Monday, December 31, 2007

INDEX FOR ALL RECIPES



Here is the updated index from beginning to today.

There are too many recipes without an index on this site because blogger isn't really set up for it. So I've decided to add an index of recipes at the end of each month. So far, there are over 100 recipes, and I'm hoping this will make it easier to find the recipes.





APPETIZER RECIPES:

Bbq Onion Steaks with Honey-Mustard Sauce
Cheese Souffle
Crunchy Chili Onion Rings
Fried Mozzarella with Puttanesca Dipping Sauce
Goat Cheese in Grape Leaves with Tomato and Olive Salad
Gouda and Feta Pizzettes
Pinto Beans cooked in Olive Oil - Pilaki
Stuffed Vine Leaves - Yaprak Dolma
Zucchini Fritters With Herbs And Cheese

SOUP RECIPES:
French Onion Soup
Lentil Soup with a Curry Crema and Lentil Crackers
Spicy Tomato Soup

SALAD RECIPES:
Avocado and Tomato Salad
Beet And Goat Cheese Salad With Pistachios
Black-eyed Pea Salad
Cucumber Dill Salad
Cucumber, Mustard and Dill Salad

Frisee with Flaked Salmon and Cucumbers
Lentil Salad With Tomato And Dill
Potato and Parmesan Salad
Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Bacon Dressing and Pine Nuts
Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Feta Cheese
Tabbouleh
Tomatoes Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
Veal Cutlets with Arugula and Tomato Salad

VEGETABLE DISHES:
Baked Garden Tomatoes with Cheese
Brussel Sprouts with White Beans and Pecorino
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
Eggplant, Zucchini, Onion, Tomato, And Feta Cheese Napoleons
Grilled Zucchini with Greek Spices and Feta Salad
Hand-Mashed Pinto Beans with Cheese
Pinto Beans cooked in Olive Oil - Pilaki
Roasted Eggplant Puree - Hunkar Begendi - Sultan's Delight
Rustic Porcini Onion Stuffing
"Soda Jerk" Beans
Spinach with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Toasted Parmesan Crumbs
Stuffed Vine Leaves - Yaprak Dolma

SANDWICH RECIPES:
Croissant Steak Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Horseradish Mayonnaise
Eggplant and Smoked GoudaOpen-Faced Grilled Sandwiches
Grilled Ham and Gouda Sandwiches with Frisee and Caramelized Onions
Made Up Toast Souffle
Roast Beef Sandwiches with Lemon-Basil Mayonnaise and Roasted Red Onions
Taverna Veggie Sandwiches

SAUCES/DIPS:
Creamy Mustard Sauce
Cucumber Dill Sauce
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Gorgonzola Sauce
Guacamole
Herbed Mustard Sauce
Methods for Making Sour Cream
Puttanesca Dipping Sauce
Tzatziki Sauce

BEEF RECIPES:
Andouille Burgers with Grilled Sweet Onions and Creole Remoulade Sauce
Baked Meatballs and Potatoes - Firinda Kofte Ve Patates
Beef Stroganoff with Noodles
Cumin-rubbed Rib-Eye Steaks with Two Salsas
Gyro Meat with Tzatziki Sauce
Herbed Lamb Chops with Pinot Noir Sauce
Kicked Up Breaded Pork Chops
Lady's Thigh Meatballs - Kadinbudu Kofte
Lamb Burgers with Feta Sauce
Meatloaf with Barbecue Sauce and Red Onions
Sliced Steak With Arugula
Sloppy Joes
Steak Diane
Stewed Kebabs in a Bowl - Tas Kebab
Veal Cutlets With Thyme Butter Sauce

FISH RECIPES:
Baked Halibut with Tomato, Capers, and Olive Vinaigrette
Frisee with Flaked Salmon and Cucumbers
Salmon Cooked in Parchment Paper

CHICKEN RECIPES:
Chicken Provencale
Grilled Chicken with Mustard Dill Sauce
Roasted Chicken Dinner
Wild Mushroom Chicken Basted in White Wine

POTATO RECIPES:
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs
Basic Mashed Potatoes
Caramelized Onion-Potato Pancakes
Creamy Herbed Potatoes
Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce
Potato Gratin With Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, And Olives
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted New Potatoes with Spring Herb Pesto
Roasted Potato Wedges With Rosemary Butter
Spotted Pig's Ricotta Gnudi

PASTA RECIPES:
Baked Pasta - Pasta Gratin
Fettuccine With Roasted Tomato Sauce And Parmesan
Roasted Vegetable And Prosciutto Lasagna With Alfredo Sauce
Sausage, Cheese And Basil Lasagna
Spaghetti Carbonara
Tricolor Tomato Fettucine

RICE RECIPES:
Basil Risotto
Creole Vegetable Jambalaya
Rice Pilaf
Risotto Con Parmigiano-Reggiano

MISC RECIPES:
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
Flat Zucchini Omelet
Fried Carrots
Garlic Croutons
Crepes
Lentil Crackers
Parsley Oil
Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Popovers
Salami Crisps with Sour Cream and Basil

DRINK RECIPES:
9 1/2 Weeks
Caffe Medici and Cappuccino Cream
Cosmopolitan
Frozen Margarita
Hemingway Daiquiri
Hummingbird
Hurricane
Limoncello
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

DESSERT RECIPES:
Almond-Plum Buckle
Chocolate Amaretti Peaches
Chocolate Fondue a La Chalet Suisse
Coconut Flan
Dark Chocolate Souffles With Cardamom Creme Anglaise
Dark Chocolate Torte With Spiked Blackberry Coulis
Dark Molten Chocolate Cakes
Double Chocolate Orange Pudding
Fruit-And-Almond Gratins
Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate Chocolate Souffle with Grand Marnier Chocolate Sauce
Honey-Ginger Pineapple Crepes
Jumbo Black Bottom Coconut Macaroons
Lemon Creme Brulee With Fresh Berries
Limoncello Cheesecake Squares
Mosaic
Old-Fashioned New York-Style Cheesecake with Berry Coulis
Super Lemony Lemon Squares
Vanilla Lime Pineapple Skewers

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Baked Garden Tomatoes with Cheese

This basic tomato recipe is from Bon Appetit which you can use as a base dish. It's great as a side dish. But it's so versatile that you can use it just about wherever you want. It's very tasty, and very easy to make.

But here are some tips that you must pay attention to, otherwise you will end up with a soupy dish with cheese:)

You have to take the seeds out of the tomatoes, take out as much as you can. And be careful with the salt, as it also will draw out the juice from the tomatoes.

I have tried these with green, red and yellow tomatoes, and have changed the cheeses according to what I have at home, and it always comes out good. Have fun:)


BAKED GARDEN TOMATOES WITH CHEESE

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 3/4 pounds fresh vine-ripened or heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (packed) freshly grated Romano cheese

Two more ways to go:
Add chopped fresh basil leaves and/or small cubes of mozzarella cheese. Or use yellow and green tomatoes with the red ones to add summer color.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil 11x7-inch baking dish. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

Mix in chives; season with salt and pepper. Transfer tomato mixture to prepared baking dish; sprinkle grated cheeses over. Bake until cheese melts and begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Almond-Plum Buckle

I love this recipe. The cake looks so good, and tastes better the next day:) This recipe is from Bon Appetit, and there really isn't much that I could change about it.

I have used pears, apricots, peaches or nectarines instead of plums, feel free to try different fruits. But I have ended up using less than what recipe asks for. Just use your judgment, so don't cut up all the fruit beforehand.

I use the food processor instead of using the mixer, adding the ingredients one at a time, adding the dry ingredients last. It works just as well.

Serve it with some ice cream or whipped cream and it is heaven:) It is moist, and really not that difficult to prepare. Enjoy:)

ALMOND-PLUM BUCKLE

Ingredients:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup whole almonds (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 pounds plums (about 8 medium), halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper round.

Finely grind almonds in processor. Transfer to medium bowl; whisk in flour, baking powder, and salt. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add 1 cup sugar; beat until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and almond extract, then flour mixture just until incorporated.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; spread evenly and smooth top with spatula. Gently press plum slices, flesh side down, into batter in spoke pattern around outer rim and center of cake, placing close together. Mix cinnamon and 4 teaspoons sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle over plums.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 20 minutes. Run small knife between cake and pan sides to loosen. Invert cake onto platter; remove parchment paper. Place another platter atop cake. Using both hands, hold both platters firmly together and invert cake, plum side up. Cool cake completely. Cut into wedges.

Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Veal Cutlets with Arugula and Tomato Salad

After you taste this recipe from Gourmet, you wonder why you didn't think to put these ingredients together. They are sooo good together.

Although the recipe is for veal, you can substitute chicken or turkey breast, and it is still very tasty.

The recipe doesn't list flour, but use it. Before you dip the veal or whatever you are using in the egg. Otherwise the breadcrumbs don't really stick to the meat. And you can easily use store bought breadcrumbs, they work just as well.

Let the salad marinade for a while, it infuses the tastes together and it's so much better. I usually prepare the salad first and then get going with the veal.

Watch your cooking time, 6 minutes is really to long to cook the veal. Make sure the oil is not too hot, and if you are cooking in two batches, bring the heat down a little bit, and then add the second batch so that you have a nice looking golden veal instead of a dark brown one:) Enjoy:)

VEAL CUTLETS WITH ARUGULA AND TOMATO SALAD

Ingredients:

3 cups fine fresh bread crumbs (from 6 slices firm white sandwich bread)
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium tomatoes (1/8 lb total), cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise (1/2 cup)
4 veal cutlets (1 1/4 lb total)
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 oz arugula (5 cups), leaves torn if large
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces

Directions:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread bread crumbs in a shallow baking pan and toast 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200°F.

Whisk together oil, juice, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until combined, then stir in tomatoes and onion.

Gently pound cutlets to 1/8-inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin. Sprinkle veal all over with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and season with pepper.

Stir together bread crumbs and cheese in a large shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in another large shallow bowl. Dip veal, 1 piece at a time, in egg, letting excess drip off, then dredge in bread crumbs, coating completely, and arrange in 1 layer on a sheet of wax paper.

Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry 2 cutlets, turning over once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then transfer to baking pan and keep warm in oven. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to skillet and fry remaining cutlets.

Add arugula and basil to tomato mixture and toss, then season with salt and pepper. Serve veal topped with salad.

Makes 4 servings.

Jumbo Black Bottom Coconut Macaroons

I don't remember where or when I made a note of this recipe, but these macaroons will end your quest for thick mounds of moist-on-the-inside and crisp-on-the-outside coconut macaroons. Dipping the cookie bottoms in chocolate coating is a simple step that adds a professional look to the cookies.

If you want to you can skip the almond extract and use coconut extract. To me it tastes better.

These also make great holiday gift cookies. Who doesn't love coconut with chocolate?:)



JUMBO BLACK BOTTOM COCONUT MACAROONS

Ingredients:
Cookies:
One 7-ounce bag (2 2/3 cups) shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 tablespoon sugar

Chocolate Coating:
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon canola or corn oil

Directions:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Make the cookies. In a large bowl, use a fork to stir the coconut, condensed milk, salt, almond extract and vanilla together. Set aside.

