Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
So, the ingredients for this month's joust were fennel, pear and ginger. Three lovely ingredients indeed and so many dishes they can star in ... but I've got to keep this short. I got some inspiration for this dish from a snippet in the December 2009 issue of Food & Wine highlighting a fennel mustard by Thomas Keller (this master chef's version is just fennel cooked in white vinegar then pureed with mustard powder). I, on the other hand, cooked down some roughly chopped fennel and pear with a pinch of ground ginger in some white vinegar, then pureed it with dry mustard powder and thyme honey. Can you say Mmmmmmmm?
Now, one of my favorite things to eat with mustard is a good potato knish. A knish, if I am not mistaken, is Yiddish for a fried turnover/dumpling filled with potato more often than not although there are a number of varieties that also include ground meat, spinach and other fillings. My favorite is the potato, slathered with lots of whole grain mustard. So after making this homemade mustard of sorts, I had to try it with something potato-y ... hence these Ginger Leek Potato Croquettes that fit beautifully in with the Royal Foodie Joust, paired amazingly well with the Fennel Pear Honey Mustard and, even more importantly, took care of my sudden craving for a knish ... which come to think about it I haven't had in years.
Ginger Leek Potato Croquettes with a Fennel Pear Honey Mustard
For 1 1/2 cups of mustard:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 fennel bulbs, cleaned, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 pears, peeled and diced
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon thyme honey
Salt, to taste
In a skillet, heat the olive oil and cook the fennel and pear over low heat until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and ground ginger and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more. Once done, place the contents of the skillet into the bowl of a food processor, add the mustard powder and honey and blend until pureed. Spoon the mustard into a bowl, let cool, then season with salt and store tightly covered in the refrigerator. The mustard is best made at least one day ahead, if not more.
For the Ginger Leek Potato Croquettes:
2 large potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and quartered
1 large leek, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
Pinch of grated ginger
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs (one for mixture, one for coating before frying)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Olive oil for frying
In a medium saucepan, place leeks and potatoes in enough water to cover and boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the cooking water then place saucepan with the leeks and potatoes briefly back over the heat to evaporate any excess water.
Transfer the potatoes and leeks to the bowl of a food processor along with the ginger, salt and pepper. Pulse until pureed then spoon the potato mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs and one egg, adding more breadcrumbs as necessary to more easily form the mixture into croquettes. If you have the time, place the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for better handling. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and set aside. Heat about an inch of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven. Wet your hands slightly and begin forming the potato mixture into croquettes, about one inch in diameter. Coat the croquettes in the egg and fry until golden on each side. Drain briefly on a plate lined with paper towel.
Serve hot or warm alongside the Fennel Pear Honey Mustard.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Two Bean Butternut Squash Chili
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small to medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 chipotle chilies, seeds removed and chilies finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cups black beans, either canned or dried beans boiled until just tender
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve chili in bowls topped with Greek yogurt and chopped cilantro.
Friday, November 20, 2009
1 1/4 cups rice
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
dash of grated nutmeg
dash of ground cinnamon
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large saucepan, bring the 6 cups of milk, rice, sugar and salt to a simmer. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of the pumpkin, the nutmeg and cinnamon and cook mixture until the rice is quite soft and cooked through, stirring often.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the vanilla and remaining pumpkin in a medium bowl. Remove the saucepan from the burner and slowly whisk some of the rice mixture into the egg yolk mixture so as to temper it. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat for a few minutes more. (Add additional cup of milk as necessary during cooking.)
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Use apples that can withstand cooking a little better and not turn to mush: I'd say Gala, Rome, Jonagold or Winesap are your best bets. Also, freshly grated orange zest and juice as well as freshly grated ginger are key ... and if you're feeling adventurous, add some ground clove for a truly flavorful chutney that can not only serve as a worthy accompaniment to your turkey, but pair well with roasted pork loin, grilled pork chops and make an amazing addition to any sandwich.
Makes 6 to 8 accompaniment servings
2 pounds of apples (about 4 large)
2 medium onions, thickly sliced
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
2 cups fresh cranberries (I purchase fresh cranberries and freeze them for future use, then thaw before using)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve, and core apples (and if you prefer, peel them as well although I leave them unpeeled) then cut into 1-inch cubes. In a bowl combine the apples with the orange zest, orange juice, sugar, ginger, mustard and butter and stir lightly to coat. Place the mixture in a baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes. Stir the apple mixture a few times during baking.
