Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mexican Lasagne - Vegetarian

4 Cloves Garlic minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 large can Italian tomatoes
Chipolte salsa
1 white onion diced

1 package Soy Chorizo

1 package Queso Fresco (or ricotta)

1 cup cilantro

Corn Tortillas

Fontina Cheese
Chili Flakes

In a hot pan, add 2 tbsps olive oil and add the garlic. Remove from heat so the garlic won’t brown. Stir constantly.
Add the canned tomatoes with all their juice. Break up the tomatoes. Add 1 jar of chipotle salsa. Stir the sauce and add a dash of red chili flakes. Turn the heat low and let the sauce reduce, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat a separate pan and add 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 more minced garlic cloves. Add the diced onions, stirring until softened. Add the soy chorizo and break apart. Just heat through for the chorizo. Set mixture aside to cool.

In a large bowl, add the queso fresco (or ricotta cheese). Break apart and add 1 cup minced cilantro (1 cup before mincing). Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. When the sauce is reduced, taste for salt. Let cool.

To assemble:
Use a 9x9 baking dish. Use one third of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of tortillas. Add 1/3 of the chorizo mixture. Add a third of the queso fresco mixture. Repeat the layers. For the top layer, add a layer of fontina cheese (or smoked fontina cheese would be very nice). Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes until the top is brown and the lasagna is bubbling and hot. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving. You can serve this with a chipotle salsa on top, or a fresh pico de gallo salsa as shown.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fried Egg Panini - Saturday Brunch

I just made this and it is cooling on the counter. Although, I recommend eating it as soon as it comes out of the panini, it can be reheated on a low oven for about 10 minutes.

Use any bread you like. Today, I had leftover Olive and Rosemary bread which I sliced into 4 slices.

3 Eggs
Any kind of cheese you like (I usually use a very sharp aged cheddar, such as a Canadian Cheddar, but you can use any cheese, even a brie, or omit the cheese).
I also had some leftover mushrooms already sauteed, so I sliced those
And I used some leftover heirloom cherry tomatoes. The idea is you can use anything.
I also had some marinated cippriani onions, but you can use thin sliced red onions, or pickled onions.

I like to "fry" the eggs in a non stick pan, pre-heated and sprayed with an olive oil. Then add the eggs and fry both sides, salt and peppering them. When they are firm enough, remove from the pan.

Pre-heat your panini press and assemble the sandwich.

I used a layer of cheese for a "glue", added the mushrooms, onions and tomatoes, and placed the eggs on top. For 2 sandwiches, 1 egg each might not be enough, so that's why I make 3 eggs and cut the third egg in half to assemble on the sandwiches.

I add the eggs, then a few more slices of cheese on top as a glue, the final slice of bread and on the hot press for about 5 minutes.

This makes a great brunch for 2 in minutes.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Fajita Idea

I served this at my Superbowl Party. I put the fajitas in Tostada cups. You can serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, jalepenos, whatever! Martha even suggested a leaf of cilantro on the top. I was running out of time, so I let the guests figure it out.!

Smoked Salmon Hash

This is a delicious brunch idea. I made it for my girls, Celeste and Quida for breakfast on Monday. I was late to work because I was poaching eggs and then had to photograph this, but the results were totally worth it. I'm writing this from Ojai Valley Inn! I swam this morning and will play golf this afternoon. This is a beautiful place. Very peaceful.

Use the same recipe as below for the fajita hash, but add chunks of smoked salmon if you can get a whole piece and not lox, but lox is okay to substitute if necessary. Don't use fajita seasoning as the smoked salmon is salty and flavorful enough.

I served this with poached eggs and a homemade pico de gallo made with heirloom cherry tomatoes, red onions, jalepeno, cilantro, lime juice and salt. The juice from the salsa can be used as a vinegrette or a marinade. I like to find many uses for my dishes.


Fajita Hash

I made this hash with left over beef fajita mixture (see October 2008). You can serve it on a flour tortilla with salsa as a main dish as I have here, or with poached eggs for breakfast. It's a delicious use of leftovers. I divided the potato, pepper and onion mixture to use half in the smoked salmon version.

2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced in 1/2 inch cubes
2 red bell peppers, diced small
1 sweet brown onion, diced small
Olive Oil
Fajita seasoning

In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the peppers and onions. Stirring occasionally, cook until carmelized. Add 1 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of water. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer until most of the water evaporates and the vegetables are fork tender. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, heat 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and add the potatoes. Stir occasionally until browned and fork tender. Add back the peppers and onions and combine. Heat through and add the leftover fajitas. Taste for seasoning, and add more fajita seasoning as needed. Stir all ingredients together well and serve.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Basil and Spinach Pesto

2 Cups Washed Basil Leaves

1 Cup Washed Baby Spinach

1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts

4 Cloves Roasted Garlic

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese


In a food processor or using a Kitchen Aid mixer, pulse the basil and spinach. Add the pine nuts and garlic and pulse. Slowly pour in the oil while pulsing. Add the cheese and mix in. Taste for salt and add sea salt as desired, about 1/2 a teaspoon.
I added the pesto to fresh angel hair pasta and sprinkled more cheese on top and some small diced tomatoes.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Mayonnaise

As promised, here are the grilled artichokes with lemon mayonnaise.

4 Medium Artichokes

3 Lemons, cut in half

Olive Oil


Fill a large pot with water and squeeze the juice of one of the lemons in the water and add the lemons with the pulp and rind that you just squeezed in the water.

Remove the bottom petals of the artichoke and trim the tips of the petals. Cut the top tips off. Trim the bottom of the stem and with a paring knive, carefully trim the outside of the stem. Cut the artichoke in half and rub both halves with one of the cut lemons. This will prevent them from turning brown. With a teaspoon, scrape away the choke from the center and discard.

Immediately place the artichoke in the water and continue with the rest. Turn the heat on to boil the water and place a wooden spoon or a wooden chopstick between the lid and the pot (this is a clever trick as you get wood chopsticks free when you order Chinese, so keep them around for these things - they're also good to tie up a wayward plant!) Boil the artichokes about 20 minutes until they are fork tender. Remove to a plate and let cool.

The next stop is purely optional, but I did it and it made a world of difference in presentation and taste. Drizzle the artichokes with olive oil. On a grill or a panini, grill the cooked artichokes for a few minutes to get a nice char.

Mix your mayonnaise with fresh lemon juice (I used the juice of a half a lemon for 1/4 cup mayonnaise). With a zester or a fine grater, grate a the outside of a washed lemon to add some zest to the mayonnaise.

I served these with olive oil drizzled on top and squeezed some more lemon juice on tip with the lemon mayonnaise.