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Posts Tagged ‘asiago cheese’

I made crab dip before, but I wasn’t quite happy with the taste– I was trying to replicate the baked crab dip at Horatio’s (A restaurant in San Leandro that has famous crab dip) but it tasted too tangy to me. Well, crab season is here again so I’m fine tuning the recipe. It’s much closer to Horatio’s and way better than my previous versions. This will be on my winter party food list when crab is in season. Yes, a keeper 🙂

Baked Dungeness Crab Dip

Baked Dungeness Crab Dip

Baked Dungeness Crab Dip (makes 1 appertizer serving)

Ingredients:

1 cooked Dungeness crab– pick out the meat
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic– chopped
1/2 cup onion– thinly sliced
2 stalks green onion– chopped
3/4 cup freshly shredded asiago cheese
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus extra

1 small container sour cream
2 tbsp mayonnaise

Seasoning to taste:
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp spicy mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Method:

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan, sauté garlic and onion for a few minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Add all ingredients and sautéed onion in a mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon to combine. Pour mixture into a 9″ pie dish. Smooth the surface and sprinkle extra mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes, until it’s bubbly and the top crust is golden brown. Serve hot with sliced bread or crackers.

Regina’s Note:

  • Crab: Dungeness crab meat taste better than canned crab meat. Picking the meat out takes some time but can be done 1-2 days ahead and kept chilled in fridge. For adventurous eaters, creamy yellowish crab brain inside the body shell (scoop out with a spoon and put in a separate container and keep chilled) can also be added for more flavor. When sautéing onion, add this creamy goodness to sauce pan and cook until the oil starts separating, stirring at all times. This will take a few minutes.
  • Mozzarella cheese: add more mozzarella cheese if you want more cheese stringy look, but not too much as it will change the texture of the dip.
  • Flavor: sugar is added to help bring out the sweetness of the crab meat, so it has a sweet taste along with savory. Do not add too much salt or the flavor will change.
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I am not a fan of sandwiches. However, Crab Melt is a different story. The first time I had a crab Melt was on a family road trip north to Oregon. We stopped by a coastal town called Brookings (southern coast of Oregon) to have lunch at a marina that has seafood eateries. The family ordered some Crab Melt’s, fish n chips, grilled oysters and smoked salmon dip (best SS dip!) from two different stores. Everything was so fresh and good, and the whole family falls in love with Crab Melt ever since. Since the trip I have been trying to creat the same flavor of the sandwich that we had in Oregon. After a couple of recipe fine tuning I’m finally happy with the result.

Making Crab Melt is pretty much an easy assembly job. However, qualitied ingredient plays an important role to make it a good eat. Obviously you don’t want to waste Alaska King Crab meat on this sandwich, but please don’t use cheap crab or fake crab meat. Using some random cheese will throw the flavor off… etc. Please check out my note at the bottom for more details. Okay, let’s get started before the crab season is over!

Crab Melt

Crab Melt… from the buttery golden crunchy crust, to the generous amount of sweet crab meat and Asiago cheese in the filling, with just enough Mozarrella cheese to bind together. Mmmm… now this IS good eat!

Crab Melt (makes 5 sandwiches)

Ingredients:

1 Dungeness crab– pick out the meat– see note below
3/4 cup freshly shredded Asiago cheese– see note below
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese– see note below
2/3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese– see note below
10 big slices French bread– see note below

Butter to spread on bread

Method:

  1. Spread butter on one side of the bread. Lightly brown the bread slices (buttered side face down) on a sauté pan/skillet/griddle. Transfer bread to tray/plates with buttered side face up.
  2. Combine Asiago cheese and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle generous of cheese mixture on top of the bread, followed by Mozarrella cheese.
  3. Spoon generous amount of crab meat over Mozarrella cheese on 5 slices of the bread ONLY. Microwave all 10 slices about 1 minute until the cheese is slightly melted.
  4. Now find the bread partners– carefully flip over cheese slices over crab meat slices. Butter the top and bottom of the sandwiches, and grill on sauté pan/skillet/griddle until golden brown on both sides. Use a spatula to press down sandwiches to help bind the cheeses together. Serve fresh and hot.

Regina’s Note:

  • Crab meat: I like to use Dungeness crab meat but feel free to use any crab that is meaty and has a sweet taste. It’s best to use fresh crab (aka bought alive). Avoid using crab meat in a can or a tub as those are usually sourced in different country (different water, different taste…). Hand pick crab meta can take some time, but it can be done ahead of time and refrigerated (2-3 days) until ready to use.
  • Asiago/Parmesan cheese: I find the cheese flavor goes very well with crab meat. Gruyere cheese is a good choice too. Because these cheeses taste salty so you don’t need to add salt to crab Melt. Avoid using Cheddar/Fontina/Gouda these sort of cheeses as they are too salty and will over power the delicated mild flavor of crab meat.
  • Mozarrella cheese: I use this cheese only to bind the sandwich breads together. Don’t use too much Mozarrella cheese or you will have very cheesy sandwiches and won’t be able to taste the crab meat.
  • French bread: I prefer French bread but you can use any bread you like. Avoid breads that have big air pockets such Ciabatta and Pugliese (fillings will fall out), or baguette (unless you like the chewiness).

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Fried crispy shallots is a common condiment in South East Asia cuisine– we add it to soups, rice and all kinds of dishes, and it instantly makes the dish a lot tastier. Frying shallots is a skill, from choosing the right type of shallots, slicing and to the frying. I love how the whole house smells after I fried shallots– it is just so incredibly aromatic. For those who are afraid of frying shallots at home, luckily it is becoming common in Asian grocery stores. Although the store bought ones are not as fragrant as home made ones, at least they are crispy.

Fried Shallots & Cheese Scones

Fried Shallots & Cheese Scones

Fried Shallots & Cheese Scones Recipe (makes 12 small scones)

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar– see note below
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter– cut into cubes
1/2 cup toasted walnuts– chopped
2/3 cup grated Asiago cheese– see note below
3 tbsp fried shallots– drain the oil
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp heavy cream
2 eggs

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Rub in cold butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles crumbles. Add in walnuts, cheese and fried shallots, mix well. Make a well in the center.
  2. Whisk cream and eggs in a small bowl to combine. Scoop out 2 tbsp of the egg mixture for glazing. Pour the remaining egg mixture into the flour mixture. Using a spatula, mix until the dough just combined.
  3. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Gently knead the dough a couple of times, then pat into a disc. Divide the dough in half, then shape each half into a disc of  6-inch diameter. Cut each disc into 6 equal small wedges.
  4. Place the scones on a floured non-stick baking pan and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes (see note below). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.
  5. Glaze the egg mixture on chilled scones, and bake for 20 minutes. Cool scones slightly on a rack. Served warm with butter.

Regina’s Note:

  • Sugar: since this is savory scones, I used less sugar.
  • Cheese: I like to use Asiago cheese, but you can use parmesan, cheddar or strong flavor hard cheese.
  • Freezing scones: According to King Arthur’s Flour website, chilling scones for 30 minutes before baking help relax the gluten in the flour, and thus producing  flakier scones. My view is that if you have time and room in your freezer, go for it. If not, pop in the oven right away is okay too, just be sure to preheat the oven before prepping.
  • Flavor: the flavor of the scones is pretty much like the garlic shallot cookies that I made, but without the heat. If you want to spice it up, feel free to add in some crushed red chili flakes or fresh chopped jalapeno peppers.

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After my success with my basic artisan bread, I have decided to add flavors and started my “experiment”. Since I always love the combination of asiago cheese and bacon, I have to try it out this flavor– and it turns out delicious! And this is the best looking artisan loaf that I’ve made (sometimes I slit too deep and the breads look “exploded”, other times the loaves came out a little out of shape…)!

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf
Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf
Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf. Those big irregular holes indicates a good loaf.
Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: Those big irregular holes indicates a good loaf.

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf  (makes 3 loaves)

Ingredients:

Basic Cheese Dough Mix:
6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour– use 1 cup measuring cup and a knife to sweep flat. DO NOT use large 2-cup measuring cup.
4 tbsp grated asiago cheese
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp dry yeast
3 cups lukewarm water

Sprinkles (for each loaf):
2 bacon strips– break into crumbs (see note below)
3 tbsp grated asiago cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Stir flour, salt and cheese to combine. Add lukewarm water and yeast into a 6-quart container, whisk to combine. Add flour mixture to the yeast water while stirring using a wooden spoon, until the dough is evenly moist. The dough will look very wet. This should take no more than 5 minutes.
  2. Cover loosely with a lid and let the dough rise at room temperature until the top collapse or flattens (it took me about 3 hours). Snap the lid on but pull up lid a little so the container is not air tight. Now the dough is ready put into the fridge (the dough is ready for baking after this initial rise but it’s easier to handle after chilling. The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks).
  3. On baking day, sprinkle some cornmeal on a pizza peel (so the dough rests without sticking to the peel). Take out chilled dough, sprinkle some flour on top of the dough then use one hand to pull up some dough (about size of grapefruit) while use the other hand to cut the dough with serrated knife. With dough in you hand, gently pull stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in the bottom, giving it a quarter turn as you pull/stretch. Dust a little more flour to prevent dough sticks to you hand. This shaping process should not take more than 1 minute.
  4. Dust a rolling pin and the board with some flour, gently roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Dust little more flour to prevent dough sticking.
  5. Sprinkle ground black pepper, asiago cheese and bacon crumbs on the dough. Then roll it up like a jelly roll. Fold up two ends on the seal side, and gently shape the dough to a long oval shape.
  6. Place shaped dough on pizza peel, rest uncovered at room temperature for no more than 2 hours (depending on the room temperature–see note below). 20 minutes before baking, place pizza stone on the middle rack and a shadow pan at the bottom rack. Then preheat oven temperature to 450°F.
  7. Dust the top of the dough with some flour (so the dough won’t stick to the knife when making slit on the top) and make two slits(1/4 inch deep) on the top. Quickly and carefully slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Pour 1 cup of water into the shadow pan then quickly close the oven door. (To prevent last minute ‘surprise’ of the dough sticking to the pizza peel and losing heat from the oven, I always move pizza peel back and forth to test slide the dough before open the oven door).
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bread is golden and tap hollow at the bottom of bread. Remove bread  from oven and cool immediately on a rack. Cool completely before slicing (for a crusty bottom, bake bread on the stone for 28 minutes, then remove water pan and transfer bread to the bottom rack for another minutes).

Regina’s Note:

  • When we work on the dough, it will lose some of its air pockets trapped by the gluten (this is why the shaping should be quick and gentle). To compensate this, we let the dough rest for a longer time so the gluten can start working and trap more air, thus creating a light loaf with lots of big air pocket.
  • I used 2 bacon strips and the bacon is not very strong. If you want more bacon taste try 3 bacon strips.
  • You can also use cheddar or Parmesan cheese for a different flavor.

 

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf:... then sprinkle bacon crumbs. Opps, I almost forgot to take picture so I unrolled the dough a little...

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: First, sprinkle ground black pepper and cheese...

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf:... then sprinkle bacon crumbs. Opps, I almost forgot to take picture so I unrolled the dough a little...

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf:... then sprinkle bacon crumbs. Opps, I almost forgot to take picture so I unrolled the dough a little...

 

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: Shaping is done. The dough is now resting on pizza peel for no more than 2 hours.

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: Shaping is done. The dough is now resting on pizza peel for no more than 2 hours.

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I have been wanting to make cheese & scallion scones ever since I had (an expensive) one in a cafe three weeks ago. Today we had a brunch gathering with some good friends so I decided to make it. The scones came out very delicious, especially with butter! I chilled the scones for 30 minutes before baking so the butter firms up and thus producing a flakier texture (same theory as for pie/tart crust), and it did the trick. A common cheese used here is cheddar, but I used Asiago cheese instead as I love its flavor.

Asiago Scallion Scones

Asiago Scallion Scones

Asiago Scallion Scones (makes 12 small triangle scones)

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
6 tbsp cold butter– cut into small cubes
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
4 stalks of scallion (green onion)– chopped
2 eggs
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup whole milk

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift in flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Rub in cold butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles crumbles. Add in cheese and scallion, mix well.
  2. Use a fork to beat eggs in a small bowl. Add in milk and mustard, beat to combine. Scoop out 2 tbsp of the egg mixture for glazing. Pour the remaining egg mixture into the flour mixture. Using a spatula, mix until the dough just combined.
  3. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Gently knead the dough a couple of times, then pat into a disc. Divide the dough in half, then shape each half into a disc of  6-inch diameter. Cut each disc into 6 equal small wedges.
  4. Place the scones on a floured non-stick baking pan and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.
  5. Glaze the egg mixture on chilled scones, and bake for 20 minutes. Cool scones slightly on a rack. Served warm with butter.

