Tag Archives: Special occasion

Favorite Game Day Recipes for the Super Bowl!

superbowl 2016

So the big day is right around the corner..Super Bowl, yay! I’m not really partial to either team and am not even a huge football fan, but i LOVE LOVE LOVE the Super Bowl simply because of the fun parties, the commercials, and the food and drinks, of course.

So in spirit of the football party season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite game day recipes that are perfect for a crowd. Finger foods, appetizers, dips and spreads and small bites to party in style! Stay tuned later this week for some fun cocktail ideas for the big game too..may the best team win! #gopanthers #gobroncos

#FOOTBALL #FOOD!

Sloppy Joes

Devishly Good Sriracha Jalapeño Honey Sloppy Joes

Amazing Macaroni and Cheese

Amazing Macaroni and Cheese

Parmesan-Garlic-Artichoke-Dip

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Taco Pizza

Seriously Delish Taco Pizza

Spicy Cajun Chili

Spicy Cajun Chili

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Meatball Madness!

Meatball Madness!

Homemade Rustic Pizzas

Homemade Rustic Pizza

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Mini Tarts

Sweet and Savory Mini Tarts

Chic Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Orange Tart

Glazed Chocolate Orange Tart

Click here to find some more great celebrity chef #recipes to celebrate the Super Bowl on NFL.com

And some more game day recipe ideas on Food Network!

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Classic Comfort Food :: Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

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.

Beef Bourguignon

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.

Beef Bourguignon

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.

Beef Bourguignon

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.

Beef Bourguignon

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.

Happy Holidays! 

Beef Bourguignon

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat for several minutes to get it hot.
  4. Add pancetta and cook until crispy and browned, drain on paper towels and set aside.
  5. 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).
  6. Place the browned beef back on to the baking sheet and set aside.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Reduce heat to medium, add flour and stir together with the vegetables for a few minutes to make a roux base for the stew.
  10. 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!)
  11. Add 3 3/4 cups of the stock, browned meat and bouquet garni and bring to a boil over high heat.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Transfer onions to a bowl and set aside.
  16. 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.
  17. Remove the stew from the oven and gently stir in cooked pancetta, mushrooms and onions. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper to taste).
  18. 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!

Notes

Recipe adapted from Mother's Best Comfort Food Cookbook.

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Beef Bourguignon

Other Beef Bourguignon recipes you may enjoy:

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

Slow-Cooked Beef Bourguignon The Kitchn

Martha Stewart Beef Bourguignon

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Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie

Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie

Fall has finally arrived – my favorite season of the year! I love the cooler weather and dressing in jeans, sweaters, boots and leather jackets. I love the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. And I love the gorgeous fall produce and warmer, cozier comfort foods that come with the season.

Pears Hazelnuts

One of my favorite things to make in the fall is pie – sweet or savory with gorgeous fruits and veggies and all sorts of lovely ingredients and spices.

Pear Filling

There’s something so soothing about the smell of pie baking in the oven that warms up the home and goes perfectly with the crisp fall air and cooler days and nights.

KitchenAid Stainless Pie Pan

I recently got a KitchenAid® Stainless Steel 8-Piece Set of cookware along with a new KitchenAid® 9” Professional-Grade Nonstick Pie Pan and was inspired to make a gorgeous Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie with a Chocolate Graham Crust. The flavors of nuts, homemade caramel, fresh pears, chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg pair perfectly together and scream fall.

Pour Salted Caramel Sauce

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY STEP BY STEP RECIPE & PHOTOS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG!

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A Special Treat for Mom: Glazed Chocolate Orange Tart

Chocolate Orange Tart

Happy Mother’s Day! What a gorgeous day it is today to celebrate Mom and all the awesome things she does every day of the year.

photo by @dadarocks

I’m posting this recipe today in honor of MY Mom, who loves Chocolate and Orange, in any form, and who I promised to make this delicious thing for when I go home to see her in June.

Chocolate Orange Tart

This gorgeous Chocolate Orange Tart is something I made recently for a photography event at Drift Studio in NYC hosted by eyeFi, a really cool app that allows photographers to upload their photos to the internet via a WiFi enabled SIM card, directly from their DSLR cameras.

Chocolate Orange Tart

They asked me to bring some food and style a lovely still life for the photographers to shoot at the event and it was quite the hit that people actually started eating the tart off the still life set! (LOL- Who can blame them?!)

ChocolateOrangeTart-OrangePeel

The tart is made with luscious semi-sweet chocolate and cream with a dash of orange flower water and baked in a graham cracker and cocoa crust,then topped with a gorgeous shiny chocolate glaze and homemade candied orange peel made from a Cara Cara orange, for extra citrus zing that balances out the richness of the creamy chocolate center.

CandiedOrangePeel

I’m wishing all the Moms out there an amazing Mother’s Day today and hope you’re indulging in something sweet and lovely, just like YOU.

 

Chocolate Glazed Orange Tart w/ Candied Orange Peel

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Serving Size: 1 piece

Ingredients

  • Chocolate Tart Shell:
  • 1 package of graham crackers (9 total)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Tart Filling:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower extract or Grand Marnier liqueur
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Candied Orange Peel:
  • 1 orange (Cara Cara is what I used)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the chocolate tart shell:
  3. In a food processor, crush the graham crackers into a fine crumb, add the cocoa and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the melted butter to the cracker cocoa crumbs and stir together until mixed well with no lumps.
  5. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9-inch tart pan, about 3/4 inch up the side of the pan.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes and let cool in the pan on a baking rack.
  7. To make the filling:
  8. Bring the cream to a boil then pour over the chocolate chips into a large mixing bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes until the chocolate starts to melt, then stir together until smooth.
  9. Whisk the eggs, orange flower extract and salt in a separate bowl, then fold into the melted chocolate.
  10. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake until the filling is set about 3 inches form the edge, about 20-25 minutes. (The center should still be a bit wobbly).
  11. Cool the tart in the pan on a cooling rack for about an hour.
  12. To make the chocolate glaze:
  13. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from heat.
  14. Pour in the chocolate chips or chunks and stir until melted and smooth.
  15. Stir in the corn syrup and then the warm water.
  16. Pour the glaze over the cooled tart, then tilt the glaze to evenly cover the top. Let stand until glaze is set about 1 hour.
  17. To make the candied orange peel:
  18. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin of the orange into long strips, then cut into thin matchstick pieces.
  19. Place the orange peel in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to a boil for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and drain the peel, rinse out the saucepan.
  20. Add the peel back into the saucepan and add the sugar and water, stirring everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes until the peel becomes translucent and the sugar water becomes thick and syrupy.
  21. Remove from heat and place the orange peel with a fork on to a plate and let cool. The orange peel will cool and harden with a sugary coating when ready. Place the candied orange peel on top of the chocolate tart and serve.
  22. Note: orange peel can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to top the chocolate tart. Tart can also be made a day ahead without the chocolate glaze, covered loosely with foil and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before topping with the chocolate glaze if making ahead.

Notes

Note: orange peel can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to top the chocolate tart. Tart can also be made a day ahead without the chocolate glaze, covered loosely with foil and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before topping with the chocolate glaze if making ahead. Recipe adapted from Epicurious

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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/05/10/a-special-treat-for-mom-glazed-chocolate-orange-tart/

 

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Roadtrip! Food, Cocktails & Rodeo fun in Houston Texas

houston-thegirls

One of my favorite things to do in the world is traveling – especially with my group of awesome girlfriends. We usually do a few group trips a year as we all live in different parts of the country: Nashville, NYC, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, LA..etc.

Rodeo Houston

We decided to do a road trip to Houston, Texas this time around for a fun weekend of awesome food, cocktails and a trip to the annual Houston Rodeo! What a blast we had! I have to admit I’ve never been to a rodeo before but it was truly impressive watching those cowboys riding bulls and cowgirls racing around the rodeo field.

Rodeo Houston

We even got to see the country star Billy Currington perform live, fireworks and all!

IMG_0990

Another fun experience was the Pedal Party around the Montrose area of Houston – there was 15 of us on this big mobile beer wagon with music, a tour guide, bartenders, lots of beer, and we pedaled our way around this fun neighborhood bar hopping and drinking, eating…and drinking some more…

Pedal Party Bar Hopping Houston TX

..so much fun!!!

Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette

Of course one of my missions on any trip is finding amazing food in each town we visit – and we had plenty of it! We had a truly delicious brunch at Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette – a great place with an outdoor patio and great food!

Executive Chef Travis Renig and Me

I got to meet Executive Chef Travis Lenig which was a delight. We ordered a feast fit for a king and his crew! Lobster Mac & Cheese, Buffalo Mac & Cheese, fresh Gulf oysters, pitchers and pitchers of Mimosas, Bourbon Maple Bacon, Eggs Benedict, Southern Biscuits, Tuna Tartare, Homemade Bacon Jam, Crispy Fish & Chips and were treated to Coconut Cream Pie and Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert, compliments of the house! Click here to check out their awesome menu.

Gosh we are a spoiled crew. And we laughed our heads off with great conversation and autographed the menu (as we always do on our girls trips) for a fun keepsake. Such an awesome restaurant sitting outside on the patio in the sunshine and excellent hospitality and service..highly recommend a visit there if you’re ever in Houston!

Irish Stout Beef Stew

We also decided to cook for St. Patty’s Day at my friend Pam’s house – I made a delicious Irish Stout Beef Stew, (click here for the recipe!)

Dinner on the patio

a lovely fresh salad with greens from her garden, along with some Sourdough bread and red wine (and Guinness Stout!) to accompany…

Butterfinger Pie

with Butterfinger Pie for dessert! O.M.G. How delicious that was with a warm chocolate fudge sauce on top! YOWZA.

Such a great group of girlfriends and it was awesome making new friends too in the friendly state of Texas! Next on the map? The Hamptons in July and Austin in October! Stay tuned!

Check out more fun photos below from the trip! 

Irish Stout Beef Stew

Irish Stout Beef Stew Recipe

1 cup seasoned pan-searing flour
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 pounds boneless chuck beef or sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large onions, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 bottles Irish stout beer (like Guinness)
1 14-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste, mixed with 1/4 cup of water
2 cups baby carrots or large carrot chunks
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into chunks
4-5 turnips, cut into large chunks
¼ cup corn starch or roux thickener and water slurry (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron enamel braising pan or Dutch oven.

Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, dredge with seasoned pan-searing flour and brown in 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add sliced onions to the pan along with another 2 tablespoons of canola oil and saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and saute another minute.

Add Guinness beer and cook with onions for a few minutes, stirring and scraping pan to loosen the brown bits. Add the beef broth and cook for another few minutes.

Return the seared beef to the pot, add the tomato paste mixture, baby carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil.

Cover and place the pot into the oven and let the goods simmer for about an hour. Remove from oven, stir and reduce heat to 300 degrees. At this point, if the stew is not thick enough for your liking, add a slurry of starch or roux thickener mixed with some water (about 1/4 cup) into the stew and stir well throughout. You can also smash a few of the potatoes to thicken it up a little bit.

Add the turnips and place the stew pot back in the oven to braise for another 30 minutes to an hour.

Let the stew cool on top of the stove uncovered for about 15-20 minutes to let it thicken. Serve with Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter with a fresh green salad and a glass of Guinness Stout or red wine.

Serves 6-8.

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Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

This is a delicious, luscious custard pie that is one of my absolute favorite pies to make for the Thanksgiving holiday, and it is really simple to make.

The filling is made with buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and browned butter; it has a creamy consistency similar to pumpkin pie but without the pumpkin. It includes a simple recipe for a buttery homemade pie crust, but you can also use a store-bought frozen crust to save some time and effort (Pillsbury is great). Another option is to make the pie crust with whole wheat or buckwheat flour for a nuttier taste. Throw in a tablespoon of maple syrup and a dash of sea salt to the filling and sprinkle the pie with some large grain sugar to bring out the flavors even more. Then just top it with some bourbon vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and you’ve got yourself a prize for the table..it won’t last long, I promise.

Wishing you a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday…Enjoy 🙂

Make the crust

Roll out the dough

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.

Prick the dough in a pie plate

Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake pie crust until golden brown

Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.

Make the filling

Whisk together the pie filling ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk brown butter into buttermilk mixture.

Pour pie filling into baked pie shell

Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.

Serves 8.

Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Yield: 9

Serving Size: 1 slice

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3-5 tbsp ice cold water
  • For the filling:
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • large grain sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the crust: 
  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (you can add additional ice water if necessary, up to 2 tbsp, 1 at a time); do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.
  5. Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  6. Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.
  7. Make the filling:
  8. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk into buttermilk mixture.
  9. Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/11/18/luscious-brown-sugar-buttermilk-pie-2/

 

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Baby Asparagus, Garlic & Three-Cheese Tart

Baby Asparagus, Garlic & 3-CheeseTart

Whenever the holidays roll around, I love to bake and experiment with luscious pies and savory tarts. Puff pastry is such an easy way to make appetizers fit for a crowd, especially when you buy it pre-made from the grocery store. (I especially like Dufour brand which I get from Whole Foods and Fairway stores in NYC, it’s super flaky and buttery and light.) You simply roll them out on to a floured surface or a non-stick silicone baking mat (try Silpat), score the edges and prick a few holes in it and pre-bake it for about 15 minutes.  Then, you can top it with any sweet or savory topping you like and bake it into a buttery, crispy delightful tart (or cut the pastry into smaller rounds with a biscuit cutter) to feed a crowd for brunch or a holiday appetizer.

Asparagus-Garlic-3Cheese-Tart2

I decided to top this one with some sauteed baby asparagus and garlic with red chile flakes along with three creamy melty cheeses: ricotta, gruyere and parmesan and a hint of lemon zest. All you gotta do is create your masterpiece, pop it in the oven and cut it into squares and you’ve got a crowd-pleaser waiting to happen and a party in your mouth. If you’re not a big asparagus fan, try experimenting with some other veggies: broccoli, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, spinach – whatever you fancy, and play with other cheeses, as long as they are good for melting such as Monterey Jack, Brie, Gorgonzola or Mozzarella. The ricotta base I wouldn’t substitute though – it gives it a creamy layer of flavor and texture that’s just too good to give up and protects the pastry base from getting soggy from the vegetables and cheese. Throw some cooked bacon, ham or prosciutto on it too if you really want to add some savory flavor. And if you want to go the extra mile and make your own pastry dough, go for it – but it takes a lot longer and a little more elbow grease to get it perfect. Happy Holidays!

Baby Asparagus, Garlic & Three-Cheese Tart

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 puff pastry sheet (pre-made frozen or homemade)
  • 1 bunch of baby asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 container ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute asparagus spears with the shallots for about 5-7 minutes until they get soft. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add ricotta, whisked egg, half of the Parmesan cheese, thyme, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper.
  4. Roll out pastry sheet into a 16"x10" rectangle on to a Silpat (silicone baking mat) or parchment paper. Score around the edges 1 inch border and prick the base of the pastry with a fork in several places. Bake the pastry in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before adding toppings.
  5. Spread the ricotta and cheese mixture over the base of the puff pastry evenly. Top with sauteed asparagus, shallots and garlic, laying out asparagus spears in a flat row across the pastry.
  6. Sprinkle over the top the shredded Gruyere cheese and the rest of the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle additional fresh thyme if desired.
  7. Place the tart (on the Silpat or parchment paper base) on a rectangle baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until pastry is crisp and golden brown and the cheese on top is bubbly.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Cut tart into squares and serve.

Notes

Delicious for a holiday brunch or appetizer (you can always cut tart into bite size pieces to feed a crowd). Serve with a crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/24/asparagus-three-cheese-tart/

asparagus-tart3

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A bright, savory Spring chicken dish to celebrate the season

Prosciutto-Sage-Provolone Chicken

I love Spring. There’s nothing better than a dose of gorgeous sunshine, cherry blossoms in bloom, and the tempting promises of Summer on the way. It’s the perfect time of year to throw open the windows, do some Spring cleaning and celebrate new beginnings. I also love the bountiful selection of fresh seasonal herbs and vegetables that come along with it.

cherry blossoms

Asparagus is in its prime now, so I wanted to create a light and savory chicken dish to complement it for an easy, healthy weeknight dinner – a twist on classic Chicken Saltimbocca with the addition of some cheesy goodness and bright lemony flavor.

