confetti cabbage salad with cara cara oranges

confetti cabbage salad with cara cara oranges
5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: salad
Author: elena
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 4-6
a sensation of colors, textures and flavors…pairs well with grilled seafood, slow-cooked pulled pork or ribs, or marinated and grilled chicken
  • 1/2 large red cabbage
  • 1/2 medium savoy cabbage (i prefer the texture of savoy but green cabbage is fine, too)
  • 3 scallions – white and green parts
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (washed/dried)
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground blackpepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baker & olive organic cerasuola EVOO (or quality EVOO)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon baker & olive cara cara or grapefruit white balsamic
  • OPTIONAL: when citrus is abundant during winter, i add the zest of one small orange (cara cara, blood or navel), 1 1/2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed juice and orange segments to the salad.
  1. choose a large bowl to hold/mix all ingredients
  2. very finely chop both cabbages (or use a food processor to shred)
  3. wash, dry and trim ends of scallions; discard ends
  4. cut scallions into very thin rounds and add to cabbage
  5. peel garlic, finely mince and add to salad
  6. finely chop cilantro leaves and stems; add to bowl
  7. shake vinegars, salt and pepper in a small jar or whisk in small bowl
  8. add olive oil and shake or whisk well to emulsify
  9. minutes before serving, pour dressing evenly over salad and toss with tongs or hands
  10. at this point you could cover very tightly with plastic wrap and chill to let flavors merge (not anymore than 20 minutes total)
  11. if using the citrus zest and juice add and toss just before serving; add orange slices to top of salad for visual appeal
  12. NOTE: this colorful, high fiber, antioxidant salad is a great accompaniment to grilled fish/shrimp tacos, simple black beans and guacamole!

braised chicken with mushrooms and sage

if you love a juicy and herbed chicken dish, try this!

braised chicken with mushrooms and sage
5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: chicken
Author: elena
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 4
a succulent chicken/mushroom dish with strong sage flavor…inspired by baker & olive mushroom/sage olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baker & olive mushroom/sage olive oil (divided use)
  • or your choice of a fresh aromatic EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves, rinsed, dried and stems removed
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (i used a combination of cremini and shitake)
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground blackpepper to taste
  • 1/2 yellow or brown onion roughly chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (approx.)
  1. heat skillet to medium high
  2. add 1 tablespoon mushroom/sage olive oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  3. season skinned chicken on both sides with salt and pepper
  4. when butter and oil are shimmering (don’t overheat) add chicken thighs and brown evenly on both sides, approx. 4 min. per side
  5. remove chicken thighs to a plate and loosely cover
  6. add remaining 1/2 tablespoon mushroom/sage olive oil, chopped onions and sliced mushrooms to pan and sauté for 10 minutes or until onion is translucent/browning slightly and mushrooms have released their juices
  7. add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes
  8. at this point deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth and scrape up any browned bits
  9. return chicken thighs to pan, cover and simmer on medium for approx. 35 min. or chicken is cooked through
  10. (if sauce seems too thick add low sodium chicken broth one tablespoon at a time)
  11. remove lid and simmer for 5 min. to brown chicken and thicken sauce
  12. when ready to serve add 1/3 cup chopped sage reserving four leaves for garnish
  13. serve chicken thighs and mushroom/sage sauce over polenta, quinoa, couscous or risotto and garnish with a whole sage leaf.
  14. NOTE: i prefer to serve this very juicy chicken/mushroom dish over soft polenta. i keep the polenta preparation simple by adding caramelized shallots and shaved asiago or crumbled gorgonzola. either of these cheeses pair nicely with the sage/mushrooms.

noccioletti (hazelnut cookies)

our favorite italian cookie…and SO simple to make!


noccioletti (hazelnut cookies)
Recipe type: treat
Author: adapted from LA TAVOLA ITALIANA
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 12
a bite sized taste sensation of toasted hazelnuts, honey, butter, flour and sugar…the perfect “not too sweet” treat.
  • 1/2 cup shelled raw hazelnuts
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/4 lb.)
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • parchment paper for baking
  1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast them for 8 minutes (don’t let them overly brown!)
  3. cool slightly and wrap in a dishtowel and rub together roughly to remove most of the brown skins.
  4. grind the hazelnuts coarsely.
  5. cream the butter with the confectioners’ sugar, in a medium but deep bowl.
  6. beat in the honey.
  7. beat in the flour and nuts and make a soft dough.
  8. flour your hands and roll bits of dough (i use a teaspoon to roughly measure) into a ball shape.
  9. if dough is too sticky add a bit of flour until you can easily roll into a ball shape.
  10. place the noccioletti on two parchment lined baking sheets 1 inch apart.
  11. bake for approximately 20 minutes (swapping out sheets and reversing them mid-way through)
  12. baking time will vary with the weather and your particular oven, so watch them carefully to prevent burning.
  13. set the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.
  14. NOTE: my italian cookbook suggests rolling them in confectioners’ sugar at this point, but we choose to enjoy the flavor of the hazelnuts and shortbread-like dough without added sweetness. enjoy a few with a coffee or tea just out of the oven! also great with red wine or champagne…

halloumi cheese stacks with grilled lemons, arugula and heirloom tomato

halloumi stacks…the cheese you can grill!

halloumi cheese stacks with grilled lemons, arugula and heirloom tomato
Recipe type: vegetarian salad or appetizer
Author: elena
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 2-4
such a contrast! the salty grilled halloumi cheese and caramelized lemons…add some greens and heirloom tomato slices for a filling salad
  • 1 package halloumi cheese (sheep’s milk/no rennet – vegetarian)
  • lemon infused olive oil or EVOO (for brushing)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate or traditional dark balsamic (i use baker & olive pomegranate balsamic)
  • freshly ground blackpepper
  • 1 medium ripe/firm heirloom tomato (preferably red or orange) sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cups rinsed and dried baby arugula
  • 1 medium eureka lemon – sliced 1/4 inch thick

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eggplant and herbed goat cheese roulade

goat cheese rolled into grilled eggplant for an impressive presentation

eggplant and herbed goat cheese roulade
Recipe type: vegetarian sidedish
Author: elena
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 3 to 6
herbed goat cheese rolled into grilled eggplant…impressive yet easy!
  • 1 medium globe eggplant, firm and unbruised
  • 1 3 oz pkg plain goat cheese
  • olive oil for brushing on eggplant
  • low sodium soy sauce (or tamari) for brushing on eggplant
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground blackpepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced rosemary or thyme or a combination
  • fresh herb sprigs for garnish, optional
  1. put goat cheese log into small bowl to bring to room temperature
  2. heat grill or grill pan to medium high
  3. slice off both ends of eggplant; discard ends
  4. slice eggplant vertically into 1/2 inch slices; lay flat on plate
  5. brush both sides eggplant with olive oil
  6. brush both sides eggplant with soy sauce (or tamari if gluten intolerant)
  7. sprinkle lightly with freshly ground blackpepper
  8. grill eggplant approx. 4 min per side or until tender and cooked through and grill marks appear (do not overcook or eggplant will become brittle)
  9. cool slightly
  10. while eggplant is grilling add chopped herbs and 1/8 teaspoon salt to goat cheese and mix with a fork to make a paste
  11. with a small spatula apply a thin 1/4 inch layer of the goat cheese to entire slice of eggplant
  12. starting with shorter end, roll up evenly and secure with toothpick
  13. continue until all slices are rolled up (approx. 6 rollups)
  14. serve at room temperature or slightly reheated in a warm oven

wheatberry salad with fuji apple, pistachios and blood orange vinaigrette

fruit and nut infused wheat berry salad

wheatberry salad with fuji apple, pistachios and blood orange vinaigrette
Recipe type: hearty/fruity grain salad
Author: elena
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 6
the combination of crunchy fujis, blood orange zest and juice, unsalted pistachios and hearty wheat berries is sure to please a crowd…
  • 3 cups cooked wheatberries (cooled)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (or navel orange)
  • 1 teaspoon blood orange zest (or navel orange)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large fuji apple, unpeeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup shelled, roasted and unsalted pistachios
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar (preferably baker & olive brand)
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO (i like baker & olive organic koroneiki EVOO)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground blackpepper
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat feta (less salty than regular feta) optional
  • 1 cup julienned arugula or baby spinach
  1. cook wheat berries according to direction (no need to soak overnight)
  2. drain and cool (cooking time is approx. 1 hour)
  3. combine blood orange juice, zest and cranberries in small bowl
  4. combine wheatberries, diced apples and pistachios in large bowl
  5. drain cranberries and reserve juice
  6. gently mix cranberries, zest and julienned arugula into wheat berry mixture
  7. combine the blood orange juice, raspberry vinegar and oil in a small jar and shake
  8. pour dressing evenly over salad and stir to coat
  9. season with salt and pepper to taste
  10. when ready to serve, crumble a bit of goat cheese feta over top, optional
  11. can be served at room temperature or chilled
  12. NOTE: great to take to potlucks and tastes even better the next day!

