Tag Archives: Cheese

Eggplant Parm + NEWS!

Alright… I said I’d spill the beans a little more about my big blogging news, and I’m here to do just that! Plus give you a superb recipe for one of my favorite comfort foods, the lovely Eggplant Parm(esan). More on that later. For now, my news!

Drumroll please….

I AM STARTING A BRAND-NEW FOOD BLOG!!!! It will be live on Tuesday, and I am so, so beyond excited to show it to you! It’s been in the works for a long time now. First just in my head, then shopping around for website developers (yes, I used a real professional this time instead of just pretending I know anything about WordPress themes!), and my developer and I finally have this thing in almost working order!

My reasons? First of all, I feel like the name of this blog, Texan New Yorker is now only half true. Thanks to Matt’s job, I keep moving away from NYC! Yes, we moved again this summer… And since he works in such an incestuous industry where the companies keep buying and eating each other, another move at some point wouldn’t be terribly shocking. On the purely pragmatic side, I’m feeling that tying the name of my blog to geography is no longer an accurate move.

Secondly, when I started Texan New Yorker, I was sooooo green and naïve on the blogging scene. I’ve made rookie mistakes, missteps of all kinds, and I took it in a direction I’m no longer happy with. I feel like it’s become somewhat inauthentic and not resembling my own voice as I’d like. I was a newbie, and felt somewhat tentative to speak my own mind and truth for fear of offending others and being ostracized. I’ve been overly concerned about SEO, which is often a deterrent to making food one’s own way, and feeling like I can’t, say, blog something non-Thanksgiving-y in the middle of November. Which is silly and needs to stop. So it will, come Tuesday November 7th!

I’m so thrilled with how the new site is turning out, and I so hope you all will join me in this next adventure! I promise it will be incredibly delicious recipes and much more interesting chat. I’ll write even more about it on Tuesday.

For now, Eggplant Parmesan, a beautiful comfort food dish I only learned to like in adulthood. We just didn’t have much eggplant growing up so it kind of freaked me out at first, and since it is oh noes vegetarian, for a while I just plain refused to try it. Loser. You know when I first bit the bullet and sampled it? At the Olive Garden. I’m not particularly proud of that, but there you have it.

This homemade version is of course far superior to what I had at the Garden, which probably isn’t saying much, but fear not, it’s totally delicious by much higher standards as well. We loved it. I bet you will too. Enjoy!

Source: very slightly adapted from Crazy Good Italian by Mike Isabella

½ cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup plus 3 cups grated parmesan
2 tbs dried oregano
2 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp crushed red chile flakes
2 medium eggplants
2 cups olive oil (can use canola or vegetable oil if your olive oil is really expensive)
3 whole garlic cloves
1 (32 oz.) jar good quality marinara (I used Rao’s Homemade)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I did not use fresh, I wanted less water for better melting)
10 basil leaves, rolled and thinly sliced, plus extra torn for garnish

Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Set up a breading station in three separate shallow bowls or pie plates: place the flour in the first, the eggs in the second, and in the third combine the panko, ¼ cup parmesan, oregano, salt, and chile flakes.
Slice off ½ an inch from the top and bottom of the eggplants and discard. Use a peeler to remove the skin if it bothers you (it does not bother me so I skipped this step). Slice the eggplants into ¾-inch-thick rounds.
Dredge each slice of eggplant in flour, then eggs, then panko mixture.
Heat the olive oil and garlic cloves in a large saute pan over medium heat. Let the garlic get golden brown while the oil heats up. Once the oil is ready to fry the eggplant, remove the garlic and discard. It was just there to flavor the oil.
Increase the heat to medium-high, test it for readiness with a pinch of panko mixture. Once it is ready, fry the breaded eggplant slices for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Cool on a paper-towel lined plate or cooling rack. Do this in batches. You don’t want to cool the oil temperature too much and prevent the eggplant from browning and crisping up.
Now to assembly: ladle ¾ cup marinara into an 8×8-inch square baking dish. Layer the eggplant, more marinara, mozzarella, parmesan, and basil. Repeat until you have three layers of eggplant. Top with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil and place the baking dish on a baking sheet. Bake 35 minutes, removing the foil after 25 minutes. The sauce and cheese should be bubbling. Let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with torn basil.

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso #SundaySupper

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso

Welcome to #SundaySupper, where our wonderful theme this week is… Football Food!!! Very near and dear to my heart – in fact, I happily watched Houston beat OU yesterday, woohoo! (I hate OU. It’s a Texas thing).

Anywho, when I think of football food, a spicy, Tex-Mex-y, cheesy dip is pretty much the ONLY thing that comes to mind. Growing up in Texas, obviously football was huge, there was always a game on every weekend, and to my young, impressionable mind, it was like queso = watching football in the den. Period. So, of course I have to make a queso for today’s Sunday Supper, right?

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso

This particular queso is amazing, addictive, awesome, and incredibly spicy as written. You start by roasting jalapenos at a very high oven heat (recipe instructs roasting at 500 F, but if that makes your smoke alarm go off too, you can totally roast them at 450 F with no problems). Then you brown lovely, fatty, flavorful chorizo in a cast-iron skillet, add some onion, then you add the roasted jalapenos, some canned diced tomatoes and melty processed cheese product (no real cheese here, people. It just won’t do.) Once the “cheese” is melted (ha! Sorry!) you dice up an entire fresh jalapeno, seeds, ribs and all, and add it to the queso once you’ve turned off the heat. Yeah, it’s freakin’ spicy! But sooooo delicious. And if you want, you can totally leave off that last step with the fresh chile to tame the spice level. It’ll still be amazing!

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso

Enjoy this perfect football-watching queso dip! And be sure you check out the rest of my Sunday Supper crew!

Source: slightly adapted from Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

6 large jalapenos, divided
1 tbs olive oil
½ lb. fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed
¾ cup diced onion
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, with juices
1 lb. processed cheese product, such as Velveeta
Tortilla chips, for serving

Preheat your oven as high as it will go without angering your smoke detector – up to 500 F but 450 F is fine too.
Halve and seed 5 of the jalapenos. Toss with olive oil in a bowl to coat, then arrange on a small, foil-lined baking sheet, skin-side up. Roast until blistering and getting dark, about 15 minutes. Cool until you can handle them, then thinly slice or chop, discarding the stems. Set aside. Finely mince the remaining raw jalapeno, seeds, ribs and all. Set aside.
In a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet* cook the chorizo over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until browned and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook until softened. Stir in the tomatoes, with their juices, and the roasted jalapenos. Then add the Velveeta. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir until the “cheese” melts, 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the raw jalapeno and stir until mixture is perfectly smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.
*I made this twice, once using a 12” skillet and the other time using a 10” skillet. It really doesn’t matter which one you use. The 12” is easier during the cooking process (more room) but the queso cools much faster this way after you serve it. With the 10” you have to be more careful while you stir during cooking (less space) but it’s better for serving. Your choice.


Main Dishes

Side Dishes


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Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

This is my first time participating in Brunch Week, so thank you for accepting me into the group! I’m thrilled to be here. We have some lovely sponsors for the week, including the one I’m highlighting today: Cabot Cheese.

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

But, and I say this with one hundred percent seriousness, I had already committed to the idea of sharing a version of shrimp and grits even before finding out about Cabot’s participation. I absolutely adore shrimp and grits, in pretty much any form. Except maybe the overcooked shrimp versions. Those we can all do without. Anywho…

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

There are about as many variations on shrimp and grits as there are fiends for the dish, and while I have zero complaints about a well-executed stripped down version, for Brunch Week I decided it had to be a bit more complex and special. This particular recipe features spicy Andouille sausage mingling with the shrimp which forms a bit of a saucy topping for the firmer-yet-luscious grits, and then it’s drizzled with an even spicier yet creamy actual sauce on top.

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

This was so delicious, so special and completely perfect to kick start Brunch Week. Stay tuned, there is much excitement to come! Enjoy!

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

Source: slightly adapted from Nathalie Dupree’s Shrimp and Grits by Nathalie Dupree


1/3 cup green vinegar-based hot sauce, such as green Tabasco
¼ cup dry white wine
1 shallot, chopped
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs white wine vinegar
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Drizzle of olive oil, plus more as needed
8 oz. raw Andouille sausage, casings removed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ cup minced onion, such as Vidalia
4 tsp chopped garlic
30 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

5 cups water
3 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
8 tbs unsalted butter
2 cups coarse grits, not instant
8 oz. sharp white Cabot cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Start with the CREAM SAUCE: combine the green hot sauce, wine, shallot, lemon juice, and vinegar in a medium-sized saucepan. Boil over medium heat until liquid is reduced to ½ cup, about 15 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream. Set aside.

Now make the SHRIMP: heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and crumble it with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Cook, stirring frequently, until no traces of pink remain. Add the peppers, onion, and garlic and saute until veggies are tender. Add the shrimp, tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, and Old Bay seasoning. Saute, stirring, until shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Be aware of how much salt your Cajun and Old Bay seasonings may already have. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Now make the GRITS: bring the water, milk, cream and butter to a simmer in a medium-to-large stockpot. Gradually whisk in the grits. Stir frequently, until the grits are soft and thickened. This will take at least 15 minutes, and up to 1 hour depending on what brand of grits you are using. When the grits are ready, turn the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheese until it melts. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as necessary.

To serve, rewarm the cream sauce and shrimp. Spoon the grits into bowls and top with the shrimp and andouille sauce. Now top with the hot pepper cream sauce and serve immediately.

BW Logo 2016

Check out my fellow #BrunchWeek bloggers! Some very tasty recipes here!

BrunchWeek Beverages:

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:

BrunchWeek Desserts:

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

So apparently today is St. Patrick’s Day. Where I grew up, St. Patrick’s Day was barely even mentioned – you were supposed to wear green to school to avoid being pinched but that was it. Then I moved to New York City, aka a city with a St. Patty’s Day parade, and St. Patrick’s Day has become One of the Worst Days of the Year – at least it is if you’re trying to get anywhere in midtown Manhattan.

Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

That damn parade can mess up a commute like nobody’s business. Last year I had to walk an extra four blocks (yes I counted) and take an extra twenty minutes I didn’t have to spare to get around the roadblocks and fight through the crowds. I got so annoyed that I found myself inwardly fuming about why we are celebrating a country that has been so historically backwards about marriage equality and birth control. I got myself so worked up I had to go play with kittens to calm down (true story, I used to volunteer at an animal shelter).

Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

In my purely personal opinion, the one redeeming quality of St. Patrick’s Day for those of us living in A City with a Parade who don’t identify with the Irish spirit is soda bread. I never had this as a kid, probably because no one in Dallas suburbs seemed to give a rat’s backside about the holiday, but I’m extremely happy to have discovered it in adulthood.

Soda bread seems to be the cause of many arguments – do you put raisins in there or not, that kind of thing – but it seems that most can and will happily forgive a little “experimentation” if the spirit of soda bread is left alone. I found this recipe for adding cheddar and dill – I made sure I used a good Irish cheddar – and everyone seemed to love it. It may not be completely authentic, but it’s delicious!

Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day if you celebrate it, and for the rest of us, may we not get pinched, trampled, or too inconvenienced by parades. Enjoy!

Source: The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Ellen Brown

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tbs granulated sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 ½ cups buttermilk
1 large egg
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
1 ¼ cups shredded sharp Irish cheddar, divided

Preheat your oven to 350 F and generously grease a 12” cast iron skillet with cooking spray or softened butter.
Combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Combine the butter, buttermilk, and egg in another bowl and whisk well.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough will be sticky. Stir in the dill and 1 cup cheese. Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet, smoothing the top but mounding it slightly in the center with lightly floured hands. Cut a large X about 1 inch deep in the center of the dough, then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of all four quarters.
Bake the bread in the center of the oven for 70 to 75 minutes, or until the crust is browned and a toothpick or cake tester in inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the bread in the skillet for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mexican Hot Dog Tacos

Mexican Hot Dog Tacos

I actually made this recipe last summer, trying to use up an excess of corn tortillas before they spoiled, and while this is a great summer recipe (I could totally see chowing down on this after a day at the pool), I also think it’s quite appropriate to share at this time of year: you know, when winter is winding down and the weather is showing hints of warming up consistently, and it’s almost time to start thinking about how we might look in a swimsuit, but we can bury our heads in the proverbial sand just a few weeks longer.

Mexican hot dog tacos

The Mexican hot dog is a crafty delicious thing that I’m pretty sure was not invented by a cardiologist, but rather enterprising street cart owners who capitalized on drunk people exiting dance clubs and wanting something a little greasy. It’s a hot dog split in half lengthwise, stuffed with jalapenos and cheese, then wrapped in bacon to seal it all up. Putting such a thing in a tortilla and dousing it with salsa to make a taco is one of the best things ever.

tomato based salsa

Bookmark this recipe for your next splurge day. I promise it’s so worth it. Enjoy!

Mexican Hot Dog Tacos

Source: adapted from Dos Caminos Tacos by Ivy Start


6 hot dogs
2-3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
About 18 slices of pickled jalapeno
12 slices bacon
6 corn tortillas, warmed

Canola oil, for greasing
4 ripe Roma tomatoes (about 1 lb.)
2 unpeeled cloves garlic
1 medium white onion
1 small jalapeno
1 dried chile de arbol, stemmed
1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, coarse stems removed
Kosher salt

First make the SALSA: position a broiler rack about 8 inches from the broiler, or as close as you can get while still being safe.
Pour a little canola oil onto a thickly folded paper towel, then wipe it all over a rimmed baking sheet. Place the tomatoes, garlic, onion, jalapeno, and chile de arbol on the prepared baking sheet. Tomatoes and jalapeno should be skin side up. Broil until the skins are charred and somewhat blackened.
Leave the blackened skin on the vegetables and let them cool until you can handle them. Take the garlic and squeeze the flesh out from the skins over your blender or food processor. Add the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, chile de arbol, lime juice, and cilantro to the blender. Process until you get that chunky-smooth texture of restaurant salsa. Add salt to taste – you’ll need a good bit of it. Set the salsa aside to cool down to room temperature.
For the TACOS: with a very sharp knife, cut each hot dog open lengthwise, making a slit but not cutting all the way through, so you could open the hot dog like a book.
Slice the cheese into strips, then cut those strips lengthwise so they will fit nestled into the slit you just cut into the hot dogs. Place the cheese strips into the cut open hot dogs, using as many as you need to fit the entire length of the hot dog. Wedge 2-3 (depending on their size) pickled jalapeno slices into the open hot dogs. It’s fine to squish them in there. Now wrap each hot dog in 2 slices of bacon, securing with toothpicks at the ends.
Preheat your grill, indoor or outdoor is fine, to medium-high heat. I used an indoor grill for this to prevent the inevitable fiery flare-ups that would have happened (thanks to the bacon fat) on the charcoal grill outside. Drizzle or wipe down the grill with a touch of canola oil to prevent sticking, then place the bacon-wrapped hot dogs on the grill cut side up. When the cheese has mostly melted, flip the hot dogs and continue cooking until the bacon is crisped up and browned. The whole thing will take 10-12 minutes total. Remove the hot dogs from the grill with tongs, then carefully remove the toothpicks.
To serve, place 1 hot dog in a warmed tortilla and spoon some salsa over top. Serve immediately. You’ll likely have extra salsa – serve with tortilla chips for dipping and refrigerate the leftovers for a snack later.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

If I were a New-Year’s-Resolutions-making kind of girl, then one of mine for 2016 would be: learn to like cauliflower. Even as my palate has matured over the years, cauliflower and I could never quite be friends. I’ve always found this particular vegetable somewhat off-putting, with both a perceived bland flavor and a weird texture.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

So. What do you do to a food you don’t love? Smother it in cheese. Oh yeah. Then bake it in the oven until that cheese is browned and bubbling, and the cauliflower has turned incredibly soft but not mushy.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

I’m happy to say there’s at least one variation of cauliflower that I very much enjoy now! Actually, spoiler alert – I’ve found two ways in which I love it, but that post will come later. For now, we stick to drenching cauliflower in a three-cheese sauce and topping it with more cheese, and while I wouldn’t necessarily describe this as low-carb mac and cheese, it might be the closest thing. I highly recommend! Enjoy!

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

Source: slightly adapted from The Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
6 oz. Monterey jack cheese, grated
8 oz. goat cheese, crumbled, divided
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided, plus extra for garnish
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets, each floret cut into 2 or 3 pieces
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 10-inch baking dish or cast-iron skillet.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium heavy saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Don’t let the mixture brown. Slowly whisk in the milk. Raise the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Monterey jack cheese, half of the goat cheese, and half of the Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl, then pour over the cheese sauce. Stir well to combine. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan or skillet, then sprinkle the remaining goat cheese and Parmesan evenly over the top. You can also top the casserole with a few more grinds of black pepper if you desire.
Place the skillet or baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, then bake until the cauliflower is tender and the top is bubbly and browned, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley and extra Parmesan, if desired.

Smoky Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Smoky Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Happy 2016!! I am having an absolute blast playing with all my new toys I got for Christmas, and yes, most of them are cooking related. I got *several* new cookbooks, and this mac and cheese here is the first recipe I made from one of them.

Yes, I’m aware that it’s the first Monday back to the grindstone after the holiday season, and we’re all supposed to be thinking about healthy eating and weight loss resolutions and whatnot; thus, a pasta dish featuring three cheeses probably isn’t going to be too popular on this day of the year. Oh well. It’s cold outside. Plus, I find that this blog is much more fun and fulfilling when I cook the things I want to make and eat rather than trying to appease the SEO gods. So I must stand by it!

Smoky Beer Macaroni and Cheese

This is a particularly interesting and richly flavored version of the classic comfort food. Like I mentioned, there are three cheeses in here, two of which are smoked cheeses. And the beer adds a hoppy dimension and cuts the richness a little bit. In short, it’s a mac and cheese for grown-ups.

smoky beer macaroni and cheese

I personally prefer mac and cheese without bread crumbs on top, usually, but if you want it, add 1 cup panko mixed with 3 tbs melted butter on top of the shredded cheese layer right before baking it off. Enjoy!

Smoky Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Source: slightly adapted from The Craft Beer Cookbook by Jacquelyn Dodd

½ cup unsalted butter
3 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
2 cups beer (use a pale ale)
2 tsp mustard powder
½ tsp chili powder
6 oz. smoked Cheddar, shredded
6 oz. sharp white Cheddar, shredded
8 oz. smoked Gouda, shredded
16 oz. elbow macaroni
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place 4 large gratin dishes, or individual cast-iron skillets, on a large baking sheet. Grease if necessary, and set aside.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until smooth and the raw flour taste is cooked out, about 1 minute.
Add the milk and beer. Whisk to combine, then bring to a simmer. Whisk in the mustard and chili powders.
Combine all three cheeses in a large bowl and set aside about ½ cup. Slowly add the mixed cheeses (aside from the ½ cup of course) to the stockpot, about 1 large handful at a time. Let the cheese melt before each new addition.
Now add the macaroni noodles to the cheese sauce, keeping the heat level between medium and medium-high. You want to cook the pasta in the cheese sauce until al dente but not completely done. This takes about 10 minutes, and you will need to stir often enough to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot. For me, this meant stirring constantly. I thought it was worth it.
Once the noodles are al dente, shut off the heat, season with salt and pepper, and quickly spoon the mixture into the prepared gratin dishes. Top each with the remaining shredded cheese. This is when you’d put on the panko mixture if you choose.
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are bubbling and the top cheese is melted. If you want, finish the gratins with a grind of black pepper.
Serve immediately.

Broccoflower Cheese Tartlets

Broccoflower Cheese Tartlets

The past few years, as I’ve paid more attention to the seasonality of produce and followed several farmers’ markets on social media, the oddly beautiful yet somewhat alien-looking winter vegetable known as broccoflower, or sometimes Romanesco, has caught my eye.

