Zucchini, Jalapeno, Asiago Bread

Last week we had excessive amounts of jalapenos and I was going  to visit my grandpa (Nonno) who is jalapeno’s number one fan so I decided to spice up some zucchini bread with jalapenos and add some cheese in for good measure. He approved.

  • 4 jalapenos
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup grated asiago
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  1. pre-heat oven to 350°F and line a bread pan with parchment paper or butter or cooking spray
  2. whisk eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth
  3. whisk flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg
  4. make a well in center of dry ingredients, add egg mix and slowly combine, then fold in zucchini
  5. de-seed jalapenos and dice them, then add them into dough along with grated cheese
  6. bake for about 70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Plum Goat Cheese Tart

A couple of weeks ago we went to the swap meet and thought it was a good idea to buy five pounds of plums before trying them. They were chalky and gross and never ripened. Luckily, I am quite the problem solver especially when it comes to all things food related. In one of the most magical transformations I’ve ever participated in, plum jam was created.

plum jam:

  • 10 plums (don’t worry if they’re unripe and tasteless, it’ll be better if they are tasty but it’s not absolutely necessary as evidenced by the swap meet fiasco)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Slice plums and heat, covered, on medium-low heat with lemon juice.
  2. Let cook undisturbed for 10 minutes, then stir in honey and cinnamon
  3. tilt lid up to let out some moisture and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until desired consistency is reached

This jam is great on toast, yogurt or cottage cheese as well. I think I am going to make baked brie w/ it tomorrow night. This tart was a wonderful and easy dinner/dessert. Puff pastry is a great pantry (er freezer) staple to have on hand because of its’ versatility and scrumptious-ness.

plum jam, goat cheese tart:

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 cup plum jam (link)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese

  1. pre-heat oven to 400°F, thaw puff pastry and roll out on lined baking sheet
  2. poke middle with a fork, leaving a 1 inch border, sprinkle with 1/2 the goat cheese and bake at 400° F for 10 minutes or until it starts to turn gold
  3. remove and spread the jam in an even layer over the middle part then sprinkle the rest of the goat cheese on top, continue baking, about 1o minutes, or until cheese melts and crust turns golden

© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Pickled Zucchini and Plums

It is ridiculously hot in SLO right now. Yesterday I sat at home and studied all day but somehow still ended up feeling gritty like I had been strolling the streets of NYC on a summer day, thanks to the steady layer of sweat I kept up until well after sunset..even though I was stationed under the fan, with breaks only to make trips to the little girls room and to the freezer to remove and refill glasses of water. At one point I realized the reason my laptop was moving at the pace of an elderly snail, was probably because the poor thing was hotter than the outside temperature, meaning well over 100. I put it in the fridge. Not like I was getting much done. Heat is definitely not conductive to productivity. Anyways my friend was coming over for dinner but the thought of cooking ANYTHING sounded horrendous so I made a few cold salad-y things that required minimal effort and used up some of our surplus produce.

We got zucchini in our CSA this week, much to my chagrin. I’ve never been a fan and neither is my roommate. This was a big stress on my conscience this week…knowing that I’d have to mask those stupid zucchinis, also knowing it was going to be way too hot to cook anything this weekend unless dinner prep could wait til 8:00 when it finally starts cooling off. But we’re busy girls so this  is not feasible. I decided to  pickle them because as you know if you’ve seen this Portlandia clip, pickling is the solution if you’re in a pickle.

  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 1/2 plums
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  1.  cut zucchinis in halves and grate them long ways using a carrot grater
  2. slice plums thinly
  3. lay zucchini and plums in a small casserole kind of dish and sprinkle sugar and salt over
  4. pour vinegar and water over
  5. let marinate for an hour and stir a little, adding more vinegar if it looks like it needs more moisture

I also have made Pickled Carrots TWICE this week because pickled carrots are especially great. We also had 3 bunches of them.

And here are some pickled onions for good measure.



© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Goat Cheese and Apricot-Jalapeno Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

One of the greatest things about SLO is the farmers’ market. And one of the best things at the farmers market is apricot jalapeno jam. As if we weren’t titillated enough, once we took it home and tried it with goat cheese, we were addicted. We started going through a jar, a week. I’d been wanting to try a cauliflower pizza crust and we had a giant cauliflower sitting around in the fridge looking for a purpose. Then, last week on our first farmers market outing, we were reunited with the prized jam, then on our first Costco outing we stocked up on goat cheese (obviously). This pizza was the result.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup apricot-jalapeno jam (you can sub another kind of jam i suppose)
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • pepper and salt
  1. cut cauliflower into smaller pieces, then blend in food processor into a rice-like consistency
  2. spread on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes
  3. let cool for a bit then move cauliflower into cheese cloth or a thin dish cloth
  4. squeeze as much liquid out of it as possible, it should be about 1 cup
  5. then add the eggs, chopped rosemary, pepper and salt and mix with hands
  6. spread on the baking sheet again and bake for 20 more minutes until starting to turn brown
  7. spread jam over (leaving a 2 cm border around the edges) and sprinkle goat cheese as evenly as possible on top

© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Beet Root, Goat Cheese Spread

My dad has a few favorite vendors at the farmers market that he loyally returns to. I suspect it has something to do with their levels of generosity with samples. One of them sells Middle Eastern style dips and salads. One of our favorites is a beet-goat cheese dip. I attempted to recreate it tonight and it came out pretty tasty. His is usually a smooth spread but I left mine a little more on the chunky side. It was great on some toasted hearty bread.

