Tag Archives: snack

Ricotta Crostoni with Peperonata

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When you’re passionate about food, it becomes surprisingly difficult to play favorites. That’s why I have a hard time selecting dishes for this blog; it’s so hard to choose.

That being said, I know I have a winning dish when I make it more than once. I have used this recipe as my go-to for recent potlucks and get togethers with friends. There are only a few ingredients, and the peppers can be made up to three days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. I think you will love this dish because it puts a classic spin on your traditional bruschetta. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Ricotta Crostoni with Peperonta*

*adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Mozza cookbook. This is an Italian must-buy for your cookbook collection!

You will need:

1/2-inch-thick slices from a loaf of pane rustica or another large, flat peasant loaf

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the bread

1 garlic clove

Sea salt (or fleur de sel if you want to be fancy)

fresh coarsely ground black pepper

3 cups fresh ricotta

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh Italian parsley leaves

For the peperonata (makes 1 quart):

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 large red onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic (about 10 large cloves)

2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 orange bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 tablespoon Spanish sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup Basic Tomato Sauce or Marinara

1/2 cup pitted Nicoise olives

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh Italian parsley leaves

To make the peperonata:

1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until it is almost smoking and slides easily in the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, season with one teaspoon of sea salt and several turns of pepper, and saute, stirring occasionally to prevent the onion and garlic from browning, until the onion is tender and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the peppers, season with the remaining teaspoon of salt, and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, oregano, and sugar, and stir to combine the ingredients. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for about 2 minutes to meld the flavors. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper, if desired.

3. Transfer the peperonata to a large baking dish (at least 9 by 13 inches) or a large, ovenproof skillet and smooth the top with a wooden spoon or spatula to make it level. Place the peperonata in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in the olives, and return it to the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is charred, especially around the edges.

4. Remove the peperonata from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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To make the ricotta crostoni:

1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350° or preheat a sandwich press.

2. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet, brush the tops with olive oil, and back them for 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown and crisp. Alternatively, brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil and toast them in a sandwich press.

3. Remove the crostoni from the oven and rub the oiled sides of the crostoni with the garlic. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt.

4. Put the ricotta in a medium bowl and stir vigorously with a spoon to fluff it up. Pile 1/4 cup of ricotta in mounds on each crostoni and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle a teaspoon of parsley, and coarsely grind black pepper over each crostoni.

5. Arrange the crostoni on a serving platter or board and serve with peperonata. Alternatively, you can spoon the peperonata onto each crostoni and serve.

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Crab Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette

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Living by the coast has its perks, one of them being same day fresh dungeness crab. It’s something I look forward to every winter, perhaps even more than the holiday season. Best of all, making crab is a great excuse to stay indoors and entertain with friends.

This salad is light, yet full-bodied enough to satisfy your hungry boyfriend. I followed this recipe to cook the crab (make sure to ask your seafood purveyor to crack and clean the crab; Whole Foods will do it for free), which is a great meal for dinner itself. Truth be told, this salad was created because of leftovers from the aforementioned dish. And it was so good.

To make the salad, I combined the cooked lump crab meat with arugula, grapefruit slices, carrot ribbons, green onions and toasted walnuts. Toss it together with a fresh lemon-tarragon vinaigrette, and you have a gourmet crab salad made to impress even the most discerning eaters.

Crab Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette

You will need:

2 cups cooked lump crab meat (roughly)

4 cups organic arugula

1 grapefruit; cut into slices

1 cup walnuts; toasted with olive oil and a hint of brown sugar

1 carrot; shaved into thin ribbons (use a potato peeler)

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves

2 cloves of garlic; whole

2 tsp minced green onions

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp honey

1. To make the dressing, combine tarragon, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and honey. Blend until smooth using a food processor.

2. Combine lump crab meat, grapefruit slices, toasted walnuts, carrots, and green onion. Serve on top of a bed of arugula and lightly toss with dressing.

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Sauteed Chard and Gruyere Grilled Cheese

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It’s been raining for days and I couldn’t be happier. Since the weather in San Francisco is so unpredictable during the winter and summer seasons, I get excited when it actually meets my expectations. I spent the majority of this weekend indoors alongside my cozy fireplace, in awe of the storm outside my windows. When it came to dinner time, or any-time snack time, I couldn’t resist this unforgettable grilled cheese recipe from my favorite blog-of-the-hour Sprouted Kitchen. I served this grilled cheese with a mug of carrot-ginger soup, which I picked up from the local grocery store. The combination was heaven, and I spent a total of 15 minutes in the kitchen. Perfect.

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Gingery Green Smoothie

Smoothies are the perfect breakfast or anytime snack. Loaded with nutrition, smoothies can be totally customized and prepared with little effort.

This smoothie, in particular, is one of my favorites because if its gingery zing and refreshing flavor. I also added spinach for extra nutrients (and I love the fresh green color!)

I like to use a mixture of frozen bananas with other fresh ingredients, so crushed ice is not needed (it makes smoothies watery). By using freshly frozen chopped bananas, I never waste fresh fruit and always have a great smoothie base on hand.

Gingery Green Smoothie

1 frozen chopped banana (buy fresh banana, chop, and put in the freezer)

1 cup baby spinach leaves

1 heaping tbsp chopped ginger

1 medium gala or fuji apple, cored and chopped (I like to leave the skin for flavor)

1 cup of almond milk (depends on your consistency preference; add more if needed)

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Using a blender, combine all ingredients until completely smooth. Enjoy!

 

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Spaghetti Squash with Cherry Tomatoes, Goat Cheese & Basil

Spaghetti is one of my true loves, but I rarely make it during the week. I try to maintain a healthy diet, with splurges here and there, so spaghetti is not something I prioritize.

However, spaghetti squash is another story. I swear to you – it tastes just like spaghetti cooked al dente. Healthy, simple and tasty. Once you try it, you will be hooked on the guilt-free deliciousness. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash with Cherry Tomatoes, Goat Cheese & Basil

You will need:

FOR THE SQUASH-

  • 1 spaghetti squash, remove seeds and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt + pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Brush squash with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle brown sugar on both halves.

3. Place halves cut side down on baking sheets and roast for 40-45 minutes, or until fork tender. Set aside to cool.

4. When cool enough to handle: with a fork, shred the pulp of the squash away from the skin and place in a large bowl.

FOR THE SAUCE-

  • 1 pint organic cherry tomatoes, roasted whole for 15 minutes with salt
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1 cipollini onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of loose basil, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

1. Drizzle olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onions and saute over medium heat. Cook about 5 – 10 minutes, or until slightly brown. Add garlic and roasted tomatoes. Cook another 10 minutes.

Combine tomato sauce with spaghetti squash. Garnish with basil, and stir in goat cheese.

 

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Roasted Hidatsa Squash with Wilted Spinach & Toasted Pine Nuts

I’m really excited about the Fall season (Halloween is around the corner), and I anticipate it with so much foodie excitement every year. The seasonal produce is versatile and perfect for robust soups and vegetable gratins.

Best of all… winter squash is back! I just discovered the Hidatsa variety: it’s super sweet and hearty like pumpkin. Although the name sounds pretty fancy, it’s easily found at the local farmers market.

This dish is hearty enough to eat for dinner, or could be a great side dish as well. Clearly I’m ready for Thanksgiving.

Roasted Hidatsa Squash with Wilted Spinach & Toasted Pine Nuts


You will need:

1 small to medium Hidatsa squash; halved and seeded (you could also save the seeds and toast them)

4 cups loose organic spinach

1 red cippolini onion; thinly chopped and caramelized

1/4 cup pure grade A male syrup

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 can red organic kidney beans (optional; you could also use giant white beans)

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Using a heavy-duty, large chef’s knife, halve the Hidatsa squash and discard the seeds and threads.

2. Place squash halves on lined baking sheet, cut-side up. Drizzle  maple syrup and olive oil in each squash half, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until flesh is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven* and set aside to cool. *reserve the remaining maple glaze and transfer to separate bowl with toasted pine nuts.

3. Caramelize the onions by preheating a heavy-bottomed pan using medium heat. Add olive oil, heat for another minute add onions. Stir, and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to stir and cook onions until lightly browned or crispy (depending on your preference), about 20 minutes. Add spinach, stir and continue to cook another three to five minutes, or until wilted.

4. When squash is cool, peel using pairing knife and roughly chop. Combine squash and spinach mixture and serve. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and remaining maple glaze. Add beans if desired (great way to add protein) and drizzle seasoned rice vinegar to taste. Voila: a cozy, warm winter salad. Enjoy!

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Broiled Tofu Tacos

I’m excited about this post for two reasons:

1. I just got a new 50mm fixed lens; the photos in this post are seriously improved.

2. I’ve never used my broiler before, and the results were wonderful. It’s my new favorite cooking method (and fast, too!)

I originally found this recipe in my current favorite vegan book, Pure Vegan (also used here and here), but decided to transform it into tacos. It was really very easy: I followed the recipe straight from the book, and then stuffed it in a crunchy corn tortilla. It’s so good, very light, and healthy. I’m a little obsessed.

Broiled Tofu, Carrot, and Shiitake Mushroom Tacos

*serves 4

You will need:

1.5 pounds of carrots (peeling is not necessary)

1.75 pounds extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry

3 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed

1/4 cup peanut oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger

5 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish

lime wedges for garnish

1 package corn tortillas, cooked over an open flame until lightly charred and crispy (about 1 minute per side)

1. Set an oven rack 4 to 5 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Cut the carrots crosswise into 3-inch lengths. Cut the pieces lengthwise to a width of about 1.5 inches. Cut the tofu into 1.5 inch dice. Thinly slice the mushrooms.

3. In a large bowl, combine the peanut oil, soy sauce, salt and ginger. Add the mushrooms and gently toss until evenly coated with the marinade. Transfer the mushrooms to the prepared baking sheet. Put the tofu in the bowl with the remaining marinade and toss to evenly coat.

4. Broil the mushrooms for 5 to 10 minutes, until gender, turning once about halfway through. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Leave the oven on.

5. Add the carrots to the bowl of tofu and toss evenly to coat. Transfer the carrots and tofu to the same baking sheet, reserving the marinade.

6. Broil the carrots and tofu for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned, turning a time or two as needed. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. When done, transfer to the bowl of reserved marinade. Add the mushrooms, green onions, vinegar, and sesame oil and toss gently until evenly coated. Transfer to a large platter or smaller individual dishes and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Optional Step 7: heat corn tortillas over an open flame on your stove until lightly charred and crispy (about 1 minute per side), add tofu mixture and enjoy!

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