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Archive for the ‘Cheese’ Category

I’m so behind with this blog it’s not even funny!

I have a ton of recipes lined up… and now I have to search through my thousands of archives of pictures to find them!! This recipe for Spring Green Risotto was chosen as one of the May recipes by Kimberly from Indulge and Enjoy. I have to say I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of risotto… I had only had it once at a very nice restaurant in England… however it was so bland I had to dump practically an entire container of salt on it! I should have known better… because honestly at this point I think we all know Ina doesn’t make things that don’t taste good!! That said, I did have to modify this recipe a bit… while I’m sure that the mascarpone is delish… it had like an INSANE amount of calories and fat and since I was just cooking this for the 3 of us and not any guests I took the liberty of slimming it down. I’ve posted my modifications in green. And I just have to say that even with my hip slimming modifications this dish was amazing! Creamy, flavorful, and just yummy yummy!! I made it with lemon garlic grilled chicken cutlets… it was fab!!! ¬†Enjoy!!!


Spring Green Risotto

Source: Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Serves: 4 servings for dinner (if you are feeding linebackers) or 6 for appetizers (normal people size ūüôā )

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil * I cut this down to 1 tablespoon and used olive oil cooking spray as needed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter * I cut this out completely
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade * I used the one in a box… I think it was College Inn??
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas * ((SHUDDER)) I hate peas… so I used fresh string beans and cut them in half
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian * I used fat free cream cheese… it was delish!
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

How to pull it all together:

  • Heat the olive oil and butter¬†(I used the 1 tablespoon olive oil and cooking spray) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.
  • Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter.
  • Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.
  • Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.
  • This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends.
  • Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.) ¬†¬†( I blanched the string beans same as the asparagus)
  • When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas¬†(string beans), lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
  • Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone (fat free cream cheese) together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone (cheese) mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.
  • Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

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mac and cheeseSo, if you have not been fortunate enough to visit a Cracker Barrel before, you need to put it on your list of places to go.

I don’t remember the first one I went to… but I know it was down south as there are no Cracker Barrels that I know of on Long Island… where I am…. so sad!

You can shop for quirky, country things… buy those penny candy sticks… find those birthday cards with the almanac of what happened and what things cost the year you were born… and get some wicked good mac & cheese! (The chicken and dumplings are awesome too… FYI).

The results came in from my testers and¬† this is the best mac and cheese recipe so far! ¬†It even beat Ina’s Grown Up Mac & Cheese! GASP! I know! I know! But my fellow Barefoot Bloggers, it’s true… it’s true…. we all liked this one better than Ina’s Grown Up Mac & Cheese! Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

Here is the recipe… I got it from another cookbook that my mother in law sent me… This one called More Super Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur. It’s got some great stuff in it… as you will see in posts to come. I made this as part of a football watching party…. since I don’t watch football I needed something to do… So I cooked! I made this with some honey mustard wings so keep your eyes open for the post on that one!

 

Cracker Barrel Macaroni N’ Cheese

From: More Super Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur

Makes 4-6 side servings

  

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Colby cheese

How to pull it all together:

  • Pre-heat¬†broiler to Hi
  • Cook pasta in 4 cups of boiling water for 8 minutes or until tender; drain off water
  • Melt butter in 10″ skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour and continue whisking until bubbly. Add milk, salt, and black pepper and stir until the milk begins to bubble.
  • Add cheese, and then turn off the heat. Whisk sauce until cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  • Stir in the macaroni, then set skillet under broker for 2-3 minutes, until several browned spots appear on the surface. Remove pan from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Cheese will thicken as it rests.

Note: I didn’t use a skillet as I doubled the recipe for 4 of us for a main meal. I made the sauce in a pot, then mixed the sauce and the macaroni in a baking dish. It worked out fine!

 

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goats-cheese-tartHave you ever done something and been really, truely impressed with yourself?  That is how these tarts will make you feel!  They are so unbelievably easy to make, yet look like they were so involved that Julia Child would have struggled!
Anyway, this was a March selection for Barefoot Bloggers, chosen by Anne of Anne Strawberry. 

This is part of the line up I made for our last weekend in the U.K.¬† We had our friends down for the weekend from London and this was our starter.¬† Good thing they arrived early as we had¬† a rich, heavy menu and it was important to¬†spread the food out¬†so as not to pop by dinnertime!¬† Although the finished product looks so impressive and difficult to make, it couldn’t have been easier.¬† Give a woop woop for frozen puff pastry! WOOP WOOP!¬† Yup… that is the secret.¬† Frozen puff pastry… roll it out… put a bowl on it to make the circle…. run a butter knife lightly to make the border… prick it with a fork.. fill it with stuff… bake it… voila! Done!¬† Pat yourself on the back!

Here is the recipe:

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts

Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Serves: 4 individual tarts

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet) ( I used fresh goat cheese from the Broadstone Farmer’s Market and seasoned myself)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices ( I used a few grape tomatoes on each as the big tomatoes were nasty looking in the store)
  • 3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

How to pull it all together:

  • Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
  • Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
  • Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.raw-pastryuncooked-tartonion-filling

 

 

 

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