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 Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt – or to taste ( taste it before you add the salt, some gorgonzola is saltier than others)
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.


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

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.

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
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

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.
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

White Bean Asiago Bisque with Thyme Oil

This warm and cozy White Bean Asiago Bisque is a delightfully smooth and soothing soup!  The flavor combination is both rich and delicate all at the same time.  The earthy notes from the thyme oil add the most wonderful finishing touch.  It’s the perfect fall soup if I do say so myself.

White Bean Asiago Bisque I must admit that it took me a while to dive into this community.  When I first started blogging, I didn’t even know such a community existed.  I was so focused on learning as much as I could about all that is required to run a food blog that I didn’t make the time for the social aspect.  After a while, I saw that a lot of bloggers seemed to know each other and I became intrigued.  I started to get to know some of them and slowly developed friendships.

The best part is that everyone is so supportive and encouraging of one another.  They continually uplift and inspire me in ways that no other has and they have me striving to do better.  I am honored to be a part of this wonderful community of food bloggers and am excited about the idea of continuing to grow along with them.

White Bean Asiago Bisque This soup pairs the best with a dry white wine like an unoaked Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.


White Bean Asiago Bisque Recipe:

4 to 6  servings

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Vegetable Bouillon Cube – unsalted
  • 2 1/2  Cups Dried White Beans
  • 12 + 3 – 5 Cups Filtered Water (Depending on how old the beans are, you might need to add more water, but careful not to overdo it.)
  • 1 1/4 Cup Asiago Cheese – finely grated
  • 1 Cup Half and Half
  • 1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed – optional
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper  or to taste
Thyme Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Thyme
Add the onion and 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan with and heat on medium-low heat. For about 5 minutes then add the garlic and saute until the garlic starts to become golden.  Add the wine and bouillon cubes then smash the bouillon and reduce the wine until syrupy.

Measure beans and sort thru to make sure there are no rocks then rinse and drain.

Add 12 cups of water and bring to a boil over med-high heat, continue boiling until beans are soft adding the other 5 cups of water as the beans soak it up. (make sure and keep an eye on them) When the beans are completely cooked, add all the remaining ingredients and puree in a food processor, blender or immersion blender until it is smooth.
 Serve with a drizzle of thyme oil.
Thyme Oil

Wash and dry the herbs. Crush the herbs by using your fingers or a pestle and mortar to release their oils.  Add the thyme and oil into a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.  Turn the heat off and let cool. Pour into the glass container and store in a cool place.

3U9A4539 Health Benefits:

White Beans are a super source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure). They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.

Thyme is rich in thymol, the essential oil that has powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties.  It has anti-aging properties that help boosts the immune system.  Helps fight asthma by relaxing the muscles in the bronchi and it is an expectorant helping to eliminate mucus from the lungs.  Thyme has a powerful detoxifying agent that is helpful in detoxing the liver. It is full of vitamin C and is a good source of vitamin A.

Shortbread Cookie Party

Shortbread Cookie Party I developed four varieties of shortbread cookie recipes to help spread the holiday cookie cheer!  Two are almond flavored, one of the almond flavored cookies is topped with a ginger glaze and the other is dipped in bittersweet chocolate and turmeric sugar.  The other two cookies incorporate the same spices used in a standard pumpkin pie filling.  I glazed one of the pumpkin spiced cookies in a subtle clove glaze and I left the other one plain with the idea of dipping them in a freshly made vanilla bean whipped cream.

Shortbread Cookies I have been obsessed with cookies for as long as I can remember and shortbread has always been one of my all time favorites.  I developed these cookies to be more on the healthy side by omitting refined sugar and white flour.  I used coconut sugar and three different varieties of flour but trust me, it doesn’t compromise the flavor or texture in the least.  I adapted these recipes from my classic shortbread recipe, which you can substitute for this recipe if you prefer.

Shortbread Cookies Clove Glazed Shortbread Ginger Glazed Shortbread I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to be collaborating with Simply Organic to help celebrate Thursday Moments by hosting a spectacular cookie party!

