I've been doing this thing lately where I pretend that making a pasta sauce out of vegetables makes up for the fact that I am eating pasta. Leave me to my delusions, I'm not ready to face the truth. I have three such recipes for you today, and the first is this gorgeous roasted beet sauce that will make your pasta intensely fuschia. Simply roast some beets, allow to cool slightly, peel, and puree with some starchy pasta water. Toss with cooked pasta, season, and serve. I topped mine with ricotta and fresh oregano.
Next up is a broccoli sauce - what could be more healthy than broccoli? I am not really used to broccoli because my father is allergic and we never really had it growing up. My poor husband loves broccoli (shocking since he is NOT a veggie eater), so I am trying to familiarize myself.
Did you know that you should peel broccoli? I didn't. Apparently the outside part is tough and bitter. Anyway, peel and chop the broccoli, steam, and then saute with butter, onion, and garlic. Add some cream, puree, and toss with pasta and a bit of that magical pasta water. Top with a gratuitous amount of Parmesan. And before you start yelling at me - know that many vegetables need to be eaten with fat in order to allow the body to fully absorb the nutrients - FACT.
Lastly we have a roasted red pepper alfredo. I think this one might be my favorite - super creamy and cheesy with a ton of roasted pepper flavor. I topped it with grilled chicken that I marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, rosemary, and oregano.
They sell roasted peppers in jars at the grocery store, but it turns out that it is super easy (and cheaper) to do at home - just pop them in a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes, allow to cool, then remove the stem, seeds, and core. Toss the roasted peppers into a mixture of onion, garlic, half and half, herbed goat cheese, and Parmesan; puree and enjoy.
I find it hard to come up with dinner ideas in the summer, I don't know if anyone else has this problem. All I want to do is snack on fruit, salads, or fresh tomatoes with cheese. And I definitely don't want to hang out in the kitchen for too long. But this? I would seriously make this every week if my husband would let me. This is the BEST summer dish ever. Gnocchi, summer squash, and fresh sweet corn sauteed in butter and topped with goat cheese, basil, chives, and a splash of lemon juice - perfection. Plus (other than boiling the water), it takes less than 10 minutes to put together!
Just look at it, you know you want it. Warm and filling, but not heavy, with bright pops of veg and fresh herbs, it's the goat cheese that sends it over the edge into awesome territory. If you crumble the cheese on top and don't stir it in, then you get a little bit of melted creaminess but also bits of cold that really compliment the gnocchi. Also, I used goat butter - cuz I'm FANCY... and it's delicious.
I served it as a side dish with salmon, but it would go well with chicken and it's perfect on it's own, as well. Swing by your local farmer's market, snag some fresh produce, and let's get cooking!
Goat. Cheese. Ice cream. You heard me. When I saw this recipe, I just HAD to try it. And cherries were all over the place at the farmers market, so the timing was perfect.
I used one pint of cherries, but I would have liked a higher ratio in the final product so I would recommend using 2 pints. Either way, pit, combine with sugar and cornstarch, and roast until the juices form a syrup.
The ice cream base is made with goat cheese, cream cheese, cornstarch, milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Once you have processed it with your ice cream maker - layer the ice cream and the cherries into a container, do not mix! Allow to set up in the freezer and enjoy this sophisticated ice cream.
Melissa of Smells Like Brownies has been doing a CSA this year, so for one of our weekly vegetarian lunches we decided to use up some of the beets and lettuce she had received. This super delicious and filling salad involves sweet roasted beets, fragrant toasted walnuts, and creamy goat cheese. Simple and fresh - this is a great way to enjoy beets!
Warm Beet and Chèvre Salad
from Smells Like Brownies
3/4 lb beets (about 3 medium)
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra as needed
1 tbsp honey
salt and black pepper
1 wheat baguette, cut into 1/4″ slices
1 medium head lettuce, such as Bibb or Boston
1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
4–6 oz goat cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Wrap the beets tightly in foil and roast them for 1–1.5 hours, or until they are soft enough to pierce through the thickest part with a butter knife. Unwrap the beets and let them cool 10–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Lightly brush the baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Set the slices on a cookie sheet and broil in the oven for 3 minutes.
Rinse and tear up the lettuce. Sprinkle the toasted, chopped nuts and oregano over the greens.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub the skins off the flesh. Cut the beets into slices or wedges and sprinkle over the salad.
Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese and a drizzle of the oil and vinegar dressing.
This rustic beauty came about by accident. I had intended to make a cherry pie, but my plans for obtaining cherries fell through. So I ended up with some pie dough and nothing else. I went to the store to see what fruit was available and found some Turkish figs. "This could definitely work," I thought. Then I thought of a creamy smear of mascarpone underneath, and oh! What if I added in some goat cheese, too?
