Archives for posts with tag: cheese

Asparagus alla Fontina 
Asparagus alla Fontina

This celebration of spring is perfect for a light dinner or brunch. It is a bit like a crustless quiche, but it isn’t heavy on the eggs.

Salt
2 ½ lbs. thin asparagus, trimmed and washed
4 TB. unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
cup grated Gruyère or Fontina
¾ cup finely minced or slivered prosciutto
2 TB. minced parsley
3 eggs, beaten
3 to 4 TB. grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender. Drain and cut into 1-to-1½-inch lengths. Return the asparagus to the pot. Add the butter and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set over low heat and stir to melt the butter. Remove from the heat.

Turn the asparagus and the melted butter into a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Arrange in an even layer. Sprinkle with the Gruyère, prosciutto and parsley. Pour the beaten eggs on top, gently shaking the pan to distribute.

Top with the Parmesan and bake until the eggs are set into a custard and a golden-brown crust forms on top, about 35 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

I’m not a big dessert person. I don’t turn it down per se, but I would rather eat something salty and fatty than sweet. HOWEVER, pregnancy brings out my inner sweet tooth. I feel like I deserve dessert when I’m pregnant because I can’t have certain foods anymore, I can’t drink and I am physically uncomfortable. I also sort of crave sweets a bit more than usual, especially after lunch or dinner. Ice cream has been an almost daily treat for the last few months. Until Monday…. The latest sonogram showed that I have a bit more fluid than normal and one reason may be too much sugar. Everything is fine otherwise, and most likely everything is normal, but to make sure I have to avoid refined sugar and white flour for at least the next two weeks – fun…

Fortunately, summer is almost upon us which means nature’s dessert – fruit – is staring to make it’s way to my local farmers market. Strawberries have already arrived and cherries, peaches, etc. are on their way. They might not totally make up for ice cream, but they will help.
Strawberries at Boro Hall

This week’s meal plan introduces two brand new seasonal recipes and two repeats from last year. Enjoy!

Meal #1: Asparagus alla Fontina + Green Salad
Meal #2: Chicken with Gorgonzola + Roasted Green Beans and Potatoes
Meal #3: Panko-Crusted Salmon + Fennel and Parmesan Salad
Meal #4: Pork Chops with Rhubarb-Cherry Sauce + Roasted Asparagus

Your Grocery List, excluding the usual pantry items:

red or yukon gold potatoes – 6 medium
green beans -1 lb.
dried cherries – 1/2 cup
white/yellow onion – 1
rhubarb – 10 ounces
asparagus – 3 large bunches
lemon – 1
fennel – 2
fresh parsley – 1 bunch
rosemary – 1 bunch
panko (Japanese dried bread flakes) – 2/3 cup
eggs – 3
gruyère or fontina – 4 ounces
gorgonzola cheese – 4 ounces
parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
Dijon mustard (if you don’t already have it)
honey (if you don’t already have it)
sherry vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
prosciutto – 4 ounces
skin-on, boneless chicken breasts – 4 (8 ounces each)
pork loin chops – 4 (each 1/2 inch thick and 6 to 8 ounces)
salmon fillets, skin on – 4 (6- to 8-ounce each)

It has been a long time since I’ve posted to this blog. I’m so sorry about that, but I swear I have several good excuses for my absence. We moved to a new apartment – toddler in tow; I planned an international conference for 400 people and I am currently 23 weeks pregnant! So as you can see, my winter/spring have been very busy. Fortunately, things are back to normal, for the most part, and I am back to cooking 3-5 times a week. My timing is pretty good at least! Asparagus is back at our local farmers markets which means the rest of my beloved fresh fruits and veggies are also on their way. I promise more frequent posting, at least until Baby #2 arrives, featuring new, exciting recipes to celebrate the new market season!

Asparagus - where have you been all winter!?

Asparagus – where have you been all winter?!

This week I’m sharing two recipes each from the New York Times and thekitchn.com. I am in love with the new New York Times recipe app “Cooking“, which you can access on your desktop, iPad and smart phone – check it out!

Meal #1: Roasted Chicken Provençal + Crispy Potatoes
Meal #2: Margarita Pizza with Quick Pizza Dough
Meal #3: White Fish Fillets on a Potato Raft
Meal #4: Broiled Steak and Asparagus with Feta Sauce

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items: 

asparagus – 2 bunches (about 2 lbs.)
russet potatoes – 1 1/2 lbs. (about 2 medium)
yukon gold or red bliss potatoes – 4-6 medium
lemons – 2
shallots – 4-6 medium
fresh thyme – 1 bunch
fresh chives – 1 bunch
herbes de Provence
dried rosemary (if you don’t already have it)
crumbled feta cheese – 1 cup (about 6 ounces)
fresh mozzarella – 1 lb. (you will probably use less, but it isn’t like the rest won’t get eaten)
sour cream – 1 small container
bread flour
active dry yeast – 1 packet
whole tomatoes  – 1 large can

capers (if you don’t already have them)
skinless sole fillets or other firm white fish – 4 (5 ounces each and 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
steaks – 2 (each 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick; about 2 1/4 pounds total)
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – 8
dry vermouth

Margarita Pizza with Quick Pizza Dough
After_Pizza

This is really more of a post about the New York Time’s Quick Pizza Dough recipe that was making the rounds on social media. The recipe makes 2 pizza dough balls, which is enough for 4 people. I made the recipe twice (instead of doubling it) one Sunday afternoon so I’d have 4 in my freezer. It was really quick and defrosted nicely. I still have to master the art of stretching my dough – I did an okay rectangle, but a round pizza still alludes me.

For the sauce, I made Roberta’s recipe, from the pioneer Bushwick, Brooklyn restaurant, which simply calls for pureeing a can of whole tomatoes with a splash of olive oil and salt in a food processor or blender. It tasted so fresh and delicious, I highly recommend. However, you could really top this dough with whatever floats your boat.

For the Dough: 

2 ¾ cups/390 grams bread flour
2 ½ ts./7 grams active dry yeast (1 packet)
2 ts. sea salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water

Put the flour, yeast and salt in a food processor. With the machine running, pour the oil through the feed tube, then add the water in a slow, steady stream. Continue to process for 2 to 3 minutes (the dough should form a rough ball and ride around in the processor). The finished dough should be soft, slightly sticky and elastic. If too dry, add a bit more water; if too wet, a tablespoon or so more flour.

Lay a 12-inch-long piece of plastic wrap on a clean work surface. Work the dough into a rectangle on the plastic, about 8 inches long and 6 inches wide. Press your fingers into the top of the dough all over, making indentations as though it were a focaccia. Fold the left third of the dough over (as you would a letter) and repeat the indentations. Fold the right third over and make the indentations again. Cover the folded dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.

Cut the dough in half, form each piece into a neat ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer.
Pizza Ingredients

For the Pizza: 

2 balls of dough
1 large can of whole tomatoes
olive oil
salt
1 lb. fresh mozzarella
several basil leaves

The morning before you want to make pizza, transfer the dough to the refrigerator to thaw. When you are ready to make the pizza, bring the dough to room temperature, it’ll take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 550 degrees. (If you don’t have a stone, oil a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.) Working with the dough in your hands (not flat on a work surface), gently begin to stretch the dough into a circular shape, pressing your fist into the center of the dough and pulling at the edges with your other hand. With both hands, stretch the dough, being careful not to tear it. Working in a circular motion, pull the thicker edges of the dough outward, letting gravity help you. Continue to stretch the dough until it’s relatively even in thickness (the edges will be thicker) and you have the size you want. Carefully lay it on the peel or baking sheet.

Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes, oil and salt in a food processor or blender.

Top the pizza with sauce – not too much, you may have some leftover – cheese and basil. Slide it off the peel and onto your heated stone, or place the baking sheet into the oven. Cook the pizza for 6 to 10 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Swirl more olive oil and sprinkle with salt, if desired.

Before_Pizza

Chicken Saltimbocca with Cheese
Chix Saltimboca w Cheese

I have already posted a chicken saltimbocca recipe, but I can never get enough saltimbocca. Unlike the original, this New York Times recipe has cheese, which is never a bad thing. Delicious!

1 ½ pounds boneless skinless thin chicken cutlets
salt and pepper
1 TB. chopped sage, plus 24 large sage leaves
2 garlic cloves smashed to a paste
1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional
olive oil
6 thin slices proscuitto
6 slices fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)

Salt and pepper each cutlet on both sides and place on a platter. Sprinkle with chopped sage, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using) and olive oil. Massage in the seasoning to distribute, cover and marinate at room temperature for one hour, or refrigerate for up to several hours.

Heat a wide skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil looks wavy, add the sage leaves and let them crisp for about 30 seconds. Remove and drain.

Brown the chicken breasts in the oil for about 2 minutes per side, then transfer to a baking dish large enough to fit them in one layer.

