Chili, Lime Dusted Pineapple and Mango

Posted on: Thursday, January 21, 2016

One of our best friends, Kimmy, loves bold fashion as well as flavors. In high school, she would layer tangy apple butter on anything, was always game for a Richdale’s stop to grab super sour apple bubble gum, and often led the way to Magnolia’s House of Pizza for a sweet and savory Hawaiian pie.
On our last visit with Kimmy, she was eager to show us a new flavor combination that “will blow your mind,” courtesy of her roommate, Rachel. Kimmy arranged pineapple cubes on a plate and dusted them with a generous dousing of TAJÍN Clásico Seasoning. We had never seen this wonderful blend of Mexican chilies, lime juice and sea salt.
We decided to add our own spin with the addition of sliced mango and fresh lime juice for some depth. We served the dish as an appetizer, but it can easily be enjoyed as a snack, dessert or even side dish. The preparation is simple and the result is an instant transformation to a tropical destination.
Chili, Lime Dusted Pineapple and Mango

1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 mango, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
TAJÍN Clásico Seasoning
juice of 1 lime

Toss the pineapple and mango pieces together and arrange in a shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with the TAJÍN Clásico Seasoning (to taste) and drizzle with fresh lime juice. Serve with toothpicks and enjoy.

Kara's Bachelorette Weekend  Theme: Bold, vibrant, colorful
We look forward to sprinkling the hot and zesty seasoning over some fresh cut watermelon this summer. Thanks so much Kimmy and Rachel!

Nella Pasta's Parsley and Garlic Campanelle with Roasted Cauliflower

Posted on: Thursday, January 14, 2016

For many, parsley is used quite simply as a garnish. While herbs like rosemary and cilantro pack a crazy punch and distinct scent and flavor, many struggle to describe unassuming parsley. I remember our mom always having a big bunch of parsley in the fridge. She would add it to recipes, but would also eat it by the handful. While not the most common take, she enjoyed its freshness. I also enjoy adding fresh parsley to recipes to brighten and balance the ingredients. I stir it into tomato sauces, sprinkle it atop a simple piece of fish, or add it to breadcrumbs. Everything tastes better with the fresh green sprinkle.
When Marni gave me a couple boxes of Nella Pasta’s Parsley and Garlic Campanelle, I was struck by the shape of these little pasta bells featuring my favorite color and my favorite herby flavor. Since roasting amplifies any ingredient, I decided to roast some wintery cauliflower florets and red onions to toss with the pasta. The flower-like edges and hollow centers perfectly captured a simple caper and lemon butter sauce. For a bit of texture and dimension, I sprinkled a coating of sauteed, seasoned breadcrumbs.
Parsley Garlic Campanelle with Roasted Cauliflower and Breadcrumbs

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/2 c seasoned breadcrumbs
2 boxes Nella Pasta’s Parsley and Garlic Capanelle
2 T unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 T)
3 T capers, drained
1/3 c chopped fresh parsley
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for serving
salt and pepper throughout

Preheat Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss 2 T EVOO, cauliflower, red onion, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, tossing once with a spatula until the cauliflower is lightly browned and tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 

Melt 1 T EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs, and cook 3 minutes or until slightly browned. Pour into a plate and set aside. 

Add the pasta to the large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes. When al dente, drain the pasta and return to the pot. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Add 1 T EVOO and 1 T butter to the large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, capers, roasted cauliflower, red onions, pasta, and reserved pasta water and gently toss with tongs for 1 more minute. Add 1 T EVOO, 1 T unsalted butter, reserved breadcrumbs, fresh chopped parsley and toss for 1 more minute. Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Serves 4 - 5.

Can’t wait to visit Nella Pasta and the Boston Public Market on my next trip!

Nella Pasta with Shrimp

Posted on: Thursday, January 7, 2016

I found myself once again at the Boston Public Market - this time in search of something special for dinner. I was attracted to a showcase of vibrantly colored, whimsically shaped fresh pastas at the Nella Pasta display. Greeted by smiling faces behind the counter, I left with an array of assorted fresh pastas to taste test and share.

Leigh Foster and Rachel Marshall created Nella Pasta after realizing the both shared a passion for pasta making. With backgrounds in cooking and experience living abroad in Florence, they set off on creating a business featuring an array of fun raviolis, and fresh and dried pastas. The best part of Nella (‘in it’ in Italian) is its ingredients - all are super seasonal, local and fresh.

Minimal preparation is necessary as the pasta’s flavors are so pronounced and ready to jump off your palette. I was instantly intrigued by the Orange Zest Creste de Gallo which has lovely hints of orange resonating through the adorable half moons. Since I almost always pair citrus and seafood, I added shrimp to the pasta along with thinly sliced lemon halves, jalapeno for spice, and a garlicky, butter sauce. With fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top, the dish added a pop of zest to a wintery winter evening.
Orange Creste de Gallo with Shrimp and Jalapeño

2 boxes Nella Pasta’s Orange Zest Creste de Gallo
3 T EVOO, plus more for drizzling
2 lemons, sliced thin into half moons
3 T unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and cut into thin half moons
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 T)
1/3 c chopped fresh parsley
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for serving

salt and pepper throughout

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 

In a large skillet heat 1 T EVOO over medium-high. Add the lemon slices and season with a pinch of salt. Cook until the lemons are browned a bit at the edges, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add 2 T EVOO and 2 T butter to the same skillet. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and jalapeños and saute for about 3 minutes more or until the shrimp become opaque. Stir in the lemon juice, extra 1 T butter and reduce heat to medium. 

Add the pasta to the large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes. When al dente, remove the pasta with a slotted spoon and add it directly to the saute pan. Add the reserved lemon slices, fresh chopped parsley and toss for 1 more minute. Serve with a drizzle of EVOO and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Serves 4 - 5.

I gave a couple boxes of the Garlic Parsley pasta to Kara and am so excited to see what she has in store!

Satay and Bulgogi - Abroad Inspired

Posted on: Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In between Christmas and New Year’s, we continued the festivities celebrating our parents' 40th anniversary. With some close family and friends, we prepared an array of appetizers inspired by their honeymoon trip. In 1975, our parents traveled the world for the entire year, bopping from country to country. Their itinerary evolved as they traveled across the globe, and included the following destinations: London, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and Hawaii. We are always amazed by this list.
We arranged a diverse mix of dishes including assorted mezze, fresh summer rolls, edamame, Persian rice, and Hawaiian coconut cream cake for a sweet ending. Two standout dishes were our interpretations of Southeast Asian Chicken Satay and Korean Beef Bulgogi. In Southeast Asia, satay is a dish of seasoned, skewered, grilled meat, served with dipping sauces. Bulgogi is a Korean marinated beef dish, traditionally served with rice and kimchi. Each appetizer was enjoyed at room temperature, allowing ample time to toast and reminisce about the trip!
Chicken Satay with Dipping Sauces

1/2 c Greek yogurt
2 T palm sugar or light brown sugar
juice from 1 lime
1 T soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
2 t minced fresh ginger
1 T ground turmeric
1 T curry powder
salt and pepper
2 lbs boneless chicken breasts cut lengthwise into 20 (1/2-inch) strips
20 wooden skewers, soaked in water
Dipping sauces: peanut sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce

Combine the yogurt, sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, turmeric and curry, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Thread each chicken strip into each skewer, weaving the skewer in and out of the meat, down the middle of the piece. Place the chicken strips in the marinade and toss to ensure all pieces are submerged. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Place the chicken skewers on the greased grill and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until the chicken is seared slightly and cooked through. Serve the grilled chicken on a platter with a medley of dipping sauces: peanut sauce, hoisin sauce and soy sauce.

Korean Beef Bulgogi

3 T soy sauce
2 T hoisin sauce
2 T mirin or white wine
2 T sesame oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2 t minced fresh ginger
4 green onions, thinly sliced, plus 2 more for garnish
1 Asian pear, peeled and grated (feel free to substitute with any apple or pear if you can’t find an Asian one)
1 1/2 lb sirloin grilling steak, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
salt and pepper
1 T vegetable oil

In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin, mirin/white wine, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, 4 green onions, grated Asian pear, salt and pepper.

Add the sliced beef to a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade on top. Move around the meat with your hands to make sure the marinade is fully distributed. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large skillet or wok. Remove the beef from the marinade, making sure to scrape off all the juices, and add to the hot pan. Stir-fry until the beef is browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a platter, garnish with remaining green onions and serve.

Susa, Iran
The traveling bug must be in our genes!

Holiday Tortilla Española

Posted on: Monday, December 14, 2015

This past weekend, we prepared some of our favorite holiday hors d'oeuvres for one of our Boston fashion blogger friends, Heidi A. Dooley (Dooley Noted Style). We were excited to play elves and drop off the nibbles for the hostess with the mostest’s spirited soiree. She covered every festive detail from the wintery white floral arrangements to the carolers greeting guests outside.
Of the five appetizers we selected, Tortilla Española was a must. Classic Tortilla Española is a staple in every nook of Spain and is most commonly served as a tapa. Similar to an omelette, it’s a wonderful combination of fried potatoes, onions, lots of olive oil, and eggs cooked together. The traditional version is created stovetop, but in the interest of time and scale, we sped up the process by finishing in the oven. We cut the baked dish into cute cubes and sprinkled on top a confetti of bright red roasted red peppers for a bust of added flavor and flare.

Tortilla Española with Roasted Red Pepper Confetti
1 c EVOO
4 large russet potatoes, sliced into ⅛-inch half moons
1 large yellow onion, sliced into ⅛-inch half moons
18 large eggs
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
salt and pepper throughout

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour 1/2 cup of EVOO into 2 large cast-iron skillets over medium-high heat. Add half the potatoes and onion to each skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and onion are tender and golden but not browned, about 15 minutes. If the potatoes get too crispy on the bottom of the skillet, feel free to add more EVOO. Pour into a greased 9 x 11 baking dish.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with salt and pepper. Pour into the baking dish and move the potatoes and onions with a wooden spoon to allow the egg to seep to the bottom. Bake for 25-30 until the eggs are set. Meanwhile, julienne the roasted red peppers and toss with salt and pepper and set aside.

When the tortilla is set, remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into 2-inch cubes and top each piece with a sprinkle of julienned roasted red peppers. Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature. Makes 38-40 cubes.
We love this appetizer because it can be served at any temp, and is also a satisfying vegetarian option for your guests!

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