Stir in the cranberries and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer until the cranberries are soft and the chutney thick. You can make the chutney a couple of days in advance; just bring it to room temperature or warm it ever so slightly before serving with your roast turkey. Try it with roasted chicken or pork; better yet add it to a sandwich or wrap using leftover chicken or turkey breast ... trust me, you won't be disappointed.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Do try this Short Rib Terrine, you won't be disappointed.
Short Rib Terrine
(Adapted from a recipe on Epicurious.com)
6 pounds short ribs
2 onions, quartered
2 celery ribs, quartered
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 large leek, cleaned and quartered
4 fresh parsley stems
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
6 to 8 whole black peppercorns
12 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
To finish terrine:
8 large garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season short ribs with some coarse sea salt and spread in a roasting pan along with the onions, celery, leek and carrot. Roast, turning occasionally, for about an hour.
Make a bouquet garni with the parsley, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns. Transfer meat (with bones) and roasted vegetables to a large pot and add 12 cups water, salt and bouquet garni. Add a bit of water to the roasting pan and scrape all the brown bits up then pour the liquid into the pot. Bring to a boil and skim froth as necessary. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, uncovered for anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, until meat is extremely tender and broth is reduced.
Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool completely, uncovered, then cover and chill overnight.
Remove fat from chilled mixture. Reheat mixture over moderate heat until warm. remove from heat and transfer short ribs to a platter; once slightly cooled, discard bones and fat. Finely chop short rib meat and set aside. Pour broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and store as desired.
To complete the terrine: Heat oil in a saucepan and cook garlic over low heat, turning occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and reserve the oil. Mash the garlic to a paste with a fork.
Add paprika, salt and pepper to the oil remaining in the saucepan and cook over low heat until fragrant, a couple of minutes. In a large bowl, stir together the paprika oil, garlic paste and short rib meat. Pack the mixture into a terrine or crock, cover tightly and chill overnight. Bring the terrine to room temperature before serving with slices of fresh bread, crackers or pita triangles and capers.
Monday, November 9, 2009
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
12-oz fresh cranberries (3 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
Juice of small orange
Splash of Mavrodaphne (or Port)
Pinch of grated ginger
As I was already using my oven to roast the chicken, I simply combined all the ingredients in a baking dish, covered with foil and baked it until reduced to a thick, chunky sauce. Alternatively, just combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until the cranberries are soft and the sauce is thick.
Monday, November 2, 2009
It was only just recently I figured out a solution to this problem; it was only just recently I figured out that poaching fish in olive oil is an unbelievably forgiving method of cooking delicate fish that yields such amazingly tender, moist results. I cannot sing this method's praises enough: it's so simple and so easy, more importantly poaching really lets the fish shine and using good olive oil means it's healthy.
In this dish, I used some fresh cod, which is thick and meaty, but I'm certain halibut would work just as well here. I served the olive oil poached cod over mashed sweet potatoes flavored with grated ginger and a touch of cream as well as some sauteed broccoli rabe with pine nuts toasted with a dash of cayenne pepper. The kids gobbled it all up and even asked for seconds. Need I say more?
Olive Oil Poached Cod, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Pine Nuts
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. fresh cod
2 large sweet potatoes
Ground ginger, to taste
Dash of ground nutmeg
Tablespooon of butter or a splash of heavy cream
1 bunch broccoli rabe, bottom 2 inches of stems removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
To start with, clean and peel the potatoes and cook them in boiling water until fork tender (alternatively, clean the potatoes but don't peel; wrap them in foil and roast until tender; cool and then peel). Mash them either with a potato masher or in a food processor, then stir in the ground ginger, ground nutmeg, butter or heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and rewarm when ready to serve.
For the broccoli rabe, rinse the stems and remove any thick or damaged leaves. Bring a pot of water to boil and add the broccoli rabe for just a couple of minutes. Remove the broccoli rabe to a colander and drain well. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the pine nuts and a dash of cayenne. Shake the skillet frequently until the pine nuts are toasted and golden. Remove the pine nuts from the skillet and set aside. Add a couple of tablespoons olive oil to the skillet along with the minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Toss in the broccoli rabe and the pine nuts and combine well with the olive oil until heated through. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
For the cod, heat some olive oil (enough to just cover the cod) in a dutch oven or deep skillet over very low heat. Cut the cod into individual portions, season with salt and pepper and carefully add it to the oil. Let the cod poach in the olive oil (keep the heat at low) until opaque and just cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the fillets.
Place the mashed sweet potatoes and broccoli rabe on the plate and carefully remove cod with a spatula and place over the potatoes to serve.
Try adding some fresh herbs or sliced garlic to the poaching oil so as to infuse the fish with those flavors as well.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I wasn't originally thinking I'd go with a Greek flavor profile, but the container of Feta was calling out to me much more emphatically than the block of cheddar and so my quesadillas quickly became an easy (you might call it lazy) though extremely tasty version of Spanakopita (traditional Greek spinach pie).
I quickly sauteed some chopped onions, scallions, garlic and spinach then tossed in some chopped parsley and fresh mint that's still growing in the garden. An egg, some crumbled Feta, a skillet, some flour tortillas ... and voila, Spanako-Quesadillas.
Make these as a light lunch or dinner; accompanied by a salad it's really all you'll need. Better yet, serve these as appetizers or quick finger foods when you're getting ready for a casual get-together with friends. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
Spanako-Quesadillas (Spinach Pie Quesadillas)
(Makes about 5 or 6 quesadillas)
3 scallions, sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 cups fresh spinach or 1 small box frozen spinach
Small handful of parsley, finely chopped
A few mint leaves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Feta (add as much crumbled Feta as you like)
5 or 6 small to medium flour tortillas
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and saute the onion, scallions and garlic until softened, about five minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted and heated through, about five minutes more. Stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, parsley and mint. Place mixture in bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in egg and feta and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Meanwhile, wipe out the skillet and heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Place one tortilla in the skillet and heat slightly. Add a few spoonfuls of the spinach mixture over HALF of the tortilla, then fold the empty half over the mixture and press down lightly. Cover the skillet and let cook for about five minutes; then uncover and turn your quesadilla carefully over. Cook a few minutes more. (Repeat with remaining tortillas and spinach mixture.)
Remove the quesadilla from the skillet, cut it in half or in thirds and serve warm.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Cranberries, fresh or dried, embody (at least for me) the spirit of fall. They're tart flavor and deep red hue just scream autumn. Simmered in wine and scented with cinnamon, they made the perfect base for these buttery clafoutis.
The Greek dessert wine Mavrodaphne is similar to port but sweeter and beautifully balanced the tartness of the cranberries here. Using the dried fruit made these clafoutis even simpler and though I loved every part of the dessert, I am looking forward to making clafoutis using fresh cranberries as well.
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup Mavrodaphne
1/2 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp sugar mixed with 1/8 tsp cinnamon
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla and salt until smooth and pour into the dish or ramekins. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over top and bake until puffed and set in center, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the clafoutis briefly and serve.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Serve this as a side dish to grilled or roasted beef, veal or chicken; as a stand alone first course; or even a light main dish. I thought of adding some crispy bacon or pancetta but we'd had enough meat in our diet last week though either would add a great dimension of flavor to this dish though.
Now, if you're a food blogger and not yet a member of the Leftover Queen's Foodie Blogroll, head on over to Jenn's site and sign up now. You'll be part of a great community of bloggers, you'll enjoy some great contests and giveaways and you'll qualify to compete in the monthly Royal Foodie Joust.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onions over Polenta
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
For the Polenta:
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal for polenta
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the butternut squash in a large bowl; add the beer and cayenne pepper and give it a good stir until all the pieces of squash are coated well. Let the butternut squash soak in the beer mixture for about 15 minutes.
As the polenta cooks, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large oven-proof skillet. Place the brown sugar in a bowl and once the butter is heated well, take the butternut squash cubes straight from the beer, coat each piece well with brown sugar and add to the hot skillet. Brown all the butternut squash pieces evenly on all sides then add half the beer marinade to the skillet and place it in the oven to roast the squash until tender.
Meanwhile, begin the polenta by bringing the water, stock and salt to boil in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal and cook the polenta over moderately low heat (at barely a boil), stirring quite frequently until thick and smooth, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the nutmeg, parmesan and butter. (Polenta will keep warm, covered, about 20 minutes. Stir well before serving.)
As the polenta cooks, in a skillet or saucepan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the sliced onions and cook 4 to 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the remaining beer and continue cooking the onions until golden and caramelized.
Spoon some polenta on the plate--or in a bowl--top with some caramelized onions and place a few pieces of butternut squash on top as well. Drizzle with any sauce from the roasted squash skillet and serve immediately.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I've seen some ricotta pancake recipes call for separating the eggs, adding yolks to the initial batter, then whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks and folding those in as well. I have to admit, I think those steps are kind of unnecessary. Not that I've done any experiments to officially note any differences between either method, but I've always been left satisfied with the fluffy, light pancakes my simple whisking of all ingredients has yielded.
Ricotta Pancakes with Fig Compote
Makes about 8 pancakes