Goat Cheese, Chard and Herb Pie ~ ElephantEats.com

I forgot to tell you guys last week, but Nate actually has never seen the house we bought. It all happened so quickly. After our offer got accepted, I asked him to come to the inspection with me figuring he’d want to see it, but when he found out it would take a couple hours, he said “no, thank you.” Can you believe that!? Such a guy thing to do. He kind of doesn’t want to see it til the renovations are all done, but I don’t think I’m going to allow that.

Goat Cheese, Chard and Herb Pie ~ ElephantEats.com

In the meantime, our inspector never tested for lead, and the more I’m reading up on it, the more freaked out I am. Apparently it’s pretty much ok if you just paint over it and there are no areas of chipping paint. But if you’re planning to do renovations, like we are, the lead dust can get into the air and you have to hire a contractor that’s certified in dealing with that. I’m getting slightly paranoid now so I think I’m going to call in someone to test so we can take any necessary precautions.

I read that most homes built before 1960 are pretty much guaranteed to contain heavily leaded paint. This house was built in 1920 something so I’d say there’s a very good chance it has lead paint. Have any of you ever had to deal with this? What did you do?

Oh, and don’t worry, pics of the house will come soon! I’m going to try to do a drive-by this wknd and snap a pic :)

Goat Cheese, Chard and Herb Pie ~ ElephantEats.com

On another note, you know how I said I walk by the Today Show every morning? Well today I was walking by and I saw the tv screens outside showing it live, and you couldTOTALLY see me on the screen! So if you watch the Today Show (Shannon, i’m talking to you!!), watch around 8:10 every morning. I’m usually holding a pink/red bag. You can only see me on days they sit with their backs to the window. Let me know if you see me! (ok ok, i know i’m such a dork)

So I made this recipe a few weeks ago. It was really tasty, almost like a Spanakopita but in a pie. You could easily sub some other green (kale, spinach, etc) for the chard. It comes together pretty quickly because you use premade phyllo dough.

I had seen my mom work with phyllo when I was younger, and I remember she always said you had to work quickly because it dries out. She was SO right. It was a pain to work with but luckily this pie is supposed to have a rustic look so it was fine in the end.

I served this as dinner but honestly, it should really be an appetizer or side dish. It wasn’t filling at all. Nate and I ended up eating it in like 2 sittings.

Goat Cheese, Chard and Herb Pie ~ ElephantEats.com


Goat Cheese, Chard and Herb Pie in a Phyllo Crust

From the NY Times

Print this recipe!

Serves 6-8 as a side-dish

1 generous bunch Swiss chard (about 3/4 pound), stemmed and washed
Salt to taste
8 sheets phyllo (4 ounces)
3 eggs
6 ounces goat cheese (I used 4 oz goat cheese and the rest feta because that’s what i had)
3/4 cup low-fat milk
2 garlic cloves, pureed or put through a press
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, marjoram (I used dill which was great!)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter

Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem and wash the Swiss chard. If the stems are wide and meaty set them aside for another purpose. If they are thin and sinewy, discard. When the water comes to a boil salt generously and add the chard leaves. Fill a bowl with cold water. Blanch the chard for 1 minute, just until tender, and transfer to the bowl of cold water. Drain, take up the chard by the handful and squeeze out excess water. Chop medium-fine. You should have about 1 cup chopped cooked chard.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend together the eggs and goat cheese, either in an electric mixer or in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the milk and the garlic and blend until smooth. If using a processor, scrape into a bowl. Stir in the blanched chopped chard, the herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

Brush a 9- or 10-inch tart pan or cake pan with olive oil and place on a baking sheet for easier handling. Open up the package of phyllo and unfold the sheets of dough. Remove 8 sheets of phyllo and fold the remaining dough back up. Wrap tightly in plastic, return to the box if you wish and either refrigerate or freeze. Lay a sheet of phyllo in the pan, tucking it into the seam of the pan, with the edges overhanging the rim. Brush it lightly with olive oil (or melted butter and oil) and turn the pan slightly, then place another sheet on top, positioning it so that the edges overlap another section of the pan’s rim. Continue to layer in 6 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with oil – both the bottom and the sides and edges that overhang the pan — and staggering them so that the overhang on the rim of the pan is evenly distributed and covers the entire pan.

