Posts Tagged ‘parmesan cheese’

Unrecipe of the Week: Celery Caesar

May 16, 2016

Sometimes, the slightest twist on a classic makes the old seem new again. Such was the case with the Celery Caesar Salad that I stumbled upon this weekend. Truth be told, it was a little bland, but the combination of diced celery, matchsticks of endive and Parmesan cheese were a hit. Mine had diced chicken breast in it, and to add insult to injury, they forgot the croutons. But even with its faults, the salty Parmesan and the crisp and crunchy celery held their own. A squirt of fresh lemon juice and a few shakes of pepper re-invigorated it and helped make the flavors sing. I think a julienned apple would be a nice touch; a welcome addition of tangy and slightly sweet.

Hooked on the concept and knowing it could be easily be improved, we bring you our take on the Celery Caesar.

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Celery Caesar Salad

For the salad:
Clean, scrape and dice a few stalks of celery. Julienne an endive, an equal amount of Parmesan cheese and a tart apple, so that all the matchsticks are similar in size. Add diced chicken breast if desired.

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For the dressing: 

Whisk together about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, and the juice of about 1/2 a small lemon. Add a couple of shakes of Worchestershire sauce and a little salt. Taste, and adjust the lemon /olive oil ratio as needed. It should be tangy and the lemon flavor should stand out.

Toss the salad with the dressing and sprinkle with a liberal amount of fresh black pepper. Add croutons and enjoy!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Cacio e Pepe

March 24, 2016

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Just like in fashion, some foods suddenly take on a life of their own, as every menu, magazine and blog seems to be gushing over the same dish. Lately, that dish is Cacio e Pepe.

Translating from Italian, “cacio e pepe” means cheese and pepper. It is just a slight upgrade from the children’s plate of pasta with butter and parmesan cheese, but the simplicity of the dish, and the purity of the ingredients make it one that you will go back to again and again.

The preparation varies from recipe to recipe, but all agree on the ingredients: pasta, some of the water in which it was cooked, Parmesan, Romano, and or Pecorino Cheese, butter, and of course, pepper.  You really can’t go wrong here.

Cacio e Pepe:
Cook pasta a minute or two less than stated in the directions, reserving about a cup of the cooking water.

In a large pan, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter, and add a liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper, swirling until the pepper is “toasted.”
Put the drained pasta into the pan, and add about a cup or more of the grated cheese, ( you can use all of one kind or mix the Pecorino with the Parmesan) and another tablespoon of butter, and toss until the pasta is coated. Slowly add some of the pasta cooking water, while continuing to mix and toss the pasta, until a smoother consistency is reached. You will likely only need 1/2 of the water. Place in a bowl and enjoy!!

Photo: Bon Appetite

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Parmesan Rinds

January 26, 2016

 

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In our continuing quest to eliminate food waste, we’ve been saving the rinds from Parmesan cheese to add flavor to soups and stews.
This weekend, we were making our creamy cauliflower soup with parmesan crisps and realized that this was the perfect spot for those rinds. This  (un) recipe calls for adding a couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese to the pot towards the end of cooking. Tossing in the rinds while it cooks instead, allows the cheese to slowly melt into the soup, delivery a savory and salty flavor.

The rinds can be kept in the freezer, and you can take out just enough to fill your needs.
Try tossing them into pasta sauces, ratatouille or vegetable soups.

Drop a rind into the sauce or soup while it is cooking, and allow the cheese to slowly melt into the dish. If there is still a solid portion when you’re ready to serve it, remove the rind and discard it.
Enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Gnocchi

December 28, 2015

We were so excited to receive the Gjelina cookbook for Christmas this year. It is filled with simple, delicious vegetable and grain-centric recipes from acclaimed chef, Travis Lett.

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We tried the ricotta gnocchi tonight, and it was recieved with rave reviews. Like any dough recipe, this requires using your sense of what the dough should feel like, vs. a hard and fast recipe to follow to a tee. The result was light, pillowy gnocchi that we devoured with nothing more than a pool of pomodoro sauce and some Parmesan cheese. The best news: it didn’t take much more than 30 minutes to create. Go ahead and give it try…we’ll guide you through the process.

Ricotta Gnocchi adapted from Gjelina:
Spread about 1/2 cup of flour onto the counter in a circular shape. Top with 1 pound of strained ricotta cheese. ( we used part skim from the grocery store.) and then top that with another 1/2 cup of flour. Sprinkle it with a pinch each of salt and ground nutmeg.

Using your fingertips, lightly mix the flour and ricotta and gather it into a mound with a well in the center. Add 3/4 to one whole egg,which has been lightly beaten into the well, and combine it with a fork until it is roughly held together. Using a bench scraper, gently fold the dough repeatedly until it has come together into a ragged mass. Sprinkle it with small amounts of flour and delicately knead the dough, adding more flour as you go until it comes together into a ball. Delicate is the operative word here, and the more assertively the dough is handled, the more the gluten will develop and make your gnocchi tough, or gummy in texture. Handle the dough as little and as gently as possible to attain the results outlined above.

Wrap the dough in plastic and let it sit about 20 minutes.

Cover the surface with flour and gently shape the dough into a large disk about 1″ thick. Cut the disk into strips.  Take each strip and roll it into a log about 1/2″ in diameter. With a knife, cut each strip into 1″ segments, and press the tines of a fork into one side of each piece. Don’t flatten them with the fork, just create an impression. Place the pieces of gnocchi on a sheet pan and sprinkle lightly with flour until ready to use.

Boil a large pot of salted water. Place the gnocchi into the pot and cook for about 2 minutes until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and toss them in the sauce of your choice. Keep sauces on the lighter side, so you don’t overpower the gnocchi. We recommend a simple pomodoro sauce, or even butter and sage or basil and Parmesan cheese. Serve while hot and enjoy!!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Fresh Pasta with Zucchini and Roasted Tomatoes

June 1, 2015

Isn’t it funny how once the weather changes, my palatte changes with it? I suddenly can’t get enough tomatoes, corn, basil and zucchini. My spiralizer becomes my best friend, allowing me to morph a zucchini into noodles with the quick turn of a handle. Two minutes in a pan and I have a tasty base that gets me past my pasta craving most days. Except yesterday.

Home Made Pasta

Home Made Pasta

I made homemade fettuccine in the late afternoon, and tucked it away until dinner time. The dough gave me a run for my money…it was too dry, so I added a little olive oil and water and kneaded it into submission. When I started to put it through the pasta machine (the old fashioned hand crank type is all I use,) I felt like something magical had happened. The dough reacted perfectly, and didn’t require untangling or adding flour to prevent the cut pasta from sticking together. After 2 or 3 minutes in boiling salty water, I had a big bowl of the lightest, most delicate fettuccine I had ever made. It easily held its own against the fresh pastas I have had in fine restaurants here or in Italy. I had to give in and taste it.

Don’t let people trick you into believing that fresh pasta is always superior to the dried varieties. Fresh pasta is more delicate, and takes to simpler, oil based sauces. The dried types do the heavy lifting, and should be used for tomato sauces, especially those with meat, which could overpower many freshly made pastas. I tossed ours in a garlic and basil puree with lots of parmesan cheese and topped it off with my latest obsession, oven roasted cherry tomatoes. They become so sweet they are like eating candy.

This dinner is so simple to make that you can prepare the components and go sit around and relax until dinner time. At least that is what I did.

If you can’t get fresh pasta (many stores carry it in the refrigerator case ) and don’t feel like making your own, it will still be good with the boxed kind. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a vegetable peeler to shave your zucchinni into ribbons. If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender, or buy a bottle of pesto sauce. The beauty of an unrecipe is keeping it simple and making it your own. Do roast the tomatoes though. Its totally worth the minimal effort.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

For the tomatoes:

Rinse and dry a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes.  Toss them in a little olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt and pepper, and spread them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop them into a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until they are starting to caramelize, but not burnt or dehydrated. Turn the pan about half way through and give it a shake to ensure more even cooking. You can also sprinkle some dried or fresh herbs, such as basil or oregano on them before roasting.

For the basil oil: 

Place the leaves of one bunch of basil and a clove or two of garlic into the food processor, and process until finely minced. (Traditional pesto has pine nuts in it. If you would like to use nuts, add them now and mince thoroughly.)Drizzle olive oil through the feed tube with the machine running, until it forms a loose paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap that lays right on the surface of the food to avoid it turning brown. (* Traditional pesto has the parmesan integrated into the sauce. You can add it now if you prefer. I like the consistency of the basil puree without the cheese for this purpose, but it is your choice. If using jarred pesto, it will already be in there.)

Spiralized Zucchini Noodles aka Zoodles!

Spiralized Zucchini Noodles aka Zoodles!

For the zucchini:
Saute the zucchini noodles in a little olive oil until starting to soften, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the pureed basil oil and mix well. If it is a little thick, add a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water to thin it down.

Fresh Pasta with Zucchini, Basil Oil, Parmesan Cheese and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Fresh Pasta with Zucchini, Basil Oil, Parmesan Cheese and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

To assemble:
Cook the pasta according to directions, or about 2-3 minutes if homemade, and drain.

Place the pasta in a bowl. Spoon the zucchini on top, and sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese. Place the oven roasted tomatoes on top, and enjoy!!!

Pasta photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Raw Artichoke Salad

May 11, 2015

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One of my favorite dishes to eat in Italy in the summertime is a raw artichoke salad. It is delicous in it’s simplicity; small ribbons of sliced artichoke drizzled with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, with a pile of paper thin shreds of parmesean cheese on top.
Something has always held me back from making it. Artichokes can be a bit prickly to deal with, pun intended.  Today, I set out to conquer my fear of preparing fresh artichokes so that we could finally enjoy this seasonal specialty at home. What did I have to lose, except perhaps a few artichokes?

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Artichoke 101:

Artichokes have tough outer leaves, which get progressively more tender as you get closer to the center. Once there, you will find the prickly purple core, called the choke. Some of the leaves also have sharp points on them, which need to be trimmed. All in all, not such a daunting task, except that the artichoke starts to turn a not-so-pleasant shade of brown, the minute it is cut and exposed to air. Yet, with a few tricks and some fast knife work, artichoke salad was enjoyed by all!

Raw Artichoke Salad With Lemon and Parmesean

Rinse artichokes thouroughly, getting in between the leaves to rid them of any dirty residue.

Prepare a large bowl of water, with the juice 1 or 2 lemons in it. Save the already squeezed lemon halves and toss them into the bowl.

Peel any of the tough leaves off of the artichoke and discard them. For this salad, you will want to get to the more tender leaves, which are yellow. Using a kitchen scissors, trim the tips of the remaining leaves to eliminate the sharp points. There is a tremenous amount of waste in preparing fresh artichokes, so brace yourself to throw out what appears to be more than you are keeping.

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Slice the artichoke in half, lengthwise,and immediately rub it with one of the discarded lemon halves. Using a spoon or melon baller, remove the purple “choke” and discard it. Trim off the stem, and toss the remaining artichoke heart into the bowl of lemon water to prevent it from discoloring. Continue with the rest of the artichokes, always putting them back into  the lemon water as quickly as possible.

Squeeze another lemon or two into a bowl big enough to hold the artichokes.

Take one piece of the cleaned artichoke hearts at a time, quickly slice it into thin strips, and toss it in the lemon juice. Once all the artichokes are sliced and coated with lemon juice, add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Spread it on a platter, and using a peeler, shave fresh parmesan cheese over the entire salad and enjoy!

NOTES: for 2 people, I used 4 very small artichokes and 2 tiny lemons. With larger artichokes, you may be able to get by with 2 or 3. The lemon quantity should be enough to coat the artichoke slices, without them swimming in lemon juice.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Crispy Green Beans

November 5, 2014

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These oven roasted green beans with Parmesan cheese are almost as good as french fries, and way better for you!
They are simple to prepare, and work well as a side dish or an afternoon snack. Make up a big batch of these and crunch away!

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Crispy Parmesan Green Beans:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse green beans and snip off ends. Toss them in a little olive oil, salt and a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.

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Lay them on a parchment paper covered pan, and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until they are crispy. Shake the pan once or twice to ensure more even cooking.

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Enjoy!

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Unrecipe of the Week: Oops Soup

October 17, 2014

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry . Today’s dish really is an unrecipe: in fact, not only did I use the “little of this and a bit of that” method, I didn’t even intend it to be soup!

