Marinated Flank with Garden Veggies

Is your garden as prolific as mine? Tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini…oh summer!

This recipe serves 2, but you can easily double or triple the recipe.

Marinated Flank with Garden Veggies – 2 servings
2 cups Merlot (or other dry red wine)IMG_0166
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
1 cup mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup loosely packed basil
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large garlic clove
1 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch thick
1 medium yellow squash, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch thick
1 lb flank steak
1/4 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine wine, peppercorns, fennel and bay leaf into a saucepan and bring to a boil until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Allow mixture to cool completely. Place steak in a gallon size Ziploc bag, add cooled wine mixture and refrigerate for 4 hours. Let the steak stand at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Combine cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes while preparing the rest of the recipe.

Preheat your grill to high.

In your handy blender or food processor (basically whatever you use to make pesto) – combine basil, pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Pulse until smooth, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the sliced zucchini and squash in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper.

Season the steak with chile powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add steak to the grill, and grill about 8 minutes on each side (times varies on your preference). Let the steak stand for 10 minutes while you grill the zucchini and squash, about 4 minutes per side.

Toss the zucchini and squash with the basil mixture, and divide among two plates. Divide balsamic tomatoes and serve over squash and zucchini. Cut the steak into thin slices, cutting across the grain, and place over the vegetables.

Enjoy with the “leftover” merlot!

Bon Appetit! Happy Cooking!

Funfetti Sugar Cookies

So I’ll admit, we’re having a bit of a funfetti craze over here and we won’t apologize for it!

You will make the dough ahead of time, and refrigerate for 2 hours, so be sure to plan ahead. As for the sprinkles, I used nonpareils this time, but you can jimmies in the same amount.

Funfetti Sugar Cookies – about 20 cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup nonpareils (about 6 ounces)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and almond extracts, and beat on medium until thoroughly combined.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Once combined, add 1/4 cup sprinkles, and incorporate.

Put the remaining 1/2 cup sprinkles in a bowl. Scoop up 2 tablespoons dough and roll it into a ball. Dip the ball into the bowl of sprinkles to cover lightly and then place the ball a parchment lined large baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and sprinkles and chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the chilled dough balls rearrange the dough balls, leaving about 2 inches of space between them. (If you don’t have enough space, put the remainder on a plate and return to the fridge until you are ready to bake that batch.)

Bake until the cookies have spread and are just beginning to brown around the edges, but are mostly pale and soft, about 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

You can store the cookies for up to 4 days in an airtight container.

Happy Cooking! Bon Appetit!

Roasted Veggie Lasagne

It’s so easy to assemble a lasagne the day before you have company coming into town. And a veggie lasagne is sure to please everyone, especially if you serve it with a bottle of wine and really good crusty bread!

As for the marinara, I usually have some homemade in the freezer, but it’s Spring, and we ate it all (don’t judge!). We did however get Costco’s brand of marinara try to try out – it was excellent, and you only need 1 jar for the recipe.

Roasted Veggie Lasagne – 8 servings
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, sliced lengthwise about 1/4-inch thick
3/4 pound zucchini, unpeeled, sliced lengthwise about 1/4-inch thick
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 (9 sheets) ounces oven-ready lasagna noodles
16 ounces fresh whole-milk ricotta
10 ounces Boursin garlic-and-herb cheese, at room temperature
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 1/2 cups (about 40 ounces) marinara
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 3 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Arrange the eggplant and zucchini in single layers on prepared sheet pans. Brush veggies with the olive oil on both sides, you should use all of the oil. Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes, and roast for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 350 degrees F (to bake lasagne immediately).

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the ricotta, Boursin , eggs, basil, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, salt and pepper, and mix on low.

Spread 1 cup of marinara in a 9x13x2 inch baking dish. Arrange a third of the vegetables on top, then a layer of the noodles (about 3 sheets), a third of the mozzarella, and a third of the ricotta mixture. Repeat twice, starting with the marinara. Spread the last 1 1/2 cups of marinara on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.

