Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes and Garlic

Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes and Garlic

Happy days are here again- it’s just about SUMMER TIME BABY!

What a crazy few weeks I have going on. I just got back on Monday from a quick 48-hour trip to Atlanta to visit my grandmother with Paul- what a relaxing and lovely way to spend the holiday weekend. Atlanta is such an awesome place to visit- people are just nicer there, ya know? Plus, it doesn’t hurt when your Argentine grandmother makes you 4 dozen empanadas to chow down on just because she loves you so much. YUM.

Tomorrow, I’m heading to Chicago for another long weekend, to visit one of my best friends from college. I’ll be back on Monday, but we’ve already planned most of our trip around which amazing restaurants we’re going to eat at. Any recommendations? 🙂

And oh yeah, the weekend after that, I’ll be SPEAKING at the BlogHer Food ’13 conference in Austin, TX! I can’t freakin wait, but I’m also super nervous. If any of you are going to BlogHer Food next week, please say hi (and don’t boo at my workshop!).

But for this very moment, I’m home in Jersey City and couldn’t be happier.

Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes and Garlic

Once again, we’re on our farmer’s market flow- one of the best things about Jersey City is the abundance of farmer’s markets and local produce. I saw these locally grown fat asparagus (asparagi?) and knew I had to have them for my very own! Along with some fresh Jersey tomatoes and a healthy dose of garlic, this makes a perfect side dish for your next barbecue.

Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes and Garlic
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 bunch asparagus (8-10 stalks)
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, sliced thinly into chips
  • 1 large tomato, sliced into rounds
  • olive oil (about 2-3 tbsp)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh lemon juice (for serving)

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Rinse and clean your asparagus. Using your fingers, snap off the tough ends on each stalk- the asparagus will break naturally where those tough parts end.
  3. In an oven-proof dish, add the asparagus and coat with the olive oil. Rest a few tomato slices and the garlic on top, and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until asparagus is tender when pierced with a fork. If desired, squeeze fresh lemon over top for serving. Enjoy!

Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes and Garlic

This is an awesome side dish to any summertime entree- or perfect as a light snack on it’s own! I made a big batch and have been snacking on it throughout the week. Yum!

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad

Happy Friday! How’s everyone’s resolutions coming along so far- we’re a week and a half in to 2013… is everyone still going to the gym every day and really watching what they eat?

…No? Maybe?

Well, I’m excited to share this recipe with you because not only is it delicious and filling, it’s also pretty healthy. It also features a fairly new ingredient for me: Lentils.

Lentils are a great source of fiber, and are known to help lower cholesterol. They are also low in calories and a good source of vitamins and minerals. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of lentils here at WHFoods.

Sure, that all sounds wonderful, but if these little grains don’t taste good, who’s going to eat them?

Well, that’s the great thing about lentils – they absorb pretty much any flavor you throw at them, and are pretty darn good just on their own. I decided to throw them together with a bunch of fresh vegetables and a very simple dressing, and created a crunchy, flavorful side dish that doubled as lunch for me the next day.

Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over to remove any dirt or small pebbles
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large lacinato kale leaves, stems removed and cut into ½” pieces
  • ⅓ cup frozen corn (if doing the Standard Process Cleanse, omit)
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions
  1. Add water, lentils and bay leaf to a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, bring heat to low and let cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Remove bay leaf and strain the lentils to remove any excess water. Add the salt and stir.
  2. Add bell pepper, kale leaves, corn and broccoli and stir, allowing the vegetables to absorb some of the heat from the cooked lentils. Add oil and vinegar, and stir to incorporate.

In related news, I am actually starting a cleanse starting next Monday, called the Standard Process Cleanse. Don’t worry, it’s not one of those crazy juice fads… it’s more focused on incorporating more whole foods and vegetables into your diet, and flushing the toxins from your body. I am working with my friend and nutritionist, Rebecca Meyerson of Simply Healthy Living, during the 21-day process. You bet I am going to turn to this salad quite a bit during that time! So fair warning, over the next few weeks, you are going to see a lot more healthy recipes from me as I go through the cleanse process and make more vegetable-centric meals and snacks.

I also wanted to share two  e-books that my childhood neighbor and family friend, Mike Angarola, wrote that are chockfull of delicious Italian recipes, in memory of his grandmother, Gracie. Mike used to own an amazing Italian specialty shop in my hometown of Nyack, Gracie’s Ravioli, and he really knows his stuff. You can also check out his blog at Gracie’s Italian Wine Review. Check out his e-books, here:

   

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Last Minute Thanksgiving Sides & Desserts Roundup

Thanksgiving is 3 days away – are you ready? If not, no worries- there’s still tons of time to make this special holiday shine. I wanted to provide a brief rundown of my favorite Thanksgiving sides and desserts, all of which are available here on Total Noms.

These are dishes that to me, practically ooze holiday warmth whenever I have them. I sincerely hope they add some of that warmth to your table as well!

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

To kick off the sides, let’s hand everyone a scoop of bacon and roasted garlic-loaded mashed potatoes. These are surprisingly easy to make, and loaded with amazing flavors.

 

 

 

 

 

Seasoned Fanned Potatoes with Cheese

… or perhaps you’re more of a cheesy Hasselback potato kind of family? These spuds are fun to make and customize and make all your own. Plus who doesn’t love some cheese with their taters?

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

When it comes to vegetables, you cannot beat my favorite roasted brussels sprouts. I think these are the best possible preparation for these often underrated vegetables, and will really make your holiday dinner something special.

 

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter

Nor should you overlook this delicious seasonal butternut squash risotto. I LOVE squash around this time of year, and I think the brown butter that’s infused throughout the risotto makes this one of my most favorite ways to serve rice as a side.

 

 

 

 

 

Now onto my personal favorite part of Thanksgiving: the desserts!

 

Sweet Potato Pecan Tartlets + #PiePartyGE

These are absolutely perfect treats for a Thanksgiving feast- with a pecan crust and a hint of bourbon, you need to check out these Sweet Potato Pecan Tartlets!

 

 

 

 

 

Mini Blueberry Crumble

Blueberry Crumbles are such a fun and easy way to give everyone at your table their own individual sweet treat. These are also a cinch to throw together and prepare beforehand, and heat in the oven while you’re devouring turkey so you have dessert ready right away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

apple crisp

Come on, there is nothing more American than this delicious and deceptively easy dessert. Apple Crisp is one of my favorite desserts of all time, and it only gets better when apples are in season right around this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Clouds

These chocolate dipped pumpkin clouds are the ultimate Thanksgiving cookie- sweet, soft and chewy cookies topped with deep, dark chocolate shell. A perfect way to top off a perfect feast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the main event, I always HIGHLY recommend Alton Brown’s brined roast turkey recipe. I made it last year and while it does involve some extra legwork and time in making the brine, it’s so worth it for perfect turkey.

What are your favorite sides and desserts?

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Woah. It’s Thanksgiving next week. Have you finalized your menu? Luckily, this year I’m only responsible for dessert, but last year when I hosted the whole shebang, these babies were one of my favorite sides.

I know, brussels sprouts, right? Blah. Every child’s worst nightmare. Who goes around doing a dance for brussels sprouts? I don’t even think Belgians love brussels sprouts.

Well, SURPRISE! because these are the best things ever! All thanks to Ina Garten, who likens these to french fries in her recipe on Food Network. French fries. Yes. Something we can all get down with. Or do a dance for. OK fine, I like to dance about vegetables.

