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Moroccan Grilled Veggies (plus morning after frittata)

28 May

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It’s starting to get to the time of the year when you can’t get through squash and zucchini fast enough. Grilling is a great way to pack a great punch with a spicy marinade. I skewered a variety of veggies – squash, zucchini, onion, peppers and mushrooms – and tossed them in a lovely Moroccan spiced marinade before grilling them charred with a nice fresh bite.

The next morning, I chopped up the leftover grilled veggies and made a delightful and healthy frittata.

Easy as that!

Moroccan Veggie Marinade 

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro

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Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

30 Apr

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I love twice-baked potatoes as a make-ahead item for parties. I could never host a Monday night dinner party without some advance preparation. And, you can make all kinds of twists with twice baked potatoes – spring pea, bacon, blue cheese, you name it!  Make everything in ahead and heat them at 350 until warm. Easy, as, that!

 

Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

 

  • 2 medium baking potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 cups vertically sliced yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • blue cheese crumbles

 

Pierce potatoes with a fork; arrange on paper towels in microwave oven. Microwave at high 10 minutes or until done, rearranging potatoes after 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sugar; sauté until browned (be patient, this will take a long time).

Cut each potato in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Combine potato pulp, onions, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Spoon potato mixture evenly into shells. Top with cheese. Return potatoes to the oven and broil until toasted!

 

Domino Potatoes

20 Apr

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I know it’s Monday morning and you’re probably forcing yourself to think about salads, but a potato will always make a chin up. Especially when they are sliced super thin, doused in butter and seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh rosemary. This is basically a classic Pommes Anna with a funny vertical twist. It’s easy and crowd pleasing. Make note for your next search for a non-boring side.

Domino Potatoes

  • 4 Idaho (baking) potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons chilled clarified butter
  • coarse salt
  • pepper
  • fresh rosemary sprigs

Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat, use a nonstick baking sheet or a medium-sized baking dish.

Cut off the two ends of one potato and reserve them. Trim the 4 sides of the potato to form an even brick. Slice of potato about 1/8 inch thick on a mandoline, keeping the slices in order if you can (just like a line of shingled dominoes). Stack in a casserole dish vertically.

Drizzle with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add a sprig of rosemary for aromatics.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned on the edges and tender in the middle when tested with a skewer. Serve immediately.

Easter Pastel Deviled Eggs

7 Apr

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Over the Easter weekend, I promised my friends I’d prepare a couple new variations on deviled eggs. So in the spirit of Easter pastels, I put together some fun new versions. I was particularly proud of their artistic look. They were equally as tasty. I think the group came to a consensus that the sriracha was the fan favorite – but you pick for yourself.

 Easter Deviled Eggs

  • 1 dozen hard-cooked eggs
  • 1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijion mustard
  • 1 heaping teaspoon, white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Halve the eggs  and transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. I cut mine vertically to give the eggs a different look – you’ll need to trim the bottom to get them to stand up!

With a stand up mixer, whisk the yolks to a smooth consistency. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, white pepper and salt, and mix until smooth. Taste and season accordingly.

Divide the mixture into thirds to create creative options! Mix and fill!

Pea & Prosciutto – mix in 1/3 yolk mixture with a cup of Sweet Pea Topping. Top with a small piece of prosciutto.

Sriracha & Black Sea Salt – mix in 1/3 yolk mixture with a teaspoon (or more to taste) of sriracha. Season with black sea salt.

Smoked Salmon and Chive – no need to mix – just top with smoked salmon & chives

 

 

 

 

Smoked Paprika and Garlic Hasselback Potatoes

23 Feb

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My Smoked Paprika and Garlic Hasselback Potatoes were a big hit of the  “just because it’s cold dinner party.” And, the hot oven helped keep the kitchen warm.

I’ve recently become very interested in incorporating smoked paprika into my cooking. For so long I judged plan old paprika – it was often lonely on a deviled egg or just used for color. But smoked paprika comes in sweet, hot, bittersweet and even sweet and spicy varieties! Check out Savory Spice Shop at Friendly Center for a complete run down and shopping spree. Smoked paprika is now landing itself on a simple grilled salmon, on top of hot popcorn or on these most delightful hasselback potatoes. The flavor is subtle but superb.  Check it out and Enjoy!

