Cheese

Creamy Risotto with Baby Shrimp and Bok Choy
By Ming Tsai

Thursday, August 12, 2010
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Serves 4

Ingredients
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
2 cups koshi hikari or similar sushi rice (or Arborio rice)
1 cup white wine
2-3 cups chicken stock, hot
1 pound baby Contessa shrimp
3 heads baby bok choy, shredded
4 tablespoons room temperature cream cheese
Minced chives, for garnish
Olive oil to cook
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Coat a skillet over medium heat lightly with olive oil and saute the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass for about 2 minutes. Add the rice, stir to coat with oil and season. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by 75%. Slowly add stock a ladle at a time, stirring rice until each ladle of liquid is absorbed. When just beyond al dente, add the shrimp and bok choy to heat through. Add cream cheese to melt, check again for flavor and garnish with chives. Serve.

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ming tsai thumbnail holding limeChef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.

Farro Salad By Annie Copps

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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The key to this hearty salad is the ancient Italian grain farro. You could substitute with brown rice, spelt, or even barley, but farro is pretty easy to find and it is more flavorful. Now that I know about it, I cook up a batch and add it to salads all the time.

Ingredients
3 cups cooked farro (substitute with barley or spelt)
4 to 5 sun- or oven-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 to 8 basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 to 3 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine or balsamic vinegar

Directions
In a medium bowl or zip-top bag, combine ingredients until well mixed.

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annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Baked Penne & Mushrooms
By Lidia Bastianich

Friday, August 6, 2010
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Pasticcio di Penne alla Valdostana

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces fontina from Valle d’Aosta
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano- Reggiano, plus more for passing
4 tablespoons soft butter
1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms (such as porcini, shiitake, cremini, and common
white mushrooms), cleaned and sliced
1 cup half and half
1 pound penne
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400º. Fill the pasta pot with 6 quarts water, add 1 tablespoon salt, and heat to the boil. Shred the fontina through the larger holes of a hand grater, and toss the shreds with ½ cup of the grana (grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano).

Put 3 tablespoons of the butter in the big skillet, and set it over medium- high heat. When the butter begins to bubble, drop in the mushroom slices, stir with the butter, season with the teaspoon salt, and spread the mushrooms out to cover the pan bottom. Let the mushrooms heat, without stirring, until they release their liquid and it comes to a boil.

Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, as they shrivel and the liquid rapidly evaporates. When the skillet bottom is completely dry, stir the half and half into the mushrooms, stir, and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook it rapidly for a minute or two to thicken slightly, then keep it warm over very low heat.

Meanwhile, stir the penne into the boiling pasta water and cook until barely al dente (still somewhat undercooked to the bite). Ladle a cup of the pasta cooking water into the mushroom sauce and stir. Drain the pasta briefly, and drop into the cream-and-mushroom sauce. Toss the penne until all are nicely coated, then sprinkle over them the remaining ½ cup of grana (not mixed with fontina) and the chopped parsley. Toss to blend.

Coat the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the last tablespoon of butter. Empty the skillet into the dish, spreading the penne and sauce to fill the dish completely in a uniform layer. Smooth the top, and sprinkle the mixed fontina-grana evenly all over.

Set the dish in the oven, and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese topping is crusty and deep golden brown and the sauce is bubbling up at the edges. Set the hot baking dish on a trivet at the table, and serve family-style.

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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44."

Potato Puffballs By Annie Copps

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
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finished potato puffs

Potatoes are plentiful and I don't care what anyone from Idaho says… Maine potatoes are the best!

While working on our Yankee Magazine cookbook—The Best New England recipes, I came across this gem from 1937.

Boil 6 MAINE potatoes until tender. When they are cool enough to pick up, pass them through a ricer or food mill. Add some milk and parmesan cheese. Form them into ping pong sized balls and roll them in bread crumbs then bake 10 minutes. I dare you to eat just one of the browned and crisp wonders. Perfect on their own or next to a big, thick, juicy steak... either way, get yourself to some local Maine potatoes and try 'em.

