Chat 'n Dish

Chat 'n Dish

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It's Pumpkin Season!!!!! Let's make Pumpkin Lasagna!

There are so many dishes to make with the fresh pumpkins that are really cheap and readily available right now I had a hard time choosing which one to start off with.......
But something unique is always super fun so here goes......Pumpkin Lasagna!!!! An unusual lasagna that is absolute delicious!  Don’t be put off by the addition of pumpkin puree, it adds a depth of flavor to the lasagna that is amazing!
Doesn't this look delicious?  Here's a little secret....I didn't tell my kids or their friends that there was pumpkin in it!  Did they notice?  No and they polished off the entire pan....everyone had seconds, so I guess it was a hit!
Here's how it's made:
1 cup pumpkin puree I roasted fresh pumpkin for about 30 minutes in a 425 oven then mashed with a fork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms sliced
2 Italian sausages casing removed (you can use up to 1 pound of sausage)
½ cup red wine
26 ounces tomato sauce
¼ cup fresh basil chopped
¼ cup fresh oregano chopped
½ teaspoon salt & ¼ teaspoon pepper
6 ready to use lasagna sheets
1 egg
2 ½ cups ricotta
2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella divided
½ cup pecorino Romano
2 medium zucchini sliced
Preheat oven to 350
Heat olive oil in large sauté pan and add onion. Sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the sausage, breaking into small pieces and sauté until just cooked through, then add the mushrooms and garlic.  Cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half. Stir in the herbs and tomato sauce and simmer over medium low for 15 minutes.
Mix together the pumpkin and egg, set aside.
Mix together the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella and Romano.
Spread a ladle of sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan.  Top with lasagna noodles, ½ of the pumpkin mixture, ½ of the sliced zucchini, ½ of the cheese and then repeat.  Top with remaining 1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese and bake for 40 minutes.  Let rest for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Vegetarian Lasagna Silvianne

My dear friend Silvianne has been a vegetarian her entire life. She admits to being in her fifties and has never tasted meat, fish or chicken!  Whenever Silvianne and her husband were invited to dinner I made something special befitting her dietary requirements and named every dish after her; hence the name Lasagna Silvia.  But the uniqueness of this lasagna does not end there!  The ‘lasagna noodles’ are actually strips of thinly sliced zucchini and tomato sauce has been replaced with  Organic Creamy Tomato Soup.
The delicate flavors of lightly sautéed portabella mushrooms, zucchini noodles and chopped spinach are complimented and enhanced by the refined natural flavor of the Creamy Tomato Soup.  Together they create a little bit of heaven called Lasagna Silvia.

1 medium sweet onion finely chopped
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
8 ounces portabella mushroom sliced
2 tablespoons butter
16 ounces frozen spinach thawed and drained well
3 zucchini
30 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 cups mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan
1 quart Pacific Natural Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup
1.       Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
2.       Coat a 9X12 Lasagna pan with non stick spray
3.       Drain ricotta cheese in a sieve while preparing onions and mushrooms.
4.       On medium heat, sauté onion on  in 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil until translucent; about 10 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
5.       In a large frying pan over medium/high heat sauté portabella mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil until softened; about 5 minutes.  Add to the onions.
6.       Beat the two eggs and mix with the ricotta cheese.
7.       Mix the ricotta egg mixture into, onions and mushrooms and then the well drained spinach.
8.       Thinly slice 3 zucchini lengthwise to create noodles.
9.       Cover the bottom of the lasagna pan with 1/4th of the Pacific Natural Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup.
10.   Place a layer of zucchini noodles in the lasagna pan, slightly overlapping them.
11.   Spread 1/3 of the ricotta, mushroom, spinach mixture across the zucchini.
12.   Sprinkle with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese.
13.   Repeat the layers two more times.
14.   Top with the tomato soup and sprinkle the last of the mozzarella across the lasagna.  
15.   Finish by topping the lasagna with the parmesan cheese; you will have a 2 cheese top.
16.   Coat aluminum foil with non stick spray and cover the lasagna to keep the cheese from getting too dark.
17.   Bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.

18.   Let lasagna rest for 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

4th of July Sweet Treats

BBQ, Family & Friends.  That's what the 4th of July means to me; celebrating this great country with our nearest and dearest!  Oh yes and naturally there's big time food involved!!
To get everyone in the mood I thought I'd share two sweet treats that just sing out July Fourth!
First up:  Adults Only Iced Lollies
Seriously, don't let the kids get a hold of these little babies 'cause they have just a bit of bite to them thanks to a serving of vodka in each little iced lolly!
Take 1 1/4 cups of lemonade and add 1/4 cup key lime juice and 1/2 cup vodka
Fill Lolly holders with blueberries 1/3 full
Pour the lemonade over until 1/2 full
Drop in fresh Raspberries
Fill to top w with lemonade mix
Freeze and enjoy!
Yes that's all there is to it but these little treats are an absolute delight!
 Now on to something wonderful for children of all ages!
Patriot Cake

Red Strawberries, white cake and the deep blue of blueberries just shout out USA to me; that’s why I named it Patriot cake!  You’ll find this colorful dessert one of the easiest cakes you will ever make. If your family is not big on lemon, omit the juice and zest and replace it with 1 teaspoon vanilla or even almond extract!  No time to make the coulis?  Don’t worry, a bit of chocolate syrup is delightful also!

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking Time: 45 minutes Serves 6
1 ½ Cups Self Rising Flour
¼ Teaspoon Salt
6 Tablespoons Butter
¾ Cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract (almond extract can also be used but then delete the lemon zest)
Zest from ½ lemon
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons cream
1 Pint Strawberries (washed, hulled and cut in half)
½ Pint Fresh Blueberries
Vanilla Ice Cream for topping
Strawberry Coulis for topping
1.     Pre-Heat oven to 350
2.     Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and extract and cream.
3.     Combine flour and salt.
4.     Gently add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, do not over mix.
5.     Spread into a 9 inch spring form pan coated with non stick spray.
6.     Press strawberries around the outside of the pan in a circular pattern and a few in the center.  Fill remaining area with blueberries.
7.     Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
8.     Cool 15-20 minutes and transfer to serving platter.
9.     Slice & serve with remaining berries, vanilla ice cream and strawberry coulis.
Strawberry Coulis
Fruit Coulis is not usually cooked so this one is definitely far outside of the traditional.  But it is extremely flavorful and will keep in the fridge for up to a week; if it isn’t used up when your family first tastes it!  I also forgo the usual sugar and flavor the fruit with just a bit of lemon juice, lemon zest and balsamic vinegar.
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 Pint Strawberries, hulled and cut in half
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
1.     Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium/low heat.
2.     Cook until the berries a very soft and the berry juices have reduced by half.
3.     Pour berry mixture into a strainer resting over a bowl.
4.     Using the back of a ladle press the berry mixture around in the strainer until all the juices have gone through the strainer in to the bowl.

5.     Chill and serve over the Patriot Cake.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lemon Lime Custard Cakes

We have marvelous citrus fruit here in Florida so I’m forever experimenting with lemons, limes, oranges, well most all Florida Citrus!  Now I so enjoy my desserts, especially cakes but with the kids away in university making an entire cake is just over the top!  So I’ve been playing around with individual desserts and this one just happened to turn out amazingly well.  My inspiration came from an old French recipe for a custard dessert that is served in the summer with fresh figs.  I wanted something more cake like and sweet tart so lemons/lime juice is what I used to achieve that.  I used equal amounts of lemon and lime juice; just regular lemons and limes but Meyer Lemons and Key Lime bring the flavors to a whole new level if you have them available!

Watch the short video and see just how easy these Lemon/Lime Custard Cakes are to make! 

Lemon Lime Custard Cakes
¾ Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Flour
3 Eggs Separated
1 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/3 Cup lemon/lime juice
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
¼ Teaspoon Salt

Pre heat oven to 350

Coat 6 ramekins with butter or nonstick spray
In a medium bowl whisk together flour and sugar
In another bowl whisk together egg yolks and butter until light in color
Add the milk, lemon/lime juice and the zest; whish until well mixed
Pour the liquid into the flour/sugar mixture and whisk until smooth

Beat the egg whites until peaks form
Fold egg whites into batter; be gentle you don’t want to deflate your egg whites
Divide batter between 6 ramekins
Place ramekins in a roasting pan and place pan in pre heated oven
Fill roasting pan ½ full with boiling water
Bake for 35 minutes; until custard cakes are puffed up and lightly browned
Remove from the hot water bath and let cool to room temperature
Serve in the ramekins or invert onto serving plates.
I serve with strawberry or raspberry coulis or fresh seasonal fruit as a topping!



