Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread

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This week has been a doozy! I had to scale my salsa recipes to get a step process from the Cornell Food Science Center, meaning I had to make at least a gallon of each formula! My friends and husband are in heaven at the moment because they are reaping the benefits of my over-production.

I have been cooking dinner all week, but because I have been so busy during the day, I haven’t been able to photograph the meals and share them with you. If you follow my instagram stories, I told you all a while back that to blog about food you have to cook in the middle of the day to get good lighting.  Sure you can artificially create lighting with special tools, but I don’t have these tools, and since I do all of my own photography, it is a lot cheaper to use natural light.

Anyway, thanks to days becoming longer as the spring and summer seasons approach, I did manage to snap a couple of photos of things I have made this week. On Tuesday evening, I met up with a fabulous group of girls who are all fellow entrepreneurs in the Fairfield County area.  Many of these inspiring women own their own brands or shops, and others have highly successful lifestyle and travel blogs.  I am humbled by their achievements, but equally so inspired by their success.

We meet once a month usually and this month our hostess asked me to bring an appetizer. I wanted to make something tasty, but filling without being heavy. Sort of a unicorn of appetizers you might think, but this flatbread really hit the nail on the head.

What you need:

  • Store-bought flatbread or pizza crusts
  • Large Mozzarella Ball
  • Figs, quartered
  • Prosciutto, separated and chopped roughly
  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Glaze
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 425F.

The beauty of using a pre-made flatbread is that it is a major time saver.  Of course you can do your own dough if you have the time, but as I mentioned, its been a crazy week!

Tear apart your mozzarella ball and spread it around the crust or flatbread.

Bake your flatbread on a pizza stone or directly on the rack for about 10-13min until cheese is melted and flatbread is crispy.

Add on your prosciutto and figs and drizzle over the balsamic glaze and olive oil.

Season lightly with sea salt and pepper and enjoy!

Rustic Chicken

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For my recent birthday, two of our very good friends came into town from Toronto Canada.  One is from Montreal, and our friendship goes all the way back to our days in London.  We have known each other for eight years (which is crazy to think about), and have managed to stay in touch across continents, and through several moves! His partner I met almost four years ago now, and our friendship has grown over the years as well.

Anyway, knowing how much I love cooking, they brought me these delicious artisanal French mustards from Maille in really cool, ceramic refillable pots. One is a black truffle mustard, and the other is a white wine mustard – both so full of flavor and each very unique.

I was very eager to try them both, so I started brainstorming quickly about what I wanted to do with them.  James and I love truffles, so naturally I wanted try that one first. This recipe was such a success, I have now made it twice!

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What you need:

  • 2lbs of chicken (boneless, skinless thighs or breasts)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup black truffle mustard
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter

Pre heat your oven to 400F.

In a cast iron pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.

Add your minced shallots and cook for about 5 min.

Add in your smashed garlic cloves and cook another minute or two.

Season your chicken with salt and pepper, and add this to the pan to sear the outside.

Cook on each side for about 3-4min until nicely seared, but not cooked through.

Remove the chicken from the pan.

Add in your mustard and white wine.  Cook down for a few minutes until the sauce reduces a bit.

Add your artichokes, capers, and lemon juice and then your chicken as well.

Spoon some sauce over the chicken and place in the oven.

Cook for about 15-20min depending on thickness of chicken.

Always cut through chicken to make sure its fully cooked, if it needs more time, no problem!

Enjoy with roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, or pretty much anything you’d like.

This sauce is full of flavor, and your chicken will come out so juicy!

 

Shrimp Tacos

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Yesterday was taco Tuesday, most everyone’s favorite night of the week! I love making seafood tacos because they feel a little better for you than using beef or chicken. We recently had the most delicious fried oyster tacos, and I will work on reproducing those this summer!

It’s another really beautiful day here in CT, but man a cold front blew in and the wind is chilly! After today we will be making a slow ascension to more Spring like temperatures, but for some reason the warm weather just won’t stick! We had a really mild winter, but it does seem to be dragging on a bit… And to rub salt in the wound, down in TX, where my family is, it is in the mid 80s! So unfair!

Back to tacos!  The other fun part about taco night is that it is a very easy and fast dinner to get on the table.  Shrimp only take a few min to cook, and the guac and red cabbage slaw take only a few minutes as well.  I cheated on the beans this week and used canned black beans drained and rinsed, so all the more, this dinner was VERY fast to get on the table.

They key to this recipe was the marinade!

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What you need:

  • 1-2lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 guajillo chile (dried and ground up/broken apart – seeds and all)
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, mix together all of your ingredients except the shrimp.

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry before you put them in the marinade.

Add the shrimp and let sit for about 30min – 1 hour.  You don’t need to leave seafood to marinade as long as meat, it can over power the flavor.

In the meantime, heat your grill or grill pan to medium heat.

I used kabob sticks as they make it easier to cook this many shrimp at once, but that is up to you.

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Put your shrimp on the kabob sticks (if using bamboo, make sure to soak in water for at least 30min before using to avoid fire).

Cook shrimp for about 2-3min per side until cooked through.

Remove from the kabobs, and serve with tortillas, guacamole, salad, or whatever other sides you might like.

Buen Provecho!

 

Pork Tenderloin

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As I mentioned in yesterday’s Orzo Pasta post, we enjoyed that dish with a really nice roasted pork tenderloin.  We got all of these ingredients at Mike’s Organic Delivery, so everything is super fresh, organic, and humanely sourced. I love when we can support local businesses, especially those whose goals line up so closely with ours.

Anyway, things have been really getting busy over here, and slowly but surely, Spring is trying to creep in. Back home in Texas it is already in the mid to upper 80s, so as you might imagine, I am very ready for warmer weather. Right now the cooler temperatures are making me crave carbs and other filling things. Salads are just so unsatisfying this time of year and I could eat one almost every day in the summer!

This dish was a really nice solution to a warm carby option without being too unhealthy! The fresh spinach in the pasta added some great nutrients, and the wheat orzo felt a little healthier than regular pasta.  The pork was so lean too, so over all this is a nicely balanced dish to satisfy our cold weather cravings.

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What you need:

  • 1 medium pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

In a ziplock bag or glass baking dish, season your pork tenderloin with salt and pepper.

Add in all of the rest of the ingredients, including the oregano.

Score the pork a few times and insert the smashed garlic pieces.

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Let marinate for 1-4 hours.

Heat your oven to 400F.

Cook pork tenderloin for 20-25min.

Let it rest for about 10min before your cut into it.

Then serve over the orzo pasta or over any other side dish you’d like.

Enjoy!

 

Orzo Spinach Pasta

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We have had an eventful couple of weeks here at Casa Burke. I turned 30, which was great, we threw a huge party for said 30th, my parents flew up and then got stuck here – thanks winter storm Stella, and then I got lasik eye surgery! Luckily, last week and this week are Spring Break for most Greenwich schools, so I didn’t have too much client work to juggle with the family visit and then eye surgery.

I am pleased to say I now have 20/20 vision, which is such an awesome 30th birthday gift! It is life changing to not have to wear contacts or glasses anymore. I got glasses around the age of 8, and contacts around the age of 11 because I was that super cool kid who was lucky enough to get braces at the same time…. I will give you a moment to imagine how popular/cool I wasn’t…

Anyway, I have worked a couple of parties for clients lately and planned the food for my own party, but sadly I was neglecting the blog.  Tsk Tsk… I know! But today is a new day, and I can see clearly the road ahead! I have an exciting salsa project in the pipeline and a few other cool developments, so over all The Gourmet Cocina is cooking! (pun definitely intended… still imagining how cool I am not?)

Today’s recipe is part of a two part series.  I will post the pork tenderloin that we served with this pasta tomorrow.  The pasta is definitely a stand alone, and really yummy and healthy!

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What you need:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2-3 cups orzo pasta
  • 1 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (a high quality one)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot of salted water cook your orzo according to the packaging instructions.  Mine said for 10-12min.

Meanwhile, using about a tablespoon of olive oil, sauté your onion in a good, heat conducting pan on medium-low heat until translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add in your garlic and cook for about a minute until fragrant.

Pour in the sherry wine vinegar and reduce by half.

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Once your pasta is done and your vinegar has reduced, drain your pasta and mix together the reduction and the pasta in a large bowl.

Add in your fresh spinach, and the heat of the pasta and sauce will cause it to wilt slightly.

Add in the balance of the olive oil, the fresh lemon juice, and sea salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is so fresh and delicious, and would be a great accompaniment to a lot of different things.  Feel free to add parmesan or pecorino or even goats cheese if you want, but I kept this dairy free.

 

 

 

 

Red Berry Smoothie

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Happy International Women’s Day friends! I can’t believe I haven’t really posted in almost two weeks, but the last two weeks have been quite an adventure! We got back from our amazing trip to Hawaii, and really hit the ground running. Business for me in Greenwich has really picked up and I have been working small dinner parties, and even a very large cocktail party!

The planning alone takes a lot of time, but the preparation and organization needed to pull off a spectacular evening really takes dedication. Thankfully the events went off without a hitch, but each required their own brand of in the moment thinking on my feet.

The other very exciting adventure is that I am in the process of getting all of my necessary certifications to sell my salsas! I am still working on a good name for them, but they will fall under The Gourmet Cocina umbrella. I have been making salsa for almost a decade now and I have really perfected it. Every time I go home my family has me make it, and at least once a month, my husband begs me to make it too!  Even my spice averse English in-laws love it, and that is truly a compliment!

Anyway, to actually get to a phase where you are producing it, you have to get over a few hurdles, and I am working on those now.  I see some light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a process!

But back to being a badass girl boss right! It’s international women’s day and I have the great privilege of being friends with some of the most intelligent, strong, impressive women! I have a whole group of friends in TX, NYC, and Brooklyn who each dominate in their own industries, and another group of friends here in CT who all own or run their own companies, blogs, and brands. It is so inspiring to have such successful and fabulous women around me, and they all push me to take The Gourmet Cocina to the next level.

Aside from tomato soup, tomato sauce, and salsas, there aren’t really that many red foods.  I could have done something with beets maybe, but though tasty, there is nothing exciting about beets! So today I made myself a red berry smoothie as a little healthy treat in honor of all my fellow badass females out there. This one isn’t too complicated, but it was delish!

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What you need:

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 6 oz coconut water
  • 4 oz regular water

Throw it all into a blender and enjoy!

I did’t have any spinach or greens to throw in today, but that would have been a nice added level of nutrition.

This is a breakfast of champions and will help you awesome ladies out there have the energy you need to start your day off right!