Here you’ll find a jumble of recipes and foods I’ve eaten and loved.
These hasselback tomatoes are a great twist on the classic caprese salad.
Simply cut a plum tomato like you would when making hasselback potatoes (slice almost all the way to the bottom, leaving about a fourth of an inch of tomato intact at the base to keep it all together).
Then slice pieces of fresh mozzarella and place in between each slice of tomato.
Finally, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt, and garnish with basil.
We tried pasta alla ruota and here’s how it turned out:
We started out with this 15 pound wheel. It’s smaller than the wheels that are traditionally used when making pasta alla ruota, but it was perfect for small servings. This is an argentinian parmesan so it’s a little cheaper and has a much milder taste – which is exactly what we were looking for to try this out!
Step one was to hollow out a bowl in the top of the wheel. The key is to maintain the integrity of the structure of the wheel. If you cut too close to the edge you’ll risk breaking the wheel. If you cut out too much cheese your well will be too deep to work with. We used a knife to score a circle roughly the size of the bowl we wanted, and then broke the wax coating off using a combination of an avocado pitter and a metal serving spoon.
Once you get past the rind, using the edge of a metal spoon to scrape and shave off the cheese works best. If you try to break the cheese off in chunks you could make cracks in the wheel which can cause it to go bad much more quickly. Our final bowl looked like the photo above. About six inches in diameter and about two inches at its deepest point — perfect for tossing one serving of pasta.
Now this was the fun part. In order to melt the cheese for maximum coating you just light it on fire! (I recommend having a fire extinguisher, pot lid, or bucket of water close by just in case.) We tried a couple of different alcohols before it lit properly; the brandy, vodka, and whiskey we tried didn’t have a high enough alcohol content. 92 proof bourdon worked just fine though! Pour a small amount of alcohol onto a heat-proof spoon, light it, and then slowly pour the lit alcohol along the sides of your bowl. Use the spoon to push the liquid around the basin so that the exposed cheese begins to melt. The key here is to burn all the alcohol off. Unless your recipe calls for it, you don’t want any lingering alcohol taste to detract from your dish.
Once your bowl is properly melted and your fire is completely extinguished place your hot pasta into your cheese bowl. (We made the mistake of letting our pasta cool before putting it into the bowl; you want hot pasta in a hot bowl.) Depending on your recipe you can toss the pasta before or after you add your other ingredients (customarily you toss it at the end). Pasta alla ruota is traditionally made with spaghetti alla carbonara or bucatini all’amatriciana but you can use any recipe that calls for a lot of grana. It’s not the most Italian way to do it, but we chose to toss the pasta first and then throw it in the skillet with our other ingredients because we didn’t want to worry about dirtying the cheese wheel with other foods.
This was our final product using this recipe. We ended up wanting even more cheese so we added parmesan crisps made with the discarded cheese from hollowing out our bowl.
When you’re done using your wheel, clean it by simply scraping out the bowl with a metal spoon. Make sure you get any surfaces that touched food and be careful not the crack the wheel. (We used the scraps from cleaning to garnish our meal.) Once you’re confident that the wheel is free of any contaminants, use vacuum seal bags or tightly wrapped plastic wrap to completely seal all the surfaces of your wheel and place it in the freezer. This should preserve the cheese and keep it from spoiling (but before you use it again be sure to check the wheel for mold and signs of spoiling).
These Mini Caprese Bites are simple and delicious! We used perline because they’re easier than chopping up a ball of mozzarella, but either way they taste spectacular!
This is my roommate’s potato salad recipe. It’s simple and delicious!
Nicole’s Potato Salad:
Cut one bag of red potatoes into fourths and boil until soft
Dice half an onion and add to a mixing bowl
Mix together 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon horseradish (plus more if you like the kick) in mixing bowl with onions
Add chopped fresh dill to taste
For extra seasoning, add a little dry ranch dressing to the mix
Allow potatoes to cool once boiled, then add to mayo mixture and toss
Refrigerate until ready to serve
This recipe is the greatest risotto you’ll ever eat (pairs great with Butternut Chardonnay).
Bobby Flay’s queso is unparalleled.
All of Martha’s cupcakes are amazing, but her snickerdoodle cupcakes might just be the best.