Friday, February 3, 2012

Savory Biscotti

I like making soups, chilis, stews, and chowders, but I am tired of making the same ol' side of rice, corn bread, or buying french bread. I found this biscotti recipe, and it went great with my chili.  I am happy for my change in four because it was also addicting and it just made it a little more healthy.  They lasted about 2 days, and I'm sure if I hadn't put it away after dinner the 1st night, they would have been gone before bedtime.
Besides the flour change, I also had to change the herbes de Provence because I went to 3 different stores, and could not find it.  So, something widely available, is Italian seasoning which ended up working wonderfully.
Try them and you'll see they're a great alternative. Enjoy!

makes about 12

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole what flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, Italian seasoning, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and goat cheese together until smooth. Beat in the sugar and eggs. In batches, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. With damp hands, form the dough into a 13-inch-long, 3 1/2-inch-wide loaf. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.
Transfer the loaf to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the log on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Adapted from Savory Biscotti Recipe - Giada de Laurentiis

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Game Day Foods

It'll be the last game of the season, and I'm sure you're trying to figure out what to make for that Party you're going to, or are you the one planning it?  Here are some great snacks I've made throughout the season I hope you enjoy as much as my husband.
It's rare when I make empanadas, but they're the fave in the household. There are none left when I'm done, and I may make the sweet ones this week instead of the savory.  The stuffed jalapeños are unbelievably easy and oh so good.  Between four people we ate all 20 and still wanted more.  And, lastly, the crab dip is not cheap, but it will be gobbled up like there's no tomorrow; here, even the little one will eat this hidden protein.
Since it will be the three of us, yet again, at this Sunday event, I'm not planning too much. I think stuffed jalapenos, pulled pork sandwiches, and sweet empanadas (unless I find something else yummy).

makes 24

12 jalapeños
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
bacon bits (homemade or store bought)

In a heated skillet, and oil and whole jalapeños. Cook until jalapeños are slightly browned and heated through, turning constantly.
In a bowl, mix cream cheese and as much or as little bacon bits.
Cut jalapeños length-wise. Take seeds and ribs out; for some heat leave ribs. Spoon the cream cheese mixture and fill the cavity of jalapeños.
Place jalapeños on a cookie sheet. Put into broiler. Let stuffed jalapeños until top is browned, about 5 minutes.

Family recipe

makes 10

1 package Goya Discos (found in the frozen foods section; egg roll rappers can also be used if not found)
1 pound ground meat
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato sauce or 1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup green olives, roughly chopped
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Adobo (seasoning salt)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
oil for frying (preferably peanut oil)

To make the filling, brown meat in a pan on medium-high heat.  Season meat with the Adobo.
Once meat is browned, set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic to sau.  Add olives and tomato sauce; let simmer. Add the meat and stir. Let mixture cook for 10 minutes.  Take off heat and let cool to handle.
In a deep pot, fill with frying oil to at least 4 inches up. Heat to about 350°F.
Carefully, separate discos, and cover with damp cloth to prevent drying.
Lay one disco on flat surface.  Put filling, about 1/4 cup, on one side of the disc leaving about 1/4 inches from edge.  With finger, dampen edge with water. Fold empty side over to close. Seal edges, by pressing with fork until completely sealed. Add to hot oil, and let fry until golden brown. Take out of oil and set on paper towels to drain excess oil.
Empanadas can be fried 2 or 3 at a time.
For party, cut discos in half to make 20 delicious bites.

Sweet Empanadas are filled with 2 tablespoons of guava paste and couple slices of cream cheese. Once fried and slightly cooled, cover with powdered sugar

Family recipe

serves 8

8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), room temperature
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon crab boil spices, (recommended: Old Bay)
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12 ounces fresh crab meat, picked over for bits of shell and patted dry
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Stir together the cream cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, crab boil spice, and garlic in a medium saucepan until smooth; season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Heat the cream cheese mixture over medium-low heat until warm, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in the crab, scallions, parsley and lemon juice and warm until heated through, about 1 minute more. Serve immediately.

From, Hot Crab Dip

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lemon-Garlic Cauliflower

I'm sure a lot of you have the New Year's resolution to either get on a diet or just eat healthier.  Since I had my son, I've eaten as healthy as possible because I want to have great energy for him and it will also help him form good eating habits.  So here's a recipe to jump start your resolution.
This recipe from Emeril has great garlicky flavor with awesome health benefits. Tons of vitamin C with out a ton of calories from the cauliflower, cancer fitting power from the cauliflower and the garlic, and it's a great anti-inflammatory that will help with those workouts I'm sure you're starting too.
Our family loves cauliflower, so if I can find different ways of making them or finding different foods to marry them with then it'll always be a winner.  A new taste for a household staple.
Super good dish with tons of good garlic.  Enjoy!

servings: 6 to 8

5 to 6 cups cauliflower
21 cloves garlic
2 lemons, halved
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano - Reggiano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place cauliflower in a large bowl.  Add garlic.  Squeeze lemon halves over cauliflower and add the juiced halves.  Add salt and pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
Put mixture in casserole dish and cook in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Easy Lasagna

It's been a long holiday season.  During this time, you always want what you can't have the rest of the year.  And because I'm usually tired of cooking by this time, I try to find a really large dishes that will last at least 2 additional nights.  For me, this includes a nice saucy lasagna.
I can't say I know where this recipe came from.  My mom got this from a friend or co-worker,she passed it on to me, and I've always made it this way. To save time, I use jarred pasta sauce, but if you have an awesome tomato sauce recipe, by all means, use it.
I'm not sure how Italian this is, but it's still awesome.  Impress your friends with this dish or eat half and stick the rest in the freezer for another lazy night. Enjoy!

serves: 10 to 12

1 pound ground beef, 80/20
1 pound ground pork or Italian sausage out of the casing
1 cup onions
2 cloves garlic2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
lasagna noodles (no boil work great)
4 - 5 cups tomato pasta sauce (about 1 1/2-24 ounce jars)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
2 15 ounce containers Ricotta

In a large pan, brown meat. Once cooked, drain fat and set aside. In the same pan add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sautee onions and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to wake them up. Add salt and pepper. Mix in the meat and let cook for 5 minutes. Set meat aside to cool.
Set large pot to boil, salt very generously,  and cook 12 to 16 lasagna sheets al'dente, about 1 minute less than package instructions. Set aside in a little cold water to prevent sticking.
In a bowl pour Ricotta and mix in 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning.
Begin assembly of lasagna in an 11inch x 15inch baking dish. Spread  the dish with enough sauce to lightly coat bottom to prevent pasta from sticking.
Begin layering: pasta noodles, about 4 or 5 with a little overlapping (cut to fit), spread 1/3 of Ricotta mix, spread 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce, sprinkle 1/3 of the meat mixture, and sprinkle 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese.
Layer 2 more times. The top layer will end up with 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano.
Cover lasagna with aluminum and put in oven set at 350°F for 30 minutes. Once bubbly, take aluminum off and let top brown for 10 to 15 minutes.
Take lasagna out of oven and let sauce settle before cutting.

Note: The no boil noodles are a different size from the normal noodle, so layer to fit baking dish and break them to make fit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Farfalle Pasta with Beet Vinaigrette and Parsley Pesto

Hello Folks! Sorry about my absence.  I have truly been enjoying my holiday time with my husband and son.  It's been great so far and New Years is still awaiting us.
Speaking of New Years, this recipe I have for you, will be the highlight of your New Years Eve dinner party.  I've been wanting to make it because of how beautiful it looks, but my hesitation was the actual beets.  Not a real fan.  Oh man, this tastes amazing!  This Farfalle Pasta with Beet Vinaigrette and Parsley Pesto sounds like a mouth-full, and to be honest, it is a delicious mouth-full.
I made a full batch because I thought I would have guests, but since that didn't work out, we still have leftovers.  I am so glad too, because I am still eating bowls of deliciousness. Even though it says to serve right away, it tastes great the day after or two days after. The Parm cheese is a must in this recipe too. Enjoy!

servings: 6 to 8

Parsley Pesto:
Kosher salt
2 cups fresh curly parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced scallions, green and white parts

Beet Vinaigrette:
5 medium beets, thoroughly scrubbed and quartered (reserve and finely slice beet greens, if attached)
2 cups water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound farfalle pasta (or bowtie)
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan

For the parsley pesto: Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the kosher salt until the water tastes like seawater and stir to blend. Add the parsley and cook for 1 minute, and then remove with a slotted spoon. Immediately plunge leaves into an ice bath and allow to cool, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the leaves slightly and then put them in the blender with the sugar and olive oil. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add some water to facilitate blending. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the scallions and set aside in a bowl large enough to hold the pasta.

For the beet vinaigrette: Put the beet pieces in a medium saucepan and add 1 cup of water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Allow it to reduce until there is about 1/4 cup liquid. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and reduce again until you have only 1/4 cup left. Season to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the red wine vinegar and olive oil.

For the pasta: In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt; the pasta water should taste like seawater. Add the pasta to the pot and stir so it doesn't stick to the bottom as it cooks. Cook the pasta until al dente (chewy but not hard or raw tasting) 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving some pasta cooking liquid in case you need it later.

To serve: Pour the pasta into the bowl with the parsley pesto. Add the beet vinaigrette and butter and toss to blend. Add the Parmesan and finely sliced beet greens, if using. Serve immediately. Alternatively, you can drizzle the red beet vinaigrette over the pasta for a different color effect.

From -  Farfalle Pasta with Beet Vinaigrette and Parsley Pesto: Alex Guarnaschelli