Many years ago, my husband and I first tried Romesco sauce while on vacation in Barcelona. It was served with grilled ramps. We were instant fans! Using jarred fire-roasted red peppers as a shortcut is an absolute genius way to create it. I served the meatballs and sauce in this dish with slices of sourdough baguette to sop up every last drop. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sara Frost. I modified the proportions. The original recipe notes that the delicious sauce can add richness to other lean proteins such as fish, pan-roasted chicken breast and can also be used as a dip for vegetables. Next time, I may serve this dish with grilled scallions. Yum.
My son ate the leftover meatballs and baguette as a luxurious sandwich with melted cheese, topped with Romesco sauce, of course. This dish could also be served as a fabulous appetizer.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 3/4 lbs ground turkey
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup panko
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika
4 to 6 T finely chopped parsley, plus more coarsely chopped for serving
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 T plus 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted almonds (I used toasted sliced almonds)
1 12 to 16-oz jar fire-roasted peppers in water, drained (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 to 4 small garlic cloves, crushed (I used a garlic press)
1 T red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
finely grated zest of half of a lemon
crusty bread, for serving, optional (I served it with a sourdough baguette)
Preheat oven to 425°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Using your hands, mix ground turkey, eggs, panko, cumin, onion powder, paprika, parsley, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl.
Working one at a time, use a 1 1/2-inch scoop out to ration out the mixture. (I had 28 meatballs.) Place on a plate.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. (I used a large stainless steel “all-in-one” pan.)
Working in 2 batches, cook meatballs until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer skillet with all of the meatballs to oven and bake until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, pulse almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Pulse drained fire-roasted peppers, garlic, vinegar, and cayenne in food processor until almost smooth.
Transfer to bowl with almonds and stir in remaining 1/2 cup oil; season Romesco sauce with salt, to taste.
Spoon romesco sauce onto a platter or into shallow bowls; arrange meatballs on top.
Finely grate lemon zest over and scatter coarsely chopped parsley on top. Serve with crusty bread, as desired.
We have pizza night once a week- usually on Sundays. We vary the type and toppings, of course. 🙂 During the initial lockdown, we started experimenting with many variations of garlic knots to eat with our special pizza. I now realize that pizzeria versions are soaked in an incredible amount of oil. I opted for a drizzle before and after baking instead.
We made them with different doughs and determined that a 24-hour pizza dough (one of my favorites) resulted in our preferred garlic knots. We also attempted to make them with sourdough pizza dough (of course!) but they were too puffy. We experimented with different baking temperatures as well. I found that a higher oven temperature and shorter baking time resulted in more tender garlic knots.
This recipe makes two batches of eight knots; I froze half and thawed them in the refrigerator prior to baking with excellent results. Great.
Yield: about 16 garlic knots
For the Dough:
153 grams (1 1/4 cups) 00 Flour
153 grams (1 1/4 cups) King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
8 grams (scant 2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
2 grams (scant 1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast OR 4 grams (scant 1 teaspoon) fresh yeast
4 grams (scant 1 teaspoon) good olive oil
202 grams (1 cup minus 1 T) lukewarm water
For the Topping: (make half if freezing half of the garlic knots)
5 to 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 pinches coarse salt
dash of red pepper flakes, or more to taste, optional
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
marinara sauce, optional
minced parsley, for garnish, optional
To Make the Dough (24 to 48-hours in advance):
In a bowl, thoroughly combine the flours and salt; make a well in the center.
In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the yeast, olive oil, and lukewarm water.
Pour the wet mixture into the well in the dry mixture and begin mixing the two together with your hands, gradually incorporating the dry into the wet. This process will be more like mixing than kneading.
After about 3 minutes, when the wet and dry are well combined, set the mixture aside and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes. This allows time for the flour to absorb the moisture.
Flour your hands and the work surface. Gently but firmly knead the mixture on the work surface for about 3 minutes. Reflour your hands and the surface as necessary. The dough will be nice and sticky, but after a few minutes of kneading it should come together into a smooth mass.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces, shape them gently into balls, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 24 and up to 48 hours before using. This process, called proofing, allows for the fermentation that gives the dough structure- which results in a chewy, pliable crust with great flavor.
To Shape the Dough:
Roll each dough ball into an 8-inch log.
Using a knife or bench scraper, cut each log into 8 pieces (approximately 1-inch each and equal in size).
Roll each piece into and 8-inch long rope. (You will have 16 ropes.)(I did this by hand but my kids also used a rolling pin.)
Tie each rope into a knot. (The ends can be tucked underneath or left out.)
Arrange the knots on two aluminum foil-lined baking sheets. (I ultimately preferred aluminum foil over parchment paper because of the high oven temperature.)(At this point some of the garlic knots can be frozen- see note below.)
Lightly cover and let them rest in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes. (I used a proofing oven.)
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (I used the baking stone setting with a stone placed in the lowest position.)
When the rise time is nearly complete, prepare the topping.
To Prepare the Topping:
Combine the olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes, if using, in a small skillet.
Cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and reserve.
