Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cheese Ball with Everything Spice

I am pretty addicted to food and design magazines. November and December months are the motherload for recipe ideas. Appetizers, sides, soup, salads, mains and, of course, dessert suggestions abound. I always find myself torn between our traditional family favorites and new, interesting twists to the familiar dishes.


This cheese ball is an excellent example. The original recipe comes from the October 2014 edition of Bon Appetit Magazine. Have you tried it yet? What a find. Perfect for an appetizer dish any time of the year. I brought one to a dinner party last Saturday night, and it got rave reviews. I did make a few tweaks to the original. I almost doubled the amount of cheddar cheese called for and added some spice with dried red and green chiles. One extra teaspoon of Worcestershire, a second scallion and the revisions were complete. I liked the changes but am posting the link to the original. Make them both and see which you prefer. Or make your own edits, the recipe is very forgiving.

I am making this again for Thanksgiving and adding to the buffet table. The cheese ball spread on bread or crackers will be an excellent addition to the rest of the meal. I will let you know the reaction. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Cheese Ball with Everything Spice
from Bon Appetit Magazine October 2014
(serves 8)
2 ounces thick cut bacon, finely chopped (I used veg bacon today)
2 cups finely grated extra sharp cheddar
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried green chile
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
sea salt
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ cup extra virgin oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon poppy seed
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
Crackers (for serving) 
Olives (for serving)


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Peppers Pizza


Brussels Sprouts or Brussel Sprouts? Which is correct? Actually, Brussels is the correct answer. According to Grammarist:

Brussels sprouts—the variety of cabbage with a stout stem and a budlike head of tightly folded leaves—are named after the city of Brussels. The modern version of the plant was originally grown primarily in the area of Northern Europe now known as Belgium, of which Brussels is the capital. In the name of the cabbage, Brussels is usually capitalized like the name of the city, though some publications don’t capitalize it.

However you pronounce it, Brussels sprouts are delicious and one of my favorite vegetables. (I just learned that you are supposed to capitalize Brussels...who knew?) One of the best ways to prepare is roasting. It sweetens and caramelizes the sprouts. And roasted onions, peppers and radicchio? Heaven! This pizza recipe demonstrates the deliciousness of this fact. Enjoy...


Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Peppers Pizza
(makes one large pizza)

1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half (quartered if very large)
extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet white onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small head radicchio, thinly sliced, then chopped
excellent quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano, shredded and divided
1/3 cup pickled garlic cloves (I buy at the deli olive bar)
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
sea salt
black pepper
prepared pizza crust (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread Brussels sprouts and onions in the  bottom of parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over vegetables and sprinkle with a pinch each salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for approximately. 20 minutes until the sprouts are very tender and beginning to caramelize. Add the peppers and radicchio and continue roasting for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Set aside

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Using a pastry brush, cover bottom of pizza crust with 2 tablespoons olive oil including the "naked" crust edges. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cheese over oil. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. 

Remove from oven and spread the prepared vegetables over pizza, including any oil from the pan. Cover with remaining cheese and the red pepper flakes. Add back to the oven and bake an additional 5-7 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and crust in deep golden brown.

Remove from oven, cut into serving pieces and serve immediately.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pizza Crust
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
pinch sea salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
Add the water to the bowl of an upright mixer and sprinkle yeast over the the top. Using the paddle attachment, mix until yeast has dissolved. Add salt, olive oil and honey and mix to combine. Add the white flour and process just until incorporated. Add the whole wheat flour and process until incorporated. Process an additional minute until the dough has formed into a ball. Do not over mix. Remove the dough from bowl, form into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough a few times to ensure it is totally covered in oil, cover bowl with saran wrap and place in a warm area. Allow to rise until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove the dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough in a free form circle. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick. Place on pizza stone or baking sheet which has been lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with coarse cornmeal. (the cornmeal adds a delicious flavor and helps ensure the pizza dough will not stick to pan.) 


Set aside until needed.



It is "Brussels Sprouts" week at Food Network's Fall Fest
roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite Brussels sprouts recipe? Please share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad with Radicchio, Egg Mimosa, and Bacon Vinaigrette
Dishin & Dishes: 
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pine Nuts
Weelicious: 
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Poppy Seeds
Devour: 
Bring On the Brussels Sprouts
The Cultural Dish: 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts - Three Ways
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Penne with Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Empanadas with Mustard Sauce
Red or Green: 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Peppers Pizza
Taste with the Eyes: 
Quinoa Omelette filled with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mint, Cilantro and Vietnamese Style Dressing
Domesticate Me:  
Kabocha Squash Quinoa Bake with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Caramelized Onions
The Mom 100: 
Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts
FN Dish: 
8 Crowd-Pleasing Brussels Sprouts for Your Thanksgiving Table


My best, 
Diane

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spicy Chard Chips


I like having an array of easy dishes to serve on Halloween so we can be out of the kitchen and in the living room waiting to open the door for trick-or-treaters. I especially love the first hour, right at dusk, when the really little children are there. The 3, 4 and 5-year-olds so adorable in their costumes...the confident ones singing out "Trick or Treat" in their little voices or the hesitant ones not saying anything, just holding up their treat bags. I don't want to miss a minute. These chard chips are a perfect addition to the buffet table.


