Lentils & Spinach

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This was influenced by a recipe I found in Eating Well. I had some roasted garlic so I used that to give it a really deep layer of flavor. This is an easy one pot, weeknight meal. You can easily double this to serve more people. Service it with some nice crusty bread.

Ingredients:
4 cloves roasted garlic, minced
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
2 c water
1/2 c lentils (I had orange on hand)
4 c spinach or other greens
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in Dutch oven, add garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute over medium heat, add tomato paste and rosemary cook for another minute stirring to blend. Add water and lentil reduce heat to low, partially cover and cook for 40 minutes.

Remove lid and stir in spinach, cook for 5 minutes or so until wilted.

Serves 2.

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Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta

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This recipe is from Bon Appetit and it is the perfect fall/winter meal. If you can’t find broccoli rabe, you can has regular broccoli. Keep an eye on this one when bacon or you might burn your pancetta like I did- if it starts to brown too fast, cover with bacon until the last 5 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 TBSP olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb broccoli rabe cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper
4 large eggs
1 c milk
1/2 lb crusty beard cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated
6 – 8 slices pancetta

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add garlic and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute, add broccoli and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Remove from heat.

Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Spread 1/2 the broccoli mixture into a casserole, top with 1/2 the cheese, remaining broccoli and cheese. Pour egg mixture over the top and press down. Top with pancetta.

Bake 25 – 35 minutes – watch it to make sure you don’t burn your pancetta. It’s done when it is puffed and brown.

Serves 4.

Tartifiette

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Fall is here and all I want to eat and warm meals slathered in cheese. This French-Swiss dish fits the bill – potatoes, wine, bacon and cheese – this is one serious bowl of comfort food. I could not find reblouchon cheese so I used rachlette.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb potatoes, peeled
1/4 lb bacon, diced
1 onion, sliced thin
3/4 c white wine
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb rachlette, sliced

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil potatoes in a large pot of water for 20 minutes. Cool and dice.

In a 12 inch skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove, add onion to the drippings and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat until golden. Add wine and cook for 5 minutes, add bacon and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Place 1/2 the potato mixture in a casserole, cover with a layer of cheese, top with remaining potato mixture and cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Serves 4.

Squash Soup with Pepitas Two Ways

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Fall is finally upon us in California – it’s a chilly 59 degrees today! Which means it is time for soup!! This one is from Food & Wine – I love the use of pepitas two ways to add different textures to the creamy soup!

Ingredients:
3/4 c raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
6 TBSP olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 3 lb kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bay leaf
2/3 c white wine
4 c vegetable stock
2 c water
Pumpkin seed oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds in a pie plate. In another pie plate, toss the remaining 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds with the 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, the sugar and a pinch of salt. Bake the pumpkin seeds for 12 minutes, stirring once, until lightly browned and crisp; let cool completely.
Transfer the plain roasted pumpkin seeds to a mini food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and pulse until the seeds are ground to a paste. Season with salt.

In a saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and just starting to brown, 8 minutes. Add the squash and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the squash just begins to soften, 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, 4 minutes. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the squash is very tender, 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Purée the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.

Garnish with seeds, pesto and a drizzle of pumpkin oil.

Serves 6.

Bacon Cheese Scones

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I am more of a savory person when it comes to breakfast, and these savory scones hit the spot. I shredded the cheese and chopped the bacon in the processor to save time.

5 slices bacon, cooked crispy
2 c flour, plus more for the work surface
2 tsp baking powder
1 c finely grated Asiago or Gruyere cheese, plus more for sprinkling if you please
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
1 large egg
3/4 c buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C) and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, dump the flour, baking powder, cheese, bacon, salt, and pepper and pulse briefly to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream or milk until blended. Pour the egg mixture into the processor and pulse just until the dough beginsp to pull away from the sides of the bowl and come together into a ball. The dough will be quite sticky.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead several time, then bring the dough together into a ball. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1⁄2 inch thickness. Using a pastry cutter, cut into triangles or use a floured cup to cut into circles. Repeat with remaining dough. Space the scones evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with additional cheese.

Bake until the scones are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving.

Makes 12 – 14.

Pate stuffed Fruit

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Ok so it’s not really a recipe, since I did not make the pate, but is yummy and easy so I’m sharing.

