La Terra Fina

Spicy Cheese and Steak Sandwiches /

I semi-regularly work with La Terra Fina, makers of dips and spreads, developing recipes and doing food photography. Here’s a set of recipes and photos I developed for Summer 2014. (For more photography samples, see my Food Photography page.)

Spicy Cheese and Steak Sandwiches
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes, plus 5 minutes for steak to rest
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

3/4 cup La Terra Fina Cheese & Garlic Spread
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish, or more to taste
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1, 1 1/4-lb. flank steak
Salt and pepper
4 sandwich rolls, split horizontally
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups mixed greens (about 2 oz.)

In a medium bowl, combine the Cheese & Garlic Spread, horseradish and cayenne. Add more horseradish or cayenne to taste. Set aside.

Prepare a grill to medium-high or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Sprinkle the steak with salt and pepper and grill to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare or 6 minutes per side for medium. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest, loosely covered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill the rolls cut side down until lightly browned. Spread the Cheese & Garlic Spread mixture onto the bottom halves of the rolls.

Cut the steak across the grain into thin slices. Arrange the meat on top of the Cheese & Garlic Spread mixture. Top with the onions and greens and serve.

Chef’s Note: To pump up the heat even more, try adding canned diced green chiles or minced fresh jalapenos to the cheese mixture. You can also make this sandwich with chicken instead of steak.

Hummus Sesame Noodles / Hummus Sesame Noodles
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes, plus time to cool noodles (if desired)
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

12 ounces spaghetti noodles
1 cup La Terra Fina Hummus
1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Chili oil to taste (optional)

Cook the noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, combine the hummus, broth, and soy sauce and set aside.

Drain the noodles, transfer to a bowl, and toss with the sesame oil. If serving room temperature or cold, set aside to cool to desired temperature.

Toss the noodles with the hummus mixture. Just before serving, top with the scallions, sesame seeds, and chili oil (if using). (Alternately, serve the chili oil at the table.)

Chef’s Note: Try this recipe warm, cold, or room temperature and with all kinds of noodles—Asian-style noodles in addition to Italian-style pasta—then enjoy it as a side dish or entrée. You can also add shredded chicken or cooked shrimp to the toppings, or other veggies like celery, cucumber, tomato, bean sprouts, or red onion.

Ranch Chicken Bake / Ranch Chicken Bake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4, 7- to 8-oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup La Terra Fina Ranch Dip
1/4 cup panko
Zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Arrange the chicken skinned side up on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then spread the Ranch Dip on top. In a small bowl, combine the panko and lemon zest, then sprinkle on top of the Ranch Dip. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the topping is browned, about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with the basil and chives and serve.

Chef’s Note: Try this recipe with fish instead of chicken—ideally, thicker fillets like halibut or salmon.

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad / Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes, plus time for potatoes to cool
Yield: 8 servings

2 lb. baby potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 Tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup La Terra Fina Ranch Dip
1/4 cup buttermilk or 2 Tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
2 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
Pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in large pot and cover with water. Stir in the salt and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, transfer to large bowl and stir in the Ranch Dip and buttermilk or vinegar. Set aside to cool.

Add the onion, parsley, half of the bacon, half of the scallions and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the remaining bacon and scallions.

Chef’s Note: Try this recipe using red, white or even purple potatoes—or a combination.