Saturday, December 27, 2008

Short Hiatus

Hi all. I am traveling to the Dominican Republic for the next 9 days (woohoo!) so I will not be posting until January 2, 2009, when I post my New Year's Eve meal for FoodBuzz's 24-24-24 feature. Have a safe and happy New Year!



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lasagna Bolognese

Bolognese Sauce:

1 medium to large onion (Vidalia), diced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped (or 4-6 baby carrots)
4 cloves garlic,
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley

Dash of freshly ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (if you prefer some heat)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup whole milk

Bechamel Sauce:

2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 box lasagna noodles

In large sauce pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Turn heat to medium, stirring occasionally to make sure sofritto is not burning/sticking. Saute about 10 minutes.

In large saute pan, brown ground beef and drain fat. Add ground beef to sauce pot and stir. Add tomatoes, spices and white wine and bring to boil, then turn heat down to simmer. Cook 30 minutes. Add milk and stir well. Simmer for additional 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While sauce is cooking, bring large pot of water to boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook 1-2 minutes less than the suggested cooking time (the noodles will cook more in the oven). Drain and rinse with cold water to stop heat from further cooking the noodles.

Preheat oven to 350.

When sauce is almost done cooking (10-15 minutes left in cooking time), melt 1/4 cup butter in small sauce pot and whisk in flour. Add 2 cups milk and bring to simmer, whisking until roux has become a thick, uniform sauce. Remove from heat.

In 9x13 glass pan, spread a small amount of bechamel sauce so that bottom is covered. Cover with lasagna noodles. Distribute 1/3 bolognese over noodles. Top with 1/3 of bechamel and spread so that noodles are covered evenly. Sprinkle 1/3 cup with parmesan. Cover with noodles and repeat steps. The top layer will be noodles with bolognese, bechamel and parmesan.

Cook in oven for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Duck Breasts with Berry Sauce

I adore duck. The richness and fat of the duck compliment the acidity of the berries and vinegar perfectly. The rosemary is very subtle but adds complexity to this dish. This dish is my idea of heaven.

4 boneless duck breast fillets, skin on

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock (or if you happen to have duck stock, use it)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries-use all three or what you can find in your freezer or local mart)
2 tablespoons butter
1 sprig rosemary
Salt and Pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium sauce pot. Add sugar and mix until melted. Add red wine and vinegar and bring to a boil. Once the caramel (melted sugar and butter) has dissolved into the liquid, add chicken stock, rosemary and 1 1/2 cup berries. Simmer 35-40 minutes until the sauce is reduced. Strain into small sauce pot, pushing on the berries to release their juices. Discard remaining berry solids. Set sauce aside. The sauce can be prepared the day before and refrigerated until the duck breasts are being cooked.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Rinse duck breasts and pat dry with paper towel. Cut excess fat from breasts-do not remove the skin. Cut shallow slits in skin of duck & season duck lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add duck breasts, skin side down, and cook about 4 minutes or until the skin has turned brown. Carefully turn over breasts (try not to separate the skin from the breast) and cook for 3 more minutes. Place skillet on middle rack in preheated oven. Cook for 4 minutes for medium duck breasts.

While duck is in oven, heat up sauce in small sauce pot until simmering.

Spoon 1/2 sauce over 4 plates. Place duck breast, skin side up over sauce. Drizzle remaining sauce over breasts and garnish with reserved berries.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sour Cherry and Ricotta Tart

I posted recently about making fresh Ricotta Cheese. I received the Silver Spoon cookbook as a gift from my parents and found a recipe that utilizes the ricotta nicely. A ricotta and cherry tart is an elegant dessert - AND you can use the leftover lemon rind from making the ricotta cheese.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sweet butter, chopped into small 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 egg yolk
Lemon rind, minced (from 1/2 lemon)
2 cups sour cherries, pitted
1 1/2 cups Ricotta Cheese

Sift to make a mound. In the center, add the egg yolk, butter, lemon rind and half of the sugar. Mix well and shape into a ball. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.

