Thursday, March 7, 2013

Caesar Salad

2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 whole lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 loaf crusty French or Italian bread
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 head of romaine lettuce

In a blender or food processor mix the mustard, vinegar, worchestershire sauce, garlic and lemon juice together for several seconds until the garlic has broken down.

With the blender on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Scrape down the sides and add the parmesan cheese.  Pulse a few times until completely blended.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cube the bread into 1 inch cubes and put on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and toss around until each bread cube is coated.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

After washing the romaine, chop into 1 inch strips.

To put the salad together, drizzle some of the dressing along the sides of the salad bowl.  Put in the lettuce and drizzle a little over the top.  Toss together with two spoons until everything is evenly coated.  If lettuce is too dry add some more dressing.  The last thing you want to do though is overdress your salad, so add a little at time.  Now toss in the croutons and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese.  Serve and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip*- store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator! It only gets better!

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Chocolate Souffle for Two

Souffles are usually thought to be very difficult things to master.  This souffle is so easy and completely full proof!  It also makes a small batch so you don't need to make such a huge amount!

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Using 1 tablespoon of butter, grease two 8 ounce ramekins.  I didn't have 8-ounce ramekins so I used one 16 ounce ramekin.  Either works fine.  Coat the ramekins with cocoa powder and tap the excess out.

In a large microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of butter in 30 second bursts, stirring in between each burst.  Continue microwaving until melted and smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.

Separate the eggs next.  Do this by cracking your egg and putting the yolks into each half of the egg shell while the whites drip into a bowl below.  Then put your yolks into the mixture that was just microwaved.

In a clean bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar just until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture.  Do not mix roughly as you will deflate the egg whites.  Spoon into the ramekins.  You can cover this with plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Bake for 20 minutes or 30 if using the 16 ounce ramekin.  If coming directly from the refrigerator bake for 5 minutes more than the usual time.

Serve and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip*- When baking try to leave the oven door as closed as possible.  Opening it up a lot releases a lot of heat which will make your baked good cook unevenly. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

One of the simplest, quickest, and most delicious sauces is Vodka Sauce.  Most of the ingredients you probably have in your kitchen already!

4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons butter
3 oz pancetta
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup vodka
1 35 ounce can plum tomatoes
1/4 cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pound short cut pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Putting a lid on it will help it boil faster.  Once it boils, toss in a few tablespoons of salt.  Pour in the pasta.  I used mezzi rigatoni but any short cut is perfectly fine. Follow the box for how long to cook for.  Once cooked, strain the water off and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat up the butter.  Finely chop the garlic and put it into the butter.  Stir around for 2 minutes to heat the garlic, but not brown it.  Chop up the pancetta and put it into the garlic and butter along with the crushed red pepper flakes.  Continue to move all of the ingredients around the pan so nothing burns.

After the pancetta has begun to brown, which should take about 4-5 minutes, pour in the vodka and scrape everything off the bottom of the pan with your spoon.

Allow the alcohol to cook out of the mixture for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile put the tomatoes in a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour this into the pan.  Allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Now you can pour in the cream and parmesan cheese.  Cook everything together for another 5 minutes.

Add in your pasta and toss together for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce completely coats the pasta.  Serve hot and enjoy!

*Justine's Tip*- Cook your pasta 1-2 minutes less than the packaged directions and finish cooking it in your sauce. Pin It Now!