Tag Archives: almonds

Roasted Pears – A Deux

7 Mar

I am on a pear thing…  it started because I wanted to do a pear butter, which I have not gotten around to do.   But I learned to make last year these poached pears and I decided to take the pear desserts a few steps further. 

This recipe is even simpler than the Poached Pears I posted recently…  less ingredients always scream easier to me.  The basic recipe for these roasted pears was given to me by Diane Carlson, as part of the Conscious Gourmet retreat I attended.  I decided to try some embellishments of my own and they ended up being really good combinations…  check them out.  I love the first photo – my pear had a belly button – sooooo cute!!

 roasted-pears.jpg         pear-w-blue-cheese-2-comp.jpg

 Let’s start with roasting the pears…

ROASTED PEARS

2 Bartlett pears – ripe but firm
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 1/2 tbs maple syrup
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450F. 
  2. Peel and cut the pears in half, vertically.  Core them using a melon baller – it’s the best tool for this.
  3. Place pears cut side down on a glass casserole dish and drizzle the maple syrup and lemon juice.  I rub the pears a bit trying them to be coated all over with the syrup/lemon juice liquid.
  4. Roast in oven for about 45 minutes.  I noticed that if pears are nicely ripen, the time can be cut to 25-30 minutes.  Just roast them until they’re cooked but still have their shape.

I think 1/2 to 1 whole pear per person is a fine portion – so feel free to double, triple or cuadruple this recipe as you need.

Now we play with the accompaniments…

ROASTED PEARS with ALMOND PRALINE

roasted-pears.jpg

  1. Serve the roasted pears with the sauce the maple syrup created in the baking dish. 
  2. Sprinkle Almond Praline around it. 
  3. Note: the almond praline does not need to look this dark… I walked away from the kitchen and had to live with the consequences.

ROASTED PEARS with BLUE CHEESE and HAZELNUT PRALINE

 pear-w-blue-cheese-comp.jpg

  1.  Serve the roasted pears cut side up and in the indentation place some crumbled mild blue cheese.  I used this cheese…
  2. p1030090.jpg
  3. Drizzle some of the sauce created by the maple syrup and sprinkle some Hazelnut Praline on the side.

This version also is screaming to be served for company… it tasted as if I was eating in a restaurant.  Scrumptious…  Need proof??

all-gone.jpg
Advertisements

Food for Love – Goat Cheese and Almond Pasta

14 Feb

It’s Valentine’s Day – the day to celebrate everything and anything romantic…  so why not celebrate by cooking something to stir all your senses, including that aphrodisiac part of you.  Reading about aphrodisiac foods, I was amazed to learn how many of them I have in my pantry and fridge:

Almonds
Sweet Basil
Avocados
Arugula 
Bananas
Strawberries and Raspberries
Nutmeg

So I decided to make something that will contribute to the loving theme of the day using almonds and sweet basil…  I adapted this dish from a Martha Stewart Living magazine.  Enjoy!!

 goat-cheese-pasta-2.jpg

GOAT CHEESE AND ALMOND PASTA

1/4 lbs whole wheat pasta -penne, rigatoni or any other tubular pasta would work
Small handful sun-dried tomatoes – the dry ones… not the ones packed in oil
1/3 small log of goat cheese
Small handful toasted almonds – I used marcona almonds
About 10 Fresh Basil leaves, torn or cut in strips
Salt and Pepper to taste
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  1.  Boil pasta in salted water until al dente.  During the last 3 minutes of boiling the pasta, throw in the sun dried tomatoes to rehydrate.
  2. Drain the pasta well, reserving some of the pasta cooking water.  Return pasta to the pot.
  3. Drizzle pasta with a bit of olive oil.  Add goat cheese in small pieces, basil leaves, pepper and almonds.  Add a bit of the pasta water to create a sauce.  Toss to combine.  Add more water if you feel it’s too dry.
  4. Garnish with added almonds on top. 

