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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Butternut Squash, Kale and Apricot Salad

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It’s official, we’ve entered squash season! All kinds of squash are popping up in the grocery stores and my blog feed and Pinterest seems to be overflowing with squash recipes.

Personally, butternut is my favorite of the Fall squashes. I recently heard that it was given it’s name because of it’s buttery softness and taste, I’m not sure if this is true, but it certainly is fitting.

A simple vinaigrette is all this salad needs to top it. I made a quick mixture of olive oil, chili herb vinegar, honey and a tiny bit of chili powder to add just the tiniest kick to offset the sweetness of the squash and the apricots.

Butternut Squash, Kale and Apricot Salad
2 cups roasted butternut squash cubes (see below)
1 bunch baby kale
1 cup dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces goat cheese

To make the roasted butternut squash cubes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the squash, cut it in half lengthwise and chop into 1 inch cubes. Toss the cubes in a bowl with olive oil and whatever spices you prefer. I like to add salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon to mine but use whatever flavors you like best. Place the cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes until they’ve softened.

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To prepare the salad just wash and dry the kale, top it with the roasted squash, the apricots, red onion slices and crumble the goat cheese on top. Enjoy!

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Cumin Roasted Carrots

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Oh carrots. They certainly are not one of my favorite vegetables. While I don’t exactly dislike carrots, I never find myself getting excited for them. Yet, somehow, they always manage to make their way into my shopping cart and my kitchen. When I’m wandering through the produce aisle I always think something like “oh I should probably pick up a bag of carrots in case I want to make some soup” but the poor bag usually ends up unused.

This week I had a bag of carrots from my grocery shopping, and also received more in my farm basket and I was determined to use them. I juiced some, threw some in a potato salad, but still had more carrots left so this is what I did with them. I wanted to give them lots of flavor that I knew I’d enjoy so I added cumin for a very distinct taste. If any of you have a favorite carrot preparation I’d love to hear it, I could definitely use the ideas!

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6-8 carrots washed and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop the carrots into even bite sized pieces. I like to cut them in half lengthwise then cut them into smaller pieces.

2. Combine the carrots with the rest of the ingredients in a baking dish and toss to combine.

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3. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, until they’re soft when you stick a fork in them. Enjoy!

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Vanilla Plum Chia Seed Pudding

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One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about blogging is getting to see what trends other people are into and learn about new foods in the process. Lately it seems like everyone has been really excited about chia seeds, so I had to get some and try them out.

As much as I consider myself a healthy person, I’m always skeptical of new health foods. I always assume that they won’t taste good or I won’t like it and I’ll end up disappointed. So, naturally, I was hesitant to try these chia seeds but boy am I glad I did! This pudding is seriously good, you wouldn’t believe it’s made with such healthy ingredients. I had the intentions of making it for dessert, but I couldn’t resist taking a few too many spoonfuls throughout the day while it chilled. The plums also make it such a beautiful pink color, what’s not to like!?

And of course it’s Fiesta Friday! So I guess I’m that person bringing the healthy food to the party, but I think you’ll enjoy it!

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4-5 plums
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup chia seeds

1. Cut the plums up into small pieces. Place them in a plan with the water and sugar on low heat. Cook the plums on low heat for about 5 minutes, then bring the heat to medium until it starts to get bubbly. Then turn the heat back down and cook on low heat for 8-10 more minutes, until the plums are mushy and soft. Stir in the vanilla, then turn off the heat and let sit until cooled.

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2. Add the milk to a bowl and stir in the chia seeds. When the plums have cooled incorporate them into the milk mixture.

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3. Chill the mixture overnight, enjoy!

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Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

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So I went a little crazy this weekend…at the grocery store! We had a beautiful warm sunny day and I think that definitely affected my attitude while shopping. All of the vegetables in the store looked so fresh and delicious, I didn’t want to pass anything up. I just kept picking things up, and it wasn’t until I got home that I realized I probably had more veggies that I could use up in a week. After a couple large salads I still had quite a few left to use so I figured this stir fry would be a great way to do that.

This might not be what you typically think of as stir fry. Instead of a sticky gooey sauce I prefer to let the vegetables be the star and season the chicken with paprika for a little more intensity. However, you could definitely add a little brown sugar to this to make it a little sticky if that’s how you like it. Another great thing about this meal is that it only takes one pot and one pan, making for quick and easy clean up!

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
3 chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
5 carrots
1/2 yellow onion
1 cup green beans
6-7 asparagus spears
5-6 kale leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 green onions

1. Preheat oven to 375. Place the chicken breasts in a baking pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom. Season the chicken. Combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 2 teaspoons paprika in a small bowl. Season the chicken with half of the spice mixture. Turn the chicken over and season the other side withe the rest of the spices. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until cooked through (cooking times will depend on the size of your chicken).

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2. Peel and chop your carrots. Place a pot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat and add the carrots. Next chop your onion and add that to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Allow these to cook together until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.

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3. Next chop your green beans and asparagus and add them to the pot. Chop your kale into bite sized pieces and add it to the rest of the vegetables.

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4. When the vegetables begin to soften add your stock and rice to the pot. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook at a simmer until the rice is cooked and the stock has evaporated.

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5. When the chicken has cooked use two forks to pull it apart. Place the pulled apart pieces in the pot and stir to combine with the vegetables and rice. Add more salt or pepper if needed and top with chopped green onions, enjoy!

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Sweet and Spicy Beets

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I feel like beets are a vegetable that don’t get the attention they deserve. I only recently started cooking with whole beets and they are delicious! Not only do they taste great, but their color is so beautiful, they can make a really pretty side dish.  Also, besides their great looks and taste, they’re very good for you.

Beets can be prepared very simply. This recipe highlights their sweetness while adding just a little kick from the chili herb vinegar. The vinegar I used here was one I received in my oh so great farm basket a few weeks ago. If you don’t happen to have chili herb vinegar in your kitchen (which I’m assuming most people don’t) you can get a similar effect by adding just a little bit of siracha or any hot sauce to apple cider vinegar – basically you just want some tang and some spice. These are great on their own as a side dish, or as a topping for a salad or flat bread.

Note: This recipe only makes enough for 2 people (or 1 very hungry person!) so you’ll want to double or triple if you’ve got a crowd.

Sweet and Spicy Beets
3-4 whole beets
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon chili herb vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash your beets and peel them using a potato peeler. Then cut each one into 1 inch sized chunks – I find it’s easiest to cut the beet in half, then cut each half into small pieces.

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3. In a small bowl add your olive oil, brown sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.

4. Toss your beets in the mixture and pour the entire bowl evenly over a baking sheet.

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5. Bake at 400 for about 40-45 minutes, until you can easily stick a fork in the beets, enjoy!

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Tabbouleh

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I love making dishes that I can make a big batch of and bring to lunch every day for a week. This helps prevent me from going out and buying lunch. It also gives me a lunch I can look forward to – not just some sad sandwich that I don’t really want to eat. Tabbouleh is an excellent example of this, this recipe makes enough for nearly a week’s worth of lunches and paired with a nice warm pita it’s a lunch you’re sure to look forward to!

If you haven’t used bulgur before it’s a type of wheat that’s common in Middle Eastern cooking. You can find it in most grocery stores near the rice or the international aisle. Unlike other grains, you cook it by pouring boiling water over the wheat and letting it sit and absorb.photo(33)

This recipe is very light and fresh while still being filling. I definitely suggest making some pitas to go with it. This King Arthur recipe works every time! You can also substitute some of the flour for whole wheat if you like.

Tabbouleh
1 cup bulgur wheat
2 cups boiling water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, each cut into quarters
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup dried mint
6 green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1. Place your bulgur in a heatproof bowl, boil your water and add the boiling water to the bowl with the bulgur. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and let it sit for about 30 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the bulgur is softened. Fluff the bulgur lightly with a fork.

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2. While waiting for your bulgur, chop your tomatoes, parsley, cucumber and onions and add them to a separate bowl. Next add the mint. Once the bulgur has cooled, add the chopped vegetables and mint to it and stir to combine.

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3. Finally, make the dressing. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the bulgur mixture and stir it thoroughly to combine.

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4. Chill for at least an hour before serving, enjoy!

Kale, Pesto and Red Onion Flatbread

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Last week, for the first time since I’ve lived in the DC area, we actually got some real snow! Nothing crazy, probably just about 3 inches in my area but I was excited none the less. To make it even better, the snow allowed me to work from home for a day, extending the already long weekend! I really enjoy days when I work from home because I have extra time to make lunch and dinner.

Given the chilly temperatures and the lack of quick snow removal in this area, instead of finding a new recipe to try and going out to buy all the ingredients, I rummaged through the cupboards and fridge to see what I could develop with what I had on hand. I always have ingredients for dough, I had kale and these adorable red pearl onions (sorry if adorable is a weird word for onions, but these really were) from my week’s farm basket and a jar of pesto my friend brought me from Italy that I’ve been excited to try. I put it all together and came up with this flatbread. If you don’t want to make dough, you can use frozen pizza dough as a shortcut.

Kale, Pesto and Onion Flatbread
Dough:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup warm waterflatbread2
2 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon
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Topping:
1 bunch kale, stems removed and washed
1/2 cup red pearl onions peeled and chopped (or 1 small red onion)
3 Tablespoons pesto
1 Tablespoon  plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
salt
pepper
a few shavings of parmesan cheese

Begin by making your dough. Add the water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and let sit for ten minutes. Then combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl and add them to the water and yeast mixture. Using the dough hook, begin to combine and slowly add 1 tablespoon of olive oil while it’s all mixing. Continue mixing until a ball of dough had formed. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for an hour.

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After the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 400 degrees (if you have a pizza stone it really helps to bake these on a hot pizza stone). Divide the dough into two equal pieces and roll each piece into an oblong shape. Drizzle the additional olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper on top of the rolled out dough. When the oven is ready, place the dough on your pizza stone or on a baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the dough just starts to get a little brown.

