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.

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.

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.

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.

Spanakopita

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We love spanakopita. We also just went to Costco and bought a pound bag of spinach so it seemed only natural to make spanakopita. This is definitely not traditional, but we tried to use what herbs we had growing and make it a little easier and healthier with just sautéing everything and dumping it on the pastry- nothing wrong with that!

  • 1 puff pastry
  • 4 large kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped of each; basil, mint and parsley
  • 3/4 lb spinach
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6 oz feta
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • pomegranate seeds for garnish

{serves 6}

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[wilt your greens but not too much]

  1. pre-heat oven to 400º F and bake the puff pastry for 15 minutes (on a baking sheet) it should balloon up; after pre-baking lower heat to 350º F
  2. dice onion and mince garlic
  3. in a large nonstick skillet heat olive oil over medium heat then add onions and garlic, stir occasionally until opaque
  4. add mustard seeds and some red chili flakes if desired
  5. meanwhile, clean and roughly chop kale, spinach, basil, parsley and mint
  6. then add the greens to the sauté pan and lower heat, cook until wilted and dark green (see above photo), add pine nuts and crumble 3/4 of the feta into the mix, remove from heat
  7. with a slotted spoon (to leave behind liquid) move the greens onto the puff pastry, leaving about a 1/2 inch border
  8. bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is starting to brown, then remove from oven and crumble the rest of the feta over the top then put under broiler for 2 minutes on high or until cheese starts to get brown
  9. remove from oven, let cool for a couple of minutes then garnish with pomegranate seeds and additional herbs

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© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Pappardelle with Artichokes, Prosciutto and Baked Goat Cheese

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I got my mom this truffle artichoke sauce from World Market a while ago and we were waiting for the perfect recipe to use it in then we got a bunch of truffle swag when we went to Italy so we put together this truffle-centric recipe.
{serves 3}

  • 1 shallot
  • 6 slices prosciutto (1 1/2 oz)
  • 5 artichoke hearts (canned)
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • drizzle truffle oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pat butter
  • 7 crimini mushrooms
  • 3 goat cheese ‘medallions
  • panko bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 lb (8.8 oz) pappardelle
  • truffle artichoke sauce *

*not necessarily necessary, you could use a basic alfredo or a little cream or even go without…I found this one at world market

  1. pre-heat oven to 350º F
  2. on a baking sheet drizzle artichokes with truffle oil and insert the thyme sprigs between the leaves
  3. in a small bowl make a kind of paste out of a bit of olive oil, panko breadcrumbs, thyme leaves and a minced clove of garlic and roll goat cheese medallions in it
  4. throw those onto the baking sheet also and put the goat cheese and artichokes in the oven
  5. remove the goat cheese medallions after 30 minutes or once the outsides start to brown
  6. continue baking the artichokes for about 5 more minutes
  7. slice shallot and mushrooms
  8. in a small saute pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 pat butter, caramelize shallots over low heat, stirring occasionally until they turn a caramel color
  9. remove from pan, add more olive oil as needed (not much), then lay prosciutto strips in pan until they crisp up, then remove those and add the mushrooms
  10. stir occasionally until mushrooms are fragrant and look cooked through
  11. bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pappardelle according to package instructions
  12. pour truffle artichoke sauce (or whatever you choose to use, not if you’re using cream)  into a glass bowl and once pasta is just about done cooking, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water into the sauce to thin and stir to incorporate
  13. drain pasta and add thinned sauce, mushrooms and shallots, prosciutto, artichokes and goat cheese and garnish with more thyme

© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Salmon Tacos w/ Tzatziki and Quick Pickled Veggies

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{serves 3}

  • 1/2 lb salmon
  • 3 tortillas (maybe a couple more)
  • tzatziki sauce (garlic yogurt sauce)
  • lettuce or shredded cabbage, tomatoes, any additional taco fillings

for the quick pickled veg:

  • 3 small cucumbers
  • 1 medium sized white onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 5 sprigs fresh dill
  1. slice cucumbers lengthwise into long thin strips and slice onion
  2. in a large jar or other glass container combine all pickling ingredients (except for the cucumbers and onions)
  3. when this vinegary mixture is all combined add the cucumbers and onions and let sit until ready to eat
  4. grill or bake salmon as preferred and assemble tacos

© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

BLT-rritos

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Do you ever crave a BLT but don’t want the bread? Yeah, me neither but I’m trying to do this low carb thing and really wanted a BLT before super ripe summer tomatoes are a thing of the past so we decided to do BLT wraps and they were pretty good.

{serves 2}

  • 1 tbsp black truffle oil- you can also use plain old olive oil
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 large heirloom tomato
  • a couple handfuls lettuce
  • 1/2 enoki mushroom
  • splash white wine
  • 2 oz truffle goat cheese- you can also use plain old goat cheese
  • 2 medium sized tortilla or wrap
  1. in a large sauté pan heat 1 tbsp black truffle olive oil over medium heat
  2. cut bacon in 1/4 inch pieces and add to the pan, stirring occasionally
  3. cut mushrooms into roughly same size and add to the pan, turn heat to low and continue cooking
  4. meanwhile slice tomato and avocado
  5. toast tortilla over burner (optional, but you definitely should), then spread avocado and goat cheese on the tortilla/wrap and fill with lettuce, tomatoes
  6. remove the mushroom/bacon concoction from the pan once it’s done, let cool a bit and add to the wrap and you’ve got a BLT-rrito!

© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Lamb Tacos with Many Sauces

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There are two types of people; those who LOVE lamb and those who just aren’t fans. We LOVE lamb. It pairs great with all these kind of mediterranean/middle eastern flavors.

  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • sprinkle cumin (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (14 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • salt/pepper to taste

to serve:

  • tortillas
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta or other cheese of your choice
  • lettuce

sauces (optional but highly recommended) :

  1. in a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and olive oil
  2. dice onion and mince garlic and add to the skillet, sauté
  3. then add the lamb and let it brown on the bottom before turning
  4. add in cumin and red pepper flakes
  5. once it’s all pretty evenly browned, add the tomatoes and turn it down to a simmer for 30ish minutes to let flavors develop, then turn the heat really low for another 15 minutes

© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Tomates Farcies (Stuffed Tomatoes)

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{serves 8 as a hearty side}

  • 8 large tomatoes
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter (or 2 tbsp olive oil if you’re not feelin it)
  • 1 large shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 16 oz spinach (fresh)
  • 1 grilled (or baked) and chopped sausage (spicy Italian preferably)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers (jarred/canned works fine)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 5 oz fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme and rosemary (plus more (not chopped) for pretty garnishes)
  • 8 dollops kalamata olive tapenade
  • 3 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese

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  1. pre-heat oven to 350ºF; cut tops off of tomatoes and scoop out the insides with a melon scooper (leaving a 1/4 inch or so thick wall so they don’t completely collapse (reserve the insides)) ; then lightly salt the insides
  2. heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat; meanhwile chop garlic and shallot
  3. once butter has melted add the garlic and shallot and sauté until they’re opaque then add the spinach and sauté until slightly wilted then take off heat and let cool
  4. at this point the salt in the tomato bowls will have probably brought out some water, add that to the tomato insides bowl
  5. in a large mixing bowl combine the goat cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach concoction, 3/4 cups of the tomato insides, pistachios, roasted red peppers, red pepper flakes, breadcrumbs, sausage and herbs
  6. then bake at 350º F for 20 minutes, remove from oven, top with the tapenade dollops and put the tomato hat/lids back on and bake for another 10 minutes

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© 2016, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

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