Low Fat Mozzarella Sticks

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Avui un clàssic dels clàssics, l’aperitiu preferit dels amants de formatge: els imprescindibles, atemporals, magnífics palets de mozzarella.

I, tal com vem fer fa unes setmanes amb el pollastre arrebossat al forn, en presentem la versió operació-bikini-friendly: més sana, més fàcil i més còmoda. Perquè pugueu vetllar el retorn dels Stark (que tornaran, creieu-me, no ens poden deixar tan orfes i eliminar les principals trames de la sèrie en un pim pam; seran més o menys zombies però tornaran) i planificar la venjança contra les males pècores de Dorne (que això que han fet és molt lleig, gratuït, injust i absolutament a traïció, per Lannister que fos) sense haver de patir tant pel recompte de calories.

Valar Morghulis.

Low Fat Mozzarella Sticks

Prep time: about 30 min

Servings: I made 25 sticks (and could eat 3 times the amount I cooked all by myself)

You’ll need:

  • Mozzarella, cut into little sticks (I made 25 sticks of about 1 x 1 x 4 cm)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • breadcrumbs (quantity difficult to say, just go and buy a couple of packages, it’s cheap and always useful to have around)
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • any sauce you like (ketchup, BBQ, home-made Italian-style tomato sauce…)

mozzarella sticks prep 1

A healthier, cleaner and easier version of the typical fried mozzarella sticks, the same idea as in the Crunchy No-fry Fried Chicken.

There are basically three steps: first, place a bowl full of breadcrumbs mixed with salt, pepper and oregano and another bowl with the beaten eggs next to each other (the closer the bowls are, the smaller the mess will be in the next step).

Now take a cheese stick, dip it into the egg until well coated, then dip it into the bread and roll it until well covered. If the breadcrumb layer is too thin and weak, dip it in the beaten egg and in the breadcrumbs a second time (I did it). Repeat with all your sticks.

mozzarella sticks prep 2

Now look at your fingers, absolutely covered with egg and breadcrumbs, stick one finger into your mouth, clean it by eating the bread-egg crust, and enjoy the incoming childhood memories of summer evenings helping your mother cook breaded chicken. Nice.

Then, line a baking dish with baking paper and place all your beautiful cheese sticks on it.

Finally, bake for 5 minutes, until the melted mozzarella just starts to break the golden crispy crust to expand its cheesy warm royalty all over the place.

mozzarella sticks

Enjoy! 🙂

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Brie en croûte

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This just happened in my kitchen.

There are no words. I will not even attempt at writing a post befitting of this recipe. I will just tell you how to make it yourselves, and know that, if I should do nothing else at all, I will have left the world a tiny bit better than I found it.

We should all worry less about what others do, do more of what makes us happy, and eat more cheese.


Brie en croûte 8

(This picture… I know, NOT sexy. But I found it impossible to capture the oozing molten cheese flood in a sexy way, when all I wanted was to bury my face in it)

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Provolone Salad

Other Brie recipes: Baked Cherry Brie Bites, Chips del Diamant, Strawberry Almond Brie Salad

Brie en croûte

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Servings: 1, if it were up to me. Probably more like 4, though, or 8, depending of the size of your brie round

Prep time: 45 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 Brie round
  • 1 sheet of round puff pastry, large enough to cover the entire brie round
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut up into little chunks (more if using a large brie round)
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, beat together
  • apples, crackers, veggies or any other dip-able fare you can come up with

Brie en croûte 1

To begin with, roll out the puff pastry sheet onto a flat surface and place your little brie round right in the middle.

Brie en croûte 4

In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes with the thyme.

Brie en croûte 3

Spoon (in my case, more like heap) the mixture onto the brie round, as well as around the sides.

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Then gather the pastry up to create a little pouch, and cinch it shut. You can also get creative and make nice variations and spectacular designs.

But I am lazy. I hereby officially extend the invitation to be lazy with me.

It will taste the same. Promise.

Now brush the puff pastry pouch with the egg wash, the place in a medium oven for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Allow it to cool for a bit before digging in, or, you know, blistering pain.

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Serve with the crackers, apple slices et al.

Enjoy. 🙂

Clara

Mini Cheeseburgers

mini cheeseburgers 1

A casa tenim una tradició sagrada, i és que el dia del teu aniversari esculls el sopar. No és que la resta de sopars de l’any siguin gaire dictatorials, de fet normalment es fan a quatre mans i sempre s’accepten propostes, però aquell dia pots menjar el que et vingui més de gust. No et cal pensar que estigui equilibrat amb el dinar, ni que tingui més part de verdura que d’hidrats de carboni, ni res semblant. Que vols pizza? Doncs pizza. Que ja has menjat pasta per dinar i després de sopar aniràs a dormir i la pizza t’anirà directament al cul? És completament igual.

Això ara pot no semblar gaire estimulant, perquè habitualment ja penses en què fer per sopar, però si ets petit i estàs acostumat a arribar a casa i trobar-te el plat de verdura al davant, tenir carta blanca per un dia és tot un esdeveniment. Tant, que aquest any la meva germana ha decidit que pel seu sant volia repetir el privilegi. De fet, més d’un mes abans ja tenia el menú pensat i clar, amb la il·lusió que li feia el seu sopar, pobreta, no li diràs que no, oi?

I ha demanat un menú festiu absolutament caòtic: figuretes de peix arrebossat (de les que són conglomerat pur i tenen forma d’estrella i de peixet i de cavallet de mar), brandada de bacallà amb torradetes i mini hamburgueses.

Sí, no pega ni per casualitat, però què esperàveu d’un menú ideat per un cervellet supercreatiu de 9 anys?

I jo, l’encarregada de preparar aquest sopar, per intentar salvar la situació i donar una mica de glamour a la diada de Sant Jordi, he transformat la seva petició de mini hamburgueses en tres mini cheeseburgers d’autor.

mini cheeseburgers 2

Swiss cheeseburger

  • Mustard
  • Emmental
  • Mushrooms

swiss cheeseburger

Honey Goat Cheeseburger

  • Goat cheese
  • Honey
  • Oregano

honey goat cheeseburger

Parmesan Pesto Burger

  • Pesto sauce (made of basil, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil)
  • Parmesan slices (or Grana Padano, if your budget is reduced, as mine is)

parmesan pesto burger

There’s no need to explain how to put it all together, right? Just cook, assemble, melt and eat.

Enjoy! 🙂

Annie

Cheese Balls

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Avui no tinc gaire temps d’escriure. M’ha passat el que em passa absolutament cada any per Setmana Santa: que divendres al vespre sembla que 10 dies seran unes vacances llarguíssimes i, de cop, és dilluns de Pasqua i ja se t’ha acabat tot. M’estressa molt la Setmana Santa, és potser l’època de l’any en què més sents que se t’escapa el temps de les mans. És com depriment i tot.

Per sort, un bon dinar amb amics pot fer que, almenys durant una estona, el temps es mogui a una altra velocitat.

One year ago on May the Cheese Be with You: Strawberry Cottage Cheese Cups

Cheese Balls

Prep time: 15 min + at least 2 hours refrigerator

You will need:

  • cream cheese (I used 1 tablespoon for each ball)
  • toppings (herbs, spices, nuts… almost anything will do)

cheese balls prep 1

This recipe is extremely easy and the result is really good. In fact, I think it has the best difficulty/results ratio ever. All you need is to take a spoonful of cream cheese and mix it with your favourite ingredients. I used fresh chopped chives for the first cheese ball and curry for the second one, and they both were delicious.

cheese balls prep 2

Then form a ball, wrap it in plastic film and refrigerate for at least an hour. And that’s it. Serve it with some crackers and you’ll have the perfect appetizer.

cheese balls 1

Enjoy!

Annie

A cheese-laden birthday feast!

Happy birthday to us!

We’ve been cheesing it for a year now, and we have been celebrating.

With cheese.

Of course.

So today we bring to you not one, not two, not three, but four recipes to put together an entire scrumptious meal orbiting around cheese.

We begin with an appetiser, featuring Feta cheese and ground walnuts, which technically make these little taste-bomb healthy. Almost. Be that as it may, these were absolutely, totally, like, awesome.

Our first course starred creamy pasta with Ricotta, paired with the freshness of lemon. The sheer simplicity of this dish belies the wonderful taste, which manages to transport you straight back into summer.

We chose chicken for our main course, and of course Parmesan, which simply had to make the cut. Dried tomatoes and basil rounded up this lovely, comforting one-skillet dish. We do, however, apologise for the pictures, but this was so good we literally forgot to take any more… You’ll just have to trust us on this one. Have we ever led you astray? 🙂

And last, but indeed not least, you cannot have a birthday without a cake. A cheesecake, of course. Scroll down and find out more about this little crowning jewel of today’s feast…

How can you say no?

Walnut Feta Cookies

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Servings: about 40 cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes

You will need:

  • 40 g ground or chopped walnuts
  • 120 g, or 1/2 cup flour
  • 120 g butter
  • 120 g feta cheese
  • salt and pepper

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Let’s start out with the walnut. If you couldn’t find them ground, you can use a pestle and mortar to do the job. (We did 🙂 )

Walnut Feta Cookies 1

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until you obtain a homogeneous dough, then roll it out to a thickness of roughly 1,5 cm.

Walnut Feta Cookies 2

Cut them out in any desired shape. We used a round cutter, but any shape will do, really.

Walnut Feta Cookies 3

Place on a greased or lined cookie sheet. Leave a little space between them, but not much is needed, since they really don’t grow at all. You can brush them them with a slightly beaten egg, or even milk, at this point, but this really isn’t necessary.

Walnut Feta Cookies 4

Place in a low oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until light golden.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 5

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 5

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes (seriously)

You will need:

  • 350gr short pasta
  • 200gr fresh Ricotta cheese
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons dried, or 10 leaves fresh basil
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 3

Cook the pasta as per package instructions.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Reserve two cups of pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, beat together the cheese, lemon zest and basil until thoroughly combined.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 2

Thin out with pasta water until fairly liquid, but still creamy. Return the drained pasta to the pot and mix in the Ricotta mixture.

Serve garnished with Parmesan and a few basil leaves.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 6

Creamy Parmesan Basil Chicken

Creamy Parmesan Basil Chicken 2

Servings: 4

Prep time: 30 mintues

You will need:

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 bread crumbs
  • olive oil to cook the chicken
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup minced dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a large skillet on low heat with the olive oil. Salt and pepper both side of the chicken breasts. Dip in the milk, then coat with bread crumbs and place in the pan. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (times may vary here depending on the thickness of the breast).

Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken 1

Remove from the pan, and add the broth to the same pan. When it boils, stir in cream and tomatoes and give it a good stir. Add the remaining ingredients and give it a few minutes to cook through.

Return the chicken to the pan.

Eat up. 🙂

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 10

Servings: 8

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 50 minutes baking time, plus 2 hours chilling

You will need:

For the cheesecake:

  • 1 cup shortbread cookies, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate, cut into squares and melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar (optional; I didn’t think it was necessary)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs

For the raspberry sauce:

  • 1 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 8

Combine the crushed cookies with the ground almonds.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 11-side

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Mix in the melted butter until it forms a crumbly paste. Press into the bottom of a greased pan.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 16

Combine the cream cheese with the melted chocolate.

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Add the sour cream, sugar and eggs. Pour on top of the cookie crust.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 14-side

Bake on medium high for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and centre is still slightly wobbly, but set. It will firm up as it cools.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 1

Place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 4-side

Meanwhile, place the raspberry jam in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it melts down. Add the raspberries and bring to a simmer. Cover and chill until serving time.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 7

Spoon the raspberry sauce over the cheesecake slices as you serve.

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Enjoy! 🙂

Baked Cherry Brie Bites

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As is probably the case with most of you, I am in full post-Christmas hangover mode. I’ve had about 10 large family meals in the last week, and still have a few to go. Christmas season doesn’t end until January 7 over here, so I have to save my strength. No, seriously, we take our German, American and Catalan Christmas and New Year’s traditions very seriously.

Cherry Brie Bites 8

That’s why today’s recipe is fast and easy, but no less good and cheesy. I served these on New Year’s Eve, and they were a hit. They’ll work as an appetizer, or even as dessert. They’ll save your life if you need to serve something nice, quick and with little to no fuss. You can use any type of jam, and even a different type of creamy cheese (Camembert and raspberry jam, anyone?). Personally, I’ll use more cheese and less jam next time, but, you know, whatever rocks your boat.

For more bite-sized appetiser, check out these recipes:

Veggi Mozzarella Turnovers

Feta Bites

Or if it’s Brie you crave, we have more recipes here:

Chips del Diamant

Strawberry-Almond-Brie Salad

Now let’s get straight down to business.

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Baked Cherry Brie Bites

Inspiration snatched from the wonderful Joy the Baker.

Servings: depends on size

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus another 10 minutes baking time

You will need:

  • Brie cheese
  • cherry jam
  • two sheets of puff pastry (preferably rectangular)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat your oven to medium-high.

Place one puff pastry sheet on top of the other, and cut through both to form squares or rectangles. The size is entirely up to you, although the smaller ones are usually more popular. I recommend rectangular puff pastry sheets because you will end up with less, or actually no, leftover bits and pieces.

Separate the matching squares or rectangles.

Cherry Brie Bites-side

 

Next, cut your Brie into piece that fit into the centre of your squares or rectangles, but still allow for some space around it to crimp the edges shut.

Cherry Brie Bites 9

Add a dollop of jam on top of the cheese…

Cherry Brie Bites 7

 

…and cover with the matching puff pastry square or rectangles. Crimp the edges with a fork, pressing down tightly to seal the edges.

Cherry Brie Bites 3

Here’s the process again:

Cherry Brie Bites 6

 

You’ll notice I used very small pieces of cheese.

I won’t be making that mistake again.

Finally, paint the tops of the Brie Bites with the egg.

Cherry Brie Bites 5

 

Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned.

Cherry Brie Bites 10

Enjoy!

Clara

Feta and Herb Sweet Potatoes

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 5

Short and sweet is the motto for today. Thanksgiving is around the corner, fall is slowly sputtering out, and the Christmas lights of downtown Barcelona are already shining merrily through my bedroom window. The frantic pre-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas activity is wearing me down and driving me up the walls at the same time, but holiday season is on, and I love it.

So, short and sweet it is. Today’s recipe would be amazing as a lighter Thanksgiving side dish, or as a fall-themed dish for any day of the week, really. And trust me when I say, it’s good. It’s very, very good, and even half way healthy.

And I may or may not have eaten the whole tray all by myself.

Do yourself a favor, and make this. It comes together amazingly fast, and the oven does half the work anyway. Did I mention it´s good?

Let’s get the show on the road.

For another feta cheese recipe, check out these Feta Bites. You’ll thank me later 🙂

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 6

Feta and Herb Sweet Potatoes

(Adapted from the incoparable William Sonoma)

Servings: 2 large or 3 small

Prep time: 45 minutes, 30 minutes of which are baking time

You will need:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • olive oil to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100 gr feta cheese, crumbled
  • about 1/3 to 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons dried herbs, preferably thyme or herbes de provence, but really any Mediterranean herb you have at hand
  • juice of 1 lemon

First off, wash and peel your sweet potatoes and slice them into 1/2 inch thick pieces. You can cut them thinner if you like, but you’ll have to adjust the baking time accordingly.

Arrange the sweet potato slice in a singly layer on a baking-paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle (or drown, if your from the Mediterranean) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the baking sheet with aluminium foil and bake on high for 20 minutes.

Remove and discard the aluminium foil.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 3

Up to this point, we’ve prepared your average ol’ baked sweet potato. Now let’s take this puppy over the top.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 2

Sprinkle the dish with your herbs of choice (thyme really does make the best addition, but I’ve used plenty of other herbs and they all yield delicious results) and the crumbled feta cheese, making sure all your slice get some of the fun. Now, you can sprinkle the pine nuts on top whole, or can crumble them up a bit with a pestle and mortar, as I like to, since it allows for better distributing, and helps blend the flavors a bit more.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 1

Once you’ve finished all your sprinkling, place the baking sheet back in the oven for another 8 or 10 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown nicely, or until you can’t resist the smell wafting through your kitchen any longer.

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 4

Drizzle the lemon juice over everything, and serve. And eat.

Enjoy!

Clara

Herbed Sweet Potatoes 7