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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Goat Cheese and Crab Alfredo with Blistered Grape Tomatoes

I often joke that I am the queen of leftovers, but when there are only two people in your household, you do tend to end up with several odds and ends of food. And, I love to grocery shop, so I often have odd combinations of ingredients on hand that can make for some creative meals. 

I had made goat cheese alfredo for dinner earlier in the week, but I made an enormous batch, so we had quite a bit left over. I had originally planned to make some crabmeat grilled cheese sandwiches, but I just wasn't feeling it when it came time to start dinner, and I had this large bowl of pasta to use up. Enter, the crab.... 

This was so easy to put together, so I will start with the alfredo recipe, and then add the other ingredients. My husband said his lunch leftovers the next day were the best lunch he has ever had. That's pretty high praise ! 

Goat Cheese and Crab Alfredo with Blistered Grape Tomatoes 

3 tablespoons butter 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
3 tablespoons flour 
2 cups heavy cream 
1 1/2 cups whole milk 
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled 
8 ounces crab meat, flaked (you can use the imitation kind here, it will work as well) 
1 pound fresh linguine 
8 ounces grape tomatoes 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
2 tablespoons basil, cut chiffonade 

Before you start the sauce, preheat the oven to 375. Toss the grape tomatoes in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and place on a shallow baking sheet. Roast tomatoes in oven until the skins start to split, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let rest while you prepare the rest of the dish. 

In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute garlic until soft. Add flour and stir until flour starts to turn golden. Slowly add cream and milk, and stir over low heat until sauce thickens. Start a pot of water for the pasta, salt water well.  Add goat cheese, and continue to stir until melted.  Stir in crab meat, and remove from heat. When water for pasta comes to a boil, add linguine, and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and combine with sauce. Serve in individual bowls, topped with tomatoes and basil.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Crispy Baked Pork Chops and Goat Cheese Creamed Spinach

When we find those big pork loins on sales, we usually buy a whole one, and portion it out into nice, thick pork chops. In the summer, those are amazing on the grill, but you need to find something more creative for winter preparations.

My original idea was panko and parmesan crusted pork chops, but I couldn't find the panko, it was lost in my pantry somewhere. I did have some pressed rice we purchased at an Indian market, so I thought I could put that in the food processor with parmesan and some herbs. It was nice and crispy, we really loved it.

Then, creamed spinach...I am obsesssed. There is something so comforting about the green, creamy goodness, it was the perfect accompaniment to my crispy chops. I decided to add goat cheese at the last minute,  just to make it more interesting. It was sooo good, I know you are drooling right now !

Crispy Baked Pork Chops and Goat Cheese Creamed Spinach
4 six to eight ounce pork chops, thick cut
1 cup pressed rice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, cut into small chunks
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375. In food processor,  combine presssed rice, parmesan cheese and spices. Pulse until crumbly, and place in a flat pan. Dip pork chops in melted butter, then roll in the pressed rice mixture. Place in a baking pan, and put in oven. Bake 45 minutes to one hour, until pork is cooked through.Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

For the spinach:
8 ounces fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Melt butter in a large sauce pan, add flour and stir constantly until completely combined and it starts to turn golden. Slowly add milk. Simmer over low heat until sauce begins to thicken, then stir in goat cheese. When cheese is completely melted, add spinach and seasoning. Continue to stir until spinach is completely cooked. To serve, place spinach on plate first, and top with pork chop.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Shiitake and Mushroom Farrotto

My husband thought I made up the name "Farrotto" but it is an actual thing. It's a risotto like dish made with farro. It isn't easy to find in my normal grocery store, so when I see it, I snatch it up ! And I honestly haven't made anything but farrotto with it, because this is soooo good ! 

It is a bit time consuming, but not hard at all. And this dish is vegetarian, could be vegan if you leave off the cheese. Farrotto doesn't get as creamy as regular risotto, but I am OK with that, because it's still very, very tasty. 

Shiitake and Mushroom Farrotto 
 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup dry white wine 
1 1/2 cups farro
4 cups vegetable stock
3 cups fresh spinach
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup shaved aged goat cheese

Add olive oil to a large saute pan over medium heat.In a separate pan, heat vegetable stock until warm, and keep it on a simmer while you are preparing the other ingredients. Add garlic and onions, and saute until both are soft. Stir in farro, and saute until farro is slightly browned. Slowly stir in the white wine. Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Start adding the vegetable stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid is absorbed. Do not get impatient during this process, or the texture will not be as nice. After the last addition of stock, stir in the spinach and mushrooms. Continue to stir gently until vegetables are cooked. Remove from heat, and sprinkle shaved goat cheese over the top. You can also use parmesan cheese here if you don't like goat cheese, but I like the strong flavor the goat cheese brings to this dish.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Chocolate Cherry Piecaken

I decide I want to try to make one of these, and now suddenly it's trendy ? How did that happen ? I would think a lot of home cooks might shy away from this because it looks difficult,. I have to admit, I was a bit afraid of how to get a pie inside a cake. 

Turns out, it's not that hard. And when you think about the endless flavor combinations, why wouldn't you do it ? This was my first try, so I went with a classic, cherry and chocolate. To simplify it and make it more approachable, I am only going to give instructions and technique, rather than recipes. 

