Tag Archives: cheese

Mini Macaroni and Cheese alla Italiana

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Mini Macaroni and Cheese alla Italiana

Makes 6 Ramekins (4 ½ inch variety)

 

I heard this recipe on NPR—it’s that of the beautiful Nigella Lawson-and I thought that it would go beautifully as part of one of my catered dinners. So, thanks go to NPR and Nigella. Everyone loved this dish as I also did.  And I think you also will. It’s a delicious twist on our ole’ Mac & Cheese.

 

Ingredients:

  1. Butter spray for the ramekins
  2. 1 C. grated Gruyere
  3. 1 Tblsp. cornstarch
  4. 4 oz. fresh mozzarella (not buffalo) chopped
  5. 8 ounces pennette, or chifferi or elbow macaroni (I found some small pasta made by De Cecco—but Barillo also makes some)
  6. Salt for the pasta water
  7. 1/4 C. white vermouth or wine
  8. 1 ¼ C. chicken broth
  9. 1/4 C. mascarpone

10. 1 Tsp. truffle butter/paste or a few drops truffle oil (very expensive so actually I ground up some fresh mushrooms and along with a dash of Worcestershire sauce, mixed these ingredients with some soft butter and used that. It seemed to work).

11. 3 Tblsp. grated Parmesan

12. Ground white pepper or black is OK too

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray butter the ramekins.
  3. Toss the grated Gruyere with the cornstarch in a bowl.
  4. Boil the pasta according to the package directions, however, cut the cooking time by several minutes—so that the pasta is very al dente but still eatable. I watched it very carefully. Drain it and keep it in your colander for later.
  5. In a very large pan that will eventually hold the pasta in it, heat the vermouth to a boil and then add the chicken broth.  Let it come to a boil again and take it off the burner and whisk in the cornstarch-tossed Gruyere.  This mixture will melt into a mass of gooey cheese strings.  Add the Mascarpone and whisk again. Then add the truffle oil/butter stirring it in the sauce. Lastly add the pasta and the chopped mozzarella.  Stir once again to make sure everything is well mixed.
  6. Ladle the cheesy pasta into the sprayed ramekins trying to get an even amount of pasta and sauce in each. (The sauce will seem very liquid but don’t worry; the pasta will suck it up in the oven. Sprinkle the Parmesan on the top and then with pepper.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes in the hot oven.  Let stand 5 minutes before eating.  (I filled the ramekins with the pasta, etc. but left most of the liquid out because I was not going to serve them right away. I saved the liquid in a separate container. Several hours later, when I was ready to bake the ramekins, I put in my saved liquid in each ramekin and then baked them.  They turned out just fine.)
  8. Lastly, Nigella says that you can broil these ramekins as well but I thought that baking them would be better.
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Asparagus and Prosciutto Strata (an overnight casserole dish)

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Asparagus Prociutto Stratta

I used black forest ham in this picture and it reacted a bit like bacon so it’s a bit crispy and very browned.  However, it was delicious, much more economical than prosciutto and still very tasty—always trying to be economical here in my kitchen. This dish was made in an aluminum pan for a friend who had just injured herself in a down hill ski accident.

Asparagus and Prosciutto Strata (an overnight casserole dish)

Serves 8

It’s always such a great pleasure to host a breakfast for a group of people and have them enjoy your cooking efforts with big smiles on their faces.  That’s part of what was so rewarding in having been an inn keeper at my B&B and now that I have the privilege of writing articles for our wonderful local Weekly Sun, they allow me to play inn keeper every now and then.  That’s what just recently happened at our January get together and this is one of the items which I prepared.  Of course I want to share this with my readers as well.

Here though, before you get to the recipe, are a few little known facts about the asparagus that might be of interest to you.  In France, Louis XIV had a special greenhouses built for growing it.  The finest texture and the strongest yet most delicate taste which is in the asparagus tips, were called, once again in France, “Les points d’amour (love tips)”. Leave it to the French to make a love connection to the asparagus tips.  They were served as a delicacy to Madame de Pompadour.  Asparagus was pictured as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 B.C.  Romans would even freeze this healthy vegetable high in the Alps, for the Feast of Epicurus.  Emperor Augustus reserved the “Asparagus Fleet” for hauling the vegetable and coined the expression “faster than cooking asparagus” for quick action. As well, asparagus is often grown in conjunction with tomatoes because: the tomato plant repels the asparagus beetle while the asparagus repels some harmful root nematodes that affect the tomato plants. So here’s a salute to that “Point D’Amour”.

Ingredients:

  1. One Lb. asparagus, tough stem ends snapped off and the remainder cut in 2 inch pieces.
  2. 1 loaf 3/4 lb. crusty artisan style bread, cut into 1 inch pieces.  I use a French bread loaf
  3. 3 ounces thinly sliced Prosciutto cut into 1/2 –inch thick strips
  4. 1 ¼ C. shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
  5. 1/2 C. chopped chives
  6. 1 Tblsp. grated lemon peel
  7. 6 eggs
  8. 3 ½ C. milk
  9. 1/2 Tsp. salt
  10. 1/2 Tsp. pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium pan bring about 2 quarts water to a boil; add asparagus and cook for about 3 minutes-till they are bright green and barely tender. Immerse them in cold water to stop them from cooking more.
  2. In a lightly oiled or sprayed 9 X 13 Pyrex or other oven proof dish spread half of the bread cubes.
  3. There will be 4 layers. Top the first layer of bread cubes with 1/2 of the following ingredients:
    1. Prosciutto or some sort of thin sliced ham–smoked or not
    2. Asparagus
    3. Chives
    4. Shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese.
  4. Now place the other half of the bread crumbs on top and layer again as above in #3.
  5. In a blender blend the eggs, milk, S&P and lemon peel and pour over the layered ingredients.
  6. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 and bake until center of strata is set and the top is lightly browned (40-50 minutes).
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Balsamic Roasted Pears with Pepper and Honey

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pears in a bowlBalsamic Roasted Pears with Pepper and Honey

Serves 8

 

This is a very simple but elegant desert.  I used the Manchego Mexican cheese which is delicious.  If the pears in your market are not quite ripe enough, buy them a couple of days before serving and place them in a paper bag along with an apple.  Close the bag and several days later, they should be perfect.

 

Ingredients:

  1. 4 Tblsp. sweet butter
  2. 4 firm-ripe pears, halved lengthwise and cored
  3. 6 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar
  4. 8 Oz. Manchego cheese or mild goat cheese, cut into 8 pieces—room temp.
  5. 1/2 C. honey

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Melt butter in an oven proof dish in the oven—about 3 minutes
  3. Arrange pears, cut sides down, in 1 layer in butter and roast in middle of oven until tender-about 20 minutes.
  4. Pour vinegar over pears and roast 5 minutes more.
  5. Transfer pears, cut sides down, to serving plates with cheese and spoon some of juices from baking dish over pears.  Drizzle pears and cheese with honey and sprinkle with pepper.

Chili Relleno Casserole

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chilli rellano casserole (7)

Chili Relleno Casserole

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 eggs

2 or 3 Poblano Peppers (roasted, peeled, and seeded, and cut in halves or thirds long way)

2 Tblsp. flour

1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Tblsp. finely chopped cilantro

2 Tblsp. green enchilada sauce

1 to 1 1/2 C. mixture of shredded Mozzarella and shredded Mixed Mexican Cheese

For Accompaniment: corn tortillas, chopped tomatoes, salsa or Chipolata Sauce, chopped black olives for garnish along with sour cream and avocados or guacamole.

8 X 8 oven proof dish

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Divide the 4 eggs— yolks in one small bowl and the whites in a larger bowl.
  2. Beat the egg yolks until frothy and light.  Add flour, baking powder, cilantro and

2 Tblsp.green enchilada sauce and beat some more.

  1. Beat the eggs whites until stiff.  Fold yolk mixture into the stiffened whites.
  2. Pam spray your 8X8 oven proof dish and layer in the following way:
  3. First layer half of your egg mixture
  4. Place the peppers on top
  5. Place the mixed cheese on top
  6. Place the remainder of the egg mixture
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes
  8. Remove from oven and check with knife or toothpick in the middle that the soufflé is done. Don’t let it get over done because then it’ll be dry. If you wish when it’s done, you can decorate the top with a combo of all or just one of the following: chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, sliced black olives; then let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Serve with warm buttered corn tortillas and relishes such as more chopped tomatoes, salsa, chipolata sauce, sour cream and avocados or guacamole.

Hint: To roast Poblanos or other peppers, place over an open flame or in a pan under the broiler until they are very brown, almost burnt.  Place quickly in a sealed paper bag and let sit for about 20 minutes. That way the steam from the peppers will help remove the skin.  Then, with gloved hands, peel the skin off and de-seed.

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Emeril’s Spinach, Ham & Cheese Overnight Breakfast Casserole

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Emeril’s Spinach, Ham and Cheese Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Servings 6-8

Thank you Emeril for a recipe that I think sounds fabulous, easy to make, and a perfect one for innkeepers.  I can’t wait to try it and knowing that it came from you, I’m sure it will be delicious.

Ingredients:

1 Tblsp. olive oil

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 C. finely chopped onion

1 C. small diced ham (5 oz.)

4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

4 C. 1-inch diced English muffins

1 lb. fresh spinach leaves, cooked and squeezed dry; or one 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, prepared according to package directions, well drained

6 large eggs

1-1/2 cups half and half

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 oz. finely grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat

Add the onions and a couple pinches of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled onions, ham, cheddar cheese, English muffins and spinach and toss gently to combine.  Transfer to a well-greased 11.5 X 8 inch baking dish; spread the mixture out evenly.

Using the same bowl, add the eggs, half and half, the 2 tsp.salt, thyme, and cayenne pepper.  Whisk to mix well and pour over the bread mixture.  Cover with foil and store in the refrigerator up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the top.  Return to the oven and continue cooking until golden brown, puffed, and cooked through—about 10 minutes more.

Place on a cooling rack and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

This recipe is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse & Chef Karen Pickus.  Margot saw it on her PAII Infoemail that she received on May 1, 2012. 

 

 

Emeril’s Spinach, Ham and Cheese Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Servings 6-8

 

Thank you Emeril for a recipe that I think sounds fabulous, easy to make, and a perfect one for innkeepers.  I can’t wait to try it and knowing that it came from you, I’m sure it will be delicious.

 

Ingredients:

1 Tblsp. olive oil

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 C. finely chopped onion

1 C. small diced ham (5 oz.)

4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

4 C. 1-inch diced English muffins

1 lb. fresh spinach leaves, cooked and squeezed dry; or one 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, prepared according to package directions, well drained

6 large eggs

1-1/2 cups half and half

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 oz. finely grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat

Add the onions and a couple pinches of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled onions, ham, cheddar cheese, English muffins and spinach and toss gently to combine.  Transfer to a well-greased 11.5 X 8 inch baking dish; spread the mixture out evenly.

 

Using the same bowl, add the eggs, half and half, the 2 tsp.salt, thyme, and cayenne pepper.  Whisk to mix well and pour over the bread mixture.  Cover with foil and store in the refrigerator up to overnight.

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the top.  Return to the oven and continue cooking until golden brown, puffed, and cooked through—about 10 minutes more.

 

Place on a cooling rack and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

 

This recipe is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse & Chef Karen Pickus.  Margot saw it on her PAII Infoemail that she received on May 1, 2012.

 

 

Straight from San Francisco Fame–Joe’s Special

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Joe’s Special

Serves 4 to 6

Having lived in the Northern part of the San Francisco Bay Area a great part of my life, the wonderful tales of recipes of that area from the “bye-gone” days became a great part of my life.

I had often frequented Original Joes in San Francisco which originated in 1937 so this was one of my favorite dishes. The restaurant started in the Tenderloin District of “The City” and had sawdust-covered floors and 14 bar stools.  It was known for serving people from all walks of life: ”from the head politician to the head prostitute”. It’s now located in the North Beach area and the Tenderloin spot will be made into an historical significance. It’s run by the same family, the Rodins.

I made this dish at home very often.  Now it’s part of the CA for Visitors Recipe Collection on the CA visitors web site.  I had often heard that this dish really originated from the gold rush days, however, that was definitely before my time and I did first have it at Joe’s.  Sometimes I make it for dinner; other times for brunch or breakfast.  It’s always delicious and very versatile.  So here it is:

Ingredients:

1/4  C. Olive Oil

1 lb. ground sirloin of beef

2 onions, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

half a lb. of sliced mushrooms

1/4 C. cooking sherry

2 C. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

4 to 6 beaten eggs

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1/4  tsp. of oregano leaves

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp. Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1.       Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and add the crumbled ground sirloin, chopped onions, and minced garlic. Cook until the beef is almost browned and the onions and garlic are tender.

2.       Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft.

3.       Add sherry to the mixture, heat about a minute, and stir in spinach and seasonings.

4.       Cook the mixture until just heated throughout.

5.       Add the beaten eggs and cook, stirring, until the eggs are firm but still tender.

6.       Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Serving Suggestions:

Joe’s Special is traditionally served with sourdough (San Francisco of course) French break and a hearty Italian red wine and sometimes a green salad.  It is also often served as a high-protein breakfast dish with a toasted sourdough English muffin, OJ, and for an especially filling meal—hash browned potatoes on the side. Many people also like it served with hot pepper sauce.

Variations:

Cooking Methods:

You can stir this dish constantly while cooking the eggs, which will result in the eggs being completely blended with the spinach.  Stir it less often after the eggs are added, like you would if you were making scrabled eggs, if you would like to have discernable pieces of scrambled egg in the dish:

Greens:

Swiss chard or one packages of frozen chopped spinach can be substituted for the fresh spinach.

Mushrooms:

Canned can be used; however, fresh is SOOO much better.

Ground Beef:

If higher fat ground beef is substituted for the ground sirloin, you can use less olive oil.

Cheese:

Romano cheese can be substituted for the Parmesan.

 

Feliz Cinco de Mayo: Mexican Egg Casserole

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Mexican Egg CasseroleFeliz Cinco de Mayo

Mexican Egg Casserole

Sat., May 5th will be the celebration day of the festive Cinco de Mayo.  Many people do believe that is the day of Mexico’s Independence; however, no indeed, Mexico’s Independence Day is on Sept. 16.  May 5th is the day that a very brave small Mexican army fought against the invading much larger French army in Puebla, Mexico in 1862.  The Mexican army won that battle. At the same time the beginning of our American Civil war was going on so it’s also a day to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy here.  On June 7th, 2005, the US Congress issued a Concurrent Resolution calling on the President of the US to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the US to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities.  That day is therefore celebrated here in the USA and in Puebla, Mexico.  Herewith I present for your eating delight, a dish I hope that for both our Mexican community as well as for those of us from other parts of the world will enjoy.

Ingredients:

Serves 8 to 12 depending on portion size

One Dozen Eggs

2 Cups Sour Cream

1-14 oz. Can Chopped Green Chilies

3 C. Grated Mexican Style Cheese Mix or straight grated Jack or Cheddar

1. In a blender, blend eggs with sour cream. Place this mixture in a medium size bowl and mix in the cheese.

2. Put half of the mixture in a 9” X 13” baking dish which has been sprayed with a non-stick spray. Then layer the chilies; then place the other half of the mixture on top.

3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes; cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

4.  If you wish, before serving, sprinkle over the top some salsa or when serving, pass around a three some side of salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

 

Bueno Apetito

 

  Are you a frustrated, overworked or timid cook? Call Margot for help @ 721-3551

& please feel free to email her @ TempInnKeeper@mindspring.com or to visit her blog for more recipes including these: http://blog.TempInnKeeper.com

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.