Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread

This is another excellent recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Simply Recipes.  I highly recommend you check out Elise Bauer's blog.  This recipe is a good way to use zucchini with a little different twist, which is the addition of rosemary and lemon to the bread.

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary (not the dried rosemary)
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil or sunflower seed oil
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 pound of zucchini)

1 Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two small loaf pans, either coating with butter or spraying with baking spray.
2 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rosemary.
3 Beat the eggs in a mixer (or by hand) until frothy. Beat in the sugar. Beat in the melted butter and oil. Stir in the lemon zest and grated zucchini.
4 Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, stirring after each addition.
5 Divide batter into two loaf pans. Bake in a 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Test after 40 minutes. A cake tester should come out clean.
6 Remove from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes and then remove the loaves from their pans to cool on a rack.

Adapted from Simply Recipes.com

Saturday, November 26, 2011

2 Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

My sister originally made her Thanksgiving mashed potatoes using this recipe and it has become a family favorite in both parts of the country.  We typically spend Thanksgiving with one of my adult children and their families.  I am almost always asked to bring this recipe for Do Ahead Mashed Potatoes.  You can obviously make a smaller quantity, but we all like to have some to take home as leftovers to go with the turkey.

5 lbs. of peeled potatoes, cut in chunks
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup green onions (scallions), chopped fine including some of the green tops
1/2 cup minced celery
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.  As the potatoes are cooking, saute green onions, celery and parsley in the butter in a medium skillet until tender.  Drain potatoes and return pan to low heat.  Mash potatoes and add the cream cheese and sour cream.  Add butter and cooked vegetables.  If you want the potatoes especially fluffy, use an electric mixer to finish combining all the ingredients.  Spoon into a large buttered casserole.  Dot with the remaining butter and sprinkle with paprika.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until heated through and the top is golden. 

You can also make them the day before and reheat before serving.  They will need to be heated for a longer period of time at 350 degrees. 

Adapted from Miriam B. Loo's Holiday Cookbook (Current)

Another family favorite is Edith's Cranberry Apple Pie or as my daughter-in-law, Jenny, says her second most favorite pie (her first is cherry). 

Pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie.  This is one that I like a lot.  This recipe is taken from an online article by by Jean Sutherland with Lynn Siprelle, entitled Making the Perfect Pie Crust.  http://www.thenewhomemaker.com/piecrust.  It is worth reading the entire article, but I'm going to enter the recipe here just in case the article ever disappears.

Deluxe Butter Double Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 cup shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water


Chill your fat and water!
Cut your fat into small pieces and add to your measured flour, salt and sugar. Cut the fat in quickly, either with a pastry cutter or by pulsing in a food processor. Your mixture should resemble coarse meal.  They should be no larger than pea-sized.
Slowly add the water--just drizzle it in--and watch closely as you work it in with the edge of a spatula or continue pulsing. It should still look dry. Grab some with your hand and squeeze. Did it hold together? Than you have enough water. If it didn't, or you're not sure, add a little more and mix quickly. Test again.

Divide the dough in half to make single crust amounts. Wrap the dough up by placing a portion of it on a piece of plastic wrap. Using the wrap, instead of your hands, push the dough into a flat disk. Refrigerate this for an hour or more.
By making a flat disk at this point you make it a little easier to roll out. Sometimes dough gets too hard in the refrigerator. If this happens, let it warm up a little (15 or 20 minutes) on the counter before you roll it out.

Pie Filling
4 cups of tart apples, pared, cored and sliced
2 cups fresh whole cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon apple pie spice (or cinnamon & nutmeg)
2 tablespoons butter

Note you can use a couple of pears in with the apples.  I tried this and it works well. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Prepare pasty.  In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour and spice.  Add apples and cranberries, mix well to coat the fruit.  Turn into pastry lined pie pan.  I use a 9" deep dish Pyrex pan.  Dot with butter.  Cover with top crust.  Cut slits in crust, seal and flute edges; or prepare lattice crust.  (I make the lattice crust but it isn't necessary.)  Brush the top crust with either beaten egg or cream and sprinkle  with coarse sugar (if available).  I also use a pie shield so I don' t have to worry about the edges of the crust getting overdone.  Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees on the lowest shelf of the oven.  Lower the heat to 350 degrees.  Put the pie on middle shelf and continue baking until apples are tender--about 40-45 minutes.  Cool before slicing.

Watermelon & Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese

This is definitely out of season here in Wisconsin, but it was such a wonderful and easy salad that I don't want to lose it.  MACSAC (Madison Area CSA Coalition) is working on a new cookbook.  I submitted this recipe for consideration, but I've decided to put it on my blog just in case it isn't selected. 

2/3 bunch of arugula or about 4 oz.
2-3 cups of watermelon chunks (try to remove as many of the seeds as possible)
2 oz. goat cheese (I used a lovely cheese made by DreamFarm.  The flavor was apricot lavender and is offered seasonally)
1/4 cup pecan pieces
2 tablespoons or to taste of Annie's Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing

Tear the arugula and place on a large plate or platter.  Top with the watermelon chunks, goat cheese and pecans.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

Adapted from SOS Cuisine.com

Fried Green Tomatoes

I discovered after visiting Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah that I love fried green tomatoes.  They are actually quite easy to make yourself and are a good use for tomatoes that don't ripen before frost sets in.  This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes http://simplyrecipes.com/.  Its a wonderful food blog with excellent recipes.  You might want to check out this recipe on her blog to see a yummy picture of what the tomatoes should look like when they are finished.

3 firm green tomatoes
Salt
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
1 egg
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying

Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place in separate shallow bowls: the flour and Cajun seasoning (if using), buttermilk and egg, and bread crumbs and cornmeal.

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and the buttermilk together. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then buttermilk-egg mixture, then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain. These are fantastic with Frank's Hot Sauce.

Chipotle Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Who knew that plain old grilled cheese sandwiches could be so tasty!

4 slices bread
2 teaspoons chipotle chili (or more if you like your food quite spicy)
5 ounces shredded or sliced cheese--any variety you prefer.  I used Monterey Jack
1 tomato, sliced
A few thin slices of red onion
Coarsely chopped cilantro--as much as you like
Soft butter to brown the sandwiches

Spread each piece of bread with a thin coating of pureed chilies.  Cover bottom slice with a layer of cheese, tomato and onion slices and as much cilantro as you like.  Top with second slice of bread and butter it.  Place sandwich, butter side down in skillet.  Spread top piece of bread with butter and cook sandwich slowly.  Covering pan will help melt the cheese by the time bread is crisped and golden.

Adapted from RecipeLand.com
4 slices bread white or wheat
2 teaspoons chipotle chili pureed*
5 ounces cheese shredded or thinly sliced
1 each tomato ripe, sliced
1 each red onion thinly sliced
1 x cilantro leaves coarsely chopped*
1 x butter soft*
Snipped from: http://recipeland.com/recipe/v/Chipotle-Grilled-Cheese-32339
4 slices bread white or wheat
2 teaspoons chipotle chili pureed*
5 ounces cheese shredded or thinly sliced
1 each tomato ripe, sliced
1 each red onion thinly sliced
1 x cilantro leaves coarsely chopped*
1 x butter soft*
Snipped from: http://recipeland.com/recipe/v/Chipotle-Grilled-Cheese-32339

Zucchini-Cheese Pancakes

This recipe is out of season now, but save it for next summer when you are inundated with zucchini or summer squash.  Besides being a good way to use up zucchini, it is another way to serve vegetables for breakfast.  I find this somewhat challenging, but am always on the lookout for possibilites.  Vegetables are good for you any time of the day, plus if you have a CSA share you need to find as many ways and as many meals as possible to use up the "bounty in your box." 

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup chopped chives or scallions; about 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil*
1 teaspoon dried oregano*
4 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, Cheddar, Monterey Jack or other cheese (or a combination--whatever you have on hand will work fine)
*Substitute fresh herbs if available, just use a little more.
 
1) Preheat a griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat; if you have an electric griddle, set the heat to 375°F.
2) Beat the eggs with the oil, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined.
3) Add the herbs, scallions, zucchini, and cheese, stirring to combine.
4) Stir in the flour.
5) Grease the hot griddle lightly. Drop the batter in 1/4 cupfuls onto the griddle. If necessary, spread the cakes to about 3 1/2" to 4" diameter.
6) Cook the cakes for 3 minutes, or until they're brown on the bottom, and bubbles have appeared on their tops. The top surface will appear somewhat dry and set.
7) Flip the cakes, and cook them for about 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, or until they're as moist/cooked as you like when you break one open.
8) Repeat until you've used all of the batter.
9) Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream.
10) They are good leftover too, so make the whole batch.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour.com

Friday, November 25, 2011

Butternut Squash, Apple, Leek & Potato Gratin

This is  a wonderful dish incorporating a number of winter/fall type vegetables.  It takes some time to prepare but the results make it worthwhile.

For the topping:

1-1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt
3 oz. (3/4 cup) grated sharp Cheddar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
 
For the gratin:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus 1/2 tsp. for the dish
2 cups sliced leeks (white and light green parts of 3 medium leeks), thoroughly washed Kosher salt
2/3 cup plus 3 Tbs. apple cider
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs. heavy cream
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 crisp, firm apples, (about 14 oz. total), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
12 oz. butternut squash or other winter squash
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (12 oz. total) or whatever kind of potatoes you have

Make the topping:

Combine the crumbs, melted butter, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix in the Cheddar and thyme.

Prepare the gratin:

Heat the oven to 350°F. Rub a shallow 2-quart dish with 1/2 tsp. of the butter.
Melt the 2 Tbs. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until well softened and lightly browned (the pan will be dry), 10 to 15 minutes. Add 2/3 cup of the cider and simmer for 2 minutes to reduce it slightly. Add 1/2 cup of the cream, the chopped thyme, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and stir well; set aside.
Cook the apples: In a large nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Turn the heat to medium high, add the apple slices, and cook, gently flipping and stirring, until most of the slices are browned and limp but not falling apart, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. cream and 3 Tbs. cider. Stir and let the liquids reduce slightly for a few seconds; remove from the heat.

Assemble and bake the gratin:

Peel the squash, cut it into quarters lengthwise, and cut them across into thin slices. Peel the potatoes, cut them in half, and cut them across into thin slices. In a large bowl, combine the squash slices, the potato slices, the leek mixture, the apple mixture (scrape the pans well), and a scant 2 tsp. salt. Using a rubber spatula, mix gently but thoroughly. Scrape the mixture into the prepared gratin dish, smoothing and pressing until evenly distributed. Cover with the breadcrumb topping.
Bake until the crust is deep golden brown, and the crust is dark brown around the edges, about 1 hour. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Fine Cooking.com

Friday, November 11, 2011

Root Vegetable and Mushroom Casserole with Rosemary Biscuit Topping

This is a recipe I found on the Blue Moon Community Farm website.  Most of us that belong to CSA farms typically find ourselves with lots of root vegetables at this time of the year.  Roasted root vegetables are great, but I'm always looking for other ideas as well.  This isn't a recipe that can be prepared very quickly unless you spread it out over two nights.  I made a couple of adaptations to the recipe and can report that it is delicous.  Really what takes the most time is prepping the vegetables. 

Filling

•6 cups water or chicken browth
•2 tablespoons chicken bouillon base (if you used water)
•7 Cups Root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter radishes, rutabaga, carrots, winter squash, parsnips)
•1 ounces dried mushrooms, rinsed
•3 tablespoons butter
•2 cups chopped onions (really!)  I'm sure you could also use a combination of onions & leeks
1/2 # coarsley sliced fresh mushrooms
•4 large garlic cloves, chopped
•1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (or a pinch dried)
•1/2 cup all purpose flour
•1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
•2 tablespoons cooking Sherry
•1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (or 1 Tb dried)
 
Biscuits

•2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
•1 tablespoon baking powder
•2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (or ½ tsp dried)
•1 teaspoon salt
•6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
•1 1/3 cups (or more) chilled buttermilk
 
Directions

Filling
•Bring 6 cups water and bouillon base to boil in large pot over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve bouillon. Add root vegetables and dreid mushrooms. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain into a colander over a bowl, reserving both broth and vegetables. If your pieces of dried mushrooms are too large, cut them up.
•Melt butter in same pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Mix in fresh mushrooms, garlic and rosemary; stir 2 minutes. Add flour; stir 1 minute. The mixture will be very thick. Gradually whisk in reserved broth. Cook until sauce is thick and reduced to 4 cups, whisking often, about 10-15 minutes. Add cream and sherry.  Mix in reserved vegetables and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer filling to buttered 13x9x2-inch baking dish.

While the sauce is cooking (before adding vegetables) you can make up the biscuit dough and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Biscuits
•Pulse first 4 ingredients in food processor to blend. Add butter. Pulse on and off until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add 1 1/3 cups buttermilk.  Process only until dough starts to come together and is completely moistened. Add more buttermilk if dough is too dry.  Mine did not need anymore.
•Drop biscuit dough atop hot filling by heaping tablespoonfuls; sprinkle with pepper. Bake uncovered until tester inserted into center of biscuits comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

The combination of vegetables I used was potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, white turnips and some small radishes. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chicken and Cabbage Salad with Fresh Mint

I'm working my way through a very large head of Savoy cabbage.  Arthur is not a fan of cabbage salad or coleslaw but voted this one to be delicious and worth making again as well as posting it.

2 cups of cooked chicken, chopped or shredded *
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup very thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup cilantro
4 cups finely shredded green, savoy, or napa cabbage
¾ cup shredded carrots
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted and salted peanuts (optional)

*I often buy a whole roast chicken at Whole Foods or Willy Street Coop to use for recipes like this.  Whole Foods puts theirs on sale on Tuesday for $2.00 less than it usually is. 

Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and pepper in a medium bowl, and stir to dissolve the sugar and mix everything well. Add the onion and toss to coat. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes, until you are ready to complete the dish. 

Coarsely chop the mint and cilantro. Add the shredded chicken, cabbage, carrots, mint, and cilantro to the bowl of onions and seasonings and toss to coat everything well. Mound the salad on a serving plate and top with chopped peanuts. Serve at room temperature or chilled.