Monday, April 30, 2012

The Food Matters Project - Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup

The Food Matters recipe for this week was chosen by Adrienne and I have got to say, it was absolutely incredible.  For the full version of the recipe head on over to Adrienne's website and check it out!  This challenge is seriously pushing my food horizons and I like it.  A lot.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Food Matters Project - Whole Wheat Bread

This week the recipe for the Food Matters Project was chosen by the lovely Melissa.  I actually already posted about this recipe a couple of weeks ago because it has become a staple in my house and I didn't realize it was up on the schedule - whoops!  For my post on whole wheat bread see here! 

My favorite way to munch on this loaf is with some honeycrisp apples, sharp white cheddar, and a dollop of honey.  Whole wheat bread is such a healthy snack and this is something I like to eat if I'm not quite hungry enough for a meal but don't want to eat something junky.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homemade Ricotta

I promised last night that I would post an explanation of how homemade ricotta is done... so here it is!  I must thank my wonderful friend Sara for showing me how to do this.  It's quite simple and it's so creamy and delicious you'll never want to buy it again!  I will say that it costs more to make it than it does to buy it, but it was so rich and creamy that I didn't regret it at all, and the dairy was from a local farm which made me happy too.

Combine 2 cups of whole milk, 1/2 cup half and half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar into a microwave safe bowl.  Heat for two minutes.  Gently stir and put back in the microwave on thirty seconds increments until the curds separate from the whey.

It will look like this when it's ready.  It will take around 5 minutes to get it like this.

Line a colander with several layers of cheese cloth and dump the whole mixture into it.  Allow it to drain for at least 30 minutes.  Squeeze out excess whey before you use it and keep the whey!  You can make some sweet bread with it!

I am just so thrilled that I made cheese.  Isn't it a weird concept?  And it's ridiculously easy to make, so next time I'm craving a soft cheese I know what I'm doing!

Ricotta Cheese
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup half and half
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Food Matters Project - Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza

Making pizza has been my favorite activity by far for The Food Matters Project.  Head to Niki's site to see the full recipe!  Excellent choice lady!  I decided to do personal pizzas because I was at my parents house over the weekend and I thought more variety would be more interesting.  I am pleased to report that all of the pizzas were very successful!

We had the ingredients to make truffle mushroom, margarita, and pesto ricotta pizzas.  All were outstanding and had incredibly different flavors which was the best part!

Ian sauteed mushrooms in white truffle oil and added some truffle goo to the mixture.  We topped the dough with the mushrooms, goat cheese, and prosciutto.  Delicious!

My parents chose a more traditional margarita pizza style and it did not disappoint.  We layered the dough with gorgeous basil leaves, slices of fresh tomato, mozzarella and prosciutto.  It was classic and elegant and the prettiest of the pizzas.

I decided to make a "local" pizza.  I used frozen pesto leftover from last summer, some beautiful asparagus fresh from Ellis Family Farms, and I made ricotta cheese (recipe to come) with milk and half and half from Kilgus Farmstead.  I am telling you that this pizza rocked my world.  It was so unique and the flavors were bold.

This week has been a great success and I feel like once again I have accomplished more food goals.  Making dough from scratch isn't hard at all and it is SO good and even a little bit healthier using the whole wheat dough.  Pizza is a favorite in my book.  Who knew that you could make three completely different styles of pizza in one kitchen?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ian's Old Fashioned

You may have guessed by now that I do the majority of the cooking in our house.  Ian does very specific things like whisking and squeezing lemons when my arms get tired, but he usually leaves the cooking to me.  He has very strong opinions about dessert and more recently has been getting into creating his own cocktails.  He has managed to create an Old Fashioned that isn't too sweet but also isn't too whiskeyish for my liking.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Food Matters Project: Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables

The recipe for the Food Matters Project was Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables chosen by Keely.  Check out her website for the incredible take she did as well as the original recipe.  My version of this recipe turned out really well.  I loaded it up with lots of green vegetables and quinoa for some extra protein.

Aside from the Brussels sprouts which had been in my fridge for awhile, I managed to get the rest of the ingredients from the farmers market on Saturday.  I found leeks and napa cabbage as well as lovage, which is something that I had never heard of until this weekend.  It's that gorgeous leafy stuff that tastes exactly like celery, and bonus, it's in season, so I was able to have that essential bold flavor in my cassoulet!  I also found Italian sausage at the market which I was excited about.

First I browned the Italian sausage and then I sauteed all of the vegetables until they were just softened.

The recipe called for a quart of canned tomatoes so I was able to use my canned tomatoes with their juice from last season.  I added one can of white beans, thyme, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper, and boiled it for 20 - 25 minutes.

I served it over a bed of quinoa since I only had one can of white beans which worked really well.  Next time I make this I don't even think I'll add meat.  I finished the dish with some Parmesan cheese.  Great choice Keely!

Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables

1 lb Italian sausage
1 quart canned tomatoes with juices
2 leeks
1 bag of Brussels sprouts
1/2 napa cabbage
4 stalks of lovage
1 can white beans
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme