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!

Still grilling in California

I’ve been enjoying the weekend immensely, and part of my joy is weather-related.  It’s been in the high 70’s the last few days in Santa Barbara, so we’re still drinking lemonade and grilling in So Cal.  After enjoying an evening hike, I made quite a feast last night.  The menu included my addictive Organic Tomato Fennel Soup, steamed artichokes with aioli dipping sauce, spinach salad with lemon garlic dressing and grilled cauliflower, which was off the charts!  In fact, I ate the leftovers for breakfast.  🙂

Grilled Lemon Parmesan Cauliflower

Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower (sliced — I used purple and yellow cauliflower)

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cloves pressed garlic

1 tablespoons fresh basil (minced)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sea salt & black pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Let’s Get Started!

Rinse and pat dry the cauliflower.  Separate the stem, removing outer green leaves from cauliflower.  Starting at the top head of the stalk, slice into 3/4-inch steaks. Place the sliced cauliflower onto a plate.  Mix remaining ingredients and brush oil mixture onto the sliced florets, and place them on a medium-hot grill.  Grill on both sides until browned.  Add additional Parmesan cheese until melted and browned.

*Note:  These work wonders on the George Forman grill, especially because it grills both sides at once.

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Smell and taste Harvest

Even though I live in Santa Barbara, fall is upon us.  For those of us who have experienced a “real” fall, you know how the air shifts — you can actually smell it in the air.  I can smell fall in the air today, and it excites me.  Fall time makes me want soups and stews.  Of course, I always love a good salad, but I enjoy warmer foods when the climate changes.

Today I made Organic Tomato-Fennel Soup, and it’s FABULOUS!  There’s nothing like fresh fennel and organic vine-ripened tomatoes. Couple it with a spinach salad, a slice of gluten-free sourdough bread, a glass of white wine, and you’ve got a great light meal.

So, here’s the recipe!

Organic Tomato – Fennel Soup (Vegan)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium or large fennel bulb (trimmed, cored and chopped…save the feathery leaves)

2 large garlic cloves

4 medium shallots, finely chopped

2 large parsley springs, finely chopped

2 small carrots, finely chopped

3 fresh vine-ripened organic tomatoes, diced

1 16 oz. can organic fire-roasted tomatoes, diced (Trader Joe’s)

3/4 cup organic vegetable broth (low sodium)

1 cup water

1 teaspoon Braggs seasoning salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed aniseed

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium-size stock, place the oil and the fennel, carrots, shallots, garlic, and parsley and cook over medium-low heat (stirring occasionally) until vegetables are softened, but not brown.

Add the fresh tomatoes, the vegetable broth, the fire-roasted tomatoes, the water and the seasonings.   Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes.

Either transfer the mixture to a blender or use a high-power hand blender and puree.

Serve hot garnished with chopped fennel feather leaves.

*Note:  A sprinkle of fresh grated Romano cheese is also a nice touch for non-vegans.

Buon Appetito!

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Organic Tomato – Fennel Soup

I’m just crazy about…

Arugula! No kidding.  I think I could eat it every day.  Even though it has a very strong flavor…I simply love it!  When I got home from work this evening, I decided to enjoy a fine wine, a variety of foreign cheeses, a Trader Joe’s “Margarita Pizza,” and salad of shaved fennel, sliced oranges and candied pecans.  It was fabulous, if I do say so myself.  But hey, don’t just take my word for it–try it, and see for yourself!

Shaved Fennel, Arugula Salad with Sliced Oranges, Candied Pecans and a Vinaigrette Dressing

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

3 tablsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tablsp. white wine vinegar

1 medium fennel bulb, rinsed, cleaned and thinly sliced

2 valencia oranges, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups organic baby arugula leaves

pinch celtic salt

course black pepper (optional)

Candied Pecans

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 tablsp. organic maple syrup

1/2 tsp. raw cane sugar

1/2 tsp. celtic salt

dash cayenne pepper

Here We Go!

I would suggest making the candied pecans first, especially because they need to be cooled before throwing into the salad.

To make the candied pecans, preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the pecans in a small mixing bowl with the maple syrup.  Add sugar, salt and cayenne, mix to coat.  Spread the nuts on a small baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Really watch them, because some ovens cook hotter than others, and they can quickly burn.  Cool before placing them in the salad.  Break apart and toss in the salad.

For the salad, whisk together the oil and vinegar in a salad bowl.  Place the thinly sliced fennel, red onions, orange slices and arugula into the bowl with the oil and vinegar and toss throughly.  Add salt and pepper.  Make sure the salad is completely coated with the oil and vinegar.  Add the cooled pecans and serve!

This is a fabulous salad that is especially great with cheese and crackers, wine and goat cheese pizza, even though we settled for Trader Joe’s “Margarita Pizza” tonight.  Sometimes you just have to compromise a little, ya know?  😉

Enjoy!

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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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Spaghetti with Red Onions?

Okay, okay… I know…red onions in spaghetti…it sounds weird, right?  Well, talk to the locals from Firenze (Florence) Italy.  This recipe is not uncommon.  I am not a big anchovy fan either, but sometimes it really enhances the taste of a dish, and it really adds to the flavor of this pasta.  Try it, you’ll like it!  🙂

Red Onion Spaghetti with Anchovy & Pecorino Cheeses

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 pound red onions, thinly sliced

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Celtic Sea Salt (to taste)

1 pound spaghetti

1 cup Pecorino Romano Genuino cheese, finely grated

1 cup Pecorino Fiore Sardo cheese, finely grated (you will probably have to get this at a deli)

3/4 cup cold water

7 flat anchovy fillets

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper or crushed red pepper for a little extra kick

LET’S GET COOKING!

In a large skillet with lid, combine onions, 2/3 cup water, oil, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt; bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat, then cook until onions begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 25 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In the meantime, while the gravy is cooking, cook the spaghetti as directed–al dente is preferred.  In a separate bowl, mix the grated cheeses with the cold water and set it aside.
Next, add the anchovies to the simmering sauce. Cook, uncovered, stirring with a wooden spoon, until anchovies are dissolved (2-3 minutes).  Stir in the parsley and remove from 
heat. Cover sauce to keep warm.  Drain the pasta and then return it to the pot.  Add the sauce; cook over high heat, stirring, 2 minutes, then add cheese mixture, reduce heat to medium and, stirring constantly, cook 2 minutes more. Serve immediately, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and pepper.  If you want to spice it up a bit, add crushed red pepper.
I enjoy serving this with a wonderful Caprese Salad, but it’s great with any green salad of your choosing.  Pair it with a good Chardonnay, and you’ve got quite a meal.
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: 

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: 

TASTE…and See

Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake With Ganache and Raspberry Filling

imgres-1It’s hard not to think of chocolate on Valentine’s Day… and so, I choose to embrace it!

Did you know that in Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St Valentine’s Day to make them dream of their future husband?  Isn’t that a hoot?  I can’t help but wonder if chocolate was in the equation…probably not.

Everybody loves chocolate, right?  For those of you making a love-filled dinner at home, may I suggest this wonderful Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake?

Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake With Ganache and Raspberry Filling

Cake Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached white flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the better quality, the better your cake will be)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup organic canola oil (or coconut oil)
1 cup cold brewed organic coffee
1 cup cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

For the Ganache:

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 ounces 72% dark chocolate (I use Sharffen Berger bittersweet dark chocolate)
3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

For the Raspberry Filling

You can use raspberry jam ( about 1/2-3/4 cup)
My preference is to use fresh raspberries.

Cook  2 cups of organic fresh raspberries with 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons sugar. Puree the raspberry mixture, then if you wish, press through a sieve to remove the seeds or leave the seeds in. Return to the sauce pan. Add 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or corn starch with a little water to become liquid. Add the corn starch mixture to the raspberry mixture and heat until the raspberry mixture become thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

LET’S GET BAKING!

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking oil spray, then place a circle of parchment paper in each pan and spray again.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix the oil, water, coffee and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spoon just until combined. Add the vinegar and stir just until it’s evenly distributed in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly touched in the middle. Set aside to cool.

The Ganache

In the top part of a double boiler, place the soy milk and margarine, and heat together until the margarine melts. Add the vegan chocolate chips, continue to cook while stirring constantly until the vegan chocolate chips have melted completely and the mixture is very smooth. Use the ganache, warm, as a glaze for cakes or use as a dip or coating for fruit or nuts, or when cool, use as a filling for cakes and desserts. Store any excess in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be reheated in a double boiler as needed.

Yield: 2 Cups

Place frosting ingredients in a double broiler and heat gently and stir until the chocolate is totally melted and very smooth.  For glazing the cake, use the ganache warm.

When the cakes have cooled, put a serving plate on the pan and and carefully invert. Remove the parchment paper. Spread a small amount of raspberry filling over the top. Place a flat plate on the pan containing the second layer, invert and remove the parchment. Repeat the process with another plate so the rounded side is up.  Transfer it onto the bottom layer.

Glaze the cake completely (spreading to smooth the top) with the ganache, letting the frosting run down the sides of the cake.

For a nice touch, take several fresh, cleaned raspberries and place them on top of the cake for decoration.

Serve immediately or leave lightly covered at room temperature and serve later or the next day.

Serves 8

Enjoy!

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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