Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Eyeball Pasta

It's just so much fun to make creepy food! I love this season. This shrimp mix, minus the olives is also really awesome on crackers.

Have a Creepy Halloween!

Eyeball Pasta

12 oz cooked shrimp
4 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 cup white onion, minced
2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp paprika
sliced black olives
4 tbsp White Truffle Garlic Olive Oil, divided
1 jar pesto, at least 8 oz
1 package Squid Ink Pasta*
a few cooked crawfish, optional

Cook the pasta according to the directions. Drain and toss with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Set aside to keep warm.

Take the tails of the shrimp and give the flesh a rough chop. Put in a food processor with the onions and garlic. Blend until mostly smooth. Add up to 2 tbsp of the olive oil and the panko.

Form the shrimp mix into balls and press one olive slice into the side. These do not have to be cooked. Sprinkle with the paprika.

Toss the pasta with the pesto and sprinkle the 'eyes' around the plate. If you want, bury some crawfish so that they peek out of the pasta. They aren't super important, they just look creepy.

*a tip: Do NOT toss the pasta with the pesto and the eyes. Just the pesto. They eyes take on the color of the pesto and you will have green eyeballs in no time.

Squid Ink pasta is avaliable in our store. If you can't get here in time, take regular pasta and add black food coloring to the cooking water. (I haven't tried it yet, but it's supposed to work!) Good luck!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pumpkin Hummus

Oh pumpkin. I have so much love for pumpkin. If you don't, you may want to skip the next week or so of posts!

Pumpkin Hummus

2 cloves garlic
1 can Garbanzo Beans
1/2 can Pure Pumpkin Puree
1/4 cup Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 tbsp Greek Honey
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper, plus more for garnish
1 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Tahini

Put the garlic, salt, tahini and the beans into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the pumpkin and cayenne pepper. Process slowly, adding in the olive oil by the tablespoon until you get to your desired consistency. Fold in the pumpkin seeds. Save a couple for the top.

Top with a little more pumpkin seeds a sprinkle of cayenne and the honey.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin with Honey Date Balsamic Butter

I love pumpkin. Homemade pumpkin puree is always best, and you can customize it to be exactly what you want it to be. It is very easy as well. All you need is a sharp knife and a half hour with an oven. You can eat this straight off the rind, or serve it as a side dish. I plan to use this as a side dish for some ham steaks, but it may never make it.

I finally ran out of last year's stash of canned pumpkin. I take advantage of the massive sales that they have on them at this time of year and stockpile it. I eat pumpkin cookies well into July every year. You never know when you need a fall fix.

If I had the time to can vegetables, I would buy so many pumpkins! I'm thinking pumpkin puree and homemade pumpkin butter. Unfortunately, I will have to make do with this batch of pumpkin and deep pumpkin dreams.

Roasted Pumpkin with Honey Date Balsamic Butter

1 small pumpkin, pie pumpkin sized

 Per every cup of pumpkin:
1 tbsp plain varietal Olive Oil, I used Balsari
1 pinch salt

1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup Honey Date Balsamic

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Depending on the size of your pumpkin, halve or quarter it and cut each piece into thin slices. Make everything pretty uniform, 1/2 or 1 inch thick, or you will have some very crispy slices. It is also up to you if you want to cut the skin off or not. It will not change the cooking time.

Toss the slices with the olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Don't crowd them too much, you can always bake two trays at once. Sprinkle the pinch of salt over them and roast them. This is where the thickness of your slices matters! Check them at 15 minutes. They should be almost fork tender.

Melt the butter and stir in the Honey Date Balsamic. At 15 minutes, brush this mixture over top the pumpkin slices. Close up the oven again and continue baking for another 10 - 15 minutes.

You could let the pumpkin cook fully first and then dress with the Honey Date sauce, but I love the little caramelized crispy balsamic bits you get when it is roasted with them. Go your own way!

Serve as a side, chopped on top of a salad (with walnuts) or just for dinner. Have fun with it!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pork Loin with Jerk Seasoning and Pan Sauce

I told you another pork loin was coming. Here it is! I went a little spicy with this, but the heat really cooks off and blends with the sauce. Besides, it's only a little spice.

I like the sauce right over top, but if you make a sandwich, it would make an awesome dipping sauce too.

