roasted heirloom tomato + pepper gazpacho

This gazpacho (or salsa!) is exploding with summer flavors.

I wasn’t expecting this summer treat to be this color. I did pick out a bunch of yellow tomatoes (my favorite) which mixed with the other red ones and peppers turned the chilled soup into a deep orange hue.

Choose your heirloom tomatoes by their weight - the heavier the better. The size and shape of the tomato have little to do with quality - small, large - they are all equally delicious! And always, always keep tomatoes on the countertop. If you put tomatoes in the refrigerator they will turn sad and mushy.

I find it incredible that nature produces such an immense array of colors in fruits and vegetables. All the flavor profiles of heirloom tomatoes are crazy good, intense and rich. Also, have you ever smelled tomato vines?

Definitely try out any kind of heirloom tomato for this recipe. Heirlooms have awesome names like Marvel Stripe, Brandywine, Black Prince and Sun Gold. 

roasted heirloom tomato + pepper gazpacho

Yields roughly 4 cups, double or triple for larger crowds

Ingredients:

3 pounds heirloom tomatoes (most varieties will do), stems removed & sliced lengthwise

2 jalapeño peppers, stems removed & sliced lengthwise

4-5 red chili peppers, stems removed & sliced lengthwise

3-4 garlic cloves

1/2 small red onion, diced

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves

salt + pepper to taste

squeeze lime juice

tortilla chips, to serve

Directions:

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove their seeds and stems. Cut the peppers lengthwise removing the seeds and stems. 

Place the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic cloves on a baking sheet. Broil the veggies for 10 minutes or until the corners are starting to blacken. Let them cool until ready to handle.

Remove the skins and black pieces from the tomatoes and peppers. In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic until finely minced. Add the tomatoes, peppers, a pinch of salt and pepper, and pulse until you are satisfied with the texture. I like it finely minced with small chunks of veggies. Refrigerate and enjoy!

To serve as gazpacho, squeeze fresh lime juice on top and add fresh cilantro leaves. 

spring orzo salad

I love orzo.

Over the past six months I moved (again) and began a design course at General Assembly in San Francisco. I decided to explore an interest of mine and it opened a million new doors: ideas for a career change, desire to take more classes, launching a new project, and hours of practicing all things Adobe (scary!!!).

I feel enthusiastic about this new venture in my life but also extremely overwhelmed. And what better way to ease anxiety than by cooking! and eating. . .

This salad certainly pleased the crowd, adults and children alike! The raw snap peas and fennel with the mildly cooked asparagus add a fresh crunch to the soft al dente orzo. And look at those colors. . . spring - in your mouth! 

If you are looking for a gluten free alternative you can totally swap the orzo out for quinoa or rice (I suggest brown or jasmine). I saw some crazy purple haze asparagus at the market after I made this and thought how incredible it would look with those green snap peas... mmm, next time.

Perfect to bring for a Memorial Day cookout, for lunch, or as a side dish with grilled lamb.

SPRING ORZO SALAD

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into small pieces

1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped

4 green onions, white & green parts sliced thinly

1/2 bulb fennel, diced

1 bunch basil, leaves torn or sliced

1 cup orzo pasta 

zest & juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

generous sprinkle of salt & black pepper

Directions

Set two pots of water on the stove and bring to a boil. In one, cook pasta according to package. In the other, blanch the asparagus for 5 minutes.

When the pasta is cooked, drained and rinse with cold water. In a large serving dish combine the orzo, asparagus, snap peas, green onions, fennel, and basil. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper tossing the ingredients to coat the ingredients entirely in the dressing.

Serve cold or at room temperature and enjoy!

I started a brand new Instagram account for all things half galley kitchen and San Francisco. . . please follow @halfgalleykitchen for updates!

 

poblano pepper bolognese

I recently discovered this delicious recipe on Tasting Table -- for chilly nights it is the perfect pasta staple to add to your winter meal collection.

I found this recipe from a website I regularly frequent for recipe ideas and insightful tutorials.  I owe ALL credit to the site, I simply worded the directions differently for my own ease - link here. I made the dish for three hungry kids and it was devoured CPC style (Clean Plate Club); even I went in for seconds. There was no way I could leave this recipe unshared.

Traditional Italian bolognese sauces produce a hearty flavor with ground beef chuck, tomatoes, garlic, sometimes heavy cream and served with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano. The sauce sits in a dutch oven for hours reducing, thickening, with the smells amassing in the kitchen and trickling throughout your home.

Poblano peppers let out an intense aroma alluding heat -- however, with seeds removed and the pepper cooks it produces a sweet and smoky flavor adding complexity to the bolognese.

You can spoon this sauce over any type of pasta: bucatini, linguine, orecchiette, fettuccine, etc.