Cover and refrigerate baking dish for up to 1 day, bring to room temp before baking.

Place the dish on a baking sheet (line sheet pan with parchment paper, if you desire). Cover with foil, bake for 50 minutes, remove foil, and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the lasagne is browned and bubbly.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes, cut into 8 pieces and serve.
Happy Cooking! Bon Appetit!

What?! Funfetti Cheesecake

That’s right – you can thank me now for all the flashbacks on your wonderful childhood memories while eating this amazing cheesecake. You will need a 9-inch spring-form, and I would recommend making this the night before because it’s a no-bake cheesecake it will have more time to setup properly. My sister did ask me a question about whether she can make these in muffin pans – heck yes you can, and who doesn’t love mini cheesecakes.

Also, I used Oreo Golden Birthday Cake Cookies, you can use the chocolate if you like, but it won’t have that buttery flavor you get when you eat funfetti. For the cookie crumbs, you will use the whole cookie, so no need to separate the icing, just toss into your food processor and start.

Funfetti Cheesecake – 9-inch cake
For the Crust:
14.3 oz Oreo Golden Birthday Cake Cookies crumbs (about 2 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled
2 tablespoons sprinkles (jimmies)
For the Filling:
24 oz creame cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 tablespoons sprinkles (jimmies)
12 ounces Cool Whip, or homemade sweetened whipped cream

Prepare a 9-inch spring-form pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper, and lightly buttering the bottom and sides.

In a small bowl combine Oreo crumbs, the melted butter and sprinkles. Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch spring-form pan, spreading it 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the side; press flat. Chill crust in freezer for at least 1 hour.

Using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed fitted with a paddle, mix cream cheese, sugar, cake mix, and extracts until well combined. Fold in 8 ounces of Cool Whip and sprinkles.

Pour the filling into the crust, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours or until firm.

Once firm, unclasp the sides of pan, and remove the cheesecake. Garnish with remaining 4 ounces of whipped cream and if desired, additional sprinkles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Happy Cooking! Bon Appetit!

Apple Galette

So easy and fun to make! I know my niece and nephew would have loved arranging the apples and sprinkling on the cinnamon sugar, so this might just be the perfect dessert to have kids help with.

Apple Galette – 8 servings
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flourDSCN1491
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup ice water
4 apples, recommend Arkansas black apples
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and 10 tablespoons butter and process for about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture and process until the pastry just begins to come together, about 10 second. You might still see small pieces of butter in it, that’s fine. Transfer the pastry to a floured work surface, gather it together and pat into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap while you prep the apples. You can make the dough ahead of time, wrap tightly, and refrigerate overnight.

Peel, halve and core the apples and slice them crosswise 1/4 inch thick, I use a mandoline for this part, so just take your time if you are without one. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a circle, about 14 inches, or a rectangle slightly smaller than your baking sheet, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Decoratively arrange the apple slices in concentric circles or in slightly overlapping rows. Drizzle apples with maple syrup, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly and dot with the pieces of butter. Fold the pastry edge up and over the apples to create a 1-inch border.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the galette is nicely browned and the apples are tender. You can serve this straight from the oven or at room temperature.

Happy Cooking! Bon Appetit!

Bûche de Noël

Joyeux Noël y’all! 

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Peanut butter buttercream, vanilla sponge, dark cocoa “paint”, and chocolate ganache.

This is a traditional French cake served at my family Christmas. I included my favorite orange filling for this recipe, but you can use whatever filling you prefer, just be sure the “paint” reflects the flavor you use also.

