Oven Roasted Tomato Quiche with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pastry Crust

Oven Roasted Tomatoes in UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tbs. 300+ Poly UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

A sprig of fresh marjoram or oregano (optional)

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

1 pound meaty, tomatoes containing less water, such as Roma Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Combine the UP extra virgin olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper in a shallow oven proof dish. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise, toss with the oil and seasonings, and place cut side down in the dish.

Bake for 2 1/2 hours, or until the tomatoes are completely soft and become wrinkled

Whole Wheat Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pastry Crust

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

3/4 cup fruity, mid-high poly (250-300+) UP extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup warm water

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and flaxseed meal. Add the olive oil and water and mix quickly with a fork until it comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a lightly floured board or parchment-covered surface, roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick round. Gently press into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Cover the tart with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prick all over with the tines of a fork.

Bake crust in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool before filling.

Quiche Filling

7 large eggs, beaten

1 /12 cups oven roasted tomatoes, drained thoroughly

2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn or chopped

1 1/2 cups shredded Fontina

1/4 cup fresh grated Pecorino Romano

2 tablespoons minced shallot

2 cloves garlic minced

Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

10″ Olive Oil Pastry Crust recipe above

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400. Saute the shallots until until lightly browned. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Combine the shallots, garlic, and basil with the beaten eggs. Season the egg mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle 1 cup of Fontina cheese over the bottom of the crust. Arrange the oven roasted tomatoes over the cheese. Add the remaining cheese, including Romano over the tomatoes. Pour the egg shallot mixture over the top. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the filling is set, slightly puffed and golden brown. Enjoy warm, or allow to cool to room temperature. It can be made a day in advance or may be frozen and re-warmed.

Grilled Chipotle-Serrano Rib-Eye

1/2 Cup Honey-Serrano Vinegar

1/2 Cup Chipotle Olive Oil

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 cloves Garlic, Minced

fresh ground pepper to taste

4 – 8 to 10 oz. rib-eye steaks

Combine the salt, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the the chipotle olive oil. Place the steaks in a Zip-lock bag or in a single layer in a non-reactive pan or container. Pour the marinade over and massage it in to the steaks. Cover and allow to marinate refrigerated, for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to 6 hours.

Prepare a medium charcoal or gas grill, and cook to desired doneness. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Chicken Polpettine in Spicy-Garlic Tomato Sugo over Smoky Cannellini Beans with Escarole

This recipe came to me after I had already made a lovely pot of smoky Cannellini beans.  The beans alone could have served as a hearty if not somewhat boring meal, (or pasta e fagioli).  However, I am no longer allowed to make pasta e fagioli for my husband and kids.  The comforting dish which practically occupied its own tier of the food pyramid in my Italian family has been outlawed in my own household.

It would seem that I played that song one too many times for my captive audience.  On the last occasion I prepared pasta e fagioli, I believe my 12 year old said, “I would rather listen to Disney’s “it’s a small world”, relentlessly, rather than eat another bite!”  Point taken.

In an attempt to a least salvage the glorious beans which are the underpinning, I reworked the culinary equation to look like this:

pasta e fagioli  + escarole – pasta + chicken polpettine (meatballs) = approval!

And guess what?  The recipe got healthier in the process with the addition of lean protein, greens, tomatoes, and removal of the starch laden pasta.

Smoky Cannellini Beans with Escarole
1 pound dried Cannellini or Great Northern beans, soaked overnight
5 quarts chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
1/4 cup high-phenol, Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 bay leaf torn
2 heads of escarole, torn
2 smoked turkey wings or 1 tablespoon sweet or hot Spanish smoked paprika
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a heavy 8+ quart stock pot over medium heat saute the onions in the olive oil until translucent.  Add the garlic and paprika (if using) saute for another minute.  Add the stock, turkey wings (if using), beans, and bay leaf.  Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender, add the escarole during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, make the polpettine…

Chicken Polpettine
2 pounds lean ground chicken or turkey
2 sliced of white or french bread
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup super fresh, high phenol Ultra Premium Olive Oil

Soak the bread in the milk.  In a large mixing bowl combine the ground poultry, onion, garlic, cumin, parsley, salt and pepper. Squeeze the soaked bread of excess milk and add to the bowl.  Mix the contents thoroughly and portion out 1″ diameter meatballs. (I like to use a small cookie dough scoop here)

Heat a large skillet over medium -high heat.  Brown the meatballs in batches until golden, and set aside.

