Tag Archives: herbs

Federica Cucinelli’s Rigatoni with Tomato and Basil

We had just picked a harvest of juicy tomatoes from our garden with our cousins who were visiting from Austin, Texas, and these tomatoes were looking great. All I kept thinking is what is the best way to use my garden tomatoes to show of their bright flavors and started looking for a good recipe that would highlight their freshness.

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This pasta recipe by Italian luxury brand designer Brunello Cucinelli’s wife Federica looked like the perfect one to try.  I came across the article on nytimes.com over a month ago and held onto it waiting for the day when my garden tomatoes would be ripe and ready. Continue reading Federica Cucinelli’s Rigatoni with Tomato and Basil

Orange Salad with Olives & Mint Orange Vinaigrette

Orange Salad with Olives & Mint Orange Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 4 large navel oranges, skin removed and cut into big round wedges
  • 4 cups spring greens leaves or any salad greens
  • 1/4 cup olives
  • Orange and Mint Vinaigrette – Ingredients
    • Juice of 1/2 orange
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 5 mint leaves
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
    • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar or any white wine vinegar
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt and pepper

Continue reading Orange Salad with Olives & Mint Orange Vinaigrette

Cardamom Rosemary Shortbread Cookies with Coconut Oil

I love shortbread. That buttery cookie with just a hint of salt that goes so well with tea is a favored cookie of mine, mainly because it doesn’t compete with my afternoon tea. It satisfies my cookie fix without being too sweet.  So I thought why not try making shortbread cookies at home?  This way I can flavor it with some exotic spices to make it interesting.

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It just so happens I had the perfect opportunity to make shortbread cookies as my friend Devi was coming over for lunch.  Devi has been telling me for years that she doesn’t have too many sweets, but what she does have every day is a cookie with her afternoon tea. Instead of making a dessert for our lunch I decided to make shortbread cookies, and flavored them with cardamom and rosemary.

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Vegetarian Paella

There is something about paella that makes it such a fun summertime meal.  Could it be because it is the favored dish of always-sunny Spain?

For years I yearned to try paella, but I could never find a vegetarian version. Then a couple years ago we went on holiday to Santa Barbara, California where we had dinner at a Spanish/Mexican restaurant called Cava. Cava Restaurant in Montecito. Santa Barbara, California

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One of the items on the menu was paella with a note next to it that read, “This can also be made vegetarian.”  I couldn’t believe it! I was finally going to taste paella! I ordered Cava’s vegetarian paella and I absolutely loved it!  I wanted to try and make it at home after we got back. But first I had to understand the key ingredients that make up paella before I could make an authentic vegetarian version. Continue reading Vegetarian Paella

Harvest. Unexpected Projects Using Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis

Harvest. Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis is a fun, beautiful, inspiring, and informative gardening cookbook I recently bought.

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I pre-ordered this book and I never pre-order a book.  I like to read the reviews and have the book be out for a while to see what people think of it before I get it. But the name of this book got me hooked – Harvest!  What a lovely name for a gardening book.  Harvest speaks volumes just by the meaning of the word – the feel good images it conjures of fields and farms, of flowers and nature.

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I ordered the book not knowing if I would like it, but that’s the beauty of Amazon. I figured if the book didn’t live up to my expectations I could easily return it. I finally got a copy of Harvest in the mail about a month ago, and with an open mind started perusing this book.  Let me give you just a few of the many reasons why this is a wonderful book to add to your gardening and cookbook collection. Continue reading Harvest. Unexpected Projects Using Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis

Dave’s Amuse Bouche. Goat Cheese Wrapped in Seaweed.

Amuse bouche is a complimentary, bite-sized portion of savory food served before a meal or in between courses at a restaurant.

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When I invited our friends Dave and Rose to come over for dinner one evening to show us how to make pasta and tiramisu that they had learnt on their Italian holiday in Tuscany; Dave brought an interesting amuse bouche – goat cheese wrapped in seaweed.

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This was a very unique amuse bouche because I would never think to combine an Asian flavor like seaweed with a western flavor like goat cheese. Dave’s amuse bouche was a delectable little bite that packed a ton of flavor. Here is the recipe.

img_0576 Continue reading Dave’s Amuse Bouche. Goat Cheese Wrapped in Seaweed.

Goat Cheese Tart with Sundried Tomatoes

This is a recipe I got from watching Barefoot Contessa’s show on Food Network.  Ina Garten was making a beautiful goat cheese tart with thinly sliced zucchini.  It looked positively gorgeous. But I am not a big fan of zucchini – no offense to zucchini fans. This recipe also called to make a homemade pastry crust – and I am not a fan of that either.

I decided to take Ina Garten’s recipe and make it my own. I used a store bought frozen piecrust (the kind you have to roll out) for the goat cheese tart, and instead of zucchini I used a jar of sundried tomatoes as my topping.  To turn this delectable tart into a meal – I served it on Sunday evening with a tossed green salad as part of my Sunday Salad routine.   Continue reading Goat Cheese Tart with Sundried Tomatoes

Spring Risotto with Leeks, Peppers & Arugula

You will find this recipe is not your traditional way of making risotto. I’ve tried the authentic Italian way of making risotto, and let me tell you, it’s a time consuming recipe.  Every time I have followed a risotto recipe I have had to stand over the stove and stir the risotto rice with broth in batches until the rice is cooked. This takes at least 30 – 45 minutes. 45 minutes of standing and stirring, sometimes even longer. I started to dread making risotto when the kids wanted it.

Then one day I decided to try an alternative way of making risotto. I wondered how is it that in restaurants risotto is at our table within minutes. It occurred to me that they must cook the Arborio rice in advance, and just add the veggies or seafood when we order.  I thought let me give that a try.

The next time I made risotto, I cooked the Arborio rice in broth in a pressure cooker – no stirring involved. Then when I was ready to make my risotto, in a separate pot I sautéed vegetables and just added them to the already cooked Arborio rice and mixed it all together.  The risotto turned out awesome. Because the rice is already cooked, the whole process of making risotto goes by much faster. Try my recipe for a quicker vegetable risotto and see if you like it as much as I do.

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