Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Roasted Honey Rosemary Pecans (with a touch of garlic!)

Pecans, they're just nuts right??  Well... coat them with a little butter infused with garlic, honey and rosemary and you now have something other worldly.  Who knew just a couple of ingredients could create eye-popping flavor in less than 30 minutes?

I can tell you who... Lisa of Authentic Suburban Gourmet knew, and I can't even begin to explain my excitement when I received her blog as my assignment for the December Blogger C.L.U.E Event.

Lisa (Authentic Suburban Gourmet) with her husband Charles
The Blogger C.L.U.E (Cook, Learn, Undertake, Eat) Society works similar to other blog events where one blogger is secretly assigned another, with C.L.U.E featuring a monthly theme.  We search the blogger's blog, find a recipe, tweak it ever so slightly to our tastes and diets, and then reveal all on the same day.

My Grandmother, Verle
This month's theme brought me a little reflection.  Assigned to "find something your grandmother would have made" left me a little stumped.  My mom's mom passed away before I was born, hence I never met her.

I've heard stories, and she sounds like a super fun lady - someone whom I would love to have known.  My dad's mom, on the other hand, lived to the age of 93, and while I did know her, the distance of our homes (me in California, she in Minnesota) left us with little opportunity to really be a big part of each other's lives.

Pairing the grandmother with Lisa I really could have gone either way.  The grandmother I knew, German-born Adella, loved to bake and I have wonderful memories sitting in her kitchen on the farm with big plates of homemade Peanut Butter Cookies.  Lisa has a number of fabulous baked goods on her blog, and I could have easily gone this way.  But my other grandmother, Verle, loved a good cocktail party.  Which in the end led me to my choice.

I've "known" Lisa for years, and her Friday Night Bites feature often leaves me tempted to hop a plane and join the fun.  Residing in the San Francisco Bay Area (my home for nearly 30 years), and with two irresistibly adorable puppies (Marty and Stewart, they are Havanese), Lisa and I have a lot in common.  A love of these Roasted Honey Rosemary Pecans are just one more thing.

Thanks Lisa for a wonderful recipe.  I'm so happy you were my assigned blog, and... I finally got participate in a Friday Night Bite, even though it was only virtually.  Someday, I'm going to make it for real.

Join me with a visit to the rest of the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Greek Salad Sandwiches go Organic with Oroweat's new Organic Whole Wheat Bread

Greek Salad Sandwich

Seems to be a decent difference of opinion when I ask people if they are salad or sandwich people.  Occasionally I get a "both" response, but most of my friends tend to fall into one camp or the other.  Myself?  Definitely salad.  My husband and kids?  Sandwiches all the way.

So today I bring you a meeting of the minds... the Greek Salad Sandwich!  My favorite salad between two slices of Organic Oroweat Bread.

Oroweat Organic 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Choosy about the breads I serve my family, I often resort to making my own.  It's frequently difficult to find loaves in the store that are organic, let alone with ingredients that I recognize.

But especially this time of year, I simply don't have the time to make the bread we need, and an offer from Oroweat to review their new organic line of breads eased my workload.  With product coupons in hand and a giftcard for ingredients, I was on my way.

With an organic ingredient list similar to what I have stocked in my own pantry, I didn't have any trouble letting Oroweat do the work, and I love that the Organic 100% Whole Wheat loaf includes the addition of flax seed, cracked wheat and sunflower kernels (all organic, of course!) in their recipe.

San Diego Guacamole Breakfast Sandwich
Liv loves posts like these as Oroweat asked us to host an Ultimate Sandwich Party, which always translates into a sleepover with girlfriends for her.  Hosting 4 of her friends over the school break we brainstormed sandwich ideas and the girls decided on a an Ultimate San Diego Guacamole Breakfast Sandwich in addition to my Greek Salad Sandwich.

Toasting Oroweat's Organic Premium White Bread they started with a layer of guacamole and topped that with crushed organic corn chips (not sure I'd do this on my sandwich... but I let them go with it), a fried egg, arugula (I love that they used the arugula!) and a drizzle of salsa.  Very San Diego, for sure.

I have to admit, these girls nailed it with this breakfast sandwich.  It's totally awesome, even with the crushed corn chips (I had to try!) and the whole thing is reminiscent of a traditional breakfast burrito, just with bread.

We had differences of opinion though, as to whether the egg yolk should be broken in the cooking process or not, and have decided that it's pure personal preference.  The complaint with the unbroken yolk was that it's messy when eating... the choice is up to you.

San Diego Guacamole Breakfast Sandwich

As for the Greek Salad Sandwich, I used bread from the Organic 100% Whole Wheat loaf and layered my favorite Greek Salad ingredients starting with hummus.  Adding crumbled feta brought a nice creaminess to each bite and the veggies (cucumber, roasted red pepper, arugula, tomato, red onion, and sprouts) gave all sorts of textures to keep each bite interesting.

Greek Salad Sandwich

So which camp do you fall in??  Sandwich or Salad?  I actually have a poll running on my Facebook Page and I'm loving the responses.  Seems a decent majority is in the sandwich camp with a few votes for both, one vote for beer, and one comment from a friend who checked in from a Seabourn Cruise sailing towards South Africa and says "Preferably a sandwich, but whichever, I'd like it to be served with champagne, please."  Not a bad choice.

Whichever camp you fall into, I think we have some sandwiches that will make you happy, and the organic ingredients in the Oroweat breads make me happy.

We've been through a number of loaves in the last few weeks and whether it's used in sandwiches like these, folded with almond butter and honey, or simply toasted and slathered with butter, my thanks go out to Oroweat for easing my time pressure this holiday season and for making an organic bread I can feel good about serving.  I think we can make this a forever relationship.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cranberry Vanilla Chia Jam

Certain foods have become associated with the holiday season, but in reality there is no reason we shouldn't eat them all year.  Cranberries, for instance.  How often do you see a cranberry dish in summer?

With the super health benefits of these brilliantly hued berries, it's unfortunate we don't keep them around all year.  The high nutrient and antioxidant qualities of cranberries launch them to "Super Food" status and brings an array of immunity and disease fighting phytonutrients (along with a healthy dose of fiber).

Mix those berries together with chia and fresh orange and you get even more health benefits.  Maple syrup adds a lovely sweetness to balance the tartness of the berries, vanilla rounds out the flavors with its ethereal flavors and a splash of Grand Marnier is simply for pure pleasure (purely optional, of course...).  All put together, this jam is up there with the best I've ever had.

Extraordinarily tart on their own, cranberries are not to everyone's taste, but the rich maple syrup in this jam had even my ultra-sweet loving Liv asking for more.  Whether slathered on an almond butter sandwich or topping as a dollop on goat cheese on a slice of bread, cranberries are good for more than just sauce on Thanksgiving.

Easier than getting in the car and running the the store, this jam goes together with no pectin and is done from start to finish in about 20 minutes.  So next trip to the store stock up on a few extra bags of cranberries and stash them in the freezer for a summertime cranberry fix.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Ninja in the Kitchen... Nutri Ninja with Auto iQ Review

The number of blender and blender combos that have passed through my kitchen over the years seems endless.  From cheap store brand models to expensive high end machines, I've tried them all.  Some exceeded my expectations, some didn't, but mostly I've been frustrated at trying to find one that works for a decent price.

However... I think I've found it!  Meeting Ninja representatives at last fall's International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle, the smiling company representatives brought a sense of community to a room full of strangers, and the Green Smoothie with Pineapple they offered refreshed my over-indulgence with raw nutrients.

Impressed with the ultra "smoothness" of their smoothie, an offer to test and review the Nutri Ninja with Auto iQ had me responding an immediate, "Yes!".  Could a product with a blender, food processor and multi-sized serving cups (with tops) really do the job?  In a word... Yes.

As an owner (and lover) of one of those expensive models, this Ninja had its work cut out for it.  I've become used to ultra smooth smoothies, perfectly blended pesto, creamy hummus and evenly crushed frozen margaritas at the touch of a button.  Now to test the Ninja.

Click here for recipe
First up, one of my favorite green drinks and probably the easiest test for the Ninja, the Apple Arugula Detox Drink.  Placing half of an apple along with handfuls of arugula, goji berries, flax meal and chia seeds along with a few large ice cubes into one of the serving cups I screwed on the blade assembly and fitted the cup into the machine.

Pressing the Ultra Blend button the machine went into action stopping and starting (pure brilliance!) so the ingredients kept falling to the bottom (and I didn't have to scrape any sides) where they then blended up evenly.

That's the "Auto iQ" system where "unique blending, pulsing and pausing cycles deliver consistent even results every time".  And it did.  Time and again the cycle brought smooth smoothies and blended green drinks with no stray unblended chunks of anything.  Even the chia seeds disappeared into the mix.

Pouring a perfectly blended (and I do mean perfect) drink into glasses, my favorite part of the process was simply placing the blending cup into the dishwasher.  Something I can't do with that expensive unit that always needs to be washed by hand.  Score for Ninja.

Click here for recipe
Next up, our favorite Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto.  Simple blenders and a small food processor haven't been able to puree the sun-dried tomatoes and basil evenly, leaving nonuniform pieces throughout.  The Ninja?

Again, the blending, pulsing and pausing worked beautifully in the cup bringing a uniformly blended pesto.  So we tried again with a larger batch in the food processor bowl.

A big batch of pesto perfection took less than a minute from start to finish.  And... the blade removed from the food processor bowl they simply popped into the dishwasher for cleanup (note I usually wash the blades by hand to retain sharpness - the dishwasher can dull them over time).  Another score for the Ninja!

But how about a the classic blended margarita?  I'm fairly picky about this one, and many times blenders leave a nearly perfect blended margarita with a few unappealing big chunks of ice floating in the cup... but not the Ninja.  Perfectly slushy, frozen margaritas at the touch of a button.  Having friends over, they kindly offered to be Ninja testers so we blended up another margarita batch, this time with fruit (whole blood oranges) mixed into the ingredients.  Results?  Cheers all around!

Since receiving the machine I've found myself reaching for it multiple times a day, and I love having the food processor bowl attach to the base, making it two machines in one.

Chia Hummus with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Za'atar
Need to process a batch of hummus?  Placing the ingredients into the bowl, the blade system works extraordinarily close to the bottom of the bowl ensuring a smooth, creamy result...  Every time.  My most recent attempt at hummus included those sometimes difficult to blend sun-dried tomatoes, but they proved to be no issue for the Ninja blade system.

On a side note, I used every part of this system for my Thanksgiving dinner prep... Butternut Soup in the blender, small batch Cranberry Sauce in the cup, streusel for the Sweet Potatoes in the food processor, green drink to keep my energy up in the cup, crumble for the Cranberry Apple Crisp in the food processor, etc.  

Oh... and did I mention Acai Bowls??  Creating a thick acai "sorbet" is sometimes difficult.  Maintaining the thickness is key, but in other processors or blenders we've had to add extra liquid to get the ingredients to blend completely, hence making them more into a smoothie, and therefore no longer the desired thick acai bowl consistency.  Again, not an issue for this machine.

Blended Acai Sorbet for Acai Bowl... thick and smooth, just like it's supposed to be!
Here's a rundown of the pros and cons we came across in our month-long test:

  • Smoothies in a snap!  Smooth and creamy every time with no unprocessed "chunks" of anything.  The Ninja has become our "go-to" Smoothie/Green Drink blending machine for its cup on the go convenience, consistent quality and pure ease of use.  See next point...
  • Clean-up.  Pieces come apart easily and wash up in the dishwasher or by hand with ease (no blades to cut your fingers when washing the bottom of a bowl or pitcher).
  • Blender, Cups and Food Processor all in one.  You can get rid of that old Food Processor and blender you have in the cabinet and you're set with this one product.
  • Food Processor blades are shaped process smooth uniform results and clean up easily with little to no scraping of the bowl necessary. 
  • Suction cups on the bottom of the base.  One of my favorite things!  These cups "suck" amazingly well to the counter and the machine won't move unless you want it to.  No wobbling off the counter when your back is turned.
  • Price... You get a blender, ice crusher and food processor all in one along with a kitchen workhorse (Ninja-style!) for less than those other expensive blender models.
  • A little noisy... but aren't all blenders?  However my husband complained that he thought this one was a "little too loud" (note that he's a little sensitive before his morning coffee... ;)  ).
  • Nut butter... while the machine made a decent nut butter, it wasn't quite as smooth as I would have liked it on the first process.  Another processing though and it was fine, and we found it worked better with a larger sized batch.
And there you have it.  Often we give the products we review to friends and family, but this beauty is staying with me.  I've given away my old food processor and store brand single use blender and now I have a Ninja in my kitchen.  Nutri Ninja Acai Bowl anyone??

