It’s that LOVELY time of year again folks, when love is in the air and a romantic dinner and evening in with your significant other is on the menu. And we all know what Valentine’s Day is all about…wine, chocolate, strawberries and a special sweet dessert!
I created this recipe for Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Chocolate Balsamic Sauce that will impress your sweetie and top off a romantic evening with a glass of champagne..hope you enjoy and indulge on this special day 😉
A LOVELY dessert made with Blood Orange olive oil and Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and fresh strawberries and LOTS OF LOVE <3
BLOOD ORANGE OLIVE OIL CAKE:
1 tablespoon butter, for greasing pan
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup Seven Barrels Blood Orange Olive Oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice from 1 blood orange
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
CHOCOLATE BALSAMIC STRAWBERRY SAUCE:
½ cup Seven Barrels Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup chocolate syrup
1 pint strawberries, stemmed and sliced
BLOOD ORANGE OLIVE OIL CAKE:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan or 8-inch loaf pan with butter.
In a stand mixer or large bowl with hand mixer, mix together the sugar and eggs on medium speed until lightly blended.
Drizzle in the Seven Barrels Blood Orange olive oil and vanilla and mix together until smooth. Add the blood orange juice in and mix into the batter.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add baking powder, soda and salt. Add to the wet batter in small increments and mix on low to incorporate. Scrape the sides with a spatula and make sure all wet and dry ingredients are blended well.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes or so, then remove cake from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack before serving.
CHOCOLATE BALSAMIC STRAWBERRY SAUCE:
Add the Seven Barrels Chocolate Balsamic vinegar and chocolate syrup to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and cook for about 5 minutes until heated through and blended.
Add the sliced strawberries to the chocolate sauce and mix together. Serve the sauce warm over Blood Orange Olive Oil cake or over ice cream.
A gorgeous and refreshing Winter salad made with citrus, arugula, chopped mint, pistachios and red onion over arugula with a lovely dressing made with 7 Barrels White Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. The perfect blend of sweet, tangy and salty all in one bite!
Citrus Salad with Arugula and Truffle Lemon Dressing
Yield: Serves 4.
A gorgeous and refreshing Winter salad made with citrus, arugula, chopped mint, pistachios and red onion over arugula with a lovely dressing made with truffle oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. The perfect blend of sweet, tangy and salty all in one bite!
2 blood oranges, peeled, pith removed and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
2 Cara Cara or Navel oranges, peeled, pith removed and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons roasted salted pistachios, chopped
½ small red onion, halved and sliced thin crosswise
3 cups baby arugula
4 tablespoons Seven Barrels Truffle Oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Layer the orange slices in alternating colors on a large plate or a couple of small plates.
Top the layered oranges with chopped mint, pistachios, and sliced red onions on the plate(s).
Toss the arugula with truffle oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
Place a pile of arugula on top of the layered oranges and top with the crumbled ricotta cheese and additional freshly ground black pepper if desired.
Note: If you can’t find fresh Ricotta Salata cheese, you can also substitute another tangy sheep’s milk cheese such as Manchego or Aged Pecorino Romano. Fresh sliced Mozzarella or Burrata cow’s milk cheese could also substitute nicely for a milder flavor.
The New Year has arrived, and what a year 2017 was! I had some amazing food styling, photography, recipe development and blogging projects for some amazing clients. Here is some of my recent work and here’s to a New Year 2018 full of more great work, clients, adventures and new connections!
Food Styling for Lilly Pulitzer, NYC
I recently had the opportunity to do food and prop styling for Lilly Pulitzer’s 2018 social media campaign..I styled the photos with beautiful fruit, flowers, desserts, champagne, flowers, glitter and more which made some gorgeous colorful photos! Stay tuned as the campaign launches on @lillypulitzer social media pages.
Cocktail Styling for Ketel One Vodka / Transistor Studios
Photography for Locale Market / Farmtable Cucina Restaurant, St Pete FL
Some of my favorite shots from an awesome photo shoot in October 2017 – including food, chef and restaurant staff portraits, and restaurant and event photography for one of my favorite restaurants in St Pete Florida, Farmtable Cucina.
Recipe development, food styling and photography for Stevia Brands Blogger Recipe Challenge – my Kung Pao Beefwith Cauliflower Rice recipe won the Grand Prize and First Place for the Entree category! Click here for the recipe
Recipe development, food styling and photography for TresOmega Pasta Blogger Recipe Challenge. I made a delicious One Pot Chili Mac Soup using their gluten free pasta that turned out amazing! Winners to be announced in January so stay tuned! Click here for the recipe
JSL Foods / Fortune Noodles
Recipe development, food styling and photography for JSL Foods/Fortune Udon Noodles Blogger Recipe Challenge. I made a delicious Spicy Pork + Kale Udon Noodle Soup that’s the perfect comfort food for Winter. Winners to be announced in January so stay tuned! Click here for the recipe
Seven Barrels Recipes, Food Styling + Photography
Food styling, recipe development and photography for Seven Barrels website, social media and email marketing Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter campaigns. I created some recipes pairing their premium infused olive oils and vinegars into some delicious flavor combinations. Some new recipes I created, styled and shot for Winter: Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables and some delicious Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Eggplant, Feta, Pomegranate and Mint, using their Blood Orange Olive Oil and Black Currant Balsamic Vinegar.
For 2017, I developed recipes to highlight and celebrate the seasonal ingredients: for Spring with Sriracha Mango Shrimp Summer Bowls, and Sriracha Mango Grilled Wings; Summer with Peach and Tomato Gazpacho and Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes, Thanksgiving with Wild Rice Turkey Bowl w/ Oranges + Cranberries, and Sausage, Mushroom + Cheese Turnovers, and the Holidays with Truffle Steak Au Poivre, and Crispy Truffle Parmesan Potato Stacks. What a year of deliciousness!
Food Styling for Arnold Bread / Chef Tom Colicchio TV and Video cooking segments and live interviews – Arnold Bread live cooking demos “Build a Better Sandwich” campaign featuring Chef Tom Colicchio
(CLICK LINKS TO VIEW VIDEOS)
This steak is so tender and melts in your mouth! This Truffle Steak Au Poivre has a crust made with crushed black peppercorns, cooked in butter and 7 Barrels White Truffle Oil, then drizzled with a luscious pan sauce made with 7 Barrels traditional balsamic vinegar, shallots, beef broth and more butter, sprinkled with coarse sea salt and chopped fresh herbs. Divine!
These Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks are so delicious and cute you won’t be able to eat just one. Thin sliced potatoes stacked and roasted in a muffin tin with luscious butter, truffle oil, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese and garlic, topped with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and coarse sea salt. YUM!
Truffle Steak Au Poivre + Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
These delicious steaks and cheesy potato stacks are made with luscious 7 Barrels truffle oil, traditional balsamic and white balsamic vinegar. The perfect combination for an elegant holiday dinner or special occasion.
Truffle Steak Au Poivre Ingredients:
2 (8-ounce) NY Strip Steaks, 1 inch thick, trimmed
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (Maldon or Fleur de Sel)
2 tablespoons cracked peppercorns (black or mixed)
1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
½ cup low-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons Seven Barrels Traditional Dark Balsamic vinegar
Coarse sea salt and chopped herbs, for garnish (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped, for garnish (thyme, parsley or rosemary)
1/4 cup Seven Barrels White Balsamic, for drizzling
Make the Steak:
Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt evenly.
Crack the peppercorns with the back of a heavy skillet or spice grinder (coarsely ground) and press onto both sides of the steaks.
Add Seven Barrels Truffle olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the cast iron skillet; swirl to melt and coat the pan.
Place the steaks in the heated skillet and cook 3 minutes on each side (for medium-rare), drizzling olive oil and butter from the pan over the top of the steaks with a spoon while cooking to get a nice brown sear. Remove the steaks from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes to let juices resettle, then cut each steak in half.
While the steaks are resting, add the shallots to the pan and sauté for a minute or two until slightly tender and golden.
Stir in the beef broth and Seven Barrels Traditional Dark Balsamic vinegar, scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes and reduce liquid by half. Remove from heat; stir in remaining tablespoon of butter to make the balsamic pan sauce. Garnish with additional coarse sea salt and fresh herbs, if desired.
Serve immediately with a side of vegetables (mashed potatoes, sautéed asparagus or green beans), a simple mixed greens salad with Seven Barrels olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a glass of full-bodied red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon).
Make the Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks:
Preheat the oven 400 degrees F.