Broccoflower Cheese Tartlets

This year, I saw some and impulsively decided to try it for the first time. This veggie is a hybrid (love child) of broccoli and cauliflower, and frankly, I think it tastes better than either of its “parents”. I know broccoflower isn’t all that common and has a very short season, but could we please, please have more of it?? It’s so good!



The texture is slightly softer than broccoli or cauliflower, and it lacks the bitterness of broccoli. It has an almost-sweet background note that is very tasty and pleasant. When cooked, the texture was soft but still with a nice bite to it. Matt and I were extremely pleased with my impulsive purchase, and kept raving over these little tartlets with each new bite. I hogged all the leftovers for myself, I’m afraid to say. I regret nothing.

Broccoflower Cheese Tartlets

These tartlets would be perfect for setting out at a cocktail party, but I can also say with some authority that they work just fine for dinner alongside a side salad. If you can get your hands on some broccoflower, don’t hesitate to pick it up. Enjoy!

Broccoflower Cheese Tartlets

Source: A Lot on Her Plate by Rosie Birkett

Uncooked pie dough for a one-crust pie
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 broccoflower (also called Romanesco cauliflower), cut into little florets, stalk discarded
3 large eggs
1 generous cup (5-6 oz.) shredded Gruyere cheese
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tbs heavy cream
6 tbs whole milk
Pinch of crushed red chile flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin. Set aside.
Roll out the pie dough until it is ½-inch thick. Cut out rounds slightly bigger than the holes in the muffin tin. Line each hole with the pastry rounds so that it’s level with, or even slightly sticking out from, the top of each hole. If you need to patch the bottoms or sides with the scraps, that’s fine. No one will see it.
Chill the pastry for 15 minutes, then use a fork to prick the base of each. Line with pieces of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Blind bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the parchment paper and dried beans/pie weights. Let cool while you make the filling.
Blanch the broccoflower florets in salted boiling water until they turn bright green – barely 1 minute. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and drain.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the cheeses, cream, milk, and chile flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then whisk to combine. Divide the filling between the cooled pastry cups, leaving about ½ an inch from the top.
Arrange the broccoflower in the filling and grate over a little more Parmesan. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the custard is set and the pastry is golden and crisp. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

Turducken Lasagna

Turducken Lasagna

Every year, I love roasting a turkey for the blog sometime in early November. And this year was no exception. Unfortunately, this year, the turkey did not love me back! First of all, I tried a newfangled type of stuffing-something-flavorful-under-the-skin technique featuring sausage and polenta. Don’t do this. The polenta is not firm enough to stay there.

Turducken Lasagna

Secondly, spatchcocking turkey, also known as butterflying, seems to be all the rage this year, so I thought I’d give it a go. Just, no. If you go this direction, please have your butcher do it. I nearly ruined my kitchen shears and no matter what I did I couldn’t properly break the breast bone. A completely useless waste of time.

Turducken Lasagna

So the bad news is that I have no turkey to share with you this year. The good news is that I’m offering you a main dish alternative for your Thanksgiving Day dinner for those of you who have tired of roasting birds and want a new spin on things.

Turducken Lasagna

This is a play on that freakish concoction otherwise known as Turducken, a scary monstrosity created by wrapping a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey. Honestly, it’s never appealed to me in the least. I just can’t. But lasagna – lasagna I can! This is one of the better-tasting and more special lasagnas I’ve made. It begins with equal parts of ground turkey, ground duck, and ground chicken that makes a flavorful, interesting and pleasantly gamey meat sauce that becomes part of a pretty traditional Italian style lasagna. We were so in love. Seriously, no one would miss a turkey if you served this on Thanksgiving.

Turducken Lasagna

A few recipe notes: it doesn’t matter what cut of duck you grind. Just grind the fat and skin along with the meat (or have your butcher do it). Use all dark turkey and chicken meat, or at least a combination of dark and white. All-white meat grinds will be too dry. I hope you enjoy it!

