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Posts from the ‘Cheese’ Category

DLW :: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Risotto & Sautéed Kale


Roast a pork tenderloin, make some risotto, sauté some kale and top it all with a little Parmesan…and poof – dinner appears!

Okay, it wasn’t actually that quick, but it was delicious and we had some leftover pork for a meal later in the week!  (stay tuned for details on that…)

What did you eat last week?

 

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Chicken Gorgonzola Pasta Salad with Bacon


D’Amico & Sons!  Ring a bell…?  If so, you probably live in Minnesota or Florida or have flown through MSP airport and had enough time to wander around for a bite to eat…and if this is so…you know what I’m talking about.

I wasn’t always one for pasta salads.  They were always bland and drenched in oil and vinegar and seemed to be a dumping ground for canned and often ignored veggies.  My nightmare of a pasta salad involves tri-color spiral pasta with a bottle of italian dressing, some canned sliced olives and if we are lucky…a dice of red bell pepper.  If that’s the best thing you can think of to do with some pasta…perhaps you should consider take-out!

Now that I’ve seen the light…I know the potential that lies in a well-thought-out pasta salad.  Think big…you probably can’t go wrong!  Visiting my husband’s family in Minneapolis, I was treated to D’Amico and Sons, and have been recreating various menu items ever since!

The weather has started to turn truly into spring in most of the country and what better way to welcome it than with a totally cold dish of hearty pasta?

Fun Fact:  Add buttermilk to regular mayonnaise and POOF!  You get ranch dressing.  No, really…nothing additional needed, unless you want it to look like ranch dressing, then you could add some things…ya know…like…herbs.  That’s it.  That’s all.  We were shocked – it tastes just exactly like ranch.  After we got over this fun little piece of info…we got on with the cooking chopping and mixing.

All ingredients in our version are just a guess…so we have chicken, not-all-the-way-sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, bacon and gorgonzola dressing.

I know it looks a little like butter…but it is actually really delicious creamy gorgonzola!  The dressing is simple…a little mayo, buttermilk, crumbled gorgonzola, salt and pepper.

Oh yeah, you’ll also need some pasta of your choice…cooked extra al dente!  Add the various components to the bowl, pour dressing over the top and drizzle.  Be conservative at first with the dressing, each piece should have a nice coating…but not be drowning in dressing.  Mix it up…then add the spinach.

Lastly, scoop onto a plate…and top with your perfectly cooked bacon crumbles!

Enjoy!

2011 Meals in Review | part two


as promised…

2011 Meals in Review | part two

July

Gorgonzola Chicken Pasta Salad (a la D’Amico & Sons)

German Potato Salad

Summer Tomato Caprese Stacks

Bastille Day & a Little Liberté with Scallion and Chive Smoked Salmon Spread

 

August

Sour Cream Verde Enchiladas

 

September

Heirloom Tomatoes Bread Salad with Burratta

Zucchini, Summer Squash and Brown Rice Casserole

 

October

Tomato and Gruyere Tart

served with a little salad

Fresh Linguine with Mizithra Cheese and Lightly Dressed Arugula

Traditional Beef Empanadas (made mini!)

A little sampling of delicious items…cheese, olives, toasts, etc.

Niçoise Salad

 

November

Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti

Brioche French Toast

No-Knead Bread

Gougeres

Red Tea, Beef & Sweet Potato Stew

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

Excuse the phone photo…but that’s what’s left of a scrumptious braised rabbit with pappardelle from this place.

Chestnut Pancetta Stuffing for Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving plate…and no I didn’t overdo it!

Couldn’t be complete without a slice of pecan pie!

The morning after was no let-down with Pheasant and Waffles topped with a Fried Egg and Mushroom Thyme Gravy!!!

 

December

A weekend trip up north found us eating at the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant in St. Helena.  The Tasting included 5 delectable bites to whet our appetites.

The polenta sitting under the magnificently cooked piece of beef was quite possibly the best thing on the table.

Duck Confit with a Poached Egg and Frisee

Krumkake Christmas Cookies

Christmas Eve bites including Cremenelli Salami – a little hometown pride!

