Thursday, November 28, 2013

Goat Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Rosemary

Happy Thanksgiving!
I am a guest at Lynn’s Thanksgiving table again this year, and frankly, I’m happy and relieved.  I’m sure I will be hosting again sometime, but tomorrow we will be heading up to Lynn’s.  I am bringing these Mashed Potatoes, green beans and this Cranberry Salsa.  I am also thinking of bringing this Goat Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Rosemary appetizer.

My friend Janet, of Surfer Soup claim to fame, serves this up a regularly at camping trips and events are her house.  And, if you know Janet, you would know she would never serve it up as fussily as I have, but it is just as delicious.  She layers the tomato rosemary mixture on top of the goat cheese and serves it just like that.   She says the secret is in the crackers, and she is right.  Serve Trader Joe’s Raisin Rosemary Crisps or something similar.

Goat Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Rosemary
1 5-ounce log of fresh goat cheese
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (use tomatoes in olive oil)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
pinch of salt

Mix together sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary and salt.  Lightly press the tomato mixture onto the outside of the goat cheese, and wrap with plastic wrap.  Chill for at least an hour.  Serve with Raisin Rosemary Crisps.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Southwestern Butternut Squash Sauté

 I think I’ve mentioned before I’m somewhat of a Thanksgiving traditionalist. I don’t waiver much from the normal Thanksgiving fare, but I appreciate those who can and do. My friend Sandy made cioppino last year for Thanksgiving, and I give her high marks for bucking tradition.

For me, bucking tradition might be to serve this butternut squash dish for Thanksgiving. If you have a more non-traditional Thanksgiving, or if you have room for another dish on your table, Southwestern Butternut Squash Sauté would be a great addition to the Thanksgiving menu.

The southwestern flavors blend nicely with the butternut squash to make a spicy sweet side dish that would be delicious with turkey, ham or anything else you are serving. By all means, don’t relegate this delicious side dish to Thanksgiving only, it goes nicely anytime of the year, and it tasted great with the grilled chicken I served it with recently.  

Southwestern Butternut Squash Sauté
Adapted from Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton  
Printable Recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into ½ inch dice
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons toasted pepitas

Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the squash, onions and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Toss the squash mixture to thoroughly coat. Cook, stirring gently with a silicone spatula occasionally at first and them more frequently as the vegetables brown. Cook until the squash is tender and lightly browned and the onion is well browned, about 20 to 22 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, and add the coriander, cumin, chile powder and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. Cook stirring for one minute or two to bloom the spices. Add the maple syrup and simmer for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, and stir in the lime juice.

Drizzle the butter mixture over the squash and stir thoroughly but gently with the silicone spatula. Stir in the cilantro. Transfer the squash to a serving dish and top with the pepitas.

Serves 4

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce

My dad had been gone for a little over a year now, and I think about him and miss him every day. My dad was probably a foodie before it was fashionable to be a foodie. Even in has last few years when everything became difficult for him, he still enjoyed his food. I saw him every Thursday the last four years of his life, and we bonded over our lunches of sandwiches, salads and soup from our favorite café.

He loved nothing better than a well prepared meal whether at his gourmet group, a good friend’s house, a favorite restaurant or at home. And, if the meal came with his favorite Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, all the better!

When I was growing up, my mom put a nutritious, if uninspired, meal on the table every weeknight, but the kitchen was my dad’s on the weekends. Dad was a master on the grill. His barbeque chicken was amazing with juicy, succulent meat and crispy skin. The neighbors always requested his chicken on the 4th of July.

He enjoyed puttering around the kitchen too trying new recipes, and I enjoyed his endeavors (his ratatouille not withstanding). My hands-down favorite meal was his spaghetti. I knew it was going to be a good day when he would start making his spaghetti sauce in the morning.

Dad’s sauce is rich and hearty. He most often just stirred the sauce into the spaghetti, but sometimes he would add hot Italian sausage to the sauce to add a different level of flavor.

I’ve made this sauce for years, and I have made some changes here and there, but I still love the sauce just as my dad made it. This is his recipe just as written, and just as I remember.

My Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce
Printable Recipe
¼ olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds lean ground beef
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2-6 oz cans tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2-28oz cans plum tomatoes
2 bay leaves

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Stir in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Move the ground beef mixture to the edges of the pan, and add the celery and parsley, and sauté for one minute. Add the basil, salt, black pepper, sugar and tomato paste and stir into the ground beef mixture to combine. Stir in the red wine, plum tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then turn the heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer until the sauce has thickened. Remove bay leaves, and serve over cooked spaghetti and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 12 servings.


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