the recipe sharer

Appetizer Vegetarian

10 minute Portobello pizzas

The perfect low-carb pizza with the added flavor of earthy portobello mushrooms and ready in 10 minutes!.
From the wonderful blog, “Cafe Delites”

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.34.53 AM

Serves 6

6 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed, washed and dried with a paper towel
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
6 tsp Italian seasoning (or a dried oregano and basil leaf blend), divided
3/4 cup pizza sauce (garlic and herb)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or a pizza cheese blend)*
30 miniature-sized pepperonis**
6 or more cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced thinly
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to broil / grill settings on high heat. Arrange oven shelf to the middle of your oven.

Combine the oil, garlic and 4 teaspoons of the seasoning together in a small bowl. Brush the bottoms of each mushroom with the garlic oil mixture and place each mushroom, oil side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet / tray.
Fill each mushroom with 2 tablespoons of the pizza sauce per cap, 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, 6 pepperoni miniatures and tomato slices. Broil / grill until cheese has melted and is golden in color (about 8 minutes).

To serve, sprinkle with the remaining Italian seasoning (or mixed herbs), and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes
*I find using dry cheese such as shredded mozzarella gives the best results. Using fresh mozzarella may cause the mushrooms to release some liquid during the broiling / grilling process.
**For the miniature pepperonis, I bought normal-sized pepperonis and cut them with an apple corer like this one to get miniature sized ones. (I used 8 slices.) However, you can use whatever you can find!

TIP: Do NOT over bake them! They WILL release a lot of liquid if left in the oven for too long! Make sure your oven is preheated well and HOT when putting them in.

Easy foil-baked feta cheese

It hadn’t occurred to me to bake feta cheese before but this is absolutely delicious served with crusty bread. It still holds it’s shape and the juices are a beautiful red and green color. You will think you are in the Greek Islands as you eat this.
Recipe c/o Vicky Bhogal.

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 12.56.54 PM

Serves 4-6

4x 7oz (roughly) blocks of Greek feta cheese. (Don’t use French, as it’s too mild)
Extra virgin olive oil, a generous glug for each foil parcel
2 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
a handful fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
4 fresh plum tomatoes chopped
2 tsp tomato puree
a handful capers
half a red onion, thinly sliced
aluminum foil

Preheat the oven to 400F
Create 4 individual foil pouches by tearing off 4 large large strips of foil and placing a block of feta on each with enough foil to wrap over.

Divide the rest of the ingredients between the 4 feta blocks, fold up the foil on each, and bake for 10 mins.

Serve hot with lots of good crusty bread

A bowl of Asian goodness

This is divine on a hot day when you don’t feel like cooking too much. It’s also a great starter for a dinner party

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 5.02.35 PM

Serves 4 as a starter

1/2 oz instant dashi granules
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp wasabi paste
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
10 1/2 oz soba noodles
1 nori sheet
3 1/4 inch piece of daikon radish, peeled and finely grated
3 scallions, finely sliced

Put the dashi granules in a bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over them.
Stir until the granules have dissolved, then add the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, wasabi paste and ginger. Stir to make a dressing.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the noodles. Allow the water to return to the boil then add 1/2 cup cold water to drop the temperature a little.
Repeat this process three times, then drain the noodles.
Rinse the noodles with cold water to remove the starch, then divide between 4 bowls.

Toast the nori sheet over a high flame or in a hot oven, then slice into this strips. Pour the dressing over the noodles, toss lightly, then scatter with the daikon, scallions and nori strips.

Romesco Sauce

This flavorsome Spanish sauce (or dip) is tremendously versatile. It’s wonderful served with boiled baby potatoes served warm or at room temp, that you dip into the sauce and eat. It’s great with grilled prawns or chicken too.
Whole 30 compliant, vegan, non dairy and grain free, it’s a winner. It also lasts for up to 1 week in the fridge and the whole thing is done in the food processor.

 

MAKES 3 CUPS

1 x 16oz jar of roasted bell peppers
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted lightly
1/3 cup tomato purée
4 heaped tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tbsp Sherry vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pulse the first 8 ingredients in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil; process until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Romesco can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Chile-roasted Delicata squash with queso fresco

Here’s another interesting vegetable dish.
I happen to love Delicata squash as it’s the sweetest of the squashes and you don’t need to peel it. It’s perfect paired with these flavors and well worth trying

Serves 4

2 delicata squash (about 1½ pounds)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco (you can use French feta cheese)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice the squash in half crosswise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, discarding the pulp. Rinse the seeds and set aside to drain. Slice each squash half into ¼-inch to ½-inch rounds.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, cumin, chipotle powder, paprika, and salt. Add the squash and toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange the squash in a single layer on a large baking sheet, overlapping the slices slightly if necessary.

On a separate baking sheet, toss the squash seeds with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt.

Place the squash and seeds in the oven. Roast the squash for 20 to 25 minutes, turning the slices halfway. Check on the seeds after 10 minutes and remove from the oven when golden brown. The squash will be ready when fork-tender, golden brown, and caramelized.

Place the squash on a large serving dish. Sprinkle the toasted seeds, queso fresco, and cilantro leaves over the squash.

This dish is best served warm.

