Asparagus and Pancetta over Polenta

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This is the ultimate spring comfort food, green garlic, asparagus atop a creamy bowl of polenta.

2/3 c mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4 oz pancetta, diced
2 – 3 green garlic, sliced thin
1 1/2 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
1 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 c milk
3 cups water
2 cups instant polenta
1/2 c Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shards

In a small bowl whisk together Mascarpone and zest.

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 3 cups of the milk and the water to a boil and add the 1 tsp. salt. Whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking occasionally, until the polenta is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.

In a large skillet cook pancetta and green garlic over medium heat until the pancetta starts to crisp up. Add asparagus, cover and cook for 3 minutes until crispy tender.

Whisk the remaining 1 cup milk into the polenta in the saucepan and cook until just heated, about 30 seconds. Divide the polenta among shallow bowls and top with the asparagus mixture.

Spoon the mascarpone mixture over the asparagus, sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

Serves 4; makes two 9-inch polenta rounds.

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Blender Chocolate Mousse

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I love this chocolate mousse! It’s low calorie and so easy to make! I added a little espelette pepper to spicy things up.

1 c bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c water
2 TBSP sugar
1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
3 large egg whites
2 tsp espelette pepper

Place chocolate in blender. Bring 3/4 c water, 2 TBSP sugar, and espresso powder to simmer in medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour over chocolate. Cover tightly; blend 5 seconds. Add egg whites and pepper. Cover tightly; blend on high 1 minute. Pour into 4 small bowls. Chill until firm, about 2 hours.

Serves 4.

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Hazelnuts

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This dish is perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

Ingredients:
12 oz pasta
Salt
2 TBSP olive oil
2 c butternut squash, peeled, cut into ½” pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, divided
¼ cup butter, cut into pieces
1 TBSP lemon juice
¼ c grated Parmesan
¼ c toasted hazelnuts, chopped
4 TBSP torn fresh mint leaves, divided
Pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, al dente.Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash and cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, just until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Immediately add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid to keep garlic from burning; reduce heat to low and gradually add butter, swirling skillet and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a thick, glossy sauce forms.

Add pasta to skillet with squash and sauce and toss to coat. Add lemon juice, ¼ c Parmesan, 2 TBSP mint, and remaining ¼ tsp red pepper flakes and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Serve pasta topped with reserved hazelnuts, more Parmesan, and remaining mint.

Serves 4 t

Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

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This recipe was inspired by F&W. And let me just say this are a tasty herby meatball!

Sauce:
1/4 c olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 c basil leaves, torn
2 TBSP oregano leaves
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 28-ounce cans whole Italian tomatoes with their juices, crushed
Salt and pepper

Meatballs:
1/2 c almonds, finely chopped
1/2 c milk
1 lb ground lamb
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c chopped basil leaves
1/4 c chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 TBSP chopped mint
1 TBSP chopped oregano
1 1/2 tsp chopped thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground fennec
1 1/2 TBSP salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Olive oil spray
Ricotta cheese, for serving

MAKE THE SAUCE In a large saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, bay leaves and red pepper and cook over moderately high heat for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the tomatoes are saucy, 1 hour. Stir in the anchovies and season with salt and black pepper.

MAKE THE MEATBALLS In a bowl, cover the almonds with the milk and let stand until most of the milk has been absorbed, 30 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the whole basil leaves, olive oil and ricotta and mix well. Form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake at 400 for 15 – 20 minutes until cooked through.

Serve with tomato sauce and a dollop of ricotta.

Serves 4.

Spring rolls

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Spring rolls are super easy to make and perfect for a spring lunch. Be sure to keep them covered with a damp paper towel until you are ready to serve them.

Ingredients:
8 Spring Roll Rice Wrappers
1 Carrot, peeled and grated
4 Asparagus, steamed and cut in half
1/2 Avocado, sliced in thin strips
1 c Napa Cabbage, shredded
16 Cooked Shrimp, cut in half
1/4 C Cilantro Leaves
8 – 16 Basil Leaves

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over heat, remove from heat and cover to keep warm. With one spring roll wrapper at a time: dip wrapper briefly in hot water then place on a clean work surface. Take carrots, cabbage, asparagus, shrimp, cilantro and basil over surface of wrapper and roll up. Repeat until all wrappers and fillings are used.

Serves 4.

Rye Crepes with Caramelized Sugar

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These crepes are super quick to whip up and taste amazing! Thanks Bon Appetit for the inspiration.

2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
¾ c buttermilk
¼ c milk
½ c rye flour
¼ c all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2 TBSP plus 4 tsp. coconut palm sugar
¼ c unsalted butter, melted, plus 8 tsp., room temperature
Lemon wedges

Blend eggs, egg yolk, buttermilk, and milk in a blender until smooth. Add rye flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and 2 TBSP sugar and blend well. With blender on low, gradually stream in melted butter. Strain batter through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or medium bowl.

Heat ½ tsp butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until foamy. Pour ¼ c batter into skillet and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Cook crepe until lacy and golden brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip crepe and cook on other side until just cooked through, about 1 minute longer; transfer to a plate. Repeat 7 times with remaining batter and stack crepes, placing a piece of parchment paper between each as you go to prevent sticking (you should have 8 crepes).

Just before serving, heat 1 tsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fold 2 crepes in half and place side by side in skillet; sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar total, then flip. Cook until sugar is beginning to caramelize, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining crepes. Serve with lemons for squeezing over.

Serves 4.

Tangerine and Avocado Salad

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This salad is amazing! Thank you Bon Appetit for the inspiration!

Ingredients:
1/2 c tangerine juice
1 jalapeño
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 TBSP olive oil
2 avocados, sliced
4 tangerines,peeled
6 c mixed baby greens
1/2 c mint leaves
2 ozs feta, crumbled

Simmer tangerine juice in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 5-8 minutes. Let cool.

Heat a small heavy skillet over mediumhigh heat. Cook jalapeño, turning occasionally, until blistered and charred all over, about 8 minutes. Let cool; remove stem, skin, and seeds, then finely chop.

Whisk shallot, vinegar, reduced tangerine juice, and half of jalapeñ:o in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in vegetable oil, then olive oil. Add remaining jalapeño, if desired. Set vinaigrette aside.

Toss avocados, tangerines, purslane, mint, and vinaigrette in a large bowl; top with feta.

Serves 4.

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Guinness corned beef

This is the easiest corned beef ever, and according to my hubby the best he’s ever had.

Ingredients:
1 4 lb corned beef in pickling liquid and spices
1 can of Guinness
1 small onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped

Place the corned beef along with the pickling spices, onion and garlic in a slow cooker/crock-pot with the fat layer on top, pour in the Guinness and cook on low until fork tender, about 8-10 hours.

Slice and serve .

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Roasted Cabbage and Carrots

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I decide to try something different his year on St Patty’s Day. Instead of the traditional corned beef and mushy veggies, I roasted mine and topped them with a little vinaigrette – amazing!

Ingredients:
1 head of cabbage, sliced into 1/2 steaks
2 bunches of thin carrots
Caraway seeds
Olive oil spray
Salt and pepper

Vinaigrette
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
3 TBSP minced fresh chives
2 TBSP olive oil

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a large baking sheet with olive oil.

Place the sliced cabbage and carrots on the baking sheet, spray with olive oil, then salt and pepper and caraway seeds. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes.

Combine Vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar.

Serve cabbage and carrots with a drizzle of Vinaigrette.

Taco Casserole

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Sometimes the best laid plans can go awry, and you just have to roll with it. I planned on making taquitos tonight, but my corn tortillas did like the idea of being rolled up, so we ended up with taco casserole – which was delicious!

Ingredients:
1 zucchini, grated
1 lb beef
3 TBSP chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
6 corn tortillas
3/4 c shredded cheese
Sliced black olives
Canola spray

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a small casserole pan the is large enough to hold two tortillas side by side.

In a large skillet cook zucchini, beef and seasonings until need cooked through about 7 minutes over medium heat.

Lay two tortillas in the bottom of your casserole dish, top with 1/3 the beef, cheese and a few olives, repeat. Top the dish with two tortillas, sprinkled with cheese and olives and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the top layer is crispy and the cheese is melted.

Remove and cut into 4 servings.

Serves 4.

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