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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun playing a sort of cooking puzzle: the kind of game where I look at everything in my fridge and try to come up with interesting and delicious ideas which are not necessarily based on any pre-existing recipes (at least that I’ve seen). In this particular case, the first time I made this appetizer I had beets and goat’s cheese, but no hazelnuts. I have since then recreated this appetizer with hazelnuts and it gives it even more unique flair.

Beets are one of my favourite root vegetables, and in the fall I often crave their rich colour and taste. The great thing about them is they can be stored for an extremely long period of time.

My first time making this was for a work-related dinner party, which was a lot of fun. I happily discovered they were a success! But while they’re quite wonderful, they are a bit finicky too.

Ingredients – appetizers for 6

-4 medium red beets
-300g goat’s cheese (plain, herb-crusted, or pepper-crusted)
-1 Tbsp 35% cream
-1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
-1 Tbsp herbes de provence
-1 tsp cracked pepper
-pinch salt
-olive oil

Directions

Trim ends off beets until only 1 inch of the stems remain. Use leaves for something delicious. Wash the beets thoroughly, then boil for 20 minutes whole. Remove from water, and let cool while you prepare the goat cheese mixture.

In a bowl, mix the cream, hazelnuts, herbes de provence, pepper and salt. Add the goat’s cheese and mix into cream mixture using a fork, until everything is well incorporated. Add a small drizzle of olive oil if it is too firm.

Now comes the difficult part: peel the beets, and then create ribbons of beet as wide as possible and as long as possible. Ideally, use a very sharp vegetable peeler on the beets which you’ve cut in half across the centre (not top-to-bottom). If you do not have a sharp vegetable peeler or have a peeler that removes too thin a strip, simply use a sharp knife and cut around the beet until you have basically unwound the beet. Spread the beet ribbon out, and slather with the goat’s cheese mix. Roll it up neatly, and then place on a baking dish greased with a bit of olive oil. Do this with as much of the beets as possible (once you get too close to the middle though it’s too difficult and so you can just eat that part). You should end up with around 10-14 rolls or more. Drizzle a drop of olive oil over top of each roll, and bake at 400F for 10 minutes, until the rolls sizzle a bit.

If you have a really sharp knife, slice the rolls in 2 or 3 and place them each on round sesame melba toast. If you are unable to slice them, simply serve them as-is with a fork and knife on a small appetizer plate.

Enjoy!

-Sitelle

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I would love to find out how and why we get cravings.  They’re such a mystery, and at the same time, so important in driving people’s food habits.  It may be a combination of biological need, psychological drive, environmental stimuli (e.g. advertising), or completely random.  I have no idea – but I do know that I am not the only person to fall victim to these feelings!  I also recognize that some are more able to indulge in their cravings than others, which has begun to make me think about what being able to fulfill cravings might actually mean.

Some days, all I crave is the deliciously comforting combination of cheese and tomatoes.  And those days are particularly dangerous when I walk into a grocery store, as happened a few days ago.  The result: ridiculous amounts of cheese, and the resolve to make cannelloni for dinner.  I sure am happy I actualized my craving, as it resulted in a delicious meal with copious amounts of left-overs to keep me going for the next few days of unexpected snow.

Cannelloni in the making!

Ingredients

-3 garlic cloves, minced, and separated into 2
-2 + 2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 tsp each dried basil, oregano, and parsley
-1/2 tsp dried thyme
-2 cans tomatoes (purée’d or diced are best)
-pinch salt, pepper
-1 leek, minced
-1 large handful each parsley (flat-leaf is best) and basil, chopped
-1 pound ricotta cheese
-1 package strained cottage cheese
-2 eggs, beaten
-1/2 cup grated mozzarella
-1 package cannelloni or lasagna sheet noodles
-1/4 cup parmesan, grated

Directions

In a frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add 1/2 the garlic, the dried herbs, and stir for 2 minutes.  Then add the canned tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Simmer this down for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another frying pan, heat the rest of the olive oil.  Add the minced leek, and let this melt for about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, and then the chopped fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, cottage cheese, 1/2 the mozzarella and 1/2 the parmesan, the eggs.  Mix, and then add the leek mixture, and mix again.

Then, either pipe the mix into the cannelloni noodles, or if you like assembly like me, spoon it/pipe a line onto one end of a lasagna noodle (cut them in half), and then roll it up.  Place the cannelloni in an oven dish that has been oiled with olive oil.  Continue to use up all the filling in the rest of the noodles, and then cover it all with tomato sauce generously.  The noodles soak up a lot of the sauce.  Cover the top with the rest of the cheese.  Bake at 375F for 30 minutes, until the top is golden crispy and the noodles are cooked.

-Sitelle

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