Night Off

Well, out of excitement and curiousity, we made a lot of meals this weekend.  I can honestly say I am happy to have leftovers tonight.  I am in need of a break from doing the dishes, which is one of my least favorite things to do.

Add a comment January 10, 2011

Cranberry and Apple Cake

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1⅛ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 
    • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
    • Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.
    • Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Add a comment January 10, 2011

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

 
Ingredients:
  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon, such as Nodine’s applewood smoked
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 white pullman loaf or sourdough bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick (12 slices)
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature (for spreading, you probably won’t use it all)
  • 6 ounces aged Gruyere or Comte cheese
  • 6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, such as Cabot or Shelburne Farms

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the bacon on a baking rack set over a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and cut in 1-inch pieces.

2. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Lay 12 slices of bread on a board and spread each one lightly with butter. Flip the slices and spread each one generously with the mayonnaise mixture. Don’t neglect the corners!

3. Grate the cheeses in a food processor fitted with the largest grating disk and combine. Distribute the bacon evenly on half the slices of bread. Pile 1/3 cup grated cheese evenly on top of the bacon and top with the remaining bread slices, sauce side down.

4. Heat an electric panini press. When the press is hot, cook the sandwiches for 3 to 5 minutes in batches until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. (Or, heat a nonstick skillet on medium-low, place two sandwiches at a time inside, and use a lightweight metal cake pan to weigh them down gently. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the sandwiches, press them down with the cake pan, and cook for about 2 minutes, until golden brown. Repeat until all of the sandwiches are done.)

5. Allow the sandwiches to cool for 2 minutes. Cut in half, and serve warm.


Add a comment January 9, 2011

Today’s Recipes

Today looks like it is going to be another full day of cooking.  I try to cook as much as I can if I have the time on the weekends.  This way, I am prepared for the week ahead.  Today, I will be grilling chicken for salads, that we eat during the week.  I found a recipe for a Dijon chicken marinade, that looks like it could be good.  I am also going to try a new grilled cheese dish for lunch, with ingredients such as sourdough, Gruyere and Cheddar.  Dinner will consist of Black Bean Cakes with Arugula and dessert is a Cranberry Apple Cake.
**I will be working out this morning as well, so I can enjoy all of this food.

Add a comment January 9, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Add a comment January 9, 2011

Ice Cream

I have been thinking about buying an ice cream maker for a while now.  I was out to dinner last night and afterwards, stopped into Williams Sonoma to see what they had.  I ended up finding a reasonably priced Cuisinart for under $100.  The nice thing is that 2 bowls came with the maker, so you can make/freeze more than one kind of ice cream at a time.  I just finished the prep work to make a butter pecan ice cream.  I will have an update later as to how it looks, tastes, as well as a picture.  I am hoping this ice cream compliments the cranberry apple tart I am making tomorrow.

Add a comment January 8, 2011

Margaritas

INGREDIENTS:
2 oz white tequila
1 oz orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Triple Sec
1 oz fresh lime juice
Ice Cubes
Coarse salt, optional
Lime wedge

**I end up doubling the amount of the ingredients to make a nice sized drink.

METHOD:
Place tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds..Rub the rim of a rocks glass with the lime wedge and dip in salt.. Strain the mixture into the glass and garnish with the lime wedge.

Add a comment January 7, 2011

Fish Tacos and Guacamole Salsa

Ingredients

Tacos:

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place fish in a medium size dish. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, ancho, jalapeno, and cilantro and pour over the fish. Let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade place onto a hot grill, flesh side down. Grill the fish for 4 minutes on the first side and then flip for 30 seconds and remove. Let rest for 5 minutes then flake the fish with a fork.

Place the tortillas on the grill and grill for 20 seconds. Divide the fish among the tortillas and garnish with any or all of the garnishes.

Salsa:

  • 2 Guacamoles, cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • salt

Mix all ingredients into a bowl and add to taco.

**I used Halibut instead of Mahi Mahi.  Any white fish should work.

Add a comment January 7, 2011

French Cuisine

I was also introduced to French Cuisine when I worked in Public Relations, because one of our clients was a French Restaurant in Greenwich.  I thought the food was good and was especially fond of the desserts (I have a terrible sweet tooth).  I did not have the understanding of French food as I do now. 

I was in Las Vegas in September and dined at Le Cirque http://www.bellagio.com/restaurants/le-cirque.aspx.  Yes, it is a fancy restaurant and very expensive, but that is where the stereotypes end.  I was extremely impressed with the service they provided.  Each table had 2-3 servers and a Sommelier.  They were friendly, not snobby and provided us with an explanation of what we were eating.  We ordered off the the Prix Fixe menu and ordered a few kinds of wine that complimented the dish we were eating.  It didnt occur to us when we were in the restaurant, but eash dish on the menu complimented each other perfectly.  It was truly a fabulous dining experience.

Add a comment January 6, 2011

Pizza Picture Trouble

I have been having issues this morning, trying to upload a picture of the pizza I made last night.  I hope to have it up soon.  

I made some changes to the recipe and added mozzarella and tomatoes to the pizza.  The additon of these ingredients gave the pizza a less bitter taste.  I’m not sure if you have ever had broccoli rabe, but it is very bitter.  Some of the bitterness does disappear, once you saute the greens.  I have started adding freshly grated nutmeg to all of the greens I cook as well. 

The pizza turned out very well and it was the first time my fiance and I have ever made homemade pizza dough.  If you have a breadmakes, I highly recommend it.  Otherwise, store bought dough works or even flatbreads.

1 comment January 6, 2011

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