This soup is creamy and garlicky, with roasted flavors from the cauliflower. The goat cheese adds a much-needed tang to pair with the otherwise mild flavors of the cauliflower and potatoes. I added a few chopped hazelnuts on top to give it an extra crunch.
After my last trip to the grocery store, where I impulse bought way too many oranges (don't know what I was thinking, how many oranges can one person eat?), I have been trying to come up with inventive ways of using them in recipes. After my failed attempt at making beet pasta, I was now left with a big bunch of beets. Clearly, the beets and oranges were meant to be together, tucked away in the vegetable crisper by themselves.
We had a few friends over for drinks last week, and I thought it appropriate to provide some delicious snacks. This is what I like to do. The great thing about crostini is the versatility you have when preparing. I chose a soft and creamy goat cheese base and added a few of my favorite ingredients for toppings. A little fancy, a bit of color, and we can now call it a party.
Figs, and their cute little stems poking out of the package, bright green, deep purple. Last week, I bought a bag of figs, 10 or so. I was so excited when I saw them in the store. I brought them home, and then completely forgot about them for a couple of days. Once found, their juices started seeping out of their skin, and I knew it would be too late if I didn't gobble them up that day.
Unable to eat a dozen figs, I knew that these little gems would need to make their way into a dish. I didn't want to use them in a dessert,
, being very close in my past. I found some inspiration from a fig and caramelized onion pizza I had a while back, and hoped to recreate it in my kitchen. Also, being intrigued by the newly en vogue micro greens, I envisioned a perfect accompaniment to this flat bread. A predominately sweet flavor, balanced by the creaminess of the cheese, and crisp earthy taste from the greens. Caramelized shallots turn from delicious to amazing once fried in butter, and then drizzled with balsamic, invokes some serious sensory stimuli. Sweet earthy figs, melt in your mouth, followed by a hint of creamy salty cheese. All flavors work so well together. A wonderful late summer treat. A perfect stage to display those beautiful figs.
FIG, CARAMELIZED SHALLOT, AND GOAT CHEESE FLATBREAD RECIPE
makes 2 medium size flat breads
notes: Micro greens can be substituted with arugula. Onions can be substituted for shallots, and dried figs can take the place of fresh. Any pizza dough recipe will work fine. If I am feeling extra lazy, I pop down to the grocery store and buy pre-made dough. There is no shame in that.
4 large shallots, sliced
2 tbsp butter for frying
2 - 3 tbsp good olive oil
6 - 8 figs, sliced
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 - 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful micro greens
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 500ºF or higher, depending on your oven. Place a pizza stone into the oven and allow to get hot. If you don't have a pizza stone, place the flatbread onto a baking tray just before placing into the oven. Let the pizza stone sit in the oven for at least 20 minutes before using.
In a medium size frying pan, add the butter and sliced shallots. Fry on low-medium heat, turning occasionally, until the onions have browned and caramelized, approximately 10 minutes.
Place a piece of parchment paper onto the counter. Grab a fist-size piece of dough and place onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle a small bit of flour onto the dough, and with a rolling pin, roll it out flat and 1/4 inch thick.
Generously spread a tbsp (or more) of olive oil on the dough. Spread half of the shallots, 3 or 4 sliced figs, and then drizzle balsamic vinegar on top. Crumble the goat cheese, drizzle a touch more oil, and season with salt and pepper.
With a pizza paddle, lift the flatbread and parchment paper, and place it onto the pizza stone. If you are using a baking tray, place the flatbread and paper onto the tray and into the oven.
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until the flatbread begins to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle with micro greens and serve.
A left-over package of cream cheese from the cheese festival last weekend, made an excellent base for the sauce. Some beautiful mushrooms, hearty and flavorful, cooked to perfection with some oil and garlic. The aromatic flavors from the garlic seeping into every nook and cranny. A red pepper to add crunch and a touch of color. Lemon zest and fresh parmesan cheese, a perfect combination.
After an afternoon of rearranging the cupboard, I was able to dig up a couple of bags of dried cranberries and some sliced almonds, which were perfect additions to this salad. I added some shallots, sliced celery, a sweet simple dressing of olive oil, garlic, balsamic, and maple syrup. My go-to salad dressing, perfect for all occasions. The amazing thing about this salad is that the flavors settle in and improve overnight
These beets would not be served as a side, like so many fancy pickles. I wanted these beets to be the lead character, so I roasted them with some olive oil, which brought out their flavorful earthiness and then peeled off their skins with my fingers. I paired them with a few simple ingredients: arugula, goat cheese, and cashews.