Arancini (Crispy Rice Balls) with Gouda

These are luscious, savory and interesting tasty bits to pop into the mouth whenever you are hungry…especially if you have some leftover rice you’ve been puzzling over, as to what to do with it.

Thanks to Bon Appetit for the great recipe! Their version uses fresh made risotto, but you can use leftover rice if you have it. Also, feel free to use ground fennel if you cannot get fennel pollen.


  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 1/2 cups to 5 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen* or freshly ground fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
  • 30 (about) 1/2-inch cubes of goat Gouda, Raclette or other aged goat milk cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
  • 6 cups vegetable oil (about; for deep-frying)
  • Orange, lemon, and/or lime wedges (optional)
  • *A spice extracted from wild fennel plants; available at specialty foods stores and from


  • Melt butter with oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add rice, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, and stir until rice starts to become translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and cook until absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth and simmer, stirring often, until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until risotto is creamy and rice is tender, stirring often and allowing broth to be absorbed each time before adding more, about 25 minutes total.
  • Remove risotto from heat. Mix in fennel pollen and all citrus peels. Season with pepper and more salt, if desired. Spread risotto out on large rimmed baking sheet and cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • Place cheese in small bowl. Beat eggs and milk in medium bowl. Place panko in another medium bowl. Using wet hands, shape 1 heaping tablespoonful risotto into ball; enclose 1 cheese cube in rice. Dip rice ball into egg mixture, then into crumbs to coat. Place on clean rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining risotto, cheese, and coating. Cover with plastic wrap and chill on sheet at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Place large rimmed baking sheet in oven. Pour enough oil into heavy large saucepan to reach depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach deep-fry thermometer to side of pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 340°F to 350°F. Add 4 to 5 arancine at a time; fry until golden brown and crisp, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 5 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet in oven to keep warm.
  • Mound arancine on platter. Garnish with citrus wedges, if desired, and serve hot.

Cheesy-Mushroom Dutch Baby

We tried a savory version of the Dutch baby recipe tonight, and it was so fantastic, we can’t believe we didn’t do this before! Just chopped up and fried some portabello mushrooms, grated up some Gouda and Gruyere, and put it all together before sliding the griddle back into the oven for 20 minutes. Next time we will probably leave it in the oven for 25 min, to get the top and bottom even crisper. But it makes the most luscious, fluffy, eggy and satisfying Friday night meal, I know we’ll get a chance to try it again soon.

3 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
2/3 cup whole milk at room temperature
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

8 ounces of portabello mushrooms, washed and cut into bite sized pieces

6 ounces of grated Gouda and/or Swiss Gruyere cheese

Equipment: a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and a non-stick skillet


Put cast iron skillet on middle rack of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.

Fry mushrooms in a little oil in the non-stick skillet until brown.
Beat eggs with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and frothy, then beat in milk, flour and salt and continue to beat until smooth, about 1 minute more (batter will be thin).
Make sure your pan and oven are fully preheated before you take the next step, otherwise your Dutch baby will not rise.

Add butter to hot skillet and melt, swirling to coat. Butter will spatter, so put the pan someplace where this won’t matter. Add batter, top with mushrooms and cheese, and immediately return skillet to oven. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Slide out onto a plate, cut in half for 2 servings.
Serve immediately.

Now doesn’t this masterpiece belong in your Friday night?

Spinach dumplings with fresh goat cheese

I’ve been snooping around German blogs again, looking for good stuff to eat. And if you don’t mind a wee tad adventure, come along….

These dumplings are classic southern German/Tyrolean. They work as a carbo course with dinner, or even just on their own. Thank you to Rock the Kitchen for the inspiration and the yummy photo!



100 g day-old bread

100 ml milk

250 g frozen spinach (or cooked/chopped/squeezed of liquid)

1 small onion

1 garlic clove

1 Tbsp canola or olive oil

30 g fresh goat cheese

25 g freshly grated Emmenthaler, Gouda, Raclette or Gruyere cheese

75 g flour

1 egg

Salt and Pepper to taste


15 g butter

Freshly grated Parmesan


Tear bread into small chunks, put in bowl and pour milk over bread. Allow to soak for 15 min.

If using frozen spinach, thaw and then press together to wring out water. Chop coarsely. Peel onion and garlic, chop finely.

Heat canola or olive oil in saute pan and fry onion and garlic until just starting to become transparent. Cool slightly and then mix together with spinach and milk-soaked bread. Add in goat cheese, grated cheese. flour and egg, as well as salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix well with hands. Allow flavors to meld for 10 minutes.

Bring water in a large pot to boil and salt when boiling. Take enough dumpling dough from the bowl to form a golf ball-sized dumpling and carefully lower into the boiling water. Lower the temperature on the pot to simmer and continue making dumplings for the pot until all dough is gone. Simmer dumplings for 15 min.

