Monday, November 18, 2013

Some recipes are worth it!

Sometimes a recipe seems like a lot of work so I break it down into smaller segments throughout the day.  Good thing is, I have that luxury!  Although at first glance this recipe appeared to be one of those types of endeavors, it ended up being relatively simple to prepare and extremely quick to cook.

As I continue my challenge through "Cuisine At Home" magazine with yet another delightful and tasty meal, let me say that all of the pictures I post are mine.  I'm appalled by some blogs that steal photos, especially if they have to scan them from a magazine, and claim they created the dish on a whim with what they had in their pantry.  The pictures and recipes from "Cuisine At Home" are not available online so if I see one and the person doesn't give credit where credit is due I'm immediately turned off by ALL of their recipes!  Although the challenge recipes I'm posting come from the magazine (slight changes due to my pantry) I'm cooking them and taking my own pictures!

Thank you for listening!!  I'm all done ranting so on to the decadent recipe I cooked up last week!

Crab & Goat Cheese Ravioli with Spicy Snow Peas
(makes 4 servings)

8 oz goat cheese, softened
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
2 cans (6.5 oz) lump crab meat
1 pkg Nasoya won ton wraps
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Lemon zest
12 oz fresh snow peas, trimmed & string removed
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water

~  Combine goat cheese, chives, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Stir in crabmeat with a fork, keeping lumps as large as possible.
~  If trimming or shaping won ton do so prior to filling to ensure sealing.  As shown in the picture, a round scalloped edged cookie cutter was used.
~  Lay out 16 won tons; scoop 2 tsp. crabmeat mixture into centers.  Brush top won ton with water and place wet side down over filling, pressing edges to seal.  Repeat with remaining won ton wrappers.
~  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil and ravioli in small batches; cook until brown on one side, 2-3 minutes.  Flip ravioli and cook an additional 2 minutes; remove to paper-towel lined plate.  Continue until all ravioli have been cooked.
~  Return ravioli to skillet and add 4 tbsp water; cover and steam until soft, 1-2 minutes.
~  For the sauce, saute garlic in butter in a small skillet, 1 minute.  Stir in cream, increase heat to high and boil until cream is reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
~  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, snow peas and pepper flakes, cook 1-2 minutes.  Stir in water and cook until peas are tender and water evaporates, about 3 minutes more.  Season peas with salt.
~  Spoon 2 tbsp sauce onto plate; arrange 4 ravioli on sauce.  Layer several snow peas on ravioli; add 2-3 more ravioli, more peas and one more ravioli on top.  Spoon sauce lightly over all and serve.

This dish is very "gourmet" yet has such simple ingredients.  I questioned the preparation and presentation of the peas but wow, wow, wow!  They are a perfect pairing!  There's sweet crab meat, tart lemon sauce and a spicy crunch with the peas that will keep you taking bite after bite until you realize you have to get up and get more!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Everybody loves Taco Pie!

I'll never work through my 3 years of "Cuisine At Home" but I'm sure going to give it a valiant effort!  I had a full menu already planned and shopped for so I had to use up those items before moving on to the challenge.  Now, the next week is all planned and shopped for and is nothing but those recipes so hopefully my blog will once again be flowing!  On another note, I'm so lucky to have a husband, family and friends that go along with all my whims - they will truly understand the topsy turvy nature of my blog!

This Taco Pie is a little different than any taco pie I've tried or made.  But then it comes from the magazine "Cuisine At Home" so I expected it to be wonderfully different (even with some minor modifications).  It definitely did not let me down!  The magazine describes it like this and it hits the nail on the head:

"Tender like a tamale but filled with all the best parts of a taco, this pie will be a hit."

Taco Pie
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups masa harina
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp each garlic powder & ground cumin
1/4 tsp each dried oregano & ground coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can refried beans
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1/4 cup onion, grated
1 lb ground beef, lean
1 large chipotle chile in adobo, minced
1 tbsp adobo sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 cups lettuce, shredded
1 cup cheese, grated
2 cups corn chips, broken in pieces
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream

~ Preheat oven to 350F
~ For the crust, cook water, masa harina and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until very thick, about 6 minutes.  (Seriously THICK and seriously 6 minutes).  Spread dough onto parchment paper to speed cooling.  Once cool enough to handle, press dough into an oiled 8" cast-iron skillet with greased hands; bake until firm, 30-45 minutes.
~  For the first layer, cook garlic powder, cumin, oregano and coriander in 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add beans; cook until heated through.  Spread mixture into bottom of cooked crust.
~ For second layer, saute onion in 1 tbsp oil over high heat for 1 minute.  Add ground beef; saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Drain all but 2 tbsp drippings, reduce heat to medium, stir in chipotle, adobo, and chili powder; season with salt and pepper.  Spread mixture over beans and transfer to oven to keep pie warm while preparing avocado mixture.
~  Puree avocado, cream cheese, cilantro, lime juice, garlic and mayonnaise in a food processor until smooth; season with salt and pepper.  Remove pie from oven and spread over beef mixture.
~  Garnish with remaining ingredients, slice and serve!

This will serve about 6 people depending on appetites!  Might only serve four if you've got some good eaters because trust me, they will eat this!  

The adobo gives this pie a wonderful smokey flavor and the chili powder gives it just a tiny tiny bit of heat.  Definitely add more adobo or chili powder if you like heat!  Now, remember the magazine quote I added in the beginning of the post?  The part about the tamale?  That's very important to remember because this is definitely not your traditional pie!  If you want a crunchy crust use pie crust - this is a soft, warm, tender crust that screams tamale while the top side is a wonderful laid back taco!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Personal Challenge

For the past 3 years I have subscribed to the cooking magazine "Cuisine at home".  I've enjoyed cooking many meals and desserts from the beautiful, ad free pages with every single one of them being over-the-top amazing. Unfortunately, over the past year or two, it's become much easier to find recipes on the internet through Pinterest, as well as some of my favorite blogs, and I've forgotten my stacking-up gems.  

As I've cooked through the pages I've often thought I'd like to challenge myself to cook every single recipe.  To try new things, experiment with all the new and challenging foods they tempt me with and to learn the new techniques presented in each issue.  The magazines are quite pricey so if you'd rather come over to my blog for free, here's your chance to sample some true cuisine...  right in your own home!

Butternut Squash & Sausage Cannelloni
    with Sage Bechamel Sauce

8 flat, no-boil, dry lasagna sheets 
6 oz Isernio's Italian Sausage
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cups diced butternut squash
1/4 cup diced red onion
3 tsp fresh minced garlic
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tsp sugar
4-5 cups fresh baby spinach
1 1/2 cup Fontina cheese, shredded
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
1 tsp each ground sage and sage leaves
Pinch of nutmeg 

~  Cover a baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick spray.  Blanch the sheets of lasagna in a pot of boiling salted water until pliable, 2-3 minutes.  Arrange sheets in a single layer on prepared baking sheets.
~  Brown sausage in half the oil over medium-high heat until no longer pink; transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.  Saute squash and onion in remaining olive oil in the same pan until onions soften, 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic; cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
~  Add broth and sugar; cover and steam until squash softens and liquid evaporates, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Add sausage and season with salt and pepper, cool briefly.
~  Combine 3/4 cup fontina, ricotta and 1/2 cup Parmesan in a bowl; stir in squash-sausage mixture.
~  Preheat oven to 425 F with rack 6 inches from element.  Coat a baking dish with nonstick spray.
~  For the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour and cook 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in milk, add sage, and increase heat to medium-high.  Bring sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, 3-5 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg (taste please).
~  Coat bottom of baking dish with about a third of the sauce.
~  Fill and roll sheets with 1/2 cup filling (place filling on one end of pasta sheet and start rolling to other end); arrange in baking dish, seam sides down.
~  Top cannelloni with remaining sauce and remaining cheeses; cover loosely with foil poked with several holes.
~  Bake cannelloni 20 minutes; uncover and broil on high until golden and bubbly, about 3 minutes.
~  Serves 3-4

As with all recipes from "Cuisine At Home", this is full of flavor and texture! The recipes usually aren't simple and the ingredient lists are generally quite lengthy but in the end, every single step and ingredient is well worth it!  (I did make some minor modifications from the original recipe but left the bulk of it intact.)

Stay tuned for more "Cuisine At Home" cooking as I attempt my long awaited personal challenge!