Saturday, July 16, 2011

Goat Cheese Toasts

One of the most fun things about cooking is eating something delicious at a restaurant and attempting to recreate it at home. The inspiration for this recipe came from a delicious French restaurant near my dad's place in DC, Bistro du Coin. While all of the food was delicious, including the pasta dish my sister ordered and the steak that I chowed down, not everything is worth my attempt at recreating. Sometimes a great memory makes it impossible to recreate something to the taste I remember.

One thing my sister and I knew we could tackle, however, was the toast with goat cheese that came with the salad she ate. It took some trial and error to achieve the correct melti-ness of the cheese withoutmaking the bread too crispy, but when we did attain the correct taste it was amazingly delicious! I have made this a number of times since. I could probably eat it as a meal on its own, but it is perfect as a side for just about anything.

Goat Cheese Toasts

4 medium slices of baguette
2 oz. plain goat cheese, or try a flavored version
2 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (I prefer rosemary and thyme)

Preheat the oven to 425.

Slice the baguette into medium rounds. Pop them in the toaster and toast briefly to achieve a slight crisp. I set my toaster on level 2. Top the baguette slices with crumbles of goat cheese and then with the chopped herbs, evenly divided amongst all the slices. Pop in the oven and bake until the cheese is slightly melted and just golden brown. This takes about 8 - 10 minutes.

Enjoy the tang and crunch, I know you will!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spring & Summer Hash

Have you ever run across a recipe that totally saved you from a major food rut that you were unknowingly about to swerve into? That's what happened to me with this awesome recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I've been obsessed with lighter dinners that are still filling. Lighter doesn't have to be less flavorful. As soon as I saw this recipe I knew it would hit the spot, and you know what - mission accomplished.

Most of the time in the dishes I make I feel that the pancetta/prosciutto/bacon can be left out without much detriment to the overall flavor, but I'm not sure that's the case here. The proscuitto that we used really added another depth of flavor. The hubs and I both shoveled this down and I can't wait to make it again!

Asparagus and Proscuitto Hash
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/4 lb. proscuitto (original recipe calls for pancetta), diced
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
salt & pepper, to taste

In a cast iron skillet, over medium heat, fry the proscuitto until browned and crispy. With the drippings from the proscuitto or with a little added olive oil, add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let them brown on one side without without moving them. Then flip the potatoes and do the same. When the potatoes are about 3/4 of the way to being cooked, add the onions.

Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes and then add the asparagus. Cover the skillet and let cook until the potatoes are cooked through and the asparagus is cooked but slight crispy, about another 5 minutes. If desired, serve with a fried egg on top for a slightly more filling dinner.

Try to stop yourself from licking the plate clean!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Favorite Summer Pizza

I've been a bad little blogger. It's been far too long since I last posted. I'm not going to grovel or make excuses. What I am going to do is a share a recipe so good it's bound to make you forgive me. Trust me, one bite of this pizza and you'll be thinking of nothing other than how soon you can convince your husband to eat it again make it again.

I know that asparagus season is kinda over, so I apologize for not getting this out at exactly the right time. If you can make it happen though, you totally should. I thought I would like this pizza but I had no idea how much I would LOVE it. I crave it every night I don't eat it, ha! We have made so many pizzas on the grill this summer, and I am so surprised that this has become my favorite!

Raw asparagus sounds funny, but definitely taste a piece before you put it on the pizza, it's delicious! I was able to use a standard vegetable peerler to shave the asparagus. I found it easiest to hold onto the woody end of the asparagus and shave it away from me. Don't worry about making all the pieces equal, the texture of different sizes makes it even better. This pizza takes to the grill perfectly, so grill it according to this method, if you can!

Shaved Asparagus Pizza
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

½ lb. asparagus
¼ c. Parmesan (grated)
½ c. mozzarella (grated)
2 tsp. olive oil
Salt & black pepper, to taste
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 pizza dough

Thinly shave the asparagus using a vegetable peeler. Hold onto the woody end of the stem and slide the vegetable peeler toward the tip. It’s ok if the shavings are of varied thickness. Discard the woody stems. Toss the asparagus shavings with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Top the pizza with the Parmesan, mozzarella, and asparagus. Bake or grill the pizza according to your usual method or the directions for your crust. Remove the pizza and top with thinly sliced scallions. Let cool and then slice and enjoy.

Consider yourself surprised at how amazing this is!