Source: slightly adapted from Harold Dieterle’s Kitchen Notebook by Harold Dieterle

2 tbs olive oil
8 oz. ground turkey
8 oz. ground duck (any parts)
8 oz. ground chicken
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 large Spanish onion, minced
10 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
28 oz. can tomato puree
15 oz. can tomato puree
Leaves from 1 bunch of basil, loosely torn
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
1 lb. provolone cheese, grated
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. no-boil lasagna noodles
3 lbs. ricotta cheese

First, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large, high-sided skillet or saucepan over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the ground turkey, duck, and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until the meat is lightly browned and no traces of pink remain, about 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the onion, garlic, fennel, and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and stir in all the crushed tomatoes and all the tomato puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then continue to simmer for 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil.
Now assemble the lasagna: preheat your oven to 350 F. Place the mozzarella, provolone, and pecorino in a bowl and fold them together. Ladle one-quarter of the sauce into the bottom of a very large lasagna pan, spreading it to all the corners.
Top with a layer of noodles, breaking to fit if necessary. Spread about one-quarter of the ricotta over the noodles, then about one-quarter of the mozzarella cheese mixture. Repeat, starting with the sauce, three more times, and finishing with the mozzarella mixture. Grind black pepper over the top of the lasagna. Cover with aluminum foil, then bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and you can pierce the center of the lasagna easily with a paring knife, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven to bake until the cheese starts to brown, about 5 more minutes. Remove the lasagna from the oven and set aside to rest for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

Pigs in Jalapeno-Cheddar Blankets with Jalapeno Mustard Dipping Sauce

Pigs in Jalapeno Cheddar Blankets with Jalapeno Mustard Dipping Sauce

My obsession with pigs in a blanket, that ubiquitous, classic and a-little-bit-trashy party food, has quite the long history. I literally can’t remember ever not going gaga over these little treats. Fortunately for me, they showed up often enough: Super Bowl parties, sometimes at Family Christmas, birthday parties…

Pigs in Jalapeno Cheddar Blankets with Jalapeno Mustard Dipping Sauce

Since Matt and I cut out (most!) processed food from our diet, I’ve been missing my pigs for quite a long time. They are usually made with canned croissant dough, and since I switched to making all dough (except puff pastry) from scratch, they just haven’t made an appearance.

pigs in jalapeno cheddar blankets with jalapeno mustard dipping sauce

Thus, the reason why excited really doesn’t begin to describe my feelings upon finding a version of pigs in a blanket in Lisa Fain’s most recent book where the dough is made entirely from scratch!! Giddy though I was, I sort of made the knee-jerk assumption that the dough would be complicated. Turns out, nope! I was totally wrong on that one. This dough couldn’t be easier – a first-grader could probably do it – and it’s incredibly tasty.

Pigs in Jalapeno-Cheddar Blankets with Jalapeno Mustard Dipping Sauce

This recipe has a bit of a Tex-Mex spin what with the jalapenos and cheddar, but I’d encourage everyone to take this method and really adapt it to your own tastes. Since my taste buds love Tex-Mex, I left it as is, but my brain began spinning with all the different flavor profiles you could do here. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have this little trick up my sleeve now, and it should definitely be in your arsenal too! Enjoy!

Pigs in Jalapeno Cheddar Blankets with Jalapeno Mustard Dipping Sauce

Source: The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain


8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp cayenne
½ cup (2 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and minced

32 cocktail size hot dogs

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup prepared yellow mustard
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
¼ tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt, to taste

First make the DOUGH: using a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula, mix together the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in the flour, salt, cayenne, cheddar, and jalapeno until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough in half, shape each piece into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Either lightly grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Set aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll one of the dough halves in an 11-inch circle. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the circle into 16 equal-sized wedges, like slicing a pie. It does not matter one bit if the edges of the circle are jagged, as long as each wedge is about the same size.
To assemble the pigs, gently lift one of the dough triangles, and starting at the wider end opposite the point, roll the dough around one of the cocktail hot dogs. Place the blanketed pig on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough triangles. Now repeat this whole process with the second disc of dough.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned.
While the pigs are baking, make the DIPPING SAUCE. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, and cumin. Add salt to taste and chill until serving.
Serve the pigs warm with the dipping sauce.