Pork Loin with Jerk Seasoning and Pan Sauce

1 tbsp Chipotle Olive Oil
2 tbsp Jerk Blend Spices
2 lbs pork loin
1/2 cup Fig Preserves
1 tsp minced garlic

Preheat your oven to 375degrees.

Spread the oil over the roast and sprinkle on the jerk spices. Pat them do to make sure they stick.  Place in a deep sided pan and roast for about 40-50 minutes. A thermometer inserted in the thickest part should read 145degrees.

Remove the roast from the pan and let rest, covered in foil for at least ten minutes.

Drain the juices from the pan into a large bowl. Add the garlic and the Fig Preserves. Whisk until you get an even consistency.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Vanilla Apple Brown Betty

It has started to get a chill in the air! Brrr! But it is so nice and refreshing too! It's fashion scarf weather! (the ladies understand!)

The apples are so beautiful this time of year. They wanted to be made into a pie, but I didn't really want to roll out any dough this week. So the Brown Betty is our compromise. It's not a pie, but it's not a crumble either. It's just the best of both. This recipe takes a short cut and a little less sugar, but it's delicious!

I know that this is a big sports weekend, but to heck with them, Go Apples!

Vanilla Apple Brown Betty

5 large apples or 2 lbs any kind, I like Honeycrisp
3 slices bread, any kind
1 cup apple cider
3 tbsp Vanilla Olive Oil, +2
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
a pinch of allspice
4 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375degrees.

Thinly slice and core your apples. Roughly chop the bread into small bits. Pulse in a food processor until they become crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, just chop the bit up as fine as you can, they will taste just as good.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, put the cider, apples 1 tbsp of brown sugar and the cinnamon. Simmer for about 8 minutes and turn out into a large bowl. Stir in the olive oil and the rest of the spices.

Take one additional tbsp of the olive oil and coat a 9inch pie pan very thoroughly. Put the apples into the pan. Combine the bread crumbs/cubes with the rest of the brown sugar and the walnuts and the last tbsp of the olive oil. sprinkle on top of the apple mixture.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or even better, ice cream!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gnocchi with Sweet Corn and Arugula

Gnocchi are a strange pasta. Fluffy and kinda cute. I found some nice sweet corn at the farmers market this past weekend and thought this would be fun. Feel free to use frozen corn if that's what you have.

Gnocchi with Sweet Corn and Arugula

1 pkg gnocchi
1 small bunch arugula
2 ears of cooked corn or 1 cup kernels
1 bunch green onions
a few sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream

Heat the Rosemary Olive Oil in a large saute pan to medium heat. De-kernel your corn if you have to and toss it into the pan. Stir around and let cook for a minute. 

Slice through the arugula a couple times with a sharp knife and add it to the pan with the corn. Stir it around until it wilts down. 1-2 minutes.

Add in the green onions, sour cream and heavy cream. Stir to combine and cover. Let everything come up to temperature.

While you are making the sauce, cook the gnocchi according to the package directions. Drain and rinse them, but keep them warm.

When the gnocchi are done, add them to the pan with the sauce with the rosemary leaves.

Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Strawberry Basil Pizza

I love pizza. Crispy pizza, squishy pizza, oh man, breakfast pizza! But dessert pizza's are something else. Add some savory things to the sweet and even better! (Hey, this would be a great breakfast pizza too!)

Strawberry Basil Pizza

1 pocket-less pita
1 tsp cinnamon sugar
2-3 strawberries
3-4 small basil leaves
2-3 tbsp ricotta cheese
1 tbsp Fig Balsamic

Brush the olive oil on your pita and sprinkle it with some cinnamon sugar. Spread the ricotta over that.

Slice the strawberries thinly and spread around. Slice the basil into ribbons and spread that around too.

Now you can eat this cold, but I like it toasted in the toaster oven or broiler for a couple minutes. I let the cheese and the pita to start browning around the edges.

Drizzle with the Fig Balsamic and enjoy!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Limoncello Fig Toasts

This was for a day when I felt like having an alcoholic dinner. Because those liquor soaked figs are potent!

Limoncello Fig Toast

1 jar Limoncello Figs
1/2 loaf french baguette
2 cups arugula
ricotta, or chream cheese
flaky sea salt

Turn on your broiler. Slice the baguette into thin slices. Brush the olive oil over the slices and pop them under the broiler for about 2-5 minutes. They should be browning, but not too toasted. Keep an eye on them.

