Well Dined

13Oct/161

Avocado Rose Toast

Well Dined | Avocado Rose Toast

If you've been anywhere near Instagram, you know that avocado roses are all the rage.  Simple, elegant, beautiful.  Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) and I decided to try our hands at making them, and I think they turned out pretty well!

Watch this video to learn how to do it.  Melissa is much more coordinated than I am, so those are her hands you are seeing.

Well Dined | Avocado Rose Toast

Or you can follow these directions: Oil a cutting board and knife with olive oil.

3Jun/151

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Well Dined | Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Have you ever had squash blossoms?  It's kind of weird to eat flowers, right?  But these delicate blooms (stuffed with ricotta cheese and herbs, battered, and fried) are so, so delicious.  They are also extremely perishable and only last a few hours at home.  So it is best to cook them right away.

Well Dined | Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I've only ever had squash blossoms in restaurants before, but as soon as I saw them at the farmers market, I knew that I had to try making them myself.  I really wanted to go with a stuffed and fried recipe, which is what I'm used to eating.  But I found a bunch of other cool recipes I'd like to try if they still have them at the market next week - soup, quesadilla, fritatta.

9Jan/142

Raw Tahini Date Salted Caramels

Well Dined | Raw Tahini Date Salted Caramels

I'm about to get all raw food, vegan, and healthy on you.  If those words make you cringe, don't worry - these things are addictively delicious no matter what diet you follow!  Let's talk about dates - they are naturally super sweet and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  They are also low calorie compared to processed sweets.  In other words, they are nature's guilt-free candy.  Now let's talk about Barhi dates. Oh. My. Gosh.  These dates have a really short season and can be hard to find (I order them from here), but they are totally worth the hunt.  They taste like butterscotch candy or caramel, just on their own!  There is seriously a world of difference between Barhi and other dates, believe me.  And in this recipe?  Killer.

Well Dined | Raw Tahini Date Salted Caramels

Now that we've established that you should totally use Barhi dates because they are way more delicious than any other kind, what else do you need to make these caramels?  Tahini, coconut oil, cardamom, and that's it!  Blend it all up in a food processor and press into a lined pan.  I had trouble getting all the coconut oil to incorporate, which didn't make any difference taste-wise, but made them less pretty.  Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and freeze until firm.

Well Dined | Raw Tahini Date Salted Caramels

Once they are firm, cut them into little squares and that's it!  You have to keep them in the freezer so that they stay firm, but that's not so much to ask, is it?  They are rich, sweet, and complex with the flavors of caramel, tahini, cardamom, and coconut coming together, and the sea salt just takes it over the top.  Good for you, delicious, fits any diet, and makes great gifts - why are you not making these yet?  Get on it!

Raw Tahini Date Salted Caramels
adapted from The Kitchn
*I made double

1 cup pitted dates (Barhi highly recommended)
1/2 cup tahini
2 tbsp coconut oil (room temperature)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
1/8 tsp fleur de sel or other finishing salt

Combine the dates, tahini, coconut oil, and cardamom in a blender or food processor. You should have a very smooth, creamy, and thick paste.

Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined loaf pan (or another equivalent container) and use a spatula to press it down evenly. Sprinkle with salt.

Freeze until firm. Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces.

Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.

One Year Ago - Glazed Figs - 2 Ways
Two Years Ago - Carnitas
Three Years Ago - Winter Soups

6Nov/130

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies

Well Dined | Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies

Hand pies are so much fun.  You just pick up your own personal mini-pie and munch away.  No sharing!  And when those flaky pies are filled with cinnamon spiced apples and gooey salted caramel, you won't want to share.

Well Dined | Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies

Putting these together is pretty easy - divide up your apple mixture among the circles of dough, top with a few bits of caramel candy, sprinkle with sea salt, place another round of dough on top.

Well Dined | Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies

Crimp the edges with a fork to seal, but the dough is going to puff up like puff pastry so it doesn't have to be perfect.  Egg wash and coarse sugar make the crust a beautiful golden brown.

Well Dined | Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies

The one issue with these is that you do have to eat them warm or the caramel will re-solidify.  If you don't eat them all immediately (which, good luck with that) you will need to reheat them before serving.  There is also quite a bit of dough in proportion to filling.  If that is not your style, make sure to roll it out extra thin.

9Sep/130

Roasted Bone Marrow

Well Dined | Bone Marrow

The other day, I was perusing Red Apron Butchery and saw that they had marrow bones.  I LOVE marrow, but I had never made it at home before.  It was time to fix that!  You might be interested to know that while marrow is made up of fat, it is largely unsaturated; plus it has lots of vitamins and minerals like iron and Vitamin A, and it has been shown to boost the immune system!

Well Dined | Bone Marrow

Now you actually want to soak these bad boys in salt water overnight to draw out the blood.  It's not going to kill you or anything if you don't, but it won't taste as good.

Well Dined | Bone Marrow

Then you just pop them into a hot oven and roast for 20 minutes.  You could just sprinkle it with coarse salt and eat it with a spoon, I wouldn't blame you.  But if you want the full experience, spread it onto some toasted challah bread and top with a tangy parsley salad to balance out the rich fattiness.  Prairie butter, poor man's foie gras, pure heaven - whatever you want to call it, this stuff is delicious decadence.

Roasted Bone Marrow
serves 4

8 3'-4'-long pieces beef or veal marrow bones (cut lengthwise or crosswise, doesn't matter)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 small shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp drained capers
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2-inch thick slices challah or rustic white bread, toasted

To remove the blood from the marrow, place the bones in a bowl of ice water with 1 tsp coarse sea salt per 1 cup water. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water every 4 hours and replacing the salt each time. Drain and refrigerate until you are ready to cook the marrow. Be sure to use it within 24 hours or freeze the drained bones for up to 3 months.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Place bones in an ovenproof skillet or roasting pan - wider cut side down for crosswise, cut side up for lengthwise. Roast bones until marrow is soft and begins to separate from bone but before it begins to melt, 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of bones. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Meanwhile, toss parsley, shallots, oil, lemon juice, and capers in a medium bowl to coat. Season salad to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Serve bones with toast and parsley salad. Use a long, thin spoon or knife to scoop marrow onto toast and top with salad.

23Aug/132

Summer Tartines

Well Dined | Summer Tartines

So for the past few weeks I have pretty much been living off of fresh summer produce and cheese piled onto whole grain seed bread.  It's pretty much all I want to eat.  EVER.  The French call these open-faced sandwiches "tartines".  I like that, it makes them sound fancy (when really they are super simple).

Well Dined | Fresh Tomato and Ricotta Tartine

The farmers' market has been bursting with huge, gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.  This beautiful yellow, green, and red tomato made it onto pizza (which I will post about soon) AND some lovely tartines.  I wanted to eat some of this super sweet and juicy tomato raw so I toasted some bread and topped it with creamy homemade ricotta, basil from my garden, slices of tomato, high quality EVOO, high quality sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper.  Super simple and sooooooo delicious.

Well Dined | Fig, Ricotta, and Honey Tartine

Next up I paired some fresh figs with more of that homemade ricotta, black pepper, and honey.  Whether for lunch, dessert, or a snack - this tartine is awesome.

Well Dined | Broiled Tomato and Mozzarella Tartines

Lastly, I wanted to experiment with warm tartines and broiled tomatoes, so I placed sliced mozzarella and tomatoes on seedy whole grain bread, drizzled them with olive oil, and broiled them.  Then I topped them with fresh basil, salt, and pepper - yum!  Definitely very satisfying.

What are some of your favorite tartine ideas?  Leave them in the comments!

4Sep/120

Shaved Market Vegetable Salad

I was so inspired by this shaved vegetable salad at Simon in Las Vegas that the first thing I wanted to do when I got home was to make my own version.

So I went and bought the vegetables I wanted to use - carrots, celery, beets, fennel, and asparagus.

Then I sliced them up using the slicing blade on my food processor (a mandoline would also work) and tossed them with high quality olive oil, lime juice, and sea salt.

I actually stored the vegetables like that in the fridge and throughout the week or so that they lasted I would take out what I needed and add it to raw kale massaged with olive oil (which takes some of the bitterness out) along with watercress, grapes, pepitas, and fresh mozzarella for a delicious summer salad.

It is so healthy and fresh and keeping the vegetables raw means that you are getting the full nutritional value from them, plus they keep you super full.  But this seriously tastes so good that you will not even be thinking about how healthy it is.

29May/124

Food ‘n Flix – Sideways

This is my second month to be a part of the Food 'n Flix bloggers' circle (see here for my first month).  This month is hosted by Tina at Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor; and she has chosen the movie Sideways to be our inspiration.

Sideways is a movie about friendship, relationships, happiness, and most of all - WINE.  Set in Napa Valley, vineyards and wineries provide the background to the film and wine almost becomes a character itself.

I wanted to make something that would feel like it belonged in Napa Valley, and that would pair well with wine.  I thought about coffee rubbed pork with a wine sauce, or braised ribs, but eventually I settled down on something simple and fresh - Focaccia with grapes, rosemary, pine nuts, olive oil, and sea salt served with fresh homemade ricotta.