Because the best things in life are simple

Tag: cheese

Antipasti Platter: Mix and Match These 4 Appetizers

Chef Gina Palmacci from Legal Oysteria in Boston created these four antipasti dishes for the Dorm Room Chef video series I shot and produced for the Boston Globe.

I’ve made them at home for special dinner parties. They’d work well for a small cocktail party as well. Think of them as Italian tapas: small plates that are easy to make and very delicious.

You can make one, two, or any combination of these for your platter. I’d suggest using the ingredient list below for your shopping list and then watching the video above to find out what to do. Seeing someone do it is much easier and faster than reading about it.

Antipasti Platter

October 17, 2018

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Ingredients
  • For the Breadsticks Wrapped in Prosciutto:
  • Breadsticks (sesame or whatever you like)
  • Prosciutto di Parma (this is the imported stuff)
  • For the Stuffed Peppadew Peppers:
  • Peppadew peppers (these are small red peppers that come in a jar and are available at most large supermarkets)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • For the Marinated Olives:
  • Olives (get a variety
  • 3 types will do)
  • Rosemary (crushed)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Toasted almonds
  • Fresh juice from an orange
  • Olive oil (optional, use only if olives are dry)
  • For the Tuna Crostini:
  • French bread, sliced
  • Tuna fish (Italian, from a can)
  • Mayo
  • Capers (chopped)
  • Salt, pepper
  • Parsley (chopped)
  • Lemon juice
  • Red onion (chopped and soaked in red wine vinegar)
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the Breadsticks Wrapped in Prosciutto: Take a breadstick and wrap a slice of prosciutto around it. Put them in a glass to serve.
  • Step 2 To make the Stuffed Peppadew Peppers: Cut small pieces of the cheese and put them in the peppers. Serve on a small tray.
  • Step 3 To make the marinated olives: Mix the olives in a bowl. Add all of the ingredients and toss.
  • Step 4 To make the tuna crostini: Toast the bread slices. Sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper on them. Mix all of the other ingredients in a bowl, except for the red onion. Spread this mixture on the toasted bread slices and top with slices of the red onion.

 

The Best French Onion Soup Recipe

The Best French Onion Soup Recipe

French cooking doesn’t have to be complicated, as evidenced by this easy recipe for this classic soup.

I found the recipe in a cookbook I bought in Paris more than 20 years ago.  I got it in a small bookshop across from the Luxembourg Gardens: one of my favorite spots for coffee and a walk.

It’s written by French chef Paul Bocuse and it’s called “French Home Cooking.” It has the best French Onion Soup recipe: one that takes about an hour or less to make.

Don’t worry about making your own beef stock. Just buy your favorite store brand. Although you don’t need individual soup crocks it’s fun to have them and you can probably pick up some cheap at a dollar store or on eBay.

French Onion Soup From A Master Chef

January 30, 2014
: 1 hr
: Easy

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Ingredients
  • Butter (2 ounces)
  • Onions (About two medium, peeled and sliced into circles)
  • Flour (About one ounce)
  • Beef Stock (or bouillon or even water. I’ve never used water but Mr. Bocuse says it works) (About 2 1/2 pints)
  • French Bread (Two slices per serving, toasted)
  • Gruyere Cheese (About 3 1/2 ounces grated)
  • Pepper (To taste)
  • Breadcrumbs (About an ounce)
  • Port (optional) (About 1/4 cup)
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt half of the butter in a large saucepan on top of the stove.
  • Step 2 Add onions, breaking them into rings. Cook until lightly brown or just starting to turn lightly brown.
  • Step 3 Stir in the flour, scraping the bottom of the pan so the flour doesn’t stick.
  • Step 4 When flour starts to turn brown add the beef stock and stir constantly. Cook over moderate heat for about 15 minutes. Stir in (optional) port about half-way through.
  • Step 5 In a soup tureen or in separate french onion soup crocks create two or three layers of the following: bread, cheese, pepper and sliver of butter.
  • Step 6 Add soup. Then top it off with breadcrumbs and more cheese.
  • Step 7 Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese and breadcrumbs have browned. Serve immediately.

(Photo courtesy of Kojach via Flickr.)

 

Parmesan Basket With Risotto or Rice

Parmesan Basket With Risotto or Rice

This is a very special, yet very simple recipe, I got from my brother-in-law Billy Kelley, who spends several months each year in Florence, Italy. He isn’t a cook. He’s an artist who paints in his studio all day and then goes out to eat in some of that city’s best restaurants.