fresh asparagus

I picked up some fresh lemons, thin chicken breast cutlets at the market along with some Italian Prosciutto, fresh sage and Provolone cheese to stuff them with. To start, I laid out the chicken breasts in a large baking pan and layered the ingredients on top – first a slice of Prosciutto topped with a few sage leaves and thinly sliced cheese. I then folded them over and secured them with toothpicks and seared them in a pan in olive oil to get a nice golden brown crust. Once the chicken breasts were browned, I set them back in the pan, poured the juices on top and finished in the oven for about 15 minutes.

lemons

The best part of this dish is the buttery lemon wine sauce for serving. I sliced up some garlic and sautéed it in olive oil for a minute or two, then added some chicken broth, white wine and let it come to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered it down to reduce the sauce, stirred in some lemon juice, a nob of butter and set the sauce aside for drizzling on the chicken later.

While the chicken was roasting in the oven, I blanched the asparagus for a minute or two and then tossed it with sliced garlic, olive oil and sea salt, roasting it for about 10 minutes or so until tender. So easy and soooo good!

Once the chicken and asparagus were done roasting, I served them on a plate and finished them off with the buttery lemon wine sauce. If you want to add a starch to the meal, simply cook up some orzo, pasta or  some crusty bread to go with it. You can also use Fontina cheese for a slightly different flavor, or to make it a vegetarian dish, omit the prosciutto and substitute some sautéed mushrooms or spinach and prepare the same way. Keep it light with a side salad and a lemony vinaigrette, and serve with a glass of Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris.

Here’s to Spring and the days leading up to Summer – Bon Appetit!

Prosciutto Sage Provolone Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Garlic Asparagus

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 4-6 chicken breast cutlets
  • 4-6 thin slices of Italian Prosciutto
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 4-6 slices of Provolone or Fontina cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced plus 1 clove minced (for sauce)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris)
  • juice from half a lemon, plus 1 tablespoon zest for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • lemon wedges and additional torn sage leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread out the chicken cutlets flat in a large baking dish, and season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Layer on top of each chicken breast a slice of prosciutto, two sage leaves, and a slice of provolone or fontina cheese, then fold over the chicken in half and secure with a toothpick to secure.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high and sauté chicken breasts approximately 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown.
  5. Remove the chicken and juices from pan and place back into the baking dish and roast in the oven for another 15 minutes until cooked through. You might want to baste the chicken in its juices once or twice to make sure the chicken doesn’t dry out in the oven.
  6. Meanwhile, slice 2 cloves of fresh garlic, mince 1 clove and set aside. Trim the ends off the asparagus and blanch in boiling salted water in a large pot for about 1 minute. Drain, place asparagus in a baking dish and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper and sliced garlic. Place in oven and roast for about 10-15 minutes until fork tender and slightly browned (be careful not to overcook or the asparagus will get dark and mushy – aim for tender yet crisp and green).
  7. In the same sauté pan for the chicken, heat another tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the additional clove of minced garlic for about 1 minute until lightly golden and soft. Add the chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. . Let sauce reduce to about half, then add 1 tablespoon of butter, swirling in to finish the sauce.
  8. When chicken and asparagus are done roasting, plate them and top off with the lemon butter wine sauce.
  9. Garnish with lemon wedges, torn sage leaves, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a side of cooked orzo or pasta, crusty bread or a green salad with a lemon vinaigrette and a dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/05/13/a-bright-savory-spring-chicken-dish-to-celebrate-the-season/

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Crazy Good: Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta w/ Pancetta & Garlic

Truffle-Pancetta-3 Cheese-Pasta

I can’t remember the first time I tried anything made with truffles, but now and then I find myself lusting after these delicious things – let me tell you why..

Truffles have an intoxicating scent and flavor that is indescribable, and make any dish the most delicious thing you will ever experience in your lifetime. I’m not even a huge mushroom fan, but truffles somehow induce euphoria every time I taste or smell them. Unfortunately truffles are pricey, and usually reserved for a special occasion or night out but I felt the urge to splurge and make this dish on an ordinary night, just because. I used a White Truffle Oil in this recipe, which is really just an olive oil infused with the essence of the truffle flavor. If you have the budget to buy some real truffles, feel free to shave some of these beauties straight into the dish. Or you can also use a Truffle butter which has pieces of truffle in it in place of the olive oil.

