Dried Figs with Gorgonzola and Pine Nuts

Dried Figs with Gorgonzola cheese and Pine nuts
12 or more moist whole dried black mission figs
3 or more ounces creamy Gorgonzola cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
12 or more toasted pine nuts

With your thumb, press down on the middle of the fig.  Make an indentation large enough to fit the cheese.  You can stuff as much cheese in the indentation as you wish. With a teaspoon add the cheese, black pepper, and top with a toasted pine nut.

Dried Black Mission Figs
 An afternoon,  I was searching for a snack and couldn’t decide what I wanted. Did I want something sweet? Did I want something savory? Dried figs are always in the pantry, and I had some leftover Gorgonzola from a class, so I put them together and decided that I could have both, the sweet and savory. There it was a new recipe for me to try at parties. I've made them since many times for my clients and cooking classes, and everyone seems to absolutely LOVE them!

It’s an easy dish to prepare that will delight and impress your guest. Each bite is memorable. I can’t explain memorable because you have to taste it to understand what I mean.

If you cannot find moist figs, place the dried figs in a small pan with warm water on low heat for a few minutes, add a little bit of sugar, and cook until they moisten. Strain and pat dry. 

By the way, I also serve these as a dessert with a little drizzle of honey on top. Stickily delicious!

Smashed Peas Fennel and Mint Crostini

Smashed Peas Fennel and Mint Crostini
3 tablespoons lemon olive oil, divided                                           
1 small onion, finely minced                                                
1 small fennel bulb, finely minced (reserve greens)                       
2 cloves garlic, finely minced                                                
1/3 cup vegetable stock        
1 pound fresh or frozen peas, thawed                                            
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh mint
Roasted garlic sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
10-12 lightly toasted French bread slices
Fresh Fennel and Mint
In a small saucepan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and gently cook the onion and fennel until soft and barely golden. Add garlic and cook until golden. 

Add the vegetable stock and turn up the heat. When it comes to a boil, add in the peas and cook about 5 minutes. 

Remove from heat, add the mint and season with the salt and pepper. Use a stick blender or potato masher to make a chunky mash of the peas. When the slices of bread are toasted, add a heaping teaspoon of pea mixture. Top with crumbled cheese and fennel greens. Drizzle some oil on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

Sweet Peas
This recipe can be served as an appetizer or a side dish before smashing it.   However if you like to smash some of the peas, go right ahead.

Cooking with Alba: Island of Sardinia

Pasta with Spicy Sausage and Ricotta @ Wholefoods

Cooking With Alba: Island of Sardinia
Monday September 29th, 6:30pm-8:30pm
The cuisine of the Island of Sardinia, Italy is influenced by the previous cultures that occupied it over the centuries.   The Sardinian cuisine is an interesting and delicious blend of Phoenician, Greek, Arab, Spanish, and French foods.  Enjoy new flavors of traditional dishes such as Bruschetta con Finocchietto e Pecorino, Pasta with Spicy Sausage and Ricotta, and Eggplant Arrosto. $35.

Cooking With Alba: Island of Sardinia

Monday, September 29, 2014 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Whole Foods Market, Annapolis Culinary Center
200 Harker Place
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
United States

Phone: 4102665761


New classes at Whole Foods Annapolis Md

Cooking with Alba: Modern Moroccan

Monday October 27th, 6:30PM-8:30PM
Chef Alba
Moroccan cuisine is rich in spices. Spices are used to enhance, not mask, the flavor of food. Cooking Moroccan-style food is a feast for the senses. Savor the unique taste of Herbed Hummus made with Cannellini beans, Easy Chicken Tagine with Turmeric and Ginger, and Lemon Couscous and Pistachios. $35. Click here to register online.
Monday, October 27, 2014 - 18:30 to 20:30
Whole Foods Market Annapolis

Italian Skillet Potatoes with Onion and Tomatoes

Skillet Potatoes with Onions and Tomatoes

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided                                             
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
20 yellow and red grape tomatoes, cut in half, lengthwise
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt         
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes                    
1 pound mini multi-colored potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thin
½ bunch fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onion; sauté until golden, 10-15 min. Add the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook about 5 minutes.  Remove tomato onion mixture and set aside in a small bowl.  

Add additional oil to skillet, when hot; add half of potato slices to the same skillet.  Top them with even layer of tomato and onions mixture.  Top with remaining potato slices. Cook potatoes until golden brown, about 15 min. Turn the potatoes over onto a plate larger than the skillet. Flip back on the skillet, pressing down on them with a spatula.

Cook the underside until golden brown and potatoes are tender throughout, about another 15 min. Slide from the pan onto a serving platter. Serve warm, top with fresh parsley.
For an unbelievable finish, drizzle some aged balsamic on top, and then wait for your own reaction!!!!