Monday, June 24, 2013

Chocolate Red Wine Shortbreads

1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 TBS red wine (Cabernet, Zinfandel, Petite Syrah or nice blend)

1 c. cocoa powder

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

In large mixing bowl, combine olive oil, egg, vanilla & red wine & whisk until well blended. Add the cocoa & continue whisking until smooth. Add the powdered sugar in 3 batches, whisking well after each addition to remove all clumps. Add flour, stirring with a spoon (the whisk will just clump up) until dough is well blended & holds its shape. Add a little more wine if dough is too dry.

Spread 2 sheets of plastic wrap on counter; divide dough in half & form into 2 logs about 10 inches by 2 inches. Wrap tightly & place in freezer for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Line large baking sheet with baking parchment.

Remove one dough log from freezer; unwrap & slice into 1/4 inches slices. Place on prepared parchment & bake for 11 minutes until dry. Be careful to not overbake. Remove to wire racks to cool; repeat with remaining log (or keep frozen for up to one month for later use.)

Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

These are perfect after a heavy meal with a cup of coffee or nice glass of red wine.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tuscan Farfelle with Parmesan Peppercorn Sauce

2 TBS olive oil
1.25 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
3 TBS sun-dried tomatoes, not oil-packed, diced

3 TBS flour
1 tsp fresh ground 3 peppercorn blend (black, green & red)
salt to taste
1/2 c. white wine (Sauvingnon Blanc, Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio)
2 c. half & half

1 c. baby spinach, stemmed & sliced into 1/8 inch strips

1 c. fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 c. shredded 5 cheese Italian blend

1 lb Farfelle (bowtie) pasta, cooked according to package directions

Heat olive oil in a Dutch Oven or heavy 3 qt. sauce pan over medium heat; add diced chicken and saute until no longer pink. Add onion & garlic and saute until onion becomes translucent. Add red pepper & sun-dried tomatoes & saute an additional 2 minutes.

Sprinkle flour, pepper & salt over chicken/vegetable mixture; stir to combine. Pour in wine and half & half and bring just to a boil, stirring often. Allow sauce to thicken, stir in spinach, & cook until wilted. Stir in Parmesan & Italian Blend cheeses until well combined & thick. Remove from heat.

Add 1/2 of the cooked pasta cooked pasta to sauce, stirring well to coat. Continue to add pasta until desired ratio of sauce to pasta is reached. (1 lb is too much for my taste, I reserve part of the pasta & add pesto sauce for quick lunch leftovers.)

Serve with additional fresh grated Parmesan.

Crustless Goat Cheese & Asparagus Quiche

5 eggs
1 c. 1% milk
fresh ground pink peppercorns to taste

1 whole wheat tortilla

12 spears of Oven Roasted Asparagus
1/4 c. fresh goat cheese or Feta, crumbled

Preheat oven to 425.

Grease bottom & sides of shallow 8" glass pie plate. Place whole wheat tortilla in bottom of pie plate. Arrange asparagus in spiral pattern on top of tortilla. Scatter cheese evenly over the asparagus.

In large mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs and freshly ground pepper (1/4 - 1/2 tsp, to taste); using whisk or fork, whip until light & frothy.

Gently pour egg mixture over arranged asparagus & cheese using a circular motion.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to 350; bake another 30 minutes, until knife inserted in center tests clean. Remove from oven; allow to set 5 - 10 minutes before serving.