Pepper

Mac & Cheese Please!

April 9, 2013

Mac & Cheese Please!Mac & Cheese Please!

Forget that horrible box stuff and make your own delicious Mac & Cheese.  Here is a different spin on the usual cheddar cheese macaroni & cheese dish.  Using the brie, cream cheese and mascarpone makes it nice and creamy.  I used macaroni pasta here, but you can use pasta shells or farfalle pasta.

INGREDNTS

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

12 Ounces of Farfelle or Macaroni Pasta or Shells

7 Ounces Brie (Rind Removed) Cut Into Chunks

5 Ounces Cream Cheese Softened & Cubed

3 Large Eggs Lightly Beaten

1 Cup Mascarpone Cheese

1 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

3/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1/4 Teaspoon Finely Grated Nutmeg

Heat your oven to 375º F.  Butter a 2 quart gratin dish.  Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta to al dente and then drain well.  DO NOT rinse the pasta. Transfer the hot pasta to a large bowl and toss immediately with Brie and cream cheese until melted and smooth.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, mascarpone and Parmigiano.  Stir the egg mixture into pasta.  Season with the kosher salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Place the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.  Serves 6

A Note About Grilled Steaks

July 1, 2012

A Note About Grilled Steaks

Steak is perfect for the grill.  A well marbled, cut thin and flat steak is made for searing over a bed of hot coals.  A grilled steak is mouthwatering if it is brown and crisp on the outside and pink & juicy on the inside.  There really isn’t an easier and less complicated dinner than a grilled steak with a green salad on the side.  Plus, the cleanup is practically effortless.  Most any cut of steak is great for grilling.  The classics are rib eye, New York, filet, tenderloin and porterhouse.  The lesser cuts are cheaper and usually every bit as tasty if they are marinated.  A flatiron, chuck, skirt steak, hangar steak, top sirloin or tri-tip are lesser cuts of steak that I tend to marinate overnight.  Steaks can be grilled as a single portion or larger steaks can be grilled whole and sliced for more than one.  A steak is best cut 1 to 2 inches thick.  If a steak is thinner, then the inside will be overdone before the outside is properly seared.  If a steak is thicker then the outside, it will start to char before the inside is ready.  Trim off all but a fourth of an inch layer of fat.  The less dripping fat means fewer flare-ups. 

 

Seasoning a steak is simple.  All you really need is kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Some people like an herb crust.  Chopping fresh herbs together in any combination is great.  You can combine thyme, rosemary, oregano and/or oregano; however, you should always use rosemary.  Mix the fresh herbs with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Rub onto the steak with some olive oil an hour or so before grilling.  You should take the steaks out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before grilling to allow the steaks to come to room temperature.

 

Clean your grill with a wire brush and then prepare a hot fire.  Oil the grill and put on the steaks. Your grill should be so hot that you shouldn’t be able to tolerate the heat for more than a couple seconds.   Cook for 5 to 6 minutes.  Turn the steaks over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.  If your steak has a border of fat then turn this onto the grill by holding the steak up with your tongs.  Sear the fat for 1 to 2 minutes.  After you flip your steaks you should start checking for doneness after about 2 minutes.  Press the back of your tongs into the steak.  If it is rare it will be soft.  If it springs a bit then it is medium rare.  If it is resilient then it is well done.  Keep testing by using the “back of the tong” method.  You can check by cutting into the steaks, but I really think that it is better not to cut into the steaks.  Keep working on the “back of the tong” method and you will become a good judge pretty quickly.  I think that it is a good idea to take the steaks off of the grill when they are a little less done than you want them to be.  They will continue to cook while they rest.  A 1 inch steak will be grilled rare in about 8 minutes and for medium it should take about 12 minutes.  Check your fire while the steaks are cooking.  Move the coals as needed to make the fire hotter or cooler.  If your fire flares up then move the steaks out of the flames right away or the fire will burn up your steak.  This will form a black and acrid crust.  When you remove your steaks from the grill let them take a little rest for a few minutes before serving.  Resting stabilizes the internal juices so that they don’t run out excessively when you cut into the steaks.  If you are not going to serve right away, make sure to cover loosely with aluminum foil to help keep warm.  Don’t seal tightly or they will continue to cook. 

Happy Grilling!

17 Things To Do With Homemade Ricotta

June 3, 2012

17 Things To Do With Homemade Ricotta

 

Now that you’ve made your Homemade Ricotta what are you going to do with it?  Here are 17 things to do with that delicious Homemade Ricotta.

 

  1.  Make a Cheesecake
  2.  Fill Ravioli
  3.  Eat Warm Drizzled With Good Quality Olive Oil
  4.  Make A Tart
  5.  Toss With Penne Pasta And Quickly Cooked Tomatoes
  6.  Savory Bruschetta – Toast Or Grill SlicesOf Italian Bread.  Top With Sun Dried Tomatoes, Ricotta, Fresh Basil Leaves,   Salt & Pepper
  7. Eat For Breakfast With Milk, Honey And Nuts
  8. Enrich Egg Dishes
  9. Make A Fruit Dip By Blending Cocoa Powder, Ground Cinnamon And Sugar
  10. Layer In Gratins And Lasagna
  11. Top A Dish Of Cavatelli
  12. Stuff Pasta Shells
  13. Bake In Pancakes
  14. Enrich Sauces
  15. Sweet Bruschetta – Spread On Thick Slices Of Italian Bread And Top With Jam Or Fruit For Breakfast Or A Snack
  16. Use In Italian Meatballs
  17. Use With Fresh Berries

Pepper

January 13, 2012

Pepper

Called the “spice of life,” it was once only available to the rich. Now it is hard to imagine cooking without it. New peppers have become available for our use. White pepper is dried, pink and green come packed in water or vinegar. Invest in a good peppermill, as ground black pepper loses its vitality soon after it is ground.

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