Tag Archives: provolone

Hawaiian Ham & Cheese Sandwiches – and – a Goat Cheese stuffed Endives

Yesterday was filled with cooking, singing, laughing, eating and drinking!  We had our annual Christmas party.  It has come to be quite the event, my good friend plays the piano and we start out by singing Christmas carols and end the night singing anything from Billy Joel, James Taylor to Queen and finally some great Show tunes.

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The day was entirely for making all the pick up and go foods for the table and also having breakfast ready to go for the next day, there is nothing worse than having to feed a ton of people; OK maybe not a ton but we had 14 for breakfast this morning; regardless; making food with such little sleep and maybe a few too many glasses of wine is not the most enjoyable task so I make sure that breakfast is super simple while still being delicious. I made 3 dishes that either set up overnight or can wait for me to cook them.  I made a strata, hash brown casserole and French toast casserole and picked up some fresh cut up fruit as well as some fresh blueberries, raspberries and a pomegranate; combining them all in a bowl of fresh fruit to lighten up all the casseroles.

I tried out a few new recipes my daughter sent me and they all were excellent, there were definitely a couple of keepers that I want to share with all of you.  The sandwiches are warm and full of delicious flavors. The endives are crazy good and I really hope you take a chance on these and test them out. They may look like something outside your comfort zone but I think you might be pleasantly surprised by how well the different flavors work so well together. I also made a simple version of chicken and waffles that was a crowd pleaser. mini waffles oven toasted, frozen chicken tenders baked and covered with warmed real maple syrup.

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Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

20 +/- small Hawaiian sweet rolls cut in half crosswise (depends on what size pan you have)

1 Pound Black forest ham, sliced – you’ll want one piece per roll

20 +/- slices provolone cheese

8 oz. cream cheese – room temperature for spreading

1 tbs yellow mustard

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

2 tbs dried minced onions

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tbs poppy seeds (optional)

Either preheat your oven to 350’ or make ahead and bake them 30-40 minutes before you are ready to serve them.

Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with the roll bottoms, top with a slice of ham on each; then the provolone. Spread the cream cheese on the bottom half of the tops and place them on top of their bottom mates.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onions and parmesan cheese.  Mix well and if baking right away pour evenly over the tops.  If making later wait to add just before baking; if using poppy seeds sprinkle on top of butter mixture.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until warmed through and cheese melted.

Serve warm

Endives with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 tbs honey

Combine on a baking sheet either coated with cooking spray or better yet a silipat mat. Bake at 350’ for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.

1 tbs honey

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

3 tbs orange juice

Combine all 3 in a small saucepan; bring mixture to a boil over high heat, and cook until reduced to 3 tbs; about 6-7 minutes.

16 endive leaves 9 about 2 heads

1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

16 small orange sections

1 tbs minced fresh chives

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

Fill each endive leaf with 1 orange section. Top each section with 1 tsp cheese and 1 tsp walnuts; arrange on a plate. Drizzle the vinegar mixture evenly over the leaves, and sprinkle evenly with chives and pepper.

Eggplant Parmesan – that will convert you

All through high school I worked at a local Pizza place, there were a few items that I swore that I would never try; they looked and smelled WAY too funky for me.  Here is yet another example of never say never.  Feta cheese came in a metal vat filled with what I believe was oil or a vinegar maybe.  We had to take a chunk out at a time and crumble it; the smell was horrid. Another was breaded eggplant, it just looked and felt wrong on all levels and then there was the dreaded anchovy the smell and look was just plain rancid; we used to flip to see who had to make the anchovy pizza when someone ordered it.

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Now as an adult I love feta cheese, it adds so much tart briny flavor to anything you put it on.  I love adding it to pasta salad it makes it pop. I still would not order an anchovy pizza but I do appreciate a true Caesar salad made with them and I understand why and when they are needed; I even have a can of them in my pantry as I write this.  The recipe I am going to share now for Eggplant Parmesan has completely changed my mind about the veggie and I am now open to and have used eggplant so much so, that I am thinking of planting it in next year’s garden. With age comes wisdom – or as I explain it; you have to try new food as you get older your taste buds change.

I have also used the sauce for a quick pasta sauce during the week; it has a great taste and a little kick. My mother and a friend were here visiting the last few weeks and I made this; they both loved it and wanted the recipe. My mom even said and I quote “I thought mine was really good but this one I want the recipe” I hope she is reading this and smiling…

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Sauce

2 tbs. good olive oil

2 medium onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 ½ tsp sugar

2 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano plum tomatoes

Kosher salt

Eggplant

2 medium eggplants sliced ½ inch thick rounds

½ cup flour

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

3 large eggs

1½ tbs milk

2 cups Italian style breadcrumbs

1½ tsp dried oregano

1½ tsp thyme

Vegetable oil for frying – about 1 inch in the pan you are using

12-16 ounces fresh mozzarella thinly sliced

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups sliced provolone

Slice the eggplant and sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and let sit while you make the sauce.  Place on paper towels on a sheet pan.

In a large skillet add the olive oil heat over medium. Add the onions saute for 1-2 minutes; add the garlic and season with salt and pepper and the red pepper flakes.  Saute till the onion are translucent about 6-7 minutes.  Add the sugar and tomatoes, while you are pouring them out of the can squeeze to break them up a bit. Reduce heat to medium low and cook stirring occasionally about 15-20 minutes.

Rinse the eggplant under water and dry off thoroughly with some paper towels. The reason we do this step draws out some of the liquid and removes some of the bitterness.

Get out 3 pie plates or whatever you use when you batter and fry.  Flour goes in one, eggs and milk in another and the third combine the breadcrumbs, oregano and thyme.  Make sure to salt and pepper each pie plate. Dredge each eggplant round in the flour, shake off excess. Dip in the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Lay each round on a baking sheet in a single layer.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke lightly (between 380’ and 400’) Use tongs to add and flip the eggplant, making sure to each piece is golden brown, I like them a little extra crispy so they are not mushy.  Transfer to a sheet pan covered with paper towels.  Repeat until all pieces are fried.

Preheat oven to 350’ using an 11 x 13 baking dish

Spoon some sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer eggplant over sauce slightly overlapping, top with some mozzarella and the some provolone; repeat with remaining sauce, eggplant and cheeses.  Press the layers firmly into the dish. Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. About 35-40 minutes.