Regina’s Note:

  • Chill scones before baking will produce a flakier texture.
  • Different cheese will create different flavor to the scones.
  • For a spicy version, try adding 1/2 tsp of crushed chili flakes, or ground black pepper.
  • Reference: King Arthur Flour– Scallion Cheddar Scones

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I got a pizza stone last Christmas but didn’t really use it until I tried out this recipe. Instead of baking the bread in a pan, I baked it on the stone. The purpose of pizza stone (some called baking stone) is to create an oven temperature that is similar to a brick oven, which distributes heat evenly and thus producing better crusty breads. I just love the rustic look of the focaccia.

Sundried Tomato & Cheese Focaccia

Sun-dried Tomato & Cheese Focaccia

This is a good bread to serve with pasta, dip with extra virgin olive oil, or as panini sandwiches. The orange color is from sun-dried tomatoes. The asiago cheese smells wonderful but I think it’s a little too much (although I love asiago cheese:)) and covering other flavors. Also on the next attempt, I should add a little crushed red pepper to spice it up and some herbs (thymes, rosemary etc), or pizza seasoning, to compliment the flavor.

Sundried Tomato & Cheese Focaccia

Sun-dried Tomato & Cheese Focaccia

Sun-dried Tomato & Cheese Focaccia Recipe

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cup bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup grated asiago cheese + extra for sprinkles–> for next attempt: 1/2 cup for the dough, 1/2 cup for sprinkles
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes– chopped
5 cloves garlic– finely chopped
2 tsp yeast
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1 tbsp for brushing
1 3/4 cup water

for next attempt try adding:
1 tsp crushed red peppers
1 tbsp chopped herbs/pizza seasoning

Method:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients (including cheese, tomatoes and garlic) in a stand mixing bowl. With the dough hook attached, turn mixer on low and slowly add water to form a dough.
  2. Slowly drizzle in 3 tbsp olive oil and continue kneading until the dough is elastic and pass the “membrane” stage.
  3. Transfer dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it prove until double in size. I prove the dough in the fridge overnight.
  4. Punch down the dough and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet or flexible cutting board. Place baking stone on the middle rack in the oven and preheat to 450°F.
  5. Transfer dough to a well-floured work surface. Gently pull and stretch the dough evenly into 10×14-inch rectangle. Brush the top with 1 tbsp olive oil and top with some extra asiago cheese.
  6. Carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheet/flexible cutting board which has cornmeal at the bottom. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Spray the oven walls with water. Work quickly so the oven doesn’t lose heat.
  8. Use finger tip to create dimples on the top of the dough.
  9. Carefully slide the dough onto the hot stone. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bread turns golden brown. Cool focaccia on a rack. This bread can be frozen– just wrap with foil/plastic wrap then store in air tight Ziploc bag.

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I love Asiago cheese so I always like to add it to my bread making. This time I made Asiago dinner rolls. Look how nicely they baked up! Nicely browned and same even size/shape… I’m happy:)

Asiago Dinner Rolls

Asiago Dinner Rolls

Asiago Dinner Rolls Recipe (makes 12 rolls)

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp milk powder
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dry yeast
2 cloves minced garlic– optional
5 tbsp grated asiago cheese
1 egg
125 -150 ml warm water
2 tbsp butter

Methods (using a stand mixer):

  1. In the mixing bowl mix well the first 7 ingredients then add in egg. With dough hook attached and starts kneading, slowing add water to form a dough. Drop in butter and continue to knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to the bowl and pass the “membrane” test.
  2. Transfer the dough to a big bowl. Wrap the bowl and leave it on a warm spot to rest/proof until double in size.  (To speed up the resting time a little I let the bowl sit on a moist hot towel)
  3. Lightly knead the dough a few times to punch out big air pockets trapped inside. Divide into 3 equal portions. (If you’re not using optional stuff listed on the top, divide the dough into 9 equal small rolls and rest them in a greased square pan for 45 minutes before baking).
  4. Take 1 portion and roll it out, sprinkle some green onions, ground black pepper and salt on top. Roll the dough up like a swiss roll. Pinch to seal the edge. Then cut into 3 equal small rolls, with cut side facing up and put on a square baking pan. Repeat this step with the other 2 portions. Leave a little space among the rolls as they will expand during 2nd proofing and baking.
  5. Cover the rolls and proof again for 45 minutes (again, I used moist hot towels underneath the pan to speed up proofing time).  Sprinkle some cheese on the top and baked in preheated 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, turning half way until golden brown. Brush top with melted butter and serve hot.

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