Kale and Red Onion Galette

April 24th, 2015

Vegetable Galette 4

While scooting around the grocery store the other day in my motorized cart (Still have difficulty walking with this sprain), I decided to load up with some convenience foods.  To me, convenience food means frozen vegetables, ready made pie crusts, salad greens, ground beef, hamburger buns and Rao’s marinara sauce.  I am on my own for the next two weeks so I can indulge in my preferences.  I love savory pastry dishes and a galette is nothing more than a free form rustic tart.

Vegetable Galette 1

 

In my effort to be somewhat healthy, I combined frozen baby kale, sauteed red onions, and frozen cubed carrots in a filling for my Pillsbury pastry round.  I actually added a small amount of left over spicy sausage, but it could be left out.  What is so great about this type of meal is that you can use anything that you like in the filling.

Vegetable Galette 2

Cooking for one does not have to be an unpleasant experience.  I see pasta marinara and grilled hamburgers in my future.  But that’s after I finish this lovely galette with my salad greens.  It might take me a while.

KALE AND RED ONION GALETTE

1 12oz. package frozen baby kale, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large red onion, halved and sliced into half rounds
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Alexia’s frozen organic cubed carrots, thawed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 round of Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough
1 beaten egg for egg wash, mix with a little water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Saute’ red onion in the oil in a medium size frying pan.  Turn to low and cook slowly until the onions are soft and slightly caramelized.  Add the dried kale and the carrots.  Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Let cool slightly.

Place the pastry round on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Mound the filling in the middle of the pastry leaving at least a 1-inch border.  Fold the pastry over the filling, pleating as you go.  Brush the pastry with the egg wash.

Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Printable Recipe

Spiced Ginger Cake: Delicious!

April 19th, 2015

Ginger Cake 1

Ruth Reichl, food critic, former Gourmet Magazine editor, and prolific author has just published her first novel called Delicious!.  This is a “must read” for foodies.  The evocative descriptions of making, tasting and enjoying food is so much a part of the story that it kept me reading long into the night.  The main character is a twenty something gal from California who moves to New York City to interview for a job at a food magazine called Delicious!; think Gourmet Magazine.  Her assets for the job are a perfect palette for discerning flavors and an ability to write well.  One of her tests for getting the job is to cook something for the editor.  She makes this gingerbread cake.  She is hired immediately and all of the staff want her recipe.

Ginger Cake 2V

In the book this is called Gingerbread, but to me it is more like a ginger spice cake.  It is the only recipe in the book and is worthy of its starring role.  The flavor is complex.  You must grind whole spices to achieve the desired flavor.  Whole peppercorns (Yes, peppercorns in a cake), whole cloves, whole cinnamon sticks, and whole cardamom.  There is a generous amount of freshly grated ginger root (1/4 cup) and the zest of 2 to 3 oranges.  Once the cake comes out of the pan it is painted with a bourbon reduction and then drizzled with an orange and powdered sugar glaze.  The cake is moist and so good that it is now my favorite by far.  David is off on a motorcycle trip for two weeks.  I had a dear friend spending the weekend with me since I am still finding it hard to get around.  I have an appointment for x-rays on Monday to determine if I have broken anything in my leg. Jackie and I dug into the cake on Friday night and we both oohed and aahed over it as we scraped our plates clean.  She said “Hurry up and take pictures of this so we can have more”.

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

I highly recommend this book.  The scenes of an Italian Market and different restaurants are a fun look at New York City.  There is also a story line about a girl who writes to James Beard during World War II.  It is an historical look at how Italians were treated during the war.  Many places stopped serving spaghetti because it was considered “Enemy Food”.  All and all, this was a fun read and the recipe is an added bonus.

BILLIE’S GINGERBREAD ( From Delicious! by Ruth Reichl )

CAKE:
Whole black peppercorns
Whole cloves
Whole cardamom
1 cinnamon stick (I used 2)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large pieces fresh ginger root (1/4 cup, tightly packed, when finely grated)
Zest from 2 to 3 oranges (1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 6 cup Bundt pan.

Grind your peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom (individually) and measure out 1/4 teaspoon of each (You can use pre-ground spices, but the cake won’t taste as good.)  Grind your cinnamon stick and measure out 1 teaspoon (Again, you can use ground cinnamon if you must.)

Whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a small bowl.

In another small bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk into the sour cream.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until the mixture is light, fluffy, and almost white.  This should take about 3 minutes.

Grate the ginger root-this is a lot of ginger-and the orange zest.  Add them to the butter/sugar mixture.

Beat the flour mixture and the egg mixture, alternating between the two, into the butter until each addition is incorporated.  The batter should be as luxurious as mousse.

Spoon batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until cake is golden and a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Remove to a rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

SOAK:
1/2 cup bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

While the cake cools in its pan, simmer the bourbon and the sugar in a small pot for about 4 minutes.  It should reduce to about 1/3 cup.

While the cake is still in the pan, brush half the bourbon mixture onto its exposed surface (the bottom of the cake) with a pastry brush.  Let the syrup soak in for a few minutes, then turn the cake out onto a rack (I used a serving plate).

Gently brush the remaining mixture all over the cake.

GLAZE
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted or put through a strainer
5 teaspoons orange juice

Once the cake is cooled, mix the sugar with the orange juice and either drizzle the glaze randomly over the cake or put it in to a squeeze bottle and do a controlled drizzle.

Printable Recipe

 

Ground Beef Stroganoff

April 16th, 2015

Ground Beef Stroganoff 1

Cooking has been a challenge for the past week.  We visited the kids in Cary over the weekend.  Upon arrival at their new house our dog Daisy got away from us.  In an effort to help recapture her and wearing my pretty new impractical flip flops, I fell on a pine needle covered incline.  I wrenched my right leg badly and probably have a sprained ankle.  My week has been one of pain pills and limping.  I am starting to feel better but complicated meals are not something I want to tackle.

Ground Beef Stroganoff 2V

That’s one of the reasons that I loved this Ground Beef Stroganoff recipe.  It is cooked in one pot from start to finish.  Not to mention the fact that it is very tasty.

Ground Beef Stroganoff 3

I am trying to stay off of my feet.  Thankfully we just got Netflix streaming and I have started watching Bloodline.  I am also reading the best novel about food and cooking.  My next post will have a recipe from this delicious book.  In the meantime, if you are out of sorts, just tired, or looking for something quick to make other than Hamburger Helper, you need to try this recipe.

GROUND BEEF STROGANOFF ( Chow.com )

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium beef broth or stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces dried egg noodles
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring rarely, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper, and break the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s just cooked through and no longer pink, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and paprika, stir to coat the meat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raw flavor has cooked off the flour, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pot, until almost evaporated, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth, measured salt, and measured pepper and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the noodles and reserved mushrooms along with their accumulated juices and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are just cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Printable Recipe

 

 

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

April 11th, 2015

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad 1

Mexican meals are so easy.  The ingredients are predictable; taco seasonings, cheese, sour cream, avocado, black beans, tortillas and tomatoes.  We have had a few warm days and a refreshing Mexican salad sounded like a great idea.  I found an excellent recipe in a Cooking Light cookbook.  It has a creamy dressing made with chipotle chile, lime juice, cilantro, seasonings and light sour cream that mellows the heat from the chiles.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad 2V

The salad ingredients are simple.  You could use a rotisserie chicken if time is short.  But I had two boneless chicken breasts that I dusted with taco seasonings and sauteed until cooked through.  Also in the mix to dress the lettuce are red onions, cherry tomatoes, avocado, black beans and corn.  I served a few corn chips on the side to be crumbled over the salad.

We are making progress on the cottage.  It makes me nervous when my surroundings are in chaos.  I like to be in control and am easily overwhelmed by the need to do everything at once when things are in disarray.  But I saw the light of day (literally) earlier this week and spent a sunny day with my blogging buddy Penny of the Comforts of Home.  We antiqued. . . . . . .

Screen Door 2015 1

It is always fun to visit The Screen Door in Asheville.  Love this vignette.  I am thinking of using chalk paint to transform one of my dressers like the one shown here.

Screen Door 2015 2

This is one of my favorite booths.  Lots of French linens, topiaries and antique posters.  After antiquing we dined . . . .

Fig 2015 1

 

It is a rite of passage for us to have lunch at our favorite French Bistro “Fig”.  We always try to eat on the patio.  The green grass is such a welcoming sight after a grey winter.  As is that lovely glass of Riesling.

Fig 2015 2

What a luncheon feast.  The other Penny (TOP) had PEI mussels with steak frites.  I had chicken schnitzel with white beans and greens in a flavorful red sauce.  We caught up with everything that has happened since we last saw each other last season.  It was a fun day under the warming sun.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad 3

Hopefully we will all be experiencing warmer weather soon.  This salad is a good way to sit back and enjoy it.

