Glazed Red Pepper-Fennel Almonds

August 18th, 2014

Glazed Amonds 2

 

Dorie Greenspan says that everyone should have a favorite flavored nut recipe; a specialite de la maison so to speak.  Nuts on their own are rather bland, but the possibilities are endless for flavoring them.  What would be your specialty of the house?  This combination that I found in Bon Appetit Magazine is certainly a contender in my house.  It starts with simple whole almonds.  They are combined with a sugar, fennel, red pepper and salt mixture.  A little water is added and the mixture is put in the oven so that the sugar will melt and coat the almonds.  I love the kick from the red pepper flakes and the unique flavor of the fennel seeds.

Here are a few of the nut recipes from food authorities.  Dorie adds sugar, salt, chili powder, cinnamon and cayenne to her nut recipe. Ina has a recipe using maple syrup, brown sugar, chipotle powder and rosemary.  Giada has a curried version of nuts that sounds very interesting.

Glazed Almonds 3

 

The next time you have people over for cocktails, why not put out a bowl of flavored nuts;  your specialty of the house .  I would be curious to hear what that might be.

GLAZED RED PEPPER-FENNEL ALMONDS  (Bon-Appetit)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole almonds
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a heavy baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick spray.  Combine sugar, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, and salt in medium bowl.  Mix in almonds and 1 tablespoon water.  Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet in single layer.  Bake until sugar melts and almonds are deep golden brown and glazed, stirring often, about 22 minutes.  Separate almonds with fork; cool completely on sheet.  Transfer almonds to bowl and serve.  Can be prepared 1 week ahead.  Store in plastic bag.

Printable Recipe

 

Creamy Corn Chowder with Bacon

August 4th, 2014

Corn Chowder 2

 

We have dear friends from Iowa who have a log cabin in Lake Lure.  They built their cabin here after staying at our rental cottage a few years ago.  They fell in love with Lake Lure and now have their own stunning get-away retreat.  They arrived from Iowa last week with fresh picked corn from home.  You can’t get any more authentic than corn from the heartland of America.  What to do with the bounty?

Corn Chowder 1

 

Why, corn chowder of course.  We have had cool, rainy weather AGAIN!  This was the perfect summer soup.

I have a long history with sweet corn.  It was one of the crops that dotted our farmlands in Michigan when I was growing up.  As teenagers my friends and I spent time in corn fields.  I guess that makes me kind of weird.  What were we doing in corn fields you may ask?

1. It was a great place to park.  Any couple who wanted privacy could find a hide-away under the full moon, hidden next to the stalks.  Very romantic.

2. Carloads of girlfriends loved to stop the car  on the road and run to the fields and gather a few ears to eat.  We usually ended up with field corn meant for cattle.  We were once attacked by a wild pig, but darn it was fun.  We laughed and considered ourselves daring.

3. Corn fields were just a part of our environment.  Still today, I measure the height of the corn by the old adage ” The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye” and know when it is ready to pick. Growing up in corn country, you just knew.

Corn Chowder Cropt

This corn chowder is hearty with a depth of flavor.  I simmered the shorn corn cobs in the vegetable broth mixture for a while to release as much flavor as possible.  Give it a try when you have lots of corn.  It can easily be doubled.

CREAMY CORN CHOWDER WITH BACON

3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/4 cup flour
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
6 to 7 ears of corn, kernels removed and a few cobs saved to flavor the stock
1 1/2 cups cream, 1/2 and 1/2 or milk
Several sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled for garnish

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, red pepper and garlic and cook until onion is soft.  Add the flour and cook 2 minutes stirring frequently to slightly brown the flour.  Add the vegetable broth and 4 of the reserved corn cobs and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, partially covered.  Remove the cobs and add the celery, carrots, potatoes and corn kernels.  Cook over low heat until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.  Add the cream, thyme and salt and pepper to taste and cook gently for another 15 minutes.  Serves 6.

Printable Recipe

Warm Avocado and Corn Salad

July 13th, 2014

Avocado and Corn Dish 6 H

 

I have been missing in action for a while I know.  The family is here for a two week visit and we have been spending our time on the water, at the park and activities in Asheville.  We have been doing a lot of cooking but I have been too distracted to take pictures.  Last night my DIL Kristen made a Southwestern feast with chicken and bean tacos, guacamole, Mexican rice and this warm avocado and corn salad.

Avocado and Corn Salad 4CV

 

Friends of our kids are here with their three children for a few days.  Christobal is a well known wedding photographer and took the above picture for me.  We were working with incandescent lighting but his impressive camera compensated well.

Avocado and Corn Dish 3C

 

Kristen used fresh sweet corn, ripe avocados, green onions and cilantro in this refreshing warm salad.  It was delicious with the tacos.  I am entering this salad in the Food 52 avocado recipe contest that is going on right now.  You may want to go to their site for some very interesting avocado recipes.

Avocado and Corn Dish 5C

 

Enjoy!

WARM AVOCADO AND CORN SALAD

5 ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
3 to 4 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime
2 large avocados, cubed
Optional additions; 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, smoked paprika, or pickled red onions

Heat butter and olive oil in skillet.  Add corn kernels and white parts of the green onions and cook for about 7 minutes.  Add cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.  Add the juice of the lime and remove from heat.  Add the cubed avocados.  Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the green parts of the green onion and serve.  This is especially good with the addition of crumbled crisp bacon.

Printable recipe

 

Black Bean and Corn Salad

June 20th, 2014

Black Bean Salad 1

 

With the 4th of July approaching, I am experimenting with various salads to be served with grilled meat.  I love this recipe for it’s simplicity and fresh summer flavors.  We usually host the family for the Labor Day Weekend, but this year everyone is coming for the Independence Day Weekend.

Boathouse Pic

 

There is nothing we enjoy more than watching the lakeside activities of the family.  A few of the younger children have yet to summon enough courage to jump from the top of the boathouse.  Perhaps this will be the year.  It is a rite of passage.

Black Bean Salad 3V

 

I love this black bean and corn salad because it easy to pull together.  It uses canned black beans and frozen corn kernels, although fresh corn would be perfect with it.  It has a lime and cilantro vinaigrette.  It can be made ahead of time, but I would suggest that you add the avocado at the last minute.  It will be perfect with grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALAD ( Food Network Magazine )

1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 teaspoons honey
3 limes, juiced
2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1 diced red or orange bell pepper
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

1 diced avocado

Whisk together the oil, honey and lime juice.  Toss with the remaining ingredients except avocado.  When ready to serve, peel and dice the avocado and add to the salad.  Toss to combine.

Printable Recipe

Asparagus Tart For Spring

April 3rd, 2014

Asparagus Tart 1

 

It is so good to be back in the North Carolina Mountains.  There is nothing more beautiful.  Our timing for the trip back was perfect.  The temperatures have been even warmer than in Florida.  The only downside to being back is the amount of work that we are facing.  Because of the brutal winter, we had to deal with cracked water pipes; no water for the first couple of days.  There are leaves to be raked, downed limbs to be hauled, porches to be cleaned and fresh paint needed in several places.  But one of the first areas I tackled was the upper porch.  It is warm enough for meals out there overlooking the lake.  I made this asparagus tart for lunch yesterday to celebrate our good weather.

Asparagus Tart 2V

This is very simple to pull together if you have sheets of puff pastry in your freezer.  I found the recipe on Pinterest.  It came from Nicole at Heat Oven to 350.   You may want to visit her blog to see instructions on how to shape the pastry.  The filling in the tart is a mixture of ricotta cheese, egg and cream.  The asparagus is not blanched ahead of time, but if you have large stalks, you may want to consider doing it.

Lake Upper Porch

Relaxing on the porch for lunch was a good respite from the tasks at hand.  The asparagus tart was light and delicious.  I served it with leftover corn and black beans with picante sauce.

Asparagus Tart 3

This was a wonderfully flaky tart with a mild and creamy filling that supported the vibrant green asparagus.  The recipe makes two tarts.  One tart can be cut into 4 pieces to serve four or if that is all you are serving, perhaps two hungry people.  I halved the recipe to make this one tart.

ASPARAGUS TART

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed according to package directions (There are two sheets in one package. You can find puff pastry in the freezer section, usually near the pies.)
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for crust
  • 1 large egg, for filling
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

Directions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower position and hear oven to 375 degrees. Unfold each pastry sheet one at a time and, using a rolling pin, roll each pastry slightly to smooth out the seams and increase the size.
  2. Lay each pastry sheet onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each pastry with the beaten egg. Fold the edges on opposite sites of the tart over by about 1/2 inch and brush with beaten egg. Repeat with remaining two edges and brush with egg. Fold the first two sides over once more and brush with beaten egg. Use a paring knife to cut through the folded edges and corners. (See photos below) Prick the inside of the tart shell repeatedly with a fork. Bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack. (If the middle of the pastry has puffed up at all during cooking, push it back down. It’s easier to do this before it cools.)
  3. Turn oven down to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat together egg, ricotta, cream, milk, salt and pepper. Pour half of the mixture into each baked tart. Lay half the asparagus on top of the ricotta mixture in each tart. Bake another 15-20 minutes or until golden and set. Serve hot or cold.

Printable recipe

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

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