Pour the goat cheese and chard filling into the phyllo-lined pan, scraping all of it out of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Scrunch the overhanging phyllo in around the edges of the pan to form an attractive lip. Brush the scrunched rim with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake 40 minutes, until the filling is puffed, set and lightly colored on the surface. Remove from the heat (if it puffed up it will settle) and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Advance preparation: You can keep this in the refrigerator for a day or two but you will have to rewarm in a 300-degree oven to re-crisp the phyllo.

Nutritional information per serving (6 servings): 268 calories; 17 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 118 milligrams cholesterol; 17 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 396 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 13 grams protein

Peach and Arugula Salad

There’s a lovely blogging group, that you may or may not know about, called the Love Bloghop. Every month they highlight a seasonal ingredient and we all link up together so you can see everyone’s recipes. I’ve participated many times, but as you know, life has a way of keeping you busy…and I think this is my first time back in several months!

I really love doing these bloghops, not just because of the extra exposure one gets, but also because it’s a great way to discover delicious, new recipes from all over the web in one convenient place!

Peach and Arugula Salad

In recent months, I have become obsessed, perhaps even infatuated, with watermelon salad. I combine juicy, delicious watermelon atop a bed of arugula, sprinkle with some mint (or basil), goat cheese, and a drizzle of oil and balsamic vinegar, and I’m in heaven.

Seriously, you can ask Nate, I ate this salad for dinner every night for at least 2 weeks straight. But now that peaches are equally juicy and in season, I couldn’t help myself from buying a few the other day. And you know what? They are just as good, if not better in this same simple salad.

Peach and Arugula Salad

The bitter arugula, sweet peaches, creamy goat cheese and fragrant mint combine in the most amazing way. Also, at Nate’s insistance, I added some candied pecans on top.

If it looks like there isn’t mint in my pictures, it’s because I forgot it at the market when I photographed this and wasn’t about to go back and get it. But trust me, you don’t want to leave it out!

Peach and Arugula Salad

I join with the following lovely hosts this month for #peachlove!

Becky @ Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves  
Betsy @ Java Cupcake
T.R. @ No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
Jessica @ Oh Cake
Shelia @ Pippi’s in the Kitchen Again
Helena @ Rico sin Azúcar 
Linda @ Savoring Every Bite 
Liz @ That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!! 
EA Stewart @ The Spicy RD 
Susan @ The Wimpy Vegetarian
Serena @ Teaspoon of Spice Serena

Please join in on the #peachlove fun by linking up any peach recipe from the month of August 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #peachlove event! The twitter hashtag is #peachlove :).

Recipe is below linkup!

Arugula Salad with Peaches, Goat Cheese, Mint, and Candied Pecans

Print this recipe!

Serves 2

1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbsp sugar
3 cups arugula
1 ripe and juicy peach, sliced
3 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Put chopped pecans in a small saute pan over med-hi heat. Sprinkle with the sugar. Stir occassionally until sugar melts and coats pecans. Turn the candied nuts out onto a piece of tinfoil to cool.

Put arugula and mint in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the oil and vinegar. Add peaches and goat cheese and toss to combine. Divide on plates and sprinkle with pecans

I have the most romantic fiancé ever…

Shrimp Quesadilla

The other day at work, Nate and I were talking on gchat and he asked me what I was making for dinner:

me: why don’t you get a pizza for dinner

Nate: im just not sure i want pizza

me: well how do you know you’d be in the mood for whatever i made for dinner?

Nate: i can’t make these decisions anymore
thats why i’m getting married
so i don’t have to
my food thinking days are over

Shrimp Quesadilla

If that’s not a reason to get married (to someone you had a “good” date with), I don’t know what is.

Since Nate never has any idea what he wants for dinner, I have to come up with these things myself.

I knew I wanted to use my new panini press, one of my bridal gifts!! I immediately thought of quesadillas and tried to figure out what else was in my fridge.

Shrimp Quesadilla

I had that goat cheese I’ve been meaning to use, plus some Trader Joes Red Pepper Jelly that I haven’t tried yet (courtesy of Nate’s mom). For some reason I knew I wanted roasted corn too, and then I threw in mushrooms to add some more veggies and sauteed shrimp for protein.

Before I knew it, a delicious quesadilla was born.

Shrimp Quesadilla

Since Nate doesn’t mind making me come up with dinner ideas and cooking every day, I didn’t mind hiding some chopped up shrimp, his most hated of foods, into this tasty meal :)

Had it not been for a small piece of shrimp falling out of these very messy quesadillas, Nate never would have known.

And you know what? He saw it fall out and kept eating. They were THAT GOOD people!

Roasted Corn, Shrimp, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadilla with Red Pepper Jelly and Salsa Verde

Recipe by Me

Print this recipe!

makes 4 quesadillas

*Note: amounts are not exact, as it really depends what you like

4 tortillas
15ish small shrimp
3 ears corn, kernels cut off (about 1 cup kernels I think?)
Olive oil
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
3-4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
Salsa verde (any jarred version is fine, or you could make your own)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Red Pepper Jelly

Toss corn kernels with some oil, spread on a foil-line baking sheet, and sprinkle with pepper.

Broil corn kernels, keeping an eye on them, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Put about a teaspoon of oil in a grill pan or skillet and heat over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring until they begin to soften. Add a tablespoon of salsa, stir, and push to one side of the pan.

Toss shrimp with olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper. Add shrimp to the empty half of the pan containing the mushrooms.

Flip shrimp over when the bottom side turns pink, and continue cooking another minute or two until entire shrimp is pink.

Remove shrimp from pan and cut each into quarters.

Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside.

Put 1 tortilla down. Spread half with about 1 Tbsp red pepper Jelly. Sprinkle 3-4 shrimp (9-12 chopped pieces) evenly over the jelly. Top with 1 Tbsp mushrooms and about 3-4 Tbsp corn. Sprinkle with an ounce of goat cheese, cilantro and 1 Tbsp salsa verde. (Amounts are all approximate and can vary based on your taste)

Fold tortilla over the filling and cook in a panini press for a few minutes or until crispy on outside and cheese is melted.

Cut in half and enjoy!

So what do you do when you have basil left over even though you already made 3 batches of pesto, one of which went into your Pesto Potato Salad? You look for other basil recipes, of course! Because you just can’t have too much basil.

Now I know there are cilantro haters out there, but do basil haters exist?  That would be weird. That’s like saying you don’t like chocolate.

Basil is such a quintessentially summer herb. Whenever it’s in the kitchen, the aroma perfumes my whole apartment. I just want to bury my face in it and inhale.

I’m not sure if it’s because it smells so good or because I associate childhood memories with the smells. Don’t you love when you get a whiff of something and it immediately transports you back to another time (hopefully a good one)? Smell memories are the best kind.

Anyway, when I had that leftover basil, one recipe immediately came to mind. It’s one that my mom used to make when she did a little catering on the side. It’s an easy, fresh summer meal, and it’s SO good.

The base is a sauce that’s made from soft goat cheese that melts and coats all the pasta and veggies. It’s heavenly. Please make this for dinner this week.

The recipe is below. You’re welcome.

Farfalle with Zucchini, Tomato and Basil
Taken from Mom’s recipe box :)

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

10 oz. Farfalle
2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
1/4 cup olive oil
5 oz. Robiola or other mild, soft goat chesse, cut in pieces
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
1.4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic

1.  Cook farfalle al dente. Drain, rserving 1/2 cup cookin water.

2. In skillet, saute zucchini in oil on med-high, stirring til golden on edges. Salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta, stir and cook 3 min.

3. Remove skillet from heat, stir in cheese and as much pasta water as necessary to form a sauce.

4. Stir in tomato and basil. Salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve immediately.

*Note: If you will be saving some for leftovers, save some of the pasta water too, as it thickens in the fridge.