Sunday, October 12, 2014
One of the more successful plants in our garden this year was habanero peppers. The problem with habaneros is, they are hot. I mean really hot. I've never seen a salsa recipe that calls for more than 1 at a time. So as I was leafing through my new book, I came across a recipe for raspberry habanero jam. I decided that would be my first attempt at solo canning.
I made it earlier today, and I have to say it's good. It isn't very spicy, but it tastes very fresh. Next time I will cut more slits in the habanero, so more spiciness gets into the jam.
After my success with the jam, I decided to try a recipe for marinated lemon cucumbers. I haven't tried them yet, but how can cucumbers marinated in vinaigrette be bad??
If you have any desire to begin preserving food, I urge you to buy this book. It will open whole new world of small batch canning!
I think the frittata deserves more credit than we generally give it. It is a blank canvas, to be populated with whatever bits of stuff we have lying around.
This one was particularly good. And, it was particularly strange.
I have been struggling to use up the garden's last gasp this weekend. To that end, I fried a batch of green tomatoes Friday, and made a huge pot of mashed potatoes. I served them with a couple of brown sugar glazed pork blade steaks. I had leftover bits of all those things floating around in my ice box, so I decided to throw them in a frittata this morning.
There isn't really a set recipe for a frittata. I started by roughly chopping the fried green tomatoes and the blade steak, then warming them in the skillet with about a tablespoon of butter. When they were warmed through, I beat 4 eggs with a good splash of heavy cream, salt and pepper. I added a handful of grated Irish cheddar to the eggs, then poured them over the tomatoes and pork in the skillet. Then I got the container of leftover mashed potatoes and dropped spoonfuls of them around the skillet. I let it set for about 5 minutes over medium heat on the stovetop, then shoved it in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes. I let it cool for about 5 minutes in the skillet, then slid it off onto a cutting board and served pieces of it with some cheddar cheese grits and fresh cantaloupe.
The leftovers are going into biscuits for breakfast this week.
So- I highly recommend giving this a whirl. You will not be sorry!
Sunday, September 28, 2014
I found a new cooking magazine at the store the other day. It's called "Fine Cooking." I was perusing the latest issue earlier today when a recipe caught my eye. I say it was a recipe, really it was a technique. It consisted of roasting a pan of whatever veggies you have on hand, then wrapping them in a cream cheese based pastry and baking until golden brown. I knew right then, I had a winner of a dinner.
I don't remember what veggies the magazine used. I used summer squash, red peppers, potatoes, onions and swiss chard. I chucked in some rosemary, thyme and lemon set, and roasted them in a foil covered brownie pan at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. I put the veggies aside to cool while I made the crust.
The pastry crust was pretty simple. I put 1 1/2 cups of plain flour, 6 oz of unsalted butter (cut into little pieces), 6 oz of cream cheese (also cut into little pieces) and about a teaspoon of salt in my food processor. I pulsed it about 20 times, then added maybe 3 tablespoons of water to get the dough to hold together. I rolled it out in a huge circle- ok. It really wasn't a circle. I don't have that much talent. It was more like an amoeba.
I had a 5 oz container of goat cheese that had been softening on the counter for about an hour. After I rolled the dough out, I used the back of a soup spoon to spread the goat cheese on the crust, leaving about a 2 inch border around the outside. Then I piled all the roasted veggies in the center, and brought the edges of the crust up over them, pleating as I went along.
Into a 400 degree oven it went for about 45 minutes. I let it sit for 10 more while I threw together a simple salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.
Next time, I won't use as many veggies. I think it was too heavy for the crust. I think roasted potatoes and onions with a little gruyere would be fabulous! The crust was incredible, though. It tasted so rich from the butter and cream cheese. And really, as far as pie crusts go, this was almost too easy!
I will most definitely do this again, with the aforementioned changes. It would also be amazing with fruit!
My childhood version was slightly less cosmopolitan.... It usually consisted of a piece of white sandwich bread, a swipe of Ragu Pizza Sauce straight from the jar, and a pile of shredded cheddar cheese. Popped into the toaster oven for about 5 minutes- this constituted gourmet after school dining!
