Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pasta with Cilantro, Jalapeno & Pinenuts

I had a version of this dish years ago at a wonderful restaurant in Pasadena, California...the Parkway Grill. They prepared it by adding cilantro leaves, toasted pine nuts and excellent extra virgin olive oil to homemade pasta. Simple, beautiful and delicious.  Of course, that depends on your feelings about cilantro. I  find that people either love it or hate it. I fall in the love, love, love it category, so I have made this dish at home many times. I decided to tweak the recipe quite a bit (shocking, right?) to give it a bit more depth, so I added cilantro pesto to the above ingredients and jalapeno for some heat. Very easy, very fast of all...uses every bit of the cilantro bunch. No waste.

I have the last bit of cilantro growing in the garden, and because freezing temperatures are predicted for the lows this weekend, I am making a massive vat of the cilantro pesto. Some to freeze and the rest for this pasta dish. Perfect for a Light Halloween supper before we go out and watch all the adorable trick-or-treaters begging for candy in the Plaza.  Happy Halloween everyone! (Oh, btw, after 31 years the Parkway Grill is still going strong. I checked the menu this morning. No Cilantro Pasta but everything looks amazing. Definitely on my list for the next time I am in Southern California)

Pasta with Cilantro, Jalapeno & Pinenuts
(serves 4)

1 bunch organic cilantro (or from your garden)
1 garlic clove
1 tsp seeded jalapeno, minced
1/2 pine nuts, toasted in dry skillet
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
grey or sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
kosher salt
1/2 lb. pasta...i like a flat wide shaped pasta (like reginette or fettuccine) for this dish...but use whatever you like
a squeeze of fresh lime 
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Chop the stems off the cilantro and separate from the leaves. Cut off the very bottom tips of the stems ( the part that looks dry and brown) and discard. Place the cleaned stems in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add half of the cilantro leaves, garlic clove, jalapeno and 1/4 cup of the pine nuts. Pulse until finely chopped. Divide the olive oil in half (you will only use 1/4 cup in the pesto). With the machine running, slowly pour in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Stop machine, scrape down sides and then continue pulsing until pesto is smooth but with a bit of texture. Season to taste with grey or sea salt. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a generous handful of kosher salt to the pot and when water comes back to a vigorous boil add pasta and cook according to package directions.

Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil to a large skillet and warm oil. Add remaining pine nuts to oil. Drain pasta well and add to skillet. Add remaining cilantro leaves, cilantro pesto, black pepper and stir to combine. Taste and add additional seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately.

*notes, in summer I add fresh organic heirloom cherry tomatoes to the pasta dish. Really, really good.

It is Halloween week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite Halloween recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

The Hungry Traveler: Halloween Spiderweb Brownies
6 Halloween Movie and Food Pairings for a Spooktacular Party
Creative Culinary: 
The Black Goblin – Tequila, Coffee Liqueur and Cream
Pan de Muertos (Day of the Dead Bread)
Domesticate Me: 
Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treat Bites
Elephants and the Coconut Trees:
 Pumpkin Brain Pasta Halloween Special
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Curried Pumpkin & Apple Chowder
Red or Green: 
Pasta with Cilantro, Jalapeno & Pinenuts
Swing Eats: 
Trick or Treat, Spaghetti or Squash? Both!
Feed Me Phoebe: 
Blood Orange White Sangria with Pomegranate
Taste with the Eyes: 
Pumpkin Risotto Stuffed with Burrata, Fried Sage
Healthy Eats: 
5 Ways to Host a Healthier Halloween Party
Deviled Egg Spiders


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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Butternut Squash & Chipotle Frittata

I have been having crazy busy days the past few weeks. You know that overscheduled life where meetings and appointments meld together into one big blur? That "all of a sudden it is 5:00 pm and I wonder where the day went" feeling? Well, welcome to my life these days. Don't get me wrong. I am loving everything I do. I am so fortunate to be able to give back by being involved with a number of non-profits for causes of which I have a great passion. My consulting business continues to grow. And of course, there is this blogging thing. :) So, for now, too busy is the norm.

I love having easy and delicious recipes for those, "it is late, and I do not feel like complicated cooking" nights. This frittata perfectly fits the bill.  Twenty minutes from start to finish, this dish combines steamed butternut squash, sauteed onion and leek, a kick of heat from chipotle peppers and adobo sauce (the sauce in canned chipotles) with fresh, organic eggs. Pair with a green salad or top olive oil and garlic rubbed bruschetta, and your fast, easy & delicious dinner is served.

Butternut Squash & Chipotle Frittata
(Serves 4)

1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice (about 2 cups)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 med white onion~chopped
1 leek~chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp red minced canned chipotle pepper 
1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from chipotle can)
6 organic eggs
grey sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded (about a cup)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Place squash in microwave safe bowl, add 1/4 cup water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes, or until fork tender. Set aside

Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil to a large skillet. When warm add the onions and leek and sauté over med heat until the onions are translucent (about 4 minutes). Add the garlic and saute an additional minute. Add the squash, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook until hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl and beat. Add the vegetable mixture, 1 tbsp olive oil, a pinch of grey salt and black pepper, parsley and the rosemary and beat again till everything is incorporated.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to a 9 or 10-inch skillet. Warm over medium heat and pour in the egg mixture. Cook until the top looks fairly dry. While it is cooking, every so often take a spatula and lift the edges of the frittata to let the uncooked eggs run to the bottom of the pan. When the top is almost dry, take a dinner plate and place over the top of the skillet. Hold the plate (wear oven mitts) and flip the skillet so the frittata is on the plate. Place the now empty skillet back on the heat and slide the frittata back in the pan. The former bottom of the frittata is now on top. Continue cooking for another minute or two and then slide onto a serving dish. Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top. Garnish with the cherry tomatoes.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. 

I love serving frittata slices either with a salad with champagne vinegar/honey mustard vinaigrette or on top of bruschetta rubbed with garlic and drizzled with an excellent extra virgin olive oil.

It is Squash week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite squash recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Beef Curry
Creative Culinary: 
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash, Potato and Roasted Pepper Soup
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Butternut-Apple-Kale Panzanella Salad
Swing Eats: 
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Taste with the Eyes: 
Acorn Squash and Korean Pear Salad, Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Butternut Squash & Eggplant Ratatouille
Red or Green: 
Butternut Squash & Chipotle Frittata
The Mom 100: 
Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Chicken Enchilada Cups
Healthy Eats: 
From Soup to Stir-Fry: 6 Healthy Uses for In-Season Squash
FN Dish: 
7 Days of In-Season Squash


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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bars

I have been making these bars for 15 years. The original recipe came from Bon Appetit Magazine, and it was called Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake. I liked the idea of baking this into bars instead of a loaf and topping with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. I have tweaked the recipe just a bit by swapping some of the white flour for white whole wheat, adjusting the spices and using coconut milk instead of regular whole milk.

the cake prior to being cut into bars
We had a going away party last week for an employee at our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, and the menu was potluck. Even though the weather was still warm during the day, the nights have a bit of a chill and, since it is fall, these bars came to mind. They were a hit; the four leftover bars were packed up for guests' breakfast the next day. Pumpkin and spices...welcome to fall.

My dog, Jasper, is very sad he could not have a pumpkin bar!

Spiced Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bars
adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine November 2000
(makes 20 bars)

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon alum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 organic sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut milk (from the dairy case, not canned)
3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x9 square non-stick baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside

Cream together butter and sugar in a mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add pumpkin and vanilla and mix until smooth. Mix in 1/3 of flour mixture. Beat in 1/2 of the milk. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and milk until just smooth. (Do not over-mix). Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of pan comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around side of the pan, turn out onto the rack, and allow to cool.

Cut cake into bars. Place remaining 1/2 chocolate chips and olive oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue heating in 10-second intervals until chocolate sauce is thin and runny. Place bars on serving platter and drizzle chocolate sauce over the top.

Bars can be made 2 days ahead. Store in plastic containers until ready to serve.

It is Pumpkin week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.

The Hungry Traveler: Pumpkin Brown Butter Madeleines
Bacon and Souffle: 
Pumpkin Lasagna with Sausage, Kale and Parmesan
Homemade Delish: 
Warm Pumpkin Salad
Creative Culinary: 
Pumpkin Butter
The Lemon Bowl: 
20 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Virtually Homemade: 
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Dishin & Dishes: 
Homemade Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
Red or Green: 
Spiced Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bars
The Heritage Cook: 
Roasted Pumpkin, Potato, and Sage (Gluten-Free)
Swing Eats: 
Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Taste with the Eyes: 
Sultry Pumpkin Soup - Southwest Flavors, Dressed To Kill
FN Dish: 
8 Ways to Eat Pumpkin All Day Long


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