I wasn’t planning to post this recipe because it is so simple, but during the event the guests enjoyed this snack so much, and many of them asked me for the recipe. So here it is.
Crostini means “little crusts” in Italian. They are an Italian appetizer consisting of small slices of grilled or toasted bread and toppings.
Ingredients: makes about 25
1/2 loaf of cranberry pistachio bread that I bought at our local HEB supermarket. You can use your favorite fruit and nut bread if you can’t find this one.
Cracker cut cheese slices. I used extra sharp white cheddar and a sharp yellow cheddar so that I would have a color contrast.
Extra virgin olive oil to coat the bread pieces.
By the way, set aside the extra cheese that is leftover after cutting out the pumpkin shape. These can be eaten or used for other purposes. At the end of this post I will show you an example of how they can be used.
Once the bread slices are toasted, top them with the pumpkin shaped cheese slices while the bread is still warm. This way the cheese will melt a bit and make the crostini taste even better. 😋 Warm melty cheese always tastes better than cold cheese.
The day after the event, my husband decided to make a salad for his lunch. He used the left over cheese slices.
The salad turned out so cute. I thought it was very creative. 😀
I had created an ambitious menu for our cooking class/pop up supper club, so I decided to make an easy snack for the cocktail hour. This was a tasty timesaver. For the most part I make everything from scratch, but once in a while it does not hurt to make things easier by using some quality pre-made products.
Do try this simple recipe and let me what you think. 💕
The fresh carrot tops in my vegetable basket, inspired me to create a playful twist on the classic pesto made with basil. Another twist is that I mixed in cabbage with the pasta. The addition of the cabbage ups the nutritional value and lowers the carbohydrate content. It also tastes great.
1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 small bunch of carrot tops
1 small head of green cabbage
1 small red onion
3 cloves of garlic–1 clove for the pesto and 2 cloves for the pasta base
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1 cup of grated Parmesan
3 small sweet bell peppers
3 twigs of thyme
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 Tbsp of tomato paste
1/2 cup of white wine (use the same wine that you will have with the pasta. This way the wine and pasta will pair perfectly.)
1/2 a cup of extra virgin olive oil for the pesto. A little bit extra to coat the pan for the pasta base.
2 cups of dried gemelli pasta
salt and pepper to taste
Separate the parsley and carrot top leaves from their stems–set aside for the pesto
Toast the pine nuts–set aside a handful for garnish. The rest will be used in the pesto.
Chop the head of cabbage into strips that are about the same size as the pasta
Chop the red onion, peppers and garlic
Separate the thyme leaves from their woody stems
MAKING THE PESTO:
Add the parsley, carrot tops, 1 clove of garlic, and extra virgin olive oil to a small food processor
Blend till smooth
Add the grated Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts
Blend till smooth
Taste the pesto. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
COOKING THE PASTA BASE:
Coat a heavy duty stainless steel pan with extra virgin olive oil and place it on medium heat
Add the red onion, peppers, 2 cloves of garlic, thyme and oregano
Saute till lightly brown.
Make a hot spot in the center of the pan by moving the sauteed vegetables aside
Add the tomato sauce, let it cook down for 2 minutes
Deglaze the pan with the white wine
Add the cabbage and saute till it is ‘al dente’ (firm to the bite)
While you are cooking the cabbage base, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. The pasta should also be cooked ‘al dente’.
Add the pasta to the cabbage and toss.
Since the cabbage is about the same size and shape as the pasta it doesn’t even get noticed. Next add the pesto to the pasta and toss.
Plate the pasta onto a beautiful platter and garnish with toasted pine nuts and extra grated Parmesan.
Serve with a glass of the same wine that was used during cooking. You will be surprised at how good the cabbage in the pasta tastes. It adds an unexpected twist of flavor and texture.
This Grilled Rabbit “Stew” is my husband’s creation. I am a pescatarian, but my husband is an omnivore. We both eat a lot of vegetables and now follow a Ketogenic Lifestyle. My mom was a vegetarian and raised me that way. However, my dad does eat meat and I learned how to cook meat for him. I myself was a vegetarian until about 20 years ago when I started eating fish. Most of my recipes tend to be vegan, vegetarian or seafood. These days my husband cooks meat for himself and I cook the other dishes. If grilling is involved, I may do the marinade, but the grill is my husband’s territory. He made this dish and I have decided to let him write up his recipe.
1 red onion halved and sliced
2 medium sized tomatoes cut into 8ths
2 medium sized green peppers cut into 6ths
1 jalapeno sliced including seeds, leave the seeds out if you don’t want it spicy
1 zucchini cut lengthwise and sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Shiner beer, I used a mango kolsch, I drank the rest.
1 rabbit cleaned and cut into 8 pieces
Someone gave me the rabbit, if you don’t have rabbit you can use chicken, skinned.
place a sheet of tin foil in an aluminum roasting pan
drizzle olive oil on the sheet of tin foil
lay the veggies on the sheet
drizzle more oil and add salt and pepper
add the rabbit and add more oil and salt and pepper
put your grill on medium heat and start the cooking with grill lid open
when it starts sizzling add the beer
close the grill lid and cook for about 40 minutes
turn up the heat to high to finish the dish and add color to the rabbit. Cook on high for about 10 minutes.
When the rabbit is browned and cooked through it is ready to eat.
You will find a delicious golden gravy under the veggies to pour over the dish when it is served.
Assembling the skewers is very simple. Gently pierce the center of the ravioli and push it to where the blue decoration starts. Then pierce the stem end of the blistered tomato placing it on top of the ravioli. Arrange on a platter to resemble an American Flag.
Let me know what you think in the comment section. We are off to the party now. Hope you are all having a good time with your friends and family. !!!
Curried Baby Turnips, is the first in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road. The baby turnips from our neighboring farm were so fresh that I decided to use them tops and all. This is a classic Indian dish which is usually made with cilantro. Here I substituted the tender, fresh turnip tops for the cilantro.
2 bunches of baby turnips (each bunch had 5 turnips)
3 peppers (use whatever variety you have on hand–here I used a Fresno, a sweet orange pepper and a fiery hot green scotch bonnet pepper.) Mixing up the type of peppers results in a more complex flavor.
2 inches of ginger root
2 inches of turmeric root (if you cannot find fresh turmeric, use 1/2 tsp. of powder instead)
8 ounces of frozen peas
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. nigella seeds
1 tsp. chili flakes (optional if you want to make the dish more spicy)
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. garam masala (I make my own, but you can purchase it at an Indian grocery store or a spice market)
2 Tbsp. grape seed oil
salt and pepper to taste
Trim off the turnip bottoms and tops. Leave the skins on. Cut the turnips in half and then slice them into thin moon shapes.
Roughly chop the turnip tops.
Finely dice the chilies and ginger.
Coat a large stainless steel skillet with grape seed oil and place on medium heat.
Add the turnips, chilies and ginger.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle on the cumin, black mustard and nigella seeds. Add the optional chili flakes.
Using a micro plane or mini grater, grate the fresh turmeric at this point. If you are using powdered turmeric, it will be added later in the recipe. If you add it now, it will burn.
Saute the turnips until they are translucent and the added seeds begin to pop. You will be able to hear them popping.
Turn the heat to medium-low.
Add the tomato paste and smoked paprika. If you are using powdered turmeric, add it at this point. Continue to saute for another 2 minutes.
Add the chopped turnip tops and saute until they wilt. This should take 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the peas and sprinkle on the garam masala.
Add additional salt and pepper as needed.
Toss everything together.
Turn off the heat and cover with the lid.
Leave the turnips on the stove without removing the lid for about 10-20 minutes or until you are ready to serve. This process is called “DUM” in Hindi. It allows all the flavors to marry and become one harmonious flavor. This is a very important step in traditional Indian cooking.
As a side note. At the end of February 2019, I found out that I have high blood sugar. For the past 4 months, I have been following a ketogenic lifestyle along with intermittent fasting. I have been successful in controlling my blood sugar and I also lost 30 pounds. I will write more about this in a separate post. This recipe just happens to fit a keto lifestyle. Turnips are a great substitute for potatoes on a keto program. Try this recipe because it is delicious. Let me know how it turns out in the comment section.
Inspired by the Polar Vortex, a recipe to warm your bones and your soul.
I call this recipe “Oatmeal Your Way” because it is very easy to customize to your liking. Once you make oatmeal from scratch you will never want to open an instant oatmeal packet again. This is the way my mom and Nani (my mom’s mom) made oatmeal. It is as easy to make as it is nutritious and delicious.
I made it for my godchildren, Sachi and her sister, Michi when they were about 4 and 5 years old. Sachi sent me the following letter asking me to make it again.
It is a very popular dish with children. It is also served to new mother’s and people who are ailing because it is nutritious and easy to digest. Sachi came to visit me a few years ago with her daughter, Aleia and I made the oatmeal for the cute little one. Here is a photo of Sachi, all grown up now, feeding oatmeal to her daughter, Aleia. Made me feel warm all over to pass on my memory of my mom feeding me oatmeal when I was little.
As I said, it is very popular with children. I modified the recipe for Aleia because she cannot have lactose. I used almond milk instead of regular milk. I also ground the almonds in a spice grinder so that Aleia could easily eat the oatmeal.
1 Tbsp. almond oil (customize by using butter or any flavor oil you like. For example, if I am making pecan flavor I use pecan oil. The options are endless–walnut oil, hazelnut oil, avocado oil, etc…)
1 cup of organic old fashioned oats (organic oatmeal actually has more of a nutty flavor besides being better for you. DO NOT USE INSTANT QUICK COOK OATS–they will turn out mushy.)
1/2 cup raw slivered almonds (customize by using whatever nut you are in the mood for.)
1/4 dried berries (here I used a combination of goji and cranberries. When Aleia was visiting, I used dried blueberries because she loves blueberries.)
1/4 tsp. of my Chai Masala (basically a combo of ground cardamom and fennel seeds)
1/2 tsp. of cinnamon (customize by using your favorite spice. Depending on the flavor you want to create, use pumpkin spice, apple pie spice mix, etc…)
2 cups of milk (will make a porridge like consistency. You can use more milk if you want to make it thinner.) I used Fairlife Milk here. It is lactose free and high in protein. You can use any milk you like–almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, etc…
2 Tbsp. of Agave nectar (customize by using your favorite sweetener–maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, molasses, etc…)
1 medium sized organic apple diced into large chunks.
Again, you can customize the flavor by using your favorite fruit. You can also leave out the fruit. I use what seasonal fruit is available.
Freshly ground nutmeg as a garnish for those who want it.
NOTE: by customizing and changing the ingredients, the flavor combinations are endless. One Christmas morning, I made a giant potful of banana walnut oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. I used a whole can of oatmeal to make sure there was enough for everyone’s breakfast. It disappeared in 10 minutes. I had to make another batch!!!
Coat a medium sized stainless steel saucepan with 2 Tbsp. of almond oil.
Add 1 cup of oats and turn the flame to medium-low. Toast the oats while stirring occasionally. You will know the oats are done when you smell a nutty flavor and the oats turn slightly golden.
Add the 1/2 cup of slivered almonds and continue to toast till the nuts turn slightly brown.
Add the 1/4 cup of dried berries along with the spices. Stir and toast for another 30 seconds. The toasting will bloom the spices and you will smell them.
Add the 2 cups of milk. You will hear a sizzling sound when you add the milk.
Stir in the milk. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the milk starts to boil. Small bubbles will appear.
Turn off the heat. Stir in the diced apples and place the lid. Let sit for five minutes. This is enough time to warm the apples while still leaving them crunchy.
Remove the lid and serve.
Garnish with a grind of fresh nutmeg if desired. Enjoy as is, or with a cup of tea or coffee. Makes a great breakfast, brunch dish or dessert.
This is a winter pumpkin dish my grandmother used to make. It was one of my favorites. She used to use a small deep orange pumpkin, I am using a Japanese pumpkin, called Kabocha squash, because that is what I have on hand. I also like Kabocha because it has a creamy, sweet flavor.
1 medium Kabocha squash
3 Tbsp of ghee ( if you want to keep it vegan use grape seed oil instead)
salt and pepper to taste
Starting at the 6 O’ Clock position, and then going counter clockwise the spices are as follows:
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
20 pods of green cardamom
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
Chop the Kobocha into large pieces. Keep the skin on if the squash you are using has an edible skin. There are lots of nutrients and fiber in the skin.
Using a spice grinder, grind the 20 cardamom pods into a fine powder. The cardamom powder is shown in the small bowl on the lower right.
Toast the cumin seeds. Let them cool to room temp. and grind into a fine powder. The toasted cumin powder is shown in the small bowl on the lower left.
Coat a large stainless steel skillet with grape seed oil or ghee. Place on medium heat and get the oil hot.
Add fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and red chili flakes. Toast until seeds are slightly brown and you can smell their fragrant aroma. Watch the seeds closely and stir frequently so the seeds don’t burn.
As soon as the seeds are browned, add the Kabocha. Toss together and cook until the Kabocha is browned on the edges. This should take about 7 minutes.
Once the Kabocha is browned add, the toasted cumin powder, cayenne powder and 1/2 of the cardamom powder. Reserve the other 1/2 of the cardamom powder for later in the recipe.
Toss together and let the spices toast for about 2 minutes
Add the cinnamon powder and the remaining cardamom powder
Toss together and let cook for another 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper to taste. Toss together. Cover with the lid. Turn the flame to low. Cook until squash is tender.