Clafouti

We just made about our 5th clafouti of the summer when I suddenly realized that I haven’t yet shared this favorite with all of you!  If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating a clafouti it’s kind of a cross between a custard and a cake and is simply delicious.

There are two reasons we love the clafouti so much in our house (besides how fun it is to say!)...the first is because it is one of the fastest and easiest desserts you can possibly make and you often have all of the ingredients in the house, meaning you can even whip it up on a weeknight or if guests surprise you!  The second reason we love it is because the mild vanilla, cinnamon and lemon flavors are so versatile that it works with almost any fruit you have on hand...especially summer fruit like berries, Italian plums, figs or cherries (the traditional fruit of choice).  Versatile, easy and beautiful to serve, what more could you ask for?  Gotta love those French bakers!
Roasted Rapini & Tomatoes

This is our absolutely favorite side veggie dish and if you've been following my menus at all you probably already know that!  You've seen roasted rapini and tomatoes  on my weekly menus a lot so I thought it was about time that I tell you how I make it. It's super simple and once you try it I bet it will end up as a part of your regular rotation as well. 1 large head of Rapini (also known as Broccoli Rabe) 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes (or large tomatoes cut into small chunks) 1-2 TBS olive oil 1 tsp garlic powder salt & pepper to taste Preheat the oven to 400°F
Disappearing Zucchini Orzo with Grilled Shrimp

This is an oldie but a goodie that I found years ago when I read one of my now favorite books Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a super simple, healthy and delicious dinner.  Perfect for a warm summer night…particularly late summer when you're just starting to get sick of zucchini.  If you eat seasonally like we do, in the early summer it's hard to imagine you'll ever get sick of zucchini since it's been so long since you've had it…but it can happen!

So if it happens to you whip up this dish,  because as the name of it suggests, the zucchini kind of disappears within the orzo and it helps you use up lots of zucchini if you're lucky enough to have one of those neighbors who keeps bringing you baskets- full!  It's also a great dish if you're trying to sneak some veggies into the kids as I know you parents often need to do.

The original recipe can be found here, but I've also copied it below with a few very minor adjustments (including the addition of grilled shrimp).
Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with Spring Peas

I know, I know...soup often isn't top of mind as we head into the warmer Spring and Summer months but this soup is so refreshing because of the fresh lemon that it really works all year long.  The original Bon Appétit recipe doesn't call for the addition of Spring peas but I think they brighten up the dish even more. I also made a few other small tweaks, so my adapted version is below:

Huevos Rancheros Cups

Huevos Rancheros is one of my all-time favorite breakfasts...I honestly make it like 6-8 times a month.  But sometimes an old favorite needs a new twist. So I posted this picture of one of my random weekend breakfast creations on Facebook a while back and have been getting pestered by family and friends for the recipe ever since.  So while it isn't a formal recipe per se, it did turn out quite delicious so I thought I'd share...enter SavoryGirl's Huevos Rancheros Cups!

Serves 2

4 corn tortillas (mini slider-sized tortillas if you can find them)
4 eggs
1 can black beans
1 can chopped jalapeños
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
shredded cheddar or mexican-blend cheese
salsa, for serving


Move oven rack to upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°

Mix together black beans, jalapeños, minced shallot, chopped cilantro and salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.

Evenly coat the inside of four 10-oz ramekins with olive oil or spray oil.  Stack 4 corn tortillas on a paper towel and microwave for 15 seconds to soften.  Gently push each tortilla into a ramekin so it lines the inside like a muffin cup.

Spoon two heaping spoonfuls of the black bean mixture into each tortilla. Crack an egg on top of bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in oven for 20 minutes or until whites begin to set around the edges. Sprinkle with shredded cheese to cover top of the egg.  Bake for another 5-7 minutes until white is fully set, but yolks are still soft.

Gently ease tortilla cup out of each ramekin with a spoon onto a plate. Serve with salsa, dig in and enjoy.  
Toasted Coconut Trail Mix

So I'm only a few days into the 2013 Whole Living 3-week Detox and while I have been thrilled with all of the recipes so far, this one snack recipe is so easy and yummy I wanted to share.  I may never buy trail mix again! Since it is part of the cleanse it has no processed sugar and no gluten...just four simple ingredients.  Take less than 15 minutes to make, but make sure to make a double batch...it goes fast!

Original recipe can be found here, but I've also copied it below:

½ cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
½ cup chopped unsweetened dried apricots
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted*
½ cup chopped unsalted almonds, toasted*

Mix all four ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

If you have a hard time finding unsweetened coconut or unsweetened apricots check your local health food store or Whole Foods.

*To toast the coconut and chopped almonds simply spread them out on a foil-lined pan and pop in the oven at 350 degrees for roughly 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on them...once the coconut starts to brown around the edges it's done but can start to burn quickly.

Roasting Red Peppers at Home

Roasted red peppers are one of those ingredients that immediately elevate a dish to gourmet. So sweet, so smoky and so amazingly delicious. The problem is, however, that we like to eat them quite often and the store bought roasted red peppers are quite expensive and usually soaking in oil. So a few years ago we tried our hand at making them at home and haven't turned back since. If you have a gas stove they're incredibly easy to make, much healthier, less expensive, and...bonus...make your house smell incredible.

So let's get started! Place a clean red pepper directly on the flame of a gas stove set to medium-high. Using heat-proof tongs, turn pepper as each side begins to burn and blister until entire pepper is blackened and crisp. Usually about 1-2 minutes per side or about 5-7 minutes in total.  Sometimes you need to use the tongs and hold the pepper over the flame at an angle to get in the crooks if it's a bit more more misshapen.

Once the majority of the pepper is blackened, take the blackened red pepper off the flame and immediately place into  a tightly covered dish (plastic wrap will do if the dish doesn't have a proper lid) or you can simply place the pepper back into your plastic produce bag and tie it closed. This latter option is good for less clean up if you're just doing one pepper.
Vegetarian Eats for the Big Game!

Ok...so I'm not super excited about the Superbowl this year. I mean my Pats were only one game away from making it in, and let's be honest, it wasn't a very respectable loss. So while I certainly go big for the Superbowl when the Pats are in it, this year I'm trying my best to keep it a bit simpler and healthier. My Pats are worth the calories and effort...the Niners and the Ravens, not so much. So I thought I'd include a few more veggies in our spread this year. Yes, some will be smothered with cheese, but hey, it's a start.

So first up...those delicious looking Spicy Broccoli Rabe & Provolone Grinders above. Yes, Grinders. I'm from MA, after all...no Subs or Hoagies here!. I made these for the first time this year and while they may slightly disappoint that guest who sees them and excitedly asks if they're Cheesesteaks, they are pretty fabulous.

The soft french rolls are slathered with a homemade spicy white bean spread (store-bought spicy hummus will do in a pinch), piled high with crispy oven roasted broccoli rabe, smothered in melty provolone and sprinkled with red jalapenos. Yum.  I know I certainly didn't miss the meat. The original recipe can be found here...but, like I said you can simplify buy using store-bought spicy hummus instead of making your own spread (although the homemade stuff is yummy). I also simplified by oven roasting the rapini rather than cooking it the way they suggested.  I think it works even better (adds some crisp!) and dirties way fewer dishes, which I always like. C'mon...you know you want to grab one!

Next up...some snack-y finger food without all the calories of nuts. Pan fried shishito peppers!  These little peppers are relatively easy to find these days since they've really grown in popularity.  They're not spicy peppers, but slightly sweet and so delicious when cooked up this way. So simple and easy...they're best warm, but they go fast so cook up a big batch!

Weekly Menu: January 20-26, 2013
Sunday: Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs & Broccoli Rabe Provolone Grinders for the Pats Game!
Monday: Halibut on Mashed Fava Beans with Mint and Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Tuesday: Leftovers: Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs & Broccoli Rabe Grinders
Wednesday:   Curried Red Lentil & Swiss Chard Stew
Thursday: Leftovers: Lentil & Swiss Chard Stew
Friday: Breakfast for Dinner 
Saturday: Eat Out
Pats game, baby! Sunday's a big day with our boys in the AFC Championship so we're having some of our fellow Massholes over (yes I consider that a term of endearment!) to root them on. We'll be having my now famous Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs that I originally saw way back when on a Martha Stewart show...who knew Martha knows football party food! In addition to these spicy, yummy little meatballs we'll also be making Broccoli Rabe Provolone Grinders...that's right people, grinders. Not hoagies, not subs...grinders. That's the way we roll in Massachusetts. Of course we'll have other snacks as well but those are our main dishes along with good 'ole Sam Adams beer. Go Pats!!

The rest of the week we'll get back in our healthy groove with a new fish recipe...Halibut on Mashed Fava Beans with Mint and a  Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach Salad. Then on Wednesday we'll make one of our old winter standbys, Curried Red Lentil & Swiss Chard Stew. We'll finish off the week with an easy breakfast for dinner as we head into our weekend.

Most importantly...Go Pats!!!!!!!!
New Year Eve Cocktail Favorites

There's no better way to start the new year off with good friends at an intimate yet festive house party. I know some like to go out on the town and get crazy...trust me, I've had my fair share of those New Year's Eve celebrations as well. But over the years I've always ended up feeling like the hassle of transportation, cost of the entire night and ultimate hellacious hangover aren't entirely worth it. To be honest, there's nothing more depressing to me than feeling completely awful and bad about myself on January 1st...so now my celebration of preference is one that lends itself to at least a slightly lesser hangover. Enter, the house party.

Every good house party, particularly on New Year's Eve, has at least one specialty cocktail. On this special night, those cocktails should definitely include champagne so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite champagne cocktails to help you start 2013 off right. Most are very basic...but the basic yet delicious cocktail is the best friend of a party hostess!