Valentine Ginger Heart Cookies

Valentine Ginger Heart Cookies

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Happy Valentine’s Day. My husband loves ginger cookies so I like to try new recipes that I think he will like. I knew he was the ONE on our first date when we (over dinner) began talking about meals we had eaten in the past, meals we wanted to eat in the future and foods we loved. We also loved other things and running – which initially brought us together – has been great to offset the love of eating… We are still running (and eating) together after 15 years!

These are a sweet and wonderful treat to share (or not) with someone you love. They can be cut into any shape but they lend themselves to this holiday as they are a little sweet, a little spicy and nothing says love like a warm cookie!

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Ingredients

3/4 C butter
1 C packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 C molasses
4 C All Purpose flour
2 tsp roasted ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground roasted cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp Cardamon
1/4 tsp salt
Sanding Sugar

Directions

In a large bowl of standing mixer use the paddle beater and cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Add egg and molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices and gradually add to the creamed mixture.

On lightly floured board turn dough out and cut into quarters. Roll out dough to an 1/8 thickness and cut with heart shaped cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake at 350 for 10 min until firm.

 

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Porchetta-Style Ragu

Porchetta-Style Ragu

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This is a really easy weeknight dinner. I made homemade pasta but will taste just fine with dried store bought! This is adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe. The next time I try this I might use the pork loin and slow cook it and make it with shredded pork. I made the sauce and kept it warm in a crockpot until ready to serve.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups large homemade breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces cold meaty pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 pound coarsely ground pork loin or packaged ground pork
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, about 1/3 palmful
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, optional, if you have one in the freezer, plus freshly grated cheese for tossing and serving
  • 1 pound mezze rigatoni, or rigatoni (I used pappardelle
  • A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a baking sheet, toss the breadcrumbs and butter; season with salt. Bake, stirring once, until toasted and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the pancetta. Cook, stirring often, until the fat begins to render, about 2 minutes. Add the ground pork. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the rosemary, garlic, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, the fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper. Stir until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine. Cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and the Parmigiano rind, if using. Reduce heat to low. Let the sauce simmer while you cook the pasta.

Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of the package directions. Scoop out about 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Discard the Parmigiano rind from the sauce. Add a generous handful of grated Parmigiano, the lemon juice, and the pasta to the sauce. Toss, adding the cooking water as needed if the pasta is too dry. Season with salt.

Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 teaspoon lemon zest, the parsley, and a bit more Parm. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls. Top with the breadcrumbs and shredded cheese.

Caramelized Onion and Parmesan Cheese Soup with Parmesan Cheese Toasts

Caramelized Onion and Parmesan Cheese Soup with Parmesan Cheese Toasts

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The past 2 months have been so busy, suddenly it was Christmas and then it was over and I was cleaning up glitter. One more holiday before the bleak month of January. This would make a wonderful start to New Year’s Eve dinner. I served this as a soup course for 9 as part of Christmas Eve dinner. I made it the night before, then heated up and added the cheese and cream right before serving. It also reheated well the next day. This is adapted from a EMERIL LAGASSE recipe. I did not take a lot of photos as I was in full on dinner party mode but trust me this soup is worth making!

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INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
8 to 12 garlic cloves, smashed, plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 quarts Chicken Stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 cups 1-inch cubes crusty French or Italian bread
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Parmesan Cheese Toasts

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions, the smashed garlic cloves, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the stock and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Add the bread cubes. Cook, whisking often, until the bread disintegrates and thickens the soup, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Purée the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor or blender. Return to the pot and whisk in the cream, cheese, and parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Ladle into bowls. Serve with the hot cheese toasts.

Parmesan Cheese Toasts

Twelve 1/4-inch-thick baguette slices (cut on the diagonal to make large slices)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cup Mayonnaise (I used Black Truffle Aioli)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Spread the bread on a baking sheet. Mix the cheese, mayonnaise, parsley, garlic, and cayenne in a small bowl. Spread a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture onto each slice of bread.

Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve hot.

Spinach and Corn Strudel

Spinach and Corn Strudel

This is fun and easy. The fillings can be changed to reflect the season. I have made this with mushroom, seafood and other seasonal vegetables. The first time I served this I made a fresh tomato sauce but it works just as well with a good salsa or pasta sauce.

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Ingredients

1 cup part skim ricotta
2 Tbs Parmesan grated cheese
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
nutmeg to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps olive oil
8 oz fresh mushrooms
5 cups raw spinach leaves
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
4 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 cups fresh tomato sauce, salsa or canned tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce

3 medium tomatoes
salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Pepper taste
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar
6 fresh basil leaves

Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, chill them in an ice bath, and remove their skins and seeds.