There are other several recipes I have created for you already that might help you to create romance any day you are in the mood:

Coquito – Nutmeg

Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes – Basil

Arugula-Red Onion Salad – Arugula

Quesadilla Caprese – Basil

Strawberry Banana Smoothie – Strawberries and Bananas

Strawberry Kanten – Strawberry

Baked Pasta and 4 Cheeses – Basil

White Lasagna with Spinach and Almonds – Nutmeg and Almonds

Poached Pears with Almond Pralines

3 Feb

This is an awesome dessert…  I love fruity desserts much more than cakes or other baked goods.  And even though pears are not something you can grow here in Puerto Rico, most every supermarket has them on sale these days.  I saw some lovely Bartlett pears on sale the other day and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to re-create a recipe I had originally learned last year at the Conscious Gourmet Cooking seminar Poached Pears with Almond Pralines.

The original recipe called for Bosc pears, but they were so much smaller than the Bartletts that I decided to go for size and beauty.  The recipe turned out perfectly, IMHO.

And the Almond Pralines – this is awesome!!!! They’re the perfect accompaniment to these pears or a great snack all by itself.  They would taste great on top of ice cream or yogurt drizzled with a bit of caramel sauce…  mmmmm!!!!  I feel another craving coming up.

 poached-pears-2.jpg

POACHED PEARS with ALMOND PRALINE

3 cups unsweetened organic apple juice
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves or a few whole cloves
pinch of ginger
6-8 Bartlett or Bosc pears – peeled, halved and cored
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Combine all ingredients, except pears, in a roasting pan.  Set pears in the poaching liquid. 
  3. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. 
  4. Check the pears for doneness – they should be soft when pricked with a knife. 
  5. Remove the pears from poaching liquid and transfer them to a separate dish.
  6. Transfer the poaching liquid to a skillet or wide saucepan and boil until the liquid is reduced by half.
  7. Serve by placing one pear half on a dish, drizzle with the reduced poaching liquid and sprinkle with Almond Pralines.  recipe below…

I have a confession to make… the original recipe calls for you to cover the roasting pan and bake covered.  I did not notice that in the recipe and forgot.  The results were good too…  I just had to leave them a few more minutes in and increased the temperature to 425 degrees and left them an additional 15 minutes.  They should be done by then.

ALMOND PRALINE

1 cup sliced almonds – but slivered or chopped almonds would work too
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs maple sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  3. Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 15 minutes until golden brown – you can take advantage of the same oven you’re making the pears in.
  4. Transfer IMMEDIATELY into a metal bowl to cool off and crisp up.

White Lasagna with Spinach and Almonds – VEGAN version

3 Feb

When I did this recipe for the Yoga Center, I adapted it using non-dairy cheeses.  This way, you can crave this lasagna without concern if you eat cheese or not…  I am sure you’ll not be dissapointed.

white-lasagna-top-view.jpg

WHITE LASAGNA with SPINACH AND ALMONDS – Vegan Version

 4-6 lasagna noodles – I use DeBoles NoBoil Rice lasagna noodles
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs sofrito
3-4oz Toffutti Better -Than-Cream cheese cheese
1 cup soy milk
1 ¼ cup shredded Soya Kaas mozzarella style cheese, divided
1 ½  tbs cornstarch, dissolved in ½ cup of water
Sprinkle of Salt, Garlic Powder and freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup frozen spinach measured frozen, defrosted and squeeze out of most the water but still wet
1/3 cup marcona salted almonds – but any almonds will work
1/2 cup Veggie Parmesan cheese

  1. Pre-heat over to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add sofrito and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add in the Tofutti cream cheese and whisk in together until the sofrito and cream cheese are incorporated.
  4. Whisk in soy milk. Add in 1 cup of the Soya Kaas cheese and whisk every few minutes to make sure the cheese melts well and does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Reserve the rest for the lasagna topping. Season sauce with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add in the diluted cornstarch. Make sure you the cornstarch is diluted well and is not settled in the bottom of whatever container you’re using to mix it.
  5. The sauce should have a light creamy consistency. Is important the sauce be more on the liquidy side because we’re using no-boil rice pasta and the “liquidy” consistency will help the pasta cook. So you might want to err on the side of a liquidier cream sauce rather than a tight creamy sauce.

 

Now we assemble the lasagna…

  1. In the bottom of a small casserole dish, spoon a few ladles of the cream sauce. Layer lasagna noodles. Spoon more sauce, so the noodles are always touched by sauce on the top and the bottom.
  2. Distribute evenly the thawed spinach in a layer. Sprinkle a bit of garlic salt and pepper. Sprinkle a light layer of the Veggie Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle a 1/3 of the almonds. Spoon a few ladles of the sauce.
  3. Place another layer of noodles and spoon some sauce over them.
  4. Repeat step #2.
  5. Repeat step #3. This will be your last layer of noodles. Pour the remaining sauce all over the last layer of noodles. Sprinkle with veggie parmesan cheese and the remaining ¼ cup shredded Soya Kaas mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the last bit of almonds you have left.
  6. Cover the casserole dish and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes until cheese on top is golden brown.
  8. Turn oven off and leave in there for a few minutes until lasagna cool a bit and sets. 

White Lasagna with Spinach and Almonds

3 Feb

I am a craving girl…

It’s hard for me to go grocery shopping having a few menus in mind for the week.  Why?  Because, I go to the store and see stuff that inspires me, what looks delicious that day, but that isn’t necessarily what I will be craving to eat another day.   It’s always been like that…  ever since I was a little girl, my mom never made a fixed dinner – it was all a la carte.  Whatever you craved, that’s what you ate.  Mind you, my mom did not have junk food at home, so all the alternatives were, for the most part, healthy.  That’s how we learned to make our own food.

So this past week, I was browsing thru some fellow blogs and there I saw it… the Cooking Light Veggie Lasagna…  I have that recipe clipped, but the photos this fellow blogger posted were amazing!!! That’s how I knew what I wanted to have for dinner that night – a spinach lasagna using white sauce.  Yumo!!!! (like Rachael Ray would say).

I improvised with the ingredients I had on hand… remember, I do not go out and but any specific ingredients for any specific recipe.  And even less when I got a craving at 7PM at night…  I was craving some serious comfort food. 

 The results were really nice – so nice in fact that I decided to make this recipe for our upcoming Yoga Center Menu.  I made a version at home that serves 2 and I also did a version that served 20.  I’ll use the proportions for the smaller version, which is probably closer to what you’ll make at home.  Here is the play-by-play (I’m into Super Bowl mode here I guess):

white-lasagna-w-spinach.jpg

WHITE LASAGNA with SPINACH AND ALMONDS

 4-6 lasagna noodles – I use DeBoles NoBoil Rice lasagna noodles
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs sofrito
3-4oz cream cheese
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded Italian Cheese mix
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese – you can use Pecorino Romano also if you prefer
Sprinkle of Garlic Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup frozen spinach measured frozen, defrosted and squeeze out of most the water but still wet
1/3 cup marcona salted almonds – but any almonds will work
4oz fresh mozarella cheese
  1. Pre-heat over to 325 degrees F.  I do this in my toaster oven for just 2 people.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil.  Add sofrito and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add in cream cheese and whisk in together until the sofrito and cream cheese are incorporated.
  4. Whisk in milk. Add in the Italian cheese mix and Parmesan. Season with the garlic salt and pepper.  The sauce should have a light creamy consistency.  Is important the sauce be more on the liquidy side because we’re using no-boil rice pasta and the “liquidy” consistency will help the pasta cook. So you might want to err on the side of a more liquidy cream sauce rather than a tight creamy sauce.

 bechamel-sauce.jpg

Now we assemble the lasagna…

  1. In the bottom of a small casserole dish, spoon a few ladles of the cream sauce.  Layer lasagna noodles. Spoon more sauce. so the noodles are always touched by sauce on the top and the bottom.
  2. Distribute evenly the thawed spinach in a layer.  Sprinkle a bit of garlic salt and pepper.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese if you like. Sprinkle a 1/3 of the almonds. Shred with your hands 2-3 thin slices of the fresh mozzarella. Spoon a few ladles of the sauce.
  3. Place another layer of noodles and spoon some sauce over them.
  4. Repeat step #2.
  5. Repeat step #3.  This will be your last layer of noodles.  Place a few slices of fresh mozzarella on top.  Sprinkle the last bit of almonds you have left.

p1020460.jpg

6. Cover the casserole dish and bake in oven for 30 minutes.

7. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more until cheese on top is golden brown.

8. Turn oven off and leave in there for a few minutes until lasagna cool a bit and sets. 

It seems like a lot of steps… but not really.  You know how to make a lasagna… I just wanted to show you how I layered the ingredients.  You don’t need to cook the spinach, just make the sauce and assemble.  I had it all put together and in the oven in 20 minutes. 

Believe me… this lasagna hit the spot.  My cravings were curbed… until next time.

%d bloggers like this: