Salmon With Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and Spicy Pepitas

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Back to real life… but that doesn’t mean back to boring food! This salmon and polenta could easily pass for a dish at a fancy restaurant, but it can be on your kitchen table in no time at all!

I’m already starting to get tired of pumpkin and other squash so I thought that I should lay off it for a little bit – at least in the forms that I’ve been eating. I decided that I wanted to try something with pumpkin seeds – pepitas – and thought that a pesto would be nice. I encrusted some salmon filets in a mixture of sun dried tomatoes, spicy pepitas, and cilantro and then cooked it until it was crispy on the outside and coked to about medium inside. The rich and spicy flavor of the salmon paired perfectly with a soft, creamy polenta. The completed dish had a Mexican/ South American feel to it, while still seeming very upscale. [....]

Seafood Cioppino with Saffron and Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce

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Now that the Foodbuzz Festival is over, I’ve been given the go-ahead to share my winning cioppino recipe with you all. I’m really excited that I can finally post this dish – as I’ve mentioned before, I thought it was amazing (and from the feedback that I got at the festival, a lot of other people thought to too!). It’s also crazy easy to make. I was honestly worried about how I was going to fill the time in my 35 minute demo, because this essentially just requires dumping everything in the pot and letting it do its thing. Because it’s so fast, easy and elegant, it would be the perfect thing to make for weeknight entertaining. [....]

San Francisco and the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival

WOW.

That’s all I can say. Thank you so much to Bertolli and Foodbuzz for this incredible experience! I had the best weekend – full of wonderful new friends, amazing opportunities, and delicious food. The entire weekend was surreal and I had a blast!!

The weekend was so jam-packed that I can’t even imagine trying to fit it all into one blog post. But since I really want to share the experience with you all, I’ll do my best. :) This post is pretty heavy on the photos, but tons more can be found HERE.

porchetta sandwich

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

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I recently received the December issue of Fine Cooking Magazine in the mail, and this dish jumped out at me. It combines some of my favorite things: pasta, brussels sprouts, blue cheese, and pecans. I couldn’t wait to make it! But when a quick flip to the back of the magazine showed me that their version had a whopping 670 calories, I knew I would have to put my own spin on it to lighten it up. With just a few simple substitutions, my version clocks in at around 266 calories – not too bad!!

I now that Brussels sprouts are one of those things that a lot of people just don’t like, but I think this dish might make anyone fall in love with them. The sprouts are shredded and then roastes, wich gives them a nutty flavor. Tossed with the pasta and covered in gorgonzola cream sauce, you’ll forget that they’r even there. If you REALLY hate Brussels sprouts though, you can probabaly get a similar flavor by substituting shredded green cabbage.

What I loved the most about this dish was the texture – some of the sprouts will begin to darken and become crispy as you roast them. When you combine that with the crunchy nuts, chewy pasta, and creamy sauce you end up with a dish that’s really a lot of fun to eat. [....]

Pear and Cranberry Breakfast Crumble

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Without a doubt, pears are my favorite fruit. I’ve loved them ever since i was a little kid. I actually remember one time when I was about 5 or 6 and I was eating one at my grandmother’s house it was sooo juicy and sooo good. I ate the entire thing. And I mean the ENTIRE thing! My mom came in and asked when I did with the core and I was like “what?” Yeah, I ate that pear core, seeds, and all!

Anyway, it’s easy to overlook pears in the Fall because of all of the excitement that surrounds apples. I decided to make a pie in celebration of the season’s “other” fruit. When thinking about what I wanted my pie to look like, I decided on a crumb top. Then I remembered that Deb over at Smitten Kitchen posted an apple breakfast granola crisp that looked amazing, and my pear crumble as born. With a combination of pears, apple, cranberries and a lightly sweetened granola topping, this crumble is delicious for breakfast, dessert, or anything in between. [....]

Lamb Meatballs in Cumin-Scented Sauce Over Spaghetti Squash

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Thank you all for your support in trying to get my cioppino into the top 3 Bertolli Menu Items so I can share it at the Foodbuzz Festival later this week. Voting is now over and the final results are being tallied, but it’s looking pretty good! :) I promised you that I would share my other entry – the one that wasn’t chosen to be on the menu – and thought that today would be a good day to share. Following my theme of “not Italian,” I decided to make some meatballs with a Middle Eastern flare. These tender lamb meatballs are flavored with a touch of cinnamon and simmered in a cumin-scented sauce. I served the over a bed of spaghetti squash and wilted spinach and topped them with some sauteed onion. I really liked how this looked just like traditional spaghetti and meatballs, but tasted nothing like it! I also thought that adding the cumin to the sauce was a nice way to transform jarred sauce into something a little more special. As with the cioppino, I thought that this was a strong entry, but I agree with the judges that the cioppino was slightly better. Shawn preferred this dish. [....]