I have some exciting news for you! Well, it’s exciting to me, anyway, and I hope you find it exciting too … Sumptuous Spoonfuls is teaming up with Swiss Diamond International. I will be crafting some recipes for Swiss Diamond International using their cookware. They are not paying me to do this, but they are giving me samples of their cookware to use in developing their recipes.
I was really excited when Swiss Diamond International contacted me, and even more excited after I read about their cookware. I was intrigued by the use of diamonds in cookware. This is from Swiss Diamond’s web site:
- Diamonds are durable - As the hardest material known to man, diamonds give the coating additional strength and resilience.
- Diamonds are a better heat conductor than metal - Four times more conductive than copper, diamonds create even heat distribution across the pan’s surface. Diamonds also allow the pan to brown food like stainless steel, creating a “fond” that can be used for gravy – or easily washed away with warm soapy water.
- Diamonds are naturally nonstick - One of the most valuable properties of diamonds in a nonstick coating is that very little sticks to them. Coupled with their durability, this creates a lifetime of superior performance.
So I was curious to see if it really works … and I have to say I absolutely love these pans! They cook like a dream … the heat distributes across the pan so well. The food cooks faster and so evenly. And nothing sticks to the pan … with no cooking spray or butter. I tried some of the stickiest, most difficult things (like fried rice) and nothing stuck. And they’re so easy to clean too. (By the way, while Swiss Diamond did give me the pans, they did not pay me to say that … this is my honest experience.) I’m curious to see how well they retain that magic nonstick surface … I guess time will tell.
For this recipe, I used the crepe/omelet pan. This little pan is by far my favorite so far. It has a low lip so that it’s easy to flip crepes, omelets, and pancakes. (Even the IHOP-style pancakes that have always been a struggle for me to flip … I found I can even make giant pancakes – bigger than IHOP’s! – in this pan and they cook and flip SO nicely.) Anyway, I was craving a quesadilla the other day and thought this pan would be perfect for that. I wanted to try making it without any oil or cooking spray and see if the tortilla got properly crisped and browned on both sides. And you know what? It did.
You don’t have to have a crepe / omelet pan to make these quesadillas … any frying pan will do. But it sure makes cooking a pleasure.
Chipotle Black Bean Quesadilla with Avocado Cream
For each quesadilla:
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado
- 1 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- juice from 1/4 – 1/2 of a fresh lime
- 1 – 2 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
- 2 tortillas that fit the size of your pan. I used some whole wheat “wraps” that were a little smaller than my crepe pan.
- Refried black beans (homemade or canned)
- About a Tablespoon of finely chopped onion
- About a Tablespoon of finely chopped chipotle pepper (a jalapeno roasted on the grill would also work)
- About 1/2 oz. of finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- For serving: your favorite salsa. A fire-roasted salsa is especially nice with this quesadilla!
- First, make the Avocado cream by mashing the avocado in a bowl, then mash in the cream cheese, onion, garlic and lime juice and stir until everything is mixed well and the mixture is fairly smooth. Add a teaspoon or two of plain nonfat yogurt if you like to get it to a nice spreadable consistency.
- Take one tortilla and spread it with a layer of refried black beans, then spread on a layer of avocado cream. Sprinkle the onion and chipotle pepper over, then sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheddar and top it all off with the 2nd tortilla.
- Heat your pan over medium heat. If your pan needs it, spray the pan with cooking spray, then slide the quesadilla into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then check to see if the bottom is nicely browned and crisp. Once it’s brown, flip the quesadilla over with a spatula and cook until it’s brown on the other side and the cheese is melted. (The bottom half is crisp by now so the quesadilla is fairly easy to flip, but if you are making a large quesadilla, you may need to slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board and then flip it over back into the pan.)
- Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve with the salsa.
If you would like to purchase Swiss Diamond cookware, visit http://www.swissdiamond.us/.
“Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.”
~ Marge Kennedy
The other day I was digging through my freezer trying to identify all the things that were too freezer burned to eat and I came across this “mystery” container with ugly brown stuff in it. I had NO idea what that was. I sniffed it. Poked it. Nope, couldn’t tell what it was. I set it in my pile of “things to discard” … and it wasn’t until morning that I realized it was MOREL mushrooms! Oh NO! my precious most favorite mushrooms in the whole world that my dad gave me … I just couldn’t let those go to waste! I quickly set my mind to thinking what to do with them …
Soup! Yes, mushroom soup. Something wonderfully creamy and cheesy … I originally thought I would puree this soup and make a rich cream of mushroom soup, but once I got it all done, I just didn’t want to do that to my soup. I wanted to savor the soft texture of the mushrooms and caramelized onions contrasted against the smooth creamy, cheesy broth. You can puree it if you prefer. I’m leaving mine with bits of mushroom and caramelized onion floating about in it.
I am SO glad I saved the mushrooms. I feel a bit super-hero-ish now. I have accomplished something most very worthwhile today.
Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup
This recipe makes about a quart of soup.
- 1/2 Tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups lowfat milk
- 1 cup sauteed mushrooms (Measured after sauteeing … I used morels, but I think you could substitute any mushroom and it would still be a great soup! Whatever mushrooms you choose, try the Chardonnay mushroom cooking method to avoid putting loads of extra fat in your soup … )
- 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
- Salt & Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- For garnish: freshly grated cheese & snipped green onions
- Heat a medium saucepan to medium and set the butter in to melt. Once it’s mostly melted, add the onions and sautee the onions in the butter. Cover and let cook for just a minute, then remove the lid and stir well. If the pan seems dry, add a little wine and stir well. Cover again and let cook, then remove the cover and stir. Keep repeating this process until the wine is gone and the onions are a lovely dark brown color.
- Stir the flour into the onions and stir to coat all the onions in a lovely jacket of flour, then add the milk, mushrooms, and broth and stir to mix well.
- Reduce heat to medium low and let cook, stirring frequently, until the soup starts to thicken a bit. Add the cheese and stir to mix. Cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is heated through. Try a small spoonful of the soup and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. I like to put my soup in a glass jar so I can gaze at it every time I open the fridge.
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with Goat Cheese, Sweet Onions, Toasted Almonds and a Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette
I went to the kitchen the other day to find myself some lunch … started pulling things out of the fridge and this is what came of it. I made my daughter a pretty salad with just lettuce and strawberries too while I was at it. I cooked her up a piece of salmon too. I thought about putting some salmon on my salad, but decided that chicken would go better with the blueberries.
For the dressing, I decided on my Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette … I think you could probably make the dressing with blueberries in place of the cherries and it would go even better with this particular salad, but the cherry taste was quite nice on there too.
Chicken & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Sweet Onions & Toasted Almonds
- 1 hot, cooked chicken patty (or boneless chicken breast if you prefer) for each serving
- Mixed greens
- Fresh blueberries
- Sweet onions, sliced thin
- Almonds, lightly toasted
- Goat cheese crumbles
- Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (recipe below)
- Violets or other edible flowers for garnish (optional)
Cook up your chicken. While that’s cooking, fill a salad bowl most of the way with greens. Top with as many blueberries as you desire, then sprinkle with sweet onions, almonds, and crumbles of goat cheese. Chop up and add the chicken, drizzle with the dressing, and garnish with flowers just before serving.
Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette
This is the dressing I used in my Cherry Beef Salad. You can make it with blueberries in place of the cherries if you prefer.
- 10 sweet cherries, pitted
- 1/4 cup Malbec (or other red wine)
- 2 Tablespoons cherry (or berry) syrup
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- a few fresh basil leaves
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- a few sprigs of fresh dill
- 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional, but they add nutritional value and help thicken the dressing)
In a handi chopper, blender or food process, blend up all the ingredients well till the cherries and garlic are fully pureed. Store in a covered bottle in the fridge.
It’s time for the Crazy Cooking Challenge and this month the challenge was to find another blogger’s recipe for Grilled Cheese and make it and blog about, posting it TODAY! I was so sad because I forgot … until Tina said I have all night to make one and get it posted! So yes, I’m in a bit of a scramble to make my sandwich, but I found the PERFECT recipe …
It’s one of my favorite favorite soups … but in a sandwich! Ooh yes! Beer & cheese! What could be better? and OMG this is some serious goodness on a sandwich. Heaven on bread …
I should have known, but wasn’t quite prepared for the sweetness of the onion, which, since I didn’t have any beer bread, I caramelized in dark beer. The combination of that sweetness with the spicy garlic peppercorn mustard I used & the sharp cheddar cheese and then that crunch factor from the toasted bread. I just wasn’t ready for this taste explosion, even after sampling quite a few of the onions as I cooked. I grabbed a Leinenkugel Creamy Dark for this … one of my favorites from Leinenkugel.
Grilled Beer Cheese Sandwich
Adapted from Honest Fare
- Thinly sliced yellow onion (I cut up the whole onion, since I know how much they cook down when you caramelize them)
- 1/2 cup dark beer
- Olive oil and/or butter
- Worcestershire sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Some fresh oregano (I used several sprigs from my little plant)
- Beer bread … but I don’t have any beer bread! So I used French …
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Garlic Peppercorn (or Dijon) mustard
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and swirl around to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and cover to cook for a minute or two.
- Uncover the pan and stir, stir, stir. When the onions start to brown and stick to the pan, add a splash of beer, cover for a minute, then uncover and stir until the beer is evaporated. Add another splash of beer and do that whole thing again. I did this four times.
- Once the beer is gone, add a splash of worcestershire sauce and continue to cook and stir those onions until they are totally limp and caramelized. Season with a little sprinkle of salt and some freshly ground pepper and fresh oregano leaves.
