Thursday, July 26, 2012

Baked Brie with Dried Cherries & Thyme

I found this recipe that I had saved and decided I should post it before it was never located again.  This is definitely Christmas in July.  I made this dish for a New Year's Eve party last winter. It is delicious and very festive!!

1/2 wheel of Brie (about 4" diameter), at room temperature
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Slice off the top of the Brie and discard.  Roll out the pastry to a 12 inch square and cut two 6" rounds from it.  Put one of the rounds on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with half of the dried cherries and thyme.  Press gently so they stick.  Set the Brie, rind side down on top of the pastry, sprinkle with the rest of the cherries and thyme.  Cover with the other circle of pastry.  Crimp the edges together to seal the cheese.  Brush the top of the pastry with the butter.  Bake until the pastry browns, about 20 minutes.  Let cook for about 15-20 minutes before serving.  Guests can cut wedges of the pastry and cheese and either eat it plain or on thin slices of French bread.  Yum!

Adapted from fine

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Zucchini Olive Oil Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze

I made this cake to take to a Books for Cooks meeting.  We were discussing a book on olive oil that I hadn't read, but we were also going to share olive oil tastings and cold summer soups all using olive oil.  I found out that you don't need to use a super expensive olive oil in this cake because with all the other flavors you can't taste the flavor of the olive oil.  However, it is a delicious cake.  The women attending the book club all liked it and Arthur loved it and said it had to go on "the blog." 

I grated the zucchini with the grating disk on my food processor.  It takes quite a bit of zucchini to make this cake, which in the height of summer is a good thing.

1 cup (135g) almonds, pecans, or walnuts, toasted
2 cups (280g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 (350g) cups sugar
1 cup (250ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (300g) finely grated zucchini
1 tablespoon lemon zest

For the lemon glaze:

1/4 cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
1 cup (140g) powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 10 cup bundt or tube cake pan with non-stick spray or butter, dust with flour, then tap out any excess.  I used Pam Baking Spray which has flour in the spray and eliminates the need to dust the pan with flour.  Its a handy product.

Pulse the nuts in a food processor until chopped.  The original recipe called for them to be finely chopped.  I'm not sure that coarsely chopped wouldn't be fine.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

I used a hand electric mixer to beat the eggs, 1 3/4 cup (350g) sugar, and olive oil for 3 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. A stand mixer would probably be better, but I don't own one.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the vanilla.  Mix in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed in well, then beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
Stir in the chopped nuts, lemon zest and zucchini.

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, then bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan.

During the last few minutes of the cake baking, make the glaze by whisking together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar, and powdered sugar.  You must use the granulated sugar if you want the glaze to have a "crunch."

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a cooling rack. Brush the glaze over the cake with a pastry brush while still warm and let the cake cool completely.

I would make the cake the day before if you can.  I think the flavor improves with sitting overnight.  You need to put the glaze on when the cake is hot though or it won't stick. 

Adapted from David Lebovitz's blog, Living the Sweet Life in Paris.  It's also listed on other sites, but his recipe provides the best directions and measurements.  His blog is well worth checking out.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cornmeal Buttermilk Pancakes with Rhubarb Compote

A few weeks ago I tried a recipe for rhubarb pancakes.  I will not be posting this recipe.  I guess rhubarb needs sugar to bring out its flavor.  The pancakes with chopped raw rhubarb didn't have any rhubarb flavor so why bother.  However, these pancakes topped with rhubarb compote made for a very pleasant breakfast.  Although rhubarb season has now passed, it will come again and I'll be ready for it with this yummy breakfast recipe. 
Cornmeal Buttermilk Pancakes
•3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
•3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
•2 tablespoons sugar
•1/2 teaspoon baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon baking soda
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1 1/4 cups buttermilk
•2 large eggs
•3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Combine first 6 ingredients into large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs and melted butter in medium bowl to blend. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until blended.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Cook the pancakes on a griddle or frying pan.  Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook until bottoms are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn pancakes and cook until second sides are golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil or pan spray if necessary.
Rhubarb Compote
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces fresh rhubarb
1/2 cups sugar (plus extra sugar to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender and broken down, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes.  Serve with the pancakes at room temperature.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Potato and Cheddar-Cheese Soup

This soup is not really a summer soup. However I don't want to lose the recipe because its a yummy soup which uses basic ingredients so I'm posting it now.  Be sure to use a very good, preferably local cheddar cheese since this is what really gives this soup its flavor.

1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 large onion, chopped
3 pounds baking potatoes (about 6), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (if the potatoes are organic and the skins are in good shape, there is no need to peel the potatoes)
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces cheddar, grated (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped chives or scallion tops

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat or, if you don't have 2 tablespoons, add enough cooking oil to make up the amount. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, broth, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove half the soup from the pan and puree in a food processor. Alternatively, mash some of the potatoes with a potato masher. Return the puree to the pan. Over low heat, add the cheese a little at a time and stir until each addition melts. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste the soup and add more salt if needed. Serve the soup topped with the bacon and chives.

Adapted from

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shredded Root Vegetable Pancakes

I'm always on the lookout on how to use my CSA vegetables.  I saw this recipe on EatingWell.  I would make the pancakes again but I would pay more attention to the directions.  The recipe said to bake the pancakes in the oven for 15 minutes.  I didn't do that and the pancakes were a bit on the crunchy side.  However, they would be worth making again because the flavor is good.  I even used a black radish that was lurking in my vegetable draw.  We got a couple of the radishes in an early CSA box.  I was hoping they would just disappear.  These pancakes were a great place to use one of them.  You would never know it was in the pancakes. 

1-2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried (I didn't have any fresh dill but would recommend using it if you have it available--the dry didn't have much flavor)
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups assorted root vegetables, peeled (about 1 1/2 pounds) and shredded *
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional) I did add the bacon
Oil--I used sunflower seed oil 
Reduced-fat sour cream for garnish

* I used a large chiogga beet, a black radish and shredded carrots,  You could also use potatoes, turnips, parsnips, or whatever root vegetables you happen to have.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Whisk egg, flour, scallions, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in vegetables and bacon (if using).
Brush a pancake griddle with oil. Place about 1/4 cup vegetable mixture on the griddle  and press with the back of a spatula to flatten into a 2- to 3-inch pancake. Cook until crispy and golden, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pancakes to the prepared baking sheet. Continue with 2 more batches, using the remaining oil and vegetable mixture. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Serve garnished with sour cream, if desired.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Strawberry Pancakes

Yes, I'm posting another pancake recipe.  We love pancakes especially with fruit and nuts.  This recipe has both.

2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1/2 cup toasted coarsely chopped pecans

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine liquid ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to the dry. Do not over mix. A few lumps are OK.  Add strawberries and nuts and blend in carefully.  Pour 1/4 cup of mixture on a hot griddle.  Turn when you see bubbles forming on top.  They can be served with vanilla yogurt or plain yogurt with a bit of vanilla sugar sprinkled on top.  Butter and syrup are also good toppings.

Adapted from Simply Scratch

Chicken Salad with Feta, Corn & Blueberries

This might sound like a strange combination of flavors to be found in a chicken salad, but get brave and try it.  Delicious!  My version underwent a number of revisions from the original.  The original recipe called for grilled chicken breasts which  would be very tasty, but I had just roasted my giant chicken and was looking for ways to use the leftovers.  I also didn't have any fresh corn and substituted some frozen.  I just thawed it out. 

3-4 cups of cubed leftover chicken
3 stalks celery, finely diced
2 ears fresh corn if available otherwise use 1 cup of thawed frozen corn (no need to cook)
1/4 cup of finely diced red onion
1-2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen are not a good substitute)
3 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
6 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup 1/2 and 1/2
lemon juice to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salad greens or torn lettuce as a bed for the salad

Remove the corn kernels from the cob if using fresh corn.  Otherwise combine corn, onion and celery.  Add the cubed chicken.  Add salt & pepper. Add 2 tablespoons fresh dill.
Mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, feta and 1/2 & 1/2.  Squeeze in fresh lemon juice (at least 2 tablespoons).  Stir in sugar if needed.  Pour the dressing over the salad.  You may not need all of it, but serve the the additional dressing on the side.  Toss in the blueberries and combine lightly.  Mound the salad on the bed of greens and top with last tablespoon of dill.

Adapted from Tasty

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Roast Lemon Chicken with Spring Vegetables

I belonged to a meat CSA for 3 months.  We decided not to continue because we don't eat very much meat during the months when we are getting all our CSA vegetables.  What we received was excellent and we may do it again at a later time when the pick up location is more convenient and we need more meat.

One of the items we received was a very large roasting chicken.  I think having leftover chicken is great because you can do so many things with it. 
I always brine chicken that has actually walked around. This way you can be sure of getting a very tender juicy chicken with an excellent flavor.  Use a simple brining recipe.  This is one and would be plenty for a 6-8 # whole chicken. 

For each gallon of cold water used in the brine, add the following:

3/4 cup coarse kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 gallon cold water
1 tablespoon black pepper

Dissolve the salt & sugar in the boiling water and let cool.  Add the rest of the water and pepper.  A stainless-steel bowl or re-sealable plastic bag can work as a brining container, as long as the poultry is fully submerged. Weight with a plate, if necessary, to keep the meat fully covered by the brine. Let the chicken soak for 4-8 hours.  If it is in the brine for too long it could get too salty. Be sure to refrigerate the chicken while it is brining.  Remove from the brine and rinse.  You can place it uncovered in the refrigerator if you are not ready to cook it.  This is supposed to help make the skin crisper.  Mine has never been in the frig long enough for me to find out.  

1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 crushed cloves of garlic
12 or more small potatoes, halved
16 baby carrots, or chunks of full size carrots
1# sugar snap peas (or whatever you have)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Grate the zest of the lemon and mix it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the rosemary and garlic.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly in the cavity of the chicken.  Cut the lemon in half, squeeze 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice on the outside of the chicken and put the lemon halves inside the chicken. 
Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan.  Sprinkle it with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in the 400 degree oven.  After 15 minutes turn the heat down to 350 degrees and continue roasting the chicken.  Be prepared for a wonderful smelling kitchen!
When the chicken has been in the oven for a total of 45 minutes, combine the potatoes and carrots in a bowl.  Add the remaning rosemary and the olive oil and toss to combine.  Put the vegetables in the pan underneath the chicken.  After the vegetables have roasted for 1/2 hour, add the peas.  Continue to roast another 15 minutes.  Test to see if the chicken is finished.  It should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  Test the carrots and potatoes with a fork to make sure they are tender.  Transfer the chicken to a platter and let rest for about 10 minutes.  You can make gravy with the drippings from the chicken if you like.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Spinach & Garlic Scape Frittata

If you belong to a CSA farm in Wisconsin, you can plan on getting garlic scapes in your spring boxes.  On a post in July 2010, I showed pictures and gave an explanation of garlic scapes.  You can either check it out or do a Google search if you're wondering what kind of very strange vegetable has come your way.  If you have been a CSA member before, you probably know all about them.  I think I got this recipe from Vermont Valley Community Farm, a very fine farm that we have belonged to. 

This is one more excellent dish where you can serve vegetables for breakfast.  Frequently we only think of vegetables for lunch or dinner.  When you belong to a CSA farm and are receiving bountiful amounts of fresh produce, it's a good idea to have some veggies for breakfast/brunch as well.

3 tablespoons olive oil
10 eggs
cups finely chopped raw spinach (1/2 LB)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley or 1 tablespoon basil
1/2 cup finely chopped garlic scapes

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl mix egg, spinach, herbs, salt and pepper. Heat oil in 10-inch ovenproof skillet on the stove. Add the garlic scapes and sauté until tender on med. heat.(about 5 minutes).  Pour egg mixture in skillet with garlic and cook over low heat for 3 minutes.  Top with cheese and place in oven and bake uncovered 10 minutes or until top is set.  Loosen bottom with spatula and cut into wedges and serve.

Pork Chops with Rhubarb-Cherry Sauce

This new recipe was a favorite of my husband's that he wanted me to post so that it wouldn't be lost--never to be located again.  This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart's website.  There are a number of other very tasty sounding rhubarb recipes there that you might want to check out. Rhubarb Recipes

1/2 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
8 to 10 ounces rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Coarse salt and black pepper
4 pork loin chops, (each 1/2 inch thick and 6 to 8 ounces)

Combine cherries with vinegar and 1/4 cup hot water; let stand 10 minutes to soften.  In a small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-low heat. Add onion; cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add cherry mixture, rhubarb, and sugar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until rhubarb has softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in nutmeg; season with salt. Remove from heat; keep warm.
Season both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. Spray a large frying pan with pan spray and cook pork chops until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve topped with warm sauce.
Adapted from

Lemon Chicken Soup

This soup reminds me of Greek chicken soup with its lemony flavor.  I wanted a recipe to use some of the baby spring turnips from my CSA share, plus the carrots that came in our last box. You could substitute your own leftover chicken if you have any available.

Lemon Chicken Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
10 scallions (green onions) chopped, white & green parts separated
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup white rice (I used arborio since this was the only white rice I had)
8 oz. carrots, cut into chunks
8 oz. baby turnips, cut into quarters or chunks if the turnip is large
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (more if you want additional tartness)
3-4 cups rotisserie chicken, skin removed and chopped
chopped parsley if desired

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot.  Add the white parts of the green onions.  Cook until softened.  Add the chicken broth, rice, carrots, turnips and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes until rice and vegetables are tender.

Whisk eggs with 3 tablespoons lemon juice.  Slowly add 2 cups of the hot broth to the egg mixture whisking constantly.  Add the chicken to the pot, then whisk in the egg mixture. Add last tablespoon of lemon juice. At this point if the soup is too thick you can add either additional chicken broth or some water.  Return the soup to a gentle simmer, then remove from eat.  Stir in the green onion tops and parsley.  Check for salt and pepper.  Also taste the tartness and add more lemon juice if you prefer.

Adapted from yummly