Friday, May 19, 2017

Smoked Salmon Bruschetta with Pickled Onions to Celebrate National Pinot Grigio Day

By: The Food Hunter

Kick-off summer with the first ever National Pinot Grigio Day on May 26, 2017, sponsored by Cavit wine. Cavit first introduced their Pinot Grigio in the United States back in 1977 and to increase awareness is introducing National Pinot Grigio Day; which will be the Friday before Memorial Day each year.

Here's how I would celebrate National Pinot Grigio Day:

First, decide if you want to celebrate with friends or make it an intimate occasion with a loved one. Second, pour your favorite Pinot Grigio, like Cavit brand which is light and refreshing with hints of citrus and green apple. Third pair the wine with an appetizer like Smoked Salmon & Pickled Onions Bruschetta.

Smoked Salmon Bruschetta with Pickled Onions. 

1 loaf bread
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
4-6 tbsp cream cheese
fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 package smoked salmon
pickled onions (recipe below)

Slice bread into thin rounds and toast in a toaster oven. In the meantime mix Greek yogurt, cream cheese and fresh lemon juice in a small food processor until creamy. Season with salt and adjust taste adding more cream cheese or yogurt as you see fit.

Spread a thin layer of cream cheese mixture on the toasted bread. Top with pieces of smoked salmon. Finish it off with a dollop of cream cheese and a pickled onion.

Pickled Onions 
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
½ tsp peppercorns
1 cup white vinegar

 Place the onion and garlic in a large non-reactive bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and peppercorns to a small sauce pot. Add the vinegar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Place a lid on the pot and bring the mixture up to a boil over medium-high heat.

Once boiling, pour over the sliced onions. Make sure all the onions are submerged, and let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Once cool, you can use the onions immediately or store in the refrigerator.

I've received product and/or compensation for posts featuring Cavit Wine. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Baked Pasta with Chicken & Peas

By: The Food Hunter

Family dinners at our house most often include pasta. Whether it's red sauce or white, fresh or baked, pasta is delicious and goes a long way. To make pasta dishes more satisfying I like to add protein and veggies whenever I can.

Since we eat pasta quite a lot I am always looking for new recipes. The baked pasta below was adapted from Jamie Oliver's, (I sure do enjoy his recipes) Chicken Leek and Pea Pasta Bake. This dish is easy to make, full of flavor and has quickly become a family favorite at my house.

Baked Pasta with Chicken & Peas
(adapted from Jamie Oliver)

1 tablespoon butter , plus extra for greasing
1 lb short pasta, I used large elbows
olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup frozen peas
8 ounces cooked chicken, diced
1 cup milk
8 ounces ricotta cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9X12 baking dish. Cook your pasta, for slightly less than the recommend time on the box. You want it slightly undercooked. Drain and run under cold water to stop it from cooking further. Return to the saucepan and coat with a drizzle of olive oil.

Meanwhile, place the butter in a frying pan and gently fry the leeks for 10 minutes or until they’re soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and wine, then cook for 8–10 minutes, or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the peas, stir and cook for 30 seconds.
To the drained pasta, add the leek mixture, chicken, milk and two-thirds of the ricotta. Mix gently to combine and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the pasta mixture into the baking dish. Top with the Parmesan, remaining ricotta and drizzle with olive oil, if you like. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until piping hot and starting to crisp up on top.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Whole Wheat Crepes Filled with Sweetened Ricotta Cheese & Cinnamon Apples

By: The Food Hunter

This year for Mother's Day, instead of buying mom a plant, I decided I would invite her over for brunch. I was recently sent a Lagrange Crepe & Griddle Set, so crepes will definitely be on the menu.

The Lagrange crepe set is a multi-functional machine that produces both large and small round crepes in addition to several fun shapes. This unique machine doubles as a griddle in case you want to cook eggs, bacon or other breakfast fare on the side.

I spent several weeks leading up to Mother's Day testing the crepe maker and several recipes. I finally settled on whole wheat crepes filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and cinnamon apples.

Whole Wheat Crepes Filled with Sweetened Ricotta Cheese & Cinnamon Apples

For the Crepes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp. oil

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Heat crepe maker according to directions. Using the small ladle included with the crepe maker pour some batter slowly onto the buttered griddle. Using the spreading tool included spread the batter thin. Cook about 3 minutes and lift edges slightly to see if it is starting to brown. If so flip and cook again on the other side.

Place the cooked crepe on a plate, spread with the ricotta, top with the apples and roll. You can serve them with extra apples on the side.

For the Ricotta Filling
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons cream
2-3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

For the Cinnamon Apples
2 apples
a pat of butter
1-2 teaspoons sugar
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon

Cut & peel apples and place in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes or until apples are tender.

I've received product and/or compensation for posts featuring Lagrange. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Products That Focus On #TheWholeYou

By: The Food Hunter

On my continuing path to living a healthy lifestyle I've determined that wellness is not about diet & exercise; it's about eating and doing the things I love. It's about focusing on #TheWholeYou versus just one aspect of yourself. It's about relaxing, eating tasty, good for you snacks, and being comfortable in your clothing.

As I get older, I’m realizing that it is worth the extra effort to to find products that allow you to be your authentic self. Whether it be food or clothing it's nice to know that you can enjoy yourself and be relaxed with your choices. This is one of the many reasons prAna & Stonyfield play a part in my wellness journey. Both brands make it easy to bring out #TheWholeYou; offering sustainable and stylish clothing that fit my on-the-go lifestyle and the nutrients I need to stay active.

I recently received the Tess shorts from prAna and I love everything about them. They are the perfect fit and style for both active & leisurely days during the hot summer months. Knowing that they are made responsibly is another important factor for me.

****Great news prAna is offering readers a 15% discount on clothing! Just use the code WHOLES17FHG at checkout!****

I have an ongoing relationship with Stonyfield.. I receive product, coupons or compensation for posts featuring their products. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Nirvana Food & Wine Festival

By: The Food Hunter

This past weekend Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain hosted the inaugural food and beverage extravaganza Nirvana. The 4 day event showcased the talents of premier chefs and winemakers from around the globe.

I was fortunate to attend the Best of the West event held on Saturday evening. Delicacies prepared by Valley chefs were available for tasting, along wine and high-end spirits. The evening also featured live music and an appearance from celebrity chef Scott Conant.

A portion of the proceeds from this sold-out culinary festival will be donated to HopeKids – an organization dedicated to restoring hope and transforming the lives of children with life-­threatening medical conditions, their families and the communities in which they serve.

Didn't make it to this year's event...that's OK Nirvana, destined to be an annual occurrence, will be back next year!

This experience was provided complimentary, all opinions are my own.