Just before the dumplings are done, melt butter in the saute pan and allow it to brown ever so slightly. Put the cooked dumplings in the pan and roll them around to coat. Sprinkle grated parmesan over the top of the dumplings and serve.

If desired, you can crumble cooked bacon into the dumpling dough or cut Canadian bacon or ham into small cubes and mix them in before cooking. You could also brown the dumplings in bacon grease after cooking, for a heartier flavor.

The strata for people who hate strata….

Until I met this strata, I hated them, too. Have to admit, I’m not really a french toast person, either. Something about a hatred of wet bread that I inherited from my dad. But this one changed it all.

You MUST start with excellent bread. I feel that is the essential key. I started with a gorgeous ciabatta ( just from Meijer’s, so not really expensive). You could use brioche with the same excellent results. This recipe is really so fantastic, and the more veggies you put in it, the better it gets. Oh, and of course, there’s lots of cheese in there:)

I do apologize, the smell and seductiveness of the cooked strata was so compelling that I never got a pic of the finished dish….it disappeared in minutes, with people lined up for second helpings.


If it looks this good uncooked, imagine the final product! Sorry I missed the cooked version picture!


Spinach, Asparagus, Mushroom and Cheese Strata
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Annie’s Eats

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups onion, finely chopped
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
  • 1 pound of cleaned and chopped asparagus
  • 1/2 pound cleaned and quartered portobella mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. pepper, divided
  • Dash freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. prepared Dijon mustard
  • 8 cups cubed French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 oz. coarsely grated Gruyere or Gouda  (about 2 cups)
  • 6 oz. fresh goat cheese (chevre)
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 2/3 cup)
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2¾ cup milk

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook down until soft and liquid has mostly boiled off. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and the nutmeg, and continue to cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the spinach, remove from the heat and set aside.

Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 2 min, drain and stir into the spinach-onion mix. Allow to cool.

Butter the inside of a 2½-3 quart baking dish. Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes. Top with one third of the spinach-asparagus mixture and one third of each of the cheeses. Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, spinach and cheese.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, the remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard. Whisk together until blended. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layers in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Bake uncovered until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

It is to-die-for. Completely. Even if it is a strata.

Seriously Impressive Mushroom Crepe Cake

Knock your breakfast company's socks off with this one!

Mushroom Crêpe Cake

From Smitten Kitchen and adapted from Alton Brown

Serves 6, or 8 if you’re putting out a spread

1 cup yellow onion, diced

3 tablespoons butter

1 pound fresh cremini, button or shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon flour

1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk

1/2 cup mild white cheese, mozzarella, gouda or provolone, shredded

Savory crêpes, recipe follows

2 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced

1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded

In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt one tablespoon of butter and begin to cook the onion so that it sweats but does not gain color. Turn the heat to medium-high, add all of the mushrooms and remaining two tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté until mushrooms are soft. Stir in the flour, then drizzle in the milk while you stir. Reduce the liquid in the pan by half. Add the shredded cheese and let it melt. Immediately take filling off the heat.

Layer two crêpes on a buttered sheet pan (Alton Brown says that this allows you to still save your cake if the bottom one sticks — smart!). Spread a thin layer of the filling onto the crêpe, then a few chives. Top with another crêpe and spread more filling. Repeat this process until you are out of filling.

Top with a final crêpe and sprinkle one final layer of shredded cheese, run this under the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Savory Crêpes

The original recipe suggested one include herbs, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes in the crepe batter. I used herbs and honestly felt it added nothing; I vote for you to skip this. If you want to add those flavors, do it where they will be more effective, in the filling. I was able to eke out 6 crêpes in an 8 1/2-inch skillet. I would have had extras were the first couple not duds.

2 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup flour

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

Butter, for coating the pan

In a blender combine all of the ingredients (excepting the butter for coating the pan) and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour a couple tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and throw the crepe in the garbage; seriously, the first one is always cursed (Don’t you love Deb’s commentary??). Sometimes the second is messed up, too. By the time you get to the third one, go ahead and keep all that you make, even if they’re not perfect. Lay each crêpe flat on a large cutting board to the cutting board to cool; continue cooking until all of the batter is gone.

Do ahead: Crêpe batter can be made up to two days in advance, stored in the fridge. Cooked, cooled and well-wrapped, crêpes can be stored for several days in the fridge or up to two months in the freezer. Frozen crêpes can be thawed on a rack; gently peel them as you need. Filling can be made a day in advance; reheat slowly, over a low flame.

What about Gouda?

Gouda is one of the oldest of European cheeses, dating to 12th century Holland. It consists of a smooth, sliceable semi-soft body and is typically made into eight to ten pound wheels. We make our goat Gouda (called Birkie Dusker) in smaller wheels (one and two pounders) and age it in our underground cave for 3 months. It is perfect for snacking or cooking. And it melts beautifully in potatoes, on bread and in sauce. The taste is mild, creamy and mellow. Check out our recipes for great serving suggestions!

Creamy, nutty, smooth and sliceable Goat Gouda