gulliver’s Creamed Corn w/Parm

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Time to pull out the favorite recipes for Thanksgiving dinner! I started making this 12 years ago, and it’s a hit every time. This morning my Colorado friend Mac asked me to email it to her, so thought I would post for you as well! The recipe is adapted from the famous Gulliver’s Restaurant in Los Angeles, CA.

Gulliver’s Creamed Corn with Parmesan

Serves 8

2 (20 oz.) packages frozen corn kernels
8 oz. whipping cream
8 oz. milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 good pinch cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons flour

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Combine ingredients up to cayenne pepper in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Simmer 5 minutes.
3. Blend melted butter with flour.
4. Add to the corn and cook on low until thickened, about 5 minutes.
5. Mix well and remove from heat.

Put finished corn in heat proof casserole, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 min at 350′, then lightly brown under broiler.

BKTA Kale Salad

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My new favorite vegetable is KALE! I’ve been eating mostly whole foods for the last six months, and kale was something new to my diet. A cruciferous vegetable, it’s said to be one of the healthiest veggies around. It’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and also a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins K, A and C. Kale has anti-inflammatory properties and helps fight many types of cancer! This recipe serves two but I make it and eat the whole thing for lunch. You can also make it with the dressing and store it in the fridge, as kale stands up to salad dressing and does not get soggy like lettuce.

BKTA Salad

Serves 2-4

4 cups thinly sliced kale, spine removed

Lime juice from half a lime

2 t olive or grape seed oil

1/2 t cayenne pepper

dash of sea salt

12 grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 avocado, cut into chunks

1/2 cup sliced english cucumber

2 tablespoons bacon bits

1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese

Put kale in large bowl and squeeze lime juice over top. Sprinkle with olive oil, cayenne and salt; toss to combine.

Add remaining ingredients, toss and serve! Can be made one day ahead. Leave out the bacon bits for a meatless Monday dinner.

Nutrition Facts 

2 Servings

Calories 272.2

Fat 17.7 g  Cholesterol 17.6mg Sodium 461.4 mg  Potassium 832.9 mg  

Total Carbohydrate 23.2 g   Dietary Fiber7.8 g   Sugars 5.2 g  Protein 10.9 g

Spicy Lasagna Soup

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A great soup when the weather cools off and hot liquid meals are needed!

It’s the middle of October, and just the time when Fall seems to peek it’s seasonal head around the corner. And a little snap of cold in the morning is enough to make me think about making a big pot of soup! The other day I tried this recipe and it was amazing. I used spicy italian sausage instead of mild and the heat was perfect. The balance of meat, tomatoes, spice, and pasta weighs in more like a stoup, ala Rachel Ray. I left the dollop of cheese in the bottom and topped it with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, then ladled the soup on top — I like the little creamy bit of surprise on the end of my spoon. My husband Tom stirred it all in together and made one big mess in the bowl. Whatever.

Spicy Lasagna Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small can (8-oz) tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 8 ounces spiral pasta, cooked separately
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Ricotta mixture

  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (a pinch of salt, depending on how salty your cheese is)
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring another 3-4 minutes or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves and chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaves, add cooked pasta and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, place a dollop of ricotta cheese mixture in each soup bowl;  ladle the hot soup over the cheese. Serve hot.

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 45 minutes. Serves 6