Thursday, December 29, 2011

Garlic Cheese Bread

This bread is so good, being slathered in garlic butter and baked until the cheese is melted. To give it color and an extra crispy texture, broil the top.
 
 

Garlic Cheese Bread

1 loaf french bread, split in half
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon parsley {fresh}, chopped
1/2 green onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
mozzarella cheese
provolone cheese
parmesan cheese
red pepper flakes



  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, mix the butter, parsley, green onion, garlic and salt together.
  • Spread the mixture on top of the bread halves.
  • Top with the cheeses evenly and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
  • Bake for 7 minutes and broil for 2-3 minutes.


Ashley

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

So of course after our weekend in Colorado, we brought home some leftover Christmas dinner... fried turkey {injected with jalapeno butter}, honey baked ham, twice baked potatoes, praline sweet potatoes, creamed corn with garlic and brussel sprouts. It was more than amazing! Dianne is such a great cook, I love to learn from her.


We have a ton of left over ham so I've decided to use it for grilled ham and cheese sandwiches {with horseradish and dijon mustard}, muenster being the cheese. I was trying to figure out what to serve with the sandwiches and nothing goes better with grilled cheese than soup. The basis for this recipe looked interesting, I've made tomato soup before but it's never been as good as I had hoped. The addition of roasted red peppers really makes it taste great. Plus, it's got red pepper flakes for some heat!



Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

9-10 vine ripened tomatoes
2 red peppers, roasted
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons onion
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon basil
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Score the tops of the tomatoes and blanch them in boiling water for about 20 seconds, or until you can remove the skins. Put them into an ice bath and peel and remove the seeds.
  • Combine the roasted red peppers, olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic {sliced} and let marinate.
  • In a pot over medium-high heat, add some of the olive oil from the red peppers and butter. Saute the onions until translucent, add the remaining cloves of garlic {chopped} and cook until softened.
  • Add the tomatoes, red pepper mixture, basil, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar and chicken stock and cook until softened, about 30 minutes.
  • Once softened, put the mixture in a blender {I used our awesome Blendtec} and blend until pureed.


Ashley

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Oh what a wonderful day, I can't say that it's my favorite but I do love it! I love the aspects of giving and the joy that I feel when I get that "I love it" reaction, it's very gratifying to know that I've given something to someone that they will love.


I'm such a lucky girl, I received some great gifts from Tim and his family! I got a french rolling pin, 3 attachments for my Kitchen Aid {shredder and slicer, grinder and fruit and vegetable strainer}, and some assorted holiday soaps and candles from Bath and Body Works. Tim got me an awesome green Marmot rain jacket for hiking, and I also received an extremely comfy black zip-up jacket. Pine nuts were also in my "stocking"... those things are so damn expensive, so I'm happy about that.


For breakfast, I made a danish braid filled with apricot-rum pastry cream and topped it with sugar and almonds. It was delicious!


I also made triple-chocolate biscotti with hazelnuts... yum!


Ashley

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pastry Cream

This is such a great component for many things, you can use this cream to fill eclairs, or even make advanced creams. In a way, it's like a mother sauce... but for baking. Crème Anglaise is also very similar in this respect. 

 



Pastry Cream
Recipe from Advanced Bread and Pastry

276 g whole milk
19 g cornstarch
68 g sugar
55 g egg yolks
33 g butter
2 g vanilla extract




  • Make a slurry with a little bit of the milk and cornstarch.
  • In a pot over high heat, combine the sugar and remaining milk and bring to a boil.
  • While the milk-sugar mixture is cooking, mix the egg yolks into the slurry and strain through a chinois.
  • Once the milk-sugar mixture is done, slowly pour it into the egg-slurry mixture and whisk quickly. Pour back into the pot and cook until it thickens, making sure to whisk rapidly.
  • Once the mixture is done, pour into a bowl and place in an ice bath. Add in the butter and vanilla and whisk until cooled.


Ashley

Danish Pastry Dough

So while I was in my baking class, we made cute little danishes. We ended up using a pre-made frozen dough, it was fast and easy. Since I have time though, I decided I wanted to try my hand at making the danish dough so that I can get used to it. I've made croissants before, which is very similar because you're laminating the dough... I found that this time around I'm having an easier time.


