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Archive for February, 2010

How beautiful is this birthday cake!? I got it for my boyfriend for his 30th birthday from our new favorite bakery, La Patesserie Francaise. It was so delicious- a combination of chocolate, whipped cream frosting, maraschino cherries, chocolate sprinkles on the sides, and shaved chocolate on top. Mmmmmmmm! Everyone LOVED it! We have definitely found our new go-to bakery for ALL special occasions! If you live in the Boulder/Denver metro area, I would definitely recommend stopping in at this bakery for breakfast, lunch, a sweet treat, or a cake for your very own special occasion.

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Photo Credit: The Food Network


Hi Girls, This is another new Ina Garten recipe that I tried this week.  It is absolutely delicious – the nutmeg is subtle and so good. I used a 20 ounce package of portobello mushrooms from Costco which worked perfectly.  I recommend using the whole milk as she suggests – a one quart carton is just right.  Enjoy!  Love, Mom aka Auntie Joan

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • Good olive oil
  • 3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup freshly ground Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt and a splash of oil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.

For the white sauce, bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring first with the wooden spoon and then with a whisk, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Set aside off the heat.

Separate the mushroom stems from the caps and discard the stems. Slice the caps 1/4-inch thick. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and they release some of their juices. If they become too dry, add a little more oil. Toss occasionally to make sure the mushrooms cook evenly. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and set all the mushrooms aside.

To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Repeat 2 more times, layering noodles, sauce, mushrooms, and Parmesan. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and serve hot.

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Photo Credit: The Food Network

My mom sent over a few recipes of Ina Garten’s that she has tried recently…both sound amazing!

Hi E & Z, Here is Ina Garten’s Ribollita recipe. It is so good and very healthful. It takes some advanced planning (you have to soak the beans overnight), but it’s a dish you can make early in the day and re-heat just before dinner. Invite some friends over because it makes a huge pot of soup! A great one-dish meal.  Love, Mom


Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 pound large diced pancetta or smoked bacon
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (3 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (3 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped or shredded savoy cabbage, optional
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions

In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1-inch and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the pancetta and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the cabbage, if using, the kale, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.

Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan and drizzled with olive oil.

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© James Baigrie
I found this recipe recently on Food & Wine’s website and immediately thought of the always delicious tomato soup and cheese toast from Nordstrom Cafe.  It sounds super easy and looks just as yummy – here it is directly off F&W.
TOTAL TIME: 40 min
SERVINGS: 4

Ingredients

  1. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  2. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  4. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  5. 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika, preferably pimentón de la Vera
  6. 3 1/2 pounds tomatoes, quartered
  7. 1/2 cup water
  8. 1 thyme sprig
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  11. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  12. Eight 1/4-inch-thick baguette slices, cut on the bias
  13. 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated (3/4 cup)

Directions

  1. In a soup pot, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, water, thyme sprig and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and bring the tomato mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderate heat until the tomatoes break down, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf.
  2. Preheat the broiler. In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Strain the soup back into the pot, pressing on the solids to extract as much soup as possible. Stir the cream into the soup and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, place the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from the heat until lightly toasted on both sides, about 2 minutes total. Top the toasts with the Gruyère and broil for about 30 seconds, until the cheese is bubbly. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the Gruyère toasts.

Recipe by Melissa Rubel Jacobson

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Greens from my mom's garden!

My mom recently turned me on to kale when she prepared it for dinner by chopping it up and sauteing it in olive oil until it wilts just slightly.  I did a bit of reading on it and discovered that it has super high nutrition values and have started adding it to my weekly farmers market shopping list.

For Christmas my dad and I gave my mom a raised bed garden and she has been growing kale, amongst many other things, for the past few months.  She has started harvesting veggies and her friend Nancy suggested massaging the kale leaves with a bit of olive oil, then slice them up for a salad.  She says it’s super yummy – definitely something to try next time.

Here is some information about the nutritional value of kale from Wikipedia:

Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties; kale is considered to be anti-inflammatory.

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Because of its high vitamin K content, patients taking anti-coagulants such as warfarin are encouraged to avoid this food since it increases the vitamin K concentration in the blood, which is what the drugs are often attempting to lower.

Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties.

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We already have an applesauce recipe posted, but I wanted to share this one too that we made in class last night since it is a bit different and it looks so beautiful (and it was so yummy). We used green apples to make this applesauce, which was fun since I have only made it with red apples. 

Next week we are going to serve the applesauce with the potato pancakes that we will make!

Yield: 1 pt.                       

Method: Simmering

Ingredients:

  •  2 lb. Granny Smith apples
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 2.5 oz. granulated sugar
  • 0.5 Tbsp. Lemon juice
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Place in a saucepan with just enough cold water to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the cinnamon sticks.
  2. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the apples are tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the cinnamon sticks and press the apples through a food mill.

Approximate values per 1-fl.-oz serving: Calories 50. Total fat 0 g. Saturated fat 0 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 0 mg. Total carbohydrates 13 g. Protein 0 g. Vitamin A 20% Vitamin C 20% Calcium 15%, Iron 10%,  Claim- fat-free, no sodium

 

Recipe Source: On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals

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This is another recipe from class last night. The pears turned out so beautiful that I wanted to share this recipe for any pear and red wine lovers. I thought that these pears would be especially yummy topped with blue cheese or gorgonzola, unfortunately we did not have either in our school kitchen so I will have to try that out next time! I think these pears would be wonderful as is served for an appetizer or over salad greens. 

Yield: 2 servings                      

Method: Poaching

Mise en Place: Chop the fresh basil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ripe pears, Anjou or Bartlett           
  • 13 fl. oz. Zinfandel wine
  • 2-3 whole peppercorns
  • 0.25 vanilla beans
  • 3 oz. granulated sugar
  • 0.25 oz. fresh basil, chopped
  • Orange zest from one orange

Directions:

  1. Peel and core the pears, leaving the stems intact.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large nonreactive saucepan. Arrange the pears in the liquid in a single layer.
  3. Place the pears on the stovetop over a medium-high flame. Bring to just below a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and allow the liquid to simmer gently. Cover with a round of parchment paper if necessary to keep the pears submerged.
  4. Continue poaching the pears until tender, approximately 1-1.5 hours. Remove the saucepan from the stove and allow the pears to cool in the liquid.
  5. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and return the liquid to the stovetop. Reduce until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, then strain.
  6. Serve the pears chilled or at room temperature in a pool of the reduced wine syrup.

Approximate values per 7 oz. serving: Calories 410. Total fat 1.5 g. Saturated fat 0 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 35 mg. Total carbohydrates 91 g. Protein 6 g. Vitamin A 40% Calcium 90%, Iron 110%, Claim- low-fat; no cholesterol; low sodium; high fiber

Recipe Source: On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals

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