Perullo Press

Dinner from the Perullo Kitchen

On Sunday I had the pleasure of hosting a family dinner party. My mother-in-law was in town for the weekend so I invited family from Atlanta to join us for dinner. Entertaining large groups of people is fun, but these sit down dinner parties are far more enjoyable for me. I make fewer dishes which gives me the opportunity to really pair them up in a way to compliment the others. For an appetizer I made grape and ricotta bites. I found a similar recipe on food network a while back and just kept it around until I could use it. The food network recipe uses cornmeal blinis whereas I used plain crackers. This is an easy recipe that makes a great impression for its uniqueness.

Sweet Grape & Ricotta Bites
1 package crackers, preferably a plain cracker
1/2 cup ricotta
18 seedless green grapes, halved
Honey, for drizzling

Directions: Arrange your crackers on a serving platter. Top each cracker with ricotta and a grape half. Drizzle with honey. Don’t make these too far in advance as the ricotta will begin to make the cracker soggy after they sit a while.

This next recipe I got from Jerry’s aunt, Fedora. She made this for us when we visited them earlier this year and it was one of my favorites. She originally got the recipe from food network but made a lot of changes to it making it amazingly delicious.

Swiss Chard Tart
2 pounds Swiss chard, washed and spun dry
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, I used half
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
3 large eggs
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup grated Asiago
1/2 cup bread soaked in milk, no crusts
Bread crumbs for baking dish

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and cover with a light layer of bread crumbs. Bring 8 quarts of water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. If you’d like to use the stems of the Swiss chard add those to the boiling water first, string stems, and let them cook a bit before you add the leaves. Cook about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside to cool.
In a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, I did 1.5 tablespoons, until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and basil. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, break the eggs in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the graes Parmigiano-Raggiano and the grated Asiago, put a bit aside for sprinkling on top. Using a whisk, mix ingredients until well-blended. Squeeze bread and add to the Swiss chard. Add the egg mixture to cooled Swiss chard and toss to combine.
Carefully place the Swiss chard and egg mixture into the prepared pan. Dust with remaining cheese. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour (remember if you’re using a convection oven it’ll bake about 10% faster). Serve hot or room temperature.

Swiss chard with tomato & fig salad

My mother-in-law has an Italian fig tree that has been bearing lots of figs (in fact she just plated and brought us a cutting from her own tree so soon we will have our own figs). I had her bring some figs when she came down and I made a tomato & fig salad. The recipe for this salad can be found in this previous post. I forgot to add the onions to the salad this time around but it was still outstanding. I served the salad with a slice of the Swiss chard tart to start off our dinner.

Sometime last week while out for dinner at Fig Jam we had quail with cherry mustarda. The quail was very tender and just fell off the bone. I enjoyed the dish so much I went on a hunt to look for a similar recipe. I couldn’t find the right kind of cherry mustarda recipe so I ended up making braised quail with wild mushrooms. This recipe is from the cooking channel is a great dish for mushroom lovers. I used 5 different types of mushrooms for this recipe, quadrupled it,  and made a couple other changes.

Shitake Mushrooms
Oyster Mushrooms
Japanese King Trumpet Mushrooms
Enoki Mushrooms
Bunapi Mushrooms
Mushroom Gravy

Braised Quails with Wild Mushrooms
4 quails, cleaned and trussed
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons butter, plus more if needed
Splash of olive oil
1/4 pound bacon (optional)
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup white wine
1 cup veal stock
3/4 pound assorted mushrooms
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
Small handful chopped fresh parsley

Quail & Gravy over Jasmine Rice

Directions: Season the quail with salt and pepper. Melt half the butter with a drop of olive oil in a pot and brown the quails on all sides over medium-high heat. Remove the quail from the pan and set aside. If you are using bacon, add it to the pan now, brown it, and remove it. Now add the onion, fry it until golden, adding more butter to the pan if needed.
Stir the flour into the onions and cook 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, stirring up the good bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the bacon and quail to the pot. Pour the stock over everything and simmer until the quails are cooked, about 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook each type of mushroom separate as the various types cook differently. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper as you cook them. Then toss them all together with the chopped parsley.
When the quails are done, remove them from the cooking liquid and keep them warm while you boil the juices, uncovered, to reduce the thin sauce consistency. Add the mushrooms and carrots to the sauce once the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency. Serve over Jasmine or whatever is you favorite type of rice.

I had all intentions of making a dessert, but never got around to it. No worries to that, we enjoyed a delicious chocolate raspberry cake with buttercream icing from the publix bakery.

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This entry was posted on July 31, 2012 by in Food.
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