Chèvre Chaud Salad, Limoncello Dressing

Chèvre Chaud with Grape Arugula Salad, Limoncello Dressing
Chèvre Chaud over a Salad of  Arugula, Grapes, and Marcona Almonds
Limoncello Rosemary Dressing

How did this fall off my radar? Often, I would serve a Salade de Chèvre Chaud at dinner parties. It’s been years  – but now, fried goat cheese back. This time with arugula, grapes, marcona almonds, and a zippy limoncello rosemary dressing.

Food Network is featuring grapes this week, so I was thinking about foods that might pair well: goat cheese, almonds, lemon, rosemary, arugula, alcohol… Alcohol? Yes – like wine, cognac, brandy, rum. How about limoncello? The dressing is bold, lemony, and definitely zippy.  It adds unexpected character and balances the rich fried cheese. All the ingredients just came together and voilà – this bodacious “adult” salad was born.

Chèvre Chaud Recipe

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It’s The One Dish To Serve With Those Grilled Steaks!

eggplant and garbanzo salad
Grilled Eggplant Topped with a Chickpea Mash
Tomato Cucumber Onion Relish, Tahini Sauce, Mint Garnish

It’s a side dish, it’s a salad, it’s a vegetarian entree. Throw some steaks on the grill and serve them with this fabulous vegetable-bean dish! That’s the whole menu, right there. Smoky grilled eggplant is the base, topped with a terrific warm chickpea mash, a lively colorful relish, and a creamy sauce. It’s one unfussy yet pretty vegetarian platter bursting with flavor, the perfect accompaniment to grilled meat, chicken, or fish…

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Cooking for the Stars: Wolfgang Puck’s Kale Salad

wolfgang puck kale salad
85th Academy Awards Governors Ball Menu
Kale, Grilled Artichoke, Radicchio, Pine Nut, Golden Raisin
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

With 19 Oscar menus under his belt, Chef Wolfgang Puck has created another inventive bill of fare for the 85th Academy Awards Governors Ball including old favorites, signature smoked salmon creations, and several fashionable new dishes. This year’s menu includes many vegetarian and vegan offerings, as well as items like Kobe Burger with Aged Cheddar & Remoulade and Chicken Pot Pie with Black Truffle. The Chef shares his menu in photos on a page called “A Taste of the Oscars” here. (Check out those Huckleberry Macarons!) But it was the vegan Kale Salad that immediately caught my attention ~ bright winter color and various textures pair with smoky artichoke and a sunny sweet Meyer lemon vinaigrette. I served the salad as a meal, unlike at the Governors Ball, where some 30 to 35 dishes will be served as small bites to over 1600 people.

And The Oscar Goes To:

photo credit: wolfgangpuck.com

Raw kale is a bit chewy and not exactly tender, so it is best sliced thin, taking care not to press down and bruise the beautiful curly edges. Mildly bitter and peppery radicchio is also thinly sliced. I used fast & fabulous packaged grilled artichoke hearts from Monterey Farms which are available at Whole Foods Market. Without a recipe, I prepared this salad from the photo ~ tossing kale with radicchio, artichoke hearts, lightly toasted pine nuts, and golden raisins with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The plate was garnished with a few Meyer lemon wheels and a sprinkling of nuts and raisins.

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Spinach Mushroom Risotto with Pecans

vegetarian risotto
Spinach Mushroom Risotto with Toasted Pecans
Chiffonade of Fresh Spinach Garnish

Combining two favorite risotto dishes – spinach risotto and mushroom risotto, into one – and adding toasted pecans plus an unexpected garnish of fresh spinach ribbons equals one bright and satisfying vegetarian meal. Crunchy toasted pecans contrast the creamy risotto, earthy caramelized mushrooms complement tender wilted baby spinach. A sprinkle of Parmesan and glass of wine were the only accompaniments.

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roasted japanese eggplant with pomegranate, pistachio, garlicky cream sauce

japanese eggplant pomegranate pistachio
roasted japanese eggplant with fresh thyme
garlicky yogurt cream sauce
pomegranate & pistachio

I wasn’t shopping for another cookbook. I was actually at Anthropologie shopping for some kind of platform or stools on which to display some my overflowing unruly cookbook collection. But there on the shelf along with some darling Morrocan tea glasses and heavenly spiced candles was PLENTY, Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi. On the cover, a bejeweled eggplant dish…I was smitten.

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Pappardelle ~ Apple, Fig, Pistachio, Mint, Saffron Cream

Pappardelle with Saffron Cream
Apple, Fig, Pistachio, Mint

  • Our 5 Star Makeover Cooking Club is featuring apples for the fabulous September event.
  • My family and friends are celebrating the Jewish New Year 5773. And I’m thinking about noodle kugel. Kugel is a sweet Jewish casserole. I bake mine with egg noodles, golden raisins, cottage cheese, cinnamon, and apples. I was also thinking about my saffron matzoh balls…
  • My little guy Wilson needed some tests. When I dropped him off, his awesome veterinarian gave me a big basket of fresh figs from her garden.

These three events cosmically intertwined. Apples & figs collided with noodles & saffron. And the result was a delightful vegetarian pasta with a luxurious saffron cream sauce. It was an exotic marriage of sweet & savory, creamy & crunchy. The colors were glorious ~ golden yellow saffron, pale green granny smith apples, pink salmon-hued figs, and bright green mint.

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Construction Dinner

Orecchiette, Avocado Pasta Sauce
Orecchiette with Warm Avocado Cream

The dilemma was how to add more kitchen counter space for prepping, cooking, and cleaning while keeping the integrity of the 1951 style, leaving the character of the original design unchanged without knocking out any walls. My friend Kirk had a brilliant idea to convert the adjacent room, which had been used as a bar, into an extension of the kitchen.

My home is a unique style for Southern California, the charming Cape Cod is an East Coast design – a style adapted to the stormy New England weather. Common features include: a steep sloping roof, chimney with fireplace, dormers, multi-pane double hung windows, shutters, constructed of wood and covered in wide clapboard, having a symmetrical appearance with the door in center, center-hall floor plan, and hardwood floors.

This remodeled room may have originally been designed for use as a breakfast nook sixty years ago. Now, it is an extension of the cooking area, with a stainless steel sink and 9 extra feet of counter space!

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