Cucumber, Radish and Mozzarella Salad

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This salad is perfect for lunch!! Thank you F&W for the inspiration!

INGREDIENTS
3 Kirby cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 small dried red chile, crushed
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt
2 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP olive oil
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 c mixed herbs, such as parsley, basil, tarragon, chives
Pepper
One 8-ounce piece of burrata or fresh buffalo mozzarella, quartered

In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the cucumbers, garlic, chile, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Seal and shake the bag, squeezing slightly to mash the cucumbers and release the juices. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Drain the cucumbers, reserving the cucumber juice. Discard the garlic and chile. In a medium bowl, whisk the cucumber juice with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the cucumbers, sliced radishes and herbs and season the salad with salt and pepper.

Arrange the salad on plates. Place a piece of burrata or buffalo mozzarella alongside each serving, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Serves 2.

Asparagus, Artichoke and Feta tart

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This is perfect for a sunny spring lunch.

Ingredients:
1/3 c creme fraiche
4 oz feta, divided
Salt and pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
All-purpose flour (for work surface)
1 jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
4 oz asparagus, chopped
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425°. Blend creme and 2 oz feta in a food processor until smooth; season with salt and pepper

Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 16×10-inch rectangle. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a paring knife, lightly score pastry (do not cut all the way through), leaving a 1-inch border.

Spread feta mixture over pastry, top with asparagus, artichoke hearts and crumble remaining 2 ounces feta. Brush pastry border with egg.

Bake tart until pastry is puffed and beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° and continue to bake until pastry is deep golden brown and cooked through, 20-25 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4.

Langoustine and Asparagus Risotto

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It’s that time of year again, where I go on an asparagus binge. Asparagus season only lasts about 2 months so I try to make the most of it. Today I made a creamy risotto with asparagus, lemon and langoustines – yummy!

Ingredients:
3 c chicken broth
2 c water
1 bunch asparagus, cut into small pieces
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 TBSP butter, divided
1 1/4 c Arborio rice
1/4 c white wine
1 lb langoustines (I buy the frozen ones from TJs), defrosted
1 TBSP lemon zest
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 c grated parmesan
2 TBSP chopped flat-leaf parsley
Aleppo Pepper

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add asparagus and simmer, uncovered, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking, then drain. Keep broth at a bare simmer, covered.

Cook shallots in 2 TBSP butter with 1/4 tsp salt in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed.

Stir in 1/2 c broth mixture and briskly simmer, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 c at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is creamy and tender but still al dente (it should be the consistency of a thick soup), about 18 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and cook until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in asparagus, zest, juice, butter, parmesan, parsley, and pepper to taste. Top with a little Aleppo pepper.

Serves 4.

Pasta with Pepper and Cheese

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This pasta dish is amazing! First it takes no time at all to make, second it is made with ingredients that most folks have on hand, finally it tastes amazing!

Ingredients:
3 TBSP fresh ground pepper
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
3/4 c pecorino.
3/4 c parmigiano
8 oz pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package.

In a 12 inch skillet, toast the black pepper over medium meat for 3 – 5 minutes until it becomes fragrant. Add butter and oil and cook until melted. Reduce heat to low, add pasta and stir until combined, added pasta water 1/4 c at time if it is too dry. Stir in cheese and serve.

Serves 4.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These are for my skinny mini – so they have a whole stick of butter in them! I made them small, so they’d be a fun lunch size… well, and so I would not feel too guilty sneaking one or two. If your lame like me and don’t prepare. Nuke the butter at 30% for 30 – 60 seconds and the eggs for 20. It makes a difference to have them room temp and not cold.

Ingredients:
1 c butter, room temp
1 1/4 c coconut palm sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 c chocolate chips
3 c rolled oats

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine butter and sugar and beat until smooth. Add one egg at a time until incorporated. Stir in vanilla.

Combine everything but chips and oats in a separate bowl.

Add to butter mixture in 3 passes. Stir in Choc chips and oats. Chill for 30 minutes.

On a greased, silpat or parchment lines packing sheet scoop 1 TBSP dough (I use a cookie scoop), then mash with a fork.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

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Garlicky Spinach

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This is an Asian inspired spinach dish – the toasted sesame oil really makes it special.

Ingredients:
2 bags spinach
2 TBSP toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Toasted black sesame seeds

Heat sesame oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add spinach, cover and cook for 4 minutes, add soy sauce, vinegar and salt pepper, continue to cook until spinach is wilted. Toss with sesame seeds and serve.

Serves 4.

Tofu Tikka Massala

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This week I went Indian for meatless Monday. The leftovers are amazing!

3 TBSP garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
14-ounce packages firm tofu
Canola oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 large red bell pepper, quartered and sliced
1 TBSP minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP flour
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/3 c half-and-half

Combine garam masala, turmeric, salt and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.

Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and blot dry with paper towels. Toss the tofu in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture.

Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook, stirring every 2 minutes, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 tsp oil, onion, bell pepper, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour and the remaining spice mix; stir until fragrant and coated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Return the tofu to the pan; cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in half-and-half.

Serves 4.

Herbed Rack of Lamb

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This is a super simple and tasty lamb dish!

Ingredients:
1 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp Thyme, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 rack of lamb, frenched

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine herbs, oil and garlic in a small bowl. Salt and pepper the rack, rub with herb mixture. Place fat side up on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 -40 minutes until 145 for rate.

Remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes, then slide.

Serves 2.

Roasted Leek with Yogurt and Toasted Walnuts

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This dish is heavenly, let the leeks get a nice char on them.

Ingredients:
1/4 c Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp minced marjoram
1/2 sugar
salt and pepper
1/4 c walnut halves, toasted
6 very fresh leeks, white and light green parts only, trimmed and halved lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 TBSP lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375.

Roasted Leeks with Yogurt and Shaved Toasted Walnuts

In a small bowl, blend the yogurt with the lemon zest, marjoram and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Spread the leeks on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 TBSP of olive oil and the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; rub to coat the leeks thoroughly.

TRoast for about 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the leeks are tender, golden and crispy in spots.
Transfer the leeks to a platter or plates. Top with nuts and Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the yogurt sauce.

Serves 2.

Creamed Swiss Chard

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This dish made my husband love Swiss chard. It’s great for a weeknight.

Ingredients:
1/2 c torn fresh breadcrumbs
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt and pepper
2 large bunches Swiss chard, stemmed , leaves torn
2 TBSP unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 c heavy cream

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat toss breadcrumbs and lemon, season with salt. Toast, tossing several times until golden brown, 8–10 minutes.

Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until tender, 5–8 minutes. Add chard and cook until it starts to wild. Add cream; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, season with salt and pepper.

Top Swiss chard with breadcrumbs just before serving.