Just try to eat one—we dare you.

Total time: 1 ½ hours (1 hour 15 minutes if pan-fried)
Prep time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 dozen pieces

Ingredients
6 medium Russet potatoes (preferably Maine)
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup hot whole milk
½ cup grated sharp cheese (or blue cheese)
Pinch kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
5 large eggs
4 cups unseasoned bread crumbs

Directions
Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and cut potatoes into 2-inch chunks. Place in a pan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. When cool enough to handle, but still hot, pass through a potato ricer or food mill into a medium bowl. By hand, stir in 1 cup hot milk and grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Be careful not to over mix.

Beat eggs and place in a shallow dish or pie pan. Place bread crumbs in shallow pie dish. Generously oil a rimmed baking sheet. Form potato mixture into golf ball-sized rounds. Roll each in the eggs, then bread crumbs. Working quickly place on baking sheet 1 inch apart from each other.

Bake 10 minutes and flip, until well-browned and crisped. Season with salt. Serve hot.

Shredded Potato Cake with Leeks and Cheese
By Annie Copps

Monday, August 9, 2010
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Who doesn't love a potato? Who doesn’t love cheese? So how about potatoes and cheese in a crispy pancake? I snagged this recipe for a Shredded Potato Cake with Leeks and Cheese from the good people of Shelburne Farms. Right on Lake Champlain in central Vermont, this special place is a working farm, cheese maker, inn, and great restaurant.

Ingredients
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small leeks, white and light-green parts only, cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced
1-1/2 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
3/4 cup grated Alpine-style cheese (such as Gruyère)
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher or sea salt

Directions
In a medium-size cast-iron frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add leeks and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until leeks are silky and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove to a plate. Wipe frying pan clean.

Rinse potatoes well, but don’t peel. Shred on a box grater. Place shredded potatoes on a clean dish towel and sprinkle with another generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss potatoes with your hands to season. Gather towel corners together and twist (over a bowl or sink) to remove as much moisture as possible.

In the still-warm frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add half of the shredded potatoes in an even layer; press them into the pan. Add leeks and cheese in even layers. Add remaining potatoes, pressing them into the pan.

Cover the pan and cook until potatoes are golden brown on the bottom (peek with a spatula), 8 to 10 minutes. Turn a plate (larger than the pan) over on top of the potatoes. Place your hand firmly on top of the plate and carefully flip the pan so the potato cake is on the plate.

Heat remaining oil until shimmering. Slide potato cake back into pan, raw side down; cover, and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Slide from pan and let rest 3 to 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli.

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Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Lemongrass Cheesecake By Ming Tsai

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
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lemongrass cheesecake

If you were to tell me that you don't like cheesecake, well, I'd have to call you a liar. Why? Well, how can anyone not be a fan of this creamy, indulgent dessert?

Ingredients
20 shortbread cookies, like Lorna Doone
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 pounds cream cheese
pinch of kosher salt
10 ounces sugar
4 stalks lemongrass, white parts only, minced
4 extra large eggs
Juice of 2 lemons
5 ounces cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees convection.

In a bowl, combine crushed shortbread cookies and melted butter. Press cookie mixture into bottom and sides of 8-inch cake pan; a springform pan is recommended.

Bake in middle of oven for about 10 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool.

Turn oven down to 300 degrees. In a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese, salt, sugar and lemongrass. Add eggs one at a time, alternating with the lemon juice, allowing each egg to be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next, scraping the bowl constantly.

Add cream. Spoon mixture into baked crust and place in a water bath. (You'll need to foil the edges of your springform pan to prevent leakage.)

Bake cheesecake in middle of oven for about 60 minutes, until edges become browned and cake is set in the center.

Remove from water bath, remove foil and place on a rack to let cool, then refrigerate until chilled and serve.

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chef ming tsaiMing Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming and chef/owner of Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley, Mass.

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