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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Ina’s Eggplant Dip

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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.
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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

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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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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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Fiesta Friday #17 and Quinoa Burgers

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Happy Friday everyone! I’m super excited to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday today along with Selma and Jhuls and of course the lovely Angie! I hope many of you have a long weekend coming up and can kick it off with today’s Fiesta! For anyone who doesn’t know or who hasn’t joined yet Fiesta Friday is a weekly blog party. Please join us, it’s tons of fun to see what everyone is making and bringing to the party! You can check out all the details here. I hope you join us!

Today I’m bringing quinoa burgers to the party. Yes, I’ll be that person that’s bringing the healthy dish, but I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it! I really like these burgers because you can change them up however you like. Add different vegetables or spices to either use up what you have in the fridge or put your own spin on them!

You can of course eat these with a bun like a regular burger, but I prefer them with just lettuce, tomato and a little chipotle ketchup. Add a side of sweet potato fries and you’ll feel like you’re eating at your favorite burger joint!

Quinoa Burgers
Yield: 10 Burgers
3 cups water
1 1/2 quinoa
3 carrots
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350. Add the water and the quinoa to a pot and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil lower to a simmer and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the cooked quinoa to a bowl and let it cool off a bit.

2. Chop the carrots and parsley in a food process, or by hand if you don’t have one. Add the carrots, parsley and chopped green onions to the bowl with the quinoa.

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3. Add the eggs and spices to the bowl with the quinoa and combine them all together.

4. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the mixture into 10 good sized burgers and place them on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Enjoy!

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A blogoversary, pasta e fagioli and big thanks!

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I first started this blog. When I first started, I was fairly certain no one except my mom would actually read it. I was really shy to share it at first (and was mortified when some of my co-workers discovered it). I’m humbled and thrilled to see all of you reading, commenting and sharing! I want to send a HUGE thanks to all of you. It’s been such a pleasure learning new recipes and techniques and generally just having so many people to discuss food with!

I figured for my blogoversary (not sure if that’s a real word but I’m going with it) post I would re-do my very first post. I wanted to update it a little and add some better photos. I’m not sure if it’s just my lack of photography skills or if this is just generally not a photogenic dish, but unfortunately these pictures aren’t a whole lot better!

I also want to express my thanks to those of you who nominated me for blogger awards! I was shocked and thrilled with each one. I had every intention of completing the required steps to receive them and pass them along, but I always got stuck trying to come up with all the unique facts about myself for each one! So I want to thank all of you here for your acknowledgement! Thank you to Lori and Ngan for nominating me for the Liebster Award, Jillian for nominating me for the Sunshine Award and Nancyfor the Dragon Loyalty Award! If I missed anyone, please let me know!

And now on to the food!  I chose Pasta e Fagioli for my first post because it was the first dish I really learned to cook myself and it got me interested in learning more about cooking.  I’ve made some small changes since the first time I posted it and I think it’s just a little bit better now!

Pasta e Fagioli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashedphoto(88)
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
16oz crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
30oz (2 cans) cannellini beans, drained
32 oz chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 box ditalini pasta
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese for topping

1. Heat the olive in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the carrots. Let the carrots cook for about 5 minutes than add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the carrots soften and the onions are translucent.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan. Stir in the reaming spices. Let the sauce cook at a simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 30 minutes, add the beans.

3. Add the broth, turn the heat up and bring the liquid to a boil. When it’s boiling, add the pasta and cook to al dente, about ten minutes.

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Top with cheese (I like lots of cheese) and enjoy!

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Corn Dip

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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.

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

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Chicken Kabobs

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Can you believe it’s Friday already? I seriously can’t, this week flew by. I’m happy I’m now caught up and I didn’t miss Fiesta Friday ! I’m glad to see that many of my fellow bloggers have embraced the change in seasons and are already taking to their grills. Given that I live in a small apartment in the DC suburbs, I’m not allowed to have a “real” grill, but I’ve found my cast iron grill pan works almost just as well. You don’t get the exact same flavor, but definitely some great grill marks.

I’ve also noticed many people making kabobs which bring back memories of my visit to Turkey almost a year ago. While I’m sure nothing I’m grilling at home is going to taste as great as what I ate in Istanbul, I’m certainly willing to give it a try!

Chicken Kabobs
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove chopped garlic
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 red bell peppers
1 onion

1. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mint, oregano and garlic in a bowl. Add the chicken and let marinate for two hours.

2. Chop the peppers and onion into inch long pieces and add to the marinating chicken.

 

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3. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes.

4. Place the peppers, onions and chicken cubes on a skewer in alternating order. Place on a hot grill pan and cook for about 15-25 minutes (for some reason mine took a long time to cook), until the chicken is cooked through, 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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