Category: Gluten-Free

Provolone and Roasted Bell Pepper Spread

provolone and bell pepper spread

This colorful, flavorful Provolone and Roasted Bell Pepper Spread is delicious on toasted baguette. Use all one color bell pepper or mix it up with red, orange and yellow for an eye-appealing presentation.

Green bell peppers are a little bitter, the basil adds a punch of green. Make the roasted bell peppers yourself or used jarred roasted peppers; be sure to dry them well before chopping.

Diced roasted bell peppers.

Combine the peppers, cheese, basil, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine and garnish with the basil sprig.

All ingredients ready to be mixed.

To serve place the bowl on a large plate and surround the bowl with the toasted bread or top each bread with the pepper mixture and serve on a platter.

provolone and bell pepper spread

Watch the Provolone and Roasted Bell Pepper Spread here.

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Provolone and Roasted Bell Pepper Bruschetta

Use a variety of colors in the bell peppers for an eye-appealing presentation. The cheese provides a nice saltiness as well as texture in this spread. Make the roasted bell peppers yourself or used jarred roasted bell peppers; be sure to dry them well before chopping

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
Scale

Ingredients

Roasted Bell Peppers
3 bell peppers cut in half and seeds removed
olive oil

Spread
3 bell peppers (any color) roasted*, peeled and seeded; cut into ¼ inch dice OR 1 jar roasted bell peppers
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 Garnish

leafy basil sprig

Instructions

Roasted Red Peppers:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rub the peppers sparingly with oil.

Lie the peppers, cut side down, on a sheet tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Cover with a dish towel and steam for 10 minutes.

Remove the charred skin and seeds; follow recipe below.

Provolone and Roasted Bell Pepper Spread

Combine the peppers, cheese, garlic olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small serving bowl.

Garnish with the top of a basil sprig.

Best served room temperature.

Notes

To serve on individual toasted baguette, plate just before serving or the bread becomes soggy.

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Provolone and Roasted Bell Pepper Bruschetta

This colorful, flavorful Provolone and Roasted Bell Pepper Spread is perfect on toasted bread. Use all one color bell pepper or mix it up with red, orange and yellow. Green pepper is a little bitter for this recipe and the basil adds a punch of green.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
Scale

Ingredients

1 baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded, ¼-inch dice
4 ounces Provolone, ¼-inch dice
¼ cup basil chiffonade plus one small basil sprig for garnish
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the bread slices on a cookie tray and brush with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and cool. Store in an airtight container if not using immediately.

Meanwhile, combine the peppers, cheese, basil, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine and garnish with the basil sprig.

To serve place the bowl on a large plate and surround the bowl with the toasted bread or top each bread with the pepper mixture and serve on a platter.

Notes

Don’t hesitate to use jarred peppers, just pat them dry before dicing.

 

Potato, Leek, Turnip and Bacon Soup

This Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup came together in an ad hoc manner. I noticed potato leek soup in the soup bar at the store. When I got home there were turnips in the vegetable bin. The bacon was a no brainer.

Method

 

Put the bacon in a cold large Dutch oven or saucepan pot over medium heat, cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and add the onions. Cover and sweat for three minutes; scrape the bottom to remove any flavorful tidbits.

Toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the potatoes, turnips, stock or water, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender; they should easily break apart when pushed against the side of the pan with a spoon. The timing will vary depending on the size of the potatoes and turnips.

Let the soup cool for about 20 minutes then purée in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until completely smooth. See our post on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Reheat and top with chopped chives.

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Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup

This Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup came together in an ad hoc manner. I noticed potato leek soup in the soup bar at the store. When I got home there were turnips in the vegetable bin. The bacon was a no brainer.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts 1x
  • Category: Soup
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Ingredients

6 ounces bacon, medium dice
4 leeks, white part only, root trimmed, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
3 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large turnips, peeled and cubed
8 cups stock or water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Garnish
chopped chives

Instructions

Put the bacon in a cold large Dutch oven or saucepan pot over medium heat, cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and add the onions. Cover and sweat for three minutes; scrape the bottom to remove any flavorful tidbits.

Toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the potatoes, turnips, stock or water, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender; they should easily break apart when pushed against the side of the pan with a spoon. The timing will vary depending on the size of the potatoes and turnips.

Let the soup cool for about 20 minutes then purée in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until completely smooth. See our post on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Reheat and top with chopped chives.

 

Poached Salmon with Three Sauces

I love cold poached salmon and it’s the perfect vehicle for a variety of delicious sauces. I couldn’t decide between a cucumber dill, my favorite, a mustard or something with a bite like watercress. Since watercress isn’t in season, I substituted arugula and added some cucumber and a touch of lemon zest. That’s how I ended up with Poached Salmon with Three Sauces!

The irregular shape of salmon presents a challenge to even cooking. I removed the thin edge along the length of the salmon and poached it as a separate piece for four minutes and cut the rest of the salmon into six equal portions, which I poached for seven minutes.

A rich poaching liquid adds depth of flavor to the salmon. Place the wine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup. Add the aromatics and cold water, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and continue cooking for half an hour. Strain and thoroughly chill the poaching liquid.

Both the fish and the poaching liquid must be the same temperature at the start of cooking to cook the fish evenly. Use a gentle simmer  to prevent the vigorous bubbles of boiling liquid from breaking apart the salmon, it’s very fragile.

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Poached Salmon with Three Sauces

A delicious assortment of sauces to complement poached salmon.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions 1x
  • Category: Fish
  • Method: Poaching
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Ingredients

Poaching Liquid
2 cups dry white wine
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
4 whole garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
12 whole black peppercorns
2 1/2 quarts cold water

Poached Salmon
3 pounds center-cut salmon, skin removed, dark meat trimmed and cut into 6 even portions*

Place the wine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and peppercorns and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Strain the poaching liquid and discard the vegetables. Chill the liquid thoroughly.

Place the prepared salmon in the bottom of a pan large enough to hold all pieces. Pour the cold poaching liquid over the fish to cover completely; if necessary add a little water to make sure the tops of the salmon are submerged.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer; cook for 7-8 minutes.

Mustard Sauce
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons coarse mustard
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Watercress Sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 cup tightly packed arugula or watercress
1/2 cup seeded, 1/2-inch dice cucumber
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cucumber Dill Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1 cup seeded, 1/2-inch dice cucumber
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Poaching Liquid

Place the wine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and peppercorns and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Strain the poaching liquid and discard the vegetables. Chill the liquid thoroughly.

Poached Salmon

Place the prepared salmon in the bottom of a pan large enough to hold all pieces. Pour the cold poaching liquid over the fish to cover completely; if necessary add a little water to make sure the tops of the salmon are submerged.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer; cook for 7-8 minutes.

Mustard Sauce

Whisk all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Watercress Sauce

Place the ingredients in the base of a blender or food processor and puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Cucumber Dill Sauce

Place the ingredients in the base of a blender or food processor and puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

 

Notes

*Slice the thin edge that runs the length of the salmon. Poach for 3-4 minutes.

 

Greek-Style Lamb Burgers

What’s better on a beautiful summer evening than burgers, grilled corn, and a mélange of roasted eggplant, zucchini, red bell peppers, red onions and cherry tomatoes tossed with cubes of fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. I’m making a Greek-style Lamb Burgers to celebrate EJL’s 62nd birthday!

 

Chocolate Cream Pie!

 

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Greek-Style Lamb Burgers

Greek-style Lamb Burgers with Kalamata olives, pine nuts, feta cheese, fresh herbs and garlic. In lieu of a bun, serve on grilled eggplant spread with humus!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 burgers 1x
  • Category: Lamb
  • Method: Grilling
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Ingredients

2 pounds ground lamb
1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme and/or mint)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
zested peel of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions

Place the lamb, herbs, olives, pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to combine all the ingredients.

Press the lamb mixture around the bottom of the bowl to make a roughly 1-inch thick layer and scatter the crumbled goat across the top. Gently fold a few times to incorporate the cheese.

Take 1/8 of the mixture and form a patty. Set on a tray and repeat until you have 8 burgers.

Refrigerate until 30 minutes before cooking; pan fry, broil or grill.

