Burrata + Beet + Blood Orange Salad

IMG_3763Have you ever had Burrata cheese? If your answer is no, stop what you are doing and immediately go buy some. Burrata is the God of all cheeses. It looks like a ball of Mozzarella cheese, but when cut into it reveals itself as a distant (and way cooler) relaitive . It oozes out a rich, buttery and creamy filling. Buratta tastes amazing on it’s own, which is why it is important to keep the recipe simple when it involves this gem of a cheese. Today I tossed it with some arugula, roasted beets, blood orange and finished it off with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The spiciness of the arugula, sweetness of roasted beets, tartness of blood orange and overall amazingness of the burrata came together to create magic. Serious deliciousness.

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Veggie Spring Rolls + Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

IMG_3728Now that the Seattle Seahawks are officially in the Super Bowl (we all saw it coming), it’s time to start menu planning for the big party.  First on my list- Veggie Spring Rolls. They are the perfect balance to the typical heavy game day appetizers. Light enough to keep you out of a food coma yet fulfilling enough to keep you satisfied.

Speaking of the Seahawks…unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past week there is a very good chance you have heard about Richard Sherman’s interview declaring he is the best corner back in the NFL. Well if you haven’t, let me fill you in. He proclaimed his amazingness in an interview with Erin Andrews seconds  after he tipped the ball out of a 49er’s hand to secure the win for the Seahawks. His adrenaline was still pumping and he may have let his mouth run a bit too much. At the time I thought he should have kept his confidence on the hush hush, but after making these veggie spring rolls I can relate to him.   Had Erin Andrews been in my kitchen the moment I finished folding my 12th spring roll I would have proclaimed (with certainty) that they are the best appetizer of all football appetizers. Just like Sherman I wouldn’t have been able to control my words or my confidence. Unlike Sherman, my declaration that veggie rolls are the best super bowl appetizer would not have made it on national news or in every single facebook post.

On a side note- This may be the only time in my life I will be able to relate to a NFL football player. Actually check back in a few months when I am 9 months pregnant. There is a slight chance I will feel as big as a line backer.

 

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Salt + Pepper Sweet Potato Chips

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Raise your hand if you enjoy a salty and crunchy snack. I am going to assume you have at least one hand in the air.  In case you are wondering, both my hands are stretched up to the sky. Years ago I was more of a sweets girl than a salty girl, but tables have turned and my heart belongs to sea salt. Baked Sweet Potato chips are my go-to snack. They fulfill my salt craving without being too heavy. Using sweet potatoes adds a nutritional punch and an extra layer of flavor.

These chips take a bit of time and patience. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to crunchy baked Sweet Potato Chips. Cooking them at a high temp and short period of time has never worked for me. I am always left with crispy edges and soggy centers or burnt edges and crispy centers. Call me crazy, but I like the entire chip to be crispy.

 

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT                                                                                                                                                                                            Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are part of the super food family (the royals of all food groups). Rumor has it they are one of the healthiest veggies we eat.

-They are high in Vitamin A, which supports vision and reproductive health.

-Great source of fiber to help keep you regular.

-High in iron. Eat up vegetarians!

-Antioxidant overload. Vitamin C and beta-carotene work hand in hand to rid the bod of free radicals, which can be cancer causing and promote aging.

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A Farewell Summer Gazpacho

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Farewell, summer. I will be counting down the days until we meet again. Yes, I know summer doesn’t officially end until September 22nd, but Labor Day feels like the unofficial toast goodbye. It is the last hurrah before the swim suits are packed away and butternut squash takes back the center stage.
To bid adieu to my favorite season I made  gazpacho, a chilled (super delicious) Spanish soup that embodies the flavors of summer. It’s the perfect light meal for the hottest of summer days. Gazpacho is essentially a liquid salad. Chop up some raw veggies and herbs, throw them in the blender and bada-bingo bada-bang you have yourself a soup.

For this gazpacho recipe, I blended 3/4th of the veggie mixture and kept the remaining 1/4th unblended, which resulted in a chunkier soup. For a smoother consistency, blend all the veggies together. Same flavor. Different texture.

One more thing, summer- Please send Austin the memo that your time here is unofficially done, so the 100 degree temps aren’t necessary. I would be very thankful. So would my super furry dog.

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The Honest Plate Cooking Class

The other night I had the joy of teaching a cooking class to a group of fabulous ladies. We created a delicious menu full of healthy summer appetizers paired with Matthews wine, my absolute favorite winery (www.matthewswinery.com).  Through the chatting, laughing and wine drinking we managed to pull together a menu of…

-Gazpacho Shooters with Prawns and Basil Oil.

-Chicken, Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas with Avocado Cilantro Crème.

-Crostini with Homemade Ricotta, Peaches, Honey and Basil.

-Dairy Free Coconut Milk Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Decedent Raw Foods Brownie.

-Spinach and Arugula Salad with Blackberries, Walnuts, Pears and Blue Cheese tossed in  Lemon Vinaigrette.

Since the cooking class, the crostini with ricotta, peaches, honey and basil has consumed my mind. If you have ever wondered what heaven tastes like, this is it.  Homemade ricotta is creamy, clean tasting, a bit salty and every bit perfect. It is also suuuuuper simple to make.  Honestly, it is as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The moment you pull out this appetizer your guest are going to think you swapped identities with Giada De Larentiis. Don’t worry, the simplicity of homemade ricotta will be our little secret 😉

I will be posting the other recipes from the cooking class this weekend. Just like the Ricotta Crostini, they are guaranteed to be yumzo.

INGREDIENT                                                                                                                                                                                              SPOTLIGHT                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Raw Local Honey   

I am a big fan (and user) of local raw honey.   As cute as that little plastic honey bear bottle is, it lacks key nutrients found in raw honey. How is this possible? When honey is heated and pasteurized it loses many of it’s vitamins, minerals, enymes and powerful anti-oxidants. It has been said raw honey can cure the world of all aliments. I am not 100% sure it can cure the world of every single disease, but I do know it can aid in digestion, treat ulcers, cure a cold, reduce stress, balance blood sugar, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain and eliminate allergies. Local honey is especially important when it comes to eliminating allergies. It contains local pollen, which helps the body build a tolerance to seasonal allergies. While we are on the subject of bees…go ahead and run from them but don’t squash, swat or kill them.  They make our world go round. Stay tuned for more on that subject.

Needed materials- unbleached cheesecloth

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Gazpacho Shooters with Basil Oil and Prawn. Paired with Matthews Chardonnay.
Gazpacho and Prawn Shooter garnished with Basil Oil. Paired with Matthews Chardonnay.

 

Ricotta, Peach, Honey and Basil Crostini
Ricotta, Peach, Honey and Basil Crostini
Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Decadent Raw Food Brownie. Paired with Mathews Table Red Wine
Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Decadent Raw Food Brownie. Paired with Mathews Black Board Red Wine.

 

 

Chicken, Black Bean, Avocado Toastadas with Avocado Cilantro Crème. Paired with Matthews Claret.
Chicken, Black Bean, Avocado Toastadas with Avocado Cilantro Crème. Paired with Matthews Claret.
Spinach, Arugula, Blackberry, Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad tossed in Lemon Vinaigrette.
Spinach, Arugula, Blackberry, Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad tossed in Lemon Vinaigrette.