Meanwhile, slice some of the figs and saute them in a pan over medium heat. Toss in the arugula and a little of the juice from the jar. Stir around until the arugula is wilted down.

Spread some of the cheese on your toasts, the amount is up to you. I only gave it a thin layer of Ricotta. Top off with some figs and arugula and a sprinkle of salt. Serve for dinner or as a great appetizer.

The figs are available only in the store or by phone right now. We have Grappa, Cedro, Rhum and the Limoncello.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pork Loin with Balsamic Mustard Sauce

At the grocery store the other day, I noticed a great sale on pork loin. It was half off. I was tempted to buy them completely out, but stuck with just two instead. If it had been seventy-five percent off, we would have pork loin all month long. Instead, I have this one and then, one more later this month. 

I decided to use one of our rubs on this. One of my favorites, the Prime Rub. It doesn't really add too much flavor, it seems more to bring the flavors out. It is not available on the web yet, but just come in or call for it. 

Pork Loin with Balsamic Mustard Sauce

3-5 lb pork loin
2 tbsp Prime Rub Basiks Seasonings
1 tbsp Salonika Greek Olive Oil

1 medium onion
4 tbsp Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Salonika Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 350degrees.

Rub the olive oil all over the pork loin. Sprinkle the spices to cover the whole piece. Put the loin into a deep sided roasting pan. Cover loosely with foil and place in the oven. In the last ten minutes, remove the foil. Depending on the size of your roast, it takes about an hour. Make sure that you cook it to an internal temperature of 145degrees.

To prepare the sauce, chop your onion thinly. I like tiny bits, but larger chunks are great. Saute with the olive oil over a medium high setting until they start to lightly brown. Add in the balsamic and the mustard. and stir to combine.

Turn the heat down to just medium and let the mixture simmer away until it thickens slightly. No longer than 7 minutes, or it may burn.

Let the meat rest for 3-10 minutes before slicing it. Serve with sauce on top.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chicken with Fried Caperberries

I have long wondered what to do with these caperberries. They are a funny little food. Salty and ovoid like an olive, but nothing like them in texture. A customer came by and said that they slice and fry them, so I thought that would be really nice to do with chicken. They provide the perfect salty pop!

Chicken with Fried Caperberries

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 sm bunch basil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh tarragon
8-10 sliced caperberries
1 lb diced chicken
squeeze of lemon

Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil to medium high. Spread the caperberry slices around and let them simmer around. Let them brown lightly on each side. About 1-3 minutes each side. Toss in the onions and herbs.

Stirring occasionally, let it cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the olive oil and the chicken. Stir to distribute and cover. Cover and simmer. Stir occasionally, it should take about 10 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes and stir. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Finish off with a squeeze of lemon and serve.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Shrimp with Coconut Sauce

I could have made regular Coconut Shrimp. But that would have been normal. And I hate frying things on my stove top. Splatter burns hurt! So I grabbed a package of pre-cooked shrimp from the grocery store and that was that!

Call this the quickest weeknight meal ever.

Shrimp with Coconut Sauce

1 pkg frozen fried shrimp, or the fresh cooked ones from the grocery store
1/3 cup Peach Jam
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flake*
4 tbsp White Coconut Balsamic
2 cloves garlic, ground to a paste (1 1/2 tsp)

Cook or warm up your shrimp according to the package directions. Stir the sauce ingredients together and taste. Add more of whatever you want, red pepper flake would be great in this! Garnish with a little extra coconut and serve!

* If all you have on hand is sweetened coconut, go ahead and use that, but toss in a bit more garlic paste to balance it out. It can get really sweet really fast!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Asparagus and Proscuitto Pizza with Pecans

We have been craving pizza. But not gooey pizza. Little individual make your own pizzas. With pesto, and salty things, and.... well, whatever I had in my fridge.

This is for one small pita pizza. Double or triple it for a full size pizza.

Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza

1 pocket-less pita (I like whole wheat)
2-3 tbsp Trapanese Pesto sauce* available in store
a handful of shredded mozzerella
2-3 spears asparagus thinly cut on a diagonal
a handful of pecans
Plain Sea Salt, to taste
1 slice prosciutto, torn into small bits

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the crust with the olive oil and spread the pesto over the top. Arrange everything evenly but leave off the prosciutto. It gets too crispy.

Sprinkle with the salt and bake for about 5-7 minutes. Check it at five minutes, if the cheese is browning, you're done.

Scatter the prosciutto across the top and serve.