Top each piece with 2 sage leaves, a slice of prosciutto and a slice of fontina. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Garnish with remaining sage leaves.

Sautéed Spinach

Popeye would approve!

2 TB. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 TB. pine nuts (optional)
2 bags or bunches of spinach, washed and dried well
salt and pepper
lemon wedge

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, when the oil begins to shimmer add the garlic and pine nuts, saute for 1-2 minutes. Add spinach to the pot and stir; as it wilts it will release water. Let the spinach saute for another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the water evaporates. Add salt and pepper to taste, and squirt lemon juice over the spinach to serve.

This time of the year it is hard not to get Christmas songs stuck in your head. As I type I can hear Andy Williams singing “It’s the holiday season, and Santa Claus is coming around…” It goes on and on…. I don’t know whether it is because Patrick and I snuck away to Charleston last weekend, but the Christmas season feels short again this year and I feel like I’m far behind. I have to catch up, because for the first year ever Eliza fully understands that it is Christmas. It is adorable to watch – she loves the tree, the caroles and Frosty, but it also means that we better step it up and plan some fun activities and get her (or ahem, ask Santa) for some good presents!

Despite the busy season full of shopping, decorating, baking and general merriment I am still trying to slip a home-cooked meal in when I can. It isn’t as often as I’d like (there’s a pizza on its way while I type this), but I am hoping to get a few dinners made without the help of a microwave. Here are a couple of repeats, and two new meals that are delicious and perfect for the season. Enjoy!

The first snowman of the season (I know, he is a little scary)

The first snowman of the season (I know, he is a little scary)

Meal #1: Pork Chops with Apples and Onions + Braised Red Cabbage
Meal #2: Chicken Saltimbocca with Cheese + Sautéed Spinach
Meal #3: Brussels Sprouts and Pork (or Beef) Stir Fry + Rice
Meal #4: Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp + Green Salad

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

fresh sage – 1 bunch (or 1 tsp. dried sage)
white onion – 2
scallions – 1 bunch (approx. 4)
red cabbage – 1 head (2 1/4 pounds)
lemons – 3
spinach – 2 bags or bundles
apples – 5
brussels sprouts – 1 lb.
carrots – 2
jalapeno – 1
ginger – 1 small piece
fontina (provolone or gruyere work too) cheese – 6 slices (approx. 4 ounces)
pine nuts (optional)
apple cider – 1 cup
linguine – 1 box
dry red wine – 1/2 cup
rice (if you don’t already have it)
apple cider vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
oyster sauce (if you don’t already have it)
reduced-sodium soy sauce (if you don’t already have it)
unseasoned rice vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
dark-brown sugar (if you don’t already have it)
bone-in pork chops – 4 (3/4-1-inch thick)
flank or skirt steak – 1/2 lb.
bacon – 4 ounces (approx. 4 slices)
proscuitto – 6 thin slices
chicken cutlets – 1 1/2 lb.
shrimp – 1 1/2 lb.

 

I certainly wouldn’t be the first to profess my love of autumn on the Internet. It is hard for me to let go of summer, but the arrival of tart apples, pumpkin beer and foliage help. And as much as I hate to say goodbye to tomatoes and corn, the new season allows me to indulge in cooking and eating some other favorites, such as roast chicken and winter squash.

This week’s meal plan is a bit of a transition into a new season and menu. Like farmers markets this time of year where you can still get some pretty good peaches as well as gorgeous winter squash this meal plan isn’t ready to completely concede to cooler weather. Roast chicken is back, but I haven’t started roasting Brussels Sprouts yet (they are better after the first frost). And a trip to a Connecticut apple orchard last weekend inspired the pork chops with apples and cider.

Apple Picking

Meal #1: Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Toast + Bacon
Meal #2: Hamersley’s Roast Chicken with Onions and Potatoes + Steamed Green Beans
Meal #3: Pork Chops with Apples + Sautéed Kale
Meal #4: Pasta Carbonara with Leeks and Lemon

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:
fresh (or dried) sage
dried thyme
dried rosemary
bunch of basil – 1
lemon – 2
leeks – 4
red onion – 3
bunch of kale – 1
green beans – 1 1/2 lb.
medium red potatoes – 6
tart apples – 2
apple cider – 3/4 cup
diced tomatoes – 1 28 ounce can
good bread – 1 or 2 slices per person
short pasts – 1 box
Dijon mustard (if you don’t already have it)
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
eggs – 1 dozen
1/2 -inch-thick boneless pork loin chops – 4 (5 ounces each)
bacon
whole chicken – 4 lb.

