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Llapingachos (Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese Patties)

Llapingachos (Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese Patties)

5 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
2 tsp. sunflower oil
½ C. finely chopped white onion
2 tsp. ground achiote
1 C. grated Mozzarella or Fontina cheese
Salt to taste

To serve: salsa de mani or peanut sauce, tomato and onion curtido, avocado slices, lettuce, fried eggs, fried sausages and hot sauce.

Boil the potatoes until soft. Heat the oil over medium high heat to make a refrito, add the onions and achiote, cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Mash the potatoes, mix in the onion refrito and salt to taste. Cover the potato dough and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. Make small golf size balls with the potato dough. Make a hole in the middle of each ball and fill with the grated or crumbled cheese. Shape the dough into thick patties and let rest in the refrigerator for about ½ to 1 hour. Cook the patties on a hot griddle until browned on each side, be careful when turning them as they will be very delicate. Serve with a fried egg, peanut sauce, tomato and onion curtido, avocado slices and hot sauce.

Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Avocado Quesadillas

Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Avocado Quesadillas

3 T. grapeseed oil or olive oil
2 large yellow onions, halved and sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
10 oz. baby spinach
2 C. shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced
4 large flour tortillas

Add the oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and deep golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. (If the sides of the onions begin cooking too fast, lower the heat to medium-low, add a little more oil, and stir. Your goal is to have the onion slices cook as uniformly as possible.) Remove the onions from the pan and place them in a bowl. In the same sauté pan over low heat, add the spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the spinach to another bowl, then carefully wipe the pan dry with a paper towel. Return the pan to the stove and increase the heat to medium-low. Lay one tortilla flat in the pan. Evenly sprinkle 1/2 C. of cheese over the top. To the bottom half of the tortilla, add 1/4 of the caramelized onions, followed by 1/4 of the wilted spinach. Heat until the cheese melts and the tortilla is browned and crispy. Add the avocado slices (about 1/2 of an avocado per quesadilla), and immediately fold the tortilla in half, onto itself, and flip it over. Continue cooking for about 30 seconds or until warmed through. Using a spatula, transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board. Cut into fourths. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients and serve with your favorite salsa or cilantro pesto.

Crema de Berros con Requeson (Creamy Watercress Soup with Spiced Fresh Cheese)

Crema de Berros con Requeson (Creamy Watercress Soup with Spiced Fresh Cheese)

This style of creamy soup is common in the Yucatan Peninsula. At the Hacienda San Jose near Merida, the capital of Yucatan, I tasted one that was so delicious I asked the chef to show me how he made it. In exchange. I shared my take on a soft cheese mixture to use as a garnish. The combination is sublime! The soft, moist cheese, seasoned with jalapeno and chives, slowly blends into the watercress soup as you eat it. Your first spoonfuls of hot soup will have distinctive bites of cheese, but by the end, the cheese will have melted into the soup, so it becomes even creamier, its flavors enhanced by the jalapeno and chives. The version I tasted in Yucatan was made not with watercress but with chaya leaves, which taste like a sort of cross between watercress and baby spinach. Since chaya is practically nowhere to be found in markets north of the border, I developed my version using watercress, which I prefer because of its beautiful color. But feel free to try it with spinach. You could also make the soup with a cilantro base.

Crema de Berros con Requeson (Creamy Watercress Soup with Spiced Fresh Cheese)

Requeson: I wish there were more of this creamy, moist soft cheese to be found on this side of the border. With its slight tang and incredibly fresh feel, requeson is both a little sweet and a little salty, much like farmer’s cheese. It is perfectly balanced. In texture, it’s similar to ricotta, but ricotta is one-dimensional by comparison and a bit sweeter, without requeson’s definitive tang. You could also use queso fresco for the garnish in this recipe, but it’s a firmer, less creamy cheese. You could use fresh goat cheese as well, though it has a much stronger, more assertive, acidic flavor. But it works well with this soup because it melts like the other cheeses.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup coarsely chopped white onion
2 cups thinly sliced leeks
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
4 cups watercress leaves and upper part of stems
8 ounces requeson, ricotta. queso fresco, or farmer’s cheese
2 tablespoons Mexican crema, creme fraiche, or sour cream
1 jalapeno or serrano chile, finely chopped or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once it foams, add the onion, leeks, celery, and carrots, season with salt to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until completely softened but not browned. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stir together, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the flour is no longer raw and the mixture smells toasty. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the milk, and bring to a simmer, stirring. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, until thick and creamy. Add the broth and watercress, bring to a low simmer, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mash the cheese and cream with a fork. Add the chile, chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve. In batches, puree the soup in a blender until completely smooth; hold a towel tightly over the blender top to prevent hot splashes. (It won’t jump quite as much if you let it cool down a little before you puree.) Return to the soup pot and stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Reheat gently. Ladle the hot soup into soup bowls. Place a generous dollop of the cheese mixture in the
middle of each bowl and serve.

French Cherry Tomato Tart with Dijon Mustard & Chevre

French Cherry Tomato Tart with Dijon Mustard & Chevre

French Cherry Tomato Tart with Dijon Mustard & Chevre

Yields one 9- or 10-inch tart

 

One unbaked tart dough, placed on the tart pan (see recipe, below)

Dijon or whole-grain mustard, to taste

8 ounces goat cheese, sliced into 1-ounce rounds

2 pints of cherry tomatoes (or 2-3 large tomatoes, sliced)

1/4 cup olives, pitted (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or your favorite herbs

 

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spread an even layer of mustard on the bottom of the tart dough.  Place 4 rounds of goat cheese on top of the mustard.  Arrange tomatoes (and olives, if using) on top of the cheese. Place remaining 4 rounds of cheese on top of the tomatoes.  Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes, season with salt and ground pepper, and sprinkle chopped thyme.*  Bake the tart for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dough is cooked and the cheese is nicely browned.

 

*Note: I usually add chopped herbs after about 20 minutes of baking time so that they don’t burn.  For this recipe, I added some additional chopped thyme to the dough for extra flavor.

 

Tart Dough

Yields dough for one 9- or 10-inch tart

 

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 generous tablespoon chopped thyme (optional)

4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes

1 large egg

2-3 tablespoons ice cold water

 

Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and chopped thyme in a medium-sized bowl. Add the butter and using your hands, pastry blender, or two forks, cut the butter into the flour/thyme mixture until it resembles a crumbly, cornmeal-like consistency.  Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the beaten egg, stirring gently until the dough holds together. Add the additional tablespoon of ice water, if needed.  Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding only the minimum amount of flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and then unroll it over the tart pan with a removable bottom. “Dock” the dough by pressing the tart dough firmly with your fingertips to make a few indentations. Be careful not to press too hard to tear the dough.

Tequila Infused Queso Fundido

Tequila Infused Queso Fundido

Tequila Infused Queso Fundido1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 large (10-ounce) ripe tomato, cored, seeded (if you wish) and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Hot green chiles to taste (roughly 1 large jalapeno or 2 large serranos), stemmed, seeded (if you wish) and finely chopped
3 tablespoons tequila, preferably a silver (blanco) tequila
8 ounces Chihuahua or other Mexican melting cheese, such as quesadilla or asadero, shredded (you’ll have about 2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a very large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high. Add the tomato, onion and chiles, and cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the onion begins to soften and brown, about 7 minutes. Add the tequila and cook quickly, stirring, until nearly reduced to a glaze. (If you tip the pan toward an open gas flame, it will ignite. If you choose this route, simply shake the pan back and forth until the flames subside and the tequila has reduced to a glaze.) Reduce the heat to medium-low, sprinkle the cheese evenly over the vegetables and stir slowly and constantly until just meltedtoo long over the heat and the cheese will become tough, oily and stringy. Scoop into a warm dish, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve right away with tortillas for making soft tacos. You may want a little salsa, too.

Green Ravioli with Garlic Filling

Green Ravioli with Garlic Filling

12 oz. Jack Cheese
3 cloves fresh Garlic
12oz. grated parmesan Cheese
12oz. dry Breadcrumbs
Pepper
1 C. Dry White Wine
3 Eggs

10oz. pkg. Frozen Chopped Spinach
2 C. unbleached white Flour
1 T. Salt
1 T. Olive Oil
2 Eggs
Water, as needed

Filling: Process Jack cheese through food processor with grating blade. Remove cheese to bowl.
With steel blade, process garlic. Add remaining dry ingredients and return Jack cheese to food processor container. Pulse until well mixed. Add wine to moisten, and then add eggs and pulse until mixed.

Ravioli: Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain. When cool, press water out of spinach. Chop with steel blade until finely chopped. Add flour and salt and mix. Add oil and mix. Add eggs and mix. Add water until a ball of dough is formed. Place on floured board. Knead until smooth and velvety. Place mixture in plastic bag for 1 hour. At this point, if you have a pasta machine, proceed to make dough. If not, roll only as much dough as you can handle at one time out on floured board until thin. On half the dough spread some of the filling and cover with other half of dough. With ravioli rolling pin or 1/8-inch board form ravioli, pressing rows of squares. Cut rows with pastry cutter or knife. In large pot of boiling water, cook ravioli until just al dente. Drain and serve with sauce of your choice.

Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil and Brie

Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil and Brie

4 large (1 pound or more) heirloom tomatoes in an assortment of colors
1 pound Brie, rind removed, torn into irregular piece
1 cup cleaned fresh basil leaves cut into strips (use both red and green if you have them)
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds pasta in your favorite shape to hold the juices of the sauce

Combine tomatoes, brie, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large serving bowl. Prepare at least 2 hours before serving and set aside, covered, at room temperature. Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add 2 tsp. salt. Add the pasta and boil until tender but al dente. Drain pasta and immediately toss with the sauce. The hot pasta will melt the brie and bring out the aromas and flavors of the tomatoes and garlic. Serve and pass the pepper mill.

Alice Springs Chicken

Alice Springs Chicken

Alice SPrings Chicken4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
Lowry’s Seasoning Salt
6 bacon slices
1/4 cup regular mustard
1/3 cup honey
2 T. Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 cup sliced fresh mushroom
2 cup shredded Colby/Jack cheese

First, Sprinkle and rub the chicken breasts with seasoning salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While the chicken is in the refrigerator, cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Do not discard grease. Sauté chicken in the bacon grease for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned. Place chicken in a 9″ × 13″ casserole dish or pan. To make the Honey Mustard: In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise and dried onion flakes. Spread some of the Honey Mustard over each piece of chicken, then layer with mushrooms, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheese. Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is done. Serve with the left over Honey Mustard Sauce that you made.

Hot Brie Pasta

Hot Brie Pasta

½ lb. ripe Brie
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup fresh basil, julienned
1- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes, seeded and cubed
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ lb. pasta (fettucine, linguine, or capellini all work well)
½ cup peas
Parmesan

Remove rind from Brie and cut into irregular pieces. Combine with next 6 ingredients and let stand 2 hours at room temperature. Cook pasta al dente, drain, and add raw peas (frozen are acceptable, but of course must be thawed first). Toss hot pasta with Brie sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve at once.

Mac n Cheese on a Sheet Pan

Mac n Cheese on a Sheet Pan

This came up in a search for sheet pan meals — I was wondering how pasta would work there, but instead it is a way to cook Mac and Cheese so you get more of the delicious crispy bits on top; its not really a one pan sheet pan meal.  Ah well, still sounds like a great idea =)

Sheet pan mac n cheese3/4 pound elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 oz fresh bread to be pulsed into crumbs (3 cups once pulsed)
parsley, a medium to large bunch
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 cup (8 oz) Fresh Mozzarella, diced into small cubes

Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt. Boil macaroni for about 5 minutes or for 2 minutes less than the box’s suggested al dente time. (For example, my macaroni box said ‘al dente perfection’ in 7 to 9 minutes. I boiled mine for 5.) Drain. Do not rinse. Set aside. In the same large pot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add flour, whisking constantly for about a minute. Add milk and water, whisking to remove any of the flour-butter mixture from bottom of pan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Note: the mixture will not get super thick, but it will coat the back of a spoon, and if you run your finger through the coating, the trail should stay — see photo. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter stovetop or in microwave. Pulse bread in food processor to make crumbs. Measure 3 cups and place in a mixing bowl. Add parsley (it’s ok if the tender stems are included — use the top 3/4 or so of the bunch) and garlic to food processor. Pulse until fine, then add to bowl with breadcrumbs. Season with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Pour butter over top and mix with spatula until combined. In a large mixing bowl, toss macaroni with grated Parmigiano Reggiano — it’s ok if the noodles are sticking together; they will separate once the béchamel is poured over top. Line a jelly roll pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Spread macaroni mixture over top. Distribute mozzarella cubes over top. Scatter breadcrumb mixture evenly over top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is golden and the macaroni is bubbling. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Chorizo & Corn Casserole

Chorizo & Corn Casserole

1 lb. chorizo sausage, cooked and drained of fat
3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese, about 12 oz.
2 T. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. black pepper
¾ C. milk
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
â…” C. sliced green onions, divided
1 tsp. hot sauce (or more to taste)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
¼ C. fresh cilantro, chopped
4 cans (15.25oz.ea.) Whole Kernel Corn, well drained

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss together cheese, flour and pepper in a medium bowl; set aside. Stir together milk, cream cheese, â…“ C. green onions and hot sauce in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Add corn and shredded cheese mixture; stir well to blend evenly. Mix in chorizo, tomatoes and cilantro. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining â…“ C. green onions.

Hasselback Chile Garlic Cheese Bread

Hasselback Chile Garlic Cheese Bread

hasselbackgarlicbread-560wm1 cup Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 envelope Active Dry Yeast (2¼ Teaspoons) (minus ½ tsp for high altitude)
1 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Bread Flour
Olive Oil, For Greasing Surfaces
â…“ pounds Sharp White Cheddar, or whatever cheese you prefer
1 cup diced mild green chiles
½ cup melted butter
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
¼ tsp ground cumin

In a large bowl, stir water, honey and yeast together. Let yeast proof 5 minutes. Once you know yeast is active, stir in salt and the flour ¼ cup at a time. If using a stand mixer, use a maximum speed of 2 or ‘stir’. When the dough starts pulling away from the sides and the bowl seems to be fairly clean, set a timer for 5 minutes and walk away. Let the machine knead the dough. After 5 minutes, dough should be smooth and tacky but when touched shouldn’t leave any dough on your fingers. Grease the bowl and the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size. If at high altitude, it should take about a half hour to double. Punch down dough and cut in half. Form into two long baguettes the length of the cookie sheet. Twist or braid the dough if you wish. Cover with plastic wrap and rise 30 minutes. Start to preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place dough close to the oven where it’s nice and warm. Once oven is preheated, remove plastic wrap, from the dough reduce oven to 350F, put the bread into the oven and bake 20 minutes. In the meantime, slice the cheese into thin slices and melt the butter. Stir the pressed garlic and cumin into the butter. Pull loaves of bread out of the oven after 20 minutes and brush with the melted garlic butter. Bake another 5-7 minutes or until bread begins to turn a golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes. Cut 1-inch slices ¾′s of the the way through the loaves. Brush garlic butter in between each slice and fill with a slice of cheese and about a tablespoon of chiles. I like to take 2 thin slices of cheese, sandwich green chiles between them, and then insert the cheese between two bread slices. Bake another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately.

Asparagus Gratin

Asparagus Gratin

AG 003 logo2 pounds thin asparagus
3 cups water
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat)
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Line broiler safe baking dish with paper towels or a lint free kitchen cloth. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and set both stalks and ends aside. Bring water to a boil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus ends and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook covered, for 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove asparagus ends and discard. Add asparagus stalks to skillet, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender,2-4 minutes. Transfer asparagus to paper/cloth-lined baking dish. Pour asparagus water into liquid measuring cup. If liquid does not read 1-cup mark, add water until it does. Melt butter in now empty skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in reserved asparagus water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, 3-5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in ½ cup Parmesan and Monterey jack until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove paper towels from baking dish. Drizzle sauce over center of asparagus and top with remaining Parmesan. Broil until cheese is golden and asparagus is tender, 4-8 minutes. Serve.

Caramelized Shallot and Crispy Sage Macaroni and Cheese

Caramelized Shallot and Crispy Sage Macaroni and Cheese

carmelized-shallot-and-crispy-sage-macaroni-and-cheese-cake-batter-and-bowl-blog-kerstin-sinkevicius1 lb orecchiette pasta
2 T. olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 T. butter
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C. buttermilk
1 C. heavy cream
2 C. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 C. Gruyere cheese
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 C. chopped fresh sage

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook 15-17 minutes, stirring frequently until deep golden brown. Add the garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Set aside. Meanwhile, melt 4 T. of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth and until mixture starts to brown, about 1 minute. Whisk in the buttermilk and cream, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and mix in cheeses and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Melt remaining 1 T. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add sage, sauté 1 minute and turn off heat. Mix pasta, shallots, cheese sauce and sage in a large bowl and enjoy!

Fried Tomatoes alla Romano

Fried Tomatoes alla Romano

6a00d8341c7f3553ef016765ce2197970b-pi2 large red tomatoes, a bit firm
1 ball fresh mozzarella
12 fresh sage leaves
3 thin slices Prosciutto or Bayonne or Serrano ham any dry-cured ham
1 egg
1/4 C. flour
1/3 C. corn meal (polenta)
2 T. olive oil

Cut ham slices in half the short way. Cut 3 1/3 – 1/2″ (1cm) thick slices from each tomato (tossing top and bottom). Slice the mozzarella – one slice for each tomato slice. Get 3 flattish bowls or plates. Put flour in one, corn meal in one and the egg, beaten with a fork in the last. Put a large, nonstick skillet on medium – medium high heat. Add oil and heat. With your fingers (or a tongs) pick up one tomato slice, dip both sides in flour, then egg, then corn meal and place in skillet. Fry 3 – 5 minutes or until brown, turn with spatula and fry for 3 minutes more. After turning place 2 sage leaves, a piece of ham and a slice of mozzarella on top of each tomato, cover the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes – until cheese just starts to melt. Transfer tomatoes to individual plates and serve.

Sirloin Steak with Balsamic Onions, Bacon and Brie

Sirloin Steak with Balsamic Onions, Bacon and Brie

Sirloin-Steak-with-Balsamic-Onions-Bacon-and-Brie-pin3 lb. beef loin top sirloin steak
6 strips of thick cut bacon (cooked and broken into small pieces)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large red onions
1 tsp salt
1 T. honey
1/2 tsp pepper
brie cheese

Heat a griddle over medium heat until water droplets sizzle when splashed on it. While the griddle is heating, mix together in a bowl the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper.
Cut the onions into thin slices and put in the balsamic mixture in the bowl. Place the steaks on the griddle. Heat a pan over medium heat and place the balsamic onions in the pan. Cook the onions until they are soft and caramelized. Flip the steaks after about 10 minutes for medium doneness. (Grill on each side for about 10 minutes) When the steaks and onions are done, plate the steaks, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and pepper, add brie to the top of each steak, add the onions and then top with the crumbled bacon pieces.

Fried Garlic Cheese Sticks

Fried Garlic Cheese Sticks

tumblr_mq7wg1qs0g1sw6uino1_4001-½ pounds Monterey Jack cheese
30 cloves fresh garlic
4 cups peanut oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups French bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
1 small jar Marinara sauce or homemade Marinara sauce

Slice cheese into 30 slices, about ¼-inch thick. Peel garlic and slice each clove lengthwise into about 6 ovals. Heat oil in deep, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic ovals and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, being careful not to burn or brown cloves. Remove slices as they float to surface and are light brown in color. Drain on paper towels. Reserve oil for cheese. Mince garlic and mix with Italian seasoning. Spread half the cheese slices evenly with garlic mixture. Press remaining cheese slices on each to make 15 bars. Dip flour coated pieces into egg, and then into bread crumbs mixed with parsley. Be sure to cover sides. Reheat oil to medium-high heat and fry cheese in oil a few pieces at a time until lightly browned (takes about 2 minutes). Skim particles from oil as they accumulate. Drain cheese on paper towels and keep warm until they are all fried. Serve with toothpicks and Marinara sauce for dipping. Makes about 30 pieces

Burrata Crostini

Burrata Crostini

½burrataovenroas_1355515167 C. Baby Arugula
4 oz. Cherry Tomatoes
¼ lb. Buffalo Mozzarella Ball
2 T. Ricotta Cheese
¼ C. Heavy Cream
2 French Baguette ( 12 Slices each )
Black Pepper
¼ C. Kosher Salt
Kosher Salt, to taste
2 T. Canola Oil
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 qt. Water

You can use store-bought burrata if you can find it. Often, burrata is expensive and has a very short shelf life. This homemade version is a good alternative. Make sure to use fresh mozzarella. The burrata is best if left to set overnight. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours. Also make the oven-roasted tomatoes the day before if you can, then assemble just prior to serving.

A recipe for 4 should require 20-24 crostini.

Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Cut tomatoes in half and place on prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Remove mozzarella from refrigerator. If it is not already in slices or smaller balls, cut cheese into 2 inch pieces. Allow to come to room temperature. Slice each baguette crosswise into 1/4 inch thick pieces to measure the indicated amount, or 6 slices per person. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place tomatoes in oven and roast for [30-40 minutes]. Tomatoes should start to dry out and become shriveled. Add water and salt to medium saucepan and bring to 190 degrees. Remove salt water from heat and add mozzarella balls. Allow to sit for 3 minutes. Use kitchen tongs if water is too hot and remove 1 ball at a time from the pot. As each ball is removed, the cheese should be soft enough to easily pull into strings. Cut each string into thumbnail-sized pieces and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add cream and ricotta to mixing bowl with cheese curds. Mix to combine. Mixture should resemble cottage cheese. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Transfer tomatoes to small mixing bowl; cover and chill while burrata is setting. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add canola oil and warm. Prepare a plate with layers of paper towels. Set plate near the stove for the toasted baguette. Once oil is hot, add the baguette slices. Oil should sizzle when you add the bread. Do not crowd the pan. Cook until the crostini are golden brown and crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Only cook one side. Transfer to the plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt while warm. Assemble no more than an hour prior to serving so crostini stay crisp. Layer crostini with a leaf of arugula and a teaspoon of burrata, and garnish with a tomato. Place burrata crostini on serving tray. Enjoy!

Marinated Mozzarella with Preserved Lemon and Basil

Marinated Mozzarella with Preserved Lemon and Basil

0941c0c3a335de2b4ca4b2f6f2c98b214 buffalo mozzarella, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
30g preserved lemon rind
½ cup (125ml) olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil, extra
12 basil leaves
Crispy flat bread, to serve

Place the mozzarella, garlic and preserved lemon on a platter and spoon over the oil. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready to serve. Heat the extra oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the basil for 30 seconds or until bright green and crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on absorbent paper. Top the mozzarella with crispy basil leaves and serve with the flatbread. Serves 8.

Cheese and Charcuterie Plate

Cheese and Charcuterie Plate

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Creating your own version is a great opportunity to experiment with different meats and cheeses – ask your cheese monger what varieties complement each other. You could even organize the board thematically – go Spanish with Manchego cheese and Chorizo sausage with Marcona Almonds or if Italy is your inspiration, use chunks of good Parmesan Cheese and slices of Proscuitto with a small bowl of roasted red peppers. I like to serve this meal on a rustic wooden board.

selection of 3 cheeses (one cow, one goat, one sheep), slicing a few servings of each
selection of 3 cured meats (bresaola, soppressata and proscuitto), thinly sliced
olives
tupelo honey
raisin walnut loaf, sliced
baguette, sliced

Artfully arrange meats and cheeses (wedges and slices) on a board or platter. Fill in the gaps with small bowls: one with olives (along with a smaller bowl for the pits) and the other filled with honey. You want the board to look elegant but overflowing with goodness. Place your sliced breads in a basket, bowl or platter nearby.

What Cheeses And Meats Should You Use?

The best cheese and meat boards are diverse — don’t be afraid to experiment. Try to include at least one cheese from each of these predominant category:

1) A fresh cheese (fiore di latte and/or burrata)
2) A soft-ripened cheese (camembert and/or brie)
3) A semi-soft cheese (friulano, havarti and/or gouda)
4) A firm cheese (piave, spillembergo, aged provolone and crotonese)
5) A hard cheese (grana padano and parmigiano reggiano)
6) A veined cheese (gorgonzola and/or stilton)

If you want to add in meats, there should be an array ranging from smoky speck to a cooked item, like mortadella or a bacon-like pancetta. You may also want a cured sausage like salami or aged items like bresaola and especially the renowned prosciutto di parma.

Too Much, Too Little… How Much Should You Buy?

Since the cheese board is likely to be a starter to an abundant meal to follow, a recommended quantity is one to two ounces of cheese and three slices of meat per person. Remember, you’re trying to delight your guests’ palate, but keep their appetites intact for later courses.

