Tomato, Mozzarella, & Farro Salad + Basil

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This salad is a perfect dish to whip up right now as farmers markets and grocery stores alike are overflowing with tomatoes. It shows off the tomatoes fresh taste with the tried and true compliments of mozzarella and basil. Combined with the chewy farro this is a healthy dish fit for any lunch + dinner + or picnic table! Serve on top of salad, or with grilled chicken. I ended up doubling the amount of basil, olives, and tomatoes shown below, I would definitely recommend doing so as well.

Tomato, Mozzarella, & Farro Salad + Basil ~ from Extra Virgin

1 pound farro

10 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered

large handful of fresh basil leaves

1 (5-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small chunks

2 ounces pitted kalamata olives

extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook farro according to package directions, you want your farro to be cooked but still have a nice chew (usually just under 20 minutes). Drain and rinse the farro in cold water. In a large bowl mix the farro with the tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and olives. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away or keep in the fridge.

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Simple Lemon Pasta with Spinach + Green Olives

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Last night I went to bed with today all planned out in my head. I was making a toasted quinoa dish with indian spiced apples and veggies. As you can see that isn’t how things happened. Instead I bring you one of my go-to meals. Easy and satisfying.

Recently I started reading again.. for the first time in a long time. I have a tendency to collect books I want to read and the beautiful untouched pages couldn’t be ignored any longer. Unlike most 20-somethings out there I spend my extra cash on random kitchen gadgets, plates and bowls, french patterned spoons… and cookbooks. So almost a year after purchasing ‘My Berlin Kitchen’, by Luisa of the blog The Wednesday Chef, I cracked the book open and began to read. It ignited a passion in me, opened my eyes again to everything I want to do with myself. It is easy to forget the things you enjoy when dealing with the ups and downs of day to day life. I laughed, my heart sank and flew as I read through the chapters of Luisa’s journey, and I was swept away by the tasty recipes that I have now added to my own tremendous pile of scribbled recipes. Like Luisa and so many other wonderful f00d-loving people I want to make a real effort to finally cook all the recipes I have collected over the past 5-6 years. Everything that I took time to keep around because something about it seemed special and tantalizing.

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This pasta is light and has a summer edge from the lemon, perfect for when you need something that isn’t take-out. Fast to prepare, you can use any veggies you happen to have on hand. The olives are what brings the pasta to life.

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Simple Lemon Pasta with Spinach + Green Olives

Brown rice pasta

spinach + corn (I used frozen)

A good extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

olives (I used jalapeno stuffed green olives)

fresh lemon juice

freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta, any variety will do, according to package directions. Chop up your olives in the meantime. I tossed my frozen spinach + corn in the microwave for a second before mixing with the strained pasta. Add desired olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a decent amount of parmesan cheese to top it off.

Enjoy on a stoop or porch in the summer sun.

Spinach and Feta Almond Crust Tart

A Spinach & Feta Almond Crust Tart

I may be described by some as an odd child……when asked what my favorite foods were, from an early age, you can bet black olives and spinach to be among them. And if ever in the form of a spinach souffle I’m pretty sure I fought a few poor family members for that last bite and scrape of the side of the bowl. One of the many joys of growing up is having the ability to make my own spinach and cheese tart, exactly how I like, and I don’t have to share…..with anyone!  For future reference, though, if I ever do offer you a slice of my spinach pie, I must like you a hell of a lot.

So here is a recipe for one of my favorite dishes, it keeps well in the fridge, and makes for a splendid lunch served hot or cold with a salad on the side

Pie Crust:

2 cups almond flour

1 cup hazelnut flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

4 tbsp olive oil

1 egg

herbs/seasonings of choice (I used a little thyme and garlic powder)

Filling:

10 ounces or so chopped spinach (fresh or frozen) I favor frozen spinach here and probably used a bit more then normal.

1 yellow onion, chopped

1-2 tbsp olive oil

2 eggs

feta cheese

kalamata olives

spices/salt/pepper (remember if using feta, the cheese adds a lot of salty flavor already)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients for the crust together, flatten out with your hands in a full-sized tart pan (grease first if necessary). Bake for around 10 to 15 mins, you want it to be lightly brown on the outside and the edges crispy. In a medium pot sauté the onion in the olive oil for 2 minutes then add the spinach and cook till the onion is translucent. Take off the heat and mix in eggs, seasonings, and as much or little feta as desired. Pour into the cooked crust, flatten the top of the mixture for a smooth appearance and top with kalamata olives. Bake for 15-20 minutes, times will vary but when the cheese on top begins to brown your tart should be ready.

*(note, when working with frozen spinach their can be a bit of unwanted water in the pot when you are cooking it…I poured or spooned out what I could but did not worry about it to much and the tart still turned out amazing. Feel free also to use all almond flour if you are not a fan of hazelnut, I found the hazelnut to add more of a nutty flavor and texture to the crust).

Have a lovely Holiday Weekend ~

Pesto Pasta with Caramelized Onions & Veggies

Pasta. Plain. & Simple.

Pesto Pasta with Caramelized Onions & Veggies

Cooking for one on the go can be a bit of a challenge at times. I am not proud of my canned soup habit….but I will not deny the numerous nights a can of vegetable lentil with a bit of soft cheese stirred in makes its way onto my table. TONIGHT, however, it is all about the pasta. Pasta is delicious and extremely versitle. You can do almost anything with it.

This pasta dish is simple, quick, and great for a tasty/creative meal for one (or two).

My add-ins: onion, peas, broccoli, olives, and tomato.

Lets start with an onion ~

Chop half an onion, I used a yellow and love my onions chopped thin & lengthwise.

With a little garlic and olive oil I sauteed my chopped onion until it became caramel in color and a bit sticky (mmmmm)

While your onions are cooking boil a pot of water and cook your pasta accordingly. I used a whole wheat spaghetti that was perfect after ten minutes, I suggest checking so you don’t overcook. What makes this recipe great is using what you have on hand. Any veggies will do and I had a bag of frozen broccoli and peas at my disposal. After my pasta had been cooking for a few minutes I dumped my frozen vegetables into the pot as well.

When the PASTA is ready drain everything into a strainer then pour back into the pot. Add a chopped tomato, black olives, and a good spoonful or two of pesto. STIR. Serve along side an arugula salad. Some goat cheese and crusty bread would pair well. And you have yourself a tasty and quick meal for one(or two).

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~ Rosemary Olive Bread ~

Their is nothing better then the smell of fresh baked bread.  And when you make it yourself, I swear, the smell escalates to a whole new level of awesome.  This was my FIRST time baking bread.  First.  And I’m addicted.  I’m holding myself back at the moment from destroying the kitchen in my attempt to bake enough bread for the whole city.  In time 😉

As an olive lover this bread was number one on my list, and pretty easy to put together.

Welcome. Rosemary Olive Bread.

Fresh rosemary from mom’s garden, more people should hop on the grow your own herbs bandwagon.  Stealing a moment outside to grab what you need instead of going through the motions of the grocery store is a major plus.

~ Rosemary Olive Bread ~

3/4 cup warm water

1 T active dry yeast

1 T sugar

1 T salt [could use a little less]

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup chopped kalamata olives.

1 – 2 T chopped fresh rosemary

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Combine warm water and yeast in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.  Then add olive oil, sugar, salt, olives, and rosemary to the bowl.  Mix in the flour 1/2 a cup at a time until everything is well combined.  Move dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave it to rise for about an hour.  Pre-heat oven to 400.  Set dough on a baking sheet and cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes.  Rub flour on top of dough and place in oven to cook for 35-40 minutes.  Place on a wire rack to cool.

Love at first sight.