Dani Goes South.

Appetizers

Carciofi Ripieni AKA Stuffed Roasted Artichokes With Parmigiano Breadcrumbs, Lots of Lemon, + Basil Aioli

AppetizersDani ColombattoComment
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Artichokes just feel like a weekend vegetable. They take a little time and patience, which, let’s be real, is definitely in more abundance on a Saturday versus a Tuesday. My parents have a ritual of making them on Saturdays to enjoy while playing golf- the card game, not the sport, which is kind of adorbs. Artichokes really remind me of my dad, and him being home on the weekends. He traveled a TON for work throughout my life, so having him home and in the kitchen or at the grill was always the sign of relaxing afternoons and evenings to come. We always ate our artichokes with melted butter, my dad usually spiking his with some garlic (and probably too much salt), which always left me feeling gypped with the regular plain melted butter, and I would often steal his leftovers once he was done eating.

These artichokes are a slight departure from the simple ones from my youth- which I still love BTW. They get par-boiled to ensure tenderness and easy leaf peeling. Then, they get stuffed to the gills with a delicious, buttery, garlicky, parmigiano-laced breadcrumb mixture. A lemony garlic butter with a splash of white wine keeps everything from drying out, while injecting even more deliciousness into this situation. Thinly sliced lemons get piled on, and subsequently get all caramelized and roast-y in the oven. All things I am into. Finally, a bright basil pesto comes along to make dipping dreams come. As the kids say, letteth us getteth into it.

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Let's Eat Outside Pt. 2: Hoisin Lime Chicken + Quinoa Lettuce Wraps with Sesame Vinaigrette and All the Radishes

Dinners, AppetizersDani ColombattoComment
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Hello, lovely people! I greet you today, glass of red wine in hand, a little later than I originally planned to! This morning, Benjamin and I went back to the Agua Dulce Farms for a little volunteering- aka playing with pretty lettuces, taking photos, going home with said pretty lettuces, etc. It was wonderful, as per the uzhe. Today in particular we left with tons of garlic chives (literally my favorite), rainbow chard, mustard greens, different varieties of watercress, and 5 types of lettuces- I kind of feel like someone is just handing me gold every time I leave. I'll be sharing some photos from all the fun with them v soon.

When we were done, we were staaaarved so we booked it for a good sammie, and then both promptly fell asleep on the couch- and I'm sooo not a nap person. This is mainly because they usually make me feel groggy AF, AKA my general vibes this very moment. I fully intend on peeling my boo-tay off the couch to make this taco-esque salad that I crave probably once a week, but before I do that, how about we get into a little something fresh? 

I whipped up these hoisin-lime chicken and quinoa lettuce wraps a few weeks ago, and they've made multiple reappearances since. First off, you know I love a good "whatever the hell you have in your fridge" situation. This is 100% that. Mix up your lettuces, herbs, toppings- as long as it's fresh and in season, it's usually gold. Secondly, this is such a delicious, easy dinner to pack up for a picnic, and it won't leave you feeling sluggish. 

For this little number I opted for a tangy hoisin-lime sauce to add to chicken and leeks as it's caramelizing away in your skillet. Water chestnuts add the classic lettuce wrap X factor (I'm not going to say PF Changs, but we're all thinking it- DON'T LIE). Basil and cilantro really add next level depth of freshness, so I highly recommend not skimping. Radishes bring welcome crunch, along with bean sprouts. A spritz of lime, and a little drizzle of sesame vinaigrette add just the right level of tartness. Avocado slices and Sriracha are also welcome additions here. As per usual with this blog- not a place for rules. 

