Tuesday, March 26, 2013

pizza with kale-walnut pesto, sundried tomatoes & pickled garlic

food network is transitioning from winter comfort foods to spring produce in our new weekly series "sensational sides mixed with spring produce".  we are keeping the produce we use very flexible to account for the differences in growing seasons.  over at my sister blog " red or green?", i talk about the challenges in buying local spring produce this early in the year here in taos, new mexico.  happily there is a group of farmers who have invested in heated greenhouses!  fresh, local greens in winter?  this makes me very happy.
i bought a bunch of kale last week and had a huge craving for pizza.  only solution was pizza with kale & walnut pesto.  this is "things found in the pantry week" so i raided mine for the toppings.  the beauty of pizza is that it is so flexible....feel free to substitute any toppings you think sound good for my suggestions.  happy spring everyone!
extra virgin olive oil pizza crust
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
pinch sea salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 cup white spelt flour (or unbleached white flour if you want it less "healthy" :) )
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
kale walnut pesto (see below)
toppings(see below)

add water to bowl of upright mixer and sprinkle yeast over top. using the paddle attachment, mix until yeast has dissolved. add salt, olive oil and honey and mix to combine. add white flour and process just until incorporated. add the whole wheat flour and process until incorporated. process an additional minute until the dough has formed into a ball. do not over mix. remove dough from bowl, form into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl. turn dough a few times to ensure it is totally covered in oil, cover bowl with saran wrap and place in a warm area. allow to rise until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

remove from bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. use a rolling pin to roll out dough in a free form circle. the dough should be about 1/2 inch thick. place on pizza stone or baking sheet which has been lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with coarse cornmeal. (the cornmeal adds a delicious flavor and helps ensure the pizza dough will not stick to pan.)

preheat oven to 500 degrees. ladle 1 cup of pesto over top of prepared pizza dough. spread over pizza leaving 1 inch of space around edge of dough. add additional sauce if you like it a bit more "saucy" sprinkle pine nuts, pickled garlic, sun dried tomatoes and cheese over pesto. drizzle chili infused oil over pizza, including the "naked" crust edges. use a pastry brush to cover the naked crust with oil. sprinkle a pinch or two of coarse grey salt over pizza and place in preheated oven. bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling.   remove from oven and sprinkle cilantro over top. slice and serve immediately
kale & walnut pesto
1 bunch organic kale, stems removed and leaves torn in small pieces
1 garlic clove
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted in dry skillet
grey salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
place the kale and walnuts in the bowl of  food processor fitted with the steel blade. pulse until finely chopped. with the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil. stop machine, scrape down sides and then continue pulsing until pesto is smooth but with a bit of texture. season to taste with grey salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. pulse briefly to combine. set aside.
toasted pine nuts
pickled garlic
sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese
chili infused olive oil
chopped cilantro

it is "things found in the pantry" week at food network's "sensational sides mixed with spring produce". check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:
Feed Me Phoebe: Tropical Trail Mix With Ginger and Coconut The Cultural Dish: Green Bean Salad
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Easy Roasted Tomatoes and Spring Asparagus
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pizza With Kale-Walnut Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pickled Garlic
Red or Green?: Spring Greens With Homemade Vinaigrette
The Sensitive Epicure: Pasta alla Ghetto Fabuloso (Gluten-Free and Milk-Free)
Dishin & Dishes: Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Haute Apple Pie: Broccoli Cheesy Rice
Made By Michelle: Broccoli Quiche With Homemade Bisquick
FN Dish: Pantry-Friendly, Budget-Friendly Side Dish Recipes
napa farmhouse 1885
red or green?
california girl in taos

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

pasta with apple-sage sausage, white beans & greens

i love slow cooked white beans simmered with sage & garlic, then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.  i found some apple-sage sausages at the market the other day and imagined a pasta dish combining white beans with the sausage and fresh greens.  stop imagining! this is really, really good.

it is "comfort pasta" week at food network's comfort food feast.  our last one of the season.  this warm, filling, delicious pasta is quick and easy.  i used organic canned beans because that is what i had on hand.  cooked dried beans would be amazing if you have the time.  flavored sausages like the apple-sage can be found at gourmet or organic markets like whole foods.  if you can't find them, use a mild italian sausage. the roasted garlic adds a wonderful flavor.  click here for the recipe.  i roast some every week and keep in the fridge (i love garlic!)  if you are pressed for time and don't have roasted garlic on hand use 2 cloves of fresh garlic and add during the last 2 minutes when sautéing the sausage and onions.

