Posts tagged food
Rainbow Carrot Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
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It’s summer, so bring on the color! There’s nothing I love more than the light, fresh ingredients of the season. The best part? There is ZERO cooking involved. Now, that is my kind of meal! With the “wow” factor from this vibrant dish, it is sure to be perfect for a weeknight meal, entertaining dish, light main dish or the a delicious side!

Ingredients

(For the Dressing)

1/4 cup tahini

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt/pepper, to taste

(For the Salad)

5 whole rainbow carrots (you will need a vegetable peeler).

3 tablespoons parsley, minced

3 tablespoons roasted cashews

2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

Salt/pepper, to taste

To make

For the dressing: Add the tahini, water and lemon juice to a small bowl. Whisk well together. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking. Stir in the garlic and season with salt/pepper.

For the carrots: Wash well and use the vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer of the carrot. Discard the outer layer. Continue to use the vegetable peeler to shave the carrots into long strips.

Put it together: Add the shaved carrots to a bowl. Add enough dressing to coat the carrots, about 2-3 tablespoons. Top with parsley, cashews and feta cheese. Enjoy!

Pizza with a Little Spice and Everything Nice
Margherita Pizza with a Spicy Kick!

Margherita Pizza with a Spicy Kick!

It's no secret that I love pizza. I'll eat it with just about every topping, even the controversial pineapple (if done correctly). My latest obsession is topping anything and everything with Calabrian peppers.

In college, my friend Shannon and I would go to a local restaurant, Craft and Vine, and ALWAYS order the spicy pizza. That is when I first discovered these tiny and delicious peppers with a kick. When I say I can snack on these, I am not exaggerating. They do pack a lot of spice into each tiny pepper, but it's a nice lingering heat (at least for those that love spicy foods).

I haven't gotten around to making the peppers myself, but I was so excited to find some at a little Italian shop at Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Georgia. I made it a point to not leave without bringing some home!

Now, for the pizza: My family and I are all about pizza nights. We'll make all types of pizza including meaty, Mediterranean, buffalo chicken, cheese or just a simple sausage topped with peppers. Today I was feeling a little less meat and a little more spice. I opted for a classic Margherita pizza with my favorite spicy kick, the Calabrian peppers. With my busy schedule, I love that this pizza is all about simple, fresh ingredients and not a lot of time. You can certainly use any type of pizza dough (fresh is preferred). I often switch it up between making my own and purchasing fresh dough at a local market when I'm in a time crunch. Next time you make pizza, try skipping the delivery and making  "your own dough!" 

Pizza Dough

3/4 cup of warm water
1 package of active dry yeast
2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
3 tablespoons of olive oil

Sauce

1 large can of San Marzano tomato puree or sauce
3 cloves of garlic - chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Chili flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons of basil - chopped
Pinch of dried oregano
Salt and Pepper - to taste

Toppings

8 oz of fresh mozzarella
Pizza sauce (see above ingredients)
Fresh Basil
Calabrian peppers

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Begin by making the dough (or using store bought fresh dough). Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand for about five minutes. Place the flour on a board and make a well. Add the remaining ingredients to the flour and mix well with your fingers. Knead to form a smooth ball of dough. Rub the dough with olive oil, place in a bowl and cover until doubled in size (about one hour). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough to desired size. I did a somewhat unconventional method to get a nice crisp to the dough. First, pre-bake the dough for 15 minutes in a greased pizza pan (until mostly cooked), I then transferred to the grill to get a subtle char (about 3 minutes). 

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Prepare the sauce while the pizza dough is rising. You can also make this ahead of time. Begin by sautéing the garlic and chili flakes on med-low heat in olive oil (about 1-2 minutes). Add the tomato puree and reduce the heat to low. Add the basil, oregano, salt, pepper and additional chili flakes if desired. Cook on low for 30-45 minutes.

Once the dough and sauce is prepared, begin to assemble the pizza. Start by adding the sauce on the dough after a quick char on the grill. I'm not much for a lot of sauce, so top until you get the desired amount, leaving 1/2 in. for the crust. Add the thinly sliced rounds of fresh mozzarella and cook for an additional 10 minutes in the oven. Remove the pizza and add the fresh basil leaves (about 7-10 leaves). If you like a little spice, top the pizza with the desired amount of Calabrian peppers.

Slice the pizza and enjoy!

Sometimes all you "knead" is a well "rounded" diet of pizza to celebrate the weekend.

A Simple and Delicious Italian Favorite!
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BROCCOLI RABE PASTA

Growing up, I was a picky eater. I HATED jello, hotdogs, brussel sprouts, etc., but there were many complex flavors that I always enjoyed. I owe this to my Italian background. One of those "I was a picky eater but loved this" food was broccoli rabe (or rapini). Broccoli rabe is a great, leafy vegetable often compared to broccoli. However, the flavors could not be more different. Broccoli rabe is defined by it's somewhat bitter and nutty flavors. The strong flavor characteristics make the vegetable perfect for side and main dishes.

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This particular dish is based off a recipe from an Italian family cookbook and calls for six ingredients, including anchovies. The removal of anchovies make it a delicious vegetarian dish. If you're looking for something a little heartier, you could certainly substitute the anchovies for sweet Italian sausage. It is such a versatile dinner. I made this dish for a quick and flavorful weeknight dinner. However, paired with wine and your favorite appetizer, this dish transforms into a perfect weekend/date night dinner!

You'll find yourself wanting to taste throughout the cooking process, because the smell is just that good! The cherry on top of this meal is the cheesy goodness that is parmesan cheese. I'd say it was very "gouda," but then I would have to use that too! 

Enjoy!

Broccoli Rabe Pasta

1 large bunch broccoli rabe
2 TBS. olive oil
4-5 Garlic Cloves (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 (2-oz.) cans flat anchovies
12-oz orecchiette Pasta
red chili flakes (optional)
toasted breadcrumbs (optional)

Separate the bunch of broccoli rabe and rinse thoroughly to remove any remaining dirt. Break off the stems and discard the stems. Cut the stalks into thirds and put into boiling water. Once in the water, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the broccoli rabe water and drain the broccoli rabe. Set aside.

Open the anchovies and drain the oil, reserving 2 TBS of the oil. Cut the anchovies into fourths.

Begin boiling the water for the orecchiette pasta and cook to al dente (about 8-9 minutes)

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and sauté the sliced garlic on low until slightly cooked through (2-3 minutes). Add the cut anchovies and sauté for an addition 1-2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and chili flakes and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes (enough to incorporate the flavors).

Add the reserved broccoli rabe water to the garlic/anchovy/broccoli rabe mixture as needed. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, add to the remaining ingredients in the pan and cook for
2-3 minutes. If the pasta is dry, continue to incorporate the broccoli rabe water until the desired consistency. 

Plate your dish and top with additional chili flakes, toasted breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese!