Tortelloni Fagioli with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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This spin on classic pasta fagioli was nothing more than an excuse eat tortellini.

Seriously. I’ve been craving it ever since I made Tortelloni Di Ricotta Di Noci Tostate but, since I find tortellini so easy to overeat, I try not to make it too often. Then I had a brilliant idea: stretch out a serving of tortellini by adding it to a soup full of nutritious ingredients. As it turns out, the soup that I created ended up being crave worthy in its own right — and is so much healthier than just eating a giant bowl of carbs and cheese for dinner (which is what I would have done otherwise).

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I always say that I like to make soup because it’s so simple, and this is one of the easiest yet — other than chopping an onion, all you have to do is open jars and dump them in your pot. Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe and I wanted to be sure that the final dish was full of flavor, I turned to my old favorite: fire roasted tomatoes. I really love the slightly smokey, charred flavor of these tomatoes and they really added a nice dimension to the soup.

Instead of regular cheese tortellini, I grabbed a package of chicken and proscuitto tortelloni from Buitoni. I LOVED the way these tasted in the soup! They were very delicate but they added a ton of flavor (they reminded me a little bit of wontons). I definitely recommend using them, but if you can’t find them — or if you’re a vegetarian — you can easily substitute regular cheese tortellini.

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Click to continue reading and get the recipe for Tortelloni Fagioli with Fire Roasted Tomatoes –>

Let’s Talk Risotto

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If you’ve hung out around this blog for a while, you know that risotto is a staple in our house. You might even says it’s my thing. In fact, when I was asked to bring a gift that represented my blog to the Foodbuzz Festival I brought a risotto kit.

So when Marx Foods was looking for people to test and review four different kinds of risotto rice, I jumped on the opportunity. I almost always use arborio rice, both because its easy to find and affordable and because its what I know, but I was super excited to try out the rice that Marx Foods sent me: Vialone Nano, Organic Arborio, Organic Integrale (a brown rice), and Organic Carnaroli. Shawn and I did a blind tasting and ended up ranking the rice the exact same way as each other — and the results surprised us!

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First, the ground rules: In order to keep the results as unbiased as possible, I identified each rice only by the pan that I cooked it in; I didn’t know which was which until the end. I prepared them all at the same time (quite the task!) using a simple recipe that would let the flavor of the rice itself shine through — just the rice, some onion, white wine, and chicken stock. I kept detailed notes as I cooked and tasted and rated each rice on appearance, creaminess, smell, and taste. When Shawn came home from work, he tasted each and ranked his favorites (again, he didn’t know which was which. He also didn’t know that I used the same recipe for each version of the risotto.)

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Clockwise from top left: Arborio, Carnaroli, Integrale, Vialone Nano

Click to continue reading and find out which rice we liked the best!

Tandoori Rotis (Indian Flat Bread)

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Now that you’re all set to whip up some chana masala next time you’re looking for a quick, nutritious meal you need something to serve it with, right? Enter tandoori rotis.
Crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, these breads are perfect for sopping up curries and sauces. No yeast means they’re quick to make (no long rise times required) and the ingredient list couldn’t be simpler — you probably have everything you need to make them in your cabinet right now.
Tandoori rotis are traditionally baked in a clay oven called a tandoor, but they can also be made successfully in a regular oven. Just like with pita bread, rotis puff up when the moisture in the dough turns to steam. Because of this, you’ll want to be sure your oven is nice and hot — allow plenty of time for it to preheat. I like to bake mine on a pizza stone, but a heavy duty baking sheet will work just as well. I also like to use a combination of white, whole wheat, and garbanzo beans flours in my rotis because it keeps them nice and light while giving them a great nutty flavor. If you prefer, they can also be made with all whole wheat flour or with a mixture of half white and half whole wheat.
Ready to take your bread making skills to the next level? Try my pea & herb stuffed naan.
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Click to continue reading and get the recipe for Tandoori Rotis –>

Chana Saag (Chickpeas with Spinach)

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Following a month of eating mostly take-out and a trip to the Foodbuzz Festival (where I ate pretty much everything in sight) I’m excited to be back in the kitchen, cooking up healthy recipes.

Choosing the first meal to cook was a difficult task: I was sick of carbs, tired of cheese (yes, it’s possible!), and had my fill of meat. Soup seemed like the perfect solution, but Shawn was sick of that. I knew I was on to something when I spotted a can of chickpeas in the back of the cabinet — starchy, but not heavy like pasta, potatoes, or rice. It didn’t take long to figure out what I wanted to do with them. This chana saag was exactly the kind of meal that I was aching for: warm, creamy chickpeas coated in a fragrant spinach sauce provided enough protein and fiber to keep me satisfied without leaving me stuffed.

