Roasted tomatoes with goat cheese polenta and garlic spinach

This recipe is from the blog “Pinch of Yum” and is absolutely delicious. We are trying to eat less meat and you wouldn’t miss it with this.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.10.03 PM

Serves: 4

3 cups cherry tomatoes (or small tomatoes – tricolor or heirloom are super pretty!)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic
3 cups spinach
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup loose polenta (I used Bob’s Red Mill, also available on Amazon)
4 oz goat cheese
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the tomatoes, place on a baking sheet, and pat dry. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Roast for 10 minutes, gently turn the tomatoes, and repeat until the tomatoes are browned, about 30 minutes. You can turn the heat up to 450 at the end to get more browning action.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pan. Add the garlic and saute gently until fragrant, but do not brown – browned garlic tastes bitter and gross. When the garlic is smelling incredible, add the spinach and turn off the heat. You should be able to just keep stirring the spinach around for a minute and it will wilt and reduce in size. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.

In the same pan, bring the water/vegetable broth to a bowl. Add the polenta and whisk until smooth. Simmer for 15 minutes or so until the polenta has thickened. Add the goat cheese and the salt and stir until smooth. Taste and adjust as necessary. Serve the polenta immediately with the tomatoes and the spinach.

* The polenta thickens and hardens as it starts cooling – but for this recipe, I liked the polenta soft, so if you need to loosen it up a bit, just add some water or milk and whisk until smooth.

Warm pan of garbanzo beans, chorizo, spinach and goat cheese

I just love healthy and flavorsome food that is easy to prepare.


Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 1.08.10 PM

Serves 4 to 6
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups baby spinach
Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half moons
3 roasted red peppers, preferably packed in oil, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 chorizo sausages, chopped
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
One 14oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/4 cup goat cheese (chèvre) crumbled

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide saucepan. Add the spinach and toss to coat. Heat the spinach until it begins to wilt, about 4 minutes, then add the red wine vinegar and a pinch of kosher salt. Remove the spinach into a bowl.

Add the onion, the roasted red pepper, and the garlic to the pan. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the chorizo. (If the chorizo is not cured, make sure to cook it through, about 5 to 7 minutes.) Add the paprika and the cayenne. Add the chickpeas, then stir everything together. Taste and correct the salt, as needed.

Stir in the reserved spinach, then the chives and the parsley, and finally top with the chèvre. Lightly stir through. Serve warm with crusty bread

Stuffed roast peppers with goat cheese, chorizo, rice, tomato, zucchini and orange

This started out as a vegetarian recipe and still can, if you eliminate the chorizo. I happen to think it adds a layer of flavor  that raises the bar. If you don’t like goat cheese they work really well with feta cheese too.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.22.38 AM

This recipe serves 2 but can easily be doubled

1¾oz wholegrain long-grain rice
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
8oz Spanish chorizo, diced very small or crumbled.
1 courgette, diced
2½oz cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin ( roast my cumin before grinding it)
1 tsp ground coriander
¾oz toasted flaked almonds
½ orange, zest only, finely grated
3 heaped tbsp roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley (or cilantro)
3½oz mild goats’ cheese, rind removed and cheese cut into chunks (or feta cheese, but make it the Greek one)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F
Cook the rice in a pan of boiling water for 25 minutes, or until just tender, then drain.
Meanwhile, cut the peppers in half from top to bottom and discard the seeds. Place, open-side up, on a baking tray (cut a sliver from the base if necessary to help them sit flat). Bake for 15 minutes.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a frying pan and over medium heat, fry the chorizo for 5 minutes, then add the onion and courgette over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for 4-5 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, cumin and coriander and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Tip into a large heatproof bowl and stir in the almonds and orange zest.

Add the rice and parsley and season with a little salt and lots of pepper. Mix together.

Fill the peppers with the rice mixture. Dot with the cheese and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the peppers are softened and the filling is piping hot.

Bacon wrapped dates with almonds and goat cheese

Unctious, divine and so easy.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.28.22 AM

24 large moist dates, such as Medjool
12 not-too-thick slices of bacon
2 oz. softened goat cheese
24 whole toasted unsalted almonds

Move oven rack to upper third of oven and preheat oven to 500°. Pit dates, tearing them open as little as possible. Set dates aside. Halve the 12 slices of bacon crosswise. Put the goat cheese into a pastry bag fitted with a round, plain ¼” tip.

Stuff cavity of each date with 1 almond. Pipe goat cheese into the opening of each stuffed date. Wrap 1 half-piece of bacon around width of each date and put dates, seam side down, on a baking sheet, at least ½” apart. Bake until bacon is golden and crisp, 6-8 minutes.
Set aside to cool briefly before serving.

Prosciutto wrapped chicken stuffed with goat cheese and figs

This is a very simple but highly effective dish from Marcus Bean, that is as good at a dinner party as it is for a casual get-together with friends. You can also make them as small bites.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 1.11.26 PM

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 strips of Parma ham or prosciutto
8 fresh figs, sliced
4 oz soft goats cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Make a horizontal slit down each chicken breast, making sure you don’t cut all the way through. Open up the chicken breasts as flat as possible and place each one on 2 strips of Parma ham or prosciutto.

Mix together the figs and goat’s cheese, season the chicken breasts, then put 1/4 of the stuffing mixture on each chicken breast, seasoning again with a little more salt and pepper. Fold the chicken over the filling, then wrap the ham around the outside and secure with cocktail sticks, if necessary.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chicken breasts and cook on medium high until browned, then transfer to a roasting tin and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the breast is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Serve hot with a fresh green salad and boiled, buttered baby potatoes.

Stuffed roasted peppers with caramelized rutabaga (swede), capers and goat cheese

Well, this knocked our socks off! Yotam Ottolenghi’s new book, “Plenty More” stuffed full of more spectacular vegetarian recipes is a winner.
What a combination of flavors this recipe has, with the caramelized rutabaga, capers, parmesan cheese and goat cheese.

These are just as good at room temp (or as leftovers the next day) as they are hot. Rutabaga gets a whole new “wardrobe’ with this dish!

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 4.38.27 AM

Serves 6
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 3/8″ dice (about 7 cups)
1/3 cup thyme leaves, stripped from the stalk
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 large cloves garlic,crushed
5 tbsp capers, drained and coarsely chopped
3 small yellow bell peppers
3 small red bell peppers
1 tbsp olive oil, approx
6 oz chevre log, (goat cheese) broken into 3/8″ pieces
1/3 cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.Add the rutabaga, thyme leaves, 1 1/2 tsp salt and a good grind of black pepper. Turn down the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for about 50 minutes, spooning the butter over the rutabaga from time to time, until the rutabaga is completely soft and caramelized. Use a slotted spoon to remove the rutabaga from the butter and add it to a large bowl along with the parmesan cheese, garlic and capers and mix well. Set aside until needed. (The leftover butter can be used for cooking carrots or zucchini)

Preheat the oven to 500 F

Cut the peppers in half lengthways, keeping the stalks intact. Remove the seeds and white flesh and place, cut side up, on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Drizzle the oil over the top, sprinkle with a little salt and place in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the peppers are slightly charred and the flesh is completely soft.


Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 5.00.47 AM

Remove the peppers from the oven and turn down the oven to 425 F

Spoon the rutabaga mixture into each pepper half and dot with the goat cheese on top.
Return to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes so that the cheese gets some color.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving warm, or serve at room temperature
Top each stuffed pepper with a sprinkle of parsley

Chicken breasts stuffed with olives and goat cheese

I get more requests for the boneless, skinless chicken breast than anything else!   Here, chicken breasts are stuffed and then seared until golden-brown. The pan sauce is made separately, which both saves time and prevents the stuffing from getting into the velvety sauce.  Although really tasty, the sauce is optional, depending on how much time you want to devote to the dish. I have made it both ways very successfully.


Serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 lb. total)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, at room temp
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. minced shallots
1-1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. lower-salt chicken broth

With a sharp knife, cut a wide pocket into the thickest part of each chicken breast half, taking care not to cut all the way through. Season the chicken evenly on both sides with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper total.
In a small bowl, mix the cheese, olives, and 1 tsp. each lemon zest and rosemary. Stuff the pockets with the cheese mixture and pin each shut with two toothpicks. Spread the flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess.
Heat 1 Tbs. of the butter and the oil in a 12-inch heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat until the foam from the butter subsides. Add the chicken and cook, flipping once and adding another 1 Tbs. of butter halfway through cooking, until golden-brown and cooked through (reduce the heat to medium if necessary), 14 to 16 minutes total. Transfer to plates and remove the toothpicks. You can put them in the oven on low at this point, to stay warm, or even finish cooking at 300 F for 10 mins or so, if you like.
While the chicken cooks, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and boil until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and boil for 1 minute more. Off the heat, whisk in the remaining 3 Tbs. butter, 1 tsp. zest, and 1/2 tsp. rosemary. Serve the chicken drizzled with the sauce.

Marinated goat cheese with ginger, basil, garlic and orange zest


Here is a spectacular appetizer  I have done countless times and always to a “wow” when people first try it. It’s simple but really raises the bar.

Serves 6 to 10.

Serve at room temperature with crackers or can be served in Belgium endive cups. Also great with crusty bread as the oil marinade is wonderful to mop up.

1 (12 oz approx) log soft goat cheese, or 3 smaller logs, chilled. (I bought regular plain supermarket goat cheese, 11oz log size)
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp whole peppercorns, preferably a mixture of white, pink and black
1 tsp whole allspice berries
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (I used the garlic crusher)
2 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger (I grated the ginger)
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil
1 full tsp grated orange zest
(crackers or Belgium endive)

Using a thin-bladed vegetable knife, cut the goat cheese…

View original post 151 more words

Smoked salmon frittata


I normally tweak recipes, but when it comes to the Barefoot Contessa, there is rarely any need. This is gorgeous.

Serves 8
1 medium onion, diced
12 extra large eggs
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 lb smoked salmon, chopped
4 scallions, chopped, white and lighter green parts
3 tbsp fresh chopped dill
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Saute the onion and butter in a 10 inch oven proof pan over medium heat until translucent, about 7 to 9 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the heavy cream, goat cheese, smoked salmon, scallions, dill , salt and pepper and combine.
Pour the mixture over the onions and place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake the frittata for about 50 minutes or until it puffs up and a knife inserted in the middle, comes out clean.
Serve hot directly from the pan


Cheesy, crispy baked cauliflower tots

Screen shot 2014-03-27 at 3.57.29 PM


These are an absolute winner as a starter or a snack and even children love them, not realizing they aren’t tater tots!
This recipe makes about 24 small tots and is modified from a recipe on “Kaylin’s Kitchen” a terrific food blog.

1/2 large head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese (preferably not the packaged pre grated stuff)
1/3 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese (again, not pre grated, preferably)
2 tbsp almond or plain flour
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp your favorite seasoning blend, like Spike or Montreal etc
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Spray a mini muffin tin with non stick spray
Cut away the leaves of the cauliflower, but use most of the inner core part for the recipe.
Coarsely chop the cauliflower, place in a microwave proof bowl, cover with cling film and microwave for 2 minutes on high so that the cauliflower is slightly soft.

Screen shot 2014-03-27 at 4.01.34 PM

Quickly take off the cling film and let the steam escape, and if you see any water in the bottom of the bowl, put the cauliflower into a colander to let the water drain off.
Put the steel blade in the food processor, add the cauliflower and pulse until the cauliflower is finely chopped but still slightly chunky. (Be careful you don’t end up with a puree!) Drain out any water from the bowl of the food processor.


Screen shot 2014-03-27 at 4.01.53 PM

Put the finely chopped cauliflower into a bowl and add the grated cheese, parmesan cheese, flour, salt, seasoning blend and ground pepper.
Stir until the ingredients are really well combined. Add the egg and stir until the ingredients are mostly coated with egg. Don’t be tempted to add any more egg!
Using a “one tablespoon scoop” or a steel one-tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out rounded spoonfuls of the mixture and place in the min muffin tin.
Bake for 15 minutes then carefully turn each tot over in the muffin tin and bake for another 15 minutes or until the tots are nicely browned on both sides.
Serve these hot and straight from the oven while they’re still crispy