1/29/11

{Falling in Love with Lebovitz} Sweet Goat Cheese Souffles

Sweet Goat Cheese Souffles {a la David Lebovitz}
Just in time for Valentine's Day, I've discovered something the rest of you have no doubt known for years...


David Lebovitz is a master dessert artisan.


I know, I know.. Where have I been?? Make no mistake, I've known of David Lebovitz, but I hadn't previously made any of his recipes. As usual, I have no idea what I was waiting for, but I'm happy to have finally come around. And just in time for V-day, I'm falling in love with his recipes, one at a time.  Let's start with his Goat Cheese Souffles.

So how did I happen upon this recipe and decide to make it? Well, my friend Elizabeth McNair who, btw, has been a fan of his for quite some time, mentioned she had scored a ticket to see him live and in person at a demo he was doing in Dallas, Texas at Central Market.



I was thrilled for her to get to go, but little did I know how thrilled I would be for me.. THANK YOU E for sending me this recipe. It's to die for. It's light and airy but with a lightly creamy soft lemony center. David says in his post that you can make it as sweet as you like by adding more sugar to the base. Instead I opted to add extra sugar to the inside of my souffle dishes as well as extra on top. The result was nothing short of Heavenly.

heavily sugared souffle dishes

I used Native's Crystal Organic Sugar that I picked up at Whole Foods and the larger crystals worked perfectly for these souffles. He also mentions that you can drizzle a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice atop the souffles before placing in the oven to give them an extra lemony zing. I will try this next time I make them, but the flavor was nothing short of amazing even without doing so. Also, David's recipe calls for 4 4-ounce souffle dishes but since I only had 8-ounce souffle dishes, I made 2 larger desserts. I actually had leftover batter, too.

Sweet Goat Cheese Souffles
{adapted from David Lebovitz}

Serves 2-4

Oven 400 degrees F

Special equipment - 2 8-ounce souffle dishes or 4 4-ounce

1/4 cup full fat organic cream cheese, room temperature
4 large organic all-natural eggs, room temperature (separate eggs from yolks right before using)
4 ounces fresh organic goat cheese
zest of 1 lemon
4 Tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
pinch of salt
butter for coating souffle dishes


If you don't have one of these Microplane zesters, may I suggest trying
one out? They make zesting so much easier than any other zester I've used.

Generously butter and sugar the insides of your souffle dishes and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or you may whisk by hand), place the cream cheese, egg yolks, goat cheese, and lemon zest in the bowl and mix until creamy. Set aside.

Next, using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites and salt in a glass or metal bowl and beat until frothy. Increase the speed on the mixer and continue mixing until they begin to hold their shape. While beating, gradually add in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff.

Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the goat cheese mixture. Do not over fold. It's okay to have some white bits showing.



Scoop the mixture into the the prepared souffle dishes to just below the top of the dishes and gently smooth the tops. Don't overfill, or your batter will spill over when baking. Sprinkle the tops with sugar (I did this liberally and it was yummy). Place filled dishes on a baking sheet and place in oven in center of middle rack.

I overfilled my souffle dishes and they spilled over when baking,
but they were still fantastic.

Bake 10 - 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and the center still feels a little jiggly when gently moving from side to side. Serve fresh from the oven with fresh blueberries or raspberries on the side if desired. The souffles should be soft and slightly runny in the center.

I can't wait to make these again for Valentine's Day!

Do you have a favorite David Lebovitz recipe?

1/22/11

Chicken and Farro Confetti Salad

Chicken and Farro Confetti Salad
My good friend Cristina Heustis emailed me this recipe and I kept it in my inbox knowing I wanted to make it soon. Sooo, when I was cleaning out my inbox yesterday and came across it (one year later), I decided there's no time like the present to finally give it a try.


She was so right when she said it was amazing! I love it and it will definitely be in the regular rotation for years to come.


The original recipe calls for corn but I subbed a medley of diced bell peppers (red, yellow and orange) instead. This is one of those versatile dishes where you can change up the veggies to suit your preference, and you could easily leave out the chicken to make it vegetarian. Also, I used O Citrus Champagne Vinegar instead of white wine vinegar and it definitely added a bright, fresh tang to this dish. This salad is hearty and flavor-packed, not to mention incredibly healthy. I can't wait to make it again!


I picked this farro up at Whole Foods


Farro is one of the oldest grains cultivated. It was originally found in the Middle East but is now grown primarily in Italy. Like quinoa, it's a great source of fiber, protein and iron.

"Pearled" farro has had the outer husk of the seed removed allowing for a faster cooking time. This farro only took about 15-20 minutes to prepare. It's a very versatile grain that you could easily eat for breakfast or any time of day.


Chicken and Farro Confetti Salad
(inspired by Bon Appetit)

Serves 2

1/2 cup organic pearled farro, cooked according to package directions
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 ounces all-natural organic boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
8 ounces fresh organic green beans, ends removed and cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup diced fresh organic bell peppers (red, yellow, orange)
2 organic green onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced fresh organic marjoram
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 Tablespoons minced fresh shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
salt to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Be sure to rinse the farro before cooking according to package directions. Once cooked and drained, set aside.

rinse farro grains before cooking

Heat skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tablespoon of the oil. Salt and pepper the chicken and place in skillet. Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan filled with salted water to a boil and cook green beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Immediately drain the beans and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the beans again and pat dry with a towel.

blanch the green beans, then place in ice water bath to cool immediately

In medium bowl, mix the farro, chicken, green beans, bell peppers, and green onions together. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix the marjoram, salt, and last 2 Tablespoons of oil together. Then using the back of a spoon, press the marjoram to release the flavor.

fresh marjoram smells so fresh and clean, it's perfect in this dish
press marjoram with back of spoon to release flavor

To the marjoram mixture, add vinegar, shallot, and mustard then whisk together. Pour over the farro and chicken mixture then toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with goat cheese and serve warm.

Chicken and Farro Confetti Salad...healthy and delicious!

1/16/11

Vegetarian Breakfast Tacos - A Fresh and Easy Weekend Breakfast

Vegetarian Breakfast Tacos

This is one of the things I love to make for breakfast on the weekends - in fact I just got through devouring this taco in the photo a few minutes ago :-)

It's easy and versatile - just use whatever fresh veggies and herbs you have on hand, or whatever your favorites are. This morning I had tomatillos on hand, so I diced and threw some in...Um, hello! Why haven't I done this before??

In case you're wondering what a tomatillo looks like:

Tomatillos
You just peel back and remove the outer paper-thin husk and then rinse the tomatillo, as they are a little sticky. The tomatillo resembles a small green tomato and tastes very citrusy. You may eat them raw, cooked, roasted - any way you like.

You know that green salsa, or salsa verde, you get at Mexican-food restaurants? It's made from tomatillos. I like to make Roasted Tomatillo Salsa {click for recipe} as well... but I digress...

Vegetarian Breakfast Tacos

Serves 2

Sauteed Veggies: (this is how I made them today but put whatever you like in yours)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 small Yukon Gold potato, diced small
1 tomatillo, diced small
1/2 jalapeno, diced small
1/8 organic yellow bell pepper, diced small
salt to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon butter
4 all-natural organic eggs from free-roaming hens
dash of cream (optional)
2 organic whole-wheat tortillas
grated cheddar cheese
grated Monterrey Jack cheese
Salt to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste
fresh organic cilantro to garnish
fresh thinly sliced jalapeno to garnish

Sauteing the Veggies:
Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Then add the diced potatoes and allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Next add the rest of the veggies and saute until they are tender. Since everything is diced small this should go quickly. Remove from pan and set aside.

Scrambling Eggs:
Using the same skillet but over low heat, melt the butter. Meanwhile beat the eggs and cream then pour into the skillet. Stir occasionally until cooked but moist and soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. While the eggs are cooking, heat up your tortillas. I like to gently toast them in a pan or on the actual burner, just be careful not to burn yourself when flipping.

Assembling the Tacos:
Place one tortilla in the middle of a plate and top with a small bit of the cheeses. Then put half the scrambled eggs on top. Next put half the veggie mixture on top. Lastly sprinkle with a little more cheese and garnish with cilantro and jalapeno. Repeat with other taco. Fold and eat. The tacos will be overflowing, so grab a fork to gather every last bit!

Vegetarian Breakfast Tacos


1/13/11

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars


Ahhhh...a little plate of sunshine if ever I saw one.


I just love lemon bars. There's something ethereal about them. Fresh, lemony goodness on a perfectly baked shortbread crust with a gentle dusting of powdered sugar on top.. like fresh fallen snow.


As the winter comes on strong, why not bake your own little plate of sunshine - a sweet reminder that spring is just around the corner.






Please check out my guest post on Chef Dennis' blog - More Than a Mount Full - where I share the recipe, the inspiration, and step-by-step photos.


And just in case you've never visited More Than a Mount Full, you're in for a treat.  You can thank me later :-)


Enjoy!

1/9/11

Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage Pasta

Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage Pasta

Hearty, healthy, easy AND delicious. This was so quick and easy I whipped it up for a quick lunch this weekend.

As is often the case, I headed out to the market - this time Whole Foods - to pick up some specific items and ended up strolling around the store and getting super hungry.

This chicken sausage really caught my eye:

Lots of delicious flavor and not too spicy at all - just perfect!

And I immediately thought it would go great (and would be quick) in a pasta dish, so I headed to look for some fresh rigatoni pasta. I didn't find that so I wandered into the dry pasta area and discovered pasta made with farro! So healthy and hearty.

Of course I abandoned the rigatoni idea and went straight for this healthy pasta:

Pasta made with farro!

With a few more simple ingredients, the sauce was ready in no time:



And since you'll have the pasta cooking while your pulling your sauce together, dinner (or lunch in this case) will be ready in under 30 minutes...easily under 30 minutes.


Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage Pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 12-ounce package spicy Italian chicken sausage links, sliced into bite size pieces (I used Brat Hans)
1 8.8-ounce package organic farro casareccia pasta (or any pasta) (I used Rustichella d'Abruzzo)
1-2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can whole tomatoes

1 whole roasted red pepper, torn or cut into small strips
salt to taste
shredded and/or grated Parmigiano Reggiano (don't skimp here, Parmigiano Reggiano is the best and makes a huge difference)
fresh basil for garnish

Heat a skillet to medium and add olive oil, then brown the slices of chicken sausage. It's already fully cooked, so you are just browning here.


Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions using heavily salted water. This will help give a little more flavor to the pasta.


When the sausage has browned add the Italian herb seasoning, crushed red pepper, and garlic and saute for about a minute until the garlic is fragrant:




Next add the tomatoes, roasted red pepper, and a heavy pinch of salt, and stir using your spoon to break up the whole tomatoes into smaller chunks.


liquids will cook away in about 10 minutes or so


Saute over medium heat, stirring occasionally and allowing the liquids to cook away, about 10 minutes or so. Taste and, if desired, add more salt and crushed red pepper to taste.


When pasta is ready, drain and place in large pasta bowl. Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle shredded or grated Parmigiano Reggiano over the pasta, then cover with sauce. Garnish with more Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil. Excellent served with garlic bread.


Welcome to a big bowl of hearty and delicious!






Wine Pairing:

2008 Root: 1 Carmenere

This bold red from Chile is fabulous and well-balanced with gentle notes of blackberry, plum and spice. Think Bordeaux. I would enjoy this anytime but it was excellent paired with this spicy pasta.

Root: 1 uses grapes grown from their original, ungrafted root systems. The result is pure and delicious.

1/5/11

Sunday Roast Chicken

Sunday Roast Chicken


Whole roasted chicken is so easy to make I don't know why I don't make it more often. I mean, this is a perfect Sunday afternoon meal.


Throw some veggies in the bottom of a dutch oven, drizzle them with a little white balsamic vinegar and white wine, season the chicken and stuff it with lemon and herbs, then put it on top of the veggies and you're ready to roast.




Sunday Roast Chicken

Serves 2-4 (depending on if you eat both the light and dark meat)

Oven 400 degrees F

Ingredients:
1 3-4 pound whole chicken (I used organic, all natural, free range)
1 small bunch baby carrots, stems removed
1 pound small new potatoes
4 stalks celery, cut into thirds
5 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 stems fresh rosemary
1 stem fresh rosemary, leaves only
2-3 Tablespoons O California White Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
1 lemon, halved
3 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
kitchen twine

Place carrots, potatoes, celery, 3 cloves of garlic, and 2 stems of rosemary in the bottom of a large 7-quart dutch oven or roasting pan. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and wine. Season with salt and pepper.



Yum! Smooth and sweet with
notes of apple and pear.
O's white balsamic is all natural,
no chemicals used, which explains why
it's so fresh tasting!

Remove giblets from inside chicken, if included, and discard. Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside of chicken with salt and pepper. Place both halves of lemon, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 stem of rosemary inside the cavity of the chicken.

to stuff in the cavity of the chicken

In small dish mix together softened butter, minced garlic, rosemary leaves from 1 stem, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper.


Place some of the butter mixture under the skin of the breast and rub the rest all over the chicken. Using kitchen twine, tie the drumsticks together and tuck the wing tips under. Then place the chicken on top of the vegetables.



Place in oven and roast uncovered for 60-90 minutes until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees and juices run clear. If chicken starts to get too brown, place the cover on the pan.

Remove from oven, place cover on pan and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

incredibly moist chicken with hints of rosemary and lemon,
the veggies are flavorful and slightly tangy from the white balsamic






Wine Pairing:

2009 Irony Pinot Noir

This California Pinot is beautifully smooth and very light with traces of cherry, toasted vanilla, and earthy undertones. Paired with this roasted chicken, it's a nice departure from the obvious Chardonnay.

1/1/11

Spicy Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Spicy Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing


What better way to celebrate something special than with a healthy, flavorful dish like this Spicy Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing?

This dish was inspired by a seared tuna salad I recently enjoyed with my friend Michelle Patterson at a lovely restaurant called Artin's located at The Shops at Legacy in Plano, Texas. Artin's has an upscale yet warm and inviting atmosphere and elegant, creative menu. If you happen to be in Plano, make plans to have a meal at Artin's - lunch or dinner - you can't go wrong.

Here's my version of the dish I enjoyed (in case you haven't noticed, I like spicy..so my version has a hint of that):

Spicy Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Serves 2 with extra dressing for dipping

Ingredients:
8 ounce wild caught fresh Ahi tuna steak (I used Hawaiian Bigeye, ask your fishmonger for tuna that is suitable to eat raw)
1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Salad:
4 cups organic mixed greens (I used a blend of spring greens and baby spinach)
2-3 Tablespoons shelled edamame (leave out for Paleo)
3 Tablespoons diced red bell pepper (optional)
fresh lime (optional)

Dressing/Dipping Sauce (makes 1/2 cup):
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon O Ginger Rice Vinegar (O Yuzu Rice Vinegar would work well, too, or any rice vinegar)
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini paste (I used Artisana Organic Tahini that I found at Whole Foods, but any tahini paste will work)
1 Tablespoon honey
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger (less than a one inch knob)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Sesame Ginger Dressing
Whisk all the dressing/dipping sauce ingredients together until emulsified and well blended.

My daughter Alexa got me this really cool dressing mixer for Christmas which made easy work of emulsifying the dressing:

emulstir by chef'n available at Williams Sonoma

Sesame Ginger Dressing

Spicy Seared Ahi Tuna
Sprinkle both sides of the tuna steak with kosher salt.

beautiful Hawaiian Bigeye Ahi Tuna

In small bowl mix the black and regular sesame seeds and crushed red pepper together.

sesame seed, crushed red pepper mix

Using your hands, coat both sides of the tuna with the sesame seed mixture. Pat and press to be sure it's well coated.

coated and ready to sear

Heat non-stick skillet to high and add canola oil to coat bottom of pan. Skillet should be extremely hot, then place sesame-coated tuna in pan and allow to sear for 45 seconds then flip and sear another 45 seconds.


perfectly seared on the outside and rare on the inside

Remove from pan and slice.

Pulling it all together:
Mix ingredients for salad (mixed greens, edamame, bell pepper) together and toss with a small amount of dressing. Arrange on plates and top with the sliced tuna. Serve with extra dressing on the side to dip your tuna in.

I also like to drizzle fresh squeezed lime juice on my salad but be careful not to do this until just as you are eating or the tuna will begin to turn white from the acid of the lime juice. It won't hurt anything if it turns white, it's purely an aesthetic thing.


Spicy Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing





Wine Pairing


2009 Pazo Serantellos Albarino
$12 at Whole Foods


This Spanish Albarino is crisp, light and a little on the dry side, but with a hint of citrus. It pairs nicely with the spicy fresh tuna.