Roasted Red Grape and Ricotta Crostini, Kale Avocado Salad, and Killer Romesco Sauce

IMG_4315It’s a day too cold to spend much time outside, so why not see a mid-day movie and then have an impromptu dinner party? For this type of relaxed dinner, I am one to look to a couple reliable favorites, a new recipe that looks foolproof, and crostini.

Here’s our menu:

Crostini with fresh ricotta and roasted red grapes
Kale and avocado salad with lemon-pecorino dressing
Roasted butternut squash with figs
Multicolor quinoa pilaf
Roasted shrimp with Romesco sauce (the new recipe that turned out to be foolproof)

Before our friends arrived, we did the prep—making the Romesco sauce, washing kale and stirring together the dressing, peeling and slicing butternut squash,  rinsing quinoa, and chopping onions for the pilaf and cilantro for a garnish.

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Corn soup with oregano pesto burrata crostini and a scallop salad

Lots of excitement yesterday, starting with the local yarn crawl. The goal of such an event is to visit as many local yarns stores as possible, admire new yarns, make aspirational yarn purchases, and hang out with other yarnhoarders likeminded people. But we had a very specific recycled cashmere mission and headed straight to the Woolpack to see Ellie’s new yarns. She unravels worn cashmere sweaters, gently washes the yarn, and spins it into luxurious color combinations. We also wanted to show her the socks we made with her yarn (one of us went on a knitting spree into the wee hours the night before):

OK, I know you came here for the food. Dinner brought some good friends from Newburyport. We had bonded with these folks over burrata earlier this summer, so I decided to indulge us and made the burrata and oregano pesto crostini pictured above. It’s simple. Just make a batch of this pesto, toast some bread, and top it with burrata and a drizzle of the oregano pesto.

I’m feeling the corn countdown. It’s still at the Boston farmer’s market, but some of the local  farms are done for the season. It’s finding its way into salads and is the star in this simple corn soup. To give the presentation a bit more zing, I topped the soup with some of this paprika and herb oil.

The crostini and soup can be filling, so the entrée was on the lighter side: a mixed lettuce salad with seared scallops, roasted beets, lentils, cherry tomatoes, and roasted delicata squash, inspired by this salad from last fall and this one, which helped me get over my anxiety for cooking scallops.

Dinner was followed by this luxurious chocolate pumpkin spice cake brought by our friends, and a round of joke telling. What could be better?

Green garlic and pistachio pesto crostini

Asparagus and spring garlic are here! I almost cried when a dear friend brought me a bunch of asparagus from McGrath Farm a couple weeks ago. Something freshly grown to eat. And now they have spring garlic!

Spring garlic seems to be fussed over in places with long winters. We will eat almost anything with gusto if it comes out of the ground this month. None of my California friends even knew what I was talking about when I told them about my green garlic find.

It’s a warm day filled with energetic weed pulling and tomato planting and dirt hauling, so dinner is going to be light. Along with a hearty salad, I’m making green garlic and pistachio pesto crostini, with optional burrata on top. Continue reading

Edamame pesto and roasted beet crostini recipe

We are in the home stretch of winter, and even though it’s been one of the warmest winters in New England and the forsythia is blooming nearly 2 months early, it’s still slim pickings, food wise. We are many weeks away from garlic scapes or asparagus or peas at the nearby farms. I’ve had quite enough kale and winter squash and now I long for spring and fresh vegetables.

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