Wash potatoes and cut them into very thin slices (about 1/8-inch), leaving skins on. You can do this by hand, or use a mandolin to make slicing easier and faster.
In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes, dried Italian seasoning, garlic, melted butter, Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil, kosher salt and black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese and gently toss together.
Layer half the potatoes stacked in layers into a non-stick 12-cup muffin pan (or lightly grease a muffin pan), sprinkle half the shredded cheddar on top. Then layer the other half of the potatoes, stacking them to the top and add remaining shredded cheddar on top.
Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking another 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy golden brown on edges and cooked through. Run a small knife around the edges of the of each stack to release them from the muffin pan.
Serve potatoes hot with a sprinkle of sea salt and chopped herbs, and drizzle them with Seven Barrels White Balsamic vinegar. Note: You can pre-bake these a day or two ahead and reheat them in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees F.
I love soup in the winter time because it’s a great way to warm up in the freezing weather, and a delicious, healthy thing to eat after all the heavy food from the holidays. And I especially love noodle soup with lots of veggies, meat and seasonings.
I recently was invited to join the blogger recipe challenge for JSL Foods to create a unique soup recipe using their Fortune Udon Noodles.
I created a soup recipe using their Mushroom Udon noodles – they are so good and easy to make! They are fresh and pre-cooked, perfect for a soup or stir fry and fortified with Omega-3 and have no MSG.
You simply add the noodles to some water and add the flavor packet provided, then cook for a few minutes after the water comes to a boil. Alternatively you can microwave the noodles in just 3 minutes and then add it to your soup base.
After the noodles were done, I set them aside and made the Spicy Pork mixture to go in the soup. First I added all the seasonings and spices, sriracha, fish sauce, soy sauce and togarashi seasoning (a Japanese spicy pepper seasoning you can find online) to the ground pork and sautéed over medium-high heat until cooked through.
Then I returned the pot of cooked noodles to the burner, added some chicken broth, fresh chopped kale, yellow sweet corn and a little more garlic salt and pepper and let that cook until the kale wilted and the corn was heated through. I added the cooked spicy pork mixture back into the pot with the noodles, kale and corn and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes on low heat to let all the flavors meld together.
And voila! A super delicious and healthy soup for the winter with a great combination of flavors from the mushroom Udon noodles, the spicy pork, the fresh kale and corn, all topped with more sliced green onions, togarashi seasoning and a pat of butter to give it another layer of silky flavor and dash of sweetness to cool the heat from the spicy broth.
This is spicy and delicious mushroom Udon noodle soup - topped with a spicy pork mixture, kale, corn, garlic and green onions to make a savory soup perfect for winter.
1 package Fortune Udon noodles, mushroom flavor
1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound ground pork
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon lemongrass, minced
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon Togarashi seasoning
Black pepper, to taste
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (11 ounce) can sweet yellow corn
3-4 large handfuls kale, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
Butter, for garnish (optional)
Cook the Fortune Udon noodles in a large pot according to package directions (add 1 1/4 cups of boiling water and seasoning packet to the noodles and simmer for 3 minutes). Set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan over medium high heat, add the ground pork, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, Sriracha, Togarashi seasoning and black pepper and cook for about 5 minutes or so until the pork is cooked all the way through.
Return the pot of cooked Udon noodles back to the burner, add the chicken broth, garlic salt, kale, corn and green onions, and let simmer over medium heat until kale is wilted and the corn is cooked through.
Add the cooked spicy pork mixture and stir together, simmering for a few more minutes until the flavors are blended through the soup.
Serve the Udon noodle soup immediately and garnish with additional sliced green onions and a pat of butter until melted, for garnish.
You can also try their other flavors in chicken and original flavor – check out their website and social media pages for more info on their products. You can purchase JSL Foods products at the following stores: Hannaford’s, Price Rite, and Shop Rite.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I received products from the client to develop and test a recipe and create photos and copy for the post. All recipes, images, copy and opinions are my own. Do feel free to share this post, but please make sure to link back to this page and give credit to me as “Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet” for any photos, recipes and copy shared online.
I recently was approached by Steviva to compete in the Sweetin It-Up Blogger Recipe Challenge and decided to make a sugar free, gluten free Kung Pao Beef with Cauliflower Rice. I love Asian food, but oftentimes it has many hidden sugars in the sauce, so I thought it would be cool to make this savory dish for the challenge.
Steviva has a wide range of stevia-based products and I chose to use Necteviaand Erysweet for my recipe to replace the normal sugar in the sauce. Erysweet is a pure, non-GMO erythritol that is naturally derived and can be substituted cup-for-cup for sugar in recipes. Nectevia is an organic blue agave nectar infused with premium 100% pure stevia extract – and has only 1/4 the calories, carbs and sugars of regular agave, or table sugar with a warm honey flavor.
Kung Pao is made with chicken or beef marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine, which is then sautéed in a wok on high heat with crunchy bell peppers, water chestnuts, garlic, ginger, green onions and hot chilies.
I made a sweet and spicy sauce made with more soy sauce, rice wine, Chinese black vinegar, chicken broth, Erysweet and Nectevia in the pan with the cooked meat and veggies and tossed in some spicy peanuts, which was thickened into a luscious sweet/spicy/savory pot of yum. To serve, I topped the dish with fresh cilantro and more crunchy peanuts along with some yellow cauliflower rice sautéed with soy sauce and sesame oil and some fresh cilantro tossed in to keep it gluten free. Absolutely delicious without all the sugar and carbs!
Kung Pao Beef w/ Cauliflower Rice (Sugar + Gluten Free)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serving Size: 1 cup
1 3/4 pounds boneless beef sirloin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4-6 dried red chilies
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon ginger, grated (or ginger paste)
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
3 scallions, sliced on the bias, 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 can water chestnuts, sliced in half
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (or balsamic)
2 tablespoons Nectevia Original
2 teaspoons Erysweet
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup roasted spicy peanuts
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Cauliflower rice sautéed with soy sauce, sesame oil and cilantro
Trim the fat from the steak all over and cut into 1-inch cubes. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and mix in the beef. Stir together to coat well, and place covered in the fridge for at least an hour to overnight.
Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large sauce pan over medium heat, add chilies and cook for a minute until they begin to brown. Add garlic, ginger and cook for another minute. Turn heat up to high and add scallions, peppers, water chestnuts and chile flakes; saute for about 5 minutes until they begin to get soft and lightly browned. Add steak (remove from marinade and discard excess) and cook for about 3 minutes or so until beef begins to brown. Add soy sauce, rice wine, Chinese vinegar, Erysweet, Nectevia and chicken broth. Mix in the cornstarch, stirring well, to thicken the sauce. Toss in the roasted peanuts and serve over cauliflower rice with chopped cilantro, additional peanuts if desired.
Hope you enjoy making this recipe – please let me know what you think if you made it in the comments below! And feel free to share this post on social media tagging #theartfulgourmet and #steviva with a link back to the original post on this blog.
For more info on Steviva products, check them out online and social media:
So Fall is finally here guys! My absolute favorite time of the year – cooler temperatures, the leaves changing, sweaters, jeans and boots, leather jackets, crickets late in the day along with spectacular sunsets… and especially the FOOD!
I had some gorgeous porcini linguine that I bought at the RochesterDowntown Farmer’s Market on hand, and thought a Spicy Beef and Mushroom Ragu sauce would be the perfect compliment for a savory tasty Fall pasta dish.
I added someCrushed Hot Chili Pepper Spread to the beef and mushroom mixture sautéed with shallots and garlic, which took the flavor and heat up just a notch…then added a little spicy marinara sauce, but not too much…
After I cooked the pasta, I mixed the beef and mushroom ragu back into the pot, and tossed it all together with some of the reserved pasta water and lots of parmesan cheese, just because.
Of course I topped it all of with a generous sprinkle of freshparsley and torn mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper… and it happily made my day.
This pasta dish has a savory umami flavor from the porcini mushroom linguine, along with a spicy beef and mushroom ragu zested up with some red chile pepper paste, shallots and garlic. Super healthy and delicious with some crusty Italian bread and olive oil and a glass of red wine.
* 1 pound porcini mushroom linguine
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 3/4 pound ground beef
* 6-8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
* 2 shallots, sliced thin
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tablespoons spicy hot chili pepper paste (Colavita)
* 3/4 cup marinara sauce
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
* 2-3 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Cook pasta in salted boiling water for about 9-10 minutes until al dente, drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, cook the ground beef, about 5-7 minutes, drain and set aside.
Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and cook garlic, mushrooms and shallots for another 5 minutes or so until soft and cooked through. Mix into the cooked ground beef mixture and add spicy chili pepper paste and marinara sauce with some of the reserved pasta water until it's soft and mixes together into a sauce (but not overly saucy). Feel free to add more sauce and water to your liking for the desired consistency and thickness / thinness of the sauce.
Toss the meat ragu in with the cooked pasta, add parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve pasta with fresh torn mozzarella and chopped fresh parsley.
Hey guys! I’ve been so busy working on client projects I haven’t had the time to post many new recipes lately so I wanted to share a super delicious one I created for a client that I know you’re gonna love!
This recipe for Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad is absolutely delicious! I made a dressing with Seven Barrels Maple Balsamic vinegar and olive oil and tossed it with quinoa, chickpeas, dried tart cherries, arugula, celery, green onions and crunchy pecans.
Not only is this super healthy and light but absolutely delicious! It has the perfect balance of tangy vinegar with a slight sweetness from the maple balsamic, agave and tart cherries, and a delightful crunch from the celery, chickpeas and green onions.
This is a perfect side dish to make ahead for a Summer picnic and it’s full of protein and veggies and fiber making it the perfect meal on it’s own.
You can also substitute dried cranberries for the tart cherries if you can’t find them, and use a variety of nuts like cashews, almonds, or walnuts instead of pecans. Throw in some edamame or black beans too if you want more protein. Or how about a little crispy bacon???? YUM.
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Let cool completely.
Toast the pecans for about 5 to 7 minutes over medium-low heat in a saute pan, let cool and chop coarsely.
Make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, Maple Balsamic vinegar and agave syrup (or honey) in a small mixing bowl.
Add 3/4 cup dressing to the cooked quinoa. Mix in the chopped toasted pecans, tart cherries, celery, scallions, and sea salt. Serve refrigerated or at room temperature; just before serving, stir in remaining 1/4 cup dressing, arugula and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
You can also substitute dried cranberries for the tart cherries and use any type of nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds).
On gray rainy days in New York (esp. at the beginning of so-called
“Summer”), there’s nothing better than staying home and cooking up a big pot of comfort food. It seems to make the rain almost pleasant to listen to and watch, knowing that you’re tucked up indoors away from the rest of the world, cooking something cozy and delicious.
One of my favorite things to make is spicy Cajun and Creole food (New Orleans is one of my fav cities ever..the #FOOD though!) and I had grand visions of creating a kickass recipe this week for my blog. And considering it’s going to be a rainy Memorial Day weekend, why not make a big pot of something wonderful to stay indoors and savor while I’m at it?
I had some Aidell’s Andouille Sausage on hand and tons of bell peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes in the pantry so I decided to make a big pot of Jambalaya for my afternoon project. I also had some Flour City Pasta ‘Bon Vivant Orzo’ I’ve been dying to try, so I decided to whip up a twist on ordinary Jambalaya using that instead of rice. The orzo is multi-colored small pasta that looks like rice, with wild mushroom, saffron, spinach and cayenne – and I thought it would add some more layers of flavor to the dish.
First I cooked the sausage until lightly browned in a big Dutch oven with a little olive oil. Then I added the vegetables and sautéed everything together with some spicy Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s is the bomb!). I also threw in some Kroger brand Zesty Seasoning Blend which is a savory blend of herbs and spices like onion, black pepper, chili pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, savory, marjoram, bay, thyme, rosemary, garlic and cumin and added a dash of hot paprika for an extra kick of spiciness and flavor. You can also substitute some dried thyme and oregano or whatever dried herbs you like instead if you can’t find something similar.
Then I added the broth and tomatoes and orzo and brought everything to a boil, and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes or so until the orzo was cooked through. The pasta will soak up the liquids and get thicker the longer it sits, so be careful not to overcook it or it will get mushy. If you’re using rice instead, let the ingredients simmer for longer, about 20 minutes.
Once it all comes together with a consistency you like, serve it with some chopped green onions and fresh parsley with a dash of hot sauce (traditional Frank’s RedHot or Crystal are my favs) and freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick.
All I know is I have a long holiday weekend to savor my delicious Jambalaya, along with lots of naps and Netflix.
This Sausage Orzo Jambalaya is a twist on traditional Creole Jambalaya using multi-colored orzo instead of rice, with the addition of some corn. It has a medium-spice heat to it with lots of veggies including red, yellow, orange and green peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes - a savory, heartwarming dish for any occasion.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds Andouille sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
1 ½ cups onion, chopped
1 ½ cups bell peppers, chopped (red, yellow, orange, green)
It’s the holidays and we all know what that means..time to cook and bake, and eat all the delicious treats of the season..like this savory 3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon. Can we say yay?
It’s so easy to make with some store-bought puff pastry because who has time to make their own with so many goodies to make and presents to wrap? And delicious holiday food to eat?
It’s got a gorgeous crispy, buttery crust topped with ricotta and Parmesan and Gruyere cheese, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup and of course, bacon. Then it’s topped with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and some fresh thyme along with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sounds pretty perfect to me.
First, defrost and roll out your dough. Cut 1/2 inch strips around the edges to double up to make a pastry border and brush it with egg wash. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Next, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper, and some garlic powder over the butternut squash, then drizzle it with some maple syrup and roast it for about 15 minutes.
Cook that delicious bacon, drain and set aside to crumble on the tart later.
Whip up your ricotta with an egg, salt and pepper and some shredded Parmesan cheese.
Spread it on top of the tart pastry evenly. (Repeat all steps with the second pastry throughout.)
Top it with some of that luscious grated Gruyere cheese.
Place the roasted squash on top along with the bacon. Sprinkle some fresh thyme on top.
Then simply bake it for 30 minutes on 375 F, then drizzle it with some balsamic glaze, cut into squares and devour!
This delicious savory tart features three luscious cheeses (ricotta, gruyere and parmesan) along with crispy bacon and roasted butternut squash and thyme. It makes a great appetizer for the holidays!
2 large eggs
14 ounces frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
2 packages butternut squash, precut into 1-2" cubes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6-8 slices bacon
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
Balsamic glaze, for garnish
fresh thyme, for garnish
Roll out 1 piece of puff pastry into a large rectangle. Cut a 1/2 inch border around the edges and place the strips on the edges of the pastry sheet to create a border crust. Prick holes around the pastry to avoid puffing.
Beat 1 egg and brush the pastry edges and repeat same procedure with second pastry sheet; chilling both for 1/2 an hour in the fridge.
While pastry is chilling, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the butternut squash into small chunks and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and garlic powder.
Bake for 15 minutes and set aside.
Cook bacon according to package directions and drain on paper towels. Crumble once cooled and set aside.
Reduce heat in oven to 375.
Mix the ricotta cheese with one beaten egg, parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper.
Remove pastry from the fridge and spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the tops of both.
Sprinkle with shredded gruyere cheese and crumbled bacon.
Top both pastries with the butternut squash and sprinkle with some fresh thyme.
Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed around the edges.
Cut into squares after cooling on a rack and serve warm.
Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze on top and additional fresh thyme if desired.
So February is here and so is National Almond Day! I absolutely love almonds – not only are they packed with tons of vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they also taste amazing! I love toasting almonds for salad toppings, making almond crust for chicken or fish, and best of all baking them into lovely, nutty,scrumptious desserts…especially cookies..mmmmm.
I recently got a new KitchenAid®12″ Convection Digital Countertop Oven, and I am absolutely in love with it! Not only is it a toaster oven, but it’s also a fully functioning convection oven with nine different pre-programmed functions, including Pizza, Bagel, Cookie, Asado Roast and Keep Warm. It has a large capacity with enough room to roast a chicken or make a 12″ pizza, and of course enough space to bake a large batch of cookies. I LOVE THIS THING!
Since we are in the dead of winter and in the spirit of National Almond Day, I thought a big batch of cookies was in order. I made some delicious Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze. They’re super buttery and crisp with a sweet, tart and refreshing hint of blood orange – perfect for a chilly day with a cup of tea. And they’re really easy to make too..check out the link below for my recipe on the Kitchenthusiast food blog and enjoy!!!
So Old Man Winter is finally back in town, despite the crazy warm weather we’ve been having lately in New York City. Temperatures drop and there’s nothing better than a big pot of comfort food and a bottle of red to make a girl happy, right? Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make everything OK…(*sigh). So I did just that this weekend, and made a huge batch of some classic Beef Bourguignon..you know, the classic French braised beef stew with veggies and red wine that Julia Child made famous.
