Roasted Beets and Carrots

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This week has been difficult.  I always wonder if I should continue this culinary journey. As of now both the catering scene and chef instruction are ultra slow.  But, it is time to get out of this funk.  I must cook and carry on! So that’s exactly what I did.

Yesterday was Easter, and guess who was the chef this year, you guessed correctly, it was yours truly.  This year I wanted to lighten up dinner, but still have bold flavors and loads of color. Since I’ve found some gorgeous organic produce, I figured hey this will be perfect.  This dish has beautiful golden beets, vibrant carrots, and is topped with caraway seeds.

Let’s get into this recipe.

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Look at those golden beets and carrots, we have our olive oil, and caraway seeds.

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Chopped and ready to roast.

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Looking delicious!

Roasted Beets and Carrots

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 lbs of golden beets,  trimmed, peeled,  and diced into 1 inch wedges
  • l lb. carrots, scrubbed, and cut diagonally into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 tablespoon of caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, garnish
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta goat cheese, garnish

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the beets, carrots, and garlic cloves with the caraway seeds, olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Place tossed vegetables onto a large rimmed baking sheet, making sure that all of the vegetables are evenly distributed into a single layer.
  4. Roast the vegetables for about 20 to 25 minutes, making sure to toss them halfway in the cooking process.
  5. Once your beets and carrots are tender to the fork, garnish with parsley and cheese.
  6. Eat and enjoy warmed for your next meal!

As always, let me know in the comments if you tried this quick and easy recipe!

With peace and love,

The Shy Girl.

Ricotta Garlic and Oregano Knots

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So I am coming at you all with a two for one special today! I had to make up to my followers this little mini hiatus, but fear not, here comes another Shy Girl recipe that will make your stomachs’ pleased.

I have come to this conclusion that there is a little hidden baker inside me.  I have never thought of myself as such, I mean I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, but I never saw myself as one to bake.  Baking is truly a science, but that’s what makes it fun and to be honest, super rewarding when it turns out right.  So as I have been in this realm of bread baking for the last few months, I even joined a bread baking group on Facebook (no judgement, yes I am that girl who joined your secret bread group). In the group, these folks have some serious skill making that bread (in my best Stevie J impression).  Any-who, many of the people in the group work as artisan bakers and know what’s up in the pastry department. Needless to say, they’ve inspired me!  I have been tinkering around figuring out the realm of savory breads, and this one was definitely a hit.

Here they come, wait for it, ricotta garlic knots.  These morsels have cheese, garlic, butter, and oregano.  I don’t know if you all are ready for what this bread brings, especially for a mega carb lover like myself.  Now that I have gone a bit overboard on how delicious these knots are, let’s get into this recipe.

 

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I mean who doesn’t like cheese, butter, and garlic together.

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Just out of the oven and ready to eat!

Ricotta Garlic and Oregano Knots 

(Yields 12 knots)

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1.5 cups warm whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached white bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons mined garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teasoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • freshly cracked black pepper

 

Method

  1. In a small bowl, mix togther the yeast and milk and set aside to let yeast activate for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Once yeast is activated, in a stand mixer with a dough hook, place the flour, ricotta, garlic, oregano, salt, sugar, and butter into the bowl. Turn on a low speed to mix ingredients.
  3. While the mixer is on medium-low speed, slowly add in the milk yeast mixture.
  4. Work/knead until the dough is smooth, but slightly sticky, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. In a greased bowl, place the dough inside, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, place in a draft place to proof for about an 1 1/2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Lightly oil two baking sheets
  7. Once dough has doubled in volume, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. gently punch down the dough, and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.  Cover the pieces with lightly oiled plastic wrap as you work on making the knots.
  8. Take a piece of dough, and roll it on the floured surface into a rope (about 9 inches long). Then lift one end of the dough over the other to make a loop.  Push the end through the hole of the loop to make a neat knot.
  9. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the knots on the prepared baking sheets. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees Farenheit while knots are rising.
  11. For egg wash: mix together the egg,  cream, water, and pepper. Brush the knots with the egg wash
  12. Bake the knots for 15 minutes, or until the rolls are a beautiful golden brown.
  13. Let knots cool slightly on a wire rack.
  14. Eat and enjoy with olive oil or garlic butter!

And as always, let me know if you all tried this recipe.

With peace and love,

The Shy Girl.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

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So if you know me, you know I am a fiend for pizza.  I mean who doesn’t love a full meal in one sitting.  You have a protein, a carb, a fruit, some veggies, and some added calcium. Pizza can be healthy or it doesn’t have to be–whatever preference.

This week, I have been somewhat busy, my fiancé came into town, and we have been trying to set up for the summer. One of our favorite places, before we moved from DC was Matchbox, and I loved their pesto pizza.  However we are in Atlanta now, and I decided why go out and order food when I can recreate it in my kitchen.

Let’s see what the ingredients are!

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The dough is simple: flour, olive oil, instant yeast, sea salt, a pinch of sugar, and of course water.

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Baby spinach and garlic to accompany my basil pine nut pesto.

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Ooooh look at that dough! I got fancy and added some Italian herbs to it.

Prepping that pizza with some shredded chicken, ricotta cheese, spinach mixture, and topping with my some parmesan reggiano.

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Yes ma’am its time to eat!

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Ingredients

Pizza Dough (adapted by King Arthur Pizza Crust Recipe)

  • 3 cups AP Flour
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  • cornmeal or olive oil for baking sheet

Pesto Topping

  • 3/4 cup Pesto sauce (you can make yours or buy)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup finely shredded roasted chicken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus an additional 1/2 tablespoon for brushing crust
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method 

  1. For dough: Combine flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook.  Make sure that the dry ingredients are combined.  When the mixer is running on medium, add the water and the olive oil. Mix until the dough forms into a ball (if your dough is too sticky add a little flour at a time). Take the dough ball out onto a clean floured surface.  Knead the dough until it is a smooth ball, about four minutes.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or towel, and place the dough it in a warm area to let it double in size for an 1 hour.
  3. Take the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead about 1 to 2 more times.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. For pesto topping: While your dough is resting, on medium heat, add olive oil to a medium skillet. Once hot, add spinach, season with salt, pepper, and garlic.  Sauté mixture, ensuring  you move constantly so that the garlic does not burn. Cook for about 4 minutes.  Remove spinach mixture from heat and place to the side.
  6. For pizza: On a either lightly greased baking sheet or cornmeal dusted pizza stone, form crust.
  7. Spread with pesto and spinach mixture.  Top with shredded chicken, dollops of ricotta, parmesan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  8. Brush crust with olive oil (I usually add salt and Italian herbs in my olive oil)
  9. Bake pizza in your preheated oven for 12 minutes, until crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  10. Brush with additional olive oil and slice pizza.
  11. Eat and enjoy!

As always let me know if you tried this recipe or liked it!

With peace and love,

The Shy Girl.

Sausage and Mushroom Ragù with Creamy Polenta

 

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It has been a pretty rainy and gloomy couple of days, but I haven’t let that stop me.  I have been thoroughly relaxing this weekend. Rain hasn’t stopped me, I’ve been enjoying friends’ company, signed up for a kickball league, and explored the underground art scene here in Atlanta (an interesting experience is all I have to say for now).  Then, I realized I haven’t updated in about a week.  I can’t neglect my blog. I couldn’t leave my readers hanging without a weekly recipe.  Like I was saying, it has been a pretty rainy weekend so I wanted to prepare a hearty meal this Monday.  I made a run to the farmers’ market and saw some delicious cremini mushrooms and some grape tomatoes, among other things which will be in a later post. My mind started tinkering, and pasta was not on the brain.  What do you know,  I had polenta at home so I immediately knew it was on and popping on this rainy evening.

This dish is rustic yet smooth. It is hearty and luscious. Plus, I had to open a bottle of red, because this is definitely a meal to enjoy with wine.

Alright, let’s get into this dish.

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The ingredients ready to play.

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Look at how vibrant these tomatoes are. I can not wait until summer.

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Sauteing the mushrooms and onions.

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Creamy polenta ready for ragù.

Sausage and Mushroom Ragù with Creamy Polenta

Ingredients

Ragù

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • A half pound of Italian sausage, casing removed (I used spicy chicken Italian sausage)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 16 ounces of sliced baby bella and cremini mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, (drain half of the liquid)
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Creamy Polenta

  • 2.5 cups of chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 cup uncooked polenta
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Italian blend cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot add the olive oil.  Add sausage to the pan and brown for about 4 minutes. Remove sausage from the pan.
  2. Add in the onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and saute mixture for another 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and fresh grape tomatoes and stir constantly for an additional 1 minute.
  3. Add the sausage back to the pan along with the parsley, canned tomatoes, and wine. Season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low, and let the ragù simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While the ragù is simmering, bring the broth, water, and a dash of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  5. Once the broth and water are rapidly boiling, slowly add in the polenta while simultaneously stirring..
  6. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk polenta constantly for 3 to 5 minutes, so there are no lumps.
  7. Let the polenta simmer for 20 minutes, until thick (if not using instant; if you are using instant polenta follow package directions).
  8. Once polenta is thick, stir in heavy cream, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper.
  9. Serve the ragù over the polenta.
  10. Eat and enjoy with a nice bottle of wine and a spinach salad!

As always, leave a comment if you tried the recipe, want to try the recipe, or suggestions!

With peace and love,

The Shy Girl.

 

Quinoa and Lentil Burgers (Vegan)

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These last couple of days, I have taken it upon myself to treat myself a bit too much.  All I can say is today I feel it in my system.  Tonight, I was craving something delicious and healthy. My go to make a salad for dinner was just not what I wanted. I thought about it, and I knew I wanted some type of sandwich.  I really do love sandwiches (I mean it is a complete meal between two pieces of bread or lettuce). Also, I had a ton of produce and dried bulk goods, so I figured let me try and improve my tried and true veggie burger recipe.  Fun fact about me, I was vegetarian for about 7 years, and there are some days that I crave a completely veg/vegan meal, and readers, today was that day.

I took a look in the pantry, I had red quinoa and french lentils. Now this is not a phenomenal or completely new duo to add to a veggie burger, but as someone who has a difficult time parting ways from her black bean burger, I knew it was time to change it up.

Let’s take a closer look at the results of my veggie burger recipe.

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Bulk is the way to go!

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So fresh and so clean, clean. Just give them a rinse.

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Out of the oven and ready to assemble.

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Bon appetit, clean eating never looked so good!

Quinoa and Lentil Burgers

Recipe 

  • 1 cup of quinoa (uncooked and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup of dried french lentils
  • 3 tablespoons of rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely diced
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose seasoning (I used Badia Complete Seasoning)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 clove mined garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. Place the quinoa, lentils, and oats in a small saucepan with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add the red onion, curry, all-purpose seasoning, cumin, paprika, cayenne, minced garlic, and season water with salt.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa and lentils are cooked and the water is absorbed. Remove from heat.
  3. While the quinoa and lentils are cooking, add the flax seed and 2 tablespoon of water in a bowl to thicken.
  4. Once the cooked mixture is off of the hear, stir in the flax seed mixture, red pepper flakes, cilantro, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  5. Form 6 to 8 equal sized patties and place them onto the baking sheet
  6. Bake burgers for 10 to 15 minutes on one side. Then carefully flip the burgers over and bake the other side for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the burgers are firm on both sides.
  7. Prepare with your choice of bun and toppings. (I used pita and served with baby spinach, avocado, tomato, cilantro, and mayo)
  8. Eat and enjoy!

