Pear & Gorgonzola {Flatbread}

Flatbread makes everyone happy.

This recipe straddles the delicate balance that all hostesses search for: Something the ladies will love (and be impressed by) but that the husbands will still chow down on with abandon.

Enter Pear & Gorgonzola Flatbread. Perfect for parties (now one of my most “requested” appetizers!), or for a meal with salad, or just when you’re craving one of the most perfect sweet/salty marriages ever.

The stinky cheese makes foodies swoon, but it looks enough like pizza that dudes will grab a slice, too.

Talk about a win, win.

Pear & Gorgonzola Flatbread

Inspired by the California Pizza Kitchen

Makes 2 Flatbreads, Serves 8 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium onion (I used a Vidalia – on the sweeter side of spectrum)
  • 2 Pears (Try a mix of varieties for color)
  • About 1/2 Cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Package of Whole Wheat Naan (Usually contains two flatbreads – Or, use pita or make your own from scratch!)
  • 2 T Earth Balance or Olive Oil
  • 1 T Garlic Gold or Olive Oil
  • 2 T Fig Vinegar (The fruit flavor works well with this recipe, but balsamic is a great substitute)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Chop onion into thin half-moons, and roughly slice pears (about 1/2 in. thick, varying sized pieces).
  • Add onion to medium/medium high heat along with Earth Balance. Add vinegar, stir occasionally, and cook until browned and almost caramelized – 10-15 minutes. Add sliced pears, stir. Allow to cook down and soften, about 5 minutes (you may need to add a little more EB).
  • Remove Naan from package, and lay on a baking sheet. Lightly brush with Garlic Gold.
  • Spread pear and onion mixture over flatbreads, then sprinkle (liberally) with the Gorgonzola cheese.
  • Place flatbreads in oven, and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the breads are crispy and the cheese begins to melt.
  • Remove from oven, slice, and serve warm! Arugula, tossed with a little balsamic, makes a great garnish… and a great Cabernet :)
Enjoy!
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{Warm up} Spicy Carnitas Chili

It’s freezing.

As in, the temperature stood at a grand total of 5 degrees yesterday morning as I headed out the door to work. Yuck.

The Husband and I had planned on swimming after work this week, but because of the wet, blustery weather we decided against it.

My feet had already been damp all day long, and the thought of jumping in a pool made me want to die.

So instead, I made chili.

So worth it.

This recipe is based off of my favorite Turkey Chilli recipe from Eat, Live, Run, and was inspired by Alexandria’s Tacos De Puerco – A braised pork belly taco with tomato-ancho sauce, queso fresco and cilantro… that is to die for.

And so, Spicy Carnitas Chili was born… Try it!

Spicy Carnitas Chili

Ingredients:

Makes about 8 servings

(Don’t be intimidated by this long list – it’s easy!)

  • About 2 cups (a little more or less works just as well) of cooked pork loin, cut into bite-sized cubes (I used leftovers that I had roasted with cranberries, rosemary and apples. Great flavor!)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large green (or red or orange or yellow…) bell pepper
  • 8 cloves of garlic (yeppers – e.i.g.h.t.)
  • 1-2 Jalapeno peppers, or 1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped (depends on how HOT you like your chili! The chilies add an amazing depth of flavor, but can heat things up pretty quickly. Watch out!)
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1T ground cumin
  • 2T brown sugar
  • 1 t oregano
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 regular cans of black beans
  • About 2 cups of corn, fresh or frozen
  • Chopped cilantro, shredded cheese and plain Greek yogurt for garnish

Directions:

  • Chop onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño pepper (or chilies). Sauté everything in two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium/low heat in a large pot/stockpot.
  • After about five minutes, add cooked, cubed pork loin (or add pound of lean ground turkey). Cook until the meat begins to form a crust (or has browned if you are using raw – about 8 mins.). Stir to keep things moving!
  • Add chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, oregano and tomato paste. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly (Don’t worry – the crunchy stuff on the pan is flavor!).
  • Add red wine , stir – this will “deglaze” the pot.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, beans (drained and rinsed), and corn.
  • Give it one last stir, then cover and let simmer for about an hour. Check and stir occasionally.
  • Serve piping hot with a hearty garnish of chopped cilantro, shredded cheese and plain Greek yogurt. A few tortilla chips would be a nice addition as well…

Enjoy!

This soup is thick, and almost has a smoky BBQ flavor that is out of this world. The meat is tender and falls apart – each bite is full of rich, fresh flavors and textures (and, like most soups, it just gets BETTER sitting overnight in the fridge!). Awesome for a group, perfect for a snowed-in weekend, and just different enough to keep your taste buds entertained.

You, on the other hand, might need a few Lifetime movies, nail polish, a good book and a backrub.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Wine a little…it makes everything better

After 12 hours of traveling with friends, seeing beautiful views, getting a wonderful surprise, witnessing 50 middle-aged tipsy women hitting on our husbands, lots of mental math, a few (haha) wine samples and a baker’s dozen of bottles packed into the trunk…. we made it home!

We traveled with our friends Cole and Steph to the Seven Springs Resort for their annual Food & Wine Festival to work with the Laurel Mountain Winery.

Our road trip companions were excellent, and I wish we had a video of our jokes and conversations (and of the lady with the house-arrest ankle bracelet at the Stop-and-Go/ Subway combo…but that’s another story). We also loved them for their Costco Pub Mix.

Girls got the back seat…

A running theme of conversation throughout our drive was the quality of our hotel. The girls were prepared to stick it out no matter what – we’re pretty tough (we even completed the Warrior Dash this summer together!) – but the boy’s comments about the probable state of the hot tub and lack of breakfast options started to wear on us. Just as the trip was ending and we were starting to wonder if we should just camp in the car, we saw the hotel sign out the window….. and then we saw it pass us by. The boys shouted “Surprise!” in unison!

They worked some last-minute magic and got us an amazing room at Seven Springs – right at the location of the festival! We could have cried for joy – they had known for days and kept it a secret…and played up the ‘bad’ hotel on purpose! Sneaky…

We had two busy days of pouring, selling and manning the cash register (I was there with two ‘enginerds‘ and a math teacher, and guess who had to make change? Me.). Luckily, we had enough hands that we could take shifts walking around the festival to taste and see the sights.

Cole and his “Papa John”- He owns the winery, and even hosted a seminar comparing wines for CA and PA.

The Husband and Cole poured samples, and poured on the charm – they made splash with the ladies – They LOVED their dreamy blue eyes…and the fact that they were 25.  And Steph and I got our workouts in with bagging and boxing bottles for customers.

Matching “Screw it” shirts – We fit right in!

Though most of the wines at the festival were “traditional” Pennsylvania wines and therefore on the sweeter side, the Hubby and I were able to pick out two juicy Cabernets and two Pinot Grigios that were just right. We also got “The Fainting Goat” (loved the name…and couldn’t pass it up with my 4-H goat-showing past) a black cherry wine, and a bright orange mango that was bright, light and not too sweet.

“Groundhog Grog” was Laurel Mountain’s spiced apple wine that was a huge hit – perfect served warm or used as a marinade

Both couples ended up with a ton of great memories, more than enough wine to last us a while : ) Special thanks to Papa John and his wife Barbara for their generosity (dinner was amazing!) and to Cole & Steph for inviting us to tag along!

The Hubby even found some goldfish!

WINEding road trip

My husband hears a lot about my healthy cooking and new recipes. Hence, this gem of a facebook post from last night *Note: I was out late on a bike trip and just saw it this morning:

Goldfish, Cashews, Pecans, and a Coke…I’m practically a vegan.

Dinner of champions. At least his heart is in the right place.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited because after work today, we head out with our good friends Cole & Steph on a roadtrip….and it involves WINE. No, not while driving. Our destination for the weekend is the Seven Springs Wine & Food Festival in PA.

This is “The Gang” – Three of the husbands best friends from school. They came up from Columbus to hang out a few times this summer and are a blast!

Cole’s grandfather owns  Laurel Mountain Winery, and invited us to help him out at the festival! We love our vino, and can’t wait to jump in. The hubby is particular exited about sharing his thoughts with attendees on the subtle flavors he detects in each variety….but, in light of the state his palate (think the comment above), I don’t know if hints of “Welch’s fruit snacks” and “Mt. Dew” will fly with the customers : )

We’ll see how this goes….