To Bake & Serve the Garlic Knots:
When the rise time is complete, brush the top of the garlic knots with a little more than half of the garlic-olive oil topping.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and brush with remaining garlic-olive oil topping.
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and/or parsley, as desired. Serve plain or with marinara sauce for dipping.
Note: Cover and store leftover garlic knots in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To Freeze Dough Prior to Baking: Arrange the shaped knots on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet. Freeze, uncovered, for 1-2 hours. Remove from the freezer. Knots should be frozen and no longer sticky. Place into a freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter. Bring to room temperature, arrange on 2 foil-lined baking sheets, cover lightly, and allow to rest/rise in a warm spot for 1 hour before baking as above.
One of my friends has been trying to convince me to make nachos for dinner for quite some time. My kids (who were well aware of this suggestion) were so deprived, they have ordered nachos on several occasions as an entrée when we’ve indulged at a Mexican restaurant. 😉
When I saw this recipe for “party nachos,” I thought that I could (and should) serve them for dinner! Crazy? Nope. My kids were thrilled. After all, nachos are a sheet-pan dinner. This version uses rotisserie chicken meat as a shortcut too.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Rick Martinez. I scaled down the proportions. However, I did prepare the full recipe for the rotisserie chicken and sauce, keeping half to use for tacos, etc., on another occasion.
The bottom layer was reminiscent of a enchilada pie, or taco or enchilada skillet meal- other weeknight favorites over here. The rotisserie chicken meat is coated with a fabulous, full-flavored sauce. This sauce brings these nachos to the next level. I loved all of the toppings too. Very cheesy.
When not being served for dinner, these nachos would also be a great appetizer or snack, of course.
Yield: Serves about 6
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped, divided
1 T achiote paste or tomato paste
8 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded (I substituted 2 ancho chilies plus 4 guajillo chiles)
1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped (or 1 T adobo sauce to keep things mild)
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp ground cumin
1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled from bones and shredded
1 10-oz bag frozen corn, thawed, drained
1/2 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, chopped
4 oz crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup) or finely grated Cotija cheese (about 1 cup)
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
8 to 10-oz tortilla chips
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
thinly sliced radishes, cilantro leaves, avocado cubes, and pickled jalapeños, for serving, as desired
sour cream, for serving, as desired
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high until shimmering.
Cook garlic and half of onion, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown, 6–8 minutes.
Stir in achiote paste/tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until brick red, about 1 minute.
Add dried chiles, chipotle chile, stock, cumin, and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit until chiles are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Place a rack in the center of oven; preheat to 350°, preferably on convection.
Transfer chile mixture to a blender and purée until smooth.
Return to saucepan, stir in chicken, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; season with salt. Remove from heat; set chicken aside until ready to assemble. (Reserve half of this saucy chicken for another use; only half is needed for the nachos.)
Meanwhile, toss corn, chopped poblano chile, half of the feta/Cotija cheese, and remaining onion in a medium bowl until combined; season with salt.
Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Arrange half of the chips in an even layer on the bottom of the baking sheet.
Top with half of the reserved chicken mixture, half of the corn mixture, and half of the cheddar.
Repeat layers with remaining chips, chicken mixture, corn mixture, and cheddar.
Bake nachos, rotating pan halfway through, until cheese is melted and edges of chips are beginning to brown, 8–10 minutes.
Serve topped with radishes, cilantro, avocado, pickled jalapeños, remaining feta/Cotija cheese, sour cream, and other desired toppings alongside.
Do Ahead: Nachos can be assembled 1 hour before baking. Cover with plastic and store at room temperature.
Last spring, when the “New York Pause” of self-isolation began, our family enjoyed many special Happy Hours. My son tried every flavor of San Pellegrino soda and my daughter’s beverage alternated between lemonade and Arnold Palmer. We have limited these indulgences to once a week (if at all) at this point. 😉
The kids and I made these soft pretzels on a couple of these occasions. I loved that we all shaped them differently! We ate them with a variety of mustards and with warm queso (from Trader Joe’s) on another occasion. The melted butter was essential.
This recipe was adapted from King Arthur flour. I used active dry yeast and omitted the malt. Great.
For the Dough:
Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper.
Mix and knead the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a cohesive, fairly smooth dough. It should be slightly sticky; if it seems dry, knead in an additional tablespoon or two of water.
Cover the dough and let it rest for 45 minutes. It will rise minimally. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it, then divide it into 12 pieces, each weighing about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 ounces.
Roll each piece of dough into an 18″ rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel.
Brush the pretzels with water and sprinkle lightly with coarse pretzel salt.
Bake the pretzels for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Note: This is correct; there’s no need to let the shaped pretzels rise before baking.
Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush with melted butter, if desired. (We thought it was essential!)
Serve with a variety of mustards and/or queso, as desired.
Lucky me- I recently received several beautiful homegrown tomatoes from friends. 🙂 This quick and easy tart was a great way to showcase them.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit. I modified the method and proportions and added parmesan in lieu of creme fraiche. The punch of lemon surprised my son but I thought that it added bright and fresh flavor.
We ate this tart for dinner with a green salad. It would also be lovely served as an appetizer. A dollop of ricotta cheese may also be nice, so I included it as an option for next time.
Yield: 4 servings
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (one 14-ounce package or half of a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
all-purpose flour, for dusting
2 garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced into 1/8-inch rounds on a mandoline, seeds removed (5-6 slices)
One of my friends frequently serves these tarts when entertaining with rave reviews. She describes them as “flavor bombs!” 🙂 I loved them so much, I have also served them on more than one occasion myself.
The tarts can be formed into rectangles on sheet pans, or into rounds on pizza tins. Square pieces are perfect appetizer portions. As they are a bit time consuming to prepare, the tarts can be assembled a day prior to baking and serving. To limit the amount of moisture on the crust, it is important to not to incorporate too many tomatoes.
The recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, via Food Network.com, contributed by Ina Garten. I doubled the recipe, modified the proportions, and made large tarts rather than individual tarts.
8 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (about 3 large onions)
6 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons dry white wine
4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
6 to 8 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (I used Trader Joe’s herb-goat cheese)
1 pound Campari or small “on-the-vine” tomatoes (about 3 per tart), or 2 large tomatoes, cut into 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
6 tablespoons julienned basil leaves, divided
Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 12 by 12-inch square. Fold the corners in to form a circle. Repeat with the second pastry sheet. (Alternatively, the pastry can be kept in a rectangle, lightly rolled until smooth.)
Place the pastry circles on 2 pizza pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use. (If using rectangles, place the pastry on 2 rimmed sheet pans lined with parchment paper.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, preferably on convection.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet.
Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry.
Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
Place 1/2 of the onion mixture on each tart, again staying within the scored edge.
On each tart, crumble 3 to 4 ounces of goat cheese on top of the onions.
Place tomato slices over each tart. Brush the tomatoes lightly with olive oil and sprinkle each with 2 T basil, salt, and pepper.
Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
Bake for 25 minutes on convection, or until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven.
After removing from the oven, garnish each tart with the remaining tablespoon of basil and more grated Parmesan.
This is a great dish to make with wonderful September tomatoes. I used a blend of my CSA tomatoes with grape as well as Campari tomatoes. It may possibly be my daughter’s (and even my husband’s!) dream salad- loaded with tomatoes, cucumbers, sourdough and fried cheese?!?! It was well received. 🙂
The recipe was inspired by a Greek horiatiki salad and is also similar to an Italian panzanella. Incorporating halloumi cheese makes it hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian main course. This recipe is from The New York Times, contributed by Julia Moskin.
Yield: 6 to 8 as an appetizer or side, 4 to 6 as a main course
For the Croutons:
1pound slightly stale sourdough or country bread, thickly sliced
1/3cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Salad:
4 to 5cups cucumber chunks, preferably thin-skinned, such as Kirby or Persian
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3pounds cherry tomatoes, halved, or ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks (I used a blend of orange cherry, grape, and Campari tomatoes)
8 to 12ounces halloumi cheese
1/2cup excellent quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 T thinly sliced red onion or scallions, plus more to taste
2 to 3 T coarsely chopped fresh mint or basil
2 T red wine vinegar, plus more as needed
To Make the Croutons:
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut each slice of bread into 1-inch-wide strips. Tear each strip into 1-inch pieces, removing the crust as you go if it is very thick.
Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet (or use 2 sheets, if necessary to prevent crowding). Drizzle with olive oil and toss until evenly coated.
Bake until golden brown and crunchy on the outside, 10 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet and turning the croutons halfway through so they brown evenly, and checking them every few minutes. (I baked mine for 12 minutes on convection.)
Taste and adjust the seasoning with a light sprinkling of salt, if needed. Let cool on the baking sheet.
To Make the Salad:
In a colander in the sink, toss the cucumbers with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place a bag of ice cubes or an ice pack on top to chill and firm the cucumbers. Let drain while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
Slice the halloumi about 1/4-inch thick, then cut into bite-size strips.
Smash and peel the garlic cloves and combine with 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a measuring cup to steep.
Pour off excess liquid from the bowl holding the tomatoes. Add drained cucumbers, red onion or scallions, fresh herbs and 2 tablespoons vinegar to tomatoes and toss well.
Remove and discard the garlic cloves from the extra-virgin olive oil, add the oil to tomatoes and mix well. (If desired, the salad can be made up until this point and refrigerated for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Drain off excess liquid in the bottom of the bowl before proceeding.)
When ready to serve, add about half the croutons to the salad and toss so they can absorb the liquid.
Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar.
Cook the halloumi: Line a plate with paper towels and lightly coat a nonstick skillet with extra-virgin olive oil. Heat oil over medium-high until rippling. Working in batches, cook the halloumi strips on both sides until golden-brown and crusty, about 1 minute per side. Remove to the plate to drain.
Taste and add more croutons to salad as desired. (If there are too many, the salad will be starchy; too few, and it will be wet.)
At the last minute, toss in the halloumi, mix gently and serve immediately. (If desired, transfer to a clean bowl or platter for serving.)