Monthly Archives: November 2012

Fontina Cheese Fondue {The Perfect Cold-Weather Snack}

When the mercury dips- the best place to be is inside around a fire surrounded with good friends and warm, cozy, delicious food. This fontina cheese fondue fits the bill. It comes out of the oven bubbling and golden brown; the perfect dip for warm crusty bread. This makes an ideal après-ski snack, and feeds a crowd easily. Simply adjust the measurements according to how many people you need to feed. You can also re-warm the leftovers (if any exist!) and serve it up again.

Fontina Cheese Fondue

Serves eight

INGREDIENTS

  • 64 oz Italian Fontina, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
  • 18 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 crusty French baguettes or boule bread, sliced or torn
  • Assorted vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower), cooked until just tender, and cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 apples, sliced

PROCEDURE

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and position the oven rack in the upper half of the oven.

2. In a large cast iron pan, evenly spread the cubed Fontina cheese, and drizzle with olive oil.

3. Mix together the garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and sprinkle it over the Fontina. Sprinkle everything with the salt and pepper and place into the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and bubbles.

4. Switch the oven to the broiler setting and broil for about 4 minutes, until the cheese starts to look golden brown.

5. Serve the Fontina immediately at the table in the cast iron pan, with the warm bread, sliced apples, and vegetables on the side to dip.

Read the full post at Bachelor Kitchen. 

Chocolate Soufflés with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

The holiday season calls for decadence and excess- making these chocolate soufflés with bourbon caramel sauce the perfect dessert for any and all holiday gatherings. Don’t let the soufflé part intimidate you- just have confidence with your egg whites and everything will turn out delicious. And even if you screw up the whole soufflé, don’t despair. A big dollop of whipped cream and a generous pour of bourbon caramel sauce solve all problems.

Chocolate Soufflés

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 355 mL milk
  • 6 whole eggs , separated
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Butter 1 1/2 quart soufflé dish and sprinkle with sugar.

2. In a saucepan heat chocolate, 2 T. sugar and 2 T. hot water. Set aside.

3. Melt butter then stir in flour and salt cooking over low heat for several minutes. Gradually stir in milk and cook to boiling point stirring well. The sauce will become smooth, then blend in chocolate.

4. Beat the egg yolks. Stir in a little bit of the chocolate sauce, mix it well then pour the yolks back into the saucepan. Stir in the vanilla and set aside to cool.

5. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Beat the egg whites until frothy then slowly add the remaining sugar. Continue to beat whites until stiff but not dry.

7. Stir 1/4 of the whites into the cooled chocolate sauce. Fold in the remaining whites.

8. Spoon into individual soufflé dishes and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately out of the oven with caramel bourbon sauce on the side.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 402 g sugar
  • 4 oz water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 237 mL heavy cream
  • 118 mL bourbon

1.   In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil over high heat.

2.  Cook until the sugar is dissolved, washing down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush.

3. Continue cooking, without stirring (just swirl the pan in circular motions), until an amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream. Let cool for 1 minute, and then stir in the bourbon.

5. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

6. Let the caramel sauce cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve the soufflés straight out of the oven with fresh whipped cream and the warm bourbon sauce drizzled over.

Read the full post on Bachelor Kitchen. 

Inside AIA: Healthy Living Recipe

For my second contribution to Inside AIA- I focused on the health benefits of colorful fruits and vegetables. The benefits of each are detailed below- along with some simple recipes to get you started.

Below, the color categories are detailed along with their health benefits and examples of fruits and vegetables that fit the group. If you seek out the produce that’s in season in your local markets, you can eat healthfully and affordably throughout the year, and enjoy better tasting produce as well.

Red Fruits & Vegetables: The nutrient lycopene gives these fruits and vegetables their red color, and provides the majority of their health benefits. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, which protects from a variety of cancers, and protects cells overall from free-radical damage. It also protects against inflammation throughout the body, and has been shown to help prevent heart attacks.

Examples: tomatoes, cranberries, pink grapefruit, guava, watermelon, beets, red onions, red apples, raspberries, red peppers, red grapes, strawberries, cherries, radishes.

Orange & Yellow Fruits & Vegetables: These fruits and vegetables are rich in alpha and beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A- a powerful protector of the immune system. Vitamin A also helps your skin and eyes function properly, and can protect against cataracts. Orange and yellow produce may also protect against lung, esophagus, and stomach cancers, as well as heart disease.

Examples: carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe, butternut squash, yellow peppers, pumpkins, oranges, sweet potatoes, lemons, permissions, peaches, yellow apples, corn, yellow tomatoes.

Green Fruits & Vegetables: This group of fruits and vegetables provide a potent combination of lutein, folate, and vitamin C. They protect from macular degeneration, help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, and protect the body from inflammation and free radicals. Folate also protects pregnant women and contributes to the development of a healthy baby.

Examples: spinach, green beans, pistachios, avocado, kiwi, asparagus, broccoli, green apples, green beans, green grapes, honeydew, limes, sno peas, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers, celery.

