Stuffed & Fried Squash Blossoms.

I told you there was more to come from my farmers market visit this weekend. I have always wanted to make fried squash blossoms. I don’t know why. It’s so intriguing to me. Why did someone decide it was a good idea to pick a vegetable flower, stuff it and fry it? I have no idea. I needed to find out. And I am here to tell you that the crazy person who thought of this idea is a genius.

This was so simple to make. I stuffed the blossoms with cheese. Once you have washed the outside of the blossoms, carefully open the blossoms and stuff the cheese inside. Make sure they aren’t too full because you will need to twist the ends so the cheese stays inside. In preparation to frying the blossoms, you will need to dip each blossom in egg, then flour and finally in bread crumbs. After, fry on both sides and devour! It’s easiest to hold the flower by the stem and eat the blossom.

This is definitely out of the box, but I am positive you will enjoy it with no questions asked. I mean, it’s fried, obviously it will be good!

 

 

 

 

To the Farmers Market We Go.

It’s official. I need to live in a warm climate so I can go to the Farmers Market year round. Today I went to the Cherry Creek Farmers Market and was bombarded by vibrant vegetables, pastries, berries, food truck vendors, hatch chiles and so much more. Downside, it was very crowded. I went around 10 a.m., so word to the wise, go as early as you can!

When I was leaving the market, I realized almost everything I was leaving with could be fried. I guess that’s the southern girl in me. Here is a peak of what I walked away with and what’s to come…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Cabbage.

What better place to blog than the airport? And that’s exactly what I am doing right now. DIA, coffee, breakfast, terminal C and my computer. I am on my way to San Antonio for one of my best friends wedding. I have been pretty  busy lately. Blogging from the airport has been on my agenda. So, here I am.

I found this recipe for roasted cabbage form Martha Stewart. It’s pretty genius. Who would have ever thought to cut cabbage up into wedges and roast it. I wish I would have thought of it first. This is a perfect alternative for a side dish or appetizer. It doesn’t take long to make and it’s satisfying. I was wondering how much flavor it would have. It actually has a lot of flavor. It’s not dull or tasteless at all. If you are a vegetarian, this would be a perfect vegetable to eat.

This is how you do it:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds (This is what makes it so good!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Place 1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds, in a single layer on sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds. Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40 to 45 minutes.

Steak Fajitas.

Fajitas are delicious. There is no doubt about that. Last week we got a lot of snow and a friend came over for a night of food, wine and basketball. We decided to make steak fajitas. When it came down to it, I realized I had never made fajitas before. How hard could it be though, right? It wasn’t at all. We cooked a flank steak in my cast iron skillet. It was not lacking in flavor or juice.

We used corn tortillas, sauteed peppers and onions, cilantro, mexican cheese and sliced avocados. It was beyond delicious. The juicy steak made the entire fajita. We cooked the flank steak for about 8 minutes on each side and then cut it in thin slices. Put as much of the toppings as you want in each fajita and DEVOUR!

Yes, it’s raw fish.

I love going out for sushi. It’s fun to switch up dinner and order different rolls or sashimi and eat with chopsticks. I have never tried to make sushi rolls, but have always wanted to. For Christmas my brother gave me a sushi set. He even included a grocery store gift card so I could buy the ingredients. What a guy!

I was a bit nervous at first, but making rolls really isn’t to difficult. The only part you really need to worry about is making the rice sticky enough. This was definitely tedious, but is well worth it in order to make the rice the right texture. I decided to go with an easy, traditional roll the first time around in case I completely botched it. I used seaweed, rice, salmon, tuna, cucumbers and avocados. Click here to learn how to make sticky rice.

This was the first time my dad had tried sushi. He psyched himself out thinking about eating raw fish, but he liked the rolls overall. I’m sure he will give it another go around!

If you have never tried to make sushi I would recommend giving it a try. It’s not as hard as you would think. My next task is to figure out how to make rolls with the rice on the outside of the roll and the seaweed inside.

What you need to make sushi: Rolling Mat, Chopstick Set, Serving Dish (all from Crate&Barrel)

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

I love adding new dishes or ingredients to something traditional. For Thanksgiving I made brussel sprouts as a side. They were definitely out of the ordinary for my families Thanksgiving. The side was perfect. Of course, anything that has bacon in it is always going to be perfect. Onions, bacon, brussel sprouts and butter. Is there anything better? Okay, there probably is, but this is a chart topper. The recipe is simple.

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON

KATHARINE MARSH, THE BRESLIN, NEW YORK

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 2 medium white onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, tough outer leaves removed and trimmed
  • 4 ounces slab bacon, cut into medium cubes (about ¼ cup)
  • 5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium lemon
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • Crushed red chile flakes

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large skillet set over low heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are sweet and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. In a large stockpot, blanch the Brussels sprouts in salted, boiling water until bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the water and set aside to cool. Cut some of the larger Brussels sprouts in half but leave the smaller ones whole.

3. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp on all sides, about 5 minutes. Pour off the excess fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Add the halved Brussels sprouts cut side down to the pan and cook without stirring over medium heat until the sprouts are tender and nicely caramelized. Add the remaining sprouts to the pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the caramelized onions and sage. Finish the dish with a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt, chile flakes and a drizzle of olive oil, all to taste. Serve immediately.

Bon Apetit!

Eggplant Rollatini.

So, I have entered a contest. Giada is having a photo contest. Step one, make one of her recipes. Step two, take a photo of the recipe. Step three, submit the photo and (this is where you come in) have as many people vote as possible! If I win, I could become famous. I’m just saying. Think about it.

Click here to vote for me!

I made Giada’s Eggplant Rollatini. I have never made this before but am so glad I discovered it! This dish is colorful and bursting with flavor. It’s a perfect Italian dish that does not involve a noodle or meat. I would recommend this for all. It may seem like a lot of steps, but is actually pretty easy to put together.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized eggplants (about 4 pounds total)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Can vegetable spray
  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 8 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 20 basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 cups fresh tomato sauce, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat the grill pan and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place a rack over a large baking sheet. Cut the 2 ends off the eggplant. Cut the eggplants lengthwise, into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange eggplant slices onto rack. Sprinkle with sea salt to help remove excess moisture and any bitterness from the eggplants. Set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off the salt from the eggplants and pat dry with a towel. Spray hot grill pan liberally with vegetable spray and then place eggplant slices on the grill until lightly browned on each side and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Remove slices from the grill pan and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until lightly scrambled. Mix the ricotta in with the egg. Add mozzarella, 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts and gently combine. Fold in basil just to combine. Do not overmix.

Place a tablespoon of the cheese mixture on 1 end of the eggplant and roll up tightly. Place the eggplant rollatini into a greased (with olive oil) 13 by 9-inch baking dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining eggplant. Evenly distribute the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant rollatini. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 5 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes. When cooked, drizzle the top with extra-virgin olive oil.

Simple Tomato Sauce

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.

Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Dreaming of…

Last night I dreamt of scallops, wine and Bottega. There is almost nothing better than scallops… Almost. However, when we’re discussing Michael Chiarello’s scallops at Bottega, I’m not so sure there is anything better.

Four big, perfectly cooked scallops sat on the plate accompanied by red heirloom carrots (which I didn’t know existed), a carrot puree and cocoa powder. Now, I thought the cocoa powder was the oddest addition to this dish, but it was so amazing. It added a little bitterness to the sweet carrots and rich scallops. It was the perfect combination.

I have not yet tried to master this recipe on my own, but am still working up a recipe to make it almost as perfect and delectable as Bottega did. So for now, I will continue to dream about it.

Two things Napa knows how to do: Wine and Food!

Fennel & Orange Salad.

Happy Memorial Day. With that said, summer has crept upon us. Hot weather, sun, grilling and fresh food.

One of my favorite foods is fennel. I love the crisp, black licorice taste of it. It’s a great addition to any dish. Salads are always a good side to any grilled meal. The black licorice taste of fennel and citrusy orange compliment each other perfectly. This is a recipe that would accompany grilled fish or chicken perfectly.

Ingredients

  • Fennel
  • Orange
  • Lime
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Almonds (Optional)
Directions
  • Cut the fennel into two pieces. Place on the grill for a short time until grill marks appear. Zest one orange and then cut the orange into segments. Zest one lime and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Add the dijon mustard to the orange and lime zest and lime juice. While whisking together add olive oil to make a dressing. Combine the fennel, orange segments and almonds together. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss together. Add salt and pepper.
Enjoy!

Salmon + Arugula Salad.

I love salmon and I love arugula. Put them together and it’s a match made in heaven.

Most say salads are boring. But there are so many options and choices when it comes to making a salad. You can add fruit, nuts, veggies, meat, spices, herbs, oils, lettuce, cheese, etc. The list could go on. With so many options, you could have a different salad every single night. So, explore and experiment. I say there is nothing boring about salad.

Ingredients

  • Arugula
  • Pears
  • Fennel
  • Mint
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Citrus
  • Salmon
  • Roquefort cheese

Directions

Prep the salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper and fennel seed. Bake until cooked. Toast the pine nuts, cook the fennel and cut the pears. For the dressing, zest two lemons, two limes and one large orange. Squeeze the juice from all, add some olive oil an pepper. Put all of the ingredients together and toss. Place the salmon filet on top of the salad.

Bon Apetit!