Orecchiette with Browned Butter and Snails
Serves 2-4 (I suggest doubling if you have 4 people with big appetites!)
Last week, my family and I went to North Carolina to unplug for a few days. We stopped by Dean and Deluca (an amazing specialty grocery store), where I picked up a can of gourmet French Wild Burgundy Snails. I also found some delicious looking orecchiette pasta, which seemed like the perfect pairing for the snails.
While in the mountains of North Carolina, I visited the Ashe County cheese shop and picked up some Ashe County butter, which I used in this recipe. On the last day of our vacation, we went to the West Jefferson, NC, farmer’s market - incredible! A very nice couple, Ron and Suzanne Joyner, of Big Horse Creek Farm, were set up at the farmer’s market. They specialize in Antique and Heirloom Apple Trees, but at the market, they had a booth for their fresh produce, and they had 4 different types of garlic. I bought a few bulbs of each kind, and couldn’t wait to get home to Florida to try them all! From other vendors, I also purchased some beautiful heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, and a few other goodies.
This past weekend was the perfect weekend to experiment in my new kitchen. The day after we returned back to Florida, I spent the entire morning/afternoon chopping, tasting, and experimenting with a bunch of fresh ingredients gathered from our mountain getaway. I made habanero salsa and two different kinds of bruschetta with the juicy, flavorful heirloom tomatoes, but my favorite dish of the weekend was this pasta. Hope you enjoy!
Ingredients:
8.8 oz. Orecchiette pasta (or about 1/2 lb.)
7.5 oz. can of Wild Burgundy Snails (4 dozen small)
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. Herbs de Provence, ground in mortar & pestle
1 clove garlic, minced (I used Persian Star garlic from Big Horse Creek Farm)
1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Directions:
Cook orecchiette pasta as directed on package.
While pasta is boiling, heat butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until butter has a golden brown color. When butter has desired coloring, add garlic, Herbs de Provence, and snails. Stir to combine, and remove from heat. 
Strain pasta out of boiling water when finished, and add directly to the browned butter saucepan. Immediately add Parmesan cheese and parsley, and stir to combine all ingredients.
Serve in your prettiest bowls, and serve with fresh French bread if desired. High-res

Orecchiette with Browned Butter and Snails

Serves 2-4 (I suggest doubling if you have 4 people with big appetites!)

Last week, my family and I went to North Carolina to unplug for a few days. We stopped by Dean and Deluca (an amazing specialty grocery store), where I picked up a can of gourmet French Wild Burgundy Snails. I also found some delicious looking orecchiette pasta, which seemed like the perfect pairing for the snails.

While in the mountains of North Carolina, I visited the Ashe County cheese shop and picked up some Ashe County butter, which I used in this recipe. On the last day of our vacation, we went to the West Jefferson, NC, farmer’s market - incredible! A very nice couple, Ron and Suzanne Joyner, of Big Horse Creek Farm, were set up at the farmer’s market. They specialize in Antique and Heirloom Apple Trees, but at the market, they had a booth for their fresh produce, and they had 4 different types of garlic. I bought a few bulbs of each kind, and couldn’t wait to get home to Florida to try them all! From other vendors, I also purchased some beautiful heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, and a few other goodies.

This past weekend was the perfect weekend to experiment in my new kitchen. The day after we returned back to Florida, I spent the entire morning/afternoon chopping, tasting, and experimenting with a bunch of fresh ingredients gathered from our mountain getaway. I made habanero salsa and two different kinds of bruschetta with the juicy, flavorful heirloom tomatoes, but my favorite dish of the weekend was this pasta. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 8.8 oz. Orecchiette pasta (or about 1/2 lb.)
  • 7.5 oz. can of Wild Burgundy Snails (4 dozen small)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. Herbs de Provence, ground in mortar & pestle
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I used Persian Star garlic from Big Horse Creek Farm)
  • 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

Cook orecchiette pasta as directed on package.

While pasta is boiling, heat butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until butter has a golden brown color. When butter has desired coloring, add garlic, Herbs de Provence, and snails. Stir to combine, and remove from heat. 

Strain pasta out of boiling water when finished, and add directly to the browned butter saucepan. Immediately add Parmesan cheese and parsley, and stir to combine all ingredients.

Serve in your prettiest bowls, and serve with fresh French bread if desired.


Garlicky Spaghetti Squash
Serves 4-6
Spaghetti Squash is an amazing veggie. It blows me away every single time I have it. It’s so easy, so delicious, so healthy, and so cool! I love the way it comes apart with a fork, and with a little imagination, it tastes like pasta! There are two ways to go about cooking it, as I will explain below. This recipe is super simple & yummy, and I recommend using the “poking holes” method if you don’t own a REALLY sharp, serrated knife. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash
2 tbsp. good olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh basil leaves, shredded
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Directions:
COOKING YOUR SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
Method 1 (Cooking time: 30-35 mins | you will need a VERY sharp, serrated knife):
1. Preheat oven to 375°F and halve squash lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard seeds from the middle of each half. 
2. Arrange squash in a 9˝ x 13˝ casserole dish, cut sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
3. Rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove its flesh in strands… it looks just like spaghetti!
Method 2 (Cooking time: 1 hour):
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a skewer so it will not burst while baking.
2. Place the whole squash in a shallow baking pan and bake for 1 hour.
3. When cool enough to handle, cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, with a serrated knife.
4. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard seeds from the middle of each half. 
5. Rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove its flesh in strands.
SEASONING YOUR SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
Place spaghetti squash strands in a serving bowl. Add the 2 tbsp. of olive oil & minced garlic, and toss well. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Garnish with fresh basil shreds. Delicious!
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Garlicky Spaghetti Squash

Serves 4-6

Spaghetti Squash is an amazing veggie. It blows me away every single time I have it. It’s so easy, so delicious, so healthy, and so cool! I love the way it comes apart with a fork, and with a little imagination, it tastes like pasta! There are two ways to go about cooking it, as I will explain below. This recipe is super simple & yummy, and I recommend using the “poking holes” method if you don’t own a REALLY sharp, serrated knife. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbsp. good olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:

COOKING YOUR SPAGHETTI SQUASH:

Method 1 (Cooking time: 30-35 mins | you will need a VERY sharp, serrated knife):

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and halve squash lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard seeds from the middle of each half. 

2. Arrange squash in a 9˝ x 13˝ casserole dish, cut sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove its flesh in strands… it looks just like spaghetti!

Method 2 (Cooking time: 1 hour):

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a skewer so it will not burst while baking.

2. Place the whole squash in a shallow baking pan and bake for 1 hour.

3. When cool enough to handle, cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, with a serrated knife.

4. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard seeds from the middle of each half. 

5. Rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove its flesh in strands.

SEASONING YOUR SPAGHETTI SQUASH:

Place spaghetti squash strands in a serving bowl. Add the 2 tbsp. of olive oil & minced garlic, and toss well. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Garnish with fresh basil shreds. Delicious!

Bombastic Blackened Chicken

Serves 4

Once you have made my dad’s amazing blackening spice, and have it stored in your pantry for future use (see the recipe here), this dish is one of the easiest & quickest meals to throw together on a whim! It’s spicy, juicy, and so flavorful.. so much so that I actually said “bombastic.” ;) Pair with a salad or some southern greens, like I did! 

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter
  • My dad’s blackening spice (see here)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º. Wash chicken breasts, pat dry. Pour a generous amount of blackening spice into a shallow bowl. Place chicken breasts, one by one, into the blackening spice, and coat very generously with the spice. Place coated chicken breasts into a baking dish. Put 1/2 tbsp. butter on top of each breast. Bake for 15 minutes on each side. Voila!

My Dad’s {So Delicious} Blackening Spice

This is my dad’s TOP SECRET (not anymore!) blackening spice recipe. I made some delicious blackened chicken breasts with it the other night, so he told me that I could go ahead and post the recipe on my blog. :) He makes this in large quantities, and then stores it in the pantry in “Fish/White Meat Blend” & “Red Meat Blend” labeled containers so that we can use it all year. It is so, so, so good. 

Fish/White Meat Blend:

  • 4 parts paprika
  • 2 parts white pepper
  • 2 parts red pepper
  • 2 parts black pepper, coarse
  • 2 parts thyme
  • 2 parts salt
  • 2 parts sugar
  • 2 parts oregano
  • 2 parts onion powder
  • 2 parts garlic powder
  • 1 part rosemary

For Red Meat, also add:

  • 1 part cumin
  • 1 part fennel seed
  • 2 parts Coleman’s mustard powder


Panko Pecan Pan-Fried Flounder
I LOVE breading fish and chicken with pecans. The final product is so crunchy, and has amazing flavor. I usually just make this on a whim, using whatever ingredients I have lying around (Italian style breadcrumbs work really well, too), but this time I decided to really give it my all so that I could share a recipe with you!
Ingredients:
For the marinade:
4 fresh Flounder fillets
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the breading:
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
6 oz. chopped pecans
1 cup whole wheat Panko crumbs
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
2 tbsp. peanut oil
Directions:
In a shallow baking dish, mix together the buttermilk, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the Flounder fillets, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for an hour, taking out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking them.
In a shallow dish, add the flour. Season with the salt and pepper.
In another shallow dish, crack the eggs, and whisk till creamy.
In a third shallow dish, mix together the pecans and Panko crumbs.
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge 2 of the fish fillets in the flour, then shake off the excess. Dip into the egg, and then cover with the pecan/Panko mixture. Cook the two fillets for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the fish is white and flaky inside. Repeat with the other 2 fillets, adding the remaining tbsp. oil before cooking them.
Serve immediately, and garnish with fresh dill if desired.
Perfectly paired with my Cold Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing.
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Panko Pecan Pan-Fried Flounder

I LOVE breading fish and chicken with pecans. The final product is so crunchy, and has amazing flavor. I usually just make this on a whim, using whatever ingredients I have lying around (Italian style breadcrumbs work really well, too), but this time I decided to really give it my all so that I could share a recipe with you!

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

  • 4 fresh Flounder fillets
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the breading:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 6 oz. chopped pecans
  • 1 cup whole wheat Panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil

Directions:

In a shallow baking dish, mix together the buttermilk, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the Flounder fillets, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for an hour, taking out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking them.

In a shallow dish, add the flour. Season with the salt and pepper.

In another shallow dish, crack the eggs, and whisk till creamy.

In a third shallow dish, mix together the pecans and Panko crumbs.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge 2 of the fish fillets in the flour, then shake off the excess. Dip into the egg, and then cover with the pecan/Panko mixture. Cook the two fillets for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the fish is white and flaky inside. Repeat with the other 2 fillets, adding the remaining tbsp. oil before cooking them.

Serve immediately, and garnish with fresh dill if desired.

Perfectly paired with my Cold Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing.

Cold Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing
This is an easy & super fresh salad! I had a craving for green beans, and decided to get a little creative with a salad. I LOVE radishes - they’re an obsession I’ve had since I was a little girl - so anytime I can incorporate them into a recipe, I do. This is a perfect summer pairing for a fish or chicken dish… I served it alongside my Panko Pecan Crusted Flounder. {that recipe coming soon}
Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. fresh green beans
10-15 red radishes, sliced
5 sweet Campari tomatoes, deseeded and diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced (depending on your love for garlic)
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2.5 oz. goat cheese
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
Kosher or sea salt & freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until they are a little tender and turn bright green, approx. 2 minutes. Drain. Submerge the green beans in a bowl of very cold water. Drain again and pat dry with a paper towel. 
For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the goat cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and dill. Salt & pepper to taste. Toss green beans with the dressing and transfer into your serving bowl. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs if you’d like. Enjoy!!
  High-res

Cold Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing

This is an easy & super fresh salad! I had a craving for green beans, and decided to get a little creative with a salad. I LOVE radishes - they’re an obsession I’ve had since I was a little girl - so anytime I can incorporate them into a recipe, I do. This is a perfect summer pairing for a fish or chicken dish… I served it alongside my Panko Pecan Crusted Flounder. {that recipe coming soon}

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs. fresh green beans
  • 10-15 red radishes, sliced
  • 5 sweet Campari tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced (depending on your love for garlic)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2.5 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • Kosher or sea salt & freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until they are a little tender and turn bright green, approx. 2 minutes. Drain. Submerge the green beans in a bowl of very cold water. Drain again and pat dry with a paper towel. 