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Let's Eat Outside Pt. 1: Veggie Mezze Platter with Kebabs, the Creamiest Beet Hummus, Garlicky Yogurt Dip, and Roasted / Raw Crudites

Appetizers, DinnersDani ColombattoComment
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Hey, hey, and a happy hump day to you! I hope this week is treating you like a chivalrous date. On my end of things, I just returned from a fun, spontaneous weekend trip back home to San Clemente. My sweet angel of an aunt and cousin surprised my sister, niece, & I with tickets- seriously, what gems! We arrived Friday, and had a little family dinner at my uncle and aunt's house. Those of you who watched my stories got to see the epic toddler dance party that took place, which, by the way, made me feel SO out of touch with top 100 music. Like, I couldn't tell you who's a Bieber, Gomez, or Lovato if my life depended on it. I digress... My dad's side of the family is relatively small, and we've always been super close, usually living about a 30 minute drive from each other for most of our lives. My sister and I were lucky enough to grow up with cousins who felt more like siblings. As we've gotten older not only is it so cool that things always feel exactly the same, no matter how much time has passed, but now we get to watch my sister and cousins do the same with their little kids. Life sure is wild. 

Speaking of family gatherings, every time the weather starts to turn I can't help but think of being outside- particularly, cooking and eating outside. Whether I'm back in California, at my parents' in Idaho, or home in Austin, eating outside is just such a prominent source of happiness in my life. Honestly, what is better than a strong cocktail and sharing some small plates on a warm night? Kind of nothing, if you're asking me. I thought it would be fun to share a few ideas for portable dishes to make and take with you to eat somewhere pretty with someone you love. What better way to start than with an appetizer situation that doubles as dinner? Options are LyFe. Since we're keeping things light and springy, I thought we'd go veggie for our first little soiree, and celebrate some of the best of what's in season now, starting with the creamiest beet hummus. Veggie kebabs, garlicky yogurt, baked feta, lavash, and roasted and raw crudites make for perfect mix and match snacking. In fact, if someone could teleport one of these platters to me now, that would be amazing. Let's get into it. 

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Props C/O Urban Outfitters

Baked Chicken Wings Two-Ways: Romesco-Rubbed & Asian-Inspired

Dinners, AppetizersDani ColombattoComment
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Happy Sunday! I hope that this weekend you've seen a little sun (or enjoyed some cozy time), hung with someone you like, maybe pet a kitten, all the good things! Speaking of kittens, I'm coming at you this morning with heavy eyelids, and from the standpoint that there isn't enough coffee in the world. My cat, Greg woke up at about 3am (the uzhe), and decided we no longer required sleep. By that, I mean screech-meows from the depths of cat hell. He was fed, everything was fine. He just wanted to hang out, which is equal parts cute, cracks me up, and makes me think we are so, so screwed, hah! Anywho, cat antics aside, I could really use an app platter teleported to me whilst I catch up on this final 3 Bachelor business (so much ew). If I had my pick of teleported app, these baked wings would most definitely make the cut. 

I love a little variety, and as I've mentioned before, I also love when things look like more effort than they really are. It's a total make ahead situation. It's a leftover multi-use sauce situation. It's a damn win all around. Let's get into it. 

Dips, Sauces, & Marinades: Romesco & Lemony Za'atar Garlic Yogurt

Appetizers, SaucesDani ColombattoComment
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I. Love. A. Double. Down. In this case, a triple-down. Today, we talkin' sauce. Well, sauces, dips, and marinades (oh my), to be exact. These bad boys also work their way into this Friday's recipe, so if you're a planner who semi-trusts me, this just might come in handy for you. 

First, we have a hearty Romesco, which, if you're unfamiliar is a roasted red pepper dip originating from Spain, that has a base of toasted almonds and white bread. It's roasty, tangy, bright, and makes a delicious accompaniment to crudites, sauce for pretty much all meat and seafood, and, in this weekend's case, marinade for some chicken wings. 

Since I am inching my way towards wing-ville, you best believe I have dips on the brain. A lemony Za'atar yogurt sauce makes such a delicious compliment to Romesco-rubbed wings, or the perfect dip partner for a pretty produce board. It would also be really delicious drizzled on falafel, or a gyro situation. Za'atar is a Mediterranean spice blend that only made its way into my cabinet repertoire recently, but I am oh-so glad it did. It's a blend of oregano, Sumac, cumin, and sesame seeds. Save yourself a trip to Whole Foods (Seriously, they were out when I went, ha!), and whip some up at home. 

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