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Goat Cheese & Mint Bruschetta: the best thing to happen to bread since it was sliced

July 14, 2010 Leave a comment

A delicious, easy summer bruschetta.

Hey there Cocktail Fodder readers! I went to my favorite East Village café, Paradiso, the other day for an iced coffee and ended up having bruschetta with goat cheese, caramelized onions and a side of olives. (I’m admittedly forgetting some of the other key ingredients but this should give you an idea of the goodness.) Once finished, I decided that I should post a recipe for both the bruschetta-lover and bruschetta uninitiated. Now, I’ve had bruschetta before in the past, but never really thought much of it until my recent encounter at Paradiso. I cannot think of a better light and flavorful dish to whip up this summer to impress your own taste buds as well as the others in your presence. Great as a summer appetizer, everyone should have a quick bruschetta recipe up their sleeve. (Kudos to Marisa and epicurious.com!) What’s that you say? You don’t have one? Well then, you’re in luck today!

How does crispy bruschetta with goat cheese, tomatoes and mint sound? Hopefully as good as it does to me.

**SIDE NOTE: Goat cheese is the perfect pairing with a rosé wine — I implore you to get a little goat cheese on your next grocery trip and stop by your local wine shop for a nice, dry rosé.**

Anyway, back to the recipe:

Ingredients:

12 1/2-inch-thick slices of Italian or French bread (Preferably, from about a 3-inch-diameter loaf.)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large garlic clove, halved

6 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Find a baking sheet and put the bread slices on it. Use a brush and spread olive oil on both sides of the bread slices. Bake the bread until they reach a golden hue; about 6 minutes on both sides. Remove the bread and rub the halved garlics on them. Take the plum tomatoes and fresh lemon juice and combine them in a medium-sized bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Up the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the goat cheese over the toast and place the tomatoes on top, dividing equally between slices. Bake the bruschetta for another 8 minutes. Once done, place on a serving platter and garnish with the fresh mint.

Et voilá!

Quick hit wine recommendations: French Rosé, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and any Chenin Blanc.

A Scrumptious Salad Recipe: Caesar Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

July 7, 2010 1 comment

Caesar Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

It’s about time that the Cocktail Fodder crew offered you a simple, quick, and delicious salad to enjoy in the summer months. I’ve made this salad on several occasions and love the flavor sun-dried tomatoes add to it. The original recipe is from Joie Warner’s Caesar Salads: America’s favorite salad. I checked in with my wine boss (and king of wines), Keith of ABC Wine Company, about wine pairings. He reckons that a round white wine with moderate depth would do the trick. It pairs perfectly due to the creaminess of the dressing and the sun-dried tomatoes. The Pecorino from “Wine for Thought” two weeks back would do well with this salad. As would an Orvieto, a white wine from Italy, or even a Chardonnay (unoaked). So keep these pairings in mind and enjoy this quick, simple, and easy recipe.

Until next week, keep eating and sipping.

Ingredients:

1 large romaine lettuce head, rinsed, dried, and broken into bite-size pieces

2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, drained, chopped (I actually prefer tuna but go with whichever floats your boat.)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (Only the best!)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (Store bought lemon juice is fine as well.)

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ cup olive oil

10 large, halved sun-dried tomatoes, drained and diced

½ cup fresh Parmesan Cheese, with extra for plating

1 ½ cup of Croutons (You can make your own, if you’re feeling extra ambitious, but I usually go with store-bought.)

Directions:

Take a medium bowl and whisk the garlic, anchovies/tuna, mustard, lemon juice, and vinegar until well blended. While you are whisking slowly, add the olive oil in a thin stream until the mixture is thickened. Take your chopped sun-dried tomatoes and stir them into the mixture along with the Parmesan cheese. Toss the romaine lettuce in a large salad/mixing bowl with the dressing until thoroughly coated. Add croutons and toss again. Plate with added Parmesan cheese on top to taste.

Bon appétit!

Summer heat calls for a light dish: pesto shrimp pasta with a side of spinach sprinkled with gorgonzola

June 30, 2010 2 comments

Pesto Shrimp Pasta with Spinach

The summer heat is currently oppressive. Some of the tell-tale signs: commuting to work and having your shirt gingerly wet upon arrival, walking lethargically in the streets hoping to see an open fire hydrant to frolic in and desperately waiting to hear the familiar sound of the ice cream truck (NSFW!) so you can grab a soft serve. This type of weather calls for the shoestring chef to offer something light and easy to beat back the heat. Here’s your solution: pesto shrimp pasta with a side of spinach sprinkled with gorgonzola. How does that sound to you?

Pasta is cheap and simple to make, pesto simply makes everything taste better (does anyone disagree?), and shrimp offers us great low calorie protein with solid levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and essential minerals (iron, zinc, copper).  Most importantly, a glass of Grüner Veltliner, which I delve into in today’s “Wine for Thought” post, would pair splendidly with this dish.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound Penne pasta, dry

12 medium-size precooked, peeled shrimp

2 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1 clove garlic

1 cup spinach

1 tomato chopped

1 ½ tbsp pesto

2 tbsp crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Start by boiling the pasta. Put the olive oil in a skillet pan over medium heat and add the shrimp for no more than a minute or two until they are warm. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and place in a bowl to the side. Heat the butter on a skillet and add the garlic until lightly sautéed. Add the spinach and cook on low heat until the spinach is nice and tender. While the spinach is cooking, take the finished pasta and drain it. Add the pesto into the pasta making sure it’s well mixed together. Sprinkle the gorgonzola cheese over the spinach once done. Plate with the pesto penne. There you have it. Cheap. Quick. Easy. Summery.

Regarding wine choices, other than our suggested Grüner, the penne pasta with pesto will pair well with a nice un-oaked Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. If you are feeling adventurous and want to chill a red wine for this meal go with a chilled Gamay Noir. Bon appétit!

Martha Stewart we are not: chicken roll-ups from New Hampshire

June 23, 2010 4 comments

Chicken roll-up. Hearty and within the budget.

Simple recipe #1: Chicken Roll ups

Our first shoestring recipe comes from my friend Allison from New Hampshire. I had the pleasure of having this dish served to me by her mother last summer and made sure to get the recipe soon afterwards. NH Chicken roll-ups is a hearty dish that will have you coming back for seconds. Live free or die.

Ingredients (for 1):

–       1 chicken breast

–       1 packet of frozen spinach

–       Paprika

–       Onion powder

–       Oregano

–       Garlic powder

–       1 can of tomato sauce

–       Muenster cheese

–       Spaghetti

Directions:

Take the chicken breast and place it on a cutting board with wax paper over it. Use the flat side of a meat cleaver to pound the chicken breast thinner. While you cleave the chicken breast, cook the frozen spinach by placing it in water to heat it up. Take the chicken breast and season it with paprika, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder (1/2 to 1 tsp of each, depending on taste). Once done, take the spinach and roll it around the chicken breast. Place the rolled up chicken in an oven-safe bowl or casserole dish and pour a can of tomato sauce in the bowl/dish. Place one or two pieces of Muenster cheese on top and sprinkle more paprika and oregano. Set the oven at 350 degrees and cook the chicken for an hour. Check periodically and once done serve with spaghetti.

* NPR or classical music should accompany you while you cook. Also, wine should be imbibed at all times whenever you are cooking.  I suggest a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to warm the palate.

* The picture above is not an accurate representation of the dish but is rather to give you an idea of what chicken with spinach would look like if based solely on color schemes. (Minus the red of the tomato sauce.) Actual photos of dishes will be included in the following recipe posts. We’re new to all of this!

Enjoy!