ONLINE EXTRA -- CHEESE AROUND THE WORLD: Petite Turkey and Brie Panini . . . Homemade Ricotta Cheese . . . Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers, etc.
Petite Turkey and Brie Panini
2 tablespoons herbed cream cheese
2 slices ciabatta bread, grilled
2 tablespoons cranberry chutney
5½ ounces sliced turkey
3 slices brie
Spread cream cheese over one side of each slice of bread. Spread each slice with cranberry chutney. Arrange turkey and brie on one slice of bread; close the sandwich.
If desired, cut off and discard the crusts. Cut the sandwich into eight triangles and serve.
Yield: 1 whole sandwich (8 portions).
Approximate nutritional analysis per portion: 150 calories, 5 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 25 milligrams cholesterol, 8 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams sugar, 0.5 grams fiber, 470 milligrams sodium, 35 milligrams calcium.
Smoked Salmon and Brie Napoleons
½ stick butter (4 tablespoons), softened
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon capers, drained and very finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill tops
½ teaspoon lemon zest (wash and dry the lemon; grate about 1/3 of its surface, using a light touch to remove the yellow surface, not the bitter white part underneath. Save the lemon to grate a little more zest for garnish, and for juice for the main-course avocado, below.)
8 large round crackers, such as Breton wafers
Small wedge brie, rind cut off and discarded, cut into pieces roughly the size of the crackers
8 thin slices smoked salmon, of a size that will fit neatly on a cracker
In a small bowl, mash and stir the softened butter with a plastic spatula or a spoon or fork until it's creamy. Add mustard, capers, dill and lemon zest and mix well. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for an hour or two or overnight.
Just before serving, spread each cracker generously on one side with the herb butter.
Start with one cracker, butter side up. Top it with a piece of brie. If you've bought sliced salmon, cut it to a size that will fit neatly atop the brie; if unsliced, slice it as thinly as possible and trim it to fit if necessary. Top with another buttered cracker, another piece of brie and another slice of salmon. Garnish with a little dab of butter, a teeny dill feather, 3 capers and a little lemon zest. Repeat to make a total of 4 napoleons.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per appetizer: 268 calories, 20 grams fat, 5 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 61 milligrams cholesterol, 837 milligrams sodium, 68 percent of calories from fat.
Prosciutto variation: Use unflavored softened butter, substitute thinly sliced prosciutto for the salmon and add thin pear slices. Omit garnish.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
½ gallon whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Line a large colander with cheesecloth and set over a large bowl.
Combine milk, cream and salt in a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat (don't cook on high, or the bottom will scorch). Remove pot from heat, stir in lemon juice, and let stand without stirring for 5 minutes.
Pour mixture into prepared colander and let drain until it has reached the desired consistency, 1 to 2 hours. Serve ricotta warm or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 day before serving.
Yield: About 2 cups.
Layered Turkey Sandwiches
2 medium cucumbers, cut lengthwise into thin wedges
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1 country-style round bread loaf, 8 inches in diameter
1/3 cup olive tapenade
½ pound deli turkey, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
4 ounces provolone, thinly sliced
Toss cucumbers with vinegar and sugar in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Cut bread loaf in half horizontally and scoop out insides. Spread inside of each half with olive tapenade. Arrange turkey on bottom half of bread. Top with zucchini, marinated cucumbers, tomato and cheese. Place top half of bread on top. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes.
Unwrap sandwich and cut into four wedges. Serve.
Yield: Serves 4.
Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers
1½ pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
2 ounces blue cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Freshly ground pepper
4 pretzel rolls or other buns, toasted
Mix beef and seasoning salt in a bowl. Form into 4 burgers. Combine blue cheese and butter in a small bowl; mix well. Make an indentation in middle of each burger with your thumb; fill with some blue cheese mix. Fold burger around the mix; seal well.
2. Lightly oil each patty; season with pepper. Heat grill to medium-high. Cook burgers, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Serve on toasted buns.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 479 calories, 48 percent of calories from fat, 25 grams fat (12 grams saturated), 130 milligrams cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrates, 39 grams protein, 828 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
Vol-au-Vents with Pea Shoots and Herbed Goat Cheese
1 recipe quick puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 slices prosciutto, chopped
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives, more if desired
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard, preferably whole-grain
1 tablespoon minced shallots
3 cups pea shoots (or baby arugula), cut or torn into 2-inch pieces
On a lightly floured board, roll the puff pastry out into a rectangle measuring about 8 by 16 inches; the dough will be just under one-fourth-inch thick.
Using a 4-inch round pastry cutter, cut 8 rounds out of the dough (if you don't have a round cutter that size, use a bowl as a guide, or adjust the size of the vol-au-vents using what you have on hand). Using a 2-inch round pastry cutter, cut a circle out of the center of each of 4 rounds.
Assemble the vol-au-vents: Place the 4 whole rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each round. Lightly brush the rounds with the beaten egg then place a ring of dough (one of the rounds with the circle removed from the center) directly on top of each whole round. Brush on top with the egg wash. Prick the center of the vol-au-vents with a fork to keep them from puffing too much. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the vol-au-vents until well puffed and golden-brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. The vol-au-vents can be made up to 5 hours in advance.
5. In a medium saute pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and drain the prosciutto on paper towels.
In a medium bowl, season the goat cheese with a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Stir in the chives, and adjust the seasoning and flavoring as desired.
7. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard. Whisk in the shallots and season to taste with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste and adjust the dressing as desired. This makes a scant ½ cup vinaigrette, more than is needed for the rest of the recipe. The rest of the dressing will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.
Assemble the salads. In a large bowl, toss the shoots with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette to lightly coat. Divide the goat cheese between the vol-au-vents, spreading the cheese over the base of each. Top the cheese with salad, and sprinkle over the crisp prosciutto crumbles. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 1,127 calories, 24 grams protein, 77 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 84 grams fat (44 grams saturated), 219 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram sugar, 745 milligrams sodium.
Savory Mushroom Turnovers
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry sherry or white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1 recipe quick puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, 1 minute.
Stir in the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms give off their moisture and begin to color, 3 to 5 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the moisture evaporates and the mushrooms color to a rich brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the wine. Return the skillet to the heat and stir, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan, until the wine is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the thyme and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper, or to taste.
Set the mushroom mixture aside until cool, then stir in the grated cheese.
Roll the puff pastry into a rectangle measuring 20 by 10 inches; the dough will be just over one-eighth-inch thick. Using a ruler, divide the dough into 8 (5-inch) squares. Then place the squares on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, divide the filling into 8 portions: Gently press some of the filling into a 1/3 cup measure. Unmold the filling and, using your hands, press the filling into an oval ball (like a small football). Repeat with the remaining filling; you should use all of the filling. Set aside.
Brush the beaten egg along 2 of the 4 edges of each square. To assemble the turnover, place one mound of filling in the center of each square. Working quickly, pick up a square and fold it in half diagonally and press gently, sealing the edges together. Continue forming the remaining turnovers, then check each turnover again to make sure the seal holds. Brush the remaining beaten egg over each of the turnovers, and prick the top of each with a knife to form vent holes.
Refrigerate the turnovers on the baking sheets for 15 to 20 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the turnovers, 1 sheet at a time on the center rack, until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. Serve the turnovers warm or at room temperature.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 520 calories, 13 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 40 grams fat (24 grams saturated), 131 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram sugar, 307 milligrams sodium.
Savory Stuffed French Toast
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into large (about 1 inch) pieces
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, halved lengthwise (with the grain) and sliced into very thin lengthwise strips
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 cups chopped dandelion greens, cut crosswise into large (2- to 3-inch) pieces
2 teaspoons wine vinegar, preferably sherry or Banyul's, more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
8 1-inch thick) slices sourdough bread
4 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard, or as desired
½ pound thinly sliced Gruyere cheese
In a large skillet, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon (discard or save the fat for another use) and set aside.
In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften and start to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the white wine and continue to stir, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan.
When the wine is almost completely absorbed, stir in the greens and cook just until they start to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, then taste, and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Stir in the bacon bits, then taste again and adjust the seasoning or vinegar if necessary.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, along with the Parmesan cheese. Whisk in a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper to season the egg wash. Place the egg wash in a large shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside.
Soak the bread slices in the egg wash until just soaked on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Gently spread one-half teaspoon mustard over the one side of each of 4 slices. Onto the other 4 slices, divide the sliced Gruyere then top with the onion and greens mixture. Sprinkle over the bacon bits, then press the remaining slices of bread (mustard on the inside) onto layered cheese-onions-bacon to form a sandwich.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted and hot.
Reduce the heat to low and pan-fry the sandwiches, 2 at a time, until crisp and golden and the bread is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Cover the skillet while each piece is frying to allow the toast to fully cook and the filling to heat and melt. Adjust the heat as needed to keep each stuffed toast from burning.
Serve each piece of stuffed toast immediately or hold the finished toast in a warm oven until all of the pieces are fried.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per servings: 711 calories, 36 grams protein, 46 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 41 grams fat (22 grams saturated), 270 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams sugar, 1,275 milligrams sodium.