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The BrokeAss Gourmet Good Vibes Giveaway Post: Recipe: Asparagus with Lemon, Parmesan and Prosciutto and Rolled Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

23 Apr

I am so very, very excited to have won! You can read all about the contest and the prize at both BrokeAss Gourmet and at Good Vibes. OMG!

Anyway, I wanted to write a more detailed post about my submission. So, here you have it! The step by step instructions, pictures included, of how to make my winning 3 course sexy locavore meal! (Well, 2 courses, anyway. The Molten Chocolate Cake has already been published in my blog. You can find the recipe here.)

Oh, and just a quick note, I have the recipes listed here in order of course, but if you actually make all 3 courses you should make the lasagna first, pop it in the oven, then start on the asparagus. If you plan on making dessert, I’d cook the cakes halfway then put them in the oven after you eat the asparagus so that by the time you’re done with dinner, the cakes are ready to go!

Asparagus with Lemon, Prosciutto and Parmesan

Ingredients:
1 small bunch asparagus tips
1/2 lemon
2 thin slices prosciutto, chopped into big pieces
1-2 TB parmesan, to top
salt
pepper
1 tsp olive oil

Cut the very bottom off of the asparagus, but leave whole otherwise.
Cook in a shallow pan with 1″ of water for 3-5 min, just until bright green. This is about what 1″ of water looks like.
This is what they will look like when you need to turn off the heat. Bright green! See the color difference?
Strain the water. Add 1/2 lemon of juice and about 1/4 tsp salt and a few turns of a pepper mill. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, until asparagus is cooked as you like it. (I like mine crisp, so I would cook for about 3 min, but you may like yours more well done.) Remove to a plate. Crisp prosciutto in the pan for about 1 minute. Top the asparagus with the prosciutto, parmesan, cracked pepper, and the olive oil. Serve. Yes, it tastes as good as it looks!

Rolled Lasagna with Bechamel

Ingredients:

Lasagna Rolls:
1/3 C chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 C ricotta
1/2 C jack cheese
1.5 C uncooked chard, leaves and stems
2 oz prosciutto (3 thin slices)
6 lasagna noodles
1 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pepper

Sauce:
1 TB butter
1 C milk
1 TB flour
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
pepper

Rolls:
Set oven to 400. Cook noodles according to package directions, cutting the cook time by about 1/4. We don’t want the noodles to be cooked all the way, because we will be finishing the dish in the oven.
Mix together ricotta, jack cheese, salt and pepper.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. When translucent, add chard and 1/4 C water.
Cook until reduced by half. Add more water throughout cooking if needed. Cut the prosciutto pieces in half lengthwise. When the chard and noodles are done, you’re ready to roll. (Ha!) Lay the noodles on a flat surface.
Divide all ingredients by 6; there should be about 1 TB for each noodle. Smooth 1 TB of cheese, 1 TB chard, and a piece of prosciutto on the noodle.
Gently roll and place in an oiled casserole dish seam
side down.
Make sauce.

Sauce!:
Melt 1 TB butter in a pan. Add 1 TB flour; whisk to make a roux.
Slowly add 1 C milk, allowing ingredients to incorporate before adding more. This is what the sauce will look like when you add the milk.
Then you should whisk to fully incorporate the milk, and it will look like this.
Then add some more milk, and repeat until you’ve added all the milk. When you’ve added all the milk, add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. When adding the nutmeg, remember, a little really does go a long way! Don’t over do it or the sauce will taste like Christmas, which isn’t what we’re going for here. 🙂
Allow sauce to simmer for about 5 min. You want the sauce to be thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
Turn off heat, pour sauce over noodle rolls. Top with parmesan.
Bake for 20 min. After 20 min, turn heat up to broil and bake for another 5 min to brown the top.
Yum! Serve, and enjoy!
I adore lasagna rolls. They feel so much more fancy than normal lasagna, and they are actually really easy (and cheap!) to make.

Thanks again to everyone heading over from BrokeAss Gourmet and Good Vibrations Magazine. If you had any questions about the recipes, please don’t hesitate to email me at sefarros at gmail dot com.

Happy Eating!

❤ Stef

Special “OMG It’s HOT” Duo: Recipe: Pico de Gallo and Margaritas

21 Apr

It has been ungodly hot in San Francisco the past few days. As a result, I haven’t felt like turning on the stove. Or the oven. Or anything that produces heat, really. I’ve subsisted on pico de gallo and margaritas.

Ok, that was a lie. But I am eating/drinking them right now, and I have to admit that the combination might just be the perfect summertime pair. Even though, technically, it isn’t summertime.

Margarita (serves 1):
1 TB powdered sugar
1/4 C water
1 lime
1/2 orange
3 oz tequila
1.5 oz triple sec

Grab a cocktail shaker and put the sugar and water into the shaker. Squeeze the lime and orange into the shaker with the sugar. I use my handy dandy lemon squeezer apparatus.
Squeeze it! Squeeze them citrus fruits!
Add the tequila and triple sec. Now give the shaker a few good shakes, and pour the mix into a glass with ice.
Oh yeah.

Pico de Gallo!
3 medium sized tomatoes
1/2 lime
1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1/4 C (or more, depending on your taste) of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Chop the onion, garlic, and cilantro and put in a bowl. Add about 1/2 tsp salt, and a bit of pepper. Chop up the tomatoes and add them to the bowl, then add the lime. Use the same lemon squeezer thingamagig that you used for the margarita.
Stir the salsa to combine, and eat with corn chips!
Or, if you would like to be a bit more healthy, another good idea is to eat with thick cut cucumber slices.
So. Good.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Faux Hostess Cup Cakes

14 Apr

It’s been a sweet couple of days. I usually emphasize savory dishes in this blog, because I don’t have any original baking recipes (sorry, but I have to use a recipe to make chocolate chip cookies!) and because I’m not usually a big fan of sweets.
But I had this idea. I want to create the perfect cupcake. I bought some vanilla pudding mix (I feel that adding vanilla pudding mix to cake batter will make it more moist) and I already had marshmallow fluff from last Friday’s post, so I decided to experiment.
I mean, even a failed cupcake is a cupcake, yeah?
Fortunately, these cupcakes did not fail. They were quite delicious, actually. And though they do not, in fact, contain vanilla cream in the middle, like Hostess Cupcakes do, they have marshmallow fluff.
Which might be better, actually.

Recipes borrowed and slightly altered from their original versions in “Perfecting the Cupcake” from the Food and Wine May 2008 issue.
Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake:
4 TB butter
1/2 C veggie oil
1/2 C water
1 C flour
1 C sugar
1/4 C + 2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder – I used sweetened cocoa powder that I had laying around the house, and cut the sugar in half.
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/4 C buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TB instant vanilla pudding mix
1 TB marshmallow fluff per cupcake.

Frosting:
6 TB softened butter
2 C confectioner’s sugar (powdered)
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
2 TB milk, half and half, or cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 350˚.
Melt the butter with the oil and the water over low heat.
Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix.
Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. I am your butter river, carving up your valleys.
Mix mix mix.
Add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Oh, shiny!
Pour the batter into lined muffin tins, about half of the way full. Add 1 TB of marshmallow fluff to each tin.
Cover with the remaining batter.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

While you wait for the cupcake to bake, make the frosting. I, regretfully, do not have any frosting pictures. Use your collective imagination. Thick, creamy, chocolatey. . .mmmm.

Melt the chocolate and allow it to cool down before you cream it together with the butter. Mix the two ingredients together until they are smooth.

Mix in the sugar, vanilla, and salt, and mix until smooth. Add the cream, milk or half and half and beat until fluffy.

When you take the cupcakes out of the oven, make sure they have time to cool down before you frost them or the frosting will just melt all over the place.
This is the most artistic cupcake picture I have ever taken.
Yum yum yum!

Do your best to share. It will be difficult. These cupcakes are very, very good.

❤ Stef

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

31 Mar

This is the infamous NY Times No-Knead Bread recipe, and all of the rumors are true. It is the most amazing bread recipe EVER.
No, I’ve never made bread before. This was my first try. But aside from having an absurdly long rise time (18 hours), I love everything about this bread. Even the rise time isn’t that big of a problem if you time it right-you could mix up the ingredients right before you go to bed at night and then bake it when you get home from work the next day. It would totally be worth it.
The only warning I want to issue is this: the dough is incredibly sticky. I mean, very, very sticky. You need to flour anything that touches the dough, including your hands, if you want to avoid getting dough bits stuck everywhere. The plus side to this is that it is the super-wet dough that allows the bread to be so low-maintenance and yet so delicious. The exterior is crusty, the interior is fluffy and chewy.
So do not be afraid of homemade bread! It is easy, I promise. Now go, bake and prosper.