  • 2 lg beets
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1 slice of orange
  1. Scrub beets then wrap in 2 layers of foil and bake for an hour
  2. Unwrap them and let cool, then peel off skins
  3. Cut in chunks and throw in the food processor with yogurt, goat cheese, parsley and the juice of the orang
  4. Blend until desired consistency is reached

© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Eggplant Caponata

  • 3 small eggplants or 1 large
  • 3 tbsp evoo
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • a few grinds black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tbsp basil

  1. heat olive oil over medium heat on the stove in a fairly large pan
  2. add the minced garlic and diced onion
  3. dice eggplants into 1 cm cubes and add to pan once onion starts turning opaque
  4. add red wine vinegar
  5. once eggplant starts to soften, add whole tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar
  6. chop rosemary and add to pan
  7. once tomatoes start to split and eggplant is softened, take pan off heat and stir in capers
  8. season with salt and pepper to taste
  9. sprinkle with basil to serve

great on Sunflower Seed Rosemary Crackers, if I do say so myself

© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.


I was shocked by how easy it was to make this delicious cheese at home in less that 24 hours. Ricotta is great because of its versatility; we used it for a great dinner on fresh pasta and also had it for dessert on top of cake. We got inspiration and the recipe from Bon Appétit.
summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
  1. Bring milk, cream, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice; stir gently until mixture starts to curdle. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a fine-mesh sieve lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth set over a medium bowl. Chill until cheese is spreadable, at least 20 minutes and up to 12 hours (the longer it strains, the thicker it will be).

Original recipe: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/fresh-ricotta
summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

After making the cheese, you’ll have quite a bit of whey leftover but don’t toss it! There are lots of interesting and useful ways to utilize it. This article explains all you ever wanted to know about curds versus whey: http://www.farmcurious.com/cheesemaking-what-to-do-with-all-that-whey/





© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Marinated Goat Cheese Balls with Artichokes, Olives and Tomatoes

I got this recipe from the Food & Wine website in a French picnic slide-show. I made it for the sangria party night. I was especially interested in it because not only do I love all of the elements but the piment d’Espelette is a specialty of the Basque region near where I spent the first half of the year studying abroad. There I tried everything with the special chilli flavoring, from chocolate to cheeses.
summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh goat cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tsp piment d’Espelette pepper or hot paprika
  • salt
  • 1 quart evoo
  • 20 cooked baby artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup red cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup Niçoise olives
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pine nuts in a pie plate and bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  2. In a standing mixer, using the paddle, blend the goat cheese with the toasted pine nuts, rosemary, thyme and piment d’Espelette. Alternatively, blend the cheese in a bowl using a wooden spoon. Season with salt. Shape rounded tablespoons of the seasoned cheese into balls.
  3. Pour 1 inch of olive oil into a tall 1-gallon glass container. Layer the cheese balls, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and olives in the container with enough of the remaining olive oil to cover. Let marinate at room temperature for 24 hours. Serve with the toasted baguette.

Original recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/marinated-goat-cheese-olives-artichokes-and-tomatoes

summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Sunflower Seed, Rosemary Crackers

A couple of years ago, my friend and I were in Vancouver and all of a sudden I got a hankering for something bread-like, tasting of rosemary and salt. The hankering turned into a fierce, unwavering craving and I told my friend; I was on a mission. She was doubtful of our finding such a specific snack, but lo and behold, while wandering unsuspectingly through a fun marketplace, our eyes landed on a beautiful display of fluffy foccacia studded with rosemary, glistening with olive oil and sparkly salt crystals. I think I gasped, my eyes may have started to fill, I don’t know, but our mouths were definitely hanging open enough for the guy manning the counter to ask what was up. He happily served up some warm fluffy salvation with a chuckle. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences. This is what these crackers remind me of.
summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

I found this recipe on the Food & Wine website a couple weeks ago and we ate them so fast that I’ve made it two more times since them. These crackers are the best. A great vehicle for bleu cheese…or any kind of cheese.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tsp minced rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the sunflower seeds, rosemary, yeast and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Stir in the water and 1/4 cup of the olive oil until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until it becomes a smooth ball, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Turn 2 large baking sheets upside down. Divide the dough in half. Set 1 half on a baking sheet and roll it out to a 9-by-15-inch rectangle about inch thick. Trim the edges to make a neat rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Drizzle the tops with 1 teaspoon of the oil and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining dough and oil.
  3. Bake the crackers for about 28 minutes, until golden. Let cool completely before serving.

Original recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sunflower-seed-and-rosemary-crackers-cocktails-2008
summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Mediterranean Deviled Eggs

I love deviled eggs but I especially like dressing them up and making my own variations. There’s so much to more to fill with than just the plain ole’ egg yolk, mayo, mustard
summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

This is my most recent rendition.

  • 3 hardboiled eggs
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 12 capers
  • 1 tbsp pickled onions
  • 2 sprigs thyme or rosemary or both
  • black pepper sprinkling
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp goat cheese
  1. peel eggs, halve and scoop out yolks
  2. chop some of your herbs making sure to leave a coupe of sprigs (only the most good-looking) for garnish
  3. add mustard, olive oil and goat cheese and mash
  4. refill egg halves with the mix (baby spoons are great)
  5. top each egg with a sprinkle of pepper, a pickled onion or two, a couple capers and a nice little sprig of herbacious greens of your choice

© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...