Bûche de Noël – 10 servings
Ganache:
14 ounces dark chocolate chips (65-70%)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
Cake:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, more for greasing pan
3/4 cup cake flour, plus more for pan
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Paint: 2 tablespoons sugar + 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, or other orange-flavored liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ganache: Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set aside. Bring cream and honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over the chocolate, cover with a plate and let sit for 1 minute. Remove plate,and whisk until smooth and shiny; let cool at room temperature until set and thick, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Cake: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13-inch x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat 2/3 cup sugar and eggs on high speed, about 8 minutes, until mixture falls back in thick ribbons when lifted from the whisk. Fold in cooled butter and flour. Spread batter into an even layer on bottom of prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 10-12 minutes. Working quickly, place a clean kitchen towel that is larger than the baking sheet on a work surface, and dust it liberally with confectioners’ sugar. Invert the cake onto towel; dust with more sugar. While the cake is still hot, starting with a narrow end of the rectangle, immediately roll cake up into a jelly roll, letting the towel roll inside the cake. Let cool to room temperature rolled up, seam side down.
Make the paint: Bring 2 tbsp. sugar, Grand Marnier, and 1 tbsp. water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat; cook until sugar dissolves and set aside to cool.

Filling:
Whip heavy cream until soft peaks, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining ingredients until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream.

Assemble: 
Once cooled, gently unroll and remove towel from cake. Brush the inside with the “paint”; allow to soak in for about 2 minutes. Spread buttercream evenly over cake; re-roll cake and set the roll seam side down on a serving platter. Slice about 3 inches off one end of the cake roll at a 30° angle; cut the other end to make it flat. Spread the flat end of the angled slice with a little buttercream and set the slice on top of the cake roll to create a “stump.” Stir ganache until smooth and, using a small offset spatula, spread ganache over cake, leaving the ends of cake and cut top of the “stump” exposed. Drag the tines of a fork along the ganache, making markings to resemble bark; refrigerate until chilled – serve by slicing into rounds.

Optional decorations: cocoa powder, powdered sugar, meringue mushrooms, candied rosemary, whatever you like!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Cooking! Bon Appetit!

Manti

So I should start off by letting you know my father’s Turkish, and this is as authentic a recipe you will get. I didn’t learn how to make Manti from my father, instead I learned it from my aunts while spending the summer in Turkey, each makes a different version, boiled/sulu or baked/sini. I prefer baked. One of my aunts also doesn’t shape these tiny packages, instead she makes something in similar size to a hand pie – and serves 1 to each guest with the sauces, so feel free to adapt the size (and cooking time) to however your comfortable.

Manti is similar to Italian ravioli, but the yogurt and spicy butter tomato sauce make it the best dish ever. You can also make a large batch, and freeze to use at a later date.

Manti Sini – 4-6 servings
For the dough:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
For the filling:
1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, grated or finely minced
3 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the broth:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pans
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the yogurt sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
Kosher salt
For the tomato butter sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
Aleppo pepper, for garnish

For the dough:
Whisk together the wet ingredients in a bowl, and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, and mix until the dough is smooth, if the dough is still somewhat sticky you can add a little flour. Cover the dough with a tea towel, and set aside.

For the filling:
Combine all the ingredients and mix well. (I divide my meat into 1 teaspoon balls, and 1/2 them when I’m filling the dough).

For the yogurt sauce:
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and garlic and season with salt. Mix well and refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter/oil a baking sheet, and set aside. Using a pasta roller or a rolling pin, in batches roll out the dough until it very thin, dusting the dough with flour as needed. Cut each strip of dough into 1 1/2 inch squares. Place 1/2 teaspoon of meat filling into the center of each square. To form the manti, fold the dough over the filling to form a triangle; press the edges together to seal or pinch the two ends with your fingers to form a canoe-shaped dumpling. Transfer the manti to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and meat filling. Arrange the manti close together in the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the manti with olive oil, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Meanwhile make the broth and tomato sauce. For the broth, in a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat, add the chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the tomato sauce, paste 
and paprika and increase heat to medium. As tomato sauce thickens, add 1/2 of the warm broth mixture, and continue to cook until thickened. Keep warm until ready to serve.

When the manti are golden brown, remove the baking sheet from the oven and ladle in the remaining 1/2 of the broth mixture over the manti, return to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes more, or until most of the broth is absorbed.

Divide the manti among shallow bowls. Top with the tomato sauce, and garlic yogurt sprinkle with Aleppo pepper and serve.

Happy Cooking! Bon Appetit!