So I dumped a container each of goat cheese and mascarpone cheese into bowl with some honey and mixed them together. Then I got to thinking, "What about some cardamom in here?" So in it went.
I rolled out my pie dough and spread the cheese mixture over it. I only ended up using half of it, but it made a great dip for crackers and fruit so that was fine. I arranged the quartered figs over the spread and then had another thought. "You know what goes great with cardamom? Coconut!" So I dug out some sweetened coconut flakes from the pantry to sprinkle over the top. A brush of cold water and sprinkling of turbinado sugar later, and my masterpiece was ready to bake.
I threw a lot of ingredients into here, but they ended up blending perfectly. The spread sort of merged with the flaky crust to make a creamy base for the figs; and the coconut came out perfectly toasted. Bonus? My husband was out of town and I got to eat the whole thing myself! This recipe may have been an accident, but I will definitely be making it again.
I recently bought a pasta roller and learned to start making my own pasta (you can read about my first adventure here). One of the very first things that I made on my own was this gorgeous roasted beet and goat cheese ravioli.
Here is my lovely pasta roller!
This is my ravioli press - lay a sheet of pasta over it, and use a plastic mold to press down and form pockets.
Then place the filling into the pockets - check out the crazy fuschia color of the beet filling!
We are coming to the end of asparagus season, but you may be able to get one more use in - and I recommend this one. An asparagus flavored custard with goat cheese and Gruyere, tucked inside a flaky puff pastry shell? Yes, please!
This Martha Stewart recipe uses the stalks and tips separately. The stalks get pureed into the custard, and the tips decorate the top of the tart.
The custard is made with asparagus, eggs, cream, and flour (I altered the recipe based on comments - adding more flour to help it set up).
The custard goes into a pre-baked shell, then the cheeses are sprinkled on top, followed by the asparagus tips.
The texture is gorgeous and the asparagus is definitely the star of the show. Yum, yum, yum - get out there and grab the last of the asparagus!
It's time for another vegetarian lunch with Melissa! This time we made a warm and creamy grain salad with veggies (kind of our favorite thing). This salad has farro, arugula, scallions, split peas, English peas, goat cheese, and chives in a citrusy dressing with orange, shallot, and Parmesan. So basically every delicious ingredient there is.
We made things easy by precooking the farro and split peas (you can do this a day in advance) and using frozen peas.
We tossed the farro mixture with a citrusy dressing, then folded in arugula and charred scallions, and topped with goat cheese and chives. Let me tell you about charred scallions - they are awesome. Super awesome. We were worried that the onion flavor would be overwhelming, but charring them takes a lot of that sharpness out and replaces it with sweetness.
Holy Mockingjay, Batman - I am so excited about this post! Food 'n Flix and Cook the Books have teamed up to do a double post for The Hunger Games, with Heather from girlichef hosting! Announcement post is here.
The Hunger Games is the first book of a trilogy about a dystopian alternate timeline where war has reduced America to 12 Districts ruled by a Capital. As punishment for a rebellion, all 12 Districts must offer up 1 boy and 1 girl between the ages of 12 and 18 as a tribute to compete in the Hunger Games each year. These children must then fight to the death in a televised spectacle with only 1 survivor. To make things even worse, all of the Districts are purposefully kept in a state of starvation except for the District of the winner - which is given ample food for a year until the next Hunger Games (hence the name). Food, therefore, is extremely important and a focus throughout the series.
The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is an extremely tough teen who would do anything to protect her family and especially her little sister, Primrose. When Prim is selected as Tribute (a death sentence for the timid 12 year-old), Katniss volunteers to take her place. Before being entered into the death-match proper, the Tributes are primped and pampered and paraded around the Capital. It is here that Katniss experiences luxury and an overabundance of food for the first time in her life.
Her favorite dish is a Lamb Stew with Dried Plums - it is mentioned frequently and even sent to her as a present when she is fighting for her life. I decided that the stew would be the perfect dish to make for this post, served on some wild rice that seemed fitting for the setting. I also served it with goat cheese rolled in herbs (inspired by the cheese that Primrose makes from her prized pet) and rustic seed bread (inspired by Peeta - Katniss's love interest and fellow Tribute, whose family owns a bakery).
I LOVE roasted beets - sweet and rich and beautiful, like healthy edible jewels! One of my favorite ways to serve them is in a salad with watercress and fresh mozzarella. But I have made that so many times that I wanted to try something a little different. This version uses goat cheese, a slightly more complex dressing, and a different method of roasting.
Usually I just wrap the beets in foil and roast them. This method involves first placing the beets on a bed of salt and herbs. It imparts just a little bit more flavor to the beets.