Category Archives: Guest Recipes
With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to highlight some different sides besides the traditional. This one really fit the bill.
From Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse’s phrase, “kick it up a notch” became famous for a reason—the New Orleans-raised chef raises flavors to the next level. This year, take your Thanksgiving to Emeril’s star status with his recipe for Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Crispy Pancetta.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta, diced
- 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the pancetta and cook until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and set aside. Add the onions, ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to the pan and cook, stirring until the onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes.
In a large 14-inch sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and when hot, add the Brussels sprouts and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook until the sprouts are golden brown on one side, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the onions and pancetta to the Brussels sprouts, toss well, and return to the oven for 5 minutes longer.
Serve immediately.Servings:4-6Difficulty: EasyCook Time: 1-30 min================================
It’s going to be pumpkin week. I asked last Friday if this week’s recipe exchange should be all about pumpkin and from the recipes I received, I guess the answer was yes.
So let’s start off with cyber friend, Tes, from TesatHome.com:
Pumpkin and Coconut Curry
The season is changing in India. It’s so beautiful outside, and the weather is starting to cool down. Soon winter will be here. I love it. Can’t wait to wake up to the lazy misty mornings, cook something warm and comforting, and go out on the road trips to where the season inspire us.
Pumpkin is my favorite ingredient at the moment. I know a lot of my blog friends hoarding tons of pumpkin recipes on pinterest for their autumn cookings. Pumpkin is healthy and delicious. You can play around with it, making sweet or savory as you like.
Now this pumpkin and coconut curry is so good. It’s light and comforting, made with cooked fresh pumpkin and fresh coconut paste, and flavored with tamarind and salt.
I thought this was just different enough to warrant highlighting it. Head over to her blog for the recipe and while you’re there, check out her photos from the family trips around India.
And yeah, and LET’S GO RED SOX!
If only to prove I suck as a blogger and baker, I stumbled across this little baking adventure yesterday. I had to share. I was so impressed. What do you think?
From CakeCrumbs Live Journal:
A little while ago, my sister approached me with an idea. She’s doing an education degree, and her and her friends had to give a series of lessons on the geological sciences to a class of primary school kids. One of their lessons involved teaching the kids about the structure of the Earth. One of her friends came up with the idea of presenting a model of the Earth made out of cake. So my sister asked me if I could make a spherical cake with all the layers of the Earth inside it.
To see how she achieved this feat, head over to her page and see her process at CakeCrumbs.
And for more of her amazing designs, wander around her blog for a while. I think this is one of my favorites. Followed closely by this one. It’s amazing stuff. And if you’re in Melbourne, Australia, she’ll make you a cake to order. Cool.
I know it’s grilling season, but we’ll have all summer to talk about grilling recipes. This week I wanted to try out a recipe that has been tucked away and waiting for me to put my spin on it.
A while back, I asked you guys for a vegetarian meatball recipe, and you came through with some great ideas. Once I had the general concept down, I thought it was time to flavor it up a bit more. So tonight’s featured recipe is a vegetarian spinach ricotta meatball. With that in mind, the recipe theme came into focus. The versatility of ricotta cheese, from main course to desserts.
To start, how about homemade ricotta? JeffreyW has done it and you can click here and he’ll take you step by step through the process.
He then puts his homemade ricotta to good use with Stuffed Shells, as pretty to look at as they are delicious. (recipe here)
I have a great alternative to regular gnocchi, a lighter, easier version using ricotta cheese and a fire roasted sauce to make a simple, quick Baked Gnocchi. (recipe here)
Moving on to dessert, a friend of mine has what feels like weekly potlucks at work and she often takes Apple Lasagna, recipe here, that is always a hit.
And finally from JeffreyW, a beautiful Cannoli recipe, pictured above that can be found here.
Now that you have a bunch of ideas for that tub of ricotta, let’s switch things up before we get to the featured recipe. I’d like to know if you’ve ever made your own wine, beer or hard ciders. I’d like to know details, where did you get your ingredients and how did it all turn out? Besides that, what’s on your menu for the weekend?
Now on to the featured recipe. These a so simple to make and taste so good, it’s a great vegetarian alternative for your pasta dishes. They’re very light and once you get the technique down, you can play with the flavors and customize them to your palate.
Most of the recipes I looked at used Italian Breadcrumbs. But I really feel these need fresh breadcrumbs, so I’ve included instructions for making your own. I didn’t season mine because I didn’t want them to overpower the delicate flavors of the cheeses. Fresh breadcrumbs absorb flavors and moisture more than packaged ones, so I thought it gave the whole meatball a better, lighter texture. I added a bit of garlic powder (fresh garlic did not work with this, it was overpowering and a touch bitter), basil, oregano and fennel. The fennel really took it up a notch. I think next time I might add a bit of red pepper flake.