I made it in a large 6-quart ceramic Dutch oven (KitchenAid brand is my fav!), and it’s chock full of savory deliciousness – sautéed pancetta, braised beef, shallots, garlic and carrots sautéed into a roux with some flour, flambeed brandy (my secret ingredient!), a whole bottle of red (yes, really!) and some beef stock, along with a bouquet garni of fresh herbs (1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, 3 sprigs of rosemary wrapped in cheesecloth) slow cooked in the oven for 2 hours.
The finishing touch of mushrooms and caramelized Cippolini onions sautéed in butter are added in at the end to add tons of buttery, savory flavor to the stew. YUM.
I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything so delicious in my life – and I’m quite sure if Julia was still alive, I would make her damn proud, if I do say so myself.
It’s a flavor bomb in a bowl, my friends, and perfect for a lovely holiday dinner party for a crowd. Serve in big bowls garnished with fresh Italian parsley over mashed potatoes, polenta or egg noodles, of course accompanied with a bottle of red (Pinot Noir or Burgundy) and some crusty French bread to mop up the sauce. All around a big table of friends and family to partake in all the goodness.
This is a delicious heartwarming French Beef Stew made with beef chuck, red wine, brandy, fresh herbs, shallots, garlic, cippolini onions, carrots and pancetta. Perfect one-pot dish for Winter or the holidays!
5 pounds beef chuck, cut into medium-large cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound pancetta, diced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 large shallots, finely diced
3 large carrots, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/4 cup brandy
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 bottle dry red wine (Pinot Noir or Burgundy)
4 cups beef or veal stock
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, 3 sprigs Italian parsley)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
5-7 small to medium Cippolini onions, quartered
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (White button or Cremini)
Flat leaf Italian Parsley, minced, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place beef in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and season with a couple teaspoons of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat for several minutes to get it hot.
Add pancetta and cook until crispy and browned, drain on paper towels and set aside.
Increase the heat to high and add the beef in to the pot in a single layer and brown on all sides, turning with tongs (be careful not to crowd or overfill the pot as you will need to cook beef in batches to get a nice browning).
Place the browned beef back on to the baking sheet and set aside.
Add the oil and diced shallots and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook for a few minutes. Lower the heat to medium-high and continue to saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
Add the brandy and flambe (light it in the pan with a long lighter or match) and let the flames keep going for as long as possible, until they go out to burn off alcohol.
Reduce heat to medium, add flour and stir together with the vegetables for a few minutes to make a roux base for the stew.
Next deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine, a little bit at a time, stirring well to incorporate and remove any lumps, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (these babies are full of flavor!)
Add 3 3/4 cups of the stock, browned meat and bouquet garni and bring to a boil over high heat.
Remove pot from the heat, cover and cook the stew in the oven for 2 hours, until meat is fork tender. (The meat should shred/fall apart easily when you pierce it with a fork - if not, place it back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes).
While stew is cooking, caramelize the onions in a medium saute pan with 1 tablespoon of butter and salt and pepper, until the onions are lightly browned.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup stock and cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and glazed and liquid is evaporated.
Transfer onions to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, turn the heat up to high. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, the mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, sear over high heat until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and mix into the caramelized onions, set aside.
Remove the stew from the oven and gently stir in cooked pancetta, mushrooms and onions. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper to taste).
Serve the stew in bowls with a sprinkling of fresh parsley over mashed potatoes, polenta or egg noodles, with a glass of red and crusty bread to mop up the sauce of course!
Recipe adapted from Mother's Best Comfort Food Cookbook.
As the weather cools down in the late fall season, there’s nothing I love more than cooking a big one-pot comforting dish on a Sunday afternoon. One-pot dishes are so easy to make, and the enticing smells from the oven are enough to wipe out any winter blues that might be coming on. Welcome my Wine-Braised Chicken with Bacon, Veggies and Herbs.
I love making hearty braised dishes with meat and vegetables because they’re easy and so good, especially in my KitchenAid® 6.0Qt Cast Iron Cookware.It’s big enough to make a meal for a crowd, and it’s enameled with cast iron inside which makes it the perfect vessel to cook slow braised dishes, roasts, stews, soups, chilis and any one-pot meals. It even has a grill pan inside the lid! How cool is that?
My Wine-Braised Chicken has tons of goodness inside: chicken thighs, shallots, bacon, cipollini onions, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme, bacon and carrots. It’s slow-cooked into a big pot of deliciousness with white wine, chicken broth, and then a reduced au jus cream sauce served over the top.
This is such a delicious and easy recipe to make and it’s pure comfort food perfect for a chilly Winter day. The best part is you only have to cook and clean in one pot, which is awesome. (More time to snuggle under the blankets and watch movies by the fireplace!)
I’d love to hear what you would make in your KitchenAid® Cast Iron Cookware by experimenting with my recipe. Would you use a different meat, like beef or pork? What vegetables would you substitute or add? Would you try a different sauce for the recipe?
Share your take on this Wine-Braised Chicken recipe on the KitchenAid Instagram page using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured!
Hello Summer! And hello to the season for lighter food and flavors and quality time at the beach and the pool (READ: also time for shorts and sundresses and to lose a few to fit into the bathing suit!)
I’ve been craving pasta lately because i’ve been cutting down on carbs a bit, but I’ve had this cool Veggettinoodle tool in my pantry for a few months and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some Zucchini Noodles (AKA “zoodles”), and tie in some fresh ingredients from the season such as shrimp and corn and basil.
This dish screams creamy comfort food, but is balanced out with a clean, citrus-y brightness with a Meyer Lemon cream sauce made with mascarpone cheese, Meyer lemon juice and zest, lemongrasschicken broth, whitewine, sweet basil olive oil and garlic. The lightness of these zucchini noodles are also totally amazing, rather than a heavy pasta that will put you to sleep in .02 seconds.
I love Meyer lemons because they are delicate and less sour than regular lemons and almost mimic the flavor of lemon and orange juice mixed together, which you can absolutely do if you can’t find Meyer lemons or they aren’t in season. I ordered mine on Fresh Direct which always has everything in stock and delivers on top of that!
Prep your zucchini noodles with a Veggetti or Spiralizer on a cutting board or over a large mixing bowl. I suggest squeezing out any excess water from them before sauteing (you can let them sit in a colander to extract water for about 15 minutes or so). You might also want to cut the strand piles in half to make them easier to manage and eat. Sauté the noodles in some olive oil with red pepper flakes and garlic for a few minutes and set aside.
Zest and juice one Meyer lemon to add to the cream sauce. Look at that vivid color! LOVE.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the shrimp and sauté in some olive oil for couple minutes until they are pink and set aside. Don’t overcook them though because you will add them back in to the sauce later on and you don’t want tough rubbery shrimp.
Prep ingredients for the Meyer Lemon Cream sauce and add the white wine, chicken broth, Meyer lemon juice and zest to the saute pan with leftover juices from the shrimp. Stir and simmer over medium heat for until the liquid reduces by half.
Add the corn, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until heated through. I used frozen sweet corn but you can use fresh corn too which might take a little longer to cook (or you can precook the fresh corn and add the kernels into the sauce).
Stir in the mascarpone cheese and blend together until it turns into a gorgeous, silky and creamy sauce. Toss in the shrimp and basil. Isn’t that pretty?
Serve over the zucchini noodles with additional basil and lemon zest and get ready to DEVOUR.
Alternatively you can toss the zucchini noodles in to the pan with the sauce and shrimp and corn and mix it all together to serve as a one pot dish. I prefer keeping the noodles separate from the sauce so they don’t get too mushy, personally.
Garnish with some extra basil and lemon zest and serve with a glass of white wine (I particularly like McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay who were kind enough to send me a sample which I LOVED), and some crusty bread to mop up that yum sauce, if you wish. Light, bright, healthy and delicious!
This is a super healthy and totally delicious low carb option to pasta. It features sautéed zucchini noodles smothered in a Meyer Lemon cream sauce with shrimp, corn and fresh basil. It's light and bright and the perfect dish for Summer with a glass of white wine and some toasty bread to mop up the sauce.
1/2-3/4 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Garlic salt and Pepper, to taste
Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Zest and juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
1/2 cup white wine (Truvee Chardonnay)
1/2 cup chicken broth (Pacific Foods Lemongrass Bone Both)
2/3 cup Mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup sweet corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Fresh Basil, for garnish
Additional lemon zest, for garnish
Make the Zucchini Noodles:
Using a Veggeti or Spiralizer vegetable cutter, cut both zucchini into medium large noodles over a cutting board or large bowl.
