Baked Artichoke Crostini with Havarti Dill

April 8, 2022

If your looking for a new, easy appetizer for Easter, this recipe is for you.

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you all – I have been dreaming of re-creating this dish here on the blog. We always visit one of our favorite restaurants, Giuseppe’s, in Meredith, NH whenever we go visit my in-laws. My husband grew up near Lake Winniepesaukee and Meredith is the beautiful lake-side town next door. Giuseppe’s is located in an old mill building that is beautifully renovated, and between the scenery and the food it is so special.

It also might be this artichoke dish on their menu that calls us there.

I was surprised that my first time trying to re-create it tasted exactly like the restaurant version, which is probably because it uses only a few good ingredients. This dish is a study in simplicity, and brings out the flavor of the artichokes. The creamy havarti with the notes of dill perfectly compliment the garlic, wine and artichokes.

I recently made it for our cooking club, and everyone was crazy about this dish. ‘That’s lovely’, ‘what is this deliciousness’ and ‘wow’ were some of the comments. Pretty much a home run for a pot luck dish. (I think it’s still delicious at room temperature).

This would make a great appetizer for Easter or any party. The whole artichokes get soft baking in the oven and it is so fun to let them spread out on the crostini. Taking a bite is such a wonderful textural combination – crunchy, buttery crostini, soft, warm artichokes dripping in a wine and garlic infused liquid, and creamy cheese with dill to top it off. Perfection.

You will want to double the recipe if you have more than 3 people (I need at least 2 when I have this).

Hope you get to try this one soon, it is such a crowd pleaser and super simple to make. Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Baked Artichoke Crostini with Havarti Dill

Ingredients: 

10 slices of a baguette or French bread

3 T. olive oil, divided

1 garlic clove, minced

1 can whole artichokes, 5-7 count

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

4 oz. havarti dill, sliced into 4-5 slices

salt & pepper

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Arrange slices of baguette on cookie sheet. Drizzle with 2 T. olive oil, and season with a pinch of salt & pepper.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly golden. Set aside.

In a cast iron skillet or small pan, heat remaining tablespoon of oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring carefully. Add wine to skillet, then add artichokes and let them cook in the wine garlic mixture for 3-5 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and lay sliced havarti dill on top of artichoke hearts. Cover with foil or lid and place into a 350 degree oven. Let cook for 10-12 minutes.

Remove, and serve immediately with crostini.

Zuppa Tuscana

March 29, 2022

A few weeks ago I was sitting at a restaurant off of one of our favorite ski trails (Lalapalooza at Sunday River, IYKYK). It was snowing, I was super chilly, and when I saw Zuppa Toscana on the menu it was all I wanted. When they put down a piping hot bowl of it in front of me, I was one happy girl.

It was so good I was craving it afterwards. So when my husband let me sneak off to our house to write the next weekend alone (I finally finished the ending to my novel! More on that later…), I cooked up a big pot of this Zuppa Toscana and sipped and slurped while I typed away the whole weekend. Toasted buttered bread for dunking was very necessary of course.

I love making classic dishes and falling in love with them, and being reminded that they are classic for a reason. The creamy broth still feels light and healthy with lots of garlic, and the potatoes and sausage are such a comfort combo. The kale absorbs all the flavor of the bacon and garlic and makes you feel so good. It has been so cold this week, and this soup is perfect for chilly spring nights.

I have to say I much prefer the hot, full fat sausage here. You can use sweet full fat sausage if your cooking for little people who don’t like spice but when I made a version with turkey sausage it was definitely missing something.

Also whenever I make soup, I always tend to use up the chicken broth container, so if you don’t love broth you can use 6 cups but if you don’t mind extra just use 8 cups or 2 containers. It’s so yummy to sip away on. This soup is one pot, under 30 minutes, and leftovers just get better each day.

I hope you try this to see how easy it is to feel like you’re in an Italian kitchen on a chilly spring night. It’s the perfect way to send off winter, and say hello to spring.  Happy eating, xoxo Katie

Zuppa Toscana

Ingredients

4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 pound sweet (or hot if preferred) Italian sausage, casings removed

4 to 5 large russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 large white onion, diced

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6-8 cups chicken broth

6 cups curly kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; set aside to drain. Add the Italian sausage to the drippings and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Add the potatoes, garlic and onion to the drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with the crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add the kale, heavy cream, bacon and sausage and cook over medium heat until the kale is tender, another 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar just before serving.