Grilled Pork Medallions with Fig Sauce

I love figs and pork. Walking through Stew Leonard’s the other day I saw a crate with 24 lovely purple figs. Along with the figs, I bought pork tenderloin and made Grilled Pork Medallions with Fig Sauce.

Method

Preheat the grill.

Remove the small tail. Cut the pork in half and each of the two pieces in half.

Stand each piece of pork cut side down on the board, cover the top with plastic wrap and using a meat mallet or heavy-bottomed pan, pound the meat to a one-inch thickness. Place on a tray.

If you want to use the tail, pound it on the uncut side to a one-inch thickness. Otherwise, freeze and save for another purpose, such as a stew or for grinding.

Season each medallion with salt and pepper on both sides.

Remove the tops from the figs and discard. Chop the four ripest figs in to small pieces. Slice eight figs into quarters.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Stir in the onions and garlic and sweat for three minutes, or until the onions have softened.

Add the wine, bring to boil and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the figs, chicken stock, sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, grill the pork over high heat for about 4 minutes per side, turning halfway through to get the grill marks.

Remove from the heat and let sit, lightly covered, on the serving platter for four minutes.

Sauce the medallions and serve or serve the sauce on the side.

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Grilled Pork Medallions with Fig Sauce

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Grilling
Scale

Ingredients

1 whole pork tenderloin
12 fresh figs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock, preferably unsalted*
2 sprigs of fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the grill.

Remove the small tail. Cut the pork in half and each of the two pieces in half.

Stand each piece of pork cut side down on the board, cover the top with plastic wrap and using a meat mallet or heavy-bottomed pan, pound the meat to a one-inch thickness. Place on a tray.

If you want to use the tail, pound it on the uncut side to a one-inch thickness. Otherwise, freeze and save for another purpose, such as a stew or for grinding.

Season each medallion with salt and pepper on both sides.

Remove the tops from the figs and discard. Chop the four ripest figs in to small pieces. Slice eight figs into quarters.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Stir in the onions and garlic and sweat for three minutes, or until the onions have softened.

Add the wine, bring to boil and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the figs, chicken stock, sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

 

In the meantime, grill the pork over high heat for about 4 minutes per side, turning halfway through to get the grill marks.

Remove from the heat and let sit, lightly covered, on the serving platter for four minutes.

Sauce the medallions and serve or serve the sauce on the side.

Notes

Reduce the amount of salt added if using a salted stock.

Broiled Rainbow Trout

My husband doesn’t care for most fish, so I rarely prepare it. On nights he works late I take advantage and make myself a fish dinner. Today I bought a scaled and deboned rainbow trout. I removed the head and cut away the side and back fins, rinsed it in cold water, patted it dry and laid it flat on a lined sheet tray.

To keep it moist in the broiler, I brushed a little melted butter over the flesh and seasoned it with kosher salt and  ground pepper.

While the fish cooked, I added a little minced shallot and garlic to melted butter and let it sweat for a minute or so. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice, some chopped chives and a dash of salt and pepper finished the sauce just as the trout came out of the oven.

I really enjoyed it and the quick cooking time, about 3 minutes, kept the dreaded fish smell to a minimum, so as not to offend the sensitive husband when he got home!

See the post on how to select fresh fish.

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Broiled Rainbow Trout

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x
  • Category: Fish
  • Method: Broil
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Ingredients

4 boned, filleted rainbow trout
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Instructions

Preheat the broiler and line a half-sheet tray (13 inches by 18 inches) with foil or parchment paper.

Rinse the trout and pat dry. Lay skin-side down on the prepared tray.

Brush each trout with butter and season with salt and pepper.

Pop the trout in the oven and broil for about 3-4 minutes. Trout should be flaky, but now dry or brown.

While the trout cooks, melt the butter in a small saucepan, sweat the shallots and garlic for a minute. Stir in the lemon juice and chives.

Pour a little lemon sauce over each trout and serve immediately.

 

 

 

Red Onion Jam

Red Onion Jam is delicious on grilled meat. We’re making a grilled flank steak today with roasted cauliflower.

See our post and video on how to caramelize onions.

Method

Place a small container of cold water beside the stove.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat.

Stir in the onions, sugar and salt and continue cooking and stirring.

Once the water is released from the onions, the natural sugar begins to brown on the bottom of the pan.

Use a little cold water to dissolve the fond or it will burn. This adds color and flavor to the onions.

Continue cooking, stirring and deglazing until the onions are soft and golden, about 30 minutes more.

Stir in the vinegar off heat. The acidity activates the red pigment in the jam and the color pops.

Store covered in the refrigerator. Serve warm.

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Red Onion Jam

Red Onion Jam is a delicious condiment to serve over meat or poultry. It’s also delicious spread on crunchy country bread.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Condiment
Scale

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound red onions, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Instructions

Place a small container of cold water beside the stove.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat.

Stir in the onions, sugar and salt and continue cooking and stirring.

Once the water is released from the onions, the natural sugar begins to brown on the bottom of the pan. Use a little cold water to dissolve the fond or it will burn. This adds color and flavor to the onions.

Continue cooking, stirring and deglazing until the onions are soft and golden, about 30 minutes more.

Stir in the vinegar off heat. The acidity activates the red pigment in the jam and the color pops.

Store covered in the refrigerator. Serve warm.

 

Grilled Lamb Chops

It’s Valentine’s Day and we gave up going out to celebrate years ago. The food is usually mediocre, even the best restaurants go off menu and over book. It’s a nightmare. We’ll have a low-key, peaceful dinner at home with Grilled Lamb Chops.

I marinated the chops in olive oil, with a generous dollop of Dijon mustard, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a handful of roughly chopped garlic, a couple of branches of minced rosemary, salt and pepper. I’ll grill these to medium rare.

On the side we’re’ having sweet potatoes with goat cheese and creamed spinach. I’ve prepped both ahead so all I have to do is heat them through before serving to keep the cleanup minimal. After all, cleaning the kitchen isn’t very romantic!

Eric won’t get home until 8pm and having the prep work done in advance and the grill preheated means I can have dinner ready in 15 minutes. While the chops are on the grill, I’ll reheat the sweet potatoes and spinach and we’ll be eating at 8:05.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Spinach and Arugula Salad

A salad is a lovely addition to any meal. The crisp texture of the lettuce and the acidity of the vinaigrette are a great palette pleaser. Here’s Spinach and Arugula Salad with a Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette.

Method

Combine 3 cups baby spinach and 1 1/2 cups baby arugula. Top with 4 ounces of cooked bacon bits, 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese and thinly sliced red onion.

For the vinaigrette whisk together 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar, 1 tablespoon minced shallot, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Toss and serve.

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Spinach and Arugula Salad

A salad is a lovely addition to any meal. The crisp texture of the lettuce and the acidity of the vinaigrette are a great palette pleaser.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions 1x
  • Category: Salads
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Ingredients

4 ounces bacon, diced
3 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups baby arugula
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
4  thin slices red onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

Place the bacon in a small, cold skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy.

Remove to paper-towel lined plate.

Combine 3 cups baby spinach and 1 1/2 cups baby arugula. Top with cooked bacon,  pine nuts, blue cheese and onion.

For the vinaigrette whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt, and pepper.

Toss and serve.

Chocolate Bark

I made two different kinds of chocolate bark for our holiday cooking-decorating party. Triple chocolate bark filled with nuts and dried fruit. Chop larger dried fruits, like apricots and cherries, before adding to the mixture, keep everything about the same size.

I also made white chocolate bark with red cinnamon dots and green sugar crystals for a festive holiday look. I love those red cinnamon dots – you can always identify the cookies I decorated by how many cinnamon dots are on the cookie!

The recipes are easy to make, but it’s best to make them the day before to give ample time to set. You can briefly put them in the refrigerator if you want to speed up the process.

There are two options to melt chocolate: in the microwave or on the stovetop in a double-boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, take a medium-sized pot, fill with water by 1/3 and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and place a bowl with the chocolate, one that fits securely on the top, over the water. Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. The chocolate melts from the heat of the steam.

These make a nice treat after dinner or as part of a cookie-gift package.

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White Chocolate Bark

Chocolate bark is fun to make and a nice treat for your family and friends after dinner with coffee or as a holiday treat.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

6 ounces white chocolate
1/3 cup red cinnamon dots
Green sugar crystals

Instructions

Microwave Method

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

Place white chocolate a microwave-proof bowl and heat high for 45 seconds.

Stir to mix the melted and unmelted chocolate.

Microwave on high for another 30 seconds. If there are a few small chunks, continue to stir. The hot, melted chocolate will remedy those few pieces.

Stir in the red cinnamon dots and pour the chocolate onto the parchment and spread with a knife or the back of a spoon to smooth. Sprinkle top with green sugar crystals and let the chocolate sit overnight to set. Cut into shapes or break into random pieces.

Stove-top Method

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

In the top pan of a double boiler place the stir occasionally until melted.

Stir in the red cinnamon dots.

Pour onto the parchment paper and spread with a knife or the back of a spoon.

Sprinkle with the green sugar crystals and let sit overnight. Cut into shapes or break into random pieces.

Notes

If you don’t have a double boiler, take a medium-sized pot, fill with water by 1/3 and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and place a bowl with the chocolate, one that fits securely on the top, over the water. Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. The chocolate melts from the heat of the steam.

Note: unable to incorporate the cinnamon dots into the nutritional analysis program. The entire recipe has approximately 1245 calories.

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Triple Chocolate Bark

chocolate bark

Chocolate bark is fun to make and a nice treat for your family and friends after dinner with coffee or as a holiday treat.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

6 ounces dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
6 ounces milk chocolate, cut into small chunks
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into small chunks
1 1/2 cups mixed nuts and dried fruit

Instructions

Microwave Method

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silat.

Place each chocolate in a separate microwave-proof bowl. Place in the microwave on high for 45 seconds. Stir each bowl to mix the melted and unmelted chocolate. Microwave on high for another 30 seconds. If there are a few small chunks, continue to stir. The hot, melted chocolate will remedy those few pieces.

Stir in 1/3 of the nut and fruit mix into each bowl and pour each chocolate, separately, onto the parchment and spread each with a separate knife or the back of a spoon to smooth. Make whatever design you like, crisscross or side-by-side. Draw a knife through the chocolates to create abstract designs.

Let the chocolate sit overnight to set. Cut into shapes or break into random pieces.

Stove-top Method

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

In the top pan of a double boiler place the one of the chocolates and stir occasionally until melted. Stir in 1/3 of the nut and dried fruit mixture. Pour onto the parchment paper; don’t spread the mixture until the other chocolates are on the parchment paper. Clean the pan and repeat with the next two chocolates.

Spread each chocolate as described above and let sit overnight to set. Cut into shapes or break into random pieces.

Notes

If you don’t have a double boiler, take a medium-sized pot, fill with water by 1/3 and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and place a bowl with the chocolate, one that fits securely on the top, over the water. Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. The chocolate melts from the heat of the steam.

Chop larger dried fruits, like apricots and cherries, before adding to the mixture, keep everything about the same size.

 

Tomato Garam Masala Soup

chocolate bark

Every year for over 20 years we’ve decorated cookies for the holidays. Even though the kids are in their 20s and don’t live at home anymore we continue the tradition. Getting everyone together is complicated This makes for a hectic, but fun, holiday. Because it’s such an event now, friends accompany our children home, we have to have a feast as well. I’m trying a Tomato Garam Masala Soup this year.

I made the sugar cutout cookies, gingerbread boys and girls, and cake pops for decorating. In addition to the soup, we’re having  macaroni and cheese, a fabulous and extraordinarily rich recipe from James Beard‘s Pasta Cookbook, and salad. I also made French meringue kisses, and chocolate bark.

Lots of planning, cooking and a little disappointment. Claire opted to go the football game with her father (he doesn’t participate in the cookie decorating). Margot came, but her friends begged out at the last minute. I had a couple of friends who came. It was fun, but I realized that while the tradition is important to the girls and to me, it’s time to retire, at least for now. I’ll wait for the grandchildren to arrive someday and revive the practice.😍😍😍

The tomato soup was a last minute inspiration and I didn’t write any notes before cooking. When tasting the soup, I realized something was missing. The soup was a bit acidic. I refrigerated it and thought about it overnight. Then it dawned on me, I forgot to use garlic. To remedy that, I roasted a whole garlic and pureed it in a cup of the soup and then combined it. What a difference. That was the missing element.

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Tomato Garam Masala Soup

A quick and easy flavorful soup for lunch or dinner.

Scale

Ingredients

1 large onion, sliced
3 medium carrots, sliced
3 medium celery stalks, sliced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 head garlic, roasted, pulp only
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or covered saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the onions, carrots, celery and salt;  cover and sweat, releasing the natural water content of the aromatics, for 4 minutes.

Add the garlic and garam masala; stir constantly for about 30 seconds or until aromas are very fragrant.

Add the tomatoes and 28 ounces of cold water (use one of the empty cans). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking for 45 minutes. The soup is done when you push the softened vegetables against the side of the pan and they turn to mush.

Puree soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or with an immersion blender. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Notes

See our video on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Soup freezes well.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Ricotta Cheesecake or Italian-style Cheesecake slice

For months our friend Bobby has been talking about Ricotta Cheesecake. We had dinner at their home on Saturday and I decided to surprise him and make one. I scoured my Italian cookbooks and then my
baking cookbooks and couldn’t find a recipe. I turned to the internet and found three that use only ricotta cheese.

Ricotta Cheesecake or Italian-style Cheesecake ingredients

All three were similar. Each required 6 eggs, the quantity of ricotta varied from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, sugar from 2/3 to 3/4 cup, salt from none to 1/4 teaspoon and allrecipes.com included 1/3 cup flour. The flavorings varied from vanilla and salt to the zest of either an orange or lemon, or both, and cinnamon.

I opted for two pounds whole milk ricotta cheese and 2/3 cup sugar to add a subtle amount of sweetness. There’s lots of moisture in the cheese and eggs so I decided to use a starch to maintain structure and reduce weeping, which is moisture that accumulates on top of custard-based desserts. I chose cornstarch for it’s delicate texture, compared to wheat flour, which has a tighter structure.

Ricotta Cheesecake or Italian-style Cheesecake

Salt is a given, it highlights flavor. Next I added four large eggs. The batter was too thick so I added one more and the consistency was just right. For flavorings I liked the idea of both orange and lemon zest and a healthy dose of vanilla extract to round things out.

Scrape the batter into a greased springform pan and bake at 300 degrees F for 80 minutes or until the cake is just set in the center, it will jiggle a little.

Ricotta Cheesecake or Italian-style Cheesecake

The cake was a huge success! I thought the sweetness, texture and flavors were just what I hoped for. Bobby loved it, which made me a very happy girl!

Ricotta Cheesecake or Italian-style Cheesecake slice

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Ricotta Cheesecake

Ricotta Cheesecake or Italian-style Cheesecake slice

This is such an easy cheesecake to make. Combine everything in a bowl, scrape into a prepared springform pan and bake. Best if made the day before.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 70 - 80 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Yield: serves 10-12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
Scale

Ingredients

2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 large eggs
zest of 1 medium orange, about 1 tablespoon
zest of 1 large lemon, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 300ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle a generous tablespoon of sugar over the bottom of the pan and turn on a slant to coat the sides; shake out the excess sugar.

Place the ricotta cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a whisk attachment until combined.

Mix in the cornstarch and salt.

Add the eggs, all at once is fine, and whisk until well blended.

Finally, stir in the orange and lemon zests and vanilla.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 70-80 minutes. The cake is done when it’s set in the center is set, but still jiggles a little, and the sides are lightly golden brown.

Remove the to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes. At this point you want to loosen the cake from the sides of the springform pan with a sharp knife. Just run it along the side. Now you can unsnap the side of the pan or not. I was traveling with my cake and wanted to leave the sides on for protection. Once the cake has cooled, refrigerate.

About 1 hour before dessert, take the cake out of the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.

Notes

To freeze: cover the cool cheesecake with plastic wrap and freeze. The next day, cover tightly with more plastic wrap or foil. Use a vacuum sealer if you have it. Use within 3 months.

Keywords: Italian-style cheesecake, cheesecake, ricotta cheese, dessert, dairy