This is a nice and simple pasta dish that you can eat for dinner at home or serve to company. The presentation of the draped prosciutto is really something else. If you look through the ingredients there may be one that jumps out as a little peculiar: mint. Trust me... it works. Many people who haven't cooked with mint before assume that the sweetness that is often associated with it (candy, for example) is a natural part of the herb, and it isn't. It's the same thing with chocolate. Chocolate isn't sweet, but it becomes sweet when you add a boatload of sugar to it. The mint here is terrific and will have your guests scratching there heads (which is aways a good thing). The recipe came from Epicurious (but I think it may have come from Giada DeLaurentis first). One last note - I used fresh fettucini insteat of penne. :)
Pasta with Lemon Cream and Prosciutto
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 large shallots, minced
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
12 ounces penne pasta
12 thin slices prosciutto
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Simmer over medium-high heat until mixture is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Add cream, lemon peel, orange peel, and cayenne. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add peas; simmer just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in mint and lemon juice. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to pot. Toss pasta with sauce to coat.
Divide pasta among plates or bowls. Drape prosciutto slices atop pasta and serve, passing Parmesan separately.
Makes 4 servings.
I decided to whip up a dessert last night, saw this on foodgawker and thought it looked nice. It was terrific and the only change that I made was using raspberries instead of strawberries (they were on hand). The recipe came from Former Chef.
Chocolate Ganache Tart with Fresh Raspberries
1 Sweet Tart Dough (see below)
8 oz good dark chocolate
8 oz Heavy Cream
2 baskets fresh rasperries
Tart Pan with removable bottom
Once the tart shell is cooked and cooled, heat the cream in a heavy bottomed pot, just until it gets very hot; do not boil. Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted. Yield is approximately 2 cups.
Pour the chocolate into the baked tart shell and chill in the refrigerator for about 1/2 an hour until it is almost firm. Place the raspberries across the top of the tart. Cover with glaze if you want, especially if you are making a day in advance.The glaze keeps the fruit looking fresh and moist and keeps it from drying out in the refrigerator. An easy glaze can be made out of melted and strained apricot jam.
Sweet Tart Dough
1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
12 Tbsp Butter (1 1/2 sticks, cut into 1" pieces)
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp cold water
1/4 tsp. salt (only use if you are using unsalted butter)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Directions for making in food processor
Fit bowl with metal blade. Add flour, sugar and butter to bowl (add salt if butter is unsalted). Put on the lid and process in short bursts, about 10 times to break up the butter into the flour. Mix the egg yolk and water in a small bowl and with the processor on, pour the egg/water mix through the tube in the lid into the bowl. Keep mixing until the dough forms into a ball inside the bowl. Remove and form into a small cake.
If you don’t have a food processor and want to make it by hand, that works too. Just follow the same steps you would for pie dough; cut the butter into the flour and sugar, working it through by hand until it becomes like coarse meal or breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg/water mixture with a fork until it’s incorporated and the dough comes together in a soft ball.
At this point you can press the dough into the tart pan, or roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Once rolled out, put it in the pan and press the dough into the edges, pulling off any excess.
Because the filling for this recipe is not cooked in the tart shell, the crust needs to be fully baked by itself. To keep the center of the crust from puffing up and cracking during baking, you’ll want to weigh it down.
Cut a piece of parchment paper or foil to fit the bottom of the tart pan. Tip; fold a square in 1/2 and then 1/2 again to make a smaller square. Cut from edge to edge in a semi-circle equal to 1/2 the diameter of your pan.
Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork and put the paper on top.
Weigh down with pie weights or beans.
Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges of the crust begin to color. Remove from oven, and carefully remove the paper and beans. Put the tart back in the oven and bake until crisp and golden, about another 8 minutes. Remove and let cool. Fill.
I've always been a big fan of smoked salmon but I've only tried cured salmon once or twice in my life. This just in - it's awesome. This is something I've been meaning to try for a while now and I think it worked out pretty well. The only thing I would change from this terrific recipe is the amount of time that it is cured - I would let it go in the fridge for another day. Anyway I'm glad I gave it a shot. The recipe came from Cafe Nilson, and here it is!
1 salmon fillet (with or without skin) approximately one pound
4 tbs sugar
2 tbs salt
2 tsp ground white pepper
a bunch of fresh dill weed
plastic or saran wrap for wrapping
Clean salmon fillet and wipe dry with paper towel. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix sugar, salt and pepper.
Cover salmon with mixture.
Place bunch of dill weed (no need to cut or break) on top then fold salmon in half, covering the dill weed.
Wrap in saran wrap or plastic and place in plastic bag (just to make sure it does not drip on your refrigerator shelf.
Leave in refrigerator for at least 3 days to cure.
When I was a teen my folks had a cottage on Lake Joseph, about an hour and change north of Toronto. There was this little corner store that sold everything you could imagine including fresh baked goods, and from time to time we would pick up an order of Chelsea buns which I thought were the greatest thing on Earth.
Well, I was taking a walk down memory lane with my mother a few weeks ago and we remembered these sticky buns. I came up with a theory that I could make them using my basic pizza dough as the base. She disagreed, and we decided on a little wager. I won, which is remarkable because I never win wagers against me mum, and the result were these delicious sticky Chelsea buns which are ideal for breakfast, as a dessert or just with coffee or tea. Wonderful stuff. I used my pizza dough to make them but I needed a Chelsea bun recipe which I got from Antics of a Cycling Cook.
Sun dried tomatoes are delicious but they are also really expensive. The solution? Oven dried tomatoes. I picked up two boxes (cases?) of roma tomatoes at Sams Club the other day and they were about six bucks a pop with about 25 tomatoes per case. That's a hundred dried tomatoes when all is said and done which I estimate would cost about $75 bucks for the store bought sun dried tomatoes. And they're better; they taste nice and fresh, and they aren't packed in oil. Once you're finished making them just throw them in a zip lock bag and put them in the freezer until you're ready to use them!
Oven Dried Tomatoes
20 Roma Tomatoes (halved)
Salt & Pepper
Set oven to 150 degrees. Lay out halved tomatoes on cookie sheets as close together as possible, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Place in oven and dry for approximately 16-20 hours (putting them in overnight is ideal).
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
This month's challenge was, as you can see, cheesecake. I had never made one before but I love cheesecake and have wanted to make one for some time so this was a terrific opportunity. I decided to use a 6" springform pan as opposed to the standard 8" pan as I wanted to make a smaller but taller cake. This made me a little nervous, convincing myself that the centre of the cake would be undercooked, but I tacked on about ten minutes of extra cooking time and it came out beautifully. I was surprised at how light a homemade cheesecake is compared to the dense slices you get at a restaurant.
I'm a bit of a curd nut and I tend to make one whenever an opportunity presents itself. I decided to keep this Daring Bakers Challenge very simple, as the last two desserts that I made were fairly elaborate (by an amateurs standards, that is) and what better way than to make a simple lime cheesecake with a clean and delicious lime curd on top. The curd had a nice sour bite to it and contrasted very well with the creaminess of the cheesecake. As for the crust, you can see that it's a little thicker around the edges making it lean inward toward the middle. No big whoop. Just something to note for next time.
I had a ball making it and it was a big hit with the family. Thanks to Lisa and Ivonne over at the Daring Bakers for another terrific challenge!
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!
2/3 c. fresh lime juice
3/4 c. granulated sugar
6 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
1) Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly for 12 minutes, or until thickened. Take saucepan off the heat and stir in the lemon zest
2) Pour carefully through a wire mesh strainer and into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.
Here are the (belated) results of the Top Chef Challenge. Below are pics and thoughts from the participants!
First of all, I didn't follow the rules.
I didn't feel like buying a bottle of port wine or gorgonzola cheese. We were going to make a pie with feta later in the week so I used the stinky goat cheese. I used a 3 dollar bottle of shiraz as my port substitute. I didn't buy any beets and almost used the canned ones in my pantry - but figured the vinegar they were soaked in would mess with the sauce. I also almost didn't buy the shitakes because they were sooo expensive, but found them by the pound and only got what I needed. I also don't own a food processor and had to use my blender which creates another unique problem. Nothing that can't be overcome though.
I suppose you can call my version the traditional white trash version.
My reduction sauce was more like cheap shiraz with nice herbs. It was fun to make though and really pretty by the time I added the butter. Oh, I didn't add a half a pound of butter either nor did I mount it. Only about 2tbs and I threw it in. I'm not sure what "mount" means in the cooking world, but in mine it doesn't involve butter. Well, it could but not in this case.........
I also made herb roasted potatoes for the potatoes. I don't have a top smoker in my stove unless something falls on the bottom and catches on fire. I'm working with a Holiday model with a busted seal that causes my knobs to melt when it's on too long.
The steaks turned out well. Mike said it was the best steak he'd had and then took it back to say "the best steak I've had at the house." I wasn't sure what crusting was so I just patted the steaks with the mushroom mix before broiling.
All in all, it was good although I forgot to cook something green. I was too wrapped up in everything else I suppose.
Well, here it is. I think it probably would be better with the reduction, but I've never made one and the 3 quarts of port threw me for a loop.
Great idea, lots of fun. Never made anything like that. Excited for the next one and to see everyone elses.
When I picked this I kind of ripped through the recipe pretty quickly and I wish I had read it a little more carefully. It turns out that it is exactly what I didn't want to do in that it's expensive and very difficult. My bad - sorry gang.
The first thing I did was rewrite the recipe so that it could be made for two, not eight. That brought the amount of port down to about a half a bottle, or five bucks worth. Not bad. I decided to make the gorgonzola/mushroom crust in advance and then the port sauce, and when all of that was ready I fired up the potatoes and the steaks. Again, I missed that "smoker" nonsense for the potatoes so it was olive oil, salt and pepper and into the oven with them. Nice and simple. The steaks cooked up in the pan well; I think I may actually prefer that to grilling because it's easier to control the temperature so you can get the exact amount of doneness that you want. Also you can use the fond at the bottom to make a sauce (which I didn't need to here because I already had one).
Let me say that the whole meal was unbelievable. The sauce was ridiculous with all the different layers of flavour. Mine turned out to be very sweet, almost syrup-like, which I'm still not sure was supposed to be the case. I may have overcooked it a little bit. Regardless, it was incredible, and I may make it again for my lovely sister who is down here on vacation.
Thanks everybody who joined in and I'll be doing another challenge soon, although not a Top Chef challenge. The next will be selecting a basic recipe (ie. lasagna, pizza) and having everyone "get creative" with it.