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
Cookie Dough Bites
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, 

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

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
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, 

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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Garlic

My husband loves pasta. He loves garlic. He loves anchovies. He loves spicy. Pasta Puttanesca is a no-brainer in terms of one of his favorite recipes.

Tomatoes, garlic, caramelized onion, anchovies, capers and olives slow cooked and then stirred into hot pasta. How good does that sound? Puttanesca, an Italian term, translates to "in the style of the whore".  There are so many stories about how this dish got its name. Most say something along the lines of  " a quick cooking, fragrant dish that prostitutes ate before beginning their nightly work". I somehow doubt that garlic and anchovies were conducive to a robust business! :) I think the more likely...albeit less provocative explanation... is provided by an Italian newspaper:

In a 2005 article from Il Golfo—a daily newspaper serving the Italian islands of Ischia and Procida—Annarita Cuomo asserted that sugo alla puttanesca was invented in the 1950s by Sandro Petti, co-owner of Rancio Fellone, a famous Ischian restaurant and nightspot. According to Cuomo, Petti's moment of inspiration came when—near closing one evening—Petti found a group of customers sitting at one of his tables. He was low on ingredients and so told them he didn't have enough to make them a meal. They complained that it was late and they were hungry. "Facci una puttanata qualsiasi," or "Make any kind of garbage," they insisted.a[›]Petti had nothing more than four tomatoes, two olives and some capers—the basic ingredients for the sugo, “So I used them to make the sauce for the spaghetti,” Petti told Cuomo. Later, Petti included this dish on his menu as spaghetti alla puttanesca. (provided by Wikipedia)

Whatever the origin, the dish is delicious. My recipe uses roasted garlic instead of fresh. Peter describes the finished result as a softer and more elegant version. Try it tonight and please let me know what you think. The recipe for roasted garlic allows you to roast as many garlic heads as you wish. Trust me...make at least a 1/2 dozen. You will thank me. Enjoy!

Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Garlic
(serves 4 as a main course)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
4 anchovy filets packed in olive oil, chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon dried Italian parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
3/4 cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 28 oz can or box organic diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon coconut sugar (or granulated)  if tomatoes are not super sweet (taste them!)
1 lb fettuccine pasta ( I used a spinach and chive fettuccine for this recipe) 
Chopped green onion or chives for garnish.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute 5 minutes or until translucent and just beginning to caramelize. Add the anchovies, red pepper flakes and parsley and cook for another minute, stirring to break up the anchovy. You want the anchovy to melt into the sauce.

Stir in the capers, olives, tomatoes including the juices, salt, pepper and sugar (if using). Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the roasted garlic and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and add pasta to sauce skillet. Stir until pasta is coated with sauce. Garnish and serve immediately with plenty of good crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Roasted Garlic 

You can make this with as many heads of garlic as you wish. This no-recipe recipe is as follows:

With a sharp knife, cut off the very top of each head of garlic...you should just see the very tip of the garlic cloves after cutting. Remove the first layer or two of papery garlic skin from the garlic head, not too much, you want the garlic cloves to remain attached. Place the garlic root side down in a small ovenproof pan or baking dish, you want the garlic to fit tightly in the pan, so the pan size will depend on the number of garlic heads you are roasting (make more than you need...the roasted garlic will last a few days...and you will use it in everything!) Drizzle cut side of garlic with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt (I like grey salt) and freshly ground pepper. 

Cover pan tightly with foil and roast in a 375-degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Garlic should be very tender. remove the foil, drizzle with additional olive oil and continue roasting for 10 minutes more.

At this point you can squeeze the garlic from the cloves directly onto toasted french or sourdough bread which is lovely...or you can squeeze all the garlic into a small bowl, mash with a wooden spoon and drizzle with additional extra virgin olive oil to create a smooth paste. Taste and add additional salt/pepper if desired. Garlic and/or paste can be stirred into smashed potatoes, added to toasted/grilled bread, added to roasted or steamed vegetables, stirred into sauces, as a topping for pizza, etc. Once you taste it you will be inspired to add it to almost everything!

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

The Lemon Bowl: Crispy Garlic Baked Chicken Breasts
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Roasted Garlic Tomato Pasta Sauce
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: 
Baking Sheet Spaghetti with Roasted Garlic, Peppers & Eggplant
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Red Swiss Chard with Roasted Garlic & Balsamic
Red or Green: 
Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Garlic
Taste with the Eyes: 
Crusted Ahi with Roasted Garlic Tahini
Dishing With Divya: 
Baked Salmon with Garlic and Herbs
Virtually Homemade: 
Roasted Broccoli and Garlic with Feta Cheese
The Cultural Dish: 
Roasted Garlic Infused Olive Oil
Domesticate Me: 
Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Garlic, Goat Cheese and Pepitas
The Mom 100: 
Roasted Garlic and Tomato Bread
Roasted Garlic Recipes Worth Worshipping 
FN Dish: 
10 Excuses to Eat Roasted Garlic