In a blender or food processor, puree the tomato flesh for about 5 seconds. Add the salt, sugar and pepper.

with the machine running, slowly add the oil and vinegar, blending for 2 to 3 minutes to make a smooth mixture.

Pour into a bowl and stir in the basil.

Preparation

Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly flour a sheet pan.

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, corn, egg whites, lemon zest, nutmeg and seasoning until well combined. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the spinach over medium heat, stirring for about 3-5 minutes. Dry the spinach by wrapping in a cloth towel and squeezing gently. Chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

While the spinach is drying, saute the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of oil, make sure to drain off any excess liquid.

Brush a sheet of phyllo with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Place a second sheet on top of the first and brush it with another tablespoon of melted butter. Repeat with the other sheets.

With the long side of the phyllo toward you, spoon the ricotta mixture on the bottom third of the phyllo dough. Spread spinach and mushrooms on top. Top with the mozzarella shreds.

Roll the phyllo up from the bottom, like a log, tucking the sides in so the filling won’t fall out.. Place the roll on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden.

The serve, ladle the tomato sauce onto 4 plates. Cut 4 slightly diagonal 1 inch crosswise slices of strudel.Place each one a bit off center and cut side up so the pinwheel design of the filling shows. Slices the remaining strudel into 4 pieces, each with a straight crosswise edge and a slightly diagonal edge. Stand one slice on its straight edge and one slice laying down, on the plate.

Overnight Yeast Risen Waffles

Overnight Yeast Risen Waffles

These are simply some of the BEST waffles. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside with a wonderful yeasty tang to them. Perfect for a weekend brunch. You make these the night before and then in the morning jut add the eggs and baking soda! I served with a homemade strawberry compote. This is adapted from the New York times. I forgot to take a lot of photos but trust me. You want to make these!

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INGREDIENTS

2 ¼  cups milk
1  stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1  package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2  large eggs (beaten)
¼  teaspoon baking soda

PREPARATION

In a small pot over medium heat, combine milk and butter until melted and hot but not simmering. Stir in sugar and salt; remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm water and yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add warm milk mixture to yeast and stir. Whisk in flours. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat waffle iron. Whisk eggs and baking soda into waffle batter. I sort of folded mine in. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray.  Cook waffles (using about 1/2 cup batter per waffle) until golden and crisp. Butter or spray the iron in between batches as needed. Serve waffles immediately as they are ready, or keep them warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve.

Summer Vegetable Galette

Summer Vegetable Galette

This wonderful recipe comes from a blog “The view from Great Island”. This is a great way to use up extra zucchini and squash. I want to make a roasted tomato version as well! Make sure your veggies are thinly sliced. A mandoline slicer is very helpful. I served this with a tomato salad.

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Ingredients

crust
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut in small pieces
  • 5 Tbsp cold water
filling
  • approximately 3 ounces spreadable goat cheese
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1 small new potato
  • thin slices of red onion about 1/2 a small red onion
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the chunks of cold butter and pulse about 25 times, or until combined and crumbly. Drizzle in the water while pulsing, and run the machine briefly until the dough comes together in a lump, this should not take more than 15-30 seconds.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and bring together into a flat round disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F
  4. Slice the squash and potato on a mandoline slicer at set at 1/8 inch thickness. If you are using a knife, slice them as thin as you can so they are flexible and translucent.
  5. Roll the dough out on a sheet of parchment paper that is cut to fit a baking sheet. Roll it to about a 12 inch circle, more or less.
  6. Spread the soft goat cheese over the surface of your dough, leaving a border of dough free so you can roll it later.
  7. Arrange your sliced veggies over the cheese, overlapping them. You will probably not need all of them, I made a fairly thin layer. Separate the rings of the onion slices and feather them over the top. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Roll up the edges of the dough to meet the filling. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Note: keep your dough chilled at all times before baking. If you need to you can put the whole tray in the refrigerator while your oven heats up.
  9. Bake for about 33-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. I like to take the parchment paper and set it right on the rack of my oven for a great crisp crust. If you have a pizza stone you can use that.
  10. Slice and serve the tart hot or at room temperature.
Risotto with Fresh Corn and Basil Oil

Risotto with Fresh Corn and Basil Oil

This has all the wonderful tastes of summer in one dish. Super easy and a nice meal with a side salad of tomatoes and a glass of white wine

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kernels from  ears of corn
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives

Directions

In a blender, combine the chopped basil and olive oil and process until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and maintain a simmer.

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, stir to coat, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the rice and stir until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the simmering broth a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the broth is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next ladleful. After 10 minutes, stir in the corn. After about 20 minutes, the rice should be tender to the bite and creamy. If you need more liquid, use more broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chives and 2 Tbs. of the basil oil. Divide among bowls, drizzle with more basil oil, garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately. Serves 4.