Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Arugula, smoked cheese sread

This is so much better after it rests for an hour or two in the fridge. The garlic flavor may otherwise be sharp. I recommend this dip as an appetizer before visiting any ancient Transylvanian castles.

7 oz ricotta
8 oz smoked cheese
3 cups arugula
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
0.25 tsp black pepper

Add the garlic, ricotta, salt and black pepper to the food processor. Process until smooth. Add the smoked cheese in small chunks and the arugula in two portions. Process until just slightly chunky.

Serve with pita chips or with crusty, warm baguette slices and ripe tomatoes.

Arugula and smoked cheese pizza topping

I love the peppery flavor of arugula, and my introduction to it initiated my foray into enjoying a larger variety of flavorful greens than the usual lettuce and spinach available in restaurants. This is a really fun use of some arugula that was on its last legs. The flavors are quite delightful.

2 packed cups arugula
8 oz smoked gouda
0.5 cup ricotta cheese
3 cloves garlic
0.75 tsp salt
0.5 tsp black pepper
pizza dough from 3 cups of flour
cheery tomatoes

To a blender add the ricotta, garlic, salt and black pepper. Grind until well blended.

Add the shredded, smoked gouda and the arugula. Blend until a little chunky. 

Roll out the pizza dough into four circles, top with the arugula topping and add little tomato boats to it, from cherry tomatoes cut in half.

Bake in a preheated 475F oven until light brown. Serve warm!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Caramelized onion and bacon spread

This spread combines the magical flavors of sweet caramelized onions and smoky, salty bacon. It's a total hit on a crusty piece of crostini, but I have been known to add it to my breakfast egg and English muffin sandwiches as well.

12 oz bacon
1.5 lb yellow onion
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
black pepper
0.5 tsp+ salt
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
0.25 cup water

Slice the bacon into 0.5-inch strips. Add to a pot and turn heat on medium. Slowly begin to cook , stirring occasionally.
Cook until all fat is rendered and bacon grease is foamy. Drain fat into a cup and place bacon pieces onto a paper towel.

Add 2 tsp of fat back to the pot, don't wash the pot! The fond is tasty. Peel and dice the onions and add to the bacon fat. Stir in 0.5 tsp of salt. Cook until onions are translucent and squishy,

Add the brown sugar, vinegar, black pepper, cayenne and half of the thyme to the pot. Dice the crispy bacon into tiny pieces and add that as well, with the water. Stir well and cook stirring on medium heat until the texture is jam-like. The onions should be fairly well broken down.

Add the balsamic and the olive oil, with the remaining thyme leaves. Ladle into containers and serve with crusty bread.