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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Taste The Love

Italian Sausage, Asparagus, And Fontina Cheese Frittata Muffins

Mini Sausage, Asparagus, And Truffle Fontina Cheese Frittatas

Today’s the day to clean out my refrigerator. I have quite a few eggs, ricotta cheese, and part of orange bell pepper on hand. Making a frittata makes perfect sense.

I’m doing Italian Sausage, Asparagus, And Fontina Cheese Frittata Muffins.

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Mini Sausage, Asparagus, And Truffle Fontina Cheese Frittatas (2)

Ricotta

eggs

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thyme (1)

thyme (2)

Chives (2)

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 24 frittatas
Equipment: 2 (12-cup) muffin tin pans, large mixing bowl, whisk, box grater, non-stick cooking spray, 12-inch sauté pan

Ingredients:
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
12 large eggs,
1 cup of ricotta cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of half-and-half
1 1/2 cups of Truffle fontina cheese, freshly grated (reserve 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package of thawed (Birds Eye Steam Fresh) frozen asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces sliced on the bias
1/4 cup of orange bell pepper, fine dice
2 tablespoons of fresh chives, finely minced
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by spraying both muffin tin pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl break a dozen eggs. Add ricotta, half-and-half, Kosher salt,  and fresh ground black pepper whisk to combine. Add freshly grated fontina cheese whisk to combine. Next, add the fresh chives, thyme, and asparagus, stir to combine. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat add the sausage. Using a wooden spoon break up the sausage. Stirring occasionally, cook until no longer pink, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the finely diced bell pepper, stir to combine, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Combine the cooled sausage mixture with the egg mixture, stir to combine. Fill the muffin cup halfway with the frittata mixture. Sprinkle the reserved grated fontina evenly of the tops of each frittata. Bake until the eggs are just set, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the Italian Sausage, Asparagus, Fontina Cheese Frittata Muffins to cool before running a rubber spatula around the outside of each one to ensure easy removal.

Transfer to a large serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Blackberry Cornbread Cake With Maple Whipped Cream

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My sister, Tina was coming over to do a photoshoot of a few of my favorite traditional Greek dishes. She took a lot of amazing pictures so I had a little something in store for her. For dessert, I’m made a Blackberry Cornbread Cake With Maple Whipped Cream.

Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Mint

Fresh Mint Leaves

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 to 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 10-inch cast-iron (ovenproof) skillet, 2 large mixing bowls, 1medium-size mixing bowl, hand-held electric mixer, whisk

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
2 cups of whole-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons of whole milk ricotta, room temperature
1 cup of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of fine white cornmeal
3/4 cup of maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 cup of heavy cream
2 pints of blackberries, reserve 1/2 of 1 pint for garnish
Pure Maple syrup for serving
Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish

Ingredients For Maple Whipped Cream:
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of Maple emulsion (extract)
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
Cinnamon sugar for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Grease a 10-inch cast-iron (ovenproof) skillet with butter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla extract, ricotta, and eggs. In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, maple sugar, baking soda, and salt, whisk dry ingredients together until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the buttermilk mixture until smooth.

Line the blackberries in the buttered skillet, then pour the batter over the top. Finally, pour heavy cream into the center of the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Directions For Maple Whipped Cream:
In the meantime, in a pre-chilled large mixing bowl, add heavy cream. Using a hand-held mixer, beat the whipped cream until soft peaks form. Add maple emulsion (extract) and powdered sugar. Beat until firm. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill.

I like to serve my Blackberry Cornbread Cake warm with a dollop of cold Maple Whipped Cream on top. Finish with a light sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and a sprig of fresh mint.

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Banana Cream Cheesecake

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What do you get when you mix banana cream pie with cheesecake? A Banana Cream Cheesecake. This dessert will have you coming back for seconds.