Christmas Dinner – Tenderloin of Beef, Creamy Dill Carrots and Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Turkey Tetrazzini

The BEST use of leftover beef ever…sliced beef tenderloin topped with a cold Bernaise sauce

And last but not least, Short Ribs Italiano served over Pappardelle!

 

We’re making some artichoke dip and about to head over to friends to ring in the new year!  Tonight is for looking back and tomorrow, we start fresh.

A Whole New Year!

Happy New Year!

2011 Meals in Review | part one


As I’m a bit behind these days, I noticed while perusing my photos from the past year in search of a couple photos for a new year’s card to send out, how many delicious moments we had in 2011.  What follows is not only what we made, but what we enjoyed! 

The delicious moments of 2011…


January

Rosemary Sea Salt Dinner Rolls (recipe credit: Pioneer Woman)

Creamy Pheasant and Wild Rice Soup

Orechiette with Pheasant, Bacon and Spinach

Butternut Squash, Shallot and Goat Cheese Pizza

Pot Roast…good the first time, better the second…

Cumin-scented Butternut Squash with Onions and Wild Rice

Pot Roast Ravioli

Homemade Fettuccini

Boboli’s done right…!  (yes, you are correct…that is an egg cracked on top peeking out from underneath the arugula and parm!

 

February

yummm…pancakes

Delicate Scrambled Eggs with Truffle Salt

A Birthday dinner at Bouchon

Cod Brandade with Tomato Confit and Fried Sage Leaves

Frisée aux Lardons et Oeuf Poché

Croque Madame

Back at home…Cheese Soufflé

Lump Crab Cakes

Valentine’s Day Cheese Fondue

Tempura and Cold Soba Noodles

Baby Artichoke Gratin (recipe credit: latimes.com)

 

March

Fancied-Up Burgers

Seared Scallops with Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Welsh Rarebit

 

April

April brought with it a trip to Vienna for Woody’s work…

Käsekrainer – near perfect street food

Beef Tartare with all the appropriate accoutrements

Veal Medallions

Finally in the homeland…a full plate of spätzle just for me!

A celebratory meal at Meinl am Graben began with a Veal Carpaccio for Woody

Tortellini with Consommé and Crisped Prosciutto

Honestly…I can hardly remember what exactly this course entailed…but I DO remember that it  was incredibly amazing!

The third course of our prix fixe…again…perfection!

Although I can’t say the name of the place…the fare was delicious

A trip to Vienna without Viennese coffee would be a crime!

Back at home…Pacific Spiny Lobster with Fava Beans and Meyer Lemon

Grilled Cheese Invitational…who says no to that…?

Burrata with Cherry Tomatoes…there were plenty more sandwiches and a lot more cheese, but most disappeared before I could get a shot!

And of course, an annual batch of Deviled Eggs for Easter!

 

May

Fried Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

Onion & Bacon Tart

Minted English Pea & Lemony Feta Crostini

Another birthday was cause for a trip to the Los Olivos region, some wine tasting and of course a meal or two…

Bistro Burger

Spring Vegetable Pot Roast

Ebelskivers

Savory Lentil Salad

House guests meant a trip to the Original LA Farmer’s Market and an Oyster Po’ Boy

June

Chicken Garlic Sausage & Swiss Chard Flatbread

Potato Salad – Two Ways

Poppyseed Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone Frosting

Part two coming soon…

DLW: Fettuccine with Mizithra Cheese and Fresh Dressed Arugula


Very satisfying, very quick and seemingly exquisite.

Fresh fettucine pasta cooked al dente, tossed with butter, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, piled on a plate and topped with plenty of mizithra cheese.  Mizithra is a greek cheese, almost like an aged and dried version of feta.

In a bowl, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice, sprinkle in salt and grind in some pepper, stir a bit and then add some good olive oil…just before serving, toss in fresh arugula and coat with the dressing, pile high on the plate and top with shaved parmesan.

The bite of the arugula balances out the richness of the buttery pasta.

Enjoy!

Indian Summer Tomatoes! (and what to do with them…)


I’m back.  Or at least I’m trying.  Life got in the way these past two months…though I can’t quite pin it down to one thing.  There were house guests, school starting again, typical work stresses, trying to actually have a vacation, last-minute chaperoning of an outdoor ed trip, and life in general.

As I was looking through all the photos that have accumulated over the last two months…a significant portion of the dishes include tomatoes.  Let’s review, shall we!

A lovely typical caprese with fresh tomatoes, basil from the garden, peppery and buttery olive oil, sea salt, fresh black pepper and of course fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar!

Then there was the tomato and zucchini herb tart with gruyere…

We can’t forget the late summer farmer’s market heirloom tomatoes…

…and the burrata, oversized buttered croutons and herbed vinaigrette that took these tomatoes from summer treat to inspirational dish!

Although only garnished with tomatoes…this dish seemed to be in line with the others…

Zucchini, onion and pasilla pepper omelet with goat cheese and herbs!

I sit currently near an open window with blue skies and plenty of sunshine, which means is slightly hard to imagine that the rest of the country is slowly slipping past the height of fall and right into that season the follows autumn (and must not be named yet).  With a radio report of record October snows in the east…I promise, I’ll try to get my fall on out here in SoCal!  I feel the pull of seasons, but when it’s still 80° outside, it’s hard to consciously turn the oven on and roast things, or make soups, or even bake.  The nights are becoming increasingly cool…I even brought out a down comforter for the bed…as lows are in the high 40’s.  (don’t laugh)

I’ve got a few more posts to come and the motivation and inspiration to get back into the kitchen is creeping back!  How is your fall going?  Anybody else still enjoying the last few tomatoes of summer?

Dinner Last Week :: Roasted Asparagus & Beets with Goat Cheese


Perfect summer evening food!

Trim the asparagus, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 10 minutes at 425º.  I like to roast my beets.  Give ’em a quick wash, pierce a few times with a sharp knife and then wrap in foil – as a bonus you can drizzle them with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Roast in a 375º oven for 25 minutes to an hour depending on the size and quantity of beets.  Smaller and fewer, shorter amount of time.  Let them cool once they are done and then the skin should slip off, or you can use a knife to peel off the skin.

Quarter, drizzle with olive oil and/or vinegar and top with fresh goat cheese.  Serve with crusty bread!

Savory Lentil Salad (with a side of dinner on the patio)


Don’t you wish that more dinners looked like this?  I certainly do!  And summer is the perfect time to institute the no-cook, bits-and-pieces, smorgasbord-dinner-on-the-patio, evening!

The heart of the meal is the Lentil Salad (recipe to follow).  Every time I have lentils I end up asking myself why I don’t eat them more often?

Moving on…starting at the top in the center are some Lucques olives – they are a bright fresh tasting and meaty olive from France that needs nothing more than to be popped in your mouth and savored as-is.  Almost out of the picture, we have Brillat-Savarin cheese which can only be described as the most wonderful thing I’ve put in my mouth – creamy, dense and buttery and sweet as all get-out!  Next some crusty bread, sliced nectarines, lentil salad, Bellweather Carmody – a semi-firm young Jersey cow’s milk cheese from Sonoma County, salty-date and almond raincoast crisps (my favorite new cracker), sheep’s milk Brebiou cheese from France, and last but not least some dry-cured Chianti salami!  This is probably enough for at least 4 people…but Woody and I managed to polish it off just fine!  Onto the lentil salad…

Savory Lentil Salad (recipe courtesy…my Dad)

Lentils
2 cups water
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1 bouquet garni
1 medium carrot
celery leaves
1 small onion
6 cloves
1 cup lentils

Dressing
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp. olive oil (or walnut oil)
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste

Garnish
2 scallions, sliced
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup chopped parsley
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes

Start off by measuring your lentils and then putting them in a strainer or colander to rinse them under cold water.  This is an important step because a) it helps rinse off any remaining dirt from the packaging plant and b) sometimes small rocks or stones make it into the bag of lentils…they look very similar…and no one likes to bite down on a small rock!

Stud the onion with the cloves.  Combine all ingredients except the lentils in a pan and bring to a boil.  Add the rinsed lentils and return to boil for 5 minutes.  Cover, reduce heat and cook for 10-15 minutes until lentils are cooked but still crisp.  Drain, remove the vegetables from the cooking liquid.  I cut the carrot up to add a little color to the finished salad…but otherwise, they can just be discarded.

Blend the dressing ingredients – the walnut oil is preferable as it enhances the nutty flavor of the lentils, but olive oil will work just fine – and then pour the dressing over the warm lentils.  We love this recipe and have made it word for word many a time…but we changed it up a bit.  First I kept one of the carrots from the cooking liquid and cut it into a small dice and added it back to the lentils.  We didn’t have any sun-dried tomatoes on hand, so we skipped them entirely…and Woody is not a fan of the walnuts, so we left those out as well.  We added in the scallions and a bunch of parsley.

It’s important to pour the dressing over the lentils while they are still warm, and then you’ll want to let the whole thing sit for a bit, in the fridge or on the counter to let all of the flavors come together.  Before serving, make sure you taste it again, most likely you’ll need a little bit more vinegar…they’ll soak it up and mellow out.  It’s great as a light salad served over a few greens or a slice or two of some crusty bread and sliced tomatoes.

I’m working on having more cold salads to bring for lunch at work – do you have any favorites that work well for you?  Are you a bring-your-lunch-from-home or a run-out-and-get-a-quick-bite person?

Happy 4th!  Enjoy the weekend…it’s a hot one!

dinner last week…Quick Chicken Parmesan!


So you arrive home from work.  You’re hungry.  You want something home-cooked and comforting and you’re hoping it can magically appear in front of you any moment now.

Throw this quick dish together (with the help of Trader’s Joe’s).

Find a small bag of pasta in your pantry that you’ve been ignoring because it isn’t quite enough for a full meal, cook that up.  In the meantime, get the oven going according to the package of frozen breaded chicken tenders from Trader Joe’s and bake them for a bit.  If you’re like us, you probably have a half of a jar of some kind of pasta or marinara sauce in your fridge, so warm that up.  Now put everything together.  Toss the cooked pasta with some of the sauce and layer in an oven proof dish.  Place chicken tenders on top, cover with additional sauce, and top with some mozzarella cheese.  Put the whole dish back in the oven on broil for a few minutes.  Watch it carefully…when it’s bubbly, pull it out and serve it up.

Tada!  Chicken Parmesan!  Top with some fresh parmigianno and a sprinkle of fresh parsley!

Welsh Rarebit


You may have never heard of such a dish, but Welsh Rarebit was a standard (although not super-frequent) dinner when I was growing up.  First, I thought the name was amusing and goofy…like when children eat pasghetti and meatballs for dinner…and on top of it…even if it was called Welsh Rabbit instead, it was very confusing because there is no rabbit or meat involved in the dish whatsoever.  It is a dinner version of the typical ploughman’s lunch of cheddar and chutney with bread.  And the best and simplest explanation is straight from Wikipedia…”It might also be understood as a slur against the Welsh: if a Welshman went rabbit hunting, this would be his supper.”  Ha!

Woody has been asking me to make Welsh Rarebit for quite a while now…and if I am being totally honest…it is not one of my favorite dishes.  I’ve tried and tried and it just isn’t friends with my taste buds.  But I knew it was a dish that Woody would adore!  We compared recipes, and Alton Brown’s is shockingly similar to my family recipe and we went with his version – thinking it would be much easier for all you readers to get your hands on, if you are so inspired.

Alton Brown’s Welsh Rarebit

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup porter beer
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces (approximately 1 1/2 cups) shredded Cheddar
  • 2 drops hot sauce
  • 4 slices toasted rye bread

Directions

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the flour. Whisk in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add beer and whisk to combine. Pour in cream and whisk until well combined and smooth.

Gradually add cheese, stirring constantly, until cheese melts and sauce is smooth; this will take 4 to 5 minutes. Add hot sauce.

Pour over toast and serve immediately.

Next time:  Buck Rarebit – same dish…but add a poached egg!

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