Polenta with Onion and Tomato Sauce

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This dish is so easy and perfect for a light weeknight dinner. You can use precooked polenta log. I made a double batch, poured 1/2 into a glass pan and chilled overnight then sliced into polenta sticks.

Ingredients:
8 oz cooked polenta sliced 1 inch thick
1/4 grated gruyere
1 large onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into thin half-rounds
2 TBSP olive oil
2 dried bay leaves
One 28-ounce (765g) can peeled Italian plum tomatoes in juice
Fresh, flat-leafed parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 c Pine nuts, toasted

In a large skillet, combine the onion, the olive oil, and 1/2 tsp salt and sweat – cook, covered over low heat until soft and translucent – about 5 minutes. With a large pair of scissors, cut the tomatoes in the can into small piece. Add the bay leaves and tomatoes and their juices and cook, covered, over low heat for about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

At serving time, preheat the broiler. Cut the polenta into 8 even sliced.
Place on the baking sheet. Place under the broiler and broil, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to plates, top with cheese, spoon the sauce all over. Garnish with parsley and pine nuts.

Serves 4.

Pasta Alfredo with Roasted Tomatoes

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My garden is overwhelmed with tomatoes, so expect lots of tomato recipe! This is super simple Alfredo with roasted tomatoes.

Ingredients:
8 oz pasta
1 lb of cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt
1/2 stick butter
1/2 c creme fraiche or heavy cream
1/2 c grated parm

Preheat oven to 350. Toss tomatoes with a little olive oil and salt. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes until they start to burst.

Cook pasta according to package.

In a 12 inch skillet melt butter over medium low heat, stir in creme fraiche, cheese and tomatoes. Add pasta , toss to coat.

Serves 4.

Salmon with Red Pepper and Hazelnut Salsa

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Another winner from Ottolenghi! This salsa is amazing! I used jarred roasted red peppers and toasted hazelnuts to make it an even quicker meal.

Ingredients:
2 roasted red bell peppers, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
2 TBSP olive oil
4 TBSP hazelnuts, toasted & chopped
4 TBSP chives, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
4 salmon fillets
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Combine peppers, olive oil, hazelnuts, garlic, lemon, vinegar, chives and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Let set for at least 30 minutes.

Heat grill on high. Brush salmon on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Cook on high heat about 3 minutes per side.

Serve with salsa.

Serves 4.

Tomato, Corn and Cucumber Soup with Cilantro

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I love soup! During the summer I go with chilled soups like this one – the perfect pick me up on a hot day.

Ingredients:
2 lbs tomatoes, cores
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 c raw fresh corn kernels
1 sweet white onion, chopped fine
Salt
1/2 c diced Persian cucumber
1/2 c cilantro leaves, chopped

In a blender combine tomatoes, 1/2 the corn, 1/2 the onion and lemon juice. Purée until smooth. Chill for several hours.

Garnish with corn, cucumber, onion and cilantro.

Serves 4.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

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My oldest is a picky eater so I’m always looking for ways to get calories into him. This quick and heart muffins are packed with Oats and pumpkin and some chocolate chips to make them irresistible to kids.

Ingredients:
2 c old fashioned oats
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
¾ c buttermilk
½ c canned pumpkin
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly mist 12 cups in a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Combine dry. Combine wet. Mix together. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the oatmeal mixture evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake uncovered for 18-22 minutes or until oatmeal is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Makes 12.

Eggplant with Tomato and Caper Salsa

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I’m totally obsessed with Ottolenghi – every recipe I’ve tried from his 3 cookbooks has been amazing! This one is super simple – perfect for a busy weeknight.

Ingredients:
3 medium eggplants, sliced 3/4 inch thick
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 orange bell pepper, cored and cut into 1 inch dice
20 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 TBSP of Red Wine Vinegar
4 TBSP capers
1 TBSP of the caper brine
5 oz buffalo mozzarella or burrata
1 cup cilantro – leaves picked

Preheat the oven to 375.

Place the eggplant sliced on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and brush generously on both sides with plenty of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden-brown.

Mix together the pepper, tomato, vinegar, capers and brine, and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside for a minimum of 30 min.

To serve, arrange the cooked eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, on a big serving platter. Break the mozzarella into chunks and scatter on top, spoon over the salsa and garnish with cilantro.

Serves 2 – 4.<

Mushrooms and Polenta

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Another winner from Polenta. I made a few minor changes, more herbs, truffle cheese and truffle salt. This is amazing luxurious comfort food.

Ingredients:
2 TBSP olive oil
4 c mixed mushrooms, cleaned
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 TBSP tarragon, chopped
3 TBSP thyme, chopped
3 TBSP truffle oil
Salt and pepper
3 c water
1 c polenta
3 oz Parmesan, grated
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
4 oz truffle cheese or Taleggio, grated

In a frying pan, heat half the oil. When it is very hot, fry half the mushrooms – try not to move them much so you get golden-brown patches on their surface. Remove from the pan, reheat the remaining oil and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms. Off the heat, return all the mushrooms to the pan, add the garlic, tarragon, thyme and truffle oil, season, and keep warm.

Preheat the broiler.

In a large microwave safe bowl lid, stir together water and polenta. Microwave in 5 min intervals until smooth and creamy, adding more water it it starts to get to stiff. It usually takes about 20 – 25 minutes.

When the polenta is ready, stir in the Parmesan and rosemary and season. Pile on to an ovenproof serving dish and top with taleggio. Place under broiler until the cheese bubbles, remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices.

Lentils with Broiled Eggplant

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Yes, I’m obsessed – Ottolenghi is a god in my world. This is an amazing meatless Monday dish. It might be pushing it for a weeknight meal, but you can roast the eggplant in advance. Leftovers – can’t wait!!

Ingredients:
2 medium eggplants
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 c lentils
3 small carrots, peeled, chopped small
2 celery stalks, chopped small
1 bay leaf
3 springs thyme
1 onion, minced
3 TBSP olive oil
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c chopped herbs, dill, parley & cilantro
2 TBSP Greek yogurt

Prick eggplant all over, broil for an hour turning several times until charred and collapsed. Let cool then scrape out flesh and drain for 30 min. Chop, stir in 1/2 TBSP vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lower temp to 275 and roast tomatoes for 25 min. Set aside.

Cook lentils according to package stir in carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme and onion. Cook until tender about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme. Add rest of vinegar, 2 TBSP olive oil and salt and pepper. Stir in herbs and tomatoes.

To serve, spoon lentil into bowl, pile on eggplant and top with a dollop of yogurt.

Serves 4

Lamb Pizza or Sfiha

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Yes I’m totally obsessed with the Jerusalem cookbook – every recipe is scrumptious!! This one is great for work meals – just reheat and eat.

Ingredients:
1 lb ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
3 TBSP light tahini sauce
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 c parsley, chopped
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP pomegranate molasses
1 TBSP sumac
3 TBSP pine nuts
2 lemons cut into wedges

Dough:
1 2/3 c bread flour
1 1/2 TBSP powdered milk
1 1/2 tsp fast rising active yeast
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 c canola oil
1 egg
1/2 c warm water

For topping combine all ingredients except pine nuts and lemon slices in a bowl and set aside.

For dough:
Put flour, powdered milk, salt, yeast, baking powder and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir well to mix. Make a well in the middle, add oil, egg and water, stir well. When the dough comes together, knead for 3 minutes. Put in a bowl, brush with oil, cover and let rest for an hour.

Preheat over to 450.

Divid dough into 12 balls. Roll into circles about 1/16 inch thick. Cover and let rest 15 minutes. Place onto parchment lined baking sheets, top with lamb and let rest 15 minutes. Bake for 15 minted and serve topped with pine nuts and lemon slices.

Makes about 12.

Bouchon Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips

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I finally found something my oldest will eat, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. So this week, I baked the Bouchon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and swapped in Chocolate Chips for the raisin. Crispy on the outside and chewy inside – perfection!

Ingredients:
1 c + 1 tsp flour
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c packed brown sugar
5.5 oz butter, room temp
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups oats
1 c chocolate chips
1/2 c walnuts

Preheat oven to 325.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and whisk together. Set aside.

Cream butter in a stand mixer, add sugar best until creamy, add egg and best until combined. Add flour in 3 batches, add oats, chips & nuts and stir until combined.

Scoop cookies on the baking sheet lined with silicon mats. Bake about 10 – – 12 minutes until golden brown.

Makes about 4 dozen small cookies.