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Posts Tagged ‘goat cheese’

I recently started feeding Julia cheese, yogurt, and regular table food. At her 9 month appointment, her pediatrician advised us that we can start doing that. I was taken back a little since for the past 3 months I have only given her simple purées. “She has never had garlic, or onions, or any spices at all. Is it ok to feed her all those things now?”, I commented. “Go for it!”, she said. So I went for it.

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Dinner on the deck!

Her first real food was couscous. I love making it since it is so simple and can be served as a side dish or a main dish. I do not follow a particular recipe… I just make it up depending on the ingredients that I crave. This time I added some olive oil, lime juice, olives, spinach, roasted tomatoes, salt, black pepper, goat feta cheese, and alleppo pepper (I love this pepper! If you have a Penzeys near you, grab some and sprinkle it on anything that you desire. It’s delicious!). I was not sure what Julia was going to make of the dish. She just loved it!!

The next dish that I made was a potato salad. This is another simple side dish that I love to make and it is a little more interesting than your typical potato salad. I found the recipe in the Lucid Food cookbook. It includes potatoes, pesto, olives, and hard boiled eggs. I did not make my own pesto this time. Also, since Julia cannot have eggs, I did not include them in the entire dish. I also added some avocado on top for all of us. Julia loved it since I gave her pieces of potatoes and avocados to feed herself (she loves feeding herself!). Another success!

Next up was a pasta with a chicken broth and shallot based sauce, kale, peas, and goat cheese. Since the pasta was not too soft, I did not think that Julia would be able to eat it, so I chopped it a bit with the rest of the ingredients. She loved this too! I was so excited that she liked the kale! Good thing, since she will be eating plenty of that in her lifetime! :)

The next dish was a little different. I was not sure if I wanted to feed Julia meat just yet. Since I do not eat meat or hardly ever cook it, I could not bare the thought of boiling chicken for her. And there was no way that I was going to get her the chicken dishes in the jar. That sounded even more appalling. Also, I cannot roast a chicken for the life of me. So what to do? Then a few weeks ago I found a recipe that sounded somewhat promising. I decided to give it a try. (I know!! Can you believe it!?!?) The dish includes chicken thighs, a few shallots, a pint of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a cup or so of olives, fresh thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh mint, and feta. You roast the chicken with all the ingredients, minus the mint and feta. Once the chicken is done roasting, you add the mint and feta. The dish was delicious!! Since we loved it so much and it was easy to make, I decided to make it again and give some to Julia. She loved it too!

I must say that since I started feeding Julia regular food, my thoughts about dinner have changed a bit. I feel like I now have to think even harder about what dishes to make, since she cannot eat everything that we eat. For example, I tend to use nuts a lot in my cooking… specifically for pesto. But at the same time, I am super excited that she can now eat more of the things that we eat. It will definitely make it easier to not have to make multiple dinners for us. I also feel super lucky that she is such a good eater. Still to this day, she has only disliked bananas, pears, and cauliflower. If that is the extent of it, I have nothing to complain about, no?

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Cooking has been a bit difficult lately, especially on a weeknight. I usually get home from work around 5:00, which means that I only have a few hours to play with Julia since her bedtime is 7:30. It also means that I do not want to spend very much time in the kitchen cooking. So I have been searching for quick recipes… I have found a few good ones.

Soup is a good weeknight meal. It usually makes a bunch, which means that you can have it a couple of times during the week. I have been loving this Leek Soup with Dill Oil, which I found on the 101 Cookbooks site. I have altered it a bit… I do not use any butter, I use an extra potato, I leave it chunky, and I do not add any of the items that she suggests (although they would probably be good to add). I have made it numerous times and it’s definitely a keeper. I usually serve it with a pressed sandwich, leftover pizza, or just a few slices of bread.

Gnocchi is one of my favorite foods. It’s comfort food for me, so it is another dish that I make all the time. I love it with pesto, prosciutto, spinach, goat cheese, and either pumpkin seeds or walnuts. I have also made it with a roasted tomato sauce. To roast the tomatoes, you simply slice a pint of tomatoes and add some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, some of your favorite herbs (I use parsley and oregano), and some capers. The capers are key, so do not omit them. The sauce is delicious, especially on gnocchi! :)

Another recipe that is one of my cooking staples is the Matchstick Pasta recipe, which I also found on the 101 Cookbooks site. This is by far the easiest dish to make! During one of my shopping outings I could not find any pomegranate seeds. I was so upset since I was really craving the dish. I decided to try dried cranberries as a substitute… it worked great!

Pizza is another staple… I find myself making it every week. I usually use Bobolis for the crust, which makes it easy. My favorite toppings are pesto, prosciutto, spinach, and goat cheese. A while ago I found this really delicious pepperoni by Applegate Farms, so I decided to try a peperoni pizza. I used tomato sauce, mozzarella, green peppers, mushrooms, peperoni, and a few thinly sliced onion pieces. It was so good! It is now part of my pizza cycle.

In my recent issue of the Whole Living magazine, I discovered a nice quick dish. You simply sautée some garlic with a few sprinkles of pepper flakes, then you add some chopped kale, and sautée it until wilted and cooked through. Lastly, you add some peas and cook them for a bit. Once done, you serve it with some cooked rice and topped with an over-easy egg. It’s so quick and delicious!

Another dish that I would like to mention is the Peanut Sesame Noodles, which I found on the Smitten Kitchen site. I made this dish recently and I was surprised how easy it was to make. I wondered why I do not make it more often. I did modify it a bit. I do not make the sauce in a food processor. I simply whisk it and it works just as well. I do not use tofu… I have topped it with cooked chicken (usually the rotisserie chicken from Wegmans) and shrimp.

If I am really pressed for time, sandwiches with sweet potato fries are my to go dish. I usually keep a bag of sweet potato fries in the freezer… I love the Alexia sweet potato fries. I also keep veggie burgers and fake chicken patties by Quorn. Chicken patties on a bun are a favorite. :)

I hope that a few of these dishes will become some of your favorite weeknight meals!

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A while ago, Joel and I went out for pizza and he ordered a sausage pizza. I remember having pizza envy. I always order some kind of pizza with goat cheese on it, which is usually not very satisfying since the pizza shops tend to just sprinkle a tiny amount of goat cheese on it. Apparently goat cheese is expensive… according to a pizza shop that started charging me for the goat cheese even though I ask them to remove the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. That is not even a substitution in my opinion. I mean… I am saving them some mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. And they did not charge me for the goat cheese for over a year, but all of a sudden they are. Sorry… a bit of a sore subject. :)

Due to my dinner envy, I decided to make my own version of the pizza for dinner one evening. I used the Boboli thin crust, which I topped with some of my favorite tomato sauce by Pellicano’s, grated goat cheese, cooked poultry sausage, sliced mushrooms and green olives, torn fresh spinach, and then sprinkled everything with some crushed red pepper. I made the exact same pizza for Joel, except that I used mozzarella cheese on it. I must admit that his version was much more satisfying again! So I decided that the pizza was worth some Lactaid pills. :) (My philosophy is that the dish has to be really, really worth it for me to take the pills.)

I made the pizza again for dinner tonight. I really like the flavor of the sausage with the tomato sauce and mushrooms. I tend to make a lot of pizzas with pesto on them, since I am not a huge fan of tomato sauce. But the tomato sauce was nice for a change, especially since I used my favorite sauce, which is made by Pellicano’s. I find the sauce to be less acidic than other tomato sauces. I highly recommend it, if you are looking for a new sauce.

Pizzas are a dinner favorite in our house, since they are super easy and quick. Now if only I can have a glass of beer to go with it. Soon! :)

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I got inspired to cook again. With my food aversions, including not liking cooking onions and garlic, I have not been too inspired lately. It is kind of difficult not to cook with those two staples.

Kumquats

Kumquats

Joel mentioned that we should stay in and cook a nice dinner and watch a movie on Valentine’s Day. I was sold! I stayed home sick the day before Valentine’s Day and decided to watch the Food Network. One of the shows that I caught was Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. The host was cooking arctic char, which is a fish that is similar to salmon. She was also cooking a salad, which I thought would be really nice. Since I had some salmon that I picked up at the Public Market, I decided to try the recipes for Valentine’s Day. The menu included:

The dishes were simple to prepare and ended up tasting super delicious!

I never thought about wilting lettuce, but it was really nice! Also, the roasted pears, nuts, and cheese added great flavors. I used blue cheese and pecans for Joel, since I cannot eat blue cheese or pecans (they taste horrible still). For my salad, I used goat cheese and almonds. Joel raved about his salad, so I guess it worked. :) My version was just as nice.

Wilted romaine salad

The kumquat sauce was lovely too. It included kumquats, 1/2 a stick of cinnamon, orange marmalade, ginger, sugar, vinegar (I used rice vinegar), thyme, and jalapeno. It was tart and sweet. I was expecting it to be a bit spicy due to the jalapeno, but it was not. I guess I should have left some seeds when chopping it. It was really nice with the seared salmon. I have not tried arctic char before. I’ll have to try it once I can eat any fish again.

Seared salmon with kumquat compote

The cake was delicious, of course! I have made this cake dozens of times and I still have not gotten sick of it. It is always a big hit.

Espresso chiffon cake

The evening was lovely! The dinner was delicious and the movie was nice. We ended up watching “Crazy, Stupid, Love”. I loved it! It was funny and quirky. My kind of a movie and evening!

Joel and I

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I came across the most amazing blog. I know… I tend to say that about a few blogs. But it’s so true! Just look at it: http://www.roostblog.com/.

The photos are so beautiful, which make the recipes mouth watering. (I so wish that I had one of those nice cameras… sigh!) As I was reading recipe after recipe and admiring photo after photo, I stopped at the Herbed Flatbread with Prosciutto, Arugula Pesto, and Sheep’s Milk Cheese recipe. I love prosciutto and arugula pesto! I decided to make it for dinner tonight.

The recipe for the flatbread is super simple. You just mix almond flour, fresh sage and oregano, salt, baking soda, eggs, and oil… and voilà, you have the flatbread dough. I was excited that the dough did not require yeast. Yeast really intimidates me. I once tried making bread and it was a failure. That was my last attempt at bread making.

But this flatbread came out beautifully and super delicious!

I topped it with my own arugula pesto, prosciutto, goat cheese, and a drizzle of this really nice balsamic vinegar. When Joel joined me at the dinner table, he said “WOW! You’ve really outdone yourself this time Veronica.” Nice! :)

I cannot wait to try some of the other recipes. No worries… I will definitely let you know how they are.

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Friday evening was a very sad evening. As I mentioned in a previous post, Café Cibon on Park Avenue is one of my favorite places to eat in Rochester. I have been going to Cibon for about 12 years now. Also, for the past 5 or 6 years, I have been going to Cibon strictly for the Michelangelo panini. Pesto, shrimp, and goat cheese sandwiched between perfectly toasted bread… need I say more?

Well, the Michelangelo panini is no more!!! I know… so sad!! :(

As we sat down, the server mentioned that they have changed their menu and that a bunch of the paninis have been removed from it. I had a bad feeling about it. As I was scanning the menu, I noticed that my favorite panini was no longer on the menu. Even worse, I noticed that none of the paninis included goat cheese. Actually, goat cheese is not listed anywhere on the menu. As I was expressing my disappointment about the menu change to our server, she admitted that they discontinued the goat cheese. “Discontinued the goat cheese?? How can that be??”

I truly am very disappointed with the menu change. Ok, so I am being a bit selfish. But being lactose intolerant adds some complexity to eating out. And I could always count on Cibon to be able to get a panini that is not only delicious but is also made with goat cheese. I admit that there are many wonderful items on the menu to select from, including a delicious tuna panini, which will now be my favorite item. The server did mention that she will add my request of bringing back goat cheese in the suggestion box. I sure hope that it did not escape her mind.

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