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It all began in the vegetable market, when I had a taste for something hearty, yet vegetarian. Autumnal flavors were on my mind, and zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and mushrooms sounded like a good start.

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I sautéed an onion and some garlic with the mushrooms, and added some italian herbs. Sounds good, right? Well, it all went astray from there. As I tossed chunks of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes on top of it in the slow cooker , I had some second thoughts. I wondered if 5 hours in the slow cooker might make them soft. I wondered if they might give off too much liquid. I added a can of beans to make the stew heartier, and hopefully thicken up what I realized was going to be a pot of mushy vegetables. I turned on the cooker and went about my business. When I came back a few hours later, I had just that: a pot of bland, starting to get quite mushy vegetables. They had given off quite a bit of liquid, but not enough to make soup. I added some stock and some canned tomatoes to the pot and let it cook it’s little heart out. When it was done, I pureed it into a rich, flavorful soup. It’s sort of a riff on a classic minestrone, and a little drizzle of olive oil and some grated Parmesan cheese provided the perfect finishing touch. All’s well that ends well!

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Winter Vegetable Stew Soup:

Dice one medium onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, and sauté them in olive oil until soft. Add some sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and start to brown. Add a healthy amount of dried oregano, basil and a bay leaf, and place in the slow cooker. Pile on chunks of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes. ( I used 2 zucchini, 1 medium eggplant and 3 large tomatoes.) Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add 1 can of beans, rinsed, ( I used chickpeas ) and set the slow cooker for about 5 hours. Check it a few hours in, give it a stir and realize this is going to be mediocre at best. Add a little vegetable stock, if necessary, and a can of diced San Marzano tomatoes. Let it cook until the timer goes off.

Puree the mixture, and taste to correct seasonings. If it is too thick, add a little more stock.  To serve, place in soup bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil, and a dollop of grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy, knowing that good cooks can salvage almost anything!

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Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Zucchini Noodles With Deconstructed Pesto and Tomatoes

September 3, 2014

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It’s the end of the season, and perhaps (no promises) the end of my posts about spiralized zucchini.  I admit it; I’m obsessed! It’s easy, it’s healthy, it tastes great and it is the perfect substitute for pasta.

I also love deconstructing pesto. In a classic pesto, the basil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese are all minced and mixed together. In this version, only the basil and garlic are emulsified, and the pinenuts and shaved parmesan are added separately, to give the dish a more interesting texture.

Zucchini Noodles With Deconstructed Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes:

Spiralize the zucchini. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you really need to get one, but in the meantime you can use a vegetable peeler, or the julienne blade on a mandolin or food processor to prepare the zucchini.

Now do you want one? Moving along….

Place the leaves from one head of basil into the work bowl of the food processor with a few garlic cloves and pulverize. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil until it forms a smooth paste. Set aside.

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Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Add zucchini noodles and quickly sauté them for a couple of minutes until they are heated through and barely softened. Stir in the basil oil mixture until the noodles are fully coated. Add several handfuls of toasted pine nuts, a quart of cherry tomatoes cut in half, and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, toss with shaved parmesan cheese and enjoy!

photos: indigo jones instagram and hyperlapse video

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Unrecipe of the Week: White Bean Soup

January 2, 2014

Mojettes from Marais Poitevin

It’s a new year, and so far, it’s a cold one. Temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits in New York City,  and snow is on it’s way. I am craving warmth and comfort, and this soup should fit the bill.

It’s low in fat and calories, and high in protein and nutrients, thanks to the white beans, tomatoes and baby kale.

White Bean Soup

Rinse 1 can (or box: kudos Whole Foods for your new BPA free packaging!) of cannelinni beans and put them in a pot with about 6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock, a few springs of fresh thyme, rosemary and a few sage leaves. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves, and simmer for about 30 minutes or so. Add one 26 oz. can or box of chopped tomatoes with their juice, and continue to cook for another 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove the herbs and garlic cloves,  and add several handfuls of shredded baby kale. Cook another 15 minutes until the kale is softened. If at any point, the soup gets too thick, add more stock or water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you prefer a thick, smooth soup, you can puree it at this point.

When ready to serve, drizzle each bowl with olive oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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