In an impeccably clean medium bowl, use a whisk or a hand-held mixer on low speed to beat the egg white with the cream of tartar until they are foamy and the cream of tartar dissolves. Whisking vigorously or beating on medium-high speed, beat until soft peaks form. Whisk or beat in the sugar. Use a rubber spatula to fold half of the whipped egg white in the coconut mixture, then fold in the remaining white.

Using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the coconut batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the macaroons 2 inches apart.

Bake until the bottoms of the cookies and the tips of the coconut shreds are light brown, about 17 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then slide a metal spatula under the macaroons to loosen them from the parchment and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the chocolate coating. Put the chocolate and oil in a heatproof container or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the water and let cool and thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.

Scrape the chocolate coating into a small bowl. Dip the bottom of each macaroon in the chocolate and place the cookies, chocolate bottoms up or on the sides, on a wire rack. (You will have some chocolate coating left over for another use or to pour over ice cream. It's easier to dip using a larger amount of coating.) Let the macaroons sit at room temperature until the chocolate coating is firm, about 1 hour.

Or, to speed the firming of the chocolate, refrigerate the macaroons on the rack for about 15 minutes. Serve cold or at room temperature.

The cookies can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Croissant Steak Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Horseradish Mayonnaise

Another great sandwich recipe from Bon Appetit. The taste is so good with all the ingredients, that it's amazing how I didn't do these before.

I used French rolls instead of croissants because I didn't have them, but I'm sure it would be great with them. Next time:)

I did cut the butter down while cooking the steaks, and used non-fat mayo, to make it a little bit healthy.

I can't think of anyone that wouldn't enjoy these sandwiches. Yummmmmmy!


CROISSANT STEAK SANDWICHES WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND HORSERADISH MAYONNAISE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup prepared white horseradish
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
3 1-inch-thick beef tenderloin steaks
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces large shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1 cup beef broth
4 large croissants, halved horizontally, lightly toasted
2 cups arugula

Directions:
Mix mayonnaise and horseradish in small bowl to blend.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle tenderloin steaks with salt and pepper. Add steaks to skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Using tongs, transfer steaks to work surface.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until dark brown, about 25 minutes. Add mushrooms; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth; boil until juices are reduced to glaze, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Season onion mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Place 1 croissant bottom, cut side up, on each of 4 plates. Spread each with horseradish mayonnaise and top with 1/2 cup arugula. Thinly slice steaks and divide among croissants. Top with onion mixture. Spread remaining mayonnaise on cut side of croissant tops. Place tops on sandwiches.

Makes 4 servings.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Instead of the basic Caprese I had found this recipe at Bon Appetit, which looks nicer, although it is a little bit of more work.

The original recipe asks for the tomato skins to be removed, but I like them with the skin on. The tomatoes look shinier and brighter. But if you would like to take the skin off cut small skin-deep X on end opposite stem of each tomato. Drop tomatoes into saucepan of boiling water; cook for 30 seconds. Then move them to an ice bath. The peels will come off easily. Don't skip the ice bath, otherwise the tomato becomes softer outside than the inside, which makes taking the seeds off difficult.

It is much easier to scoop the insides of the tomatoes out using your hands. It is a little bit messier but you have more control over it, and won't damage the tomato.

I also have changed the vinaigrette from the original a little bit, and I'm listing the one that I use. You can also use this vinaigrette for marinading, it's really great. It was suggested that the vinaigrette gets served in a shot glass alongside each tomato; guests can drizzle it on to taste, which makes it look really nice. You can also place the tomatoes on greens of your choice to dress it up even more.

You can use the small mozzarella that are sold instead of the regular sized ones, they look better in the tomatoes if you just half them.

I have substituted feta cheese instead of the mozzarella and that also came out great. You can use fresh oregano instead of basil when using feta.


TOMATOES STUFFED WITH FRESH MOZZARELLA AND BASIL

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves (from 1 large bunch)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 tablespoon minced shallots or scallions

Salad Ingredients:
6 medium tomatoes with stems still attached
2 7-ounce balls fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
6 fresh basil leaves

Directions:
For vinaigrette:
Either make the dressing in your empty salad bowl:
Beat vinegar or vinegar and lemon juice, salt, and optional mustard in bowl to dissolve the salt. Then beat in the oil by droplets, and finally the optional shallots or scallions, and such seasonings as you feel necessary.

Or place all ingredients in a covered jar, shake vigorously to blend, and correct seasoning. Although the beating the oil in slowly will make it creamier, this is faster:)

For salad:
Cut 1/3 to 1/2 inch off end opposite stem of each tomato. Using small spoon, scoop out insides of tomatoes, leaving shells intact.

Mix cubed mozzarella cheese and chopped basil in medium bowl. Divide cheese mixture among tomato shells, packing gently. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover tomatoes and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

Invert 1 filled tomato on each plate. Pour vinaigrette into 6 shot glasses. Place 1 shot glass next to each tomato. Garnish each tomato with basil leaf.

Makes 6 servings.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Grilled Ham and Gouda Sandwiches with Frisee and Caramelized Onions

This is an easy and tasty sandwich from Bon Appetit that takes some time because of the onions, but it is so worth it.

Remember to ask the deli counter to slice the Gouda cheese, it takes too much effort to slice them thinly. You can use other cheeses too, but Gouda gives it a great taste with the frisee.

Of course I made some changes:)

I added tomatoes, which made it yummier:)

I had to add some Dijon mustard, just because there is ham in the sandwich:)

And I used my panini maker instead of using the skillet to cook the sandwiches. They came out just great.


