Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm in the Mooda for some Gouda

I’m in the Mooda for some Gouda appetizers
                                                                             Serves around 30 guests                 
OBJ: TCW be able to satisfy her craving for Gouda in an un-entrée-like way

30-40 of your favorite larger sized crackers
½ block of Gouda cheese (around 4 oz), freshly grated
1 large tomato, sliced thin and then quartered
2 C Arugula lettuce
S & P (salt and pepper)

1.      Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
2.      On a large baking sheet covered with foil, lay out all of your crackers about 1 in apart
3.      On top of each cracker, place about 1-2 TBS of arugula (or grab lettuce with thumb and pointer fingers  and put on all you can hold)
4.      On top of arugula, place one piece of tomato
5.      On top of tomato, sprinkle about 2 TBS of Gouda
6.      Sprinkle all crackers with S & P
7.      Place in oven for around 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and a little golden
8.      Transfer to platter and spread the goodiesJ

** As the pictures show, I served this with more Gouda, crackers and some sliced roasted eggplant to round out the platter.**

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chicken Sorrentino

Chicken Sorrentino
 4 servings
OBJ: TCW be able to make her own rendition of her husband’s favorite restaurant dish

2 medium size chicken cutlets, pounded thin, then cut in ½ width wise (so you have 4 thin pieces total)
2 C Italian breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
2 C flour
1 C vegetable oil
1 medium eggplant, sliced into ¼ in rounds
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
½ C parmesan cheese
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can whole plum tomatoes
¼  C extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for eggplant baking sheet
½ small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp dried parsley
¼ dry red wine (I used merlot, but use what you drink)
Salt & Pepper (S & P)

Part 1: Make chunky tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, and chicken cutlets
1.      In a large sauce pot or deep sauté dish, place 2 TBS of olive oil in pan, heat over medium- low flame
2.      Add onions, garlic, parsley flakes, a pinch S & P and let heat through for about 10 minutes, or until onions become translucent
3.      Add whole can of diced tomatoes with the juice, then use hands to tear whole tomatoes into pieces. Add tomatoes to pan and only ½ of the juice from that can
4.      Clean diced tomato can out with red wine and pour into pot/pan
5.      Add S & P ( about 1 tsp each)
6.      Up the flame and bring to boil, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes
7.      Uncover and leave over low flame for about 30-45 minutes, for the sauce to thicken. Stir frequently throughout

1.      Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lay out your eggplant slices on a wire rack, sprinkle with salt and let sweat for about 15 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels
2.      Drizzle about 2 tsp of olive oil on 2 baking sheets and rub around so that the baking sheet is “oiled”
3.      Sprinkle S & P over one side of the eggplant while they are on the wire rack, and then place this side down on the “oiled” sheet. Using a brush, brush an additional 1-2 TBS of olive oil over eggplant slices and sprinkle with S & P
4.      Roast for 20 minutes, turning over ½ way through

Chicken cutlets:
1.      In a large frying sauté pan, heat 1 C of vegetable oil, it should be about ¼ up sides of pan
2.      Create an assembly line with the following in their own shallow dish:  beaten eggs, flour, and bread crumbs. Add additional S & P to each dish
3.      Dip each piece of chicken in flour, dust off excess, then egg, drip to release extra egg, then finally breadcrumbs. Then place chicken in frying pan once oil is hot (sprinkle some breadcrumbs to see if they bubble or place the wooden end of your spoon into oil and if bubbles come up, you’re ready to fry!)
4.      Turn over chicken after 4 -5 minutes, or until golden brown
5.      Let other side brown, transfer to baking dish

Part 2: Assemble Entrée!!!
1.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2.      Place ¾ of the chunky sauce on the bottom of your baking dish (13 x 9 or 9 x 9 would work, depending on size of chicken)
3.      Place chicken cutlets around on top of the sauce, spoon and spread the additional ¼ of sauce over each cutlet
4.      Place 2 slices of roasted eggplant on top of the sauce on each cutlet (it will overlap, its okay)
5.      Sprinkle equal amounts of mozzarella cheese over each cutlet
6.      Sprinkle with equal amounts of parmesan cheese
7.      Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, take foil off for an additional 10 minutes
8.      Serve!

** I served this with pasta tossed with a little olive oil, butter, grated garlic and parmesan cheese. It made for a great accompaniment. Also, the sauce, eggplant and chicken can all be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to assemble.**

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snowy Day Scones

Snowy Day Scones
Makes 8 scones

OBJ: TCW be able to deliciously occupy her time while snow continues to mount outside her window

3 C pancake mix with blueberries ( I used Krusteaz brand), or plain Bisquick should work
¼ C ugar
2 eggs
1 4 ounce unsweetened apple sauce cup or ½ C
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ whole milk
1 C fresh blueberries (frozen would work too)
¼ all purpose flour, for helping to flattened dough
Glaze: adapted from Food Network- Tyler Florence
¼  C fresh lemon juice
1 C sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
½ TBS unsalted butter

1.      Preheat oven to 400 degrees, use parchment paper to line  2 baking sheets
2.      In a large bowl, whisk together the pancake mix and sugar
3.      To that, add the applesauce and vegetable oil. Use a fork or pastry cutter to mix until small crumbs form
4.      In a separate, smaller bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract
5.      Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to incorporate into dough, do not over mix. If too wet, add spoonfuls of pancake mix to thicken it up
6.      Add blueberries and fold in
7.      Place dough on a heavily floured surface and use your hand to flatten it to about ¾ inch thick, it should be about a 12 inch by 6 inch rectangle (or something around that)
8.      Cut one slice down the middle lengthwise, then cut diagonals so that you are left with triangles
9.      Use a spatula to pick up scones (they might still be sticky) and place on prepared baking sheet
10.  Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking time. They should be golden brown when taken out
11.  Let a cool on a wire rack a bit before glazing
12.  For glaze, place lemon juice and sifted confectioners’ sugar in a microwave safe bowl and mix together
13.  Add zest and butter and microwave for about 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth
14.  Drizzle over scones and enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ricotta-topped Penne tossed with Sausage & Tomatoes

Ricotta-topped Penne tossed with Sausage & Tomatoes

OBJ: TCW be able to integrate her red wine into a pasta dish

¾ lb of penne pasta
2 links sweet or spicy sausage, casings removed
¼ C diced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves minced
½  C dry red wine, I used a merlot
4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
½ C whole milk ricotta cheese
¼ C grated parmesan
S & P

1.      Boil  water for pasta, add salt right before you place pasta in
2.      Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, add 2 TBS of olive oil and heat over medium flame
3.      Add sausage and crumble in pan, stir often and cook until you have browned pea-sized pieces
4.      Remove sausage from pan and place on paper towel-lined plate to drain
5.      To same sauté pan, add diced onion and garlic, additional 2 TBS of olive oil, and a pinch of S & P
6.      Lower heat to medium- low and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes
7.      Add wine and up the flame to medium-high, let wine boil and reduce, this will take about 3 minutes
8.      Add can of tomatoes (with their juices) to sauté pan and stir , add pasta to boiling water at this point
9.      Bring tomatoes up to boil and then lower heat, cover pan, and let simmer for 10 minutes
10.  After  ten minutes, take off cover, sprinkle with S & P, add sausage back in and let simmer in the uncovered pan for 2- 3 minutes
11.  Add cooked pasta to sauté pan, stir and toss to incorporate
12.  Dollop the ricotta all around pan and sprinkle with the parmesan. Cover the dish, turn heat up for 20 seconds to let cheeses melt and bring to table. Serve to hungry diners!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trattoria Rustica

Trattoria Rustica
                “I feel as if I’m at Grandma’s house,” were the words I gladly announced upon entering Trattoria Rustica, a small, intimate BYO Italian restaurant in the restaurant laden town of Montclair. Although my words were accurate, what I should have added was “in Tuscany”. Mostly from the décor my initial words were spewed, the smell and visions of other patrons’ meals quickly verified my opinion.
                Although a small restaurant, it surprisingly fits many diners; as was apparent from this visit. I must admit it is nice to see, on a weekday night, in frigid conditions, restaurant kitchens fired up and diners coming out, in layers of course.
                My companions and I started our meal off with the broccoli rabe & sausage and the garlic shrimp appetizers. The broccoli rabe dish was enjoyable, seasoned well and drizzled with olive oil. It was marred though by a touch over cooked sausage and an uneven ratio of broccoli rabe to sausage. However, the leftover appetizer dish of solely broccoli rabe was quickly devoured when paired with their crispy, oven baked focaccia bread. The shrimp were cooked better than the sausage and the presentation was also more impressive. In terms of flavor, it was a sure-fire dish. The spicy herbed olive oil became a blanket over both the shrimp and potato wedges.
                As for entrees, we settled on the pollo saltimbocca, fettuccini and ravioli-of-the-day specials. The pollo saltimbocca came with mashed potatoes and traditional sautéed vegetables. The chicken aspect of the dish was the star here. Each cutlet, pounded thin enough to enjoy both the chicken and coating, was generously layered with roasted eggplant, prosciutto and mozzarella. Dressed in a marsala wine sauce, it was alive with flavor, freshness, and richness. The tomato pieces placed throughout the layered chicken tasted as if picked from the garden that day. The fettuccini special was comprised of the pasta, peppered chicken morsels, and a cream sauce. The dish itself had decent flavor and depth. However, more attention should have been placed on having enough sauce to coat the fettuccini. The raviolis were filled with butternut squash and served over cannellini beans and broccoli rabe. The sweetness of the butternut squash was almost magical; it came through beautifully in this dish. The beans and broccoli rabe forked well with the ravioli due to their simple sauté.
                As a BYO establishment, this restaurant thrives on customers who want a delicious, satisfying meal at a reasonable weeknight cost. The atmosphere allows for guests to linger and take their time to dip bread into olive oil while deciding over their dinner choices. With any menu item, it seems regrets are unlikely and diners will be finishing their plates. Service was attentive and helpful when called upon. Atmosphere and attention to fresh ingredients should keep this place in top rank among this restaurant row of Essex County. Trattoria Rustica can be found at 517 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042.
Total score 19/25
Final Grade: B+

A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5
Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles
Adapted from:

OBJ: TCW be able to finally use up the package of Oreos in her cabinet

1 package regular Oreos
1 8 ounce package of reduced fat cream cheese, softened
2 containers Baker’s brand dipping chocolate

1.      Use your food processer to make crumbs of the oreos
2.      Add cream cheese to the food processer and pulse until blended
3.      Using your hands, make balls about 2 inches across
4.      Place balls in a covered container or on a covered dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night
5.      Melt chocolate according to package directions, dip each ball into chocolate and shake off excess
6.      Lay on wax or parchment paper to harden, place back in refrigerator until ready to serve

** If you want, right after you have dipped truffles into chocolate your can quickly roll in chopped nuts of your choice, shredded coconut, or additional mini-chocolate chips for an added touch!

** I would like to try this recipe with Nutter Butters or Vienna Fingers, I’ll be posting the results of that asap. If you try before me, comment and let me know how they turned outJ

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Flatbread Pizza topped with Gouda, Prosciutto & Arugula

Flatbread Pizza topped with Gouda, Prosciutto & Arugula
Serves 2 for dinner or 4-6 for appetizer

OBJ: TCW be able to use up the leftover Gouda and prosciutto she has from her dinner party in a light and innovative way

1 package (2 flatbreads) of Naan flatbread
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
1 C shredded Gouda, plus ¼ C extra for sprinkling
¼ C thinly sliced tomato placed on paper towels to drain (optional)
6 slices prosciutto
1 C arugula
¼ C grated parmesan
Salt and Pepper (S & P)

1.      Preheat oven to 450 degrees and immediately place pizza stone in oven to heat up
2.      Rub each flatbread with 1-2 TBS of olive oil, depending on size of flatbread
3.      Spread ½ C of Gouda around each flatbread (depending on size of flatbread, you may need less or more, do not mound up cheese though, it should be a thin layer)
4.      Place flatbreads on pizza stones for about 5 minutes for the cheese to bubble and flatbreads to crisp
5.      Take flatbreads out
6.      If using tomatoes, top flatbreads with tomatoes
7.      Lay 3 pieces of prosciutto around each flatbread
8.      Top each flatbread with about ½ C of arugula
9.      Sprinkle an additional 2 TBS of Gouda around each flatbread as well as 2 TBS of parmesan
10.  Sprinkle with S & P (use more pepper though as prosciutto is quite salty), and drizzle each with 1 TBS of olive oil
11.  Place pizzas/flatbreads bake on pizza stone and bake for an additional 4 minutes
12.  Take out of oven, place pizza stone on a large cutting board and serve

** In the Glazier household, we always serve our pizza on the pizza stone. This way it remains hot and the second sliced is always crunchy. **