Grilled Peach Mascarpone Bruschetta

Grilled Peach Mascarpone Bruschetta

In celebration of National Peach Month in August, Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, shared this easy and tasty recipe for grilled peach bruschetta.

Makes 12 bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of rustic bread, cut into 12 slices about 3/4-inch thick 
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 peaches, thinly-sliced and grilled
  • 3 tsp Maldon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1/4 cup of chiffonaded basil
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preparation and Cooking Instructions

  • Place the bread slices on a hot grill for 1 – 2 minutes per side until toasted with some char but not burnt. 
  • Spread the mascarpone cheese on each piece of bread.
  • Place grilled peach slices on top of the mascarpone with Maldon sea salt.
  • Drizzle honey on top of peaches.
  • Garnish with the basil and almonds.
Double Avocado Toast – Not Really a Recipe

Double Avocado Toast – Not Really a Recipe

This is the second post in my new series called “Not Really a Recipe”. These will be non-recipe posts that just give ideas on how to fix meals that are tasty and require very little work.

This dish is perfect for lunch, brunch or cut into slices for an appetizer. The dish is made using grain-filled bread that’s buttered and lightly toasted then topped with my Zesty Guacamole recipe, slices of avocado, cilantro leaves and edamame. Right before serving, I squeeze some lime juice on. Simple to make and boasting big, perfect flavors.

Let me know if you try this!

Cheers,

Veronique

Easy Cheesy White Grits

Easy Cheesy White Grits

Easy Cheesy Grits

I make creamy polenta all the time, but for some reason, I don’t make southern-style cheesy grits that often. Some would say that polenta and white corn grits are the same thing, but for me, polenta is made using fine to medium ground yellow or white corn and southern-style grits are simply coarsely ground bits of white corn. In my polenta, I like to add Parmesan cheese. In my grits, I use sharp Cheddar.

This recipe yields four side dishes or two entrée portions of grits. You can eat them on their own of top them with sautéed shrimps and hot sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup white corn grits (I use Bob’s Red Mill Southern Style White Grits)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 tsp. softened butter, optional

Grits Cooking

Directions:

  • In a deep saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the grits in a slow, steady stream. Whisk to break up any lumps then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching, then cover the pan and allow the grits to rest with the heat off for 5 more minutes.
  • Add the 4 tablespoons of butter and the cheese to the grits and stir until fully incorporated and creamy.
  • Top each of four servings with a teaspoon of soften butter, or each of two servings with 2 teaspoons, if using.

Cheers,

Veronique

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

I’m still on my mission to try to stick to vegetarian dishes on #MeatlessMonday and since I’d make a double batch of my Vegetarian Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili a month ago and it was calling my name from the freezer, I decided to use that delicious concoction in a stuffed pepper dish.

Since I defrosted about 3 cups of chili, I used the remaining two cups for a southwestern lasagna and I’ll share that with you next week.

These stuffed peppers are fab as a take to work lunch as they’re really simple to microwave from the office kitchen. They’re also great paired with a salad dressed with some tasty, zesty dressing (perhaps my Easy Greek Vinaigrette) for a light dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red bell pepper (if green or yellow peppers are cheaper, go for them)
  • 1 cup brown or white rice, cooked
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese, plus 2 reserved tablespoons
  • 1 cup vegetarian chili (could be store-bought_

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the pepper stem and cut the pepper in half lengthwise. Remove any seeds and extra membrane from the inside of each half.
  3. Place each pepper halves, cut side down, in a baking dish and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes so the pepper is cool enough to handle.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, the cup of cheese and the chili.
  5. Spoon the chili mixture inside each bell pepper half and return to the baking dish. Top each pepper half with a tablespoon of cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with a side salad. Yields 2 servings.

 

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Red Bell Peppers
Print
Ingredients
  1. • 1 large red bell pepper (if green or yellow peppers are cheaper, go for them)
  2. • 1 cup brown or white rice, cooked
  3. • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese, plus 2 reserved tablespoons
  4. • 1 cup vegetarian chili (could be store-bought)
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 2. Remove the pepper stem and cut the pepper in half lengthwise. Remove any seeds and extra membrane from the inside of each half.
  3. 3. Place each pepper halves, cut side down, in a baking dish and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes so the pepper is cool enough to handle.
  4. 4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, the cup of cheese and the chili.
  5. 5. Spoon the chili mixture inside each bell pepper half and return to the baking dish. Top each pepper half with a tablespoon of cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
Notes
  1. Serves 2.
Food & Wine Chickie Insider http://www.foodandwinechickie.com/
Cheers,

Veronique

Baked Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Baked Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Baked Pepperoni Pizza DipWe were just going to order pizza while watching the “big game” since it was just the two of us, but then I decided to make the next best thing – pepperoni pizza dip!!

The dip would be great with potato chips but I served it with toasted baguette slices. You’ll want a sturdy vessel to run through all the layers of gooey yumminess (see what I mean by gooey and perfect).  

Ingredients:

  • 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, or Italian blend cheeses
  • 20 slices pepperoni
  • Toasted baguette slices.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, oregano and black pepper. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom of 9″ round pie plate or other baking dish.
  3. Top cheese mixture with the pizza sauce.
  4. Top the sauce layer with the mozzarella cheese.
  5. Top the Mozzarella cheese with the pepperoni slices.
  6. Bake the dip for 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the dip is bubbly.
  7. Serve warm with toasted baguette slices.

Yields 8 appetizer portions.

 

 

Adapted from this recipe.

Baked Feta Cheese Dip

Baked Feta Cheese Dip

Baked Fetal Cheese DipI love any type of baked cheese dip. I’d been fortunate enough to find Dodoni brand Feta cheese at my local grocery store a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it as part of a Greek salad, but I had a lot left that I wanted to be sure to use.

Since the “big game” was coming up and I’d be doing a bunch of appetizers to munch on during the game, I opted for a baked Feta dip that was out of this world. Note that the cheese gets marinated for 12 hours, so remember to start the day before you want to serve this dish.

The dip would be great with baked pita chips but I served it with toasted baguette slices. You’ll want a sturdy vessel to run through the flavored oil created from the marinade and the gooey cheese (video: see what I mean by gooey and perfect).  

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 8 ounces Feta cheese in a block, rinsed (I highly-recommend Dodoni brand if available)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, garlic, black pepper and dried oregano.
  2. Place Feta cheese in a resealable bag. Pour the marinade over the Feta and allow to marinate overnight, or at least 12 hours, in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat oven to 375F.
  4. Place the Feta and its marinade in a small baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, until the Feta is melty and bubbling.
  5. Serve with sliced baguette or baked pita chips.

Yields 6 appetizer portions.

 

 

Adapted from this recipe.

Buffalo Shrimp – Hooters Copycat

Buffalo Shrimp – Hooters Copycat

Buffalo ShrimpThe “big game” is next weekend and I’ve been trying to come up with a couple appetizers to make while we watch the game. Chicken wings are always a winner, but my all-time favorite Buffalo anything is by far Buffalo shrimp. I know I’m not supposed to like chain restaurants as a discerning foodie, but the Buffalo shrimp at Hooters at the greatest. I’ve used the breading and Buffalo sauce that my sister’s come up with in terms of Hooters wings copycat but simply used large shrimp in place of the chicken.

These are absolutely fabulous with the right amount of heat – tangy but not scorching. Pair these with the typical carrot and celery sticks and a pool of chunky blue cheese dressing.

Don’t like seafood? Use chicken tenders! Don’t like a heavy saucing like I do (see image below)? Add half the sauce!

Shrimp Marinade Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp. each creole seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper
  • 1 pound large deveined peeled shrimp (I used 21-25 count)

Buffalo Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¼ pound butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Coating Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Marinade Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetal oil in a large, heavy saucepan (or use an electric fryer) until deep-fry thermometer reaches 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, mustard and spices to create a thick marinade. Toss the shrimp in the marinade to fully coat and set aside for about 15 minutes.

Buffalo Sauce Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the hot sauce, garlic powder and lemon juice – whisk to combine. Pour the hot liquid to a heat-proof bowl.

Coating Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a large ziptop bag, shake well.
  2. Toss the shrimp in the corn flour in the bag to coat well.
  3. Working in batches (I did three batches), shake the excess corn flour coating off the shrimp and carefully place in the hot oil. Cook each batch of shrimp for 4 minutes then drain on paper towels.
  4. Immediately toss shrimp in buffalo sauce.

Serves 4 as appetizer portions.

Vegetarian Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

Vegetarian Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

Chili CookingWhile winter’s been mild here so far in New Jersey, I’m still craving hearty, comforting food. In my continued effort to ‘prep Sunday – eat throughout the week’, this week, I’ve made a meatless chili that was uber satisfying and can be used in various ways during the week. I used it as dip for chips during the football game and topped a baked sweet potato with it for lunch (see photos).

This chili can be made in the slow cooker too – just throw all the ingredients in the crockpot (except for the toppings) and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth, then more if the chili gets too thick
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed totatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 28-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Toppings (optional) – fresh cilantro, lime wedges, diced avocado, sour cream and cheddar/jack cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large heavy Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add garlic and sauté 1 additional minute.
  4. Add the butternut squash, the salt and pepper, the chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, corn and black beans.
  6. Bring to a light boil then reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for 45 minutes, or until the butternut squash is completely tender.
  7. Thin with an additional broth if needed.
  8. Serve with desired toppings, if using.

Serves 8.

Going Formal for the Holidays

Going Formal for the Holidays

I love really dressing up my table around the holidays. If you’re thinking of pulling out grandma’s silver or unpacking those formal dishes you received at your wedding, here’s how the table should be set for a formal meal:

place-setting

Want a very VIP dinner menu for that special meal? Here’s one I love for the holidays:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Sage Brown Butter.

Simple & Festive Prime Rib.

Make-Ahead Twice Baked Potatoes.

Fail-Proof Yorkshire Puddings.

Elegant Key Lime Tart.

Enjoy!

Veronique

Baked Penne Parmesan

baked-pastaI love recipes that take me all of 10 minutes to prepare and that will serve a few meals during the week. This beyond-easy pasta dish is one of those recipes that I make on Sundays and portion for lunches during the week.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta 1 minute short of indicated on the packaging.
  3. Toss the drained pasta into the marinara sauce.
  4. Add the Mozzarella to the pasta and stir to distribute evenly.
  5. Pour the pasta into a medium baking dish.
  6. Top with the shaved cheese.
  7. Place the dish on a baking sheet to prevent oven drips and bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 2 generous entrée-size servings.

Note: I received a sample container of Sartori Cheese that I will now add to my grocery list.