Broccoli and Stilton Soup

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This is a quick soup perfect for lunch on a blustery fall day!

2 TBSP olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions finely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
1 lb broccoli, chopped
1 qt vegetable stock
4 oz gram stilton cheese
Salt and pepper
Chili pepper flakes

HeAt oil over medium heat in a large pot, add onions and garlic, cook for 2 minutes, then add the broccoli. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the stock and thyme. And cook 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and purée in a blender, toss in cheese and purée until smooth. Return to pan to warm and season with salt pepper and chill flakes.

Serves 4.

Polenta with Pork Belly & Baby Kale

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I love Trader Joes pre cooked pork belly!! It makes the perfect weeknight meal coupled with a little microwaved polenta and sautéed baby kale. Feel free to add cheese or herbs to the polenta.

Ingredients:
4 oz pork belly, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
6 oz baby kale or spinach
1/2 c polenta
Water
1/2 c half and half or milk
Salt and pepper

Stir polenta and 2 1/2 c water and half and half in a medium microwave-safe bowl; salt and pepper. Cover with a lid. Microwave for 4 minutes. Carefully remove plate and whisk polenta. Cover and microwave for 4 minutes longer. Repeat until polenta is soft, adding more water by 1/4-cupfuls if too thick, 10–12 minutes total, depending on strength of microwave. Season to taste with salt and pepper; keep warm.

In a large non stick skillet cook the pork belly over medium high heat until crispy on both sides. Set aside and kale and sautée until wilted.

Spoon polenta into a bowl, top with greens and pork belly.

Serves 2.

Pasta with Salmon and Asparagus

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This is a great weeknight meal. Be sure to under bake the salmon as it will cook a little longer when you toss with the pasta and sauce.

Ingredients:
Salmon:
2/3 lb salmon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper
Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 450. Spray the salmon and top with herbs. Bake 10 – 12 minutes. Cool for a couple minutes and the cut into bite size pieces.

Asparagus and pasta:
1 small bunch thin asparagus
8 oz
Pasta
8 oz creme fraiche
1 oz grated Parmesan
Baked salmon
Salt and pepper
Zest and juice from 2 lemons

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook asparagus for 3 minutes, remove and chip into bite size pieces. Add pasta on the water and cook according to package.

In a 12 inch skillet, heat the remaining ingredients over low heat about 2 minutes before pasta is ready. Add pasta to the sauce and cook for 2 minutes.

Serves 4.

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

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This meatless Monday it’s gnundi time! I use a TBSP cookie scoop to form them, the roll them in flour. Make sure you squeeze out all the water out of the spinach or the dough will be too wet.

Ingredients:
1 lb spinach
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 c ricotta
3/4 c Parmesan, grated
1 c flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Semolina, for dusting
4 TBSP butter
2 TBSP sage leaves, coarsely chopped

Fit a large pot with a steamer insert. Add enough water to come about 3 inches below bottom of insert, and bring to a simmer. Add spinach, cover, and steam until bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, and let cool slightly. Press to remove liquid. Roll spinach in a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth, and squeeze to remove any remaining liquid.

Transfer to a food processor, and puree until smooth. Stir together spinach puree, egg yolks, cheeses, 2 TBSP flour, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Mound 1 cup flour on a cutting board. Using floured hands, gently shape 1 TBSP spinach mixture into a small log. Drop it into the flour, and quickly roll to coat lightly. Transfer to a baking sheet that’s lightly dusted with semolina. Repeat. Freeze, uncovered, until ready to cook (up to overnight).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add half the gnudi, and stir gently to prevent them from sticking together. Cook until gnudi rise to, and remain on, surface, about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining gnudi.

Meanwhile, warm 4 plates. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chopped sage and the sage leaves. Add 1 1/2 TBSP gnudi cooking water, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Use a slotted spoon to remove gnudi from water shake off excess water, and transfer to plates. Drizzle with sage butter. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Boar Meatballs with Winter Salad

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I love boar and these meatballs are the most amazing unctuous little meatballs ever! Served alongside a winter salad and roasted butternut squash – amazing!!

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
Olive oil
2 slices white bread, ripped into pieces
1/2 c milk
3/4 lb ground boar
4 oz pancetta, small dice
2 TBSP marjoram, minced
4 large eggs – 3 for dipping
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 c fine breadcrumbs (run through the food processor if needed)
3/4 c flour
1 bag mixed greens
1 TBSP apple cider
1/4 c pomegranate juice (purée in food processor and drain through sieve)
1 TBSP hazelnut or olive oil
1/4 c pomegranate seeds
1/4 c hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

Toss squash with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, pour milk over bread and soak for 5 minutes. Place flour in a shallow bowl, mix with 1 TBSP marjoram, salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, beat 3 eggs with 2 TBSP water. In a 3rd shallow bowl pour the fine breadcrumbs. In the bowl with the soaking bread add the boar, pancetta, 1 egg, marjoram, salt and pepper; combine with hands. Roll into 1 inch balls, roll in flour, dip in egg then breadcrumbs, place on a baking sheet.

