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Swiss Mac and Cheese

Swiss Husband = Swiss Cheese.  My Swiss husband takes cheese very seriously.  Nothing frustrates a Euro foodie more  than American Mac and Cheese in blue box.

“Oh Sweetheart…it’s terrible.  Don’t even bring that box into the house.”

It can be a little dramatic, but Ettore has a point.  Great Mac and Cheese is easier than you think, not that expensive, and DEE-LISH.

Ettore is putting his cheese where his mouth is and bringing us a great Swiss Mac and Cheese.  Makes me want to yodel just thinking about how good this recipe is.

SWISS MACARONI AND CHEESE

1. lb Macaroni Pasta

1 Cup Grated Swiss Cheese

1 Cup Grated Gruyere Cheese

1 Whole White Onion, chopped

1 Cup Chopped Smoked Ham (optional)

1 Tbl. Olive Oil

1 Tbl. Butter

Salt

In a large pot bring water to a boil and add macaroni noodles, making sure to add a pinch of salt to water.  In a separate skillet add butter and olive oil and add one whole chopped white onion and sautee till golden brown.  In a separate skillet add chopped smoked ham and sautee till brown around the edges.  You can add a little butter to help the sauteing of the ham.

Grate Swiss and Gruyere Cheese and set aside.

When pasta is finished cooking, drain macaroni noodles and return to pot.  Add grated cheese directly to the pot to melt cheese, add sauteed ham, and add sauteed onions.  Be sure to set aside an 1/8 of a cup of onions for garnish on top of pasta.  Stir pasta until cheese is melted.  Pour pasta  directly into serving dish and garnish on top with remaining sauteed onions.

Eat a bunch by yourself before you kids devour it all.

ENJOY and Kiss The Cook!

M

Too Much Heat In The Kitchen

Husband:  When will dinner be ready?

Me:  When the smoke alarm goes off.

Valentine Raspberry Meringue Hearts with Kiss The Cook

Perfect for Valentines Day…Raspberry Meringue Hearts and the word stiff…we are talking about the meringue.  Ettore makes absolutley the best meringue and the Raspberry Meringue Hearts he shows us here are easy breezy to make.  You will need parchment paper, and disposable pastry bags…but don’t be scared…go for it.  I promise the Raspberry Meringue Hearts are DEE-LISH!  Your sweet will love this treat.

RASPBERRY MERINGUE HEARTS

6 Egg Whites (approx. 1 cup)

2 Cups Sugar

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

2 Tbls. Sugar for whipped cream

Raspberries

Powdered Sugar

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.  Separate egg whites and SLOWLY begin to beat in sugar.  Be sure to go slowly and use blender on slowest setting.  Adding the sugar to the egg whites should take several minutes and continue till the meringue is stiff.   Add meringue to a disposable pastry bag.

On a cookie sheet place a piece of parchment paper.  Draw hearts by hand or trace around a heart shaped cookie cutter.  Take pastry bag filled with meringue and outline the hearts and fill in the center.  Outline the heart twice.  Bake for thirty minutes or until meringue heart is stiff.

In a separate bowl beat manufacturing cream with sugar to taste until whipped cream is made.  You can also add vanilla for flavor.  This will make the filling for the center of meringue.  Once meringue hearts are baked, spoon the fresh whipped cream into the center of the meringue heart.  Top with fresh raspberries and dust with powdered sugar. 

Finally take meringue heart with you and lock yourself in a closet and devour by yourself and refuse to share…they are that good.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Love,

M

 

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Reilly’s Special Salad Dressing

This last summer the whole family vacationed down to the beach in Ventura, California. My amazing friend Monica and her family live in Ventura which is a TERRIFIC town, a hidden Southern California gem for families. It was during that time that my stepsons and their friend Kyle decided to cook for us, no questions asked. I gave the boys cash for groceries, a quick talk about teamwork and lighter fluid safety, said a prayer, and took a nap. When I awoke the boys had created the most fabulous meal of pasta, bread, vegetables, and a salad with the most amazing salad dressing that was Reilly’s own creation. It truly is fabulous, healthy, inexpensive, and most important for busy Moms…easy to make!

Reilly does a fanatastic job in the video re-creating the dressing and is a true pro. He is easy to understand, fluid, and patiently tolerates my bad jokes (he has a lot of practice at that). Hope you enjoy the video and dressing. The recipe is below and please let me know what you think, I would love to post your comments.

On a side note, apparently I need a video shoot stylist. My apron is not tied all the way and I look pregnant or like I am smuggling Hyundais. Neither is the case…my goodness.

Enjoy Kiss The Cook…Happy Eating!

REILLY’S SPECIAL SALAD DRESSING (OR MY STEPMOM IS SUPER AWESOME SALAD DRESSING)

In a large mixing bowl whisk together:

The zest of 1/2 lemon

The juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 tsp. salt

Pepper to taste

2 tsp. Champagne Vinegar

1/2 tsp. Grey Poupon

1/2 tsp. sugar

2 Tbl. Olive Oil

Pour over salad and toss or use as a dipping sauce for vegetables.

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Lovin’ The Onion

Anyway you dice it (pun intended…sorry) a diced onion is faboo and a busy Mom’s friend in the torture chamber kitchen.  Onions are inexpensive, add a quick and easy blast of flavor, and can take a everyday jar of spaghetti sauce from boring to scoring.

A few tips from Ettore when dealing with the onion:

Chill the onion in the refrigerator before cutting, this will cut down on the tear inducing fumes.

