Swiss Chard and Onion Tart

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This delicious and filling tart is inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s French Onion Tart. I’ve made her French Onion Tart plenty of times and always enjoy it. This week, I had a bunch of chard I needed to use up and and thought covering it with dough, cheese and onions sounded about perfect!

Unfortunately this isn’t the most photogenic of dishes, but believe me, it still tastes great! I’ll be bringing this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday party today and boy am I ready for the Fiesta this week!

Onion and Swiss Chard Tart Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s French Onion Tart

Dough:
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 stick cold butter, cubed
3 tablespoons water

Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 bunches swiss chard, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white wine (optional)
1 cup chicken stock (any kind of stock will work)
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and begin making your dough. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and thyme. Work the cubed butter into the mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter. Slowly add the water until you have a solid ball of dough.

2. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness and place it over a baking dish.

3. To make the filling and the olive oil and butter to a pan on medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and the swiss chard and continue cooking until the chard has wilted and the onions are translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and add the wine, if using.  Lower the heat and return the pan and add the stock.

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4. Allow the mixture to simmer until the stock as dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool a bit.

5. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the cheese, the egg and the heavy cream. When the onion and chard mixture has cooled add them on top of the dough and add the egg mixture on top. Fold over any dough that’s off the pan to cover the topping. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes until the dough begins to brown and the cheese is brown and bubbly! Enjoy!

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Ricotta Gnocchi

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I’ve made my love of pasta, especially gnocchi, no secret to all of you.  I often crave the smooth pillowy heavenly bits, but the thought of peeling and boiling potatoes and making a dough just doesn’t seem appealing some days.

I had heard of using ricotta cheese to make gnocchi before, but for some reason I hadn’t given this option a try yet. Every time I heard someone mention making gnocchi with ricotta instead of potatoes they’d say “once you try them this way you’ll never go back” and I have to admit I think they may be right. First of all, it’s so much simpler, less time consuming and they’re super light and soft. I see many more gnocchi in my future now that I’ve discovered these.

I’ve taken such a break from blogging that I’m not even sure if Fiesta Fridays are still happening! I sure hope so because I’ll bring a big batch of these!  Whew, looks like the party is on today!

Ricotta Gnocchi
16 ounces of whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
1 large egg
pinch of salt
3/4 to 1 cup flour

1. Carefully drain any excess liquid from the ricotta. Add the ricotta, pecorino romano, egg and salt to a bowl and combine. Add 3/4 cup of flour and combine. The mix should have some form to it but still be sticky. If it is too sticky continue adding flour a little at a time until you can roll it into a sticky ball.

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2. On a lightly floured surface take a small amount of the mixture and roll it into a log about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the logs into about 1/2 inch long gnocchi.

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3. Add the gnocchi to a large bowl of boiling salted water. Allow them to cook about 3 minutes then carefully scoop them out. I find it’s best to cook them in 2-3 batches in order to get them all out in time without overcooking.

4. Add your gnocchi to your sauce, I had made a quick tomato cream sauce (recipe to come) but they go great with just about anything. Enjoy!

Cornbread Strata and Meet Bindi!

My apologies again for disappearing. I know I said I was back after my last hiatus, but then something very exciting happened….we got a puppy! Meet Bindi our lab mix little cutie.

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I absolutely love this little pup, so much so that I find it difficult to spend time cooking or writing instead of playing with her! I think we’ve now gotten into a more routine schedule and I hope to posting much more often. If any of you have suggestions for how you balance blogging with family, work, pets and other priorities I’d love to hear them!!

And now for the food. The mornings have started to get a bit cooler, which makes me want to just curl up with something warm and cozy for breakfast. I had 3/4 of a loaf of cornbread and some sauteed onions left over from earlier in the week and decided to try a strata to use it up. You can really make this with any type of bread, but cornbread gives it a nice fall feel. I like to add a little
King Arthur Vermont Cheese Powder to my cornbread. I know, I know cheese powder? But this is a great ingredient that can add extra flavor to mannny dishes. Bread that is a day or two old generally works best for this as well.

Cornbread Strata
Cornbread (note: this is half the amount that I make if I’m making the bread to eat, the strata doesn’t require as much unless you’re feeding a crowd)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon King Arthur Vermont Cheese Powder (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Sauteed Onion:
1 large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
pepper

Strata:
1 pan cornbread (see above)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Make the cornbread: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, cheese powder, thyme and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until the edges start to brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Saute the onions: Add the olive oil to a pan on medium-low heat. Slice the onion thinly and add to the pan. Cook the onions slowly for about 10 minutes until they’re soft and start to brown just a little. Salt and pepper to taste. Let the onions cool.

Make the strata: Cut the cornbread into small chunks and place about 1/2 in the bottom of a baking dish. Combine the rest of the strata ingredients and the cooled onions in a bowl and whisk lightly. Pour half of the mixture over the bread. Place the rest of the bread in the dish and pour the remaining mixture evenly over the bread the cover it. Add some more grated cheese on top if you like. Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes until the eggs are cooked. Enjoy!

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Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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!

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Pasta Puttanesca

photo(4)Here you go, another pasta recipe! I hope you’re not getting sick of these yet. Leave it to me to make be making all these pastas in the summer while everyone else is gearing up for warm weather and swim suit season. Oh well, that’s who I am.

This week I bring you pasta puttanesca, politely translated to the “working girl’s pasta.” Traditional puttanesca has capers and anchovies, but per usual I didn’t have all the right ingredients in my kitchen so I doubled up on the olives to make up for it. Since the olives are pretty salty I don’t add much salt to the sauce, but feel free to adjust that to your tastes.

Pasta Puttanesca

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, cut into thin slices
14 oz crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups pitted kalamata olives
3 cloves garlic
1 lb spaghetti or bucatini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 fresh basil leaves
grated cheese for topping

1. Place the olive oil and onions in a pan on low heat. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 7-8 minutes.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt to the pan with the onions and stir to combine. Continue cooking on low heat, stirring often until the sauce starts to bubble.

3. Combine the olives and garlic in a food processor and pulse for just a few seconds until they’re chopped but not too small. Add the olives and garlic to the sauce and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often.

4. While the sauce is cooking, cook and drain your pasta in a bowl of salted water.

5. Once the sauce is done, turn off the heat and add the cherry tomatoes. Then add the pasta and toss. Finish with chopped basil and cheese and enjoy!

 

Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese

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I know it’s not quite the season yet but I couldn’t pass up the zucchini and corn in the grocery store this week. Zucchini is probably my all time favorite vegetable, actually they might tie with tomatoes I’m not sure I can pick one over the other. Anyway, I had this idea of roasting all these vegetables together and adding them to a mac and cheese. You know me, I love a good mac and cheese so why not add some vegetables to it??

After roasting the vegetables they looked and smelled so good I was tempted to skip the rest and just eat them right out of the dish. I continued with the plan though and I’m glad I did. I debated over which cheese to use and ended up deciding on a cheddar and gruyere mix. The sweetness of the corn really makes this dish.  Now I have a feeling I’ll be making similar mac and cheese dishes for every season.

And of course I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday! I had a great time co-hosting last week’s Fiesta Friday with Angie, Jhuls and Selma. I can’t wait to see what everyone else brings today!

Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese
2 ears of corn
2 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 box medium shells pasta
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups of milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully cut the sides of the corn to remove the kernels and place them in a bowl. Cut the zucchini, pepper and onion into bite sized pieces and add them to the bowl with the corn. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, paprika and pepper. Pour the vegetable mixture into a large baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes until the vegetables have softened.

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2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta into a strainer.

3. Add the butter to the pot on low heat. Once the butter has melted add the flour and whisk until combined. Next add the milk. When the milk begins to warm up, turn up the heat slightly, to about medium. Then add the cheeses and stir constantly until the cheese melts and you have a thick sauce.

4. When the vegetables are done take them out and add the cooked pasta to baking dish. Then add the cheese sauce on top. Combine the sauce with the pasta and vegetables until everything is combined. Add the breadcrumbs on top.

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5. Turn the oven down to 350 and bake the mac n cheese for about 25 minutes, until the top has browned. Enjoy!

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Baked Eggs

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Well I don’t know about you, but I really think every weekend should be a three day weekend 🙂 I had a great time over the weekend, including co-hosting Fiesta Friday and I hope all of you did as well! We spent one day of the weekend looking at apartments since we’ll be moving soon. I know apartment searching can be a very time consuming and trying experience so I figured we’d start the day off with a delicious and very filling breakfast to help us make it through!

These baked eggs are super warm and tasty. I made them in individual dishes since it was just the two of us, but you could definitely double or triple the recipe and bake them in a larger baking dish if you’re feeding a crowd.

Baked Eggs
Serves 2
2 slices of day old bread
1/2 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese (whatever kind you like, I used fontina)
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
salt
pepper
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh basil, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear the slices of bread into small pieces and layer them on the bottom of ramekins or a baking dish.

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2. Divide the tomato sauce over the bread.

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3. Crack the eggs one by one into a separate bowl and then slide them from the bowl on top of the tomato sauce and bread.

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4. Top with cheese and tomatoes. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over each egg. bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes until the whites of eggs have turned white and the yokes are cooked through.

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5. Remove them from the oven and top with a small amount of chopped basil and parsley. Enjoy!

Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

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When I heard that the first Fiesta Friday challenge would involve yeast and herbs I was excited. In my mind, there are few things better than fresh warm bread and I love having a reason to experiment and try something new. I immediately knew I wanted to make a focaccia. I love the crunch bottom and sides and the fluffy soft inside.

I also really like baking cheeses into my breads and fontina seemed like a great choice for this Italian classic. The fontina adds a little saltiness and flavor without being overwhelming. However, I think the real star of this focaccia is the garlic and herb oil. The fresh herbs really bring this to life and well, I love garlic so a garlic infused oil is right up my alley. If you’re not such a garlic fan you can either use less or omit it.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else enters in the challenge. Click the badge below to see what’s been entered so far!
”Fiesta

Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups Fontina cheese, grated or shredded

Garlic Herb Oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
6-8 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Begin by adding the water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for about ten minutes, until it starts to get frothy. Add the flour and salt to the yeast and water and begin to combine on the lowest speed. Slowly drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into the dough while it combines. Once the dough starts to form a ball, add 1 cup of the fontina and let it continue to combine until you have a sticky dough ball. Remove the dough and place it in a bowl. Cover the bowel with a clean towel and let it rise for an hour.

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2. While the dough is rising, make the garlic herb oil. Peel and smash the two cloves of garlic and place them in a microwave safe bowl with the olive oil. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Put the oil, garlic, basil and parsley in a food processor and pulse until the herbs and garlic are in small pieces.

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3. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large baking dish. Place the dough in the dish and spread it out as best you can. Then turn the dough over so both sides get oiled and spread it out a little more. It’s fine if it doesn’t reach the edges of the bowl. Use your fingers to dimple the surface of the dough and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on top.

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4. Bake the bread at 400 for about 30 minutes. Then place the rest of the fontina cheese on top of the bread. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the top just starts to brown. Remove from the oven and brush the garlic herb oil on top. Enjoy!

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Kale and Pepper Quesadilla

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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.

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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.

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

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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!
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Fettuccine Alfredo

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Alfredo is such a heart warming dish. It’s so simple to make, yet a bowl of cheesy warm alfredo seems so special. I remember my brother and I would always get really excited when my mom would announce we were having fettuccine alfredo for dinner.

I like to keep my family’s tradition of pasta on Sundays alive, but lately I’ve been running out of ideas and was tired of the typical tomato sauce. My mom suggested alfredo, and I thought it was a great idea. I unintentionally “lightened” this dish a bit by using 2% milk instead of whole milk since that’s all we had. I also added the last bit of a bottle of white wine we had in the fridge, but you can definitely leave that out or replace the wine with milk if you prefer.

Fettuccine Alfredo
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
salt
pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 pound dried fettuccine

1. Add the butter and garlic to saucepan on low heat. When the butter has melted add the milk and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the wine if you’re using it. Next add the cheese and continue to stir until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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2. Cook the fettuccine in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the pasta and then add it to the pan with the sauce.

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3. Mix the pasta with the sauce and top with parsley, basil and extra cheese. Enjoy!

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