All posts tagged: cheese

Escarole Salad with Chicken, Radish, Feta, and Pumpkin Seeds

My perfect equation for an entree salad is: base lettuce + veggies/fruits + protein + crunch + dressing = salad awesomeness At this time of year with the holidays quickly approaching, I try to be as healthy as I can be on weekdays, especially at lunchtime.  Following the 80/20 rule (80% eating healthy, 20% eating what you want) is always a good approach for maintaining weight and good health.  Healthy entree salads fit into the workday beautiful–either packing it up at home and bringing to work in a Tupperware (dressing on the side), hitting a local salad bar, or ordering in a restaurant.  There are so so many variations you can try, and feel good about your choices.  Look for an upcoming post soon on some of my other fave salad options. This particular combination has become my go to for lunch these days.  And I actually use (gulp) a bottled dressing I found at a local grocery store called “Pine Club” House Dressing.  It’s sold in grocery stores in the Ohio area, but you …

Grilled Zucchini + Lentil Quesadillas

When in the guts of Summer, when temperature highs are in the 90s (or 100s) and humidity is giving you a new hair-do, the real high points for me are AN OUTDOOR GRILL and OUTDOOR FARMERS MARKETS.  This week browsing the New York City Stuyvesant Farmers Market with my friend Sarah, the real stars were pit fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums,) tomatoes, and zucchini.  Nick and I stocked up on all of the above.  Inspired by the gorgeous yellow and green zucchini, I set out to make a vegetarian main course using this versatile vegetable.  Using what I had on hand (tortillas,) I decided to go for quesadillas.  For added protein and fiber, I added lentils.  The end result was so delicious.  You should see this recipe less as a “recipe” and more as a template.  You could easily substitute grilled eggplant or red/green peppers for the zucchini and your favorite cheese will work as long as it melts well.    An important tip: be SURE to cook your veggies first. If you don’t, they’ll put out …

Cacio e Pepe with Fresh Whole Wheat Fettuccine

Fresh pasta is one of my greatest pleasures in life.  So many of us are carb junkies, and pasta is my drug of choice.  As much as I love eating it, I always love making it.  This time around, I kept it simple.  On a recent weeknight, the craving hit hard.  I could have made something fancy, but I’ve been trying to challenge myself to cook with what I have on hand.  Living in the city, it’s so easy to run out for this or go pick up that.  But not this time–I created this dish with only what I had on hand.  I also didn’t want to be a slave to cooking for the night (it WAS a school night.)  Start to finish, this took about 2 hours.  The result was pure comfort.  I didn’t have to grocery shop for anything in this recipe, and with the whole wheat flour mixed in, I didn’t even feel guilty about eating it.  After all, a little butter and cheese never hurt anyone, right? For all of …

Baileys Irish Cream Cheesecake with White Chocolate + Pecans

I’ve learned a lot about food, wine, and cooking from my parents.  My father has been making cheesecakes for well over a decade.  At one point, he even sold them to restaurants for resale.  Lemon, cherry, chocolate, you name it–he’s made them all, and every single one of them has been a hit for all that were lucky enough to get a precious bite.  Because they were so relatively common, I’m not sure why I found the idea of making one so intimidating.  I think the fear of an under-cooked gooey center or a faulty spring-form pan might have been two potential reasons. My husband Nick had never had the opportunity to try one of my dad’s cheesecakes, so for Thanksgiving this year, cheesecake was the simple dessert choice.  I mean, you have to have a dessert for Thanksgiving, and Nick HAD to try one of my dad’s cheesecakes eventually.  That whole two birds, one stone thing… yeah, it’s an expression for a reason.  So we went for it–together.  I figured if I watched my …

Broccoli Rabe, Walnut, and Pecorino Bruschetta

  I recently dined at one my fave restaurants in NYC, Dell’ Anima, with my friend Marcy.  There is so much to love about this place.  If you’re lucky (or get in early enough in the day,) you can get a seat at the bar overlooking the small kitchen OR at the little nook looking out the window in the front of the restaurant.  There’s always lots to see in the West Village of Manhattan.  There’s a new menu at Dell’ Anima everyday–though many things stay on during a given season on a more consistent basis.  Their daily ‘Bruschette’ selections are always a must.  Marcy and I ordered two to share: the Rapini Pesto and the Cannellini Lemon.  Wow.  Both were packed with flavor.  Served pureed and smooth in little bowls with olive oily grilled bread slices to spread them on, we swooned over the two.  We especially couldn’t get enough of the Rapini.  As we practically licked the bowl, I knew I had to recreate it.  While I’m sure my copy cat version posted …

Roasted Tomato Toasts with Ricotta, Chestnut Honey, and Basil

We all have our go-to’s.  The recipes we make over and over again.  The ones that your friends or family specially request.  The ones that you have made so many times, you don’t need to look at the recipe anymore.  That’s what this dish is all about.  Universally loved, this dish will not fail you.  I promise.  The honey slow-roasted tomatoes burst with sweetness against the creamy ricotta and the crunchy toasts.  The topping of shredded fresh basil and drizzled chestnut honey take the flavor profile to the next level.  What’s even better is that all of these ingredients are freely available all year round–so whether you need to bring a dish to a baby shower in the Spring or a festive platter to your Christmas table in the Winter, these yummy toasts will deliver. Roasted Tomato Toasts with Ricotta, Chestnut Honey, and Basil Recipe courtesy of Food & Wine Ingredients 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons clover honey 2 teaspoons thyme leaves 1 teaspoon …

Sausage Mascarpone Crostini

Why is it that the best foods are usually the simplest, having the least amount of ingredients.  A sharp hunk of cheedar cheese with a slice of apple… toast with butter… bacon and eggs.  All bring such satisfaction to the palette and belly.  This is one of those foods.  It only has 3 main ingredients: sausage, mascarpone cheese, and bread.  A little spray of Pam if you like on the bread and some chopped parsley for garnish are lovely too, but not necessary.  This combination is so wonderful–I serve it all the time as an appetizer at parties or even just with a salad for a light supper.  Everyone always loves it.  I never have leftovers.  And amazingly, with such a short list of ingredients, most people can’t quite identify them. The origin of this dish is in Italy.  My mom was taking a cooking class there, and during one of the days, the chef took her to a local market for sausage.  Once back in the kitchen, the chef simply crumbled the meat, cooked …

Nick’s Rigatoni

One of Nick’s favorite things to cook is red sauce.  Whenever we go out to eat and he orders steak, his first thought is “leftover steak for red sauce.”  I pretty much know from that moment on what we’re having for dinner on Sunday.  Then his love affair begins.  The Godfather goes on the TV and I smell garlic clouds drifting from the kitchen.  I must note that I am not allowed in the kitchen when this process is going on–as I, ah hem, tend to push my input whether it was asked for or not.  So I get to sit back and wait for the lovely results.  I have to say that every batch of red sauce he makes is different–but its always so delicious, so tummy warming, and feels extra special, because I know it was made with love.  Here you have it–Nick’s Rigatoni.  I think this was his best batch yet.  The sauce was so rich–the wine really kicked it to another level.  There was also this smoky taste to it, which …

Escarole, Sunchoke, Marcona Almond Salad

One of my favorite Fall salads is the Escarole Salad served at Otto in New York City.  I used to live walking distance from Otto, which meant lots of delivery.  But now that I live farther away–and out of their delivery range–I decided to try to recreate this salad.  Almost all of the ingredients were obvious: escarole, marcona almonds, and sunchokes.  However I was clueless (and remain so) about what kind of cheese they sprinkle throughout and what the dressing is composed of.  So here I have made my best attempt to recreate this delicious salad, from ingredients I had on hand. First a note about sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes.  Funny enough, they are neither artichokes or grown in Jerusalem.  Their outside is knobby and potato-skin like.  While the inside flesh is firm and similar to a potato/jicama consistency.  They can take some funny shapes.  For the salad they are peeled, resulting in oval knobs.  Once I peel them, I always add them to a lemon water bath (2 tablespoons of lemon juice + 1 …