 

Irish Soda Bread (My Mom’s Recipe)

March 14, 2022

 

I am re-sharing my mom’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread in time for St. Paddy’s Day! I have been on the blog making her Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe for my slow cookers (I always make 2!) this week also.

This sweet goodness starts showing up a few weeks before St. Paddy’s Day around her house. If you have been around this blog long enough, you know I grew up in a big Irish Catholic family with a mom who was a great cook. As soon as I was married, those food memories followed me and through lots of phone calls and dog-earred recipe cards, I managed to get copies of many of our families favorite recipes.  This one has been at the top of my list these last few years, and now it’s here.

When I was in college I went abroad to London. I bought Irish Soda Bread at the grocery store and it tasted like sawdust. I had no idea it could be a whole wheat loaf, so coarse and dry, since my thoughts of soda bread are light, fluffy, moist and sweet with bits of dried fruit and a sweet glaze on top. Because that’s the soda bread my mom made growing up.

I love the combination of the caraway seeds with the little bits of apricot and golden raisins she usually uses. And the buttermilk makes it taste so tender. It is wonderful toasted with a little butter for breakfast. It’s such a wonderful food memory for me now, and such a distinctive combination of flavors. (It’s hard to go wrong with flour and butter and sugar right?). I’m so glad I am going to always have it here on the blog (one of my favorite parts of food blogging – my favorite recipes are so easy to find!).

I love that this serves as such a nice gift for others too, and you can buy little paper or wooden bread pans for easy distribution.

I like to use the mini loaf sizes too, and you can usually cut the cooking time in half for the smaller loaves, just keep watching it until the edges are brown. I hope you try this, and it becomes one of your family traditions too.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Mom’s Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 ½ teaspoons salt

1 stick of butter (room temperature)

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk, divided

1 Tablespoon caraway seeds

1 cup raisins, golden raisins or other dried fruit like cranberries or apricots, diced if large

 

For glaze:

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients and butter together so it’s like a pie crust. Add raisins or dried fruit. Add caraway seeds and mix. Add eggs and 1 cup of the buttermilk and mix well. Add remaining cup of buttermilk and mix well.

Bake in 2 greased loaf pans for 50-60 minutes, until edges look browned.

While the bread bakes, mix together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough water to form a glaze.

Remove from oven and then take out of bread pans. Drizzle with glaze while bread is warm.

 

 

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

February 23, 2022

Guys, this is one of the best dinners I have made in a long time. I am so happy to share it with you all!

The idea for this dinner began when I read Alexandra Cook’s post on how much she loves sautéed escarole as a winter side. She makes the point that by February, we have roasted so many veggies that cooked greens hit the spot and are so easy. When I grabbed a few heads of escarole at the store, I got to thinking. Wouldn’t they be delicious in soups or pastas? The answer is yes and yes.

I looked around at other recipes online, and one of them was very similar to a simple pasta dish our family loves making combining these ingredients.

We usually make ours with broccoli or spinach (fresh or frozen) and use any pasta shape. I merged ours with one I found on Epicurious. And the result was amazing. I give all the credit to that glorious trio of shallots, garlic and wine cooked together to give such a delicious base. And the pasta water helps create the most luxurious sauce. Trust me, you are going to want to try it. And then make it again because it is sooo yummy.

The acid from the wine, the slight bitterness from the escarole, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the heat from the sausage, the comforting pasta, all covered in the delicious sauce is so well balanced. And the crispy fried rosemary on top is genius. I can’t stop thinking about how many other dishes I can use it on.

Just all around something I would drive to a restaurant far away to order again and again.

This one will be on heavy rotation because it is so easy, and so satisfying. Hope you get to try it soon too!

Happy eating, xoxo Katie

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

1 pound tubular pasta like paccheri or rigatoni

2 sprigs Rosemary

1/3 cup olive oil

20 oz. turkey sausage (or any kind you prefer)

2 shallots, finely diced (1/3 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 heads (about 8 cups) escarole, torn into pieces

1/2 cup parmesan plus more for serving

Directions:

Bring pot of salted water to boil for pasta. You will need some of the pasta water for the sauce so be sure to reserve.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat. Fry rosemary, turning until crisp about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towel to drain.

Add sausage to the same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon or fork and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. While sausage cooks, start boiling pasta, setting timer for 3 minutes less than the packages cooking time.

Be sure there is still enough oil in pot, if not add more to equal about 1 T. Add shallots to pot and let cook for 2-3 minutes to soften, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and let cook for a minute before adding wine. Scrap up the bottom bits in the pan and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer pasta to pot with tomatoes, then add escarole and 1 cup pasta liquid. Cook, tossing until escarole is wilted, pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Add another 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid then gradually add 1/2 cup cheese, tossing until melted into a glossy sauce. Thin with more pasta water if desired, season with pepper and more salt if needed (you probably won’t if your pasta water is salted.) Add sausage back into pasta and stir to combine.

Divide pasta in bowls, and crumble rosemary on top and sprinkle with more parmesean cheese.

 

 

 

 

Herby, Brothy Beans with Pesto + Burrata

February 11, 2022

For those of you who know and love the blog/cookbook/adorable person behind Dinner A Lovestory, you will  probably love this recipe which comes from her newest cookbook, Weekday Vegetarians.

I saw her post a video of this recipe by showing a big pot of beans, which got my attention because she put three things in a pot then said ‘when dinner cooks hands free in under an hour’ or something approximating that. Always a good sell to a busy mom.

She spooned the contents into a bowl, put some pesto on top and THEN put some burrata and a drizzle of olive oil, at which point I had to try this deliciousness somehow, someway.

The result? Maybe one of the best things I have eaten all year. It is so bright, creamy, healthy, stick-to-your-ribs comforting. And so easy. The bright pesto is like sunshine, the warm broth is so comforting, and the creamy burrata melting a little in the heat of the broth – it’s all perfection.

You may have a little trouble finding butter beans or big lima beans, but you can get them on Amazon or find them in a specialty food shop (I actually found canned butter beans at Eataly in the Prudential Center in Boston but it is just as easy and delicious to buy the dried ones online or substitute with any northern white bean).

It is funny to say that such a humble dish like beans is the best thing I’ve eaten, but its true. And if you are like me you are starting to think about easy, meatless meals during lent. (Ok full confession I always feel like the challenge to eat meat only once a day on not on Fridays is a chance to eat all the delicious vegetarian foods which I know is not the point but I will still try to offer it up). Good thing this recipe comes from a book chock full of great vegetarian ideas. Even if my 8-year-old declared that it ‘had too many vegetables’.

The real flavor comes from the broth with its simple onion and thyme. I didn’t even chopped the onion as she suggests in her cookbook I just let it simmer. It was the best potlikker I have had in a while.

And I can’t recommend a bit of Naan bread or french crusty bread enough to dip into all this goodness. If you want to add chili oil or red pepper flakes no one would stop you.

You may want to go ahead and buy the big bag at Amazon so you can make this over and over again. It’s so so good.
Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Herby, Brothy Beans with Pesto and Burrata

Ingredients:

16 ounces dried or canned lima beans, or broad beans

1/2 medium yellow onion roughly chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 dried bay leaf

Leaves from 8 fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)

Store bought pesto for serving

Fresh Burrata or Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

If you are using dried beans: place the beans in a large pot, cover with water by about 2 inches, and let them sit for at least 6 hours and up to overnight, 8-10 hours. Check them and be sure they stay slightly submerged.

Add more water to cover the beans by 1 1/2 inches and place on the stove top. Stir in the onion, salt, olive oil and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered, until tender, about 40 minutes, scraping off any foam as they cook.

If you are using canned beans: put beans in the pot and cover the beans with water by 1 1/2 inches and place on the stovetop. Stir in the onion, salt, olive oil and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered, until tender, about 10-15 minutes, scraping off any foam as they cook.

Once tender do not drain the beans. Scoop them into a small serving bowl with a little of the bean broth. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon if using, pesto and burrata or parm.

Adapted from the cookbook Weekday Vegetarians by Jenny Rosenstrach 

 

Pavlova Layer Cake with Raspberry Sauce

February 4, 2022

There is so much to love about this Layered Pavlova Cake! It tastes like a macaron cookie grew extra large and gave you a hug, but kept it’s signature fluffy merengue texture and intense filling flavor. The raspberry sauce and ice cream in the middle is such a textural delight – creamy, crunchy, gooey, smooth and sweet. I just served this for a Galentine’s/Birthday party with friends last night and it was so good. It is light yet hits the sweet spot perfectly.

