Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetables

I think I’m the only person not liking the warmer weather we’ve been getting the past week. It’s not that I don’t like temperatures in the 80s. They’re fine. Just not at the end of September. I like my weather crisp now! Bring on the sweaters, tights, knit hats, and lightweight Fall coats! That’s what I want!! It’s equally awful because in the beginning of September we had delightfully chilly weather. I’m talking about 50 degrees days. They were perfection. I want them back!

It also doesn’t help that the law school is FUH-REEZING. So, if I dress light for my walk to school I’ll be shivering like the little match girl during class. If I dress for the law school, though, I’m sweating like a Kardashian in church after that walk.

giphy

Anyway, my cold weather will come soon enough.  Winters here are serious business, and I’m sure I’ll be complaining about it then and wishing for this warmer weather back.  So, I’m going to try to enjoy it.  Or, you know, just hide out in my apartment with the air on max wrapped in a blanket.  Sometimes I make questionable life choices.

Want to know what isn’t a questionable life choice?  Making these vegetables.  I will never understand people who don’t like vegetables.  There is just so much that you can do with them.  There literally is probably a vegetable dish for every mood.  Feeling feisty?  Get some breaded zucchini chips in the oven!  Suffering a heartbreak?  Stuffed mushroom will fill your empty heart!  Staying in on a Friday night because you want to avoid social interactions and watch Netflix?  Baked sweet potato fries, for sure.

IMG_0606

I think these olive and sun-dried tomato vegetables are definitely a suitable-for-all-moods vegetable.  They are not, however, a hungover-on-a-Saturday vegetable.  Not that I tried that.  Not at all.  I served this alongside the chicken cacciatore that I posted a a week or so back and they paired really well together.  You can even just mix the vegetables into the cacciatore.  I definitely pilfered a few black olives from it!

One thing I will note is that I found the sun-dried tomatoes a little overpowering.  So, if you aren’t a huge sun-dried tomato fan, I’d recommend putting in less or omitting them altogether.  Of course, if you do, you might want to take the sun-dried out of the name!

Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetables

IMG_0605
Ingredients:

1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
5 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
4 tablespoons black olives, sliced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch strips

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the 1/3 cup of olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and dried thyme. Set aside.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the 3 tablespoons of oil and once hot add the shallots. Sautee for a few minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the zucchini, pepper, and summer squash. Cook for another 10-15 minutes until tender.

Add the sautéed vegetables to the bowl with the sundries tomatoes and olives. Mix to combine.

IMG_0602

Source: Giada At Home

Advertisements

White Bean and Roasted Eggplant Hummus

Over the past week I’ve gotten numerous texts and FB posts telling me the BIG NEWS that Gilmore Girls is finally coming to Netflix.  Of course, I already own all the seasons – including the awful final season which I really didn’t want to buy but did anyway because, come on, I needed the full set – but as one of my best friends aptly put it – now you know where to watch when your DVDs start skipping!

In case you didn’t know this – and many of you do – Gilmore Girls is my all-time favorite show.  I’ve had a lot of TV loves over the years, but Gilmore Girls remains the only show that I am always up for watching.  It fits every mood.  Every situation.  Every Monday night, and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, too.  The Gilmore Girls love runs deep.

anigif_enhanced-25148-1410449696-1

The great thing about really good TV is that it grows with you.  What you took from an episode when you were sixteen will be completely different from what you take from it at twenty four.  Fun fact – when I first watched I wanted to be a journalist.  I had so much fun watching Rory do her high school journalism thing, and then her college thing, and post-college thing.  I feel like I grew up with her, recognizing my own hopes and aspirations in her, as well as noticing the differences.

Namely, I moved away from journalism and ended up in advertising and public relations.  Then, I ended up in law school.  Now when I watch, I find the person I relate to the most is Sookie.  I love watching her come up with recipes and freak out over the perfect tomato.  I mean, come on food bloggers, we’ve ALL been there.

Okay, so I’m not going to spend this entire post rambling about Gilmore Girls.  I mean, I COULD, but I think you guys are probably ready for me to get to the recipe.  So, in closing, I will leave you with this stellar guidance from none other than Paris Gellar on how to live your life.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-16751-1410457696-11

I’ve been having this love affair with dips lately.  I think it’s because I rediscovered by food processor and am sort of obsessed with using it.  You can do so much with it!  This dip focuses on eggplant, which has been my favorite vegetable lately.  I absolutely love how it tastes roasted, and that roasted flavor really comes out in this dip.  I served this with cucumber rounds but you certainly could serve it on toasted baguette slices!

White Bean and Roasted Eggplant Hummus

IMG_0609

 

Ingredients:

1 eggplant, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces

1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup loosely packed parsley

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic

1/3 cup olive oil

salt

pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Roast the eggplant for 20-25 minutes, until tender.  Let cool completely.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the eggplant, cannellini beans, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Mix until combined.  Gradually mix in the olive oil until the mixture is completely smooth.

Either serve on cucumbers or toasted baguette slices.

IMG_0608

Source:  Giada At Home

What I’m Loving Friday

It’s Friday!  Woot!  Now, let’s get down to business!  Side note – someone said that to me on a date once.  LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.  It makes me snort just as much now as it did then.  Anyway, seriously, let’s get down to business.  What I’m Loving Friday.  Let’s do this.

1.  Sex and the City

satc3414

I bought the entire series for 40 dollars during a super sale at Half Price Books this summer, and since then it is has basically been playing non-stop in my apartment.  To answer the question I’m sure you’re all dying to know, I’m a total Charlotte.  Although sometimes Carrie will say something and I think, YES.  But, to be fair, a lot of times Carrie will say something and I think, GOD NO.

2.  This face

tumblr_lrswy96Duv1qev7vdo1_500

I made this my cover photo on FB.  I have no regrets.

3.  Farmer’s Markets

parks-and-rec-farmers-market_500x300_scaled_cropp

I’ve been in law school for two years and Saturday was the first time I went to our local farmer’s market.  I don’t understand how it took me so long.  It was basically everything I could have ever hoped for AND I discovered this health foods store across the street from it where I can buy my weird foods like pumpkin seeds and coconut oil.  Saturday was a very big day for me.

4.  Dirty Dancing

large

E! played this movie earlier in the week and I had the luxury of having absolutely no plans that night (thanks friends) and I stayed in and watched it.  Funny story about that movie – it’s my mom’s favorite.  When I was around fifteen or so we sat down to watch it together on the small TV in my bedroom, and she completely forgot about the awkward sexy-dancing-love-scene.  I will never forget the look of abject horror on her face as she sat with her teen daughter and watched Johnny Castle and Baby No-One-Remembers-Her-Last-Name get it on.

5.  Sweater Weather

tumblr_m8fza6tME91qff69mo1_400

It’s coming guys.  I can feel it.

What are you loving?!

Chicken Cacciatore

There are few meals that really remind me of my childhood.  My mom cooked almost every night, but she was always making different things.  Of course, she had a few standbys.  Cajun jumbalaya showed up often for some reason.  She’d make it in this free standing electric fry pan and always left some smoked sausage out of the spicy sauce for my brother and I.  Then there was shrimp creole (I’m just realizing how exotic my Italian and Polish kitchen was growing up!) which I absolutely hated.  And then, my absolute favorite, broccoli and chicken served over puff pastry rounds.  But, other than that, dinners were a hodgepodge of whatever my mom felt like cooking that night.

There is one meal, though, that will always remind me of my childhood and it is my grandma’s chicken cacciatore.  It’s about as Italian as you can get in a meal, and it was one of my favorites growing up.  Every Wednesday, when we would go to my grandparent’s house, I’d ask my mom , “What’s Grandma making for dinner?”  I loved everything she made – except for chili – but I especially loved her chicken cacciatore.  The meat was always tender and simmered in what we called “sarce” made out of tomatoes from their garden.  But my absolute favorite part was the black olives she put in the sauce.  I was notorious for picking through the large pot and fishing out the olives.

As the days turn cooler, this is the perfect meal.  It’s a nice filling meal that warms your stomach, and as an added bonus, your heart, too.

Chicken Cacciatore

IMG_0607

 

Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

1 tbsp olive oil

3/4 cup white wine

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices

1 can black olives

1 carrot, diced

Directions

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the chicken and brown on all sides.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.  In the remaining oil, add the carrots and cook until softened, around 5-8 minutes.

Return the chicken and their juices back to the pan.  Add the white wine and cook until it has reduced by half, about 3 minutes.  Pour in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and black olives.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 2o minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and simmer the sauce until it thickens, about 5-10 minutes.  Return the chicken to the pan and serve over pasta.

Source:  Loosely adapted from Giada’s Everyday Italian

Italian Pasta Salad

On the weekends the Hallmark channel does this equally wonderful and awful thing where they play romantic movies all day long.  It’s wonderful because I unabashedly love romance and I swoon at even the most overused romantic comedy trope.  The  movies are just delightful.  I don’t care if the storyline is completely implausible and the acting is as wooden as an old Christmas ornament, I love all the movies to bits.

Which segue ways nicely into why it is awful – the fact that it plays ALL DAY and I do not leave my couch ALL DAY.  Granted, I multi-task.  I do reading for class.  I update this blog (New In Town is playing right now, btw!).  I eat various meals.  Sometimes I call a grandparent or two.  But all the while, in the background, people are falling in love and adorably tripping over things and I cannot bring myself to change the channel.  Please tell me I am not the only person sucked into the Hallmark-Channel-Weekend-Rom-Com-Binge.