Acai Bowl blended in Ninja cup

Liv Life Note:  Liv Life received the Nutri Ninja Auto iQ System from Ninja, but we were not paid to write this review.  As always, I would not have reviewed the item if I didn't fully believe in it and unless I could whole hearted recommend it.  Thank you Ninja for the opportunity...  I'm looking forward to a long relationship with this product!

For more reviews and Ninja recipes see:
She's Cookin
Let's Dish
Ninja Recipes

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sol Republic Relay Giveaway and Peanut Butter Krispie Treats

Somehow every pair of earphones that sees their way into my life seems to walk off with one or the other of my two teenagers.  Hence I'm left with the ones that came with my phone that don't really fit into my ears.  Hence again, I don't really use them.

Last week though, Sol Republic made a change in my life when they sent a pair of Everyday Active Relays with MY name on the box.  "No," I told both kids, "these have are mine.  This is for work, I need to review them."  And off I went to the gym for a test run and where I listened to music that actually sounded full and rich for the first time in forever.

And they didn't fall out of my ears (Finally... a set that stays in!).  And I changed the volume with the little tab on the cord.  And I love them.

But, good mom that I am, I let the kids have their go this holiday week for a more comprehensive review, and once again I've been asked, "Mom, these sound awesome... can I have them??"

Coming with different sized ear-tips, the relays fit all of our ears, and I love the Sol Republic "Ear-tips For Life" program. Lose an ear-tip?  Need a different size?  Simply fill out the form on the website and they'll send you a new one.

Founded in 2011, the three founders (consumer electronics veterans) have set out to "rid the world of hollow sounding headphones and to make great sound available to everyone."  In my opinion, they've succeeded.

Entering this holiday season, I've enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving with my entire family all under the same roof for the first time in months.  My husband made it home just in time for dinner, and my son surprised me a day early as he arrived home from college.  I've loved every minute baking and cooking up a storm, and these Peanut Butter Krispie Treats were requested to bring back to the UCSB dorm.

As I packed them carefully in the top of his backpack, little did I know I covered up the Sol Republic Relays, and just hours ago I received a text from him saying, "Everyone loves the treats.  Hey... I thought you were keeping those headphones for yourself, but thanks!".  Good thing I've already ordered a pair for him for Christmas... looks like maybe I will finally  have a set for myself...

Now with everyone headed back out into the world I'm ready for some holiday shopping and I'm eager to help you too.  Perfect for any active music lover on your list, these relays will bring smiles as gifts are opened.

Sol Republic has kindly offered up another set of these Everyday Active Relays for us to giveaway!  Simply enter the RaffleCopter below and you may have a set under the tree with your name on it... just like me!  And the Peanut Butter Krispies??  Those are just a bonus.

Sol  Republic Relay Giveaway Fineprint
  • Open to USA and Canada only
  • Giveaway Closes at noon on Sunday, December 7th, 2014.  PST
  • Use Rafflecopeter below to enter
  • Product will be supplied by Sol Republic, no guarantee of color, but request can be made
  • Giveaway value $79.99
  • Giveaway is for one set of Sol Republic Everyday Active Relays

Peanut Butter Krispie Treats
A favorite in our family for years, basic krispie treats receive a luscious topping of a Chocolate/Peanut Butter Ganache for something a little extraordinary.

6 cups puffed rice cereal
1 bag (10.5 oz) marshmallows
2 Tbs butter (or butter alternative, we use Earth Balance)
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped

Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix the cereal and mini peanut butter cups, set aside. Melt the marshmallows and butter together in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the cereal mixture, quickly stirring well to evenly coat the cereal. Pour the cereal mixture into the prepared pan and evenly press into the pan.

In a small sauce pan melt the peanut butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring to combine.  Pour the melted chocolate over the cereal mixture, spreading with a rubber spatula to cover.
Allow the topping to set, then cut and serve!

Note:  We were too impatient to allow ours to set, so we placed it into the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour to speed up the process!!
Liv Life received one pair of Sol Republic Relays and Sol Republic is also supplying the giveaway product for this post.  All opinions and thoughts on the product are mine and that of my kids (also relay testers).  We wouldn't recommend then if we didn't like them.  
Giveaway Directory

Monday, November 24, 2014

Basic Roasted Burssels Sprouts and a Brussels Sprout Roundup

Tight, leafy mini cabbage-like buds, they're filled with nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, and these little guys can also bring cholesterol lowering benefits.  Brussels Sprouts bring a whole slew of health benefits to your plate.

But, my family won't eat them.  Well, let me rephrase, my husband and kids won't eat them.  My dad has eaten them for as long as I can remember, but up until a few years ago I was in the same boat as my husband and kids. 

I vividly remember cringing at the smells coming from the oven when Dad roasted them.  I never tried a single bite, and vowed to never, ever try.

But I did try... last thanksgiving my girlfriend, Amy, made a basic roasted pan of brussels.  They didn't look so bad.  With just a little olive oil, butter, salt and pepper, they actually looked good.  And since she had been so nice to make them as she knew my dad liked them, it wouldn't have been polite not to try.

So I did... and I liked them.  My mom and dad liked them.  My neighbors liked them.  My husband and kids?  They didn't have an issue not being polite and passed with a "no thanks" as the bowl went around the table.

Since then I've made this basic recipe a number of times and finally convinced my husband to try.  He pierced one with his fork, popped it in his mouth and promptly said, "I know these are good for you, but isn't there a better way to make them?  Something with more... pizazz?"

Hence, our Brussels Sprout Roundup!  Who knew there were so many ways to make these little guys?  And there simply has to be at least one recipe here he will like.  Any thoughts on which one I should try for him first?

14 Brussels Sprout Recipes
plus a basic roasting recipe at the bottom

From The American Bite

From The Lemon Bowl

From An Edible Mosaic

From The Housewife in Training

From Food Faith Fitness

From the Healthy Maven

From Lexi's Clean Kitchen

From The View From Great Island

From Jeanette's Healthy Living

From American Heritage Cooking

From Jessica in the Kitchen

From Ari's Menu

Basic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
A good way to introduce brussels to your family, this basic recipe is one of my favorite.  Easy to toss together and full of flavor with a touch of saltiness.

Brussels Sprouts ~ about 1 - 1 1/2 cups or so
1-2 Tbs oil (we like avocado oil)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400º.

Trim bottom of sprout (to trim off brown "stump") if desired.  Pull any loose or yellowed leaves from sprout, then cut the sprout in half.

Place sprouts onto a baking sheet and drizzle with oil.  Toss with your hands to coat, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Place sprouts into the oven and roast about 25 minutes.  I like my sprouts to be slightly crisp on the outside, but if you don't, remove them when they feel tender when pierced with a sharp knife.  Alternatively, leave in a bit longer for even crispier sprouts.  

Remove from oven and serve.

Liv Life Note:  I save the leftovers in a covered bowl in the fridge and like them cold right from the bowl the next day!

Liv Life Note 2:  I found that just a small amount of oil works for me... I have friends who prefer more oil and use up to a quarter cup per 1 1/2 cups of sprouts.  My girlfriend, Amy, also placed chunks of butter of the sprouts.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Jeweled Holiday Salad with California Endive, Roasted Beets and Butternut and a Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Autumn brings color into our lives with not only with falling leaves, but with colorful produce filling the tables at local markets.  Brightly hued butternut squashes contrast beautifully with vibrant bunches of greens and brilliant baskets of pomegranates.

California Endive
Endive Instagram!
But have you thought of California Endive?  For years I'd walked past those little torpedo-like greens simply because I didn't know what to do with them.  Then a few years ago a girlfriend served the leaves with a savory filling at a holiday gathering, and I've been hooked ever since.

A member of the chicory family, endive is related to radicchio, escarole and frissee.  Its crisp texture and sweet nutty flavor bring a mild bitterness to your recipes, and endive is good either cooked or raw.

A California girl through and through, an opportunity landing in my inbox to promote California Endive shines right up my alley.  But the opportunity didn't stop there... A box filled with brilliant, perfectly formed red and green California Endives arrived packaged with a can of Italian Nudo Olive Oil and a Bottle of Rios do Chile Carmenère along with a challenge to create a fall themed side dish suitable for your holiday table.  My kind of challenge!!

I have to admit to using the olive oil for a few days before getting to my fall challenge.  Do you recall the Smashed Avocado Toast topped with Oiled Tomatoes? Yep... that was the Nudo Oil.  We tired the toast with Nudo oil and again with a generic oil from my pantry, and Liv actually noticed the difference without me saying anything.  This Nudo oil is a keeper.

Here's were my food blogger job brings me incredible satisfaction as well as introductions that grow into relationships.  Nudo Italia features a concept that swells my heart... I think it's best said in their own words:

Jason Gibb and Cathy Rogers set up Nudo in 2005 after buying and restoring an abandoned 21 acre olive grove in Italy's Le Marche.

Their love of the Italian countryside inspired their now famous adopt an olive tree programme which allows people all over the world to adopt an Italian olive tree and receive its oil. The programme involves a collaboration between a group of small scale, artisanal olive producers in Le Marche, Abruzzo and Sicily. Each olive farmer keeps responsibility for the care of their grove, and all the olive oil goes into the Nudo adoption programme.

In giving financial security to the olive farmers, the programme makes viable the traditional farming methods which, quite simply,produce the world's best olive oil.

A love of simple natural food is the starting point for all Nudo products. They are all made from 100% natural, high quality, locally sourced ingredients. Why use artificial preservatives when olive oil is one of the best preservatives there is - and the most delicious?

Real oils pressed from trees raised with the love of the land owners keeps the quality high and the oils special.  Most exciting for me is the Il Fico Grove owned by Saverio Adamo.  While I didn't actually visit the grove near Alcamo on the Trapanese Coast of Sicily, my husband and I spent a day in the area, and I believe we drove nearly right by.

Trapanese Coast of Sicily seen from Erice ~ 2010
But back to our challenge... with beautiful California Endives and this fabulous olive oil, a colorful holiday salad seemed to be the proper venue to let the pure flavors of the ingredients shine.

Returning to a favorite of my Mom's, I roasted brightly hued butternut with garnet colored beets and fragrant sweet onions with the Nudo Oil and seasoned it all with a few dashes of dried oregano.  Moments later my kitchen sent aromas into the air that had us all swooning.

California endive and organic greens
Red endive adds holiday flair
Pairing the endive with fresh organic Farmer's Market greens (our mix had frisee, spinach, baby lettuces and arugula), I loved the contrast of the red endive with the emerald greens.  Truly a holiday mix, the roasted vegetables and pomegranate completed our rainbow.

But what about that Chilean wine you may ask??  As I tinkered with the salad, wine in the recipe just didn't seem right.  However, the Rios de Chile in my glass as I chopped, roasted and sliced made for a lovely evening.

Inviting my husband to partake as I prepped the salad (he was just home from a week long business trip), he took a sip and let out a long sigh along with an "Ahhh... that hit's the spot, did you pick this wine yourself?".

I'll admit here that my expertise in wine tasting doesn't go much beyond "Yep... that's a good one!" or "No, this one really isn't for me", but in this case, the Rios de Chile falls into the first category, "Yep... that's a good one!".  I wouldn't hesitate to bring a bottle to a gathering for any holiday this season, and I impressed my husband with my choice.  Here I'll leave you with the more professional tasting notes from the Pacific Wine Group:

"Intense ruby red with violet tints.  In the nose, aromas of dried fruits, red pepper and spice stand out.  In the mouth it is elegant, with soft round tannins, it's a wine with good persistence."

Wine with good persistence... while I'm not exactly sure what that means I like the phrase.  This wine made my salad prep a pleasure, and paired beautifully with our meal as we finished off the bottle.

Using the red endive for more of a holiday feel, this recipe will go beyond the holidays for me.  Filled with goodies like the roasted butternut and beets, the salad is hearty enough for a light lunch as well as and ideal vegetarian side to a holiday gathering.  Bright and jeweled with the colors of fresh California produce, the Italian oil and Chilean wine brought a bit of an international affair to our table.

Thank you to California Endive, Nudo Italia, and the Pacific Wine Group for the products that led me to this fun post filled with fresh produce and trips down memory lane.  We have a recipe here that's earned a spot in our regular rotation.