Sunday, August 16, 2009

Easy Cheese Danish

I've made these twice and I'm in love with them. I'm on a diet and I'm in love with Cheese Danish.... jeepers!

Thanks a lot Ina Garten. Thanks for making sure the weight I lost during the week comes back on the weekend. Thanks for making me crave these crazy things all the bloody time. Thanks for making me think about different variations and ways that they could look prettier.... Thanks a lot!

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (Note: you could easily double the amount of pastry and have enough filling)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip!

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash.

Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes. (I don't do this -- but I do refrigerate the filling for a while before using -- last night I made the filling; this morning I made the danish).

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm. Or cold. It really doesn't matter.

Not My Grandmother's Pot Roast

Thank goodness! My Grandmother watched my brother and I during the summer when we were in elementary school. Every Tuesday, we had pot roast. It was greasy and disintegrated when you tried to cut it. And did I mention that we had this every Tuesday. It's something that I don't normally crave (to say the least). That is, until I saw Paula Deen make it the other day. The sauce is made with cream of mushroom soup and a bit of red wine which made it almost smell like Beef Burgundy but it didn't have that strong of a wine taste. I did throw some potatoes in the pot when there was about an hour left to cook.

From Paula Deen (with some changes)

1 (3 to 4-pound) boneless chuck roast
1 teaspoon House Seasoning, (I used Lawry's Season Salt and Garlic Powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion wedges
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup (I used two - we're saucey people)
1/4 cup red wine (doubled the wine)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules (didn't use)
3/4 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub seasoning into the roast on both sides. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the roast, searing it on both sides. Place the meat in a roaster pan (I used a big dutch oven). Add onions and garlic to skillet for 1 to 2 minutes to absorb leftover roast juice. Place into roaster pan with meat and bay leaves. Note: I did everything in the dutch oven.

Combine the mushroom soup, wine, Worcestershire sauce and beef bouillon into a bowl. Pour over the roast. Add water.

Cover pan with lid and bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until tender.

Remove and discard the bay leaves.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes

I finally have some food worth talking about. Seems that lately nothing was really that good, or very interesting or just repeat food. Also trying to diet makes it hard -- it's hard enough trying to think of food that meet the calories, fat, carb restrictions!

A big hit last night -- let me tell you!! I served these with a grilled t-bone steak (for me) and blackened salmon (for Mark). The original recipe came from, with of course some changes of my own.

Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes

Tomatoes, cut in half (I used 2 big vine tomatoes)
1 cup of ricotta cheese
2-3 tbsp asiago cheese, grated
10-15 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Italian style panko crumbs

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the insides. Mix the rest of the ingredients except for the panko crumbs. Stuff the cheese mixture in the tomatoes and top with the crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake approximately 30 minutes -- but I think it would depend on the size of the tomato, too.