Ricotta Hotcakes with Lemon Curd

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Ricotta hotcakes. I had never tried them before last night, and wooooeeee, are they good. They’re rich, cake-y, and actually pretty different from typical pancakes. I wasn’t sure how the ricotta would affect the taste, and while it didn’t change the flavor, it definitely changed the texture. These cakes are moist from the ricotta, and the egg whites really made them puff up.

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I spread some lemon curd on top because lemon + ricotta = a dream, so it only made sense. The hotcakes and lemon curd together taste just like lemon bars. Ever had those?

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I happened to have this lemon curd on hand, but any kind will work. Actually, don’t be like me and make your own! It’s really easy. Here’s a great recipe if you’ve never made it before.

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Ricotta Hotcakes with Lemon Curd

makes 8-10 hotcakes

3/4 c. whole milk ricotta

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 c. flour

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

pinch of sea salt

3 egg yolks, 3 egg whites, in separate bowls

3/4 c. milk

Strain the ricotta over a bowl for at least an hour. This will get rid of all the excess liquid.

Once the ricotta is strained, mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar and set aside. Then mix egg yolks, vanilla, milk, ricotta and lemon zest in another bowl. Set aside.

Take the 3 egg whites and beat on high with an electric mixer until whites are stiff. Set aside.

Combine flour mixture with the wet ingredients and stir until everything is thoroughly mixed. Next, add the egg whites a little at a time, gently folding them into the batter. Add slowly until the egg whites are all mixed in, making sure you aren’t stirring too hard, or else you’ll deflate the egg whites.

Heat a skillet over medium- low heat and add a knob of butter. Once the butter is melted and the pan is warm, add 1/4 cup of batter at a time, flipping the cakes when bubbles form on the surface.

Finish the hotcakes with lemon curd and sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

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Apple Galette

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Apple Galette

serves 6

CRUST:

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1/3 c. ice water

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick plus 2 tbsp. COLD butter, cut in small pieces

APPLE FILLING:

2 granny smith apples, peeled and cored

2 fuji apples (or whatever kind you want), peeled and cored

4 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

1 lemon

honey

 

In a food processor, lightly pulse together flour, salt, sugar and butter and sprinkle in 1/3 cup ice water (it’s important the butter and water are both super cold), until dough barely comes together. There should still be small pieces of butter throughout.

Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, form into a ball and place in refrigerator for an hour.

While the dough chills, thinly slice your apples, and squeeze the juice of the lemon on top. Refrigerate until dough is ready.

Once the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the dough and roll out into a circle (doesn’t have to be perfect), until it’s thin and evenly rolled out. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Grab your apples from the fridge and toss them with the cinnamon, sugar, the zest of the lemon and vanilla. Place the apples in the middle of the dough and fold the edges up so there’s about an inch or so of dough folded up around the apples.

Squeeze a bit of honey on top of the apples and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and a few dabs of butter. Cook for 45 mins to an hour, or until the crust is golden and the apples are bubbly.

 

 

 

 

Root Vegetable Risotto

HELLO!

As I mentioned in my last post, I catered a baby shower for my mom’s friend on Saturday. I was beyond nervous to provide food for as many people as I did, but I was pretty happy with how it all turned out. I made a root vegetable risotto for the main dish and everyone seemed to love it. The only problem I ran into was that I cooked the risotto 2 hours before the party, and holy shit was it thick once I needed to reheat it. Seriously, if you’re making risotto, make it right before you serve. It was really hard for me to mix everything in, and risotto isn’t supposed to be thick. It should be creamy, but still pourable.

I used a basic risotto recipe that I’ve used for years, and roasted the veggies separately.

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I used a mix of carrot, turnip and butternut squash. Risotto is pretty great because you can really add anything you want. I knew I wanted to keep the menu seasonal, so that’s why I chose the veggies I did.

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I hate cutting up butternut squash.

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This recipe is for one, but you can easily double or triple it if you need to.

I hope everyone is staying warm in this cold ass weather!

Root Vegetable Risotto

serves 1

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 c. arborio rice

1/4 c. dry white wine

5-6 c. chicken stock (or vegetable, or beef or even just water)

1 turnip (peeled)

1 carrot

1 butternut squash

Start by putting your stock in a saucepan and heating it through, then keeping it on simmer while you get the rice ready.

In a deep, heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and stir until evaporated.

Finally, add the stock one ladle at a time, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is still al dente. Don’t add tons of liquid at once, just do one ladle at a time, until it’s creamy. This will take between 30 and 45 minutes.

Roasted Veggies

Chop all veggies into 1 inch cubes and toss in olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake at 450 for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Add desired amount of veggies into risotto, combine and top with fresh Parmesan.

Serve immediately.

 

 

 

Parmesan & Parsley Garlic Knots

The only ingredients we had on hand for dinner tonight were spaghetti and tomato sauce. My favorite part of going out for Italian food is the bread basket, so I decided to make garlic knots.

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I started with a basic pizza dough and rolled out 16 ropes after the dough had risen for an hour. Once I had the ropes rolled out, I tied them into delicate knots, brushed them with a little olive oil and baked them for 10 minutes.

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I topped the knots with a garlic & parsley butter, along with a shaving of Parmesan cheese. They were delicious on their own, but tasted even better when I dipped them in the leftover marinara sauce from our spaghetti.

Garlic Knots

makes 16

2 1/4 oz. packets of active dry yeast

1/4  cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp sugar

4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 cups warm (about 115 degrees) water

Garlic & Parsley Butter

makes about 1/2 cup

1 stick butter

1 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

pinch of salt

pepper

5 cloves of garlic, minced

Heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add minced garlic and cook until light golden brown, being careful not to burn. Add parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook on medium low for 5 minutes, then take off the heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pour water into big bowl and sprinkle both packets of yeast on top. Mix together and let stand about 8 minutes, until frothy.

Mix sugar, oil and salt into yeast mixture and combine. Add flour in small amounts, mixing as you go, until a sticky ball is formed. Pat loosely into a ball and transfer to an oiled bowl. Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Place bowl in warm, dry place for an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, flip onto a floured surfaced and cut into 16 strips. Take each strip and tie it into a knot, and lay on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Top immediately with garlic butter and freshly shaved Parmesan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building a Cheese Plate

Today I spent 45 minutes at the grocery talking to the guy behind the cheese counter. I wanted to know anything and everything about cheese. He walked me through fresh cheese, semi-soft, soft ripened, surface ripened, semi-hard, hard and bleu. WHEW. I left the store feeling educated and sophisticated.

Here’s what I figured out: cheese is expensive as shit, there’s a million different varieties, and building the perfect cheese plate can be life changing.

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I finally left the store with 4 different cheeses, mixed nuts, fig jam, prosciutto, dried figs, an apple and a baguette.  I bought a wedge of bleu d’auvergne, harbison (VERY soft cheese), an espresso bellavitano  (kind of a mix between parmesan and gouda), and finally, a classic English white cheddar.

bleu

nuts

fig jam

fox

How gorgeous is this tray? I love foxes, and plan on serving all my meals on this tray.

pros

cheddar

Okay, so after all those pictures, here’s a rundown of what I learned today when it comes to different types of cheese:

1. Fresh- ready to eat as soon as its made. No aging is required, and most of the time fresh cheese is pretty mild.

2. Semi-soft- often aged from a few days to a few months. Semi-soft cheese melts beautifully under slight heat.

3. Soft ripened- white rind, creamy interior. This type of cheese actually gets softer as it ages.

4. Surface- ripened- wrinkly rind, has an intensely flavored interior.

5. Semi- hard- this can range from cheddar to gouda, and is aged for a few months, years, or even longer.

6. Hard- defined by its firmness. Typically has a granular texture with a salty & sharp taste.

7. Bleu- bleu cheese gets its “blue” color from the rich veins of mold and range in texture from creamy, to crumbly,  to hard.

8. Washed rind – the rind is typically orange-y/pink, because it has been rubbed with a solution of salt water and beneficial bacteria. Washed rind cheeses are often described as stinky, but their smell is sometimes stronger than they taste.

Finally,  let’s talk about things that go with the cheese. As I mentioned previously, I decided to pair the cheese I bought with mixed nuts, dried figs, prosciutto, apple slices, fig jam and thin slices of baguette. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to picking accompaniments.  Pear slices, any dried fruit, crackers, good olive oil, these are all things you can serve with your cheese.

I hope everyone has a beautiful week! As always, feel free to email me with any questions.

 

 

 

White Pizza with Roasted Garlic and Arugula

I have always been under the impression that the term white pizza means pizza without red sauce. If I’m incorrect, can someone let me know? I would hate to spread false rumors on this blog.

With that said, white pizza is something I really enjoy. It has always felt lighter to me than the classic with tomato sauce, and sometimes I actually prefer it over typical pizza. The cheese has always been my favorite part of pizza, so that is probably why I love this style so much. It really is all about the cheese.

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I decided to top this pie with arugula tossed in olive oil and lemon juice. While that might sound strange, it added a delicious bitterness that I loved.

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Since raw garlic can be a bit harsh, I decided to soften a couple cloves in olive oil to mellow out the flavor. I smashed them after they became soft and spread the garlic paste + infused olive oil all over the dough to act as the sauce.

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I kept the toppings really simple after I put a bit of the arugula mixture on top. Some sea salt, pepper and parmesan cheese was really all it needed. You could add lots of other things if you wanted to, though. Sun dried or fresh tomatoes, caramelized onions, chorizo, etc. In fact, if anyone does add anything other than the arugula, please let me know! I would love to hear how it turned out.

White Pizza with Roasted Garlic and Arugula

serves 3-4

Dough:

1 .25 oz package active dry yeast

1 tsp white sugar

1 cup warm water

2 1/2 cups bread flour

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

In a Kitchenaid mixer bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes

Add flour, oil and salt to the wet mixture and combine using the dough attachment for 5 minutes. Once the dough is combined and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl, flip it onto a floured surface. Work the dough into a ball and let rest under a towel while you prepare the rest of the pizza.

Ingredients for Pizza:

8 cloves garlic, whole

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cups arugula

1/2 lemon

sea salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

shredded parmesan cheese, for topping the pizza

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat until barely bubbling. Add 8 cloves of garlic and let them soften in the olive oil for 15-20 minutes. Take the pan on and off the heat to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. You want it to be light golden brown.

When the garlic cloves are soft, remove them from the oil and smash them into a paste with a fork. Set aside and keep both the paste and the oil.

Next,take the dough and work it into desired shape. Place on a pizza stone or baking sheet and spread desired amount of garlic paste and infused oil onto the dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly on top and place in oven to bake for 12-15 minutes.

When the pizza is light golden brown and bubbly, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Toss arugula with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Pile the arugula mixture on top of the pizza and finish with parmesan, sea salt and pepper.

Slice and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheeseburgers with Onion Jam and Bacon

One of my favorite restaurants, Coco’s, has a burger that they’re known for. They change their menu seasonally, which I love, but the burger remains on the menu year round. It honestly doesn’t have that many ingredients, it’s just the way it’s prepared that makes it special.

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The onions are cooked down with a bit of sugar for 45 minutes, and become so sweet they’re almost like jam.

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Make sure you salt and pepper the hell out of the burgers before you cook them. It makes the crust on the outside super flavorful.

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Boursin cheese is one of my favorites. I dip pretzels in it, vegetables, crackers, the list goes on. When you’re putting it on the burger, make sure it’s not piping hot. This cheese is really soft, so if the burger is too hot it will all melt off.

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This burger really did taste just like the one I love from Coco’s. It’s really rich, but it’s also ridiculously good.

If anyone tries this recipe, leave a comment or email me! I would love to hear your thoughts.

PS- Happy Halloween!

Cheeseburgers with Onion Jam and Bacon

serves 4

4 raw hamburger patties

8 tbsp boursin cheese

6 large white onions, peeled and sliced

4 tbsp sugar

salt and pepper

4 tbsp butter

hamburger buns

8 strips of bacon

2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees for the bacon. When it’s preheated, bake the bacon on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet for about 15 minutes, or until crispy. When they’re cool enough to touch, tear the bacon strips in half and set aside.

Heat 3 tbsp of butter in a medium sized pan over medium heat, and add onions. Salt and pepper the onions liberally, and stir around. Once they’ve started to turn color, add the sugar, turn the heat down to medium-low and caramelize the onions for 45 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.

Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil plus 1 tbsp of butter in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the burger patties and cook for 5-6 minutes per side, or until they’re cooked through. If you prefer your burgers rare, you can definitely cook them for less time, or if you like them on the well-done side, then cook them longer.

To assemble, place the burger on the bottom side of a bun, spread 2 tbsp of boursin cheese on top, followed by 2 pieces of bacon and topped with the onion jam.

Serve immediately.

Roasted Chicken with Grapes and Rosemary

I’ve seen a lot of different roasted grape recipes, but I’ve been hesitant to try one out because the thought of mushy grapes grossed me out. However, I tried it tonight and it’s super, super delicious.

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Food 52 had a really great recipe that I loosely followed, but I added a few things on my own as well.

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The grapes do get a bit soft to eat on their own, but they add incredible flavor and I want to try them in another recipe.

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This picture seriously reminds me of Christmas. Rosemary always reminds me of Christmas trees.

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We wanted to class it up and drink wine with our meal, but the only wine we had was the kind I cooked with, and it was horrible on its own.

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Sean has a heart of gold and always offers to do the dishes.

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Roasted Chicken with Grapes and Rosemary

adapted from Food 52

serves 4

12 drumsticks

6 sprigs fresh rosemary

1/2 lb seedless red grapes

6 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine grapes, 3 tbsp of olive oil, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and a liberal amount of salt and pepper in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Set aside.

Pat drumsticks dry with a paper towel then drizzle the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil on top, followed by salt and pepper. Add the drumsticks to the same pot as the grapes, nestled snugly against each other, but try not to overlap. Next, place the sprigs of rosemary on top of the chicken, and between a few of the drumsticks. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, and finish with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven covered for 15 minutes, then remove cover and bake another 20. After 20 minutes, turn your oven on broil and let the skin on the chicken crisp up and brown, about 6-8 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Short Rib Ragu with Creamy Polenta and Parmesan

Last night I spent $80 on ingredients for this meal. The cats will definitely miss eating, but it was worth every penny.

final rib

This dish takes a long time. Don’t start working on it at 4:00 like I did, or else you’ll be eating at 11:30. I actually had to wake Sean up to come eat.

cutting board carrot

raw ribs

There’s no good way to photograph raw meat, but these ribs were too beautiful not to share.

pot sep

There’s a part in the recipe where I mention moving the vegetables to one side and caramelizing the anchovy and tomato paste together.  This is what I’m talking about, in case it’s confusing to read.

anchovy paste

Anchovy paste looks and smells like shit on its own, but don’t eliminate it because it adds tons of flavor and magic to the final dish.

hanging carrots

FINAL

So, so good.

Short Rib Ragu with Creamy Polenta and Parmesan

Ragu

serves 4

4 pounds bone-in short ribs

salt and pepper

4 tbsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

5 medium sized carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

4 large garlic gloves, minced

1/2 bottle of red wine (your preference)

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp anchovy paste

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried thyme

4 tsp fresh thyme

2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 14 oz. can of roasted tomatoes

4 bay leaves

1 carton chicken stock

2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped

Creamy Polenta

serves 6

4 cups water

4 cups milk

1/2 stick of butter

2 cups dry polenta

1/2 cup creme fraiche

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

fresh thyme

Short Ribs:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pat short ribs dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Afterwards, sprinkle ribs liberally with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add short ribs in small batches and brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes each side. Once they’re all browned, set aside.

Drain all fat except for 1 tbsp and saute carrots, celery, onion and another 2 tbsp of olive oil in the same pan until soft. Once the vegetables have cooked down and become soft, add the minced garlic and stir around until fragrant.

Move vegetables to one side of the pot and on the other side, add the anchovy and tomato paste. Stir mixture together constantly for 3-4 minutes, then mix in with the vegetables. Add red wine and reduce by half. After it’s reduced, stir in dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and herbs. Add the ribs back into the pot and add chicken stock until the ribs are just barely covered.

Put into the oven to braise for 3 1/2 hours. Once the ribs are falling off the bone, remove them from the pot and shred the meat on a cutting board. Be sure to remove all bones and fat. At this point you can also take out the bay leaves and discard them. Add the shredded beef back into the pot, and serve the ragu over the creamy polenta.

Polenta:

Bring butter, water and milk to a boil. Add the polenta and whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes, until smooth.  Turn heat down to low and let cook with a lid partially on for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

After the polenta is cooked, salt and pepper to taste, stir in the creme fraiche and parmesan. Top with parmesan and fresh thyme.

Serve immediately.