Roasted Garlic & Pecorino Romano Bread

This bread so so so so tasty. The roasted garlic is such a nice mellow flavor. That paired with some freshly grated pecorino and you have a winner!

I served this bread with the bucatini that I made on Sunday night and it was perfect. I was lucky enough to get the last small loaf of italian bread at the store-perfect for 2.

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Roasted Garlic & Pecorino Romano Bread

Ingredients:

Roasted Garlic:

  • 1 head garlic
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil

Bread:

  • Roasted garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp very soft light salted butter
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • small loaf fresh italian bread (about 7 slices total)

Instructions:

Roasted Garlic:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Using a sharp paring knife cut the top 1/4 inch off of the head of garlic.
  3. Place it in a small dish, drizzle with the olive oil, cover, and roast for 45-60 minutes or until cloves are very soft. Set aside to cool.
  4. When cool enough to handle squeeze the soft garlic out of the papery wrapper which contains the clove.

Bread:

Keep  oven warm from garlic or preheat to 325f.

  1. Cut 1/2-3/4 inch wide slices in the bread. Don’t cut all the way through, leave the slices attached at the bottom.
  2. Gently separate the end slice from the 2nd slice (leaving them attached) and spread a small amount of the butter on one side. On the side facing the buttered side smear some of the garlic and then sprinkle with some cheese.  Gently press the slices back together again. Repeat with each slice.
  3. When they’re all buttered/garlicked/cheesed wrap the bread in foil and seal it up.
  4. Place it in the oven for about 10 minutes to get everything yummy and warm and melty.

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Note: this makes one small loaf of bread-only about 3 slices per person. If you’re using a regular bakery sized loaf you’ll have to use more of everything.

Bucatini All’Amatriciana

The fist time that I had this delicious pasta was many years ago at my Father’s house.  I immediately loved the flavors of the sauce-the pancetta, the onion, the tomatoes….it just goes together so well.

As it turns out he bought the cookbook which contains the recipe while on vacation in Italy.  Ironically, it’s an American book published in CA named Sunset Italian Cook Book. I ordered the book immediately from Amazon. I had to buy a used copy as it’s no longer in print. There are a TON of delicious recipes in it too.  If you ever come across a copy pick it up.  Seems like it was part of a series of cook books that they published in the late 70s, early 80s.

None of that matters though. What matters is the deliciousness and ease of making this dish. It’s one of our favorites. You could sub bacon for the pancetta but please don’t if you can possibly avoid it.  The pancetta gives a completely different flavor.

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Bucatini All’Amatriciana

Ingredients:

  • 1/4lb. sliced pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch squares
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 14.5oz can crushed or diced fire roasted tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Organic)
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (I used a vernacchia)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2/3 lb bucatini

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat cook the pancetta, stirring frequently, until slightly crispy and brown. Remove it with a slotted spoon, allowing as much of the oil to drip back into and remain in the pan as possible.  When all of the pancetta has been removed measure the oil that remains in a measuring cup. You need 1/4 cup. If you have enough great, if not top it off with olive oil.
  2. Pour the oil back into the pan over medium heat and add the onion and chilis.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft. Add the garlic, tomatoes (and the juices), wine and parsley. Stir to combine and break up any large chunks of tomatoes.
  3. Adjust heat so that the sauce simmers gently, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes until sauce has thickened a bit.
  4. While the sauce is cooking cook the bucatini in a large pot of gently salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, saving 1/4 cup of the cooking water, and return it to the pot. Add the cooking water to the pasta and stir.
  5. Add the pancetta to the tomato mixture in the pan, stir to combine, and then add all of the sauce to the pasta.  Stir to distribute.
  6. Serve on a large platter or individually.

Adapted from Sunset Italian Cookbook.

Sunset Italian cook book

Sunset Italian cook book

Buy from Amazon

 

 

 

 

Strawberry & Earl Grey Roulade

I spotted this recipe in the June 2014 issue of Olive and was immediately intrigued. I LOVE earl grey tea so right away I thought it sounded delicious. Earl Grey tea has that calming bergamot flavor that I just adore. The cake is beautifully light and airy. Paired with beautiful sweet strawberries and fresh whipped cream? Winner. Since this month’s “What’sBaking” theme is ‘seasonal fruit’ it fit in perfectly.

This does take some time to prepare as the cake has to cool before it’s rolled, but the actual mixing, baking etc.. is generally pretty simple. Allow enough time to cool, roll then chill.

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Earl Grey with Strawberry Roulade

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp earl grey tea, loose leaves
  • 4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
  • 75g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 75g AP flour
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract (oil)

Filling ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar (powdered or confectioners sugar)
  • 300 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 15-20 strawberries of similar size

Cake Instructions (use cake ingredients only):

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Line a 9×13 baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Place 1 tbsp of tea into lemon juice and heat slowly until brewing. Do not allow it to boil. Allow a few minutes to brew, stirring occasionally. Strain lemon juice through a sieve pressing the tea leaves to extract all of the moisture. Discard strained tea leaves. Crush the remaining dry loose tea with a mortar and pestle or give it a whiz in a small food processor.
  3. In a large bowl beat the egg yolks with 25g of the sugar until pale and frothy. Then add the flour, oil, dry loose tea, tea infused lemon juice and orange extract.  Mix to evenly combine.
  4. With clean beaters in a large bowl bat the egg whites to soft peaks.  Add the remainder of the sugar and beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture, 1/3 at a time, until any streaks disappear.
  5. Spread into the prepared baking sheet, smooth with a spatula, and bake for 13 minutes until slightly browned.
  6. Lay a large sheet of parchment on the work surface. Flip the cake onto it (I found using a fish spatula to help the cake and parchment separate was helpful in a few spots. Lay another sheet of parchment out, liberally dust it with sugar and flip the cake onto it. Leave it to cool on a baking rack.
  7. When cooled make the filling (using the Filling Ingredients above). Beat the cream, lemon juice and sugar together until very thick. Using a soft spatula spread a thin layer of the whipped cream onto the cake. At one end line up the strawberries curved side down so the cake will roll up around them. Carefully roll the edge of the cake over the strawberries, then continue to roll until all rolled up. Put one sheet of parchment around, make sure it’s rolled tight, and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour to set.
  8. When ready to serve, unroll parchment and gently slice down straight through the cake.
  9. Serve with additional whipped cream, berries etc..

Adapted from Olive Magazine, June 2014

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Spicy Chicken, Crispy Halloumi and Avocado Wrap

While in London last month we had dinner one night at Nando’s which is a chicken restaurant with locations all over the UK (and world?) but there’s only one or 2 in th US. It’s a South African PERi-PERi chicken restaurant and it was delicious. I had a wrap with chicken and ordered a side of avocado and grilled halloumi with it. I love that they had that cheese-you never see it on menus here.

When I returned home I wanted to make a similar sandwich as the sauce was so delicious!  I found that my Fairway Market sold the sauces-yay! Check your market-they may sell it. If not the closest that I would use is Franks Wing Sauce with a touch of sour cream mixed in.  The avocado is so nice and creamy and soothing, offsetting the spice of the sauce, the grilled cheese gives just a touch of crunch and tangy goodness.

This is not a tremendous over-stufffed wrap, it’s very simple with very easy ingredients which compliment each other wonderfully.

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Spicy Chicken, Crispy Halloumi and Avocado Wrap

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, 6-8 ozs
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • half of an avocado
  • 4 ozs halloumi cheese
  • Nando’s Medium Sauce
  • 2 whole wheat wraps

Instructions:

  1. Slice the chicken breast in half horizontally to make two pieces of similar thickness. season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill-either outside or with a grill pan, panini press etc.. then chop into small pieces. Drizzle with a little of the Nando’s sauce, stir and set aside, covered, to keep warm.
  3. While the chicken is cooking slice the cheese into 1/4 inch strips and place in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Watch it carefully. It will heat and begin to darken. when it reaches a nice brown, flip it over to cook the other side. Remove and set on a board. Cut into long strips.
  4. Slice the avocado into thin strips.
  5. Warm the wraps in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.
  6. Starting with the cheese spoon half of the cheese down the center of each wrap, followed by half of the chicken, followed by a drizzle (or river-it’s up to you) of the sauce finishing with the avocado.

Makes 2 wraps

If you’ve never had halloumi cheese-it’s a tangy, salty cheese that can be heated but won’t melt-it jut gets a little crispy. I’ve also seen it sold as ‘grilling cheese’.

 

Limoncello Chill

How is it possible that this past weekend was Memorial Day? Already? I remember last year Memorial Day weekend was cold and rainy. It was the opposite this year! Sunny and warm and lovely. And PERFECT for a frozen dessert at the end of the bbq.

This little frozen yummy is not too sweet, not too tart and just right in size. You can’t get easier to assemble either. Hope you add it to one of your menus for these warmer months-it’s delicious!!

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Limoncello Chill

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup lemon curd
  • 4 tbsp limoncello
  • 1 & 1/2 cups frozen vanilla bean greek yogurt* divided
  • 3 lemon candy slices

*I used Healthy Choice brand-they come in 1/2 cup servings.

Instructions:

  1. Mix the limoncello and lemon curd together until fully blended. Set aside.
  2. 15 minuutes before serving remove the frozen yogurt from the freezer and allow it to thaw a bit. Stir to airate and combine.
  3. In each of 3 serving dishes or glasses: put a bit of the limoncello mix at the bottom. Add the frozen yogurt and then top with more lemon mixture.
  4. Top with the lemon candy.

Yield: 3 servings.

Casey loved licking the left overs out of the glass.

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I adjusted Cooking Light’s recipe a lot here. I swapped frozen greek yogurt for ice cream and added more limoncello, omitted the cookies and added the candy. Better for you and more of a kick.

Carrot & Coriander (Cilantro) Soup

I was lucky and got to spend the week leading up to Easter in London. I’d been there before, but not for many years. It was great to get back.

I saw this soup on quite a few pub menus and was curious. In a good portion of the planet cilantro is called coriander-and for good reason-it IS coriander. This recipe uses it in 2 ways-ground coriander seed and the leafy coriander (cilantro).

This soup is SO yummy and SO light. It’s got really bright flavors and is so easy to make it’s unbelievable. It’s a little sweet, thick and deeeeelicious.  It could be served as either an appetizer or a main course.

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Carrot & Coriander Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tps vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 450g (3 cups) carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1.2l (4 cups) chicken broth
  • small handful of coriander (cilantro)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven, add the onion, and cook until softened- about 5 minutes. Stir in the ground coriander and potato and cook for another minute. Add the carrots and stock, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the carrots and potato are tender.
  2.  Using an immersion blender whizz until smooth. Taste, season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.
  3. Serve with a touch of sour cream, creme fraiche or chopped coriander leaves or scallions.

Freezes and reheats beautifully.  4-6 servings.

Adapted from bbcgoodfood.com

 

Crash Hot Potatoes

These are the potatoes I made for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day dinner. I had heard about these so many times but had never made them. I thought they came out really delicous-and they couldn’t be easier to make. Boil, mash, sprinkle, bake. That’s it. I used Red A potatoes. They were perfect with the corned beef and cabbage-neither of which I cook the traditional way.

 

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Crash Hot Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs of red potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh rosemary

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
  3. On a large baking sheet drizzle the olive oil. Place the potatoes a bit apart from each other. Using a potato masher gently press down to mash a bit then turn the masher 90 degrees and gently mash a bit more.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and rosemary and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy.

Recipe courtesy of pioneerwoman.com

Note: one of those eating with us has a sodium intake restriction so I did not salt the water. I  made one row of potatoes with a large gap from the others and did not sprinkle any salt on them. What a convenient way of accommodating a restriction yet making the same dish for all.

Dijon Roasted Cabbage

This year for St. Patrick’s Day dinner I made my corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. Truth be told I’m not a fan of boiled cabbage. Or boiled potatoes. I probably roast vegetables 99% of the time that I  make them. They get just a little crunchy on the ends and they are so so so yummy.   And cabbage is so good for you-you don’t want to boil all of that goodness away.

I was so glad to find this recipe!  The addition of the dijon really intrigued me and I we were not disappointed. The cabbage was delicious! It was cooked perfectly-firm and a bit crunchy on the tips not at all like boiled. If you’re looking for a new way to prepare your cabbage try this-it’s excellent.  It’s cut into wedges before it’s roasted which makes it a snap to serve-everyone gets a wedge.

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Dijon Roasted Cabbage

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head green cabbage, core removed and cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • fleur de sel to taste
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine evenly.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet large enough for all of the cabbage with foil. Place the wedges (not overlapping) on the baking sheet.  Pour the mustard mix evenly over the cabbage and cover with another sheet of foil.
  4. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, remove the foil and roast another 10 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately.

Adapted from skinnyms.com

 

Scallion & Dill Pickle Dip

Recently I’ve seen a ton of ‘dill pickle dips’ floating around online. I LOVE dill pickles but felt they could be improved on a bit-some used dried dill or just cream cheese so I came up with my own.  The scallions add another layer of flavor and the fresh dill really ties everything together.

I served it with some delicious super crunchy kettle chips for a St. Patrick’s Day app.

It can be made ahead of time and put into the fridge for hours until you’re ready to serve it.

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Scallion & Dill Pickle Dip

Ingredients:

  • 4 ozs. reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature (not fat free neufchatel cheese)
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped dill pickles (please get the freshest, best quality pickles that you can)
  • 2-3 tbsp dill pickle juice (to taste and texture)
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp low fat sour cream
  • 2 scallions, green and white, chopped into 1/4-1/8 sized pieces

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl mash the cream cheese to make sure it’s fully softened.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (2 tbsp of the juice to start with, add the additional after mixing if desired) except the scallion and mix well to combine.
  3. Gently fold in the scallions until incorporated.
  4. Chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours before serving.
  5. Serve with crispy potato chips.

 

Lucky O’Cupcakes

It’s time again for the What’s Baking monthly goodies!! This month’s theme was chosen by Colleen of the redheadbaker blog and she chose (so aptly) Bailey’s. Not a problem. I love the stuff. It’s also so convenient since I had planned on having a St. Patrick’s Day get together at my house the Saturday before the lucky little day so a dessert made with Bailey’s would be perfect.

So I thought. And thought. And thought. And thought about how I could incorporate it into something yummy but a bit different. I determined that I didn’t want to do a Guinness cupcake (no offense to Guinness-you’re my favorite beer) but everyone does that. So I thought ‘what do I like with my Bailey’s’? Coffee! And chocolate! PERFECT! So there was the cake flavor. But then the frosting. Bailey’s is pretty heavy stuff so I decided on a buttercream but I made it nice and light by also incorporating heavy cream.  Yummy. Then I thought back to many Christmas celebrations at my In-laws and remembered that my Husband’s Grandmother used to make Buttery Nipple shots-Bailey’s and Butterscotch Schnapps. There was the bit of goodness that would tie this all together. Throw on a bit of edible green glitter and it’s perfect.

Not only was this a super tasty, multi-tastyness treat-it was delicate. The cake is light and airy, the frosting is more along the whipped cream line than thick buttercream.  The butterscotch drizzle ties it all together. The best part for me-they’re not overly sweet-they’re just right.  They are a joy to eat. You feel just lucky to have one in your hand.

And voila! A masterpiece is born (it took me 6 tries to get that butterscotch to swirl). This is an original recipe.

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Lucky O’Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 & 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 2 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 yolk from a large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strongly brewed coffee
  • 1/4 tsp coffee extract

For the Bailey’s Frosting:

  • 3 & 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp Bailey’s
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp vanilla extract

For the Butterscotch drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3-6 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out and set aside
  • 1-3 tsp flaky fleur de sel sea salt

Instructions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake tins with paper liners (about 30). Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of  your stand mixer add the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using the whisk attachment give it a minute or 2 on low speed to mix everything thoroughly.
  3. Now add the eggs, yolk, milk, cream, vanilla, coffee and coffed extract and attach the paddle mixer. Beat on low speed to mix and give it a few minutes until everthing is mixed together, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.  The batter will be quite liquidy (but really yummy!!)
  4. Fill the prepared tins about 2/3 of the way full (my ice cream scooper is perfect for this).
  5. Bake about 19-24 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of one comes out clean.
  6. Let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then stack them up on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely (the only way to know for sure is to eat one you know :)

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For the Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer just add everthing. Using the whisk attachment start it off slow so that you dont have a powdered sugar explosion. When it’s combined turn that mixer up to high and let it go for about 10 mintues.
  2. Set the frosting aside for later when you’re ready to decorate.  You can also refrigerate it but when you’re ready to use it you will leave it out for a few hours to come to room temp.

For the Butterscotch:

  1. Using a medium sized, heavy bottomed sauce pan het up the butter until it’s melted using medium (towards the low side) heat. Add the sugar, cream and 1 tsp of salt and whisk it about gently until it’s well blended.  Leave it alone for a bit, whisking here and there, until it comes to a very soft boil. Let it boil that way for about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove it from the heat, add the 3 tps vanilla, vanilla beans and vanilla pod and stir it to combine. Put the pan over very very low heat (really just enough to keep it warm) and allow the vanilla to seep into the mix-about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove it from the heat, remove the pod and discard. Taste for satlyness and vanillayness and add more if necessary. Salt and vanilla vary so it’s hard to give exact amounts to use. Just judge until you like it.
  4. Pour into bottles to keep in the fridge for a few weeks and until you’re ready to drizzle.  It needs to be cooled completely to put on the cupcakes or it will melt the frosting.

When you’re ready for the cupcakes either pipe on the frosting or put it on with a spatula or knife or whatever, drizzle with some of the butterscotch, sprinkle with edible green glitter if you have it and enjoy!!

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Note:  you can omit the butterscotch but it makes them so much better with it.

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