Showing posts with label Parmesan Cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parmesan Cheese. Show all posts

Friday, September 18, 2015

Parmesan Shortbread for #bookclubweek

Okay, shameless plug: it's
coming out on October 6th.
You can preorder it at the
usual places.
by Sheila Connolly

In the real world, we’re in the thick of the apple harvest (which runs from August to November). In fictional Granford, Massachusetts, it’s December, and Meg and Seth are finally getting married. Having your main characters get married is always a tricky decision for a writer, so it’s a great subject for book club discussions.

I say “finally,” but that’s a question for book clubs: should protagonists get married? When? Is there a “too soon,” or a “too late?” Does it change the dynamic of the relationship? Or is it just a natural evolution for a couple who are good together?

These days it seem like more and more people aren’t even bothering about official ceremonies, even when the kids come along. No, nothing happening on that front with Meg and Seth, but I never say never—and there’s another question: do children belong in a story where one or both parents are busy chasing criminals around, thereby putting themselves and their children at risk? It certainly adds a level of complication, if you have young children to think about. It’s bad enough with pets, because you have to remember in the book to feed and walk them. You can’t just go off sleuthing for a day or two without making arrangements.

People say that planning a wedding is a major challenge. There’s even an entire industry built around it. No surprise, Meg and Seth are having trouble getting anything set up. First they’re too busy with their respective professions (growing apples and renovating houses), and then there’s this pesky crime to solve. The professions they can’t exactly walk away from, but the crime-solving is optional. Why should a character choose to solve a crime rather than deal with his/her own tasks? Aren’t there law-enforcement officials around somewhere? Not all officers of the law are arrogant idiots, are they?

Some brides-to-be (or their mothers) fantasize about a fancy church event with hundreds of people watching, and six or ten attendants in tacky dresses, and a five-foot-tall cake, and a bill that’s enough for a down payment on a modest house. Meg and Seth just want something simple with all their friends and family around them, and some good food (since there’s a nice restaurant in Granford, that one’s not a problem). Are they wrong? Will they look back and regret passing up the Big Do later?

The “case” they’re looking at is something that happened in Granford twenty-five years earlier. Seth was a child, and Meg wasn’t even in Granford then. Why should they get involved in solving it? Why do they think there’s any information available now that might not have been considered back then? (Remember, those were the days before CSI.)

Sometimes when a case is solved, there may be a resolution, but not always a pleasing one. Do readers want a “happy” ending? A “just” one?
Is a wedding a “happy” ending?


I’m pretty sure that book club members like to snack while they talk (as long as they aren’t leaving crumbs and greasy fingerprints in the books!). Some of you may recognize this recipe from earlier this year, as Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies. I fell in love with the recipe because it's so easy. Since then I’ve been experimenting with alternatives using different flavorings and mini-chips, and they’ve all been good. (They may come back at Christmas—chocolate cookies, with white chocolate chips or mint chips, plain cookies with toffee chips or butterscotch chips…the list goes on.)

But for Book Club Week, I thought I’d give you something savory (what? No chocolate?), with a bit of cheese. If you look online you’ll find a variety of parmesan sticks, but none with this kind of buttery dough. So here’s the cookie recipe minus the sugar, but plus parmesan, and a little red pepper for kick.


Parmesan Shortbread

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, 
   at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (not the stuff in a jar!)
A dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Warning: the batter has to chill for at least two hours before you cut out the cookies, so either allow plenty of time, or chill overnight.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium for about 3 minutes or until smooth.

Sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture until it just disappears into the butter mixture (do not overbeat, or the bars will be tough!).



Add the Parmesan cheese and mix just enough to combine (if you use the mixer, keep it on low).



(I love this part!) Put the dough into a one-gallon ziploc bag (that zips!). On a flat surface, roll the dough out until it reaches all the edges and corners of the bag (this was the fun part! No muss, no fuss, and you know exactly what size you’re getting). It should be about 1/4 inch thick.



Chill the dough until firm (I put it on a cookie sheet in the fridge), at least 2 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. (Depending on what size and shape cookies you’re making, you may not need both. They don't spread while cooking.)

Take the dough out of the fridge and cut the bag away. You may cut the nice, neat squares of dough with a knife or use cookie cutters (don’t choose really complicated ones, because the dough can be a little fragile). 

Ready to bake...
Place the cut shapes on the parchment paper. If you like, sprinkle some more grated cheese on top. Bake in the preheated oven about 18-20 minutes, turning the cookie sheets once to make sure they cook evenly. You don’t want them to get brown, so watch them carefully toward the end.

...and baked!
Cool completely—and enjoy!

Enjoy!

www.sheilaconnolly.com



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Avocado with baked eggs, #recipe from @DarylWoodGerber


From Daryl aka Avery:

Want a great and easy breakfast, brunch or lunch idea?

I read about this "new" food combo and saw a picture and I couldn't believe it.

We all know how important Omega-3s are for us, right? Salmon, fish oil, etc. Well, I didn't know that avocados and eggs had Omega-3s. Guess I'm not keeping up with all the right information. Probably because I'm writing and not reading "fad" things. The Paleo Diet is a big fad right now, too, and eating things that are natural and not "man-made" is important.  (Psst. That still won't get me to give my up sugar and an occasional glass of wine.  Just saying.)

Anyway, I saw this idea for a recipe in the newspaper and then followed it up online, with PopSugar recipe. You can bake an egg in the hollow of an avocado and double-down on getting your Omega-3s. Now, I adore eggs and I adore avocados, which are in season right now. They're perfect every time I go to the store and test one. Not overripe, not bright green and underripe. Perfect.

So I tried the recipe. It tasted great, but it didn't turn as as pretty as the picture I'd seen online, so I tried it again.  This time I got it right. It's all about making enough space in the avocado to hold the whole egg, not just the yolk.

I have not seen the recipe with Parmesan cheese added, but yes, I'm the Cheese Lady, so I go the extra mile, and guess what?  Delicious!!!!

It's this easy:

AVOCADOS AND BAKED EGGS

Ingredients:

(SERVES 1 or 2)

Avocado, split in half and left in shell
2 eggs
Salt, pepper
Your favorite spice mixture (I like bouquet garni; basil, rosemary, thyme)
Parmesan cheese, if desired

Directions:

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Halve the avocado and remove the pit.  Scoop out about 2 full tablespoons of the avocado so the whole egg will fit in the center. (I didn't the first time - result below - and there wasn't enough egg white space)  Note: EAT what you hollow out. That's the fun part!



Okay, now tuck lose little avocados into a tight pan. I didn't have one tight enough so I wrapped them in foil and nestled them together. NOW, pour in the egg, slowly, trying to get all of it in the hollow. If yo have to, nudge the yolk to the center.



Sprinkle salt, pepper, and spices on top.

Bake the avocados in the oven for 15 minutes, until the white is completely set.


Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.

Serve hot.



******************

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Zucchini yumminess, #recipe from @DarylWoodGerber


From Daryl aka Avery:

Zucchini. I love it. It's so versatile. It works as a veggie. It goes into pastas and risottos. It goes into breads and muffins. It's good raw. It's tasty in a salad.

And it's so healthy for you, too.

It is low calorie. No saturated fats, no cholesterol. A good source of dietary fiber. It is also a good source of potassium and is an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Zucchini is rich in vitamin A and has moderate amounts of C and B. What's not to love!

This easy-peasy recipe is a go-to for me pretty much every week. All you need is a firm hand when chopping (or a fun chopping tool where you can pound out your aggressions).

Now if only I could figure out how to grow zucchini without it taking over my entire garden. I remember as a girl we would grow zucchini. We had a lot of acreage, and it was good thing we did. Every zucchini plant we ever had was about 6 feet wide and produced huge - no, gargantuan-sized - zucchini.  Personally, when eating as a veggie and not using in breads and such, I prefer the smaller sized zucchini. Much more flavorful, not as much pulp.

Enjoy!

PS  Figure 1 zucchini per person. I made this recipe for 2. Do your math when it comes to the butter, Parmesan, etc.

Zucchini Yumminess

(serves 2)

2 zucchini, chopped fine
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:


Chop zucchini fine and set aside. Heat butter and salt in a sauté pan on medium-high.



Add the chopped zucchini. Cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add in the Parmesan cheese. Stir for 1-2 minutes more.





Remove from heat. Set on plates and decorate with sour cream and nutmeg.

'


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******************

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Check out our website.

AS GOUDA AS DEAD
order here





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so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! 










Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Broasted Potatoes, easy recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber




Easy, savory. I like those two words. So does Jenna, the protagonist in my Cookbook Nook mysteries.   She's not a cook yet, but she hopes to be. As she learns to cook, she wants easy! I am now finding out that a lot of my fans like easy, too. Just a few steps with lots of flavor.

If you are one of those fans, this is the recipe for you: broasted potatoes. Great comfort food. 

Now, honestly, (and I'm embarrassed to share, but...) the other day I was thinking the term was broached potatoes. I didn't find a recipe in my Gourmet (go-to) cookbook. I couldn't find anything on the Internet. I found a whole lot of different things that were broached. Nope, not a pin. Not jewelry.  That's brooch. LOL.   In metalworking, a broach (tool) is used to remove metal. In sailing, a sailboat broaches when it suddenly heads into the wind, due to when the sail (or rudder) can't control the change. (I'm paraphrasing.) A broach can be a tool to tap casks. And in cooking, it can be a spit (tool) to roast meat.

And let's not forget that we broach a sensitive subject.

But we do not broach potatoes. Dumb me! We broast them.  Per Merriam Webster, broast means: to broil and roast. These potatoes are not broiled, but nearly! I found a recipe on the Internet and tweaked it to my satisfaction (more cheese).

They are delish and so easy! My husband's new favorite side dish, forever!!






Broasted Potatoes

Serves 2

2 potatoes, peels on or off
2 tablespoons oil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
dash of white or black pepper

Choose whether you like skins on or off. I like them on. Cut potatoes in wedges. Combine oil and dry ingredients in a pie tin. Roll the wedges in the gooey mixture. Place the wedges on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, until tender with pricked with a fork.

Serve with sour cream.

This is a picture of the clear pie plate with ingredients swirled together, sitting
on top of my black stove. It's not a deep fryer.  :)







Just in case you want these thinner, which my husband LOVED...cut them thinner and then cook them less, about 25-30 minutes, same temperature.





******************

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AS GOUDA AS DEAD
order here





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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cheese Popovers & Cheese Shop Book #Giveaway from @AveryAames


We've been having a special giveaway this past week for Thanksgiving. 

We now have over 2000 Facebook followers and a horde of regular viewers of our blog. 

To thank you all, we have been giving away a book a day, through tonight. Winners will be announced on Thanksgiving! Check back to see if you won!



I'm giving away a copy of your choice of  Cheese Shop Mysteries to celebrate the upcoming launch of AS GOUDA AS DEAD, which debuts February! Say cheese! If you already have all of the Cheese Shop Mysteries,  I'll even give you a choice of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries,  including STIRRING THE PLOT.

Leave a comment with your email so you can be entered to win!


* * *

And now, to savor the season, I'm offering a tasty treat.  One of my specialties on Thanksgiving. Cheese Popovers. For all you gluten-free people who cannot eat the stuffing, this is a great alternative. I've provided both versions of the recipe for regular eaters and celiacs! 

They pop up beautifully and satisfy any palate.

And they're so easy to make. I did purchase a special popover pan for them, but you can use a muffin pan and the yield will be 12 instead of 6. 


Cheese Popovers
Gluten-free OR Regular recipe
Read ahead to see the difference
Ingredients:


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided

¼ cup milk (I've used both 1% and 2% milk)
¼ cup water
2 large eggs
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour 
[To make regular popovers; substitute out the GF flour for regular; omit the xanthan gum]
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried thyme

6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese (you'll need more if using cupcake pan)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide 2 tablespoons melted butter among the wells of a 6-cup popover pan, brushing each to coat. Place popover pan in oven to preheat. [If you're using regular cupcake pan, use a little more melted butter so they are all well lubed.]




In large bowl, whisk together the milk, water, and eggs. Gradually whisk in remaining tablespoon melted butter.

Add the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, salt, pepper, garlic salt, rosemary, and thyme. [As noted in the ingredients, to make regular popovers; substitute out the GF flour for regular; omit the xanthan gum]





Whisk until batter well combined. Carefully remove hot popover pan from the oven and ladel the batter evenly among the popover cups. (They’ll be about half full.)


Sprink each with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.


Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and golden. Do not open the oven during baking time. Remove popovers from pan. Using a small knife, make a small slit in the side of each popover to release the steam. That will keep them from deflating. [Baking time if you're using cupcake pan is much shorter; 15-18 minutes.]

Serve immediately.





Remember, leave a comment and your email to enter to win a book!
Tell me what you most enjoy on the Thanksgiving table!


******************

Friend Daryl on Facebook
Friend Avery on Facebook
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Follow Avery on Twitter
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Check out our website.


STIRRING THE PLOT is available for order: order here.

AS GOUDA AS DEAD, February 2015, available for
preorder here.


If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!