Open-Faced Caprese Sandwich

Open-Faced Caprese Sandwich

Open-Faced Caprese Sandwich

Open-Faced Caprese Sandwich

Sometimes simple is just better.  This is a riff on the traditional Caprese salad.  Contrary to many snobby online foodies, I think a drizzle of balsamic takes this to new and fantastic places.  Then again, I’m using a much more modest grade of olive oil than pretension would dictate.  As with nearly everything, it’s best to omit the sour grapes.

All that aside, this is a super fast, super easy, super cheap way to have a healthy weeknight dinner.  Make more than you think you’ll need.  Everyone goes back for seconds.

Caprese Ingredients

Caprese Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 good-sized heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ bunch of fresh basil, whole leaves and chopped
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced  (it comes in all shapes and sizes,  — just eyeball the amount that looks right to you.)
  • fresh baguette (I used sourdough, this is SF after all, but French would work just as well)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Italian spices
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Slice baguette lengthwise and then cut each piece in half (so you have 4).  Arrange bread cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (think subtle flavoring not saturation).  Sprinkle with minced garlic, Italian spices, and salt and pepper.
  3. Place single basil leaves side by side to cover each piece of bread.  Place tomato slices in a single layer on top of basil and sprinkle with salt.  Top tomatoes with a slices of fresh mozzarella.  Lightly drizzle top with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Bake in over on middle rack for 15 minutes (or until mozzarella starts to slightly melt).
  5. Remove pan from oven, top with remaining chopped basil and serve immediately with your favorite wine.
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Spaghetti Alla Primavera

Spaghetti Alla Primavera

Spaghetti Alla Primavera

Spaghetti Alla Primavera

After reading all the delicious recipes in October’s Saveur magazine and riding our bikes to the farmers’ market this weekend, it seemed like primavera was the perfect choice the the pre-election countdown.  I made a few adjustments to try and curb the point value: half and half for heavy cream and 4 Tbsp of olive oil instead of 6 and whole wheat pasta.  I also left out the pine nuts, much to my chagrin.  Didn’t really get to a low point value on this one, but it’s filled with delicious and healthy veggies and works as a great choice if you have saved up for the day and are ready to splurge on dinner.

Weight Watchers Points Plus Value:  11

SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS

4 tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup asparagus tips, blanched
1 cup small broccoli florets, blanched
½ cup frozen peas, blanched
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise, cut to 1″ lengths, blanched
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente
1 cup half and half
⅔ cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. thinly shredded basil

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add ⅔ of the garlic; cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus, broccoli, peas, and zucchini; cook 3 minutes. Add pasta, cream, Parmesan, and butter, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine; transfer to a platter.

2. Bring remaining oil and garlic, tomatoes, and basil to a simmer over medium heat; pour over pasta.

 

Bacon Kale and Tomato Pizza

Bacon Kale and Tomato Pizza

Bacon Kale and Tomato Pizza

Bacon Kale and Tomato Pizza

Pizza

The idea for dinner tonight hit me at around 2pm.  Sitting at my desk, slightly weary from the day, my thoughts wandered (as they sometimes do) to how I might console myself with dinner.  I sat back for a moment and took a mental inventory of our refrigerator.  Suddenly, I got a smoky, salty second wind: bacon!  My first reaction to bacon is always BLTs, but then I wrenched my mind out of the deli drawer for a moment and remembered our shopping frenzy over the weekend:  kale, whole wheat dough, fresh tomatoes, garlic, cheese.  I’ve been at this long enough to recognize a pizza fantasy when it strikes.  Resistance is futile.

Several months ago, Martha Stewart Living did a whole section on various pizzas that start on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet and then finish in the oven.  We were hooked from the day that issue arrived.  The possibilities are endless and the concept invites creativity and whim and, if you think about it, you can turn just about anything into a pizza.  Sizzling, delicious, fresh-baked dough is but a delivery system for what you crave (or what you have on hand) and then you get to cover it with melted cheese.  How can you possibly go wrong?

Bacon Kale and Tomato Pizza

  • Whole wheat pizza dough (you can get delicious fresh pizza dough at Trader Joe’s for less than $2) Pull out of fridge about 30 minutes before you start to bring to room temperature.
  • 5 strips of bacon, cooked half-way to desired crispiness
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 bunch of flat leaf kale, washed and left in whole leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 3/4 cup pecorino cheese, grated
  • olive oil
  • flour for dusting
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Brush 1 Tbsp olive oil evenly across the surface of a cast iron skillet.
  3. Dust cutting board with flour and flatten dough by hand into a round that comes up just slightly above the bottom of a cast iron skillet.
  4. Press dough into oiled skillet, pushing down to create a crust at the edges.
  5. Brush dough with olive oil to cover with a thin layer.
  6. Distribute garlic evenly across dough.
  7. Arrange kale leaves with leaf tops at outer crust and stalk ends at center of dough in a circle .
  8. Brush kale leaves with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
  9. Squeeze lemon juice over kale leaves.
  10. Arrange bacon on top of kale leaves.
  11. Arrange tomato slices in a pattern over bacon.
  12. Distribute grated cheese over pizza
  13. Heat skillet over medium heat until crust begins to brown on bottom, about 8 minutes.
  14. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until edges turn golden brown.
  15. Turn broiler on high for two minutes.
  16. Remove from oven and transfer to a cookie sheet.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then slice and serve.
Bacon Kale and Tomato Pizza with Kale Salad

Bacon Kale and Tomato Pizza with Kale Salad

I used the rest of the bunch of kale and another tomato and some additional grated pecorino cheese and made a nice fresh salad.  I mixed some lime-infused olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and herbs de provence into a simple dressing and then squeezed the lemon juice from the other half of the lemon I had left from the pizza over it.  Then finished it with more grated cheese.