Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cauliflower & Peppers Pasta with Pesto

So it is harvest and our local farmers' market is jam packed with delicious end of summer/early fall produce. Last Saturday I bought bushels of cauliflower, bell peppers, cilantro, tomatoes and a large bag of garlic perfect for storing in the pantry this winter. The weather people warned of chilly 34-degree nights this week so I harvested the remaining basil from my garden.  What to make? Pasta with loads of vegetables and pesto of course.

Happily, this is cauliflower week at Food Network's Fall Fest so the timing for this recipe could not be better. The vegetables are pan-charred for taste and texture and the spicy pesto is made with basil, (I used green and purple varieties today) cilantro, red pepper flakes, cheese and walnuts. Oh...and extra virgin olive oil. Use a big, bold, spicy oil for this dish. You will have leftover pesto which I think is a huge benefit. Cover the remaining pesto with olive oil and Saran wrap and keep in your fridge for a few days. Perfect as a spread on sandwiches, as a dip for fresh vegetables, dolloped on soup or just eat with crackers, cheese and bread for a wonderful lunch or appetizer plate.  So very good!



Cauliflower & Peppers Pasta with Spicy Pesto
serves 8

Pesto
(you will have leftover pesto...score!)

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use a bold, spicy one for this), plus more for covering
sea salt
black pepper
1/2-1 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Add first 5 ingredients to the bowl of a  food processor. Pulse until pureed. Add olive oil, a pinch each salt and pepper and 1/2 Tsp red pepper flakes to puree. Pulse until well mixed and very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Add remaining red pepper flakes if you want it a bit spicier. Scrape into small bowl and cover with a thin coating of olive oil.  Set aside.

Pasta

(serves 8)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
sea salt
black pepper
1 lb whole wheat pasta (any tubular shape you like...mostaccioli, penne, ziti...whatever you like)
1 large tomato, cut into 1 inch pieces
Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded, for serving

Heat a large skillet until hot. Add the olive oil and the cauliflower and bell peppers. Allow to cook, without stirring, for 5-7 minutes or until charred in spots and heated through. Using tongs, turn vegetables and cook on the other side an additional 5 minutes until charred. (You want very deep brown color but do not let burn). Stir in onions and 1/2 Tsp each salt and pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions ensuring water is well salted. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add pasta to skillet with cauliflower over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 cup pesto and 1/4 cup pasta water. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Add additional pesto and pasta water if pasta is too dry. Stir in tomato and serve with additional olive oil and cheese drizzled over top. Enjoy!


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

    best,
    Diane

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    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    Spiced Applesauce



    I first posted an applesauce recipe over on my Napa Farmhouse 1885 blog and it quickly has become one of the most popular and frequently requested items. There is just something so comforting about homemade apple sauce...the scent alone while bubbling away on the stove is intoxicating.  And, since apples are the first item on Food Network's Fall Fest list, I decided to share the recipe with you but with some added spice to make it Red or Green? appropriate.

    This easy recipe pairs apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a touch of maple syrup.  Not too sweet; perfect for savory dishes as well as breakfast or dessert. Tip, make a huge batch and freeze what you can not use in a week.  Perfect way to have homemade applesauce whenever you wish!  Enjoy.

    The full schedule for Fall Fest is as follows:

    SEPTEMBER 
    25: Apples

    OCTOBER
    2: Cauliflower
    9: Pumpkin
    16: Roasted Garlic
    23: Slow-Cooker-themed 
    30: Halloween-themed

    NOVEMBER
    6: Brussels sprouts
    13: Carrots
    20: Favorite Thanksgiving side 

    DECEMBER
    4: Holiday cookies 
    11: Holiday-themed beverage
    18: Holiday side dish





    Spiced Applesauce 
    (makes 6 cups)

    6 large Granny Smith apples, cored and can notto 1 inch wedges
    1/4 cup water
    1 small cinnamon stick
    1 Tsp nutmeg
    1 Tsp gingersmall pinch sea salt
    2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2-3 Tbsp maple syrup

    Add apples, water, cinnamon stick, spices and salt to medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 25 minutes.  Add apples to bowl of food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until applesauce is as smooth as you like.  I like mine a bit chunky. Stir in lemon juice and 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Taste and add additional tbsp maple syrup if desired.

    Serve as is, over ice cream, with pancakes or french toast, as a side dish with pork....lots of options.  How will you use?



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

    The Lemon Bowl: Rainbow Chopped Salad with Apples and Avocados
    Weelicious: Apple Butter Turnovers
    The Cultural Dish: Apple Crostata
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: Apple and Chocolate Cake
    Red or Green: Spiced Applesauce
    Virtually Homemade: Apple Almond Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
    Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Caramel Apple Cake
    Devour: A Week of Apple Recipes
    Taste With The Eyes: Bleu Waldorf Petrale Sole
    FN Dish: Celebrate Apples with Crisps, Crumbles and Cobblers

    best,
    Diane



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    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Roasted Peppers, Chiles & Eggplant Dip


    I love having simple, easy and delicious appetizer recipes on hand.  The secret is to use local, organic/sustainably grown ingredients whenever possible, keep a well-stocked pantry of essential items like oils, vinegars, condiments & spices and plan your menu based on whatever produce is in season.

    Happily, this all comes together beautifully with Roasted Chiles, Peppers & Eggplant Dip The recipe calls for bell peppers, chiles, eggplant and tomatoes...all in abundant quantities right now at my local farmer's market or growing in my garden (You should see my eggplant and chile plants just loaded with vegetables!). I always have excellent quality extra virgin olive oil, capers, vinegar and spices in the pantry so this dish is perfect for last minute pool party invites, or lunches, or cocktail parties. You know those days when friends call and say "Hey, what are you guys doing? Maybe we will stop by after work.  We have wine."   Have this dip, some grilled bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, crackers, cheese and some cutup vegetables ready when they arrive.  Easy and delicious so you can enjoy your impromptu party! (Remember, they said they would bring the wine.)



    Roasted Peppers, Chiles & Eggplant Dip

    1 large red bell pepper
    1 large yellow bell pepper
    3 fresh jalapenos
    2 fresh New Mexican or Anaheim green chiles
    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 eggplant (about 7 oz), cut into 1 inch cubes
    1 cup chopped red onion
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    1 Tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
    1 tablespoon jarred capers, drained and rinsed
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    pinch red pepper flakes
    sea salt
    black pepper

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
    Roast bell peppers, jalapenos and green chiles over a gas flame or under a broiler until blackened and charred on all sides. Add to a large glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit until cool. Set aside.

    Spread the eggplant on a baking sheet and drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle a large pinch of salt and pepper each over the top.  Roast for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir and add back to oven. Roast another 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are soft and caramelized.

    Peel and seed pepper and chiles. Chop and return to bowl, including any accumulated juice. Scrape cooked eggplant into bowl, including olive oil and eggplant juices. Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, capers, vinegar, red pepper flakes and a pinch each salt and pepper to bowl. Stir to combine.  Taste and add additional salt, pepper and/or vinegar if desired. Place 1/2 of the mixture in a food processor and pulse until pureed.  Stir the puree back into the bowl with the unprocessed mixture.  Stir to combine.

    Serve with chips, crackers and/or vegetables. Try stirred into pasta, topping pizza or as part of a sandwich on crunchy French or sourdough rolls.



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

    Jeanette's Healthy Living: Cincinnati Chili Refried Bean Cheese Dip
    The Lemon Bowl: Lebanese Garlic Sauce
    Weelicious: Romesco
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: Triple Onion Dip with Caramelized Walla Wallas
    Red or Green: Roasted Peppers, Chiles and Eggplant Dip
    Taste With The Eyes: Cocktail Nibbles Inspired by James Beard
    Virtually Homemade: Double-Chocolate Yogurt Dip
    Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 5 Favorite Dips
    Domesticate Me: Chipotle Hummus with Chili-Lime Pita Chips
    Devour: 6 Dips to Make in a Dash
    FN Dish: Towering Layer Dips


    best,
    Diane



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    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

    Spicy Avocado Spread Sandwich


    I am a huge avocado fan. I swear I could eat guacamole every day. I have been adding avocado to smoothies for a protein punch and experimenting using in chocolate baked goods like cakes, cookies and brownies (delicious). The buttery richness of the wonderful fruit (yes avocados are fruit) adds taste, texture and healthy fat to many dishes. 



