Blueberry Rose Chevre Pesto + Parfait with Berries and Melon

This subtly sweet pesto is amazing!  The combination of the rose and blueberries creates a whole new flavor!  It’s not quite rose and it’s not quite blueberry.  In this recipe, I combined it with fruit but it’s also amazing on toast, crostini, spread on shortbread cookies or by the spoonful!

Blueberry-Rose-Pesto-Parfait

Last Saturday, I went to a basic photography class to learn more about my camera.  When I first started the blog, I wasn’t really all that focused on the photography!  At the time I wasn’t aware of all of the great pictures found on many of the food blogs.  I quickly realized that I had to improve my photography if I wanted my blog to stand out.  So far, I have been using the manual mode for everything and never learned about the other modes.  It was a great class and now it’s time to practice what I learned.  I am really excited about it!

Blueberry-Rose-Chevre-Pesto-

This pesto is great with a hot or cold rose tea or a crisp sparkling wine.

Blueberry-and-Rose-Pesto-Parfait

Recipe: Approx. 2 Cups

  • 1 Cup Blueberries
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Almonds
  • 3/4 Cup Chevre Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Rosewater
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon
  • Pinch salt
* It will set up once refrigerated
*You can use your choice of fruit.  I used
Champagne Grapes
Blueberries
Honeydew Melon
Kiwi
Rose Petals – optional

Instructions:

Measure the almonds and add to a food processor or blender and grind them to a coarse crumble.  Measure and add all the other ingredients to the almonds and puree.

 Cut fruit into small pieces and add to the bottom of a parfait glass or bowl.  Top with some pesto and add more fruit on top.

Blueberry-Rose-Chevre-Pesto-Parfait

Health benefits:

Blueberries are high in Vitamin C.  They are a superfood and are one of the highest in antioxidants compared to most fruits. They are a great source of fiber.  The fiber helps reduce abdominal fat, lower cholesterol and helps lower glucose. They are great for brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and they are known to heal damaged brain cells.  So they help you keep your memory intact.

Potato Cheddar and Roasted Pepper Soup

I guarantee this soup will satisfy your comfort food cravings.  It has such amazing flavors from the cheese with the combination of the roasted red, yellow and poblano peppers.

  Potato-Cheddar-Soup

 Last Saturday, Robby and I had a nice lunch at Bittersweet Bistro before heading to Palo Alto to meet Beto and Jill’s new baby boy Severin.  It is so amazing to meet a beautiful soul such as Severin!  He is the cutest little guy ever and he looks just like Beto but he also looks like Jill and Paloma!  I thought it would be nice to bring some comfort food to Beto and Jill.  I made homemade beans, homemade fresh tomato sauce and this soup.  Jill hasn’t slept much so Robby, Beto, Paloma and I went to dinner at a great sushi restaurant called Kanpai, which was delicious.  Sunday was a lazy day around the house in the morning and then we had a nice afternoon at the beach for lunch.

Potato-and-Cheddar-Roasted-Pepper-Soup

A nice crisp white wine is simply the best with this soup.  Try a Sauvignon Blanc, a dry Riesling, Pinot Gris or a white Rioja.

Potato-Cheddar-and-Roasted-Pepper-Soup

Recipe – Approx. 8 – 10 servings – about 16 cups

  • 5 (4 lb.) Large Russet Potatoes – peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – roasted
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper – roasted
  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted
  • 2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Corn
  • 10 Cups Filtered Water
  • 2 Cups Low Fat Milk
  • 3 Cups Cheddar Cheese (I used Organic Valley Raw Sharp Cheddar)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt or to Taste

Instructions:

Place the cubed potatoes into a large bowl covered in filtered water.

Add the onion and olive oil to a 5 1/2 quart pot or dutch oven and sauté on medium-low heat for 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook until garlic just start to brown.

Add wine and cook until reduced and it has a syrupy consistency.

Roast the peppers.  Dice the peppers into small cubes and set aside.

Add the water and potatoes to the onions then cook on high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook 25 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Take half of the potatoes and some water then puree in food processor or blender.

Pour pureed potatoes back in the pot and add the milk, salt and pepper.  Cook for a few minutes to heat it back up and slowly stir in the cheese, cook until cheese is completely melted.

Add the peppers and corn.

Cheddar-Potato-Soup

Health benefits:

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value.  They are great for your immune system and help to reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma. They contain lycopene a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes, which is great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas. They are also helpful with increasing oxygen so the body can burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.

They’re also full of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.

 Bell Peppers are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.   Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

Purple Opal Basil and Sheep Gouda Pesto + Purple Basil Crostini with Fresh Mozzarella and Fuji Apple

These crostini appetizers are the perfect balance between sweet and savory.  Purple opal basil is a bit milder but more savory than its cousin sweet basil and combines well with the flavor of sheep Gouda.  The crostini and apple gives a crunchy texture while the fresh mozzarella and pesto adds a wonderful creaminess.  All the flavors combined make for the perfect bite!

Purple-Opal-Basil-and-Sheep-Gouda-Pesto-Crostini

This Friday, we attended one of Robby’s work barbeques. It was a lot of fun and great to meet some of Robby’s co-workers I haven’t met before.  One of them was a guy named Val, he asked me what I did and I said I had a food blog.  He got excited and said, “my wife also has a food blog” and proceeded to show me on his phone.  I was impressed to say the least!  I briefly met her towards the end of the party.  Her name is Elena and her blog is “Urban Kitchen Affairs“, check it out!  For the barbeque, I made a large Greek salad and some crostini very similar to these purple basil and sheep Gouda pesto crostini, which were devoured in minutes.  I plan to share the recipe with you in the near future.

Purple-Opal-Basil-and-Sheep-Gouda-Pesto-

This appetizer goes perfect with a nice Rosé, Rueda or a Prosecco.

Purple-Basil-and-Sheep-Gouda-Pesto-Crostini

Recipe – About 24 crostini
  • Purple Basil and Sheep Gouda Pesto
  • 2 1/2 Cups Purple Opal Basil
  • 3/4 Cup Sheep Gouda – shredded and packed
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
Crostini
  • 1 French Baguette – 1/2 inch sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil – or as needed
  • 2 Container Fresh Mozzarella – small balls – sliced in half
  • 1 – 2 Fuji Apples – cored – sliced
  • 1 Recipe Purple Basil and Sheep Gouda Pesto
  • Fresh Basil Leaf – garnish

Instructions:

Pesto

Wash and thoroughly dry the basil.  Measure all ingredients and add to a food processor or blender and puree.  Set aside.

Crostini

Place slices on to a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.

Assemble

Spread the pesto onto each crostini, add a slice of apple, top with 3 or more halfs of mozzerella and a fresh basil leaf.

  Purple-Basil-Pesto-Crostini

Health benefits:

Apples are so incredibly healthy, they fight the effects of aging on the brain and they contain the antioxidants therein, which is helpful in protecting you from Parkinson’s. Eating apples have been linked to a decreased risk of strokes. Apples rich in flavonol could help reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23%.  Soluble fiber found in apples lowers cholesterol and the skins also prevents the cholesterol from solidifying on your artery walls.  The fiber also helps to prevent gallstones and they even help reduce tooth decay. They regulate blood sugar levels by increasing the uptake of glucose from your blood that stimulates insulin receptors.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

Kale and Roasted Carrot Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Sesame Vinaigrette

This is a very fulfilling salad!   The roasted peppers with sesame oil are exquisite and the carrot’s soft texture complements the crunchy veggies.  I could eat this salad everyday!

Kale-and-Roasted-Carrot-Salad

Robby and I visited the Filoli House and Botanical Gardens last Saturday.  There are 16 acres of gardens that are gorgeous and full of flowers, lawns and ponds!  The architecture and garden designs is from the first part of the twentieth century.  It is mostly Georgian style along with some Stuart details and a Spanish tiled roof.  All of this reflects the creativity of the Golden Age of California.  The house has forty-three rooms, 17 of them being bathrooms.  Check out their website.

Kale-and-Roasted-Sesame-Carrot-Salad

After a day out, it’s nice to come home to this hearty salad.  I made everything the day before.  I prepared the dressing, roasted the carrots, chopped and washed the veggies and de-ribbed and chopped the kale.  I kept everything in separate containers and mixed them together when I was ready to eat it!  You can warm up the carrots if you like.

Roasted-Red-Bell-Pepper-Sesame-Vinaigrette

This is the perfect salad for a nice crisp sake, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or a Rosé.

Kale-and-Sesame-Roasted-Carrot-Salad

Recipe: 4 – 6 servings

Roasted Carrots

  • 3 to 4 Carrots – battened
  • 1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Dash of salt
  • Black or White Sesame Seeds

Vinaigrette – 2 1/2 Cups

  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 4) Red Bell Peppers – roasted – purred  – Prep 20 minutes roast – 10 minutes
  • 1/2 Cup + 3 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Rice Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Tamari Sauce
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt ?
  • 2 Teaspoons Hot Chili Sauce like Sriracha (Optional)

Salad

  • Kale – washed – de-ribbed – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Green Onion – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage – minced
  • 8 Radishes (about 1 cup) – matchsticks
  • 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper -
  • 1 Cucumber – cut in half, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil – torn
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro
Carrots
Pre-heat oven to 375
Cut the carrots in quarters lengthwise, then into 2 to 3-inch pieces.
Spread the carrots out on a baking sheet and pour on a tablespoon of sesame oil, toss to evenly coat and lightly sprinkle with salt.  Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, until the carrots are cooked through and starting to caramelize.  Sprinkle with black and/or white sesame seeds.  Set aside.
Vinaigrette
Roast the peppers.  Meanwhile, measure the oil, vinegar, tamari, garlic, salt and add to a medium sized bowl.  When the peppers are peeled, de-stemmed and de-seeded, cut them into about two inch pieces and add to the bowl then puree with an immersion blender or put everything into a blender or food processor and puree.   Set aside.
Salad

Wash the kale and tear off main rib by holding the end of the stem and sliding off the leaves, dry, then chop into thin strips.

Put the kale in a large bowl a tablespoon of sesame oil and massage the oil into the kale.  Add the onions, cabbage, radishes,

bell pepper, cucumber, basil and cilantro.  Mix in the dressing or top onto individual salads.  Top with the warm carrots.

 

Kale-and-Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Roasted-Red-Pepper-Sesame-Vinaigrette

 

Health Benefits:

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma.  Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol.  It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)  More on kale

Carrots contain beta-carotene that is then converted into vitamin A in your liver and helps restore vision. They lower the risk of coronary heart disease and are high in antioxidants that help in cancer prevention. They may also help with blood sugar regulation, delay the effects of aging, and improve the immune system.

Red Bell Peppers are matured green bell peppers and have more nutrition as they mature.  They are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

Himalayan Cilantro Paloma

 I will be attending a “Mixology Pool Party” today with a cocktail contest, winner gets bragging rights.  I decided I will bring the fix-ins to make this delightfully refreshing cocktail I created for Steph and I’s pop-up dinner we did here in Phoenix last month.

Himalayan-Cilantro-Paloma-- This time of year the citrus trees are overly abundant and wonderfully ripe, especially the grapefruit; it’s hard not to put it in every cocktail!

I love Palomas, they are so refreshing, light and a perfect summer drink.

Himalayan Cilantro Paloma

 There are a few health benefits with this cocktail… Himalayan black salt and the cilantro.  The black salt is very high in sulfur, magnesium, iron and other minerals.  It is found in and around the Himalayan mountains and has been used for centuries for hypertension due to its low sodium factor compared to table salt. There are different qualities of the salt and you would want to be confident of your source before using it for certain health issues.

 Cilantro on the other hand is a wonderful herb to aid in the process of detoxification.  Studies have shown that cilantro removes heavy metals from the body and because of its chelation abilities, cilantro is also being studied as a natural water purifier.  Increased consumption of cilantro also has been known to decrease the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes and heart disease.   It is also great for promoting healthy skin and hair while increasing energy and overall lower weight.

Himalayan-Cilantro-Paloma-

Recipe:  Makes 1 Cocktail

  • 2oz Blanco Tequila
  • 2oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1oz Red Chili Simple Syrup (Fresno or Mirasol Peppers)
  • 2oz Club Soda or Sparkling Water
  • 5-6 Sprigs of Fresh Cilantro
  • Himalayan Black Salt

Profile: Refreshing Slight Spice

Glass: Collins or Double Rocks

Garnish: Fresh Cilantro

Instructions:  

In a mixing glass combine juices, syrup, 5 sprigs of cilantro and tequila.

Add ice to your shaker 3/4 full, shake for a few seconds just to combine.

 Using a lime wedge wet the edge of your glass and lightly dip into the Himalayan black salt.  Fill glass with ice.

 Pour mix into glass and top with soda.

Garnish. Enjoy!

*Red Chili Simple Syrup

Recipe:  Makes 4 oz’s or 4 Cocktails

  • 1/2 Purified Water
  • 1/2 Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 Red Fresno Chili cut in 1/2

Instructions: 

In a small saucepan heat water to boiling point.

 Add sugar and chili. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

Cool. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove pepper with seeds.

Refrigerate.