I would love to take the credit, but…

Greetings everyone!

This is my Mom’s recipe, and it’s amazing.

ENJOY!

Portobello cappelini Limone aglio con prezzemolo!

Ingredients:
2 large portobello mushrooms quartered and sliced
2 shallots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced or crushed
1 sprig fresh basil chopped fine
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped fine
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted pine-nuts
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 pound cappelini pasta (cook as directed)
1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (remove the stems)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup white wine
course fresh ground black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt (to taste)
1/2 cup Shaved Parmesan, Romano & Asiago Blend (Trader Joe’s brand)
1/4 cup fresh finely-grated Romano cheese

In a large skillet, sauté the shallots, the mushrooms and the garlic in 1/4 cup of olive oil, until the shallots and mushrooms are wilted. Add the wine and cook for 2 more minutes. Next, add 1/2 of the chopped parsley, the chopped basil, the pine nuts, the fennel seed, the cayenne, and the salt and pepper, and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add the remaining oil the lemon juice and lemon zest, and remove from heat.

In a separate pan, boil the water for the cappelini, and cook as directed on the package. Remember, cappelini cooks very quickly, and the noodles are definitely better “al dente!”

In a large pasta bowl, put the cooked cappelini, and add the sauce/oil mixture, the remaining chopped parsley and add the Shaved Parmesan, Romano & Asiago Blend and the fresh finely-grated Romano.

Toss and serve with a green salad, and a fabulous white wine.

Your tummy will say, “Thank you.”

Buon appetito!

It’s about that time…

Spring is in the air, and summer is around the corner!  That means, it’s time to get the grill out!  I absolutely love grilled veggies.  If you’re looking for a great summer pasta, that is loaded with grilled vegetables, try this:  Gemelli & Grilled Vegetables with Pesto Sauce.

Gemelli is a single “s” shaped twisted pasta, derived from the Italian word for twins. It’s not difficult to find.  Barilla makes a nice Gemelli pasta.

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So, let’s get cooking, shall we?

Gemelli & Grilled Vegetables with Pesto Sauce

Ingredients:

2 large red and yellow bell peppers

12 stalks asparagus

1 med red onion, sliced

3 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (divided)

2 tablespoons pine nuts

6 ounces (2/14 cups) gemelli or rotini pasta

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup basil leaves

1/4 cup fresh, grated Romano cheese

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper

dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes

Here we go!

Get the grill fired up!  Cut the bell peppers in half; remove the seeds.  Place asparagus and onion on a large plate, and coat with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Grill the peppers, skin side dow on a covered grill, over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the skins are blackened.  Place peppers in a plastic baggie or paper bag, and let stand for 15 minutes.  The skin should be soft enough to peel off.  Cut peppers into chunks and set aside.

Next, cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and return to the pan.  While the pasta is cooking, grill the asparagus and onion on  the covered grill over medium heat for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until tender, turning as needed.  Cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces and cut the onion into small pieces.  Add the vegetables to the pasta.

Place the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor.  Process until coarsely chopped.  Add basil and process until finely chopped.  While the processor is running add remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil until the mixture is fully blended.  Stir in cheese, salt and pepper.  Add the basil mixture and tomatoes to the pasta and toss until the pasta is fully coated.  Serve immediately!

Buon Appetito!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: Portobello Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

TASTE…and See

I really didn’t know what to do…

I’ve had a few long days and nights if you will.  Mostly work-related, but I’m simply exhausted.  I was up at 5:45 this morning and out the door at 6:00.  By the time I got home this evening, the last thing I wanted to do was cook. Truly, even cracking an egg seemed bothersome.  However, something happened to me as I stood in front of my refrigerator gazing inside–inspiration came!

I haven’t made this in a long time, but I decided to make my Broccoli Veggie Slaw with Pistachio Vinaigrette Dressing, Portobello Mushrooms in Wine Sauce over Brown Rice Pilaf and a large Steamed Artichoke with Aioli Dipping Sauce.

It was spectacular!

Broccoli Veggie Slaw with Pistachio Vinaigrette (V)

Ingredients:

8 ounces cherry tomatoes cut in half (I often use the multi-colored variety)
1 zucchini, sliced in thin strips (I use the Spirooli 3-in-one vegetable slicer)
1/4 cup roasted pistachios
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 bag Trader Joe’s Broccoli Slaw
Rainbow Black Pepper (to taste)
Pinch Celtic Sea Salt

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss with Pistachio Vinaigrette Dressing (below)

Pistachio Vinaigrette (V)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup pistachios, shelled, roughly chopped
1/4 shallot, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 sprig fresh rosemary, stem removed, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh basil, stem removed, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
Celtic Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Sauté shallot, rosemary, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, dash of sea salt and pepper into a skillet until just fragrant and onion is soft. Toss in pistachios and sauté for an additional minute. Toss ingredients into a food processor or good blender. Add remaining olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, basil and honey. In a food processor, pulse until well combined. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Thin with water if desired.