Blank-face

 

Okay, fine, I’m the only person.

Anyhoo, moving on from my Hallmark channel obsession, I plugged my camera into my computer this afternoon to upload the picture I’d taken this week and was surprised to find a whole host of pictures that I’d taken before the self-imposed-blog-sabbatical.  I’m going to share one of them with you guys today!  The real star of this dish is the quinoa pasta, because I was moderately sure it was going to taste weird and quinoa-ey but it ended up tasting just like regular pasta.  I’m not gluten free, but if you were it’s a great substitute.

I modeled this recipe off of a pasta salad from a local Italian restaurant in my hometown.  The place is really old school, and before your meal comes you get soup, mixed salad, cucumber salad, and this pasta salad.  The pasta salad was always my favorite growing up and I loved eating the leftovers for lunch the next day.  This doesn’t taste exactly like it, but it’s pretty close!

Italian Pasta Salad

 

IMG_0589

Ingredients:

1 box of quinoa pasta (or regular pasta)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 green pepper, diced

1 tomato, seeded and diced

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp honey

1 cup olive oil

salt/pepper

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the package’s directions.  If you are making the quinoa pasta, be very careful not to overcook the pasta otherwise it will fall apart.  When the pasta is cooked drain it in a colander and rinse in cold water.

For the dressing, mix together the vinegar, lemon juice and honey.  Slowly add the olive oil while you whisk the dressing.  Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the pasta, chopped vegetables, and chickpeas with the red wine vinaigrette.

Funfetti Layer Cake with Whipped Vanilla Frosting

I made you a cake.  Actually, I made it last year and when going through my pictures realized that I never posted it, but that’s beside the point.  I made you a cake, because I am awful and haven’t updated for almost two months.  But, I have a really good excuse.  I have three of them, in fact!  I will even let you choose your favorite.

1.  I was on a really important vampire hunting mission in Sunnydale with the Scooby Gang.

2.  I was running from dinosaurs with Jeff Goldblum.

3.  I was traveling with The Doctor.

Ahhh…I feel so much better now that I’ve put my long absence in context.  Really, I’ve missed you all and am very happy to be back.  My life is not the same without blogging.  Granted, I didn’t really miss taking pictures of everything I cook.  It was sort of freeing to cook something and not worry about plating it and getting it positioned in perfect lighting.  But then I’d finish eating it and think, No one will know about this fantastic meal.

ron-moved

I’m not about that life.

I made this cake for a friend’s birthday and was beyond thrilled with how it turned out.  First of all, you can’t go wrong with funfetti.  Really.  If you’re making a dessert and you go, hmmm…should I make something funfetti?  The answer is yes.  Always.  Funfetti is just so much fun.  It’s colorful and playful and justifies you buying wwwayyy too many sprinkles at the grocery store.  It’s also a Sweetapolita recipe, which means you have TWO things going for you.  If I haven’t convinced you to make this cake yet, I don’t know what else to say.

Funfetti Layer Cake with Whipped Vanilla Frosting

IMG_0284

Ingredients:
For the Cake
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 whole egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2-3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
1/2 cup sprinkles
For the Frosting:
3 sticks + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
sprinkles

Directions

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease, line with parchment, butter and flour two round 8-inch pans.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, 1/4 cup of milk, vanilla and the almond extract.  In a separate bowl,
 combine the dry ingredients, including the sugar, and mix together with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.
Add the butter and continue blending on low speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining 3/4 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1-1/2 minutes.  Add the egg and milk mixture in 3 separate batches, beating on medium for 20 seconds after each addition. Stir in the sprinkles gently.
Divide the batter between the two cake pans.  Smooth the tops with an offset spatula.  Bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center. You don’t want to over bake this, so start checking for doneness around 20 minutes.  Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and inverting onto greased wire racks.
For the Frosting:
In a mixing bowl, whip the butter for 8 minutes on medium, or until the butter becomes pale and creamy.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium for 6 minutes. The frosting will be light and creamy.
Assembly of the Cake:
Put a heaping scoop of frosting on top of the first cake layer and spread evenly.  Finish with a sprinkling of your sprinkles.  Place the second cake layer on top and put another heaping scoop of frosting on top of that layer.  Spread it over the cake, gently beginning to spread it down over the sides of the cake.  Frost the rest of the cake in a thin layer of frosting and then refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Remove the cake from the refrigerator after and finish with a last layer of frosting.  Finally, get those sprinkles out and go to town!
Source:  Sweetapolita