Monday, April 14, 2014

Sauteed Asparagus and Roasted Tomatoes with Bow Tie Pasta

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You will need:

2 Pints of Cherry Tomatoes
2 bunches of Asparagus
1 lb (box) of Bow Tie Pasta (or your favorite)
Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary
3 Cloves of Chopped  Garlic
Grated (or Shredded) Parmesan Cheese
Olive Oil
2 Tbsps. Unsalted Butter
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Prepare Pasta ahead of time: Boil pasta according to directions (al-dente is preferred). Add salt to water prior to full boil. Drain and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and and unsalted butter. Gently stir and set aside.

Finely chop garlic and set aside. Chop asparagus into "tip" sizes (see photo) and set aside. Chop thyme and rosemary and set aside.

Take a cookie sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Slice cherry tomatoes (length-wise) with a sharp knife (filet knife can be used) and place cut side up on foil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the cut tomatoes. Sprinkle herbs on top, then the garlic. Generously coat all the tomatoes with italian breadcrumbs and place in a 350 degree oven for approximately 12-15 minutes (or 8-10 minutes on low broil). While the tomatoes are cooking, saute the asparagus.

Place a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan (I use cast iron) and turn on medium-high heat. Once heated, add the asparagus tips and season with salt and pepper. Continue stirring asparagus (with a wooden spoon) for approximately 5-7 minutes and remove from heat.

Remove tomatoes from oven.

Putting it all together:

Scoop out desired amount of pasta into dish. With a spatula, scoop up the tomatoes and slide onto the pasta. Take the asparagus and place on top of that. Sprinkle with shredded (or grated) parmesan cheese and top off with a little more salt and pepper.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vanilla Granola















3 Cups Old Fashioned Oats (not instant)
2 Cups Rice Krispies
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Packed Light Brown Sugar
4 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
Pinch Salt


Combine Oats and Rice Krispies in a large bowl. In smaller bowl, combine maple syrup, brown sugar, oil and extract with a whisk. Pour over oat mixture and gently fold with rubber spatula until thoroughly coated. Press down into an air-bake cookie sheet or jelly roll pan (I use a piece of wax paper and press down with the palm of my hand) and bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes. Allow to cool before breaking apart. Store in air tight container.

Variations: You can coconut, nuts or dried fruit if desired. This recipe is an all-around good one for yogurt toppers or just to snack on! The added rice krispies really give this an added crunch!

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Maple Mousse Pie

















This mousse pie is made with Grade A Dark Amber pure maple syrup, topped with Caramal Maple Syrup on a chopped pecan graham cracker crust.

Pecan Graham Cracker Crust:

1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Pecans
1/2 Cup Crushed Nilla Wafers
1 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
5 Tbsps. Salted Butter

Blend pecans and crumbs together in a bowl. Melt butter and pour over mixture. Combine with fork until butter is incorporated and press into a 10" round springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Mousse:

1 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
4 Large Egg Yolks
1 Packet of unflavored gelatin
1-1/2 Cups of Whipping Cream

Bring maple syrup to a light boil and remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little of warmed maple syrup into egg mixture (to temper). Then slowly add (with whisk) egg mixture into maple syrup.

Next, measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top - let rest for 5 minutes. Heat this mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds and stir until all gelatin is dissolved. Whisk into syrup mixture and set aside for approximately 1 hour (stirring occasionally) until it sets and has the consistency of a raw egg.

Whip the remaining whipping cream and fold in syrup mixture just until blended and pout into spring form pan. Place into freezer (NOT the fridge) for at last 1-2 hours before cutting. The fluffiness of this mousse is the best consistency when frozen and provides a very creamy texture to this pie!

Caramel Maple Syrup:
1/4 Cup unwrapped caramels
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Place unwrapped caramels and syrup into bowl and microwave for 30 seconds and whisk. Repeat this step until the caramels are completed melted. Allow to COMPLETELY cool. Use a spoon to drizzle on top of Mousse and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rotisserie Chicken w/Orzo

If you're looking for a new idea on rotisserie chicken, I've come up with a nice dish with either a store-purchased rotisserie chicken or make your own!






1 2-2.5 lb Rotisserie Chicken (I use honey glazed store bought, but you can use Bourbon too or make your own).
2 Cups cooked Orzo
1 Bunch Fresh Parsley
1/2 Tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Oregano
1/2 Tsp. Celery Seed
1 Cup Chicken Stock
Fresh cracked pepper (to taste)

Directions:

Cook orzo according to directions, drain, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, gently toss and set aside.

Peel skin from chicken and set aside. Cut chicken into bite-sized strips (or chunks) and place in a bowl. Then cut up skin into very small pieces with a chef's knife and place in small bowl.

Heat up large skillet on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add chicken pieces and saute for a couple minutes stirring occasionally.  Add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil if needed. Add onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed and pepper. Saute for another minute or so and then add the chicken stock. Add the orzo and mix together with chicken. Add the cut up chicken skin (this adds NICE flavor to this dish!) Cook a few more minutes and then add the fresh parsley (about a cup).

Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter on top and gently stir into mixture.


If you want some texture, add in cashews or pine nuts 2 minutes before removing from heat.
Bon Appetite!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Apple Crisp Bars with Whipped Caramel Topping



















You will need:

1 1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Quick Oats
1 1/3 Cups All Purpose flour
1 Tsp. Salt
3/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
12 Tbsps. Softened Butter (unsalted)
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Chopped (Fuji) Apples (recipe follows)
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp. Ground Cloves

CRUST:
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Old Fashioned Quick Oats
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter
1 Tsp. Cinnamon

TOPPING:
1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Prepared Caramel
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Options: Add in 1/4 Cup of Chopped Dried Cranberries and/or Chopped Roasted Walnuts for added texture and taste variations.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 13"x9" glass baking dish and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time until blended. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture (flour, oats, salt, baking soda and spices) and blend until combined. Fold in chopped apple mixture.

Chopped Apple Mixture:

Take chopped apples and place into small pan with 1 Tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add 1/2 Tsp. of apple pie spice and gently stir over heat for approximately 5-7 minutes and allow to cool for a few minutes. This softens up the apples which produces the perfect texture when added to mix.

With spatula, fold mixture together and spread evenly in baking dish and then spread crust mixture on top.

Crust Mixture:

Add all ingredients (except butter) and mix together until blended. Chop cold butter into chunks and cut into dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture (or place in food processor and pulse until crumble consistency).

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top - mixture will have a cake-like texture when cut.

Top with Whipped Caramel Topping.

Place whipping cream in medium sized mixing bowl and blend at medium speed until it start to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla. Continue blending and add caramel and continue blending until desired consistency.

Chef's Note: This recipe will remind you of an apple crisp, but in a cake-like form with the added crunch topping and the fresh caramel whipped topping signifies this upscale dessert! Bon Appetite!




Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mousse Filled Brownie Bites

Brownie Batter

You will need:
1/3 Cup of Unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup of Shortening
      (or 2/3 Cup of either)
1-1/2 Cups of Packed Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. of Strong Coffee
2 Eggs
1-1/2 Cups of Flour
1/3 Cup of Hershey's Cocoa
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda

Beat shortening (and/or butter), brown sugar, water and vanilla in mixing bowl (by hand or beaters) until blended. Add eggs and blend well.

Butter vs. Shortening:


In my recipe, I use both butter and shortening because the shortening brings fluffliness to the cookie while the butter adds the flavor that compliments the chocolate! If you want a lighter version of this, just use shortening.

In separate bowl, Stir together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Gradually add to sugar mixture by hand or low speed with hand beater. Chill in refridgerator for about 20-30 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse
You will need:
1-1/2 Cups of Heavy Cream
5 oz. of Semi-sweet Bakers Chocolate pieces
4 Egg Whites (medium-large sized eggs)
2 Tbsps. Sugar
Mini Chocolate Chips

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a near boil (stirring frequently) and turn off heat. Add Chocolate pieces to hot mixture and blend well with a whisk. Cover and place in fridge until cold. In the meantime, take

4 eggs whites and beat with mixer (on high) until soft peaks form. Add 2 Tbsps. sugar and continue mixing on high until stiff. Take Chocolate mixture from fridge and fold into (with a spatula) the egg white mixture gently until thoroughly incorporated. Cover and place in fridge.

Take a mini muffin pan sheet and fill each one with brownie batter to about 3/4 full (ungreased) and push your thumb in the middle to create a "cup" (this will allow it cook thoroughly) and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and remove from muffin pan.

Take a thin sharp knife and begin cutting a hole in the center of each muffin - you can use a small spoon to dig out the center. Remove the Mousse from the fridge and place mixture in a piping bag (or a large ziplock type bag and cut a small piece off the corner) and pipe Mousse into center of each brownie muffin. Top off with mini chocolate chips!

Bon Appetite!

Ultimate Italian Grilled Cibatta Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients:

Cibatta Bread (sliced)
Fresh Mozzarella
Provolone Cheese (sliced thick)
Proscuitto
Sliced Tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese
Asiago Cheese
Pesto (recipe follows)
Roasted Garlic

Lightly butter one side of the sliced Ciabatta bread. Grate about 1 cup of cheeses and blend together (Asiago & Parmesan) and sprinkle on top of buttered slices and pat down lightly. Turn bread slices over on a sheet of wax paper and spread slices with Pesto.

Pesto Recipe:

1 Cup of Fresh Basil
1/4 Cup of Pine Nuts
1/2 Cup of Parmesan & Asiago Cheese
1/2 Bulb of Roasted Garlic
1/4 Cup of Olive
Salt & Pepper
Using a food processor, add Basil, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese. Blend until finely chopped. Add Garlic, S&P. With Processor on, slowly add olive oil until it becomes a spreadable consistency.

Begin layering the provolone cheese, then the prosciutto (you may opt to place prosciutto on cookie sheet and bake for a few minutes to "crisp" up before assembling), then thickly sliced fresh mozzarella, the sliced tomato and one more slice of provolone cheese.

Place the other half of the prepared bread on top (cheese side up). Place sandwiches in medium heated pan and fry until golden brown - pressing the sandwiches down when turning over.

(Optional) - You may finely chop sundried tomatoes and add them to the Pesto and eliminate the tomato

Bon Appetite!