Mario Batali’s Zucchini-Ricotta Fritters

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Sometimes I get desperate for SOMETHING new, so this weekend we gave these a go!  I am really inconsistent when it comes to frying food, so they may not look as good as they should…but they tasted Great!  I topped these with a little Tzatziki, but anything with a little citrus would be good.

What you will need:

  • 2 medium zucchini (about 7 ounces each), coarsely shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 3 large scallions, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh sheep-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 c COCONUT Flour (original recipe used 3/4 cup all-purpose flour )
  • Olive Oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

How it’s done:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, garlic, scallions, ricotta, eggs, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir well, then stir in the flour just until incorporated.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil until shimmering. Working in batches, add 2-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini batter to the hot oil, spreading them to form 3-inch fritters. Fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain the fritters on the paper towels and serve right away, with lemon wedges.

Make Ahead: The fritters can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours and re-crisped in a 325° oven.

Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms – No breadcrumbs

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This comes from my childhood LOVE of Crab Stuffed Mushrooms from Red Lobster…an absolute Must Have when we would visit on special occasions.  Well, thoses days are long gone…but I can still enjoy these little indulgences! 

 

What you will need:

  • 15-20 small button mushrooms
  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temp. is best)
  • 1/2 c Fresh parmesan cheese (I like it shredded, but grated is fine)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp  EVOO
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 4-5 thick slices of Bacon (cooked) chopped
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • Small frying pan 

 How it’s done:

Preheat oven to 400

  1. Wash mushrooms with wet paper towel, and remove stems
  2. In a small pan, lightly sauté the garlic in EVOO
  3. Once garlic has  cooled, mix all ingredients together
  4. Arrange mushroom caps onto a parchment lined cooking sheet.
  5. Roll mixture into small balls and place into the caps.  Keep in mind the mixture does expand slightly an can over flow the mushrooms
  6. Bake for 20 min (or until bubbly)
  7. Sprinkle with extra parmesan or bacon

Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese

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Note:  We each ate our own SMALL head of Cauliflower.  I served this with Lamb Rib Chops…very simple dinner, but a VERY fancy presentation and very tasty! 

What you will need:

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
2 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed

WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE AND ASSEMBLY
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
3 ounces cream cheese
3 ounces feta
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving
Coarse sea salt (for serving)

How it’s Done:

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
Preheat oven to 475°. Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.
Using 2 slotted spoons or a mesh spider, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet, draining well. Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.

WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE

While cauliflower is roasting, blend goat cheese, cream cheese, feta, cream, and 2 tablespoons oil in a food processor until smooth; season with sea salt. Transfer whipped goat cheese to a serving bowl and drizzle with oil.
Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with whipped goat cheese.

FROM: http://www.bonappetit.com

Roasted Margarita Spaghetti Squash

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Such a pretty looking dinner. 

This may qualify as one of my new comfort food dishes… Fresh flavors and super filling…and SO easy!

What you will need:

1 large spaghetti squash
2 tbsp. olive oil
3-4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 c. Finley chopped fresh basil
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder

How it’s Done:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Using a large knife or a cleaver, slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise down the middle. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and center strings.
Drizzle the two halves with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Place the squash, open side down on a cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven, check to see if the squash is soft and easily comes up with a fork into a spaghetti like texture. (If it’s too hard to remove, cook for another 10 minutes.)
Remove from the oven, scrape and fluff the stringy squash with a fork. Leave the squash in the skin.
Turn the oven up to broil. Add the tomatoes and fresh basil into the squash, stir and top with the mozzarella cheese.
Place in the broiler for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving the squash.

Recipe inspiration: http://acurvygirlsjourney.com

“Fancy” Caprese Salad Stacks

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What you will need:

  • 1 medium to large tomato
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (in water)
  • Balsamic reduction
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Diced pancetta

How it’s done:

  • Slice the Onion thin. 
  • Slices the Tomato & Mozzarella about 1/4 in thick
  • Fry in a small pan the pancetta, should brown in color slightly
  • Chop Basil fine

Drizzle plate with EVOO, layer 2 slice of onion, Mozzarella, then tomato (see picture).  Top with Basil, EVOO and a drizzle of the Balsamic Reduction.  Sprinkle Pancetta on top…and Serve

Raw Kale Salad

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Loving this Spicy Salad!!

  • 1 bunch Tuscan Kale (aka black or lacinato)
  • 2 handfuls of toasted, unsweetened , shredded coconut
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 1/4 c. finely grated Asiago Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Trim the bottom two inches off the kale stems and discard. (Note: I also remove the ribs from each kale leaf.) Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4-5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.

Using a mortar and pestle or a heavy knife, pound or mince the garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt into a paste (if using a knife, use the side to smear and smush the garlic once it’s minced). Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 c. cheese, 3 Tbsp. oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine.

Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well to combine thoroughly (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5 minutes (Note: Or up to an hour), then serve topped with the toasted coconut, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.

Toasting the Coconut:  On a cookie sheet, use parchment paper.  Sprinkle a single layer of shredded coconut.  Toast in oven at 350 degrees…for about 4-5 min (I would keep an eye on this, it tends to burn quickly)  You want it to be golden brown.

Recipe adapted from http://www.minnesotamonthly.com

Cucumber Salsa

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Grilled Wild Caught Swordfish topped with Fresh Cucumber Salsa.

This is a favorite meal and really simple to create.

What you will need:

  • 2 c. peeled, seeded & chopped cucumber
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 1 c. fresh, finely chopped parsley
  • 1.5 c. fresh, chopped cilantro
  • Fresh garlic, pressed or minced (I like a lot of garlic and use 2-3 cloves)
  • 1/2 c. Full Fat Greek Yogurt  (I like mine creamy, and usually add extra)
  • 1 Lime (juice)
  • 1 Lemon (juice)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • Kosher salt or Himalayan salt (to taste)
  • Red Cayenne  (Optional, we like it hot)

How it’s done:

  • Combine cucumber, onion, parsley, cilantro
  • Separately combine garlic, Greek Yogurt, lime & Lemon juice, cumin and salt.  Mix well then add to cucumber mixture.
  • Serve Immediately on top of grilled swordfish as pictured or as a dip for corn chips