Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ricotta and Herb Spread

Ricotta and Herb Spread (NJBride4-8-05)
Serves 8
Prep Time 5 minutes

1 - 15 oz container of fresh ricotta (about 2 cups)
2 TBSP chopped fresh herbs (such as flat leaf parsley, tarragon, chives, cilantro, or any combination)
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 small baguette, sliced and toasted

Spoon the ricotta into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the herbs and 1/4 tsp of each salt and pepper

Drizzle with oil and serve with bread

Note: I add any combination of herbs I enjoy and see what tastes great. And I brush the bread slices with EVOO and toast in the oven with a little garlic.

Pepperoni Roll

Pepperoni Roll (LaVitaBella)

1 and 3/4 lb thin sliced deli pepperoni
30 yellow american cheese slices (Kraft singles work the best. The deli cheese makes it too crumbly)
1 large prepared pizza dough ball (go to your nearest pizzeria and ask for's $2)
olive oil spray

(Before you start, preheat oven to 350 degrees)
1. Lightly flour a working surface to prevent sticking. I use parchment paper so I don't get my counters a mess.
2. Toss pizza dough until stretched out. With a rolling pin, roll out dough as much as possible, trying to create a large rectangle. The dough should ideally be about 12x18 inches. Be sure not to stretch the dough so thin that you can see through it.
3. Distribute one layer of pepperoni on the dough. Leave about a half inch margin all the way around, as if it were the crust.
4. Distribute a layer of cheese slices. I don't cover the entire surface with cheese. I alternate 5 slices with 4 slices all the way down (or whatever you can fit). Either way, there usually is about and inch or two of space between slices.
5. Create another pepperoni layer. This time, to conserve ingredients, bring the layer in a few inches.
6. Another cheese layer. I try to place the singles where there was a gap in the first layer.
7. One last pepperoni layer. I am usually running short by this time, so I really space them apart. Just be sure to cover any slices of cheese. It doesn't have to be perfect.

(You can do as many cheese/pepperoni layers that you want. Just be sure that the first and last layer both are pepperoni to keep the cheese from oozing through.)

8. Roll the dough so that the bread is 18 inches in length (or whatever the longest measurement you have is.) You should only need to roll the bread two or three times. Pull any excess dough up and over the roll on the sides so that it is sealed. Use a small amount of water to keep the extra dough sealed on the edges. With a knife, pierce the top of the bread in three spots.
9. Spray the bottom of a cookie sheet with the olive oil spray and the top of the bread, as well to create a nice golden crust.
10. Bake at 350 for approximately 35 minutes. You can tell if it's finished if the crust is golden brown and if the cheese is oozing from the top holes. Watch the bread carefully as many ovens are different.

Slice into 1 inch pieces and enjoy!

Marinated Shrimp

Marinated Shrimp (smallbutfeisty)
(Cooking Light)
Another hit at our "tapas" night.

1/4 cup dry vermouth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
36 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 3/4 pounds)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeƱo pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of shrimp; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove shrimp from pan. Repeat with remaining olive oil and remaining shrimp.

Ali's Amazing Bruschetta

Ali's Amazing Bruschetta

I love to make this for gatherings. I modify by brushing olive oil on the bread and then lightly toasting. You don't have to bake this afterward, but I normally do. French bread is a nice substitute too. I typically use a Vidalia onion, and dried spices (except for basil, which I usually have on hand fresh).

2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread, cut into 1 inch slices
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, olive oil, oregano, basil and parsley. Place bread on a baking sheet, and top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bottom of bread is browned. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Joe's Crab Shack Crab Dip

Joe's Crab Shack Crab Dip (smallbutfeisty)

1 Tbsp. Butter (softened)
4 tsp. Finely Diced Green Pepper
1/4 C. Sour Cream
1/4 tsp. Seasoned Salt
1/8 tsp. Paprika
1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1/4 C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 (6 oz.) can Crab Meat (drained)
Fresh Diced Green Onion (garnish)
Fresh Chopped Parsley (garnish)

Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and butter until smooth. Blend in seasoned salt and paprika. Stir in yellow onions, crab meat, green pepper, and mozzarella cheese. Place in a lightly greased small shallow baking dish and place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until mixture bubbles, about 10 – 14 minutes. Serve dip with unsalted or very lightly salted corn chips.

Baked Crab Rangoon

Baked Crab Rangoon (smallbutfeisty)
(Kraft Foods)
This was a big hit at our "tapas" night get together.

1 can (6 oz.) white crabmeat, drained, flaked
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese, softened
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup KRAFT Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
12 won ton wrappers

HEAT oven to 350°F. Mix first 4 ingredients.
SPRAY 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Line each with won ton wrapper, extending edges of wrappers over sides of cups. Fill with crab mixture.
BAKE 18 to 20 min. or until won tons are golden brown and filling is heated through.

Chili Cheese Dogs in Beach Blankets

Chili Cheese Dogs in Beach Blankets (wrysmyguy)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3/4 pound ground beef or turkey
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons dehydrated onion
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 tube pizza dough, from the dairy aisle at the grocery store
8 beef, turkey, pork or tofu dogs
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

In a small pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat to the pot and brown it up, 6-7 minutes. Season the meat up with chili powder, granulated garlic, dehydrated onion and a little salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir it around a minute, then add the water to help loosen the tomato paste up and get it everywhere. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for five minutes, then turn the heat off. Roll the pizza dough out into a big rectangle. Cut the dough in half lengthwise with a small knife. Cut the dough into four equal pieces across so that you end up with eight small, rectangular pieces of dough. Across the center of each rectangle, place a couple of spoonfuls of chili sauce and a small handful of cheese sprinkled on top. Set the dog on the dough and wrap and roll the pizza dough around the dog like a blanket, sealing in the chili and cheese too! The nubs of each end of the dog should be peeking out. Bake in the oven 18 minutes, until golden.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Roasted Peppers

Orecchiette with Sausage and Roasted Peppers (wrysmyguy)
Serves 6.

2 medium red bell peppers, four flat sides sliced off core, ribs and seeds discarded
2 medium yellow bell peppers, four flat sides sliced off core, ribs and seeds discarded
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat broiler. Place peppers, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil 4 inches from heat until charred, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; steam 2 to 3 minutes. Using a paper towel, rub off pepper skins, reserving any juices in bowl. Thinly slice peppers crosswise into 1/4-inch strips; return to bowl. Set aside.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers; cook until heated through.
Transfer sausage mixture to bowl; add pasta, butter, reserved pasta water, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Ginger Rogers Cocktail

Ginger Rogers (wrysmyguy)

8-12 mint leaves
½ oz. ginger syrup (recipe below)
1 ½ oz. gin
½ oz. fresh lime juice
Ginger ale
Lime wedge for garnish

1. Put mint leaves in a glass, cover with syrup, and muddle lightly until the mint begins to release its aroma.
2. Fill a glass with ice; add gin and lime juice and top with ginger ale.
3. Using a bar spoon, stir the drink from the bottom up to mix. Garnish with lime wedge.

Ginger Syrup
2 ounces ginger, thinly sliced
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cup water
1 ½ tsp. whole black peppercorns

1. Combine ginger, sugar, water, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue simmering for 30-40 minutes or until syrup smells very gingery.
3. Remove from heat and cool.
4. Strain syrup through a sieve, transfer to a bottle, and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Serve these at your next holiday shindig and you might just be redeemed for last year’s ironic reindeer sweater.

Pat and Billy's Chili

Pat and Billy's Chili (wrysmyguy)
(won Bernardsville Chili Cookoff in 2008)

The hardest thing about making this is the pork. If you can find smoked pork it will save a lot of time, if not any shredded pork will do but will not carry the exact same flavor.

3 lb. pork shoulder

1 1/2 C orange juice
1/2 C fresh lime juice
3 cloves pressed garlic
1 tsp. cumin seed toasted and ground with a mortar and pestle
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (or any hot pepper flake)

1/8 C ground dark roast coffee beans
1/4 C packed dark brown sugar
1/8 C +1 TBSP mild chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 TBSP granulated garlic
2tsp ground cumin
1 TBSP kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper

Chili Verde Base:
3 TBSP olive oil
3 C chopped yellow onions
2 medium jalapenos, seeded, veined, and minced
6 cloves chopped garlic
4 C low salt chicken stock
1 12 oz can coconut water
1/2 c fresh lime juice
1 tsp green hot sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 TBSP cumin seed toasted and ground with a mortar and pestle
6-8 medium fresh tomatillos, diced
4 large poblano chilis, roasted, skinned, seeded and chopped
1 28 oz can white posole drained (also called hominy)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients for marinade in a medium bowl. Stir to combine

Place pork in a large zip-lock bag. Add marinade, seal and place in refrigerator to marinade for 4-6 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove pork from marinade and pat dry.

Combine ingredients for rub in a small bowl. Mix. Apply rub to port coating evenly. Prepare smoker with your favorite wood. Cold smoke pork for 2-3 hours. Remove pork from the smoker and place on grill and cook for 3 hours on indirect heat until meat thermometer reads 175 internal. Remove from grill and cool. Shred meat and chop into 1/2 inch long pieces.

Add olive oil to a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, jalapenos and saute until translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add poblanos, tomatillos and continue to saute for another 3-5 minutes. Do not let brown.

Add chicken broth, lime juice, hot sauce, coconut water, cumin seed and salt. Stir. Let simmer uncovered 30 minutes. Add shredded pork and simmer another 30 minutes. Add drained posole and cook another 15 minutes. (chili will thicken as the tomatillos cook down). Remove from heat. Add cilantro and let chili come to room temperature. Store covered in the refrigerator overnight.

Reheat over low heat until warm. Serve with garnish of choice.

Chicken Chili with Hominy

Chicken Chili With Hominy (wrysmyguy)

4 corn tortillas
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
2 small red bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups low-fat milk
2 15-ounce cans white hominy, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 lime wedges

1. Place a tortilla directly on a stovetop burner set at medium-low and toast, turning frequently with tongs, until light golden and fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cut tortillas into 1-inch-wide strips and set aside.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to pan. Add bell peppers and onion; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add chiles, garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and milk and bring to a simmer, stirring. Stir in reserved tortilla strips, chicken and hominy.

4. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and chili has thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with remaining cilantro and lime wedges.

Mango Guacamole

Mango Guacamole (wrysmyguy)
Makes about 2 ½ cups

3 large ripe avocados
½ small red onion, diced
½ to 1 fresh serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish
About 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 medium ripe mango, peeled, flesh cut from the pit and diced

1. Cut the avocados in half, running your knife around the pit from stem to blossom end and back up again. Twist the halves in opposite directions to free the pit, and pull the halves apart. Dislodge the pit, then scoop the avocado flesh into a large bowl. Coarsely mash the avocado with a large fork or potato masher. Rinse the onion under cold water, shake off the excess water, then add it to the avocado along with the serrano, cilantro and lime juice.

2. Mix in 2/3 of the diced mango. Taste and season with salt. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate – preferably for no more than a few hours.

3. When you’re ready to serve, scoop guacamole into a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining diced mango and cilantro sprigs. Serve with tortilla chips, or slices of cucumber.

Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Green Sauce

Chicken Enchilads With Creamy Green Sauce (wrysmyguy)
Serves 6.

3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
Coarse salt and ground pepper
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 jars (16 ounces each) medium green salsa
3/4 cup heavy cream
12 corn tortillas (6-inch)
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely shredded (3 cups)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper; place with garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine salsa and cream.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred meat, discarding skin and bones. Peel and chop garlic. In a large bowl, combine chicken, garlic, and 1/2 cup salsa mixture.

Stack tortillas flat, and wrap in damp paper towels; microwave on high for 1 minute to soften. Working with one tortilla at a time, dip in salsa mixture, lay flat, and fill with 1/3 cup chicken mixture. Roll up and arrange, seam side down, 8 enchiladas lengthwise and 4 crosswise in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining salsa mixture, then cheese.

Bake until cheese is browned and salsa is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes; let rest 10 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with cilantro, if desired.

NOTE: To make these up to a day ahead, prep and assemble the enchiladas (steps 1 to 3); cover and refrigerate. Go to step 4 when you're ready to bake and serve. Before filling, soften the corn tortillas by stacking them between damp paper towels and heating for a minute in the microwave. This makes them more pliable and prevents tearing.

Black Bean Chili with Smoked Pork

Black Bean Chili with Smoked Pork (wrysmyguy)

3 pounds pork loin
1 pound dried black beans
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons chili powder
5 hot chile peppers -- skinned and chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 medium onion -- chopped
2 whole jalapenos -- skinned and chopped
28 ounces crushed tomatoes -- drained
28 ounces chopped tomatoes -- drained

1 cup cheddar cheese -- shredded
1/2 cup fresh cilantro -- chopped
1 cup sour cream
2 avocados -- diced
1/2 cup onion -- chopped

Cover and soak beans overnight or longer. Start the smoker and when hot, put the pork loin on the smoker, using your favorite wood for flavor. (I used hickory.) Smoke for an hour or so at 225F and then hold until you're ready to start assembly. Pour everything in a stock pot except the tomatoes, jalapenos and, of course, the garnishes. Keep covered with water and cook 6 hours on low heat (cover the pot but leave cracked slightly open to allow a bit of steam to escape). Add additional water as necessary. After 6 hours, remove meat and shred. Put the shredded pork back in the pot and add tomatoes and jalapenos (as many as you want) and cook another hour or until thickened. Serve in individual dishes along with garnishes. Garnish with chopped cilantro, sour cream, chopped onion, diced avocado and shredded cheese.