Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Leftovers

The centerpiece of many Easter dinners is a whole or half ham glistening with a brown sugar glaze and studded with cloves. But after dinner when everyone has gone home, you will still have a lot of ham.

Here are a few suggestions of ways to use the remaining ham.I have ground ham in my food processor and frozen it. After thawing, it can be used in a quiche or casserole. I often make a quiche with Cheddar or Swiss cheese and ground ham. Ground or cubed ham adds lots of flavor to a breakfast casserole strata. The recipe below is one I've just been using a few years. Fresh asparagus and ham tossed with a tangy sauce containing goat cheese and al dente pasta is an easy dinner.

Ham and Asparagus Linguini

The fresh bright flavors of spring pop from this quick and easy entrĂ©e. Crisp pale green stalks of asparagus are appearing in the supermarket, a sure sign of spring. For this dish, I select thinner stalks because I find it easier to cook them quickly. Use ham leftover or omit it and try cooked shrimp or chicken instead. Goat cheese forms the basis for the sauce but doesn’t use a whole package. Crumble any remaining cheese over a salad.

Makes 4 servings

8 ounces linguini
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped shallot (1 medium)
2 cups asparagus cuts (about 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces)
4 ounces cubed ham (about 1 cup)
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the linguini is salted boiling water as directed on the package. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the asparagus and shallot. Cook, stirring often, until the asparagus is tender but still crisp, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the ham and cook about 1 minute or until heated through.

Stir in 1/2 cup pasta water and the goat cheese and continue stirring until the cheese melts. Add the cooked linguini and lemon rind. Taste and add salt if needed. If the sauce is too thick, stir in the remaining pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time.

Divide the pasta into four servings and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dessert for Two- Lime Panna Cotta

Whether you are planning an Easter brunch or dinner for two, this light dessert is tangy finale. Panna cotta is Italian for “cooked cream” and light and refreshing. I like to serve it in wine glasses or small dessert dishes topped with fresh berries. You can also make it in lightly greased ramekins or custard cups and unmold it. Unfortunately locally grown fresh berries won't be available for a while but the strawberries in the supermarkets have been sweet. When I unmold it, I serve it on a pretty dessert plate in a puddle of raspberry sauce (see below).

Lime Panna Cotta with Raspberries

Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup cold water
1 package (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
1 cup vanilla-flavored or plain Greek-style yogurt
3/4 cup whole or 2% milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cups fresh raspberries

Place the water in a small microwavable dish. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand about 5 minutes or until the gelatin is softened. Microwave on High 30 seconds or until the liquid is clear. (You can also place it in a small saucepan and cook it over low heat.)

Combine the yogurt, milk and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the hot gelatin mixture and stir until smooth. Add the lime rind and juice.

Pour into 4 wine glasses or lightly oiled ramekins. Chill at least 4 hours. Unmold, if desired, and serve with fresh raspberries.

This recipe can easily be doubled to serve eight.

SIDEBAR: It’s easy to make a simple sauce with fresh berries. For raspberries, puree 2 cups raspberries, 2 tablespoons orange juice and 1/4 cup sugar in a blender container or food processor. Strain out the seeds, if desired. For a special treat, stir in 1 tablespoon Chambord liqueur.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coffee Cakes for Spring Celebrations.

Coffee Cakes at spring brunches are one of my favorite signs of spring. Wednesday I was on KARE 11 today and demonstrated how to make a Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. I also like the quick bread with cherry jam and other flavors.

Here's the link to the video and recipe.

Tomorrow I'm signing copies of Scandinavian Classic Baking at Byerly's in Ridgedale from 2 to 4. Stop by for a cookie.

Sunday is a special event at the American Swedish Institute. I'll be signing copies of my new cookbook at a Swedish fika, or coffee table, and recipes form the book will be served. This event is at 2 to 4 at the Institute on Park Av.