Last weekend I popped up to San Francisco for a quick visit with friends and my blog and computer decided they wanted a vacation too. Technical problems seem to be resolved for the most part, so let’s get back to it. Cinco de mayo is rapidly approaching and since I like any excuse to eat Mexican food, I plan on taking full advantage of the fact this week. Most of these recipes aren’t super traditional or exactly authentic, but they are delicious enough for any fiesta.
This queso is super tasty. I added some of my favorite spring ingredients (mushrooms, leeks and spinach) and they really added a lot of flavor to the queso. They mushrooms added a great earthy flavor, which worked really well with the tangy goat cheese. I served my queso with tortilla chips, but it would also go well with veggies, crackers or bread.
My oven, like all the other machines in my life, has also been a bit temperamental lately (had to get the igniter replaced… again…), which has changed my oven’s personality somewhat. It seems to be cooking a bit lower or slower (I’m still trying to figure it out). After 25 minutes the queso was definitely bubbly and ready to serve, but there was absolutely no color to the top of it, which made it look like a blob of boring, white cheese. It’s not a requirement, but I like a little bit of a brown crust on my baked dips. It took me at least 35 minutes to get any type of color to the dip and as you can see in the picture it still came out a bit splotchy. Despite my odd requirements for baked dip coloration, the end product was delicious.
Gluten Free Green Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso Adapted from Whole Foods.
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 1/2 cup sliced baby spinach leaves
1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 (10 ounce) can green chiles, diced (chop finely if using whole chiles)
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and onion cook until softened and starting to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are dry and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add chopped spinach and cook until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Spread leeks, mushrooms, spinach over the bottom of a small ovenproof casserole or gratin dish. In a large bowl, combine goat cheese, Jack cheese, and chiles and mix until combined. Spread cheese mixture evenly over mushrooms and bake until bubbling, about 25-35 minutes. Serve hot.
So apparently this March Madness business is finally coming to an end this weekend. Finally. I used to care about sports, but now I am more or less completely apathetic (with one exception). I think this is partially due to the false advertising of surrounding professional and college athletics in America. “March” Madness. We are now a week into April. Stop encroaching on a perfectly innocent month NCAA. However, I will consent to watching sporting events mainly because they allow for drinking at otherwise inappropriate hours of the day and snack foods, both of which I am a fan of.
Creamy ranch, a little kick from the jalapeños, tangy lime. It’s pretty much perfect the perfect dip in my book. I used mild jalapeños and mild green salsa, and while I did increase the amounts from the recipe I based my dip on, I didn’t find the jalapeño flavor or spiciness to be overwhelming at all. If you are a little more hesitant about spicy, you might want to cut back on the jalapeños and salsa and add to taste.
Oh, poor little neglected blog, how I have missed you! Last semester was so crazy and so interesting (microbiology!) that I barely had time to procrastinate and since most of my blogging is born out of procrastination, things just kind of stopped around here. Luckily, I have a much easier course load this semester and I have already been accepted to nursing school (yay!), so hopefully things will start looking a little more normal around here…
I made this dip at the beginning of football season to go with some football watching. It was an instant hit in my (play)book and since the season is now only one game away from being over, I guess I better share it before it’s too late (I’m not even going to apologize for those horrible football puns).
Chipotle and ranch are probably two of my favorite flavors. Combining them resulted in what I think is the world’s best dip. This dip is the perfect combination of slightly spicy, tangy and absolutely delicious. I served the dip with some veggies and kettle chips, but I think it would be a great dipping sauce for chicken wings if they are your thing.
Greek Yogurt Chipotle Ranch Dip
1 3/4 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
1/4 high-quality mayonnaise (I recommend Hollywood Safflower Mayo)
3 Tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
4 green onions, finely chopped and some reserved for garnish
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
1+ canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced (add more if you like it spicy!)
In a medium sized bowl, mix together yogurt, mayonnaise, ranch mix, almost all the green onions, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and chipotle. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate until needed. Serve with veggies or potato chips.
My girlfriend Kelly made this absolutely amazing asparagus appetizers (I love alliteration!) for our last book club meeting. They were delicious! And so simple. I made them at home for a little Monday evening aperitivo. These are definitely a great bite for a last-minute wine and cheese party and definitely worthy of sharing with guest. Next time I have a dinner party, these will be on the menu. I’m actually kind of looking for any excuse to make these again.
You can use any soft, spreadable cheese. I would avoid cream cheese, but any other soft cheese should work. I think Boursin would be amazing.
Making this appetizer into a side dish would be very easy to do. I would leave the prosciutto slice whole and wrap it around 3-5 pieces of asparagus and cook them the same way (maybe a minute or two longer). I think it would make for a really tasty side dish, but I really like how the individual spears of asparagus and prosciutto get super crispy.
Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus
Asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
Soft goat cheese, at room temperature
Prosciutto, each slice cut into 3 pieces
Pre-heat the oven to 400F degrees.
Spread the goat cheese on each slice of prosciutto.
Wrap each asparagus spear in a 1/3 slice of prosciutto and goat cheese.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, until warm and starting to crisp.
I doesn’t look like much, but I cannot even begin to put into words how amazing this is. Amazing! That’s all I can say. I was faced with the awkward situation of having a whole bunch of cheese, but not enough to make a legitimate cheese plate. You know that awkward spot where you’ve had a wine and cheese night and there is some cheese leftover, but not really anything worthwhile. It’s always a dark day. There are just tiny bits of that, something with a bit of a rind, some soft stuff that was kind of sad looking, a tad of blue begging to find a second chance. I poked around the internet for a bit and thanks to the magic of Google, I discovered the most glorious way to save the cheese! Fromage Fort! You can’t really go wrong with the combination of cheese. I used some blue, Boursin, goat, brie and parm. Delicious.
Serving wise, baguette, crackers, even some crudités would be great to serve with this. I used toasted gluten-free bread. If I had been by myself, I probably would have just used a spoon.
A couple pats of butter, if using mostly firm cheese varieties
1-3 small clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
1/2 to 1 cup leftover white wine
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary or chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Blend cheese, butter (if using) and garlic in food processer until combined. Drizzle in wine with the motor running until you get your desired consistency — some like it completely smooth, others prefer chunks. Add herbs, pulsing the machine until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fromage fort can be used right away, or kept in the fridge until needed. In the fridge, it will thicken and age a little; the flavors will mingle and deepen. Let sit out for a few minutes to slight soften and make serving easier.
My wonderful mother had this dip at a dinner party a few months ago. She raved about it. I decided to make it for my book club meeting shortly after that and we all raved about it. This dip is fantastic. I served it with veggies and crackers, but I think there are endless possibilities for serving it.
The only minor change I made was upping the number of garlic cloves from one to three, but I’m crazy like that. I made this dip ahead of time and let the flavors get all happy together. I left off the last drizzle of olive oil until serving time. If you do make this dip ahead of time, make sure you give it at least 30 minutes to sit out at room temperature so it is of dip consistency and not a brick of feta.
If you haven’t already be sure to check out my baking set giveaway! You have until July 1 to enter!
This was my first attempt at making soufflés and I must say I was quite impressed. I know I have had soufflés in the past, but I only remember them being in dessert form, so I really had no idea what was going to happen once I closed the oven door. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. The texture was wonderful, really light and airy with just a little bit of crisp from the top crust. I really like that you could taste the goat cheese in every bite as well.
I think for this recipe to be a success, a scale is going to be necessity. I absolutely adore my small little kitchen scale and it’s definitely one of the most worthwhile investments I’ve made in a kitchen accessory. At the time I didn’t have any one cup ramekins to bake these, so used half cup ramekins instead. I have since found bigger ramekins at Ikea for next to nothing, so next time I will try the bigger cup.
Butter 4 x 250ml/1 cup soufflé dishes. (I used 8 half cup ramekins.)
Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for a minute or so. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time to make a thick sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the floury taste.
Stir in the cheeses and chives then add 4 of the egg yolks, season generously and mix well.
In a clean bowl, whisk all the egg whites until they are stiff and form soft peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture and pour into the buttered soufflé dishes.
Cook for 12-15 minutes until the soufflés are risen and golden.
Now that I’m kind of, sort of , nearly over my never-ending mystery illness (just can’t shake this sore throat), let’s get back to business.
It’s the Super Bowl next Sunday. Normally, I would be super excited and looking forward to it, but considering I have not watched a single football game (of any kind or level) this year, I’m really not into it. That being said, I do love any excuse for a party and parties must have food and drinks. I can always get behind party planning. This week I’ll be sharing some recipes perfect for your Super Bowl weekend.
