"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Friday, May 21, 2010

Apples Stuffed With Goat Cheese And Leeks

Yield: 4 servings.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 large leeks (4 to 5 ounces each), white part only, well-rinsed and diced
4 large apples (about 8 ounces each), cored
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
1 dry bay leaf
Fine sea salt
7 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream or creme fraiche
Freshly ground black pepper
Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 tablespoon butter and leeks in a large, heavy saucepan; cook, shaking the pan and stirring, until the leeks begin to turn transparent. Add 1 tablespoon water, stir and cover the pan. Continue cooking until the leeks are tender, about 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary to prevent the leeks from sticking to the pan.

Meanwhile, remove a strip of skin from the circumference of each apple (to prevent apples from bursting during baking); place the apples in a baking dish. Pour the wine around the apples, put the bay leaf in the wine and lightly salt the interior of each apple.

When the leeks are cooked, transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add goat cheese and cream; stir until thoroughly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently stuff each apple with an equal amount of the goat-cheese-and-leek mixture, pressing it into the cavity and mounding it on top. Top each apple with 1/4 of the remaining tablespoon of butter.

Bake apples in the center of the oven until tender and the goat cheese is dark golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven; transfer apple to serving plates, garnish with parsley and serve immediately as an appetizer or a side dish.

PER SERVING: calories; g fat ( percent calories from fat); g saturated fat; mg cholesterol; g protein; g carbohydrate; g sugar; g fiber; mg sodium; mg calcium.

Adapted from "On Rue Tatin," by Susan Herrmann Loomis (Broadway Books, 2001).

Goat Cheese with Bell Pepper Dressing

Recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine, March 1996. This appetizer has wonderful flavor and great presentation. Everyone raves about this appetizer.

4 tablespoons olive oil , divided
1/4 cup diced orange bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Coarse salt to taste
8 ounces chilled goat cheese (such as Montrachet), cut into 8 slices
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts*
Baguette bread slices, toasted

* To toast pine nuts, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the nuts in a shallow pan and roast, stirring often for 2 minutes. Do not overcook, for pine nuts burn easily.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add diced bell peppers and sauté 5 minutes or until tender; reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic, rosemary, coriander, fennel, pepper, thyme, bay leaf, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Simmer mixture 5 minutes, to blend flavors. Remove from heat. Season to taste with coarse salt. Let cool to room temperature.

Arrange goat cheese on platter; spoon prepared dressing over the top of them. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve with baguette slices.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bacon-Onion Cheesecake


2/3 cup stone-ground wheat cracker crumbs
1/3 cup walnuts -- finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter -- softened
8 slices bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
24 ounces cream cheese -- softened
3 eggs -- beaten
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
parsley sprig
shredded carrot
carrot curl

Combine cracker crumbs, walnuts and butter until well blended. Press crumbs evenly on bottom of springform pan. Bake in pre-heated 350 degrees F oven 10 minutes. Cool on rack.

Fry bacon until crisp, then crumble. Saute onion in drippings until tender and set aside.

Beat cream cheese. Gradually add eggs, garlic powder and cayenne. Beat until smooth. Stir in bacon and onions. Spoon mixture into pan. Spread level. Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until cheesecake is almost set and cracks on top. Cool completely. Store in refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.

Just before serving at room temperature, remove sides of pan. Garnish with circle of shredded carrot to edge. Place carrot curl in center with sprig of parsley. Serve with crackers or carrot slices.

Baked Potatoes With Brie

4 medium hot, baked Idaho or russet potatoes
2 ounces brie cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon minced chives or green onion tops, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice 1/2-inch lengthwise off each baked potato. Taking care not to pierce the skin, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell. In a medium-size bowl, mash the potato flesh until smooth. Add the Brie, butter, egg yolk, chives, salt, pepper and nutmeg, if desired; mix well. Stuff each potato shell with the mixture, mounding it in the center; transfer to a shallow baking dish.

At this point the potatoes can be stored. Refrigerate, tightly covered for up to 24 hours.

Bake the potatoes, uncovered, until the cheese has melted and the stuffing is heated through, 12 to 15 minutes. Put under the broiler five inches from the flame, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve as a side dish with steak, roasts, poultry or broiled fish.

Yield: 4 servings