Add cherries, 4 tablespoons water and remaining sugar in medium sauce pan and cook 20 minutes over medium-low heat. (Bring to a simmer, then turn to medium-low).

Drain the cherries and mix with ricotta in medium-sized bowl.

Grease and dust a tart pan. Halve the dough and roll out one half on lightly floured surface to make a 1/4 inch thick circle. Place in tart pan. Roll out remaining dough and cut into long strips to make a lattice top for the tart.

Sprinkle ricotta mixture over tart shell. Cover with lattice strips and press remaining dough around sides of tart forming a ring. Use enough pressure to seal the dough to tart shell.

Bake about 45 minutes, then let cool before serving.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Easy Spanish Alioli

Typically, making alioli sauce involves raw egg yolk and oil blended to form a mayo-like sauce. I love to eat it, but prefer to leave out raw egg if I am making it for myself. This recipe is an easy alternative to traditional garlic-lemon* alioli.

1 cup mayonnaise
2 heads garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt to taste

Mix mayo, garlic and lemon juice in food processor or blender.

Serve with Spanish Tortilla, with shellfish, as a sandwich spread or however you are so inspired

*Other types of alioli can be made this way using thyme, rosemary, parsley, saffron, mustard, etc

Friday, December 19, 2008

Slovenian Apple Strudel

Apple strudel from Slovenia-štruklji-is not your average store-bought strudel. The dough is pulled and pulled on a floured cloth until it is paper thin; it is then coated with apples, cracker crumbs, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. It is then rolled up and baked. It takes time and patience, but when it comes out of the oven....magic! The following is my grandmother's recipe, with a few minor tweaks. She inspected the process, and then proceeded to take 1/2 of it home with her, so I assume the strudel was a success.

2 eggs (room temperature)
8 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cup warm water

Apple Filling:
2 quarts of thinly sliced apples
(sorry I had written 1 quart before-wrongly!)
2 sticks of melted butter
1 cup brown sugar

3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 F

Mix together egg, oil and salt until well combined. Alternate adding flour and water until combined. Mix until smooth then kneed for 15 min. Place finished dough in slightly warmed oven for 1/2 hour, covered with floured cloth. Clear off large table surface and place clean floured cotton cloth over top of table. Start stretching dough slowly in circular motion. Check to see that dough is not sticking to cloth-if it it, add more flour. Place your hand palm-side up underneath dough and slowly, patiently pull towards you (it is almost like the dough is sliding off of your hand). Continue pulling from all directions until stretched large
without holes. It should be about newspaper thin and translucent if you are somehow amazingly gifted at this. Mine had spots like this, a few holes and some thicker ones. C'est la vie. The warmth from your hand makes the dough more pliable, so if it is hard to pull the dough, try to soften it a bit with your hands.

Drizzle butter over stretched dough until covered. Place filling evenly over dough, leaving one end with about 3 inches bare. Drizzle more butter over ingredients. Hold cloth at filling end and slowly help dough roll over itself evenly. Pinch ends shut to prevent filling leakage. Place in buttered 9x13 inch buttered pan in three strips to fit pan lengthwise or in S shape without cutting. Bak
e for 1 hour, basting with remaining butter often. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Fresh Ricotta Cheese

I was just talking with my mom about making sfogliatelle, these Italian puff pastries filled with ricotta and happiness. We both think fresh ricotta would work much better in the pastry recipe, but Duluth, Minnesota lacks a specialty (or near-specialty) food shop. Happily, Epicurious has a recipe that looks easy.


8 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice*

Line a colander with 4 layers of cloth.
Set colander in sink.

Bring milk and salt to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in lemon juice. Let simmer until curds form, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer curds to cheesecloth. Let drain about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cover and keep refrigerated.

The cheese is good for 2 days.

The cheese can be used in desserts, pasta, sandwiches, eggs, almost anywhere!