As always, let me know if you tried this recipe.  Also, comment if you’d like more vegetarian/vegan recipes posted.

With peace and love,

The Shy Girl.

Pupusas, Curtido, y Tinga

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I recently moved to Atlanta from Washington, D.C. Since the move, I have been craving pupusas.  You can find pupusas at many restaurants in DC, but I haven’t had much luck finding a great pupuseria that’s close to my house or at least or in the city.

If you don’t know a pupusa is a Salvadoran corn tortilla.  But get this, that tortilla is stuffed with cheese, meat, or beans. You cook it on a flat surface and the cheese gets all ooey gooey and melt-y.  Typically, pupusas are served with curtido, which is a pickled cabbage slaw relish or sorts.  Its a nice, cool and spicy topping, and just completes the dish.

As I was in the process of pickling my curtido, I wanted to make a meal out of everything.  Plus, I have been testing out new client recipes, so I broke out the tried and true crock pot.  I mean who doesn’t like the crock pot.  I will give you a secret, the crock pot it a easy and simple way to have great meals without all of the added work and dishes.  And who doesn’t love coming home to a meal ready to go! So I decided to do slow roasted pulled chicken, tinga.  Tinga is a dish made with chicken with a red sauce of chipotle peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes, and onions.  Also, tinga typically has chorizo, but since I don’t eat red meat, I didn’t add it.  I put a creme sauce on-top and we were ready to go. Tinga and pupusas don’t necessarily go together (one I was blending cultures), but I wanted to use some of the same spices and again who is patrolling my kitchen, anybody…anybody…NO! So do what you want in your kitchen.

Now on to the ingredients in these dishes. I’m starting with the curtido since this should be made a day in advance to get that nice pickle going.

 

Curtido ingredients

That cabbage, carrot, and onion are all going to get shredded, grated, and thinly sliced and pickled with the vinegar, salt, and brown sugar.

The next morning, I got started on the tinga.

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Spice cabinet on a whole other level here, kidding, but I needed to add some flavor to my tinga. Not pictured are my tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, chipotle peppers, and the chicken.

 

Now on to the pupusa ingredients.

imageFairly few ingredients for the dough. Not pictured is the Cotija cheese. A word of advise, make sure you have Masa corn flour.  I tried to be creative on my first try of making pupusas, I didn’t have Masa, and added cornmeal with regular flour and wow those were definitely NOT pupusas #fail.

The dough making process!

Pupusas, Curtido, y Tinga

Curtido

Ingredients

Method

  1. Combine the cabbage, onion, and carrot in a large bowl
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl. This is your brine
  3. Pour your brine onto the cabbage mixture, making sure everything is well combined.
  4. Cover in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight before eating

 

Tinga

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 cup chopped tomatillos (washed and husked)
  • 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle peppers in adobe
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
  • dash of dried cilantro
  • lime juice (optional)
  • Crema (optional)

Method

  1. Rub the chicken with the olive oil and set in the bottom of the pan with onion and garlic.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the lime juice.
  3. Cook on high for 4 hours until you can shred the chicken.
  4. Take chicken out of the liquid let it rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes. Then begin shredding.
  5. Put the shredded chicken back into the cooking liquid and cook on low for another 15-20 minutes
  6. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice and crema.
  7. Enjoy!

Pupusas

Recipe

  • 2 cups Masa Harina Flour
  • 1.5 to 2 cups warm water
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup grated Mexican cheese (I used Cojita)
  • 1 cup cooked refried beans (seasoned to your liking)
  • Vegetable oil, as needed

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine the Masa, salt, and the salt well into the masa harina. With your hands, knead the water into the masa harina in a few additions; work in all the water evenly. The dough will feel like stiff mashed potatoes. Lay a 12-inch square of plastic wrap or a zip-lock on a smooth work surface.