Gluttonous and Good For You!

Gluttonous and Good For You!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Nutella Panna Cotta


This week's blog them is chocolate Valentine's desserts.  My mind automatically goes to chocolate, then to panna cotta, then figuring out how I can incorporate Nutella into it.  Normal progression of a normal person's thought pattern, right?  I wanted to keep to the traditional panna cotta recipe, using sour cream to finish it, giving it a delicate brightness.  I figured that could serve Nutella well.  And it does.  This recipe turned out to be very simplistic in its measurements and minimal in it ingredients (no added sugar needed!), even though it looks super-fancy.  Just the plain Nutella panna cotta is plain brown.  I put a rich Nutella and butter "chocolate button" on top with a sprinkling of chopped toasted hazelnuts for aesthetic and to add textural and flavor intensity.  How I finished it reminds me of an old childhood favorite candy, Toffifany.  (I found an old 1978 Toffifany commercial, "not too good for YOU!")  Hopefully, this dessert works well to win the heart of a Valentine you have in mind.

Nutella Panna Cotta
Ingredients:
  • gelatin, unflavored powder, 1 teaspoon
  • water, cold, 1 tablespoon
  • cream, 1 cup
  • Nutella, 1/2 cup (and additional 1/2 cup reserved)
  • salt, pinch
  • vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
  • sour cream, 4 ounces (1/2 cup)
  • butter, 2 tablespoons
  • hazelnuts, 2 tablespoons, toasted and chopped
Directions:
  1. In a very small bowl, measure out the gelatin.  Then slowly and gently put the cold water on top.  Allow to sit and "bloom" the gelatin for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium/smallish saucepan, measure and dump in 1 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of Nutella.  Over low/medium heat, gently whisk continuously.  Once it heats up over about 5 minutes, it should become homogenous.  At this point, turn of the heat.  Do not allow to boil.  Add in the bloomed gelatin and whisk until it dissolves completely.  Add in the pinch of salt and vanilla.  Stir well.
  3.  In a separate medium mixing bowl, measure in the 1/2 cup sour cream.  Slowly add in the heated Nutella/cream/gelatin mixture while whisking well.  Make sure it is smooth and no tiny lumps of sour cream.  Pour and divide into 4 tiny bowls (I like the kids IKEA set), ramekins, tea cups, etc...  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  4. Over very low heat in a tiny sauce pan, melt together the 1/2 cup Nutella with the 2 tablespoons butter with constant stirring.  Once it gets liquid, cut the heat or it will get weird and clumpy.  Immediately spoon 1-2 teaspoons of this molten goodness on the set up panna cottas and gently spread into a chocolate button.  Repeat for all 4 portions.  Place a tiny pile of the chopped, toasted hazelnuts on top of the chocolate button.  Serve immediately, or keep in fridge until ready for serving.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!
-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Comfort Food Feast. Check out The FN Dish.  This week we're focusing on chocolate Valentine's desserts.  On twitter, we're tagging #ComfortFoodFeast.  Here are other awesome desserts to woo your Valentine with:  

Feed Me Phoebe: Dark Chocolate Vegan Truffles with Matcha Green Tea
Creative Culinary: 
Chocolate Pecan Tart from Chef François Payard
The Hungry Traveler: 
French Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart
Dishing with Divya: 
Rock Truffles
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Easy Chocolate Fudge - 2 Minute Microwave Recipe
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Devil Dog Cupcakes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Homemade Chocolate Sauce
Red or Green: 
Chocolate Spice Bark With Sea Salt
The Mom 100: 
Chocolate Banana Cake
Taste with the Eyes: 
Chocolate Pots de Creme with Passion Fruit
Healthy Eats: 
5 Chocolatey Reasons to Stay in This Valentine's Day
Swing Eats: 
Nutella Panna Cotta
FN Dish: 
5 Chocolatey Treats Better Than a Box of Store-Bought Truffles

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Trick or Treat, Spaghetti or Squash? Both!



Happy Halloween!  Trick or treating is really the best part of Halloween.  However, as adults we find other means besides candy to indulge.  Well, at least we have the best intentions.  Looking at the seasonal produce, I saw so much squash.  And spaghetti squash has a special quality about it.  Once it's cooked, it breaks down into a spaghetti-like texture.  I know it's an old trick, but it doesn't get old.  It's easy, nutritious, takes on whatever flavor you give it, and everyone can enjoy it.  I am partial to spaghetti, with lots of oregano.  And spaghetti squash goes even better than pasta with oregano.  Please take a look at an old blog post of mine about the chemistry of oregano and another great recipe: Spaghetti. With Lots of Oregano.  Use a strong oregano that you can smell - the stronger, the better.  I kept it really simple: roasted the spaghetti squash for best flavor and to ensure even cooking; tossed it with really good extra virgin olive oil, salt, white pepper, and  strong oregano.  To add a little Halloween flavor to it, sprinkle some black salt on top.  Yes, this is a luxurious option.  But why not?

Halloween Spaghetti Squash
Ingredients:
  • spaghetti squash, 1 large
  • olive oil, 1/4 cup total at most
  • salt, garlic salt or powder, and white pepper to taste
  • oregano to taste, about 1 teaspoon
  • black salt for garnish
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut squash in half length-wise (the most difficult - be careful!) and scoop out the seeds and center goop with a large metal spoon.  Drizzle olive oil and generously salt the cut side/inside part of the squash.  Place face side down onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Cook at 425F for about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. 
  3. Now the fun part: using a fork, grate and fluff up the spaghetti squash.  Place the grated squash into a large mixing bowl.  Toss it with salt, garlic (salt, powder, or granulated), and white pepper to taste.  Add in the oregano and toss until uniformly mixed.  Split into 4 servings and sprinkle black salt on top.
Enjoy and may your Halloween weekend be not too frightening.

-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The season them is anything Halloween related.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other Halloween inspired recipes to try out:   

The Hungry Traveler: Halloween Spiderweb Brownies
Devour: 
6 Halloween Movie and Food Pairings for a Spooktacular Party
Creative Culinary: 
The Black Goblin – Tequila, Coffee Liqueur and Cream
TasteBook: 
Pan de Muertos (Day of the Dead Bread)
Domesticate Me: 
Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treat Bites
Elephants and the Coconut Trees:
 Pumpkin Brain Pasta Halloween Special
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Curried Pumpkin & Apple Chowder
Red or Green: 
Pasta with Cilantro, Jalapeno & Pinenuts
Swing Eats: 
Trick or Treat, Spaghetti or Squash? Both!
Feed Me Phoebe: 
Blood Orange White Sangria with Pomegranate
Taste with the Eyes: 
Pumpkin Risotto Stuffed with Burrata, Fried Sage
Healthy Eats: 
5 Ways to Host a Healthier Halloween Party
Weelicious: 
Deviled Egg Spiders

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


So continues Food Network's Fall Fest with squash. The first thing to come to my mind, as I sure most people's minds, is butternut squash soup. With good reason. It's comforting, warm, hearty, rich, and not that difficult to make. Most soups start with a mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery), which creates the aromatic foundation. Then add in cooked tender squash, stock, seasonings, and puree. That simple. Well, I find the most difficult aspect is the handling of the butternut squash. Every time I break one down, I curse at myself for not buying a cheap work horse cleaver from the Asian market. Hence I prefer to roast the butternut squash split in the oven. Then it works it easy to scoop out and add into the stock pan. Roasting adds a great depth of flavor from the Maillard reaction: the browning reaction (think meats, caramel, etc) that breaks down proteins and carbohydrates into small tasty flavor molecules. I add the mirepoix on the baking sheet to roast with the squash, too. That tends to get more browning, which means more flavor. Make up a big batch. It keeps well in the fridge and reheats well. Add a little flair by garnishing using your creativity. I prefer sour cream and chives. Other garnish ideas: roasted pumpkin seeds, celery leaves, thyme leaves, a sprinkle of chipotle or ancho chili powder....

Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash (or 1 package of cubed butternut squash)
1 medium onion, chopped medium
3 stalks celery, chopped medium
3 carrots, peeled, cut medium dice
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
dash nutmeg
salt and (white) pepper, to taste
1 quart chicken broth, not all will be used (or vegetable) 
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)
1/4 cup half and half 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise, remove the seeds with a spoon, coat with oil and salt, place cut side down on a jelly roll pan. Add the mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots) on the jelly roll pan with remaining oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes. Stirring the mirepoix a couple of times. Done when the squash is fork tender and some of the mirepoix is lightly browned.

In a large sauce pan or small stock pot, add about 1 cup of stock and heat on medium. Add in the roasted mirepoix to the stock while the squash cools off enough to handle. With a spoon, remove the skin from the squash, cut up in smaller chunks, and add into the stock. Top off with more stock until the level of stock is about 1/2 inch above the vegetables. Allow to simmer for a few minutes, add in thyme or seasonings of your choice. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion/stick blender. If you do not have one, blend in a blender or food processor in batches as needed. During this, add in the half and half. Taste and adjust seasonings per your palette.

Notes:
This makes up to 2 quarts of soup. Adjust this recipe for your preference. I view a recipe like this as a guideline. Freezes well, too.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure


This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest, highlighting the produce that is in season. Check out The FN Dish. The seasonal produce we are focusing on this week is squash. Come over to Twitter where we are discussing it on #FallFest. Here are other delicious features on squash:

The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Beef Curry
Creative Culinary: 
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash, Potato and Roasted Pepper Soup
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Butternut-Apple-Kale Panzanella Salad
Swing Eats: 
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Taste with the Eyes: 
Acorn Squash and Korean Pear Salad, Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Butternut Squash & Eggplant Ratatouille
Red or Green: 
Butternut Squash & Chipotle Frittata
The Mom 100: 
Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Chicken Enchilada Cups
Healthy Eats: 
From Soup to Stir-Fry: 6 Healthy Uses for In-Season Squash
FN Dish: 
7 Days of In-Season Squash

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle


Pumpkin is such a quintessential autumn ingredient and has become ubiquitous.  "Panna cotta" is Italian for cooked cream and it is generally a simmered cream, sugar, and gelatin mixture that is eaten after chilling in the fridge and set up.  It is one of my favorite desserts - so luxurious.  I took the standard recipe and replaced half the cream with pumpkin pulp, used brown sugar instead of white sugar, and added in traditional autumn spices.  I thought a brittle would compliment the texture well, and using raw pumpkin seeds/pepitas works perfectly.  Yes, the brittle is a "technical" component, meaning that for best results, use precision: weighing the ingredients, monitoring temperature, and working fast.  Just read through the ingredients and instructions twice before trying it.  You can do it, I have confidence in you.  Notes: glucose can be found at any baking/candy supply store and most craft stores; allow 4 hours to set; makes 6 servings.


Ingredients:

Pumpkin Panna Cotta
  • gelatin: 2 teaspoons (6.5g)
  • cold water: 2 tablespoons (30g)
  • heavy cream: 1 1/2 cups (345g)
  • pumpkin, canned: 1 1/2 cups (370g)
  • brown sugar: 3/4 cup (150g)
  • vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon (7g)
  • cinnamon: 1 teaspoon (3g)
  • salt: 3/4 teaspoon (3g)
  • nutmeg, ginger, allspice: 1/4 teaspoon (0.5g) each
  • sour cream: 8 ounces (220g)

Pepitas (Pumpkin Seed) Brittle

  • sugar: 90g
  • glucose/corn syrup: 60g
  • water: 38g
  • pepitas, raw: 70g
  • butter: 6g
  • vanilla: 3g
  • salt: 0.6g
  • baking soda: 1.0g

Directions:

Pumpkin Panna Cotta
  1. In a small bowl, put in the gelatin and add the cold water on top of it, covering it completely.  Allow to bloom for 10-15 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices (but not the vanilla yet since it's more heat sensitive).  Whisk over medium-low heat with constant stirring.  Once warm, add in the hydrated gelatin and whisk with constant stirring until dissolved.  Heat until not even simmering, about 10-15 minutes total time, 2-3 minutes once the gelatin has been added.  Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a large bowl, add in the sour cream at once.  To that, slowly whisk in the pumpkin/cream mixture.  Constantly whisk until completely mixed.  Evenly divide into 6 ramekins/custard cups.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set up in fridge for at least 4 hours.
Pepitas (Pumpkin Seed) Brittle
  1. Lightly oil a marble slab or silpat or parchment on a cookie sheet.
  2. Combine the sugar, glucose, and water in a small, heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar and make a syrup.  Boil the syrup until the temperature reaches 250F.
  3. Add in the raw pepitas and butter.  Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 312F.  Stir constantly and gently to prevent burning on the bottom.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the vanilla, salt, and baking soda.  Use cation, as the hot syrup will foam up for a moment.
  5. Pour the mixture onto the slab you prepared.  Using an oiled spatula, gently and very quickly spread out the mixture as evenly as possible.  Immediately, lightly salt the top. 
  6. Using a large, strong knife or cleaver, carefully cut the brittle into strips, squares, whatever shape you would like.
  7. Cool completely and store in airtight containers.
-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are pumpkins.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other delicious pumpkin recipes to try out:  