    Of course, avocados are a natural complement to salads, fish, Mexican food, dips and used as a sandwich topping. But one of my favorite (and easiest) preparations is spreading perfectly ripe avocado on toasted bread and topping with red onion and chili peppers. I add plenty of salt and a bit of lime juice. Amazingly delicious, fast and healthy...how good does that sound?




    Spicy Avocado Spread Sandwich
    (makes 1)

    1 ripe avocado
    1 Tsp fresh lime juice
    1 Tsp sea salt
    1 Tsp freshly cracked black pepper
    1/2 Tsp dried red pepper flakes
    1 Tbsp red onion, chopped
    1/2-1 Tsp diced hot chile pepper (jalapeno or other)
    1/4 cup diced heirloom tomato (for garnish)
    handful baby arugula (for garnish)
    extra virgin olive oil
    sea salt
    freshly cracked black pepper
    whole wheat bun, sliced and toasted

    Cut avocado in half, lengthwise. Remove seed and discard. Spoon out flesh and add to small bowl. (If you have never prepared an avocado, check out my technique here.) Add lime juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to bowl and mash to combine. Spread mixture evenly between both halves of bun. Top with onion and chile. Serve with arugula and tomato alongside sandwich. Drizzle olive oil over plate and top with a bit more salt and pepper to taste. 

    Other avocado recipes you may enjoy:


    It is "Avocado" week at Food
    #SummerSoiree roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite avocado recipe? Please share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one.

    Feed Me Phoebe: Coconut Kale Salad with Avocado and Pickled Vegetables
    Weelicious: Avocado Honey Dip
    Devour: Why You Should Eat Avocados All Day Long
    Dishing With Divya: Vietnamese Avocado Milkshake
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: Avocado and Grilled Shrimp Salad
    Red or Green: Spicy Avocado Spread Sandwich
    Taste With The Eyes: Tortilla Soup with Lobster and Avocado
    Virtually Homemade: Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa
    Domesticate Me: Superfood Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
    FN Dish: Go Beyond Guacamole (Avocado Recipes)

    best,
    Diane



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    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    BBQ Salmon with Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze & Marinated Tomatoes


    Wild caught salmon grilled over a summer fire, then coated with hot pepper jelly and topped with marinated tomatoes. How good does that sound? The jelly melts into a delicious sweet and spicy glaze and perfectly ripe tomatoes add the delicious final touch. Just what I want on a hot August night.



    I made this dish last Sunday for my husband's birthday. Fast, easy and very fresh tasting, he said it was one of the best salmon dishes he has ever had. (and he is a massive salmon fan!). The trick, as always, is to use the best quality ingredients you can afford. The wild caught salmon was caught the day before, the ripe heirloom tomatoes were freshly harvested and I served the fish with a wild rice & sprouted brown rice salad chock full of herbs and fava beans. Delicious. Happy middle of summer everyone!


    BBQ Salmon with Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze & Marinated Tomatoes
    (serves 4)

    2 lbs wild caught salmon fillet, about 1 inch thick
    4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for grill
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup hot pepper jelly, homemade or purchased
    1 clove garlic
    1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    1/2 pint heirloom small (cherry) tomatoes, cut in half
    2 Tbsp Italian parsley, chopped

    Prepare tomatoes (recipe follows).
    Prepare grill; charcoal or gas. If using charcoal, allow coals to turn white/gray to medium-high heat, around 375 degrees. (Use an oven gauge). You will be cooking the salmon over indirect heat so push the coals to one side and grill over the other side.