Ingredients:
3 C flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 5/8 C water (5/8 C = 5 ounces)
Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and add the yeast and the salt. Make sure you use a big bowl because the dough is going to double in size.
Add the water and stir just to combine.
Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let sit for 12-18 hours in a warm place.
After at least 12 hours has elapsed (I usually wait 18, but it’s your call), the dough will have doubled in size and will be very bubbly.
Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and fold it over onto itself once or twice. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, flour your hands and quickly shape the dough into a ball-ish shape. While you are doing this re-flour the cutting board (or wherever you have the dough resting.) Cover with a floured towel and let sit for another 2 hours. If rest the dough on a towel like I did, make sure you flour the towel really well or the dough will stick to the towel. Also, don’t use a terrycloth towel. If you do, the little nubs on the towel will likely become embedded in the bread and we don’t want that!
Half an hour before the 2 hours are up, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and place a heavy covered pot (I use enameled cast iron, but anything heavy like pyrex will work) into the oven to warm up. Turn the dough into the heated pot.
Bake covered for 30 minutes. Half-way done bread! At this point, your kitchen will begin to smell delicious. You will feel unexpectedly happy and secure. This is all part of the plan.
Now bake uncovered for another 30 minutes. The crust will be dark and golden.
Mmmmm, bread!
See all of those lovely air pockets?
I recommend you eat at least a slice while it is still warm from the oven. Butter is (obviously) delicious, but you could dip it in olive oil and balsamic, too. Mmmm.

Another quick note-please make sure you don’t put your very hot pan on any uncovered wooden surface. I’m usually very good about this but I accidentally burned my wooden countertop the second time I made this bread. Very sad. Learn from my mistake! Cover your wood!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Potato and Kale Gratin

20 Feb

What is kale, you ask?
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that, once upon a time, you would have hated but your mother would have made you eat anyway. Now that you’re grown, kale is a leafy green vegetable that is sort of strange (what does one make with kale?) but you keep getting it in your produce box because it is in season. So you have to find SOMETHING to do with it because you are not going to let it go to waste (that wouldn’t be very responsible of you) and besides, kale is very good for you. It is leafy, and green. That is almost the definition of “good for you”.
If you are anything like me, you take veggies that you are unsure of and turn them into gratin. There is no vegetable that a little butter and cheese will not cure.

Ingredients:
2 large potatoes, thinly sliced.
1 bunch kale, stems and inner ribs removed and leaves chopped.
1 medium to small onion, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic
Parmesan cheese

Sauce:
1 TB butter
1 TB flour
1 C milk
Pinch of saffron
Salt and pepper

A quick note about kale–you have to make sure that you wash the leaves very well. Buggies love to hide in kale leaves. For example, I just had a photo shoot in my bed with my kale bunch so I could get the Still Life with Steffany and Kale shot, above, and now there are bugs in my bed. Boyface is going to be upset. Moving on.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375˚

Chop all of the vegetables and set aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and saute around 5 min, until the onion is starting to become soft. Add some ground black pepper. Add the kale and the saffron, and cook until the kale has reduced to about half of its original size. While you are waiting for the kale to cook, line the bottom of an 8×8 in pan with the potato slices, reserving enough potatoes for a second layer.
Return to the kale, add the flour, stir, then add the milk and simmer the entire mixture until thick. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle a layer of parmesan cheese over the potatoes, add the greens, then sprinkle another layer of parmesan. Add the final layer of potatoes on top of the greens, then add more parmesan on top of the potatoes. Cover, and put in the oven. If you don’t have a lid for the dish you are using, you can use a cookie sheet or some foil.
Bake for 30 minutes covered. After 30 minutes, uncover, and cook for a final 15 minutes. You want the cheese on top to be browned, and the potatoes to be tender.
Remove from oven and let cool before slicing.

Yum!