Monday, March 19, 2012

Open-face leek sandwiches

To go along with my vegetarian theme last week (and to empty out the fridge), I decided to make some open faced leek sandwiches.  I had leek tarts at a friend's a month or so ago, so these kind of followed along with that theme. This was very simple to make, and I found it to be very filling - may have been all the cheese :-)

What you need:
1 leek, sliced thinly
4 thick slices of bread
shredded cheddar - about 75g
slices of Gruyere - enough to cover the top of the bread slices
3 Tbls of vollrahm (cream)
butter or olive oil

Put the butter (or olive oil) in a pan and melt it over medium heat.  Add the sliced leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are slightly soft.  Add the cream and cook another 3-4 minutes.

While the leeks are cooking, slice your bread and put on a baking sheet.  Add a slice of Gruyere to the tops of each of the bread.  Turn the broiler on. Or use a toaster if you have on. 

Add about 3/4 of the shredded cheese and mix well.  Take off the heat

Top the slices of bread with the leek mixture.  Shred the rest of the cheese and add to the top.

Keep in the oven until the cheese has melted and started to brown a bit. Keep in more or less depending on how crispy you want the cheese to be. 


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cordon Bleu

Tonight was my first attempt at making one of the dishes I learned last week in my cooking class.  I didn't have an actual written recipe, so I was very happy with how it turned out. I've never attempted to make this before, nor have I actually ever eaten it before last week.  We used pork, but a lot of other people have used chicken. I may try that in the future as I thought this was rather rich. Good, but rich.

We learned that there are a few important things to do:

1. You should not buy 'cordon bleu' cuts from the freezer section.  You should ask your butcher to cut it for you. Or you can cut your own. It is surprisingly simple to do so. Though I made the mistake of telling the butcher what I was making and he went ahead and cut it for me.  May make it again just to get a chance to do it myself!

2. The ham that you put inside the pork is to prevent the cheese from leaking out any holes in the pork.

3. Emmentaler is a gummy cheese and needs to be combined with another.  I chose Gruyere this time, but in our class we used finely sliced raclette cheese.  Something to remember when you next have raclette. Now there is a use for the leftover cheese!  Oh - he did mention that you must not, under any circumstances, use Cheddar (yes, he knew I was American, and I think he was teasing me, but I think he was also serious).

What you need:

(sorry for the angle - once again using my phone)
Butterflied Pork, number of cuts equal to the number of people being served
2 types of cheeses. I used Gruyere and Emmentaler

2-3 eggs, beaten for dipping
breadcrumbs (if you don't have any, day old bread or crumbled hamburger buns work great).
Peanut oil and butter - half of each for frying
toothpicks for holding the sides together

First, lay a piece of ham over the top of the pork filet. Add each time of cheese.
Fold in half and secure with a toothpick.

Prepare 3 plates. The first with flour to coat the pork so that the egg will stick to it.

The second with the egg.
And the final with the breadcrumbs.  Gently flip over the cordon bleu until it is well coated.

In a frying pan, add the peanut oil and butter and let melt over medium heat.  Add the cordon bleu and let cook for 2-3 minutes and then flip over.  You will need to keep flipping every few minutes to ensure an even cooking on both sides.  I cooked mine for about 15-20 minutes.  Make sure you keep the heat on medium to medium-low or all the cheese will melt before the pork is cooked and run out into your pan.

You can serve this with the stuffed crepes, which I will post next if you wish and a nice side salad.  The two served together though may be a little rich, and the crepes could be served by themselves as well.  Some steamed veggies would also be really good, possibly with a small pasta side. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quesadilla

This will be tonight's dinner.  I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back, and I've liked it so much that I have made it 3 times already.  I found some tortillas at Coop that aren't actually tortillas.  They're thicker.  I think you are supposed to use them for a pizza or a pizza wrap instead. (I know this sounds thick, but they are about half the thickness of pita bread).  Now, for Mexican food, I obviously want a thin tortilla - easier to stuff things in and then roll or fold up, right?!  This isn't what I would consider Mexican, even though it's a quesadilla. It's nice though because you do kind of get the feel that you're eating it, and hubby is happy because I'm not making him eat some form of tacos yet again. Don't get me wrong, he loves Mexican food as well, but I could eat tacos every day (probably - haven't actually tried yet), he would prefer once every 2-3 weeks.

Another benefit to this recipe, is that the ingredients are readily available and aren't going to cost you an arm and a leg like making authentic Tex-Mex would.

Here is the original recipe.

What you need for the dipping sauce:
Lime Juice or 1 lime
Sour Cream, 1 container (1/2 cup)
Mayonnaise, 1 Tbls
Onion Powder, 1/4 tsp

If you want, you can just mix the sour cream and avocado together as well - it is still tasty, but I'd definitely suggest trying the full dip recipe at least once.

For the Quesadilla:
2-4 Tortillas
Goat Cheesee
1-2 bags fresh baby Spinach
1-2 cloves minced Garlic
1-2 chicken breasts (or leave out to make it vegetarian.  Just add more veggies)
Optional: bell pepper

You can make the dip ahead of time and put it in the fridge until you are ready.
Put the avocado in a bowl and mash it up. Add the sour cream and mix well.  I use the entire tub.  Add 1 Tbls of mayonnaise, 1 Tbls of lime juice (or squeeze the juice from a fresh lime) and 1/4 tsp of the onion powder. Mine was a bit chunky, which I liked.  You could always puree it for a smoother look.

If you have leftover chicken, you can shred or dice it.  If not, just cook some up with a bit of olive oil.  Make sure your chicken is ready before you start cooking with the spinach.

I suggest having everything ready to go at this point.  Dice or shred your chicken, slice your goat cheese if you have the kind with the rind on it, or spread some of the smooth goat cheese across half of a tortilla.  Dice up 1 tsp (1-2 cloves) of garlic.  If you have a jar of minced, that is fine as well.

Over medium  heat, add the garlic and spinach with a little olive oil and cook until the spinach is just starting to wilt.  If you cook it for too long, what once looked like more spinach than you could possibly eat, will turn into something the size you would feed your toddler.  If you prefer raw spinach, that would work as well as you are going to grill the quesadilla when assembled.

To assemble the quesadilla, lay it down on a cutting board or plate.  Spread a half (or a quarter) of the spinach mixture - depending on how many you are making - on the bottom.  Add some shredded/diced chicken and then top with some slices of the goat cheese.  Feel free to add other cheeses as well, but I think it is perfect like this.  You could also add sliced bell peppers to the spinach while cooking for some added flavor.  You don't want to go all the way to the edge with the cheese as it will melt and run out of the tortilla.  Not good.  :-)

If you have an indoor grill, then now is the time to use it.  It'll give you a lovely grilled look and it's quicker than using the stove.  If you don't have one, you can, over medium-low heat, in a dry pan, place the quesadilla, folded over.  Put a piece of wax paper on top and another pan. Use either a heavy pan or a pan with a few canned goods inside.  Let cook for about 2 minutes and then flip it over and repeat.  You won't have the grill marks, but you will get a lovely brown color.

Add the dip to a small dish and place on the side of plate.  Cut the quesadilla into quarters.  This would make a  good appetizer for a party, or a full dinner.

Cooking Classes

Last night I went to a restaurant in Thalwil for my first cooking class since I was about 6 where I learned to make Fried Rice. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was definitely a lot of fun.  The owner of the restaurant has a list of some traditional Swiss foods that he will be teaching us to make over the next few months.  This is fantastic as the ingredients should be a lot easier to come by than some of the other recipes I make and find substitutions for.  I am going to attempt to recreate these dishes this weekend if I have the recipes by then, so will post a step by step guide.  For now, here are the pictures of everything  but the Easter cake (hubby ate that too fast) :-)


Spinach and Ricotta filled Crepes

Pork Cordon-Bleu