Sunday, December 22, 2019

Fried Cheese Rounds

I’m always looking for a good appetizer for when company’s coming. I like to make something simple that my guests can snack on while waiting for dinner or while watching the football game. One day I saw these little BabyBel cheese rounds in the grocery store and thought to myself, “Self….. you could fry those.”   And so I did. I came home, and dipped them in egg and then rolled them in flour and Panko and fried them.  OMG.  What a great snack…I mean appetizer.  I mean …..okay…okay… I like to snack on them too!  How good can it get?  Warm, creamy, cheesy and crispy…. Oh My Goodness.

Fried Cheese Rounds

12-14 Babybel cheese rounds
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Panko
1 cup cooking oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of dried parsley

Remove outer coating and inner wax covering off each cheese round.

Set up 3 shallow bowls.  One bowl for the flour, one for the beaten egg and the Panko and parsley in the third bowl.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet.  You know your oil is hot enough when you drop a grain of rice in the oil and it sizzles.

Dredge the cheese rounds in the flour first, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Place them on a plate as you work.

Once oil is hot enough, use a slotted spoon to carefully place 3 or 4 breaded cheese rounds into skillet. I like to fry mine in small batches because they are easier to handle.  

Continue to fry, turning often, until golden and crispy. Carefully remove cheese from hot oil with slotted spoon. Place rounds on a paper towel lined plate.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley while hot. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cheese will be very hot. Eat as is or serve with marinara sauce. You can also spread the hot melted cheese on toasted bread rounds. YUM.

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Hot Molten Fudge Brownies

Once you’ve had a fudgy molten brownie, you will wonder why you haven't been eating them all your life! I mean who wouldn’t want to bite into a fudge brownie and have thick, smooth, warm chocolate slowly ooze out?  You’ll wonder why all brownies aren’t made this way. The secret is to take the brownies out of the oven when they don’t seem quite done. They’ll continue to cook and as they cool the fudge centers will stay moist and fudgy.

Hot Molten Fudge Brownies

1 cup all-purpose four
¾ cup cocoa
¾ cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups sugar
¾ cup plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup good quality chocolate, chopped into chunks

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over sides to use as handles for lifting out brownies later.

Place the flour, cocoa, both of the sugars, butter, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix batter until smooth. Add the chopped chocolate and continue to stir until smooth. Spread the batter into the baking pan and smooth the top until level.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until the brownies are set on top. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before slicing into squares and serving warm.  Top with vanilla ice cream for a real treat! 

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The Perfect Holiday Prime Rib Roast

The star of my Holiday dinner every year is the Prime Rib roast. It all starts with knowing how to pick the perfect roast to prepping it and cooking it. There's is no better roast then the standing rib roast for tenderness and flavor. And there is nothing to making one...just season it well and put it in the oven.

The Perfect Holiday Prime Rib Roast

1 standing Rib Roast (whatever size you want)  
½ cup of butter (1 stick), softened
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon parsley 
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt 

Take your roast out of the refrigerator and let it set on your counter for at least 2 hours. You want it to be at room temperature before roasting. Make a mental note of how much the roast weighs as you will be pre-roasting at 5 minutes per pound. 

When ready to prepare the roast, preset your oven to 500 degrees. While oven is heating, mix the softened butter with the oil and remaining seasonings until you have a paste. Pat the roast dry with paper towels on all sides. Turn the roast fat side up and smear all sides with herb butter.  

Lay your roast on a rack inside a roasting pan. If you do not have a rack, crumple up some aluminum foil and lay it in the bottom of your roasting pan for your roast to rest on. You want it to be up off the bottom of the pan.


Now multiply weight of roast by 5 minutes for total cooking time at 500 degrees. The small roast you see in the photo was about 3 pounds and I set the timer for 15 minutes. Put the roast in the hot oven on the middle rack.  


As soon as you reach your time, turn the oven OFF and do not open the oven door for at least 2 hours if your roast weighs 4 pounds or more. This will result in a perfect medium rare prime rib.  The temperature at the time you remove the roast from the oven should be about 120-125 degrees. Remember, it will continue to cook outside the oven while resting. 


For a rare prime rib you want the temperature to reach 115° degrees. 

For a well-done prime rib, you want your temperature at 145 degrees.

Remove the roast from the oven when you get the desired temperature. Cover or tent loosely with foil, and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes before carving.


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