You won’t go to kithchen jail for how you use different kinds of onions, but generally red onions are sweet and work great in salads, yellow and white onions work great for cooking.

USE A SHARP KNIFE

Cut onion on a cutting board and place cutting board on a wet towel to prevent the cutting board from slipping (there’s no vacation from safety).

Use your knuckles as your guide.

After slicing an onion, cut onion length wise to begin dicing.

The following salad recipe is a customer FAVORITE at my husband’s place, Ettore’s European Bakery and Restaurant.  www.ettores.com  It is simple and quick as well. Ettore recently taught a vegetarian cooking class for my Mom and her friends and even the carnivores in the group were raving about this salad. The following recipe serves just me when I am hungry, or 4-6 average adults.

Fresh Corn and Onion Salad

  • 5 Ears of fresh corn or 2 cans of corn
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1/2 cucumber seeded and diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp.  finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. Sour Cream
  • 1/3 Cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Start by stripping the corn of kernels using a sharp knife.   Add corn to a large bowl.  Combine red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, red wine vinegar, olive oil.  Using large fork and spoon toss ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately, or chill and then serve. 

Have Fun and Happy Eating!

 

The Lovely Tomato

 

Some say toe-may-toe some say toe-ma-toe, but however you say it the tomato rocks.  The tomato is so diverse it can’t be put into any one category.

The tomato is like a woman…complicated and diverse.  Is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit?  Like a woman a tomato retains an air of mystery and keeps you guessing.

Like a hard working Mama the tomato is everywhere and doing three things at one.  You’ll find tomatoes in pastas, salads, sandwiches, appetizers and the list goes on and on and on.

Like a lady the tomato needs a quiet place to grow, some sun and nurturing to flourish, but treat her wrong and she will go sour on you right quick!

Ok, down to biz-ness.

Cutting A Tomato

When using a cutting board you will want to prevent the cutting board from slipping.  A chef trick is to place a wet towel under the board.

The type of knife is important when cutting a tomato and you always want to use a SHARP knife.  You can use a serrated knife (my novice personal preference), like the knife used to cut bread.  Ettore recommends using a chef knife, which is a general utility knife derived from a butcher’s knife. Generally chef knifes are all purpose knifes that are approximately 8″ in length and 1 1/2″ in width.

A standard chef knife

To begin, hold the tomato upright and slice through the tomato and the stem.

Next cut a small V in the top of the tomato and remove stem.  Before making this video I used to just whack off the top of the tomato to remove the stem. It wasted so much of the tomato.  The V technique is much better than my barbaric heavy tomato cutting hand.

Using your knuckles as a guide, slice the tomato length wise.  To further dice tomato, after slicing give the tomato a 1/2 turn and slice again.

Caprese Salad

  • This is one of the most delicious, quick, and easy to make summer salads.  You will want to use unrefrigerated vine ripened or heirloom tomatoes.  This recipe serves 4-6.
  • 4 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 2 fresh mozzarella cheese balls
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • salt, pepper,
  • 3 tbl. olive oil

Slice tomatoes and mozzarella into thick 1/4″ slices and alternately arrange on a plate.   Chop basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle over tomatoes and mozzarella.   Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Drizzle approximately 3 tablespoons of olive oil over tomatoes and mozzarella. Serve immediately.

Happy Eating!

M

How to Make Swiss Muesli

 

Muesli is a traditional Swiss breakfast staple.   Healthy, delicious, and inexpensive Muesli will be a treat for the whole family.  Ettore grew up on Muesli in Switzerland and often had Muesli for breakfast, but also lunch and dinner.  To the delight of his customers, Ettore now serves Muesli in his bakery Ettore’s.  www.ettores.com Add a little honey or whipped cream for a touch of sweetness or as a light dessert. Watch the video above and enjoy the recipe for Muesli listed below.

Happy Eating!

Muesli

  • 1 cup quick oats  NOTE: make sure you use quick oats to absorb the milk
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 small container flavored yogurt.   Example: raspberry, strawberry, blueberry
  • 1 whole green apple
  • 1-1 1/2 cups total seasonal fruit.  Use one or combination of  raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapes  NOTE: no citrus fruits

In a large bowl mix together with a spatula or serving spoon quick oats, milk, plain and flavored yogurt. Grate whole green apple with skin and add to the mix. Stir in fresh fruit.  Serve immediately.  Store remainder in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Serves 6

Total cost: approximately $5.00

Kiss The Cook

Coming Soon.

I always thought kitchens were nothing more than medieval torture chambers, or the room where the wine was.  Fortunately, I still feel that way.  The running joke when I was a child was that I had better marry a chef or I was going to starve to death.  My Mother can now rest easier at night because that is EXACTLY what I did…marry a chef and a famous (and sexy) European pastry chef to boot…bonus points. 

The exciting thing for my readers is that my husband, Ettore Ravazzolo, (www.ettores.com) and I will be teaming up to bring you videos of fantastic and easy to follow recipes for you to recreate at home with your family.  Ettore has been a staple on TV for years as a guest chef and I was an actress and television reporter.  This is a chance for us to combine our talents and work together, expanding on that foundation to bring great food to you.  The segments will be professionally taped in our home kitchen, by award winning videographer Terry Haggert, and will include delicious recipes, but also kitchen tool demonstrations.  I will be there with Ettore breaking it down for those who, like me, the kitchen still remains a mysterious cave.

The video segments will be informative and fun and hopefully breath some new life into you cooking routine.  Be prepared though, my husband’s glorious Swiss accent and tremendous cooking will have you throwing your panties at your computer.  That is why we always say in this household…

KISS THE COOK

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