Saturday, November 20, 2010

Swiss Chard, Leek and Goat Cheese Tart

Previously I posted a recipe for a Swiss Chard tart which was good, but this new recipe is fabulous!  I found it in the Chicago Tribune and they attribute it to David Leite's

For the pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

For the filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 pound leeks, white and pale green parts only, rinsed of grit and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound Swiss chard, stems an leaves washed and roughly chopped, keep stems & leaves separate
3 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons golden raisins, plumped in boiling water for 10 minutes
3 tablespoons pine nuts
6 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Note:  I used DreamFarm goat cheese which is soft and topped the tart with little blobs of the cheese.
Make the pastry
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the flour, rosemary, thyme, and salt until blended. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with pieces no bigger than small peas, about 13 to 15 one-second pulses.

2. Add the mixture to a bowl and drizzle with 4 tablespoons of water. Thoroughly mix with a fork to form a “shaggy” dough. Squeeze some in your hand. If it doesn’t hold together, add the remaining water one tablespoon at a time. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

3. Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 13-inch circle. Ease it into a 10- or 11-inch tart pan, fitting it snugly against the sides and bottom, and trim the excess. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork and cover with parchment paper. Fill the tart with pie weights or beans and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment and set aside the tart shell.

Make the filling
1. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the leeks and Swiss chard stems, covered, until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Uncover, add the chard leaves and allow them to cook down and the excess water to evaporate, about 6 to 8 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add the vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked tart shell, scatter with the raisins and pine nuts, and dot with the goat cheese. Bake until the filling is set and puffy, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack for a short time.  Tart can be served warm or at room temperature.  I preferred it warm.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Farro and Broccoli Rabe Gratin

Never cooked with farro before?  Farro is a whole grain form of wheat that has been used for centuries in Italy.  Italians usually cook farro the same way as Arborio rice to create a creamy dish called farrotto.  It has become more widely available now in the U.S.  I purchased a bag at Whole Foods Market.  It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and chewy texture and is high in fiber and protein. 
Note:  The original recipe called for fontina cheese.  I didn't have any and substituted muenster because it would be soft and melty on top of the dish plus browning nicely.

The combination of the farro, cheese and greens make for good comfort food for a chilly fall evening. 

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups farro
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup freshly grated (shredded) Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, cut into 1-2 inch lengths, stems included.  If you don't have enough broccoli rabe, you can add some fresh spinach
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1# can small white beans, I used navy beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese (or see note), about 3 ounces

1.  Heat 1 tsp. of the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned. 
2.  Stir in the farro and cook until lightly roasted (2 minutes).  Stir in the broth and water and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until the farro is tender and the remaining liquid has thickened to a creamy sauce.  20-25 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
3.  Bring a large pot of water (4 quarts) to a boil.  Add broccoli rabe, spinach and 1 tablespoon salt.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Drain, the vegetables and wipe the pot dry.
4.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until sizzling.  Stir in the broccoli rabe (and spinach if used) and cook until hot and well coated, about 2 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the beans and cooked farro.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5.  Position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler.  Pour the farro mixture into a 3 quart broiler safe pan (I used a 9X12 inch pan) and sprinkle with the fontina or whatever cheese you are using.  Broil until lightly browned and hot, 3-5 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from America's Test Kitch Healthy Family Cookbook (2010)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gratin of Red Kuri Squash

Like many varieties of winter squash, red kuri squash is very versatile. With its bright orange skin, and small teardrop shape, you'll easily recognize kuri; inside, the firm flesh has a creamy chestnut-like flavor.  We got one of these squash in our CSA box and I found this promising recipe. 

Butter (for the dish)
1 small red kuri squash (a generous 1 pound), seeded
2 baking potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 small zucchini, grated
2/3 cup ricotta
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, plus more for the top (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup blue cheese
1/4 cup Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter, cut up (for the top)

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
2.  Cut squash in 1/2 and either bake in the oven or cook in the microwave until tender.  Scrape the flesh out of the skin and put in a large bowl.
3. In a large saucepan fitted with a steamer insert, cook the potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover the pan, and steam over high heat for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
4. Mash the vegetables with a potato masher until they are coarsely pureed. Add the zucchini, ricotta, nutmeg, parsley, blue cheese, and plenty of salt and pepper.
5. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Smooth the top. Add the 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, butter, and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden. Let the dish rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from the Boston Globe

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lemon Broccoli

This is a surprisingly tasty recipe for broccoli and especially appealing because it is so quick and easy.

1 bunch of broccoli, divided into florets and stalks, remove any sections that are too woody
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
3 stalks celery or about 1 1/2 cups, thinly sliced
3-5 cloves garlic, minced (depends on the size of the cloves and how much you like garlic)
1-2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Steam the broccoli in a vegetable steamer for 5 minutes or until it is tender.  Don't overcook.
Melt butter in a skillet and saute the onion, celery and garlic until softened and the onion begins to brown slightly. 

Add the broccoli, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper to the skillet and stir to combine.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  My husband put a dollop of sour cream on top of his.
Its good just plain as well.

Adapted from Weight Watchers