    While preparing the coals, coat the salmon on both sides with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Season with 2 Tsp each salt and pepper. Brush the BBQ grate with olive oil to ensure salmon does not stick. When coals are ready, grill salmon with skin side down for 5 minutes. Flip and grill an additional 3-5 minutes or until salmon flakes when running a fork across the top. Spread hot pepper jelly over top of fish. Flip one more time and cook an additional 10 seconds. Remove quickly so jelly does not burn. Serve immediately, glazed side up, topped with marinated tomatoes.

    Marinated Tomatoes
    Smash garlic with the flat side of a knife until a smooth paste is formed. Add a large pinch each salt and pepper and continue mashing until well mixed.  Scrape into a bowl. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar. Stir to combine. Add tomatoes and parsley, stir. Allow to marinate while preparing salmon.


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

    The Lemon Bowl: Tart Cherry Chinese BBQ Pulled Pork
    Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Lebanese Tomato Salsa
    Weelicious: Southern-Style Pork Tenderloin
    The Heritage Cook: Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Gluten-Free)
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: BBQ Pork Ribs
    Red or Green: BBQ Salmon with Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze and Marinated Tomatoes
    Domesticate Me: Fiery Barbecue Flank Steak Tacos with "Summer Mess" Salsa
    Devour: 5 BBQ Sandwiches
    In Jennie's Kitchen: Ginger-Soy Marinated Flank Steak
    FN Dish: The Beauties of Barbecue 


    best,
    Diane



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    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    Spicy Potato Salad with Jalapeno & Vinegar Vinaigrette


    Summer and potato salad, It just goes together, does it not? Fried chicken, ham, hot dogs on the grill, BBQ ribs; all perfect with this traditional salad.  But I like to shake it up a bit and tweak the expected recipes. Maybe a warm salad with bacon and caramelized onions added to the potatoes? Maybe swapping the mayonnaise base for a vinaigrette that combines olive oil, soy sauce, mustard, honey and rice vinegar? Spiced with fresh jalapenos?  You know what? This potato salad is really, really good!




    Spicy Potato Salad with Jalapeno & Vinegar Vinaigrette
    (serves 6)
    2 lbs small red potatoes, unpeeled halved or quartered
    1 red onion, cut in half then in sliced
    4 slices bacon chopped into bite sized pieces
    3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 Tsp low sodium organic soy sauce
    1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
    1 Tsp honey
    1/2 cup organic seasoned rice vinegar
    1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and ribbed removed, minced
    3 green onions chopped (white & green parts)
    1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    Place 3-4 inches water in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket.  Bring to a bowl and add 2 Tbsp salt.  Add potatoes, cover and steam until tender but still firm when pierced with a sharp knife-25-30 minutes. (hint, I always taste to ensure they are perfectly cooked).

    Meanwhile heat large skillet over medium-high flame. Add onion and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crisp and onion is soft and beginning to caramelize. Add soy sauce, mustard, honey, vinegar and jalapeno. Cook 5 minutes over medium-low heat.  Add cooked potatoes, green onions and a large pinch each salt and pepper. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, to allow liquid to soak into potatoes. Turn off heat, add parsley and stir to combine.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.  Pour into a large bowl and allow salad to cool to warm.  Stir again and serve.


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

    Chez Us: Baked Potato Salad
    The Heritage Cook: French Potato Salad with Haricot Vert (Gluten-Free)
    Weelicious: Blue and White Potato Salad
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: Mom's Potato Salad (the Best Ever!)
    Red or Green: Spicy Potato Salad with Jalapeno and Vinegar Vinaigrette
    Feed Me Phoebe: Healthy Greek Potato Salad
    Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Creamy Potato Salad with Mint
    In Jennie's Kitchen: Warm Smashed Roasted Potato Salad
    FN Dish: 10 New Ways to Do Up Potato Salad

    Domesticate Me: Warm Roasted Potato Salad with Pancetta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula

    best,
    Diane


    California Girl in Taos

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