Sunday, March 31, 2013

Salami and Asparagus Filled Crepes with an Easy Orange Hollandaise Sauce

Today is National Orange and Lemons Day!  For those that observe, it's also Easter.  That makes this the perfect post-- a delicious salami and asparagus filled crepe with a ridiculously easy orange hollandaise sauce. 

Hollandaise is one of those things that many home chefs fear.  It's really not that hard.  Patience (and low heat!) is the key, and this version is even easier than the traditional method of placing a bowl over a pan of simmering water.  If you prefer that method, feel free to do that and simply substitute orange juice in place of the lemon juice.

The reason why I choose orange for this hollandaise was to bring out the Bolzano Salami.  The orange in the sauce pairs nicely with the fennel seed and the salt of the salami.  Once again, I'm featuring Bolzano's Fin Oh Kee Oh Na Fennel Seed Salami.  (If you missed the first recipe, make sure to go back and check out my Salami, Brussel Sprout, and Parmesan Galette. YUM!)

It was such a pleasure to be part of Bolzano Artisan Meat's Blogger Project!  I had a lot of fun working with this high quality product, and I can't wait to try more of their items!

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ tsp vegetable oil
  • Approx 1 pound asparagus, steamed or roasted
  • 2-3 oz. Fin Oh Kee Oh Na Fennel Seed Salami, sliced
  • Hollandaise Sauce (see below)

For the Hollandaise Sauce
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Paprika to garnish

In a medium bowl, combine the 2 whole eggs, milk, flour, salt, and oil.  Using a mixer, blend on high until the batter is very smooth.  Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

After the batter has rested, heat an 8 inch frying pan on medium heat.  Lightly grease the pan with butter, and add ¼ cup of the batter to the pan.  Tilt the pan so that the batter evenly coats the entire surface.  Cook until the top is no longer liquid and you are able to turn the crepe over.  Once flipped, cook the crepe an additional 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from pan and repeat until the batter is gone. Do not worry about keeping the crepes warm as you will be reheating them later.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and begin assembling the crepes by placing 2 or 3 asparagus spears inside of each crepe.  Generously sprinkle some of the salami on the asparagus and roll up the crepe.  Repeat until crepes are gone.  Place rolled crepes in a baking dish, seam side down, and heat for approximately 10 minutes.

While the crepes are heating, make the Hollandaise Sauce.  In a medium sauce pan, whisk the egg yolks and water together. Stirring constantly, cook over medium-low or low heat, until the mixture has thickened.  You will know it is ready when it is thick enough to coat a spoon.  Be careful not to put the heat too high or the mixture will become lumpy.  Once the sauce has thickened, whisk in the melted butter, orange juice, and salt.   Remove from heat.

Pour the sauce over warm crepes and sprinkle with paprika. Serve immediately. 

Disclaimer: For the purpose of recipe development, I received free product in exchange for writing this post.  All opinions expressed above are my own.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Salami, Brussel Sprout, and Parmesan Galette

One of the most fun things about food blogging is the connection established with local foodies.  It's exactly this type of connection that brought me to today's post! 

I think I was "Twitter trolling" when I stumbled on Lori over at Burp!  She has an amazing site that features lots of great recipes, Milwaukee-area business owners, food bloggers, and foodies.  Additionally, she and her husband are co-founders of #MKEfoodies.  If you're in the Milwaukee area, you need to check this out!  I swear, they do all the "cool stuff" after I move.... Gah!

Anway, a few months went by, and Lori reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in participating in a Blogger Project with Bolzano Artisan Meats.  Of course I was interested!  --But first, I wanted to make sure that I would be doing it justice, so I went to their website, searched to make sure that their product was available outside of the Milwaukee-Metro area (since I'm in the Northwoods, you know!) and sure enough, you can get their product in lots of places throughout the great state!  Check out their "Product Locator" to see where you can buy this amazing salami!  For those outside of Wisconsin, you can have it shipped to you.

For my creations, I was given the Fin Oh Kee Oh Na™ Fennel Seed Salami.  Their website describes it like this:
"Our mildest salami with a light touch of freshly ground fennel seed on the finish that brings out the natural sweetness of the pork. Handcrafted from top quality local Berkshire pork from hogs raised without hormones or antibiotics."
I opened up the package, tasted a bit of the salami, and the first thing I wanted to do (besides eat the whole thing!) was to pair it with something simple so that the taste of the salami was featured in whatever dish I cooked up.  The fennel, combined with the sweetness of the salami, would pair perfectly with parmesan and a dash of red wine vinegar. 

  • ½ pound fresh brussel sprouts, trimmed and washed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 to 4 oz Fin Oh Kee Oh Na Fennel Seed Salami

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the trimmed and washed brussel sprouts into strips.  Once sliced, toss the sprouts in a medium bowl with the oil.  In a large frying pan, cook the brussel sprouts over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the red wine vinegar and stir.  Continue heating until the sprouts just start to turn brown.   Remove from heat and place the mixture back into a medium bowl.  Add the parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly.  Set aside.

Unfold the puff pastry sheet onto parchment paper and place on a baking sheet.  Using a sharp knife, carefully score a 1 inch border square all the way around the pastry sheet being careful not to pierce all the way through the dough.  Then, using a fork, lightly prick the center section of the sheet with small holes.

Place the sprout mixture on the puff pastry making sure to avoid the edges.  Sprinkle a generous amount of sliced salami on top.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden.  Serve warm.
If you enjoyed this recipe, make sure that you stop back later this week for my next creation with Bolzano's Fin Oh Kee Oh Na Salami.  In the meantime, check out the other bloggers that are also participating in this event!
  • Rebecca from CakeWalk: featuring Pamploma Runner Chorizo with smoked paprika
  • Molly from Peanut Butter & Pickles: featuring RauchZwiebel Salami with smoked sea salt and onion
  • Sue from Little French Bakery: featuring Old School Salami with cracked black pepper
  • Melanie from From Fast Food to Fresh Food: featuring Fin Oh Kee Oh Na Salami with ground fennel seed
  • Anna from Tallgrass Kitchen: featuring Pig Red Salami made from heirloom Red Wattle pork

  • Disclaimer: I received free product in exchange for writing this post.  All opinions expressed above are my own.


    Sunday, March 24, 2013

    Mock Gefilte Fish #SundaySupper

    This week's #SundaySupper event is one that I'm thrilled about!  We are featuring Easter and Passover recipes.  Of course, I'm doing a Passover (Pesach) one.  At each Seder that I've hosted, we always serve the traditional Gefilte Fish.  I've never made it homemade (culinary bucket list perhaps?)  so we've always eaten that jelly-esque junk from a jar.  Well-- my guests have eaten it.  I don't touch the stuff. 

    However, what I do eat is a Mock Gefilte Fish.  To be honest, there's no fish taste in it at all. Frankly, the only thing it has in common with gefilte is the shape and the fact that you can drown it in horseradish.   I love it, and my guests have loved it, too! 

    Since Passover doesn't start until later this week, I'm hoarding my precious "Kosher for Passover" supplies.  Also, it's really hard to find non-kosher for Passover Matzah Meal in my neck of the woods.  Instead of cooking this recipe today just for photos and then re-cooking it in a few days to actually serve and eat, I decided to use an old file photo from 2009.  I should have known that someday I would start a food blog because even back then I was obsessively taking photos of food.  I love Passover so much that I have so many photos from our meals.

    File Photo from 2009 Passover.  This was my first attempt at Mock Gefilte Fish, and they went over very well! 

    • 3 large potatoes        
    • 2 medium onions, diced          
    • 1 large eggplant                  
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
    • kosher salt, to taste
    • black pepper, to taste
    • paprika, to taste
    • matzah meal, as needed
    • vegetable oil for frying and roasting

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare the potatoes by peeling and boiling them.  While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the eggplant by slicing it in half lengthwise, pricking the skin with a fork, lightly coating it in oil, and placing it on a baking sheet (flesh side down) and roasting for approximately 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft.  Once the eggplant has cooled enough to touch, scoop the flesh out of the skins, and set aside in a bowl.  Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.
    Next, fry the onion in oil until they have turned golden.  Set aside.  Additionally, when the potatoes are soft, drain the water and set those aside as well.
    Once the potatoes, eggplant and onions are cooked, in a large bowl, mash the potatoes, onion, and eggplant until fully combined.  Add the garlic, parsley, and season with salt, pepper, and paprika.  Add matzah meal to the mixture so that the consistency is firm enough to shape.  Be careful not to add so much matzah that it's hard.
    Now, wet your hands and shape the mixture into patties.  Place the formed patties on an oiled baking sheet and brush a bit of oil on top of each patty.  Bake for 30 minutes or until they are golden brown.  May be served warm or cold. 


    Please make sure that you stop by the other #SundaySupper Contributor blogs to check out what they're having for their holiday feasts!


    Breakfast, Breads, and Buns
    Appetizers and Sides
    Main Dishes



    Wine Pairing Recommendations for #SundaySupper Religious Feasts from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

    Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, March 24 to talk all about Easter and Passover recipes! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 6:00 pm CST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.


    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup #SundaySupper

    Signs you know it's Spring-

    You've eaten your fill of Corned Beef and Cabbage.  You can't possibly drink any more green beer.  You might have even kissed a Blarney Stone....  Now what?  If your household is anything like mine, you're probably serving reubens and trying to figure out what to do with all the leftover fresh cabbage.  Maybe I'm the only one with this problem?

    Nonetheless, I've got the perfect way to use up about 1/4 head of fresh cabbage.  Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup!  It's so tasty, and it's a nice change of pace now that we're moving into spring.  Plus, it's super easy to make.  If you like apple cider vinegar, you're going to love how this tastes!  It's tangy and filled with yummy veggies. 

    The prep takes less than 15 minutes, and then you only have to simmer it for about an hour and a half.  It's so easy!  I love making this the same day that I'm making my St. Patty's Day feast, and then I'll eat this soup for the next several days.  Maybe it just makes me feel better eating something healthy the week after gorging myself on cabbage and potatoes swimming in butter.....

    • 2 carrots, sliced
    • 2 stalks of celery, diced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1/4 head green cabbage, chopped
    • 2 medium potatoes, diced
    • 1, 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1 1/2 quarts of water
    • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Base such as "Better Than Bouillon" (can use chicken base if vegetable base is unavailable)
    • salt and pepper to taste

    In a large pot, heat the carrots, celery, garlic, and onion over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  When the vegetables are hot, add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer on low for one and a half hours.  Serve.  (see- I told you it was easy!)

    If you like this, you should check out what the other Sunday Supper Contributors have planned for our Springtime feast! 

    Green and Spring Dishes Menu Includes:

    Apps, Bread, Salads, Soups and Dressings:
    Main and Sides:

    Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 6:00 p.m. Central Time for our weekly #SundaySupper  live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite Springtime recipes!
    All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat!  Can't wait to see you there!


      Friday, March 15, 2013

      Chocolate Covered Toffee Matzah

      It's the last day of Matzah Week over at Samantha's place. Head on over to The Little Ferraro Kitchen to see my guest post on how to make Chocolate Covered Toffee Matzah.  It's so delicious, and if you've ever bought this stuff ready-made out of a package, you'll never do that again.  It's easy to make and much more frugal to do it yourself.


      Thursday, March 14, 2013

      Matzoh Crusted Flounder

      Today, I'm so excited to have Susan from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen do my very first guest post!  I'm even more excited that it's part of Matzah Week!  A huge thank you to Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen for putting this all together!  After you read about Susan's (brilliant) Matzoh Crusted Flounder, make sure to stop by and see Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat and Sarah from Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends.   If you don't have time today to check out their site, come back on Saturday where I'll be posting a round-up of the entire Matzah Week.  So many great ideas!  Their creativity amazes me, and I'm so lucky that they included me!

      Susan is such a talented cook!  Despite no formal training, she's managed to take New York City by storm!  She's won numerous competitions in Brooklyn.  Check out her Chocolate Salty Carm-Mal-Lard Cookies?  Wow!!! YUMMY!!! (not to mention a 1st place take home)
      Now, without any further ado, here is Susan!

      Hi! This is Susan from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen and I'm thrilled to be guest posting here today on Melanie's blog!
      Passover begins on March 25th and Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen thought it would be a great idea to have a week of Matzoh recipes to get into the Passover spirit and hopefully provide some inspiration. Melanie will be sharing a recipe over on Samantha's page tomorrow, so make sure you check it out!
      In all honesty, besides covering your matzoh with some schmear or making matzoh brei - what else is there to do with it? I was never one to get terribly creative with the stuff and after the third day I'm
      crying - no make that pleading for someone to please give me some bread!
      I finally remembered at one point my brother had made some "breaded" chicken cutlets for my niece and nephews on year. I decided to riff on his idea, but instead of using matzoh meal as the breading I crushed up some sheets up matzoh for a "panko" like crust. If you want a finer crust that will really cover your fish, go ahead and pulse everything in your food processor, otherwise crushing with your hands will do!
      • 2 6-8 ounce flounder filets
      • 2 sheets matzoh, finely crushed
      • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
      • salt and pepper
      • canola or vegetable oil
      Season your flounder on both sides with salt and pepper.
      In a shallow dish beat the egg and water together to create an egg wash. In another shallow dish, place the crushed matzoh and season with salt and pepper. </ p> Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat with about 3-4 tablespoons of oil - enough to cover the bottom.
      Once the oil begins to shimmer, dip the flounder in the egg wash and then the matzoh, pressing firmly to adhere to both sides.
      Cook the flounder 3-4 minutes on both sides, flipping carefully, until the fish is cook through and the matzoh crust has browned.
      Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon.

      Wednesday, March 6, 2013

      Simple Fajita Recipe with Mystic Blue Spice Company Fajita Seasoning

      I've missed you all!  Things have been beyond hectic lately....  With work and family life being the focus of my world, the blog has taken a bit of a sideline.  I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted.

      I also have a confession---I've definitely fallen off the cooking wagon.  It's hard to blog about cooking when you're so busy that you aren't really doing anything that special, or when you're so stuck in a rut that you feel like you're making the same things over and over and over again....  Have any of you ever felt that way?  I've love to hear some feedback or motivational comments on how you've picked yourself up by your bootstraps and gotten back into the kitchen.  Today, I'm getting back in the saddle again, and I'm hoping to stay put there! 

      This post is long overdue, so I'm really happy to be doing it today!  Trisha from the Mystic Blue Spice Company was nice enough to send me two samples of her amazing spices!  You should definitely check out her website to see all the fabulous mixes that she creates.  Let me tell you that when I opened the envelope, I had forgotten how powerful a good spice can smell.  Living in Central Wisconsin doesn't give me good access to fresh spices all the time.  I try to stock up when I get to the city, or I'll buy smaller quantities at our local co-op... but these spices reminded me of living in the city and having access to the good stuff!  I'm so happy that I now have a go-to option to have spices shipped directly to my door, and I feel great supporting a small business owner.  Check her site out!

      The first spice she sent me was a basic Fajita Seasoning mix.  Her website describes it like this:
      "Fajita is a term used in both Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine's. A term referring to any grilled meat, served like a taco in a flour tortilla with grilled onions and bell peppers. Traditional toppings include Guacamole, Pico, Sour Cream, Lettuce, Tomato and Cheese. Use 1Tbs of seasoning on 1Lb of Skirt Steak, Chicken or Shrimp (adjust seasoning to personal taste)
      Ingredients: Onion, Garlic, Spices, Ground Red Chilies, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper, Sugar, Sonoma Sea Salt (less than 4%)"

      I thought about doing something fancy-schmancy with it, but then I remembered my life and my time crunch-- so, why not just make a simple fajita and let the spice speak for itself.  It was so simple and so quick! Even my family, who frankly hates spices things, thought it was great.  Initially, when it hits your palate, you think it's going to burn-- but it quickly pulls back and leaves you wanting more.  This was a perfect blend for the spice lover and the spice novice.

      • 1 skirt or flank steak, approx 1.5 pounds
      • 1 Tbsp fajita seasoning (more to taste)
      • 1 large onion
      • 1 bell pepper
      • vegetable oil for cooking
      • 1 Tbsp corn starch
      • 1/2 cup beef broth
      • Tortillas
      • Assorted toppings like sour cream, cheese, guac, etc...


      Prepare the steak by sprinkling both sides evenly with the fajita seasoning.  Let the meat rest while you slice the onion and bell pepper into strips.  Set the onion and pepper aside.  Slice the meat, on a diagonal, into strips.

      In a large frying pan, heat a small amount of oil on medium high heat and cook the steak just until done.  Depending on how thinly you sliced the meat, this may only take a few minutes.  Remove the meat from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

      Reduce the heat in the pan to medium and, if desired, add a bit more oil.  Add the onion and peppers to the pan and cook until desired.  (I like a bit of a crunch in my veggies, but my family likes theirs super soft.  We compromise in the middle someplace!)  While the onion and pepper are cooking, in a small bowl, combine the beef broth and corn starch.  Stir until combined. 

      When the onion and pepper are done, add the meat and its juices back into the pan.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the beef broth mixture to the pan.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened making sure to stir frequently. 
      Serve in tortillas with your favorite toppings!