November 23, 2008

Roasted Cauliflower



I love to roast vegetables of almost any kind. There is something wonderful about this simple method that brings out the natural flavor so nicely. I think one of the best things about roasting vegetables is that they are good all on their own with nothing much added. You can forgo the butter and heavy sauces and really enjoy the vegetable the way nature intended. This is something that even my kids love and they are not too fond of cauliflower unless it's covered in a cheese sauce. Enjoy!



*Ingredients*
1 head of cauliflower
4 cloves of chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional, but completely delectable!)

*Method*
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Rinse and pat dry cauliflower well.
3. Break apart the head into florets and place in a bowl along with the garlic, the lemon juice and enough olive oil to coat the florets well. Toss gently to coat.
4. Place the florets in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. (test at 20 minutes, they should be tender but not at all mushy)
6. Remove from over, plate and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

November 16, 2008

Tipsy Egg Nog


I make this egg nog every year for the holidays. It's not kid friendly for sure with all the liquor and the raw eggs but it is simple to prepare and always seems to get rave reviews when I bring it to parties. Thick, rich and delicious... the Grand Marnier adds a fairly subtle but really wonderful and unique orange flavor.

Ingredients:
* 6 eggs, separated
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup Grand Marnier
* 1/2 cup rum
* 1/2 cup brandy
* 1 1/2 quarts whole milk
* 3 cups whipping cream
* Nutmeg

Preparation:
Beat egg yolks until thick. Beat in sugar, and then Grand Marnier, rum and brandy. Chill for about an hour. Add milk while stirring. In another bowl, beat whipping cream until thick then set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff but not too dry. Fold egg whites and whipping cream into egg mixture. Let egg nog chill overnight. Grate fresh nutmeg over the top of each mug right before serving.

November 5, 2008

Smoked Mozzarella Fritters with Caesar Salad


I made this wonderful combination for a light lunch the other day and everyone adored it. A classic Caesar salad topped with smoked mozzarella fritters. I left out the croûtons that would normally go along with a Caesar salad, since I felt there was enough crunch with the fritters. However, I will include the recipe I would have used for the croûtons, should you want to make them. For a lunch meal, this salad alone with a couple of fritters was enough. If I was going to serve this for dinner, I think I would pair it with a soup and a nice hunk of crusty, buttered Italian bread. I think it would be delicious with a simple tomato soup or maybe a minestrone. Together these recipes will serve about 4. Enjoy!

Smoked Mozzarella and Ricotta Fritters
Recipe courtesy: Giada De Laurentiis

*Ingredients*
1 1/2 cups fresh whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups shredded smoked mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves

*Method*
In a small bowl combine the ricotta, smoked mozzarella, thyme, salt, and pepper. In another bowl pour the panko. In a third bowl lightly beat the eggs. Put the flour in a fourth bowl. Line a tray with parchment paper.

Scoop a 1 1/2 tablespoon ball of the cheese mixture into the flour and roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the eggs and roll to coat. Transfer the cheese ball to the panko and again roll to coat. Transfer the ball to the parchment-lined tray. Continue with the remaining cheese mixture.

Meanwhile heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees F. Fry fritters in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain.



Caesar Salad
Recipe courtesy:Martha Stewart.com

*Ingredients and Equipment*
For Croutons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 8- to 10-ounce loaf rustic Italian bread, crusts removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For Dressing
2 garlic cloves
4 anchovy fillets
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For Salad
2 heads romaine lettuce, inner leaves only, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus shavings for garnish

*Bake Croûtons and Mix Dressing*
Step 1
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine the butter and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the cubes of bread, and toss until coated. Sprinkle the salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper over the bread crumbs, and toss until evenly coated. Spread in a single layer on an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet. Bake until the croûtons are golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Step 2
In a large wooden salad bowl, mash garlic, anchovy fillets, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a paste using two forks. Use a balloon whisk to mix in 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the lemon juice, mustard, and egg yolk until smooth and combined, and then gradually whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream, until dressing is emulsified.

Step 3
Add lettuce, cheese, and croûtons and toss to coat with the dressing