What Do I Plate It All On?

Take the time and plate it right since it’s Thanksgiving. Treat the cheeseboard like a centrepiece. Use platters that are both ornate and practical. Food grade wood boards are great; if you have them, marble slabs are the best (flat, rimless and aesthetically pleasing, they’re also easy surfaces for cutting cheese on).

To Cube Or Not To Cube…

The look of wedge-cut cheeses is more authentic and requiring guests to cut cheese to their taste adds an interactive element. Only resort to pre-cut tasting pieces (like cubes) out of necessity.

How Many Knives Do I Need To Use?

Always use separate cheese knives for each cheese. This ensures the distinctive notes of each cheese are kept pure. Regarding meat, there is very little risk of intermingling flavours so a simple fork is fine.

What Else Should I Add To The Board?

Surrounding the board with appropriate accompaniments adds interest and contrasting yet complementary flavours. They also serve as palate cleansers in between cheese samplings and simply enhance all flavours. Notable accompaniments are: dried fruit like apricots and figs; nuts (natural and unflavoured) such as almonds and walnuts; sliced fresh fruit with mild notes like pears (or with a slight tang like apples). Meats are robust in flavour and their pleasantness is heightened by cured olives. The gaeta and cerignola species are marvelous. Also, accompanied meat with fresh fruit, like figs and melon, is divine.

 

What Condiments Should I Add To The Plate?

Condiments, condiments, condiments! Use them. They enhance the flavours of cheeses. The best ones to use include: wine-based jelly; lightly sweetened, concentrated fruit-based jams (pear and fig are ideal); fruit compotes; honey; and, especially, a product from Cremona, Italy, known as mostarda cremonese, which is a condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard-flavoured syrup. Finely sliced meats are best as is; adding the above alters the taste too much.

What Type Of Crackers Should I Use?

As a textural contrast, serve crusty bread, plain crackers, plain breadsticks or plain crostini. Mellow tasting items such as these achieve the texture contrasting element while their subtleness allows the flavour profile of the cheese to be at the forefront and untainted.

When Should I Pull The Platter Together?

Arrange the selected cheeses anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes before guests arrive to bring the cheeses to room temperature and optimum flavour; 15 to 20 minutes ahead is ample for plating the meat.

Now, What Type Of Wine Should I Serve?

Does cheese enhance wine or does wine enhance cheese? Don’t worry about it — just combine the two. Some brilliant pairings to the cheese categories listed above in tip number one are:
1) San Giovese and Pinot Grigio
2) Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir
3) Zinfandel and Riesling
4) Chianti and San Giovese
5) Chianti and Barolo and Brunello
6) Prosecco and Port

Sautéed Feta w/ Piquant Relishes

Sautéed Feta w/ Piquant Relishes

2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) Athenos Feta Cheese
All-purpose flour
Olive oil
1 lemon, optional

Cut the feta into either slices or triangles that are ~1/2″ thick (cut into thirds, so that you have 3 “slabs”, then cut each of those down the center diagonally to get 6 triangles or in half lengthwise to get 6 slices). Pour some flour onto a plate. Dredge each piece of feta in flour, shaking to remove excess and set aside for a moment. Place a large cast-iron (or nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat. Pour on a thin layer of olive oil, and once it is screaming hot, add a few feta pieces to the pan (being careful not to overcrowd) and brown for ~1 minute per side. If using, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the slices once they are browned and transfer to a serving plate. Spoon a bit of each of the sauces over the cheese to serve.

Sautéed Feta Cheese
Parsley, Raisin, Caper, and Pine Nut Relish

2 T. golden raisins, coarsely chopped
1 T. capers, drained and coarsely chopped
1½ anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 T. pine nuts, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c. Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine everything, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sundried Tomato, Walnut, Olive, and Oregano Relish

~8 sundried tomatoes, dry pack, coarsely chopped
2 T. kalamata olives
1 T. purple raisins, coarsely chopped
1½ anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 T. walnuts, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Combine everything, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Saganaki with Honey & Sesame

Saganaki with Honey & Sesame

2 T. Honey
4 ½ oz. ¾” thick Kasseri Cheese
1 Egg, lightly Beaten
Flour, for coating
Olive Oil, for frying
1 tsp. black sesame Seeds

Heat honey gently in small saucepot. Keep warm over low heat. Pour oil into a small nonstick skillet to a depth of ½ inch. Put egg in one flat bowl and flour in another. Heat oil over medium high heat until a bread cube dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds. Dip cheese into the egg, then pat it in flour to coat well. Add to oil and fry until golden on both sides. Spoon / splash oil onto the sides to make sure they are fried golden too. When crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, remove to paper towel to drain. Serve hot, cut up into squares, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Classic Cheese Soufflé

Classic Cheese Soufflé

2421192 T. plain dried bread crumbs or freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 T. butter or margarine
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/9 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 1/2 C milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
5 large eggs, separated
1 large egg white

Preheat oven to 325. Grease 2-quart soufflé dish; sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. In heavy 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour and ground red pepper until blended; cook, stirring, 1 minute. With wire whisk, gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until mixture has thickened and boils. Stir in cheddar; cook, stirring, just until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat. In small bowl, with wire whisk or fork, lightly beat egg yolks; gradually whisk in 1/2 cup hot cheese sauce. Gradually whisk egg-yolk mixture into cheese sauce in saucepan, stirring rapidly to prevent curdling. Set aside to cool. In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted. With rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of beaten egg whites into cool cheese mixture. Fold in remaining whites, just until blended. Pour mixture into prepared soufflé dish. If desired, to create top-hat effect (center will rise higher than edge), with back of spoon, make 1″ deep indentation all around top of soufflé mixture about 1″ from edge of dish. Bake until soufflé has puffed, is golden brown, and knife inserted 1″ from edge comes out clean, 55-60 minutes. Serve hot.

Instant Pot Creamy Spinach & Goat Cheese Frittata

Instant Pot Creamy Spinach & Goat Cheese Frittata

Instant Pot Creamy Spinach & Goat Cheese Frittata

 

8 large eggs

2 T. milk or water

½ tsp. fine sea salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. salted butter or ghee, for greasing

½ C. chopped baby spinach

½ C. diced white mushrooms

¼ C. diced tomato

1/4 C. crumbled goat cheese

1 C. water

 

Combine the eggs, milk, sea salt, and black pepper in a high-powered blender. Blend on high until frothy, about 30 seconds. You can also whisk the mixture in a large bowl if you do not have a blender. Use butter or ghee to grease a 7-inch baking dish that fits inside your electric pressure cooker. Layer the spinach, mushrooms, tomato, and goat cheese in the bottom of the dish. Pour the egg mixture on top. Cover the pan with foil and place on top of the trivet. Pour 1 C. water into the pressure cooker. Carefully lower the trivet and dish into the pot. Place the lid on the cooker and make sure the vent valve is in the SEALING position. Using the display panel, select the MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK function and HIGH PRESSURE, and use the +/- buttons until the display reads 30 minutes. When the cooker beeps to let you know it’s finished, switch the vent valve from the SEALING to the VENTING position, administering a quick release. Use caution while the steam escapes—it’s hot. Open the cooker and remove the frittata, then slice and serve warm. Note: Make the frittata ahead of time and reheat in the microwave for a quick breakfast in the morning. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.  You can change the vegetables, use a different cheese, add in cooked sausage or bacon.

Burrata with Chanterelles, Dill & Browned Butter

Burrata with Chanterelles, Dill & Browned Butter

Burrata with Chanterelles, Dill & Browned Butter

 

1 small burrata

1 baguette (or crostini)

150 g fresh girolles (chanterelles)

1 T. butter + 1 T. oil for frying

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

50 g salted butter

1/2 lemon

plenty of fresh dill

salt and pepper

 

Remove the burrata from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you need it. Fry the mushrooms in oil an butter. Add the garlic towards the end. Season and put aside. Brown the butter in a medium-sized pan on medium-high heat. Wait for it to foam up a lot and turn brown (but not dark) and smell nutty. Remove from heat. Place the burrata in a shallow bowl or something with an edge. Arrange the girolles around the burrata. Spoon over the browned butter. Squeeze some lemon over the whole thing. Scatter with plenty of chopped dill. Season one last time and serve with bread.

Baked Brie Dip with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Thyme

Baked Brie Dip with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Thyme

Baked Brie Dip with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Thyme2 (8 oz) packages Brie cheese

2 tsp fresh garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped from strips

1 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained well and chopped

1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

French bread crostini or crackers

 

Remove the rind from the Brie.  Cut the Brie into chunks.  Drain the sun dried tomatoes well, and chop into bite sized or small pieces.  Combine the minced garlic, fresh thyme leaves, and sun dried tomatoes. Add in cracked black pepper.    Stir to combine. Layer cheese, then topping in an oven proof casserole or black iron skillet.  Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes.  I gave it a stir about halfway through.   The Brie will get all bubbly and melted, and slightly toasted on top.  Serve hot with French bread crostini or crackers.

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Casserole

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Casserole

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Casserole

 

4 C. grated zucchini I used about 3.5 medium zucchinis

½ tsp. salt

½ C. finely diced onion

1 T. minced garlic

2 eggs

½ C. grated Parmesan cheese plus an additional 2 T.

1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

½ C. shredded cheddar cheese

½ C. Panko breadcrumbs

2 T. melted butter

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a small baking dish with cooking spray and set aside (I used a dish that was 8-in x 5-in, but an 8-inch square pan will also work). Place zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and allow to sit for about 10 minutes (this will help draw out some of the water from the zucchini). After 10 minutes, squeeze out moisture from the zucchini. TIP: In order to make sure that I get most of the water out of the zucchini (and avoid a runny casserole), I like wrap the zucchini in a dish towel. Squeeze it and wring it out multiple times while it’s in the towel — you will be shocked by how much liquid comes out! In the prepared dish, combine zucchini, onion, garlic, eggs, ½ C. Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and cheddar cheese. I like to use my hands to make sure that it’s all completely combined, and then gently press the mixture evenly into the prepared dish. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, pour melted butter over breadcrumbs and 2 T. of Parmesan cheese. Stir until completely combined. After 20 minutes, remove zucchini from the oven. Sprinkle buttered breadcrumbs over the zucchini and return the dish to the oven. Continue baking for about 5-10 more minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.

Herb-Whipped Goat Cheese with Harissa, Poached Eggs, and Toast

Herb-Whipped Goat Cheese with Harissa, Poached Eggs, and Toast

Herb-Whipped Goat Cheese with Harissa, Poached Eggs, and Toast

 

1 (10.5 oz) log goat cheese

1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt

1/4 C. fresh mixed herbs, (try basil, cilantro, dill)

Salt and pepper

1 loaf of crusty seedy whole grain bread

Olive oil

Flaky Sea Salt

4 T. of butter melted

1/2 tsp. sweet paprika

1/2 C. Harissa (the sauce, not powder)

2-8 poached eggs depending how many servings you are making

1 avocado pitted and sliced

Sesame seeds for garnish

 

Preheat boiler to high. Make the goat cheese- In a food processor or blender blend herbs and add salt and pepper. Add yogurt and goat cheese and blend until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste. Make the toast- brush olive oil on bread, broil it on a baking sheet on high 1-2 minutes. Watch closely so you don’t burn it. In a saucepan melt butter with paprika on medium then take off burner. Poach eggs depending on how many servings or guests. For each serving spoon a little goat cheese on a plate. Top goat cheese with a couple of small spoonfuls of harissa and add 1-2 poached eggs. Drizzle eggs with butter with paprika butter. Add a few slices of avocado and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with toast on the side, and more harissa on the side.

Pan-Fried Feta with Peppered Honey

Pan-Fried Feta with Peppered Honey

Pan-Fried Feta with Peppered Honey

 

1/4 C. honey

1/2-1 tsp. black pepper, plus more for serving

1 T. fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving

 

1 (10-12 ounce) block feta cheese

1 large egg, beaten

1/3 C. Panko bread crumbs

5 T. extra virgin olive oil

2 T. thinly sliced lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)

1 C. cherry tomatoes

1/4 C. fresh basil, chopped

pita chips or pita bread, for serving

 

To make the honey. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. To make the feta. Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. Add the Panko to a separate shallow bowl. Dip the feta through the egg, turning to coat, remove and allow any excess to drip off. Dredge the feta through the Panko, turning to coat and pressing gently to adhere. Heat 3 T. oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the lemon zest and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute until fried. Remove from the skillet and set aside. To the same skillet add the feta and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer the feta to a serving plate. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, 1 T. oil, basil, and a pinch of salt. Serve the feta warm, drizzled with honey and topped with fried lemon, thyme, and tomatoes. Enjoy with pita chips or bread.

Burrata with Brown Butter, Lemon, and Cherries

Burrata with Brown Butter, Lemon, and Cherries

Burrata with Brown Butter, Lemon, and Cherries

3 C. (about 11 ounces) whole fresh cherries

1 T. balsamic vinegar, plus more for serving

4 T. (½ stick) unsalted butter

¼ tsp. finely grated lemon zest

8 ounces burrata or fresh mozzarella cheese

Torn fresh mint leaves, for serving

Flaky sea salt, for serving

Sliced baguette or other crusty bread, for serving (optional)

 

Using a paring knife, halve and pit the cherries. In a medium bowl, toss together the cherries and vinegar. Let them sit while you make the brown butter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook until it smells nutty and is browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. To serve, place the burrata in the center of a serving dish. Spoon the cherries around it, then drizzle the brown butter on top. Top with the mint, flaky sea salt, and more balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve with bread, if you like, or with spoons for catching the milky juices of the cheese.

Sweet Pepper & Cheddar Clafouti

Sweet Pepper & Cheddar Clafouti

Sweet Pepper & Cheddar Clafouti

 

3/4 C. whole milk

1/2 C. Crème fraîche or Sour Cream

4 large eggs

2 1/2 T. flour

1/4 C. chopped fresh basil

3/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 C. coarsely grated sharp white cheddar cheese, divided

2 oz. sliced ham, chopped

2 T. olive oil

3 sweet peppers, preferably different colors, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch strips

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh lemon juice, for serving

Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving

 

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, crème fraîche or sour cream, eggs, flour, basil, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper. Stir in 3/4 C. of the cheddar and ham. In a 9″ ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the peppers and cook until they are softened and golden at the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and remaining 1/4 tsp salt and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Scrape the egg mixture into the skillet and top it with the 1/4 C. remaining cheddar and the Parmesan. (Or, for a more elegant presentation, scrape the vegetables into a gratin or casserole dish and add the egg mixture and cheese to that). Bake until the eggs are set 35 to 40 minutes. (Mine took 45 minutes). Cool slightly then top with the lemon juice and red pepper flakes.

Instant Pot Stovetop-Style Mac n Cheese

Instant Pot Stovetop-Style Mac n Cheese

Instant Pot Stovetop-Style Mac n Cheese

 

3 T. unsalted butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped (optional)

1 pound short pasta, such as shells or elbows

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tightly packed cups shredded Cheddar-jack-mozzarella cheese blend

11⁄4 tightly packed cups shredded Gruyère, sharp Cheddar, or Gouda

1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese 1⁄2 cup whole milk

2 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)

1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

Fine sea salt

Pinch of paprika (optional)

Add the butter, onion (if using), pasta, and broth to the inner pot of the pressure cooker. Lock on the lid and Pressure Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Release the pressure manually (be careful—it will sputter; cover the valve with a cloth to catch some of the mess).  Open the lid and stir in all the cheese, the milk, mustard (if using), and 1⁄2 tsp. pepper. Add salt to taste.  Let the pasta stand in the cooker on the Keep Warm setting for 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Serve warm, with a sprinkle of extra pepper and the paprika, if desired.

Cook’s Note:  Bubbly Cheese-Topped Mac: If you like your mac ’n’ cheese full-on in the cheese department, transfer the finished dish to a buttered 2-quart casserole, preheat the broiler and cover the casserole with 4 thin slices sharp Cheddar, mozzarella, or a mix of the two. Place on the lower rack and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Craving a Golden Cracker: If you’re in the crispy bread- crumb topping camp regarding your mac ’n’ cheese, this make-ahead is for you. Preheat the broiler. Combine 1 cup panko bread crumbs with 2 T. melted butter in a small bowl. Spread out on a sheet pan and broil until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Let the crumbs cool completely, then use or store in an airtight container for up to 5 weeks. This topping is great sprinkled over mac ’n’ cheese but also on creamy beans or atop perfect soft-boiled eggs.

Velveeta-free Queso

Velveeta-free Queso

QuesoDip3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces cubed cream cheese
Salt
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
Your favorite salsa (or Rotel)

In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stir 3 tablespoons flour into 3 tablespoons melted butter and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in 1 cup heavy cream until smooth, then whisk in 2 cups milk. Simmer gently until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, 4 ounces cubed cream cheese until melted and smooth. Season with salt and a pinch ground cayenne pepper. Add in your favorite salsa, about 1 1/2 cups, or to taste.

Pear & Brie Turnovers

Pear & Brie Turnovers

brie1 egg
1 tsp. water
1 sheet frozen Artisan Puff Pastry, thawed
1 (8 oz) wedge double cream Brie without crust, thinly sliced into 10 pieces
3 Pears Halves in White Grape Juice, drained and thinly sliced
Pinch salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400° F. Beat egg and water together to make egg wash. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 10 3×3-inch squares. Brush the edges of each square with the egg wash. Place 1 piece of Brie and 2-3 slices of pear at the center of each square. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold each pastry diagonally in order to make triangles and seal the edges using a fork. Place the triangles on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and brush the top with egg wash. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Classic Cheese Soufflé

Classic Cheese Soufflé

Add cream of tartar to the whites while beating; the acid stiffens and coagulates the egg-white protein, strengthening the walls of the bubbles. Sugar, used in sweet soufflés, also strengthens the bubbles.

Use a wire whisk attachment to introduce air into the whites evenly, creating tiny, strong bubbles.

Beat the whites just until stiff but moist-looking peaks form. If the whites are overbeaten, the walls of the air bubbles will be stretched out; they may burst when heated, collapsing the soufflé.

Fold the white sauce gently but thoroughly into the beaten egg whites, using a flexible spatula. Overmixing, or folding with a heavy hand, may collapse the egg-white bubbles, leaving your soufflé less than ethereal.

Bake the soufflé in the right dish size for the best results. Classic soufflé dishes aren’t necessary; you can also use deep casseroles or ovenproof bowls, though soufflés baked in bowls with sloping sides won’t rise as high as those in straight-sided dishes. Measure your dish’s capacity with water to determine its volume.

cheese-souffle-su-600573-2-l

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter

1/4 cup all-purpose

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, pepper jack, or Gruyère cheese (6 oz.)