Form the vegetable pasta into two piles and cut each in half to create shorter, easy to manage strands.
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic for a minute or so, being careful not to burn.
Add the zucchini noodles, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes to your desired consistency.
Remove noodles from the heat into a medium bowl and set aside while you cook the shrimp.
Prepare the Shrimp:
In the same sauce pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
Sprinkle some garlic salt and pepper on to the shrimp, and add shrimp to the pan cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring often so they cook evenly.
Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl while you make the Meyer Lemon cream sauce.
Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the same large sauce pan over medium heat.
Add the additional garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, zest, chicken broth and wine and let simmer down until reduced, about 3 minutes.
Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper and heat through another minute or two, then stir in the Mascarpone cheese until you get a silky, creamy sauce.
Add the cooked shrimp, zucchini noodles and basil; toss to coat. (You can also keep the zucchini noodles separate from the shrimp, corn and basil with Meyer Lemon sauce and spoon it over the noodles in bowls which keeps the noodles from getting mushy in the sauce which is how i prefer serving them.)
Serve with additional basil and lemon zest, and a glass of Chardonnay or dry Italian wine and some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
This would also be a delicious sauce over any pasta, and if you're a vegetarian you could substitute the shrimp for another vegetable or legumes for some protein.
If you can't find Meyer lemons or they aren't in season, simply mix some orange juice into the lemon juice to give it a similar flavor.
Note: I received a sample of McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay for tasting which inspired me to create this recipe and share with my readers. All opinions of the product are my own and I was not compensated for this post.
I don’t know about you, but Thai food is one of my favorite foods ever. I love the harmony of flavors and textures in Thai food that all play together like a perfect symphony. One of my all time favorites is Thai Peanut Noodles – similar to Pad Thai, but with a smooth peanut sauce with a hint of heat. I decided to kick it up a notch by adding some Spicy Thai Chicken that pairs perfectly with the creamy peanut-y noodles.
This dish is a gorgeous combination of spicy, savory and sweet with a marinade base for the chicken made with sesame, honey, soy sauce, garlic, and chile sauce, mixed with acidic notes of rice vinegar. It’s the perfect marriage of varying textures from the chewy noodles, crunchy peanuts and water chestnuts, all bathed in a smooth and luscious damn-good-peanut-sauce. Then to perfect it even more, it’s topped with fresh bright flavors of cilantro, lime and scallions. It’s so good, it just might be illegal. And don’t be ashamed to dig in right out of the pan. Grab some chopsticks, a pal or two and go to town. It’s rustic Asian comfort food at its best. Serve with a sweeter wine such as a Riesling, which pairs nicely with the spicy Asian flavors in this dish.
2 pounds chicken breast cutlets, sliced into thin strips
1 can water chestnuts, diced
1 package Thai Rice Noodles (flat, wide or Pad Thai)
Prepare Spicy Chicken Marinade:
In a large mixing bowl, add all nine ingredients (sesame oil through dried ginger) along with sliced chicken breast and mix together thoroughly, coating chicken well. Top with plastic wrap and let chicken marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
Once chicken is done marinating, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook Thai noodles according to package directions, drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium heat, spray with cooking spray and saute chicken for approximately 8 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink. Add diced water chestnuts and saute for another minute or two until soft and heated through. Note: Make sure to drain and discard extra marinade off the chicken before sauteing to allow the chicken to brown in the pan and not steam. Reduce heat to low, cover and keep warm.
Make the peanut sauce: combine soy sauce, peanut butter, broth, garlic-chile sauce, honey, salt and lime juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat, mixing and stirring well until sauce is smooth and blended. Toss noodles together with peanut sauce.
Add the peanut noodles into the large pan with the cooked chicken and water chestnuts, toss together well with tongs to blend the flavors and ingredients. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top, and garnish with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and sliced scallions. Add additional red pepper flakes or garlic-chile sauce for extra heat, as desired.
A sweet German Riesling wine would pair well with the spicy acidic flavors in this Asian dish.
There’s nothing better than a big pot of soup in the Winter – and this has been the longest one..ever. I’ve always loved my Gram’s Minestrone soup – chock full of veggies, ground beef and pasta and thought I would make a spin on it by making it a combination of her Minestrone and Italian Wedding Soup just for fun. I made a batch of chicken meatballs with lots of parmesan cheese, garlic, onion and fresh parsley..browned them up a bit before adding some kale, carrots, chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and orzo and let it all simmer up into a big batch of healthy, heartwarming goodness. I topped it off with some extra grated parmesan, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and mopped it up with some fresh baked Italian Rosemary bread from Todaro Bros. down the street.
Who says you can’t have some fun during a blizzard? I’m happy as a clam right now. Or as a meatball, bathing in that gorgeous broth with veggies.
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and I got inspired to make a LOVE-LY Strawberry Chambord Cake with Strawberry Coulis to celebrate.
I wanted to create a simple cake that highlighted the flavors of the strawberries and Raspberry Chambord liqueur, and used a yellow cake mix flavored with vanilla and almond extract, along with some pureed strawberries and Chambord. I made a classic vanilla frosting to use in between the cake layers and the top of the cake as a canvas for my lovely Strawberry heart design.
To make it even more luscious, I made a Strawberry Coulis for the base of my Strawberry heart on top of the cake. I simply chopped up some strawberries, added water, sugar, vanilla and Chambord; then boiled it down into a thick strawberry glaze.
Top off the glaze with more fresh sliced strawberries creating a LOVE-LY heart shape. Cut into slices and sip some bubbly to celebrate with your honey.
A LOVE-LY Strawberry Chambord Valentine’s Day Cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serving Size: 1 slice
1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped strawberries, pureed
2 tablespoons Raspberry Chambord liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries, quartered and chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Raspberry Chambord Liqueur
1 cup sliced strawberries, for topping
Preheat oven to 400 and grease two 9 inch round cake pans.
Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat on low with a hand mixer for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
Pour cake batter into both pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cakes cool on a wire cooling rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely.
In a medium bowl, beat the butter until light and smooth with a hand blender. Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until frosting is smooth and creamy.
Add chopped strawberries, water, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and Chambord in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring well. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until Strawberry Coulis thickens into a glaze. Remove from heat and let cool.
Place one layer of the cake on a large plate or platter. Spread Vanilla frosting on the top. Place the second layer of cake on top and spread the rest of the Vanilla frosting on top.
Spread the Strawberry Coulis on top of the cake making a heart shaped pattern. Layer the sliced strawberries on top of the glaze also in a heart shaped pattern.
Slice cake and serve with a glass or two of bubbly.
Also in spirit of celebrating Valentine’s Day, Shari’s Berries has some delightful and lovely gift packages to send to your honey. One of my favorite things to go with strawberries is Champagne, of course, along with some luscious chocolate to pair. Check out their Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec & Godiva gift set and more chocolate and Valentine’s Day goodies online here.
Demi-Sec, a slightly sweet style of Champagne, is at its best when served with desserts. Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec, marked by fresh peach, nectarine and orange blossom, pairs beautifully with Godiva‘s assorted deep dark chocolates, smooth milks, velvety ganaches, classic truffles and pralines. Truly irresistible!
Each gift set contains:
Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec Champagne (750 ML)
Godiva 19-piece Assorted Chocolates in a gold ballotin gift box
All photos, recipes and copy on this post are intellectual property of Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. This post was not paid advertising and all opinions are my own.
OK, so I know Meatloaf is one of those dishes we’re all a little bored of by now. Not so glamorous or gourmet, and usually a quick go-to dish when we have nothing else in the fridge and want to make an easy dinner with a few ingredients on hand. Well that was the case last weekend, so I thought – how can I jazz this meatloaf up a bit and make it a little healthier to boot?
I have some samples of Kickin’ Ketchup in my pantry that I’ve been meaning to try – it’s a spicy ketchup made out in California with a touch of heat and smooth sweetness. I thought I would experiment making a spicy concoction made with the ketchup and some ancho chile powder and red pepper jelly (try this one or make your own) – perfect for a Meatloaf glaze or dipping sauce for homemade cocktail meatballs. The balance of the smoky chile powder mixed with the spicy heat of the ketchup and sweet heat of the red pepper jelly is a harmonious combination and I’m lovin’ it. For the meatloaf, I used a combination of ground beef, ground pork and ground veal – the holy grail for a savory juicy meatloaf. I added onions and garlic, some minced zucchini, a dollop of Kickin’ Ketchup and a dash of ancho chile powder along with oatmeal substituted for regular breadcrumbs. I made some Wild Mushroom Risotto on the side, but this would be perfect with some roasted carrots, sauteed zucchini or mashed potatoes to accompany. Dig in!
1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (ground beef, veal and pork)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Kickin' Ketchup (or use regular ketchup and add some cayenne)
1/4 cup instant or steel-cut oats
ANCHO CHILE-RED PEPPER GLAZE
1/4 cup Kickin' Ketchup
4 tablespoons Red Pepper Jelly
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
HEALTHY HOMESTYLE MEATLOAF
Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions and zucchini and cook for about 8 minutes, until tender. Add minced garlic and saute for another minute or two. Remove cooked vegetables from the pan into a small bowl, let cool completely and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a ceramic or glass rectangular baking dish with no-stick cooking oil spray.
Whisk eggs together in a large mixing bowl, add the cooled cooked veggies, meat, spices, ketchup and oats and mix together thoroughly and gently with your hands.
Take the meatloaf mixture and press together into one large or two small loaves into the baking dish.
Make the Ancho Chile-Red Pepper Glaze per instructions below, and brush over entire meatloaf, saving some extra glaze for serving.
Bake for 1 hour up to 1 1/4 hours until a thermometer inserted in center reads 155 degrees F.
Remove baked meatloaf from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Slice and serve with additional glaze and a side of roasted veggies, mashed potatoes or mushroom risotto.
ANCHO CHILE-RED PEPPER GLAZE
Mix together ketchup, red pepper jelly, garlic salt and ancho chile powder and black pepper. Brush glaze on to meatloaf and save additional glaze for serving.
To make the mushroom stock, wash and trim the stems of the fresh mushrooms. Reserve the stems and slice the mushroom caps for use later in the recipe. (Make sure to dust of the dirt first and don’t soak the mushrooms).
Combine the chicken stock, stems, dried porcini mushrooms in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes over low heat. Strain through a cheesecloth and reserve the liquid for the risotto.
Heat a large sauté pan and add 4 tbsp of butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until browned. Deglaze the Madeira and reduce until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Reserve the mushrooms. (Try to let the Madeira glaze sit, don’t stir).
For the risotto, heat a wide pot or rondeau (flat bottom pot with tall sides) over medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp butter. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir the mixture together to coat the rice with the shallots and butter.
Add the white wine, lower the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated. Begin adding the mushroom stock, a large ladleful at a time. Continue to add the mushroom stock (slowly and continuously), stirring constantly until the rice is just cooked through and all the stock has been absorbed, about 20 mins. The rice should be slightly al dente but have a creamy consistency and not dry.
Stir in the reserved mushrooms, the remaining tablespoon of butter, chives, and parsley. Top off the risotto with Pecorino Romano and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Today is one of those dreary Fall days where it’s cold and rainy and I’m in need of a little pick me up from some classic comfort food. One that involves BACON. And CHEESE. And PASTA. And all those yummy yums that aren’t that good for you. I was looking through some of my family recipes and this one came up that looked perfect for the mood I’m in today. It’s a sinfully good baked Pierogi casserole that my family used to make around the holidays – I remember sitting around the table with my family devouring this tasty dish with absolutely no shame. It’s not fancy. It’s easy to make. Has layers of flavor from the crispy bacon, earthy mushrooms, creamy sauce and tangy sauerkraut. And it’s so darn GOOD.
Traditional Pierogies are like Polish or Ukrainian Ravioli, made with fresh made dough that is filled with potatoes and cheese, meat or sauerkraut, and usually boiled or sauteed in butter with golden brown fried onions. This recipe takes the main ingredients of Pierogi (butter, mushrooms, sauerkraut, bacon, fried onions, pasta and cheese) and blends them together into a bubbling baked one-pot dish of goodness you’re gonna die for. It’s the ultimate comfort food perfect for a chilly dreary day that will keep you coming back for more…trust me.
On a recent trip up to Rochester, I had the pleasure of discovering a lovely little Italian place called the Mona Lisa Café. My mother and I stopped in there on a whim one afternoon for a cappuccino, but after entering the café and seeing all the delicious pastries and gelato and enticing smells of amazing food, we decided to stay for lunch instead.
We sat at a table by a large window and enjoyed a glass of wine while perusing the menu. At first we thought we would just split an appetizer, but there were just too many tasty choices on the menu to settle for just one item. We opted for a delicious Italian Panini and their amazing Greens and Beans appetizer made with escarole and cannelloni beans sautéed with heaps of garlic, savory Italian sausage, white wine, olive oil and bread crumbs topped with Parmesan cheese. WOW. Best thing I’ve ever tasted! I loved this dish so much I was inspired to recreate it at home, and my own version of Garlicky Greens and Beans with Sausage I now present to you. Delicioso!
2 cups Fingerling potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or chunks
1 1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage (may use chicken or turkey sausage if you prefer)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, sliced or chopped fine
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 large bunch of greens (I used collards, but you can use spinach, kale, escarole, or mustard/turnip greens)
1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
Crusty bread or garlic bread, for dipping
Rinse and drain potatoes, cut into quarters or chunks, depending on the size.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook potatoes for about 10-12 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
At the same time, add 1/2 inch of water to a large saute pan over medium heat. Add sausages to and cover with a lid, simmering for 10 minutes (without turning). Remove the lid, turn sausages over, and cook for another 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
Meanwhile, measure out your liquids and dry seasonings and set aside.
Chop the garlic.
Wash the greens well and drain. Remove and discard the veins and stems, cutting leafy green parts off on either side into 1-inch strips.
Remove sausages from pan and cut into coin-sized chunks. Drain fat from pan and wipe down.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the same pan and return to medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute while stirring often, for about 1 minute being careful not to burn garlic.
Add additional 3 tablespoons of oil and start sauteing greens by the handful until they are just starting to wilt.
Add cannellini beans, sausage, potatoes, broth, water and minced onion; bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Remove lid, add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the liquid reduces a little (you can simmer it down longer if you like a thicker stew or add more broth/water if you like a thinner stew).
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the Greens and Beans in large bowls topped with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and crusty bread for dipping in the broth.
Substitute sweet Italian sausage with chicken or turkey sausage or omit all together and adjust water/broth down to 2 cups if you prefer a vegetarian dish.
Mona Lisa Cafe uses breadcrumbs and white wine in their dish which I omitted in my version because of the starch from the potatoes and adding a splash of white wine vinegar which gives it a nice tangy flavor to the broth. Feel free to experiment by topping it with toasted breadcrumbs and using some wine in place of the water in my recipe, but you'll need to adjust the amount of liquids down if you omit the potatoes from the dish so it's not too watery/brothy. The consistency should be of a nice light stew with a balance between the meat and vegetables and the broth.
Serve with a dry white Italian wine such as Pinot Grigio and crusty bread for dipping up the broth.
The holidays are here, and what better way to celebrate by throwing a holiday cocktail party with friends and family? I’ve teamed up with Colavita this season to celebrate with all of you, by creating some delicious Holiday Appetizer recipes using their World Selection andPrivate SelectionExtra Virgin Olive Oils and Flavored Cooking Oil blends.
Colavita Olive Oil Giveaway!
*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – Congratulations to Manda Kay, the winner of our Colavita holiday giveaway! Hope you cook up lots of goodies with your EVOO & Balsamic Glace! Happy Holidays 🙂
I’ve teamed up with Colavita this holiday season and giving away some of their delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars so you can celebrate the season by cooking up some holiday goodies of your own! The winner will receive: one (1) 3/4 liter of Colavita Private Selection Fruttato EVOO, one (1) 32 oz Roasted Garlic EVOO plus one (1) 29.5 oz bottle of their Balsamic Glace.
All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave me a comment at the end of this post telling me what your favorite Holiday Appetizer to make with olive oil is.
*For extra entries, just follow me on twitter, facebook, pinterest, google+, tumblr or sign up for my newsletter (at the top right hand side of this page) and tell me you did so in the comments section. **As an added bonus, Colavita is also offering a 25% discount to all of my readers on any purchase in their online store. Simply enter the code ‘AG25’ to receive the discount upon checkout!
