Linguini with Fire-Roasted Goodness and Ricotta Salata Cheese!

This is a winner recipe! Flavorful and so simple!

Linguini with Fire Roasted Goodness (Tomato/Peppers/Garlic)
and Ricotta Salata Cheese
serves 4-6

What you'll need:

4 tomatoes from the vine (left whole)
2 peppers (1 red, 1 orange- halved and seeded)
1 whole garlic bulb (cut 1/4 inch off the top)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound linguini
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 cup ricotta salata cubed
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

What you'll do:

Place tomatoes, pepper halves, and garlic clove (clove side exposed- see here) on greased pan. Rub olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper on each piece. Roast in over on 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. When vegetables are done, remove the peppers and garlic from pan. Keep tomatoes in oven but turn it off. Meanwhile, boil water and add pasta. As it cooks, put the roasted peppers and removed tender cloves in a blender. Blend until a smooth sauce has been created. When pasta is cooked, remove and drain. In the same pot put the tomatoes in and mash them. Add the pepper garlic sauce. Then add the pasta. Put a tablespoon of butter in the pot as well and stir it up! When sauce has coated everything, add the ricotta salata cubes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir again. Serve with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. SO GOOD!

Oh, and Martin says, "Hello!"

Thick as Fog Pea Soup with Pastina!

This recipe originally called for lentils, but my store did not have any! So I used split peas instead. They actually have a lot of protein too!

Thick as Fog Pea Soup with Pastina
What you'll need:

2 tablespoons extra-vigin olive oil
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 medium carrot (chopped)
1 stalk celery (chopped)
2 strips bacon (I used vegetarian bacon, finely chopped)
1 8oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary (fresh) or 1 teaspoon dried
2 large garlic cloves (minced)
6 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
1/2 pound dried split peas (or lentils, rinsed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup pastina (little stars pasta- so cute!)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped italian parsley

What you'll do:
In a medium-large sized pot, heat oil. Add inion, carrot, celery and bacon. Cook for 5 minutes, stir occasionally. Add the tomatoes, rosemary and garlic. Stir and cook for another minute. Add the stock, peas (lentils), salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Uncover and return to high heat. Add pastina, reduce heat, cover and simmer until pastina is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Serve hot and sprinkle with parsley. And some crusty bread for a nice feast!

Beans, Beans They're Good For Your Heart!

You know the rest!
Eat your beans folks. And no, these aren't Chili recipes!
Just a Bean Guacamole (with homemade tortilla chips) and an Artichoke Bean Salad.

Beany Guacamole with Sorta Homemade Tortilla Chips

What you need:
2 ripe avocados (diced)
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 red onion
2 limes (zest and juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
10 corn tortillas (buy an authentic mexican brand like Pepito. Cut each tortilla into 4 triangles)

What you'll do:
Combine all ingredients for guacamole and stir. Preheat oven to 400. Place tortilla triangles on greased baking sheet. Spray with olive spray. Cook until golden brown. About 10 minutes. Take out of oven and place on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.

Italian Artichoke and White Bean Salad
What you'll need:
1 can artichokes (rinsed)
1 can cannellini beans (rinsed)
1 red onion (minced)
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1 garlic clove (minced)
2 tablespoons olive oil

What you'll do:
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy the goodness!

Fresh Confetti and Cheesy 'shrums!

More vegetable creations coming your way!
How are your resolutions holding up?
My ass is still kickin' it at the gym and I'm feeling it!
Keep it up!

What you'll need:
1 cucumber (skinned and diced)
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 red onion (diced)
1 can corn (rinsed)
1/4 cup Cilantro
2 limes (zest and juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

What you'll do:
Just throw all of the ingredients into a bowl and toss.
Then eat it of course!

What you'll need:

Cheesy 'shrums
4 LARGE portobello mushroom caps
4 slices fresh mozzarella
4 basil leaves (coarsely chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves (minced)
salt and pepper to taste

1 box spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove (minced)
salt and pepper to taste

What you'll do:

Cheesy 'shrums
Preheat over to 350. Place 'shrums on greased pan, inside facing UP. Drizzle olive oil on top. Add minced garlic and salt. Cook until the 'shrums release juices. About 20 minutes. Take them out of oven and cover each with 1 slice of cheese. Place under BROILER until cheese is melted and browned a bit. Remove from broiler. Season tops with basil and pepper.

Heat oil in skillet. Add in garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add spinach and salt and pepper. Once spinach has started to wilt take off heat and set aside. It will still cook so you don't want to over do it.

I just got a giveaway prize in the mail from Gaia at Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!
I'd love to be her for a day! Thanks, Gaia!

Tales From The (Wine) Trails

If you ever find yourself in Hudson Valley,
NY hop on the Shawagunk Wine Trail!
Here are some pictures from the trail!

Enjoy wines from the region, and great scenery! Oh, and don't forget a DD!

Dinner with Friends...

1295 3rd Ave. (between 74th & 75th Street)

* Good food but beware of the Gossip Girl wannabes!!!


Crispy Polenta and Endive... AND an Award!

BTM is still on the healthy wagon folks! Today's recipe is a veggie feast!

Crispy Polenta and Endive with Mixed Greens (for 2)

What you'll need:
2 heads of Endive (halved lengthwise)
1 package store bought Polenta (the kind that looks like this) sliced into 1 inch thick circles.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups mixed greens of your choice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

A Drizzle of Salad Dressing. Make your own, or try this awesome store bought french. It's the best dressing you could ever buy in a supermarket!

Remember to prep all ingredients before cooking!

What to do:
Preheat the broiler. Place endive halves on tray. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the halves. Sprinkle garlic, salt and pepper over the halves. Put endive under broiler until the tops have browned. DO NOT OVER COOK! When done, place endive on a plate and then put the cooked polenta (see below) on the tray.

While endive is under broiler, cook the polenta. But remember to check that endive!
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet. Cook both sides of the polenta in the oil for about 4 minutes each side. Place cooked polenta on same tray as Endive (after they've been cooked and removed). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook polenta under broiler until the tops get browned and crispy.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet you cooked the polenta... on medium heat, cook the 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. Once the sauce has reduced, add the basil.

Set up your plate so that you have 2 endive halves and a bunch of crispy polenta cakes, as well the mixed greens. Drizzle the basil reduction over the endive and polenta. Drizzle the salad dressing over the greens as desired. For an added Italian plus, sprinkle a little Parmesan over the entire dish.

Blog Awards!

I received an award from Justyna from love lives in the kitchen. She creates very beautiful and inspiring dishes, folks! Check her out!

Here are the awards rules:

1. copy and paste the award on your blog
2. list who gave the award to you and use a link to his/her blog (or hyperlink)
3. list 10 things that make you happy
4. pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blogs to let them know!

10 things that make me happy
1. Food
2. Good Company
3. Alone Time
4. My Cat
5. Drawing
6. Reading Other Blogs
7. Springtime
8. Recognition
9. Getting 2nd College Degree
10. Being Inspired

Passing along to:
gus and other things
Seens From the Backs of My Eyelids
Sweet as a Candy
Twenty Somethings
Inspiration in Italy ♥
Saskia's Spot
While We're Waiting...
Access denied-living with multiple sclerosis
Eats Well With Others
no. 15
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
K. Law: Inspired
life is BANANAS.

It's so hard to choose, you are all awesome! Just keep giving me more awards that way I have more people to pass them off to! Just kidding!



I'm playing around today with my layout! Stay Tuned!


Spinach Pie and Giveaway Winner!

Before I announce my giveaway winner (ok, true- you can just scroll down), I'd like to share a simple and healthier version of spinach pie! You can use either feta or goat cheese in this recipe. This is non-traditional Greek Spanakopita. I say non-traditional because my ass can't take the traditional buttery goodness that this normally is. So bare with me!

Makes 6 mini pies!
1 container or bag of baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp's red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon, just the zest!
salt and pepper to taste
12 sheets of philo dough (defrosted, 4 sheets per pie)
2 tablespoons butter (I used Earth Balance to make this healthier!)
4 ounces goat (or feta) cheese (each pie gets 1/3 of the cheese)

What you do:
Preheat oven to 350. Make sure philo dough is defrosted. Lay out on plate and cover with a damp paper towel to avoid drying out. In a medium saucepan, heat oil and saute garlic for about 2 minutes. Add in spinach and pepper flakes. Once spinach is mostly wilted take off heat and add the lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Take 4 sheets of philo dough and place them on baking sheet. Spread the top sheet with some of the melted butter (you need to use that butter on all 3 pies so use sparingly!). Once buttered, place 1/3 of the spinach mixture along the top of the sheet horizontally, leave about 1/2 inch of dough at the top. Add goat or feta cheese on top of the spinach. Fold in the sides about a 1/2 inch vertically. Fold the top over the cheese and spinach. Now roll! Once the entire pie is rolled up, place seal side down on the sheet. Repeat these steps 2 more times. With the remaining butter, glaze the tops of the pies and add some salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Once cooled, cut pies in half and enjoy!

Giveaway Winner!
My giveaway winner is Damla! Damla has a great blog that lists daily giveaways. I think the win is very fitting then, don't you? Many thanks to all who particiapted! Keep stopping by for more food and another giveaway soon! I am working on a new etsy product to sell, so stay tuned.


Murray's Cheese and NYC Stakeout!

It took me a while to complete this NYC Stakeout from the blog dutchbaby, but I was really waiting for a special occasion to go to the place that sells this wonder. dutchbaby asked me to try the Mast Brother's Chocolate from Brooklyn. I actually never knew about this natural line of chocolate goodness before, so when I went off to fine it I read that Murray's Cheese Shop sold it, and we all know that I love Murray's.

Ok, back to the chocolate. This is the real deal, people. I got the Dark Chocolate with Pecans and Maple Syrup. It is made of Madagascar 72 % Cacao. The only ingredients are cacao, cane sugar, pecans, and maple syrup. Like I said before, it's the REAL DEAL. It's pricey: $10 for a 2.5oz bar, but this is not the type of chocolate bar that you eat up in one sitting. You know those crazy diet freaks saying we can eat a little piece of chocolate everyday and we all thought that they were nuts and one could not only eat just one piece of chocolate? Well, this is the chocolate they were talking about! It's INTENSE! If you've never tasted real chocolate before folks, this ain't no Hershey's bar!! A little nibble and you'll be set with the sweet tooth fix and antioxidants for the day!

Here's a little bit about the Mast Brothers:
"The Brothers Mast, Rick and Michael, are impossibly cool, in that big-bushy-beard-tall-lanky-frame sort of way. Rick is even an amateur banjo player. They scream BROOKLYN. But that's not why their chocolate is so astounding. The only bean-to-bar producer in New York City, the Masts have converted a 100-year old factory in the "village" of Williamsburg into a veritable Willy Wonka land for handmade chocolate bars. Their process begins with cacao (cocoa beans) from small family farms in Madagascar, Venezuela, the DR and Ecuador."

If you have any ideas for NYC Stakeouts let me know! I've got a few in the works so stay tuned for NYC bagels, pizza, and night spots!


Resolution Pasta!

It's the New Year and we all want to trim a bit, yes? Well, I am not the type to stop eating pasta just to lose a few. Not this Italian! So, not only is this recipe fantastic and healthy, I also share some slim tips. My theory is that if the food has tons of flavor without the fat (ok, you need a little fat), you WILL be satisfied!

A Little Pasta with Your Veggies

Normally we cook up too much pasta and then throw in a little veg. This is the other way around!

(Serves 4)
1/2 box of whole wheat campanelle pasta (or reg. don't stress)
WASTELINE TIP: STOP cooking the whole box of pasta. Portion out what you need so that there are no second helpings or leftovers to stuff on.
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, minced and mashed a bit
1 whole garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup pasta water
1 shalllot, minced
1 pint baby potebello mushrooms, halved
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, left whole
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed
3 cups of baby spinach
4 tsp Herbs de Provence
FLAVOR TIP: When using dried herbs, rub them between your fingers as you add them to a dish. This will open up the oils and aromas more so into your dish.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh italain parsley
1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter (this will help make your dish feel decadent without adding a ton of fat)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Start to boil water for pasta in one pot. Add the bay leaf, whole smashed garlic clove, and some salt to the water. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add in shallot and garlic and cook until slightly tender (about 4 minutes). Add in mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, 2 tsp Herbs and salt and pepper to taste. And in some pasta water to make it a bit saucy. If your pasta is still cooking just take some out while it cooks. No biggie! Cook until mushrooms are tender and juicy (about 6 minutes or so). Take off heat and add in spinach and butter. Stir until everything is mixed, the butter is melted, and the greens are slightly wilted. You still want them to be leafy!

Now for a tricky swap, but you can do it Captain!
Put the vegetables in a bowl, and then add the pasta to the same skillet you cooked the vegetables in on medium heat. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil, parsley, remaining Herbs, Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. The goal here is to fry up the pasta for about 2 minutes. The flavor is incredible!

Now a tip on serving. Place a large helping of vegetables in a bowl. When trying to lose weight portion control is key. So use smaller plates or bowls when eating things you tend to over do it on! Then, add about 2 serving spoon sizes of pasta to you dish. Have more vegetables than pasta no matter what. Now dig in! You've got cancer fighting vegetables, fiber, garlic and a great dinner that will leave you feeling healthy and satisfied. And remember, a little fat does the body good. And it's great for your hair and nails too!


Yummy Roasted Garlic

This recipe is so simple and delicious... especially if you love garlic!

All you have to do is take the garlic clove (however many you want) and peel away the outer layers until only the layers on the individual cloves remain. 
Then cut about 1/3-1/4 off the top of the whole garlic bulb. 
The goal is to expose all of the little cloves, and yet keep the bulb intact. 
Place the bulbs on the baking sheet (clove exposed SIDE UP) and drizzle some olive oil (or truffle oil) on top, and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 
Cook the bulbs in the oven on 400F degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the cloves are super soft. Wait until bulbs cool a bit before you squeeze the cloves out. Then spread the garlicy goodness on crostini or add to salads or anything you like to add garlic to. 
Just add them in whole because they are not as strong as they are raw when cooked. 
You will love this, everyone! 
Unless you are of the vampire race of course!


Blog Awards!

What a great start to the year...
Joanne from Eats Well With Others has given me 2 Blog Awards!
Please check out her blog, her food is fantastic!

So, before I give out my awards, here are the awards rules for the Kreative Blogger award.
I am combining both awards for my people!

Awards Rules:
List 10 interesting things about yourself. And then give the award to 10 bloggers.

Ok, here it goes:

1. I live in New York City.
2. I am a Writer-Producer- TV.
3. I am currently back in school getting my degree in Web Design.
4. I love animals, especially cats.
5. I would like to retire somewhere in Europe.
6. I love to draw.
7. The Office is my favorite show E-V-E-R.
8. I am currently crushing on Viggo Mortensen.
Lets take a break to drool:

9. I enjoy cooking.
10. I love nature and the energy and beauty it provides us all.

And now for the awards ceremony:
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Sweet as a Candy
Res ipsa loquitur
inkOBSESSION designs
Manju Gone Blog
Access denied...
Iva Messy
...love Maegan
Couture Carrie
Oh, Mishka
Bluebird Notes

...and if you know how to count, I picked 11 people. Whatever!

Ok, grab your awards and boogie!


Wine, Cheese, Lentils, and a New Year!

As you can all gather, I am a bit behind in my posting. I'll catch up with you all soon, I promise!

This New Years, I spent a quiet evening at home with the boyfriend. We may live in New York City, but you will NOT find us out in the cold in Time Square on New Year's Eve! Instead, we celebrated with good wine, cheese from Murray's, and my italian favorite: Lentils for Good Luck! Oh, and The Twilight Zone Marathon on Syfy. Can't forget that!

The cheeses:
(with plenty left over!)
1 Year Aged Cheddar

Add bruschetta, grapes, olives, and mini gherkins to the platter for a perfect spread.

The wine:
(We tasted, again- leftovers!)
Prejean Riesling (New York)

The Italian Good Luck Lentils
(It is an Italian tradition to eat lentils on New Years for good luck and prosperity. The lentils resemble little coins, so there is the translation of thought.)

2 cups cooked lentils (any kind)
1/3 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs whole grain mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallot bulbs, minced
2 tomatoes chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

I wanted to add chopped fennel and apple to this but I completely forgot! Will have to try that next time!

Just mix all ingredients together and let chill for an hour before serving!

What are your New Year's Eve traditions?

Oh and for some added cheer... here are some pictures that I took in Central Park after it snowed!