*Save the lemon rinds to use in my other recipes, like a Sour Cherry and Ricotta Tart!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon-Brown Sugar Syrup

Pancake recipe adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook

For syrup:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar

For pancakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream (or 1 cup yogurt to make it healthier)
3 tablespoons whole milk (or evaporated skim milk, to make it healthier)
2 tablespoons melted butter
Additional butter or non-stick cooking spray for pancake griddle

For whipping cream:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

In medium sauce pot, heat lemon juice, water and sugar over medium-high heat until sugar melts and is incorporated into liquids. Turn to medium and let simmer, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Add sugar to taste and mix in. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Preheat oven to 225. Place cooking dish in oven.

Whisk together dry ingredients in large bowl. Using a beater, mix together egg, milk, sour cream and melted butter. Adding 1/3 mixture at a time, add to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Heat griddle over medium heat. Brush with butter. Drop 1/4 cup batter onto griddle surface and cook until bubbles appear, about 1-2 minutes flip, and cook additional 1-2 minutes. Cook about 4 pancakes at a time. (Be careful when flipping, they tend to stick to the griddle or fall apart if you are not gentle. )Transfer to cooking dish to keep warm and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Cook remaining pancakes.

Serve with whipped cream and lemon-brown sugar syrup.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Batidos de Mamey

"Hurry, wife, Fidel is going to tell us how to make mamey milkshakes without mamey, milk or a blender!"

Batidos de mamey may be amongst my top ten favorite things to eat/drink. In Havana, they were made of sugar, powdered milk, ice and chunks of mamey, a tropical fruit that has deep orange flesh and tastes kind of like a strawberry, but more muted. It's delicious and hard to find in the States, minus as frozen pulp in Latino markets.

To make your own batido de mamey:

One 14 oz. package of frozen mamey pulp
1 1 /2 cups whole milk
About 1 cup of ice cubes
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Puree everything in food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.

You can make batidos with most any fruit. Mango, Papaya (fruta bomba in Cuba), Guanabana or more local fruits. SO FREAKING GOOD. And I will have one every day in Santo Domingo (where mamey is called sapote).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Asparagus with Herbed Parmesan Butter

Simple and delicious, this dish compliments pasta, steak, chicken, just about everything. It can be prepared ahead of time, then broiled just before serving.

2 lbs asparagus
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400.

Rinse asparagus and cut off tough ends. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add salt and asparagus. Let cook 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process.

Mix together lemon juice, basil, garlic and butter in small bowl. Microwave to soften butter, but do not let it melt. Mix in Parmesan cheese.

Place asparagus spears neatly in 9x13 cooking dish. Spoon butter mixture evenly over asparagus. Cook in oven about 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and is starting to turn golden. Remove from oven.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Crepes with Vanilla Plums and Whipped Cream

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 1/2 lb pitted, unpeeled plums, cut into quarters
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter

1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 400.

Blend milk, eggs, flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter in a blender, scraping down side once or twice, until batter is smooth, about 1 minute. Let batter stand at room temperature 1 hour (this prevents the crepe from being tough).

Put butter in 9x9 cooking dish and place in oven for about 3 minutes, or until butter has melted. Add sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and mix into butter. Add plums and stir until they are coated with mixture. Bake in oven about 20 minutes. Remove and turn heat to 250 (leave the door open for like 30 seconds to help cool it faster).

In medium mixing bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and beat just to blend it into cream. Taste and add more sugar if so desired.

Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to skillet and brush to coat bottom. Heat over moderate heat until hot, about 30 seconds, then pour 1/4 cup batter into skillet, tilting to coat bottom evenly. Cook until underside is pale golden, 11/2 to 2 minutes. Jerk the skillet to loosen the crepe and flip the crepe using a spatula. Cook until underside is pale golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Keep warm in oven until serving.

To serve: dust each crepe with powdered sugar and top with warm vanilla plums and whipped cream.

(The crepe batter recipe is from Epicurious)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tomato Sauce

This recipe is a modification of my mom's traditional Sicilian red sauce. I was in a vegetarian phase, and studying in Cuba, and I could buy most of the ingredients at the local agromercado (minus glorious Parmesan cheese, Cuba has no good cheese-I nearly died of sadness).

3 14oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 onions
1 head garlic
1 green pepper
2 tablespoons parsley
1/4 cup basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if you prefer a spicy tomato sauce)

Optional: salt, if necessary

Dice onions and green pepper. Peel garlic cloves and mince garlic (as much as your patience allows-this recipe is forgiving, some big chunks are ok).

Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, green pepper and onion. Turn heat down to medium/medium-low. Saute about 10 minutes, stirring and adjusting temperature if need to make sure that garlic does not burn/brown. Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and black pepper. If mixture starts to boil, turn down so that the sauce simmers but doesn't boil, as this can burn the sauce. Let cook 1 1/4 hour.

Add red wine, parsley and basil. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add parmesan cheese and cook 15-30 minutes. Remove from heat. Salt to taste and
let cool.

Pour into mason jars and wrap green ribbon around lid. Affix tag to jar instructing: The sauce keeps 1 week in the fridge. Freeze to keep longer.
OR: Make and feed to your loved ones. They will love you for it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


If you live in, or visit Boston, go to Somerville and eat at Dali Restaurant (Spanish tapas). Their sangria is amazing. No seltzer . Just amazing wine, liqueurs and fruits. Be warned, it does pack a punch. If you are not so fortunate to visit Dali, this recipe is a close second.


1 bottle full-bodied, dry red wine, such as Rioja or a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1 thinly sliced apple, seeds removed
1 thinly sliced orange, seeds removed
1 thinly sliced lemon or lime, seeds removed
Other chopped fruit, such as pineapple, strawberries, etc

Combine wine, juices, sugars and liqueurs in large pitcher. Add fruit and mix well. Taste for sweetness and add sugar if needed. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours. Add ice cubes to glasses before serving.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pineapple Napoleons with Coconut-Chocolate Glaze

5 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup whole milk or evaporated skim milk
4 large egg yolks
6 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature
2 cans diced pineapple
1 package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets, about 17 ounces)
3/4 cup cream of coconut
8 ounces of chocolate

Mince pineapple or use a food processor to make into a slush. Cook with juice in saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until puree has thickened. Add 2 tablespoons sugar Cook on low heat an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Blend 3 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch in medium sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup milk, whisking until cornstarch has dissolved. Whisk in remaining milk and yolks. Over medium heat, whisk occasionally until mixture is smooth, thick and is just starting to boil (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from heat. Add cream cheese and, using a mixer, beat until smooth. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of pastry cream and chill until cold.

Use mixer to beat in 1/3 cup pineapple puree so that pastry cream has an even, smooth appearance.

Roll out puff pastry sheets on wax paper-lined baking sheets so that they are about 1/8 inch thick. Prick all over with a fork. Bake about 10 minutes the cool on cookie rack. Once the pastry has cooled, cut them carefully (serrated knife works best) into three even parts, this should give you 6 pieces total.

Spread 1/2 of pineapple puree evenly onto 2 puff pastry pieces. Top each with 1/4 of pineapple cream (1/2 of total cream). Top each with another puff pastry piece. Spread remaining pineapple puree on top of both sheets. Top with remaining pineapple cream, and finally with remaining 2 puff pastry sheets.

Melt chocolate in double boiler over medium heat (Do not allow to bubble/boil, as this will burn the chocolate). As it melts, whisk in coconut cream until mixture is shiny and smooth. Remove from heat. Let cool until sauce is no longer hot but still falls freely from spoon.

Drizzle chocolate coconut sauce diagonally over napoleons. Repeat in opposite direction to form diamond pattern. Slice napoleons according to personal preference (my servings tend to be a bit large...) and enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Guava and Mango Paté


2 cups mangos (from 2 ripe mangos or 2 cups of frozen chunks, thawed)
1 cup thawed Goya guava pulp
1 envelope plus 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/3-1/2 cup sugar (for sweeter mangos, use less sugar)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces of cream cheese, cut into small chunks and allowed to warm to room temperature

Puree mangos in blender until smooth. Pour into medium mixing bowl. Pour guava pulp into another medium mixing bowl.

In small pyrex bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water and let soften for about 5 minutes. Place pyrex bowl in small saucepan. Add water to pan until it reaches about 1 inch below pyrex top. Simmer water until gelatin has dissolved.

At the same time, heat cream and sugar in clean saucepan until almost boiling. Remove from heat and whisk in cream cheese chunks until most has melted. Whisk in vanilla and gelatin. Pour 2/3 mixture into mango pur
ee. Using mixer, beat until mixture is incorporated. Pour remaining 1/3 cream mixture into guava and beat to incorporate. Taste mixtures for sugar; add more if needed.

Pour mango puree into square or round glass baking pan (about 9x9). Pour guava mixture slowly on top, swirling into mango (this makes it look pretty).

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Candy Cane Tiramisu

I was inspired to create this last night while eating a vanilla ice cream, Trader Candy Cane Joe-Joes and Hershey's chocolate syrup. I plan to make it soon, but if you feel inspired before I get the chance, please send me a picture of yours and I'll post it (with proper credit).


36 ladyfingers (add more or less as needed to fit your pan)
4 ounces liquor (Bailey's Chocolate Mint, Bailey's Cream or Godiva Chocolate Liquor)
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup crushed candy canes
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 ounces shaved semi-sweet chocolate (you can grate the it or use a butcher knife and chop it up)
4 ounces white chocolate

Melt white chocolate over double boiler. Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth,

In large mixing bowl, beat mascarpone,
white chocolate ganache, peppermint extract, 3/4 of crushed candy canes (reserving the rest for garnish) and 1 1/2 cups whipping cream until they begin to form stiff peaks.

Whisk 4 ounces chocolate in 1/4 cup milk over medium heat until incorporated. Mix liquor into chocolate cream.

In glass or ceramic pan, spread mascarpone cream mixture so that the entire bottom has some cream on it. Arrange a layer of ladyfingers to cover cream. Drizzle 1/2 liquor mixture over ladyfingers. Spread another layer of mascarpone whipping cream on top of ladyfingers, ensuring they are completely covered. Arrange a new layer of ladyfingers above cream. Drizzle remaining liquor mixture over ladyfingers. Top with remaining mascarpone cream. Garnish with remaining 2 oz of shaved chocolate and reserved candy canes. Let tiramisu set overnight in refrigerator. (If it doesn't set for long enough, the ladyfingers will not be moist).

Enjoy with friends :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008


1 3/4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt (or, if using salted butter, omit extra salt)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup unsalted butter (Buy Irish or other high quality butter to ensure the most delicious cookies)
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
I jar of la Salamandra dulce de leche (the best I have tried-and the Stop & Shop in Jamaica Plain carries 7 brands from 5 countries, and none come close to this!)
1 cup grated and sweetened coconut (optional)
Melted semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

Sift first 4 ingredients into large bowl. Cut the butter into ¼ inch thick chunks and then incorporate into dry ingredients using your hands until the mixture has a meal-y texture. Add the egg yolks and extracts. Divide the dough into two balls, flatten them to make discs, and wrap in saran wrap to chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Roll out each ball of dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (use a little extra flour to avoid the dough from sticking to the surface). Cut into 2-inch diameter circles. Bake on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet for about 8-10 minutes, if they are turning golden, take the cookies out!

Let cookies cool on cookie rack. Then spread dulce de leche on bottom side of a cookie and push the bottom side of another cookie to the filling. Press together gently as to not crush the cookies. If using coconut OR chocolate, roll edges of cookies over flakes/melted chocolate. Note: coconut OR chocolate, not both together.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Artichoke, Sun Dried Tomato and Cheese Potstickers

Wonton wrappers
2 cloves garlic
1 can marinated baby artichokes, drained
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
3/4 cup
Belgioioso Fontina cheese, cut into small squares 1/4 inch thick
1 cup grated or shredded Belgioioso Parmesan cheese
1 cup Belgioioso Asiago cheese, cut into small squares 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup minced fresh basil (2 teaspoons dried basil may be substituted)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup cream or evaporated skim milk

Chop up artichokes. Mince sun dried tomatoes and mix with artichokes. Heat up oil from tomatoes in saute pan over medium-high heat. Add artichokes and tomatoes and turn to medium. Cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring to prevent mixture from sticking to pan. Remove from heat.

Chop up and grate cheese if needed. Reserve 1/2 cup Parmesan for use later. Mince basil and add 1/2 of the basil to the cheese mixture. Add cooled artichoke-tomato mixture to cheese and stir well. Add crushed red pepper if you want to add a little kick to the recipe.

a small scoop of cheese-artichoke-tomato mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten the edges with water and seal, pressing the edges with your fingers.

Add a 1/2 tablespoon tomato oil to saute pan and at medium-high heat, add minced garlic. Turn heat to medium, cook about 5 minutes or until garlic is tender but not brown. Remove garlic from pan, reserve oil in pan.

In small sauce pan, heat up cream with garlic and parmesan cheese over medium heat, stirring until cheese has melted. Remove from heat, stir in remaining basil and set aside.

Heat saute pan at medium-high heat. Add wontons and brown them on both sides. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan and quickly cover to allow the wontons to steam through. Repeat this process until all wontons are first browned, then steamed; reserve and keep warm.

Drizzle parmesan-basil sauce over wontons before serving.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Coconut-Mango Chicken with Raspberry Sauce

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks (or 2 cups frozen mango chunks, defrosted)
1 cup coconut nectar
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinaigrette
2 cups fresh red raspberries (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)
1/4 cup raspberry jam
Salt & White Pepper

Rinse chicken breasts and remove excess fat. Pat dry and set in bowl; pour 2 tablespoons lime juice over chicken. Salt and pepper chicken lightly. Cover and refrigerate until cooking.

In medium saucepan, bring vinaigrette, raspberries (minus reserved 1/4 cup) and raspberry jam to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer about 5 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Remove a few spoonfuls of mixture and set in bowl. Strain remaining mixture into bowl, pressing with a spoon to remove solids.

Cut up mango into small chunks, reserving about 1/2 cup for garnish. Mix mango with coconut nectar and remaining lime juice and puree in food processor or blender. Bring blended mixture and reserved mango chunks to a boil in medium saucepan.

Melt butter in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and turn heat to medium. Flip after about 3 minutes or when starting to brown, and cook the other side for an additional 3 minutes. Pour coconut-mango sauce over chicken, bring to simmer and cook until chicken juices run clean when cut. Remove from heat. Plate and pour raspberry sauce over chicken. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pork Tenderloin with Guava Glaze and Papaya-Avocado Salsa


For glaze:
2 cups canned guava nectar
1 cup orange juice (you will need about 1 1/3 cup orange juice for total recipe)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (you will need about 1 cup lime juice for total recipe)

For pork loin:
1 3 pound boneless pork loin
1/2 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons oregano

For salsa:
1 1/2 cups chopped papaya
2 avocado, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/2 onion, minced
1 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoons orange juice

Cover pork loin with garlic, onion and spices. Put pork loin in gallon size Ziploc bag, pour orange and lime juices over pork, and marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Next day, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove pork from marinade and roast pork, fat-side down, for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and turn heat down to 300. Flip pork so that fat is now on top. Pour marinade from bag over pork. Cover pork. Baste every 30 minutes. Cook about 1 hours & 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 170 (the suggested temperature varies, some folks prefer a less done roast, while others really like to cook the pork). Turn heat back up to 425 and cook 10 minutes to brown the outside of the roast. Remove from oven and let roast rest 10 minutes before slicing.

After you turn on the oven to preheat it, combine guava nectar, 1 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup red wine vinegar in saucepan and bring to boil over high heat, turn down to medium and boil/simmer until liquid is reduced to about 2 cups, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

About 30 minutes before pork is done roasting, combine salsa ingredients and mix in medium bowl, folding the ingredients as to not mush up your papaya and avocado.

Drizzle each slice of pork loin with guava-lime glaze. Serve with a side of papaya-avocado salsa.