RZ Cooking

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006


A croque-monsieur is a sandwich served in France made with ham and cheese and usually topped with a Béchamel sauce. It's cooked in a pan with butter, much like a grilled cheese, but it's much more satisfying. This dish would be a great lunch but could also be served as a light dinner.

1 Tablespoon of butter (plus more for cooking sandwiches)
1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup hot milk
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 cups Gruyère cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 slices white sandwich bread
8 slices of virginia ham

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly add hot milk and continue whisking often until sauce thickens.

2. While sauce is thickening lay out four slices of bread. Put two slices of ham on each and top with gruyère cheese (saving 1/4 cup for the bechamel), and the remaining bread.

3. Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Butter both sides of each sandwich and cook each one at a time about 1-2 minutes per side, or until lightly brown.

4. Once, the sauce has thickened stir remaining gruyère cheese and parmesan, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Top sandwiches with the sauce and serve.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Spaghetti with Sundried tomatoes

This dish is great when you want something tasty but don't feel like a lot of cooking. It's also really just a guideline, so if you don't like sundried tomatoes, or don't have them on hand, feel free to add in whatever you wish. The combination of garlic infused oil and parmesan cheese is just amazing, and the basil and tomatoes make it a truly wonderful dish.

1 pound of spaghetti (or your pasta preference)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
8-10 basil leaves

1. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Slice garlic cloves and add to the oil and cook for 1 minute (you will hear sizzling and garlic will brown). Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain and dispose of garlic.

2. While the oil is resting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook for about 10 minutes or as directed on the package.

3.Chop sun dried tomatoes and basil. Strain pasta and place on serving dish. Add oil, basil, parmesan, and tomatoes. Toss and serve with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Strawberry-Lemon Gelato

Strawberry-lemon gelato is fantastic and refreshing. "Gelato" is the Italian version of ice cream. It offers a smoother, creamier texture than you will find in ice cream and the flavor is also intense and delicious. While this may not be considered true gelato, it is about the closest you can get using an ordinary household ice cream machine.

1 Pound fresh strawberries
½ cup sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon*
½ cup whipping cream

1. Cut off green part of strawberry, known as hulling, and then slice each in half (larger strawberries may need to be cut into quarters.

2. In a food processor, process strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar until smooth. (A blender can be substituted for food processor.)

3. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Pour into ice cream machine and run it for about 12 minutes. The gelato should be a smooth consistency.

4. While the machine is running beat the cream with an electirc mixer to a medium thick consistency. Slowly add the cream and continue running the machine for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately or put in freezer. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

* Placing lemon in the microwave for 10-15 seconds helps get the juices running causing the juices to be extracted easier.