Sweet Pepper and Cheddar Clafouti

April 26th, 2020

A clafouti is a French egg dish. It is usually a sweet batter with cherries or other fruit. Melissa Clark, of the New York Times, recently came out with a new cookbook called Dinner in French; My Recipes by Way of France. In it, she shared this recipe for a savory clafouti with peppers, ham and cheese It is perfect for a Sunday brunch. We have made it twice so far; two Sundays in a row. Adjusting to quiet solitary living has mixed results. We miss meeting with friends, dining in restaurants, shopping and traveling to visit family. But the slow pace of being home has allowed us to relax, read, enjoy the lake and plan, cook and eat interesting meals.

The second time that we made this clafouti we used cooked sausage instead of the ham and roasted red peppers from a jar in addition to the sweet green peppers. But both times we used lots of fresh basil since I have a pot of basil sitting on my kitchen windowsill. You can use anything you have on hand for good results.

I almost skipped the suggestion to garnish the finished dish with crushed red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon. Do not ignore this suggestion. The heat of the pepper flakes and freshness of the lemon juice just made it all better. Whatever we can do to “make it all better” is important right now. From my isolated home to yours.

SWEET PEPPER AND CHEDDAR CLAFOUTI

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Crème fraîche or Sour Cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 Tbls. flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coarsely grated sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 oz. sliced ham, chopped
  • 2 Tbls. olive oil
  • 3 sweet peppers, preferabley different colors, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh lemon juice, for serving
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, crème fraîche or sour cream, eggs, flour, basil, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheddar and ham.
  • In a 9″ ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the peppers and cook until they are softened and golden at the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and remaining 1/4 tsp salt and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Scrape the egg mixture into the skillet, and top it with the 1/4 cup remaining cheddar and the Parmesan. (Or, for a more elegant presentation, scrape the vegetables into a gratin or casserole dish and add the egg mixture and cheese to that). Bake until the eggs are set 35 to 40 minutes. (Mine took 45 minutes). Cool slightly then top with the lemon juice and red pepper flakes.

Printable Recipe

Ideas for Leftovers from that Roast Chicken

April 17th, 2020

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We are on our second roast chicken since the quarantine.  When it is just the two of us, there are always leftovers.  I like to turn them into casseroles, soups and salads.  Here are a few ideas from previous posts.

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Mexican Chicken Casserole is a lightened version of Mexican ingredients – less cheese and tortillas and more vegetables than a normal dish. Plus it has a charred tomato salsa that could stand on its own.  Chicken replaces ground beef.  The original recipe came from Cooking Light.

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Chicken Salad with Wild Rice is a refreshing take on this traditional salad.  The wild rice pairs well with the orange dressing.

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Chicken and Orzo Soup is one of my favorite soups.  It is easy and full of good vegetables.

I am thinking of everyone and hoping all of you are staying safe at home.

Meals to Make us Feel Better

March 18th, 2020

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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.

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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

 

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