Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Manicotti

I made this last night for dinner. It was very good, but a little time-consuming. If you're in a hurry, use a good jarred marinara sauce.


Filling
1 container ricotta
1 cup parmesean, grated (Use good parmigiano reggiano)
1/2-1 Cup cooked, chopped spinach, w/ all liquid squeezed out
1/4 Cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper
1 egg
grated lemon rind, from about 1/2 lemon

Mix all ingredients except egg together and taste. Correct seasonings--it should be highly flavored. Mix in egg.

Marinara sauce
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 cans chopped tomatoes, pureed
1/2 can tomato paste
salt, pepper
2 tsp dried basil
2 tbl fresh basil, chopped (optional)

Saute onion & garlic w/ a sprinkle of salt in oil until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and dried basil. Let cook until thick. Add fresh basil. Taste & add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350

Assembly
1 pck manicotti, cooked and drained
filling
marinara
1/2 cup parmesean, grated

Fill each manicotti and place in a greased baking dish. Top with marinara sauce & more parmesean. Bake, covered for 30 minutes, remove top & bake 10 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Made these for the TN-Bama game and they flew into people's mouths. Everybody loved them. I did make a few changes, like lining the pans with Release aluminum foil which makes it super-easy to cut these bars. Also, heat the preserves for 30 seconds in the microwave or it tears up the shortbread base. I used strawberry preserves.

Shortbread Base
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold, unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces. In a food processor process all ingredients until mixture begins to form small lumps. Line your pan with Reynolds Release aluminum foil, making sure the "release side"is up. Sprinkle mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan and with a metal spatula press evenly onto bottom. Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden, about 20 minutes. While shortbread is baking, prepare topping.

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup blueberry or other fruit preserves, heated for 30 seconds in the microwave, stir


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a bowl whisk cream cheese until smooth and whisk in eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Evenly spread preserves over hot shortbread and pour cream-cheese mixture over it. Bake in middle of oven until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan, remove from pan, using aluminum foil to lift out, and cut into 24 bars. Bar cookies keep, covered and chilled, 3 days.

pecan-pie bars

I made these for the TN-Bama game. Everybody loved them. I did make a few changes, like lining the pans with Release aluminum foil which makes it super-easy to cut these bars. I also substituted a mixture of light & dark Karo for the honey, and I added vanilla.

Shortbread Base
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold, unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces. In a food processor process all ingredients until mixture begins to form small lumps. Line your pan with Reynolds Release aluminum foil, making sure the "release side"is up. Sprinkle mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan and with a metal spatula press evenly onto bottom. Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden, about 20 minutes. While shortbread is baking, prepare topping.

8 ounces pecans (about 2 cups)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey or a mixture of light & dark Karo
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a food processor coarsely chop pecans. In a heavy saucepan melt butter and stir in brown sugar, honey, and cream. Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, 1 minute and stir in pecans. Pour pecan mixture over hot shortbread and spread evenly. Bake in middle of oven until bubbling, about 15-20 minutes. Cool completely in pan, remove from pan, using aluminum foil to lift out, and cut into 24 bars. Bar cookies keep, covered, 5 days at room temperature.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Zucchini Sausage Squares

Delicious. These are from Marlene Sorosky's Seasons Greetings.

2 large zucchini
12 ounces pork sausage (I like Jimmy Dean Hot)
1/2 C chopped onion
4 large eggs
1/2 grated Parmesean
18 Ritz crackers, crushed (about 1/2 c)
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 325. Wash, trim, and shred zucchini; set aside. Saute sausage & onion in skillet until all pink is gone; drain fat. Whisk eggs, stir in Parmesean, Ritz cracker crumbs, basil, oregano, pepper, garlic, sausage, & zucchini. Spoon into 7 x 11 glass baking dish.
Bake 25 minutes, top with Cheddar, and bake 15 minutes longer. Let cook & cut into squares.

Rosemary focaccia

This recipe is from Epicurious.com. It was very easy, and makes a tender,delicious bread. I used Rapid Rise yeast and altered the rising times. I also omitted the hand kneading. My loaf did not brown enough, so I am adding directions to broil the top for the last 2-3 minutes.

Servings: Makes 1 15- by 10- by 1-inch loaf

1 (1/4-oz) package Rapid Rise dry yeast
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Special equipment: a standing electric mixer with paddle attachment and dough hook

Stir together 1 2/3 cups lukewarm (105 to 115°F) water and yeast in bowl of mixer and let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups flour, 1/4 cup oil, and 2 1/2 teaspoons table salt and beat with paddle attachment at medium speed until a dough forms. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough at high speed until soft, smooth, and sticky, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn dough to coat with oil. Let rise, covered with damp towel (also,place bowl on pot holder), in oven set to 110, until doubled in bulk, 30-45 minutes.

Press dough evenly into a generously oiled 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan. Let dough rise, covered completely with a kitchen towel, until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Stir together rosemary and remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Make shallow indentations all over dough with your fingertips, then brush with rosemary oil, letting it pool in indentations. Sprinkle sea salt evenly over focaccia and bake in middle of oven until golden, 17 minutes, turn oven on broil & brown top. (If your loaf is brown, don't broil, just bake 3 more minutes.)

Immediately invert a rack over pan and flip focaccia onto rack, then turn right side up. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Memphis "Barbequed"Italian Sausages

Great tailgate food. I use both sweet and hot Italian sausages, but you can use just sweet if you don't like spicy food. Don't forget toothpicks.

1 pck hot Italian sausage
1 pck sweet Italian sausage
1/2 Cup barbeque sauce, any kind you like
Memphis dry rub seasoning

Grill Italian sausages over low flame until done, about 30 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Slice into bite-size pieces. Toss with barbeque sauce and sprinkle generously with dry rub.
Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ham, Manchego,& Fig Tartines

This is from Epicurious and it is spectacularly good. I sliced these and served them as appetizers. Everybody loved them. I think that you could sub apricot or orange preserves for the fig, and gruyere or Italian fontina for the Manchego.

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons fig preserves or jam
1 (24-inch) baguette, quartered crosswise, then each quarter halved horizontally and lightly toasted
6 ounces thinly sliced serrano ham or prosciutto
1/4 pound Manchego, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Stir together butter and fig preserves. Spread mixture on baguette, then make open-face sandwiches with ham and cheese. Drizzle with oil and season with pepper.