Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Italian Night - Chocolate-Hazelnut Tart

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped, and toasted hazelnuts
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
1 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 store bought frozen pie crust, defrosted


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and the flour. Add the eggs, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir well. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake for 1 hour.

Cool the tart for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 The only downside to this recipe is IT BAKES FOR A FREAKIN HOUR and has to cool FOR ANOTHER FREAKIN 30 MINUTES ha.  But well worth the wait in my opinion.  The Hazelnuts can be a bit expensive, but I'm sure if we had gone to a specialty store they would have had what we needed at a better price.   You do need a specialty tart pan for this recipe. Also when buying the pie crusts make sure you get the ones that come two to a box and are rolled instead of ones that come already in pie tins, they would fit the tart pan better.

Recipe can be found here.

Italian Night - Fried Ravioli


Olive oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
1 box store-bought cheese ravioli (about 24 ravioli)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 jar store bought marinara sauce, heated, for dipping


Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.

While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Working in batches, dip ravioli in buttermilk to coat completely. Allow the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli.

When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.

Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

These were quick and easy to make and didn't require specialty ingredients which was great!  I think the bag had 36 raviolis which was pretty much perfect to feed 7 of us and that's considering 2 were piggy pregos. ha

We pulled the recipe from here.

Italian Night - Bruschetta with Gorgonzola Cheese and Honey

36 slices (1/2-inch thick) baguette bread, about 1 loaf
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces Gorgonzola, sliced
3 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the sliced baguette on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Bake until the bread is pale golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.
Arrange the cheese on the toasts and bake until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.
Drizzle the toasts with honey. Place on a serving platter and serve immediately.
All I can say about this recipe was I want more!  Another very quick and easy appetizer that looks fancy without having to do much.  We actually doubled this recipe which was a good thing since we basically devoured them as soon as they were ready! The Gorgonzola cheese is pricey and it's better to slice the cheese with a non serrated knife to stop the cheese from crumbling.

We got the original recipe here

Asian Night - Fried Rice

We also made Fried Rice although it wasn't a specific recipe it was just my concoction so I'll try to remember what I did.

3 cups cooked rice (I used minute rice cooked in my Pampered Chef Rice Cooker Plus)
3 chopped carrots
3 eggs
1/2 bag frozen peas
Vegetable oil
Soy sauce to taste

Cook rice in the microwave. Heat vegetable oil in Stir Fry pan add carrots and peas stir fry for a few minutes till softened or peas thawed, add scrambled eggs and stir fry till egg is cooked.  Add Rice to stir fry pan and add soy sauce to taste.  Toss it all together and cook for another few minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Another quick and easy recipe that doesn't take long to make.  I've made it a few times since and I really like it, but you can add whatever vegetables or meat you want to the rice to suit your tastes.

Asian Night - Lettuce Wraps

For March's cooking night we made PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps and they were SCRUMPTIOUS!

Here is the recipe for 6-9 servings
9 tablespoons oil
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 cups water chestnuts
2 1/16 cups mushrooms
9 tablespoons chopped onions
3 teaspoons minced garlic
12-15 leaves iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3/8 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons hot mustard
6 teaspoons water
3-6 teaspoons garlic and red chile paste

Stir Fry Sauce
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.
  • Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.
  • Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you're ready to serve.
  • Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well.
  • Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.
  • Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
  • Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
  • Keep oil in the pan, keep hot.
  • As chicken cools mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
  • Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
  • When chicken is cool, mince it as the mushrooms and water chestnuts are.
  • With the pan still on high heat, add another Tbsp of vegetable oil.
  • Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan.
  • Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes then serve it in the lettuce"cups".
  • Top with"Special Sauce".
These were very easy to make and really tasty.  Some of the ingredients were a little more difficult to find, but that's because we looked at Wal-Mart for them.....side note always go to Harmon's or Smith's for more of the specialty items.

We found the recipe here.