Posts Tagged ‘Parmesan’

Spring has sprung! Actually, we’ve moved into bizarro summer. Did it really hit 90 degrees in New York in April?! But no matter, the sun is shinning, the daffodils are blooming and I saw not one, not two, but three wild turkeys roaming the streets of Englewood NJ. Who knew there are wild turkeys in suburbia!

Now that it is so gorgeous out, it is definitely time to start switching up recipes. I was waiting on line at Whole Foods and I saw the new Bon Appetit and I decided to buy it. I flipped through, bookmarked some pretty looking pages and then I saw a photo of this dish. Wow, I thought, that looks perfect for spring. But I didn’t see the recipe. So I read the caption and it instructed me to check out the recipe on the Bon Appetit website. Nyeh! Bon Appetit, you are a dying media and you already give away content for free on your website (not that I’m complaining). I paid for the magazine, so take advantage! Don’t direct me to your free website!

Anyway, the dish is delicious, no matter where the recipe came from. It feels spring-y and healthy, but also creamy and satisfying. I had several chunks of Parmesan in the fridge, so I took the leap and grated it myself in the food processor. Delicious, but we only have the blade attachment, so the food processor was not thrilled with the giant hunks of cheese I tossed in. Lesson learned, definitely cut the cheese into small (2 inch square or less) chunks. But I of course have to make things more complicated than necessary. Store bought grated is more than fine and all together this is a great weeknight meal. It comes together very quickly and easily and it is very, very tasty.



Read Full Post »

Chicken Caesar Salad

Finally a use for the salad tongs I bought the Resident Frenchman ages ago. They are clearly too big for our bowl, anyone want to donate a large wooden salad bowl to us?

When I saw this recipe in Fine Cooking this month, I thought it would be perfect for this weather – much lighter than the dense food we’ve been eating all winter. Plus it looked super good. But, this recipe wasn’t just good, it was amazing. It was difficult not to eat all the croutons before they made it into the salad and lick the dressing bowl clean (okay, maybe I did do that). Seriously, I know this recipe looks a little involved, but it is surprisingly simple and the results are delicious. I’ve never made my own croutons before and it was well worth it, they tasted fresh and perfectly crunchy. And the dressing…well, I want to marry this dressing. Mmm…thick, flavorful, perfect.

To speed up the cooking of the chicken in the salad, I pounded the chicken into paillards. Paillards literally means flattened meat in French. They are what you would use in chicken piccata. Paillards are a great – they cook up extremely quickly, which is nice when you are short on time. You can buy them at the grocery store, but they are extremely easy to do on your own, especially when you have a meat mallet and some frustrations to work out. In case my directions and photos are not enlightening, Martha, of course, has a slide show on how to make them. Oh Martha, I love you even though you might run me over if I was in your way.

Pre pounded Post pounded

A few notes: Fine Cooking recommends grating your own cheese. I’m sure that is amazing, but store bought grated is just fine, as long as it is decent quality (i.e. not Kraft). Try to find more coarsely grated cheese to add texture to the salad and dressing. If you do grate your own cheese, use the food processor. Don’t skip the anchovies. They may look gross, but they give the dressing the classic Caesar flavor and don’t add fishiness. Finally, the dressing has a raw egg yolk in it. I buy organic, cage free eggs and we go through them regularly. The Salmonella rate for eggs is extremely small (0.005% to be exact). If you buy quality fresh eggs, a raw yolk will mostly likely not make you ill. If you disagree, then coddle the egg by placing a room temperature egg in its shell in boiling water for 45 seconds to slightly cook it.


Read Full Post »

Besides my new love of puff pastry, I am also in love with wonton wrappers. Oh, I still dream of making my own pasta using the Kitchen Aid attachment, but until that day comes, wonton wrappers are an excellent compromise. They are easy to work with and they make wonderful ravioli. So when I saw this delicious looking recipe (the original includes a recipe for homemade ravioli), I thought, wonton wrappers!

The original recipe is vegetarian and does not include lamb. I was going to make it that way too after convincing the Resident Frenchman that we could eat vegetarian for the night and probably survive, but then! Then I fell into a Ziploc commercial. A few weeks ago, I bought some ground lamb and froze a half pound of it. Instead of just tossing it into the freezer, I carefully labeled the bag with the date and that it was a half pound of lamb. So when I opened the freezer, I saw the bag staring at me, saying use me because I am perfectly labeled! I think I remember a Ziploc commercial like this. I was powerless to resist the labeled bag and so lamb went into the ravioli. It was a great addition – it went really well with the artichokes and added a lot of flavor to the dish.

The original recipe also called for frozen artichokes, which I could not find at neither Pathmark nor Whole Foods. Which made me wonder, where exactly are these sold? I substituted two jars of artichokes, which worked well, but I imagine the frozen ones are probably cheaper. So I am going to keep looking, maybe Trader Joe’s has them? Either way, artichokes are delicious and I really need to incorporate them more into my cooking.

The dish tasted absolutely delicious and is long gone as of this posting. Which is really sad because now I am dying for some more after writing all this!


Read Full Post »

Pasta Carbonara

There is a lot of discussion as to what is a true carbonara. Personally, I do not have a strong opinion on this, but the Internets tell me there are plenty of people who do. I am not committing the cardinal sin of using cream but I’m sure my use of bacon instead of pancetta will bother purists. But this is not a classic Italian food blog, it is a good food blog and this is good. Fantastic really. If you like bacon, then this is the recipe for you. The onions taste like bacon, the pasta tastes like bacon and oh, there is a pound of bacon mixed in. If you are going to go this far with bacon, you might as well as go really far. The alternate name for this recipe is Bacon Pasta. So if you are a vegetarian or are kosher, I’m sorry.

A few notes:

  • This is not a low calorie recipe.  Do not purchase center cut bacon or a similarly low fat bacon.  You need the bacon to render a good amount here and center cut is not going to cut it (heh).
  • I used homemade chicken stock for this once.  It was out of this world.  It adds a tremendous depth and richness.  So beware, once you go homemade, it is hard to go back.
  • Make sure you shred the Parmesan or purchase shredded Parmesan. Do not grate.  Shredded melts and melds better.
  • This uses raw eggs. They are cooked by the warm pasta and onion/bacon mixture and they are safe for eating. But if you are squeamish about this, then this is not the recipe for you.

I know I say this all the time, but this is so good. Ridiculously good. Bacon+pasta+Parmesan=delicious. Make it!


Read Full Post »

This. Is The. Perfect. Potatoes. Au. Gratin. Recipe. Perfect, perfect, perfect. It tastes like the au gratin you always wanted to make, but somehow always fell short. The cheese combination is wonderful, the potatoes taste creamy, but not dense and heavy and the secret ingredient of chicken broth gives everything a wonderful flavor. Perfect.

However, part of the perfection of this recipe using a mandolin. Thinly, evenly sliced potatoes are a must for au gratins and my knife skills are really subpar. I debated whether I should buy one for awhile because, frankly, they make me nervous. I am constantly burning or cutting myself as it is, so did I really want to step it up to a potentially really dangerous item? The answer is yes, as the mandolin made potato slicing a dream. So thin! So precise! And somehow, not very dangerous. I made the decision to just give up on the very ends of the potatoes and not try to slice every single bit and this probably saved my poor fingers.

There is a tremendous range on mandolins and some are truly, astoundingly expensive. I bought this one, because seemed like a good compromise between insane and too cheap. At the Williams Sonoma Outlet it was significantly less money.

But enough about mandolins, back to the important thing here: the recipe. Russets are a must here, do not substitute Yukon golds or red potatoes, as they are not starchy enough for a solid gratin. And don’t rinse the potatoes, that rinses off the starch! I’ve never made anything from America’s Test Kitchen and now I can’t wait to make as many recipes from them as possible. I love the little articles that accompany the recipes about what they tried and what didn’t work. It is like Recipe Thunderdome, dozens of recipes enter, only one leaves. And this recipe is a definite winner. (Cheesy, I know. But it had do be done).


Read Full Post »