- Spread one side of bread with a thin layer of mustard, cover with sliced cheese, a healthy pile of onions, then more cheese and the other side of bread.
- Heat a clean pan over medium-low heat and add about a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Set the sandwiches in the pan, cover and cook for just a few minutes till brown on the bottom, then flip, cover and cook for a few minutes till brown on the other side and the cheese is melted.
- Enjoy! It’s best with a cold, dark beer, of course!
This post is part of the Crazy Cooking Challenge, Powered by Linky Tools
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The other day, I woke craving Huevos Rancheros. From my favorite restaurant in Albuquerque: Charlie’s Front Door. Oh Charlie’s how I miss you! … but of course I’m not there, I”m here.
I can’t make Huevos like Charlie’s Front Door does. They have this green chile sauce they smother it in that is just flipping amazing. I am not even going to try to replicate that … I just want to tell you, if you happen to get to Albuquerque, please stop in and visit Charlie’s Front Door … they have so many dishes there I would almost kill just to taste them one more time … the Jocoque and the Indian tacos are ooooh so good …
Don’t get me wrong! I CAN make a pretty mean Huevos Rancheros. AND it’s a healthy, filling Mexican meal you can make in minutes, so it’s doable even on a busy workday. And the awesome advantage of these is you can have them just about anywhere, anytime. All you need is tortillas, eggs, cheese, and a few basic Mexican toppings.
- 1 small tortilla (corn or flour … whole wheat is good … I didn’t have any corn so had to use flour)
- Refried beans (or whole beans … I just happened to have some very tasty spicy chipotle refried beans on hand)
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 or 2 eggs (how much space do you have on your tortilla? how much protein do you want?)
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- Toppings: Salsa, chopped onion, avocado, tomato, jalapenos, green chile sauce, cilantro … (did I miss anything? what else could you use?)
Heat a skillet pan (or cast iron skillet) over medium heat and spray it with cooking spray. Put a tortilla in the pan and let it toast until it’s golden brown on the bottom. Flip it over.
Slide it out of the pan briefly and on the toasted side, spread it with refried beans and sprinkle with a bit of sharp cheddar cheese. Put it back in the pan with the un-toasted side down. Crack an egg (or two) over top.
Now cover, and cook on medium low heat until the egg white is cooked and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Check it periodically to make sure it isn’t burning the tortilla on the bottom. (If your egg covers the cheese and beans, you can even flip it to cook the egg “over easy” … I wouldn’t recommend that approach if you have any cheese sticking out, though.)
Slide your lovely cheesy egg tortilla onto a plate and garnish with your choice of toppings. The bottom of mine was a little crunchy. That’s totally okay in my book. I love crunchy! … by the way, I added a big, messy slather of my sister’s salsa after I took the pictures …
Now, if you’ll excuse me, things are starting to get a little messy over here …
My kids love to go to IHOP … frankly, I would much rather stay home and eat … it’s usually much tastier and it costs so much less, but once in a while I give in and we go. I will spare you my whining about paying $7 for a plate of pancakes that I can make for less than $1 … oh wait, did I say that? This coming from the same woman that will spend $5 on a small pack of raspberries to go with the chocolate stout cake or $8 on a single glass of wine. Yeah, I know it makes no sense, but you know, we all have different priorities …
But really, both of my kids get so excited about going to IHOP when we go that it is a joy to go. Never mind having to fight the SUVs for a decent-sized parking space because their compact parking spaces might possibly be big enough for a motorcycle. But the people there are usually friendly. And the food is reasonably good. And my kids LOVE the pancakes. They debate over how to order so they can each get pancakes and hashbrowns and sausages in just the right portions. When I order coffee, I get a whole big pot of it, which is good in my book. And the hashbrowns are pretty good. I often just order a side of hashbrowns and coffee.
But IHOP completely surprised me on our last visit. They had this thing they called “hashbrown stacks” … which was mounds of vegies and cheese and eggs and all kinds of yumminess on a bed of hashbrowns … oh, I had to have one of THOSE!
It wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped, but I don’t fault IHOP for it. They did come up with a pretty dang awesome idea. So of course I had to try it at home …
- Hot cooked hashbrowns
- Spinach, thawed and warmed, with the excess juice squeezed out
- Mushrooms & red onions, sauteed and seasoned to taste
- Scrambled eggs
- Small slices or shredded cheese (I used slices of gouda and sharp cheddar)
- Tomato, for the top (I thought of this after the fact, but a bit of chopped tomato on top would have been just perfect.)
Top with spinach, then prosciutto.
Now add the mushrooms, onions and top with egg.
And finally top with cheese (and tomato) and put in the microwave for a minute or two to get the cheese all good and melted.
I think you could do this on a larger scale in a glass casserole dish if you have a crowd to feed. I would love to try that … maybe at the next family get together.