caprese salad on a stick…

so many flavors in one bite!

caprese salad on a stick…
Recipe type: appetizer
Author: elena
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 24
the perfect appetizer for any occasion…drizzle with a good balsamic vinaigrette, if desired, and watch the mini capreses disappear!
  • 24 small fresh mozzarella balls in water (generally 1 container)
  • 24 ripe/firm cherry tomatoes (variety of colors preferable)
  • 48 small basil leaves stemmed (or 24 large leaves cut in half)
  • 48 wooden toothpicks
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette to drizzle over when serving
  • note: i make a simple vinaigrette to drizzle over as follows,
  • 1 tablespoon baker & olive traditional dark balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  1. cut the mozzarella balls in half with a sharp knife
  2. cut the cherry tomatoes in half with a sharp knife
  3. gently take one tomato half and lace onto toothpick (cut side facing in)
  4. skewer a basil leaf onto toothpick
  5. finish with a half ball of fresh mozzarella (cut side facing in)
  6. to make the balsamic vinaigrette put vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small jar
  7. shake to mix and add EVOO very slowly, shake again to emulsify
  8. drizzle the skewers with balsamic vinaigrette JUST before serving…
  9. enjoy!

grilled chicken greek salad

colorful, easy and healthy main dish salad

grilled chicken greek salad

Recipe type: main course salad
Author: elena
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
a flavorful combination of chickpeas, tahini, grilled chicken, tomatoes, red bellpepper with a citrus twist…topped with goat’s milk feta and parsley!
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground blackpepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 2 chicken breasts – boneless/skinless (approx. 1 lb. total)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 firm/ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 thinly sliced red bellpepper
  • 1 persian cucumber, skin left on and chopped
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, stemmed
  • 6 oz. crumbled goat’s milk feta cheese (or regular feta if preferred)
  1. heat grill to high (450-550 degrees).
  2. mix 1 tbsp. each lemon juice and oil, 1 tsp. garlic and 1/2 tsp each salt, pepper and cumin in a medium bowl. add chicken breasts and turn to coat.
  3. grill chicken, turning once, until cooked through and browned nicely.
  4. let chicken rest, covered for 5 minutes.
  5. whisk together remaining 2 tbsp. each lemon juice and oil, 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and 1 tsp. cumin with the tahini in a large bowl.
  6. add chickpeas, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and cucumber and toss lightly to coat.
  7. divide among 4 plates.
  8. slice chicken on the diagonal and set on top of salads.
  9. sprinkle salads with parsley leaves and crumbled cheese.
  10. enjoy!


apricot/goat cheese appetizer

delicious and easy to make appetizer!

apricot/goat cheese appetizer

Recipe type: easy and healthy appetizer
Author: elena
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 12
sweet dried apricots paired with tangy goat cheese are a great and healthy combo. adding a bit of finely chopped basil and dry roasted unsalted pistachio to each bite adds another layer of flavor, texture and visual appeal…
  • 24 dried apricots (bulk section/preferably turkish)
  • 1 small log plain goat cheese
  • 24 dry roasted unsalted pistachios (bulk section or TRADER JOES)
  • 4-5 washed, dried and finely chopped basil leaves; plus more for garnish if using
  1. unwrap goat cheese and put into medium bowl at room temperature (approx. 30 min) to soften
  2. very finely chop basil leaves;
  3. mix chopped basil into softened goat cheese with a fork;
  4. with clean/dry hands roll a small ball of goat cheese and place on top of each apricot;
  5. press a dry roasted unsalted pistachio into the goat cheese;
  6. garnish with extra basil leaves if desired.
  7. enjoy!