I "retired" from the corporate world a couple of years ago because I wanted to experience a real life after years of 80 hour work weeks and constant travel. A year later I realized that I was having a really good time, was always busy (how did i ever fit in a job??) and needed a creative outlet to share my experiences. Now I split my time between California and New Mexico but, wherever I am, I write about delicious, fresh, local, organic/sustainably grown food.
saw this on facebook today (thanks gigi) and thought it accurately summed up my goals for 2013. wishing each of you a very happy, healthy and inspirational new year. thank you so much for supporting napa farmhouse 1885 during the past 4 plus years. we will be celebrating our 5th anniversary in february. i so appreciate your comments, emails, facebook posts, tweets and support!
sadly, it is food network's last food fest of the year. we started early in july with summerfest...focusing each week on fresh in-season fruit and vegetables (featuring a different item each week) and moved into fall fest late september. i will miss the weekly recap of recipes from my favorite food network chefs and food bloggers.
we end the year with brussels sprouts...one of my favorite winter vegetables. this recipe requires searing the sprouts in a hot cast iron pan which caramelizes, sweetens and eliminates any bitterness. paired with onions, pecans, cranberries and topped with seasoned rice vinegar, this is a perfect side dish for your holiday table. give it a try...i predict even brussels sprouts haters will eat every bite.
thanks food network...it has been a terrific year. see you next summer!
brussels sprouts with vinegar & cranberries 1 lb brussels sprouts, halved with stems cut off 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup white onion, coarsely chopped 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped 1/4 cup dried cranberries 3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar sea salt freshly ground black pepper
heat a cast skillet over med-high heat. (cast iron is preferred for this recipe) when hot add 2 tbsp olive oil and the brussels sprouts, cut side down. cook without stirring for 5 minutes. the sprouts should be deep brown and caramelized. season with a pinch each salt and pepper. add onions and stir. cook for another 2-3 minutes or until onions begin to soften. add remaining olive oil, pecans and cranberries and cook for another 2-3 minutes. add vinegar. taste and adjust seasonings if needed. cook an additional minute. serve.
aahh pesto! i am such a fan. of course i love the basil, pine nut, extra virgin olive oil and parmigiano reggiano cheese version, but almost any herb and nut combination works. this means you can make pesto year round using local, in season ingredients.... try my spinach and peanut butter recipe from earlier this year for an idea.
i even love nut based pestos...recipes using just the nut butter as the sauce and flavored with spices and vegetables. a perfect example is this pasta dish with fresh broccoli and spicy cashew butter. fast, easy and so good for you....full of fiber from the vegetables and whole wheat pasta; healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil & cashews and vitamins from the broccoli, cilantro, scallion and red pepper. best of all...this dish is delicious!
it is broccoli week at food network's fall fest, so you are getting a 2 for 1 recipe from me this week. many of you know that i recently launched a new blog red or green? emphasizing hot & spicy food from all over the world. the broccoli for today's recipe is listed on the new blog....a spicy garlic and red chile flakes take on a popular puglian dish. the finished dish is then tossed into hot pasta and mixed with prepared cashew butter which, when combined with a bit of the pasta water, melts into a creamy, delicious sauce. you gotta give this one a try!
pasta with broccoli & spicy cashew pesto 1 batch broccoli with garlic & chile, puglian style 1 lb whole wheat pasta, penne or fusilli 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 green onion, chopped (white and green parts) 6 oz prepared cashew butter 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely minced sea salt freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup chopped cilantro red pepper flakes (optional) freshly shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese (optional)
prepare broccoli per the recipe posted on the red or green? website. bring large pot of water to a boil, add 2 handfuls of salt and the pasta. cook according to package directions. drain, reserving the pasta water.
meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet. add green onion and saute for 1 minute. add cashew butter, lemon zest and 1 ladle full of pasta water, stir until creamy. (add additional pasta water if needed) add prepared broccoli, pinch each sea salt and black pepper and stir to combine. taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. cook an additional minute. serve garnished with cilantro and additional red pepper flakes and parmigiano cheese if desired.
i made a big pot of beans and these muffins for dinner yesterday. the beans bubbled all day while cooking on the stove, the scent of the roasting winter squash and then baking muffins filled the air. what a welcoming, homey way to celebrate a late fall sunday.
roasting the winter squash tenderizes the vegetable and brings out the sweetness. the resulting puree delivers incredibly moist muffins. i used spelt flour for fiber, taste and because it is tolerable for many people with gluten sensitivities (although it is NOT gluten free so unsuitable for those with celiac disease). you could use whole wheat flour or unbleached white flour if your prefer. in comparison to most muffins, these are very low in oil and sweeteners...a guilt free treat perhaps?
roasted winter squash muffins with honey & molasses
1 winter squash, halved and seeded (i usually use acorn, kobacha or
extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
2 organic eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from the dairy section, not canned)
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 3/4 cup spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp chinese 5 spice powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
large pinch sea salt
preheat oven to 400 degrees F.line a
12 cup muffin pan with parchment muffin liners. spray with non aerosol organic
olive oil spray. line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.place squash halves cut side up on pan.drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tbsp honey
over each squash half and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt.roast in oven until squash flesh is easily
pierced with a sharp knife (45 minutes to 1 hour).remove from oven and allow to cool enough to
handle. when squash is cool enough to touch, use a sharp knife and cut 4-5 lines
lengthwise into squash pulp being careful not to cut into the skin.repeat for each half.then, using the same technique, cut 4-5 lines
width wise.you will be left with small
cubes.use a spoon to scoop out the
squares.they should be very soft. add to
a small bowl and mash with a potato masher or puree in blender or food
processor. measure out 1 cup of squash. meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add eggs , coconut milk and 3 tbsp olive
oil. whisk until eggs are frothy.add the honey, molasses, 1 cup pureed squash
and whisk until blended.add spelt
flour, baking powder and spices.using a
wooden spoon, stir until just mixed. (do not overmix). add batter equally to each cup.(i use
an ice cream scoop).Bake in preheated
oven for 25 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and a tester inserted in
the middle comes out clean.serve warm.