‘Roasted Gnocchi & Brussels Sprouts with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette’

Recipe Courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

Recipe Courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

I love gnocchii–those pillowy dumplings from Italy that are perfectly designed for catching an array of sauces. From a simple brown butter and sage sauce, to marinara sauce or even your favorite pesto sauce, gnocchi are a nice side dish or main dish and can liven up any dinner menu.  Before coming across this recipe I had never thought about roasting gnocchi.  The traditional way to cook gnocchi is to drop the dumplings into a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes until they float.  Roasting them in a high heat oven instead is brilliant–they soak up the oil that you drizzle on top of them and get a nice crispy crust as well.  This recipe pairs the roasted, store-bought gnocchi with quartered Brussels sprouts, tart sun-dried tomatoes and a lemon vinaigrette.  Such a unique recipe that I will making again and again!

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/255748/roasted-gnocchi-brussels-sprouts-with-meyer-lemon-vinaigrette/*)

Rosemary Lamb Chops with Black Garlic-Dijon Vinaigrette

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The fig-like flavor and texture of black garlic cloves pairs very nicely with both Dijon mustard and white balsamic vinegar.  These three things mixed together with a touch of olive oil make a fabulous vinaigrette for a simple side salad or even a topping for roasted vegetables or any cooked protein you are craving.  For this recipe, I drizzled the homemade black garlic-Dijon vinaigrette over rosemary-scented lamb chops.  The richness of the lamb is wonderful with the richness of the black garlic and the pine-flavor of the fresh rosemary. Serve these grilled lamb chops over a plate of warm white beans, or even a white bean puree.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Watercress, Pistachio & Grilled Halloumi Salad with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

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With half a package of Greek halloumi cheese in the cheese drawer and a jar of preserved lemons on hand as well, I came up with this lovely Moroccan-inspired salad.  Moroccan-inspired because of the tangy preserved lemon vinaigrette that coats each piece of peppery watercress.  The salty yet creamy taste of the warm halloumi cheese pairs very well with the crunchy pistachios, peppery watercress leaves and the lemony vinaigrette.  The vinaigrette gets a touch of heat with the addition of crushed red pepper flakes, or even a touch of Aleppo peppers if you have them on hand.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Espresso Shortbreads’

Recipe Courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine

Recipe Courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine

I really enjoy making homemade holiday gifts each year for friends and for my clients.  Whether it is a baked concoction, a bottle of homemade Limoncello, or even a healthy Holiday quick bread, there is something so comforting and special about these types of thoughtful gifts.  If you are in the mood for a unique Holiday gift idea for this special season, here is one tasty idea: Espresso Shortbread cookies.  Buttery, flaky and oh-so-fragrant, these simple shortbreads have a special ingredient—espresso powder.  Each cookie has a faint taste of strong espresso, along with the simple flavors of a classic Scottish shortbread.  Whether served with that afternoon cup of tea, or with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream, these cookies are certainly a recipe to dog-ear for Holiday gift giving time.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/espresso-shortbreads)

Roasted Garlic Butter Salmon with Brussels Sprouts & Thyme

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This recipe was inspired by a local aritisanal butter that we got from our CSA recently.  Made in Atlanta, Banner Butter makes a variety of flavors of small batch butters  from hormone free, grass-fed cow’s milk.  (www.BannerButter.com).  Flavors ranging from Balsamic Fig  & Caramelized Onion, to Cinnamon, Cardamon & Ginger, to more traditional flavors like Sea Salt and last but not least, my favorite, Roasted Garlic, Basil & Parsley.

Anything involving roasted garlic I am a big fan of, so having this round of tasty butter in the fridge got me thinking about unique ways to use this fabulous find.  Great on toasted bread of course, I have also used this butter on roasted shrimp with angel hair pasta and melted like in this recipe onto baked salmon filets.  The butter imparts a richness and absolutely fabulous flavor to whatever you put it on!  Freshly popped popcorn or even on a roasted chicken are next on my to-try list….

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Winter Squash Muffins with Cranberries’

Recipe Courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

Recipe Courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

If I had named these muffins I would have simply called them Harvest Muffins.  A dense yet moist muffin made with the season’s best ingredients and warm flavorings. The base of these muffins are ground oats and whole wheat flour along with a hearty combination of grated butternut squash, grated apple, pecans and dried cranberries.  The warm flavorings come from maple syrup, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; and the moist texture, from large eggs, canola oil and Greek yogurt.  If you are a fan of fruitcake and spice cake, these cold weather muffins are right up your alley!

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/251342/winter-squash-muffins-with-cranberries/)

Harissa-Spiced Carrot & Farro Salad with Pistachios

harissa-spiced-carrot-farro-salad-with-pistachios

Farro is one of my favorite go-to whole grains for its texture and versatility.  Great as the base for a side dish like this one, added into a pot of soup, or even swapped in for your favorite warm breakfast cereal, farro falls into the ancient grain category and is very popular in Italian cuisine.  For this specific dish however, I have gone the North African route by added harrissa-spiced roasted carrots to a warm farro salad, along with roasted, salted pistachios.  The flavors meld togheter very nicely in this simple side dish!

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Rosemary-Scented Chicken Bolognese with Mushrooms

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To give this traditional meat sauce even more of a comforting feel, I added in chopped fresh rosemary and woodsy sauteed mushrooms.  A little sliced garlic and any ground meat  you prefer ( I used ground chicken), this hearty pasta dish is best when served over whole grain spaghetti along with adding in your favorite homemade or store-bought marinara sauce.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Smoky Salmon-&-Potato Stew’

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Magazine

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Magazine

Simple in its ingredients, this lovely stew is super satisfying and warming to all of your senses.  It starts with a base of sauteed fennel, celery and garlic and gets its smoky flavor from the addition of paprika.  Yellow potatoes and cubes of tender salmon give the stew its heartiness, and the lovely flavor of clam juice and diced tomatoes rounds out this cold weather seafood stew.  You can substitute in your favorite seafood stock for the clam juice if you like–either way, the briny taste of shellfish and seafood as the base for this stew is just fabulous.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Winter Salad with Halloumi ‘Croutons”

Recipe Courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

Recipe Courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

Oh what a delight!  I have adored halloumi cheese ever since my family would frequent Zorba’s, a fabulous Greek restaurant in Baton Rouge.  They would bring the cheese out in a heat proof dish, light it on fire in front of you, and put out the flames with lemon juice.  Halloumi is a cheese made from a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, it is semi-hard in texture and because of its high melting point can be (like I said) grilled or heated with minimal melting.  It has a wonderfully salty flavor and when cooked, gets a lovely brown texture on the outside.

I was thrilled to make this recipe that highlights cubes of halloumi cheese as a substitute for croutons on a hearty winter salad.  The cubes of cooked cheese add a lovely texture and salty taste to the salad that believe me, you will  adore.  A hearty salad that could be a main course all on its own, it truly was a memorable addition to our dinner menu last night. Opa!

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/255795/winter-salad-with-halloumi-croutons/)