pasta with apple-sage sausage, white beans & greens
8 oz dried pasta shells
4 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb apple sage sausage or mild italian sausage
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp roasted garlic
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
3 cups organic vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 bunch coarsely chopped kale or chard, center ribs removed. (or equivalent amount spinach)
1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, shredded, plus more for serving.

cook pasta according to package directions.  stop cooking 2 minutes earlier than directed so pasta is very al dente'. (it will finish cooking later) drain and set aside.

cut sausage into 1 inch pieces and remove casing.  sauté in large skillet for 5 minutes. drain. add onion and saute an additional 5 minutes. pour off any drippings but do not scrape pan. add 2 tbsp olive oil and cook uncovered for approximately ten minutes until sausage is cooked through. stir frequently. remove sausage and onion and place on plate.  set aside.

in same skillet, add roasted garlic, cannellini beans, broth and bay leaf.  bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  add cooked pasta and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes of until pasta is just al dente'.  do not overcook.  add sausage, greens and remaining 2 tbsp olive oil.  cook until greens are slightly wilted.  add balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup cheese. cook until cheese melts.  taste and adjust seasonings.  serve immediately with additional shredded cheese for passing and with plenty of crusty french or sourdough bread for soaking up the delicious broth.

it is "comforting pasta" week at food network's "comfort food feast". check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:
napa farmhouse 1885
red or green?
california girl in taos

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i have started sharing my taos experiences on my newest blog "california girl in taos". please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

grilled ham and cheese sandwiches

i have two food blogs  (this one and red or green?) and contribute a story from both each week for food network's comfort food feast.  usually i try to create recipes that are very different from each other so the blogs aren't too similar...and so my family gets some variety during "blog writing" days.  this week was a bit of a challenge as it is grilled cheese week at food network's comfort food feast.  in red or green? i posted a recipe using  green chile cheddar and a chipotle mayonnaise spread.  we had some for lunch yesterday and they were delicious.  ooey, gooey oozing with melted cheese and a bit of a spicy kick from the chiles.  today when i told my husband we were having grilled cheese again for the napa farmhouse 1885 post he said..."i just can't eat them two days in a row...unless maybe you add some meat to cut the richness of the cheese?"   sold!

i had some ham in the refrigerator and thought..."if a ham & cheese sandwich is good a grilled ham and cheese is even better, right?"  

grilled cheese sandwiches are more of a technique than a recipe. you should customize them to your liking. use as much or as little cheese as you like. whatever bread you want. ham, bacon, heirloom tomatoes in season, greens, grilled onions, marinated eggplant? grilled or panini style?    i am sharing the way i make mine....share your favorites on facebook or in the comments section of this post.

grilled ham & cheese sandwiches
for each sandwich:
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
softened butter
2 slices sourdough bread
1/2 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
1-2 ham slices, thinly sliced

heat skillet or grill pan(my preference) over medium high heat. in a small bowl, combine mayo and mustard. set aside. spread 1 side of both slices of bread with butter. spread the mayo mixture on the other side of each slice. place 1 slice of bread ,butter side down, in the skillet. mound the cheese on top of the mayo side.   top the cheese with the ham slices. top with the second slice mayo side down. grill for 3- 4 minutes, or until bread is nicely toasted with deep grill marks (if using grill pan) and cheese is melted. flip sandwich and grill second side until golden brown. remove from heat, slice and serve immediately.

for a different twist, try my recipe for apple, fennel & cheddar cheese panini. pure yum!

it is grilled cheese sandwich week at food network's "comfort food feast". check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Grilled Cheese With Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Cooking With Elise: Inside-Out Grilled Cheese With Bacon
Red or Green?: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Red or Green-Style Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches Weelicious: Kentucky Hot Brown Panini
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Cheddar, Apple and Arugula Sandwich
The Sensitive Epicure: Individual Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese (Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free) Devour: Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Thursday Night Dinner: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
The Heritage Cook: Open Faced Grilled Halloumi Sandwiches
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Muhammara Grilled Cheese
Daily*Dishin: Grilled Jarlsberg and Black Forest Ham With a Surprise
FN Dish: Grilled Cheese Goes Beyond Cheese
Feed Me Phoebe: Mexi Grilled Cheese With Avocado, Pepper Jack and Refried Black Beans
napa farmhouse 1885
red or green?
california girl in taos

please follow us on facebook

Follow Me on Pinterest

i have started sharing my taos experiences on my newest blog "california girl in taos". please visit and let me know what you think.