Just like the rest of the world, I am cutting back on calories. As much as I love food, the holidays test my tolerance of eating and drinking excessively. Frankly, I am tired of overeating.
Cooking healthy does not have to be tasteless and boring. After cooking for so many years I have discovered that cooking fresh and seasonal is the easiest way to eat healthy and flavorful. Produce at its peak makes the job of conscious eating actually desirable.
The even better news is that this recipe is beyond simple. The trick to making a delicious salad at home is making your own dressing. I always make my dressing in my small food processor, and this recipe is no different.
I take fresh seasonal persimmons, puree them, then throw in the rest of my dressing ingredients. A quick chop of walnuts, kale, and pear results in a super easy and super healthy dinner.
You can add protein or cheese for an even more delicious variation. To really cut down on the bitterness of the kale, I let the kale sit in the dressing for at least thirty minutes before serving.
- For Dressing:
- Two Persimmons
- 1/2 Cup of Champagne Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon of Honey
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- For Salad:
- 2 Pears, peeled and sliced
- 1 Cup of Toasted Walnuts
- 1 Bunch of Kale
- Make the dressing at least one hour before using.
- Start by peeling the persimmons and removing the tops. Next, puree the persimmons in a food processor.
- Combine remaining ingredients with the persimmon puree and shake or vigorously mix until the dressing is fully combined. Set aside.
- Wash, devein, and chop the kale.
- Place the kale in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing. Allow to rest, in the fridge, for at least thirty minutes.
- When ready to serve top with walnuts and pears.
- *Cheese and protein optional.
© 2020 Copyright epicuropedia
Here is another delicious salad recipe
As a long time home cook it is often extremely difficult to come up with new recipes, especially quick and easy weekday meals. If you are anything like me you find yourself cooking the same chicken dish over and over. Inspiration can be hard to find.
A few weeks ago I took a gamble. I ordered a box of fresh vegetables and fruit from Misfits. The idea is way different than those meal delivery kits. For a few bucks you get an assortment of fresh produce. Each week the box is a surprise. The best part, it has actually inspired me to come up with the recipes.
This recipe is a result of a Misfit Box. One week I received a whole bunch of mismatched fall vegetables and could not think of what to do with them. So, I roasted them and threw them on a pizza. Ta-da, a unique and new recipe.
Like most savory recipes, this one is up for interpretation. You can exchange out the vegetables for whatever is in your fridge or for whatever is seasonal. It would even be cool to go to your local farmers market and use what you find there.
I threw on the pear for a pop of sweet crunch. The onion and collards add a deep umami flavor, and the base of goat cheese adds a real punch. The crust is thin as to not overcrowd the entire dish. Hope this inspires you.
Butternut, Collard, & Pear Pizza
- For the pizza crust:
- 3 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups of Warm Water
- 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon of Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons of Salt
- 1 Packet of Active Dry Yeast
- For the pizza:
- 1 Small Butternut squash, peeled and sliced
- 1 Onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 Bunch of Collards, washed and stems removed
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, diced
- 2 Pears, peeled and sliced
- 1 Cup of Chicken Broth
- 1 Lemon
- 8 Ounces of Goat Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Parmesan to finish
- Start by making your pizza crust.
- In a small bowl, pour in the warm water and sprinkle over the yeast.
- Allow to sit and bloom for five minutes. It should smell like yeast and have bubbles.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and pour in the yeast mixture.
- Kneed by hand until the dough forms a smooth ball. If the dough is too dry, add more olive oil a teaspoon at a time.
- Coat the dough in olive oil and place in a bowl. Allow to rise, covered, for at least one hour or until doubled in size.
- While the dough rises, prep your pizza.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine goat cheese, diced garlic, lemon juice, and the zest from the lemon. Mix until combined. If the mixture is too stiff you can add a tablespoon of olive oil to loosen it. Set aside until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Coat the butternut squash in olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 20 minutes.
- Once roasted, remove from the oven and set aside.
- In a small pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until rippling.
- Sauté your onions and collards until golden brown. Once caramelized, pour in the chicken stock and reduce the heat to medium. Salt and pepper as needed.
- Cook the vegetables in the stock until the stock has dried up. Once cooked remove from heat and set aside.
- At this point your pizza should be risen.
- Gently remove the dough from the bowl and form into the shape of your pizza.
- Place the dough on a sheet pan, then drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper.
- Evenly spread on the goat cheese mixture.
- Layer on all your vegetables and the pears.
- Bake the pizza at 425 degrees until the crust is golden brown on the edges. Approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Finish the baked pizza by generously grating fresh parmesan over the top.
© 2020 Copyright epicuropedia
The holidays are upon us. This week is Turkey Day and before we know it, Santa will be here. As a foodie and holiday lover, I find myself attending a ton of holiday events throughout the season—maybe even hosting a few too.
A cheese plate is a must for any good event. It is quick to put together and instantly wows the crowd. But if you are like me, you have probably asked yourself, “How in the heck do I put together a good cheese plate?”
It took years of practice to finally master my cheese pairing skills. I ate a ton of cheese for the good of the cause. At the end of the day the main principal to apply is include all of the tastes and textures. Below are a few more principals that will help you create a great board:
- Variety of Cheese is key. I do not expect you to know everything about cheese (I certainly do not), so there are few good ways to get a good variety on your board. Look for different textures and colors. For example, grab a cheese that is speckled with peppers, or one that is encased in a rind. A second way to add a good variety is to pick up a range of softness, get a super hard cheese like parmesan and a super soft cheese like brie. Make sure you have at least three to four cheese featured on your board.
- Add something fresh. Cheese is a rich preserved product, so adding something fresh to your plate instantly adds another note. Grapes are preferable, but fresh fruit like apples or pears work great. Who doesn’t love apples with cheese?
- Sweetness. If you have selected your cheeses properly you will have included a cheese that needs a sweet counterpart. Blue cheese loves honey. Another sweet option is a jar of artisanal jam or jelly.
- Nuts are needed. Salt and texture come from this addition. Again, another way to add layers of flavor to an otherwise boring presentation.
- Throw on some fancy pickled products. I am not referring to hamburger chips or pickle spears. Open a jar of olives, pickled okra, or any pickled vegetable. Including good pickled items adds a pick-me-up to the dish. The vinegar cuts through the decadent cheese and cleanses the palate.
- Meats are mandatory. The argument can be made that adding cured meats make the board more of a charcuterie than a cheese plate. I disagree. A few cured meats satisfies the meat lovers in the room and adds even more dimension to the party. I often find myself lean towards prosciutto.
- Clean out your pantry. If you are struggling to fill up your board take a dive into your pantry. I often throw together a adequate presentation with just a few items from the pantry.
- Serve more than one type of cracker. Nobody wants a sleeve of ritz crackers thrown next to the cheese. Amp it up a little and give your guests a variety of crackers. I also love toasting bread points to add into the mix.
Happy Holidays and I hope you are inspired to get out there and use your own creativity in sharing food for the season.
Last week I gave you a simple recipe that used seasonal local ingredients. My Onion, Fig, & Feta tarts used cheese from a local goat farm and seasonal fresh figs. And although the tarts are extremely delectable on their own, I created them with the intent to include the pastries as part of a larger meal that is just as simple to prepare as the first portion.
Fig pastry recipe is here: Onion, Feta, & Fig Tarts
If you have thumbed around my blog, for even a second, you will notice that it is filled with hearty southern food and decadent baked goods. I am not a one trick pony, I do (quite often) make healthy(ish) food. I swear you can find a salad recipe some fifty posts ago.
Like my fig tarts, and this recipe uses fresh local ingredients; plus, you can whip it up in a dash. My homemade salad dressing, which sets any salad apart, is made with local Savannah honey and white balsamic for a punch.
I crisp of some salty prosciutto and sprinkle over pistachios. Served on the side, which add sweet and savory notes, are the fig tarts posted last week.
This one is a dinner party show stopper (along with well cooked protien) or a satisfying weeknight meal that is better than that frozen pizza we always go to.
Pistachio & Proscuitto Salad
- For The Dressing:
- 1/4 Cup of White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons of Honey
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper
- Juice of 1/2 of a Lemon
- For The Salad:
- 1 Cup of Shelled Pistachios, toasted
- 4 Ounces of Prosciutto
- 1 Pound of Spring Mix
- 2 Onion, Fig, & Feta Tarts Per Person
- The day before, or a few hours before, make the salad dressing.
- In a mason jar, combine all of the dressing ingredients.
- Vigorously shake.
- Place the dressing in the fridge until ready to use.
- To make the salad, heat up a medium skillet and fry the prosciutto until crispy.
- Drain cooked prosciutto on paper towels.
- Make each salad by topping them evenly with pistachios, crumbled prosciutto, the dressing, and 2 tarts.
© 2020 Copyright epicuropedia
I cannot say that this recipe is a traditional southern one, like most of my posts are. But maybe you will find it so delicious that it will be incorporated into your traditions or celebrations.
The idea behind this recipe is simple: using farm fresh, seasonal, sustainable, and local ingredients. A tenant which can be said to be southern. Edna Lewis and so many other inspriational southern cooks just like here based their kitchens around this idea.
Truly, there is no better food that what is local to your area and what is in season.
It is finally fig season. It lasts a very short time, but if you are lucky enough (like I was) to source fresh figs you buy them all up. Unlike my husband, I was not lucky enough to grow up with a giant fig tree close by which produced an abundant amount of the unique fruit. My mom preferred her peach tree.
As for the feta, it is locally sourced from Bootleg Farm. Savannah’s beloved goat farm which produces fresh goat cheese. Read more about them Here.
A quick carmalization on some onions and I had a winning recipe. Buttery puff pastry sits at the base for these ultra savory and slightly sweet seasonal tarts.
You can eat these savory puff pastry tarts on their own or pair them with dinner. I will post later detailing what I did with these little beauties.
- 1 Box of Frozen Puff Pastry
- 1 Pound of Fresh Figs
- 1 Large Onion, peeled and thinly sliced.
- 4 Ounces of Fresh Feta
- Thaw the puff pastry for approximatley 30 minutes.
- While the puff pastry thaws, carmalize the onion.
- In a medium pan over medium-high heat, heat a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Once the oil is heated, put the sliced onion into the pan then add salt and pepper.
- Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until caramlized. Set aside once cooked.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Unfold the thawed puff pastry, and slice into 12 rectangles.
- Fold the edges of the puff pastry over then pinch the ends together. This will create a slight well in the center.
- Place the prepared pastry on two baking sheets.
- Fill each well with crumbled feta, then carmalized onions, and finding with a topping with two slices of fresh fig.
- Bake for approximatley 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
© 2020 Copyright epicuropedia