For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the goat cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and dill. Salt & pepper to taste. Toss green beans with the dressing and transfer into your serving bowl. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs if you’d like. Enjoy!!

 

Grandma’s Chocolate Sheath Cake

A good friend of mine asked me if I could suggest a dessert for him to make for a small dinner party next month. My mind immediately went to this recipe… My grandmother’s chocolate sheath cake. This recipe was passed down to my mom, who makes it for most of our family’s special occasions. I have to admit, I’ve actually never made it myself, but I’ve watched my mother make it countless times, and know that it’s a simple & delicious cake!

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo to add to this recipe, but now I’m itching to make this cake, so as soon as I do, I’ll take a photo and add it to this post. 

Ingredients:

{cake}:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of salt
{icing}:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar

Directions:

For the cake: In a large bowl, sift together the flour and sugar. Set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together butter, shortening, cocoa, and water. Bring to a boil, and then pour over dry ingredients, stirring well.

Add soda, buttermilk, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, and salt. Mix and pour into a 17x11 sheet pan. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

For the icing {start 5 minutes before cake is finished baking}: In a saucepan, bring butter cocoa, milk, vanilla, and nuts to a boil. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and beat till creamy. Pour over hot cake. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Buffaloaf
Serves 4*
Okay, I’m not one to toot my own horn, BUT this has to be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, let alone come up with.  The photo does it no justice.  If you’ve ever eaten bison/buffalo meat, you will appreciate this recipe by just reading the ingredients… if you haven’t tried bison/buffalo meat yet, you are in for a treat.  Bison is so much leaner than beef, AND tastes even yummier in my opinion.  According to an article on Livestrong.com, “a 3 oz. serving of beef sirloin contains 12 grams of fat, while 3 oz. of bison sirloin contains just 5 grams. Beef sirloin is also higher in saturated fat, with 5 grams, compared to 2 grams of saturated fat in bison sirloin.”  Pretty impressive, huh?  Ground bison can be found at your local Whole Foods Market (or other high end grocery), and even some basic grocery stores - just ask your butcher!  I made Garlicky Spaghetti Squash on the side, and it was a perfect meal.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!!
*Just a tip: you will probably want to double this so that you have left-overs!
Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. ground buffalo (bison)
15 oz. of Rao’s Marinara Sauce (or your favorite marinara/spaghetti sauce)
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat Panko crumbs
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - use 1 pepper, deseed and finely chop - about 1 tbsp.
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese (Buffalo mozzarella if you feel like spending the $!), cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese, for topping
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, combine the buffalo meat, half of the marinara sauce, eggs, Panko crumbs, chipotle pepper, onion, basil, salt, and black pepper.  Mix well.  Divide the mixture into thirds.  Spread 1/3 in the bottom of an ungreased 9x5” loaf pan.  Place half of the mozzarella slices on top.  Repeat layers, and end with the meat.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Spread the rest of the sauce on the buffaloaf. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, and add parmesan to top.  Bake for 5 minutes more.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!
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Buffaloaf

Serves 4*

Okay, I’m not one to toot my own horn, BUT this has to be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, let alone come up with.  The photo does it no justice.  If you’ve ever eaten bison/buffalo meat, you will appreciate this recipe by just reading the ingredients… if you haven’t tried bison/buffalo meat yet, you are in for a treat.  Bison is so much leaner than beef, AND tastes even yummier in my opinion.  According to an article on Livestrong.com, “a 3 oz. serving of beef sirloin contains 12 grams of fat, while 3 oz. of bison sirloin contains just 5 grams. Beef sirloin is also higher in saturated fat, with 5 grams, compared to 2 grams of saturated fat in bison sirloin.”  Pretty impressive, huh?  Ground bison can be found at your local Whole Foods Market (or other high end grocery), and even some basic grocery stores - just ask your butcher!  I made Garlicky Spaghetti Squash on the side, and it was a perfect meal.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!!

*Just a tip: you will probably want to double this so that you have left-overs!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs. ground buffalo (bison)
  • 15 oz. of Rao’s Marinara Sauce (or your favorite marinara/spaghetti sauce)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole wheat Panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - use 1 pepper, deseed and finely chop - about 1 tbsp.
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese (Buffalo mozzarella if you feel like spending the $!), cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese, for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, combine the buffalo meat, half of the marinara sauce, eggs, Panko crumbs, chipotle pepper, onion, basil, salt, and black pepper.  Mix well.  Divide the mixture into thirds.  Spread 1/3 in the bottom of an ungreased 9x5” loaf pan.  Place half of the mozzarella slices on top.  Repeat layers, and end with the meat.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Spread the rest of the sauce on the buffaloaf. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, and add parmesan to top.  Bake for 5 minutes more.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!

Chipotle Goat Cheese “Caprese-style” Salad
Serves 4 
The other night, I had some leftover goat cheese and a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from another couple of recipes I will post soon.  I decided to make my own little version of a Caprese salad!  This is such a quick and easy recipe - perfect for a night when you don’t have a lot of time to cook, or when you need to take an app to a party, but need more time to get primped and pretty! ;) 
Ingredients:
4-5 medium GOOD, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-3/4” slices
About 2.5 oz. goat cheese, softened
Can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - use 1 chipotle pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (about 1 tbsp.)
A few onions from can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh dill and sea salt for finishing
Directions:
In a small bowl, mix together goat cheese, chipotle pepper, onions, and black pepper (to taste).  Arrange tomatoes on a pretty serving plate.  Scoop a dollop of the chipotle goat cheese mixture onto the middle of each tomato.  Top with sprigs of fresh dill, and sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt. Yum! :)
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Chipotle Goat Cheese “Caprese-style” Salad

Serves 4 

The other night, I had some leftover goat cheese and a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from another couple of recipes I will post soon.  I decided to make my own little version of a Caprese salad!  This is such a quick and easy recipe - perfect for a night when you don’t have a lot of time to cook, or when you need to take an app to a party, but need more time to get primped and pretty! ;) 

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium GOOD, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-3/4” slices
  • About 2.5 oz. goat cheese, softened
  • Can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - use 1 chipotle pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (about 1 tbsp.)
  • A few onions from can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh dill and sea salt for finishing

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix together goat cheese, chipotle pepper, onions, and black pepper (to taste).  Arrange tomatoes on a pretty serving plate.  Scoop a dollop of the chipotle goat cheese mixture onto the middle of each tomato.  Top with sprigs of fresh dill, and sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt. Yum! :)

Bacon Egg and Cheese Tart

Serves 4

While I was in the check-out aisle at the grocery store the other day, I glanced over to see an amazing looking breakfast creation on the cover of the Food Network Magazine. I picked up the magazine to glance at the recipe, and decided to go ahead and buy it because every page I turned to had something delicious on it. I decided this breakfast tart would be the perfect dish to make for my family on Easter morning - which it was! Unfortunately I bought the magazine a little too late, because there was a contest to think up a clever name for the tart, but the contest had expired. I’ll update the name when they pick a winner! For the record, I would’ve called it “Breakfast in a Basket.”

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of a 17-to-18-ounce package), thawed
  • 2 strips bacon (I use 4 strips)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded havarti cheese (or more!)
  • 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives, for topping

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425º F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square, then cut into 4 equal squares. Slightly fold and pinch the edges of each square to form 4 round tart shells. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and prick all over with a fork. Bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, turning, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then crumble.

3. Let the tart shells cool slightly on the baking sheets. If the centers are very puffy, prick with a fork to deflate. Sprinkle evenly with the havarti and parmesan. Make a shallow well in the cheese in the center of each tart and crack an egg into each; season with salt and pepper. Top with the bacon, then return to the oven and bake until the egg whites are set, 10 to 15 minutes. Top with chives.

*I served the tarts with fresh fruit and sparkling rosé champagne (mimosas would be great, too).