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Above is a picture of my vanilla sugar. I keep my vanilla pods after I’ve scraped the caviar out, I add the pod into my granulated sugar jar, this way I always have vanilla sugar on hand.  I’m using vanilla sugar in my shortbread cookie crust for this recipe

Spring Form Pan Lined With Parchment Paper

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Offset Spatula

Above is what’s called an offset spatula. This makes frosting any type of cake so much easier than using, for example; a butter knife.

Note: A useful tip for frosting is to dip the offset spatula into very hot water then wiping off the spatula. You want to do this once you spread the cream all over the top with the Bavarian cream.  This technique will give you a smooth top and defined outer edge.

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Yields: 12 servings
Bake Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Inactive Bake Time: 30 minutes in the oven
Cool Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Equipment: Electric or Stand Mixer, Spring Form Pan, Food Processor

Crust:
2 1/2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs
12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
4 tbsp granulated sugar (optional vanilla sugar)

Bavarian Cream:
1 tsp powdered gelatin
2 tbsp whole milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp banana extract

2/3 cup cold heaving whipping cream
5 tbsp powdered sugar

Cheesecake Filling:
24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
4 tsp banana extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup puréed bananas (2 bananas)
3 large eggs, room temperature

Directions For Whipped Cream Topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 fresh sliced bananas

Note: Use ripe bananas, not ones that have browned

Directions For Crust:
Preheat oven to 325-degrees F.
Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper-lined in the bottom and grease the sides. Add the broken up shortbread cookies to a food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Press pulse a few times to process the cookies into crumbs. Add in the melted butter, and keep pulsing, until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Carefully remove the blade, then dump the crumbs into the springform pan. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides (ex: pictures above) of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that the water doesn’t seep through the springform pan. (ex: pictures above). Set prepared pan aside.

Directions For Bavarian Cream:
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin onto the milk and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg yolks together and set aside. Add the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and banana extract to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until warm. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and slowly pour the hot cream into the whisked eggs to temper* them. Add the egg and cream mixture back into the saucepan and return to the heat. Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, or reaches 160 degrees F. This process should happen pretty quickly. Add the gelatin mixture to the hot cream and stir until smooth.

Pour the custard into another bowl and set that bowl inside another larger bowl containing a good amount of ice. Allow the custard cool to room temperature. While the custard is cooling, add heavy cream and powdered sugar to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Once the custard (Bavarian cream) has cooled, gently fold the whipped cream into the custard.

Note: Be sure the custard is, at a minimum, room temperature so whipped cream does not wilt.

Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the custard so a skin doesn’t form on top, and transfer to the refrigerator.

Directions For Cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 300-degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and flour on low speed until completely combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air add to the batter, (this may cause cracks in the cake). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sour cream, puréed bananas, and vanilla extract, mix on low speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each of them is added. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.

Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust. Place the springform pan inside a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top of the aluminum foil on the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. The center should be set, but still slightly. Turn the oven off and leave the door closed for an additional 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook but slowly begins to cool as well.

Crack the oven door for an additional 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly. This helps to prevent cracking. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath along with the foil wrapping. Place onto a cooling rack and cool for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the springform pan.

Spread the chilled Bavarian cream, using an offset spatula, all over the top. A good tip for frosting (underneath the picture of the offset spatula) is referenced above. Refrigerate the cheesecake until completely cool and firm, about 6 hours.

Add the heavy whipping, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract for the whipped cream topping to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. whisk on high speed until stiff peaks. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edges of the cheesecake. Add sliced fresh bananas for the top and along the sides.

Store in refrigerator. If you’re decorating in advance with the whipped cream and fresh bananas, place cheesecake in a plastic cake container, then into the freezer.  This will stop the bananas from turning brown.  Bring the cheesecake out to thaw out enough to slice before serving.

*To Temper, is the process of adding a small amount of the hot cream slowly to beaten eggs while whisking so the eggs won’t scramble. Then add the egg mixture back to the pot, combining it with the rest of the cream mixture.

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