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carrot & Blue Cheese Soup

Fresh carrots and creamy blue cheese team up to create a quick and easy winning flavor combo!
This recipe has a rather funny story behind it!  My friend Sandrine's father had a business that brought local products from Auvergne down the Alp Maritime area.  On one trip the roads were slippery and the truck went off the road and many of the boxes were damaged; not the products just the boxes but that meant the stores could not take delivery.  So Sandrine showed up at my house with an entire round of Blue de Augergne cheese which just happens to be the creamiest most wonderful blue cheese you will ever taste!  It being winter, my local farmer's fresh produce was rather limited and carrots were about all he had in abundance so I thought why not give carrots soup with some blue cheese a try. Well it was a huge hit with both my kids and my here it is for you to try; Carrot & Blue Cheese Soup

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quick & Easy Cassoulet

Traditionally VERY time consuming this French Cassoulet has been transformed to fit our American fast paced lifestyles. 
 How-to Video:

Ingredients Serves 4
2 chicken breasts cut in half or 4 thighs
3 sausages
1 can white beans rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt & ½ teaspoon pepper
1 celery stock chopped
A carrot chopped
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 T fresh oregano chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 ½ cup crushed tomatoes
4 slices bacon
2 cups panko
1 teaspoon porcini powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ cup melted butter
Brown sausages and set aside
Brown chicken and set aside
Drain fat from pan and then sauté onion, carrot, garlic, oregano and celery until onion is translucent
Add the chicken stock and reduce by 1/3
Add the tomatoes salt and pepper
Add the beans and then nestle the chicken and sausages into the sauce
Cover and bake for 50 minutes in preheated 425F oven
Cut bacon into matchstick size pieces and cook until crisp.
Drain and set aside
 In a medium bowl combine the panko, dried oregano, onion powder, bacon and melted butter
Raise oven temperature to 500
Spread topping over cassoulet
Bake uncovered for another 8-10 minutes

Salmon en Papillote

The perfect menu to serve when friends are invited over for dinner.  Everything can be prepped ahead and the oven does the cooking without your having to be in attendance!  So go ahead, invite friends over for dinner and enjoy their company the whole evening!
Here is the how-to video for the entire meal:

Salmon en Papillote serves 3
1 fillet of salmon
1 lemon
1 lime
2 spring onions
3 sprigs fresh dill
Cut the salmon into 3 slices
Place the salmon slices side by side on a baking sheet lined with non stick aluminum foil
Thinly slice the lemon & limes
Chop the spring onion into 1 inch pieces
Top the salmon pieces with lemon slices, fresh dill, lime slices and then spring onions
Make a packet around the salmon using a second piece of foil, seal the edges together by folding toward the salmon.
Bake in pre heated 400F. Oven for 20 minutes
Stuffed Mushrooms serves 3
3 large fresh portabella mushrooms
8 ounces steamed and cooled purple or red potatoes
6 slices cooked crisp bacon
1 clove garlic
½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped chives
Drizzle 3-4 tablespoon olive oil into a baking dish
Wipe the portabellas clean with a damp paper towel
Remove stems
Place mushrooms in baking dish
Slice potatoes and place inside mushrooms
Chop bacon and divide evenly between the three mushrooms
Mince the garlic
Chop the parsley
Combine the garlic and parsley and chop again together
Top the bacon with the parsley garlic mixture
Drizzle with remaining olive oil
Bake in preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes
Coconut Pears Serves 3
3 firm ripe pear
3 tablespoons Triple Sec
The juice of 1 tangerine or ½ orange
½ cup flour
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
1 cup sweetened coconut ½ cup oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 scoops chocolate ice cream
1/3 cup chocolate sauce
Slice pear from top to bottom into ¼ inch pieces
Mix together the triple sec and tangerine juice
Marinade the pears for 15 minutes
Beat the egg with the water
Dry the pears
Dredge the pears in the flour, and then dip into the beaten egg then into the coconut
Fry in hot oil mixed with the butter until browned on both sides
Serve with one scoop of chocolate ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup