If you've been wondering where I've been for the past 2 weeks, the answer is - vacation! I will be writing about that for sure, but before I get to it I want to talk about this pasta that I made before we left. My friend Melissa (you know her by now) was also going out of town, a little before we were, and gifted me several of her home-grown bell peppers and tomatoes. I wanted to use them to do a take on sausage and peppers in pasta form because I'm, well, me.
So I browned some sliced sausage, and then threw in an onion, the peppers, and the tomatoes to saute. Then I tossed in cooked whole wheat penne along with pasta water, a splash of cream, and some Parmesan to make a sauce. And finally, I topped it with some fresh basil and parsley. Fast, easy, and hearty. Thanks Melissa!
I have been really busy and traveling a lot lately, I haven't really been cooking much. When I do, it is usually a quick throw together of some type of pasta, vegetable, and protein. This particular version consisted of tri-color cheese tortellini, heirloom tomato, yellow zucchini, spinach, turkey meatballs, goat cheese, and fresh herbs.
While the water for the pasta was boiling, I sliced the zucchini and chopped the tomato and an onion. I sauteed the onion and zucchini in some goat butter, then added the spinach and let it wilt. I added the cooked tortellini on top with a little pit of pasta water (which helped with the wilting), then threw in the fresh tomatoes and took it off the heat.
Lastly I added some frozen turkey meatballs that I had heated in the microwave (I know, I know - I was in a hurry okay?), some crumbled goat cheese, and some fresh basil and parsley. This was super easy and came together in less than 30 minutes. Plus there was enough other stuff going on to distract my husband from the vegetables - score!
When I first bought my bundt cake pan from Williams Sonoma, I kept the recipe from the back of the box - a big square of cardboard hanging around in my cabinets for years. I was rearranging my bakeware the other day and decided it was finally time to try the recipe, if only so that I could get rid of that piece of cardboard.
But holy moly, you guys, this thing was awesome! It is crazy rich and moist and dense and intensely chocolaty - even my cake obsessed husband could only eat a little slice at a time. This is definitely a cake for sharing with friends, trust me, you cannot handle this cake alone.
Part of what makes this cake so awesome is that it has multiple kinds of chocolate in it, the first being bars of semi-sweet baking chocolate. I choose Ghirardelli because it seemed fancy to me and I was feeling fancy. You will combine the baking chocolate with cocoa powder for double the chocolaty awesomeness and melt with hot water.
Melissa and I have been going through our recipes to see what areas we are lacking in, and sandwiches are definitely one of them. She has been growing tomatoes and basil in her yard, which just beg to become caprese. But instead of just making a salad, we tried to figure out how to turn it into a sandwich. Melted cheese is clearly superior to un-melted cheese, so of course we made a panini!
We spread slices of Italian bread with basil mayonnaise, then layered in fresh mozzarella and balsamic marinated tomato slices (our attempt to get balsamic flavor without adding too much liquid) with fresh basil (you can't have enough basil). Then we placed them on a panini grill and cooked until the cheese was melted and the outside was golden.
The sandwiches were so gooey and yummy - I loved it! But the bottoms did get a little soggy, so next time I will toast the bread on one side before spreading the mayo on the toasted side, then putting the sandwich together and grilling as usual. I think that this will help keep it from getting soggy. I also might put basil mayo on the outside of the sandwich to help brown it up and because it is delicious.
Last month, I signed up to bring pasta salad to a potluck. In typical me fashion, I decided that I had to make it myself. After cruising the internet for a bit, I came across a recipe with smoked gouda, which was all I needed to be sold. Roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts? Total bonus.
I choose to use gemelli for my pasta because it is my favorite and it is really structurally sound - it holds up to anything. While that was boiling, I diced up my roasted peppers and artichoke hearts (I was lucky to find grilled ones at the store). I had a couple of tomatoes hanging around, so I chopped those up and threw them in too. After I rinsed the pasta in cold water (normally a big no-no, but good for pasta salads), I tossed it with the veggies and the cubed gouda.
Then came the dressing, where I inexplicably decided to take the opposite route and go quick and easy. I used mayonnaise and bottled Italian dressing and it came out just right - light and flavorful. You are of course welcome to make your own dressing from scratch. Top with fresh herbs and go! This is hearty and fresh and super yummy - it was very popular at the potluck, thank goodness!
Fast, easy, simple, and perfect for summer - this pizza is creamy and fresh and super yummy.
All pizza starts with dough, and I highly recommend the Jim Lahey no-knead recipe. It comes out tender and crisp and full of air pockets. You can see some bubbles in the dough in the photo above - that's the good stuff! I do need to try and remember not to stretch it out too much, though. I think I made the pizza a little too large this time.
Top the dough with minced garlic, bits of anchovy, and a drizzle of olive oil. The anchovy adds little pops of salty and umami flavors. Along with the garlic, this richness is what elevates this pizza from being boring, do not skip! Melissa (who I made this with), said that she might make it with capers instead of anchovies next time. I think that is a really good suggestion for vegetarians who don't eat fish, but still want to get that briney flavor.
On Monday, I promised you a recipe for the side dish I served with the Garlic Butter Salmon with Dill. And here it is - a Greek style salad made with shredded raw zucchini, so healthy! The dill in this dish helps tie it in with the flavors in the salmon (plus it helps me get rid of more dill).
The raw zucchini - along with mint, dill, green onions, and feta - is marinated in a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and garlic. The original recipe recommends chilling for several hours to allow the flavors to meld together, but we found that 30 minutes was enough.
This salad is bright and fresh, perfect on it's own or as a side. Make it all summer, take it with you anywhere, and enjoy!
I grew a monster dill plant - I'm talking like 3 feet tall with stems as thick as pencils. So I went to Melissa and begged her to help me use up a ton of dill. We brainstormed for a bit and came up with this salmon recipe. I mean, what goes better with dill than salmon?
This recipe couldn't be easier - pour melted butter over a flank (or filet) of salmon, spread on minced garlic, top with dill, lemon slices, salt, and pepper. Then just pop into the oven for 10 minutes, for a regular sized fish. I picked up salmon from my favorite fish shop (MediterraFish at Mosaic, if you are a local), because their Norwegian salmon is healthy, sustainable, fatty, and HUGE. Like really, really thick. So it was more of a 15 minute fish (though I cut off a piece for me a bit early because I like my salmon medium - not quite opaque in the center, but still able to flake).
The house smelled Ah. Maze. Ing. while this was cooking, and just a few ingredients imparted a lot of flavor. It would have been just fine on it's own, but we also made a sauce with sour cream, horseradish, lemon, shallot, and dill that took it to the next level. So good, simple, and summery - get on it, people, and make this! Stay tuned for the side dish recipe - Greek style zucchini salad.
Through a combination of being really lazy and really busy, I haven't been cooking that much at home lately. Or at least anything new or interesting (I mean, how many vegetable pastas do you want to see, right?). So I haven't been posting very frequently, either. Thank goodness for my lunches with Melissa, from Smells Like Brownies, or I wouldn't be posting at all! We made this savory tomato cobbler on a rainy day with terrible lighting, and it was just the right kind of comfort food.
Caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes get bound together with the help of a little flour, and flavored with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. I love using multi-colored cherry tomatoes, so pretty!
Then the mixture goes into a baking dish and into the oven. We used the same cast iron skillet that we caramelized the onions in.
While the tomato mixture cooks, roll out and cut out some biscuits. The dough, made savory with the help of sharp white cheddar and black pepper, will have been resting in the fridge while the filling was put together. You want that butter cold in order to achieve maximum flakiness. We used whey in place of buttermilk, because we will never run out of whey (so much whey).
It's time for another collaboration with Smells Like Brownies (although we actually made this back in June, oops!) - not vegetarian this time, but rather pescetarian. A hearty tomato based broth filled with all kinds of seafood - Cioppino. Melissa actually chose this dish for her blogging group, the Secret Recipe Club. For more info on that, check out her post here.
Making the broth takes up the most time in this recipe, but you want to let it simmer and develop deep flavor, so it's worth it. Olive oil, garlic, shallot, oregano, and a bay leaf go in first; followed by bell pepper, tomato paste, and red wine. Oh yeah, and red pepper flakes - watch it here, this is where you determine your spice level. Next comes canned tomatoes in their juices, clam juice, lemon juice, and veggie broth (not stock). Let it do it's thing for 30 minutes before adding in some mussels.
I meant it when I said this soup was full of all kinds of seafood. While the mussels simmer away; prep the rest of the seafood - scallops, red snapper (or something similar, like halibut), and shrimp. Who knew a bunch of raw seafood could look so pretty?
After the rest of the seafood is cooked through, top with fresh basil and parsley and dig in. Serve with some crusty bread for dipping and eat right away! This Italian stew is perfect for any time of year - hearty and warming, but not heavy - so enjoy!