**This giveaway begins on Sunday, Dec 9th and ends Sunday Dec 23rd at midnight EST, where one person will be selected by random from the comments section below.**
Colavita World Selection Olive Oils are a new collection of extra virgin olive oils exploring the tradition in countries outside of italy from estates and farms in Australia, Argentina, California, Greece, Spain and Portugal as well as other prime olive oil growing nations. Read more about a few of my favorites that I used in my recipes below!
Colavita 100% Californian EVOO
The warm climate in the “Golden State” of California fosters both grape and olive cultivation perfect for wines and olive oils. The Colavita 100% Californian EVOO is pressed from olives grown in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of California. The mild flavor makes this oil perfect for all culinary applications. Enrich your favorite meal with a drizzle of EVOO and a glass of wine.
Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO is a product originally created exclusively for BJ’s Wholesale Stores. To many it has become the “gateway product” that exposes customers to the entire Colavita family of products. It is raved about on their online store so we wanted to share it with all of you! It’s the perfect finishing oil and wonderful for enhancing garlic already present in your dish. Try it on Garlic Bread or my Homemade Pita Chips (recipe below).
The Argentina EVOO was a hands-down favorite at this year’s New York Wine and Food Festival. Arbequino, Coratina and Manzanilla olive cultivars grown in the Catamarca and Mendoza regions of Argentina give this EVOO and intense, fruity aroma and taste. Pair this EVOO with soups, roasted fish, grilled vegetables and red meat for an unbeatable duo.
Colavita’s Fruttato Oil has recently been inducted into the Colavita “Private Selection” line. This line was created to highlight the products which have received the honor of being marked a Colavita family favorite. It is made by cold pressing new harvest olives just before their peak ripeness. The result is a full bodied EVOO which is slightly pungent with peppery flavor notes.
This Colavita Premium Blend is an all-purpose cooking, frying, and salad dressing oil which combines the delicate hint of roasted garlic in a light Canola Oil and Virgin Olive Oil Blend. It is a versatile oil that is naturally low in saturated fats and has no trans fats.
This is a lovely tart recipe that combines sweet and savory flavors. The caramelized onions give it a sweet flavor with a hint of fig balsamic vinegar, balanced out by creamy ricotta, nutty Gruyere cheese, fresh herbs and crispy pancetta.
1 package pancetta (8 thin slices)
3 tablespoons Colavita Fruttato EVOO
2 sweet Vidalia onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Fresh ground black pepper
1-1 1/2 tablespoons Fig balsamic vinegar (Tavern Direct brand)
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoons dried Fines Herbes (or 2 tablespoons fresh herbs)
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 frozen pie shell, defrosted, or homemade tart dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat and cook pancetta until browned but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain fat from pan and place pancetta on paper towels to drain to the side. Once cooled, chop pancetta into small pieces.
Peel onions, remove top and bottom stems and cut in half lengthwise.
Slice onions thin (about 1/8" thick or desired thickness).
In the same saute pan, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium high heat.
Add onions and cook over medium high for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle brown sugar, salt and pepper over onions and stir well, cook another 10-20 minutes, reducing heat to medium low if onions start to brown too quickly.
Continue cooking and stirring onions over medium low for another 15 minutes, add a few teaspoons of water if desired.
Add the fig balsamic vinegar to the onions, turn heat down to low and let cook until they are caramelized, soft and sweet, up to an hour total.
Combine the ricotta, egg yolk and Fines Herbes together in small mixing bowl.
Spread the ricotta mixture over the pie shell in a 9" tart pan with removeable bottom.
Sprinkle Gruyere cheese over ricotta.
Top with caramelized onions and pancetta.
Bake the tart in the oven for approximately 30-45 minutes until pastry and filling are golden brown, and pancetta is crispy.
Let tart cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serve tart cut into wedges.
If you prefer to make your own tart dough rather than using a frozen pie crust, Martha Stewart has a great recipe for Flaky Tart Dough on her website at http://www.marthastewart.com/319448/flaky-tart-dough
Hot Artichoke dip is one of my all time favorite holiday dip recipes, and this one is extra special, using Colavita's California EVOO, lemon zest and minced garlic with lots of gooey cheese. Instead of using mayonnaise, I substitute a light sour cream to cut some of the fat and calories. Serve with my homemade baked pita chips or crackers.
2 tablespoons Colavita California extra virgin olive oil
1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted
1 tablespoon minced garlic
zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Garlic salt with parsley (to taste)
Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded light monterey jack cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping
1/2 cup light sour cream
dash of cayenne (optional)
dash of paprika (for garnish)
1 green onion, sliced thin (for garnish)
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add artichokes and minced garlic, saute about 5-7 minutes until heated through.
Add lemon juice, zest, garlic salt and pepper, mix well and cook another few minutes, set aside.
Meanwhile, add shredded cheeses and sour cream together in a mixing bowl.
Add sauteed artichokes, garlic and lemon to cheese and sour cream.
Sprinkle with a dash of cayenne (if desired), mix well and transfer to a casserole dish.
Sprinkle additional monterey jack cheese over the top and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted on top.
Let cool a few minutes, sprinkle with paprika and green onions. Serve with homemade baked pita chips (recipe follows), crackers or crudites.
Making homemade pita chips is super easy and way better than buying the storebought kind for your holiday party. Mine are made with whole wheat pita bread, drizzled with EVOO, and sprinkled with garlic salt and cumin for some extra flavor. So delicious and crispy straight out of the oven and so addicting you'll never buy them again! Serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip or any of your other favorite party dips.
6 whole wheat pita rounds
2 tablespoons Colavita California EVOO
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon cumin
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut pita rounds into triangles (6 wedges per pita).
Lay out pita wedges on a baking sheet and brush each wedge with olive oil.
Sprinkle garlic salt and cumin on top.
Flip over pita wedges, repeat coating with oil, salt and cumin.
Place baking sheet(s) in oven and cook pita wedges for about 15 minutes (checking to make sure they don't burn!)
Let cool, and serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip.
Everyone loves cocktail meatballs at holiday parties! These lovelies have a hint of lemon and sage and are light and fluffy, made with ground pork or chicken. They are first browned on the stovetop and then finished in the oven until golden brown. They're delicious alone, or dipped in a hot pepper jelly (Williams-Sonoma brand is great), balsamic pear jam (there's one by Academia Barilla that is to die for) or simply dipped in balsamic vinegar glace.
Red Pepper jelly, for dipping (Williams Sonoma brand)
Balsamic Pear jam, for dipping (Academia Barilla brand)
Colavita Balsamic Glace, for dipping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove crusts from bread and tear into small pieces in a large mixing bowl, add milk and let soak for 10-15 minutes.
Mix in ground pork or chicken, sage, garlic, onion, lemon juice and zest, cheese, pepper flakes, egg, salt and pepper with soaked bread crumbs with your hands in a claw-like motion to keep meatballs light and fluffy.
Roll meat mixture into small to medium size meatballs (small makes approximately 36, medium makes approximately 18).
Heat olive oils in a large saute pan over medium heat (if not using cooking oil blend, mix EVOO with a tablespoon of butter to avoid temperature from getting too high and splattering).
Cook meatballs in batches in the oil for about 5 minutes each batch until meatballs are browned on all sides, drain on paper towels.
Once all meatballs are browned, place them on a large rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
Bake in the oven for approximately another 15 minutes until cooked through and to keep warm.
Top with additional garlic salt (if desired), fresh chopped sage, and serve with red pepper jelly and balsamic pear jam, and Colavita Balsamic Glace for dipping.
These zucchini sticks are a great appetizer for any holiday party. They have a light crunchy coating of Japanese Panko seasoned bread crumbs and are finished with a splash of lemon and sprinkling of sea salt. They go perfect with the cool and creamy yogurt dill sauce or even a ranch dressing for dipping.
CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
Colavita Roasted Garlic Cooking Oil Blend
4 medium zucchini, cut into half, into long strips
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cups Panko Japanese-style seasoned breadcrumbs
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 large eggs
Sea salt, for sprinkling, to taste
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Fresh minced dill, for garnish
YOGURT DILL SAUCE
1 cup of Greek yogurt
2-3 tablespoon minced dill
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large deep saute pan, about 2 inches high.
Trim ends off zucchini, cut in half and then in half again lengthwise.
Cut zucchini into large strips about 1/2 an inch thick.
Pour the flour and Panko breadcrumbs into one large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
Dip zucchini sticks in egg, shaking off excess, then dip in bowl to coat with flour and breadcrumbs.
Place coated zucchini on a baking sheet.
Fry in batches until golden brown, draining excess oil on another baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of zucchini and sprinkle with fresh dill and additional sea salt to taste.
YOGURT DILL SAUCE
In a medium bowl, mix together greek yogurt, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
*This is a sponsored post by Colavita, but as usual, all opinions expressed are my own. I received 5 bottles of Colavita olive oil samples to create the recipes for this article and holiday promotion. Winners of the giveaway will receive the prizes directly from Colavita by mail and should expect 2-3 weeks delivery time due to the holidays.
**All photographs, recipes and copy are copyrighted by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet 2012 and cannot be republished without my permission or credit on the reposted original material from this article or website.
So here is my award winning Mac and Cheese recipe that I am proud to share with all of you! I was awarded as a Grand Prize Winner in the Challenge Dairy Real Heritage Recipe Contest for my Amazing Macaroni and Cheese! Although this was a few years ago, I am still so grateful for this opportunity to submit my winning recipe and to be a part of this amazing recipe contest. Check out the story I wrote and winning recipe below, andmore contest winners on Challenge Dairy’s website.
There’s No Place Like Home
Growing up I always associated food with a sense of comfort, warmth, fulfillment and stability. This is something I attribute to my Mom’s home-cooked meals and nights around the dinner table with my family as we discussed the events of our day, bonded through sharing the heartwarming, delicious meals together and after the meal was done, cleaned the kitchen with our Mom and bonded by watching a television show together before going to bed and getting ready for school the next day. Mom would make Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, homemade Lasagna with a salad and garlic bread, Grandma’s Beet Soup with homemade Polish potato noodles, or a yummy, savory Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy – these were all of our favorites and also heirloom recipes that were handed down from my grandparents and generations past.
That was a long time ago, or so it seems, and since those days I have lived in numerous cities and another country, and still cherish enjoying good food with good people. But nothing compares to those home cooked meals and the sense of comfort they gave me when I was young – those days gave me a solid ground to stand on for life.
One gloomy, dark day last January, I was cooped up in my tiny New York studio apartment feeling completely miserable from the freezing cold weather and had a serious case of the Winter blues. I felt an undying urge to make a home-cooked meal like Mom used to make to cheer me up and get me out of the dismal mood I couldn’t seem to shake. New York can do that to you sometimes – it is one of the greatest cities in the world, but can also take you to the depths of darkness on those dark, freezing, nasty days in the middle of Winter. That day I decided to go on a quest for comfort. Something warm. Something cozy. Something heartwarming. Something that would fill my soul and renew my spirit.
My head started spinning, and I immediately felt energized and motivated with this new task at hand. What would cheer me up and transport me back in time? After furiously searching through all of my recipes, I found the perfect remedy to ail my blues – a big whopping batch of luscious Macaroni and Cheese. Not just an ordinary one (like the kind you get in a blue box with packets of dried chemical-laden cheese dust), but one that called for some delicious gourmet ingredients to take this kid-friendly recipe and turn it into a serious pot of adult-sized comfort.
I hopped in a cab to Zabar’s (my favorite gourmet store on the Upper West Side) with thrill and anticipation. The freezing rain was coming down sideways and beat against the windows. Once I arrived, I headed straight for the cheese department and was in my glory with their selection of international cheeses that pierce your nose as soon as you walk in the door. I picked up a creamy Italian Mascarpone, some fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano, a chunk of Gruyere and a block of Fontina. Then I found some fresh garlic, heavy cream, premium real butter, smoked thick cut bacon and of course, imported Italian pasta – this was a recipe for a mean Mac and Cheese. Definitely not your Mama’s.
I prepped my ingredients and carefully crafted my dish of gourmet deliciousness. The pot was brimming with a melted creamy cheese concoction and I poured the luscious ingredients into my baking dish, watching with anticipation as the warm, savory smells filled my kitchen. After an hour of waiting anxiously to savor my creation, I scooped up the bubbly goodness into a bowl and upon tasting the first bite with its brown crispy crust and tangy creamy cheese, was transported back to a time of comfort and bliss, when I didn’t have a care in the world, a simpler time and place that seemed long gone from today in my stressful, fast-paced city life.
Who cares about the weather, I thought – I had arrived. I was home.
Amazing Macaroni + Cheese > There’s No Place Like Home
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Yield: Yields 6-8 servings.
Serving Size: 1 cup
This is a super luscious and decadent grown up Mac and Cheese! Filled with Gruyere, Fontina and Mascarpone for extra creaminess, a little cooked bacon and a Parmesan buttery bread crumb topping for extra crunch. Definitely worthy of a special occasion or the holidays to impress your guests!
4 slices bacon or pancetta, cooked and crumbled
5 ½ tablespoons Challenge European Style Butter (salted), divided
¾ cup Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
dash of nutmeg (? teaspoon)
dash of ground cayenne pepper (? teaspoon)
1 ½ cups Gruyere or Comte cheese, grated (3 oz.)
1 cup Fontina cheese, chopped into small pieces (5¼ oz.)
1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
1 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni (6 oz.)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine, plus extra for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cook the bacon or pancetta, drain and crumble and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, melt 2½ tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, toss well, and set aside.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, do not let the flour burn. Pour in the milk and cream; cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, Gruyère, Fontina , Mascarpone. Continue to stir until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Remove the pot from the heat.
Prepare pasta according to package directions for al dente (7 - 8 minutes). Drain the macaroni and combine with the cheese sauce. Add crumbled bacon and parsley; mix well.
Pour the macaroni mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Serve hot immediately and garnish with additional fresh parsley, if desired.
You can also substitute the meat using some baked ham or prosciutto, or make it vegetarian and just add extra cheese or some veggies like zucchini, squash, brussels sprouts or mushrooms.
This recipe is also delicious with a little drizzle of truffle oil in the cheese sauce or topped with white or black truffle salt as a garnish.
In the spirit of Mardi Gras, I was in the mood to make something spicy with seafood and rice and thought I would do something different than make the typical Jambalaya or Shrimp Etoufee dish. In one of my Italian Cooking classes at The Institute of Culinary Education, we made a Shrimp Risotto which is a typical Italian-style rice dish. Delicious as it is, I wanted to make it with a twist, by adding some Creole seasoning, lemon, red pepper and mussels steamed in white wine to the recipe. It’s super creamy and flavorful, and takes a little bit of time and patience to make. But one taste of the savory shrimp mixed with mussels, lemon and wine with a spicy kick of Creole makes it all worth the effort.
The mussels take about 10-15 minutes to make, so you’ll want to get started on these when you have about 10-15 minutes left to cook the rice in the broth (or you can make them ahead of time and keep them on the burner on low to keep them warm so you can add the mussels to the risotto at the end). If you want to just eat the Shrimp Risotto with the Mussels in wine sauce on the side, you can do that too! Just add some crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of white wine and you’ve got yourself a big, fat, happy meal to celebrate Mardi Gras. Enjoy =)
Spicy Seafood Risotto w/ Shrimp and Steamed Mussels
Shell and devein the shrimp (reserve the shells). Cut each shrimp into thirds. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.
In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add half of the garlic and the shrimp shells and saute until the garlic is fragrant and the shells turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley sprigs and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 6 cups of water, lemon juice and zest and the saffron; bring to a boil, reduce to heat and simmer 15 minutes.
Strain the broth and return it to the pan. Add the pureed tomatoes and season with red pepper flakes, Creole seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes. Strain and reserve over low heat.
In a large casserole or skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion and remaining garlic and cook until it begins to get golden, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook until it’s slightly translucent.
Add the wine and cook until absorbed. Add a 4 ounce ladle of the shrimp stock and cook, stirring until the liquid is almost absorbed.
Continue adding broth and cooking until the rice is on the firm side of al dente, 25 to 30 minutes.
Add the shrimp and cook until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
To prepare the mussels for cooking, sort through them and throw out any that are open or don’t close when tapped. Be sure to rinse and swirl mussels in a basin of cold water to rinse out any dirt or debris trapped inside them, but don’t let them soak too long or you’ll lose the natural sea flavor. With a brush, scrub the outsides well under running water, and pry off any barnacles with the back of a knife. Twist or cut off any beards or hair-like tufts and rinse again, keeping the mussels cold until ready to use.
Prepare and shell the steamed mussels (see recipe following) and add to the risotto. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve immediately. Sooo delicious and great with a glass of crisp white wine and crusty bread to mop up the buttery wine sauce!