6   large eggs, separated

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Generously butter a 2-quart soufflé dish or six 1- to 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes; if using small ones, set them about 2 inches apart in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan. In a 2- to 3-quart pan over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter. Add flour and stir until mixture is smooth and bubbling. Stir in milk, cayenne, and salt, and continue stirring until sauce boils and thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add egg yolks and stir until the mixture is blended and smooth. In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat egg whites (use whisk attachment if available) with cream of tartar until short, stiff, moist peaks form. With a flexible spatula, fold a third of the cheese sauce into whites until well blended. Add remaining sauce and gently fold in just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared soufflé dish (or dishes). If the dish is more than 3/4 full, use foil collar (see “Crowning Glory,” below). If desired, draw a circle on the surface of the soufflé batter with the tip of a knife, about 1 inch in from rim, to help an attractive crown form during baking. Bake in a 375° regular or convection oven until top is golden to deep brown and cracks look fairly dry, 25 to 30 minutes for large soufflé, 15 to 20 minutes for small ones. Serve immediately, scooping portions from single soufflé with a large spoon.

Crowning glory

Soufflés look most impressive when they rise dramatically over the rim of the dish. To create a beautiful crown on your soufflé, fill the dish about 3/4 full. If it’s less full, the soufflé may not rise over the rim. If it’s more full, the soufflé may spill over unless you wrap the dish with a foil collar. Here’s how to make one.

Cut a 15-inch-wide sheet of foil 4 inches longer than circumference of dish; fold lengthwise in thirds. Coat one side of the foil strip generously with melted butter, using a pastry brush. Wrap the foil around outside of dish so that at least 2 inches of foil extend above the rim. Fold the ends of the buttered foil strip over several times until snug against dish.

Burrata and Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Salad

Burrata and Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Salad

This recipe doesn’t require exact measurements, just make it to fit your appetite.

burrata

Burrata cheese
Tomato slices
Asparagus spears
Prosciutto
Arugula
Fresh basil leaves
French bread slices
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt

Remove burrata from container and let rest to drain. Place tomato slices and asparagus spears on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt and roast in oven set to broil for 5 minutes or until asparagus becomes soft and tomatoes begin to brown. Thicker stalks of asparagus will take longer to roast. Remove from oven and let cool. Top French bread slices with a drizzle of olive oil and toast in oven or toaster oven. Tear pieces of French bread slices and burrata into chunks or sections. Layer in a bowl with tomato, prosciutto, arugula and fresh basil leaves and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with pepper and salt.

Caprese Salad Re-Do

Caprese Salad Re-Do

Caprese-SaladEveryone loves a caprese salad!  What’s not to like – a little tomato, fresh mozzarella, a few basil leaves, some olive oil and balsamic vinegar – perfect ingredients all stacked up into one salad.   But what if you don’t want to stack them up?

Try freshening up your presentation with this idea:

Take a whole tomato and cut slices into it (about 1/4″ thick) without cutting all the way thru the other side.  Insert a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese and a basil leaf in between each slice.  Once the tomato is stuffed (it should “fan” out a bit) drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top.  Drizzle it with your favorite sea salt – and voila!  An update to everyone’s favorite caprese salad!

Caramelized Shallot and Crispy Sage Macaroni and Cheese

Caramelized Shallot and Crispy Sage Macaroni and Cheese

carmelized-shallot-and-crispy-sage-macaroni-and-cheese-cake-batter-and-bowl-blog-kerstin-sinkevicius1 pound orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Briefly, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender and drain. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add shallots and cook 15 to 17 minutes, stirring frequently, or until caramelized. Add garlic and sauté one additional minute. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook one minute or until mixture starts to brown. Whisk in buttermilk and cream, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and mix in cheddar cheese, gruyere cheese, and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add sage and turn off heat. Mix orecchiette pasta, caramelized shallots, cheese sauce, and crispy sage in a large bowl until well combined.

Yield: 8 servings
Calories: 685
Fat: 41g
Fiber: 2g

No Boil Mac & Cheese

No Boil Mac & Cheese

1/2 orecchietteC. (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
3 C. whole milk
1 T. kosher salt plus more
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper plus more
1 pound elbow macaroni (or other small pasta like orecchiette)
2 C. shredded cheddar, divided
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 C. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400°. Melt 1/4 C. of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and 3 C. water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, whisking often, until a very thin, glossy sauce forms, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 T. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Remove sauce from heat.

Toss pasta and 1 1/2 C. cheese in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch or other shallow 3-quart baking dish. Pour sauce over (pasta should be submerged; do not stir) and cover with foil. Bake until pasta is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining 1/4 C. butter in a large skillet over medium heat (at this point, I sautéed about 1/4 C. chopped pancetta for a few minutes before adding the remaining ingredients). Add garlic, panko, and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Remove foil from dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 C. cheese, then panko mixture. Bake until pasta is tender, edges are bubbling, and top is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Crescent Wrapped Cranberry & Brie

Crescent Wrapped Cranberry & Brie

1 can (8 o12ae70ebde163dc7de324edaf5ab751dz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 round (8 oz) Brie cheese
3 T. whole berry cranberry sauce or cranberry chutney
1 T. chopped pecans
1 egg, beaten
8 small seedless red or green grape clusters
1 pear, unpeeled, sliced
1 apple, unpeeled, sliced

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate dough crosswise into 2 sections. Press dough to form 2 squares, firmly pressing perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut crosswise into 2 sections. Press dough to form 2 squares. Cut corners off both dough squares and reserve to use for cutouts. Place 1 dough round on cookie sheet. Cut cheese crosswise into 2 equal layers. Place bottom half of cheese on center of dough circle on cookie sheet. Spread cranberry sauce over cheese. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Top with remaining cheese half. Bring dough up around side of cheese, pressing and pinching dough. With small cookie or canapé cutter, cut shapes from reserved corners of dough; set aside. Place remaining dough on top of cheese round. Press dough evenly around side of cheese. Brush dough with beaten egg. Top with cutouts; brush with additional beaten egg. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 15 minutes before serving. To serve, place warm pastry-wrapped cheese on platter. Arrange fruit around cheese.