GRILLED HAM AND GOUDA SANDWICHES WITH FRISEE AND CARAMELIZED ONIONS

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Unsalted butter, room temperature
4 1/3-inch-thick slices country white bread or sourdough bread
4 ounces thinly sliced smoked ham, divided
3 ounces Gouda cheese, thinly sliced, divided
2 large handfuls frisée, torn into bite-size pieces (about 1 cup), divided

Directions:
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until onion is very tender and golden, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Cool slightly.

Butter 2 bread slices. Place bread, buttered side down, on platter. Divide onion, ham, cheese, and frisée between bread slices. Top each with another bread slice; butter top slices.

Heat another large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook until bread is golden brown and cheese melts, pressing occasionally with spatula, about 4 minutes per side. Cut sandwiches in half diagonally and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

Cheese Souffle

As soon as someone says souffle the first word that comes to mind is difficult. But it's not difficult at all if you follow the directions below, from Alton Brown. He does such a good job of explaining every step that you can almost not go wrong. And once you can make a souffle, you will feel like you have taken over the world:))

The only thing that I saw that is missing in this recipe is an explanation for tempering eggs. It is a method which is the slow addition of a hot liquid to a cold one. Tempering gradually brings the temperature of the two mixtures together and is used when a scalding hot liquid, such as cream or milk, is added to eggs. To temper, add a large spoonful of the hot cream to the egg-sugar mixture, whisking all the while. Add another spoonful, and then another, and continue until all the cream is mixed in.

Once you can temper, and you can beat the yolks to creamy consistency, you can't really go wrong.

The only thing I changed in this recipe was the Cheddar cheese. I prefer using Gruyere.

And keep in mind that it's a good idea to separate your eggs one by one in a separate dish, so that you don't get any yolks in the white part by mistake. It will ruin the souffle. Or you will have to throw what you have and start all over again.


CHEESE SOUFFLE

Ingredients:
Butter, room temperature, for greasing the souffle
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups milk, hot
4 large egg yolks (2 1/2 ounces by weight)
6 ounces sharp Cheddar
5 egg whites plus 1 tablespoon water (5 1/2 ounces by weight plus 1/2 ounce water)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:
Use room temperature butter to grease an 8-inch souffle mold. Add the grated Parmesan and roll around the mold to cover the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter. Allow all of the water to cook out.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, dry mustard, garlic powder, and kosher salt.
Whisk this mixture into the melted butter. Cook for 2 minutes.

Whisk in the hot milk and turn the heat to high. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove from the heat.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks to a creamy consistency. Temper the yolks into the milk mixture, constantly whisking. Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Whisk until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until glossy and firm. Add 1/4 of the mixture to the base. Continue to add the whites by thirds, folding very gently.

Pour the mixture into the souffle. Fill the souffle to 1/2-inch from the top. Place on an aluminum pie pan. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gyro Meat with Tzatziki Sauce

Gyro is the Greek version of the Turkish Doner, but the taste is actually really different. Doner is flakier, and Gyro has more substance, but I like them both. So I was looking for a Doner recipe, because I really miss it, and instead I ran into this Gyro recipe by Alton Brown.

This recipe is really great. The only thing I changed was using 1/2 lamb and 1/2 beef for the meat. And I cooked the oven version and it did turn out to be great, although it does cook longer than the recipe suggests. I'm sure the grill method would probably taste better. I"ll have to try it one of these days:)

I did make the gyro loaf, then slice it off and saute the slices briefly in a hot skillet. Browns the edges just a bit which tastes better to me.

Some pita bread, some tomatoes and the tzatziki sauce, with some fries next to it and it is just heavenly, doesn't need anything else, but maybe a glass of "Raki" next to it. It also tastes great served over rice. Yummmm:)


GYRO MEAT WITH TZATZIKI SAUCE

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded
2 pounds ground lamb
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tzatziki Sauce, recipe follows

Directions:
Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.

Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl.

To cook in the oven as a meatloaf, proceed as follows:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170 degrees F. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat.

Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and place a hot brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of the meat (or a heavy skillet works just as well) and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes and feta cheese.

To cook on a rotisserie, proceed as follows:

Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place on top of 2 overlapping pieces of plastic wrap that are at least 18 inches long. Roll the mixture in the plastic wrap tightly, making sure to remove any air pockets. Once the meat is completely rolled in the wrap, twist the ends of the plastic wrap until the surface of the wrap is tight. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight, to allow the mixture to firm up.

Preheat the grill to high.

Place the meat onto the rotisserie skewer. Place a double-thick piece of aluminum foil folded into a tray directly under the meat to catch any drippings. Cook on high for 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F. Turn off the heat and allow to continue to spin for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

TZATZIKI SAUCE

Ingredients:
16 ounces plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
Pinch kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:
Place the yogurt in a tea towel, gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic and olive oil. Serve as a sauce for gyros. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

"Soda Jerk" Beans

This is such an easy colorful recipe that it's unbelievable. You just get all the ingredients together and cook for about 20 minutes, although if you cook it for longer it does become tastier.

The original recipe is from Bon Appetit, and there are small changes that I have made to it.

I enjoy the taste better if I sautee the ham or andouille sausage with the onion and pepper before throwing it in.

The sugar is too much for me, so I have reduced it to 2 tablespoons.

This recipe is really a lot of food, so if you are cooking for 2, you can freeze the rest, it keeps well.


"SODA JERK" BEANS

Ingredients:

2 cups 1/2-inch cubes cooked ham
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
1 15-ounce can pork and beans, rinsed, drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 15-ounce can butter beans, rinsed, drained
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cola-flavored soda
1/2 cup lemon-lime soda
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:
Place all ingredients in heavy large pot.

Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until juices are thick, stirring gently and frequently to prevent burning, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes about 10 cups.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Eggplant and Smoked Gouda Open-Faced Grilled Sandwiches

There was this great eggplant sandwich recipe from Gourmet that I had copied, which I had to make some changes to. It required grilling on charcoal, which is not practical for me. But it sounded great, so I had to try it with a regular grill. Which is my panini maker:)

And although the recipe was for open-faced sandwich, you can make it a regular sandwich and use your panini maker to complete it.

I have substituted zucchini with eggplant, or I have just added zucchini. I have switched the cheeses around with different breads etc, and they all came out great.

Can't really top this sandwich to take for lunch with you:) Or serve next to a salad during summer. Yum!


EGGPLANT AND SMOKED-GOUDA OPEN-FACED GRILLED SANDWICHES

Ingredients:
1 lb tomatoes, finely chopped (2 1/2 cups)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or mashed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
1 (8-oz) piece smoked cheese such as Gouda, mozzarella, or scamorza
4 (3/4-inch-thick) slices country-style bread (from an 8-inch round loaf)
2 (1-lb) eggplants

Directions:
Stir together tomatoes, garlic, parsley, 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Tomato mixture can be made 30 minutes ahead and kept at room temperature.

With a cheese plane or vegetable peeler, shave half of cheese into thin slices (if using mozzarella, thinly slice half of it with a knife) and cover slices with plastic wrap, reserving remaining piece for another use.

Brush bread on both sides with 1 tablespoon oil per slice.

Trim off top and bottom of each eggplant, then cut 2 (1-inch-thick) slices lengthwise from center of each eggplant, discarding remainder. Brush cut sides with 3 tablespoons oil (total) and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Grill eggplant using a panini maker or a ridged grill pan over moderate heat, turning occasionally, 10 to 13 minutes, then top with cheese. Transfer eggplant to a large baking sheet and broil about 3 inches from preheated broiler until cheese is just melted, about 1 minute.

Transfer eggplant with spatula to platter.

Next, grill the bread. Transfer grilled bread to 4 plates and spoon tomato mixture on top. Drizzle evenly with remaining tablespoon oil and top with eggplant. Season with pepper to taste.

Or if you want to make it a sandwich, using the panini maker or a sandwich maker, grill the bread together with all the ingredients.

Roasted Chicken Dinner

This is like cooking a complete dinner in one pan. It's easy and takes about 15 minutes to prepare. The original recipe was from Gourmet but for me it needed some additions, such as some carrots, some herbs (rosemary and thyme), garlic and white wine.

If you can use fresh herbs all the better. Using pearl onions instead of regular onions looks better too, so give it a try if you have it handy.

You can also choose to use just breasts and legs instead of a whole quartered chicken.

I had read to add the zucchini just before the broiling step, and it does work better, otherwise it comes out too soft. You can choose to omit it altogether.

Try to arrange everything in a single layer, overlapping a little bit since vegetables shrink when cooked.

There are so many changes you can make to this simple recipe. Go ahead and try it, you can almost never go wrong:)

Just make sure you are watching it while broiling, 6 minutes is way too long for my broiler.


ROASTED CHICKEN DINNER

Ingredients:

1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb) chicken, quartered and wing tips discarded OR buy precut chicken quarters
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper
1 lb boiling potatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 zucchini (1 lb total), quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2 1/2- to 3-inch lengths
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Special equipment: a large roasting pan (17 by 12 inches)
Garnish: lemon wedges

Directions:
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 500°F.

Pat chicken dry, then toss with 1 tablespoon oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.

Arrange chicken, skin sides up, without pieces touching, in roasting pan, leaving a 2-inch border around edges of pan.

Toss potatoes, zucchini, and onion with remaining tablespoon oil, remaining teaspoon salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper in same bowl, then spread in 1 layer around chicken, arranging zucchini skin sides up.

Stir together broth and lemon juice and pour into pan around chicken and vegetables.

Roast, uncovered, until chicken is pale golden and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and preheat broiler. Broil chicken and vegetables 3 inches from heat until chicken is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Serve chicken and vegetables with pan juices.

Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate Chocolate Souffle with Grand Marnier Chocolate Sauce

Doesn't just the name of the recipe make your mouth water?:) It's a great Emeril recipe that I sometimes use just for the souffle.

But the sauce is great in itself. It is really decadent and goes great with ice cream too.

I can't say it is the easiest thing to make, but it really doesn't take that much time. And if you are good at mixing the sugar with the egg whites, there's really nothing to this recipe. Enjoy:)



HAWAIIAN VINTAGE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE WITH GRAND MARNIER CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
4 large egg whites
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
3/4 cup Chocolate Grand Marnier Sauce, recipe follows
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter 4 individual ramekins and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon sugar for each ramekin.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.

In a bowl beat the egg whites with 1/4 cup of the sugar until stiff and glossy.
Whisk the egg yolks into the melted chocolate 1 at a time, add the Grand Marnier, and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Fold in the egg whites until thoroughly blended. Transfer mixture to ramekins and place on a baking sheet. Bake until puffed and somewhat firm, about 20 minutes.

While souffles are baking, prepare the Grand Marnier Chocolate Sauce and keep warm until souffles are ready to serve.


GRAND MARNIER CHOCOLATE SAUCE:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
3/4 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:
In a saucepan over high heat combine cream, Grand Marnier and sugar. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and add the chocolate immediately, stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Keep warm in a double boiler or bain marie or serve immediately.

Yield: About 3/4 cup


Parmesan Popovers

Being a Parmesan lover, when I read this recipe, I had to try it. These are so good that they should be outlawed:) Seriously though, definitely add more Parmesan than the recipe.

The recipe below is the original recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, and it really is way too easy to make, just mix everything and pop it in the oven.

They are good with salads, with soups, by themselves, any which way you can think of; they are just good:) Have fun with them...

PARMESAN POPOVERS

Ingredients:
3 eggs
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon herbs de Provence
4 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 cups whole milk
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (about 5 ounces)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a blender, combine eggs, flour, salt, pepper, and herbs, milk, and cheese. Blend on medium speed.

Spray a mini-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup 3/4 full. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove popovers from muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Baked Halibut with Tomato, Capers, and Olive Vinaigrette

This is one of the simplest recipes that I have from the Gourmet magazine. Just put everything together and throw them into the oven.

The cooking time takes longer, up to 20 minutes, so watch it closely so that you don't have raw fish:)

Here are the changes that I make: I skip the black olives, add garlic, and sometimes shallots.

You can try this recipe with different fishes but halibut seems to work the best. Enjoy:)


BAKED HALIBUT WITH TOMATO, CAPERS AND OLIVE VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (2 pounds) halibut steak (1 1/2-inch thick), skinned, boned, and cut into 4 pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk together lemon juice and mustard. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Stir in tomatoes, olives, capers, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Arrange the fish steaks in a ceramic or glass baking dish just large enough to hold them in 1 layer. Pour the vinaigrette over fish. Cook the fish in middle of oven until just cooked through and no longer translucent, 7 to 9 minutes.

Serve fish with the vinaigrette from the baking dish.

Limoncello Cheesecake Squares

Another Limoncello recipe that is really easy from Giada De Laurentiis. With biscotti a not so lemony refreshing cheesecake, it is really heavenly.

There is nothing I could change with this recipe, just follow it:)

You will definitely need to use the food processor, don't try doing this recipe with a mixer.

And definitely let it wait in the fridge before eating it, it makes a big difference. Enjoy:)


LIMONCELLO CHEESECAKE SQUARES

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
8 ounces purchased biscotti
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained, at room temperature
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup limoncello liqueur*, store bought or homemade
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray the bottom of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened.

Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.

Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the limoncello, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, and pulse just until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold).

Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into squares and serve.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Caffe Medici and Cappuccino Cream

I thought I should include some of my favorite non-alcoholic drink recipes.

If you want to spoil yourself, this is the coffee to do it with:) It's an Emeril recipe; although the real Caffe Medici recipe is supposed to be a secret. I really don't care, this one is so very rich, and great during winter:) Yum!

CAFFE MEDICI

Ingredients:
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
4 tablespoons sugar
4 (1--inch) pieces orange peel
24 ounces espresso coffee, hot
Cappuccino Cream, recipe follows
Cocoa powder, garnish
Grated bittersweet chocolate, garnish

Directions:
Divide the chocolate syrup, sugar, and orange peel into 4 coffee mugs. Pour about 6 ounces of the espresso into each mug and stir. Top with cappuccino cream, and garnish, to taste, with the cocoa and grated chocolate. Serve immediately.

CAPPUCCINO CREAM

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons cold brewed espresso, or strong regular coffee
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
In a large bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks start to form. Gradually add the remaining ingredients, beating constantly, until well combined and stiff peaks form. (Can be made up to 1 hour in advance, covered tightly and refrigerated)

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups

Hurricane

Here is another great cocktail using Rum, mixed with some Vodka. Maybe because of the lemon it's not too sweet. And it is a hurricane when you drink it:) Although you won't feel it for a while and probably have more than one. But be careful, it is potent!

And you can throw some orange and lemon slices in the pitcher and it'll look soooo inviting:)

HURRICANE

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pomegranate juice, preferably a filtered (not cloudy) brand
1/2 cup grenadine
1/2 cup simple syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cups light rum
1/4 cup Triple Sec
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 cup vodka
Orange slices, for garnish
Lemon slices, for garnish
Maraschino cherries, for garnish

Mixing Instructions:
In a large pitcher combine the pineapple juice, orange juice, pomegranate juice, grenadine, simple syrup, lemon juice and lime juice and stir well to combine. Add the light rum, Triple Sec, vodka and dark rum and stir well. Serve in 16-ounce glasses over lots of ice and garnish each glass with 1 orange slice, 1 lemon slice, and 1 maraschino cherry.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hummingbird

This is the official Jamacian honeymooners drink:) If you have the ingredients, this is such a wonderful cocktail. It's like having a strawberry banana smoothie with a twist. You can drink it all day long, and be just fine:)

I hope you like it...:)


HUMMINGBIRD

Ingredients:

1 oz bananas
1 oz coconut cream
1 oz creme de bananes
1 oz rum
1/2 oz Tia Maria® coffee liqueur
1 oz strawberries
crushed ice

Mixing Instructions:
Blend all ingredients together until smooth, pour in desired glass and garnish with a cherry.

Cosmopolitan

How can you have cocktails listed but not have a Cosmo? It is so easy to make and such a great taste of sweet with some tartness.

Try to use silver Tequila instead of gold, so that you can keep the color of the cocktail vibrant. But if you want a really good quality drink, try to find a tequila that's marked reposado, or even better, marked anejo which means that they have been aged longer. It makes a big difference when it comes to taste. They are smoother with less of a bite.

If you don't have access to cranberry juice substitute with watered down grapefruit juice with a splash of grenadine. Or Apple juice, extra lime and a splash of grenadine might also work. See which taste works better for you.

Enjoy:)


COSMOPOLITAN

Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz 1800 Silver Tequila
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
2 oz Cranberry Juice
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Mixing Instructions:
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hemingway Daiquiri

Since the holidays are on the way, I thought I should include some drink recipes:)

Rum is such a sneaky liquor that it is really fun. You can think you can keep drinking it, but once you get up to walk, wooww:))) The reason for this is because most light rums have almost no taste other than a general sweetness, and that's why they are used for cocktails. They are usually less than 40 proof, so it will feel like you can keep on drinking.

If you can find Jamaican rum, such as Appleton Estates or Myer's; it will have a little bit more of an alcohol content. The color will usually be darker though. I, myself, have no problem using a darker rum in my cocktails:)


HEMINGWAY DAIQUIRI

Ingredients:
3 oz Light Rum
1 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice
1 1/2 oz Fresh grapefruit juice
1 oz Maraschino liqueur (Cherry liqueur)

Mixing Instructions:
Blend all ingredients with ice until smooth and serve in a margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

9 1/2 Weeks

This is one delicious drink recipe. It has all the ingredients that I love.

My preference is Absolut Vodka, but of course you can use whichever brand you like, but make sure it is citron, it will definitely taste better.


9 1/2 WEEKS

Ingredients:

2 oz Absolut Citron
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
1 splash Strawberry liqueur
1 oz Orange juice

Mixing instructions:
Combine all ingredients in glass mixer. Chill and strain into Cocktail glass. Garnish with sliced strawberry.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chicken Provencale

This chicken recipe is the second recipe from my friend. It's an easy mock Coq au Vin if you add 1 cup of Red wine and some mushrooms. The taste becomes sophisticated and she says it's great if you have guests coming:)

It is a Mediterranean type recipe which would pair beautifully with a basic rice pilaf.

Use the dark meat of the chicken which is tastier than the breast.

Don't skip adding the tomato paste which holds the sauce together. And if you add some butter it makes the sauce stick together even more. You don't have to add a lot of butter.

CHICKEN PROVENCALE

Ingredients:

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves or dark meat, whichever you prefer
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced peeled tomatoes
1 tbs tomato paste
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Black olives to taste
Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Saute the onions and the garlic. When they are ready, take them off the pan and set aside.

Add chicken to the pan and saute the chicken.

When chicken is almost cooked add the tomatoes, onions, garlic, tomato paste and butter. Add the black olives and thyme. Use fresh black pepper.

This is the point you would add the red wine and the mushrooms if you wish.

Once everything boils bring the heat down and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs

How can this recipe be bad? Potatoes, Parmesan and mozzarella all together. And it looks so much better than regular mashed potatoes. It's a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. I saw it during a show and tried it at once.

What's nice is that you can prepare it all before it goes in the oven and keep it until you are ready. For me that is a great time saver if I have company coming.

A nice tip to keep in mind is to add a teaspoon of butter with the breadcrumbs so that you make sure the top browns.

And if you want to have a smoother mashed potatoes just add a little bit more butter to the mix.

BAKED MASHED POTATOES WITH PARMESAN CHEESE AND BREAD CRUMBS

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well. Mix in the milk and melted butter. Mix in the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish.

Stir the bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan in a small bowl to blend.
Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the mashed potatoes.

Recipe can be prepared up to this point 6 hours ahead of time; cover and chill.
Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce

Gnocchi is so easy to make that it makes no sense to buy it ready. Plus it tastes so much better. But it is time consuming, so time yourself accordingly.

Be careful with the sauce, if you don't like Gorgonzola, it won't taste good to you. You can still use the gnocchi recipe, which is a great base recipe. Just use another sauce, such as a creamy mushroom sauce or a marinara sauce. You can basically use any pasta sauce that you like.

If you do like Gorgonzola, keep in mind that this is a heavy meal, and with the cheese, it will become heavier. But, it is the ultimate comfort food:)

POTATO GNOCCHI WITH GORGONZOLA SAUCE

Ingredients:
1 pound baking potatoes, washed
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound Gorgonzola
Chopped fresh chives
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
Pierce potatoes several times with fork. Microwave until tender, turning once, about 16 minutes total.

Remove and cool completely. Peel the potatoes, discarding the skin, and place in a bowl. With a hand potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add the egg and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the flour. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup flour on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Turn the dough onto the floured surface and roll into a log, about 1-inch thick. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece across the tines of a fork.

In a large saucepan, combine the milk, water, 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Bring the liquid just to a boil. Add the gnocchi and poach for 5 minutes. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drain.

Place the cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Toss the gnocchi with the cream sauce. Spoon onto a large serving platter. Sprinkle with chives and Parmesan, if desired; serve.

Fried Mozzarella with Puttanesca Dipping Sauce

Of course these are bad for you, but that's exactly why they taste so good:) I watched Emeril prepare these on TV and it looked so easy to make and so decadent that I had to try it. I had never tried making them at home, usually I ordered it at a restaurant.

And it is very easy to prepare, goes great with pasta. Or the puttanesca sauce is really great with french fries.

I have tried different cheeses but for this recipe and I say stick with the mozzarella, and keep it in the fridge for a while after they are breaded.

Enjoy, these are really yummy:)

FRIED MOZZARELLA WITH PUTTANESCA DIPPING SAUCE

Ingredients:

2 pounds regular (or smoked) mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
6-inch skewers or fondue forks,
for dipping Puttanesca Dipping Sauce, recipe follows

Directions:
Pat mozzarella dry, making sure there is no water on the surface, and set aside.

Place the flour in a shallow dish. Combine the milk and eggs and place in a shallow bowl. Stir together the bread crumbs, Essence, and salt and place in a shallow dish.

Heat vegetable oil about 1 1/2 inches deep, in a heavy saucepan or deep-fryer over medium-high heat to 325 to 330 degrees F.

Dredge the mozzarella in the flour, shaking off any excess flour. Dip in the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs. Place mozzarella in hot oil and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Allow mozzarella to stand for 3 to 5 minutes before serving, to allow the cheese to melt the entire way through. Serve warm on skewers or fondue forks with Puttanesca Dipping Sauce

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

PUTTANESCA DIPPING SAUCE

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (28-ounce) can whole Italian plum tomatoes, pureed in a blender, with juice
1/2 cup pitted, and finely chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon minced anchovy fillets (4 to 5 fillets)
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
Salt

Directions:
In a medium pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients and simmer until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, about 20 minutes. Add salt to taste, cover and set aside. Serve sauce warm or at room temperature.

Yield: about 3 cups

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Salami Crisps with Sour Cream and Basil

There is absolutely nothing healthy about this recipe, but boy, does it taste good:) and belongs to Giada De Laurentiis. I love the simple and tasty recipes she comes up with.

Sometimes I don't even bother using the sour cream, and eat them with potato chips. I do feel guilty afterward, but it is well worth it:)

I actually like them better when I switch the sour cream with feta cheese, but that's a personal preference, so I'm leaving the recipe as is.

Make sure the salami is sliced really thin and then enjoy:) Yummy!


SALAMI CRISPS WITH SOUR CREAM AND BASIL

Ingredients:
24 (1/8-inch to 1/4-inch) slices Italian dry Genoa salami (about 4 ounces)
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with aluminum foil. Arrange the salami in a single layer over the baking sheets. Bake until the salami slices are amber brown, watching closely to ensure they brown evenly, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the salami crisps to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb the excess oil. Set aside to cool.

Spoon a dollop of sour cream on top of each salami crisp. Sprinkle the basil over and serve.

Do-Ahead Tip: The salami crisps can be made 8 hours ahead. Store in airtight containers and keep at room temperature.

Methods for Making Sour Cream

Sour cream is commonly used for dips, dressings, and sauces or simply "plain" as a condiment.

I didn't know making sour cream was easy, and if you can't find it where you are, here are two methods for making your own sour cream at home.

I found these methods from the message board of CountryLife.net. I haven't tried them yet, since I can get sour cream readily, but there was a time when it was impossible to find it. So I had to add the recipe for one day:)

And here are some hints on using sour cream:

Never boil sour cream because it will curdle immediately. To add sour creme to a hot liquid, remove the liquid from the heat source (or turn the heat to very low) and add the cream while stirring gently.

Avoid using sour cream in dishes with a lot of salt, as the salt may cause curdling. Also dishes made with sour cream do not freeze well.



SOUR CREAM

Method 1
Ingredients:

1 cup cream
1 tablespoon cultured buttermilk
Recipe can be increased at the ratio of 1 tablespoon buttermilk to 1 cup of cream.

Directions:
In a double boiler bring the fresh cream up to 180 degrees. Cool to room temp in a cold water bath. Add the buttermilk, cover, and let sit at room temp. for 24-48 hours. Stir and refrigerate. The batch will keep approximately 3-4 weeks, refrigerated

Method 2
Ingredients:
1 cup cream
1 1/2 cups pasteurized whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl over warm water. Raise the temperature of the mixture to (68 degrees to 70 degrees F) and let it stand for 12 to 24 hours or until it is sufficiently sour and thick enough to cling firmly to a spoon. Keep in the refrigerator until you want to use it. For a richer heavier sour cream combine 2 cups of pasteurized heavy cream with 5 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk and incubate as before. For better texture refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Kicked Up Breaded Pork Chops

Another easy and fast recipe with delicious results from Emeril. Marinading the pork chops in milk makes it soft and very tasty.

Putting the pork chops on a rack instead of placing directly on pan is great tip to make sure that there are no more hard bottoms of pork chops. Definitely follow this instruction:)

Baking is so much healthier than frying them, and you really don't lose anything from the taste. But my pork chops took more than 20 minutes to cook, it was more like 25 minutes, so you will need to watch it after 20 minutes.

Be careful with the red pepper if you don't like it hot. You need to adjust it to your liking.

KICKED UP BREADED PORK CHOPS

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 thin center-cut pork chops (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Emeril's Italian Essence or other Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated Pecorino
3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine the milk, garlic, white wine, red pepper, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt and stir well. Add the pork chops and soak at room temperature while assembling the remaining ingredients, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a lightly greased wire rack on top of the baking sheet and set aside.
In a large sealable plastic bag, add the bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, Essence, and cheese and shake to combine. Drain the pork chops from the milk mixture, one at a time, and add to the bread crumb mixture. Shake to coat thoroughly. (You may need to press the mixture into the chops with your hands.)

Arrange the pork chops on the baking rack and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and the breading is crisp and golden.

Gouda and Feta Pizzettes

I love using puff pastry. They come out so flaky and light which makes eating it a great pleasure for me.

I had taken this recipe from the American Dairy Association, and make small changes to it.

I buy puff pastry squares, which cuts the prep time to about 0 minutes:) Read the pastry directions for a more accurate cooking time.

I use mozzarella cheese instead of feta and Gouda cheeses to make it a mock pizza, but stay away from sauces, it makes the pastry soggy. Great side dish for a hearty salad:)



GOUDA AND FETA PIZZETTES

Ingredients:

1 (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
8 large plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (6-ounces) shredded, smoked Gouda cheese
1 cup (4-ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs such as basil, oregano and sage

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400° F.

On a lightly floured board, unfold one sheet of puff pastry and roll into a 10-inch square, about 1/8-inch thick. Make two parallel cuts lengthwise and two parallel cuts crosswise to make nine equal squares of dough.

Arrange three slices of tomato on each pastry. Sprinkle with pepper. Top with Gouda, crumbled feta and olives.

Place pizzettes on cookie sheet. Bake until pastry is golden brown and has puffed, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with herbs. Serve warm.

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