Quick and tasty recipes

#1 – HONEY-BAKED FIGS

IMG_1980In a previous post, I promised you a mouth-watering dish combining Manchego and figs.

I know it has taken long – being the working mom of a 7-month-old adorable monster often complicates my agenda – but yesterday I finally managed to cook this for dinner.

And guess what? The result was so yummy you have to try it to believe me.

Give it a go! This works great both as a dessert or an appetizer, and although super easy, it looks so sophisticated you could even offer it to your most snobbish friends at your next dinner party.

 What you need:

  • Few fresh figs, stalks removed
  • Balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp
  • Clear honey, 1 tbsp
  • Chopped fresh thyme leaves, 2 tbsp
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Some Manchego cheese, grated

Instructions:

  1. Using a sharp knife cut a cross into the top of each fig.
  2. Push the figs down on a chopping board to open them slightly.
  3. Place the figs in little squares of foil, big enough to make parcels.
  4. Spoon over the vinegar, honey and thyme, season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fold the foil over to make little parcels and seal the edges.
  6. Place the parcels in the oven at medium heat and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Open the parcels and sprinkle with a generous amount of Manchego.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

 

#2 – DULCE DE MEMBRILLO

iStock_000023538399XSmallkOn Tuesday I talked about my (secret) addiction to Manchego & “Dulce de Membrillo”. Today I’m sharing with you my family’s recipe so you can all enjoy this classic combo.

Like all marmalades and compotes it’s really very easy and it makes for a perfect kitchen activity on a cold autumn day. Why not trying it this weekend?

 What you need:

  • 2 pounds of quince, washed, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 pounds of granulated sugar
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1tbs of gin

Instructions:

  1. Place quince pieces together with the sugar in a large saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Add the lemon juice and the gin. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let it cook until the quince pieces are tender (about 30 minutes).
  3. Pour everything down into a blender and mix well until the quince paste is very thick and has a deep orange pink color.
  4. Pour the cooked quince paste into a serving tray.
  5. Smooth out the top of the paste so it is even.
  6. Let it cool.

To serve, cut into squares or wedges and present with Manchego cheese. To eat, take a small slice of the “dulce de membrillo” and spread it on top of a slice of Manchego. Yum!

 

#3 – MINI CHEESECAKES

www.themanchegocheese.comLove cheesecakes and want to try a recipe with a twist? Addicted to cupcakes and looking for an alternative? Then you should try this recipe.

What you need:

  • ½ pound of whipped cream
  • ½ pound of Manchego cheese (grated)
  • 8 ounces of granulated sugar
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs

  Instructions:

  1. Place about 2 ounces of the granulated sugar in a saucepan together with the lemon juice at medium heat.
  2. After a couple of minutes, the sugar will start melting, turning liquid around the edges. Then give the saucepan a good shake and start stirring gently with a wooden spoon until all the sugar turns completely liquid. Being patient at this stage is crucial. Remember that the caramel should be as liquid as running honey!
  3. Once you are happy with the consistency of the sauce, place the caramel into metallic molds – the muffin type.
  4. Mix the whipped cream, the eggs, the Manchego cheese and the remaining sugar (about 6 ounces). Beat the mix very well.
  5. Pour the mix into the molds.
  6. Place the molds into a very slow oven in bain-marie for about an hour.
  7. Once the mini-cakes look ready, take them out and let them cool.
  8. To serve, place the molds on a plate and turn them around. The caramel will deliciously cover the mini-cake. Simply irresistible.

 

#4 – FRIED MANCHEGO CHEESE

QUESO_VALDEPENAS-1742In the cold and grey days of Autumn I really crave my comfort food.

Nothing better than cozying up in the sofa while watching TV series and enjoying your favorite snacks.

As Manchego is one of my all-time favorites, today I’m bringing you a quick & tasty recipe that will definitely warm you up.