Sugo
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons  super fresh, high phenol Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Drain all but a small amount of the oil from the skillet used to brown the meatballs.  Place over medium heat and add fresh olive oil.  Add the garlic and chili flakes.  Saute for a minute being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the white wine and scrape up any browned bits adhering to the bottom of the pan from the meatballs.  Reduce the liquid by half and then add the tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and reserved meat balls. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

To serve this dish as pictured above. Ladle the beans on to a plate and top with a scoop of meatballs and sauce.

Makes 6 hearty portions

Slow Roasted Golden Beet & Tangerine Salad Over Baby Arugula with Blue Cheese & Olio Nuovo-Citrus Vinaigrette

The sweet earthiness of the golden beets, along with the salty blue cheese, nutty arugula, tangy tangerines, and pungent olio nuovo olive oil make this salad a virtual party in your mouth.  Beyond that, the impeccably fresh seasonal ingredients are visually arresting, and resemble a ray of golden sunshine on the plate.

Ingredients
4 cups baby arugula
3 medium sized golden beets
2  medium Satsuma Tangerines, 1 peeled and divided in to segments, the other juiced
1 Tablespoon Cara Cara Orange Cream White Balsamic
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Peppery Olio Nuovo Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup good quality, crumbled blue cheese
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup Tarragon Croutons (see recipe below) – or store bought croutons

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350.  Scrub the beets removing any debris, roots and green parts.  Place the beets on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to fully enclose the beets in to a package.  Drizzle the beets with a tablespoon of olio nuovo olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of water.  Seal the package by crimping the foil and roast the beets for 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a knife.  Allow to cool and then peel.  Cut the beets in to six wedges and set aside.

Just before serving, whisk the tangerine juice with the Cara-Cara Orange White Balsamic and a pinch of salt.   Slowly drizzle in the remaining olio nuovo while whisking constantly to make a vinaigrette.  In a large bowl, gently toss the arugula with 1/2 of the vinaigrette and then arrange on a plate or platter.  Arrange the tangerine segments, golden beet wedges, and blue cheese over the arugula.  Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the top, then add the croutons, and finish with fresh ground pepper if desired.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 generous salad portions

Tarragon Croutons

Ingredients
2 cups of fresh or day old sourdough bread cut in to 1/2" cubes
1/4 cup Organic Tarragon Olive Oil (or you can use any infused olive oil you desire)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375.  On a baking sheet large enough to hold the bread cubes in a single layer, toss the bread cubes with the infused olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper if desired. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the bread cubes are golden brown.  Cool and store in a zip lock bag or air tight container.

Makes 2 cups

Chicken, Caramelized Onions, and Wild Mushrooms Over Pappardelle Sauced With A Creamy Bacon-Thyme-Balsamic Reduction

That’s quite a title, no?  You could just shorten the name of this dish to “Nom-Nom!”.  Other descriptors include, easy, elegant, comforting, and delicious.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds free-range, boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast tenders.

4 thick strips smoked bacon, diced

1 large sweet onion sliced thin

8 oz. assorted wild mushrooms, sliced (cremini mushrooms will work in a pinch)

4″ piece of fresh thyme, stem discarded

1/4 cup Traditional Style Balsamic Condimento or Juniper Berry Balsamic Condimento

2 tablespoons of fruity-floral Extra Virgin Olive Oil such as Hojiblanca, Picual, or Koroneiki or Wild Mushroom-Sage infused olive oil

1/2 cup heavy cream

sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

1 pound pappardelle pasta or wide egg noodle pasta, cooked and drained

Directions

In a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, brown the diced bacon to a crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve. Pour off all but a tablespoon of the bacon fat.  Season the chicken on both sides liberally with salt and pepper  Add the olive oil to the pan, place it back over the heat, and allow it to heat for a minute over medium-high heat.

Saute the chicken for a few minutes until golden brown on both sides, in batches if necessary.  Do not over-crowd the pan.  Remove the chicken to a plate and reserve.

Add the onions to the drippings in the pan.  Cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently until the onions become a soft golden brown.  Add the mushrooms.  Saute for approximately three more minutes over medium high heat until the mushrooms are browned and slightly caramelized.

Add the fresh thyme leaves and balsamic to the mushrooms and onions, de-glazing the pan by scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.  Cook to reduce for a minute.  Add the cream and stir to combine.  Add the bacon and reserved chicken.  Allow the pan to come to a simmer.  Cook for another two minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens.  Season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Serve over pasta, rice, or cooked whole grains.

Pan Roasted Roman Cauliflower with Caramelized Garlic, Red Pepper & Pecorino Over Handmade Pappardelle

Even without the “wow factor” of making your own fresh pasta, this simple, visually interesting dish has plenty of “wow” factor to go the flavor mile.

Choosing the right extra virgin olive oil to use in this dish was crucial with so few ingredients involved.  The simple yet luxuriant sauce relies heavily on the olive oil used.

For this application, I went with Ultra Premium A.L. Arbequina IOO346.  It had the right herbaceous apple-peel notes and just enough pepper which juxtaposed perfectly with the earthy-nuttiness of the roasted cauliflower,  sweet caramelized garlic, and savory saltiness of the Pecorino cheese.  The taste testers (my family) which included two young kids, declared love at first bite!  Everyone exclaimed that it was absolutely amazing!  So I declared this meatless dish a healthy, easy weeknight meal if you use dried pasta or a dish to serve for a special occasion if you choose to make your own fresh pasta.

Pan Roasted Roman Cauliflower with Caramelized Garlic & Pecorino over Pappardelle

1 large head of Green Roman Cauliflower florets only (regular cauliflower can be substituted)

8 medium cloves of garlic (sliced thin)

1/2 cup Arbequina IOO346

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 cup good quality fresh grated Pecorino cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

If using, make the homemade pasta an hour in advance of proceeding with the rest of the recipe.  If using dried pasta, boil the pasta in the water that was used to blanch the cauliflower.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  In a large saute pan, heat the Arbequina over medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute until light golden brown (be very careful not to burn the garlic) Blanch the cauliflower florets for 2 minutes.  Remove, drain, and add to the saute pan with the garlic along with the red chili flakes.

Meanwhile, boil the fresh pasta for two minutes in the same water used to blanch the cauliflower.

Saute the cauliflower, garlic and chili flakes for a few more minutes over medium-high heat until the cauliflower begins to get toasty golden brown around the edges.  Add one cup of pasta water, the Pecorino, and cream to the pan with the cauliflower and garlic.  Simmer for a minute until slightly thickened, and add a few grinds of fresh ground pepper.  Add the well drained pappardelle to the pan and toss to coat the pasta and distribute the cauliflower florets.  Adjust seasoning with salt to taste.  Add more cheese to serve.

Makes 4-6 servings

Homemade Pappardelle

1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup semolina flour

3 large, fresh eggs

1 tablespoon Arbequina IOO346

a pinch of sea salt

Pulse the dry ingredients in the food processor, add the eggs and pulse until a ball forms.  Knead for about a minute until the ball becomes smooth. wrap in plastic or cover with a bowl and allow to the dough to relax  for an hour. divide the dough dish into 8 equal pieces and run them through your pasta machine through setting #6.  Cut the sheets in to pappardelle sized noodles and arrange on racks or dust with flour to prevent sticking.

Confit of Tomatoes, Peppers, & Sweet Red Onions

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds small whole sweet tomatoes such as cherry or grape

1 large red onion, sliced thin

1 red bell pepper or several smaller sweet red peppers such as Marconi, sliced thin or halved if smaller

8 large garlic cloves

1 – 2″ sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, stem discarded (optional)

1/2 cup fresh, herbaceous-green 300+ poly EVOO such as Leccino IOO302, or IOO301 Frantoio

1/3 cup crisp, good quality white wine

1 tablespoon Traditional Balsamic Condimento

2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

Adjust rack to middle of oven, and preheat to 300.

In a medium roasting pan (9″x13″) or a 12″ oven safe skillet, combine the first five ingredients.  Whisk the wine, balsamic, and olive oil together, drizzle over the vegetables and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place the pan on the middle rack in the oven, uncovered, and allow the vegetables to cook slowly, stirring only a few times during the process, being careful not to break the tomatoes.  Slow roast for 4 – 4 1/2 hours.

The resulting confit, or tomato “jam” can be used to dress pasta, slather on crusty bread, or as an accompaniment to slow roasted meats or poultry.

Cranberry-Pear Balsamic Glazed Butternut Squash with Rosemary

Cranberry-Pear Glazed Butternut Squash With Rosemary

1 – 2 pound butternut squash peeled, seeded and diced in to 1″ pieces (about 3 cups)

1/3 cup cranberry-pear white balsamic

1 tablespoon “sweet” fruity olive oil such as Australian Hojiblanca or Alfonso Arbequina

3″ sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stem and roughly chopped

Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl whisk the olive oil and balsamic together until thoroughly combined.  Add the rosemary and squash and toss to coat and combine evenly.

In a large roasting pan lined with parchment, arrange the squash in a single layer, drizzling with any remaining marinade.  Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Roast the squash for 30-35 minutes, stirring a few times until golden brown and caramelized.  Adjust seasoning and serve.

Pomegranate Balsamic Glazed & Grilled Rib-Eye Steak

Oh yeah baby!  This recipe couldn’t be more simple or flavorful.  It also doesn’t hurt that rib-eye steak is an amazing cut of beef.  Due to its intrinsic marbling it’s also a forgiving cut even when slightly over cooked.

Pomegranate Balsamic Grill Sauce

1/3 cup  Pomegranate Balsamic

1/4 cup Organic Garlic Olive Oil

1 Tbs. good quality Dijon style mustard

2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

Instructions

Prepare the grill or broiler.  In a medium bowl, whisk the mustard with the salt, and balsamic until blended thoroughly.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking quickly and continuously.  The marinade should become thick and emulsified.   In a seal-able container or large zip lock bag, place up to four rib-eye steaks and thoroughly coat with the marinade.  Refrigerate and marinate for 4-6 hours, turning the steaks at least once during the process.

Proceed with grilling or broiling the steaks.  After cooking, allow the steaks to rest, loosely covered at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Your Own Mozzarella & Drizzle It With Coratina

Well, you don’t need to make your own mozzarella fresca, but it’s super duper easy, fun, and I can’t emphasize exactly how mouth watering fresh, homemade mozzarella is when drizzled with a bright, peppery herbaceous extra virgin olive oil such as the Coratina.

Whether you make your own mozzarella fresca or buy it from the market, this fantastic dish is the perfect showcase for the last heirloom tomatoes of the year paired with fresh, dazzling extra virgin olive oil.

Caprese Salad with Coratina & Oregano White Balsamic

1 pound of ripe, preferably heirloom tomatoes, sliced thin

1/3 cup peppery, fresh green extra virgin olive oil such as Coratina

1/4 cup oregano infused white balsamic

2 tablespoons chiffonade cut basil

8 oz. homemade (see recipe below) or store bough mozzarella fresca, drained

sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Arranged sliced tomatoes on a plate.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Whisk balsamic and extra virgin olive oil together.  Place a slice of mozzarella on each slice of tomato and sprinkle with basil chiffonade.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.

Mozzarella Fresca

1 gallon fresh, local, organic if possible, whole milk – not ultra pasteurized!

1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons tartaric acid or citric acid

1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet, found here:  New England Cheesemaking

1 1/4 cups cold, fresh filtered or bottled water

Additional tools needed:

cheesecloth and a thermometer

Mix the tartaric acid with one cup of filtered water and add to the cold milk.  Add the milk to a clean 8+ quart sterilized pot set over medium heat.  Bring the milk to exactly 88 degrees, while stirring frequently.  Mix the rennet with the remaining 1/4 cup of cool water and add to the heated milk.  Mix  the milk continuously for a minute.

Allow the curds to sit undisturbed for 15 minutes until set to the consistency of soft jello.  Use a long knife that reaches to the bottom of the pot and cut a 1″ cross thatch pattern in the curds

 

Line a large colander with cheesecloth and gently ladle the curds in to it.  If desired you can retain the liquid why and use it for making baking bread, milkshakes, or just drinking as it is very nutritious and delicious.

Once the curds have drained for 2 minutes, place them in a microwave proof bowl and heat them for 30 seconds. They will be very hot so you may want to use gloves at this stage. Salt the curds with sea salt and then knead them until a smooth mass begins to form. Drain off any extra whey that the curds give off, and repeat the heating one to two more times until you have formed a shiny smooth ball of mozzarella

 

Place this ball (which should weigh approximately 1 pound) in a bowl of cold lightly salted water until completely cool and then it will be ready to use immediately.  If not using right away, store it submerged, and refrigerated in lightly salted water in a sealed container until ready to use.  Use within four days, although fresher is better!