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Thursday
Mar102011

Four-cheese french onion soup

A friend recently asked me if I had any Dutch oven recipes to share on this website. I did not, so I searched for something delicious. This was my favorite of the list I pulled together. What could be more delicious than a cheesy French Onion Soup? Although I have not ordered French Onion Soup from a restaurant in ages, I have to say that this recipe was the best FOS I've had in a very long time. Perhaps even the best ever. It was DELICIOUS.

Did you know that with a Dutch oven you can go from stovetop to oven to table in one dish?! There's a reason this cooking vessel has been around for hundreds of years. I'm excited to try some different recipes with my versatile little pot!

In a Dutch oven, melt together:

1/3 cup butter, cubed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add:

3 large onions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir frequently.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup all-purpose flour over the mixture.

Stir until blended.

Gradually stir in:

Two 32-oz. cartons beef broth

1 1/2 cups white wine

Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 additional minutes, while stirring occasionally.

Place 8 French bread slices (1/2-inch thick) on an ungreased baking sheet (use as many servings as there will be per sitting). Broil for 3-5 minutes on each side, 3-4 inches from the heat. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 1/3 cups shredded Swiss cheese

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls and top each with a piece of toasted bread. Sprinkle with the cheese mixture.

Place the bowls on a baking sheet and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly golden.

Please go make this. And then invite me over.

Click here for a printable recipe!

French Onion Soup

Wednesday
Mar092011

Pan-roasted pork chops with creamy cabbage & apples

This is Week #10 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010.

I have been looking forward to making this recipe since I first saw it on my list. It is unique, and I love unique. I also love pork. And cabbage. And bacon.

I have another pork recipe to post soon detailing the way my husband has been cooking it lately, but I adore the way it is cooked in this recipe. An "Mmmmm" escaped my mouth with every bite.

In a shallow dish, combine:

1/4 cup olive oil

4 thyme sprigs

1 large garlic clove, chopped

Add 4 12-oz. bone-in pork loin chops (I used 3 boneless and this was perfect for 2 meals for 2 people).

Turn to coat with the marinade and refrigerate overnight.

Thinly slice 1/2 of a head of cabbage crosswise and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook 3 thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, until browned. Pour off the fat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet along with the sliced cabbage.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, about 7 minutes.

Add:

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Cover and cook until the apple is tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in:

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Simmer uncovered until the cream has thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and cover to keep warm.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Remove the pork chops from the marinade, discarding the thyme and garlic. Season the chops with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until they are richly browned, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the chops for about 12 minutes, turning once halfway through, until just pink in the center. Transfer the pork chops to plates and serve with the cabbage.

Enjoy!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Tuesday
Mar082011

Nutella cupcakes

Nutella is one of the foods I ate in plentiful quantities while I was pregnant with my second son. One morning, early on in my four months of bedrest, I laid on the couch on my left side to help calm my contractions as I watched Mystic Pizza and dipped my finger into a Nutella jar. Have you watched Mystic Pizza within the last ten years? There is something so awesomely terrible about watching 80's movies 25 years after they have been filmed. Regarding eating Nutella like an animal, there is nothing terrible about that.

I found this most delicious recipe while searching for a yummy treat to make for our Bloggy Day last month. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.

Cream together for 2 minutes, until light:

10 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup white sugar

With mixer on low-medium speed, add 3 eggs to the mixture, one at a time, until fully combined. The batter may not appear totally smooth at this point.

Add:

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Stir until combined.

Fill each muffin liner 3/4 full with batter. Top each with 1 1/2 teaspoons of Nutella. Swirl the Nutella with a toothpick or sharp knife and fold the batter over the Nutella.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Or not. I most certainly did not.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Friday
Mar042011

Vegetable quinoa curry

For Ebby's and my Bloggy Day last month, I wanted to make at least one thing that I wouldn't typically make. This recipe caught my eye because it is packed with foods I love, tons of veggies and quinoa. Curry, however, is hit or miss with me. With some dishes, I love it, and with others, it's just ok. This turned out to be a really fresh, light, healthy side dish. The Mozzarella-Olive Wedges and Western Potato Rounds, among many other bold-flavored foods we had floating around the kitchen that day, gave it some serious competition in the realm of flavor. Served with perhaps spicy chicken or fish as a main meal, however, it would be fantastic.

If I made this again, I would add some spice. Perhaps a few diced jalapeno peppers. And this is just a personal thing, but I would add only half the curry the recipe calls for.

There is a bit of prep work you will want to take care of before starting. Prepare:

3/4 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths

1 large onion, cut into strips

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

6 cups cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 medium head)

4 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced

1 baked tofu (8 oz.), diced (not shown)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of rinsed quinoa and cook for 6 minutes. Add the green beans and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, or until green beans are crisp-tender and grains are tender but still slightly crunchy. Drain. Leave in colander.

Dice a medium cucumber and gently pat it with a paper towel. Place in a small bowl and add salt to your liking.

Toast 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds in a large, deep nonstick skillet over low heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the cumin to the bowl with the diced cucumber, along with:

1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Toss and place in refrigerator.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of mild curry powder, and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, carrots and tofu. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Add one 14.5-oz. can of vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 6 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Stir in:

1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Fold in the quinoa-green-bean mixture.

Serve with the cucumber salad (I mixed mine right in).

So light and healthy!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Mar022011

Triple-decker baked Italian cheese sandwiches

This is Week #9 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010.

I was so happy to be randomly paired with this sandwich recipe. I'm a huge lover of sandwiches, especially when they stray from the norm in some way. A triple-decker sandwich with lots of cheese? Oh my. And with juicy, roasted tomatoes? OH MY.

After they came out of the oven, and after I took a sufficient amount of photos, I sat and gazed at this sandwich's splendor. Isn't it pretty? I had no idea how to begin the process of eating it. Perhaps if my mouth were just a bit bigger I could have attempted a bite. Instead, I grabbed a fork and a knife and I dug in. YUM. I might need to ask my friend Jess just to be sure, but I'm fairly certain I stayed hunched over my cheesy plate until the last morsel was gone.

Start out by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F. Cut 8 Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise, and place them, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the tomatoes are soft. Sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of thyme and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender and slightly shriveled but still juicy. Let cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

The recipe calls for 2 loaves of Pullman bread, but I was unable to find Pullman bread anywhere. Instead, I used a fat loaf of French bread cut into 1/2-inch slices. Whichever type of bread you use, you will need 24 slices to make 8 servings.

On 16 of the 24 slices, brush olive oil onto one side. Arrange 8 of those slices, oiled side down, on a large, rimmed and greased baking sheet (I used aluminum foil to avoid a super messy clean-up).

Top each slice with:

Sliced provolone cheese (you will need 16 oz. total)

An unbrushed bread slice

Roasted tomatoes

12 oz. coarsely shredded Fontina cheese (you will need 16 oz. total, 4 of which you'll use later)

Remaining brushed bread slices, oiled side up

In retrospect, I wish I had split the provolone slices up and put 1 or 2 between the middle piece of bread and the tomatoes. Next time.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.

Preheat the broiler.

In a medium bowl, combine:

Remaining 8 oz. of shredded Fontina cheese

4 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the top of the sandwiches. Broil 3 inches from the heat for 1 minute, until the cheese is melted.

Oh my goodness, could anything be more mouth-watering? Mmmmm.

Triple-Decker Baked Italian Cheese Sandwiches

Three layers of cheesy yumminess in this beautiful baked sandwich! (source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Serves: 8

Total time: 2 hrs, 45 min

Triple-Decker Baked Italian Cheese Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 8 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 white Pullman (or French) loaves-ends discarded, each loaf cut into twelve 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 pound Fontina cheese, coarsely shredded (about 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the halved tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes cut side up for 1 1/2 hours, until soft and starting to brown. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the tomatoes are very tender and slightly shriveled but still juicy. Let cool.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Brush 16 of the bread slices with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil; arrange 8 of the slices, oiled side down on a large rimmed baking sheet. Top with the provolone and the unbrushed bread slices. Cover with the tomatoes, 4 cups of the Fontina and the remaining 8 bread slices, oiled side up. Press gently on the sandwiches and bake for about 15 minutes, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
  3. Preheat the broiler. Toss the remaining Fontina with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and sprinkle on the sandwiches. Broil the sandwiches 3 inches from the heat for about 1 minute, until the cheese is melted. Transfer to plates; serve.