Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pistachio Peach Salad with Ricotta Salata

Pistachio Peach Salad | Naturally Ella

There are two things I love about eating out at a restaurant. I want the meal to be something I can’t easily make at home and I want meals that spark an idea. This pistachio peach salad was inspired by a meal I had at a recent dinner in Santa Cruz. My friend Liz puts on magical dinners around food history (called the the Curated Feast) and was kind enough to invite me to her recent dinner about the Silk Road.

The chef prepared a peach barley dish that hit all the right notes. And so, I made mental notes and created this peach salad pulling inspiration from that dish. At the heart of this dish is a pistachio-fennel crumble. The crumble is one of my new favorite salad additions. It’s a fun flavor and has a wonderful texture to dishes like this.

One note. The beans here are optional and totally not for everyone. I recommend starting this recipe without the beans if you’re at all unsure. I just like the beans because it gives me the ability to eat this salad for lunch.
Read more and see the recipe.

The post Pistachio Peach Salad with Ricotta Salata appeared first on Naturally Ella.

1-Pot Spicy Mango Chutney

1-Pot Spicy Mango Chutney

Mangoes know no bounds. They’re quite tasty with salads, coconut yogurt, energy bites, spring rolls, smoothies, curries, and sorbet!

My most recent mango obsession is chutney. My inspired version includes plenty of spice balanced with natural sweetness and acidity, is made in 1 pot with basic ingredients, and pairs perfectly with SO many Indian-inspired dishes! Let me show you how.

This chutney starts by sautéing onion, serrano pepper, bell pepper, and ginger in a saucepan with simple spices.

1-Pot Spicy Mango Chutney from Minimalist Baker →

Simple Sautéed Zucchini

I saw a table at the market the other night groaning under the weight of a mountain of summer squash. Squash that looked like it wanted to avalanche its way into my basket. I took pity, grabbed a bunch, and made my way home. I ended up using a couple in a favorite nothing-to-it sautéed zucchini recipe. It’s pictured here served over a simple plate of spaghetti. Simple Sauteed Zucchini Recipe
The sautéed zucchini? It’s a single-skillet kind of thing. Coins of zucchini are browned in a pan, but the thing that makes it special is the toasted golden slivers of garlic combined with lots of fresh dill. Throw in a sprinkling of almonds for crunch, and you’re all good. Prep takes five minutes, if that, and you can treat this as a side dish, or use it as a component of something else…Simple Sauteed Zucchini Recipe

Variations

I often cook up a pan of the zucchini like this, and then use it to top off a frittata. Or toss it with a platter of pasta. Over farro with some harissa-spiked vinagirette? Not bad. Baked as a hand-pie in a simple pastry with a smudge of goat cheese? Even better. Anyhow, it’s really adaptable. And for those of you who don’t use much dill in your cooking…let me just say, dill is under-rated and under-utilized. The more I cook with it, the more I love it – fingers crossed you like this spin as much as I do. 

Simple Sauteed Zucchini Recipe

Different Types of Zucchini

You can sauté just about any kind of zucchini! Or a blend of zucchini / summer squash, as pictured here. A pro tip – attempt to slice it all the same 1/4-inch thickness. As far as shape goes – you can slice full coins, or half coins. You can slice zucchini straight across, or angle it, and slice on a bias. Feel free to experiment!

Simple Sauteed Zucchini Recipe

Continue reading Simple Sautéed Zucchini on 101 Cookbooks

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge (4 Ingredients!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge (4 Ingredients!)

Say hello to your new favorite (naturally sweetened, incredibly rich, salty-sweet) dessert.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge made with just 4 ingredients, in 30 minutes, and 1 bowl (food processor)! Shall we?

This recipe was inspired by simplicity.

I’ve made fudge I adore in the past, but some people tend to have trouble with their food processors being able to make coconut butter – a central ingredient in that recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge (4 Ingredients!) from Minimalist Baker →

How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

This gnocchi recipe was taught to me when a friend came to visit from Genoa, Italy. Her mother came with her, and one night, alongside a small mountain of beautiful, fragrant basil, she taught us her homemade gnocchi recipe. I posted about the pesto we made to go with it in a separate post, and as promised the gnocchi as a followup. You ready!?

How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

Gnocchi takes Patience

Gnocchi recipes aren’t for the faint of heart. Many, many things can go awry. I’m not trying to scare you off or dissuade you, I just want you to know what you are in for. Gnocchi-making takes practice, patience, and persistence. At their best, potato gnocchi can be light and delicate. At their worst, dense, rubbery, and/or soggy. The very worst are the gnocchi that come apart in the boiling water before they even reach your plate.
How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

The Simplest Ingredients

The platter of petite, potato pillows coated with glistening flecks of basil pesto that Francesca’s mother made us that night was beautiful. The gnocchi recipe she taught us had just three ingredients – boiled, starchy russet potatoes combined with a minimal amount of flour (too much flour and your gnocchi are going to be heavy), and a bit of salt – no eggs. I’ve tweaked her version to be a little more user-friendly here, because to be honest, eggless gnocchi are very tricky to get the hang of, very delicate to handle. I’m afraid if I post the eggless version here, there will be a number of you who will try it, get frustrated, and curse me. So, a bit of egg it is.
How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

This Gnocchi Recipe: The Details

In the version here, I incorporate just enough egg to act as a bit of a binder for the gnocchi. We still aren’t using an excessive amount of flour, and the resulting gnocchi are deliciously light. They can also stand up to a toss with your favorite sauce. You can see them pictured at the top of this post, tossed with this favorite pesto.

If you are committed to trying the eggless version, try this version first. After that, perhaps the next time around, use half the egg, and the time after that go for no egg. By that time, you should have all the other steps figured out and you’ll have a better vantage point and level of experience from which to work You’ll also have a better sense of how to handle and work with the dough.

So, here it is – the long awaited gnocchi recipe. Give it a go, and let me know what you think. If you know how to make pesto, this is the time to do it! A simple toss is perfect. 

Continue reading How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother on 101 Cookbooks

Crepes with Tomatoes and Butter Hazelnuts

Crepes with Tomatoes and Butter Hazelnuts

Post sponsored by the French Ministry of Agriculture. See below for more details.

One of my first forays into cooking was for my school’s international dinner night. I was in French class and within the first few weeks of class, I became obsessed with French culture. I thought the language and the art was (and still is) beautiful but the food, oh the food. There’s nothing quite like a meal of French food shared around a table of friends and family (plus any given day I’d gladly take a croissant and coffee for breakfast).

And so, these crepes are a bit of an updated nod to bringing French culture home. We eat savory crepes quite often and the roasted tomatoes tossed with a hazelnut-butter dressing might be my favorite summer treat. When served warm, the St. Agur blue cheese melts a bit into the tomatoes and it’s so rich and delicious. What really brings this meal home is the Trimbach Pinot Blanc. The wine helps balance the richness of all that wonderful President butter and St. Agur blue cheese.

Best of all, you can make an extra large batch of the crepes to use throughout the month (they freeze amazingly well). Have these beautiful savory crepes for dinner then have a breakfast crepe or dessert crepe the following week. Or, if you’re like me and have a child- a bit of nut butter and honey spread instead a crepe makes for the perfect snack!

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Crepes with Tomatoes and Butter Hazelnuts appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Pasta

So you’ve probably had cheesy pasta. And you’ve had spaghetti squash pasta. But have you had Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Pasta?! If not, it’s time!

This 9-ingredient recipe starts with roasted spaghetti squash.

I typically cut my spaghetti squash in half and roast it using this method. But I wanted to try Beth’s method of slicing it in rings before baking to achieve longer noodles. I’m happy to report that both work well, so do whichever is easiest for you!

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Pasta from Minimalist Baker →

Saving the Season: 3-Ways with Sweet Corn

Adobo Grilled Sweet Corn

Living in California now for over 5 years, I’ve learned that most food produced here is just as good (if not better) than most any place else. California tomatoes, olive oil, wine, stone fruit, beans, and grains occupy a majority of our meals. However, and I’ve had arguments with people about this, the Midwest has the best sweet corn. Give me Illinois peaches & cream sweet corn any day.

Of course, I’m not so picky that I’ll refuse California sweet corn. It’s still delicious and I inevitably end up with an abundance (the $4/1 price is just too good). While I use it to make quite a few recipes during the season, I also like to save the kernels and cobs to make items I can use throughout the year.

Sweet Corn Broth/Stock

Saving the Season: 3-Ways with Sweet Corn | Sweet Corn Broth | Naturally Ella

One of my favorite items to make is sweet corn broth, primarily because it’s easy and uses the cobs once the kernels are removed. I’ll keep a bag in the freezer that I will keep adding cobs to during the season. Then, once I get a few cobs saved, I’ll make a large batch of broth to freeze.

My ratio for broth is usually 1 cup of water for 1 cob. I like to make it in 8 cup batches and toss in onions, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. This is also another recipe for broth that’s a bit more involved but also delicious.

Once you have the broth, use it in soups or risottos. I also love to make fresh polenta and use the sweet corn broth with the fresh corn- it’s such a powerful corn flavor!

Freezing

Saving the Season: 3-Ways with Sweet Corn | Freezing | Naturally Ella

For keeping the kernels past the summer months, I freeze. I’ve tried a few different methods including just sticking the corn in on the cob. However, the best method to ensure solid flavor and texture is to blanch the sweet corn, drop it in an ice bath, remove the kernels, then freeze it. For a more thorough how-to, The Kitchn has you covered.

Canning

Saving the Season: 3-Ways with Sweet Corn | Canning | Naturally Ella

Finally, canning sweet corn. Sweet corn is very low on acidity which means it’s best to use a pressure canner to can the corn. I don’t own a pressure cooker so I find ways to can sweet corn that are a bit higher in acidity (primarily making this tomato sweet corn salsa).

Of course, there are ways to can sweet corn. This is the method for pressure canning or you can also make a sweet corn relish that can be canned. There’s a few different versions but this version is solid, Mexican version, and traditional version can get you started.

continue reading

The post Saving the Season: 3-Ways with Sweet Corn appeared first on Naturally Ella.

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Let’s talk about how to make a great vegetarian poke bowl. Poke is a much-loved, traditional, raw fish preparation, long popular in Hawaii. Fishermen would season bits of their catch, and snack on it while working. Poke (pronounced poh-kay) has exploded in popularity, well beyond Hawaii, in recent years. The version I’m posting today is for any of you who love the idea of poke or poke bowls, but don’t eat fish for whatever reason. Vegetarian poke bowls are particularly fantastic this time of year because they’re light, clean, filling but not heavy, You know?

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Vegetarian Poke Bowl: The Components

I typically use a watermelon poke, a version of this sushi rice (but any favorite sushi rice / blend will do), and a host of other vibrant toppings. Here you see firm, organic tofu, sliced avocado, blanched asparagus, shaved watermelon radish, and micro sprouts. The bowl is drizzled, simply, with good soy sauce. And there’s a sprinkling of sesame seeds and scallions. The other topping I really crave, not pictured here, is a showering of crispy, fried shallots. 

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Seasonal Variations

When it comes to toppings, what you see here is just a jumping off point. And I encourage you to play around with all the components. For example, you might trade in roasted squash cubes for the watermelon later in the year. And do roasted onions in place of scallions. Or, play around with the drizzle on top. For a quick poke bowl, I just do a soy sauce drizzle, but you could whip up something more complex. Have fun with it!

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl
Although, it can be argued, a vegetarian poke bowl isn’t a real poke bowl, it’s a great meal just the same. Keep your eyes peeled for other inspiration as well. I love seeing the creative vegetarian and vegan poke bowls on menus at poke spots all over. Lots of ideas there that you might replicate in your own kitchens!

Continue reading How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl on 101 Cookbooks

Ricotta Toast with Butter-Fried Peppers

Ricotta Toast with Butter-Fried Peppers

I’ve noticed an increase of toast offerings at local coffee shops. Avocado, vegetables, and fruit are all popular items but what caught my eye at the last coffee shop was the ricotta toast. Good ricotta is delicious (and better yet, it’s actually quite simple to make at home). Add it to toast and you have one delicious breakfast. Take it sweet (peaches, pears, berries) or take it savory, like this ricotta toast with peppers.

So why peppers? This time of year is the best for peppers, especially my favorite: Jimmy Nardello. Most of the non-bell varieties have amazing flavor. I’ve given two options for this recipe: tame and spicy. If you’re not a heat fan, find the Jimmy Nardello peppers (or in a pinch, bell peppers). If you like a kick, use the Fresno peppers- you won’t be disappointed.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Ricotta Toast with Butter-Fried Peppers appeared first on Naturally Ella.