Danish Pastry Dough
Recipe from Essentials of Baking {William-Sonoma}

5 teaspoons active-dry yeast
90 g sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
60 g butter, melted
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
545 g all-purpose flour

Butter Package:

250 g butter
45 g all-purpose flour

  • In a small bowl, dissolve that yeast, a pinch of the sugar and the water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl using the paddle attachment, add the sugar, salt, butter, eggs, milk and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined.
  • Add the yeast mixture and then add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix just until the dough clings together in a rough mass. {If it's still very soft, add up to 1/4 cup of extra flour}.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Place on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes.
  • To make the butter package, using a rolling pin or heel of your hand, beat or knead the butter on a work surface to flatten it and warm it to about 60 degrees.
  • Sprinkle the butter with the flour and gently beat the butter with the rolling pint to press the flour into the butter. Shape the butter into an 8x7 inch rectangle. If the butter had become too warm, wrap and refrigerate just until firm but still pliable.
  • To laminate the dough, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 10x16 inch rectangle. With a short side facing you, place the butter on the lower half, leaving a 1 inch border on all sides. Fold over the upper half to cover the butter and press the edges together to seal. Then, with a folded side to your left, roll out the dough into a 12x20 inch rectangle. With a short side facing you, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if you're folding a letter. This completes the first turn. Return to the pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Return the chilled dough to the lightly floured work surface with a folded side to your left and repeat the process to make 3 more turns, rolling, folding and chilling the dough each time. You will end up doing this 4 times total. After the final turn, refrigerate the dough for at least 1 1/2 hours or for up to overnight before shaping.


Here are some of the various shapes that you can form from the dough, we learned how to do them in class. I'm not going to bake them yet though, they are just going into the freezer for a morning that I want little pastries.


Ashley

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pumpkin Gingerbread Biscotti


Biscotti is one of those cookies that I've become very fond of. I wouldn't say I love to bake cookies all the time but I really enjoy biscotti. The flavors in this biscotti just makes me think of the holidays, which is why I made them! I'm hoping they will still be around so that I can take them to Timmy's parents house over the weekend. We are going to be spending Christmas at their house {I have Saturday-Monday off}. They would be so good dipped in coffee or tea!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Biscotti
Recipe adapted from The Comfort of Cooking

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger {freshly grated}
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • In a mixing bowl using the whisk attachment, beat the egg, sugar and baking powder until the mixture turns a pale yellow and falls back in ribbons on itself when you lift out the whisk.
  • Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt and vanilla. Continue mixibg, aerating the mixture.
  • Sift the flour and fold it in with a spatula.
  • Shape the dough into a flat log about 3x8 inches using wet fingertips. Sprinkle the top and sides evenly with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake for 40 minute. Remove from the oven, turn the oven down to 300 degrees. Slice into 1/2″ slices, place them back on the baking sheet and bake another 30 minutes, flipping them half-way through.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack.


Ashley

Lasagne Alla Bolognese

So we just finished class last Thursday and although I'm very thankful that I learned a ton of new culinary tricks and tips from the semester... I'm super relieved to have a break! This break is just going to allow me to unwind and hopefully cook even more food since I'll have time.


I found this recipe a couple of months ago when I was browsing  The Cooking Channel website. A couple that hosts a show called Extra Virgin has many Tuscan inspired recipes and this was one of them that really interested me. I have a love for bolognese, perhaps it's because of the wine... either way, it's one of my favorite sauces to cook and eat!


I made the bolognese on Sunday and let me just tell you, the flavors have melded together and it tastes even better!

 




Lasagne Alla Bolognese
Recipe adapted from Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar

butter, for the pan
fresh pasta
bolognese sauce {recipe below}
besciamella {recipe below}
3/4 cup parmesan





  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Roll the pasta dough into sheets and cut to the size of the pan you're using.
  • Butter a baking pan well and add a very thin layer of bolognese sauce.
  • Add the first layer of noodles, cover with bolognese sauce, 3 ladles of besciamella, and a generous sprinkle of parmesan. Repeat the same process until you reach the top of the dish.
  • When done layering the ingredients, top the lasagna with a final ladle of meat sauce, some besciamella and finish with some parmesan.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes.
  • When the lasagna is cooked, give it a nice crisp top by broiling it for about 3 minutes.



Bolognese Sauce:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2
onion, chopped
2
carrots, chopped
2
celery stalks, chopped
3 strips of bacon, chopped

1/2
tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 cup
parsley {fresh}, chopped
1 1/2
lb ground beef
1 lb
ground pork
3/4
cup red wine
43 oz
diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4
cup whole milk


  • In a dutch oven, saute the onion, carrots and celery until softened. Add the bacon and cook over medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add the meat and cook until browned. Add the red pepper flakes and parsley, cook for about a minute. 
  • Add the wine, diced tomatoes and sauce and stir well. 
  • Season generously with salt and pepper, lower the heat to medium and cook for about 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. 
  • Finish the sauce by adding the milk, stir well and set aside to cool off.




Besciamella:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups whole milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste


  • In a pot over medium heat melt the butter. Add the flour and cook until it browns lightly.
  • Warm up the milk and gradually pour it into the pot, whisking constantly while bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Season the sauce with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. 


Enjoy!


Ashley

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Salmon Salad

This is a great way to use salmon. I love the marinade that is used, It would be even better with some passion fruit added to it. Sadly it's not as easy to come by unless you order it online. I've thought about doing this!


Salmon Salad

4-6 salmon fillets, deboned

Marinade:
 
4-6 tablespoons orange juice
salt and white pepper
blackened red fish seasoning
citrus grill seasoning

1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons dill weed {fresh}, chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the salmon on a baking pan and pour orange juice over each fillet. Season with the salt and pepper and the blackened red fish and citrus grill seasonings.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, or until the salmon is flaking. Once it's done, separate the salmon from it's skin and place in a bowl.
  • Break up the salmon and let cool down.
  • Add in the remainder of the ingredients and mix well.

Condiments:

bread
mayonnaise
tomato, sliced
alfalfa, broccoli or daikon sprouts
feta
lettuce

  • To assemble each sandwich, take a piece of bread and spread some mayonnaise on it, layer with the salad, tomato, sprouts, feta and top with lettuce.

I've got another suggestion for this salmon, take the fillets and leave them as is. Take your bread and toast it, spread hummus over it and add cucumbers, tomato, onion, feta and greek dressing. It's such a great sandwich, one of my favorites that I used to make at work when I lived in Florida.


Ashley

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rosemary and Thyme Chicken


This week has been quite fun, we had our two-day practical on Tuesday and Wednesday and today we thoroughly cleaned the kitchen for almost 6 hours. The practicals went pretty well. Tuesday was a little bit more intense because we had to do our knife cuts, butcher a chicken and fish and make a mother sauce, salad dressing or mayonnaise and soup. Thankfully, I finished everything right before the end.

Wednesday was so much more relaxing since we had already cut our proteins. It was all about the "plating" techniques. I made a plain risotto and topped it with trout en papilloute {compound butter and dill}. I sauced my fish with a vin blanc {fish veloute with wine and cream} and my vegetable was roasted asparagus spears. A-rad took pictures of everyone's plate so maybe eventually I'll post it. The only thing is that my plate was really lacking in color, I need to work on that!


Anyway, we haven't brought in our thyme and rosemary in from the cold yet, but it doesn't seem to be hurting them at all. The only difference I've noticed with our thyme is that it's starting to change colors. It's taken on a very pretty dark green-purple color.




Lemon-Herb Chicken
Adapted from Fare to Remember

4-6 chicken thighs
olive oil
salt, seasoning for chicken
1-2 tablespoons red onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 sprigs of thyme
4 springs of rosemary
2 lemons, quartered




  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Rub each chicken thigh with olive oil and season with salt.
  • In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, caramelize the onion and garlic. Remove from the pot.
  • Turn the heat up to high and place the chicken in skin-side down, sear for about 7-8 minutes. Remove from the pot.
  • Remove the dutch oven from the heat and add the onion-garlic mixture in a layer over the bottom, add a layer of the fresh herbs and then place the chicken thighs skin-side up. Add another layer of the herbs and sprinkle the juice of the lemons on top {add the quarters to the chicken as well}. 
  • Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the thighs are cooked thoroughly.


I served this with french green beans {haricots verts, my favorite}.

Enjoy!


Ashley

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oat Cakes with Honey Butter

I'm ecstatic that I was given this recipe. Mr. A-rad, a fellow culinary student and blogger {The Crying Cook} made these for our Skills class during one of our breakfast days and they were a hit. I knew that if I made these for Tim that he would love them and I was right! I also put bananas in the oat cakes to add another depth of flavor.

 



Oat Cakes
Recipe Courtesy of Aaron Ballard

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted




  • Combine the oats and buttermilk in a large bowl and put in a cool place to soak overnight.
  • Sift the flour, sugar and baking soda together into another bowl. Stir in the oat mixture, eggs and melted butter and beat until thoroughly combined.
  • Heat a griddle or skillet and brush with oil or melted butter. Measure a 1/4 cup of the mixture and evenly distribute it on the cooking surface.
  • Cook each side until golden brown. Serve Immediately or place in an oven at 200 degrees to keep warm.
  • Serve with honey butter {recipe below}.

Honey Butter

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey

  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and honey together until a syrup forms. Stir until combined. 



Ashley

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce {with chuck roast}

Yay, I'm back!

I've been super busy this last week with catching up on school assignments... nothing I love more! Lol. Anyway, a couple of months ago, I made a more traditional spaghetti sauce, but this is the one I usually make. We love the flavor that the chuck roast adds. It's also super easy because you can just let it cook while you're keeping yourself busy with your everyday activities!

Spaghetti Sauce {with chuck roast}

1 lb chuck roast
6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
salt and pepper, for seasoning the meat
6 cups stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 1/2 tablespoons basil
sugar, to taste

  • Season the roast and put into a crock-pot. Cover the top with the garlic and cook until the meat falls apart easily. Pick off any fat that remains.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients {except sugar} and stir until combined.
  • Cook until the sauce has thickened, add in the sugar, if needed.


Since this week is a bit topsy turvy for me, I also made one of Timmy's favorite meals, pork tenderloin chops with mushroom sauce! He came home and seemed so excited about it... most likely because I was posting pictures of it on his Facebook. Hehe.


Ashley