What you need:

  • ½ pound of Manchego cheese (cut in cubes)
  • 5 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 quart of olive oil
  • Your marmalade of choice

Instructions:

  1. Cut the Manchego cheese in small cubes.
  2. Place the beaten eggs in a bowl. Put the flour and the bread crumbs into two separate large shallow bowls or trays.
  3. Cover the cheese cubes with flour, then dip them into egg and roll in bread crumbs to completely coat the cubes. Follow this process with all the cheese cubes.
  4. Deep fry cheese cubes, a few at a time, until the coating is golden brown and crisp and the cheese is soft, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Let cheese cubes drain on paper towels and cool slightly.
  6. Decorate with your marmalade of choice – I like mine with strawberry – for some extra taste. Serve warm and enjoy!

 

#5 – STUFFED PIQUILLO PEPPERS WITH MANCHEGO

QUESO_VALDEPENAS-177I love piquillos.

These small, sweet fire-roasted red peppers are packaged only in Spain but – great news – jars of piquillos are available online and at specialty-food stores all across the US.

Piquillos taste fantastic with Manchego. Being sweet and smoky, they are the perfect shell for a creamy Manchego sauce.

Today I bring you a recipe for you to taste this delicacy. It’s very easy and can be prepared with an extra help for the little ones. My niece loves helping me to stuff the piquillos with the sauce, and she enjoys eating them afterwards too!

What you need: 

  • 1 jar (7 ounces) piquillo peppers, drained & patted dry
  • ½ cup grated Manchego
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • ½ cup natural tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • Flour, 3 tbs
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbs
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat up the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and fry it slightly until it turns golden.
  2. Lower the heat and begin adding the whipped cream, a little at a time, mixing it constantly with a wooden spoon to achieve a smooth, glossy, creamy sauce.
  3. Add the Manchego to the sauce and let it cook slowly a little bit more – Manchego melts quickly so don’t overdo it. Once you’re happy with the texture achieved, add a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper to your taste. Then take it away from the fire and let it cool.
  4. Using a small spoon, fill each pepper with about 2 tablespoons of the mixture.
  5. Place on an oven tray and pour the natural tomato sauce on top of the stuffed piquillo peppers.
  6. Cook in a medium heat oven for 8 – 10 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, about 1 hour.

 

#6 – CRISPY CHICKEN FILLETS WITH MANCHEGO

www.themanchegocheese.comTired of cooking after Thanksgiving? Still wanting to eat well and on the look out for family friendly recipes?

Here’s one that you’ll want to try over and over again. Promised. The crispiness of the chicken combined with the aromas of the melted Manchego cheese make for a perfect comfort food. Healthy, easy to make and super tasty, this one ticks all the boxes for me!

What you need:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ pound of Manchego cheese
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 quart of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Grease generously a baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Set out three deep plates: one with flour, one with beaten egg, one with bread crumbs.
  3. Make sure your boneless, skinless chicken breasts are thin by either slicing them in half or pounding them flatter.
  4. Make a horizontal cut on each of the breasts and fill in with a generous slice of the Manchego cheese – This will make it look like a sandwich.
  5. Dip the chicken first into flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip it into the egg, shaking off any excess. Finally, dip it into the bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Lay the breaded chicken on the greased baking sheet. Sprinkle some drops of olive oil over each chicken piece.
  7. Then bake for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is white in the middle. Baking time depends on the thickness of the chicken.
  8. Serve with some homemade french fries on the side and enjoy!

 

#7 – OX CARPACCIO & MANCHEGO 

QUESO_VALDEPENAS-170Carpaccio gathers all I look for in a dish. Simple, healthy and tasty, I never get bored of a good carpaccio.

Today, I’m bringing you the Spanish interpretation of this classic delicacy. And I promise you, this recipe, courtesy of La Aguzadera, one of my favourite restaurants in La Mancha, will surely spoil your culinary taste buds.

What you need:

  • 8 to 10 ounces of ox tenderloin from the tip end of the roast
  • ½ pound of Manchego cheese (shaved)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sherry vinegar from Jerez
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, unwrap the tenderloin and thinly slice the ox into approximately 1/8 to 1/4-inch pieces.
  3. Lay out the ox slices in 4 chilled plates.
  4. Dress with the olive oil & Sherry vinegar, the shaved Manchego, salt and pepper to taste.

 

#8 – GRILLED EGGPLANTS WITH MANCHEGO SAUCE

QUESO_VALDEPENAS-173It’s January and so that time of year where it seems like everyone is talking about being healthier and losing weight.

But if you’re like most people – if you’re like me – the good intentions never seem to translate into success.

In the following days, I’ll share with you some of my staple recipes to enjoy my favorite cheese while still keeping an eye on my weight. Yes, there’s no reason to give up taste to stay healthy!

Today I’m bringing you a recipe combining Manchego with eggplants.

Eggplant is an incredibly versatile vegetable that works well in so many recipes, and pairs extremely well with Manchego. Additionally, it comes with a bonus: it makes a tasty substitute for meat, too. Here we go…

What you need:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 cup of Manchego cheese (grated)
  • ½ cup of single cream
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Oregano
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Slice the eggplants lengthways as thin as possible. I like to use a mandolin for this to achieve best results.
  2. Pour the extra virgin olive oil in a large pan, heat it up and grill the eggplant slices. Alternatively, you can use a barbeque or a grill.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients – Manchego cheese, single cream, oregano, salt & pepper – in a bowl.
  4. Warm up the sauce in a microwave or a small pan. This should be done at low heat, just enough for the Manchego cheese to melt.
  5. Once ready, pour the sauce over the eggplants.
  6. Enjoy it while it’s warm!

 

#9 – GREEN SALAD WITH MANCHEGO & WALNUTS 

QUESO_VALDEPENAS-168Continuing with the string of tasty and healthy recipes with Manchego, today I bring you a salad that – unlike others – is full of personality.

The gutsy contrast of assertive greens with the sweet caramel, the slivers of Manchego, the wild raddish and the walnuts; will surely impress your guests.

What you need:

  • 1 head of green or red leaf lettuce
  • 1 (1/2-pound) piece Manchego cheese, rind removed and cheese shaved into thin slices (preferably with a cheese plane)
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • 4 oz wild radish
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Wash and dry lettuce and tear into pieces. Arrange lettuce on a large platter.
  2. Sprinkle walnuts and chopped wild radish over lettuce.
  3. Cut the Manchego cheese in slices and place them in a grill – this can be done either using the microwave or a medium-heat oven.
  4. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the cheese slices and grill them for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is caramelized on top.
  5. Dress salad by drizzling vinegar and olive oil all over.
  6. Enjoy!

 

#10 – WATERCRESS SALAD WITH RED GRAPES & MANCHEGO CHEESE

la foto 5-1Still looking for the perfect starter? You’ve found it here! Watercress salad with red grapes and, of course, our favorite cheese: Manchego. You won’t be able to resist it!

What you need:

  • 6 ozs watercress
  • 30 red grapes
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (1/2-pound) piece Manchego cheese
  • 2 tbsps of almonds (toasted)
  • 1 tbsp red onion
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • la foto 3-11 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

 

  1. Take the red grapes and the tomatoes, wash, dry and cut them in half and then in half again.
  2. Use a food processor: add 20 chopped grapes, the red onion, vinegar, honey and olive oil to make the dressing.
  3. Marinate the 10 grapes left with 2 tbsp of dressing for 10 minutes.
  4. Cut the Manchego cheese in slices.
  5. Cut the almonds in slices and toast them.
  6. Place the watercress in a bowl with the tomatoes, the marinated red grapes and the almonds. Drizzle the prepared dressing all over the salad.la foto 3
  7. Top the salad with some slices of Manchego cheese.
  8. Enjoy!

 

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