Blue & Purple Fruits & Vegetables: The darker the blue/purple hue of these fruits and vegetables, the higher the concentration of nutrients and antioxidants they contain. These provide potent protection for the heart, and lower the risk of cancers and protect against inflammation throughout the body. The vitamin C in these fruits and vegetables also gives the immune system a boost.

Examples: blueberries, eggplant, purple grapes, plumbs, blackberries, pomegranates, purple potatoes, purple asparagus, purple figs, purple carrots, raisins, black currants, black salsify.

The best way to incorporate all of these fruits and vegetables into your daily diet is to eat multiple varieties in one sitting. Try roasting several heartier vegetables together in the oven mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper until tender. Or make up a fruit salad with multiple colored fruits to have with breakfast or as a snack. Just be mindful that a high proportion of a fruit or vegetable’s nutrients reside in its skin, so try to keep the peel on if you can. Salads, like the one below, are one of my favorite ways to get a healthy dose of produce.

Mixed Greens Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine several handfuls of the greens of your choice (try spinach, kale, romaine, watercress). Next, add ¼ cup each of the fruits and vegetables of your choice, chopped into similar size. Below are come combinations to get you started:

  • Roasted butternut squash, red onions, green apples, purple figs
  • Tomatoes, carrots, corn, blueberries, cucumbers
  • Purple potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberries
  • Watermelon, radishes, yellow peppers, oranges, asparagus

After you add your toppings to the bowl with the mixed greens, add your dressing. Use a light dressing of your choice, or try the one below:

  • In a small bowl, add the juice and zest of one lemon, 3 tablespoons olive oil, one garlic clove grated, and ginger grated to taste. Whisk everything together, and add salt and pepper to taste. If you have fresh herbs on hand, mince those and add them to the mix. Basil, parsley, thyme, and chives work well. You can use any citrus you like in place of the lemon- try lime, grapefruit, or orange for variety.

Pour the dressing over your salad and toss everything to combine. Add nuts like pistachios, cashews, almonds, or walnuts to provide healthy fat so your body can absorb all the nutrients from the fruits and vegetables.

 

Vanilla Pomegranate Ginger Fizz {perfect for Thanksgiving}

Thanksgiving requires cocktails that shake up quickly and will keep your guests happily sipping while you get on with the rest of the meal. You can make this vanilla pomegranate ginger fizz martini style (which requires a bit more attention) or the more laissez-faire pitcher style. If you’ve got a big crowd, simply multiply the recipe accordingly, and add all the ingredients save the ginger-ale to a large pitcher. When your guests arrive, add ice and the ginger-ale and stir well to combine. This way people can help themselves, and you have one less thing to worry about.
Ingredients (makes two cocktails)
  • 5 ounces vanilla vodka
  • 2 ounces unsweetened pomegranate juice (the “Pom” variety works well)
  • 2 ounces simple syrup (either make it yourself by boiling 1 part sugar to 1 part water, or you can buy it pre-made at William Sonoma-they even have a pomegranate flavored one)
  • 2 cans ginger-ale (diet or regular, your choice!)
Directions:

In a martini shaker filled with ice, combine the vanilla vodka, pomegranate juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously until chilled. Pour into two glasses, and top up with ginger-ale as desired. If you’re feeling fancy, add a few pomegranate seeds for garnish.

OR: Stir all ingredients together in a large pitcher filled with ice.

Cornbread Sausage Pecan Stuffing

Stuffing has become a misnomer. You shouldn’t actually stuff your turkey with the mix. It adds a substantial amount of cooking time to your turkey, and prevents the stuffing mix itself from getting that desirable golden brown crust. Bake the whole thing in a casserole dish, and you solve both problems. This stuffing is full of big flavors, from the meaty sausage and the tangy apple cider vinegar, to the toasty pecans, with the hearty cornbread as the perfect backdrop. Indulge your Southern side with this fresh twist on a Thanksgiving standby.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds cornbread, cut into ½ cubes
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage links, casings removed, broken into bite sized pieces (I used a chicken and apple sausage)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch slices celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4-cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs

Directions:

  • Toast the cubed corn bread at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, until dried out and golden brown (this will help the corn bread absorb all the flavors, and keeps your stuffing from getting soggy)
  • Sauté the onions in a splash of olive oil and tablespoon of butter until softened, then add the celery and garlic, and sauté until everything is tender.
  • Add broken up sausage, and cook until everything is golden and starting to brown
  • Add ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the chopped pecans, chopped parsley, and minced thyme
  • Add 2 cups chicken stock and stir everything to combine
  • Add the cornbread cubes, mixing gently from the bottom of the pan up (don’t break the cornbread up!)
  • Beat the two eggs with 1/2 cup chicken stock, and add to the stuffing, if it seems dry, add the remaining stock. The mixture should look wet but not soggy.
  • Spread the stuffing evenly in a wide, shallow baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
  • Remove the foil; increase the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown on top.

Recipe inspired by www.bonappetit.com

Photo Credit: www.bonappetit.com

Read the full post on Bachelor Kitchen. 

quick roasted turkey breast {just in time for thanksgiving}

On Thanksgiving Day, your oven becomes the hottest real estate in town. It’s hard to get everything out on the table hot at the same time when your turkey hoards the oven space for half the day. This roasted turkey breast recipe cooks start to finish in about an hour, and takes all the muss and fuss out of roasting the whole bird, and frees up your oven for cooking all your sides and pies. Its also perfect for a smaller Thanksgiving dinner- two turkey breasts feeds four people amply, with plenty for the requisite turkey sandwiches the next day. I’ve also included a gravy recipe that’s basically fool-proof and whisks up in a flash right before serving.

Roasted Turkey Breast

Ingredients

  • One turkey breast cut off the bone (often called “London-Broil Style”)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • One onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons white wine

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Season the turkey with the olive oil, minced thyme, and salt and pepper.
  3. Slice the onion into disks, and the garlic into slivers, and line a baking pan with them to form a bed for the turkey.
  4. Put the turkey on the onion, dot with the butter, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Baste the turkey with the pan drippings, and add the wine to the pan. Roast for another 30 minutes until cooked through (20-25 minutes per pound).
  6. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. To crisp up the top, baste with more butter and place under the broiler for a few minutes until golden.

Gravy

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Reserved onion and garlic from your roasted turkey, and any pan drippings
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking over medium heat until golden brown.
  2. Add the stock slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  3. Add the wine, and bring everything to a boil to thicken.
  4. Mince the reserved garlic and onion, and add them to the gravy, along with any pan drippings
  5. Whisk to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Read the full article on Bachelor Kitchen.

Photo Credit: www.punckfork.com

How To: Grill the Ultimate Steak

Grilling skills often elicit unprecedented pride from guys. But earning real grilling accolades requires more than just slapping a few frozen patties on the grill and flipping them around until they’re charred and warmed through.  Master this simple, foolproof grilled steak recipe, and you’ll never disappoint. You’ll also impress everyone, guy or girl, who you cook this for (vegetarians excluded). Just keep these few key points in mind:

1. Buy the best beef you can find: Grass-fed, free-range, organic, raised without hormones and antibiotics, all of these will make your steak taste worlds better than some mangy piece of beef raised in unspeakable conditions.

2. Season amply: Don’t be afraid to lay on the salt and pepper thick. This will create a delicious crust on the edges of the beef, making your steak taste perfectly seasoned and amplifying the natural flavor of the beef.

3. Go for the fat: When selecting your cut of beef, know that fat equals flavor. Pick a cut with good fat marbling throughout, but no connective tissue that won’t melt off with the quick cooking time that grilling entails. Or, if you do spring for an expensive cut like fillet mignon or tenderloin, then keep the grilling time brief so you don’t ruin such a decadent steak.

4.  Crank up the heat: Whether you use a charcoal grill, a gas grill, or a grill pan on your stove top, make sure the surface is as screaming hot as you can get it. This seals in all the juices in the beef, and gives that sought-after contrast between crusty outside and tender inside that is the hallmark of a good steak.

5.  Let it rest: Don’t let all your careful preparations go to waste. Let your steaks rest for a full 5 minutes after you take them off the grill. This allows the juices (and all the flavor) to redistribute and keeps everything juicy and tender.

The Ultimate Steak Dinner for Two

Ingredients:

  • Two aged prime strip steaks
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Two tablespoons melted butter, cooled

Directions:

  • Heat your grill to the highest temperature you can, and let it heat up for 5-10 minutes.
  • Dip your steaks in the melted butter, and allow the excess to drain off.
  • Coat the steaks generously on all sides with salt and pepper, letting a crust form.
  • Lay the steaks on the grill and cook for two minutes, then rotate in a quarter turn to the left, and cook for another 2 minutes. (This turning gives you that sough-after “cross-hatch” look on the steak, called “quadriage” in French cooking.
  • Flip the steaks over, and cook for 2 minutes, then rotate just as you did on the first side. After 2 minutes, remove the steaks to a plate to rest for 5 minutes.. (This is for medium-rare, so cook the steaks a bit longer depending on your preference).
  • Serve your steaks with the accompaniments of your choice- I like an herb compound butter (recipe below) and some killer homemade French fries.

Compound Butter:

  • Soften 1 stick of butter, then add 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon each of minced fresh parsley and thyme, and ½ teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary. Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Work the ingredients into the butter until thoroughly combined. Form the butter into a log shape, and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge (or freezer) until hard.
  • Slice into thin disks and serve over your hot steaks. (You can make all sorts of compound butters- spicy chili and cumin, lemon zest and fresh basil, or just add your favorite beef rub to the butter).

* The photo above is from probably the best day at the French Culinary Institute- We grilled steaks and made French fries all day! Everyone said it was like Christmas.