Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

We received a very cool holiday gift this year from our favorite couple (son and fiancée): Zingerman's Cheese Club! For those who don't know about Ann Arbor's world famous deli here's a link:

We received our first cheese installment just in time for Christmas Eve. I decided to put together a nice little dinner by the fire which started with Shrimp Ceviche, followed by a tasting of great cheeses and Farm Bread from Zingerman's, as well as olives, stuffed peppers with feta and prociutto, and cornichons (small french pickles). Total yum and happy holidays!

Recipes below for Shrimp Ceviche and cheese selections:

Shrimp Ceviche

Bag of large cooked shrimp, thawed, tails removed, and drained well.
Juice from 4 limes
Juice from 2 large lemons
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 serrano chili, seeds removed and finely minced
1/3 of English cucumber, chopped small
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, small chunks

Cut each shrimp in half, and place in glass or ceramic bowl, add the juices and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Then add the onion, cucumber and pepper and marinate another 1/2 hour.
Right before serving sir in cilantro and avocado

This is a tart dish. If too acidic for your tastes, drain out some the juices before serving and add a bit of olive oil to the mixture.

Cheeses that we enjoyed:

Raw Milk Cave Aged Taleggio
Fontina val d'aosta

Shrimp Ceviche in Martini Glasses


Happy Holidays!

Lazy Comfort Food!

Lately I have been thinking about the stuffed cabbage rolls my mom used to make. However, I'm just feeling a little too lazy about blanching and rolling cabbage leaves so I decided to make the "unstuffed" casserole version. It's really not the same but you do get the flavor you're after. And, to complete the whole lazy approach I've opted for a a honey cornbread mix from Archer Farms that you can get at Target. It's a pretty good cornbread actually--so easy but could be improved next time with the addition of a few chopped jalapenos--an ingredient that improves just about everything in my humble opinion!

Lazy Cabbage Casserole

1/2 large head of cabbage, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper
2 cans tomato soup
2 soup cans water
6 T brown rice

Brown the beef and onion, adding salt and pepper to taste
Add 1 can tomato soup and soup can of water and mix thoroughly
Put cabbage in well greased 9X13 casserole dish, pour beef mixture on top and mix
Mix another can of soup and water in skillet well and then pour over casserole, mixing ingredients well
Cover with foil, and bake 1 and 1/2 hours at 325

Make cornbread according to package instructions.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Southwest Flavor

When the weather gets chilly, a hearty Southwest Casserole hits the spot. You can make this dish more or less spicy to fit your preference by just using a milder salsa or plain diced tomatoes.

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes with chilis, drained
1 cup of salsa ( I use hot!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans, black beans drained
2 t ground cumin
8 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

Shredded lettuce
Chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced green onions
Sliced black olives ( I didn't have any)
Sour cream

In a large skillet, combine the onions, peppers, tomatoes, salsa, garlic and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir in the beans. Spread a 1/3 of the mixture in a 13X 9 baking dish coated with nonstick spray. Layer with four tortillas and 2/3 cup cheese. Repeat layers; top with remaining beans.

Cover and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, bake another 5 minutes (uncovered) and let stand at least 5 minutes before cutting. Cuts better the longer it stands. Serve with toppings.

Instead of using shredded lettuce for a topping, I served with a green salad.