 With all the craziness of the holidays, it is important to take a break now and then so that you can rejuvenate and uplift yourself.  It’s Simply Organic’s mission to inspire us all to celebrate with our friends and family by sharing #ThursdayMoments together.  This could be anything from a wine and appetizer party to a movie night or a cookie party like this one.

 Shortbread Cookie Party The best part about collaborating with Simply Organic is that they have been my all time favorite spice brand for many years.  I have found their spices to be of the utmost quality in freshest and flavor.  I also adore their packaging because it’s so simple and clean.  You now have the opportunity to win Simply Organic brand spices and other prizes by signing up for their ultimate #ThursdayMoments giveaway.  Click here to enter.

Ginger Glazed Shortbread Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies Pumpkin Spice Shortbread with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Ginger Glazed Shortbread Cookies Shortbread Cookie Recipes:
Almond Shortbread with Ginger Glaze
Almond Shortbread with Bittersweet Chocolate and Turmeric Sugar
Pumpkin Pie Spice Shortbread with Clove Icing Sugar
Pumpkin Pie Spice Shortbread with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

*Note – I used all organic ingredients

Almond Recipe – Approx. 40 – 50 medium size cookies

  •  2 Sticks Salted Butter – room temperature
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Almond Extract
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 3/4 Cup White Rice Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Millet Flour
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
Pumpkin Spice Recipe – Approx. 40 – 50 medium size cookies
  • 2 Sticks Salted Butter – room temperature
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 3/4 Cup White Rice Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Millet Flour
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
Cookie Dough Instructions:

In a food processor or mixer, add the butter, sugar (almond extract for almond shortbread) and a pinch of salt and process until creamy.   In a medium size bowl, mix all of the flours together (pumpkin spice for spiced shortbread) then add to the butter mixture and mix together very well.

Dump the dough onto a flat surface, you can either form it with your hands or use plastic wrap to press together.

Form dough into a flat disk. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and sprinkle a little rice flour on top then roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick.

Using the cookie cutters of your choice, cut and place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.

  Baking time depends on the size of the cookies and where you live.  The smallest ones take 8 – 9 minutes and the medium take 9 – 11 minutes.  Make sure to keep an eye on them, pull them out of the oven before the edges turn golden brown, the bottom should only be slightly golden.  For normal size cookies, I have found that 10 minutes seems to be perfect.

Be careful when transferring to a cooling rack, they are fragile until they are cooled.

*Notes –  It will depend on your cookie cutter size and how thick you roll out the dough that will really determine how many cookies you will have.  I used four different sizes.

Shortbread Cookie Party Cookie Decor Recipes:
Clove Glaze
  • 1/2  cup Powdered Cane Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Half and Half
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Clove Powder
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Ginger Glaze

  • 1/2  cup Powdered Cane Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Half and Half
  • 1/4 + 1/8 Teaspoon Ginger Powder
  • Pinch of Sea Salt


  • 4 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate
  • 1/4 Cup Cane Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Turmeric Powder

Vanilla Bean Whip Cream

Cookie Decor Instructions:


In two small bowls, mix together the ingredients for each glaze recipe.  Drop about 1/4 to a 1/2 teaspoon onto a cookie and swirl it around with your finger in a circle continuously until it covers the cookie.  Repeat with the rest and place on a cooling rack until glaze is hardened.


In a small double boiler or a glass bowl fit snug over a small saucepan of water, melt the chocolate on medium-low heat until it is completely melted.  (Make sure no water gets into the chocolate or it will seize up!) Mix the sugar and turmeric powder together and spread out on a plate.  I added an extra sprinkle of turmeric powder on top of the plated sugar for a little extra color.

Pour the chocolate into a really small bowl so you have the depth to dip the cookies in.  Dip a third of the cookie into the chocolate and scrape the excess off on the edge of the bowl.  Dip the chocolate end into the turmeric sugar and place on a cooling rack to harden.

