Posts tagged small plates
Girl Pizza

Any creative way to disguise salad as pizza deserves applause. Pizzas are a great way to use up bits of this and that in the refrigerator. Arugula is a tough sale at many family tables--that is until it becomes pizza. Dubbed "girl" pizza because teenage boys think teenage girls eat a lot more "rabbit food" than they do. Nonetheless, these Girl Pizzas are served two at a time and eaten with the same gusto by all as a meat lover's pizza. 

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Portuguese Cockles

Cockles are literally the sweet hearts of the shellfish world. Heart-shaped ribbed mollusks, they are prized for their petit, sweet, tender meat. A simple broth backdrop of parsley, garlic, and white wine proved just the right base for sopping up cockle flavored juices. While any dry, white wine may be substituted, a young slightly effervescent Portuguese  crisp, full-bodied, wood-aged white wine from the Vinho Verde region makes this bivalve dish authentic.

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Summer Corn Soup

Americans have a love hate relationship with corn. Since Michael Pollan began educating consumers on the complex relationship between corn and most items on supermarket shelves, its reputation has suffered. This simple, delicious recipe rescues corn from complete bad boy status and puts it back in good graces—at least when consumed in moderation and only during its short summer season when local corn is in abundance.

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Quinoa, Watermelon, Kale & Feta Salad

A mainstay of the Incan Empire diet since 1200 AD, quinoa looks and cooks like a grain, but botanically speaking is a species related to swiss chard, spinach, and beets. With impressive biodiversity characteristics, exceptional nutritional value, and complete protein composition, quinoa is a tiny superfood. Mild in taste with a delightful texture, quinoa is the perfect protein punch for salads. 

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Quattro Formaggi Zucchini Blossoms

Eaten like a vegetable, zucchini is really an easy going, easy to grow in the garden fruit. Only the female flowers produce the attached squash, so if growing larger zucchini is the goal, pluck only the male flowers (easy to identify by the single long stamen hidden inside--the females have a short balled cluster stamen). Once the food of peasants, these edible flowers are today's easy to prepare haute cuisine. Go ahead plant some vines and feast on flowers!

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato, Goat Cheese & Basil

Gnocchi are the Italian equivalent of Chinese dumplings. Potato gnocchi, dollops of starchy belly filling goodness, take a bit of practice and elbow grease. Ricotta gnocchi on the other hand, are perfect for the gnocchi novice and make delightfully, light, and fluffy cheese pillows. The goat cheese tomato sauce adds a bit of tang and heavenly creaminess to the finished dish. Serve alongside a perfectly roasted chicken and simple plate of lightly dressed greens for a decadent, prepared in under an hour, soul satisfying, Italian-inspired weeknight dinner. 

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Lentils Du Puy with Haricot Vert & Couscous

When the sun is shining and the party is outdoors, this salad can be served with little fear of wilting or becoming a soggy mess. Best served family style and when just before forks and spoons are ready to dive in, the host ceremoniously slices into the poached egg and quickly tosses the salad to insure everyone gets a mouth watering yellow sunshine bite.

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Caprese Stacks

While traditional recipes skip the balsamic vinegar, it is a delightful plate garnish that grilled bread enjoys mopping up. As with all limited ingredient recipes, quality matters and the result is only as good as the provisions used in the recipe: aged, almost syrupy, Modena balsamic vinegar and a high quality Italian olive oil such as Il Boschetto Limited Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oil provide the perfect backdrop for the creamy mozzarella and juicy at-their-peak tomatoes. 

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Burrata with Blood Oranges & Lavender Oil

At once vibrant and simple, this salad is a wonderful classic, yet colorful, Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. The plate relies on seasonal ingredients, but is clearly a result of a culinary artist's carefree approach to experimenting in the kitchen. The blood orange season is extremely short, a few weeks in late winter.

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Baby Arugula, Parmesan & Cranberry Salad

Simple yet elegant, spicy and sweet, harvested young arugula with petite tender leaves is more mild tasting than its full grown peppery self.  Baby arugula is delicate without being boring. . This is most satisfying when greens are picked locally and seasonally, backyard best, and farm (or garden) to fork is taken to heart.

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Sweet Potato Soufflé

Don't worry about this soufflé falling. It is quite sturdy and wonderful regardless of the height. For Thanksgiving this soufflé is a festive riff on traditional sweet potato side dishes that is all the more impressive when served in individual soufflé ramekins, or the STAUB MINI ROUND BLACK MATTE COCOTTE .25 QT. Any bewitching dark Caribbean rum with a combination of clove, espresso, butterscotch, spiced and/or orange enhances the depth of flavor of the sweet potatoes.  Beware--the smell is so divine that holes may appear where spoons have dug in before the pot even makes it to the table.

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Superman Salad

Sometimes the body craves a juicy hand packed cheeseburger with all the fixings. Other times, it is sluggish and needs a detox jumpstart. This Superman Salad is for those in the latter camp, or anyone craving a visually stunning salad that can be made in advance, served to dinner guests, and convince the body it can leap tall buildings in a single bound. In spring, before local soft leafy greens and arugula proliferate, cruciferous vegetables are bountiful. When shredded up, softened with a bit of acid, and tossed with nuts and fruit, these brassicas become salad plate superfood darlings. This is a gorgeous feast for the eyes plate that if any remains, holds up to an overnight in the refrigerator to make a splendid next day lunch. With or without a bit of added protein, this crunchy salad will have you feeling like the most powerful person on earth in record time. 

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