Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Artichoke & Red Pepper Melt

Source: Pinch of Yum

This week's selection for Recipe of the Week is a delightfully simple Mediterranean-themed sandwich. Yes, a sandwich...But don't be fooled, this is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill ham and cheese sandwich. If this sandwich were a work of art, I like to think it would be a Van Gogh (one of his flower paintings, not one of those creepy self-portraits). 

This inspired creation is topped with several of my favorite ingredients– hummus, roasted red peppers, artichokes, spinach and cheese– and then broiled before serving to get the bread nice and toasty and the cheese a little crispy.

Source: Pinch of Yum

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Feta

Spinach and artichoke dip– best classic appetizer ever. It's warm, cheesy, tangy, salty goodness slathered on chips.

I've made spinach and artichoke dip before and it was decent, but this recipe took things to a whole different level. This twist on the classic includes several ingredients not traditionally found in spinach and artichoke dip: lemon juice & zest, pine nuts and feta. These ingredients really enhance the depth of flavor in the dish– making it extra tangy and extra salty, in a very delicious way.

Another great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to make. All you have to do is throw the ingredients together and let the mixture sit in the fridge until about 30 minutes before you want to serve it. Total hands-on time is less than 10 minutes. Major plus.

Refrigerate any leftover dip and heat it up the next day in the oven, it still tastes great.

Bon appetit!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Feta
Serves 8-10
6-oz. can of artichoke hearts in water, drained, patted dry and coarsely chopped
10-oz. package chopped frozen spinach, defrosted, wrung dry using a clean kitchen towel
3/4 cup mayo
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1 garlic clove, peeled & crushed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Pita chips or crackers, for serving

Cheese is what makes this dish great, so spring for some good feta and Parmigiano

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425° F.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together spinach, artichokes, mayo, sour cream, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Rub the inside of a small baking dish with the crushed garlic. Discard the used clove. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Level off the top using a spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmigiano and the feta.

Bake until the top browns and the dip heats all the way through, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving with pita or crackers of your choice.

This dip is perfect served on pita chips or small buttery crackers

Source: Oui, Chef via food52

Friday, May 13, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumble

Source: Epicurious

It's almost here: summer, my favorite time of the year for food. What's not to love? There's the abundance of fresh produce, grilling galore, and, my personal favorite, the fruit desserts. There's something magical about fresh fruit paired with delicious pastry crust/topping. And the possibilities are endless: Pies, cobblers, crisps, crumbles, buckles, grunts. I love them all.

Strawberry and rhubarb is a tasty combination perfect for late spring when both fruits are in season. But somehow, with all my summertime fruit creations, I've never made a single dessert using this delicious pairing. Enter this week's selection for Recipe of the Week– a strawberry and rhubarb crumble from last year's May issue of Bon Appetit. I spotted this selection in a collection of recipes on Epicurious and bookmarked it immediately. Now that Chicago's outdoor farmers' markets are up and running, and it's above 60 degrees, I have no excuse not to give this recipe a try.

Source: Bon Appetit May 2010 via Epicurious

Friday, May 6, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Source: Perrys' Plate

Happy Cinco de Mayo, y'all! I hope everyone is out celebrating with some margaritas and tacos. Sadly, I'm stuck at home trying to finish a paper. But in the spirit of one of my favorite holidays, I've selected a Mexican-themed dish for my recipe of the week. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, stacked roasted vegetable enchiladas. 

Loads of vegetables, cheese and tortillas? Yes please! But let's throw some guacamole in there too... And maybe some spicy shredded chicken. Okay, enough already. I'm drooling.

I like that this dish is super customizable and pretty healthy as far as Mexican food goes. I will be making it as soon as I finish this paper, or, more likely, when I get back from the Kentucky Derby this weekend. Yipee!

To go along with the festive theme of this post, here's a song for the occasion. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Greek Salad with Orzo & Black-Eyed Peas

As I've mentioned before, when I'm at school, cooking for myself can be tricky. Recipes make multiple servings and I do not generally eat more than a single serving at a time. So my leftovers sit in the fridge, and if I don't eat them quickly enough, they go bad. Sometimes, I end up throwing away half of the food I've made. This is 1) A waste of food and, 2) A waste of money. As a college student, wasting food is bad, but wasting money...even worse. 

So, I am always on the lookout for tasty dishes that can last for a while without going bad, and for the past two years, this has been one of my favorite go-to recipes. Not only is it delicious, it's portable, it's healthy, and I don't feel guilty about leaving it sitting in the fridge.

The recipe is a Mediterranean take on pasta salad and it's packed with all sorts of good stuff. The combination of stellar ingredients makes it a wholesome but satisfying dish, and the flavors and textures complement one another perfectly. The acidity of the lemon, vinegar and tomatoes, the saltiness of the feta and olives, and the crunchiness of the onion and cucumber all come together to create a dish that packs a flavorful punch.

This dish is the perfect combination of acidity, saltiness and crunchiness

Not only is this salad delicious, it's super healthy as well. Black-eyed peas and feta add lots of calcium. Olive oil provides heart-healthy unsaturated fats, and tomatoes and parsley serve as powerful sources of antioxidants. For extra nutritional benefit, try using whole-wheat orzo for a dose of whole grains.

With so many nutritious ingredients, you can feel good about stuffing your face with this dish.

Bon appetit!

Greek Salad with Orzo & Black-Eyed Peas
Serves 4
3/4 cup orzo, I use whole-wheat
15-oz can black-eyed peas, washed & drained
1 large tomato, diced
3 tbsp curly leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped or 2 tsp dried oregano
1/2-lb crumbled feta, about 1 cup
Pepperoncini for serving
Coarse sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions. Transfer to a sieve and rinse under cold water. Drain well.

Combine black-eyed peas, tomato, parsley, vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Toss and let sit, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine orzo, cucumber, olives, onion, lemon zest & juice, oregano, remaining tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Toss.

Combine the black-eyed pea mixture, orzo mixture and feta in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with pepperoncini. Stored in an air-tight container in the fridge, this dish is good for several days.

Go ahead and take those extra few bites, I know you want to...

Source: Gourmet August 2008 via Epicurious