March 17, 2011

Green Grub

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Hope you're enjoying green beer or green food today... or better yet, BOTH!  I celebrated early with a small luncheon at a friend's house over the weekend.  It's always nice to get with the girls.   We each made something green.  Everything was tasty and festive!   I made the appy's so I'm sharing my recipes below along with pics of the other dishes.  I feel the Spinach Ricotta Rolls were pretty to look at more than they were tasty.  They were good but very different flavor and texture than I expected.  Check out my additional notes on how to make it better.   My friend E also mentioned the filling could be a good sauce over bowtie pasta.  That would be a quick and tasty dinner.   Good idea E!

The menu consisted of:
Appetizer - Spinach Ricotta Rolls
                   Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart

Main - Spinach Salad
            Ham, Egg & Pea Casserole

Dessert - Key Lime Pie

Spinach Ricotta Rolls by Chrystal
Spinach Ricotta Rolls
1/2 c pistachios (measurement done with shells on)
6 Lasagna Noodles
olive oil
1 tbsp butter, unsalted
1 bundle of fresh spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 c ricotta cheese
1/4 c parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.   Lay each noodle flat on paper towel or aluminum foil to cool and dry.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add oil and butter.   When butter is melted, add spinach and saute for about 6-8 minutes or until wilted.  Add garlic and salt.  Cook for another 2 minutes.  Set aside to let cool.

Grind pistachios in a coffee bean grinder or food processor until finely chopped.  Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Using a blender or food processor, pulse the cooked spinach 2-4 times. In a large bowl, stir together the spinach, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt.

With a rubber spatula, spread about 2 tablespoons of the spinach filling onto each noodle.  With a sharp knife, slice noodle in half lengthwise.  (it's easier to do this before rolling in my opinion) Gently roll up each noodle tightly.  Sprinkle about a teaspoon or so of the ground pistachios.  Repeat for each noodle.   From here you can eat as a cold appetizer or reheat in oven for about 5-7 minutes or 15 sec in microwave and enjoy.  I recommend eating them warm.  **You can also make a casserole out of it. After rolling each noodle, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese in a small casserole dish and bake until cheese is melted.  I may try that version next. 

Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart by Chrystal
Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart
1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
4 oz goat cheese
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1 tbsp butter
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin (white and light green parts only)
2 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Place asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1-2 pinches of salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Add sliced green onions and garlic.   Cook about 1 minute until softened.  Set aside to cool.

On a light floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out the pastry sheet to be about a 12-13 inch square.  Transfer parchment and pastry to a baking sheet.    Bake for about 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned.   Then spread goat cheese onto warm dough or place chunks if needed all over the dough in the center, leaving about an inch on the edge.   Place the asparagus spears side by side working from the center out.  Fold the edges of dough over onto the asparagus.   (I forgot to do this and added the asparagus AFTER I had already folded the dough. Mine looks sloppy in my opinion. But to each their own.)  Sprinkle the green onions and garlic over the top.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown all over.   Slice into squares with a pizza cutter.  Enjoy!

Spinach Salad by E

Ham, Egg & Pea Casserole by Carole
Key Lime Pie by Carole

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