Gorgonzola Rosemary Pesto Cream Sauce over Spaghetti

If you love cream sauce and Gorgonzola like I do, you will love this Gorgonzola Rosemary Pesto Cream Sauce.  I sautéed shallots in red wine and then added some cream along with my Gorgonzola Rosemary Pesto to make this glorious sauce.  I used arrowroot to thicken it so it is naturally gluten free.  It is a rich and decadent sauce perfect for those cold winter nights.  Serve it with a simple green salad and a glass of red wine and you will have yourself a lovely meal.

Rosemary Gorgonzola Pesto Cream Sauce We have had quite a bit of rain this year and it has been much appreciated!  Sometimes it’s nice to be stuck inside but after a couple of weeks, one starts to yearn for the sun.  Don’t get me wrong, I know we have it easy compared to all my friends in Oregon but it’s all relative, right?

This weekend was so incredibly gorgeous that we were able to have a nice picnic on the beach with a few of our closest friends!  Beto and clan, as well as Erin, Leif and Taj, all met up at our house on Sunday before heading down to the beach.  Beto brought a new portable grill and grilled up various meats including Jill’s homemade shish-kabobs.  We had a nice bottle of wine, pesto, Robby’s sourdough bread, my famous shortbread cookies that lasted about 5 minutes and an assortment of salads and cheese.  It was the perfect day and the kids had a blast!
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Have you ever used arrowroot powder before?  It’s a fantastic thickener.  I prefer it to cornstarch because I know it is not going to be GMO.  Even though Arrowroot is a starch, it has one of the highest amounts of protein compared to any other starches or flours.  I have used it for many years with great results.  It thickens without getting gummy and it leaves no trace of flavor.  It can become slimy if you use too much, though.

These are just some of the health benefits.

  • It is super high in potassium, which is great for heart health.
  • It increases bile production that helps lower cholesterol.
  • Its high Iron content is helpful for circulation.
  • It has an alkalizing effect that helps balance the body’s pH, which is so important for keeping inflammation down.
  • Its fiber content is fantastic for the digestion and weight control.
  • As if that’s not enough, it’s full of vitamin B that helps boost your metabolism.

I believe that arrowroot is undervalued.  If it is new to you, I recommend trying it out. I think you will like it.  It works wonderfully in gluten-free baking, in a sauce, gravy or as a soup thickener.  It is best added towards the end as it can lose its thickening properties if over cooked.

Here’s a great explanation from “One Green Planet

Gorgonzola Rosemary Pesto Cream Sauce This sauce pairs nicely with a light Pinot Noir or a Tempranillo for a red wine. For a white, I recommend a Sauvignon Blanc.

Gorgonzola Rosemary Pesto Cream Sauce Gorgonzola Rosemary Pesto Cream Sauce Recipe:
  • 1 Large Shallot
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/3 Cup Dry Red Wine
  • 2 Cups Half and Half or Milk – or both
  • 1 Recipe Gorgonzola Rosemary Pesto – recipe below
  • 1 Tablespoon Arrowroot Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Pesto
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves
  • 1/3 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil – or to taste
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Small Clove Garlic
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Garnish
  • Crumbled gorgonzola
  • Sprig of Rosemary
Instructions:
 Pesto
Remove the leaves off of the rosemary stems and add to a food processor or blender.  Measure everything else and add to the rosemary, then puree until really smooth.
Make sure to scrape the sides down at least once.
Sauce

 Add the shallots to a sauté pan with olive oil and sauté on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic, continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.

Continue to check the shallots and when they are soft, add the white wine.

Cook until wine is reduced and syrupy.

While the shallots are cooking, put a large pot of salted water on and bring to a boil.
 When the wine has reduced, add the half and half or milk to the onions.  When the half and half/milk is warm, whisk in the pesto until it is dissolved, then the arrowroot powder, salt and pepper.  Turn the sauce to a low simmer and cook the pasta according to the package directions or until al dente.
Spoon the sauce over the drained and rinsed pasta.
*Make sure to rinse the pasta.  Brown rice pasta is very starchy.
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Gorgonzola Rosemary Pesto Cream Sauce Health benefits:

Rosemary is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants that stimulate the immune system and is good for your brain. It contains carnosic acid that can significantly promote eye health and fight off free radical damage in the brain and helps protect the brain from stroke and neurodegeneration conditions like Alzheimer’s. It also helps with normal aging on the brain by enhancing memory and concentration.  Rosemary has anti-inflammatory compounds that help to reduce asthma attacks and is rich in dietary fiber, which improves the digestion.  It is super high in vitamin A and for optimal vision, you need just a few leaves a day to almost meet the requirement.  It blocks estrogen which helps prevent breast cancer and it helps with liver function.

*It may interfere with some medications like Lithium, diuretics, diabetes medication, high blood pressure and blood-thinning medications.

*If you are pregnant or breastfeeding avoid large quantities.

Black Rice Caprese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers with a Basil Sauce

These Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers are simply divine.  The peppers are lightly roasted before filling them with hearty black rice and they are topped with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pecorino and fresh basil.  The combination is intoxicating, especially after they are drizzled with a lovely fresh basil sauce.  These are perfect as a main entree or as a side dish.

3u9a5304 Last night I wanted to watch a certain show but I couldn’t remember the name of it for the life of me.  I searched my whole list on Netflix, but I couldn’t find it.  I was a bit frustrated because I wanted something funny to watch but I thought to myself, “just let it go!”   I noticed that I had way too many shows on my watch list, so I decided that I should delete some!  As soon as I deleted the first show, the show I wanted to find so badly popped up right in front of my eyes.  It was the show called “New Girl”.

These kinds of things seem to happen to me all the time.  Have you ever experienced anything like this before? Here is another example.

Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers Many years ago, my mom and I were traveling in Greece with her boyfriend at the time.  He wanted to be alone with my mom and wanted me to go travel on my own.  At first, I was like, what?  There is no way that I’m traveling alone!  But then I remembered that my close friend Maggie was going to school in London.  We had talked about me coming to visit her but we had never made any real plans.  There were no cell phones at the time but I knew that spring break was coming up and she planned to travel around Europe during her break.  I tried to get ahold of her but I wasn’t able to so I just decided to go for it and flew from Greece to London in hopes that I would be able to find her.

So when I got off the plane, I asked someone which bus to take to get me to her school and headed on my way to hopefully meet up with her.  The bus stop was about 5 blocks from her school so I had to walk the rest of the way.  I had a large travel pack on my back with a small backpack in the front and a heavy medium-large duffle bag that I was holding on my forearms in front of me.  It was pretty crazy!

Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers I finally arrived at Maggie’s school and asked the guy at the front desk where her dorm was.  Well, I found out that she was living off campus in an apartment.  They had no idea where she lived and I was devastated!  I went over to a nearby couch and sat down and racked my brain on what was I going to do now.

A few minutes had passed and a girl looked at me and said, “are you Maggie’s friend Stephanie”?  My eyes opened up wide and my jaw dropped.  I said, “how in the heck did you know it was me?” she said “well, you guys look and dress alike and both of you wear tons of jewelry.  She introduced herself, “Hi I’m Kate, Maggie’s roommate”. You can’t imagine my relief and disbelief.  Kate then said, “come with me and I’ll bring you to Maggie”.  She was literally just down the hall from where I was sitting.

Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers I opened the door and popped my head in and just stared at her until she finally looked up.  When she looked up, the look on her face was priceless.  We went back over to the couch that I was previously sitting on and I started to give her the presents that I had bought for her on my travels in Asia.  I handed her the first one and she loved it.  At first, I acted as if that was it but then I pulled out another gift.  I did this about 10 times.  I had so much fun with it and Maggie was very stoked, to say the least.

I have been intrigued by situations like this my whole life.  Life can sometimes be scary but if let go of the outcome, amazing things can happen.

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These little gems go great with a Pinot Gris, Suave or a Prosecco.

Black Rice Caprese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers served with a fresh Basil Oil and white wine. Photographed frop top view on a dark blue background.

Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers Recipe:
  • 5 Small to Medium Red Bell Peppers – roasted – deseeded – cut in half
  • Black Rice – recipe below
  • 10 Large Leaves of Fresh Basil – roughly torn
  • 1 Container Small Fresh Mozzarella Balls – quartered
  • 10 Cherry Tomatoes – quartered
  • 1 Cup Pecorino Romano – finely grated – or to taste
  • Sea Salt
  • Basil Oil – recipe below
Rice
  • 1/2 Cup Forbidden Black Rice
  • 3/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Filtered Water
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove (Optional)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Basil Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Cup Basil
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Garnish

  • Basil Sauce
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil

*I adapted this recipe from my Black Rice Caprese Casserole

Instructions:
Rice

Measure rice and water and put into a small saucepan preferably with a glass lid.

Add the garlic and salt then cover and bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to simmer in-between medium-low and low for 30 – 40 minutes.  Check at 30 minutes, if you still see a bit of liquid cook for 5 – 10 more minutes.  Or until water is gone.
Peppers

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise making sure to cut through the stems to leave them attached.  Remove the seeds and sprinkle the insides with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Place the peppers cut-side down and bake for 10 minutes on the upper third rack then move to top rack for 10 more minutes.  Turn the peppers over to let the steam out and cool a bit.

Basil Oil

Place the basil, oil and salt into a food processor or blender and puree.

