Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry Puff Pastry Galette

Here is another quick and easy one. I received 2 baskets of strawberries from the CSA last week, and while we usually just eat them for breakfast until they are gone, for some reason we haven't been recently, so I had strawberries that needed to be used up ASAP. Luckily, there was also a lonely sheet of puff pastry in the freezer, and here you go!

1 Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry
1 Pint Strawberries
1 tsp - 1 Tbsp Sugar
One Egg
3 Tbsp Strawberry Preserves, Jam or Jelly
1 Tbsp Cointreau, Rum or Water

Remove Puff Pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw on the counter for 40 minutes

Preheat Oven to 400

Wash and slice strawberries into about 1/4 inch slices. Stir in sugar. If your berries are very ripe and sweet, 1 tsp should be enough. Use more sugar for tart berries. Allow to macerate while the oven comes up to temperature.

Beat the egg in a small bowl. Once the pastry is thawed, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Fold in about 1 inch all the way around to allow the pastry to puff up around the strawberries. Brush the border with your egg wash.

Pile the strawberries into the center of the pastry, reaching all the way to the folded over border. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the preserves, jam, or jelly with the liquid of choice. As soon as the galette comes out of the oven, brush the berries with the jam mixture. Remove to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature before slicing.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

One Pot Stove Top Mac and Cheese (No collander required!)

I developed this recipe as an alternative to packaged pasta sides. I happen to love those things. Boxed macaroni and cheese, packets of noodles and sauce mix of every variety. I love them for both the taste and convenience, but they are expensive for what you get, and full of salt and chemical preservatives.

So I started playing around with one pot homemade versions, and this macaroni and cheese recipe was born. Mind you, I still like a good old-fashioned casserole with crunchy topping from the oven, but this one is all about getting it on the table fast and easy clean-up. And it's pretty tasty, to boot!

One Pot Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese.

1 Cup Macaroni
2 Cups Veggie Broth (or Chicken Broth)
2 Tbsp Flour
1 1/2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Cup Milk
1/3 - 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese (Cheddar or a combination of Cheddar and another cheese like Jack)
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Put the macaroni and the broth in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10-12 minutes. There will still be some liquid left in the pot.

Sprinkle the flour over the macaroni and cook and stir for about a minute. Add the butter and stir until melted. Cook and stir another minute or two, then add in the milk. Stir to incorporate everything and let cook for about 90 seconds, or until the milk is simmering. Stir in the cheese using a figure eight pattern until melted. Spoon into bowls and serve with fresh ground black pepper to taste.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Chard Tart

There is a bit of a funny story regarding this recipe. I found it in the Joy of Cooking several years back, but was convinced my husband wouldn't like it. Rather than serve it to him , I made it for one of my girlfriends for brunch one morning. We both really liked it, but she agreed with me that he likely would not. So I left it at that. Lo and behold, he tried a piece, and really, really liked it. Goes to show what I know about his tastes...Anyway, I am glad he likes it so much, because I make it often. Sometimes on the weekend for breakfast, sometimes for a light dinner. Either way, it is a big hit every time. This would also make a lovely appetizer course for a small dinner party.

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

For the crust:

preheat oven to 425

One 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, lined with parchment paper

1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Cold Milk

Whisk together the flour and salt. Stir the in the olive oil and milk using a fork. Press the dough into the pan, pushing up the sides. Prick with a fork a few times to prevent bubbling up in the oven.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Lower the oven to 375

For the filling:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Finely Diced Onion, Red Onion, or Shallot
1 Pound Chard, Thick Stems Removed and Coarsely Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced or Pressed
2 Tbsp Fresh Basil, Chopped OR 1 1/2 tsp Dried Basil
1/4 tsp Salt, or to Taste
1/8 tsp Black Pepper, or to Taste
3 Large Eggs
1/3 Cup Milk
1 Cup Grated Cheese of you choice (Cheddar, Jack, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Fontina, or any Combination)

Saute the onion or shallot in the olive oil over medium-low heat until very soft, about 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for another one or two minutes. Add the chard, in batches if necessary, and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes more. Season with the basil and salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl, slightly whisk the eggs. Stir in the milk and cheese. Add the chard mixture, then scrape the lot into the tart shell, and spread evenly.

Bake at 375 until the filling is lightly browned and firm, 25-35 minutes. Cool to room temperature and enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chocolate Beet Cake

Chocolate beet cake. Yes, you read that right. I admit it sounds odd, but the cake is actually quite delicious. I was suspicious of this recipe when I first read it in a Live Earth Farm newsletter years ago, but as the beets were piling up I decided to give it a go. I was glad I did. And who knows, if you don't tell anyone there are beets in the cake, they may never catch on!

I usually use regular red beets for this recipe, but this time I didn't have enough, so I used some chiogga beets as well. They are the stripey ones.

I chose to make cupcakes this time, because they freeze well in nice little individual servings, but you could use a bundt pan or 8-inch round or square pan as well.

Chocolate Beet Cake

1 1/2 pounds Beets (or enough to make 1 1/4 cups puree)
3 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Cook the beets either by boiling in water to cover by 1 1/2 inches until tender, or baking them in a 400 degree oven. Once they are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins (I like to do this under cold running water) and put them in a food processor. Process until a puree forms, adding water or beet cooking liquid if necessary to get a pureed consistency.

Preheat the oven to 350

Lightly grease and flour a bundt pan, 8-inch round or square baking dish, or line muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Whisk in the sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, salt, and beet puree. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Add the wet ingredients to the dry a bit at a time until completely incorporated.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake 45-50 minutes for a bundt pan, 35-40 minutes for an 8-inch square pan, and 15-20 minutes for cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool and enjoy.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Bok Choy and Noodle Soup

I was looking for a way to use up some greens for breakfast, but was not in the mood for eggs at all. I thought I would try a simple Asian noodle soup, and it was quite satisfying on this foggy morning.

Bok Choy and Noodle Soup

2 tsp Peanut or Canola Oil
2 Green Onions, sliced, white parts and green separated
1 Clove Garlic, chopped or pressed
1 Bunch Bok Choy, sliced thinly, white stems and greens separated
4 Cups Veggie (or Chicken) Broth
2 oz. Noodles (Spaghetti, Angel Hair, Fettucine or Fresh Asian Noodles)
2 tsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Sesame Oil

Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the white part of the sliced green onion and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the chopped or pressed garlic and saute for one minute. Add the sliced white stems of bok choy and saute for 2 more minutes.

Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer until just cooked (anywhere from 2 - 10 minutes, depending on the noodles used). Add the bok choy greens and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the sliced green onion tops.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

I won a Smart Car!

Pretty exciting stuff! Many thanks to Smart Chicken and New Leaf Community Markets for this fantastic giveaway! I have already been having so much fun driving this little car around.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to let everyone know that I am planning to start posting recipes again this summer. This blog has lain fallow for far too long, so with the help of my great new photographer (aka my son) I will be posting new recipes starting next week. Hooray!