Fast, simple, easy and healthy, these chips really satisfy and eliminate cravings for potato chips. The main ingredient is fresh red chard and the chips are made by sprinkling a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and some seasonings over top and then baking for a quick 15 minutes. I have been making chips from kale for a couple of years now, but I think I like chard even better. And, because I have a lot of chard growing in the yard which needs to be eaten before the weather gets too cold, this is a handy recipe to have on file. So, Happy Halloween. You can balance out all that candy with these healthy chips. Enjoy!


Spicy Chard Chips
(4 appetizer servings, feel free to double or triple the recipe)

1 bunch red chard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon organic chile powder
2 teaspoons dried organic parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
coarse sea salt
hummus or dip of your choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off stems of chard and base of leaves and chop into 1/2 pieces. Remove center stems from each chard leaf and discard. Tear chard leaves into small pieces (about 2 inches in diameter). Wash chard and dry in a salad spinner. Place in a clean kitchen towel and pat to ensure chard is completely dry.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Evenly distribute chard (leaves and chopped stems) between the baking sheets ensuring everything is in a single layer. Drizzle the olive oil over greens and sprinkle the chile powder, parsley and cumin over the oil. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until crispy. Watch oven carefully during the last few minutes as they can go from cooked to burnt very fast. In my oven, it takes exactly 14 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste and serve as is or with a dip of your choice)


It is "Halloween Treats" week at Food Network's Fall Fest
roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite Halloween recipe? Please share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one.

Feed Me Phoebe: 7 Frighteningly Healthy Halloween Recipes
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Creamy Red Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup
The Heritage Cook: 
Fried Cheese "Fingers" with Spicy "Bloody" Dipping Sauce (Gluten-Free)
The Lemon Bowl: L
ebanese Stuffed Peppers with Cinnamon and Pine Nuts
Weelicious: 
Cookie Dough Bites
Devour: 
The Best Halloween Candy and Cocktail Pairings
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Halloween-Themed Appetizer: Beet and Cucumber Rolls
Taste with the Eyes: 
Malted and Salted: Milk Chocolate Pots de Creme
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: 
Olive Oil-Maple Granola Walnuts
Swing Eats: 
Scary Monster Fingers Cheesy Bread Sticks (gluten-free)
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Sauce Vinaigrette
Red or Green: 
Spicy Chard Chips
Virtually Homemade: 
Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Rice Krispie Treat {Gluten Free}
Dishing With Divya: 
Egg Puffs
FN Dish: 
Trick or Treat! Your Guide to Being the Most-Popular House on the Block

My best, 
Diane

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Slow-Cooker Red Beans, Vegetables & Rice


I kind of forget about my slow cooker all summer but, as soon as the first hint of fall weather hits, I start imagining all different kind of dishes perfect for slow, unwatched cooking. The type of uncomplicated recipes where you throw a bunch of fresh ingredients in the crock pot, turn on the heat and forget about it until dinner is served. I seem to have so many days jammed-packed with meetings, appointments and projects that the thought of coming home to a delicious dinner without any work is so very appealing. (sound familiar?)


This recipe is a perfect example. Red beans, rice and vegetables all cooked together with spicy, Louisiana style seasonings. Delicious as is but perfect for dinner with grilled sausage and fresh spinach. So easy...so good. Fall is here my friends!  Enjoy...


Slow-Cooker Red Beans, Vegetables & Rice
(4 servings)

1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 leek, cleaned & chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 teaspoons dried cumin
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 cup brown rice, sprouted if possible
6 cups boiling water
sea salt
black pepper
1 cup chopped green onion or chives for garnish (optional)
Italian or apple-sage sausage, sliced and grilled (optional)
4 handfuls baby spinach leaves
Louisiana hot sauce (optional)


Add first 13 ingredients to the bowl of a slow-cooker. Add 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook on high setting for 6 hours. Test rice to ensure thoroughly cooked. If not, continue cooking for 1-2 additional hours. When rice is cooked, taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

To serve:
Mound 1 handful spinach on each plate. Top with red beans & rice, sausage (if using) and a sprinkling of green onions. Serve immediately with Louisiana hot sauce on the side.



It is "Slow-Cooker" week at Food Network's Fall Fest
roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite slow-cooker recipe? Please share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Moroccan Lamb Chili with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes and Kale
The Lemon Bowl: 
Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetables with Cinnamon and Garlic
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Slow Cooker Chicken Vegetable Stew with Rosemary, Thyme and Sage
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: 
Slow Cooker Cassoulet
Devour: 
Slow-Cooked Meals from Breakfast through Dessert
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Slow-Cooker New Mexican Vegetable Chowder
Red or Green: 
Slow Cooker Red Beans, Vegetables & Rice
The Cultural Dish: 
Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
Domesticate Me: 
Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
Taste with the Eyes: 
Elegant Braised Leeks
FN Dish: 
6 Desserts to Cook Low and Slow

My best, 
Diane

Follow Me on Pinterest
I have started sharing my "California Girl in Taos" blog. Please check it out and let me know what you think.