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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Peach and Strawberry Empanadas

Last week I made recipes featuring strawberries and peaches. This week I wanted to combine the two. A few weeks ago I made fruit empanadas and while they weren't the prettiest things to look at, they sure tasted good. Also, empanadas were perfect because I could use the butter I made over the weekend. I was a little worried when working the dough because it came out drier than the last time I made these. It probably could have used a little extra butter, but I am so glad I went with the vanilla cinnamon butter. It added another dimension to the empanadas and I loved the combination of strawberry and peaches. The filling leaked all over the place, but they still tasted great. I got a little tired of rolling out empanada discs so I made a little galette with the last part of the fruit filling and the remaining dough. (Once again inspired by the Tuesdays with Dorie peeps) I think the reason I enjoy empanadas so much is because they are similar to my mother's meat pies (even though she has yet to give me the recipe for those). I can't wait to try them again, but next time with a savory filling.

Empanada Dough
(Adapted from Epicurious)

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 c cold vanilla cinnamon butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/3 c ice water
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

Sift the flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl and blend in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea size butter lumps.

Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. Mixture will be shaggy.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with the heel of your hand once or twice to bring the dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap for at least 1 hour.

Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours.


Strawberry and Peach Empanadas
(Adapted from Laylita's Recipes)

1 pint organic strawberries, chopped
1 large peach, chopped
1/2 c sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg, lightly whisked with milk
organic turbinado raw cane sugar for sprinkling

Combine the peaches, strawberries, sugar, orange juice, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Mix well and let rest for one hour.

Drain the liquid from the strawberries and rhubarb.

Using a ramekin, cut dough into a discs. Roll each disc out to about 1/8 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Spoon the drained peach and strawberry mixture into each empanada disc. Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges, use a fork to help seal the empanadas.

Chill the empanadas for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush each empanada with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Asparagus and Garlic Pasta

First: Yes, I did survive the LA Earthquake 2008 (obviously). Second, it technically wasn't even in LA which is why we only felt a slight rumble. Now on to the food...Last week I stumbled across yet another amazing food blog. I was so excited to see Donal put up this recipe because it uses one of my favorite summer vegetables and it takes less than 15 minutes for this to all come together.


Asparagus and Garlic Pasta
(from The Good Mood Food Blog)

handful of organic, whole wheat spaghetti
8-10 slim asparagus stalks, cut into one inch pieces
squeeze of lemon juice
about 1 tbsp parsley
1 clove garlic
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated Parmesan for serving

Bring to medium saucepans of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti to one pot and cook until al dente - about 12 minutes. Add asparagus to the other pot and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender.

Add asparagus, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper to taste to a food processor. Pulse until it forms a paste. Drain pasta and return to the saucepan. Add the asparagus mixture and toss to combine. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Warm Sausage and Lentil Salad

Last week I bookmarked this article on Serious Eats (another go-to site for inspiration). I liked how the combination of flavors sounded. I had some leftover grilled sausage from the weekend so I decided to use it instead of cooking the sausage with the lentils. I picked up some fresh lentils at the farmer's market so of course that greatly reduced the cooking time.

Warm Sausage and Lentil Salad
(Adapted from Serious Eats and Pork and Sons)

Makes 2 servings

1/4 lb fresh green lentils
1 link hot Italian chicken sausage, grilled and sliced
4 slices center cut bacon, sliced
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
parsley, roughly chopped for garnish (optional)

In a medium saucepan bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add lentils and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the lentils are cooked through.

Meanwhile, saute the bacon over medium heat until browned, but not crisp.

In a small bowl, combine the Dijon, olive oil, shallot, scallion, and bacon with a little of it's fat. Whisk and then add the balsamic slowly to form a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the lentils with the vinaigrette and topped with sliced sausage. Garnish with parsley if desired.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Vanilla Cinnamon Buttermilk Pancakes

Ok - something weird the happened the other night. I was preparing my posts for the weekend and looking through my fridge I realized I had an extra pint of heaving whipping cream from when I made cupcakes. I didn't know what to do with it, but immediately I thought of the fact that I am so not a fan of whipped cream. I don't know why, but I have never liked it. The stuff from the store in the plastic container or can grosses me out and I usually asks for desserts not to be included with it if I am dining out. Then I thought, maybe I should make my own and see if it is just a psychological thing. I found a simple recipe for a sweet whipped cream and got to working. It came together simply enough, but I decided that even with one of my favorite ingredients (cinnamon), I just don't like whipped cream. So then I thought "what would happen if I keep whipping this cream?". So I did. I kept whipping and texting my friend to tell her the results. I thought I was making a whipped icing, but then the mixture started to release all this liquid and the solids started to curdle. I quickly ran to my laptop and started typing in searches for "what happens if you mix cream for too long?". Of course The Kitchn came to my rescue with a recipe for homemade butter that of course was so easy, I decide to stop panicking and think about putting my concoction to good use. My friend (that I was still texting with updates the entire time) said I should make cinnamon rolls, but come on....I am just getting over my baking intimidation. I think I need to take baby steps. I settled on buttermilk pancakes.

Vanilla Cinnamon Butter
(Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis and The Kitchn)
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 or 2 dashes of cinnamon

Pour cream into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on a low or medium speed until soft peaks are formed. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until mixture becomes thick and clotted and the liquid separates from the solids. Place mixture into a strainer lined with paper towels over a bowl. Refrigerate the liquid as this is buttermilk and will last for a few days in the refrigerator.

Run the solid mixture through an ice bath several times and drain in a paper towel. Turn into a small bowl and refrigerate for up to one week.


Vanilla Cinnamon Buttermilk Pankcakes
(Adapted from Food Network)

Makes 3 pancakes (and 1 test pancake)

1/2 c vanilla cinnamon buttermilk
1/2 c milk
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
cooking spray

Mix all ingredients well in a small mixing bowl. Pour by spoonfuls onto a sprayed, hot, non-stick pan. Cook until batter is bubbly. Turn over. Wipe pan clean between pancakes. Serve immediately with cinnamon vanilla butter and syrup or fruit.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

My First Award

I am so happy today, because I just received my first blogging award! The Arte y Pico is for ‘creativity, design, interesting material and contribution to the blogging community’. Thank you thank you to Teresa at Mexican-American Border Cooking. Head on over to her site for yummy recipes handed down by her family. Now, I get to share this with five other people with equally delicious and creative blogs, so here goes...


Erica at Itzy's Kitchen

Her blog is full of easy, healthy and tasty recipes.

Rebecca at Ezra Poundcake

Lots of yummy treats with beautiful pictures, plus she's a fellow 30 Rock fan, you can't go wrong with that.

Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

Such beautiful pictures that even if it is a food I would normally not try, I would try it.

LA Stomach

Fun insight on eating and cooking in Los Angeles.

Paula from It's Al Gouda

Besides the great titled of her blog, she's growing some amazing stuff up in Oregon.

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Grilled Sausage with Arugula Pesto

I've said it before, but those peeps over at The Kitchn always seem to know what I am in the mood for. Friday was an especially slow day at work (I blame Comic Con) so I spent the entire day reading food blogs and looking for interesting new recipes. I love pesto, but I have never tried making it myself because I didn't have a food processor...until now. I was so glad this was an arugula pesto because I already had all of the ingredients at home and I am trying to be kinder to my wallet and make fewer trips to the grocery store. (Why do I have to live on a street with TWO grocery stores about 50 steps aways?!?!) Anyway, this was really simple and came together quickly. I made the pesto a couple of days early and plan on using the leftovers with chicken or fish sometime this week. I decided to use chicken sausage instead of pork, because that is just what I prefer. I found a really great one at the farmer's market. One note, the recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp of salt, but I thought it was a little too salty. You may want to try using 1 tsp or less if you decide to make this yourself.

Grilled Sausage with Arugula Pesto
(from Martha Stewart Living)

4 oz organic baby arugula
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (I used 5 cause I loves me some garlic!)
1 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp kosher flake salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 c organic extra-virgin olive oil
4 Italian sausages (can use both hot and/or sweet)

Make the pesto: Place the arugula and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides if necessary. Add cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil and puree until smooth and well combined.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Prick sausages with a fork to allow any excess fat to drip. Grill until cooked through. Serve pesto over the grilled sausages.

I served this with a simple spinach salad with a lemon vinaigrette, but if you want to do the full menu, check out the suggested Minestrone Salad.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Peach Cobbler

Back when I was a Girl Scout, we used to make some strange things. Yellow cake in a hollowed out orange, wrapped in foil and cooked over the fire? But one thing I do remember making peach cobbler and really enjoying it. After seeing all the Tuesdays with Dorie pictures this week, I was inspired to use one of my farmer's market peaches to make a cobbler. I have never made up my own baking recipe before, but I tried to measure things and this came out pretty well. Also, I was able to use my sexy new ramekins (yes, I just referred to ramekins as sexy) and my cute new food processor. I am so excited to come up with more baking recipes!

Peach Cobbler

Makes 2 servings

Filling:
1 organic peach, chopped
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp suagr
dash of cinnamon

Topping:
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
about 3 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

To make the filling:
Place the peaches in a small bowl and stir in sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Set aside.

To make the topping:
Put the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Drizzle in the milk and pulse until it forms a dough. Turn the dough onto a floured board. Cut into four pieces and shape each piece into a ball.

Divide the peach mixture between two lightly sprayed 4.5 oz ramekins. Place two balls of dough on top of each ramekin. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minute until the top is golden and the peach mixture is bubbling. Cool before serving.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Shrimp Salad with Tomato

The other day I came home to a great surprise. Mail! Not just any mail. Mail that wasn't a bill or a newsletter or some other useless piece of junk that our postman/woman thoughtlessly shoves into our box. Honest to goodness mail that people used to send to each other before fancy computers. It was so exciting and it reminded me of a time when I used to write many letters to stay in touch with various friends I had met at summer camp or when we moved to a different town. Anyway, this particular mail came from a lovely friend who sent me clippings from the current issue of Food & Wine. Of course I had to try one of them this week, but I made some modifications with things I already had at home. Also, I had to omit the avocado because I (unfortunately) can't eat it. It literally makes me sick even though I used to love it. I actually made this a couple of nights ago, but didn't snap any pictures of it. It was so good, I didn't mind making it again :)

Shrimp Salad with Tomato
(Adapted from Chili-Lime Crab Salad with Tomato and Avocado from Food & Wine, July 2008)

*Makes one serving

juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp organic extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp very finely chopped jalapeƱo (if you're scared of salmonella just use a dash of dried red chili flakes)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 or 5 shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp minced red onion
1 beefsteak tomato cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (you will only need one slice for the serving, enjoy the rest on your own time)
tortilla chips or crackers for serving (optional)

In a small skillet, cook shrimp until pink and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, jalapeno, chopped cilantro, honey, garlic, and red onion. Season with salt and pepper.

Chop the shrimp into chunks and toss with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Place tomato slice on a plate and season with salt. Top with the shrimp mixture and garnish with cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

*All measurements are approximate because I hate to measure things unless I am baking.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Smoked Salmon Spread

The second July recipe for Barefoot Bloggers was chosen by Ashley of the Spicy Skillet. I was a little worried at first about making this because I didn't know when and where I would serve it, but this past weekend also happened to be my birthday and a couple of friends came over for dinner before we went out, so I served it as the appetizer. I made it the night before and when I tasted it, I thought it was just OK, but I am glad I let it sit in the fridge overnight. The flavors really came together well. This was great with vegetables and crackers, but I am sure it would be delicious on a bagel too as a new take on bagels and lox. Head over to the Barefoot Bloggers site to see how everyone else did on the recipe!

Smoked Salmon Spread
(from Ina Garten)

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 c low-fat sour cream
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 tsp prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 oz smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Strawberry Crumb Coffeecake

I used to say that I was not a baker. The exact measurements and ingredient reactions intimidate me. However, this week I have been baking up a storm. I think it's because I am trying to do things in the kitchen that used to scare me. I got some beautiful strawberries at the farmer's market this past weekend and wanted to put them to good use. A couple of weeks ago, I attempted empanadas and I wanted to find something just as delicious with ingredients I already had at home. I ran a bunch of recipes by one of my friends and he OK'ed all of them, but I finally settled on this one.

*UPDATE* I am submitting this to Key Ingredient's July Berry Recipe Contest:


Strawberry Crumb Coffeecake
(Adapted from the NY Times Rhubarb 'Big Crumb' Coffeecake)

For the Strawberry Filling:
1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and chopped
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

For the Crumbs:
1/3 c dark brown sugar
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c melted butter
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour

For the Cake:
1/3 c reduced-fat sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp softened butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan.

For the filling, mix strawberries, cornstarch and sugar and set aside.

*To make the crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough.

To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a couple of spoonfuls of the sour cream mixture and mix until the flour is moistened. Add remaining sour cream mixture in 2 batches and beat with an electric mixer on low speed.

Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon strawberries over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter over the strawberries, it does not have to be even.

Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs about 1/2 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean of batter (it may be moist from the strawberry), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

*I am not a good reader of instructions and mixed together all the ingredients before whisking in the butter. It came out as the crumbs instead of the dough, but still tasted great!!

Although there were a lot of steps in this recipe, it was fairly simple to make and I am so glad I did. now I am going to have delicious breakfasts for the rest of the week and I am definitely gaining confidence in my baking!

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

It's my birthday today. Also, my name means a girl born on Sunday - so happy birthday to me!! I had a lovely drinky evening at the Palihouse and I still managed to get up early and go to the farmer's market. I spent much of the day baking yesterday and here are some of the results. I wanted a cake that wasn't too sweet, but was still festive and fun. After much searching, I settled on Nigella's chocolate Guinness cake. It was a perfect mix of richness and chocolate with just a slight sweetness despite the two cups of sugar in the mix. I am really looking forward to all the next year has to offer and thanks to all who made my birthday so special!!

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
(Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson)



Cake
1 c Guinness stout (not the whole can - drink the leftover yourself!)
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c granulated sugar (superfine, if possible)
3/4 c sour cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

Icing
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c confectioner's sugar
1/2 c heaving whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with baking cups.

Pour Guinness into a large saucepan, add butter and heat over low heat until melted. Whisk in cocoa powder and sugar. In a small bowl, beat sour cream with eggs and vanilla until smooth and whisk into the beer mixture. Finally, whisk in flour and baking soda.

Divide batter among muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake 20 - 25 minutes until risen. Cool and turn out on a wire rack.

To make the icing:
Place cream cheese and confectioner's sugar in a mixing bowl and whip with an electric beater until smooth. Gradually add cream and beat again until you have a spreadable consistency. Ice top of the cake starting in th middle and fanning out so that it resembles the frothy top of a pint of Guinness.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Warm Quinoa Salad with Asparagus and Peas

I've been bringing quinoa salads to work every week for the last couple of months. I needed to clear some room in my fridge for all the stuff I had to prepare this weekend so I wanted to make a quinoa salad that didn't require beans (only using half and having to refrigerate the leftovers). I had some asparagus left from the farmer's market and added more green with some frozen peas. Originally this was was going to be a cold salad, but since I waited till 9:30 at night to make it and assemble it and taste it (I was playing with some cool new stuff I got), I decided to go with it being warm, besides, I have never had a warm quinoa salad before. It was very easy to make and I loved the summery combination of flavors. I topped it with a few roasted pistachios (not pictured) which added a nice, salty crunch.

Warm Quinoa Salad with Asparagus and Peas
(By Esi)

1/2 c organic quinoa, rinsed
1 c organic free-range chicken broth
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 organic frozen peas
1 bunch slim asparagus cut into bite sized pieces
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp roasted pistachio meats (optional)
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook quinoa according to package instructions using chicken broth instead of water. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until slightly caramelized. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add asparagus to the onion mixture and cook for about 5 minutes until the asparagus is warmed through, but still bright green and crunchy.

In a large bowl combine, quinoa with asparagus, onion mixture, and lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve warm, sprinkled with pistachios if desired.

*UPDATE: I'm sending this recipe over to the Healthy Cooking event at Fun and Food. Check it out!

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Grilled Pizza with Arugula and Prosciutto

I have been wanting to try a grilled pizza for a while. I picked up some plain pizza dough at Trader Joe's yesterday so I decided to give it a go. For the sauce, I just used a jarred arrabiata sauce that I made extra spicy with a few extra red pepper flakes and some arugula and prosciutto that I had on hand. This turned out really well. I like really thin, crispy crusts so next time I will either roll the dough out thinner or cook it for a little longer on each side.

Grilled Pizza with Arugula and Prosciutto
(By Esi)

1/3 lb pizza dough
flour for dusting
1 tbsp organic olive oil
handful organic arugula
1 tbsp arrabiata sauce
2 slices prosciutto, torn into strips
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 c organic shredded mozzarella

Turn the dough onto a floured board. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Heat a grill on medium high. Brush one side of the dough with olive oil. Place the oiled side down on the grill and then brush the other side of the dough with oil. Cook dough for about 4 minutes on one side, flip and cook for one minute. Spread sauce over the top of the dough and top with cheese. Close the lid of the grill and cook until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.

Remove pizza from the grill and top with arugula and prosciutto.

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Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Shrimp

As I said yesterday, I consumed a *bit* too much wine at our potluck. I managed to stumble to the farmer's market, but I was late and a lot of the farmer's were out of the produce I was looking for! Won't make that mistake again. Of course I was starving when I came back. I had some wine leftover so I used it to make this dish. I also wanted to use my fancy new cutting board (which I already love!). Anyway, back to the food. It's adapted from one of my favorite episodes of Everyday Italian when Giada cooks dishes inspired by a visit to a vineyard. It's easy to make and light and perfect for summer.

Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Shrimp
(adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)

3/4 lb whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 shallots, sliced
1/4 c sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c pinot grigio
2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping handfuls organic arugula
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp shredded Parmesan (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, until shallots are soft, season with salt and pepper. Add sundried tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add the shrimp and wine. Cover, and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta to the seafood mixture and toss to combine, season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and stir in gently. Serve immediately with shredded Parmesan if desired.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rhubarb Fool

Before this weekend, I had never cooked with rhubarb. I had a stalk leftover from the empanadas and I remembered that it was pretty easy to make into a fool so that's what I did.

Rhubarb Fool

1 stalk rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
1 1/2 oranges juiced
2 tbsp organic agave nectar
1/2 c nonfat Greek yogurt

Bring rhubarb, orange juice and agave nectar to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover until rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes. Cool the rhubarb mixture and serve with yogurt.

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Blood Orangeade

I'm trying to limit my alcohol consumption leading up to my birthday (where I am sure copious amounts of wine will be consumed). However, I still wanted to have something special for our potluck and also share it with anyone who didn't feel like drinking so to use my remaining blood oranges, I came up with this. Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon...hard, but I still enjoyed a glass of this summery fun beverage.

Blood Orangeade
(By Esi)

4 blood oranges, juiced
1 1/2 navel oranges, juiced
1 c water
1 c sugar
750 ml sparkling water

In a medium saucepan simmer 1 c water with 1 c sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool. Juice oranges. In a large pitcher, combine the juice, simple syrup, and sparkling water and stir. Serve in glasses filled with ice.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Strawberry Rhubarb Empanadas

A couple of my friends were working out of town for a while so to celebrate their joyous (and short) return, we decided to have a potluck. We settled on a tapas them and then I went on a recipe hunt. The catch was that it was going to have to be something I could make ahead of time because we were going to be coming from a play. I saw the recipe for Rhubarb and Strawberry Empanadas a while back. I thought they looked interesting, but even though I saved the recipe, I didn't think I would actually ever make them. Then, at the farmer's market I got some awesome strawberries and settled on this recipe for the potluck. I under estimated how much time they would take, but I'm sure happy I tried them. They leaked a bit, but I think it actually added some nice color to the outside since I am not a natural pastry chef and they definitely came out lumpy and weird looking. The strawberries were nice and sweet and the rhubarb added a great tartness.

Empanada Dough
(Adapted from Epicurious)

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 stick (1/2 c) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/3 c ice water
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

Sift the flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea size butter lumps.

Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. Mixture will be shaggy.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with the heel of your hand once or twice to bring the dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap for at least 1 hour.

Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Empanadas
(adapted from Laylita's Recipes)

1 pint organic strawberries, chopped (about 1 1/2 c)
1 stalked rhubarb, chopped (about 1 1/2 c)
1/2 c sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg, lightly whisked with water
organic turbinado raw cane sugar for sprinkling

Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, orange juice, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Mix well and let rest for one hour.

Drain the liquid from the strawberries and rhubarb.

Cut dough into twelve pieces. Roll a piece into a ball with your hands and roll into a disc form about 1/8 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Spoon the drained rhubarb and strawberry mixture into each empanada disc. Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges, use a fork to help seal the empanadas. Chill the empanadas for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush each empanada with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Love this Cornbread So Much...

I wanna take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant! If you watch the most amazing show ever (30 Rock), you know what I am talking about. If not, never mind. This week's Barefoot Bloggers recipe selection comes to us from Sabrina and Alexander of Cooking with Kids. Yes, kids picked the recipe, but it is a food for people of all ages. I made this over the Fourth of July weekend for a beach weekend potluck with my besties. At first, I actually went and bought the Jiffy mix from the grocery store, I figured it was easier and cheaper than buying a bunch of separate ingredients, but then guilt got the best of me. I am really trying to make everything from scratch, so the next day I was back at the store to get the cornmeal. When I had some at home, I ate it with a little honey butter to get that extra sweetness I was craving.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
(from Ina Garten)

3 c all-purpose flour
1 c yellow cornmeal
1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp kosher salt
2 c milk
3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 oz extra sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
3 scallions, chopped (white and green parts), plus extra for garnish
3 tbsp seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers (about 1 1/2 peppers)

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't over mix. Mix in most of the cheddar, the scallions, and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. While the mixture is resting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13x2 baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the stop, and sprinkle with the remaining Cheddar and the extra scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Greek Yogurt with Peaches

For some reason this week is all about the non-recipe recipes. I am not really sure why, but all week I haven't been in the mood to turn on my oven and do crazy things in the kitchen. I am saving my energy for next week when I get some new toys for my kitchen and take on the task of baking myself a birthday cake! So continuing this week's simplicity, here's something I put together to get me through an exciting night of laundry...and also a fun way to use the lovely peaches I picked up at the farmer's market.

Greek Yogurt with Peaches

1/4 c nonfat Greek yogurt
1 organic peach, sliced
1 tsp (approx) honey
sprinkle of slivered, toasted almonds

Assemble all ingredients in a bowl and let the summer breeze rush over you.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chickpeas with Greens

Many thanks to Candice and Rich of Mmm, Tasty! for this recipe. I had some leftover chickpeas and arugula and had no clue what I was going to do with them this week and then this recipe fell into my radar. It took about 5 minutes to cook and was light and delicious.

Chickpeas with Greens
(adapted from Mmm, Tasty!)

1 c organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 organic, free-range egg
1 heaping handful arugula
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp organic extra virgin olive oil
dash of ground cumin
dash of cayenne
1 or 2 splashes white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)

In a small pan, fry egg to desired done-ness. Season with salt and pepper. You can also hard boil or poach the egg if you prefer. In another pan, heat olive oil and add chickpeas, salt, cayenne, and cumin. Cook until peas are warmed through. Add arugula and wine and cook until the arugula is slightly wilted. Serve chickpea mixture in a dish and top with the egg.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Homemade Tortilla with a Fried Egg and Salsa

Not wanting to be a wasteful person, I cooked up this quick breakfast this morning to use my last tortilla that I made yesterday and some of the leftover salsa. This with some veggie sausage was a great way to start the morning and is keeping me full until lunch. No need for a morning snack today! I don't think this even counts as a recipe, but it was so good, I couldn't help but share it.

Homemade Tortilla with a Fried Egg and Salsa

1 flour tortilla
1 organic, free-range egg
1 spoonful Tomato and Black Bean Salsa
sprinkling of organic mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook egg to desired done-ness. Place on tortilla and top with salsa and cheese.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Blood Orange and Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Tomato Black Bean Salsa

Oh Sunday. While I look forward to spending the day at the Farmer's Market and preparing my lunches for the week, this particular Sunday also marks the end of my super long holiday weekend. It was a great weekend of friends, food, cocktails, and the beach! Besides the cornbread I will be posting about on Thursday, I didn't make much over the weekend so I wanted to make something fresh that also highlighted the tastes of summer. I had been wanting to make homemade tortillas for a while and I thought I could combine that with some grilled shrimp since I am loving the grill right now. I had a little chipotle sauce left over and I snatched up the last of the blood oranges (of the season) at the Farmers Market. I made the salsa for a little extra freshness.

Blood Orange and Chipotle Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Tomato Black Bean Salsa

8 shrimp peeled and de-veined
1 tbsp chipotle in adobo
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped plus extra for garnish
juice from one blood orange
splash of canola oil

Combine all ingredients and let the shrimp marinate for about 20 minutes. Grill shrimp over high heat for about 2 minutes on each side.

Tomato Black Bean Salsa

1 organic beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped
8 oz organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 white onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, minced
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Homemade flour Tortillas
(adapted from Epicurious)

2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp canola oil
6 oz warm water

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients and 1/2 of the water. Mix together with your hands and continue adding water into the dough until it forms a solid ball, but is not too sticky. If necessary, add additional flour or water as needed. Knead the dough on a floured board for 5 minutes. Cut the dough in half and then in half again. Roll each piece into a ball, place them on a lightly floured surface, and cover with a damp towel. Heat a grill to medium heat. Roll out the dough, one piece at a time to about 1/4 inch thickness. Place one round of dough on the grill and cook on each side for about 30 seconds. Continue the process with the remaining portions of dough.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Warm Grilled Chicken and Arugula Salad

I love long weekends!!!! Today, I am celebrating the fact that it's almost the Fourth by relaxing and doing things around the house. The weather is perfect, warm and breezy and my grill is just itching to be used. OK, I can't tell what my grill is thinking, but if it could talk I am sure it would say "turn me on", so I did. Last night I was perusing my Nigella books and found a simple salad from the book Forever Summer. Using that as inspiration I came up with the following. I had some amazing arugula and red onions from the Farmer's Market and this is what I put together.

Warm Chicken and Arugula Salad
(Inspired by Chicken Salad with Spinach and Bacon in Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson)

1 heaping handful arugula
1/4 small red onion, sliced
3 slices center cut bacon, sliced*
1 chicken breast pounded think with a mallet or a small saucepan
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Place chicken breast in a large plastic bag and pound until 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper and grill over medium high heat for 4 minutes on each side until cooked all the way through. Remove chicken from the grill, slice into chunks and set aside.

Add bacon to a fry pan and cook over medium until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve the fat in the pan. Add onions and cook until soft and slightly caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add vinegar to the pan and make sure to scrape up any drippings. Remove from heat, taste and season with pepper and salt if necessary. Add bacon back into the dressing.

Place arugula on a medium plate. Top with grilled chicken and then bacon and onion dressing.

*Center cut bacon does not release as much fat as regular bacon so if desired, add a little bit of olive oil to the dressing.

This was incredible! I loved the combination of the spicy arugula with the sweetness of the onions and the salty bacon. Hooray for summer!

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Foodie Blogroll

I completely forgot to mention that I joined another network of like-minded food "enjoyers". It's called the "Foodie Blogroll" and it brings together people in the ever growing community of people who love to talk about food. At this very moment, I am featured under the "Ten Most Recent Blogs" listing. There is a forum and everything so if you have a blog and it's focused on food, ch-ch-check it out! Thanks to Jenn, The Leftover Queen and creator of the blogroll!!

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Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

I had some asparagus left over so I decided to try it grilled with some prosciutto. I have seen recipes for prosciutto wrapped asparagus, but since July 1st kicks off grilling season, I thought I would try a little somethin' on the grill. To be quite honest, I didn't love this. I'm not quite sure why, I think maybe it needed a little something extra like a splash of lemon juice for freshness. For now, I will just stick with my roasted asparagus.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

5 asparagus stalks
5 slices prosciutto

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for two minutes. Remove asparagus and pat dry. Wrap each piece of asparagus in a slice of prosciutto. Place on a medium-high grill and grill for about 3 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.

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