Meals to Make us Feel Better

March 18th, 2020

Tuna Tostadas 2

We are all aware that these are hard times.  Social sacrifices are necessary.  Everyone should be hunkering down at home to avoid getting, or spreading the Coronavirus.  Grocery stores are out of stock on many items.  But meals don’t have to be boring.  That can of tuna in the pantry doesn’t have to be made into a tuna sandwich or a tuna casserole.  Why not make Tuna Tostadas?  It does require a can of pickled jalapeños and carrots, but I bet that is one item that will not be depleted on the grocery shelves.  The crunchy fried corn tortillas also gives this dish pizazz.

Pappardelle-with-Pine-Nuts-2VPappardelle with Pine Nuts, Prosciutto (or Bacon), and Brown Butter is another satisfying meal which relies on some pantry items and special items like Prosciutto and pine nuts.  Substitute bacon and slivered almonds if you like.

Margarita-Braised Chicken Thighs

Margarita Glazed Chicken Thighs are a fun way to spark up mealtime.  Especially with a margarita on the side.  Keeping an upbeat attitude is good for us.

Garlic-Rosemary-Baguette-2v (1)

Baking bread is a rewarding pastime at any time.  But it is especially so when you are housebound.  The kneading, slow rising and aromatic baking is soothing to the soul.  This Rosemary-Garlic Baguette recipe is easy.  Make several and share with your neighbors.

Julia-Childs-Scalloped-Potatoes-3

Julia Child’s Scalloped Potatoes are a classic.  With simple ingredients you can transform the lowly potato into a gourmet treat.  Nobody does it better than Julia.  Also, if you haven’t read any of the books about Julia Child you can find them on Amazon.

Mom's Black Bottom Cake

Starry starry night chocolate cake is special to me.  It is an easy chocolate cake that reminds me of my artistic Mother. Go out and look at the stars. Stay kind to everyone Be safe and healthy.

 

Crispy Coconut-Scallion Rice

January 20th, 2020

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If you have ever watched the HGTV show Beat Bobby Flay, you know that he wins the challenges many more times than he loses.  One of the reasons is his use of texture in his dishes. I have watched him spreading cooked rice on a sheet pan, cooling it and then frying it in a skillet.  The crispy rice wins over the judges even when the rice is not the centerpiece of the dish.  Paired with braised meats or Asian-inspired dishes, the rice is always  a winner.

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My carb conscious husband could not resist this rice.  He even added some of the leftover rice to his seafood gumbo and said it was just the thing to complete it.

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The rice does require some initial prep work, but is easy to do.  The last minute sauté does not take long.  You can even do this with left-over take out rice that has been chilled.  The recipe is in Bobby Flay’s new cookbook,  Bobby at Home.

CRISPY COCONUT-SCALLION RICE (Adapted from Bobby Flay)

1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups Jasmine Brown Rice or Carolina long-grain rice (Bobby uses 2 cups)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions plus more for garnish
3 Tablespoons canola oil

Combine the coconut milk, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir in the rice and bring back to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the is tender, about 18 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork  Spread the rice in an even layer over a large baking sheet and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.  The rice can be made up to 24 hours in advance: store it on the baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.

Combine the rice and scallions in a large bowl.  Heat the oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer.  Add the rice and, using a heavy-duty metal spatula, immediately press the rice down into the pan until the top is flat.  Cook, without stirring, until the bottom becomes golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes (start checking at 4 minutes, making sure not to burn it).  Turn the rice over and press down firmly on the top again.  Cook until the bottom is golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes more.  Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with more scallions, and serve.

Printable Recipe

 

Christmas Cookies

December 19th, 2019

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I am bringing back  favorite recipes for Christmas cookies with an update.  The first recipe is for Chocolate Shortbread Bars. I have been making these for years because who doesn’t love chocolate, shortbread and pecans?  But in the past, I have made them with a simple chocolate like milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips.  This year I have amped up the chocolate.  I have used a high quality bittersweet chocolate instead.  Dark chocolate with less sweetness has its followers.  These chocolate bars are the best.

Moom and Stars Cookies 5V

Then there are my Moon and Stars cookies.  Swedish crescent cookies covered in powdered sugar have been favorites of mine for many years.  I have a former neighbor in Florida who is missing these cookies.  She is Jewish and we traded her Latkes for these cookies for many years. Her Potato Latkes were the best and I am proud of my Swedish crescent cookies.  The star cookies are Speculoos, a spicy Belgium cookie celebrating Saint Nicholas from Dorie Greenspan.  The cinnamon aroma will waft through your kitchen and make you glad that it is the holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all.

Recipes:

Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Swedish Crescent Cookies

Speculoos

 

Creamy Gravy Scalloped Potatoes

December 6th, 2019

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And so it begins.  I have to admit that I got a head start on the holidays by putting up the tree and decorating right before Thanksgiving. Since we have to put everything away by December 29th to make the trek to Florida, it seemed like the right thing to do to get the most joy out of the season.  This Scalloped Potato Recipe is another reason for joy.  It is easy to assemble and a perfect dish to make ahead of time and reheat.  Because it is just the two of us before the holidays get underway, I halved the recipe for this photo-op.  But as a full recipe, it would go so well with Christmas celebrations with friends to accompany most anything from Roasted Rib Eye, Crown Roast of Pork, Baked Ham or Leg of Lamb.

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The combination of Gruyere Cheese and a thick white sauce make the potatoes luscious.

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There will be more Christmas recipes in the next few weeks.  We wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Christmas 2019

CREAMY GRAVY SCALLOPED POTATOES

  • 3 pounds Potatoes , peeled and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup Butter , plus extra for buttering baking dish
  • 3 cloves Garlic , minced
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock or Beef or Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt , or to taste
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper , to taste
  • 2 cups shredded Cheese , divided
  • Optional – chopped Italian Parsley for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 9”x13” baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and then add the garlic. Cook until softened, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook for about 20 seconds. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock until well combined. Whisk in the milk and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring regularly until it comes to a gentle boil and slightly thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes in the prepared baking dish, making sure to separate slices. Top with half of the gravy. Layer about 1/2 of the cheese over the potatoes.
  5. Top with the remaining potatoes (making sure to separate slices). Top with remaining gravy and cheese.
  6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, the remove foil and bake uncovered for about 30-35 minutes or until top is golden and potatoes are cooked through. If desired, top with chopped parsley and serve warm.

Printable Recipe

Fall Tomato Galette

October 23rd, 2019

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The end of summer is bittersweet.  Warm days of sitting on the dock overlooking sparkling waters have been replaced by glowing russet leaves reflected in quieter waters.  The Farmers’ Markets are reflecting the change of seasons with hard squashes, apples and pumpkins.  But at many farm stands you can still find the last of the summer tomatoes, both red and yellow.  I snatched up a few to give summer its due.  I celebrated them in a small pastry galette sprinkled with the last of my basil.

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This is such an easy preparation especially if you use a store bought pie crust.  The recipe came from Country Living Magazine.  We are preparing for cooler weather.  Our weekend plans include a trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the fall colors.

FALL TOMATO GALETTE

1 1/4 lb. heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

refrigerated rolled piecrust from a (14.1-ounce) package
2 oz. sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp. fresh basil or thyme, plus more for serving
large egg
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Arrange tomatoes on paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt; let sit 10 minutes. Blot with paper towels.
  2. Roll piecrust to a 12-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper. Slide paper and crust onto a baking sheet. Top with cheese and basil, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around. Season with pepper.
  3. Arrange tomatoes on top of cheese. Fold border of crust over tomatoes. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water in a bowl; brush on top of crust. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with additional basil or thyme.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

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