The absolute best canned tomatoes are the San Marzano whole peeled brand found at most grocery stores and specialty food shops. Ina Garten praises them, and I use them with everything tomato - curries, stews, soups, pasta sauce.

poblano pepper bolognese

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef chuck

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 garlic cloves

1 cup dry white wine

1 - 28 oz. can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes

2 bay leaves

2 thyme sprigs

1 poblano pepper, finely chopped

2 tbsp unsalted butter

salt + pepper, to taste

2/3 cup heavy cream

parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated to serve

1 1/2 lb. dry pasta of your choice (suggestion: bucatini, spaghetti, linguine, etc.)

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, brown the beef in one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Drain the fat and set the meat aside.

In a food processor, pulse the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic until finely minced. Transfer vegetables to the dutch oven with one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and cook until vegetables are translucent - about 10 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook the mixture down to about half the liquid.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl hand crush the San Marzano tomatoes. Add the beef, tomatoes and their juices, bay leaves, thyme, a pinch of salt + pepper to the dutch oven with the vegetable mixture, stir. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for two hours.

In a separate pan, cook the chopped poblano pepper in two tablespoons of butter until browned and fragrant. After the sauce has simmered for a couple hours, add the pepper and heavy cream. Stir well and cook for a few minutes longer until ready to serve.

Enjoy over your favorite pasta al dente with freshly grated parmesan.

persimmon + arugula salad with meyer lemon vinaigrette

I will admit, I never had a persimmon until I moved to California and the farmer's market cut up samples to try as you wandered through. Man, was I missing out.

I actually thought I was allergic. The small chunk of persimmon made my mouth dry up instantly and I turned myself off from them; until, I tried it on a salad several weeks ago when they first were in season. And then tried another salad with persimmon. And ate an entire one solo. 

I realized I was not allergic just insane.

The bitterness of the arugula showcases the sweet, light flavors of the persimmon. These are the fuyu variety which are round with flat bottoms. When purchasing at the market look for heavy, plump fruits and store on the counter. 

The vinaigrette is also very delicate and perfectly tart. You can definitely pair this vinaigrette with other salads while the meyer lemons remain in season from December 'til spring time. 

Seriously, you don't want to skimp out on the persimmons this season. Also, did I mention that there is nothing that beats California avocados?

persimmon + arugula salad with meyer lemon vinaigrette

Ingredients:

4-5 ounces baby arugula, or 1 bag / container

2 persimmons, thinly sliced

1 avocado, diced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1-2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

for the vinaigrette:

juice of 1 meyer lemon, freshly squeezed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

1 tbsp dijon mustard (or similar)

salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

Assemble all the ingredients of the salad on a platter or mix in a bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients for dressing until emulsified.

When dressing the salad, use only a small amount of the vinaigrette, toss, and repeat until coated to your liking.

Save the dressing in a mason jar or airtight container and store in the fridge. 

chili roasted butternut squash hummus

Perfect post-holiday leftovers edition. 

Apologies for the lack of posts and updates over the past several months. So many things took over the majority of my time between work and studying for the GRE, volunteering and gathering materials for graduate school applications. I also made trips back East and had lots of family visitors this fall -- an incredible treat I wish occurred more. 

While my sister was here for her Thanksgiving break we cooked and baked an immense amount of food. I tested so many recipes on her knowing very well I'd receive honest, critical feedback. 

So I promise, I have a lot in store for the remainder of the year and for next. 

Orange vegetables are my favorite. The roots. I love sweet potatoes in french fry form, raw carrots and hummus, candied sweet potatoes (my roommate's Mom's are the bomb diggity), pureed squash on Thanksgiving, pumpkin anything and everything, etc, etc,. You really can't go wrong -- even on pizza.

I will admit, fall on the West Coast disappoints me as an East coaster. It took a little while to realize how easy it was to take advantage of the foliage, the crisp and cool air, the dew in the morning; even Halloween felt different as a Californian. I remember as a kid strapping on my black winter gloves with neon spiders to match my witch hat and broomstick while keeping my fingers warm as I tricked and treated. Or, my matching hat and scarf with my bright blue pea coat on Thanksgiving. 

So here is one of my takes on a classic fall vegetable. The chili and paprika seriously add some smokey deliciousness that your palate must enjoy. Slathered on all the delicious carb things... ya know, crackers, bread, sandwiches, maybe even pasta(???).

chili roasted butternut squash hummus

Makes approximately 2 cups

1 whole butternut squash, peeled + cut into 2 inch chunks

1 tsp chili powder

pinch of salt

2 tbsp grapeseed oil

1 - 16 oz. can of chickpeas, drained + rinsed

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp water

1 tsp pumpkin seed oil (optional)

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2-3/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven 400 degrees. Toss the grapeseed oil, chili powder, salt and squash chunks and place on baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes or until soft, tossing half way through

Let the squash cool for 10 minutes. In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas and garlic until combined and slightly mashed. Add the squash, oils, water, paprika and salt processing until completely smooth.

Serve with pita chips, baguette, or vegetables. Smear on a sandwich. Dip your turkey leftovers in it.

Refrigerate. Keeps for up to 7-10 days.