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To make the topping add the olive oil and onions to a pan on medium-low heat. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes then add your kale to the pan. Add your desired amount of salt and pepper. Continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the kale has wilted.

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Remove your dough from the oven and spread a a layer of pesto over it. Top with your kale and onions. Add a few shavings of parmesan cheese, enjoy!

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Gnocchi with meat sauce

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Gnocchi are easily one of my absolute my favorite foods.  No matter where we are, if I see gnocchi on the menu I have to order them.  I’m not sure where this obsession came from, but I just can not pass them up.  The troubling thing is, I’ve never been able to made a good batch of gnocchi at home.   I’ve tried multiple times, only to be met with disappointment.

The first time I tried to make them I was making dinner for my husband (then boyfriend).  It was one of the first times I had cooked for him and I was so excited to share my favorite dish.  After taking all the time to mash the potatoes, make the dough and form the gnocchi, I placed them into the boiling water and they disintegrated almost immediately.  Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed and embarrassed.

It took awhile for me to build up the confidence to try making gnocchi again, and my next attempt was not much better.  The dough still wasn’t right, and, even worse, I ended up accidentally dropping a whole potato down the sink drain.  In my ignorance, I figured “no big deal, just run the disposal.”  Well, lesson learned that an entire potato will NOT go down the disposal.  I ended up clogging the sink and eventually overflowing it.

I had all but given up on homemade gnocchi when I was reading through a book my husband gave me for Christmas this year.  The Geometry of Pasta called gnocchi “perhaps the easiest pasta to make.”  Well, I beg to differ, but I certainly couldn’t give up such an “easy” pasta.  So, this weekend I entered the kitchen, mentally prepared for a complete disaster, only to surprise myself with my first successful batch of homemade gnocchi.

Through all of these attempts I’ve learned that one very important aspect of this recipe is to test one or two of the gnocchi before dumping the whole batch in the water.   It’s best to do this before you’ve started forming each individual gnocchi.  If you test one and it disintegrates, add more flour to your dough.  Trust me, this can save you from a lot of disappointment.

Gnocchi with meat sauce
For the gnocchi dough:
2 cups flour
3 eggs, lightly beatengnocchi8
3 large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black better
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Make the gnocchi:
Add your potatoes to boiling water and cook under tender (until you can easily poke them with a knife or fork). Drain the potatoes and let them cool enough to touch them. Once the potatoes have cooled, remove the skins and mash them really well.

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In a separate bowl, combine your flour, salt and eggs. Add your mashed potatoes to the flour and eggs and mix until smooth and well combined. Note: it’s important that your potatoes are cooled before adding them to the mixture to avoid curdling the eggs.

Once it’s all combined take a small portion of the dough and roll it into a log about 1 centimeter thick. Cut the log into little squares and test one of the squares in boiling water. It should keep it’s shape and float to the surface in about 2 minutes. If it doesn’t, add more flour and try again. Once you’ve got the right consistency form the rest of your gnocchi, lightly pressing each one with your finger to create a little well for your sauce. Boil the gnocchi for about 3 minutes.

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Make the sauce:
In a saucepan on medium-low, heat add your olive oil and garlic. Let the garlic cook for about two minutes then add your chopped onion, salt and pepper. About five minutes after adding the onion add your ground beef, breaking it up into very small chunks. Let the beef cook until it’s browned, about 15 minutes. Next add your crushed tomatoes and the rest of your spices.

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Lower to a simmer and cook the sauce for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. All the flavors will cook slowly together to a perfect deliciousness. Serve on top of gnocchi with some pecorino romano and enjoy!

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Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

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I have never liked mushrooms.  Sorry to any of you mushroom fans out there, but I have just never liked them.  I think it’s the slightly slimy texture that just completely turns me off.  I basically avoid them at all costs.

However, this week I got some in my farm basket and I realllly try not to let anything I get go to waste so I decided to give it my best try to make something I didn’t absolutely hate out of these mushrooms.  After scouring recipes and multiple Google searches for “mushroom dishes that don’t taste like mushrooms” I decided my best bet was to add bacon to them.  When in doubt, just add bacon, right?

So, I mixed up this quick bacon stuffing and gave these mushrooms my best shot. While these aren’t something I would make too often, I have to admit I didn’t hate them.  Also, when I shared them with people who actually enjoy mushrooms, they loved them. So, if you’re a mushroom-friendly individual I think you’ll like these.  The mushrooms I had were pretty small, so I think this recipe would work better with larger mushrooms (that way you can stuff more bacon into each one)!

Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
20-30 white button mushrooms, cleaned with stems twisted off
5 slices of cooked bacon
1 cup of uncooked rice
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 yellow onion very finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumb
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
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2. Cook your rice according to the instructions on the package. I used brown rice in mine but any kind would work.

3. Chop up your cooked bacon and add to to a bowl with the parsley, chopped onion, garlic, breadcrumb, olive oil, salt and pepper.

4. When your rice has cooled, at it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine them all.
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5. Carefully spoon about 1/2-1 teaspoon (depending on the size of your mushrooms) of the filling into each mushroom.

6. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes (again depending on the size), until the filling on top starts to brown, enjoy!
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