Savory Cheese and Chive Bread

May 21st, 2015

Savory Cheese and Chive Bread 4

This may look like an American quick bread, but according to Dorie Greenspan, it has a French soul.  Savory breads, cake sale’, are served all over France with apperitifs. What is so nice about this bread, other than its wonderful taste, is that it is indeed quick and easy.  After you grate your cheese, toast your walnuts and snip your chives, it is just a matter of mixing the wet ingredients with the dry and baking in a loaf pan.Savory Cheese and Chive Bread 2

The aroma from the oven was heady.  I was impatient to cut into the bread even before it had cooled.  I managed to get a few shots of it before we dug into it.  David, who has been avoiding carbs, said it was the best bread I had ever made as he nibbled away at one small piece after another.  We have eaten it with salads, as an accompaniment to grilled chicken and as toast for breakfast.  It is best that way.

Lake Lure Deck 1

We have almost finished with the dock in preparation for the summer festivities.  We ordered new window boxes for the boathouse windows and I planted some geraniums.  I will add some trailing greens and white vinca when I make it to the garden center.  David got a little carried away with the spray paint.  The green chairs used to be a more subdued shade of green, but the neon color is starting to grow on me.  Now at least I can tell boaters clearly where we live;  the boat house with the bright lime green chairs.

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This savory bread would be great with any of your Memorial Day picnic offerings.  Let’s remember our Veterans on this very special weekend.  My Father was a proud Marine who served duty in Guadalcanal during the Second World War.  My Brother, Bill, served two tours of duty in Vietnam.  They make me so proud.

Dad in Marine Uniform

Semper Fi.  And Happy Memorial Day.

SAVORY CHEESE AND CHIVE BREAD ( Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table )

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2-1 teaspoon salt (depending on what cheese and add-ins you’re using )
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (or more to taste; you could even add a pinch of cayenne )
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 generous cup coarsely grated Gruyere, Comte’, Emmenthal, or cheddar (about 4 ounces)
2 ounces Gruyere, Comte’, Emmenthal or cheddar, cut into very small cubes (I omitted this)
1/2 cup minced fresh chives or other herbs (or thinly sliced scallions)
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to350 degrees F.  Generously butter an 8-x-4 1/2-x-2 3/4-inch loaf pan – a Pyrex pan is perfect here.  If your pan is slightly larger, go ahead and use it, but your loaf will be lower and you’ll have to check it for doneness a little earlier.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and white pepper together in a large bowl.

Put the eggs in a medium bowl and whisk for about 1 minute, until they’re foamy and blended.  Whisk in the milk and olive oil.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and, using a sturdy rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, gently mix until the dough comes together.  There’s no need to be energetic – in fact, beating the dough toughens it – nor do you need to be very thorough: just stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in the cheese, grated and cubed, the herbs, and the walnuts, if you’re using them.  You’ll have a thick dough.  Turn the dough into the buttered pan and even the top with the back of the spatula or spoon.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the bread is golden and a slender knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and wait for about 3 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pan and turn the loaf over onto the rack; invert and cool right side up.

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Tandoori-Style Chicken for a Picnic

June 21st, 2016

Tandoori-Style Chicken 1 better

If you are looking for a flavorful picnic chicken, this is the one for you.  Because of the long marination in spices, garlic and ginger, it is delicious even at room temperature. I would happily put this chicken in a container and carry it to a picnic spot overlooking a mountain view or a babbling stream.  In my perfect picnic spot I would serve it with the following.

Couscous-with-arugla-2

Israeli Couscous and Arugula Salad.  It is bright.  It is piquant and it is light.  You can find the recipe here.

Zoodle Mixed Salad 1

One of my new favorite salads is this Zoodle vegie salad.  It is perfect for a picnic.   Here is the recipe.

Savory-Cheese-and-Chive-Bread-3V

All picnics require bread.  This wonderful cheese and chive bread from Dorie Greenspan is perfect.  It is one of my favorites.

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My Chocolate Pecan Shortbread Bars are fast and easy.  You can make them even better with good quality chocolate.  I even make and freeze these to have on hand for impromptu get togethers.  Recipe here.

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Add some fruit, cheese and wine for a perfect picnic.

Tandoori-Style Chicken close

The fiery jalapeno and ginger spiked marinade assures that this chicken will have lots of flavor when it is served cold or at room temperature.  Although the recipe calls for roasting in the oven, it would also be great on the grill.  Try it for your next picnic or cookout.

TANDOORI-STYLE CHICKEN

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, and seeded if desired
  • 1 inch-long piece gingerroot, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 pounds skinless chicken drumsticks and thighs, rinsed and patted dry
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  1. For marinade, combine all ingredients except for chicken, oil and lime wedges in a food processor and purée until smooth.
  2. With a sharp knife, make several incisions on each chicken piece to help marinade penetrate meat. Transfer chicken to a large glass or ceramic baking dish and pour in marinade, turning chicken pieces to coat. Cover dish with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove chicken pieces from marinade. Transfer chicken to a roasting pan and drizzle with vegetable oil. Roast, basting occasionally, until juices run clear and meat is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with lime wedges.

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Leek and Gruyere Bread Pudding

March 1st, 2016

Leek and Gruyere Bread Pudding 1

The inspiration for this leek and Gruyere bread pudding came from a side dish that I had in a restaurant in Washington DC last month.  It was served with roasted chicken and a light gravy.  One of the recipe sources that I use quite often is Epicurious.  Both my Daughter-In-Law and I think highly of the recipes found on this source.  It doesn’t hurt that the recipe came first from Thomas Keller.  It was outstanding.

You should use a brioche or challah bread.  The eggy bread adds richness to the casserole.  I adapted the recipe.  I used the same amount of leeks and cheese, but halved the rest of the recipe.

Leek Bread Pudding 2

At the restaurant the bread pudding was served as an individual cake.  So I experimented with cutting rounds out of the finished casserole with a biscuit cutter.  It worked very well and we enjoyed the scraps for another meal.  As an aside, we have not been eating much bread lately, but we made a happy exception for this delightful dish.

LEEK AND GRUYERE BREAD PUDDING (Adapted from Epicurious)

Recipe shown as written.  I used the same amount of leeks and cheese and halved everything else.

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices leeks (white and light green parts only)
    • Kosher salt
    • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 12 cups 1-inch cubes crustless Brioche or Pullman sandwich loaf
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
    • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
    • 3 large eggs
    • 3 cups whole milk
    • 3 cups heavy cream
    • Freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese

PREPARATION

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Put the leek rounds in a large bowl of tepid water and swish so that any dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl. Set a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, lift the leeks from the water, drain, and add them to the pan. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. As the leeks begin to soften, lower the heat to medium-low. The leeks will release liquid. Stir in the butter to emulsify, and season with pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a parchment lid, and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until the leeks are very soft, 30 to 35 minutes. If at any point the butter breaks or looks oily, stir in about a tablespoon of water to re-emulsify the sauce. Remove and discard the parchment lid.
    3. Meanwhile, spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until dry and pale gold. Transfer to a large bowl. Leave the oven on.
    4. Add the leeks to the bread and toss well, then add the chives and thyme.
    5. Lightly whisk the eggs in another large bowl. Whisk in the milk, cream, a generous pinch of salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.
    6. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread half the leeks and croutons in the pan and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Scatter the remaining leeks and croutons over and top with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough of the custard mixture to cover the bread and press gently on the bread so it soaks in the milk. Let soak for about 15 minutes.
    7. Add the remaining custard, allowing some of the soaked cubes of bread to protrude. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top and sprinkle with salt.
    8. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the pudding feels set and the top is brown and bubbling.

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Mashed Potato Casserole and Other Ramblings

May 15th, 2015

Mashed Potato Casserole 1

Allow me to ramble a bit.  This will be a rather disjointed post.  It seems I have been snapping pictures willy nilly with no particular theme in mind.  We did have this mashed potato casserole last week.  David was grilling ribs and I knew that the timing for dinner would remain up in the air.  There are many steps involved in his rib recipe.  So, as not to worry about the mashed potatoes, I turned them into a casserole that could be kept warm in the oven.  The topping of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and butter was delicious.

Porch Tulips 1

Yesterday we had an old friend from our college days over for lunch.  She has moved close to our area and we had the best time catching up with each other.  I set the table on the porch, and although it was cool, we enjoyed being outside.

Porch Couscous

Our lunch included Ina Garen’s Couscous and Tuna Salad.  You can find the recipe here.

Porch Salad

I made a simple tossed salad with Spring greens, mandarin oranges, raspberries and almonds and these focaccia breadsticks with an oil and balsamic vinegar dipping sauce.

Porch Sign

David took me out to lunch for Mother’s Day at a small town near us.  After lunch we browsed in several antique shops.  I found this “Antiques” sign.  It is obviously not old, but it looks great hanging on my porch.

Lake Lure House Spring 1

I also found this colorful hanging basket to hang at the entrance to the cottage.

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MASHED POTATO CASSEROLE

6 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 to 1 cup half and half or cream
A large handful of chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For the topping:
1/3 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoon melted butter

Place potatoes in a large saucepan with water to cover.  Add a generous teaspoon of salt.  Bring to bowl and cook until tender.  Drain potatoes.  Add butter and enough half and half to mash into a creamy consistency.  Add chives and mix in.

Grease a casserole dish.  Add potato mixture.

Mix together the topping ingredients.  Spread over potatoes.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Can be held in a warm oven until needed.

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Turkey With Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding for Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2014

Leek Bread Pudding 1

It is the start of the holiday season.  With the approach of Thanksgiving our kitchens will become steamy, aromatic and warm until we sprawl exhausted on our sofas on New Years Day vowing never to eat again.  But for foodies it is the best of times.  The Thanksgiving feast is just the warm up.  We have done something a little different this year.  We have already had our Thanksgiving dinner.  We will not be with family and friends this year so we decided to travel on the Thanksgiving weekend.  We are going to Savannah to take in the historic downtown area.  So David and I cooked a simple Thanksgiving meal for the two of us this weekend.  David was in charge of the turkey.  He smoked it on the grill and I will let him tell you about it at the end of this post.  I did all of the side dishes.  A new one for me this year was this Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding from Ina Garten’s new cookbook, Make it Ahead.  How perfect is that?

Leek Bread Pudding 2V

 

Instead of my standard dressing, this savory bread pudding hit all of the marks in my book.  I have an affinity for leeks and artichokes and the fact that it can be made ahead of time is a real timesaver at Thanksgiving.  You will love the combination of flavors with the salty pancetta on the top and the creamy base.  We found it to be a great alternative.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014 1

Here is our intimate Thanksgiving table.  David laughed at me for the care that I took dressing the table.  It is a bit over the top, but I enjoyed having the leisure to make it special.  I have to say that everything was delicious.  The meal included David’s moist smoked turkey, his special gravy, mashed potatoes, my Mother’s cheesy green beans with bacon,  Ina’s leek and artichoke bread pudding and Sam’s (My Carolina Kitchen) French cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014 2

I am turning it over to David so that he can tell you about his turkey and gravy.

I (David) have been wanting to smoke a turkey for a long time, but Penny would never let me do it for Thanksgiving when we would normally have guests for dinner, fearing that I might muck it up and she would not have a decent bird to serve to company.  (Penny here, plus no gravy).  I told her about a week ago that I planned to smoke a turkey for myself for the fun of it and she could eat some if she liked it….or not.  My plan was simple, to have smoked turkey and a couple of appropriate sides for a normal Saturday night supper, but my simple plan somehow morphed into the table that you see above.  That’s what being married to a food blogger will do for you.  I did get a good chuckle out of the elaborate table setting for a two-person, not-quite-Thanksgiving meal. Anyway, I got to smoke my turkey.

As some of you know, I have a Kamado ceramic egg style grill back in Lake Lure, but not down here in Florida, so I was faced with cooking it on the gas grill that I have here.  After Googling “smoked turkey recipe” and reading about several candidate techniques, I zeroed in on Meathead Goldwyn’s  method as spelled out in excruciating detail on his most excellent website Amazing Ribs.  He’s the go-to guy for all things barbecue.  You can take a look at his website for the gory details, all 42 printed pages of it, but suffice it to say that his techniques are based on the science of cooking meat, including the underlying thermodynamic and heat transfer principles, which greatly appeals to me, this retired thermodynamics professor.

In short, you coat the bird with his “Simon and Garfunkel” rub (I bet you can guess the main ingredients) both under and over the skin.  Then you set up your grill for indirect cooking with the bird on one side over an aluminum roasting pan filled with chopped-up onions, carrots, and celery, along with the turkey neck, heart, gizzards, wing tips, and “Pope’s Nose”, some herbs and spices, and about three quarts of liquid.  I used two quarts of water, a bottle of white wine, and a cup of apple juice.  The liquid left in this pan at the end of cooking, and after straining out all the solids, is the “gravy” you can serve with the meat without the bother of thickening it with flour.  Use the burners on the other side of the gas grill for supplying the heat to produce smoke from a couple of chunks of foil-wrapped wood (I used cherry) and to keep the turkey side of the grill at around 325F as measured with a digital thermometer at rack height. Our ten-pound bird took about 2 hours to reach the target temperature of 160F in the thickest part of the breast, at which time the temperature of the thighs was 170F….perfect.  During a 15 minute rest period the temperature at both locations will increase about 5 degrees.  The result is a juicy bird with crisp skin and a nice mellow smokey flavor and some delicious broth to go with it.  If you decide to try this, you should definitely take a look at the Amazing Ribs website for details.

That is all from the two of us.  We wish everyone a bountiful Thanksgiving.  We are thankful for all of you.

LEEK AND ARTICHOKE BREAD PUDDING ( Make it Ahead by Ina Garten )

8 cups ( 1-inch-diced ) day-old bakery white bread, crusts removed
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
6 cups ( 1/2-inch-diced ) leeks, white and light green parts ( 5 Leeks )
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
4 extra-large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups grated Emmentaler Swiss cheese (8 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes, tossing once, until lightly browned.  Place the pancetta in on layer on another sheet pan and bake in the same oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Place the pancetta on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

Meanwhile, soak the leeks in water until they’re clean, and spin them dry in a salad spinner.  Heat the butter in an 11-inch pot over medium heat, add the leeks, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the wine, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook for 5 minutes, until the wine almost evaporates and the leeks are tender.  Of the heat, mix in the artichokes, toasted bread cubs, chives, and tarragon.

Whisk the eggs, cream chicken stock, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl.  Spoon half of the bread mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with half the Emmentaler and add the remaining bread mixture.  Pour on the cream mixture, sprinkle with the remaining Emmentaler, and press lightly to help the bread absorb the liquid.  Dice or crumble the pancetta, scatter on top, and sprinkle lightly with pepper.  Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the cream mixture.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. until the pudding is puffed and golden.

Make it Ahead:  Assemble the bread pudding and refrigerate for up to 2 days.  Bake before serving.

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