It also happens to be really easy to make. It takes around 10 minutes of prep and then it cooks for a while (see directions).   If you love someone who can’t abide gluten this is for you! If you love someone who doesn’t do well with dairy, we ate ours with vanilla coconut milk ice cream and it was amazing.

You start by beating 8 egg whites + 1/4 teaspoon salt in a stand mixer with the whisk setting. It takes 5-8 minutes, and your oven should be warming up during that time. (You put it in a 350 degree oven then immediately turn it down to 225. It is low and slow for cakes). Then you slowly add 2 cups of sugar while it is still beating. Then you gently fold in 2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar (or cream of tarter – the egg whites need acid to create stiff peaks) and 4 teaspoons cornstarch.

You can add a drop of food coloring for a light pink color, but white is so pretty too. Then you make 2 circles on parchment paper using a 8-9 inch cake round pan. Turn over the paper so the pencil doesn’t get onto the cake. Then you spread the mixture into the two circles.

You bake them for 50-70 minutes (see below) until they are hard and then I let mine rest in the oven for another hour, but you only need to let them rest until they are cool.

While they are cooling, you can make the raspberry sauce. I use Ina Garten’s recipe – it is so easy just fresh raspberries, sugar, water, all cooked together for a few minutes. Then that mixture is blended with a jar of raspberry jam and raspberry liquor. The result is such an intense raspberry flavor, you will be so in love when you taste it and you will want to put it on everything.

Assembling the cake is so easy – just layer pavlova, ice cream, then raspberry sauce…

Then add the second pavlova on top, cover with raspberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You can add the rest of the sauce on top if you want but it is so pretty and good with just raspberries.

So add some extra eggs and raspberries to your grocery list and consider your Valentine’s Desert covered. You will float away on a cloud of bliss, I promise.


Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Pavlova Layered Cake with Raspberry Sauce

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE PAVLOVA

  • 8 (about 260 g) egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons (10 g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) cream of tartar, OR 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons (8.4 g) vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • a couple drops of food coloring (optional), I used one drop of red but pink is better to get a nice pink color. I have also made this without any food coloring, and the white is so pretty too so it is totally optional. 
  • NOTE: This recipe makes TWO pavlovas. You can split the recipe in half for one layer.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (NOTE: you will reduce this temperature later). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Trace a circle on each, using an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan as your guide. Flip the parchment paper over, so the pencil doesn’t get on the pavlova. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until soft peaks begin to form. Note: the eggs will foam first and then come together to create soft, white peaks. Be patient. This will take a few minutes.

Once the soft peaks have formed, gradually (very gradually), add the sugar (about one tablespoon at a time).

After the sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks have formed, stop the mixer and fold in the cornstarch, cream of tartar (or vinegar), vanilla bean paste, and food coloring (if using).

Divide the meringue in half and pour one half onto each of the parchment sheets with circles on them. Gently spread the meringue to the edge of the circle you drew, making sure the top is fairly level. The edges don’t need to be perfectly round or even. In fact, the more rustic and left alone, the better.

Place the pavlovas in your oven. If you have two ovens, you can place one baking sheet in each. If you have one oven, you can place both baking sheets in at once, on two different racks, making sure to switch the baking sheets halfway through baking.

When you place the pavlova in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 225 degrees F.

TWO OVENS: If you are using two ovens with one pavlova in each, your bake time will be about 50 to 60 minutes. 

ONE OVEN: If you are using one oven with two pavlovas, your bake time will be closer to 70 to 90 minutes.

You are looking for the meringue to harden, but not get too brown or crack too much around the edges.

Once the pavlova is done baking, turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.

 

FOR THE RASPBERRY SAUCE:

1 half-pint package fresh raspberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1 cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam

1 tablespoon Framboise liqueur (I used a local raspberry liqueur)

DIRECTIONS

Place the package of raspberries, the granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and Framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

ASSEMBLY

Place one pavlova layer on a cake stand or plate. Cover with a pint of ice cream and half of the raspberry mixture and then fresh berries. Cover with second pavlova and garnish with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar. (You could also top with more ice cream and the rest of the raspberry sauce if desired but the ratio was lovely of meringue to ice cream and sauce with it just in the middle.)

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Cake by Courtney