Spring Orzo w/ Pesto, Favas and Asparagus

 

We planted fava beans in the beginning of the year and with our all of the rain we got they’ve taken off and grown over my head! They are super beautiful plants and these favas are so incredibly green, I just keep marveling at them. They are also available in lots of grocery stores and farmers markets now if you don’t happen to have a forrest of them in your front yard. This is a light pasta dish that we created to focus on the spring flavors.

{serves 4}

  • 1 pack (1 lb) whole grain orzo (or reg. orzo)
  • 8 cups chicken broth (or a mix of water and broth)
  • 1 1/2 cups fava beans (pods removed, with outer bean layer still on)
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tbsp julienned mint
  • asparagus tips (remaining from pesto)
  • more asiago for serving

for the pesto:

  • 1/4 cup mint
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 lg garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 5 fat asparagus spears (cut off tips)
  • 2 tbsp grated asiago
  • tbsp olive oil
  1.  cook the orzo according to package instructions
  2. meanwhile remove fava beans from pods and boil for 30 seconds then move to an ice bath, let sit for 2 minutes then remove with a strainer and use your fingernails or a knife to peel outer layer off, use the same water to blanch asparagus for 1 minute, transfer them to an ice bath as well
  3. blend all pesto ingredients together in a food processor
  4. when the orzo is pretty cooled off stir the cream (if using) and pesto in
  5. serve and garnish with asparagus tips, fava beans, mint and more cheese!

 

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Cal Mex Breakfast

I love hash browns as much as the next person but I also don’t always want to stuff myself full of fried potatoes. So I came up with this baked sweet potato version. It’s simple, flavorful, healthy and goes great with all kinds of foods. I’m thinking of doing something Indian-inspired with them next.

  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • drizzle olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt (jalapeno salt if you have it)
  1. pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet (maybe 2 depending on how big your sweet potatoes are)
  2. grate sweet potatoes on the large setting of a box cheese grater
  3. put the shreds in a big bowl and drizzle olive oil over, mix in all the spices with your hands then spread on baking sheet (s)
  4. bake for 40 minutes, remove from oven and turn with fork and flip around the sheets if your oven cooks kind of unevenly like mine.
  5. continue cooking for about 30 more minutes stirring with a fork occasionally, until starting to crisp and get brown
  6. serve with mashed black beans, a soft boiled egg, avocado, baked tempeh and lime wedge (pictured here) -these keep well in the fridge

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Niçoise Inspired Salad

 

My mom got me these sardines as a little treat. Because those are the kinds of gifts we give each other 🙂 . So I made this niçoise inspired salad. It’s not really a niçoise because it doesn’t have olives, green beans or tuna but I replaced those with capers, cornichons, beets and sardines.

{serves 1}

  • 2 handfuls of greens
  • 1 soft boiled egg
  • 4 cornichons
  • spoonful of capers
  • 3 sardines packed in olive oil (we love matiz)
  • 4 small tomatoes
  • a couple of slices of leftover beet terrine (or just roasted beets and goat cheese)
  1. soft boil the egg (or a couple to have on hand); my theory is to boil a small pot of water then turn it down to a simmer, add the eggs gently and cook for 7 minutes then remove w/ a slotted spoon and put in an ice bath for a few minutes
  2. in a bowl put washed greens, sardines, sliced beet terrine (or simply slices of beets and crumbles of goat cheese)
  3. top with capers, cornichons and tomatoes and dig in!

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Beet and Herbed Goat’s Cheese Terrine

My cousin brought a Hemsley & Hemsley cookbook over to my grandparents for me to look at and I was very excited by a lot of the recipes and gorgeous photos but this one really jumped out. It’s so striking and also all ingredients that I love. We mixed up the herbs and quantities a bit.

{makes 8 servings, as a side dish}

  • 2 red beets
  • 2 golden beets
  • 1 log of goat’s cheese
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • parsley (for garnish)
  1. pre-heat oven to 350° F
  2. roast beets in foil on a baking sheet for about an hour (unless they are super big you might need more time)
  3. remove from oven and let cool
  4. soften goat cheese and chop herbs finely and mix herbs into the goat cheese in a large bowl
  5. when beets are cooled, peel them and slice them in varied thicknesses (on the thinner side)
  6. line a 9″ by 4″ loaf pan with parchment then start layering beets and goat cheese mixture starting w/ a layer of beets, we did all red first then gold then red and so on; use less goat cheese than you think you need, I rolled it into small balls placed each one on top of a beet round then smoothed it out to cover w/ my fingers
  7. when finished layering all the ingredients, place a weight on top (we used a rubber banded down beer can and a small brick) but whatever works you know
  8. then leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours

~original recipe from Hemsley & Hemsley~

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Decadence of the Halibut

My uncle went on a fishing trip last summer and now he’s trying to get rid of all his fish. I guess he’s had enough. But we’re not complaining, my mom saw him a couple of days ago and he gave us some halibut, black cod AND salmon. Very exciting. We decided to go with halibut tonight but wanted to do something special with it so we gave it the fancy treatment that we usually do with scallops.

{serves 3}

  • 1 lb halibut
  • 1/4 capers
  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • parsley (as garnish)
  • splash of white wine
  1. pre-heat oven to 400º F
  2. in an oven-safe skillet, over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil, then add capers to fry up a bit
  3. push the capers to the side of the pan and place the halibut in the pan over medium low heat, cook for 3 minutes before flipping
  4. pour a splash of white wine in the pan and cover with lid
  5. remove lid and squeeze juice of 1/2 of meyer lemon into the pan
  6. then move to the oven and bake for 7 minutes (w/ lid on)
  7. then squeeze the rest of the lemon juice in, plate w/ butter and capers on top and garnish with parsley and enjoy with a nice white wine

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Greenies (Matcha Blondies)

Not blondies, not brownies but GREENIES! I love love love matcha and I have a bunch right now so I’ve been trying to come up with some healthy-ish desserts to use it. I found a recipe for some super healthy matcha blondies but they had all these ingredients that I didn’t have/ didn’t want to buy so I substituted and simplified and cut out a lot of sweetener. Matcha isn’t sweet at all, actually it’s kind of grassy but I like to taste that flavor and not overpower it with excess sugar.

These came out a bit crumbly but very tasty and they’re healthy!

{makes 9}

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 4 tsp matcha
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut milk -or just regular coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 container apple sauce (about 3/4 cup)
  1. pre-heat oven to 350º F and line a 9″ 9″ baking pan (you can use smaller if you want them to be thicker, you could also do it in muffin tins just adjust the cooking time)
  2. in a large bowl mix together almond meal, coconut flour, matcha, baking powder, salt and stevia
  3. in another bowl, stir together coconut milk, melted coconut butter, melted coconut oil, the vanilla extract and the apple sauce to your best ability
  4. then pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and incorporate thoroughly
  5. then spread it into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean and the edges are starting to brown and you’ve got some greenies!

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Creamy Goat Cheese Mushroom Sauce over Spaghetti Squash

I was always kind of wary of the whole spaghetti squash as a replacement for pasta thing but once you get over the fact that it’s not going to taste like pasta you start to appreciate how much lighter a vehicle it is. Another little trick that I’ve grown to love is using a tad bit of goat cheese to make a creamy sauce without the heaviness of cream or sour cream. Goat cheese also goes great with mushrooms and spinach and these things all cook quickly so this sauce comes together very easily. The only thing that is time consuming is baking the squash but if you throw it in the oven while you’re doing other things, it’ll just heat up the house and make it smell good to boot. Another cool thing about this recipe is everything is very cheap; mushrooms, onions, squash and spinach (especially when you buy it at costco).

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 cup broth (turkey, chicken or veggie)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pat butter
  • 2 or 3 oz goat cheese
  • 16 cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion white
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 handfuls spinach
  • zest of one meyer lemon
  • juice of 1/2 of a meyer lemon
  • a dot of truffle oil (optional)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • parmesan cheese (optional)

{serves 5}

  1. pre-heat oven to 350º F
  2. bake spaghetti squash whole on a lined baking sheet for 1 hour and 15 minutes
  3. dice onion and mince garlic
  4. heat oil and butter in a wok or large skillet
  5. clean mushrooms and quarter them
  6. add the garlic and onions to the skillet over medium low heat and let cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally
  7. then add mushrooms and continue sautéing until they are cooked through (4 or 5 minutes), zest the lemon into the pan then squeeze the juice of half of it in
  8. cut or crumble the goat cheese into a couple of pieces and add to the pan and stir in until melted
  9. when the squash is finished, let cool and cut in half lengthwise, then discard seeds and scoop out the flesh with a fork
  10. move the spaghetti squash “spaghetti” into a heat safe container and pour the broth over and keep covered in the oven
  11. slice spinach roughly, move the mushroom-goat cheese mixture to one side of the pan and add the spinach on the other side to steam
  12. then incorporate the spinach into the rest of the stuff and serve over the spaghetti squash, top with grated parmesan and red pepper flakes and enjoy!

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Ginger, Hazelnut, Cherry Granola

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My mom’s been making iterations of this granola for as long as I can remember. The oats-oil-honey ratio is the same but she likes to mix up the dried fruits and nut combinations. Crystalized ginger is one of my favorite add ins. Hazelnuts and dried cherries are also super yummy and go well together but you can play with your own combos.

  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 6 cups oats
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 crystalized ginger
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • dried cherries
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (raw)
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  1. pre-heat oven to 350º F
  2. in a big bowl mix oats, melted coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  3. spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes
  4. meanwhile, slice crystalized ginger and halve or quarter cherries
  5. after 15 minutes, pull the granola out of the oven and stir a bit then return to oven to bake for another 15 minutes
  6. remove from oven, stir again then spread slivered almonds and whole hazelnuts on top and continue baking for 8 minutes to toast up the nuts
  7. remove from oven again and add coconut on top and bake again for 1 minute or until the coconut starts to brown
  8. remove from oven and cool, add fruit in when it’s cool enough

© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Overnight Oats w/ Rosemary and Vanilla

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I like to make a big batch of overnight oats to have through the week for fast and easy post-yoga breakfasts. For this one I used vanilla and rosemary to flavor it. I love rosemary in almost anything, most people think of it as a seasoning reserved for savory dishes but I think it’s great incorporated into breakfasts and desserts too. Not to mention its many health benefits; it’s rich in iron, calcium and vitamin B6. According to some studies it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, improves digestion and prevents brain aging.  But more importantly it just tastes good! Our rosemary plant has TONS of flowers right now, which the bees love, but I also think are very pretty so I picked some for a garnish on my oats. They are edible and taste pretty much like rosemary but a bit more flowery- go figure.

{4 servings}

  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 4 rosemary sprigs

toppings ideas:

  • granola
  • almond butter
  • crystallized ginger
  • pomegranate seeds
  • tangerine slices
  • toasted coconut
  1. in a medium sized tupperware, combine oats, water and spices then put in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight
  2. use a blender or food processor to blend part of the oats to make a smoother consistency, I blended about 3/4 of the soaked oats to make it on the more creamy side
  3. return it to the tupperware and add chia, flax and hemp seeds and stir to incorporate- these will thicken it up overnight and give it more texture
  4. return to fridge overnight, in the morning serve some up and top with your choice of goodies!

© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Pulled Pork Tacos

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We found some pork ribs in the freezer on a cold morning last week and decided to “slow-cooker” them, as one of my mom’s friends says, all day. We kept them moist with beer and they turned out beautiful. The meat fell right off the bone and it totally tastes like carnitas (and looks like carnitas) but is way healthier because it’s not fried in a ton of oil.

{serves 4}

  • 2 lbs pork ribs
  • 1 Mexican beer
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt/ pepper

to serve:

  1. pre-heat oven to 325º F
  2. dice onion and mince garlic
  3. heat olive oil in a large dutch oven (ours is 3 1/2 quarts) over the stove, sauté onion and garlic in there with the red pepper flakes (optional)
  4. then add the ribs, brown them on both sides with some salt and pepper
  5. pour 12 oz beer over the meat and transfer pot to oven (keep lid on), braise at 325º F for about four hours
  6. then turn the oven down to 300º F for about 5 1/2 hours, adding liquid as needed (water or more beer)
  7. by then the meat should be done, remove from oven and let cool a bit then use a fork to gently shred the meat

© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

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