Ina’s Eggplant Dip

photo(1)

Each Summer I look forward to getting fresh eggplant to make this spread. As soon as I see some beautiful looking eggplants at the market I’m reminded of how delicious this dip is and immediately get excited to make it!

This recipe is not my own, though I usually make a few changes. I have to give credit to the lovely Ina Garten and her amazing ability to make simple ingredients so special and elegant.

I edited Ina’s recipe slightly to add a jalapeno for a bit of spice and some cumin and parsley. This dip is great with some freshly made pita chips, slathered over bread or honestly just by the spoonful! I’ll be sharing this with my friends over at Fiesta Friday today. If you haven’t joined us yet you should definitely stop by!

Ina’s Eggplant Spread from Ina Garten with a few changes

1 eggplant
1 red pepper
1 onion
1 jalapeno
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut the eggplant, red pepper onion and jalapeno into small chunks and place in a bowl with the garlic. Add the olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper to the bowl and toss it all together to coat the vegetables.

3. Place the vegetables on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes until soften and browned. Remove the baked vegetables and let them cool down.
photo

4. Place the cooled vegetables in a food processor with the parsley and tomato paste and pulse until combined and smooth. Enjoy!

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

photo

Hey all! I’m happy to say that after a move and a couple of trips I’m finally back, set up in my new kitchen and ready to begin sharing recipes and stories with you all once again!

There are a few foods that always draw me in. Whether it’s their taste, their delicacy or their appearance, I definitely have a list of foods I can’t pass up. Zucchini flowers are a great example of this. They are so delicate and beautiful, yet somehow manage to be crispy on the outside, soft inside and all around delicious.

When I saw zucchini flowers at the farmer’s market last week, I just couldn’t leave without them. I’ve never made them myself before, but I figured with some cheese and breadcrumb I couldn’t go wrong.

photo(3)

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
6-8 zucchini flowers
3 slices of bread or 1 cup breadcrumbs
4 oz mozzarella cheese
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 jalapeno (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully open the flower and remove the stamen (long stem) from the inside.

2. Cut your slices of bread into small chunks and place it in a food processor, pulse until you have breadcrumb sized chunks (if you are using breadcrumb just skip this step).

photo(4)

3. Separate the breadcrumb into two bowls, one will be for the stuffing and one will be for the breading.

4. Place the onion, garlic,jalapeno and cheese in the food processor and pulse until it becomes a mixture. Stir the mixture into the bowl with the bread crumb. Carefully spoon the mixture into each flower.

photo(2)

5. Lightly beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Dip each flower into the bowl so the entire thing is covered. Then dip it into the other bowl of just breadcrumb. Place the breaded flowers on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until the breading starts to brown. Enjoy!

photo(1)

 

Kale and Pepper Quesadilla

20140515-193351.jpg
This quesadilla was the result of needing to use up everything in our fridge before heading out of town for a few days. I was rummaging through the fridge to determine what had to be eaten before we left. The discoveries were a half a block of cheese, half a bag of small sweet peppers, one bunch of kale and a few green onions. Once I realized there were a few whole wheat tortillas hidden in the back of the fridge, the idea came to life. I think quesadillas get a bad rap for being unhealthy food, but depending on the tortilla you use and what you put in them they don’t have to be so bad.

I’m bringing these quesadillas to Angie’s Fiesta Friday party today.  If you haven’t joined the party yet you totally should it’s a ton of fun and the other bloggers are so inspiring! 

Kale and Pepper Quesadillas

Serves 2
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 mini sweet peppers
1 bunch kale
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded or cubed
2 whole wheat tortillas
Salt
Pepper

1. Remove the tops and seeds of the peppers and cut them into thin strips. Add the pepper strips and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Sauté until the peppers soften, about 6-8 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the peppers to a bowl.

20140515-193436.jpg

2. Remove the kale leaves from the stems and chop into small pieces. Add the remaining olive oil and kale to the pan on low heat and sauté for about 4 minutes until the kale wilts. Add the kale to the bowl with the peppers.

20140515-193622.jpg

3. Add the green onions to the bowl with the other vegetables and stir to combine.

20140515-194019.jpg

4. Place a tortilla in the pan and return to low heat. Place 1/4 of the cheese on half of the tortilla, then half of the vegetable mixture then another 1/4 of the cheese. Fold the other half of the tortilla on top and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the tortilla and cook for another 2 minutes then remove it from the pan. Enjoy!
20140515-194148.jpg
20140515-194132.jpg

Homemade Potato Chips and Goat Cheese Dip

photo(90)

Phew, it’s finally Friday! I don’t know about you but to me this week felt extra long. I’m certainly ready for this Friday and Angie’s Fiesta Friday party! If you haven’t joined us yet for the Fiesta, you should certainly join.

This week I’m bringing some homemade potato chips and a delicious goat cheese dip to the party. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Potato Chips with Goat Cheese Dip
Chips:
4 potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oilphoto(92)
salt
pepper

Dip:
4 oz goat cheese
2 teaspoons sour cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground back pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice potatoes very thinly, about 1/16th of an inch thick. Place the slices on a paper towel for about 10 minutes to dry out a bit, flipping them over after 5 minutes. The longer they dry the better, but I’m impatient!

photo(91)

2. Add the potato slices to a bowl with the olive oil and toss to coat them. Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 for about 12 minutes, then flip the slices over and bake for another 12 minutes. If they aren’t browned or starting to crisp leave them in the oven an additional 5 minutes.

3. Remove the potato slices from the oven when browned and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Combine all of the ingredients for the dip in a bowl and stir to combine. Serve the dips with the chips, enjoy!

Corn Dip

photo(87)

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that in my household of only two people, who generally consider themselves to be pretty healthy, this dip barely lasts 24 hours. It’s that good. It’s the perfect mix of the sweet corn, creamy cheese and tiniest bit of spice. I’m a real whimp when it comes to spicy things so I usually only add a tiny bit of cayenne and add some paprika instead. But, if you’re a spice lover you can certainly up the heat or add a diced jalepeno. I also somehow only had about half an onion, so I added some green onion to to this batch. I used canned corn because that’s what I had, but fresh would be great!

I’m bringing this dip toAngie’s Fiesta Friday party! Hopefully everyone there likes it as much as I do (or maybe hopefully not so I can eat it all myself..eek)photo(83)!

Corn Dip
2 cans sweet corn
1 small onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
8 oz cheddar cheese shredded or cubed
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Drain the corn and place in a bowl. Combine the corn with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all mixed together well. Place in an even layer in a baking dish.

photo(84)

3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, until it begins to brown on top, enjoy!

photo(86)

Panzanella with Bacon and Sweet Balsamic Dressing

photo(80)

As much as I’ve been trying to be very healthy lately, I have been and always will be a carb-aholic. I love bread of every shape and size and simply can never get enough. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise you that I would he a huge fan of a bread salad. And if you’re already making the salad out of bread, why not add bacon? Now that’s a salad!

I received some great little yellow tomatoes in this week’s farm basket and their color just goes so great with the bacon and toasted bread. However, you can use any kind of tomatoes you like. I also added some spinach to this so I could feel slightly less guilty while eating it. I topped this salad with a sweet balsamic dressing which was just perfect. I’ve already eaten two helpings of this salad today – and it’s not even noon, oops! Oh well, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I am!

And to make things even better, it’s Fiesta Friday! Check it out and join the party!

Panzanella with Bacon and Sweet Balsamic Dressing
For the salad:
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 slices day old bread, cubed
3 pieces of crunchy bacon
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped in half
1 cup spinach chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1/2 ball of mozzarella cheese, cubed

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Add the salted butter to a pan on low heat. When the butter melts, add the bread cubes to the pan and cook until lightly toasted, about 8-10 minutes.

photo(82)

photo(81)

2. In a bowl combine the bacon, tomatoes, spinach, green onions, parsley and mozzarella. Add the bread when it’s toasted and toss to combine all of the ingredients.

3. To make the dressing whisk all the ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the salad, enjoy!

photo(79)

Roasted Red Peppers

photo(74)

Sometimes I’m really amazed at how the simplest of ingredients can make the best tasting dishes. These peppers are a true example of that. This past Christmas, my mom gave me Stanley Tucci’s cookbook. His recipe for roasted red peppers immediately caught my eye. They looked so soft and delicious, I knew I had to make them. I’m actually surprised it took me this long to try them.

Once these peppers got cooking, I was immediately disappointed that I only had five peppers to roast and kicking myself for not buying more. These peppers will fill your kitchen up with the most wonderful smell, I can’t even explain it you just have to try them! These are great on their own, with some bread and cheese or as an accompaniment to many other dishes.

Roasted Red Peppers Recipe adapted from The Tucci Cookbook
5 red bell peppersphoto(78)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400. Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast them for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning them slightly every 15 minutes to make sure they roast evenly.

photo(77)

2. Remove the peppers and let them cool for about 30 minutes. Once they’ve cooled, carefully peel off the skins. Tear the peppers into strips, removing any seeds and place them in a bowl, trying not to get any excess liquid in the bowl.

photo(76)

3. Toss the peppers with the olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley. Enjoy!

photo(75)