Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Recipe: Perfect Pesto

This recipe produces a very bright green, fresh pesto. It's versatile as a pasta sauce, sandwich spread, bread dip, salad dressing, or condiment for your favorite meat.

2 c. fresh basil leaves
1/4 c. grated parmesean cheese
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
1/4 c. dry toasted pecans, chopped
1 small clove of garlic

Whirl all ingredients in a small food processor until smooth. Add more olive oil if you prefer a thinner sauce.

Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer Pearl Couscous Salad

I tossed this delicious, quick salad together for a summer bbq potluck, using what I happened to have on hand. It comes together easily using a pre-made salad dressing and Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blend. It's an unseasoned, dried mix of pearl couscous, orzo, dried garbanzo beans and red quinoa.  Pearl (also called Israeli) couscous has a mildly chewy texture, with a slightly nutty flavor, made from semolina or wheat flour. It's like eating tiny little balls of pasta.

Summer Pearl Couscous Salad 

1 package Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend (16oz) or  2 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
3-1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic, smashed
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 bottle Annie's Naturals Organic Red Wine & Olive Oil Vinaigrette
Salt & Pepper

In medium saucepan, boil water. Add entire package of grains, garlic and olive oil. 
Bring to a boil again, stir, then simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain if necessary.

Move grains into a large glass or steel bowl, and chill in the refrigerator or freezer, stirring occasionally, until cold.
Once chilled, add to grain mix all of the remaining ingredients and stir gently until combined..
Serve chilled or room temperature.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Plum Tarts with Honey

Our neighbor, Queen Kay of Barking Elf Ranch, has a lovely stable of horses surrounded by citrus, and various fruit trees. As summer peaks, her plum trees (cherry plums) explode with juicy, sweet-tart fruit and it's a race to gather them before the birds and critters eat them all.

You may want to adjust the sugar and honey amounts, depending upon how tart your plums are, and how sweet you like your dessert! I prefer more natural fruit flavor, adding the honey drizzle per serving for more sweetness.

Plum Tarts with Honey

1 package of frozen puff pastry (17oz)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
6 cups red plums, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/4 raw honey

Thaw puff pastry according to box directions. Do not thaw completely...dough should be very cold.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone liner.

Unfold puff pastry (should be approx. 10 inch square). Cut in the dough in half to create two, equal sized rectangles. Repeat with the other piece of pastry dough. Place 2 rectangles on each baking sheet.

Stir sugar and cinnamon in small bowl until combined.

Brush puff pastry rectangles with half of the melted butter and sprinkle surface with half of the cinnamon sugar. Arrange plum wedges in center of rectangles, slightly overlapping them and leaving a roughly 1-inch border around edges. (see photo at top of recipe)

Brush plums with remaining melted butter and sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar all over tarts. Bake until plums are soft and pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Serve warm or room temperature, drizzled with honey.  Makes 4 tarts.

TastyCam - 7/18/16 - Summer Omelette

Inspired by Piper's love for tomatoes and avocados, this omelette super-charged our day! Feeds 3.
Any combination of vegetables and cheeses (or meats or leftovers) works great here too.

Summer Omelette

5 eggs
splash of milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp butter
1/4 shredded low-moisture mozerella
1 medium heirloom tomato, sliced in 1/4 rounds
1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper until lightly frothy.

Put a small frying pan on a low heat and let it get hot. Add butter and swirl to melt and cover pan.
Add egg mixture and move the pan around to spread them out evenly.

When the omelette begins to cook and firm up, but still has a little raw egg on top, sprinkle on the cheese, and over one-half of the omelette, spread avocado and tomato slices.

Using a spatula, ease around the edges of the omelette, then fold it over in half. When it starts to turn golden brown underneath, remove the pan from the heat and slide the omelette on to a plate.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Easy Spiced Granola

Great by the handful as a quick snack, you can also serve this granola crumbled on top of yogurt or by the bowl, doused with coconut milk for breakfast. I often substitute 1 cup of the oats for a dry cereal like puffed rice or corn flakes for a tasty variation.

4 cups rolled oats
12 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted pecans  (or other nuts, chopped)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
13 cup light oil (grapeseed, sunflower or coconut)
23 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine oats, nuts, salt, cinnamon and flax in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine oil, honey and vanilla in another, smaller bowl.
Mix wet ingredients into dry - you may need to use your hands.
Then spread the mixture onto two cookie sheets lined with foil or parchment.
Bake 10 minutes. Then remove from oven and stir.
Bake an additional 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
When cooled, transfer into an airtight container for storage.

*Spiced Cocoa Granola*
Add into the dry ingredients: 2 tablespoons powdered cocoa & 3 tablespoons brown sugar