feta

Barefoot Contessa’s Greek Panzanella

I love the Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That? cookbook by Ina Garten. It is loaded with great recipes. This is one of the best salad dishes I’ve ever tasted. It’s fresh, perfectly dressed and beautiful to look at! Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with bites of tangy feta cheese and toasted cubes of bread too. Not to mention it’s easy to make! If you have any vegetables left from your summer garden, this might inspire you to use them- fabulously! If you don’t, well you probably want to add the following ingredients to your shopping list. (Trust me- worth it.)

From Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That?

As organic as possible (from Sadie):

1/4 cup + 1/2 cup Olive oil (divided)

1 large loaf (6 cups 1 inch diced) rustic Bread

1 Cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 Red bell pepper, seeded and large-diced

1 Yellow bell pepper, seeded and large-diced

1 pint cherry or grape Tomatoes

1/2 small red Onion, thinly sliced in half-rounds (or 1/4 rounds)

1/4 cup good red wine Vinegar

2 tsp minced Garlic

1 tsp dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt (plus more for bread cubes)

1/2 tsp pepper (plus more for bread cubes)

8 oz. Feta cheese

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low until hot. Add the bread cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toast, tossing frequently until browned (5-10 minutes). Set aside.

Placed the diced cucumbers, yellow and red bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onion in a large bowl. Toss.

For the vinaigrette, place vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard, salt, and pepper in measuring cup (or bowl) and whisk. Slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil and emulsify.

Add feta, olives, and bread to tossed vegetables. Pour over vinaigrette and gently toss. Allow to set for 30 minutes to let flavors incorporate. Season to taste and serve.

 

 

Charlotte’s Simply Delicious

The current issue of Simple & Delicious is loaded with fabulous recipes from Pesto stuffed Chicken to Apple-Almond Muffins and Wheat Berry Salad. The magazine has mouth-watering desserts and easy 5 ingredient fixes for the Christmas holiday to save your shopping time for ‘merrier’ things. It also happens to contain the latest publication of my cousin Charlotte!

Charlotte is an accomplished novelist and has a series of imaginative books in the works, starting with the published The Elemental Rise of Shade. And although she has the cool artsy life of pouring herself into her writing, she doesn’t spend all of her time in front of her typewriter. (Okay she uses a computer, but somehow the typewriter sounds more romantic, am I right?) Anyway, she also happens to be a solid recipe developer and has had several published recipes. Most recently in the December/January 2016 issue of Taste of Home’s Simple & Delicious. (On stands now!)

If you turn to page 67 of the magazine you will find a cute picture of Charlotte herself and a delicious Spinach-Basil Lasagna, a healthy version of an Italian classic full of flavors like feta and Parmesan and good for you baby spinach. As if that wasn’t outstanding enough it is also health conscious with only 229 calories per serving. (Which also happens to be 1/9th of a 13×9 inch pan, so a good size serving!)

For years Charlotte has made many tasty recipes including (but not limited to) a baked potato pizza and pepperoni pasta salad that have been printed in books and periodicals. Lucky for you, I have access to her culinary genius and will be posting some of her recipes in the future! In the meantime you can check out her developments yourself; I found my mini-magazine near the check-out of my local grocery store.

Happy Birthday Charlotte!

 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is crazy delicious. It is “the chef’s” recipe and it is full of flavor. You could bring this to a gathering and blow all of the other side dishes out of the water, impress your family at home or indulge yourself for a light lunch. No matter what the ocassion, this should now be your go-to pasta salad.

For dressing

1/2 cup champagne vinegar
3 garlic cloves roughly minced
Juice of half one lemon
1 1/2  Tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
Pinch of kosher salt
Pepper to taste

1 cup olive oil

Combine the first seven ingredients, all except oil. Then slowly add oil while briskly whisking to emulsify. Then chill for 1/2 hour

For salad

1 cup cucumber diced
1/2 cup Kalamative olives (whole to measure then sliced)
About 10-12 spicy pickled green beans finely diced
3/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes
2 cups diced mixed mini sweet peppers (about 8 oz.)
8 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 pound penne pasta cooked

Toss all ingredients and add dressing…chill for an hour and retoss before serving.

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Look at all of the things in this beautiful salad!

Now I have to mention that I first went to the grocery store and couldn’t find a couple of the items… And I said to the chef, “Rachel, I’m going to have to put you on the shelf with my other fancy chef’s cookbooks because I can’t find all of your fancy ingredients.” And because she is awesome she brought me this…

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And because she explained it to me, I can tell you that the spicy beans are found next to the hot sauces, not in the jarred pickle/olive section. And the champagne vinegar was originally bought at Whole Foods, but also found at TJ Maxx. If you still can’t find it you could use a red wine vinegar in its place.