Garlic Butter Spaghetti with Zucchini Noodles

Good morning and Happy Friday friends!!

Zucchini Garlic Butter Spaghetti

I’ve been playing catch up all week long after my recent adventures in Tuscany.  Particularly: Halloween and Holiday preparations at the mall, laundry at the house, dinner celebrating Jordan & Jocelyn’s latest cookbook last night, and detailed meal prep each morning to keep me from eating fast food throughout the week (something I’m guilty of each time I come back from a trip).  Dinners have mainly been simple preparations of pizza and pasta plus one evening of homemade, from-scratch green chilaquiles wHipped up by the boyfriend (his mother’s recipe).

One of my go-to pasta dishes that I made this week is my Garlic Butter Spaghetti with Zucchini Noodles.  Two-toned curls of fresh zucchini are sautéed in garlic butter, then tossed with cooked spaghetti, herbs, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.  A final squeeze of lemon sets off flavors.  What I love most about this recipe is that it comes together in about 15 minutes.  The prep work, sauce and zucchini can all be done while the pasta is cooking.  Everything gets tossed together at the end, and dinner is ready on the table in a matter of moments.  Exactly the recipe I need this week when energy is low and I crash at 8PM because of jet lag 😛  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Butternut Squash Pizza Recipe

This time last week, I was in Vinci, Italy, making some craaaazy delicious pizzas in a wood-burning oven overlooking the rollings hills of Tuscany.  I was also competing against Alana, Molly and Rebecca to see who could make the best pizza.

Butternut Squash Pizza

As my pizza, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, spicy salami, eggplant, capers, olives and peppers, slid into the oven, it stuck to the metal peel, resulting in an uproar of airborne toppings.  Some landed back on the pizza while others went up in smoke as they hit searing hot stone.  Luckily, we were able to pull the pizza back out and reimagine it as a stromboli.  Despite its salty yum-factor and ability to overcome adversity, my rolled up pizza lost to Molly’s innovative white pizza topped with halved grapes and fresh rosemary.  Overall, everyone made delicious pizzas that evening, so really, we all won :)

I’m back in San Diego now, but I’ve still got pizza and Tuscany on my mind.  So today, I’m sharing this recipe for Butternut Squash Pizza.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Live from Tuscany! #DaVinciStoryteller

I mentioned last week that I was going to set up a live feed during my weeklong DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience.  Well, here it is!  I arrived in Vinci, Italy yesterday, and so far, everything has been incredible.  Surrounded by plots of Sangiovese grapes, bushy olive trees and soaring cypresses, the Tuscan villa we’re calling home this week (Casale Di Villa) is a historic space appointed with stone floors, antique furnishings and exposed wooden beams.  There’s a wood-burning pizza oven in the back yard, a chicken coop nestled behind bushes of fresh bay leaves, and an expansive garden dotted with ripe tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and fresh herbs.  I’m not going to get too detailed here though.  After the trip, I’m going to share all of my experiences, meals and photos in a recap post.  Until then, check out the series of photos below from all the DaVinci Storytellers, including Alana, Molly and Rebecca.  Photos will change as the week goes on.  Enjoy!

Wild Mushroom Tomato Sauce Recipe

I’ve got some exciting news to share with all of you today!!

Wild Mushroom Tomato Sauce with Herbs

In just under one week, I’ll be heading to the Tuscany region of Italy to embark on a weeklong DaVinci Storyteller Experience sponsored by DaVinci Wine! AHHHHH, so exciting!!! Set in the picturesque town of Vinci, Italy (the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci), this immersive experience is focused on the Cantine Leonardo da Vinci, an innovative growers’ cooperative committed to producing authentic Tuscan wine, including the flagship DaVinci Chianti.

Throughout the week, I’ll be diving into all things Cantine Leonardo Da Vinci, including vineyard tours, culinary experiences, delicious food and wine galore, plus meet and greets with local chefs, wine growers and other personalities in and around Vinci. Joining me on this trip are some food blogger favorites including Alana from Fix Feast Flair, Molly from my name is yeh and Rebecca from Foodie with Family. This is going to be such a fun week!

In anticipation of this trip, I’ve developed a new tomato sauce recipe infused with the flavors of Tuscany. Particularly mushroom and Chianti! Continue reading for the recipe plus more on DaVinci Wine.

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OMG Garlic Bread Recipe

You guys, this garlic bread.

OMG Garlic Bread Recipe

I recently had a fab dinner with Alana from Fix Feast Flair and Lily from Kale & Caramel at Jon & Vinny’s in Los Angeles.  The entire meal was incredible, but I remember particularly loving their garlic bread.  Served beside two saucy meatballs and a dollop of ricotta, the garlic bread at Jon & Vinny’s starts with a base of thick, yeasty ciabatta grilled until golden and black in spots.  Then, it seems to me like they brushed it with a loose mixture of chopped garlic, herbs and red pepper flakes.  The resulting garlic bread was crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside and just packed with flavor.  Perfect for dunking into all that sauce.

With these techniques and flavors in mind, I developed this recipe for OMG Garlic Bread.  With one bite, you will literally exclaim OMG.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Porchetta Pork Tenderloin

I have been dying to share this recipe for Porchetta Pork Tenderloin with you guys.

Porchetta Pork Tenderloin

Why?  Because it’s quickly become my new favorite weeknight meal.  With just 10 minutes of prep work and 30 – 40 minutes cook time, this show-stopper entree can turn a boring weeknight dinner into a dazzling pork on pork extravaganza.  And I mean, how bad could that be?

Before we get to this pork-tastic recipe, let’s talk about porchetta in general.  Porchetta, Italian in origin, is traditionally made by stuffing an entire de-boned pig with ground pork (usually offal), and seasonings.  Garlic, rosemary, fennel, salt and pepper are most common.  The pig gets tied up around a spit, and then roasted until the skin is crispy and crackly and the insides are moist and tender.  This Italian specialty has been all the rage here in America over the past several years.  Here’s the porchetta sandwich I had from the People’s Pig in Portland.  And last year, I made a whole porchetta roast for Valentine’s Day (here’s a slice photo)!  Both were seriously tasty.

Traditional porchetta is super labor-intensive, and even the roast I linked to above took some time to prepare.  This Porchetta Pork Tenderloin recipe captures the flavors and textures of it’s traditional counterpart without the hours and hours of prep and cooking.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Cauliflower

Pasta Puttanesca aka pasta in the style of the ladies of the night aka slut’s spaghetti is on the menu today.

Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Cauliflower

If you are unfamiliar with this dish, you may be scratching your head at all this whore talk so early on a Tuesday morning, but let me explain.  Pasta Puttanesca is a classic Italian dish where pasta (spaghetti pictured above) is dressed in a sauce made of tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers and red chile flakes.  Rumor has it that the ladies of the night would simmer this sauce, and let the aroma waft out of their open windows with the intent of luring men into their establishment for the evening.  Others say that this sauce was popular amongst these ladies, because all the ingredients can be stored in the pantry.  No need to go to the market to get fresh ingredients between clients!

Whores aside, let’s talk about this version of Pasta Puttanesca.  There are many aspects of the traditional dish that are very enticing.  Pasta Puttanesca is easy (no pun intended), quick-to-prepare, and can be made with a handful of pantry staples.  Here, I’ve added freshness and substance by way of Roasted Cauliflower, freshly chopped parsley and lemon wedges to finish.  Cauliflower gets wonderfully nutty when roasted, and this flavor pairs nicely with the olives, capers and tomatoes.  Parsley and lemon add fresh hits of green and acid for balance.  Each bite is incredibly satisfying.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Top 14 Recipes of 2014

Happy New Year everyone!!

Meyer Lemon Chia Pudding 2014 was a taaaaasty year.  While compiling the roundup below, I noticed some similar themes and ingredients amongst my most popular recipes.  Particularly:

  • Chia pudding
  • Cocktails
  • Brown butter
  • Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Avocado
  • Grilling

YUM!!  Continue reading for 14 of my best recipes on KK.  What was your favorite recipe from 2014?  Did you make any of the recipes below?

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Thanksgiving Meat & Cheese Board + Cranberry Mostarda

I know we covered Thanksgiving Appetizers here, but I’d like to elaborate a bit more on the Meat & Cheese Board element.

Cheese Board A Meat & Cheese Board is a simple way to serve a variety of crowd-pleasing flavors with minimal effort.  For a smaller dinner party (6-10 guests), start with 2 cheeses, 1 meat  and 3 types of crackers or bread.  For a larger party (20 – 25 guests) up the amounts to 5 cheeses, 2 meats and 4 types of crackers or bread.  Each meat, cheese, cracker and bread should vary in flavor to give your guests plenty of tasting options.  To up the ante, serve something homemade that will complement the Meat & Cheese Board.  This could be homemade pickles, chutney, dip, spread, aioli, or compound butter (to name just a few).  Here’s what I have going on in the picture above:

Cheese: Kerrygold Dubliner, Kerrygold Sharp Cheddar with Irish Whiskey
Meat: Proscuitto
Crackers and Bread:  Trader Joe’s Rosemary Raisin Crisps (best crackers EVER), Trader Joe’s Rosemary Crackers, Sliced Baguette
Homemade:  Cranberry Mostarda

When preparing an appetizer spread for a smaller party, I like to serve high impact cheeses.  The Kerrygold Dubliner and Sharp Cheddar both have big, bold flavor that can easily be enjoyed as is or on a cracker topped with mostarda.  For a large party, I like to layer in some lower impact (but still delicious) cheeses, including brie and goat cheese.  Another nice touch is to serve 1 cheese that’s a personal favorite.  When my guests come over for a dinner party, they can always expect to see Manchego on the table.  I just love it!

For meat, Proscuitto, salami, mortadella, sopressata or hard chorizo are all good options.  Don’t go overboard with the meats though.  With too many options, guests might fill up before dinner!  For crackers and bread, I always hit up my local Trader Joe’s.  They have a wide variety of basic and unique crackers, plus they are continuously releasing new seasonal flavors.  Trader Joe’s also sells several types of baguette perfect for slicing and serving.  The two crackers I selected above are flavored with rosemary, a flavor I associate with the Holidays.

Finally, let’s talk about this Cranberry Mostarda.  Sweet and sour, a mostarda is an Italian condiment made with fruit and a mustard-flavored syrup.  Here, fresh cranberries are cooked in a bold mixture of white wine, white wine vinegar, sugar, mustard powder, mustard seeds, cinnamon, ginger and clove until tender and collapsed.  The sauce is finished with kosher salt and a bright hit of fresh orange zest.  This seasonal sauce pairs well with most cheeses, and could event be used as cranberry sauce for dinner!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Tomato Confit Pasta

With just 3 fresh ingredients and minimal effort, you can have a plate of this seasonal pasta on the table in under 1 hour.

Tomato Confit Pasta I know the word confit may conjure up some feelings of worry and anxiety, but I assure you, the process couldn’t be easier.  The term confit is typically associated with meat (especially duck), but can also be applied to fruits and vegetables.  Confit simply means to cook something in fat at a low temperature for a longer period of time.

Here, I’m tossing cooked pasta with slow-roasted tomato confit and chopped fresh basil.  To make the tomato confit, simply toss cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil in olive oil, and slow-roast for 45 minutes.  The resulting tomatoes will soften and blister, releasing some of their juices on to the pan.  The tomatoes and juices will have a wonderfully concentrated tomato flavor.  The pasta cooks up while the tomatoes are in the oven, keeping cook time to a minimum.  For best results, give this recipe a try while tomatoes are in season.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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