Bake squash for 10 minutes, then place boar balls in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

In a small bowl combine hazelnut oil, pom juice and cider vinegar. Toss with salad greens and top with hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds.

To serve place meatballs and squash with salad.

Serves 6.

Persimmons & Proscuitto Wraps

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This recipe is quick and easy best of all it looks impressive! Perfect for a fall appetizer. I made this 2 people, if you are entertaining just multiply – estimate 1/2 a persimmon per person.

Ingredients:
olive oil
1 fuyu persimmons, cut into eighths
8 small rosemary sprigs
4 very thin slices of prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Wrap a piece of Proscuitto around a persimmon slice. Use a toothpick to poke a hole in the wrapped persimmon and slip in a sprig of rosemary.

Place the wrapped wedges on the baking sheet and spray them with olive oil.

Roast for about 20 minutes, until the prosciutto-wrapped persimmons are lightly browned and sizzling.

Serves 2.

Black Bean Soup

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It’s fall which means soup time. This is a great healthy fall soup with a little kick – the poblanos I picked up were quite spicy! Serve with tortilla chips.

Ingredients
4 poblano chiles, roasted and seeded
Toasted pepitas
1 large dried pasilla or ancho chile, stemmed, seeds removed
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 c chicken broth
2 cans black beans, drained
1/2 c crumbled queso fresco
Salt and pepper
Lime wedges (for serving)

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add tomatoes and pasilla chile, and blend until smooth.

Return tomato mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until thick, 6–8 minutes. Stir in broth; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened, 10–15 minutes. Stir in black beans and poblano chiles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Serve soup topped with queso fresco and pumpkin seeds, and with lime wedges alongside.

Crispy Pork Belly with Kimchi Grits

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This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine. The big change I made was, I bough pork belly that was cooked from Trader Joe’s and I made my own rice grits. Rice grits are just pulverized rice so into the food processor the rice went and voila rice grits. The link is above in case your Trader Joes does not have the pork belly.
I love the kimchi flavored girth with the crispy pork belly – yummy yummy!!

Ingredients:
1 package trader joes cooked pork belly, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
4 c chicken stock
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 c unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 c thinly sliced radishes
1 c rice grits
1/2 c finely chopped kimchi
1/2 c half and half
Crushed roasted peanuts, for garnish

In a shallow bowl whisk together sugar and vinegar, add radishes and chill for at least 15 minutes.

In a saucepan, combine the rice grits and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, cover partially and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the grits are tender and become suspended in a creamy porridge, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the kimchi and half and half and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over very low heat, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if the grits become too thick.

In the large skillet, heat 1 TBSP of oil until shimmering. Add the pork belly and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until crispy, about 4 minutes.

Spoon the grits into shallow bowls and top with the crispy pork belly. Garnish with crushed peanuts and the pickled radishes and serve.

Serves 4.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

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Not having dessert is NOT an option for me – so I came up with this healthier version of pumpkin cheesecake bars. I know I baked a winner when my oldest eats it!

Ingredients:
Crust
1 c quick oats
½ c whole wheat flour
¼ c all-purpose flour
¼ c ground almonds
⅓ c butter, melted
3 TBSP Coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

Filling
3 egg whites
⅛ tsp creme de tartar
8 oz low fat cream cheese, softened
1 whole egg
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
⅓ c Coconut palm sugar or brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 11 baking pan.

Mix together the crust ingredients, until well distributed and crumbly. Dump the crust mix into baking dish. Gently press down, and even out height. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

While crust is baking, Beat the 3 egg whites with the creme de tartar, until forming stiff peaks. Set aside.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in different bowl until well mixed, then fold the egg whites into the filling, until smoothly distributed.

Spread filling over crust and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerator. Serve well chilled with whipped cream.

Pasta with Arugula and Garlic Sauce

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I love pasta! It is quicker than takeout and the perfect weeknight comfort food. The sauce comes together in less time that it takes to boil the water for the pasta! My hubby even liked it, and he’s not a big fan of arugula.

Ingredients:
4 cloves garlic, degermed
2 c arugula
1 c cream fraiche
1/2 lb pasta
1/2 c parmigiano

Cook pasta according to package.

In a food processor combine garlic, arugula, creme fraiche with a pinch of salt. Pour into a 12 skillet and hear for 2 minutes just as pasta is ready. Add the pasta and toss with cheese.

Serves 4.