Although we are almost through the last of October, SoCal has been hit with a serious heat wave. Living is a little cottage by the sea has all kinds of benefits but one downside is we are lacking AC. So once I pick up the kids from school, get the twins down for their nap and help Thomas with his homework, dinner time hits and I’m overheating. As a result Matt and I have had a few ‘lazy nights’. We get the kids fed and don’t feel up to cooking a meal so I’ll pull a couple of simple ingredients that we have in the fridge and graze.
I’ve mentioned my love of cheese and charcuterie before…
I always have a couple of types of cheese, meat, and sides on hand for nights like these. Slicing up a block of Manchengo, some pitted mixed olives, pieces of capocollo, and pistachios we had our Spanish plate. The snack ingredients are all relatively mild and aged so it’s easy to keep them on hand.
I paired it with a crisp and dry French Grenache Rosé from the Pays d’Oc Region.
Here’s to a near endless summer and any excuse for cheese and cured meats!
Is there anything better than slowly cooking a delicious stew or soup in a dutch oven. The smell of vegetables, meat, and wine simmering fills wrapping your home in a cozy blanket. With fall arriving and the temperatures dropping in the evenings I am giddy as I break out my heartier recipes.
Scrolling through Instagram I stumbled upon a delicious looking bowl of Ragu via The Modern Proper. Check it out, seriously, is your mouth watering? Mine is. So an evening making Ragu went straight to the top of my to do list.
1 ¾ boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 dash red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 half of a yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
2 1/2 cups Chianti
2 cups finely chopped mini heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon organic tomato paste
1 pound pappardelle
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmigano-Reggiano
Season beef with salt and pepper to taste. Place an oven-proof Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add beef. Stir until beef is well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add rosemary and thyme sprigs, pepper flakes, onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add Chianti and continue to simmer until liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices, stir in tomato paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, on the stove over low heat, for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
Place a large pot of lightly salted water over high heat to bring to a boil. Using two forks, finely shred meat and vegetables. Discard herb stems. Loosely cover pan and return it to low heat to keep warm.
Add pappardelle to boiling water. As it cooks, scoop out 1/2 cup water and reserve. Cook pasta to taste, then drain well. Return pasta to pot, and add butter and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano; mix gently until butter has melted. Add a little reserved cooking water to loosen.
To serve, lift pasta into each of six shallow bowls. Spoon beef ragù over top. Sprinkle each bowl with a pinch of rosemary, and a spoonful of cheese.
I was given the opportunity to collaborate with West Elm and Whole Foods Market to raise donations and awareness with the Whole Planet Foundation. West Elm and Whole Foods are donating $1 to Whole Planet for each time someone shares their #westelmxwfm tag on Instagram. This campaign, using the New Denim Project and Party Hosting ideas, provided a few recipes perfect for a Fall get together. From sparkling cider to an Onion, Bacon, and Butternut Squash Tart, it was hard to decide what I wanted to make.
I opted for the Clementine Crush Sparkling cocktail paired with Ham and Roasted Pear Crostini. Making a few adjustments with the recipes to suit our tastes, the cocktail and appetizer worked well together. I don’t use pears in my recipes often, so I enjoyed seeing the difference in flavor with the addition of citrus and then roasting them.
CLEMENTINE CRUSH SPARKLING COCKTAIL
2 ⅔ cup clementine juice, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped clementine zest, plus 1 clementine for garnish (from 12-14 fruits total)
¼ cup cane sugar
1 cup organic 100% cranberry juice
¾ cup fresh cranberries
8 (1-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary
1 (750-ml) bottle sparkling wine, such as Pascual Toso Sparkling Brut, well chilled
1 (12-ounce) can tonic water or ginger ale (I used Ginger Beer)
In a wide, shallow dish, mix zest and sugar together with your fingers. Wet the rim of 8 cocktail glasses with a wet paper towel, and then dredge in clementine sugar to coat. In a large pitcher, use a wooden spoon to muddle cranberry juice, cranberries and rosemary sprigs thoroughly. Fill pitcher with ice cubes. Top off with clementine juice, wine and tonic water or ginger ale. Stir vigorously; pour into glasses; garnish with clementine twists and serve.
½ baguette (or 1 demi-baguette), cut into 24 slices
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 ripe but firm pears, halved, cored and cut into 24 wedges
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
¾ pound Proscuitto, cut into bite-sized pieces and warmed
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush baguette slices all over with oil and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake, flipping halfway through, until just crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper to make a dressing. Toss pears in half the dressing and arrange in a single layer on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast, flipping pears halfway through, until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Toss parsley with remaining dressing. Top each crostini with a piece of ham and then a wedge of pear and few leaves of parsley.
For more information and recipe ideas you can follow this link to West Elm + Whole Foods Party Hosting Made Easy. If you decide to share your own recipe or use one of the images make sure to use the #westelmxwfm + #emilyalder hashtags.