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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Smoked Salmon Pasta

I had some leftover smoked salmon and decided to find a pasta recipe to use it in. I came across a recipe for Tortellini with Smoked Salmon Walnut Gorgonzola Cream Sauce. I opted not to use Tortellini but used bow tie pasta instead. While this dish was good, be careful how much of the smoked salmon you use as it can get salty really fast.

Bowtie Pasta With Smoked Salmon Walnut Gorgonzola Cream Sauce (AlaskaSmokehouse.com)

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream1 Tbs. butter

  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts
  • Smoked Salmon (I didn’t measure.. so add as much or as little as you want), drained and crumbled
  • 8 oz. bowtie pasta (cooked)
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish

Preparation:

  1. In a large saute pan, combine 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Bring to a light boil.
  3. Add 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano.
  4. Add 1/2 cup crushed walnuts and 3/4 cup crumbled smoked salmon.
  5. Continue to reduce for 2 to 4 minutes then add 8 ounces cooked bow tie pasta.
  6. Saute until pasta is hot.
  7. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

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Homemade Pasta

Wow.. It’s been 8 months since my last post. Moving to a new house has disrupted my life but with 2011 upon me, I plan to start back up with my cooking blog. I have still been cooking and trying new recipes but not updating. So, lets begin the year with homemade pasta!

I recieved a pasta maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and tried it out for the first time tonight. I suspect that making pasta will be trial and error for awhile but my first attempt was very successful. The only real issue I had was the spaghetti noodles stuck together a bit.

Spaghetti Egg Noodles (Kitchen Aid Pasta Attachment Manual)

Ingredients:

4 large eggs
1-3 tbs water
3.5 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Place eggs, water, flour, and salt in a mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn speed to 2 and mix 30 seconds. Only add as much water as needed for the dough to come together (start with 1 tbs and add more as needed).

Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Divide dough into 4 pieces before processing with the Pasta Roller attachment.

Starting with level 1, roll a pasta. Fold it in half and roll again. Repeat until pasta is very pliable. Then roll once at level 2, then level 3. Now dust with flour and then us the Spaghetti cutter a attachment to cut the pasta. Hang to dry and separate pasta. I found that dusting with generous amounts of flour made it easier to separate the pasta but I need to master this skill more. Hang to dry on a drying rack for 5 minutes.

Cooking in salted boiling water for 2-5 minutes.

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This is a great way to make butternut squash without any heavy creams or cheese. Its a delicious flavor combination!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Garlic, Sage, and Pine Nuts (from Recipe Girl)

3 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeds scooped out & cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup pine nuts
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray lightly with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, toss butternut squash cubes with 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until squash is as tender as desired.
3. While squash is roasting, heat 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil in a small skillet. Add garlic, sage and pine nuts, and sauté until pine nuts are lightly browned. Remove from heat.
4. Scoop butternut squash into a large bowl. Scrape contents from the skillet onto the butternut squash and gently toss. Serve immediately.

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A very tasty and elegant appetizer. I loved the subtle hint of white cheddar in the crust. They are also surprisingly simple to make and can be made ahead and either baked right before or baked earlier and reheated.

Leek and Red Pepper Mini-Quiches (Williams Sonoma)

Ingredients:

For the cheddar pastry:
1/4 lb. white cheddar cheese, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as
needed
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into
pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 3 Tbs. cold water

For the filling:
1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 leek, white portion only, or 2 large shallots, finely
chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into
1/4-inch dice
1/4 lb. dry-aged white cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:
To make the cheddar pastry, in a food processor, pulse the cheese until crumbly. Add the flour and salt and pulse until the cheese is finely crumbled. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fluffy bread crumbs. Drizzle the egg over the mixture and pulse twice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. water over the mixture and pulse until a rough mass forms. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add another 1 Tbs. water.

Place the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a smooth ball. Divide in half. Roll out half the pastry into a large round 1/8 inch thick, pushing the dough outward from the center and rotating it about a quarter turn each time you roll, sprinkling more flour underneath as needed.

Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many pastry rounds as possible and ease them very gently into the cups of a mini-muffin pan. The bottoms should remain rounded and the dough edges flush with the rims. Gather up the scraps, reroll, cut out additional rounds and line additional cups. Repeat with the remaining dough half, working in batches if necessary. You should have a total of 48 lined cups.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

To make the filling, in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and sauté gently, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the bell pepper and cheese. In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until blended, then whisk in the cream, mustard, salt and cayenne. Add the egg mixture to the leek mixture and whisk to combine. Pour 1 Tbs. of the filling into each of the pastry shells, evenly distributing the solids and liquid.

Bake the quiches until they are puffy and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes (the quiches will sink a little as they cool). To loosen them from the muffin cups, run a thin-bladed knife around the sides, then carefully lift the quiches out of the cups. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Makes 48 warm bites.

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Spanakopita

Need a quick appetizer? Well, this probably isn’t it! However, using the puff pasty is a great time saving trick and the result tastes very good.

Puff Pastry (Cheater’s) Spanakopita (From Elly Says Opa)

Makes 18 spanakopita triangles

a little olive oil
1/2 cup sliced leeks or about 1/4 cup diced onion
fresh dill, to taste
fresh parsley, to taste (you can tell this recipe is very technical)
1/2 lb. fresh spinach (right around 1 bunch)
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, divided
salt and pepper
1 box (2 sheets) puff pastry dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large skillet, heat a little bit of olive oil until shimmering. Add the leeks or onions and saute until tender. Stir in the spinach and then turn off the heat. The spinach will start to wilt down, but not much.

Meanwhile, roll the puff pastry dough into a square, making it slightly thinner and then cut each sheet into 9 equal squares by making 2 horizontal cuts and 2 vertical cuts.

To the spinach mixture (you can move it to a bowl if you like), add the feta, parsley, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Beat one egg and add that into the mixture.

Spoon about 1-2 Tbsp. of the spinach mixture in each puff pastry square. Brush the sides of the square with a little water and then being 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle. Press with your fingers to seal. Place on a baking sheet. Beat the second egg and then brush the tops of the triangles with the egg. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden.

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Sorry for the poor picture, but the dip does taste better than it looks there. You can make this dip the day before your party and pop it in the oven just before. Serve it with some crusty french bread.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip (Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations)

Ingredients
½ sweet yellow onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 10 oz box frozen spinach
2 cans artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped
2 packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
Few pinches of red pepper flakes
Salt

Directions
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil and set aside
Cook spinach according to package directions; drain.
Mix spinach, onion, and garlic in large bowl.
Add cream cheese; mix
Add mayonnaise, sour cream, cheeses, red pepper flakes, and salt. Mix well.
Add artichoke hearts; mix; transfer to a baking dish
Top with some cheese.
Either store in fridge until ready to bake or bake on 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.

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Chicken Marsala

A very simple delicious chicken dish that you can make on any night after work. It really doesn’t take that much time at all.

Chicken Marsala (What’s Cooking Chicago)

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced (I used bacon since thats what I had on hand)
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, stemmed and halved
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (skipped)

Directions:
Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them; pound with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.

Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don’t fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Now, add the mushrooms and saute until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

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