Tag: Cheese

Weekend Finds 5:3:14: Cinco De Mayo Edition

I’ll be working on Monday night, but this edition of weekend finds is for those of you that will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo! I plan on celebrating with my roommates over the weekend, though there certainly won’t be any margarita cupcakes or jello shots (because, seriously?). You can celebrate this weekend, too, if lots of margaritas are more your style…

1. Rhubarb Margaritas

Weekend Finds: Cinco de Mayo Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Try these rhubarb margaritas with homemade rhubarb simple syrup!

Yes, more rhubarb. I had a hard time deciding if this weekend finds would be rhubarb themed or Cinco de Mayo themed, and lucky for me, this find fits both. This time, the rhubarbh is combined with tequila, so it’s about as great as it could ever be. I would DIY some rhubarb simple syrup for this recipe instead of trekking out to your nearest Ikea…

2. Tacos Galore

Weekend Finds: Cinco de Mayo Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
This slideshow from Bon Appetit has so many different kinds of tacos, it’s hard to choose which ones to make.

If you know you’re going to make tacos (and really, why wouldn’t you?), check out this slideshow from Bon Appetit to help you decide what exactly to fill them with. I think making a few of these fillings is a perfect way of giving folks some options.

3. Corn Tortillas

Weekend Finds: Cinco de Mayo Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Beautiful fresh tortillas. There’s nothing like them.

If you haven’t made your own tortillas before, I definitely recommend it. The softness and freshness cannot be beat by anything in a little ziploc bag you buy at the store. Try this recipe from Happy Yolks on Food52. It only calls for 3 ingredients, one of which is water, and you don’t even need a tortilla press.

4. Guacamole with Spring Peas

Weekend Finds: Cinco de Mayo Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Guacamole: springtime edition with the addition of peas and ginger.

I love that this guacamole recipe brings fresh peas into the mix, letting us celebrate springtime a little bit too. The ginger sounds nice too, like it would make for a very refreshing snack. Bring on the Juanita’s. And don’t forget this guac saving trick.

5. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos

Weekend Finds: Cinco de Mayo Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
These crispy tacos look delicious with all the cheese and beans oozing out.

These black been tacos look delicious, and I love the way you fry up the tortillas to get them nice and crunchy. Imagine these bad boys all piled on a plate, piping hot and ready to enjoy with some Coronas. Yum.

6. Fish Tacos

Weekend Finds: Cinco de Mayo Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
These fish tacos are some of my favorite tacos I’ve ever made.

If you are going to make more traditional tacos, this recipe for fish tacos will always be one of my absolute favorites.

7. Mango Michelada

Weekend Finds: Cinco de Mayo Edition // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
I love the color of this mango michelada.

If margaritas aren’t quite your style and you’d prefer something a little more laid back, try this mango michelada. I bet you could simplify it even farther by replacing the mango purée with mango juice, too.

Gougères

Gougères // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Gougères // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gougères // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gougères // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I recently had a serious gougères craving. Which is not a normal craving. Normal people crave… I don’t know what. But my guess is not cheesy little dough puffs. Right?

Also, I’ve discovered I have a lot of cookbooks. I knew this. But when I was looking for a recipe to use for these gougères, I realized I have a few cookbooks that I have never even opened. Mostly these are ones I got for free. For example, I have about 5 old James Beard cookbooks. How many different recipes for one thing can the man really have? I think I need to do a little research and then pick one or two to keep. Because also, my cookbook bookshelf is officially overflowing. Books are starting to get piled on top of books, so you can’t see what they are, and everything falls out when you pull out your selection. Not good.

I also decided that I want to be the kind of person that writes notes in my cookbooks. In pencil. But still. Rather than attempting to remember what I liked about a recipe or what I did differently or what didn’t work, I should just write myself little notes in the margins. Or be like my Aunt Elise, who has layers of post-its all over her favorite recipes.

So, my February resolutions: clear out some cookbooks, or at least USE the ones I haven’t used yet and if I don’t like them, think about getting rid of them; and make notes in the margins. Totally doable, I think.

Gougères

Ingredients

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese OR 1 cup grated gruyère and ~1/2 cup grated Parmesan
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of dry mustard (optional – I didn’t add this, but wished I had afterwards, as my gougères were missing a bit of bite to them)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine water, milk, butter, salt, and pepper; Cook until the butter melts. Add the flour in one batch, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula. The mixture will become this strange, shiny, kind of gelatinous mixture, and will pull away from the sides of the saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. It will seem, for a short while after you add each egg, that it won’t incorporate. I promise it will. There will be a magical moment where all of a sudden, the egg and the flour decide they like each other and want to be the best of friends. After adding all of the eggs, the dough should be nice and glossy. Add 1 cup of the grated Gruyère, dry mustard if you are using, and cayenne, and combine thoroughly.

Butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment or silpat, and drop the batter on by tablespoon. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining grated Gruyère or Parmesan. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before indulging, as they’re full of steam and can be very hot.

Restaurant review: Remedy Wine Bar

Remedy Wine Bar // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Remedy Wine Bar // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

And we’re back! I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. Mine was filled with family and (of course) a huge amount of delicious food. Just what Thanksgiving is supposed to be. Now it’s time to get back to blogging!

A few weeks ago I was invited to a blogger event at Remedy Wine Bar, a lovely little spot in NW Portland. First of all, let me just say, is there anything that can be bad about good wine, good food, and good company? No, no there is not. But this spot definitely has something about it. Located on the north Park Blocks, the wine bar is chic and modern, but still cozy, with big windows overlooking the park. The building used to be an old pharmacy (that’s where the name comes from), and it definitely feels like a piece of old Portland, updated to meld with the ever hip Pearl. I can perfectly picture coming here for a glass of wine during First Thursday.