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Portobello Mushrooms in Wine Sauce (V)

1 cup of cleaned sliced Portabella mushrooms (3-4)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 medium shallots sliced thin
½ cup of red wine
2-3 tablespoons of butter (or Earth Balance)
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
Celtic Salt & Pepper to taste

In a hot sauté pan add oil and mushrooms allow to cook 2 minutes before adding the shallots and garlic. Continue to cook until mushrooms are soft; add red wine. Reduce the wine by half and stir in butter and add thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

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Brown Rice Pilaf

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
3 tablespoons angel hair pasta pieces
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 cup long grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups water, or vegetable broth
Celtic Sea Salt & Rainbow Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter (Earth Balance).  Add the onions and saute. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Heat the water or vegetable broth and add to rice, bringing it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until all the water has been absorbed by the rice, about 45 minutes. Please don’t lift the lid to give a peek or stir or the rice will not cook evenly.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork, season with salt and pepper and serve.

NOW, take the Portobello Mushrooms and serve them over the Rice Pilaf, and voila!  It’s so darn good!

Steamed Artichoke with Aioli Dipping Sauce

Clean (cutting off pointed edges & stem) the artichoke and then steam in a pan of water with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and 2 crushed cloves of garlic, until done. While steaming, make the Aioli Dipping Sauce.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mayonnaise (Veganiese)
3-4 sun-dried tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced

Blend in food processor or blender until creamy and serve with the Artichoke.

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Buon Appetito!

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: Portobello Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

TASTE…and See

Sometimes you’ve just got to have a sandwich…

For the most part, I try to avoid a lot of carbs, but sometimes, you’ve just got to have a sandwich.  Years ago, I came across a recipe similar to this (this is a revision), and I just love it!  It’s spicy, healthy and so delicious!  Hope you like it too!

Avocado and Melted Swiss on Jalapeño Bread

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance

4 slices  Jalapeño Bread (Trader Joe’s often carries this)

1 cup homemade guacamole (see below)

4 med-thick slices of Swiss cheese

Lemon Pepper to taste

Sea Salt to taste

2 avocados, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup fresh salsa (I use Trader Joe’s brand)

1 cup organic spring mix (Trader Joe’s)

Guacamole 

3 avocado’s peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup finely diced red onions

1/2 cup finely diced ripe tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon lime zest

1  jalapeño pepper finely diced  (for hotter guacamole you can use habaneros or sorrano chili’s)

Pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Directions:  

In a large mixing bowl combine the avocados, lime juice and the orange juice.  Mash together with a fork for chunky guacamole or put in a food processor or electric mixer for creamier consistency.  Add the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime zest, pepper and salt, and mix well (with a spoon)

*Note:  Store any leftover guacamole in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  If you place one of the avocado seeds in the center, it will prevent it from browning.

Here We Go!

Butter both sides of the  jalapeño bread slices and grill.  While grilling, place the Swiss cheese slices on the top of a grilled side, and cover to slightly melt.  Cut the bread slices diagonally and spread the guacamole sauce evenly over the slice with cheese. Divide the avocado slices between the two sandwiches.  Drain the salsa and put it evenly over the sandwiches.  Add the spring mix, cover with the other slice of grilled  jalapeño bread.  Place a toothpick to hold the sandwich together.

Garnish with grapes and berries.

*Note:  Smart & Final carry long sandwich toothpicks that are fabulous for thicker sandwiches.

ENJOY!!!!

Avocado & Melted Swiss  on  Jalapeño Bread

 

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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Oh my…it was a splendid lunch

So, for the most part–about 85% of the time, I eat vegetarian or vegan.  I’m pretty committed to organic foods and sustainable living.  On occasion, I do have fish, and today was such an occasion.  Shall we talk about the splendid lunch I made?  It’s been a longer-than-long week… make that two weeks, and while roaming the isles at Trader Joe’s, inspiration hit me.  I  had bought a new candle (not at Trader Joe’s), and decided to make my famous Almond Crusted Tilapia with Fried Bananas and Coconut (yes, I’m still on a coconut kick).  To go along with my fish I made a Spinach Raspberry  Salad with Champagne Vinegar Dressing and a Boiled Artichoke with Lemon Dill Dip.

Are you drooling yet?

It really was a splendid lunch.  So, without further adieu, I would like to share my recipes with you!

Almond Crusted Tilapia with Fried Bananas and Coconut

INGREDIENTS:

3 med. size Tilapia filet
3/4 cup Almond Meal (Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup Grapeseed Oil
1/4 cup Earth Balance or Butter
2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
2 med-large size ripe bananas
1/4 cup silvered almonds
1/4 cup Coconut Flakes (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
Sea Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

LET’S GET COOKING!

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large non-stick skillet.  In a medium size mixing bowl, place the almond meal, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper and mix well.  Next, take the fish filets and rinse them with water.  Place them in the bowl of almond meal, carefully turning until coated.

Put the filets carefully in the heated skillet and pan fry until browned on both side. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated.  Place on a platter.

Take the butter, and melt the butter in the skillet.  Add the bananas, almonds and coconut.  Fast fry until they are browned.

Arrange the fish on a plate putting the banana-coconut mixture on the top. You may need to add salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach Raspberry Salad 

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
2 mandarin oranges peeled, separated and cut in half
1 tablespoon flaxseed
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
Place everything in a salad bowl.

DRESSING:

Juice from 1 med orange
Zest from 1 orange
1/4 cup Beaufor Champagne Vinegar
3/4  cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon course black pepper

Whisk the above ingredients, pour over salad and toss.

Dill Dipping Sauce

(This dipping sauce can be used for a wide variety of things, but I love it with steamed artichokes!  Try it you’ll like it!)

3.4 cup Vegenaise (Mayonnaise substitute)
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Dash of cayenne pepper

Bon Appetit!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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Another Qunioa moment!

Whew!  I made it through the holiday’s in one piece, and we’ve nearly completed the first month of 2013!  Yay!  I hope the New Year has gotten off to a good start for everyone.

After basically 2 months of rich, calorie-laden foods, I thought I’d share a fabulous healthy recipe–in fact, it’s one my favorites!  If you happen to live in Southern California, accessing ripe avocado’s mid-January is not an issue… In fact, here in Santa Barbara, I have friends and family who have them falling off trees in their yards (no kidding).  We’re going to make “Lemon Quinoa Tomato Avocado Salad, and I guarantee, this recipe will be a keeper!

LET’S GET STARTED!

Lemon Quinoa Tomato Avocado Salad (Vegan)

Ingredients for the salad:
1/2 cup cooked, dry (cooled) organic quinoa
2 cups organic vegetable broth
1 can organic garbanzo beens (drained & rinsed)
1 cup ripe grape tomatoes cut in half
2 avocado’s diced
1 cups organic baby spinach
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup red onion (diced or food processed)
2 large cloves garlic
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

For the dressing:
Juice from 2 lemons
Lemon zest (1 lemon)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp.  cumin
Dash of fresh ground pepper & sea salt

Here We Go!

You want to cook the quinoa first, using the vegetable broth for liquid according to directions.  Once it’s fully cooked (don’t dry it out), then remove it from the heat, cover it and set it aside to cool.

In a food processor, add the spinach and cilantro and process the greens until they are finely diced.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can dice them by hand, but make sure they’re really “diced.”

Put the processed greens in a large bowl and set aside.  Take the red onion and the garlic cloves and put them in the food processor as well.  If not, then dice by hand.  Add this to the greens mixture.

Next rinse and drain the garbanzo beans.  Add them to the mixture and stir, making sure everything is mixed.  If the quinoa is cooled, then add it to the mixture.  Don’t add the tomatoes and avocado’s until the very end.

Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad.  Mix this until fully saturated.  Add the tomatoes and avocados and carefully mix them in.

Set in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy, it’s so YUMMY!

Lemon Quinoa Tomato Avocado Salad

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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‘Tis the Season…

to make cookies!

I love so many kinds of Christmas cookies, but one of my all-time favorites are “Russian Tea Cakes.”  As a kid, I remember my mom making these and I would try and pop them in my mouth when she wasn’t looking, only I always got busted because powdered sugar covered my mouth, hands and face!

…anyway…

They  are always such a nice addition to your dessert table, and add wonderful contrast against dark chocolate goodies, like candies, other cookies and cakes. If you like these little balls of powdered sugar, but you are a VEGAN, here’s a great recipe.

RUSSIAN TEA CAKES (makes about 3 dozen)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus about 1/2 cup more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely ground almonds or pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

LET’S GET BAKING!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, cream Earth Balance until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until fluffy and well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the almond milk and vanilla, beating until smooth.

3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, ground ground almonds or pecans and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until the mixture just comes together. Form the dough into 1-2″ balls. Place about 1/3 cup-1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a small bowl. Dredge the cookie dough balls in the powdered sugar until well coated, placing on the prepared sheet as you work. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire cooling rack until completely cool, then roll them again in confectioners’ sugar, and voila!

Serve in individual paper pastry cups at room temperature.

They’re just so darn good!   Bet you can’t eat just one!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

TASTE…and See