CHIPOTLE CHICKEN TACO SALAD (Cooking Light; the Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook )

Dressing:
2/3 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Salad:
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 2 breast halves)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, cooked and cooled

To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat.  4 servings.

Printable Recipe

The Best Fried Green Tomatoes Ever

April 7th, 2015

Best Fried Green Tomatoes 1

Leave it to my husband to come up with one of the most delicious fried green tomatoes that I have ever eaten.  I love it when he cooks.  He just dives in, totally unintimidated by any complicated procedure.  There isn’t really anything complicated about this dish.  But it does require several steps to arrive at the finished product.  Some of the steps can be done ahead of time.  I am planning on making the Sweet Tomato Jam that goes on top as a condiment that I keep in the fridge at all times.  It will have many uses.

Best Fried Green Tomatoes 3

But enough from me.  Here is what David has to say.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES WITH BACON, PIMENTO CHEESE, AND SWEET TOMATO JAM

The basic idea for this delicious combination came from an episode of Unique Eats on the Cooking Channel in which they visited Yardbird Southern Table and Bar in Miami.  They did not include the recipe on the website, but I watched them closely as they made this dish on the show.  They fried the green tomatoes, topped them with their own house-made pimento cheese, a slice of pork belly bacon, and some sweet tomato jam.  I had never heard of sweet tomato jam, so I Googled it and found quite a few different recipes.  After reading several of them, I wound up combining two recipes to take advantage of the best aspects of both.  We didn’t have any pork belly bacon, so I substituted regular thick-sliced, apple smoked bacon, and used store-bought sharp cheddar pimento cheese spread.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

This is a basic recipe for making pretty good fried green tomatoes.  Two slices per person is plenty once you add all the other goodies.  One green tomato will produce at least four 3/8 inch slices, so slice up as many as you need.  The amounts below are enough for two medium size tomatoes.

2 green tomatoes, cut into 3/8 inch slices
Salt to taste, Pepper to taste
1/3 cup flour, or more as needed
1/2 cup Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs, or more as needed
1 egg, or more as needed
A splash of milk for the egg wash
Enough cooking oil to fill your pan about 1/2 inch deep

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet until the surface is shimmery.  In the meantime, lightly salt and pepper both sides of the green tomato slices.  Make an egg wash with one or more eggs and a little milk in a bowl large enough to accommodate the biggest tomato slice.  Mix the flour with a little salt and pepper in another bowl, and pour the panko crumbs in a third bowl.  Flour both sides of the tomato slices, then coat thoroughly with the egg wash and dip in the panko crumbs.  Place the crumby tomato slices on a plate until the oil is hot, then place several slices in the pan without crowding too much and fry until golden brown on one side, then flip and fry until golden brown on the other side.  Remove the slices to a paper towel covered baking tray and place in a warming oven while you continue with more batches if necessary.

In the meantime you should have fried some thick-sliced bacon until crispy.  You will need one slice of bacon for each tomato slice.  You can keep the bacon in the warming oven until ready to assemble.  When all of the tomato slices are fried and you are ready to serve, spread each slice with a dollop of pimento cheese, top with two half-slices of bacon, and top that with a dollop of sweet tomato jam.  (Recipe below)

SWEET TOMATO JAM

You can use any kind of tomatoes that suit your fancy.  I used a mix of Mountain Reds, Romas, and Cherry Tomatoes.  About 3 pounds total made about 2 cups of finished jam.

3 lbs of most any kind of tomato
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika, if you don’t have smoked
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or a little more if you like it spicy

Peel the tomatoes by placing in boiling water for about 1 1/2 minutes and then move to an ice water bath in a large bowl.  After they cool, you can easily remove the skin by hand.  Cut the tomatoes into a medium course chop and place in a large pot.  Add the sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes.  Stir it all together and let it sit for half an hour to generate some liquid before heating.  Bring the mixture to a boil uncovered while stirring occasionally, reduce the heat to a heavy simmer and continue to cook uncovered, and stir once in a while to make sure it isn’t sticking and burning on the bottom.  Some recipes say it only takes 35 minutes of cooking to reach jam consistency, but it took me about an hour.  I think I started out at too slow a simmer and the liquid wasn’t boiling off quickly enough.  After about 45 minutes the mix was still pretty soupy, so I turned the heat up a little and it finished in another 15 minutes.  Next time I will start with higher heat and stir more often so it doesn’t burn.  The result is a delicious sweet yet savory jam that is not only super well-suited to the fried green tomatoes, but will also be delicious on crostini.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.