Spinach and Ricotta Vegetarian Meatballs
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (instructions below)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese mix
- 1-1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
- 2 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- Salt and pepper
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese
- Olive oil
Breadcrumbs: this took a full 1-lb loaf of day-old Italian or French bread. I bought it from the day-old rack for cheap. I tore it into small pieces, spread out on a baking sheet and dried it in a 200 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. I didn’t want them toasted or seasoned because I thought it would overpower the delicate flavors of these meatballs. Once they were dried, I ran them through the blender. I reserved 1/4 cup for rolling the balls in before cooking.
Meatballs: Mix together ricotta, grated cheeses, spinach and spices. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup at a time. You want it to come together to form soft balls, but you don’t want it to be dry. Once you can form a soft ball with some structure, you don’t need to add more breadcrumbs.
Scoop up a heaping tablespoon (I used my cookie dough scoop) and roll the mixture into balls.
Mix together 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheeses in a bowl and roll each meatball in the mixture, coating on all sides.
You can bake or pan fry these. I chose to pan fry, it used a bit of oil, but it gave them a nice flavor. Baking them would be my option if I was doubling the recipe.
To fry: heat olive oil in a skillet on medium and add the meatballs, leaving enough space between them to easily turn them. They are soft, so it’s a delicate process. The good news is, if you really want them round (instead of kind of flattened) you can reshape them after they come out of the pan. Turn them until they are golden brown on all sides.
To bake: place them on a well oiled baking sheet or use parchment paper. Brush them with a bit of oil if desired. Leave space around each one so they brown evenly and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. You can turn them halfway through if desired.
I put up a post on my Facebook page to poll my family on their favorite ways to prepare corned beef to supplement tonight’s Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe exchange. Here are two of my favorites.
Corned beef – buy the flat, not the point. Roasting or simmering in water. I prefer the simmering method. Cut across the grain – easier to cut and eat. After simmering til tender, place in the oven and brush a mixture of brown sugar and mustard on it and bake til this is carmelized. 20 minutes or so at 350 -385. This firms it up and it improves the flavor While you do this, you can toss potatoes, carrots and onions in the cooking water and cabbage the last 10 minutes or so.
I really like her idea of taking it out and finishing it in the oven. I would under-cook the two recipes I’ll be posting, the pressure cooker by 10 minutes and the slow-cooker by a half hour.
And from my uncle Bob:
Corned beef – buy the flat for simmering/roasting but get the points if you want to cook it on the grill. Corn beef, potatoes (preferably baby reds, carrots and onions, gotta have my onions all go into the roaster. Cover with water and put in the oven on low temp. Add cabbage about 30 minutes before you plan to eat. I like my cabbage to be soft. Remove the corned beef, wrap in foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
For the grill I prefer the points. ‘Slather’ plain old prepared mustard on the points and place on the grill. Use indirect heat, cook about 2 hrs, then wrap in foil and throw them back on the grill or in the oven at low temp. Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.
I like the grilling idea, but it may take me a few more tries with basic cooking before I attempt that style.
I am reposting this because John Cole had a birthday last week and his dad made him cabbage rolls again and everyone was asking for the recipe. Here it is. Originally published August of 2010:
I was catching up on my Balloon-Juice reading one afternoon, when blog host John Cole mentioned that his dad was making cabbage rolls that night for dinner. It so happens I’ve been looking for a good recipe for cabbage rolls for a while. I figured if it was served in the Cole household it must be good. John was kind enough to fulfill my request, so here is Dad Cole’s recipe:
Dad’s Cabbage Rolls
- 1 medium size head of cabbage
- (If you use Savoy cabbage, the cabbage will cook faster and the rolls are more delicate.)
- 1 pound ground beef mixed with ½ pound ground pork
- 1 small to medium onion, chopped small
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley, oregano, and basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 large can of tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp parsley, oregano, and basil
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in a cup of hot water
- salt and pepper
- 1 small can of sauerkraut
Boil three quarts of water in a large pot. Cut the core out of the cabbage and remove each cabbage leave carefully. When the water is boiling, drop the cabbage leaves into the water. Leave for at least two minutes. Remove and cool in ice cold water. Drain and then use a pair of shears to remove the hard ridge that is the spine of leaf. Set leaves aside on a paper towel to drain.
In a bowl, mix the beef and pork with the eggs, seasonings, rice, and tomato paste as though you were making a meatloaf.
Take a leaf, place a large tablespoon of the meat mixture at the core end of the leaf. Roll once, then fold each side over the mixture and complete rolling the filling to the end of the leaf.
Place rolls in a crock pot or baking casserole. As you layer them, spread the sauerkraut and any leaves not used after (chopped into fine strips). Mix sauce ingredients and pour over the rolls. Make certain there is enough liquid to cover the rolls. If using a crock pot, select the time. They can be cooked slowly over a 6-8 hour period, or within 4 hours. If baking, set the oven at 350 and bake for at least 1 ½ hours or until a fork can easily pierce a top roll. If more liquid is needed to keep the rolls covered, mix a small can of sauce with an equal amount water and add during the cooking time.
Serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated aged Parmesan.
I can’t wait to have an occasion to try these out. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. I only hang out at Balloon-Juice because I have a huge crush on this guy:
John, I had to go back 4 months to find a good picture of Tunch, which means one thing, MORE TUNCH please.