Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Red Leicester Cheese Pasta

Using the Red Leicester cheese I mentioned in the previous post, I temporarily satisfied my craving for peppery cheesy pasta.

Yeah, I said temporarily. What of it?

Ingredient list: 

-16 oz package of penne pasta
-16 oz of cottage cheese
-8 oz of Red Leicester cheese, shredded
-2 stalks of celery, the green parts chopped finely
-1 tblsp of minced garlic or garlic paste
-Pepper Jack cheese

1) Boil the pasta according to the package's directions. Drain and set aside. 

2) In a large pot, empty the container of cottage and add in the entire wedge of shredded Red Leicester. Mix it up, and add the chopped celery. Mix in the garlic. 

3) Toss in the well drained pasta. Stir to fully coat every piece. 

4) Butter a 9x13 baking dish. Layer half of the pasta in it, then shred some pepper jack on top. Try to cover the entire surface area and be generous with the cheese (can you tell I love cheese?). 

5) Layer the rest of the pasta on top and shred more cheese over the surface. 

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. 

Product of the Week: Red Leicester Cheese

From what I gather about the cheese world, England isn't exactly known for amazing cheeses (sorry, England. I still heart your clotted cream and Walker's crisps).

I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted Red Leicester at Trader Joe's.

The one I picked up included chilis and red bell peppers. According to the British Cheese Board, it is traditionally without any additions.

If you find it at your local grocery store, try it. 

Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache

I am pretty sure all of life's problems can be solved by chocolate ganache. 

If I am wrong, don't tell me I am. I don't want to know. Just make this cake instead. 

Ingredient list: 

For the pound cake:
-1/2 cup of butter
-2/3 cup of sugar
-1/2 cup of baking cocoa
-3 egg yolks
-1/2 tsp of baking powder
-1/4 tsp of salt
-1 tsp EACH of chocolate extract and vanilla extract
-1.25 cups of all purpose flour
-1/2 cup of milk 

Chocolate ganache:

-1/2 cup of heavy cream
-6 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate

1) Beat together the butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 

2) To the butter mixture, add the egg yolks, both extracts and then mix to combine everything. 

3) Gradually sprinkle in the dry ingredient mix and beat together to form a smooth batter. 

4) Pour it into a greased and floured 9x5 loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a fork pushed into the center comes out clean. 

5) In a small pot, heat up the heavy cream until it is very, very warm, but not boiling. 

6) In a bowl, break up the chocolate. Pour the warm cream over it and stir until the chocolate melts and creates a fairly viscous and thick chocolate drizzle. 

7) Pour it over the pound cake. Be sure to cover the entire surface (and lick the bowl when you're done).

8) Put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes to let the ganache firm up a little. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vegetable Frittata

It's about time I made one and posted about it. It's basically eggs and vegetables. I'm bound to like it.

Well guess what? I did like it! So did my granny.

Ingredient list:

-1/2 of a yellow squash, diced
-1 cup of frozen mixed veggies
-2 large handfuls of fresh kale, chopped
-Olive oil
-6 eggs
-Black pepper
-Sea salt
-1 tsp of minced garlic
-Cheddar cheese

1) Pour olive oil into a pot. Add the vegetables and garlic. Stir to coat all the veggies with oil and garlic. Let it cook for about 10 minutes.

2) In the meantime, beat up the eggs in a bowl with some sea salt and pepper.

3) Let the veggies cook until the frozen veggies are no longer frozen and have separated. Grease a 9 or 10 inch pie plate with some butter or olive oil. Spoon the veggies into it (try to spoon it in instead of dumping it all in to avoid transferring the liquid in the pot to the baking dish). Spread out the veggies in an even layer. Pour the beaten eggs over the veggies and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

4) When the frittata is mostly set, take it out and grate some cheese over it. Put it back in the and let it finish baking, perhaps 10 minutes.

I served this with sliced cantalope.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Aloo Baingan with Rice

I love Manjula's website. It's one of the best Indian food recipe sites I've ever come across.

She's also like the really nice aunt I never had. Most of my aunts were mean, would pinch me really hard or threaten to pop me one if I spoke out of turn.

It's no wonder I am afraid of them

Adapted from Manjula's Kitchen

Ingredient list:

-1 medium eggplant, cubed and washed.
-4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
-2 tomatoes, diced
-1 tsp of ginger
-1 tblsp of coriander powder
-1 tsp of cumin seeds
-a pinch of asafetida
-1/2 tsp of turmeric
-1/2 of chili powder
-1 tsp of salt
-Oil for frying

1) In a large pot, fry the potatoes and eggplant in just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Keep an eye on it and fry until the potatoes are golden brown and the eggplant is cooked.

2) In a small bowl, mix the ginger, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and salt together with some water to make a thin sauce. Set aside for now.

3) Add the cumin seeds to the fried vegetables and stir to coat. Add a pinch of asafetida and mix well. Then pour in the spice gravy. Mix it well to coat all of the potatoes and eggplant. Add some water to partially fill the pot. You don't need to cover it but you do want to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pot. Add the chopped tomatoes.

4) Cook until the gravy boils down a little, about 10 minutes. Serve over freshly cooked rice.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Restaurant Review: District of Pi

On the day of the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Washington DC, Jessica ran and completed the event as her husband and I cheered her on (by "cheered her on" I mean we went to the DC Market, ran some errands, and then met her at the finish line). After running for over 2 hours she was famished, so we went to District of Pi (along with her co-worker and fellow marathon runner) Raphael.

We were seated as soon as we walked in.

Jess and I shared The Delmar.

It's mozzarella, cheddar, barbecue sauce, chicken, red and green peppers, red onion, and cilantro.

I also ordered a glass of  Allagash White

It's a Belgian-style wheat brew. It's light and slightly fruity. If you're not a beer lover you might like this. It's not as bitter as other beers. 
The pizza was scrumptious. The crust was dusted with cornmeal and had cornmeal baked into the crust itself. The cheddar was a nice complement to the usual mozzarella, and the barbecued chicken and veggies balanced out the other flavors perfectly.  

Raphael ordered the East Loop

It's mozzarella, pesto, roasted chicken, mushrooms and onions. I tried a piece. It was delicious. I love the addition of pesto.

I like District of Pi enough to go back. The service was good, but toward the end of the meal the waitress seemed to be eager to take my plate away. I got the impression that she wanted to clear the table quickly.
It didn't ruin the experience, however. I would patronize District of Pi in the future.

District of Pi

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

This may be hard to believe, but I have never made cheesecake bars before.

One would think this to be impossible, given how much I like cheesecake, but it's true: I have never made the bar version of this delicious and irresistible dessert.

That all changed the day decided I wanted to combine fruit with cream cheese and crushed graham crackers.

The working title sounds better than what I just typed.

Ingredient list:

-1 pint of fresh strawberries
-1/8 cup  of cornstarch
-1/4 cup of sugar
-2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
-1 stick of butter, melted
-2 packages of cream cheese, softened
-2 eggs
-1 tsp of vanilla extract
-1 cup of sugar
-1 cup of yogurt or sour cream

1) Finely chop the strawberries.

2) Place in a pot with 1 cup of water. On low heat, add 1/4 cup of sugar and the cornstarch. Stir to dissolve and let it thicken into a sauce. Make sure the heat is on low so it doesn't overcook.

3) Mix the cracker crumbs and melted butter together in a bowl and press into an aluminum foil lined 9x13 baking dish. Press it down and spread it out so the entire bottom is covered with the cracker base.

4) Beat together the softened cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla and sour cream or yogurt one at a time, mixing after each addition.

5) Pour the finished mixture over the graham cracker crust. Spread it out into an even layer. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes. You can also place a pan of water in the oven with it. This helps keep the top from cracking.

6) When it cools, spoon on the fruit topping.