Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nutella Tart

I hate to bake, but every year I am tasked with making my wife a birthday cake. This often becomes the cake for my son's and my birthday as well. My son was born on my wife's birthday and my birthday is 8 days later. Now this year my wife and I turn the big 50, so I thought the cake should be special. Here is what I came up with.

Nutella Tart
1 1/2 cup Graham Crackers, crushed or you can but them
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
9 oz dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup Half n Half or heavy whipping cream
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped nuts, depending on how nutty you want it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the crushed graham crackers with the butter. Spread the graham cracker mixture evenly over the bottom of a spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the crust cool.
While the crust is cooling melt chocolate chips with a couple of ounces of the half n half. After the chips are melted mix in the Nutella. Then mix in the rest of the cream. The results should be a thick but easily spreadable. When the crust is cool add the filling and sprinkle the nuts on top. Put in freezer for about 20 minutes. The purpose of putting the tart in the freezer is to set the chocolate not freeze the tart. After you remove the tart from freezer move it to the refrigerator until about 30 minutes before you are ready to serve. Then let the tart set at room temperature so it is easy to cut.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Steak Florentine

At my house it is my wife who is the meat and potatoes person. Very seldom do I get the craving for a slab of beef. This weekend she had the hankering for a hunk of red meat. Having been married to her my entire life, I knew resistance was futile. So I fired up the grill and pulled out the rib eyes. Of course I let the Italian influence in me take over.

Steak Florentine
1 clove garlic, large, peeled and slightly crushed
1 steak, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds I used a ribeye
salt and pepper to taste
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat grill to medium heat.
Rub both sides of the steak with the garlic clove. Make sure you rub the bone with the garlic as this will get more of the garlic essence out of the garlic. Grill the steak to desired doneness, about 4 to 5 minutes per side for for rare, 6 to 7 minutes per side for medium rare. The doneness will vary by type and size of steak. After the steaks are done. Squeeze the lemon over the steak and drizzle with olive oil. Let the steak rest for about 5 minutes, then enjoy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sweet Corn and Zucchini Gratin with Fresh Basil

The other day I was sitting in my chair surfing cooking websites trying to find something for dinner. I asked my wife if she was in the mood for anything in particular and she replied we need to get rid of this zucchini and sweet corn. As I started searching for zucchini and corn recipes, I reminded her why we had so many zucchini. She had decided to make zucchini bread and asked me to get extra. Suddenly it hit me, not an idea for dinner a flying zucchini. When I came to the following recipe was on my screen, well at least a variation of it. This recipe is based on a recipe by chef Guillame Bienaime at Restaurant Marche in Menlo Park, CA, even though he calls it a gratin it reminded me of a frittata, it seemed to eggy for a gratin. It was still very good. By the way no bloggers were actually hurt in the making of this post. My wife has never thrown a zucchini at me, it wouldn't hurt enough if she connected.

Sweet Corn and Zucchini Gratin with Fresh Basil
1 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 pt Cherry Tomatoes, cut in 1/2
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 lb zucchini and/or yellow squash, thinly sliced or small diced
3 Ears Sweet Corn, kernels removed and separated
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 large handful of Fresh Basil, coarsely chopped
1 small handful of Fresh Parsley, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Oil a 2 qt baking dish. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes then add the garlic, zucchini and or squash and salt and pepper. Cook stirring often until zucchini is bright green and some of the slices are translucent.
Stir in the kernels of corn from 1 ear of corn. Heat for 2 minutes and then remove from heat. Pour mixture into a large bowl. Place the rest of the corn in a blender. Add eggs, milk and 1/2 tsp of salt, blend until smooth. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies in the bowl. Add the basil, parsley and cheese. Mix together and pour into the baking dish. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is browned and the gratin is firm to the touch.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Manchego and Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breast

Did you ever have a craving for some food or type of food so you plan the whole meal around that item? This weekend my craving was for southwestern food. I found a recipe and thought I could add some southwestern seasoning to that and it would be really good. Since it was a new dish I followed the recipe closely, a little to closely. After I was done and had the dish in the oven I turned around and saw my southwestern seasoning sitting on the cupboard behind me and realized I never added it to the dish. Now to come up with another recipe for the chicken. Well here is the recipe I came up with.
Note I used Manchego cheese in this recipe if you can't find it you could use parmesan. Manchego is available in grocery stores around here so I assume it is readily available elsewhere. If you have not heard of Manchego it is a semi-hard cheese, that comes from the La Mancha area of Spain. It is made from the milk of the Manchega sheep. The cheese is rich with a buttery and slightly spicy flavor. Manchego quickly became a family favorite when we tried it a couple of months ago. I think it is worth looking for if you haven't tried it before.

Manchego & Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breast

This recipe is for 1 breast, just multiply by the number of breasts you need. You won't have to double the olive oil just use enough so the breasts are sitting in the oil.
2 tsp olive oil
1 chicken breast butterflied, cut in half so that it opens like a book
dijon mustard, enough to coat the inside of the chicken book
3 thin asparagus stalks, hard ends removed
1 thin slice manchego cheese, about as long as the breast
1 thinly sliced piece of ham

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. While the oil is heating spread the chicken breast out like a book and cover the inside with dijon mustard. Lay the 3 stalks of asparagus on the bottom half of the breast, then the cheese and the ham. Fold the top slice of the chicken breast over the stuffing. It should now look like a regular chicken breast with stuffing.

Place the breast in the pan carefully, so it does not fall apart. cook until bottom is golden brown. Flip the breast over and cook the other side until browned.