Summer Squash Casserole

August 23rd, 2016

Summer Squash Casserole 1

I remember when we had a garden and had to deal with the prolific profusion of yellow squash and zucchini.  Our lake house is too shady to support a garden these days, so I have to rely on friends, the Farmers’ Markets and the Supermarket for my squash.  You can never have too many summer squash recipes.  This one, that I adapted from The New York Times, is a winner.

Summer Squash Casserole 2v

The cooked and pureed yellow squash is combined with cheese and minced peppers, onions and flavoring and cooked in a custard of eggs and cream topped with buttered bread crumbs.  It makes a casserole that everyone will love.  It was easy to photograph too.  Photography has become important to me, although I’ve always had an interest.  I just found this early picture of myself and my Mom.  I was very proud of my new Brownie camera.

Christmas 1956

The intrepid girl photographer.  What memories this brings back.

Enjoy this summer squash casserole.  Your harvest will thank you for not wasting all of that bounty.

SUMMER SQUASH CASSEROLE ( The New York Times)

  • 2 pounds yellow summer squash
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 4 slices plain white bread, toasted
  • 24 Ritz crackers, crumbed in food processor
  • ½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Cut the squash into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cook in boiling, salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Purée in a food processor.
  2. Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and peppers and cook until just tender. Meanwhile, crumb the toast in a food processor, melt remaining butter and toss together.
  3. Mix the squash purée, onions, peppers, garlic, cracker crumbs and cheese. Stir in the eggs, cream, sugar and seasonings. Blend well. Pour into the baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and bake until browned, about 40 minutes.

Printable Recipe

Fig and Almond Cake

August 11th, 2016

 

Fig and Almond Cake 1

To continue with the fig bounty, I made this almond and fig cake.  I always keep some almond flour in the freezer for Financiers, those dainty French bricks in the shape of  gold bars.  I love almond flour and this cake has both the flour and almond extract.  I went easy with the extract because I find it very strong.

Fig and Almond Cake 2V

The cake was moist and studded with the halved figs.  It was perfect for an afternoon tea or with coffee for breakfast.  You could sprinkle it with powdered sugar or top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Fig and Almond Cake 3

Now that all of my figs are gone, I am wishing for more.  I have heard from a local acquaintance who has a fig tree in her yard.  Hopefully she will share!  Talking about you Donna.

FIG AND ALMOND CAKE (Adapted from The New York Times)

4 Tablespoons butter, melted, plus butter for greasing pan
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar for sprinkling
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
12 to 14 rip figs

Heat oven to 375 degrees F/  Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan or pie pan; set aside.  Put almond flour, 1/4 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, honey and almond and vanilla extracts.  Add almond mixture and beat for a minute until batter is just mixed.  Pour batter into pan.

Remove stem from each fig and cut in half.  Arrange fig halves cut-side up over the batter.  Sprinkle figs with Demerara sugar and bake for 30 minutes, until golden outside and dry at center when probed with a cake tester.  Cool before serving.

Printable Recipe

Fig and Goat’s Cheese Tart

August 8th, 2016

Fig Tart 3

When figs are in season it is worth the time to make use of them in familiar and/or unusual preparations.  They are wonderful as a component in an appetizer or used in a salad or a dessert.  But they are also excellent in pizzas and tarts.  Pared with goat cheese or Gorgonzola they shine.Fig Tart 1I adapted a recipe from a British magazine for a fig and goat’s cheese tart.  It is a very easy recipe to assemble.  It uses frozen puff pastry, so lining the tart pan is a piece of cake. But I must say that I would have preferred a homemade pastry crust.  Puff pastry tends to be very flaky but somehow airy.  I tend to like the more substantial weight of a pie crust.  But, because of the ease of preparation, I was very happy with the results.

Fig Tart 2 Close

A drizzle of balsamic glaze takes it over the top.  It makes a delicious light supper with a salad of peppery arugula leaves.

FIG AND GOAT’S CHEESE TART

Plain flour, for dusting
1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
2/3 cups heavy whipping cream or half and half
6 figs, halved
1/2 cup soft goat’s cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Several sprigs of thyme to scatter over top
Balsamic glaze to drizzle over top

Dust the work surface with flour and roll the pastry out into a rectangle 1 inch larger than your pan.  Lift it into the pan and press into the corners, lining the base and sides.  Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork.  Pop into the freezer for 30 minutes while you heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place a baking sheet on the middle shelf.

Beat the eggs and egg yolk with the cream until combined.  Season well.

Trim the stalk from each fig and cut the fruit in half.  Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case.  Crumble the cheese on top and arrange the figs evenly between, cut side up.  Scatter with the walnuts and thyme sprigs.

Slide the tart onto the tray and bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 and cook for 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Remove it from the oven and leave to cool slightly.  Serve drizzled with the balsamic glaze.

Printable Recipe

Tuna Tostadas

July 25th, 2016

Tuna Tostadas 1V

Do you want to pep up that can of tuna?  Instead of a tunafish sandwich for lunch, try this riff on the popular pantry item.  All you need is a good quality olive-oil packed tuna, a can of spicy pickled jalapenos and carrots and some crispy fried corn tortillas.  It took me a while to find the pickled jalapenos on the international food aisle.  This is the brand that I used.

La Costena pickled jalapenos

I loved combining the tuna with this pickled jalapeno mixture rather than the more caloric mayonnaise dressing.  Because I had the special 9 80 Panama sauces from my previous post and giveaway, I also added a tablespoon of the Wild Cilantro sauce.  This is optional if you do not have it.

cilantro-pop

When the tuna mixture is served on the crispy corn tortillas you will not miss having a boring sandwich.

Tuna Tostadas 2

As a disclaimer I have no connection with La Costena or 9 80 Panama sauces other than being given a set of sauces to try.  All opinions are my own.  Now on to the winner of the 4 pack of sauces.  The winner is Karen of Back Road Journal.  Please email me, Karen, with your address.  Congratulations.

TUNA TOSTADAS (Adapted from Food and Wine)

Canola oil, for frying
4 corn tortillas
Salt to taste
5 ounce can of tuna packed in olive oil, drained
1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeno peppers and carrots from a can plus 1/4 cup of the brine
1 Tablespoon Wild Cilantro 9 80 Panama sauce (Optional)
Chopped cilantro leaves
Sliced radishes
Toasted sliced almonds

In a medium skillet, heat a small amount of oil.  Add 1 tortilla to the hot oil and fry over moderate heat, turning, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels to drain; season lightly with salt.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

In a bowl mix the tuna with the jalapenos and carrots and their brine plus the Wild Cilantro sauce if using.  Spoon the tuna onto the tostadas and top with cilantro, radishes and toasted almond slices.

Printable Recipe

Caribbean Pork with Black Beans and Mango Salsa

July 15th, 2016

Pork Caribbean Dinner 1

I would be curious if any of you have tasted Panamanian cuisine.  I have just been introduced to this  flavor profile. Panamanian cuisine is similar to other Caribbean locales and has been influenced by the Native Americans, Spanish and African immigrants who populate this land bridge between two continents. It includes tropical fruits, coconut, herbs like cilantro, rice and beans and seafood, pork and poultry.

I recently met Smith Anderson, founder of 980 Panama Gourmet Sauces. With his partner Alexis Gallardo, he conceived the idea of manufacturing sauces with ingredients straight from the fields of Panama.  All of their sauces are natural and gluten free. Alexis Gallardo, a native of Panama, had studied chemical engineering and was a part of his family’s manufacturing and distribution company that is the top exporter of natural vinegars in Central America.  Smith and Alexis formed their own company to produce flavorful sauces with an emphasis on freshness and quality ingredients.

980 sauces

Imagine adding Pineapple Coconut sauce to your caribbean rice dish or as a marinade for your favorite chicken.  The Wild Cilantro sauce adds just the right heat and flavor to tacos.  The Smoky Chipotle sauce would be great on ribs.  One of the newer sauces, not pictured above , is Caribbean Lime.  I used it in addition to the Wild Cilantro in the recipes I developed here. It has a bit of heat and a piquant flavor.

Pork Carribean Dinner 3 close

I marinated the pork cutlets in a mixture of the Wild Cilantro Sauce and the the Caribbean Lime Sauce with olive oil and vinegar before breading and frying.  The black beans were coated with a vinaigrette of olive oil, lime juice and the Wild Cilantro and Caribbean Lime Sauce. The Mango Salsa or Chatini comes from Dory Greenspan and is part of the cuisine of the island of Mauritius.  This is a meal worthy of sharing with friends and family with unique flavors and bright taste.

Smith Anderson has graciously offered to donate a four pack of sauces to one of my followers.  All you have to do is leave a comment below and like 980 sauces on Facebook. I will pick a winner by random drawing.

CARIBBEAN PORK

4 Tenderized boneless pork cutlets
1 Tablespoon Wild Cilantro 980 Sauce
1 Tablespoon Caribbean Lime 980 Sauce
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten with a little water
1 cup Panko crumbs

2 Tablespoons oil for frying

Combine the 980 sauces with the olive oil and white wine vinegar.  Place pork cutlets in shallow rectangular bowl.  Spoon sauce over them, turn and cover both sides of pork evenly with marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Place flour in bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Place egg and water in another bowl.  Put Panko crumbs in a third bowl.  Dip pork chops in flour, then egg and then in Panko crumbs being sure that the chops are well covered.  Place chops and on large plate and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour to set crumbs.

Heat oil in large skillet and brown chops on both sides.  Place in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes to be sure that they are cooked through.

BLACK BEAN SALAD

1 15 Oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
1 large celery stalk, diced
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 scallions chopped

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon Wild Cilantro 980 Sauce
1 teaspoon Caribbean Lime 980 Sauce

Combine black beans with celery, celery leaves, tomatoes and scallions.

Combine the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over black bean mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour to combine flavors.  Serve as is or over a bed of watercress.

MANGO CHATINI ( Dory Greenspan )

Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or to taste
1 large ripe but firm mango, peeled, pitted, and finely diced
1 spring onion, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne

Stir the lime juice and ginger together in a small serving bowl.  Add the mango, onion, and cilantro and season with slat, pepper and if you’d like, a pinch of cayenne.

Serve over Caribbean pork cutlet.

Printable Recipe

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