Panzanella Salad

 

I had my first online cooking class experience yesterday. It was a lot of fun. I went through the cooking school named Cozymeal. They have cooking schools throughout North America and, due to the pandemic, the classes have moved online. I have been wanting to try one for awhile.

I choose an Italian cooking class. The chef, Chris, was very informative and taught the group many great techniques as well as the history of the food.  He even had an Italian opera singer Zoom in from his home whereas he sang a wonderful song.

This is the first of the three recipes we cooked. It is very simple and delicious. It comes from Tuscany.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 loaf of Italian crusty bread
  • 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced and quartered
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil (10-15 leaves) rough chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425F. Chop slices of bread into large crouton shape. Toss with olive oil (enough to lightly coat). Lay out the croutons on baking sheet in single layer with appropriate spacing between each piece to vent. Place in oven and toast until they appear toasted on all sides (10-15 minutes).

Place tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, 2 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS red wine vinegar in a bowl, mix and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

Once croutons have cooled, mix with marinade.

Other two recipes to follow (Tiramisu and fresh pasta dough with lemon cream sauce.

Buon appetito.

Squash & Gorgonzola Risotto

 

I posted this recipe last week, but while trying to make some modifications on this site yesterday I erased part of the post. Thus, I will post it again because this recipe is that good.

My boyfriend found this gem of a website named:

http://www.pastagrammar.com

Also, check out their You Tube channel, they have many entertaining videos that will teach you a lot of Italian cooking tips:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1tKrA3PQlDzKzmhgq7wPPQ

I reap the benefits from his find and his new found love of cooking Italian. Often, I come home to freshly cooked pasta and other delicious Italian intricacies.

This is one of my favorite dishes from the site so far, it is a northern Italian risotto. It calls for an easy to make homemade vegetable broth.

Ingredients:

  • 1 russet potato, quartered
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 carrot, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tomato
  • Sprig of fresh parsley
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, cubed
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh black pepper

Directions:

Begin by making the vegetable broth. Place potato, celery, carrot, tomato, parsley, half of the onion, a splash of olive oil, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan with water and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Dice the other half of the onion. Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil into a sauté pan and sauté diced onion until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the cubed squash, stir frequently for 2-3 minutes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a ladle of the vegetable broth and allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add more broth if necessary to prevent burning.

Toast the rice by melting 1 TBS of butter into a saucepan and stir frequently for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook the alcohol off for a couple minutes.

Add the toasted rice into the squash pan and combine. Begin adding simmering vegetable broth in increments to maintain the ability to cook the rice and to achieve a certain consistency. Desired consistency is soft and not crunchy but not overcooked. This will take at least 15-18 minutes and will require your attention.

Once desired consistency has been reached take the pan off the heat and add 1 TBS butter, gorgonzola cheese, a generous grating of Parmigiano and combine. 

Allow to sit for 3 minutes then serve with another grating of Parmigiano to top the master piece off.

Godere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fried Rice by Hazel

This fried rice was a hit with my family and is super easy to make. The secret to this rice is that when you go to fry the rice, you do so in the bacon grease. Definitely not for the vegetarian.

Ingredients:

  • White rice, cooked (amount depends on how many people you are feeding)
  • 4-5 slices bacon, cooked and cut up into small pieces, reserve bacon grease
  • Bunch of green onion, chopped
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

Make white rice, fry bacon and reserve grease, chop onion, scramble eggs and set aside. Place white rice in bacon grease to fry, add bacon and onion, make some space in the pan and add eggs, scramble those eggs and combine. Begin adding soy sauce and pepper to taste. Do not use salt due to soy sauce having a lot of salt in it. Be sure not to burn rice while frying because it will dry out.

Spanish Rice

 

I need to get this recipe on the site before I lose the tiny slip of paper with the directions. This recipe comes from my friend Nathaniel. I came home from work one night and my boyfriend and Nathaniel were making fajitas. Homemade Pico de gallo and Spanish rice included. I’ve tried to replicate it a couple times but I do need to invest in rice cooker. For now, I make it the old-fashioned way with a pot on the stove. Note to self: do not use sushi rice for this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chicken broth (I used 1 cup because I but it n cartons)
  • 1 can water (again, I used 1 cup)
  • 11/2 cups rice
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce (1/2 of a 14.5 oz can)
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a pot, bring to simmer and cover until rice is tender (20-25 minutes); garnish with cilantro.

Roasted Sweet Potato Tasso Bisque

I love Cajun and Creole food. I went to New Orleans for the second time and this time I had the opportunity to take my first cooking class. I took a hands-on class at the New Orleans School of Cooking and it was amazing. I really enjoyed learning about the cuisine of NOLA and meeting my 9 new friends. Chef Matt was an amazing teacher with a great personality. My favorite dish that we made was the bisque; so spicy, creamy and delicious. We used an immersion blender to puree. If you don’t have one of those you could use a food processor or blender in its place.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 TBS garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup tasso (if your grocer doesn’t carry this you can use bacon or prosciutto in its place)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 TBS Joe’s Stuff seasoning (I have the link to order down below, but you can use a combination of salt, garlic salt, paprika and onion powder in its place)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook sweet potato for 45 minutes or until tender, remove from oven and let cool (poke holes in the potato prior to cooking and beware that it will leak all over your oven, so place it on a pan).

In a heavy bottom pot, heat butter and brown tasso on all sides at medium-high. Remove half from pot and set aside for garnish.

Reduce heat to medium and add onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic; saute until soft. De-glaze with stock, scraping the bits of the bottom of the pot. Add Joe’s stuff or your own seasonings and allow to simmer.

After sweet potato has cooled, split it in half and scoop flesh out with a spoon. Add potato to simmering liquid. Using the immersion blender, puree the contents of the pot until smooth.

Add heavy cream and return to pot to simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Garnish with tasso and green onions.

Here is where you can purchase the special creole seasoning:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chase and Sophia’s Baked Mac n’ Cheese

 

IMG_7345 (1)

My son and his girlfriend are an adorable couple. She has quickly become a part of our family and I love her like she is one of my own. The positive effects she has had on my son are innumerable and it has been a delight to see the conscientious and considerate young man he has become while in a couple. One of the positive effects has been their love of cooking. My daughter and I came home tired and hungry from a day of traveling home from Canada a few weeks back and we opened the fridge and found this delicious baked mac n’ cheese inside; comfort food was just what we needed. They found this recipe on the website http://www.momontimeout.com and made a couple alterations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded (they used cheddar in place of Gruyere)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 4 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large 3-4 quart baking dish. Combine shredded cheese in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook the pasta 1 minute to al dente. Drain and place in a large bowl. Drizzle pasta with olive oil. Set aside to cool.

Melt butter in a deep saucepan, dutch oven or stock pot. Whisk in flour and continue  whisking for 1 minute until bubbly and golden. Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Whisk until bubbles form on the surface and then an additional 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth and thick. Add 2 more cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth and thick.

Stir in cooled pasta and fully coat with cheese sauce. Pour half of the pasta into baking dish, top with remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese and then add the remaining pasta on top.

In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle this mixture over the top and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Mushrooms

This tasty mushroom recipe is from the first diet plan that ever worked for me. It doesn’t taste like diet food because yummy melted cheese! Found in Suzanne Somers’ Get Skinny on Fabulous Food cookbook, they are cheesy and tasty with no rice or bread. They are easy to make and can be served as an appetizer if you are entertaining. Picture is my mom, son, and daughter enjoying Tofino in Vancouver Island.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS chopped thyme, parsley or tarragon (she uses fresh lemon thyme in the book but I have trouble finding that)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:

Carefully pull stems off the mushrooms, finely chop stems. Select the 12 largest caps and set aside for filling. Finely chop the remaining mushrooms. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add shallots and saute until golden brown. Add chopped mushrooms and herb and saute until brown and crispy. Add wine and cook off the alcohol for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and preheat broiler.

Place the mushroom mixture in a mixing bowl with 1/2 the cheese, stir until well combined. Lightly rub the caps with oil and place on cookie sheet. Fill each cap and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Broil for 5 minutes. Cheese should be bubbly and the caps a little brown.

 

 

 

Three Bean Salad

 

 

I realize summer is over. However, I am still going to share this recipe I found over the summer because I want it in my archives for easy access. Also, you might like it as well. Super easy to make and great for leftovers. I found it on one of my favorite recipe websites. http://www.simplyrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz  red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped fine (3/4 cup), soaked in water to take away the sting, discard water before adding
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped fine (1 cup)
  • 1 cup loosely packed, fresh. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Mix all the beans, celery, onion, parsley and rosemary. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat. Chill for several hours.

 

 

Twice Baked Potatoes

 

This is a modified recipe from Horne of the Moon Cookbook, a vegetarian restaurant in Vermont. It is simple, but not as simple as a baked potato. Well worth the extra effort. I am not listing the amount of each ingredient because it varies depending on how many potatoes you cook. Just keep tasting the mix.

Ingredients:

  • Large russet potatoes (however many you care to serve).
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork (1-1 1/4 hours). Cut the top of each potato so that the inside can be easily scooped out. Scoop out insides and place in a bowl. Mash with butter, lower over temp to 400, add sour cream, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Fill the potato shells and sprinkle each with paprika. Bake for 15 minutes and serve.

 

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