Acorn Squash + Goat Cheese +Prosciutto Empanadas

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How was your Super Bowl Sunday?  Ours was filled with friends and babies, waay too much food and plenty of wine.  A pretty stellar combination if you ask me.  I had no real rooting interest in the game itself since we’re a Chicago Bears family, but to keep it interesting I placed some prop bets and made sure to catch the commercials and halftime show.  I was rooting for the Panthers (who lost), my turkey chili got a little burnt (oops! was the distraction the toddler or wine?) and I lost most (all) of my bets (i.e. Beyonce’s shoe color, will Peyton Manning cry and/or retire…) BUT these acorn squash + goat cheese + prosciutto empanadas were kind of a winner!

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Sweet & Spicy Mixed Nuts

Roasted, mixed nuts are one of my favorite, favorite homemade snacks.  Reason being is that they are completely customizable, free from preservatives or any unnatural ingredients and a great substitute for the chips we normally have lingering in our pantry.

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Meyer Lemon Curd

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Many people associate lemons as being part of the summer produce rotation but oddly enough they are a winter fruit, with their brightness punctuating the dreary, rainy season here in Northern California.  It’s really quite wonderful to see our local farmers markets now showcasing an abundance of citrus fruit such as mandarins, grapefruits and Meyer lemons alongside the heavy root vegetables that define the winter season.

If you’re not familiar with the fruit, Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange or mandarin with much of the tartness giving way to a light, floral sweetness.  Therefore their bright flavor is a natural, welcome swap in a traditional lemon curd.

It’s rich, silky texture is perfect as a spread on toast, scones and muffins or swirled into yogurt.  So, grab some lemons and get cooking!  You really can’t go wrong!

Meyer Lemon Curd

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Creamy Thai Basil Tomato Soup

I am a sucker for soup in any season but this meal choice is much more appropriate this time of year.  Especially when it’s raining and cold (though here in NorCal, cold is a relative term).  That being said, we will be eating soup for the next few months and I couldn’t be more excited!  Actually I will be eating soup for the next few months.  My husband doesn’t usually join me for dinner when soup is involved, probably because he doesn’t find it to be a substantial meal.  The next question is usually, “Soo…is there anything else for dinner?” followed by a sheepish smile.  If you’re familiar with Seinfeld and his ongoing battle with Banya about whether soup at a restaurant is a meal, then know I’m fully on Team Jerry.  It IS a meal and soup for the win!

Thai Basil Tomato Soup

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Soused Tomatoes

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Here is another gem from Seven Spoons, Tara O’Brady’s yummy, vibrant cookbook.  We know that roasted tomatoes are pretty amazing, but this is a very unique and in her words, “beautiful” way to treat them. Their delicate flavor is intensified from the slow-roasting and she recommends using them as an antipasti, in a salad with peppery arugula and lots of Parm or squished onto bread or flatbread- all of which sound amazing.  However, I have used them to top my pasta dishes and grain bowls in lieu of sauce, which is also highly recommended.

Beware, these soused tomatoes take about 3-4 hours in the oven, so plan accordingly!

The leftover oil once the tomatoes are gone is definitely something to keep and use as a finishing oil or vinaigrette, mayonnaise or marinade base.

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