It was a Tuesday night, which is flight night at Remedy – each week they feature 2 different flights of 3 wines each on a different theme. The week I went, it was might Malbecs. Among the bloggers, there were definitely those that knew their wines. I was not one of them. As far as wine goes, I get my motto from a professor of mine and her husband: “If you don’t like it, don’t drink it.” I can never remember which wines are supposed to taste like what, and I can’t tell a fancy bottle from a cheap one. So when I like a wine, I drink it; When I really like a wine, I’ll maybe write down the name or snap a picture of the label.

Remedy Wine Bar // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Remedy Wine Bar // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The folks at Remedy were right there to help us learn about the wines as well as to talk with us about what we were tasting. Josh, who brought us our wine, even got out a big old book to show us maps of the regions our wine was from. Manager Dan Beekley and owner Michael Madigan were incredibly friendly, talking to us about their vision for the wine bar, what they love, what they do. They seem to have an incredible knowledge of wine, and it shows on their menu. Everything we tasted was delicious, and I can’t wait to go back to try more. It was just an all around incredible evening.

In addition to some fantastic wine (my favorite that we tried was the Bodegas Azul Reserva 2009, which you can find on their regular wine by the glass menu), we also got to sample some delicious bites by chef Ingrid Chen. The obvious group favorites were the cheesy bits – like a cheez-it but for grown ups, dusted in blue cheese powder from Rogue Creamery – and the tarte flambe with delicata squash, bacon lardons, and caramelized onions. We also enjoyed the white bean dip (one of the creamiest versions I’ve ever had), the warm olives, some marcona almonds, and a cheese plate and charcuterie plate.

If you’re in the neighborhood, looking for a soothing, beautiful spot to enjoy a glass of wine with some delicious snacks, this is most definitely the place to do it.

Lasagna, of the cheesiest variety

Lasagna // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Lasagna // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Lasagna // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Sometimes you need to make those meals that yield a million servings so you can eat it all week. The week before the CD release concert we had for Jonah’s new album was absolutely one of those weeks.

We had a few guests staying with us, band practice almost every night, and I had work on the nights I wasn’t rehearsing. It was a busy time, to say the least. So the night of our Kickstarter team meeting, to discuss merch and social media, etc. I made this lasagna, so that we could eat it throughout the week. It was high up on the list of best lasagna I’ve ever made. What made it so good? The homemade sauce, the homemade noodles, and some absurd amounts of cheese.

I’ll admit, however, that this uses a lot of dishes, and has a fair amount of ingredients. But when you’ve got some time and you’re making a meal that will carry you through the week, it’s worth it. I like to think of it as an entire week’s worth of mess (and cleanup).

Cheesy Meat Lasagna

Note: I used a 13×9 inch baking dish, and filled it right up to the brim. I put a baking sheet underneath it to catch any overflow (which was minimal), but still, if you’ve got a slightly bigger baking dish, it might be a good idea to use it.

Ingredients

Noodles

3 eggs
2 cups flour

Meat Sauce

Olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper, other Italian seasoning (parsley, basil, oregano, to your liking)
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 28 oz can crushed (or diced) San Marzano tomatoes (yes, these are expensive, but I found it to be terribly worth it, and they weren’t THAT MUCH more than the other brands)

Ricotta Filling

3 cups ricotta
2 eggs
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 cup freshly grated parmesan
2-3 cups (preferably freshly) grated mozzarella

Instructions

Noodles

In the bowl of an electric mixer, or using a bowl and whisk, or a bowl and fork, mix up the eggs and flour into a dough. If it’s too wet, add more flour 1 tsp at a time. If it’s too dry, add water 1 tsp at a time. Dump the dough out onto floured surface, knead a few times, and wrap in plastic (or put in a bowl and cover with dishtowel) and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Meat Sauce

In a large pot, heat 2 Tbl olive oil over medium heat, and add the onion and carrot. Cook until starting to soften. Add the garlic, beef, and Italian sausage, and cook until the meat has browned. Add 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, and whatever other spices you’d like (I did 1/2 tsp dried basil and 1/2 tsp dried parsley). Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes to the pot (no need to drain them!) and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and cover, letting it simmer for ~30 minutes.

Ricotta Filling

While your dough is resting and your sauce is simmering you can whip up the ricotta filling. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pepper, and 1/2 cup of both the grated mozzarella and parmesan. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your lasagna.

Roll out your pasta into sheets for lasagna and set aside, covering so that the noodles don’t dry out. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and lightly coat your baking dish with oil. Spread ~1 cup sauce in the bottom of the dish. Here’s how you’re going to do this: noodles, ricotta, sauce, cheese. That’s your order. On top of the sauce in the bottom of the dish, arrange a layer of noodles; spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top, then 1 cup sauce, and sprinkle with cheese (a mixture of the mozzarella and parmesan). Do that twice (now we’ve got sauce, noodles, ricotta, sauce, cheese, noodles, ricotta, sauce, cheese), and in the next layer, leave out the cheese (so just noodles, ricotta, sauce). Put another layer of noodles on top, spread the rest of the sauce on top, and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Phew! If you don’t feel like following my layering instructions, just do whatever you want. It’ll probably work, and you’ve probably eaten enough lasagna in your life to figure out how it works.

Bake the lasagna for 30-40 minutes, rotating it half way through, until the cheese on top is melted and turning golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool/set for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!