Apparently there are people in this world who do not like garlic and don’t care for brie. Fortunately, I don’t know anyone like that, but if you are a little wary of the amount of garlic in this dip, fear not. When garlic is roasted, it gets this more caramelized, almost nutty flavor, which is much more subtle than fresh garlic. If you don’t like brie, well I really can’t help you all that much. Maybe substitute goat cheese? This was the first time I had ever used pimentos in anything or even had them outside of stuffed olives. I was hoping they would give the dip just a little extra kick or something to keep the taste buds happy. Maybe they just got too chopped up in the food processor, but they didn’t really bring much to the overall taste. I think I would stick with real hot sauce or chili powder if a subtle heat.
You could actually serve this dip two different ways. I decided to go with hot, but the end result was a little more fondue-y than I would have like. Once it cooled down about 5 or 10 minutes, it was the perfect consistency. I also tried it before I baked it and it was pretty close to perfect. I should have left it, but I really wanted a hot dip… You can definitely make this ahead of time, but remember to take it out and let it soften. It is brie base, so it will definitely need to soften.
Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip
2 heads of garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1-20 ounce round of brie, rind removed
1 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage)
1 cup baby spinach
4 green onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons diced pimentos, drained
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (or freshly ground pepper, to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut top 1/2″ off the top of the garlic heads. Remove some of the loose, papery skin, leaving the heads intact. Place each on a square of tinfoil, drizzle each with the olive oil (about 1 teaspoon each), and wrap well. Bake 50-60 minutes, until the garlic is very soft and begins to brown. Cool until easy to handle. Squeeze each head to into a mixing bowl to remove the soft roasted cloves. Be careful to avoid getting any of the garlic skin/paper in the bowl.
In a large skillet, add the remaining olive oil and heat over medium. When oil is shimmering, add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add in the green onions and cook until just softened. Remove skillet from heat and set aside. Attempt to drain any excess oil if necessary.
In a food processor, process Brie cheese and cream cheese with the seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic cloves. (You can also cream these ingredients together using the back of a spoon and a lot of energy.) Refrigerate several hours to blend flavors. Serve with crackers, crostini, and sliced French bread.
In a food processor, combine Brie cheese and greek yogurt with the seasoned pepper, garlic cloves and pimentos. Add in the spinach and green onions. Pulse in the food processor until blended.
This dip can be served either hot or cold. For cold: Refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to blend. For hot: Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve.
Serve with crackers/sliced bread/tortilla chips/veggies.
I will admit, I’m not a huge salami fan. For some reason, I decided to buy some the other day. Then I had no clue what to do with them. A little Googling later and I found this recipe. It’s fast, easy and makes for a more interesting type of appetizer.
It is important to watch these as it gets closer to the end of the cooking time. You have to find the perfect amount of time where they come out crispy. Too long and they will burn and be inedible, too short and the middles will be sort of chewy. If you get the timing right, they will come out perfectly. I love mustard, but I will admit I might have been a little over zealous here. I added a tablespoon of Greek yogurt to tone it down a bit. I am sure sour cream or mayonnaise would work just as well.
Salami Chips with Dijon Dipping Sauce
Salami slices (I just fill up the baking sheet)
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons Grainy Dijon mustard
1-2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
Optional: 1 Tablespoon Greek yogurt or sour cream (if the sauce is too mustardy)
Heat oven to 375° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil or place a rack on the baking sheet. Arrange the salami in a single layer. Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. When done place on paper towels to drain.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the mustard and thyme. Serve the salami with the mustard sauce for dipping.
You could whip this up in less than five minutes. Tapenade is a great appetizer. It is wonderful for dipping veggies and is also great on crackers or bread. I actually made this tapenade not as an appetizer (even thought that’s what we used the leftovers for), but to put on chicken that I baked in the oven. It was also delicious. It is a pretty versatile spread. don’t like a lot of olive oil or overly oily dipping sauces, so I went a little light on the oil. You can add as much or as little you feel necessary.
Black & Green Olive Tapenade
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup pitted green olives (I used Spanish olives with pimentos)
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 lemon, juiced
olive oil, to preference
Put all the ingredients except the lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse for about 5 short bursts. Add in lemon juice and a small amount of olive oil. Pulse several more times. Add more oil if you need to. Continue pulsing and adding oil or lemon juice until desired consistency is reached.