TUSCAN BEAN & TUNA SALAD CROSTINI

Perfect for a cocktail party, but this mixture is also great to use in sandwiches or to serve over a bed of mixed salad greens.

Crostini wo bottle25

Prep time – 25 minutes
Makes about 4 cups (about 60 small crostini)

INGREDIENTS:

For the Dressing:
1/3 cup Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or freshly ground black pepper)

1 can (14 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed & well drained
2 (5-oz. EACH) cans solid white tuna in water, well drained
½ cup fennel, very thinly sliced*
¼ cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley
1 Tbsp. capers

1 hd radicchio, finely shredded
2 long, thin baguette loaves, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds; lightly brushed with olive oil & oven toasted

INSTRUCTIONS:

- For the Dressing- In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, gently toss together the beans, tuna, fennel, olives, onion, parsley & capers. Pour the dressing mixture over the tuna mixture & toss until well combined. Season with additional salt & pepper, to taste. Cover bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate 30 minutes-1 hour.
- To assemble each crostini, place a few radicchio shreds onto a toasted baguette round. Top each with about 1 heaping tablespoon of the prepared chilled bean & tuna mixture. Serve immediately.

* Celery may be substituted for the fennel

SAVORY OLIVE OIL & HERB BISCOTTI

These savory “cookies”, with just a hint of sweetness, make a nice accompaniment to a glass of wine & a plate of nice cheeses.

Biscotti12

Prep time – 20 minutes
Cook time – about 1 hour
Makes about 34 biscotti

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts nuts (or hazel nuts)
2 tsp. fresh, coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, or a non-stick baking mat, or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal & baking powder. Stir in Parmesan, walnuts, pepper, rosemary, thyme & garlic powder, mixing until well blended.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar & oil until well combined. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients to form a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface & shape into two (2) 11-inch x 1-1/2-inch logs. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Gently press to slightly flatten top surface of each log. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on baking sheet 13-15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Carefully transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice each log crosswise, on a slight diagonal, into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Return slices, cut-side down, in a single layer, on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes; remove from oven, carefully flip over each slice & continue to bake 10-12 minutes or until cut surfaces of biscotti begin to turn golden brown.
Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer biscotti to a wire rack & cool completely.

* Biscotti may be made & stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED ROASTED ASPARAGUS with SPICY TAPANADE AIOLI

This tasty party finger-food also makes a wonderful side-dish for almost any meal

Aspargus35

Prep time – about 15 minutes
Cook time – about 8 minutes
Makes 16 pieces

INGREDIENTS:

16 medium asparagus, trimmed (about 10-12 oz.)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
16 thin slices prosciutto

INSTRUCTIONS:

- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil; spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl or shallow baking dish, toss asparagus with olive oil to coat well. Mix cheese & pepper in pie plate or shallow baking dish. Roll asparagus in cheese & pepper mixture to coat. Tightly wrap middle of each asparagus with 1 slice of prosciutto.
- Place prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, in a single layer, onto prepared baking sheet (do not over-crowd). Bake about 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender & prosciutto begins to crisp. Serve with Spicy Tapenade Aioli (see below) on the side.

Spicy Tapenade Aioli:

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. pitted, finely chopped, kalamata olives
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. lemon zest
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; stir until well blended.

PASTA & VEGETABLE FRITTATA WEDGES

Theis dish tastes just as delicious served warm or at room temperature

pasta vegetable frittata wedges

Prep time – 20 minutes
Cook time – about 40 minutes
Makes 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 lg. clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup EACH diced red, green & yellow peppers
½ cup EACH diced zucchini & yellow squash
1 cup small white mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely shredded
1 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 lg. eggs
¼ cup light cream or ½ & ½
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
6 oz. angel hair pasta, freshly cooked, drained, rinsed, tossed with 1 Tbsp. olive oil; cooled to room temperature

Optional garnish- Fresh chopped tomatoes, additional finely shredded basil & additional extra-virgin olive oil, if desired

INSTRUCTIONS:

- Preheat oven to 325°F. Generously grease a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate*.
- Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over Medium-High heat; add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3-4 minutes; add garlic. Stir in peppers, zucchini & yellow squash; sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms. Continue to cook, while stirring 3-4 minutes longer or until mushrooms are cooked through. Add wine. Cook & stir until wine evaporates & mixture is dry. Cool; stir in basil & parsley.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs, cream, salt & pepper until well blended. Stir in cheeses; mix in cooled vegetable mixture. Stir in pre-cooked pasta until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared pie plate. Bake 30-40 minutes or until eggs are set. Cool 15 minutes; Cut into wedges.
- If desired, garnish each serving with some diced, fresh tomatoes tossed with a bit of fresh chopped basil & an extra drizzle of olive oil.

* Mixture can be baked in a well grease a 9-inch square pan & cut into small squares

MINI SLIDERS with CREAMY GORGONZOLA-WALNUT SAUCE & BALSAMIC RED ONIONS

These little 2-bite burgers are full of big, hearty flavor!

Sliders wo napkin4

Prep time – about 45 minutes
Cook time – about 20 minutes
Makes about 15 (2-inch) sliders

INGREDIENTS:

BALSAMIC RED ONIONS:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2½ cups thinly sliced red onion
1 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper, to taste

GORGONZOLA-WALNUT SAUCE:
¾ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
¼ cup light cream or ½ & 1/2
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

SLIDERS:
1 lb. lean ground beef
½ lb. sweet Italian-style sausage meat*
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Olive Oil, as needed for grilling

Arugula leaves for serving on bottom of bun
15 (2-inch) party size soft rolls, such as potato, split (additional olive oil for toasting)

* or use hot Italian sausage meat, if desired

INSTRUCTIONS:

BALSAMIC RED ONIONS:
Heat olive oil in medium nonstick skillet over Medium-High heat. Add onion; sprinkle with sugar & sauté until very soften & golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until liquid cooks away & onion is very tender, about 3- 4 minutes. Season with salt & pepper; keep warm.

GORGONZOLA-WALNUT SAUCE:
Place cheese & cream in small, heavy saucepot; cover & bring to boil over Medium heat. Uncover; whisk until cheese melts & sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in walnuts, parsley & pepper; keep warm.

SLIDERS:
- Pre-heat grill* to Medium-High
- In a large bowl gently combine beef, sausage, egg, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper & garlic powder pepper until thoroughly combined. (Do not overmix.) Form meat mixture into 15 meatballs then press into 2-inch diameter burgers.
- Brush both sides of each mini burger with olive oil; grill on pre-heated grill, in batches if necessary, turning once until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (6-9 minutes total).

TO ASSEMBLE THE SLIDERS:

- Lightly brush the cuts sides of each roll with olive oil. Toast roll halves, cut-sides down, on grill.
- Place a couple of arugula leaves onto bottom half of each roll. Top each with about 1 heaping teaspoon of the Balsamic Red Onions, 1 cooked Slider & a spoonful of Gorgonzola-Walnut Sauce. Cover each with a roll top. Serve immediately.

* Broiler directions: 
Preheat broiler. Place the mini burgers on a large foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle each burger with olive oil, turn over and drizzle with more olive oil. Broil, turning over once until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (6-9 minutes total).

MINI KALE, SCALLION & SPICY CHORIZO CUPS

These little gems are similar to a crustless quiche, but with delicious smoky flavor. Perfect for your next cocktail party or brunch.

Mini cups17

Prep time – 20 minutes
Cook time – about 1 hour
Makes 24 Mini Cups

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups packed (ribs removed) finely chopped fresh kale
¼ cup sliced scallions
3 oz. spicy chorizo (Spanish or Portuguese-style), finely chopped
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
½ cup finely shredded cheddar-Jack blend cheese
6 large eggs
½ cup ½ & ½
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch of nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS:

- Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 2 (12-section) mini non-stick muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
- Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over Medium-High heat. Add kale, scallions & chorizo. Cook 4-5 minutes or until kale is wilted. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, ½ & ½, salt, pepper & nutmeg until well combined.
- Evenly divide the kale-chorizo mixture among prepared muffin tins. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the chorizo mixture in each cup, to just below the rims. Sprinkle top of each with about 1 teaspoon of the cheese.
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until the tops are puffed & begin to turn golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Using a small offset spatula (or small fork) carefully lift out of pans; serve warm. Garnish each with a sprinkle of additional chopped scallion, if desired.

*Got leftovers? Store covered in refrigerator 1-2 days. Reheat in microwave on HIGH power about 20-30 seconds.

MARINATED GRILLED SHRIMP with ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP

Great as an appetizer or a main course.

Shrimp30

Prep time – about 45 minutes
Cook time – about 6-8 minutes
Makes about 6 appetizer servings or 4 main course servings

INGREDIENTS

MARINADED GRILLED SHRIMP:
¼ cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. scallions, finely chopped
2 tsp. Ponzu sauce* (or soy sauce)
1 lg. clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. orange zest
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. extra large or jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined (about 24 shrimp)

ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP:
1 cup (about 6 oz.) jarred roasted red peppers, drained
1 small clove garlic
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped scallion
½ tsp. Smoked Spanish Paprika
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. orange juice
2 oz. cream cheese cut into small pieces, softened

INSTRUCTIONS:

MARINATED GRILLED SHRIMP:
- Soak 12 (6-inch long) bamboo skewers in water about 20 minutes.
- Place marinade ingredients in a large zipper-style plastic freezer bag; shake about 15 seconds to combine. Place shrimp in bag; seal, shake to coat well with marinade; refrigerate 30-45 minutes.
- Pre-heat grill to Medium-High. Thread 2 shrimp onto each pre-soaked skewer. Grill about 2-3 minutes per side or until pink & just cooked through. Serve warm with Roasted Red Pepper Dip (see below) & garnish with a sprinkle of additional chopped scallions, if desired.

ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP:
Pulse peppers & garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients & process until mixture is smooth & well pureed.

* Ponzu is a tangy sauce, often used in Japanese cuisine made with citrus juice, rice wine vinegar & soy sauce
** Shrimp may also be baked – Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine marinade ingredients in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish; whisk to blend. Stir in shrimp. Cover & refrigerate 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bake shrimp until pink & just cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. Spoon shrimp & juices onto serving plates. Serve with Roasted Red Pepper Dip.

GOLDEN RISOTTO BALLS filled with PROSCIUTTO, PEAS & ARTICHOKES

Crunchy on the outside, rich & flavorful on the inside, this recipe is sure to please!

Rossoto26

Prep time – 30 minutes
Cook time – 20 minutes (does not include time to pre-make & cool risotto)
Makes 14 Risotto Balls

INGREDIENTS:

FILLING:
¼ cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup canned artichoke hearts, well drained (about 2 hearts)
1 oz. (about 1-2 thin slices) prosciutto*
2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. chopped Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. frozen baby peas, thawed

3 cups prepared risotto**, well cooled
1 large egg, lightly beaten

COATING:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 lg. egg lightly beaten with 2 Tbsp. water
½ cup dry breadcrumbs (plain or seasoned)
3-4 cups organic olive oil for frying

Prepared tomato sauce, for serving (opt.)

INSTRUCTIONS:

- For the filling- Place mozzarella, artichokes, prosciutto, Parmesan & parsley in a food processor; pulse until very finely chopped. Place in small bowl; stir in peas. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix together the prepared risotto with 1 lightly beaten egg, until well combined. Roll risotto-egg mixture into 14 (1-1/2-inch) balls. Poke a small hole in center of each ball & insert about 1 scant teaspoon of the mozzarella-prosciutto filling mixture into each hole, then firmly re-form each into a ball, being sure to completely seal in the filling.
- For the coating- Place flour, beaten & water mixture & breadcrumbs in 3 separate bowls. Dredge each filled risotto ball in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, letting excess drip off, then roll in breadcrumbs & place on a sheet of wax paper.
- Heat 1 1/2 -2 inches olive oil in a 4-5-quart heavy pot on Medium-High heat until it registers about 360°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches (do not crowed the pot), carefully lower rice balls into oil with a slotted spoon & fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown; about 3-4 minutes per batch. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Return oil to 360°F between batches.
Serve on a small pool of warmed tomato sauce with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, if desired.

* You may substitute any good quality ham for the prosciutto
** Note- 1 cup raw Arborio rice prepared with 3-4 cups hot chicken broth yields approximately 3 cups cooked risotto

CRAB CAKES with CREAMY CILANTRO PESTO

These colorful, delicious & veggie-filled crab cakes are extra tasty when served with this slightly untraditional pesto sauce

Crab Cakes31

Prep time – 30 minutes
Cook time – 15 minutes
Makes about 24 mini crab cakes or about 8 servings (3 crab cakes each) & about 1 cup Creamy Cilantro Pesto

INGREDIENTS:

CRAB CAKES
6-7 Tbsp. organic olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup finely diced green pepper
1/3 cup finely diced red pepper

1 large egg
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (opt.)
8 oz. lump crabmeat, picked over
2/3 cup fresh, soft white breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley

¾ cup panko breadcrumbs*

CREAMY CILANTRO PESTO
1 clove garlic
½ cup packed, fresh cilantro leaves
¼cup packed, fresh Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. pignoli nuts, toasted, cooled
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

To Make the Crab Cakes:
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the light olive oil in a medium skillet over Medium-High heat. Add onion; cook, while stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in peppers & continue to cook 2-3 minutes longer or until just softened. Cool completely.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, salt, pepper & hot pepper sauce. Carefully stir in crabmeat, soft breadcrumbs, parsley & cooled pepper mixture until well combined. Form by heaping tablespoons, into 24 mini crab cakes (mixture will be very moist & loose). Place in single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Lightly cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate 1 hour.
- Coat each of the chilled crab cakes in panko crumbs, pressing firmly to reshape the crab cakes. Heat about half of the remaining light olive oil in a heavy, medium skillet over Medium-High heat. Working in batches, gently add crab cakes to skillet, being sure not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook about 3 minutes per side (or until golden brown), turning carefully & adding more oil to the pan, as needed.
Drain on paper towels.

To Make Creamy Cilantro Pesto:
- Pulse garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, Add cilantro, parsley, pignoli, Parmesan, mayonnaise, lemon juice & zest, pulsing after each addition, until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil and blend until incorporated; season with salt & pepper. Serve a small dollop on each crab cake.

*Panko is a Japanese crispy, crunchy-style coarse breadcrumb available at most local grocery stores & specialty gourmet stores.

PECORINO & BLACK PEPPER OVEN FRIES

This simple recipe turns every-day fries into a glamorous treat!

French Fries61

Prep time – 20 minutes
Cook time – about 1 hour
Makes 2-3 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. russet potatoes (about 2 med.), scrubbed, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick sticks*
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. grated pecorino cheese
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

- Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet** with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, toss potato sticks with olive oil then toss with pecorino & pepper until well coated. Spread, in a single layer, onto prepared baking sheet. Place in top third of oven & roast 40 minutes, or until golden brown, turning occasionally with a spatula. For a fun presentation, serve the fries in parchment paper cones.

*Potatoes may be cut up 1-2 days in advance & kept submerged, in cold water, in the refrigerator. Drain & well dry before using.
**For easy cleanup, line the baking sheet with foil, then spray with non-stick cooking spray.

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