Assemble

Place the peppers in a baking dish and fill them with about a tablespoon of the rice then place a basil leaf or two on top.  Add a little more rice then top with one tomato that has been quartered and a mozzarella ball that has also been quartered.  Push the tomatoes and mozzarella in as best you can. Top with the pecorino and place a quarter of a mozzarella ball on top.  Bake until the cheese is melted.  About 15 – 20 minutes.

Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers Health benefits:

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.

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 zeaxanthin 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 your water or tea.

My Top 10 Favorite Vegetarian Recipes

Happy New Year!!  I have noticed that a lot of bloggers are doing an end of year round-up, so I thought that I would share with you a beginning of year round up of my top 10 favorite vegetarian recipes.

Meyer Lemon Basil Pesto Meyer Lemon Basil Pesto

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup

Kale Persimmon Salad Kale Persimmon Salad with a Red and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Black Lentil Chili Black Lentil Chili with Crispy Shoestring Fries and Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

Triple Chocolate Cookies Triple Chocolate Cookies

Oregano Feta Hummus Oregano Feta Hummus with Greek Pico de Gallo

Cream of Potato Chive Soup Cream of Potato Chive Soup with Roasted Jalapeno

Black Lentil Greek Salad Black Lentil Greek Salad with Fried Halloumi and Oregano Feta Lemon Pesto

Creamy Artichoke Mac ‘N’ Cheese Creamy Artichoke Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Strawberry Ricotta Shortcakes Strawberry Ricotta Shortcakes with Honey and Tarragon

Baked Camembert with Gorgonzola Hazelnut Cilantro Pesto and Pomegranate Seeds

This Baked Camembert appetizer is full of flavor and texture.  The Camembert cheese is baked then topped with my unique Gorgonzola Hazelnut Cilantro Pesto.  I garnished it with pomegranates seeds, hazelnuts and Gorgonzola crumbles.  The pomegranates seeds add the perfect balance to the richness from the pesto and cheese.  Serve it with your choice of crackers and bread.  You can customize this dish by adding your favorite pesto.

Baked Camembert I am looking forward to a brand new year full of creativity, inspiration, health and happiness.  As I said before, I won’t make a new year’s resolution but I plan to further my food photography and styling skills as well as incorporate yoga into my life even more than I have.

Baked Camembert This appetizer is best served right away so that the cheese stays nice and melted.  Make sure to have everything prepped and ready to go before you bake the cheese.  You may or may not want to add the extra gorgonzola as it adds a strong flavor to the dish.

Baked Camembert I served this appetizer with a light Pinot Noir.  It’s also nice with a Sauvignon Blanc.

Baked Camembert Baked Camembert Recipe:
  • Camembert or Brie
  • 1 to 2 Pomegranates – seeds removed
  • 1/2 Cup Hazelnuts – toasted – roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Gorgonzola – crumbled – optional
  • Gorgonzola Cilantro Pesto – recipe below
Gorgonzola Hazelnut Cilantro Pesto Recipe
  • 1 Cup Hazelnuts (Filberts)
  • 1/2 Cup Gorgonzola
  • 2 Cups Cilantro – packed
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt ( taste it before you add the salt, some gorgonzola is saltier than others)
Instructions:
Hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 – 14 minutes.  In about 5 – 7 minutes stir the nuts so they toast evenly while also checking on the progress.

When hazelnuts are cool put in the center of a towel and pull corners of the towel together and roll hazelnuts around with some force till skins come loose.  A small amount of skin will remain on the nuts and that is fine.

Sometimes I separate the ones that the skins didn’t come off and put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Pesto

Measure everything and put into food processor or blender except olive oil, puree while slowly adding the oil.

Camembert
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Leave it in the box and score the top into diamonds.  Drizzle with a little olive oil then bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is oozing in the middle.
Assemble

Place the hot cheese onto a large bowl or plate and top with some pesto, pomegranate seeds, hazelnuts and gorgonzola.  Add remaining pomegranate seeds, hazelnuts and gorgonzola all around the camembert or in a bowl served on the side.  Serve with the remaining pesto, crackers, crostini or crusty bread.

Baked Camembert Health benefits:

Cilantro is an immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote a healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain.  It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins (one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K) and dietary fiber.

Hazelnuts are one of the only tree nuts with folate that may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression. They have a high concentration of oleic acid an omega-9 fatty acid that is known to prevent cancer, reduce blood pressure, prevent strokes and help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol that help prevent heart attacks.  They are also rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, the minerals help regulate blood pressure. Hazelnuts are one of the richest in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that promotes healthy skin, hair and nails.  They are also packed with B vitamins that bring energy to your cells and increase the metabolism. They are one of the few nuts that contain vitamin A, which is great for your eyes and are also high in dietary fiber and minerals like manganese, selenium and zinc.

*People who are allergic to peanuts, macadamia nut and/or Brazil nut might also be allergic to hazelnuts.

Persimmon Rose Scones

The beauty of these Persimmon Rose Scones is that you can serve them for breakfast or dessert!  The scones themselves are lightly sweetened with coconut sugar and they are topped with a lovely rose cacao butter glaze with a sprinkle of rose petals. They are not only delicious, they are pretty to look at as well and they just so happen to be gluten-free.  Serve them with coffee or tea.

Persimmon Rose Scones It’s almost the end of 2016. Can you believe it?  I am not one to do New Year’s resolutions because I know myself better than that!  Instead of a resolution, Robby and I are all about clearing out the old and unused to make room for the new.  So, I am passing some of my vintage clothes along.  I have been carrying them around with me ever since I was 15 years old.  I didn’t have much money to spend on clothes when I was young but that all changed when I discover thrift store clothes and my closet became stuffed full of treasures.  At that time I could never have enough options.   I am now slowly refining my style and I am looking to thin out my wardrobe.

Persimmon Rose Scones On Thanksgiving, I did just that.  I have wanted to give my friend Alison some of my vintage clothes for some time now.  I finally had the opportunity.  Shortly after she arrived, we grabbed some wine and went into my room to sift through my closet.  I can’t even tell you how fun it was for both of us.  I could never just give my clothes to a thrift store or sell them. I wanted to find someone who would treasure them as much as I do.  Each piece I handed her was received with an “OMG, are you sure? This is so gorgeous!”  Yes, nothing will make me happier than to see my clothes being worn and not just wasting away in a closet.   Alison is in an all girls bluegrass band named “Sugar by the Pound” and she is always so stylish, so my treasured clothes have found a wonderful new home where they will be cherished.

Persimmon Rose Scones I enjoyed these scones with espresso and half & half but they are also wonderful with my hibiscus tea or a classic black tea.

Here are a few creative persimmon recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers.
Bruschetta with Persimmon Chutney – Food Fashion Party
Persimmon Mandarin Bundt Cake – Sabores y Momentos
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Persimmon Rose Scones Persimmon Rose Scones Recipe:
6 – 8 servings
  • 1 1/2 Cup Oat Flour
  • 1 Cup Millet Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Tapioca Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup (about 2) Persimmons – super ripe – pulp
  • 1 Chia Egg – 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds – ground – 3 Tablespoons Water
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter – unsalted – cold – cut into pieces
  • 1/4 Cup Half and Half
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Vanilla Bean – with the tip of a knife cut a slit lengthwise and scrape out the seeds
Rose Glaze
  • 1/4 Cup (25 g) Cacao Butter – grated  – yields  2 tablespoons liquid
  • 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosewater
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • Rose Petals – optional

* I adapted this recipe from Alana’s Roasted Banana Teff Scones from her wonderful cookbook “Alternative Baker

Instructions:
Scones
Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine oat flour, millet flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot powder, baking soda, salt, and coconut sugar.
Whisk together well.  Add the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers to break up the butter into small pieces.  Set in refrigerator until needed.
Vigorously whisk the tablespoon of ground chia seeds to 3 tablespoons of water to remove any lumps.  Let sit for a couple minutes to thicken.  Scoop out the persimmon pulp and measure.  Whisk the half & half into the chia egg and then the vanilla bean seeds, apple cider vinegar and persimmon pulp.
Remove the flour from the refrigerator and then gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with your hands.   It will be a slightly sticky wet dough but it will still hold together.  Knead together until it forms a ball.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.  Form a disc with your hands that’s about 1 inch tall and about a 6-inch circle.  Use a large knife to cut the circle into 6 to 8 even wedges.  Use a spatula to carefully transfer the scones onto a parchment lined baking sheet or cut right on the parchment lined baking sheet and carefully slide a spatula under and pull them back to let space in between each scone to let the sides cook.
Bake for 20-25 min, lightly golden. Let cool.
They are the ultimately the best when they are fresh. 
*Notes from Alana on tips for scone success.  Keep ingredients and dough cool to keep the butter from fully incorporating into the flour. Make sure your butter starts out cold, work fast and refrigerate your dough if your kitchen is hot.
She also suggests using two baking sheets on top of one another to prevent a thicker crust on the bottoms.
Glaze
When the scones are almost cool you can start the glaze recipe.
In a small double boiler or a glass bowl fit snug over a small saucepan of water, melt the cacao butter over medium-low heat until it is completely melted.  While it is melting add the powdered sugar into a small bowl and mix in the rosewater and salt and then add in the cacao butter and mix until smooth.  Drizzle the glaze onto each scone and top with rose petals while still soft.

Persimmon Rose Scones