September 30, 2011

Asiago Crisps with Boursin and Raspberry

These are one of our favorite appetizers, combining the wonderful flavors of asiago cheese, raspberry and Boursin cheese. Boursin is classified as a triple-cream cheese from France and is normally made with pasteurized cow's milk. It has a very smooth, creamy texture and mild, delicate base flavor, usually including garlic, herbs, black pepper, shallots and chives. Though you can buy Boursin at the store, I have found that making it from scratch is more economical and it tastes much fresher. The recipe below yields 4 dozen crisps and a whole lot of extra Boursin. Enjoy!

1. Depending on your preferred crispiness level, for crunchier crisps leave them in the oven a few minutes longer.
2. The boursin can be made several days ahead if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
3. If you're using Boursin after it's been refrigerated, let it get to room temperature before trying to spread it.
4. Boursin can also be used in other applications such as spreading on other crackers or even on top of steaks. This recipe will leave you a lot of extra so be prepared to use it up!
5. Make sure the raspberries are not too wet or they will discolor the boursin.

6 oz Shredded Asiago Cheese
3 oz Fresh Raspberries
2 garlic cloves
6 oz butter, room temperature
10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbs grated parmesan
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried chives
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to Convect Bake 375 degrees F.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or other reusable nonstick bakeware liner.
3. Drop 1 level teaspoon of Asiago cheese into mounds a few inches apart on baking liner.

4. Convect bake Asiago rounds until their edges just begin to color; about 7 minutes.

5. Transfer crisps, still on bakeware liner to wire rack; cool 2 minutes.
6. Transfer to paper towels to absorb excess fat.

7. Repeat with remaining Asiago cheese.
8. Crush garlic and mix with butter, cream cheese and parmesan.

9. Add dill, marjoram, basil, chives, thyme, parsley and pepper and stir until combined.

10. Place small dollops of Boursin cheese on top of each Asiago circle.
11. Garnish with halved fresh raspberries.

September 29, 2011

Roquefort Pear Salad

While visiting my sister in Seattle several months ago, she made a delicious salad with pears and blue cheese and I finally asked her for the recipe. The combination of pears and blue cheese can be combined in so many variations but this is one of my favorites. The recipe originated on but I made a few slight modifications. The recipe below yields about 8 servings. Enjoy!

1. When combining the ingredients for the dressing, shake them together really well in a sealed bowl or use a salad shaker. I have found this is just as easy as using a whisk.
2. I used red wine vinegar but my sister uses apple cider vinegar. Either taste wonderful.
3. If you don't have parchment paper, try waxed although with wax be careful that the paper doesn't peel off with the nuts.

1 head leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
3 pears, peeled and chopped
5 oz Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbs red wine or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Over medium heat, stir 1/4 cup of sugar together with the pecans.

2. Continue stirring until sugar has melted and the pecans start clumping together.
3. Transfer nuts onto parchment paper.

4. Allow to cool, and break into pieces.
5. Blend oil, vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper in a container.

6. On each plate layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions.

7. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans, and serve.

September 22, 2011

Mushroom Tagliatelle with Asiago and Thyme

Few foods taste as great and are as easy to make as fresh, homemade pasta. This recipe combines taglietelle pasta (long, thin flat egg noodles about 1/4 inch wide) with garlic, mushroom, cream, thyme and asiago. The blending of these ingredients makes for a wonderful aroma in the kitchen and en even better taste. The recipe below yields about 6 servings. Enjoy!

1. Make sure you use enough flour when rolling and cutting your dough. If you don't, the cut noodles will stick to each other prior to going into water and then you'll have pasta clumps, not pieces.
2. You don't have to have a stand mixer roller attachment to roll pasta. You can buy kitchen counter models for under $30 or you can roll your pasta the old fashioned way - with a roller.
3. Don't let the sauce simmer too long or it will thicken too much.

2 ½ cups flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup milk
1 Tbs butter

2 Tbs butter
1 shallot, minced
½ tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms
¼  cup water and ¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
½ cup asiago cheese, shredded

1. In a bowl, mix flour and salt.
2. Add egg, milk, butter.
3. Knead about 5 minutes then let rest in a covered bowl or ziploc for 10 minutes.

5. Cut into smaller manageable pieces then roll to desired thickness.

6. Cut into long strips, then separate from each other.

1. Set up a pot of salted water and bring to a boil for the pasta.
2. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the shallot and garlic until translucent.

3. Add the mushrooms and cook 1 minute.

4. Add the water and red wine vinegar and reduce by about ½.

5. Add the cream and reduce by ¼.

6. While cream is reducing, cook the pasta for 3-4 minutes, then drain.

7. Into the cream, stir in the thyme, asiago and pasta and bring back to a boil, tossing to help melt the cheese.

September 20, 2011

Pavlova with Kiwifruit

Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this famous Australian dessert consists of crisp meringue base topped with whipped cream and fruit such as strawberries, passion fruit or kiwi. A Pavlova is usually served with a fruit sauce or additional whipped cream. I made two of these yesterday, one for some friends and one for us and I wish I had made 10 more. I have always loved meringue and this was the first time I had ever made it. The recipe below, taken from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts, yields one Pavlova, good for 8-12 servings. Enjoy!

1. The egg whipping and the cream whipping are both very temperamental processes. Make sure you watch each carefully so as not to overwhip.
2. Because I live in Utah, I adjusted the recipe below for high altitude by using 1 less Tbs sugar and I raised the oven temp to 300F for the first 30 minutes of baking.
3. I added 1 Tbs sugar to the cream and almond extract mixture to give the whipped cream a little more sweetness.

3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
5 kiwifruit
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 tsp almond extract

1. Line cookie sheet with foil.
2. Using 9 inch round plate or cake pan as a guide, with toothpick, outline a circle on foil on the cookie sheet.

3. Preheat oven to 275F.
4. In small bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until soft peaks form.

5. Beating at high speed, gradually sprinkle in sugar, 2 Tbs at a time, beating well after each addition until sugar completely dissolves and whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks.

6. Inside circle on cookie sheet, spoon meringue mixture, shaping meringe into a "nest" about 1 1/2 inches high around edge.

7. Bake 1 1/4 hours or until meringue is lightly browned and crisp.

8. Cool meringue on cookie sheet on wire rack 10 minutes.
9. Carefully loosen and remove meringue from foil to wire rack to cool completely.

10. When meringue is cool, place on serving plate.

11. With sharp knife, peel off skin and thinly slice kiwifruit.

12. In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy cream, almond extract until stiff peaks form.

13. Spoon 2/3 cream into meringue shell.

14. Reserve a few kiwifruit slices.
15. Arrange remainder on cream.

16. Top with remaining cream and reserved kiwifruit.

September 11, 2011

Baked Cordon Bleu Roulade with Alfredo

If you have ever been to The Roof Restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City and enjoyed their all you can eat gourmet buffet, you'll likely remember this dish. I found the recipe in their recently published cookbook and made it tonight for dinner. This was my first attempt at a Cordon Bleu and I loved it. I substituted their Alfredo with my homemade Alfredo and the combination was wonderful. This recipe yields 6-8 servings. Enjoy!

1. Be careful not to overcook the onion and garlic. Add the milk just before they start browning.
2. Don't substitute black pepper for the white. White pepper is milder and also won't discolor the Alfredo.

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
12 thin slices of ham
12 slices Swiss cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups bread crumbs
6 Tbs butter, melted

1 Stick Butter
2 to 4 cloves of garlic
1 Pint Heavy Cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons Cream Cheese

1. Pound each chicken breast with a meat mallet to about 1/4 inch thick.

2. Place 2 slices of ham and 2 slices of Swiss cheese on each flattened chicken breast and roll it up jelly roll style.

3. Freeze rolled breasts until completely frozen.
4. Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in three separate shallow containers.

5. Dredge frozen breast in the flour, then dip it into the eggs and coat it in the bread crumbs.
6. Freeze again.
7. Preheat oven to 350 F.
8. When ready to bake, brush melted butter on the frozen rolled chicken and bake until cooked to at least 165 F internally, about 30-45 minutes.

1. Melt cream cheese in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds.

2. Melt butter in pan, then add garlic. Cook until garlic is golden brown.

3. Add cream cheese. Cook down for about 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Add heavy cream. Simmer on low, slowly.

5. Add parmesan cheese until it reaches desired thickness.

6. Add a little garlic powder at the end if it needs a little more flavor.

To Serve
1. Cut chicken roll into wheels for presentation.

2. Spoon Alfredo sauce underneath or on top, depending on your preference.