The nutty, savory and buttery truffle flavor goes perfect with the trio of parmesan, sharp cheddar and mascarpone cheese, making a luscious creamy sauce for the pasta. The pancetta gives the pasta a nice smoky flavor with less fat than regular bacon, and the garlic and onion give it another layer of awesome flavor. You could also substitute mushrooms or spinach in place of the pancetta to make this a vegetarian dish. Topped off with some golden brown buttery crumbs then baked to perfection, and you’ve got a truly divine, grown up pasta dish that will blow your Mama’s Mac and Cheese away.

Oh, and be prepared to swoon upon first bite.

————

In a large saucepan, melt 1 tbsp of butter and saute pancetta over medium-high heat until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Sauteed Pancetta

Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for another minute.

Sauteed Onions, Garlic and Red Pepper

Stir in 3 tbsp of butter and let melt, then add flour and stir 1 minute to make a roux (thickener for the cheese sauce). Gradually whisk in 3 1/2 cups of milk and simmer until sauce thickens (stirring often) for 5 minutes, and then remove pan from heat.

Three Cheese Sauce

Whisk in cheddar, mascarpone and parmesan cheeses until smooth, and add a little more milk if the cheese sauce seems too thick. Sprinkle in a dash of nutmeg, a dash of cayenne and a dash of paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and remove from heat.

Crumb Topping

In a medium skillet, melt 4 tbsp of butter over medium-high heat. Add panko breadcrumbs and stir through so that the butter coats all the crumbs, and they turn a light golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Toasted Breadcrumbs

Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh or dried parsley, set aside.

Pasta

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13×9 casserole or glass baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente for 5-8 minutes. Drain the pasta and shock with cold water.

White Truffle Oil

Place pasta into the casserole dish and coat with the truffle oil.

Add Pancetta to the Pasta

Toss in the cooked pancetta…(mmmm!)

Three Cheese sauce

Pour in the cheese sauce…(dreamy!)

Baked to Perfection

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Heaven on a Plate

Let cool for a few minutes, and dig in! (you’ll never be the same).

Crazy Good :: Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta w/ Pancetta & Garlic

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8

This is a luscious cheesy pasta dish made with three cheeses, crispy pancetta and truffle oil. Perfect comfort food for a Winter day. And oh so delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 6 slices of pancetta, chopped
  • 1 c. of onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 2 1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 8-8.8 oz container mascarpone cheese
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Dash of cayenne
  • Dash of sweet paprika
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. japanese panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • 4 tbsp white truffle oil
  • 1 lb. tube pasta (macaroni, penne, rigatoni, or your choice)

Instructions

  1. Make the Cheese Sauce:
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1 tbsp of butter and saute pancetta over medium-high heat until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for another minute.
  4. Stir in 3 tbsp of butter and let melt, then add flour and stir 1 minute to make a roux (thickener for the cheese sauce). Gradually whisk in 3 1/2 cups of milk and simmer until sauce thickens (stirring often) for 5 minutes, and then remove pan from heat.
  5. Whisk in cheddar, mascarpone and parmesan cheeses until smooth, and add a little more milk if the cheese sauce seems too thick. Sprinkle in a dash of nutmeg, a dash of cayenne and a dash of paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and remove from heat.
  6. Make the Crumb Topping:
  7. In a medium skillet, melt 4 tbsp of butter over medium-high heat. Add panko breadcrumbs and stir through so that the butter coats all the crumbs, and they turn a light golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh or dried parsley, set aside.
  9. Make the Truffled Pasta:
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13x9 casserole or glass baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente for 5-8 minutes. Drain the pasta and shock with cold water.
  11. Place pasta into the casserole dish and coat with the truffle oil.
  12. Toss in the cooked pancetta...(mmmm!)
  13. Pour in the cheese sauce...(dreamy!)
  14. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  15. Let cool for a few minutes, and dig in! (you'll never be the same).

Notes

You can also use any pasta you like, but make sure to use something with ridges or curls to catch all the creamy cheesy sauce. Substitute a veggie for the pancetta such as spinach or mushrooms to make this a vegetarian dish.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Pasta Favorites, 2010.

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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/10/25/crazy-good-truffle-oil-pancetta-three-cheese-pasta/

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