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I hadn’t made chana saag in years, and I had forgotten how easy it is! Start to finish, it will take you about a half hour and most of the ingredients involved are pantry staples, meaning this can be easily whipped up on a weeknight. A food processor makes pureeing the spinach sauce a breeze, but if you don’t have one it can also be made successfully in a blender.

Looking for a vegan meal? Substitute silken tofu for the yogurt! You can also leave it out entirely, but it does add a nice touch of creaminess to the sauce.

Looking for a meat-filled meal? I encourage you to give the chickpeas a try. But if you insist, you can substitute two chicken breasts for the chickpeas. Just adjust the final cooking time to ensure that it’s cooked through.

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Click to continue reading and get the recipe for Chana Saag –>

Foodbuzz Festival & Napa Valley

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Words can’t begin to describe the weekend I just spend at the Second Annual Foodbuzz Festival, so I’ll let the photos do the talking. After a month of eating takeout while traveling, this weekend was precisely what the doctor ordered to get me back to my normal foodie-self. I’ve been home for two days now and have been cooking up a storm – I’ll be back to my normal posting schedule with tons of new recipes this week!

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From the Foodbuzz Gala Dinner: Roasted Golden Beet Tart with Feta, Currants, Wild Arugula, and Basil Puree, Seared Scallops with Bonny Doon Vinyard Verjus Beurre Blanc served with Braised Fennel, Rosemary and Garlic Infused Rack of Lamb with Wild Mushrooms, Pinot Noir Sauce, and Butternut Squash Puree, Almond Cake with Oranges and Spanish Sherry Sabayon.

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2009 Bonny Doon Vinyard Ca’ del Solo Albarino, my favorite of the many wines that were poured.

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The best part of the festival: seeing old friends and making new ones. With Andrea from High/Low Food Drink, Yvo from Feisty Foodie, Siobhan from Blondie and Brownie and the fabulous Sophia from Burp and Slurp who I was SO HAPPY to finally get to meet!

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Transamerica Pyramid. Apparently people think its ugly. I think its awesome!

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Cool fountain in a little park full of redwoods. This was part of a “food” walking tour that I took with Urban Adventures. The food part was pretty much nonexistent, but it was a pretty nice tour anyway. It could have been shorter though – 4 hours walking up and down San Francisco’s hills will leave you pretty sore!

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Allie and I drove to Napa, where we stopped at Domaine Chandon. I had the Etoile Brut, which I enjoyed a lot – nice and dry with lots of tiny bubbles. I would have brought home a bottle if it would have fit in my suitcase! Allie had a sparkling red, which was beautiful, but too sweet for me.

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People picking vegetables in French Laundry’s garden. Talk about Farm to Table!

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Scenery just doesn’t get much more beautiful than this. Napa took my breath away!

Roast Steelhead with Citrus & Olives over Saffron Risotto

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Welcome to the party! Today’s recipe is part of November’s Kitchen Play Progressive Party – a fun, new series where once a month, six bloggers are assigned a course and tasked with using a featured product to create an original recipe. This month’s sponsor isLindsay Olives and I’m serving up a delicious entrée of steelhead trout roasted with rosemary, orange, and olives over saffron risotto.

When the folks over at Lindsay asked which olives I would be interested in trying out, I was immediately drawn to their Naturals line, which are processed without artificial colors, preservatives, or other yucky stuff. These olives are pretty much as simple as you can get – the only ingredients listed on the can are olives, water, and salt! The olives themselves are meaty and buttery, with a smooth flavor that lends itself well to cooking.


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I knew that I wanted to do something different with these olives than a typical tapenade and that I wanted them to be featured prominently in the entrée that I created. Since I loved the braised olives in Sally Bee’s Moroccan Chicken, I wanted to try another preparation in which the olives were served warm. I decided to keep things simple by roasting them along with a few other ingredients and serving it over risotto (my motto: when all else fails, make risotto) and I couldn’t have been happier with how this entrée turned out. Roasting the olives brought out their natural sweetness, and they paired perfectly with the fatty fish and bright citrus. This is a dish that I would happily serve to dinner guests (real or virtual) and that I look forward to making again!

Click to continue reading Roasted Steelhead with Citrus & Olives over Saffron Risotto –>