Guacamole Stuffed Zucchini Cups

This week I am sharing recipes from my cookbook, Set the Table with Love. I hope you enjoy these recipes and share them with your family and friends. I had so much fun doing this shoot with my friends and eating all the yummy food afterwards. Photography credit: ROB POLANCO. Art Design by: KEEGAN LEIBA. Love you guys!

Who doesn’t love good recipe for guacamole, well I have one for you. It’s simple and refreshing, because it’s stuffed in these zucchini cups. I love using this recipe for when I having a small dinner party or just for a nice afternoon snack.  A lot of my wellness clients are looking for ways to incorporate more veggies into their diet and this is a great way to do. I hope you enjoy this recipe and remember before the plates, glasses, silverware and candles, Set the Table with Love. 🙂

Stuffed Zucchini Cups

4 zucchini

2 tbsp. cilantro finely chopped, and enough leaves to garnish to top of the cups

1 tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice

1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)

2 ripe avocados

1/2 – 3/4 cups red bell pepper, diced

1/2 tsp. of sea salt and a dash of black pepper, to taste

1. Cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the cups will leak the guacamole.

2. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion and cilantro. Stir in salt and black pepper. Fill each cup with guacamole. Top with red bell peppers and cilantro.

 

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Cooking today with William Sonoma ~ Gluten Free Holiday Treats ~ Sneak Peak

It is always a pleasure to come out and share my passion for delicious, healthy eating with William Sonoma’s staff and customers. Today I am cooking up some yummy, decadent and   gluten free holiday appetizers and my gluten free brownie bites with a twist. I will be using William Sonoma’s famous Original Peppermint Bark as a topping for these rich and luscious brownies. I will also be making tuscan white beans stuffed in a roasted campari tomato and yummy zucchini bites stuffed with gruyere and parmesan cheese.

I am so excited to share some of my families favorite holiday treats today with William Sonoma’s customers, as they shop for wonderful gifts for their love ones. So stop by and find some great gifts for your family and have a brownie on me. Here’s a sneak peak of today’s menu.  

Zucchini Bites

INGREDIENTS

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 egg

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced,finely 

1/2 cup cheese gruyere

1/2 cup parmesan 

1/2 cup gluten free  bread crumbs – I used Italian style

Salt and Pepper, to taste. 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach.  In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper. 4. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  

  • Gluten Free Brownies with Chocolate Ganache these will be topped with William Sonoma Original Peppermint Bark

1/2 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips 

4 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs 1 egg yolk

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free-purpose flour. I love Bob Mills Gluten free baking flour or Pillsbury Gluten-free baking powder. 

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/8 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Chop the 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate bars into 1″ pieces. In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the 4 chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 -35  minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch squares.

This recipe is gluten free, gluten-free flour can take a little more time to bake. It usually takes about 33 minutes on these. 

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  • Campari Stuffed with Tuscan White Beans with a balsamic glaze

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Two sides of the coin ~ Toasted Pearl Barley Salad

When I competed on Food Network’s All Star Academy season 2, I was blessed to be mentored by Iron Chef and Food Network guru, Alex Guarnaschelli.  She looked at me and my teammate Lee Abbot and said, “You will never look at cooking the same,ever again.” She was right. Competing on Food Network’s All Star Academy, was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.  It’s not just television folks, it’s an experience you will never forget. It challenged me to my very soul, not only in front of the cameras, but also behind the scenes. In such competitions, 12 hours of filming, elimination challenges, television politics and illness, you discover a part of you, you never knew. I have to say, I am so grateful for my time on the show. The experience is still revealing more of who I am and what I am capable of. You may say, Lisa, it was just a game show, maybe, but life is how you digest it, how you take it in and savior all of it’s flavors, like a wonderful dish executed with skill, patience and lots of care. This is experience was one of the best I have ever consumed.

The dish I would like to share with you today reminded me of my time on the show. I got a chance to cook also with Chef Curtis Stone, he is incredibly brilliant chef, that takes his craft very seriously.  Chef Stone inspired me with his precision and attention to every single detail. Chef’s food reminded me of art, fashion, symphony, culture expressed on a plate. Chef Guarnaschelli mentoring and food is full of soul, spirit, it’s holistic, she hits you with texture, flavor, aromas, emotions, she brings you HOME.

I made today two salads, from produce I got from the Farm and from my local grocery store. The salad is made with all the same ingredients, not one is missing no matter how different they may look. When I made these dishes, I wasn’t thinking of my experience on Food Network, I was just creating, but as Chef Guarnaschelli said,  You will never look at cooking the same, ever again. She was right. Thanks Chefs for the inspiration that  sometimes comes out unconsciously. It’s in me now. 🙂

 

Toasted Pearl Barley Salad ( two ways) 

This salad is necessarily not a recipe. It using your favorite vegetables and displaying them from your cooking perspective. Here is what I used.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

 

For the Rustic Salad and Salad of Art

Using a mandolin, slice up squash, radish, red cabbages, set a side

Cut up campari tomatoes in quarter for the rustic salad, for the artistic one, thinly slice of the bottoms, not exposing the inside, scoop out the top and some of the inside of the tomato, set a side.

Cut up 1 shallot, peel and slice horizontally, keep two of the ends where the circles are intact, the remainder will be used to toast in the rustic salad.

This is all about creativity, so follow my instruction or go wild with your imagination.

 

Here’s the instructions you need to follow:

Toasted Pearl Barley with Ras El Hanout season walnuts and vegetables with a fried egg

( a mouth full) 🙂

Toasted Pearl Barley

Ingredients:

1 cup pearl barley

1 tsp olive oil

2 cups organic vegetable broth, low sodium

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup green cauliflower florets, small pieces

1/2 cup green sweet peas

1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers

1/2 cup sliced onions

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp ras el hanout

sea salt to taste

Directions:

Cook pearl barley as instructed. Once cook set a side. In a sauté pan add the oil, the peppers, onions, and pinch of the salt, cook until tender remove. Add the cauliflower, pinch of salt, cook for 1-2 minutes, you want it to stay crunchy. Remove and add to the peppers and onions. Add the walnuts and the ras el hanout and a pinch of salt. Cook the walnuts and seasonings for about a minute, you are just warming up the walnuts and bringing out the flavors of the ras el hanout. Add all the ingredients into the toasted pearl barley, season with more ras el hanout and sea salt, to taste.

For the Rustic Salad:

Add the toasted pearl barley to a plate and toast in your favorite veggies, remember to leave some of the vegetables on the side to create your Salad of Art. You will need 3 medium squash slices, 6 small pieces of the squash slices, 6 small radish slices, 3 pieces of the red cabbage,  Drizzle with the Basil and Garlic oil, recipe below:

Basil and Garlic Oil:

Ingredients:

2 cups of packed basil leaves
½ cup – 1 cup of olive oil, adjust based on the thickness level you prefer
1 garlic clove
Salt to taste

Instructions:

Place the basil, olive oil, garlic, mini-food processor, mix until you have smooth sauce. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

Salad of Art:

On a beautiful white plate, add 3 pearls of basil oil on the plate, take 3 of your mandolin cut squash and add it on top of the basil oil pearls. Stuff your campari tomatoes with some of the toasted pearl barley mixture, add one pea on top of the each stuffed tomato. Add a piece of the red cabbage inside of the stuffed tomato, allowing it to stand up like a flag. Add the radishes on the outside of the tomatoes with a dollop of the basil and garlic oil and add the small squash slices onto that. Add the pieces of the green cauliflower artistically onto the plate with the slices of shallots.

Be creative, squash all that I have written and honey do your on thing. LOL.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

Enjoy and Remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

Tuscan White Bean Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Summer is around the corner, but honey if you live in Georgia, it is already here sitting on our backs like a monkey. LOL. In the Summer time my go to is salad. I love to use vegetables and fruits that are in season to make super flavorful and refreshing salads. This salad here is excellent anytime of the year. What makes it special to me is the champagne citrus vinaigrette, it gives the salad this wonderful burst of summer in your mouth. I am one to take my salad seriously. It’s not just putting raw vegetables and fruit in a bowl. Allow yourself  to get wild with salads this summer, roast, sautĂ©, grill bake your ingredients and add them to arugula, wild kale, Napa cabbage, just get creative and add lots of color, EAT THE RAINBOW! Salad is a great way to do this. I hope you enjoy this recipe just as I have. Remember, to Set the Table with Love.

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Tuscan White Bean Salad with a Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Tuscan White Bean Salad w/ Lemon Basil vinaigrette
2 cans white beans
1 1/2 tbsp Tuscan season blend
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onions, med, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, med. chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1 garlic clove
5 small artichoke heart , cut in fours
1/2 cup black olives,small
3 tbsp parmesan grated cheese
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp capers
4 shaved pieces of parmesan for garnish
1 boiled egg cut in quarters as garnish,
optional

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup basil leaves, packed
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash of cracked black pepper
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp lemon zest
2 1/2 tbsp. organic honey
1 tbsp citrus champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

1. In large skillet add 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, saute the onions, peppers,
beans. Sprinkle everything with 1 tsp of Tuscan season blend and
1/2 tsp of sea salt , cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
2. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic is soft. Set
everything aside in a larger salad bowl.
3. Add to the bowl the quartered artichoke hearts, black olives,
capers, red onions, 3 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, dried basil and
the remainder of the Tuscan season blend. Set aside and make the
vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette
1. In a food processor, process the basil, garlic, salt, black pepper and
lemon juice vinegar and zest, until smooth. As the food processor is
running, slowly add the oil. Blend until combined.
2. Drizzle vinaigrette onto the white bean salad and gently toss until
all ingredients are combined. Do this to taste. I like to start off with a
small amount of dressing for the salad and add more, as needed. Or you
can leave the dressing out and serve it with the salad on the side.
3. Place the shaved pieces of parmesan on top and quartered boil eggs and add to the salad.

 

Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup

Who says, you can not eat sweet potato soup in the heat of summer? This soup is spicy but very cooling because of the base of coconut milk. It is also has a nice sweet, smoky and just plan delish. The saffron gives it a touch of elegance. Some things are just worth the price and saffron is one of those.

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Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced, put 1/2 cup to the side for garnish

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup red onions, diced

2 garlic clove, crushed

pinch saffron threads

1 tsp smoked chili

1 cup of coconut milk

1/2 cup organic vegetable broth

1 1/2 tbsp organic honey

1  tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Salt and Pepper to taste.

A few saffron threads for garnish. If it suits your fancy. 🙂

Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup
Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup

Directions~

In a large pot add enough water to cover the diced sweet potatoes. Cook on a medium high heat, until tender.  Remember to put 1/2 cup of the diced sweet potatoes to the side to sauté for your garnish.

Garnish:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook the 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, red onions and red bell peppers, stirring, until soft. Add the garlic and the saffron; cook, stirring. Add 1/2 smoked paprika, fennel seeds and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook for a minute to incorporate the spices. Set the garnish mixture to the side.

Soup:

Take the boiled sweet potatoes and drain them in a strainer. Add the sweet potatoes to a blender, Vitamix or Ninja. Add the remaining ingredients, milk, honey, vegetable broth and spices. Blend until smooth. Add the soup to a pot and warm up, if needed. Add the soup to serving bowls; top with the sweet potato garnish and Enjoy!

Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup
Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup