Tag Archives: basil

Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Torta


We have our guilty pleasures and then we have our real pleasure.  My guilty pleasure is Subway.  My real pleasure is this.  I will boast about this recipe until the day I die.  I’ll shout it from the rooftops.  I LOVE it.  Do you get it? Or should I go on…

This torte is a Thanksgiving staple.  I’ve never met someone who dislikes it…partly because its 80% cream cheese. Don’t be afraid.  Embrace it. 


4 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh basil

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 tbs evoo

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 1/2 cups cream cheese (room temperature) about 20 oz.

1/4 freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups drained oil packed sun-dried tomatoes

1/3 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

toasted pine nuts for garnishing 


Combine garlic, basil, 1/4 cup pine nuts, oil, and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until well combined. Add 1/4 cup of cream cheese and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.  Process until just about blended.  Transfer the pesto mixture to a medium sized bowl.

Combine sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste in the food processor.  Add 1/3 cup cream cheese and blend until smooth.

Using an electric mixer beat 2 cups of cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until fluffy.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Line a bowl or souflee dish with plastic wrap extending over sides.  Spread 3/4 of cream cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the tomato mixture followed by 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture then half the pesto.  Repeat with remaining layers.  Top with cream cheese butter mixture and pine nuts.  Cover and chill overnight.   Invert the torte onto a platter and peel off the plastic. 


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Sun-dried Tomato and Mozzarella Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe is inspired by Pioneer Woman and I have to say it is pretty stellar.  I don’t think I have ever used stellar in my vocabulary but these mushrooms were so cute and easy to make I thought the adjective was fitting.  I kid you not, these are the cutest little shrooms I have ever created.  They scream appetizer and are fairly easy to make.  I want to host a dinner party solely so I can serve these little buttons.


Don’t you want to just pinch its cheek.


1 package of white button mushrooms

1/2 cup kalamata olive diced

1/4 cup pine nuts

6 sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh basil chopped finely

1/4 cup parsley

16 oz mozzarella

2 tbsp olive oil

4  cloves of garlic

splash of dry white wine



To begin I preheated the oven to 350 and I washed and removed the stems of the mushrooms.  Removing the stems was a little tricky for me but that may be largely due to the fact that I am highly uncoordinated.  Roughly 4 mushrooms sacrificed their lives while I tried to carefully tear off the stems.


I then threw the mushrooms into a skillet with 2 tbsp of olive oil.  I tossed them around for about two minutes until they were browned on all sides.  Once completed remove the mushrooms and place into a baking dish.


Next, chop up the kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and parsley and put them into the same skillet.  Once heated, add a splash of white wine to the mixture.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and then stir in the pine nuts.  Cook the mixture for 5 minutes stirring occasionally to avoid burning the pine nuts.


Remove the mixture from the heat and chop up the mozzarella.  I bought the mini balls of mozzarella and simply sliced them in half.  Stuff each slice of cheese into the mushroom.


ImageThen take the tomato mixture and simply just pour it over the mushrooms.  Easy as that.  No need to worry about individually stuffing them.  Just make sure the mixture coats every mushroom.


Bake the mushrooms in an oven for 15 minutes making sure the cheese has completely melted.  When removed, top with chopped fresh basil.


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Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Fresh Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella drizzled with  balsamic vinegar reduction.

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Basil Pesto Recipe

ImageImageOver the weekend we had a causality.  The daunting task of mowing the lawn left two basil plants wounded and in need of help.  I quickly scooped the marred plants up and brought them to recovery.  To some this might seem as a great tragedy (which is true for the creatures that enjoy munching on my basil plants).  To me this is a golden opportunity to make pesto.  Now lets all take this moment to thank the basil plants for giving up their lives in this terrible lawn mowing accident.


5 cups fresh basil

1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts) 

3 tablespoons crushed garlic

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 1/2 cups Olive Oil 

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan 


Combine all ingredients into a food processor and blend (that was easy).  This pesto is great for pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and more. 




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