Are you planning a romantic meal for a snowy Valentines Day tomorrow? Here is an exceptional treat to spice up your night. Nothing says “Olive You” like toast smeared with thick ricotta cheese and salty olives and pistachios. Use this recipe as a starter or a part of the meal. With good red wine, of course!
This crostini is bright green, tangy, spicy and savory with the balence of creamy cheese. I couldn’t get enoughs and it will become a regular treat for guests or single nights at home.
Crostini with Ricotta, Olive and Pistachio
- 3/4 cup ricotta, drained in a sieve over night
- 1/4 cup, chopped pistachio
- 1/4 cup, Castelvetravo olives (they are super green and less salty)
- 1/4 cup, good olive oil
- 2 tablespoons, chopped parsley
- 2 anchovies, minced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon, orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of red chili flake
- 4 thick sliced country bread, toasted
Drain the ricotta over night in a sieve over night. This will make it thick and rich. And, season it a little with salt and pepper.
Combine everything else (except the bread) and stir together. Taste for seasoning.
Toast the bread in the broiler with a brush of olive oil. Smear with ricotta and top with olive mixture. Serve immediately.
I know it’s Wednesday and there is some serious snow coming down but I want to share with you a fancy treat for your upcoming Oscar Night Party! If you didn’t know, I love the movies. This year I’ve already seen Philomena (great but sad), American Hustle (great acting but slow), Wolf of Wall Street (funny but really freaking long -and many more F words), August: Osage County (great acting but really freaking sad!) and some others I’m forgetting. I still need to see 12 Days a Slave, her, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Inside Llewyn Davis and many others (let me know if you want to go)! When the red carpet rolls out, I need to be ready to make some bets with my friends over a fancy meal by the tube.
There is something fun about preparing some thing fancy for a casual night with friends. I made this delicious small plate for my friends over New Years Eve and it was a very big hit. The recipe is from the cookbook “Small Bites, Big Nights.” It is a fun book that isn’t terribly practical but I’ve enjoyed having it on my shelves for inspiration. This recipe is fairly simple but a special treat for any soiree you are planning for a small crowd. Enjoy!
Seared Beef on Mini Yorkshire Pudding with Horshradish Cream
- 1 1/2 all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons horseradish
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 more, taboespoon canola oil
- 1 lb filet of beef
- 1/2 bunch chives
Preheat at the oven to 400 degrees.
For the Yorkshire pudding, mix the flour and salt. Then gradually add milk and eggs. Allow to rest in a bowl for 20 minutes.
Pour a a thin layer of canola oil in the bottom of a muffin tin and place in the oven. Pour in mixture about a fourth way up. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until brown and puffed.
Whip up cream and add horseradish.
Season beef with salt and pepper. Sear beef in a hot skillet with canola oil until desire temperature.
Assemble Yorkshire pudding with sliced beef and a dollop of cream.
This is is my favorite party standby. I’ve made at least three batches over the past week. Two for my own party and one as a last minute dish for a potluck. It really couldn’t be easier and comes out like a giant artichoke soufflé. When the back up artichoke dip came hot out of the oven around 10 o’clock in the evening – it was devoured.
It’s great with crackers, winter vegetables and any type of bread.
I typically add a couple more artichokes to the mix and an extra dash of cayenne pepper. You can spice it up anyway you like. I promise, it’ll be hit!
My Favorite Artichoke Dip
- 3/4 pound cream cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 2 scallions
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cups canned artichokes
- cayenne pepper, to taste
Assembly: Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor. I do this in a couple steps to make sure everything is in the desired size (specifically the artichokes depending on how you buy them). Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Super easy, right?
As I mentioned on Sunday, a the whole Cedar Smoked Salmon was a big hit of the party. Every last morsel of the fish was eaten. While this is a great – and fantastically easy – idea for a big party, it is also delicious for a small gathering or for snacks throughout the week. You can purchase a small piece or a whole fish from The Fresh Market fish counter.
While some smoked fish can be overwhelmingly — fishy — this is balanced, mid and smokey. It is perfect with this Sour Cream and Caper Spread and a little red onion (if you are brave at a party!). Dig in!
Sour Cream & Caper Spread
- 1 container sour cream
- 1/4 cup drained capers
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
Going to the Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market is always an adventure. When you think you know what to expect – you always find something unexpected! A great example are the duck eggs I picked up a couple days ago at from Massey Creek Farm! They are larger than their excellent peer chicken eggs and full of nutrients. After a little research, I found that duck eggs have twice the nutritional value of a chicken egg and stay fresher longer due to their thicker shell. Google them and see! I can’t wait to try them in my holiday baking projects (they say they are excellent in cakes!)
Back on Mendenhall, I found they make an excellent addition to a breakfast sandwich! You can certainly whip up this recipe with a chicken egg and pork bacon – but why not impress your friends, family, yourself and the dog (and from my estimates about 415 calories!)? Put the Massey Creek Farm Duck Egg Breakfast Sandwich on your holiday menu and impress!
Massey Creek Farm Duck Egg Sandwich
- 1 duck egg
- 1 slice turkey bacon
- 1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 whole wheat english muffin, toasted
- cooking spray
In a large cast iron skillet, start to cook the slice of bacon. Add a large round cookie cutter to the pan and spray with a little cooking spray (Pam). Whisk the egg and add into the hot cookie cutter. Cook bacon and egg to your liking!