Trust me, you will want to make a trial run with some less expensive and less time consuming ingredients. 

Chocolate Cherry Piecaken

1 batch chocolate cake batter (store bought mix is fine, or your favorite homemade recipe) 
1 8 inch baked cherry pie, chilled (again, store bought, or your favorite homemade)
      *tip-baking in a foil pan will assist in removal to cake later 
Chocolate frosting (I wouldn't skimp here, homemade chocolate frosting is THE BEST) 

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a spring form pan with non-stick spray, and line bottom with parchment paper. Pour approximately half of the cake batter in the bottom of the pan. Make sure the sides of the pie are loose from the pan, then gently, but quickly, invert the pie into the spring form pan, on top of the batter. You did it ! Success ! Then evenly pour the remaining batter over the top of the pie. Bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely, remove from spring form pan and frost. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Goose Meatballs with Red Sauce

I know, it's going to seem like all wild game, all the time for a bit... 

Everyone wanted to know if I was going to make sausage with some of the meat I have stocked away. I hate to admit it, but that's not one of my favorite things to make, or eat. It did get me thinking about spaghetti and meatballs, however. Who doesn't love those ! 

These were much simpler to make than even I could have imagined. Add some homemade red sauce, and noodles, and you won't even know the difference between these and regular, super tasty meatballs ! 

Goose Meatballs with Red Sauce 

2 pounds goose meat, cut into small chunks 
1 pound ground pork 
4 cloves garlic 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pepper 
2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs 
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
2 eggs, lightly beaten 
3/4 to 1 cup water 
3-4 tablespoons olive oil 

Using a meat grinder (I just used the small one for the Kitchen Aid mixer, it worked like a champ!), grind the goose meat and garlic cloves together. Mix together the remaining ingredients except the oil. Adjust water so that the meatballs are very moist, but not watery. In a large fry pan, heat oil until meatballs sizzle when added. Brown meatballs on all sides, but do not completely cook through. Add them into the simmering red sauce, once it is complete.

Red Sauce
2 quarts tomato juice
2 quarts diced tomatoes
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
2 ribs celery, cut in large chunks
1 large onion, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
Bunch of basil, oregano, parsley and thyme, tied together.

Place everything in a large stock pot together, and simmer slowly for 6-8 hours. Drain or scoop out all the large bits, and let it return to a simmer. Add meatballs, when they are cooked.

Cook all of these together, for approximately 30-40 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. Serve over your favorite pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese, if you wish. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Goose Stroganoff

I am so fortunate to have a coworker who loves to hunt, but doesn't know how to cook ! The deal we made is, he hunts, I cook, and we split the results. 

I have to admit, the only goose I have ever had is roasted, or jerky. I know it can be very gamey tasting, so the challenge was to transform it into something that anyone would say..."WOW ! That's really good, what is it ?" This recipe totally fits the bill. The goose meat is so rich, the sauce complements it perfectly. You won't even know it's a waterfowl, it is so amazing. If you don't have access to wild goose meat, find some !

Sorry no picture, we ate some and I gave away the rest. Trust me, it was delectable ! 

Goose Stroganoff 
3 pounds goose meat, skinned and deboned 
1 bottle pinot noir,  split 
2 tablespoons Montreal grill spice 
1 tablespoon cinnamon 
2 small onions, diced 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1/3 cup flour 
2 teaspoons salt 
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 quart been stock 
1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced thinly 
1 cup milk 
1/2 cup flour 
1 cup sour cream 

The night before, mix together 3/4 of the bottle of wine, grill spice and cinnamon. Add goose meat, and marinate overnight. In the morning, remove meat from the marinade and dice into bite sized pieces. Mix together the flour, salt and pepper, and toss the meat in the mixture. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven, and sear meat until brown on all sides. Place meat, onions, garlic and beef stock in a crock pot. Deglaze pan with the remaining wine, and add to the crock pot. Stir in spices. Cook on low for 6-7 hours, until meat is tender. Turn heat to high, and add mushrooms. In a small jar, shake the milk and flour together, and add to the crock pot. Let thicken for 1 hour, then stir in sour cream. Serve over buttered noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hatch Green Chili Egg Souffle

I started out wanting to make something like a chile relleno casserole, but I wanted it to be crunch, like a real chile relleno, and it wasn't. As it turned out, it was fluffy, cheesy, and spicy, making a perfect brunch/lunch/dinner dish.

You could use roasted poblanos, if you can't get the hatch chiles.

Hatch Green Chile Egg Souffle 

12 roasted Hatch green chiles
8 cups Mexican quesadilla cheese (cheddar jack can substitute)
8 eggs
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
5 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons flour
Chili powder and green onions to garnish

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9 by 13 pan with non-stick spray. Scrape charred skins from chiles and de-seed. Flatten and make a layer on the bototm of the pan with 6 of the chiles. Spread half of the cheese over, then layer the rest of the chiles, and the remainder of the cheese. In a blender, mix the eggs. milk, salt, pepper, garlic and flour until smooth and foamy. Pour over cheese and chiles. Sprinkle with chili powder, and place in oven. Bake for 415-60 minutes unti puffy and middle is set. Let rest for 10-15 minutes, then garnish with green onions and serve.