Pumpkin, Sausage, Sage Pizza

20130930-210112.jpg

We are big fans of pizza in our house. Homemade pizza is very easy to make, economical and gives you a great way to use up small amounts of leftover meat or vegetables in the refrigerator. I love to try new pizza combinations, although this is not always popular in our house. Sometimes you just want what’s familiar. This pizza was terrific–I will definitely make it again!

In full disclosure, this pizza elicited more teen jokes than any other meal I’ve prepared. Trying to be “artsy,” I made a flower design with the sage leaves. My daughter thought it looked like a marijuana leaf. I’m always glad to be the source of amusement. And really, no more trips to Spencer’s Novelty Shop. Really.

This pizza is super tasty and full of fall flavor. It involves no illegal substances, although pumpkin is so addictive this time of year, it probably should require a driver’s license to purchase. We used a spicy chicken sausage, but I think an Italian sausage or sage sausage would be pretty terrific as well. Or even soyrizo if you are going meatless. I replaced our usual mozzarella with a blend of Swiss and Gruyère cheese–I think those cheeses taste great with the sage and pumpkin (and they melt beautifully).

I used organic canned pumpkin for this recipe because it is already cooked and it is very thick with little residual moisture. If you use fresh pumpkin, make sure you cook it down to a very thick paste or your pizza dough will be quite soggy (I made that mistake with butternut squash once and it was not good).

Pumpkin, Sausage and Sage Pizza (makes 1 pizza)

  • 1 whole wheat pizza crust (recipe HERE)
  • 8-10 fresh, organic sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. local, spicy link sausage, casing removed
  • 1 organic yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 cloves organic garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups grated Swiss and Gruyère cheeses
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium skillet or saute pan, heat the olive oil to medium high.
  3. When oil is hot, add the sage leaves and fry them for about 90 seconds per side or until they are crispy, but not browned. Remove sage leaves to a paper towel to drain.
  4. Add the sausage to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the sausage until no longer pink, breaking up any large clumps with the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Remove the sausage from the pan to a colander or paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  6. Add onion and garlic to the pan with the drippings and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and starts to caramelize a bit. Remove the onion and garlic to a small bowl.
  7. Assemble the pizza by stretching the dough (my pizzas are never round–more like rounded rectangles) onto a flour dusted baking sheet or pizza stone.
  8. Top the dough with the pumpkin, spreading it across the dough, leaving a 1-2″ crust around the edges.
  9. Sprinkle the onions and garlic over the pumpkin.
  10. Crumble up 2-3 sage leaves and sprinkle them over the onions.
  11. Top the onions with the crumbled and drained sausage.
  12. Cover the whole thing with cheese.
  13. Arrange the remaining sage leaves into a flower that will be completely misinterpreted by your family.
  14. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cheese is just browned and bubbly.
  15. Cut the pizza and serve immediately.
Advertisements

Sweet Potato, Chorizo and Pepper Pizza

20130815-195642.jpg

It’s fall, y’all. Time to break out the boots, cozy sweaters and the fall recipe book! This recipe includes one of my favorite fall flavor combinations–locally made bulk chorizo sausage and roasted sweet potatoes. We buy our bulk chorizo from Mae Farm, a local farm that raises pigs in the highest ethical standards, with lots of room to roam and be pigs. Their chorizo is pretty phenomenal and I can’t wait for fall so we can make this pizza again! By the way, this same combination of flavors works great in a quesadilla as well! If you are feeding people who aren’t fans of spice, you can leave out the chili in adobo sauce.

This pizza is a knife and fork pizza. Or at least a two napkin pizza. It is chock full of late summer/early fall goodness, like roasted sweet potato, sweet onions, locally made chorizo sausage, and colorful, fresh bell peppers. This pizza is a meal In itself. I had originally planned to have a salad with dinner, but once I saw how huge the pizza was, I decided to save the salad for another night!

Pizza is one of those incredibly versatile meals that can make the most of whatever you have in the pantry or refrigerator. I’m including my whole wheat crust recipe because it is filling and higher in protein and fiber. You could replace it with whatever crust you like, though. I’m definitely going to make this again during football season!

Sweet Potato, Chorizo and Pepper Pizza (makes 4-6 serving)

  • 1 recipe whole wheat pizza crust (see below)
  • 1 large sweet potato, roasted, with flesh removed from skin (compost the skin)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 bell peppers (I used 1 each of red, yellow and green), washed, seeded and chopped
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (optional)
  • 1 lb. chorizo bulk chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup canned organic black beans
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  1. Prepare the pizza crust and let rise.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a 12″ skillet, brown the chorizo sausage over medium heat. Place a strainer over a thick layer of paper towel and pour sausage and drippings into the strainer and set aside.
  4. Return the skillet to the heat, and add the olive oil, onion, garlic and peppers. Stir together and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft and there is no liquid in the pan. Remove pan from heat.
  5. On a lightly greased or flour dusted baking sheet, stretch dough out to make your pizza shape (I prefer square pizzas, but that’s me).
  6. Spread the sweet potato over the crust and sprinkle the drained chorizo over the sweet potato.
  7. Add black beans on top of the sausage, then add the pepper mixture over all.
  8. Cover the vegetables with a generous amount of cheese.
  9. Bake the pizza for 15-20 minutes.
  10. Cut and serve immediately.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (makes 2 rounds of dough)

  • 1 pckg. yeast
  • 1 3/4 c. warm water
  • 4 c. whole wheat all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes until completely dissolved and a bit foamy.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer (w/dough hook attached), combine flour, salt and olive oil.
  3. While mixer is running on low/med low, add yeast water to the flour in a stream.
  4. Allow mixer to knead dough for about 4 min.
  5. Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for 1.5 hours or until doubled in bulk.
  6. Punch down dough and divide into two pieces (we divided it into 3). Each ball will make a pizza. You can freeze half for another time or let each dough ball stand covered for 20 minutes.
  7. Shape and make your pizzas according to the recipe directions.

Scrambled Duck Egg Burrito

IMG_2037Duck eggs. Have you tried them? They are pretty awesome. It took me a while to work up to duck eggs. I mean, the chicken eggs I buy from farmers seemed so wonderful–why mess with a good thing? I decided to take the plunge at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago and I may never go back.

Why?

Duck eggs are like chicken eggs times two. They have very large, orange yolks and are much richer in taste than chicken eggs. I love them scrambled or fried sunny side up, but they are also terrific in baked goods. Nutritionally, they have more omega 3 fatty acids and almost double the protein of chicken eggs. They also have more fat and calories than chicken eggs, so if you are watching your weight carefully, you’ll want to be mindful of that.

This recipe is a simple way to make the most of the flavor of duck eggs with very little added. I love this recipe for a quick breakfast or lunch, especially when I am craving protein. Of course, you can do this exact recipe with chicken eggs–just make sure they are good quality eggs!

Scrambled Duck Egg Burrito (serves 1)

  • Coconut oil cooking spray or 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 small, whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 duck eggs
  • Kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. queso fresco
  • 1 teaspoon salsa
  1. Heat a small skillet sprayed or lightly coated with coconut oil over medium low heat.
  2. When pan is warm, add the tortilla and cook for 1-2 minutes. Flip and warm the second side for another minute. Remove the tortilla to a plate and set aside
  3. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and use a fork to scramble the egg whites and yolks.
  4. Pour the eggs into the pan and use the fork to keep the eggs moving in the pan. Cook eggs until opaque and just barely cooked–about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Top the tortilla with the egg.
  6. Crumble the queso fresco onto the egg.
  7. Top with salsa. Roll the burrito and serve immediately.

 

 

Oven Baked Vegetable Soup

IMG_2035It took me a long time to learn to make a good soup. A long. Long. Time. For years, the soups I made were flavorless and disappointing. I had no idea what I was doing wrong, but it didn’t seem like soup could really be that complicated. Turns out, soup isn’t that complicated, but you do have to pay attention and follow a few simple rules. And you also need patience. Once I figured this out, I was on my way to making all kinds of simple, but delicious and nourishing soup combinations. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Use stock, never water. Homemade stock is always better than what you can buy and almost any stock is better than starting with water.
  2. Cook your onions and garlic before adding them to the soup pot. Bringing out the sweetness of onions and garlic before adding them to your soup pot will yield a richer flavor.
  3. Use herbs with abandon and salt with a generous hand. Okay, I know salt is supposed to be evil and all, but unless you have a health problem that prohibits you from having salt, use it along with an assortment of fresh and dried herbs. Use Kosher or sea salt. Don’t use table salt. Maybe ever.
  4. Make your soup a day ahead. If you have the time, make your soup a day ahead and reheat. Soup and stew both benefit greatly from allowing flavors to mingle.

This soup is almost more of a vegetable stew, and it bakes in the oven rather than simmering on a stove top. This is perfect for my favorite fall activity–watching football. The entire pot assembled quickly and baked until we were ready at halftime. The house also smelled terrific–all cozy and comforting.

The original recipe for this dish was posted to Eating Well, and I changed it up to suit my tastes. I used homemade chicken broth instead of water (see lesson #1 above), but you could make this vegan by using vegetable broth and eliminating the Parmesan cheese rind. I also altered the original recipe, substituting some fresh vegetables I had on hand and adding fresh herbs and garlic. I used my ceramic coated Dutch oven to make this–you will need a very large pot or Dutch oven. The original recipe says it serves 8, but I think it may serve more–it is a LOT of soup. This recipe comes together quickly and you could really use whatever fresh vegetables you have handy. The next time I make this (and there will be a next time), I may add some cannellini beans for protein. Whatever you choose, this is a wonderful versatile recipe for an easy, lazy weekend meal that is healthy!

Oven Baked Vegetable Soup (serves 8-10)

  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pound potatoes, cubed or use tiny potatoes, cut in half
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper, divided
  • 3 zucchini, cut in half and sliced
  • 2 medium leeks, halved and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh corn off the cob
  • 4 cups artichoke hearts
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1-15 ounce can of diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • 1 2-inch piece of Parmesan cheese rind
  • 6 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour oil into a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven. Arrange potatoes in a single layer over the oil.
  3. Sprinkle with half the salt and half the pepper. Add the leaves from one sprig of rosemary and 1 tablespoon of the oregano.
  4. Layer zucchini, leeks, carrots, mushrooms, corn, artichoke hearts, leaves from one sprig of rosemary, remaining oregano, salt and pepper.
  5. Tuck the Parmesan rind into the vegetables.
  6. Pour the tomatoes and juice over the vegetables. Add the chicken or vegetable stock.
  7. Cover the pot and bake in the oven for 2 or 2 1/2 hours.
  8. Serve immediately garnished with cheese and accompanied by a good, crusty bread.

 

Crock Pot Chipotle Peach Chicken

IMG_2013While summers in North Carolina are known for peaches and watermelon, the sweetest peaches actually come to market in the early fall, around Labor Day. We’ve enjoyed our peaches in smoothies, in both sweet and savory jam and cooked with chicken and pork. This spicy chicken dish is made easy in the crock pot, which keeps my kitchen from getting hot during these late summer, humid days. It brings together some of late summer’s stars–sweet peaches and bell peppers–along with fresh onions and garlic. Fresh corn off the cob would be terrific in this dish as well! We have eaten this chicken in homemade tostadas (above pics and recipe below), over rice and just plain. You could also make tacos with it. It is very flavorful and a nice, spicy dish before chili weather kicks in.

I did use some canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, but you could also roast your own chili peppers and use them and that would be delicious as well!

Crock Pot Chipotle Peach Chicken (makes about 6 cups)

  • 2 Tsp. organic coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 sweet, bell peppers, trimmed and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 quart fresh, ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (vary to your taste)
  1. Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat until melted.
  2. Add onion and bell peppers, stir, and saute for about 10 minutes. Vegetables should be soft.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Put the vegetable mixture into the bowl of a crock pot.
  5. Layer the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the chicken thighs with the chopped peaches and chilis/adobo sauce.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Chicken should be cooked through and tender enough to shred with two forks.
  8. Drain extra liquid from the chicken mixture (discard liquid), shred the chicken with two forks and use in recipes as needed.

Chipotle Peach Chicken Tostadas (serves 4)

  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 tsp. organic coconut oil
  • 2 cups organic black beans, cooked (or canned)
  • 4 cups Crock Pot Chipotle Peach Chicken (above), warmed
  • 2 cups Queso Fresco or farmer’s cheese
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and chopped (white and light green parts only)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. One at a time, add the tortillas to the skillet and cook about 1 minute on each side. Set the tortillas on the parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Top each tortilla with 1/2 cup black beans, 1 cup of the chicken mixture, 1/4 cup of the cheese.
  4. Bake tostadas for about 10-12 minutes. Cheese should be melted and the tostadas should be hot.
  5. Serve immediately topped with avocado and chopped green onion.

 

 

Eggplant Tomato Stacks

IMG_2011I think I made it all the way to adulthood with an intense dislike for eggplant. To me, eggplant was a bitter, slimy, vegetable that was typically served fried and greasy in some version of eggplant Parmesan. I’m not sure when my eggplant revelation came about, but eggplant is now one of my favorite summer vegetables. I love it grilled, roasted with garlic and especially baked in this wonderful, healthy re-make of eggplant Parmesan.

Here is the secret to great tasting eggplant–buy it fresh from your local farmer’s market. The longer eggplant sits, the more bitter it can become. Also, eggplant picked for grocery stores is often picked under-ripe, before it’s true sweetness is developed.

This recipe makes the most of fresh, local eggplant, tomato and basil–all in abundance in North Carolina during the summer. We used local mozzarella from Hillsborough Cheese Company, so only the Parmesan Reggiano, olive oil and salt were store-bought. We used some of our yummy Roasted Tomato Sauce, which is my favorite discovery from last summer (well, maybe it’s a tie with Mae Farm Bacon Onion Marmalade).

Think of this recipe as lasagna with eggplant replacing the noodles. This is no greasy, fried, chain restaurant dish–it is flavorful, nourishing and rich in antioxidants and fiber. And your house will smell A-MAZ-ING while it is baking. Tom commented several times that it is hard to believe this is a meatless dish. If you substitute vegan cheese, it would be a completely vegan dish. Like it’s lasagna cousin, this freezes and reheats well, making super tasty leftovers. Healthy, local and delicious. Win-win-win. Yum-yum-yum!

Eggplant Tomato Stacks (makes 6 servings)

  • 3 medium eggplant (we used several baby eggplant and one medium)
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 quart Roasted Tomato Sauce (or 1 jar from the store)
  • 2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated (you can use part-skim to reduce the fat)
  • 1 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 c. loosely packed basil leaves, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Wash eggplant and slice into 1/4″ or so slices. Put slices on the baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  4. Roast eggplant slices for about 12 minutes–until they are fork tender.
  5. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add one layer of the eggplant. Top with 1/3 of the tomato sauce, a sprinkling of basil leaves, 1/3 of the mozzarella and 1/3 of the Parmesan. Repeat layers two more times, ending with cheese on top.
  6. Bake in oven for about 40 minutes, until hot and bubbly and golden brown on top.
  7. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Peach Berry Bars

IMG_2009While part of me is gravitating toward all things pumpkin these days, the more rational part (the part that actually goes outside in the 89% humidity) realizes that summer is still going strong, and the pumpkin extravaganza can wait. No worries, friends, pumpkin recipes are coming. But for now, I still have peaches to eat. Here in North Carolina, we will have peaches and blueberries for just a precious few weeks more and then apples and pumpkins will rein again. So, I’m loading up on peaches–freezing them, making peach jam, baking peach cobbler and trying new recipes like these delicious peach and berry bars.

These bars have an almond crust and topping, with thick, sweet peaches and blueberries in between. Summer deliciousness! You could substitute apricots, raspberries or whatever is fresh at your farmers markets. I may try this again with a thin layer of lemon curd over the crust to give some zing to the sweetness. They are great for picnics and late summer tailgating, so try them before the Polar Vortex returns and peaches are just a lovely memory of summer.

This recipe is based on one from Eating Well. I’ve changed up a few things to cut down on the sugar, but if you want the original recipe, you can find it HERE.

Peach Berry Bars (makes 18 bars)

Crust (also topping)

  • 1 cup almond chopped raw almonds
  • 1.5 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. cold, organic unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 large farm egg
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp. organic coconut oil

Filling

  • 4 cups, chopped fresh peaches
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup quick cook tapioca
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare the crust by combining 3/4 cups of the chopped almonds, flour, coconut sugar, salt and cinnamon in a food processor. Combine well.
  3. Add butter and pulse just until butter is incorporated (about 5-10 seconds).
  4. Combine oil, vanilla and almond extract in a bowl. With the food processor running on low, add the oil mixture and the egg. Blend until moist and crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup of the crust to serve as the topping. Combine the reserved topping with the remaining chopped almonds and set aside.
  5. Coat a 9 x 13 pan lightly with coconut oil. Press the crust mixture evenly onto the bottom of the greased pan and set aside.
  6. In a saucepan, combine the fruit and orange juice and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Fruit should start to thicken. Add the tapioca and vanilla, stir well, and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Fruit should be very thick at this point.
  7. Pour the fruit mixture over the crust in the pan and spread evenly.
  8. Top the fruit with dollops of the reserved topping, pressing the topping into the fruit a bit.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 20 minutes more.
  10. Let bars cool for about 15 minutes. Put cooled bars in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes more to cool.
  11. Cut cooled bars and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

Enjoy!

 

 

Strozzapreti with Mushrooms and Ricotta

IMG_2649An essential component of eating locally is being prepared when the local food universe brings you something delicious, even if it wasn’t planned. Such was the case when some absolutely lovely shiitake mushrooms came my way from a local farm. Since they are very delicate and have a short shelf life, we needed to make something amazing with them…very quickly. I could have used my usual stir fry recipe and added them in, but when I have something special and delicate, I like for it to have the chance to be the star. Enter Bon Appetite online! THIS wonderful recipe found its way into my Facebook news feed and it was like the food universe was in agreement that I must eat mushrooms this week. In case you’re wondering, when the food universe speaks, I usually listen. Sometimes the universe tells me I need some Five Guys, in which case I also listen and EAT, but mostly it tells me nice, healthy things.

This is my adaptation of the Bon Appetite recipe (the original is HERE). My version doesn’t look as beautiful, but such is life. Basically, I cut the pasta required in half and increased the vegetables in the sofrito, but I pretty much followed the basic recipe. It is absolutely delicious, with a delicate flavor and a light dish that is perfect for these late summer evenings. We will definitely make this again!

Strozzapreti with Mushrooms and Ricotta (serves 2)

  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 large, organic carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, cleaned, trimmed and diced
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt and ground, black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 lb. (8 ounces) strozzapretti pasta
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh, shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 3 soft-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half
  1. Make a sofrito by sauteing the onion, carrot and celery in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Vegetables should be soft. Add salt, pepper and smoked paprika and saute an additional 2-3 minutes. Add sofrito to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Boil water for pasta in a stock pot. Add a handful of Kosher salt to the pot. Add the pasta and stir.
  3. In a deep saute pan, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the garlic to the saute pan and stir, cooking for 3o seconds.
  5. Add the sofrito to the mushrooms and stir well.
  6. When pasta is done (about 9 minutes), add the pasta, Parmesan cheese and a bit of pasta water if needed. Combine all ingredients well.
  7. Plate the pasta by topping each serving with dollops of ricotta cheese and egg halves.
  8. Serve immediately.

 

Fettuccine with Salmon, Peas and Corn

IMG_2001Some days, I just crave salmon. I can’t explain it, really, but when I have that craving, there is nothing to do but give in and enjoy. I’ve learned to listen to my body, and when it wants protein, I usually give in. Typically, we buy locally produced seafood and meat, but salmon isn’t local to North Carolina, so I make an exception for it. We purchase wild caught salmon, not farm raised, which ups the price for dinner. So, instead of giving up on it or blowing my budget completely, I like to add it to pasta, which stretches our meal out a bit. To save money, we also bought wild salmon pieces (the leftover pieces from trimming fillets) instead of pricey steaks or fillets. Since we were cutting them up anyway, it didn’t seem worth the price to buy a larger cut.

We tend to eat pasta dishes on Fridays or Saturdays, the day or two before our long runs. In our marathon training, we are up in the 20+ miles now (when the oppressive humidity allows), so we need the carbs to help us fuel through our running schedule. We agreed that this recipe is a keeper.

This pasta dish is wonderfully satisfying. It includes wild caught salmon pieces fresh, local organic corn, which is super good right now and peas. If you thought ahead and froze spring peas, this is a terrific use for them! This dish also uses a creamy faux alfredo sauce made from cauliflower–yes, you read right. Cauliflower! This genius recipe was posted by a talented food blogger on Pinch of Yum. HERE is her recipe. It is amazingly awesome.

Fettuccine with Salmon, Peas and Corn (makes 6 servings)

  • 1 lb. organic fettuccine noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 lb. wild-caught salmon pieces, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 2 cups fresh, raw, organic corn (you can use frozen as well)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 recipe cauliflower alfredo sauce
  • Kosher or mineral salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare the cauliflower alfredo sauce and set aside.
  2. Heat water in a stock pot for the pasta. When the water boils, add a healthy amount of salt to the water. Add the pasta and cook according to directions (about 10 minutes for fettucine).
  3. While the pasta boils, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. If onions begin to brown, turn the heat down.
  5. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Add the salmon and cook with the onions for about 4 minutes or until salmon is opaque on the outside.
  7. Add the corn, peas and cauliflower sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
  8. Heat the sauce until all is warmed through–about 4-5 minutes.
  9. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Toss all together to combine.
  10. Serve immediately.

 

 

Eggs in Purgatory

IMG_1999It’s been a long, crazy summer for us, and I am finally getting back to posting. Actually, I’m finally getting back to cooking, which means I finally have something (anything) to post!!! I feel as though I am emerging from a period of great darkness, into a beautiful sunshine-y day. So, cheers to new beginnings, great friends and daily miracles. Speaking of miracles, this has been an amazing summer for tomatoes in North Carolina. We’ve had plenty of rain (but not too much), lots of sun and warm (but not scorching) temperatures. Tomatoes are rocking our world this summer!

If you check the popular lists of superfoods out on the internet, you may not find tomatoes on the list, but they should definitely be there. Chock full of vitamins and lycopene, tomatoes are little powerhouses. What is lycopene? Lycopene is an antioxidant in the carotenoid family and may help protect the body from prostate and breast cancers as well as protect the blood vessels around the heart. While lycopene can be taken in pill form, it is most highly effective when eaten in cooked tomatoes. Cooking tomatoes breaks down the plant fiber and releases lycopene in a form more easily absorbed by the body.

This dish is pure, summer simpleness, although it does involve turning on the stove–not my favorite thing in the hot summer–but it is worth heating up the kitchen a bit. The tomatoes, zucchini and onions are stewed down until very thick, then topped with eggs, covered and simmered until the eggs are done to your liking. Voila! Totally good for you, with a bit of protein and a hit of spicy.

This version is a takeoff of an Italian breakfast dish and the “purgatory” in this case comes from red pepper flakes and sriracha chili sauce. This combination of tomato and eggs, however, has variations in Middle Eastern, Jewish and Chinese cooking as well, so it has been around (and loved) for a very long time. We had this for supper and it was delicious. You could add other vegetables as you like and experiment with new combinations that work for you! I want to try this with some freshly roasted red sweet peppers for more of a smoky flavor!

Eggs in Purgatory (serves 2-3)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 small, fresh zucchini, washed and diced
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, washed, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce or harrisa (optional)
  • 4-6 fresh farm eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh ciabatta or other good quality bread
  1. In a large, deep saute pan or non-cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and saute for about 5-6 minutes or until onions begin to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the pan, stir well, and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Check on the tomatoes frequently. If they are scorching, turn the heat down to medium low and continue to simmer.
  5. Add the diced zucchini, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir well and simmer for about 15-25 minutes or until most of the liquid from the pan has evaporated. This could take longer depending on the heat of your stove, your pan, and the amount of water in the tomatoes.
  6. Drizzle the tomato mixture with the sriracha, add chopped, fresh basil and stir.
  7. When the mixture is very thick, use a spoon to make 4-6 small nests in the tomatoes. Crack one egg into each nest, cover the pan and simmer until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
  8. Check for seasonings and serve immediately topped with cheese and with warm bread on the side for dunking!

 

%d bloggers like this: