Chard and Sweet Corn Gratin

June 27th, 2017

Chard and Sweet Corn Gratin

A good side dish is always welcome on a dinner table.  Sometimes it as simple as sautéed green beans. But I am trying to incorporate unusual combinations in our diet.  Everyone loves corn, but how many people love swiss chard?  In an effort to include it, I made this corn gratin that has all of the friendly flavors of corn with the brightness of healthy chard and nutrient rich red peppers.

 

Chard and Sweet Corn Gratin

We decided to have this with our Chicken instead of potatoes.  A salad rounded out the meal.  Three days to go on the diet marathon.  David is looking forward to enjoying the 4th of July with family without restrictions.  View some of our previous family get togethers.Lake Lure Dinner

Wine-tasting-2015

Needless to say, he will not be sticking to a diet.  We always have a blind wine tasting that involves many wine choices.  (By the way, the plastic bottles on the right are for the kids juice tasting).  So many funny pictures.

Grandkids-juice-tasting-2015

I don’t think any of the adults had this reaction to the fine wines that we were tasting.  Maybe this year we should give the kids  better choices.

IMG_8159

But this was a very good choice for dinner tonight. Hope you give it a try.  Would look pretty on your holiday table.

American Flag

Happy 4th of July.  Will see you next week.  Enjoy!

CHARD AND SWEET CORN GRATIN ( The New York Times )

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 generous bunch (3/4 to 1 pound) Swiss or rainbow chard, stemmed and washed
  • Salt
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 to 3 ounces Gruyère, grated (1/2 to 3/4 cup), to taste
  • Kernels from 2 cooked ears sweet corn (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup)
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin.
  2. Blanch chard: Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem and wash the chard leaves. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add chard leaves. (Set aside stems for another use, or discard.) Blanch 1 to 2 minutes, until tender but still bright. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain thoroughly and squeeze out excess water; chop medium-fine.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet and add red pepper . Cook, stirring, until pepper is soft.  Add garlic and cook  30 seconds to a minute, then stir in rosemary, thyme and chopped blanched chard. Season with salt and pepper and stir over medium heat until chard is nicely coated with oil, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in chard mixture and Gruyère. Stir in corn and mix well. Scrape into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan over top and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned on the top and sides. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Printable Recipe

Guinness Beef Stew

March 16th, 2017

Guiness Beef Stew

In a twist of fate, serving beef stew in sunny Florida turned out to be just the right thing to do.  With company coming, I wanted to make my Guinness Beef Stew in honor of St. Paddy’s Day but had reservations about serving stew in 80 degree temperatures.  On cue a cold front swept through and temperatures were in the 40’s and 50’s.  We ate this warming stew on the patio wearing sweaters.

Guiness Beef Stew

My Guinness Beef Stew is best cooked the day ahead so that you can remove the solid fats that come to the top.  This also allows the stew to develop greater flavor.  It incorporates Guinness Stout, Beef broth, carrots, celery, onions and the beef.  Cooked slowly the meat becomes very tender.  I usually serve this with mashed potatoes garnished with buttered breadcrumbs.

Guiness Beef Stew

Instead of Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day, you may want to try this Guinness Beef Stew.  Guinness is an Irish Stout developed by Arthur Guinness in his St. James Brewery in Dublin, Ireland.

We will be heading back to North Carolina over the weekend.  It has been a relaxing 6 weeks in New Smyrna Beach Florida.  We have enjoyed it so much that we will be returning next year.  Finding short term rental properties is challenging in this popular community.  We were lucky to find this charming Spanish styled bungalow for our next visit.  The owners are a delightful couple and we feel honored that they are willing to allow us to rent their vacation home.

NSB Rental Home

 

GUINNESS BEEF STEW

2 1/2 to 3 lbs chuck roast, cut into large cubes
3 Tbls olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 large carrots, cut into large rounds
2 to 3 Tbls flour
1 16 oz can Guinness Stout
1 14.5 oz.can beef broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

Dry and salt and pepper the beef cubes.  Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven.  Brown the beef in batches until nicely browned.  Remove beef to plate.  Add the vegetables to the pot and cook over medium heat until softened.  Add the flour and cook for a few minutes.  Return the beef to the pot and pour in the Guinness Stout and the beef broth.  Add the flavorings and bring pot to a boil.  Cover with lid and place in a preheated 325 degree oven.

Braise the stew for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  It can be served at this point, but it is better to let cool and then place in the refrigerator over night.  Remove the solid fats that have accumulated on the top.  Put the stew back into a preheated 325 degree oven and cook until heated through.  Serve with mashed potatoes or Colcannon.

Printable Recipe

Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole and Fire on the Mountain

November 17th, 2016

Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole 1

It all started innocently.  Hikers climbed to Party Rock on the mountain behind our home on November 5th.  Neighbors heard young people hooting upon arriving at the pinnacle.  Shortly thereafter smoke started billowing down the mountain. It was just a small fire.  The next day helicopters starting buzzing our house.  The fire had spread and they were scooping water from the lake and transporting it to the top of the mountain and dumping it on the blaze.

Fire 1

Notice the helicopter in this photo.

Fire 2

We were out on the lake when all of this was happening.  The helicopter is coming in for another scoop of water in this picture.  We thought it would be under control in no time.

Fire

It was not to be.  The fire went from a few acres to over 4000 acres over the next week.  Winds had picked up and the fire spread both east and west along the ridge line.  Evacuations were ordered. We were told to leave.  What do you take when told to evacuate?  It was a harrowing experience.  We gathered clothes, medications, files, paintings, family photos and David’s favorite wine collection in our two cars and left with our dog Daisy.

Lake Lure Inn

We went a few miles across the lake to The Lake Lure Inn and Spa.  They were accepting refugees from our side of the lake and had reduced the rate to well below half of what they would normally charge.  We spent three days here with our neighbors and eventual friends.  The only silver lining in this story is how wonderful it was to meet and spend time with our neighbors.

moose-and-goose

We had communal meals in the Moose and Goose Lounge every night while we were there.  Everyone was displaced and worried, but we managed to make the best of it.

Cabin

On the fourth day of the evacuation David and I moved to a cabin owned by good friends Tom and Diana. They live out of the state so the cabin was available. It was just the respite that we needed.  I was able to cook a few meals; spaghetti and this soup.  We relaxed with good books and the stillness of the isolated woods surrounding us.  The evacuation notice was lifted the next day and we returned home.  With over 700 firefighters battling the blazes, our small area was declared safe.  Our air quality is not great but our home is safe.  We are thankful.  The fire may burn for another few weeks, but with the dedicated fire crews we feel that we will get through this.

Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole

So . . . I am back in my kitchen.  As part of the blog posts that I promised on Thanksgiving side dishes, I made this Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole.  The recipe comes from the Pioneer Woman who can be relied upon to offer great recipes.  There are several steps involved in making this, but it all comes together easily and can be prepared ahead of time.  Just slip it into the oven an hour before your meal.  It has lots of broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, celery and wild rice with a thickened sauce of chicken broth and cream.

Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole 3

Thanksgiving this year brings much more to be thankful for than I have ever expected.

BROCCOLI WILD RICE CASSEROLE (Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond)
I halved this recipe for just the two of us, except for the carrots and celery. Recipe as written is for the full amount.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups uncooked wild rice
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock, plus more if needed for thinning
3 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 pound white button or cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Add the wild rice to a medium saucepan with 5 cups of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook until the rice has just started to break open and is slightly tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice water bath. Blanch the broccoli by throwing the florets into the boiling water until bright green and still slightly crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Immediately drain the broccoli and plunge it into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove it from the ice water and set aside.
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, then melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid begins to evaporate, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft and the mixture begins to turn darker in color, 3 to 4 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables, stir to incorporate it and cook for about a minute. Pour in the remaining 3 cups of broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Add the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix together the cooked rice and broccoli and tip into a 2-quart baking dish. Using a ladle, scoop out the vegetable/broth mixture and spoon it evenly all over the top, totally covering the surface with the vegetables.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, then pour it into a separate bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Toss the mixture together to coat the breadcrumbs in butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top of the casserole.
Cover with foil and bake the casserole for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking until golden brown on top, another 15 minutes. Sprinkle on the parsley after you remove it from the oven.

Printable Recipe

Tomato Beef Country Casserole

November 7th, 2016

Tomato Beef Country Casserole 1

Sometimes I crave this kind of casserole.  Normally they are made with lots of condensed this or that along with hamburger and noodles.  I have to admit that this casserole is that; but with a difference.  I actually looked for heathy canned condensed soups.  Here are two that I found.

Amy's Cream of Tomato Soup

Amy’s Organic Cream of Tomato Soup has all natural ingredients.  It does cost more than Campbell’s but I feel it is worth it.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Pacific Organic Cream of Mushroom Soup is also a good choice.  Both companies have both cream of tomato and cream of mushroom.

united-states-elections-2016-reminder-day-2-5183064530485248-hp

Tomorrow is election day.  We all need to make our voices heard.  This Tomato Beef Country Casserole is an easy meal to put together.  Then sit back and watch the results.  I will be glad to get this election behind us.

TOMATO BEEF COUNTRY CASSEROLE (From Together as Family )

Ingredients

  • 1 bag (12 oz) wide egg noodles
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (10.75-oz) condensed tomato soup
  • 1 can (10.75-oz) golden mushroom creamed soup
  • 1 cup milk, 2% or whole
  • 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese or provolone

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Cook for the lowest recommended time because it will cook in the oven later. Drain when done cooking.
  3. While noodles are cooking, brown ground beef with the salt in a skillet over medium high heat. Drain.
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine the condensed tomato soup, golden mushroom soup, milk, onion flakes, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir together.
  5. Add the cooked ground beef and the cooked (and drained) egg noodles. Stir together.
  6. Pour into your prepared dish and sprinkle the cheese on top.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.

Printable Recipe

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.

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