 

Nancy’s Chopped Salad via Smitten Kitchen
IMG_1447_web

When I was pregnant with Eliza the one thing I wanted more than anything else after giving birth was an Italian hero from our neighborhood butcher shop, Los Paisanos. After 9 months of avoiding cold-cuts I couldn’t wait to chow down on a giant sandwich loaded with salami, proscuitto, ham, and provolone cheese. For reasons that I won’t get into here my wish did not come true, but fortunately I have been able to indulge occasionally these last two years. Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen is right when she says in her blog post about Nancy Silverton’s Chopped Salad that it is basically an Italian hero without the bread.

This is a great summertime dinner, because you never turn on the stove, I enjoyed preparing it because you still get to chop a bunch of stuff, which is great therapy after a long day of work. It may not be the healthiest, but I cut back on the cheese and salami so in the end it really wasn’t too bad for us and was really, really delicious.

I served this with toasted bread which you could easily skip.

I’m trying something new this week. Instead of four meals, I’m sharing three plus a recipe for fava bean puree which is wonderful. The minute I saw the fava beans at my farmers market last Sunday I knew I had to make this recipe and I wanted to share it with all of you. I brought the puree to a friend’s house for the US vs. Portugal World Cup Match (wasn’t that a bummer?) and they loved it too. I also traveled for work this week so consequently I only made three meals.

Speaking of traveling – I’m traveling again for work at the beginning of this coming week and then heading up north to Vermont for the July 4th holiday – staying a whole week. I can’t wait! But, that means that I’ll probably not be posting my usual meal plans for a little bit, but I hope to update the site once in awhile with a recipe or two. To help you plan while I’m gone  you always can check out previously posted meal plans or meals.

What I was doing yesterday when I should have been posting this meal plan.

What I was doing yesterday when I should have been posting this meal plan.

Meal #1: Leek, Bacon and Pea Risotto
Meal #2: Nancy’s Chopped Salad + Bread
Meal #3: Roasted Salmon and Potatoes with Herb Vinaigrette + Sugar Snap Peas 
Bonus: Fava Bean Puree

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

Idaho potatoes – 2
lemons – 2
red onion – 1 small
shallots – 2 medium
leeks – 2
sugar snap peas – 1 lb.
cherry or grape tomatoes – 1 pint
iceberg lettuce – 1 head
radicchio – 1 head
fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley – 1 bunch each
frozen peas – 3/4 cup
fava beans – 2 lbs.
chickpeas – 1 (15 ounce) can
low-sodium chicken broth – 12 cups (96 ounces)
arborio rice – 2 1/2 cups
pepperoncini – 1 small bottle
dried oregano (if you don’t already have it)
red wine vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
provolone cheese – 1/4-1/2 lb.
salami – 1/4-1/2 lb.
bacon – 4 slices
salmon fillets – 2 (6 ounces each)
white wine

 

I don’t know what was up with this week, but for some reason I made a lot of meals with Asian ingredients and flavors. The great thing about using Asian ingredients is that they often add a great burst of flavor with very little work or time. So, for this week’s meal plan I’m featuring two of these dinners – the pork stir fry and grilled tuna steak which when paired with my dipping sauce may remind you of sushi.

Meal #1: Salmon and Potatoes in Tomato Sauce
Meal #2: Pork Stir Fry with Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas
Meal #3: Grilled Tuna Steaks with Dipping Sauce + Sesame Broccoli
Meal #4: Pasta Carbonara with Leeks and Lemon

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

onion – 1
shallots – 2
lemons – 2
asparagus – 1 lb. bunch
sugar snap peas – 1 1/2 cups
broccoli – 1 large head or 1 lb.
leeks – 4
ginger – 1 piece
small white potatoes – 3/4 pound
fresh parsley – 1 bunch
Kalamata olives – 1/2 cup
diced tomatoes – 2 cans (28 ounces each)
sherry – 1 bottle (it’ll keep)
sesame seeds – small package (they’ll keep)
short pasta (penne) – 1 box
rice (if you don’t already have it)
soy sauce (if you don’t already have it)
Sriracha (if you don’t already have it)
brown sugar (if you don’t already have it)
rice vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
sesame oil (if you don’t already have it)
corn starch (if you don’t already have it)
eggs – 2
pork tenderloin – 1, 12-16 ounce piece
bacon – 6 slices
salmon fillets – 4 (6 ounces each)
tuna steak – 4 1-inch pieces