The Hungry Traveler: Pumpkin Brown Butter Madeleines
Bacon and Souffle: 
Pumpkin Lasagna with Sausage, Kale and Parmesan
Homemade Delish: 
Warm Pumpkin Salad
Creative Culinary: 
Pumpkin Butter
The Lemon Bowl: 
20 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Weelicious: 
Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Virtually Homemade: 
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
TasteBook: 
Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Dishin & Dishes: 
Homemade Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
Red or Green: 
Spiced Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bars
The Heritage Cook: 
Roasted Pumpkin, Potato, and Sage (Gluten-Free)
Swing Eats: 
Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Taste with the Eyes: 
Sultry Pumpkin Soup - Southwest Flavors, Dressed To Kill
FN Dish: 
8 Ways to Eat Pumpkin All Day Long

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Grilled Peaches with Greek Yogurt, Honey, Lime Zest, and Vanilla


I have a small old-school Weber grill I haven't used in.... months.  Grilled peaches - something I've always wanted to make and I knew now was the time.  The assortment of peaches at the farmer's markets right now are amazing.  Grilling the peaches caramelize the sugars and make them even more juicy.  There are plenty of recipes of grilled peaches with either ricotta or mascarpone cheese.  To be honest, I never know which one to use.  I know I always have Greek yogurt in my fridge.  I'm sure you do, too.  I added a little bit of honey, vanilla, and a little vanilla to compliment the grilled peach.  (Note: if you don't have a grill, you can pan-sear the peach for caramelization.)

Ingredients:
2 peaches, just ripe
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
2 tablespoons honey of your choice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (preferably paste)
zest of 1 lime (reserve some for garnish)

Directions:
Preheat grill.  Cut each peach length-wise and remove pit.  Grill on each side until slightly charred, about 10 minutes.  In the meantime, mix the honey, vanilla, and lime zest into the yogurt and mix well.  Taste and adjust accordingly.  Spoon on top of each grilled halved peach.  Serve and enjoy immediately.  Makes 4 servings.

-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Summer Soiree. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are peaches.  On twitter, we're tagging #SummerSoiree. Here are other delicious peachy recipes to try out: 

Virtually Homemade: Mixed Summer Fruit Baked Oatmeal
Homemade Delish: 
Bite-Sized Peach Panini
The Heritage Cook: 
Grilled Chicken with Peach Chimichurri Sauce (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious: 
Peach and Ricotta Crostini
Creative Culinary: 
Fresh Peach and Bourbon Upside Down Cake
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Chocolate Dipped Peaches with Sea Salt
Red or Green: 
Summer Peach & Tomato Salad
The Mom 100: 
Sour Cream Peach Cobbler
Domesticate Me: 
Peach Crumble Smoothie
Daisy at Home: 
Creamy Peach Popsicles
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Six Ways to Savor Peaches
Healthy Eats: 
7 Healthy Ways to Use Peaches in Their Prime
Taste with the Eyes: 
Grilled Peach Salad, Over-The-Top Maple Bourbon Dressing
Swing Eats: 
Grilled Peaches with Greek Yogurt, Honey, Lime Zest, and Vanilla
Dishin and Dishes: 
Bacon Wrapped Grilled Peaches with Goat Cheese and Aged Balsamic
FN Dish: 
8 Juicy Ways to Eat Peaches Before They're Gone

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tiny Insalata Caprese



I appreciate simplicity in food. I see it as a testament to how good ingredients truly are. I went to the farmer's market the other day and found a perfectly imperfect tiny basket of tiny tomatoes of varying shades of red and yellow. The tiny fresh mozzarella cheese balls happen to be the same size of the tomatoes. I find that ratio is key for a successful insalata caprese and using tiny tomatoes and tiny mozzarella works perfectly.

Ingredients:
1 basket of tiny tomatoes
1 container of tiny fresh mozzarella balls
4-6 basil leaves cut into very thin strips (chiffonaded)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Wash and dry the tomatoes. Cut in half. If there are large ones, cut into fourths. Place in a medium/large bowl. Drain the fresh mozzarella balls. Cut those in half and add to the tomatoes. Add in the cut basil and olive oil. Gently toss until somewhat combined. Give a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy.

-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Summer Soiree. Check out The FN Dish. The summer produce we're focusing on here are tomatoes. On twitter, we're tagging #SummerSoiree. Here are other delicious tomato recipes to try out:

The Heritage Cook: Rice and Cheese Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes (Gluten-Free)
The Lemon Bowl: 
5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef & Eggplant
Homemade Delish: 
Sweet Tomato Jam
Healthy Eats: 
7 Seasonal Uses for Fresh Tomatoes
Creative Culinary: 
Warm Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta 
Weelicious: 
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Dishin & Dishes: 
Cobb Salad with Homemade Roasted Onion Vinaigrette
Domesticate Me: 
10 Totally Awesome Tomato Recipes
Swing Eats: 
Tiny Insalata Caprese
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Tomato and Swiss Tart
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Tomato Pickle
Taste with the Eyes: 
Quiche with a Black Quinoa Crust, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach, Goat Cheese
Red or Green: 
Summer Pasta With No-Cook Tomato Sauce
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Heirloom Tomato & Crouton Casserole (Scalloped Tomatoes)
The Mom 100: 
Chopped Salad with Chicken, Tomatoes and Lemon Thyme Dressing
FN Dish: 
10 Ways to Be a Tomato Whisperer

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Green Grapes, Drunken Goat Cheese, and Jalapenos on a Toothpick


Trust me.  Really.  I know, I know this sounds totally bizarre....  These perfect little green gems are super easy to make, crisp and refreshing, and pack a little bit of heat.  These make the perfect unexpected appetizer everyone is amazed that they like.  Give it a go!  (Biggest chemist secret: how to clean your hands properly after cutting a jalapeno....  Rub you hands with any kind of oil, followed by a good lathered wash with soap.  It works!  It removes all the capsicum that is oil soluble (like dissolves like) and that could burn your eyes when you inadvertently rub your eyes with hot pepper fingers.  Ouch.)  

Ingredients:
green grapes
drunken goat cheese
jalapeno peppers
toothpicks

Directions:
Wash and dry the grapes.  Cut the rind off of the drunken goat cheese and cut into uniform small cubes, slightly small than the grapes.  Prepare the jalapeno by cutting the top off, cutting in half lengthwise, coring out the seeds and ribs, and cutting into uniform square pieces to match the cheese.  Remember the trick of rubbing your hands and fingers with oil before washing up to remove all the heat after handling peppers.

Now it's a matter of assembling.  On each toothpick, put on one grape, cube of cheese, followed by the square of jalapeno pepper.  Place on a platter for serving.  These apps keep well in the fridge, covered under plastic wrap for a couple of days.  You pick how much or how little you want to make.

-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Summer Soiree. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are no-cook dishes.  On twitter, we're tagging #SummerSoiree. Here are other delicious recipes to try out that will help you keep cool in the hot weather:

Feed Me Phoebe: 5 Farmer's Market Summer Salad Recipes
Healthy Eats: 
Ovenless Entertaining
Dishin & Dishes: 
Coral Snake Salsa (Apricot Tomatillo)
The Mom 100: 
Simple Raspberry Fool
Domesticate Me: 
Arugula Salad with Shaved Zucchini, Pistachios and Parmesan
Taste with the Eyes: 
Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges
Homemade Delish: 
Delicious Ceviche
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich with Basil-Garlic Scape Pesto
Red or Green: 
Gott's Gazpacho
Swing Eats: 
Green Grapes, Drunken Goat Cheese, and Jalapenos on a Toothpick
Bacon and Souffle: 
Scallop Ceviche
FN Dish: 
A Complete Menu of No-Cook Recipes for the Whole Day