Meanwhile, toast the english muffin.
Add the cheese, egg and crispy bacon to the english muffin. Enjoy with coffee and orange juice!
I’m not sure things could be more nuts right now. But, I think it’s important to plan time for friends and fun. It can me easy and less expensive to do it at home too. Flatbreads are a favorite last-minute entertainment trick for me. They are versatile and really take no time to put together (with pantry items)!
This recipe is a little bit of splurge with truffle oil but consider it optional. Midtown Olive Oil at Friendly Center sells an affordable bottle and it will last you awhile. Consider it an investment to impress your friends!
Enjoy this seasonal recipe. It’s great with red wine and crisp apples or grapes!
Truffled Taleggio and Mushroom Pizza, from Gourmet Magazine
- 1 pound pizza dough
- 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
- 3/4 pound cold Taleggio or Italian Fontina, rind discarded and cheese sliced
- 1 teaspoon white truffle oil (optional)
Put a large heavy baking sheet (17 by 14 inches) on lowest rack of oven, then preheat oven to 500°F.
Stretch out dough on a lightly floured surface, pulling on corners to form a roughly 16- by 13-inch rectangle. Transfer to a tray lined with parchment paper. Lightly prick dough all over with a fork.
Slide dough (still on parchment) onto hot baking sheet. Bake until top is puffed and pale golden in patches, 6 to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven; prick any large bubbles with a fork and flatten. Scatter mushrooms over crust, then season with salt and pepper and lay cheese on top.
Bake pizza until edge of crust is deep golden and cheese is bubbling and golden in patches, 8 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with truffle oil (if using) and season with pepper. Serve immediately.
Last night I hosted some special food and wine loving friends over for a casual Sunday supper. And these folks were worth pulling out some stops for. I put together a menu of small dishes (that in reality were not that small) of Italian savory bites. Roasted tomato crostini, pan roasted lemon shrimp, fried cauliflower zeppoli, dry pickled cucumber salad and these most delicious grilled pancetta wrapped asparagus. Oh, and the most perfect almond cake.
I think this dish was my favorite out of all. Don’t be shocked by it’s simplicity. Get grilling.
Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus with Orange Vinaigrette from Food & Wine Magazine
- 2 pounds medium asparagus
- 1/2 pound very thinly sliced pancetta
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
Tightly wrap each asparagus spear in a slice of pancetta and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, stir the orange zest and juice with the mustard and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill the asparagus over moderate heat, turning often, until they are just tender and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the asparagus to a platter and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with the thyme and serve.
Wouldn’t this Goat Cheese Torte be absolutely beautiful if I was more patient and precisely layered each ingredient together while assembling? It would – but this less than beautiful one was just as tasty.
Using extra ingredients from the pantry and garden, I made several components of this torte before heading up to the mountains. Once there, during the beginning of cocktail hour, I assembled and refrigerated this torte. It’s very savory and pairs really well with crackers and vegetables.
This is an impressive starter to share with guests. Enjoy it during football season and get creative.
Goat Cheese Torte
- 8 ounce log of local (Goat Lady Dairy) goat cheese
- 16 ounces, cream cheese
- 1 cup, homemade summer basil pesto
- 1 cup, homemade tapenade
- 1 small jar, sundried tomatoes, minced in the food processor
Line the inside of a large glass bowl with plastic wrap. In a stand up mixer, whip together goat cheese and cream cheese. Layer cheese, then pesto, then cheese, then tapenade, then cheese then tomato mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Once chilled, flip onto a platter and serve with crackers and crudite.
It’s a good thing white jeans are out for the season because this Labor Day resulted in a little red wine spillage. I’m just back from another summer holiday at Overlook Lodge with friends. This weekend was no exception to our typical mountain mayhem including overextended cocktail hours and culinary indulgences. Over two nights, we prepared a variety of delicious dishes including this fresh no-cook summer gazpacho with fruits, fresh crab and avocado. My mom sent me this recipe several weeks ago with a “must make” recommendation. She was right (duh). This recipe paired perfectly with grilled steaks but would work perfectly for a nice lunch with tasty sandwiches. Save it for your end of season parties or flag the recipe for next year. It is different than your average tomato gazpacho with an interesting kick of fruits (peaches, strawberries AND watermelon!). So fresh and light – with a nice vinegary kick of seafood.
More recipes for appetizers, grilled meats and fig sauces to come!
Southern Living’s Summer Gazpacho
- 1 medium-size red heirloom tomato
- 1 cup diced seedless watermelon
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 1 Kirby cucumber, diced
- 1 cup diced peaches
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
- 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cut tomato in half; gently squeeze to remove seeds. Discard seeds, and chop tomato. Combine tomato and next 12 ingredients in a large pitcher. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, prepare Avocado West Indies Salad. Spoon gazpacho into bowls. Top with Avocado West Indies Salad
Avocado West Indies Salad
- 1medium avocado, chopped
- 8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, drained
- 1/3 cup diced sweet onion
- 2 tablespoons, chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons, apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Gently stir together avocado, crabmeat, onion, basil, vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately, or chill up to 2 hours.