Welcome! My name is Katherine and I like to cook while eating (gets rid of that ravenous hunger thing). Please have a look at my recipes and always remember, never cook on an empty stomach!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Olive Press Competition: A 4 Course St. Patty's Meal

I sure do love me a food holiday. That’s why when I was invited to participate in a food blogger competition for Olive Press olive oil company in Sonoma (my hometown county! Represent!), I instantly thought of our upcoming holiday. Sure, I may be Italian/Lithuanian, but my boyfriend and favorite beer are both Irish, so of course I know what I’m talking about. Please enjoy my greened-out meal; each course highlighted with one of the following Olive Press olive oils:

Arbequina (light)
Mission (medium)
Italian (robust)
Blood Orange (sweet)

They've got all kinds of great oils you can check out at:

I’m not even the slightest bit competitive, so I just want to say thank you to Olive Press for sending me your samples and taking a chance on a newbie food blogger. Thanks so much!

Starter: Kale chips with Avocado Crema
These kale chips are nutrient-packed and transform completely in the oven into crunchy, salty delights. The Italian olive oil helped these chips achieve a smoky taste, which paired well with my avocado crema dip. Who doesn’t like avocado? (It’s got that good fat).

1 small avocado, very soft and ripe
1 tablespoon of nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tsp sea salt
1 bunch of kale
Italian Olive Oil (Olive Press)

1) Take prettiest, fullest leaves from the bunch and rinse thoroughly.
2) Lay out kale leaves on baking sheet. Drizzle two tablespoons Italian olive oil, top with sea salt and a grind or two of pepper.
3) Bake kale in the oven for 10 minutes.
4) Meanwhile, mix salt, avocado, and Greek yogurt in a small bowl, tasting for preference.
5) Serve avocado crema with kale chips, instructing guests to dip the stems of the chips in the crema.

Side: Spinach Dill Mashed Potatoes
Here’s a comfort classic with ribbons of farmer’s market spinach and earthy dill to add some flare to an old favorite. I use the medium Mission olive oil because it isn’t an aggressive flavor and it adds the silkiness butter usually offers to mashed potatoes. And most importantly, it’s St.Paddy’s Day so you have to have SOME potatoes!

1 large handful of spinach (preferably from the farmer’s market, oh so green!)
1 lb of Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
½ cup half and half
Mission olive oil (Olive Press)
1 tablespoon fresh or dried dill
sea salt and pepper
1 minced garlic clove

1) Boil potatoes for 20-30 minutes or until you cut push through a potato with a fork easily.
2) When there is around 10 minutes left, set a medium skillet to high and add one tablespoon of Mission olive oil and the garlic. Next, add the spinach and sauté with a spatula.
3) Drain boiled potatoes and return to sauté pan. Add half and half and spinach and stir.

Main Dish:Calamari Shells With Goat Cheese and Capers
The shells I use for this recipe adhere really well to the creaminess of the goat cheese, and the tangy lemon zest compliment the zing of the capers. The Arbequina olive oil is by far my favorite of the four: it’s delicate and really highlights the flavor of seafood…I like it so much I add it to the sauce as well!

½ lb calamari tubes, sliced
1 cup of shell pasta
¼ cup of goat cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons capers
1 small zucchini, sliced
Delicate Arbequina Olive Oil (Olive Press)
the zest from one lemon
2 tablespoons parsley

1) Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil
2) When boiling, drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the Arbequina olive oil in a medium to large skillet. Place on medium high heat.
3) Add zucchini slices to mixture, cook for 4-5 minutes until becoming soft. Then add calamari to the mix, cooking a few minutes more.
4) Meanwhile, mix 2 more tablespoons of Arbequina with the zest and parsley in a small bowl.
5) When pasta is al dente, drain and then pour into skillet with calamari, zucchini and capers.
6) Top with lemon zest/parsley sauce and enjoy.

Dessert: Fruit Medley with Blood Orange Sherry Sauce
After any meal, it’s nice to leave the palate with something sweet. The Blood Orange olive oil from Olive press is really fantastic with a splash of sherry vinegar to add some kick to its sweetness. This fruit salad highlights some of our seasonal winter fruits that have been showing up everywhere, as well as some berries to prepare us for spring. Lastly, I added hazelnuts because they’re an Oregon favorite, and I have to give some love to my current residence!

1 Anjou pear, sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
½ cup blueberries
1 large handful of toasted hazelnuts
3 tablespoons Blood Orange olive oil (Olive Press)
1 and ½ tablespoon of sherry vinegar

1) Mix all fruit in a bowl with the nuts.
2) Mix oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk with a fork.
3) Top fruit with sauce, and serve to someone you love!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Whore Sauce With Shrimp & Lentils

*As Published In The Daily Vanguard*

Sugo alla puttanesca translates to “whore’s sauce” in Italian because of its “easy ingredients. The components of this sauce may be simple, but it is complex in taste. If you make Italian food a lot (Lord knows I do!), you'll likely have these ingredients in your fridge.

The recipe, inspired by a dish that Food Network’s Guy Fieri made with salmon on his show Guy’s Big Bite (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/lentil-puttanesca-with-salmon-recipe/index.html), is a combination of high flavor and high health. Lentils are full of all the good stuff—protein, iron, fiber, amino acids and vitamin B1.

Adding shrimp complements the nutrition factor of this dish, too. It’s a lean protein with just 85 calories to a three-ounce serving.

Of course, flavor is the most important aspect of your meal, and the saltiness of this sauce, with the hint of the brine from the shrimp, takes the palate to a very good place. Enjoy!

PS..sorry about the lack of pictures for this one..still trying to figure out this camera...more this weekend though:)


For the main course
1/2 cup uncooked lentils or 1 cup of the precooked kind (Trader Joe’s)
2 anchovies in olive oil, drained
2 tablespoons of kalamata olives, pitted
2 tablespoons of capers
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes, low sodium
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 cups of shrimp of any variety, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of parsley

For bread
Olive oil
Whole wheat baguette
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons of oregano

For salad
4 large handfuls of spinach
2 handfuls of red cabbage, chopped
1 pear, sliced
2 ounces of almonds
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Half the juice of a lemon

Prepare your ingredients. Chop and drain the anchovies. Chop your olives. Drain your can of diced tomatoes. Chop the parsley. Dice your onion and garlic cloves. Slice your bread into as many slices as you wish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat one cup of water and the lentils in a saucepan on high until boiling. Simmer for 15 minutes and remove from heat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium-high, and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Add red pepper flakes to the oil and wait for a minute until fragrant. Next, add your diced onion and garlic to the oil. Sauté with spatula for five to eight minutes or until soft. Add anchovies, capers and olives. Add tomatoes and kick the heat down to medium and let the flavors mingle while you make the salad.

Take the cabbage, spinach, almonds and pear slices and place in a large bowl. Take the olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk with a fork in a small bowl or glass.

Next, place bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Add shrimp to sauce, raising the heat a bit. Move around the shrimp with the spatula until they are a ripe pink, around six minutes.

Squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle oregano on the hot bread slices.

When the shrimp is done cooking, add lemon juice, white wine vinegar and pepper.