I’ve been in a pasta rut lately, but thanks to the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I rediscovered the technique of making a pan sauce to give my tired old pasta a new twist and a boost in flavor. This pan sauce is full of bold color and taste , made with bacon, mushroom, chard, and ricotta. Orecchiette, the oval-shaped pasta from the southern Italian region of Puglia, is a good choice for this dish because its slight bowl shape is perfect for catching the cheesy sauce which has a slight hint of spice from crushed red pepper flakes and nutmeg. The orecchiette’s edges are thicker than it’s center for some added texture. Continue Reading…
Archives For cheese
Hatch chile season is here! These green chiles were named after the Hatch Valley, in New Mexico, where they are exclusively grown. The region, located along the Rio Grande River, provides the perfect growing conditions for cultivating these flavorful chiles: hot summer days and cool nights, ample water for irrigation, and mineral-rich soil. They are only harvested once a year, in late July to early August, and the season last for just six weeks. Continue Reading…
I knew immediately when I saw this post on Joanne’s amazing blog, Fifteen Spatulas, that I would be making mini bacon and egg cups. After all, it’s got three of my favorite things – bacon, eggs, and cheese. The beauty of a recipe like this one is that it can be easily customized to our own particular tastes. The eggs can be cooked over easy, medium, or even scrambled. There are many varieties of cheeses that would work well. Proscuitto may be substituted for the bacon. You see, the possibilities are endless. For my version, I added some crimini mushrooms that I sautéed in butter with a little garlic and chives. For the bread on the bottom, I cut rounds from a couple of slices of buttermilk bread. Continue Reading…
I have a confession to make. I’ve never had mac & cheese from that iconic blue box. While eating the neon orange concoction was a childhood rite of passage for most of my friends, Kraft’s version was never very appetizing to me. However, this made-from-scratch mac & cheese, oozing with cheesy goodness, is a whole other story! Adding bacon to this is just pure genius! Thanks to my friend, Patti, who posted a photo of her mac & cheese on facebook, for reminding me that I had this recipe from Lori at RecipeGirl that I’ve been wanting to try. Continue Reading…
This is reprinted from The Thompson Family Cookbook, a collection of recipes from my extended family that I compiled last year. The recipe was adapted from the Breakfast Bruschetta served at Starling Diner, a cute little neighborhood restaurant in Long Beach, California owned by my cousin, Joan. Starling Diner is a wonderful place to hang out and have a leisurely breakfast. The food is outstanding and the ambience is comfortable and relaxed. My favorite things on the menu are the creamy Breakfast Polenta, the decadent San Francisco Stuffed French Toast and these Breakfast Bruschettas. At Starling Diner, the bruschetta is served with seasonal berries, but I think the recipe works beautifully with caramelized figs as well. Perfect for a casual brunch, this is a quick and easy dish to prepare that may be assembled ahead of time.
Knowing that I was going to be cooking zucchini a lot this week, I bookmarked this recipe from fellow blogger, Miranda, of Cupcakes and Cardigans. These zucchini chips are simple and easy to prepare. They are healthy, too, since they are baked instead of fried. Just don’t serve them with a side of ranch dressing (like I did!).
I didn’t have any breadcrumbs so I used some herbed croutons that I coarsely processed in the food processor, which turned out wonderfully. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly as Miranda had shared in her blog. Yummy!
Time really does fly when you’re having fun…and what fun I’ve had this past week! From celebrating my wedding anniversary to transforming my backyard into an urban vegetable garden to making some yummy desserts, this staycation has definitely been a blast!!
One luxury of my time off has been to indulge in longer baking sessions than I would normally have time for during a regular work week. As such, I was able to develop this tart recipe. This was a perfectly sweeet ending to my weeklong staycation.
You will all be relieved to hear that there will be no jalapeño posts for awhile since we have used up the few remaining peppers to make this bread and some salsa. To be honest, I only bought the jalapeño seedlings because I thought the little peppers were “cute.” I had no idea that I would harvest more than 50 peppers from them this summer. Through my enjoyable gardening experience, I discovered that I like the flavor of jalapeños, but I am running out of ideas on how to use them. Of all the jalapeño recipes I’ve tried, this one’s my favorite. I had a slice right out of the oven with some butter and it was fantastic!
Jalapeño Cheese Bread
Yields 1 loaf
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more if needed
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
1 cup (or more, to taste) jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese (or more, to taste), grated
Mix together the yeast and water in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, egg and buttermilk and add to yeast and water. Add the salt, sugar and bread flour to the liquids and mix well. Then incorporate the semolina flour to the dough. If the dough is too wet, gradually add more bread flour 1/4 cup at a time. Place dough on a floured surface and knead for five to ten minutes until dough is smooth. Form dough into a ball and place into a bowl greased with butter. Cover the bowl, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size—about an hour.
Turn out dough on a floured surface, and slowly knead into the dough the jalapenos and cheese, a little bit at a time. (I used the “lazy swirl method” I described yesterday since I really didn’t want to knead the dough again, hence, the swirly appearance.) When cheese and jalapenos are incorporated into the dough, place dough into a greased bread loaf pan. You can also sprinkle semolina in the bread pan for additional friction. Cover the pan and let dough rise until doubled in size (it should be at the top or a bit over the top of the pan)—about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 40-45 minutes on a center rack (when you thump the top and it sounds hollow, the bread is done). Let cool for ten minutes, and then slide it out of the pan, slice and enjoy!
Adapted from HomesickTexan
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I was actually in the middle of making another type of bread when the idea for this came to me. I opened the refrigerator for something and caught a glimpse of the feta cheese. Hmmm! How about a feta cheese and kalamata olive bread? Chris loves this combination so I decided to surprise him. I took just enough dough from the bread I was working on to make this one, but I provided the full recipe below for those of you who might be interested. The recipe for the dough is adapted from a recipe by Sheila Lukins, the author of The Silver Palate Cookbook, but the method I am sharing below is my lazy way to incorporate flavors to dough in an evenly-distributed manner without any additional kneading.