This is an amazing side for Thanksgiving or any dinner. I love them with a nice roasted chicken or turkey, alongside a standing rib roast, or even just on their own. They come out with a flavor that is seasoned, caramelized and salty, and are so good that any memory of the dreaded bitter flavor of steamed brussels sprouts is immediately replaced with instant satisfaction and cravings for more.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
 
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs Brussels sprouts (whole or halved, your preference)
  • 3 tbsp good olive oil
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  2. Trim your sprouts- this means removing any yellow or brown outer leaves, and trimming the stalks off the bottom. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Place seasoned sprouts on a baking sheet, and spread out so that they are in a single layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes, checking in every 15 minutes to either shake the pan or flip the sprouts with a spatula so they don’t burn.
  4. If you’d like, season with more salt once cooked and toss again, then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe from Ina Garten on Food Network.

High in Vitamin C and fiber, and low in calories, these are a great way to “indulge” in a yummy side during the holidays. I’m definitely hoping these are on the table this year, when we head to my parents’ house for prosicutto-wrapped turkey breast. Wait, let me repeat that- Prosciutto. Wrapped. Turkey. Breast.

Pardon me while I go make myself a sandwich- typing that out made me even more hungry than usual!

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

Last week, I hit up a local farmer’s market here in Jersey City. Well, OK. I didn’t exactly go on purpose… My original plan was to get tacos nearby and go home. OK, fine, my original original plan was to go to the gym, but who’s judging?

Anyways, I got out of the train station after leaving work, and emerged to find there was a bustling farmer’s market going on right around the plaza where the station lets you out. And yeah, there turned out to be a taco truck there (I indulged, obviously, going through some serious #tacolife right now). But there were so many other yummy things, I had to look around while waiting for my tacos to be made for me. In the 5 minutes I had to scout around, I picked up an eggplant and a nice handful of locally grown Jersey plum tomatoes.

It took me a little while to figure out what to do with the tomatoes (I ended up just frying the eggplant in a bout of weekend hunger) but I finally settled on making a twist on the classic caprese salad, this time in a creamy, decadent risotto. I roasted the tomatoes to get as much flavor from them as possible, used fresh mozzarella, and beautiful fresh basil. I have to say this came out even better than I expected- I never have used fresh mozzarella in risotto before, and it added a nice creamy and melty texture to the whole dish that made it really something special.

I think that’s the magic of a caprese salad any way you make it- it always ends up being a dish that is more than the sum of its parts. Using the best ingredients you can find will definitely improve the quality of the dish, and I’ll be surprised if you can keep yourself from having seconds! 🙂

Roasted Tomatoes

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes
 
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
For the Roasted Tomatoes:
  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise with cores and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt
For the risotto:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3½-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed over low heat
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil for garnish

Instructions
  1. Make the roasted tomatoes and garlic: Preheat oven to 450° F. Arrange halved, cored tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over each tomato. Rub the garlic cloves in olive oil and place on the pan with the tomatoes. Roast for 30 minutes, rotating the pan once in between. When tomatoes have shrunk and are cooked through, remove them and the garlic cloves from the oven and allow to cool while you make the rest of the risotto.
  2. Make the risotto: In a large pan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, shallot, and thyme, and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until the shallots start to become translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the rice, and stir to coat in the oil. Season with salt, and allow the rice to “toast” for 2 minutes- this is adding a lot of flavor directly into the rice itself. Add the wine, and stir to loosen up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until wine is almost fully absorbed. Add ½ cup of the warmed broth and stir again. Continue to add broth, ½ cup at a time, once the previous addition is almost fully absorbed. Make sure you are stirring every few minutes or so as well.
  4. While the rice is cooking, carefully chop up your roasted tomatoes into ¼ inch pieces, and peel the roasted garlic and chop that up too.
  5. Once you feel the rice is cooked to the desired consistency (not crunchy, but somewhat creamy with a bite), add the roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic and stir. Add your mozzarella and parmesan, and stir again. The mozzarella will start to get stringy, but just keep stirring until everything is incorporated and it’s a lovely mess.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil, stir once more, and serve!

Happy Eating 🙂
mally