Savory Recipes

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Savory Goat Ricotta Cheese Puffs Recipe

There are guests coming tomorrow, and as usual I had no clue about what to make. I scoured my pantry and found a bag of macadamia nuts, just waiting to be used. I made walnut pesto yesterday, and I didn't feel like making another pasta and pesto dish. As they say, variety is the spice of life. 

I think appetizers are perfect for dinner parties; they allow people to nibble without interrupting the flow of conversation. I often make some sort of mini puff pastry, and I thought a macadamia pesto would be the perfect filling. However, a traditional pesto would be too thin on its own, so I added some homemade crème fraîche and some goat ricotta cheese. As you may have noticed, I'm a huge fan of goat ricotta cheese, and I get it whenever it's available at the local creamery.

Today, I made the pesto and the dough, tested out and baked a couple of puffs in the oven for tasting. The smell was intoxicating, and it was really difficult to snap a couple of photos before everyone descended upon them. 

You can freeze both the pesto and the dough. If you often have last minute guests as we do, it's easy to pop them out of the freezer and bake them. Your guests will love them, and you'll be a rockstar without much effort!


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Parsley-Walnut Pesto Penne Pasta with Asparagus Recipe

I had some leftover curly parsley from my stuffed tomatoes, and some walnuts leftover from my kiwi tarts, and I needed to figure out what to do with them. Pesto seemed like the perfect way to utilize the ingredients I had on hand. The parsley provided the green color and "herby" flavor typically delivered by the more commonly used basil.  I used the walnuts in place of pine nuts, and blended them with the parsley along with some olive oil. I added some walnut oil as well to accentuate the flavor of the whole walnuts and tossed the mixture with sautéed leeks and asparagus and mini penne pasta.

Finding ways to use not only your leftovers, but your leftover ingredients, will save you time and money. You just need to have a few flexible, go-to recipes in your culinary arsenal, and you'll be prepared to face whatever your refrigerator and pantry throw at you. Pesto is definitely one of those recipes.


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Vietnamese-Style Stuffed Tomatoes (Tomates Farcies) Recipe

A lot of Vietnamese dishes are inspired by French cuisine, because Vietnam was a longtime colony of the French empire. Tomates farcies (cà chua nhồi thịt in Vietnamese) is no exception. In Vietnam, it is referred to as tomates farcies, which literally translates to "stuffed tomatoes tomatoes"!

Traditional French stuffed tomatoes are filled with garlic bread crumbs, chair à saucisse and chopped jambon de Bayonne (sausage meat and prosciutto). The Vietnamese version uses the same filling as meat eggrolls.

I used veal for its low fat content as well as its texture and color for this dish. And most important, it cooks pretty fast. You can certainly use any other meat, such as ground beef.

 


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Orange-Flavored Fried Tofu with Water Chestnuts Recipe

I felt like making my vegetarian sweet and sour pork recipe today, but I didn't have any pineapples on hand. Sweet and sour sauce is very versatile; you can substitute many tart fruits in place of the pineapple, such as oranges, plums or green mangoes. I had a number of sweet oranges on hand, so I used them instead. 

The dish turned out to be a big hit. I think it's important to have at least a few recipes in your repertoire that are easy to modify depending on what you have in your pantry. This particular sauce goes great with chicken as well, so if, like me, you have to cater to both meat eaters and vegetarians, you can make one sauce for two dishes.


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Wild Rice and Orzo Salad with Maple Vinaigrette Recipe

This dish is really three recipes in one. I combined my wild rice, kidney bean salad and orzo pasta salad recipes together to make a light and healthy meal. The maple vinaigrette helps tie everything together.

I usually make orzo pasta salad for parties and picnics, but we've been having a heat wave here and we all felt like eating something cool. The addition of kidney beans for protein and wild rice for fiber makes the dish more of a complete meal. If you have some leftover roast chicken, you can dice or shred it and add it to the salad as well.


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