A Girl & Her Food
                   

24.6.16

Grilled Portabello Caprese using @StellaCheeses Fresh Mozzarella







The best part of dairy, in my opinion, is by far what is considered FRESH CHEESE.  It comes in so some many different textures, from so many different milks, from different animals, all having its own unique flavor.  Different cheeses are to be enjoyed in different settings.  One of my favorites however, due to its versatility, is mozzarella.   The range in flavor from different mozzarella is extraordinary, and I can always make use of it in whatever dish I am cooking.   One of my favorites is Stella Fresh Mozzarella.  I love to use Stella’s to either just cut up and enjoy with some fresh tomato, basil, olive oil, and a nice balsamic vinaigrette for a fresh salad (so simple!), or sometimes I’ll step it up a notch and transform into a tasty melted delight.  For today’s post, I’m going to share with you a grilled portabello caprese! Click here to receive a coupon towards your Stella Fresh Mozzarella purchase. 

Ingredents:

2-3 portabella caps
2-3 Stella Cheese fresh mozzarella, sliced
2-3 tomato, sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil 
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Balsamic vinegar to drizzle 
Salt and pepper to taste




Preparation:

Preheat grill to medium high heat. 

Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.


Grill mushrooms with gill facing up for about 8-10 mins. 


Slice Stella's fresh Mozzarella 




Slice the tomato


Chiffonade the basil 


Top portabella with tomato and cheese 




 Place the grill pan under the broil until mozzarella melts and bubbles. 

Remove from grill pan and dress with basil and drizzle balsamic vinegar. 





Serve and Enjoy!


For more Stella Cheese recipes or information, head to Stella Cheese because #freshisbest! 







20.5.16

Grilled Beer Can Turkey


As Chicago’s weather seems to be cooperating, grilling season is FINALLY upon us…  And that means its time to head outdoors, and enjoy the warmer temperatures with a cold brewski and some cooked protein. One of my favorite things to enjoy in the summer is a juicy beer can chicken.  But seeing as I missed Thanksgiving this year, I thought it would be fun to feast on a beer can turkey with crispy skin and juicy succulent meat.  As turkey is usually found dry on so many tables, this is a sure fire way to keep things tasty and moist.  It is hands down my favorite way to enjoy this bird, and there is no reason to wait until November to eat turkey again!  Try it! For additional recipes, head to The National Turkey Federation! 





 ingredients

1     1 12-14 pound turkey, cavity cleaned, rinsed and patted dry    
       2 1 pint Half Acre Daisy Cutter
1     1 cup water



For the Rub:

1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lemon

preparation


Preheat the grill to 350 degrees. Prepare the chicken by applying your spice rub, making sure to season the meat under the skin of the turkey. Season the cavity and skin with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and lemon juice  Place the turkey on the open beer can so that the beer can is inside the cavity of the turkey. Make sure the beer can is open and half full, I recommend drinking the first half, or it will explode. You can also cut the top of the can completely off, using a can opener, which will allow for extreme succulence. Place the turkey upright on the grill over the grill pan and over indirect heat. Grill the turkey, covered for about  1 1/2 hour - 2 hours.  Enjoy! 









10.5.16

Sorrel Pesto


For Mother's Day at my Aunt's house, we decided to make a sorrel pesto, with sorrel which was freshly picked from her herb garden. This was my first experience with sorrel, and I fell in love with the flavor.  I decided afterward, to pick a little extra to take home into my kitchen, so I could make it again. Sorrel's bitter flavor comes from oxalic acid, which is also contained in spinach, rather than essential oils like most other herbs.  It's best use is in salads, pestos and sauces.  Before cooking with sorrel, always pull off the stem and thick vein. 








      

Sorrel Pesto 

ingredients

1 1/2 cups fresh sorrel leaves, washed and stems trimmed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Bragg's Nurtional Yeast for Vegan option
1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt


preparation 

In a food processor process sorrel, Parmesan, nuts, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until coarsely ground. With food processor running, add oil in a slow and steady stream until mixture is emulsified. Pesto may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Enjoy! 

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11.2.16

Harissa-Spiced Cassoulet by Chef Gavin Kaysen




After traveling A LOT recently, I desperately wanted to get back into my kitchen to cook a comforting dinner. For inspiration, on my flight back from Cayman Cookout, I read the January issue of Food & Wine. One of the articles, “Hot Dish Challenge”, featured Chef Gavin Kaysen and his Harissa-Spiced Cassoulet.  The pictures looked mouth watering and I knew it was something I wanted to try. Harissa is a spice from North Africa made of cumin, coriander, caraway and other spices, and is incredibly earthy and comforting.   I thought it was a brilliant way to add some creativity into this classic dish.

For those of you who don’t know Chef Gavin, I highly recommend you get on board.  I was lucky enough to meet him at a James Beard Foundation's TasteAmerica event in Minneapolis a few months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  Not only is he extremely talented, he is one of the most humble, funny and sweetest Chef that I have EVER met.


The recipe calls for thick-cut bacon, merguez sausages and rustic bread, so naturally  I headed to Publican Quality Meats to pick up those ingredients for Kaysen’s Cassoulet.




Harissa-Spiced Cassoulet 


ACTIVE: 1 HR 30 MIN TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
SERVINGS: 10 TO 12
TIME(OTHER): 3 HR PLUS OVERNIGHT SOAKING

Ingredients

1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced, plus 2 large carrots, cut into 2 1/2-inch lengths
14 ounces dried cannellini beans (2 cups), soaked overnight and drained
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Twelve 2-ounce merguez sausages
        (I purchased mine at Publican Quality Meats)
2 large sweet potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
3 turnips (3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
4 ounces rustic peasant bread, crusts removed, bread cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Plain yogurt, for serving


Preparation

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered. Add the onion, celery and diced carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning 
to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the beans, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer the beans until al dente, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add a generous pinch of salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain the beans, bacon and vegetables and transfer to a bowl; reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. In a small skillet, toast the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant and the mustard seeds begin to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer 
to a spice grinder and let cool. Add the smoked paprika and crushed red pepper and grind the harissa blend into a powder.

Wipe out the casserole and heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in it. Add the merguez and cook over moderate heat, until lightly browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Do not wipe out the casserole.

Add the sweet potatoes, turnips and large carrots to the casserole. Season with salt and black pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 minutes. Add the harissa spice blend and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the bean mixture and the reserved 2 cups of cooking liquid and bring just to a simmer. Arrange the merguez on top. Cover and bake the 
cassoulet for about 1 hour, until the beans are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the oven and uncover the cassoulet.


Preheat the broiler. In a bowl, toss the bread, parsley, lemon zest and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the bread over the cassoulet and broil until golden and crisp. Let the cassoulet stand for 10 minutes before serving. Pass yogurt at the table. Enjoy! 


6.2.16

Cayman Cookout: Chef Ludo Lefebvre's Chocolate Souffle Demo & Recipe










I LOVE chocolate soufflés, and that says a lot as I don't generally have a sweet tooth.   More and more, however, it seems that this classic dessert is dying.  I disapointedly never see it on menus, and that includes French restaurants. Am I going to have to travel to Paris just to indulge in this delicacy? I wish, but that's not realistic...

Baking is not really my thing.  In honesty, I HATE to bake!  Well, maybe hate is a bit strong, but it is just that I am not very good at it...  And frustrated.  But, 2016 is the year I promised myself to change that statement.  As one of my New Year's resolutions, I promised to bake more, and attempt at mastering the art and science known to be the soufflé.  

Ironically, during the Cayman Cookout, Chef Ludo Lefebvre demoed how to make his chocolate soufflé with bittersweet chocolate sauce.  Obviously, he immediately had my full attention. I thought while watching and listening to Ludo's demo intensively, I could take that knowledge back to the kitchen and make a soufflé easily. 

Oh... how wrong I was.  A soufflé is so temperamental, it felt like the only thing I did was look at it the wrong way.  It was quite the challenge for me. I failed so miserably 2 times, that I had to call my pastry chef and artist friend, Anna Posey, to give me a few words of advice and raise back up my confidence.  I'm not sure that it worked.  Maybe this week I should start my baking hobby with something easier like a sugar cookie.  Hope you have better luck!  As they say, nothing good in life comes easy...











Chocolate Soufflés with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce (adapted from Crave by Chef Ludo Lefebvre)

serves 4

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce:

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Whipped Cream:

1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream 
2 teaspoons granulated sugar 

Chocolate Soufflés:

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large egg whites
Powdered Sugar (for sifting) 


For the bittersweet sauce: 

Stir in the cream and chocolate in a heavy small saucepan over medium low heat until melted and smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside. 

For the whipped cream

Whisk the cream and sugar in a large bowl until soft peak form. Cover and refrigerate. 

For the chocolate soufflés: 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside of 2-4oz. ramekins or 1-9 oz. ramekin with butter and then coat with the 2 tablespoons sugar. I used my hands to coat the ramekins as Chef Ludo demoed coating in an upward moment (bottom of ramekin to the top). 

In double boiler over a medium heat melt the chocolate, until melted and smooth. 


While the chocolate is melting, beat the egg whites in an electric mixer, over medium speed until a  stiff peaks forms. Beat in the 1/2 cup sugar into the egg whites and beat until blended. Take the melted chocolate and beat it gentle into the egg white-sugar mixture. Give it a few folds to make sure the chocolate is incorporated, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Fill each ramekin with the mixture. Bake in the oven for 14 minutes. sift with powdered sugar. Serve immediately with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.