Sunday, December 22, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus in Cucumber Cups

These little cucumber cups stuffed with roasted red pepper hummus are the perfect little red and green appetizers for Christmas.  Not only are these little bites festive, but they're so healthy you don't have to feel guilty about popping them in your mouth.  At all!  They're also incredibly tasty.  The cucumber cups are crunchy and fresh and the hummus is creamy and smooth with hints of garlic and red pepper.  This would be a great addition to any holiday table! 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus in Cucumber Cups 
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
Makes 4-6 servings

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
½ cup diced, jarred roasted red bell peppers
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 large garlic clove, peeled
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from ½ small lemon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra, to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 hot house cucumbers, ends trimmed
Fresh parsley, cilantro or mint leaves

In a food processor, combine the beans, peppers, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper, if using. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer the hummus to a small bowl.

Run the tines of a fork down the length of each cucumber several times, turning to make ridges about 1/8-inch deep in the skin all the way around. Cut cucumbers crosswise into 1-inch rounds, for a total of at least 12. Using the smaller end of a melon baller or a round measuring spoon, scoop out the center of each cucumber round to form a hollow. Use a small spoon to fill each cup with hummus, mounding slightly over the top. Tuck a small fresh parsley, cilantro or mint leaf into the side of the filling as a garnish.

Arrange the cups on a platter and serve.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Donna Hay's Madeleines with Orange Glaze

I have an infatuation with little bitty things.  There's just something about little minis that is so cute and irresistible.  So when I spotted a teeny tiny madeleine pan I simply had to have it.  In my mind I had visions of mini madeleines in every kind of flavor imaginable.  So I bought the pan and it was so mini and cute that it actually fell out of the bag and got lost in my car.  For three months.  When I discovered the pan in the back of my car I was thrilled yet again.  In fact, I had the same visions of cute mini madeleines, but then I put the pan in the pantry for another two months.  To say I'm good at procrastinating is an understatement.

Every time I spotted that madeleine pan I felt like it was taunting me.  One day I took the pan out of the pantry and placed it on my kitchen counter as an incentive. I'll have you know that pan sat there on the kitchen counter for about two weeks before I gained the needed motivation.

Today I finally made these mini madeleines and I gotta tell you that mini is no longer cute to me.  AT ALL!  Turns out the mini madeleine pan only holds approximately one teaspoon of batter in each cavity.  Making these minis was the longest process ever!

However, I will tell you that these mini little madeleines with orange glaze are the daintiest little cake-like treats ever!  We really did love them!  They are very light and sponge-like in texture and the orange glaze really gives them a wonderful citrus flavor.  These would be a nice treat with a cup of tea.  Just do yourself a favor and buy a larger pan!

Adapted from Modern Classics Book 2
by Donna Hay
Makes 24

4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 ounces butter, melted and cooled
Optional: Zest of one orange

For Glaze:
Juice of one orange
About 1 cup of confectioner's sugar
Optional: zest of half an orange and/or leftover zest from above*

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until very pale and thick.  Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and continue to beat at low speed until smooth.  Add the butter and beat until combined.

Grease two madeleine tins with 12 x 1-1/2 tablespoon capacity holes.  Spoon in the mixture and bake for 8-10 minutes or until risen and golden. 

Whisk together the juice of one orange and about a cup or so of confectioner's sugar until you get the consistency you're looking for.  For a thick glaze add more sugar.  For a thin glaze add more juice.

Theme: Fill The Tins!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Donna Hay's Seared Salmon on Coconut Spinach

My friends and I are really into Jazzercise right now.  We've been going six days a week since September and we have an absolute blast each and every time.  At the beginning of November the owner announced a contest.  It was a simple contest.  Attend 20 classes and receive a free bag.  My friend and I became obsessed with being the first to win the bag and the secret plotting began.

We were bound and determined to win this contest.  We did the math and figured out that we would have to do ten classes in one week in order to win.  Now Jazzercise is lots of fun, but it certainly isn't a walk in the park.  It's a physically demanding, high impact, total body workout with lots of jumping.  So, comitting to ten classes in one week is a little crazy for two girls pushing their forties.  Of course we knew this, but it still didn't stop us.

We started on Monday morning and took a morning class.  Then we had to go back Monday night for a second class.  We were full of vigor and we giggled like crazy.  Tuesday and Wednesday we took it easy and took only one class per day.  We were feisty and full of energy and ready to win. Then Thursday came around and it was time to get serious.  We took three classes on Thursday and by the end of the third class we were almost drunk on adrenaline. Friday morning we were back at it bright and early and laughing like crazy.  Just a couple of crazy stay at home moms with nothing better to do than win a Jazzercise contest. Then we came back for a second class Friday night. By this time we were really sore, but we were so far into our goal we knew we couldn't give up.  We leaned on each other and somehow or another we made it through a Saturday and Sunday class.  Before you knew it we were just one short class away from our goal and better yet, we were actually going to win!  Monday morning I woke up for our tenth and final class and both of my knees and ankles were on fire.  Not wanting to give up I went ahead and went to class and it took everything I had to make it through that hour. 

I don't think I'll ever forget how good it felt to win that contest with my friend that morning!  I think we both rediscovered our inner strength that week.  We also discovered our limitations.  The next morning I woke up to two swollen and bruised ankles and two swollen and sore knees.  To say I overdid it is an understatement, but I have no regrets.  It was a fantastic week!

I had to nurse my legs for about two weeks.  During this time I had two goals.  The first goal was to stay off my feet as much as possible so I could recuperate and get back to class.  The second goal was to eat a very healthy diet so I wouldn't gain any weight.  I set my sights on quick and healthy dishes like this Seared Salmon on Coconut Spinach.  It's very healthy and very quick (you don't have to be on your feet too long) and it's also very delicious.  This was an extremely satisfying meal and one that I would make again.  We really enjoyed the flavors.

It's been two weeks and I think I'm finally ready to go back to Jazzercise tomorrow morning.  I'll have to take it easy on my knees and ankles for awhile, but it will feel so good to move around again and laugh with the girls.

Seared Salmon on Coconut Spinach
Recipe by Donna Hay 
found online at Sidewalk Shoes
Serves 4

For the Salmon
4 (6oz) salmon fillets
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 large garlic clove, sliced

For the Coconut Spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small red chillies, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons Asian chilli paste (Sriracha)
About 3/4ths can coconut milk
The juice of one lemon
2 bunches spinach, stems removed

Optional: Additional Sriracha for drizzling over salmon before serving

Place the salmon in a shallow dish with the ginger, sesame oil, garlic, and soy. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes on each side. Heat a frying pan over high heat and sear the salmon for 3-4 minutes on each side (cooking times may differ depending on how thick your salmon is and how well done you prefer it to be).

To make the coconut spinach:  Place the garlic, chillies, and chilli paste in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes. Add the coconut cream (or milk) and lemon juice and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the spinach and toss until wilted.

To serve, place some spinach on each plate and top with a piece of salmon.  This dish is also great served with rice.

Theme: Fast & Fabulous!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Baked Chicken, Lemon, and Pea Risotto

There is something about making risotto that is so satisfying.  Standing over the stove toasting the rice, adding the broth little by little, and then stirring the rice until you achieve the desired consistency.  I love when I get to this point because the sky is the limit as far as adding ingredients.  Sometimes I'll stir in leftover bits of cheese, veggies and/or meat and seafood just to clean out the fridge. Other times I have a game plan and will plan out all my add-in's. 

From time to time I've seen recipes for baked risotto and I've always been curious so I decided to give it a try.  I wondered about the texture of the rice. Will it be creamy if there is no stirring involved? I wondered about convenience? Will it be easier to bake risotto?  I wondered if it would be as satisfying. Would I miss stirring the risotto? 

My curiosity got the best of me so I gave it a try.  I must say the baked risotto was definitely good, but nowhere as good as making risotto the traditional way.  We all loved the flavors in this dish but would have preferred the traditional method much more. The baked risotto was definitely missing that wonderful creamy texture that you get from all the stirring.  Additionally the rice was a little firmer, definitely al dente, if you will.  Baking the risotto was also less convenient.  Traditional risotto uses one pan.  Baking the risotto requires dirtying up two pans and a baking dish.  Not to mention, you have to heat up your stovetop and your oven. Baking the risotto also takes much longer.  In fact, it nearly doubles the cooking time. Finally and most importantly, I really did miss stirring the risotto. 

Final verdict: I'm glad I tried the baked risotto, but I see no reason at all to ever do it again.  From now on I will continue to make my risotto the traditional way and will happily stand by the stove and stir, and stir, and stir.

Baked Chicken, Lemon, & Pea Risotto
Adapted from Simple Essentials Chicken
by Donna Hay
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
7 ounces chicken breast, cubed
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
5 cups chicken stock
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Heat a nonstick frying pan over high heat.  Add the oil and chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until well browned.  Set aside.  Add the shallots, lemon zest, and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the shallots are softened.  Place the shallot mixture, rice, and stock in a baking dish.  Cover tightly with a lid or foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Add the chicken and peas to the risotto, cover tightly and bake for a further 20 minutes.  The risotto will still be quite liquid.  Stir the lemon juice, parmesan, and salt and pepper through the risotto.  Stir for 2 minutes to thicken the risotto and serve immediately.  Note: I added a little more parmesan cheese on top and baked the risotto for another 4-5 minutes to reduce the liquid a little more.  Then I broiled the risotto for about 2-3 minutes for a golden brown crust.

Theme: Easy Entertaining!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise

When I think of Thanksgiving, stuffing is definitely the first thing that comes to mind. I enjoy turkey and all the other fixins, but it's the stuffing that I find the most comforting and satisfying.  Of course Thanksgiving is all about having lots of leftovers and and every year I get inspired to create something new. Last year I was inspired to serve a fried egg over my leftover stuffing and I thought this creation was a match made in heaven ...until this year when I watched Giada make this Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise.  Stuffing, pancetta, a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce?  Why didn't I think of this sooner?
This is a fun dish that is easy to put together with your Thanksgiving leftovers.  The stuffing cakes take little to no time to prepare, the pancetta crisps up quickly and even the hollandaise is easy and quick to put together in the blender.  However, to be honest, I don't even think making the hollandaise is necessary.  I think leftover gravy would be just as good drizzled over top the Thanks Benedict. We found this dish to be very hearty and robust and really enjoyed the Thanksgiving-inspired take on the traditional Eggs Benedict.  This dish is certainly pretty enough to entertain with if you have guests over the holidays.
 Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
found on Food Network
 Makes 6
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Stuffing Cakes
2 cups leftover stuffing
2 eggs
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 thin slices pancetta
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 eggs, at room temperature

For the hollandaise: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat or in the microwave. Combine the yolks, sage, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse to incorporate. Carefully drizzle the hot butter into the processor and keep blending until the sauce is thick and creamy. Pour the sauce into a small bowl and set aside.

For the stuffing cakes:
Place the stuffing in a large bowl, breaking up any large clumps. Add the eggs and breadcrumbs and stir to combine, making sure all of the stuffing is evenly coated with the eggs. Scoop 1/3 cup of the stuffing into your hands and shape into a patty, about 3-inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. Repeat to make 6 stuffing cakes. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook the cakes, two at a time until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining cakes. Loosely cover with foil to keep the cakes warm.

Cook the pancetta:  Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook the pancetta until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Poach the eggs: Fill a small saucepan with 3 inches of water, and add the lemon juice and salt. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Crack an egg into a small heatproof bowl and use the bowl to slowly slide the egg into the water. Use a wooden spoon to carefully stir the water around the egg. Cook the egg until the white has set and the yolk is still soft, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs. 
To serve:  Place one stuffing cake on a plate. Top with 2 slices of pancetta, a poached egg and a generous drizzle of hollandaise sauce.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Donna Hay's Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar Mascarpone

I am crazy about pumpkin pie.  Every year around this time I start craving a slice of pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream on top.  Since no one else in my family likes pumpkin pie I usually resort to picking up a slice from a bakery.  This year I decided I was going to treat myself and make a pumpkin pie.  By the end of the week I was an expert at rationalizing.  I manged to convince myself that a slice of this pumpkin pie was a perfectly suitable breakfast.

Thankfully, this pumpkin pie is very light and would be perfect to follow a heavy Thanksgiving dinner.  It's sweet, but not overly sweet, and is lightly spiced compared to other versions.  I fell in love with the smooth and creamy texture of this pie.  Normally I like a touch of whipped cream on top of my pumpkin pie, but when I saw the recipe for this brown sugar mascarpone topping I was very curious. Let's just say I love the brown sugar mascarpone.  I'm fairly certain you will too.

Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Modern Classics Book 2
by Donna Hay
Serves 8

1 sheet of storebought pie crust or homemade, recipe below*
1 cup pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree, recipe below*
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs 
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg for serving, optional

*Notes: Donna's recipe actually calls for her homemade sweet shortcrust pastry, but I opted to use a store-bought pie crust because I had one on hand. The recipe also calls for 1 cup of pureed butternut pumpkin, directions for that below, but I opted to use 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree because I also had that on hand. 

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick.  Place in a 9 inch tart ring.  Line the pastry with non-stick baking paper and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice or beans.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove the weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300F.

To make the filling, place the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, cream and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour into the tart shell and bake for 50 minutes or until the filling is set.  Cool in the tin.  Sprinkle with nutmeg, slice and serve with brown sugar mascarpone.

*For the Butternut Squash Puree: Peel, chop and steam 1 pound of butternut squash until cooked.  Cool completely and puree in a food processor

*For the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:  Process 2 cups plain all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 5 ounces of cold chopped butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  While the motor is running, add enough iced water to form a smooth dough and process until just combined.  Knead the dough lightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface or between sheets of non-stick baking paper until 1/8 inch thick, or whatever thickness required, and line the tart tin.  Bake as directed.

For the Brown Sugar Mascarpone:  Combine 2 cups mascarpone and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a bowl.  Spoon on top of the pumpkin pie or serve on the side.

Theme:Are You Calling Me A Tart?

***12 Weeks of Winter Squash***

This pumpkin pie is being linked to the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash Event hosted by my friends Heather and Joanne. Feel free to link up your winter squash dishes during the week at the linky below--or on one of the other participating blogs. Linky will open up at 12:01am on 11/18/13

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Brie and Crispy Bread Salad with Cranberry Dressing

Brie cheese is so heavenly and creamy and smooth and delicious.  If I happen to spot a recipe using Brie then it's pretty much guaranteed I'm going to feel compelled to make it.  Such is the case with this recipe for Donna Hay's Brie and Crispy Bread Salad with Cranberry Dressing

This recipe is for those of you, who like me, look for a way to make a sensible meal out of bread and cheese.  And by sensible I mean that I convinced myself this salad was healthy because it called for spinach and contained fruit.  Because really...all that brie cheese was just a little over a serving, right?  And that bread, well we have to have some carbs every once in awhile, right?  

However you rationalize it, this salad was delicious.  It hits a multitude of flavor and texture combinations and is very comforting and satisfying.  Plus, it is rather festive with the cranberry dressing.  Perfect for this time of year!

Brie & Crispy Bread Salad with Cranberry Dressing
Adapted from Donna Hay website
Serves 4

2 pieces flatbread*
olive oil, for brushing
250g brie, sliced
2 cups arugula or spinach leaves

Cranberry Dressing
¼ cup roughly chopped sweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

*Note: I couldn't find flatbread so I used good quality country bread and grilled it in a pan

Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen

Theme: In Season

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lamb Sausage Rolls

My mind gets the best of me on a regular basis.  These Lamb Sausage Rolls are a perfect example.  In my mind I picture thawing and rolling out puff pastry.  Then I start thinking of what a pain pastry can be when it sticks and rips and tears.  I picture flour on the counter, a big mess, and lots of frustration.  Before you know it I have talked myself out of making anything with pastry of any sort, which is totally a shame.

The funny thing is that puff pastry couldn't be easier to work with.  You simply thaw it and it is a dream to work with.  It never ever ever gives you fits.  Even though I know this to be true my mind still gets the best of me.  It's as if I'm waiting for the day puff pastry totally lets me down.  Thankfully, it hasn't happened yet and I can't imagine it will.  These rolls couldn't have been easier to make.  Could I really be learning to trust puff pastry? 

These Lamb Sausage Rolls were even better than I anticipated.  The puff pastry creates a very flaky and buttery exterior while the inside of the roll is soft and meaty.  At first I questioned the use of tomato sauce for dipping, but it all works together splendidly.  These rolls are very reminiscent of stromboli, but the use of lamb makes them quite unique and all their own.

Lamb Sausage Rolls
Serves 8

½ cup (35g) fresh breadcrumbs
1 pound/500g lamb mince
1 small brown onion, grated
½ cup finely chopped mint*
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 egg
 salt and pepper to taste
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, extra, lightly beaten (for brushing on the rolls)
Optional garnish: sesame seeds, salt, pepper, parsley, mint, garlic, etc..
For serving: tomato sauce
Note: I omitted the mint only because I didn't have any on hand

Monday, October 28, 2013

#TheNewSouthwest #CookbookSpotlight {Cookbook Review & Giveaway}

Author: Meagan Micozzi
Publisher: Hippocrene
Hard Cover 230 pages

Meagan Micozzi's The New Southwest is a fun, bright, and colorful cookbook that celebrates the festive, and oftentimes fiery ingredients, of the American Southwest.  The recipes are easy enough for beginner cooks but also unique enough to satisfy the adventurous spirit of a seasoned cook.  I found myself drawn to the happy nature of the recipes, as well as the charming personality of the author Meagan Micozzi.  If you are a fan of happy and cheerful food then you'll want to grab ahold of this brand new cookbook. 

Twelve Chapters  
The Southwestern Pantry | Building Blocks | Condiments | Breakfast | Drinks | Appetizers & Snacks | Breads | Side Dishes | Main Courses | From the Grill | Desserts | A "Christmas-Style" Extra

Recipes I've Tried

Recipes I'd Like To Try
Sunday Salsa|Coconut Crunch Muffins|Apple, Cheddar & Chorizo Breakfast Pizza|Breakfast Toastadas with Cumin-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes|Tequila Sunrise|Texas Rose|Black Bean & Corn Quesaditas|Cheesy Beer Bread|Sage & Honey Skillet Biscuits|Adobo Potato Gratin|Fideo Burritos|Chipotle-Spiced Grilled Cheese Sandwiches|Chicken Tinga Potpie|Fancified Frito Pie

And now... here's how to win your very own copy of The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi!

 ***The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight Giveaway!***

How to enter:

1. Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this blog post letting me know what your favorite Southwestern dish is.

2. There are tons of optional extra entries in the rafflecopter widget!

Hippocrene will be supplying 14 copies of The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi for this giveaway, in conjunction with The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight. Contest is open to anybody with a shipping address in the USA. Submissions will be accepted via the rafflecopter widget through 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, November 3, 2013. Fourteen winners will be chosen by random draw, verified, and be notified by email (from Heather at girlichef) within 48 hours of the close of this contest. The winner should respond within 24 hours of notification, or a new winner will be drawn in their place. Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Author Notes: Meagan Micozzi was born in New Jersey, raised in Washington, D.C. and educated in New England. In 2011 she launched Scarletta Bakes, a blog devoted to her adventures in southwestern cooking. Micozzi's recipes have been featured on The Huffington Post, The Kitchn, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, and Scarletta Bakes was named a Site We Love by Saveur. Micozzi resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. You can visit her at

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef

Note: I received a copy of this cookbook from the publisher as part of a Cookbook Spotlight event, however I received no monetary compensation to review it. As always, my thoughts, feedback and experiences cooking from it are entirely my own. 
This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.

To see 14 other food bloggers thoughts, reviews, and recipes they've tested from the book, click on the "cookbook spotlight button" to the left!
- See more at:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pine Nut Brown Butter Pasta

Pine nuts.  I never really cared for them until I had them toasted in a pan with butter and salt.  Then I fell in love with them.  A special deep kind of love.  I wanted to put those toasty buttery pine nuts on everything and I found myself craving them.  If a recipe called for pine nuts I was sold.

So to say I loved this pasta dish is an understatement. It was absolutely delicious and and as a bonus, extremely simple and straightforward.

Pine Nut Brown Butter Pasta
Adapted from Off The Shelf
by Donna Hay
Serves 4-6

Cook one pound of pappardelle or fettucine until al dente, then drain. Melt 5 -6 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan then add 1/2 cup pine nuts to the pan and simmer until the pine nuts are golden.  Add pepper and salt and toss through the hot pasta.  Finish with grated Parmesan and serve as a simple meal or side dish.

Theme: Potluck

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts {The New Southwest #Cookbook Spotlight}

I am a big fan of bean burgers.  I've made chickpea burgers, black bean burgers, fava bean burgers, and now pinto bean burgers and I've loved them all. The good news is that everyone else in my house loves bean burgers almost as much as me so it's a total win-win situation.  

As soon as I spotted this recipe for Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts in The New Southwest Cookbook I knew it would be my choice for Week Two Blogger's Choice.  These pinto bean burgers are seasoned with a heavy dose of cumin, black pepper, coriander, and garlic so they are mighty flavorful.  Crunchy on the exterior and creamy on the inside this is one powerhouse of a breakfast that will keep you full way into the afternoon. They were a big hit at my house!

Check back on Monday, October 28th for a cookbook review and a chance to win your very own copy of The New Southwest. You don't want to miss it!

Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts
Adapted from The New Southwest by
Meagan Micozzi of Scarletta Bakes
Serves 7

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for frying
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup grated zucchini 
2 jalapenos, stemmed and minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
3-1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
(about 2-1/2 cans if using canned)
3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs*
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
7 slices Monterey Jack cheese
7 English muffins, sliced, toasted

Note: I had to use a little over a cup of breadcrumbs to get the mixture to come together.  Also, I think the 2 tablespoons of black pepper in the recipe might be a typo.  We love black pepper but I only used 1 tablespoon just in case.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until golden, translucent, and fragrant, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini, jalapenos, and garlic and saute for just 2 more minutes.  Remove pan from heat.

Meanwhile, place the beans in a large bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher.  (Use a fork for chunky, uneven consistency.)  Stir in the breadcrumbs, eggs, cumin, black pepper, coriander, and salt.  Fold in the cooked onion mixture.  Using a half cup measure, portion off and form seven patties.  Freeze them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet to firm them up.  They can be kept frozen at this point and you can cook them as needed or you can store them in the refrigerator if not using right away.

Once ready to cook and assemble your melts, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-bottomed lidded skillet over medium heat (I prefer cast iron). Add the patties and cook for 3 to 4 minute on each side, applying pressure to the top of the patties to flatten once you have a cooked side facing up.  Note that you may need to work in batches so as not to overcrowd your pan, so you may need to refresh your oil between batches and wipe the pan clean.

Once patties are crisp on the outside and cooked through, top each with a slice of cheese, replace the lid on the pan and steam just 30 to 60 seconds to melt the cheese.  Remove each patty melt to a toasted English muffin bun and serve immediately.

Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen


This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.

If you'd like to keep tabs on who's making what from the The New Southwest, then head on over to The New Southwest event page over at girlichef.
If you missed last week's "host choice" recipe, Mushroom and Leek Migas, please drop by The New Southwest event page.  You will find links to each person's post, see their results, their spin, and their thoughts on that recipe.  Also, check it all week long for updates on what people are making this week!

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.
- See more at:

If you missed last week's "host choice" recipe, Mushroom and Leek Migas, please drop by The New Southwest event page.  You will find links to each person's post, see their results, their spin, and their thoughts on that recipe.  Also, check it all week long for updates on what people are making this week!

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef. - See more at:

If you missed last week's "host choice" recipe, Mushroom and Leek Migas, please drop by The New Southwest event page.  You will find links to each person's post, see their results, their spin, and their thoughts on that recipe.  Also, check it all week long for updates on what people are making this week!

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef. - See more at:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Raspberry Breakfast Parfaits

Weekday mornings are crazy and hectic, aren't they?  I spend about two hours getting the kids ready for school and dropping them off.  No matter how hard I try there is always some sort of crisis like last minute permission slips that need signed, money that is due (does anyone actually carry cash anymore ???), and my personal favorite...Surprise, I forgot today was picture day!  Either way, it never seems to run smooth when you have kiddos and I've learned there is really nothing you can do to brace yourself for it.  You just have to go with it, one step at a time.  

Once my kiddos head out the door I'm in a mad dash to get myself ready so I can make it to the gym for class at nine o'clock.  I usually end up grabbing a banana or some kind of granola bar because they are easy, but they're also kinda boring.  Other times I'll make a batch of hard boiled eggs on the weekend so I can enjoy a hard boiled egg with a piece of toast.  Lately I've been into yogurt parfaits because they feel like a decadent breakfast treat and goodness knows they are definitely more colorful and pretty than a monochromatic piece of toast.      

There are a million different variations on yogurt and/or breakfast parfaits.  Use what you like. I like this breakfast parfait because it blends the fruit into the yogurt which means I don't have to mix the fruit into the yogurt when I eat it.  I also like this recipe because it relies on a bag of frozen fruit, which is nice if your favorite fruit isn't in season.  Raspberries are at the top of my list, but you could literally go with anything here. There are also a lot of different muesli mixes and granola mixes out there.  I like the combination of raspberry with a little bit of chocolate so I went with a granola mix made from oats and bits of dark chocolate. These parfaits are definitely going to get my morning off to a great start!

Raspberry Breakfast Parfaits
Adapted from Donna Hay website
Serves 4

One bag frozen raspberries (about 250g - 350g), thawed
2 cups (500 grams) Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
1 cup (130 g) toasted muesli or granola
1/3 cup honey

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