Vanilla Bean Whip Cream

 In a mixing bowl, add the cream and sugar.  Cut a vanilla bean in half then cut a slit lengthwise and scrape out the tiny vanilla bean seeds and add to the cream.  Turn the mixer onto medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  It will take a while but then it happens all of a sudden so you really need to keep an eye on it.  Pour into a bowl and serve alongside the plain pumpkin spice cookies.

Disclosure: Thanks to Simply Organic for sponsoring this post!  Thank you for supporting the brands that make CaliZona possible.  Just so you know, I would never support a brand or product that I don’t believe in 100%!

Whole Roasted Broccoli with Italian Style Tomato Salsa Verde

This Whole Roasted Broccoli has to be one of the easiest yet extremely gratifying side dishes and it happens to be the perfect starter dish for a Holiday dinner.  There is something about the charred flavor of broccoli that I adore!  I had some extra salsa verde and thought to myself that I should try it on top of some charred broccoli. I am sure glad that I did because it was outstanding and I know you are going to love it too!

3u9a3688 We had a really awesome Thanksgiving this year, how about you?  If you read my last post you know that we had some of our friends and their kids over, 11 people in total.  Beto and clan arrived first and Paloma immediately wanted to do a dance performance that she had been practicing.  She had a special Thanksgiving tutu just for the occasion.  She had choreographed a dance routine to Flamenco music and it was fantastic!  After she completed her performance, Beto put on the Mexican Hat song and little Severin started his own little dance.  I believe they had practiced their routines at least twice before they came and little Severin was so good that I just about died!

Whole Roasted Broccoli Everyone made amazing food and there was a ton to eat along with lots of wine.  We adults had a great time and I must admit the wine went straight to my head! I haven’t been drinking that much lately so it affects me much more these days.  Needless to say, I had a blast! Alison had invited her daughter’s friend because her parents had to work. It was really cute because Paloma and her really hit it off. The kids had the time of their lives, running around the house like crazy people. We thought that if they went down to the beach, they would burn up most of their energy but we were wrong. Haha!

 I don’t know about you but I feel like I’ve been going a million miles an hour for weeks now.  Don’t get me wrong; I love it but the day after Thanksgiving I took the opportunity to relax, disconnect and have myself a Gilmore Girls marathon.  It was the perfect day to stay away from all the black Friday crowds and thoroughly enjoy myself.  Now it is time to prepare for Christmas, are you ready??  I have some great recipes in store so keep an eye out for them.

Whole Roasted Broccoli I love a glass of Soave with this dish but it goes with just about any white wine.

Whole Roasted Broccoli Whole Roasted Broccoli Recipe:
Roasted Broccoli
  • 1 Large Broccoli Head  – roasted
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sprinkle of Sea Salt or Maldon Salt
Tomato Italian Style Salsa
  • 1/2 Cup (about 1) Tomato – minced
  • 1/4 Cup Asiago Cheese – finely shredded
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley – minced
  • 1/2  Cup Basil – minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Chives – minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Mint (optional) – minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Capers – roughly chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1 Shallots – minced
  • 1  Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Zest – microplaned
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons White Wine Vinegar or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Peppers – or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
Preheat oven  to 425 Degrees
Cut the stem off of the broccoli as even as you can so it will stand up and place on a baking sheet.  With a pastry brush or your fingers spread on olive oil over the whole head.  Sprinkle with a little salt and place on the middle-upper rack.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until you see some black char.
Tomato Italian Style Salsa
Mince the tomato into tiny pieces, finely shred the Asiago, coarsely chop herbs and capers, mince the shallots, chop garlic very fine, with a lemon juicer juice the lemon, measure and add to a medium-sized bowl.

Measure and add the olive oil, vinegar, salt  and pepper then mix well.  Let sit a bit to incorporate flavors.  You want this to be at room temperature so you won’t cool down the broccoli.

I often make a double batch of sauce to enjoy later with a nice loaf of crusty bread!
Spread a little of the salsa on top of the broccoli and serve the rest on the side to add as much as you like.
 Health benefits:

Broccoli has cholesterol-lowering ability and strong impact on our body’s detoxification system.  It is also rich in both forms of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble.  It is very high in vitamin C & K.