 

Smoked Paprika and Garlic Hasselback Potatoes

  • large potatoes (I like Yukon Gold)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon, minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon, smoked paprika (sweet or bittersweet – maybe a touch of hot!)

Heat the oven to 425°F . Cut slits in the potatoes, leaving the bottom intact: Cut slits into the potato, stopping just before you cut through so that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato. Space the slices 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch apart.

In the meantime, heat oil, butter, garlic, salt, pepper and smoked paprika in a small sauce pan until melted and aromatic. Arrange the potatoes in a baking dish. Brush the potatoes all over with butter mixture. Sprinkle with a touch more salt and pepper.

Bake 30 minutes, then brush with butter again. Bake the potatoes for about 30 more minutes. Once the potatoes are crispy on the outside and tender inside, serve them hot!

Fig and Red Wine Reduction on Crostini

18 Feb

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Yesterday on my snow day, I knew I had enough staples for a good snack by the fireplace. An old baguette, some goat cheese, dried figs and wine (duh). Nothing beats a quick crostini, a toasty fire and a dog at your feet. Snow is coming again this week – stock up!

Fig and Red Wine Reduction on Crostini

 

  • 1 cup dried mission figs, chopped
  • 1 cup, red wine
  • 1 tablespoon, brown sugar
  • 1 sprig, fresh rosemary
  • fig and honey Goat Lady Dairy cheese
  • bread, olive oil, salt and pepper

In a small sauce pan, combine chopped figs, wine, brown sugar and rosemary. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced. Make sure you keep an eye on this – don’t burn any sugar! Meanwhile, toast slices of french brea with a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper. Once the bread is brown, smear with goat cheese and top with fig reduction!

 

 

Roasted Beet Risotto

9 Jan

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For special occasions, I love a dish with flair. And nothing could standout more than a bright pink roasted beet risotto! It’s totally simple too. Roast the beets and add them to a simple risotto (with excellent cheese) before serving. What a fancy trick! Enjoy!

 

 

Roasted Beet Risotto, Epicurious 

 

  • 3 medium beets (1 1/2 lb with greens), trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached
  • 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (28 fl oz)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups Arborio rice (14 oz)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Tightly wrap beets in a double layer of foil and roast on a baking sheet until very tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool to warm in foil package, about 20 minutes.

When beets are cool enough to handle, peel them, discarding stems and root ends, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

While beets are cooling, bring broth and water to a bare simmer in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Keep at a bare simmer, covered.

Cook onion in oil in a wide 4- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

Add wine and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup broth and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is just tender and creamy-looking, 18 to 22 minutes. (Reserve leftover broth.)

Stir in beets, salt, and pepper(mixture will turn bright pink) and cook, stirring, until heated through. Thin as necessary with some of leftover broth, then stir in cheese and remove from heat.

Truffled Deviled Eggs + Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

18 Dec

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Tis the season for holiday treats.  I am looking toward to wrapping up the year and wrapping up a few small gifts to celebrate the most cherished people in my life. If you are working on last minute gifts before the holidays wrap up (that’s me!), here are some gifts I’ve been giving and in envy of!  And, a recipe for a delicious and easy homemade appetizer fit for any season.

  • For really good friends, a Nudo Olive Oil Subscription could be the coolest gift ever. Literally adopt a olive tree in Italy and have seasonal shipments of freshly pressed olive oil! Or, a gift box of their excellent garlic oil is might be the sweetest food packaging I’ve ever seen. I’m in total envy of anyone who gets this!
  • For your favorite kiddos, I suggest the children’s book “Good Boy, Fergus.” I was lucky enough to read this book to a class of Lindley Park Elementary School kindergarten students this year. The book is a sweet narrative of a Westie who gets in a variety of troubles – much like my own, Winston.
  • For my teammates at work, I made these homemade truffled deviled eggs for our holiday happy hour at Dabney’s house using olive oil from the local MidTown Olive Press. And, gifted a take home of Makers Mark Boubon. You could certainly gift the ingredients – Midtown Truffle Oil, black sea salt from Savory Spice Shop and Massey Creek Farm Eggs! Check out the recipe below.
  • Any gift of consumables are perfect. I’ve already received many a cookie, some delicious homemade cheese straws and a jar of homemade jalapeno pimento cheese that I can’t wait to devour with friends. Tis the season for calories – so step up the pace on your walks and lean into the season.

Truffled Deviled Eggs 

  • 1 dozen hard-cooked eggs
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijion mustard
  • 3(ish) tablespoons truffle oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon, white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black lava salt

Halve the eggs  and transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. I cut mine vertically to give the eggs a different look – you’ll need to trim the bottom to get them to stand up!

With a stand up mixer, whisk the yolks to a smooth consistency. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, truffle oil, mustard, white pepper and salt, and mix until smooth. Taste and season accordingly.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain or large star tip, then pipe the mixture evenly into the egg white halves.

Top each egg half with a tiny sprinkle of black lava salt.

Running of the Lighted Christmas (Cheese) Balls

15 Dec

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This weekend marked the 3rd anniversary of Greensboro’s Running of the Balls. The tradition of lighted Christmas balls hung throughout the trees of Sunset Hills is something that is so undeniably Greensboro. No one would ever guess the marvelous display that bundled up chicken wire and lights can make when flung high into trees!

The Running of the Balls 5k(ish) race is one of the most endearing events that I’ve ever participated in. Nearly 3,000 runners and walkers are decked out in all kinds of Christmas gear. The race route is a marvelous display of a traditional historic Greensboro neighborhood sprinkled with holiday light — plus the addition of bands and choirs. In addition to all the fun, the race raises much needed dollars and pantry donations for local shelters. How warm is your heart feeling right now?

You can learn the background of the Lighted Christmas Balls from Justin Smith, who started the tradition with his family.  

My friend’s Jamey and Phil (who hung about 200 plus balls themselves) hosted a large gathering of neighbors and friends after the race. In trend with the evening, I made three large Christmas Cheese Balls for the party. They were so good that I received a phone call today at the office requesting the recipe! So, here it is! Martha’s recipe makes enough for all 3,000 runners – so feel free to adjust the proportions to fit your crowd.

If you’re in Greensboro – or near – it’s worth a visit for dinner and a drive/stroll through Sunset Hills to see the display. If you’re not here, its a reason to visit next December.

Martha Stewart’s Cheese Balls, Three Ways

BASE RECIPE:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

CHEDDAR AND CRANBERRY:

  • 8 ounces sharp orange cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought chutney
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • Water crackers, for serving

ROQUEFORT AND WALNUT:

  • 6 ounces Roquefort cheese
  • 1 shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons brandy (optional)
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Vegetable chips (such as Terra Chips Sweets & Beets), for serving

GOAT CHEESE AND SCALLIONS:

  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • 1/3 cup fresh curly-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, for serving 
  1. Put butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until combined. Divide equally among 3 medium bowls.
  2. Stir cheddar cheese and chutney with base mixture in the first bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Roll cheese ball in cranberries to coat before serving. Serve with crackers.
  3. Stir blue cheese and shallot with base mixture in second bowl; add brandy, if desired. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days; freeze up to 1 month. Roll in walnuts to coat before serving. Serve with chips.
  4. Stir goat cheese and scallions with base mixture in remaining bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Roll in parsley to coat before serving. Serve with cucumber slices.

 

 

 

Easy Brunch Sides

11 Dec

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I decided on Sunday that a brunch might be the easiest party to host, especially when you position them at 12noon with a very casual dress code. In the words of my friend Alison, I recommended to friends to wear their “quitters” (sweat pants/ yoga pants) and come over for brunch on the sofa by the Christmas tree. And, I did my own fair share of short cuts. Pre-cut fruit from the The Fresh Market saved me hours of time cutting fruit. And, I tossed 4 packages of breakfast sausage on a cookie sheet into the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes to do the most simple side. Everyone loved the sausages and they were so much less of a mess than bacon!

Ina Garten always says that nobody has more fun at a party if you kill yourself in the kitchen before hands (that is, of course, paraphrasing). I agree, again with Ina. I couldn’t have been more relaxed when everyone arrived after having an easy morning preparing a big homemade (with shortcut) brunch for friends.

I’ll share the easiest recipe for two simple frittatas tomorrow!

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