Ingredients:
5 figs, halved
6 medjool dates
Pate
Truffle oil

Cut the fig halved almost in half and stuff with pate.

Remove seeds from dares and fill with pate.

Place on a plate and drizzle with a little truffle oil.

Serves 2.

Chanterelle and Leek Tart

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Costco has chanterelles!! This always makes my day! So after cleaning them (the only downside) I decided to whip up a little tart to showcase my find. I used trader joes puffed pastry, it takes great and means a little less work on my end, so what the heck. Also I can be in denial about all the butter 😉 outside of that this dish is on the healthy side.

Ingredients:
1 Frozen puffed pastry sheet
3 leeks thinly sliced, white and light green parts
1 lb chanterelles, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 TBSP butter
2 tsp thyme, fresh
3 TBSP creme fraiche of heavy cream
3/4 c gruyere, grated
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out pastry on a floured surface so that it will cover your tart pan (I use one with a pop out bottom). Place your tart pan on a baking sheet. Lay the pastry in the pan and gently push into all the corners. Use a rolling pin to cut off the excess by rolling over the top of the pan. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the pastry and fill the pan with dried beans, rice or baking stones – you don’t want the pastry puffing.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and prick the pastry with a fork, bake 10 more minutes.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, add leeks and sauté for 5 minutes until soft. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, until they release their water. Salt and pepper. Turn off heat and stir in creme and thyme.

To assemble: spread 1/2 the cheese in the bottom of the pastry, top with mushroom mixture then spread remaining cheese on top.

Bake for 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Serves 4.

Tofu with Red Curray

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This recipe was inspired by Sunset and it is amazing and easy! I love tofu and you can’t go wrong with a coconut curtsy sauce! Perfect for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients:
1 pkg firm tofu, drained, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 c thinly sliced shallot
1 can lite coconut milk
3 TBSP Thai red curry paste
2 tsp. lime zest
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
8 oz peeled butternut squash, cut into chuncks, steamed for 20 minutes until soft
3 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated
1 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP lime juice
Steamed rice

Heat oil in a larger non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook tofu until crisp, remove to pan. Add shallots, cook until browned, add to tofu.

Reserve 1/4 c coconut milk and fish sauce and lime juice whisk together and set aside.

Pour remaining coconut milk into pan, add Curry Sauce and lime zest, stir to combine. Add bell pepper and squash, cook for the minutes. Add bok choy and cook until crisp tender about 3 minutes. Add reserved coconut milk mixture and stir to combine. Add tofu and shallots and cook for 3 minutes to warm through. Serve over rice

Serves 4.

Pasta with Tomatoes, Olives, capers and Artichokes

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After a crazy day and a long week, I was about to reach for the phone for take out, when the new Patricia Wells cookbook arrived and saved me!!! I flipped to the pasta section and found this recipe and knew I had to make it now! Most of the items are pantry staples and the only change I made was using burrata instead of fresh mozzerella.

Ingredients:
10 oz penne
1 28 oz can Italian tomatoes in juice, chopped
1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 c olives, drained and sliced
1 jar marinated artichokes hearts, chopped
1/2 c capers, drained
1 tsp fennel seed
8 oz burrata, cut into bite size pieces
Red pepper flakes

Cook pasta according to package.

Combine everything except the cheese in a 12 inch skillet and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasional while the pasta cooks.

Add the pasta to the sauce, cook for 2 minutes so the pasta can absorb the sauce.

Serve topped wiry cheese and pepper flakes.

Serves 4.

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Polenta with Mushrooms

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This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found in Food & Wine. I had some truffled polenta on hand so I used that – it would be just as tasty with regular polenta. It comes together in about 30 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c medium-grain polenta
Salt and pepper
6 TBSP butter
1/2 c chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 TBSP finely grated lemon zest
1/4 c olive oil
1 1/2 lb mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster and stemmed shiitake, thickly sliced or quartered
12 oz spinach
1/2 c mascarpone cheese

Cook polenta according to package. Just before serving stir in the marcarpone.

Mince the parsley and garlic with the lemon zest. Transfer the gremolata to a small bowl.

In a large skillet, melt 1 TBSP of the butter in 2 TBSP of the olive oil. Add half of the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in half of the chopped greens and cook for 1 minute; transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil, mushrooms and chopped greens.

To serve, spread polenta on a plate, top with mushrooms, greens, Parmesan and gremolata.

Serves 4 as main course.