September 13, 2009

Spinach Spuds

Another amazingly tasty recipe from Food Network Magazine. I used pancetta instead of ham. Leave out the meat if you wish to have a filling vegetarian dish.

4 large russet potatoes
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for brushing
2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 c milk
1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
3 oz. pancetta, chopped
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
kosher salt
4 oz gruyere or gouda cheese, finely shredded (about 1 1/4 cups) (I used smoke gouda)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the potatoes with a fork; microwave for 15 minutes. Remove and brush with olive oil; transfer to the oven rack and bake until fully tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until browned. Remove from pan into a bowl and leave fat from pancetta in pan. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook until slightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 6 minutes. Stir in the spinach and pancetta and cook until the green swilt and the mixture is about as this as sour cream, 3-4 more minutes. Season with the cayenne and nutmeg and add salt to taste.

Slice the cooked potatoes lenghwise down the middle (but not all the way through); press in on the ends to open the slit. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon oil into each potato; fluff the flesh with a fork and season with salt. Divide the spinach mixture among the potatoes and top with the shredded cheese while still hot.

September 3, 2009

Artichoke Au Gratin Salad

For those of you who cook or hell if you just love food, you should definitely subscribe to the Food Network Magazine. Your family, friends and taste buds will appreciate it! There are so many recipes and pretty pictures along with coupons and interesting tidbits about food. My first issue was for August/September and I found this simple recipe inside by Sandra Lee (Semi-Homemade) and it is an appetizer. I made it for a light dinner and it was perfect!

4 tbsp plain or seasoned breadcrumbs
1-12oz jar or can of artichoke bottoms, drained and patted dry
1 1/2 tsp grated parmesan cheese
1/4 lb soft sheep's milk cheese or brie, rind removed, sliced
1 c mixed salad greens
2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
Extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9-inch square baking dish with olive oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs. Place the artichokes cup-side up on the breadcrumbs and brush or drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs and the parmesan.

Bake for 15 minutes; remove from the oven and preheat the broiler. Divide the sheep's milk cheese or brie among the artichokes; sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs. Broil until cheese starts to bubble and the topping browns, 3-4 minutes. Toss the salad greens with the balsamic vinaigrette, pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Serve the artichokes on top of the greens.