Fast forward about 30 years (really? ouch!) and I've updated it a bit. I mentioned in an earlier post today that I bought a loaf of soft French bread to make the bananas foster French toast. It worked like a charm, but that means I had more than half a loaf of bread left to do something else with. Whilst rummaging around in the ice box searching for something to throw together for lunch, I spied the wrapped loaf on one of the higher shelves. Suddenly, I had a blast from the past, and thought about making some pizza toast!
Here's what I did: I lightly buttered both sides of the pieces of bread and toasted them in a skillet (mostly because I was going to use it to heat the other ingredients and I was too lazy to reach the toaster). I had a small container of pizza sauce left over from making pizza the other night, so I swabbed both pieces of bread with a healthy amount of the red sauce. In the same skillet, I put a small knob of unsalted butter, and after it melted and frothed, I added half a green pepper, chopped, about 3 mushrooms, thinly sliced, and 2 pieces of leftover breakfast sausage from the other morning, also chopped. As soon as everything was softened, I piled the veggies and sausage on the bread, then covered the toasts in a mixture of cheddar and swiss cheeses (because I had tiny ends of both in my cheese drawer). I put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and the edges were nice and brown.
Honestly, it's the best lunch I've had in a while! :)
A few weeks ago, we went to my favorite new restaurant in Glenwood Springs, Smoke. We went on a Saturday, so they were serving brunch. Devin ordered the bananas foster french toast. He has a wicked sweet tooth, and this played right into it.
When I tasted it, I knew I could recreate it at home, I just needed to do a little research. I went to Pinterest and searched "bananas foster french toast." I saw lots of recipes, but none of the pictures really grabbed me. So, I took off the french toast part of the search. Low and behold, I found a pin I really liked, and it was from an old favorite- Pioneer Woman. She had the recipe for bananas foster, which she intended to serve over ice cream.
Fast forward to this morning. I purchased a loaf of soft French bread (because I can't get challah in my little dinky town) and decided to try my luck.
For the french toast part, I sliced the bread on the diagonal (fairly thick). Then I beat 4 eggs with a splash of heavy cream and milk, then added some vanilla bean paste for good measure. I soaked the bread slices in the custard mixture, then griddled them in my 12 inch cast iron skillet. I put them in my oven on warm, then set about making the bananas foster part.
I used the recipe straight from the Pioneer Woman blog. I didn't have enough rum, so I just used what I had. It made the flaming part rather disappointing, but it still tasted amazing.
And I do plan to make some vanilla ice cream, because I have about 2 cups of the sauce left, and I'm not about to let it go to waste!
So this is sushi salad, or as the blog I stole it from called it, "Lazy Sushi". I like this idea for several reasons. First, I'm lazy. Second, it would make it possible for me to eat sushi way more often than I presently do. Thirdly, there are literally thousands of variations you could dream up for this.
I pinned the recipe from a blog called Lea's Cooking. I followed her recipe pretty exactly and it turned out great. The only change I will make next time (and there WILL be a next time) is, I will leave out the canned tuna. It was ok, but honestly, I would just use the crab or maybe even throw in a few sautéed shrimp. The tuna didn't see to fit in. I think I might also throw in some edamame next time.
I added the baked egg roll wrapper crackers. I like the different crunchy texture they brought to the party. You could fry them, but I was trying to be somewhat healthy, so I baked mine instead.
This was a great find. I am absolutely positive I will make this again. I think it would be ideal for school lunch, or quick dinners during the week. It's almost like an Asian spin on a Mexican burrito bowl- only better!
To that end, we headed to Glenwood Springs yesterday for their little Oktoberfest celebration. Our friends Greg and Jan went along for the ride.
The event itself was fairly low key. It was really more like a craft fair with German oompah music, than an Oktoberfest. There was only 1 beer tent. Wha???????
That said, though, I had a nice time. We went to one of my favorite new restaurants in Glenwood, Smoke, for lunch, then walked down the street to the festivities. I was designated driver, so no beer for me.
We watched some older couples dancing to the traditional German music, and ate donuts from a relatively new bakery in town, Coloradough. I had an apple fritter, which was arguably the single biggest pastry I've ever seen. I couldn't eat all of it, because it was so sweet and greasy and yummie, I'd have died right on the spot if I'd finished it. So that makes it pretty much the perfect festival food. :)