Fig “carpaccio” with blue cheese, walnuts & white balsamic

I have always thought of figs as rather bland and pulpy until we planted our own tree several years ago and now walk out into the garden to pick over 15 per day through the season.
This is such a super and different way of eating them. Thanks to Matt Wilkinson.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 3.17.58 PM

Serves 2, sharing

5 ripe figs, cut in half
2 oz blue cheese; I like to use a creamy gorgonzola.
10 walnuts, toasted and chopped
8 basil leaves, washed and torn
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or if you can’t get it, regular balsamic vinegar)
2 tbsp good-quality olive oil
1 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
good pinch of salt flakes
a few turns of white pepper
2 slices bread, toasted on a char-grill

Take two sheets of baking paper, each about 12 inches long. On one sheet place the figs, flesh side down, then cover with the other piece of baking paper. Now gently smash the figs using your fingers until they are flat. Once smashed, take off the top layer of paper, leaving the figs on the bottom sheet.

Turn the bottom sheet of paper upside down on to a plate, then gently remove the paper. Now crumble the cheese over the figs, then scatter with the walnuts and basil.

Drizzle the vinegar and olive oil all over, then sprinkle with the pepitas, salt and pepper. Serve with toasted bread on the side.

Spicy Asian sesame guacamole

I love anything to do with avocados and this recipe, served with those lovely sesame rice crackers, is the perfect appetizer. Beware though, you will look like all your front teeth have fillings in them due to the black sesame seeds, so have toothpicks handy!

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 9.25.25 AM

Serves 4

3 good-sized ripe Hass avocados
1/3 cup chopped red onion (fairly finely chopped)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts. Reserve some for decoration
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp chili-garlic sauce
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce or Coconut Aminos
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sesame rice crackers, or celery sticks for serving.

Cut each avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin and place the flesh in a bowl.
Add the chopped red onion, scallions, lime juice, chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, ginger, 1 tsp of the sesame seeds and the sesame oil.
Mash with a fork until half smooth and half chunky.
Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp sesame seeds and some chopped scallions and serve immediately with the rice crackers

Roasted cauliflower with truffled pea pesto and feta crema

I had this at “Etch” in Nashville recently and thought I had died and gone to heaven. It is a stunning appetizer with two fabulous dips and would be wonderful to serve for a dinner party as it’s so easy.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.02.40 AM

Serve 4 (or 2 if you adore it)

1 head of cauliflower cut into bite sized florets
1 tbsp olive oil plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper
Pea shoots or micro greens for garnish
A few salted almonds or Marcona almonds dropped onto the pea pesto
A few green olives and thinly sliced scallions for garnish

Pea pesto
2 cups fresh blanched peas or 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water
(Some people swear by adding 2 drops of liquid smoke, but it’s optional)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan
½ tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp truffle oil
For the pea pesto
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the peas with the butter and water until they are tender.
Add all the ingredients except the truffle oil to a blender, and mix slowly.
Gradually increase the speed until the mixture is creamy, adding truffle oil as you blend.
Add a few drops of water if the mixture is too thick.

Feta crema
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup cauliflower, shaved with a box grater to snow-like consistency
Salt and pepper
For the Feta Crema
Stir the ingredients together until smooth

For the cauliflower
Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
Spread out the cauliflower on a baking sheet into an even single layer.
Roast until the edges are browned and the florets are easily pierced with a knife, between 15 and 20 minutes
To Serve
Place the roasted cauliflower florets in the center of a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil.
On one side of the florets mound the pea pesto and on the other side, mound the feta crema.
Garnish with the pea shoots or other seasonal micro greens, scallions, olives and almonds.

Easy beet and goat cheese terrine with pistachios and basil

I saw this recipe by Amy Stafford on her blog, “A healthy life for me” and immediately loved the idea of it. We adore beets and goat cheese and it’s a fairly easy one to put together and impress your guests.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 9.29.58 AM

Serves: 8

6 red beet
6 yellow beets
10 oz of goat cheese, room temperature
¼ cup of salted pistachios, shelled and finely crushed in food processor
Fresh basil leaves, cut into slivers (about 6 large leaves)
zest from ½ lemon
Pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup of olive oil + more for drizzling

In two separate pans boil water.
Add the yellow beets to one pan and the red to the other and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
Take plastic wrap and line a loaf pan letting the plastic wrap overhang on both sides, enough so that you can grab wrap to lift out finished terrine.

In a bowl, add the goat cheese, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, pepper and pistachios and stir to blend.
When the beets have cooled, peel and slice thinly.
Line the pan with a layer of yellow beets, slightly overlapping.
Then add a ¼ cup of goat cheese mixture, spreading over the beets.
Add a sprinkle of basil slivers and a drizzle of olive oil.
Continue layering the yellow beets, goat cheese, basil and olive oil four times and then start with red, continuing the layering four times.

Make sure that you finish with a beet layer and drizzle of olive oil. (you will not reach the top of the pan.
Take the plastic wrap flaps and cover your last layer
Place heavy cans on top of the plastic to compress the terrine.
Place in the refrigerator for 2 or more hours.
When you remove, unwrap and use the plastic to lift the terrine out of the pan.
Slice and serve with a drizzle of olive oil

Salad of fresh figs, candied walnuts and mountain Gorgonzola cheese

Such an exquisite combination. Mountain Gorgonzola is the perfect creaminess for a blue cheese for this dish, but don’t worry if you can’t find it. Plain Gorgonzola will be fine.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 9.02.28 AM

Serves 6

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
6 cups mesclun greens, such as arugula, oak leaf, mache or radicchio
1/2 cup crumbled mountain Gorgonzola
12 fresh figs, halved
1/3 cup candied walnuts

Mix together the balsamic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
In a separate large bowl, combine the greens, Gorgonzola, figs and walnuts.
Toss well with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Serve