I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sage Roasted Squash

I had some leftover Sweet Dumpling Squash from the Chiefs get-together we had the other week. I thought maybe I would use it to make ravioli or a soup, but then a friend told me about how she had roasted some squash with sage and shallots and I had to give it a try. This was seriously, seriously good. I've craved it every day since we had it and am going to have to have it again very soon. The only bad part about this recipe is the peeling the squash, which I find to be a pain in the rear.
I served this with my Curried Pork Chops. If you haven't tried these yet, they are so easy and have a ton of flavor. I used organic pork chops this time around and grilled them on my grill pan, and I don't think I've ever cooked meat so well. They were perfect (well, almost. I did have to throw Joe's back onto the grill because I undercooked it initially, but then they were perfect). I had to post this picture because it's so much better than the one I took when I initially posted this recipe.

(ok, I know I sound like I'm bragging a lot in this post, but really--this was a damn good meal!! :)

Sage Roasted Sweet Dumpling Squash

1 sweet dumpling squash (acorn squash will work as well)

1/2 stick butter

1 t. sage

1 TB chopped shallot

1 t. brown sugar

1 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

2 oz. goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and de-seed the squash. Chop it into uniform pieces--about 1 1/2" cubes.

Melt the butter and mix in the sage, shallot, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Toss with the squash pieces. Place on a baking sheet and roast about 45-50 minutes or until just beginning to brown and crisp along the edges. Toss with crumbled goat cheese just before serving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gruyere Ale Fondue, White Chocolate Raspberry Fondue

Fondue is one of my favorite meals to share with my husband. It's easy and fairly quick, but always feels fancy and special. Plus I feel healthy eating all of those fruits and vegetables (let's ignore all of the cheese, cream, bread and chocolate.....).

In the past all of the fondues I have made have been variations on cheddar fondue and basic chocolate fondue. But this time around I really wanted to get in and try out some new things. I used to think I did not like Gruyere cheese, but have been proved wrong and knew it was time to try a fondue with the cheese that belongs in it. But, I feel that any cheese dish is improved with the addition of beer, so I used it instead of wine that traditionally goes into the dish. It does make it easier for the cheese to seize up (the wine helps prevent this), but if you are careful with the heat and the stirring, you should be ok.
The white chocolate fondue is very sweet, but is a great change from the traditional chocolate. I'm a big fan of this with bananas and strawberries particularly.

Gruyere Ale Fondue
2 TB butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 1/3 c. beer
2 c. Gruyere cheese, grated
1 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
2 TB flour
chopped vegetables, bread, etc. for dipping

Toss the grated gruyere and parmesan with the flour and set aside. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute, being careful not to burn. Add the beer and the worcestershire sauce and turn up the heat to medium high and cook until it just begins to boil. Turn the heat back down to medium/medium-low. Add the cheese and stir slowly until the cheese melts. Try not to over stir as this will cause the cheese to seize up. Serve in a fondue pot as soon as the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.

White Chocolate Raspberry Fondue
1/2 c. heavy cream
12 oz. white chocolate, chopped coarsely
1/8 c. raspberry vodka
fruits, angel food cake, etc. for dipping

Mix together all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium/medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth. Serve in a fondue pot immediately.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Apple Lambic Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I've been playing around with using an apple lambic beer in a baking project for a long time. And what better opportunity than when I have friends coming over to be my guinea pigs? I tried these out for the Chiefs party that we had last week. They did not disappoint.
The apple lambic (I used Lindeman's Pomme) was not the dominant flavor in the cupcakes but it did give a nice tartness to them. The bit of cocoa gives them a nice, rich flavor. And the cinnamon cream cheese frosting rounded out the spiciness well.

Apple Lambic Spice Cupcakes
(makes about 20 cupcakes)
1 c. apple lambic beer
1 stick, plus 1 TB unsalted butter
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. sour cream
2 eggs
1 TB vanilla extract
2 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake papers in muffin tins (or grease muffin tins).
Chop the butter into chunks and combine with the lambic beer in a large saucepan and heat to melt the butter. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa and the brown and the regular sugar. In a bowl, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then add to the beer mixture. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger and then fold into the batter. Pour into the muffin tins, filling about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes, remove from the muffin tins, and cool completely on a rack before frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
8 TB butter, softened (1 stick)
2 c. powdered sugar
3 t. ground cinnamon

Beat together all ingredients until the icing is fluffy. Spread onto cupcakes once they are cooled.

Margarita Dip, BLT Roll-ups, Micheladas

Last week the Chiefs were playing the Jets. Which meant we could actually watch the game at home like the good ol' days. We invited over some friends and decided to make it an all day deal--we'd watch the game and have some snacks and then afterwards I would make dinner and we'd have a late celebration for my birthday. It was a small crowd but it was a really good time.

During the game we had a nacho cheese dip, Buffalo Chicken dip (yes, two different types of dip, but both were requested), Margarita Dip, BLT Roll-ups, beer and micheladas. Micheladas are like a beer bloody mary and in my opinion are one of the best "brunch-y" drinks ever.

Afterwards we had a vegetarian lasagna, gougeres, roasted squash and wine. Twelve hours after everyone arrived, after much food and great conversation, our guests finally headed home (with leftovers in their bags so Joe and I wouldn't have to eat them all!). The Chiefs may have lost their game, but all in all it was still a great day.

Margarita Dip
(from Better Homes and Gardens)
1/2 c. whipping cream
3 c. angel and/or pound cake cubes
3 c. assorted fresh fruit
1/2 c. sour cream
1 TB OJ concentrate (I actually used 1 TB pineapple preserves)
4 oz. cream cheese, cut up and softened
1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 TB tequila
1 TB lime juice

Mix sour cream, OJ concentrate, cream cheese, sugar, tequila, and lime juice until combined. Add whipping cream and blend until fluffy and mixture mounds. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 24 hours. Serve with cake and fruit.

BLT Roll-ups
3- 8" flour tortillas
4 oz. cream cheese
6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 c. shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, diced
bacon ranch dressing

Divide the cream cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato into thirds. Spread 1/3 of the cream cheese onto each tortilla. Sprinkle 1/3 of bacon, lettuce, and tomato onto each tortilla. Roll each tortilla up tightly, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Once chilled, cut the roll-ups into slices about 3/4" wide. Serve with bacon ranch dressing.

Micheladas
for each Michelada:
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
juice from 1/2 lime
pinch of salt
couple drops of Tabasco sauce, to taste
3/4 c. tomato juice cocktail
1 Mexican beer
ice

If desired, rim a pint glass with salt. Add ice to the glass, then add Worcestershire sauce, lime, salt, Tabasco and tomato juice. Top off the glass with beer. Serve the drink with the beer so you can continue to top off the glass as you drink it.