A few years ago he brought me back a small booklet from Trattoria del Carmine which contained several recipes including this one. They filled the parmesan cheese basket with a yellow squash risotto. Here I stuffed it with a plain risotto made with onions and celery. You could also use this risotto or use this recipe as a guide for your own risotto.

You could use a light rice dish too. Just be sensitive not to overpower the crisp tangy taste of the parmesan cup. Be creative. Use your imagination. What else could you fill this with?

Parmesan Basket With Risotto or Rice

March 21, 2012

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Ingredients
  • Imported parmesan cheese. Parmigiano-Reggiano is best. (Don’t skimp here. I once tried using the cheese they sell in a jar at the supermarket and it didn’t work. The cheese would not melt and it made me wonder if it was cheese at all.)
  • Equipment: A nonstick frying pan.
Directions
  • Step 1 Warm up the nonstick frying pan.
  • Step 2 Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of the cheese in a circle in the hot pan.
  • Step 3 Let the cheese melt until it becomes an intense yellow color.
  • Step 4 Detach the sheet of cheese with a spatula and place it flat over a small cup or 2-3-inch ramekin. Poke it down into the cup or ramekin with your index finger to give it a bowl shape.
  • Step 5 Once it cools, remove it from the cup or ramekin. Put it on a plate and fill it with risotto or whatever you decide will work.
Soup and Sandwich Night With Style (Instead of Take-Out)

Soup and Sandwich Night With Style (Instead of Take-Out)

Presentation helps build an appetite.
Presentation helps build an appetite.

So maybe you forgot to go shopping or make a dinner plan. You’ve worked all day and now you have the dreaded task of figuring out what’s for dinner.

You hate to spend money on take-out again: a pizza, subs, chinese food, etc. But you’re pressed for time and what else can you do? Here’s an idea: stop by your local deli or supermarket on the way home and pick up the ingredients for a quick and easy “soup and sandwich” night, only this time take it to a higher level by buying the best ingredients available. They’ll think you’ve been planning this for weeks.

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • Soup (Pick up a couple of cans of your favorite)
  • Salami (1/2 pound of imported genoa salami or “Oldani” if it’s available. My favorite deli in Boston’s North End carries it and it’s better than the imported. Hard to believe, but true.)
  • Cheese (1/4 pound of a soft Pecorino cheese; or fontina)
  • Bread (The best Italian bread you can find. It should have a hard flaky crust and soft middle with lots of holes.)
  • Olives (Get a mixture of the large green, and small black)
  • Shrimp (1/2 pound of the frozen, cooked shrimp.)
  • Cocktail Sauce (1 bottle)
  • Pickles (Cut up some large dill pickles and put in a side dish)
  • Tomatoes (This time of year, the best tomatoes are usually the grape tomatoes. Slice them in half and put in a side dish)
  • Wine (A good red wine)

What I did:

Slice the Italian bread into thick sandwich slices.

Put bread, side dishes of tomatoes and pickles, the salami, and the cheese on a large platter.

Thaw the shrimp and place around the rim of martini glasses.

Put cocktail sauce in a side dish.

Put olives in an olive tray or bowl.

Heat up the soup and serve.

Find more dinner ideas in the Food section.

(Note: If you’d like to print this dinner idea, click on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

Quick Appetizers in a Pinch

Quick Appetizers in a Pinch

(Photo by Katie Hogan)

This is so simple, you’ll probably say it’s ridiculous for me to even write about it. But this is a great solution when you’re rushed for time and you promised the host or hostess last week when they invited you over for a pool party that you’d bring an appetizer.

Three words: Supermarket Deli Bar

Head to the deli bar and start filling up those plastic boxes with what looks good. Here I chose grape leaves, stuffed olives and stuffed cherry peppers. I also saw an interesting rolled-up salami and cheese concoction and grabbed that too.

Next stop: The Cracker Aisle

There I picked up some water crackers and some basil crackers. On the water crackers I put slices of the salami, cheese rollup. And on the basil crackers, I made tiny Caprese salad hors d’oeuvres by placing a slice of fresh mozzarella, a slice of tomato and a slice of fresh basil.

Next: It’s All in the Presentation

Arrange on some nice trays or platters. Cover with saran wrap and have someone hold it carefully in their lap while you drive to your destination.

Everyone out of the pool for some fine snacking.