Tag Archives: cream

Creamy Ravioli w/ Squash, Lemon & Chives

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I absolutely love this pasta dish from Noble Pig. The ingredients are quite simple–pasta, either fresh or frozen, summer squash and bit of cheese and cream. But when these ingredients are pulled all together the results are truly delicious. The secret is the combination of cream and parmesan cheese combined with bright and tangy lemon zest. It is unexpected yet so welcome. And as an added bonus you truly get a balanced meal in a single dish thanks in part to a generous amount of squash. What a perfect end of the week meal. Enjoy!

CREAMY RAVIOLI w/ SQUASH, LEMON & CHIVES

16 to 18 ounces cheese ravioli
1 Tablespoon olive
1 shallot, chopped
3 summer squash (zucchini and/or yellow squash; about 1-1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the squash and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to the skillet.
  • Cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the cream and lemon zest and cook until the vegetables are tender and the cream is slightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the squash mixture, grated cheese and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water to the cooked ravioli and toss gently to coat. Add additional reserved water if the sauce is too dry.
  •  Serve sprinkled with the chives.
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Zuppa Toscana Soup

soup

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I love soup and here’s a classic Italian soup that is both delicious and fast. I like to use a spicy Italian sausage but you can also use a milder version if you prefer. Kale is my green of choice but spinach or beet greens are also tasty. Use whatever you like and whatever looks good or even use a combination of greens. All you need is some crusty bread and dinner is served.

ZUPPA TOSCANA SOUP

1 pound ground Italian sausage

1½ tsp crushed red peppers

1 red onion, diced

1/3 cup pancetta

4 garlic cloves, crushed

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

1 cup heavy cream

3 large red potatoes, skin on and sliced

1/4 pound fresh greens of your choice, I prefer kale or spinach

  • Sauté the sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot, using a wooden spoon to crumble the meat into smaller pieces. Drain off the excess fat, move the meat to a separate plate and set aside.
  • In the same pan, sauté the pancetta, onions and garlic over medium-low heat until the onions are soft and translucent
  • Add the chicken broth and water to the pot, raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the mixture starts to boil.
  • Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft when pierced with a fork.
  • Lower the heat, add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
  • Return the sausage to the pan then add the kale, let all heat through and serve.

Serves 4

 

Potatoes Dauphinoise

potatoes

What is more comforting than ooey, gooey, cheesy potatoes? While I’ve been known to enjoy a bowl of them by themselves, they are also the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, roasts or even a big green salad. They seem to turn any dish into a meal. And while there are many versions of this potato dish out there, I love this one which I’ve adapted from Cooking Light.

And what isn’t to love? This dish never fails to satisfy and it can easily be reduced in half or doubled in size depending upon the crowd you are serving. It is wonderful piping hot out of the oven and I think it tastes even better reheated the next day. And sometimes when I’m looking to save time, I use a bag of pre-cut and partially cooked potato slices. Doing this will reduce your preparation time meaning you can be enjoying this mouthwatering dish that much sooner.

POTATOS DAUPHINOISE

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Coat an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Place potatoes in a large saucepan; fill pan with enough cold water to cover potatoes by 2 inches. Place pan over high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or just until tender. Drain well.
  • Gently layer one-third of potatoes in overlapping rows in prepared dish.
  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, swirling to coat.
  • Add the onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Combine the flour, milk, half-and-half, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  • Add the milk mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes or until smooth and mixture thickens slightly, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  • Add the sherry to the mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard solids.
  • Pour one-third of milk mixture over potatoes in baking dish.
  • Repeat layers twice with remaining potatoes and milk mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.
  • Place pan in upper third of oven; bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until bubbling around edges. Turn broiler to high, leaving pan in oven; broil 1 minute or until browned.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 10

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake w/ Chocolate Ganache

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This is another tasty cake courtesy of From Away, my latest, go-to food blog.  The combination of olive oil, rosemary, and chocolate is intriguing and surprisingly good.  The cake comes together quickly making it a perfect ending to a weeknight dinner where dessert is a necessity.  The ingredients are also staples in my kitchen and combined with our rosemary bushes in the garden, I will never have an excuse for not making the cake.   I cautiously served the cake at our dinner last night—I am always hesitant to try out a new recipe on guests— but it was a hit.  Even the children ate it; it probably helped that they ate it so quickly that they didn’t have time to see the little green flecks in the cake!

ROSEMARY OLIVE OIL CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE

4 eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, very finely chopped

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  •  Prepare an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray.  Pre heat an oven to 325 degrees.
  •   In the bowl of a stand mixer thoroughly beat the eggs, add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.  Slowly pour in the olive oil.
  •   Fold in the rosemary with a spatula.  
  •   In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg  mixture and stir until just combined.
  •   Pour into the prepared pan and bake, 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
  •  In a double boiler, slowly melt the chocolate over medium heat.
  •  In a small saucepan, warm the cream over medium low heat.  Stir the cream into the melted chocolate until the mixture is thick and shiny.
  •  When the cake is completely cooled, pour the ganache over the cake and smooth with a spatula. 

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Cherry Lambic Chocolate Truffles

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Christmas is just nine days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

Some foods are synonymous with a country and here in Belgium beer and chocolate top that culinary list. Walk through any Belgian town and chances are they have both their own brewery (brasserie) and their own chocolate shop. And I must admit that I am a fan of both of these Belgian delights. So what better way to show some national spirit than combing the two into a single treat.

These truffles are adapted from a Food 52 recipe and just one bite will have you hopping on a plane in search of more. Or you can make them yourself since they are quite easy. They are rich and intense without being sweet–my favorite kind of dessert. Be sure to use the best dark chocolate you can find. As far as the beer goes, experiment to find a combination you like. I’m a huge fan of cherry lambic and chocolate but raspberry is also good. Or choose a dark smokey stout which also pairs nicely with the intensity of the chocolate. Do experiment. And most of all, don’t omit the salt since it really brings out all of the flavors.

Here’s a final tip–rolling the chocolate can be an messy endeavor if your hands are warm. I tend to roll four or five truffles at a time then wash and dry my hands before continuing. It makes the process that much easier.

CHERRY LAMBIC CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup cherry lambic beer, or dark beer of your choice

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 pinch flaky sea salt

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder, for rolling

  • Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the beer to a simmer over medium-high heat and reduce to about 1/4 cup.
  • Add the heavy cream to the beer and return to a boil.
  • Pour the hot cream and beer mixture over chopped chocolate and allow to sit 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir until all chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.
  • Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Part way through cooling, sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt over mixture and gently stir it in.
  • When you are ready to proceed, using a melon baller, scoop 1-inch balls of the ganache, roll it between your palms until smooth, and then roll in the cocoa powder to coat. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

Yields 28 1 inch truffles

Chicken w/ Artichokes in Creamy Mustard Sauce

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This dish adapted from The Splendid Table (which by the way is the best podcast ever) uses one of  my all time favorite vegetables: artichokes. Artichokes have a mild and slightly sweet and tangy flavor that pairs well  with just about anything. Here it is combined with Dijon mustard and chicken to make a quick end of the week dinner that the entire family will eat. In order to keep the flavor subtle, be sure to use plain artichoke hearts and not ones that have been pickled. Serve the chicken over rice so you can absorb all of the yummy sauce.

Chicken w/ Artichokes in Creamy Mustard Sauce

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon, divided freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 cups canned artichoke hearts, drained and sliced

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Chopped parsley, for garnish

  • Season the chicken on both sides with half of the salt and half of the pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken  and brown for 2 to 3 minutes per side. It does not need to be cooked through at this point.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the shallot and red pepper flakes and scraping the bottom of the pan, cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the artichoke hearts, lemon zest, oregano and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes then stir in the tomatoes.
  • Return the chicken to the pan then add the wine and chicken broth.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so the chicken is at a low simmer and cover.
  • Cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, combine the cream and mustard in a small bowl.
  • When the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mustard sauce.
  • Top with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Serves 4

Mussels Normandy

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Hands down the best part of the winter season in Belgium is the abundance of fresh mussels. This time of year they are highlighted on just about every restaurant menu but personally I love to make them at home because they are so easy. This recipe was inspired by our trip to Normandy France. In Normandy,  the apple cider (the hard kind), crisp, light and refreshing, seems to be the regional drink. People drink and cook with it and while I enjoyed drinking it, I loved what it did to the food it was added to. When it was used as the broth for steamed mussels I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was that good. So naturally I’ve been replicating this dish at home.

I prefer to use a dry apple cider for this dish since sweeter ones over power the delicate flavor of the mussels. And while I initially eschewed the idea of cream being added to the mix I’m now a convert. Be sure to serve these mussels with a good crusty French bread so you can sop up all of the delicious sauce.

MUSSELS NORMANDY

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 shallot, minced

3 cups hard apple cider

4 pounds fresh mussels, cleaned

1/2 cup heavy cream

 

  • Rinse and clean mussels, discarding any that will not close. Set aside.
  • Heat the butter in a large pot set over medium-high heat.
  • When the butter is melted, add the shallot and saute until soft, 4-5 minutes.
  • Raise the temperature to high, add the cider and bring to a simmer.
  • When the cider simmers, reduce the temperature to medium high then add the rinsed mussels to the pot, cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, shaking occasionally, until the mussels open.
  • Discard any mussels that don’t open.
  • Pour the cream over the mussels allowing it to drip down to the bottom of the pot.
  • Use a large spoon and divide the mussels between four shallow serving bowls.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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