Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fontina Results

Well, this month sure did go by fast! This was my daughter's birthday month---yes that's right she gets a whole month! Since our family isn't from this area, we had to spend every weekend visiting and having parties, which was a TON of fun but very exhausing! So, I made sure to do my recipe at the beginning of the month.

We had two wonderful bloggers this month, Carey of Cooking with Carey and Samantha of The Second Lunch. Carey made a wonderfully delicious Roast Turkey Panini with Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers, and Fontina. Yummy! I absolutely LOVE paninis! And what a great choice of flavors, too!

Roast Turkey Panini with Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers, and Fontina
Carey of Cooking with Carey

1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
8 slices ciabatta bread or other rustic Italian white bread, thinly sliced
8 ounces very thinly sliced roast turkey breast
1 roasted red bell pepper, stemmed, skin and seeds removed, cut into thin strips
6 ounces fontina cheese, thinly sliced, to cover the bread slices
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Arrange the slices of bread on a flat work surface and, using a small spoon, divide the pesto evenly among 1 side of each of the bread slices.

Divide the turkey, roasted pepper strips, and fontina equally among 4 of the bread slices. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread, pesto sides down, to form 4 sandwiches.

Brush the outsides of each sandwich lightly with some of the olive oil. Heat a large skillet, griddle, or grill pan over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the sandwiches and cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, pressing occasionally with a large metal spatula or the bottom of a small heavy saucepan, about 4 minutes per side. Remove sandwiches and transfer to a cutting board. Slice in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.

Samantha of The Second Lunch wisely combined her Barefoot Blogging challenge with this month's cheese challenge. She prepared some lovely Tomato Goat Cheese Tarts. The tastly little tarts combined two cheeses; goat cheese and some sort of melty cheese. Of course she used Fontina, which a great melting cheese. What a fantastic pairing! Make sure to check out her blog to see beautiful photos of her creation as well as the scenery on the way to get her cheeses!

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
adapted from Ina Garten
Serves 2

1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic
- coarse salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated Fontina, with some shaved
- 2 ounces goat cheese (I used plain, but Ina recommends herb and garlic Montrachet)
- 2 thick slices of tomato (about 1/4 inch) from a medium tomato
- a few teaspoons of julienned basil (use fresh if at all possible, but it works fine with dried)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Take a sheet of defrosted puff pastry (I used Trader Joe’s Artisanal Puff Pastry, frozen, which comes in big sheets), and draw six inch large circles of pastry, using a bowl or saucer as your guide. Place pastry rounds on a sheet pan lined with parchment, and stick in the fridge to keep them cold until you are ready to use them. (Note: quickly take the leftover scraps, sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar, and put them in the oven for the next ten minutes or so while you cook the onions. They make a fantastic snack.)
3. In a pan on medium heat, add a couple of good glugs of olive oil, and saute the onion and garlic for about 15 minutes until starting to get very soft. Season with salt and pepper, add the white wine and thyme leaves. Turn the heat down just slightly, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until very soft and lightly browned. Take off the heat.
4. Now for the fun part: take your pastry rounds, and with a sharp knife, score a 1/4 inch wide border around the inside of the edge of the circle. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the fontina cheese on each round, staying inside the scored border. (This is so when baking, the border will rise and create a little edge.)
5. In each circle, place half of your sauteed onions inside the border, and crumble an ounce of the goat cheese. Take your tomato and plop it on top, brushing it with a little bit of olive oil, giving it a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and the basil, and the rest of the fontina cheese.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden. You might want to watch it in the end, because if your oven is too hot or uneven it might start to burn. You can serve it on its own, or with a little lemony salad with arugula, and any leftover tomato you might have.

I decided to do something simple this month. Flipping through my Pillsbury Cookbook, I found a new twist on an old favorite---Mac N Cheese, grown up style! I had to tweek the recipe a little but it ended up being FABULOUS! My husband loved it and it was so easy to make too. Fontina is one of those cheeses that melts beautifully. The recipe calls for Swiss, but Aldi's was out of it so I decided to use Havarti since it was a milder type of cheese that melts well. I also omitted the alcohol since we don't drink. (I'm sure the alcohol burns off but why take the risk?) I also omitted the tomatoes because I thought that would ruin the flavor. So, I added onions insteads! I love onions and onions and cheese go very well together. This dish was amazing and I will be making it a stable in my house!

Grown-Up Mac "N" Cheese
Pillsbury Complete Cookbook

2 1/2 C Uncooked Penne Pasta
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/8 Tsp White Pepper
Dash Nutmeg
1 1/4 C Half and Half
1/2 C Fontina, shredded
1/2 C Havarti, shredded
1/2 C Fresh Parmesan, shredded
1/4 small onion, minced

1. Heat oven to 350F. Spray a 1 1/2 quart caserole with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Make the pasta as directed and drain.

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onions and then stir in flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; cook and stir until bubbly. Gradually add half and half, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring fequently. Remove from heat. Stir in all three cheeses until melted.

4. Add pasta to cheese sauce, stir gently to coat. Pour into sprayed dish.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are bubble and mixture is thoroughly heated.

No comments: