Low Fat Mozzarella Sticks

mozzarella sticks 2

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! 🙂

Three Cheese Stovetop Lasagna

Three Cheese Stovetop Lasagna 7

Yes, you read that right. Three cheeses. Three different types of Italian cheese. In one dish. One glorious, comforting, soul-warming dish. One pan, minimal preparation, no need to throw on the oven, 30 minutes and you’re set. This is a bit too easy for our own good.

And it has three cheeses.

Have I mentioned the three cheeses?

I love this lasagna. I mean, take a look, three cheeses.

It doesn’t get much easier than this.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

Why, even Cicero swooned over this. Well, maybe not excatly this, but man did the guy love his lasagna (go on, google that). I’m telling ya, the man was wise. He wore a toga.

Plus, there is a chance the word originates from the Greek lasana, or lasanon, meaning “chamber pot”, which the Romans borrowed as lasanum. Something got lost in translation, though, because the Romans, despite wearing togas, firmly believed the word to mean “cooking pots”.

I find this the most hilarious story ever. We’ve been eating chamber pots for millennia.

Personally, I need no other reason to cook this every day this week. In case you do: Have I told you yet that this has three cheeses?

Three Cheese Stovetop Lasagna 8

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Braised French Onion Chicken

Other Parmesan dishes: Parmesan Potato Wedges, Parmesan Poppy Seed Twists, Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Parmesan Lollipops, Date Bacon Parmesan Salad, Rosemary Parmesan Butter

Other Ricotta dishes: Lemon Ricotta Pasta, Vegetable Ricotta Pasta

Other Mozzarella dishes: Pistachio Mozzarella Salad, Vegetable Cannelloni, Potato Dauphinoise, Caprese Bread, Veggi Mozzarella Turnovers, Ultra fast Pasta with Mozzarella

 

Three Cheese Stovetop Lasagna

Servings: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes

You will need:

  • 250gr, or 1/2lb ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
  • 2 cups, tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4-6 lasagna noodles, depending on the size of your pot, soaked in warm water
  • 8oz, or 250 gr grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 2oz, or 60gr Parmesan cheese
  • 15oz, or 400gr Ricotta cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil to garnish, optional

First off, heat some olive oil in a deep pan or pot, and cook the ground meat until no pink bits remain. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, basil and chili, and stir well to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 30 second.

Three Cheese Stovetop Lasagna 1

Stir in about a third of the tomato sauce and water, then top with the lasagna noodles, taking care to cover the meat as evenly as possible. Break up the noodles if it helps.

Three Cheese Stovetop Lasagna

Pour the remaining sauce and water over the noodles, and whisk a bit to combine the liquids. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes. Once the noodles are nice and tender, uncover and sprinkle with half the Parmesan and Mozzarella. Place dollops of Ricotta all over the top, and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella on top of that.

Three Cheese Stovetop Lasagna 2-side

Cheese heaven.

Cover and cook for a few more minutes until the cheeses melt.

We definitely want the cheese to melt.

Garnish with basil, if desired (I didn’t), dish up, and enjoy!

Three Cheese Stovetop Lasagna 6

Dig in. I did 🙂

Three Cheese Stovetop Lasagna 9

 

Clara

Salmon and Goat Cheese Quiche

Salmon and goat cheese quiche 1

Si, torno a fer una quiche. No, no és l’única cosa que sé cuinar, també sé fer altres coses, però és que sóc particularment fan d’aquest plat. Mireu, us donaré 5 bons motius pels quals m’encanta tant fer-ne com menjar-ne (i després d’això també us hi voldreu posar vosaltres):

  1. És molt fàcil de fer. Però moltíssim. En realitat, només et cal un paquet de pasta de full o de pasta brisa, algun tipus de motlle i un forn. Els ingredients que hi vulguis posar dins i apa, quiche feta.
  2. Un procediment, infinites receptes. Des de la clàssica quiche lorraine (la de bacon de tota la vida, que sempre agrada a tothom), fins a opcions més refinades amb ingredients així selectes, passant per opcions més sanes i verdurils. Ous, llet o crema de llet, depèn de com de light la vulguis fer, algun formatge ratllat i, a partir d’aquí, el que et vingui més de gust.
  3. Gran part de la cocció és al forn. Fantàstic quan tens altres coses per fer, perquè pares un moment de fer el que feies (com ara intentar quadrar un vals jota amb una fent compassos de 2 i un altre fent compassos de 3 amb acords aleatoris, per exemple), prepares els ingredients en 10 minutets i ho envies cap al forn a coure’s (i pots seguir intentant que el dels compassos de 3 i els acords aleatoris faci el favor de llegir la partitura i tocar el que hi posa). I el millor? El mèrit te l’enduràs tu, i en realitat no has fet pràcticament res.
  4. Pots fer que sembli qui sap què. No en tens ni idea de cuina, però dius que fas uns “tastets d’emmental i cansalada fumada” i quedes com un senyor quan en realitat has fet unes vulgars quiches lorraine, que és com la cosa més fàcil de la història, en motlles de madalena dels que et van regalar al super per una compra superior a 50€. I quedes la mar de bé.
  5. Té les característiques d’un menjar de tàper òptim: atipa, ocupa relativament poc i és motiu d’enveja per part de la resta de companys que porten l’arròs covat del diumenge. De fet, sol quedar més bona l’endemà a l’hora del tàper, així escalfadeta un minut al microones.

Ah, i hi ha un sisè motiu per haver fet una quiche aquesta setmana. El dels acords aleatoris i fora de temps m’estressa tant com pot, de fet és un miracle que a hores d’ara la seva guitarra no hagi sortit volant per la finestra (amb ell al darrere), però ja són sis anys fent-me perdre els nervis, i al final li acabes agafant carinyo. I en aquell moment l’hagués matat, però havíem de dinar.

goat cheese

Salmon and Goat Cheese Quiche

Prep time: 1 h

Servings: 1 quiche, 4-6 servings

You will need:

  • 1 sheet of pastry dough
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 leek
  • 200 ml whole cream
  • 200 g grated mozzarella
  • 200 g goat cheese
  • 100 g smoked salmon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat your oven to 180-200ºC. Peel, wash and cut the leek into slices, and cook it in a pan with the butter and the sugar. When the leek is soft and beginning to brown, add the smoked salmon cut into little pieces.

Salmon and goat cheese quiche prep 1

Sauté for a couple of minutes and then add the cream. Meanwhile, in a bowl beat the eggs with half of the mozzarella, salt and pepper. When the cream-salmon-leek mixture has boiled for a couple of minutes, add it to the bowl. Line a pie mold (or the mold you have, you’ll see this time my mold was not the “classical quiche mold”, but it doesn’t really matter, it’ll be delicious anyway!) with baking paper and press in the dough, making sure it covers all the edges of the mold. If your dough doesn’t fit the mold, like in my case, where the dough was round and the mold was square, just cut pieces of dough where there’s too much and stick it back on where needed. Just make sure the whole mold is covered with dough, otherwise the filling will fall apart and you will end up having some kind of deconstructed omelette (delicious but terribly ugly). Pour in the filling and cover with some goat cheese slices and the remaining mozzarella.

Salmon and goat cheese quiche prep 2

Salmon and goat cheese quiche prep 3

Bake it for 45 min (or until the quiche is set, as usual). Tip: be extremely careful if you’re using an oven which is not the one you are used to, and which happens to have the fan mode! These ovens cook really fast; my quiche was set in about half an hour, and I saved it from turning into coal at the last minute because I was expecting the long hour of cooking time I am used to!

And that’s it. Delicious straight from the oven, but maybe even better the next day after a minute in the microwave, especially if you’re at work and your day is being tough and your afternoon will be worse and the only thing you had for breakfast was a yogurt and a couple of clementines because your fridge was empty. Then, this quiche is simply edible heaven. Enjoy!

Salmon and goat cheese quiche 2

Annie

Ultra fast pasta with mozzarella

ultrafast pasta 1

La recepta d’avui neix d’un dels molts vespres de “merda, són les 10 i encara no tinc res pel tàper de demà”. Sí, sabeu de què parlo. Allò que vas a la nevera a veure si encara queda una ració de l’arròs del diumenge o si per casualitat algú va tenir poca gana durant la setmana i queden restes del seu sopar, però no, no hi ha res. I és tard, i no tens cap ganes de posar-te a cuinar res complicat. L’únic que vols és fer algo ràpid però que sigui bo, perquè ara et fa mandra però si no té una mica de cara i ulls demà a les 2 del migdia te’n penediràs, i poder anar a seure tranquil·lament al sofà a veure aquella sèrie horrible que segueixes mentre esperes que surti la nova temporada de Game of Thrones.

Doncs bé, si l’útima vegada que vaig voler omplir el tàper em trobava davant de dos porros i un tros de formatge de cabra (i en va sortir una pasta deliciosa), aquesta vegada tenia una mozzarella fresca (de vaca, que la de búfala la troben massa forta a casa) i un grapat de tomàquets cherry. I, com sempre, l’Antonella em va resoldre el problema.

ultrafast pasta prep 2

Ultra fast pasta with mozzarella

Servings: 1

Prep time: 10 min

You will need:

  • 80 g of your favourite short pasta (I used elbow macaroni, like the ones in our macaroni and cheese)
  • 1 fresh mozzarella, cut into dices
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes (depending on their size and your love for tomatoes)
  • some fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is gonna be fast. Like, really fast.

Cook your pasta in plenty of water with salt. While the pasta is partying in the boiling water, cut your tomatoes in half and heat them up in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, just until slightly softend and warm. Add the chopped parsley and a pinch of salt, and stir for a couple of minutes.

ultrafast pasta prep 1

When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the tomatoes. Stir for a minute and then add the mozzarella. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes until the mozzarella starts to be deliciously half-melted.

And that’s it. You can add some freshly ground pepper and some extra parsley, if you’re in the mood. Enjoy!

ultrafast pasta 2

Annie

Triple Cheese Quiche

three cheese quiche

L’Albert s’ha independitzat. Això a molts de vosaltres ara mateix no us diu res, perquè no el coneixeu, però és tot un què que ho hagi aconseguit.

L’Albert és químic i després d’una carrera i un màster va decidir que li agradava el món de la investigació i que s’hi quedava una temporadeta fent el doctorat, però no trobava una beca que li assegurés un sou mentre investigava. I és molt maco això d’investigar, ui sí. Curar malalties i tal, ets un heroi, com mola la Marató de tv3, estàs posant el teu granet de sorra al progrés de la humanitat i etcètera. Però l’Albert no és la mare Teresa de Calcuta, sabeu?, i l’únic que demanava era un sou per fer la seva feina, que és la cosa més normal del món. Però no, es veu que tenim una crisi econòmica al damunt i s’han hagut de retallar per totes bandes les beques doctorals. I l’Albert ha estat treballant, fent “pujar el país”, sense veure ni un duro durant gairebé dos anys. Perquè sí, per amor a l’art, perquè li van assegurar que li aconseguirien una beca que no arribava mai, perquè és jove i encara té ideals. I ara finalment ha aconseguit una beca i ha començat a cobrar per treballar. Miracle. Trist, però al nostre país això és un miracle.

I el millor de tot és que mentre l’Albert buscava finançament públic, els senyors que s’encarreguen de repartir-lo estaven tranquil·lament asseguts al seu cotxe oficial, lluny de tot això. Lluny d’entendre que el futur passa per fomentar la investigació i l’activitat intel·lectual, lluny de veure que no sortirem de cap crisi si només ens dediquem a vendre paelles dolentes a turistes sense criteri, lluny de bellugar un dit per reformular uns pressupostos molt injustos i, evidentment, molt molt lluny d’estar treballant sense cobrar.

I tot això no depèn de canviar un partit per un altre, aquí hi ha un problema d’arrel, un problema de concepte que algú s’hauria de plantejar molt seriosament.

I tal i com estan les coses, ja ens podem esperar asseguts.

I posats a esperar, posem una quiche a taula.

Triple Cheese Quiche

Prep time: 1h

Servings: 1 regular-sized quiche, I’d say 4-6 servings

You will need:

  • 1 sheet of pastry dough
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 leek (optional, but it gives the quiche an interesting extra flavour)
  • 200 ml whole cream
  • 250 g different grated cheeses (I used emmental, mozzarella and cheddar, but the type and number of cheeses are up to you)
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper and any other spices (such as nutmeg or oregano) to taste

Start by preheating your oven to 180-200ºC. Wash, peel and cut the leek into slices, and cook it in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil until nice and soft. In a bowl beat the eggs and mix them with all the other ingredients (cream, cooked leek, half of the grated cheese, salt, pepper and spices).

three cheese quiche prep 1

Now line a pie mold with baking paper and press in the dough, making sure it covers all the edges of the mold. In an ideal situation, the mold should be about 28cm diameter, but if yours is not that big (like mine in this case) don’t worry, you’ll have leftover crust and that’s all. Pour in the filling and cover it with the remaining grated cheese.

three cheese quiche prep 2

Finally bake for about 30-45 min, or until the pastry is golden brown and the quiche is set.

three cheese quiche 2

Enjoy!

Annie

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese 11

I cannot believe we’ve been hosting a cheese blog for nigh on a year now, and have not uttered a word on Mac and Cheese. I’m half American, for crying out loud. This is a comfort food staple if ever there was one. This is not the first time this has happened (see the grilled cheese incident). It is high time we remedy that.

Brace yourselves, lads.

Macaroni and cheese had been around for centuries, literally, before it spread throughout the US, imported by none other than Thomas Jefferson himself. Believe it or not, it was an upper class delicacy for a very long time – until factory production and widespread recipes made it more accessible, naturally obliterating it’s fancy appeal along with it.

Their loss, our gain, I say.

The fur has been flying ever since, arduous debates tearing the country apart. I jest, of course, although there seems to be a fair amount of competitiveness as to which pasta, cheese, extra ingredients or whatnots to use. Rumors have reached my ears of (gasp!) deep fried mac and cheese being sold at fairs. Even mac and cheese pizza. Lord save us.

Please don’t go there. Mac and cheese is glorious as is. Creamy, cheesy, hearty, comforting.

As crisp fall nights prowl the streets, leaves fade to breathtaking hues of gold and fire, and sweaters and warm socks sneak their way back into our everyday lives, so does comfort food become a necessity.

Trust me on this one. Next time you feel bone-tired and chilled the bone and any other fall-induce bone-related discomfort, whip this up, curl up on your couch with a good book or movie, and simply enjoy the magical healing powers of comfort food.

For other pasta recipes, check out one of these wonderful ideas:

Pasta with vegetables and ricotta cheese

Goat cheese and leek pasta

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Vegetable Cannelloni

Macaroni and Cheese 10

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Servings: 6 to 8

Prep time: 25 minutes

You will need:

  • 500 gr elbow macaroni, or any other type of short-cut extruded or decorative cut pasta
  • 1l, or 4 generous cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 750ml, or 3 cups water
  • 200gr of cheddar, or mozzarella, or 100gr each, grated
  • a dash of cayenne pepper and garlic powder, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • a shot of tabasco, optional

Macaroni and Cheese 1-horz

Combine the pasta, milk, butter, cayenne, garlic and water in a large pot.

Macaroni and Cheese 6

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often and adding water as needed to avoid drying out.

Macaroni and Cheese 8

When the pasta is tender enough for your taste, remove the pot from the heat.

Macaroni and Cheese 7

Stir in your cheese, or cheeses, immediately.

Macaroni and Cheese 9

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and, if so inclined, add a shot of tabasco for a extra little kick.

Feel free to play around with this. Switch out the cheddar for something more fancy and exotic, top with breadcrumbs and brown in the oven, add bacon, onions, mushrooms, or any other extra ingredient you think might pair well with the cheese. There are infinite variations, and don’t rule out a second appearance of this, modified, of course, on our blog. Stay tuned further recipes 🙂

Macaroni and Cheese 12

Enjoy!

Clara

Veggi Mozzarella Turnovers

vegetables mozzarella bites

Ara sí que oficialment ha tornat a començar el curs. L’autobús és ple de nenes de 14 anys amb molt poca roba i maquillades com per anar a un casament mirant els nois de 16 anys que comencen batxillerat i només per això ja valen la pena de mirar mentre els pobres nens de 14 anys seuen al seient del davant jugant al Clash of Clans mirant de reüll les nenes que no els hi fan (ni els hi faran fins d’aquí a tres o quatre anys) cap cas. Trànsit infernal a primera hora del matí, moltes cares de son, molt d’estrès, molt poc temps lliure.

I a casa, amb el curs ha començat també el ball d’horaris extraescolars. Un entra a futbol just quan l’altra surt d’atletisme, poc després que l’altra arribi a casa i mentre una altra fa verticals a l’altra punta de la ciutat. Això requereix una organització d’anades i vingudes molt complicada, sovint acompanyada d’un excel en Din-A3 amb qui fa què, quan i on. I això també porta a un fenomen molt curiós que són els sopars per fascicles. És a dir: algú talla i pela la verdura abans de marxar, algú altre quan arriba posa l’olla al foc i just en el moment que ha de marxar arriba una altra, que l’apaga i la tritura. I apa, crema de verdures à trois feta.

Doncs bé això d’avui és el resultat d’un d’aquests vespres de poc temps, o de molt de temps però repartit entre moltes mans.

Veggi Mozzarella Turnovers

Prep time: 45 min – 1h

Servings: 32 bite-sized turnovers

You will need:

  • 3-4 carrots (depending on the size)
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 1 zucchini
  • 200g grated mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • 32 shortcrust pastry circles
  • salt and olive oil

Wash, peal and cut your vegetables into tiny dices (the smaller the better). Cook them in a pan with some olive oil and a pinch of salt.

vegetables mozzarella bites prep 1

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 200ºC, let the dough stand at room temperature for 10 min and beat the egg in a small bowl or a cup. After this time, place the dough on a clean surface and place a teaspoon of vegetables and a teaspoon of cheese in the center of every circle.

vegetables mozzarella bites prep 2

Now carefully fold every circle in the half, making sure all the filling is still there, and close it by pressing the egde with a fork (or go for a fancy old-style seam if you’re in the mood, like I was).

vegetables mozzarella bites prep 3

Place the bites on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, paint them with beaten egg and bake them for 10-12 min.

Eat fresh from the oven. Enjoy!

vegetables mozzarella bites 2

Annie