Wednesday, June 27, 2012

roasted red pepper pesto

Like the robust, smokiness of roasted red peppers? Love the bright, herb-filled freshness of pesto? Than I've got the recipe for you.  Combining all of the goodness of these two elements, this sauce is both wonderfully tasty and endlessly versatile. Tossed with piping hot pasta or spaghetti squash, and you've got a great alternative to tomato marinara. Spread over a crust and studded with your favorite toppings, and you're on your way to an extra-special slice of pizza pie. Drizzled on crusty bread and topped with some Kalamata olives, fresh basil, and feta, and you're all set for a quick Greek appetizer. Or, do like I did and mix it by the spoonful with a dollop of hummus, spread it on sliced bread, and top it with fresh spinach, tomato, and avocado for a mouth-watering veggie sandwich. Mmmmm. And if those options aren't enough for you, I've got one more tempting suggestion. But you'll have to wait for another day...

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

2 large red bell peppers, de-seeded, membranes removed, and cut into thick slices
1 large garlic clove
2 tbsp. pine nuts
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place pepper slices skin side down on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil over top and lightly salt. Roast for 20-25 minutes until edges are slightly transparent, and the skin is somewhat blackened and blistered.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat, being careful not to burn them.

In a food processor or blender, puree the bell peppers, garlic, pine nuts, and basil. With the machine running, drizzle in enough olive oil until the desired consistency is achieved. Season with salt and pepper.

Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Adapted from Table for Two

Monday, June 25, 2012

double chocolate coconut cookies

For better or for worse, life is full of changes and new beginnings...a fact that I've rarely been known to embrace. Today, however, was different. Today, I worked my first shift as a (resident) pediatrician...the fulfillment of a dream I've held dear since I was a little girl. Full of nerves and butterflies, I very nearly giggled when I first heard myself say, "I'm one of the doctors who will be taking care of you today." Thankfully, I refrained myself.
Today also marks the beginning of an adventure I've been tempted to undertake for the past couple of years...the beginning of my very own little food blog. After all, I hear pediatric resident physicians have endless free time...right?
And what better way to celebrate these new beginnings than with chocolate...double chocolate. And coconut. Because in my book, neither of those is ever a bad idea...and together, they're pure magic. Rich and brownie-like, these cookies are pure decadence.

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate chunks
1 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (I omitted)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugars on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a second bowl. Mix into the butter mixture on low speed until well combined. Stir in chocolate, coconut, and walnuts (if using).

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Flatten slightly. Bake until set around the edges and slightly puffy in the center, 10-12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies