Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sopa de Ajo - Spanish Garlic Soup

This recipe is based on Savoring Spain & Portugal from Williams-Sonoma...

6 tbsp olive oil - the best you have
12 cloves garlic - thickly sliced
12 thinly sliced course country bread cut into 1 1/2" chunks (When Pigs Fly Tuscan Wheat)
2 tea sweet paprika
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 eggs
 chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  Add the garlic cloves and saute until golden and fragrant 3 - 4 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and set aside for later.  Add the bread pieces into the olive oil, stir occasionally until golden brown.  Set the bread pieces aside, evenly distributed among 6 large soup bowls.  In the same pan, add the paprika, the reserved garlic, and the stock.  Bring to a simmer & cook for 10 or 15 minutes until very fragrant & the garlic pieces are soft.  

In another large shallow pan, bring 2" of salted water to a simmer.  Gently crack the eggs one at a time into a shallow bowl.  Swirl the simmering water with a slotted spoon, turn off the heat.  Gently drop each egg into the water.  Swirling the water gently after adding each egg.  Cover when you've added them all.  Let sit covered for 4 minutes. You want the eggs to be gently set, since they will cook a bit  more in the broth.

Ladle the soup over the bread.  Don't be shy about the garlic pieces, that's the whole point!  Gently remove the eggs and top each bowl with one.  Sprinkle with the parsley.  


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Grillades and Grits with Turkey

Traditionally, this is a brunch dish served in the South.  It's usually made with veal, but turkey cutlets are easier (and less expensive) to find.  I've lightened it up with lots of vegetables and very little fat.  It's great for supper.

Grillades and Grits with Turkey

1 lb turkey cutlets 
1 tea Cajun Seasoning Mix, divided 
Approx 1 ½ c each:  diced onion, red pepper, celery
½ tea thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes in juice (low sodium) or 3 diced tomatoes
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups chicken broth (homemade or low sodium canned)
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 tbs white whole wheat flour (or any mixture of all purpose and whole wheat flour)
4 scallions, sliced

Heat a Dutch oven or other large heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat.  Dry the turkey cutlets on paper towels.  Sprinkle one side with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Add 1 tbs olive oil to the Dutch oven.  Add in several cutlets, seasoned side down.  Don’t crowd the pan.  Season the other side with salt & pepper.  Turn when nicely browned, remove to a plate and cover.  Continue browning the rest of the cutlets & set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium low.  Add in the remaining 2 tbs olive oil.  Scrap the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits (the Fond), add in the white whole wheat flour.  Stir the roux for about 15 minutes until it is the color of peanut butter.  It will be a very dry roux, so don’t worry, just keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn.

Then add the onions, turning up the heat to medium high.  Cook for several minutes, then add the red pepper, celery and garlic.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened. 

Add the thyme and bay leaves, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. 

Stir in the tomatoes and the chicken broth.  Slide in the turkey, any accumulated juices, and the remaining Cajun seasoning.  Stir gently to mix.  Turn down the heat to low and cover. 

Simmer gently for 30 to 45 minutes until the meat is nice and tender and the gravy is thickened. 

For the grits:
Follow package directions for the grits!  Make enough for 6 people.

Serves 4 - 6 people

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blueberry Roly Poly

This recipe is from the 1949 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book.  This and my Fannie Farmer of the same vintage is great for real comfort food recipes.  I found this one a couple of weeks ago and have made it with both peaches and blueberries.  Yummy either way!

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 cup water
2 tsp grated lemon rind (from about 1/2 a large lemon)
2 tbsp lemon juice (1/2 a large lemon)

Add to a small saucepan and boil for 10 minutes.  Pour into a 10" x 8" x 2" baking dish.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2 cups sifted all purpose white flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt (I just use a big pinch)
6-7 tbs shortening (I use 7 tbs butter)
about 2/3 -3/4 cup milk (I use 3/4 cup)

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter.  Mix in the milk to form a rough dough.  Dump onto a board and roll out into a rectangle approx 12" x 8" (I find it easier to roll if you make the rectangle slightly larger by an inch or two in both directions).  DO NOT over mix the biscuit dough!

1/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
2 cups blueberries
2 tbs softened butter

Top the rectangle with the brown sugar & blueberries to within 1/2" from the edges.  Roll up from the long side, like jelly roll.  (You'll need to sort of squeeze it gently together to keep it in a cylinder.)  Cut into 8 even pieces and lay flat in the baking dish.  Dot with the softened butter.  Bake in 425 over for 30 to 35 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Camping in the Rough - Blast from the Bayou - Breakfast

Asparagus Camembert Omelette with Mimosas

Who says you can't have good food while camping, certainly not me!  Here are some of our experiences from our recent trip to CT for the Blast from the Bayou Cajun & Zydeco Festival.  It truly is a blast. We always have a great time when we're there.

Dan backstage-ish with Cedric Watson

Since Dan had to work, I got to stake out our site & begin set up of the camp.  The tent is easy.  It's the easy-up and kitchen that are the hard part!  I never said that I travelled light.  You bring a knife block when you camp, don't you?  Luckily, he got to CT in time to help me out in between the downpours that are inevitable when festival camping.

So for breakfast we had the omelette pictured above.  I made it with the last purple asparagus.  Only needed one, since he was a monster (yes, definitely a he).  Had picked up some beautiful Camembert from  Brookford Farm in NH.  If you get a chance to visit there, you should!  And we HAD to have bacon, it's one of the rules.

To make the omelette, I first peeled the lower portion of the asparagus.  You have to peel the large ones, or you won't be able to eat them.  Then I sliced it thinly and blanched until tender in a bit of lightly salted & sugared water.  Drain & set aside.

Looks yummy already, doesn't it?!  Heat a medium sized nonstick skillet over medium low heat, add a pat of butter & a little olive oil. When the butter stops foaming it's time to add your 4 eggs that you've lightly beaten with about 1/4 cup of milk and some salt & pepper to taste.

Then cut off the weirdo rind.  You can see how ripe the cheese is, by the time it went into the pan it was really runny!  Once the eggs have set a bit add the asparagus pieces & the cheese.  Once the cheese has melted a bit, flip over one side of the eggs, cook for another minute or two, the serve!  There was a Cajun food vendor on site, so we bought grits from her.  She couldn't figure out why we just wanted plain grits, heh heh, wasn't telling her!

Moral of the story?  Eat well, no matter where you are!  Enjoy!

Portabella Pizzas

So, I really wanted to have some pizza, but didn't want it to be too heavy.  Luckily I found these beautiful portabella mushrooms in my new fancy Market Basket in Lowell (my new favorite store).

These were super easy to make.  You will need:

2 or 3 large portabella mushrooms per person, stems removed and wiped clean
1/2 c of your favorite tomato sauce, preferably home made, per person
a little olive oil
Your favorite toppings, I used peppers and vidalia onions
1 slice of mozzeralla cheese for each mushroom
parmesean or romano cheese for grating
pinch of crush red pepper flakes
Fresh basil, finely sliced

Turn your oven onto 400 degrees to preheat.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat a small amount of olive oil.  Put in as many mushroom as will fit in the pan.  Cook the mushrooms flipping a couple of times until they are softened.  If you don't cook them ahead of time, they'll still be raw when you go to eat them, blech!  Continue cooking your mushrooms until you have them all precooked.

Place the mushrooms in a baking dish that is large enough to hold them all.  It needs to be at least 1" deep since there will be lots of juice, not a bad thing!
Top each mushroom with some of the tomato sauce, add a pinch of salt and crushed red pepper.  Add a few threads of the sliced basil.  Cover each mushroom with a slice of mozzerella.  Top with your favorite pizza fixins.  Add some parmesean if you like.  Pop in the oven for 15 minutes or so, or until they are nicely browned.

They don't make a crisp pizza, but the flavor is incredible.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spicy Corn Dogs

I came up with this recipe several years ago, mostly as a joke. You know how a recipe sort of comes together in your head? You can see it & smell it? The key to these corn dogs is the hot cast iron corn muffin pans. If you don't have these, you can substitute a regular muffin pan, they'll still taste good, but won't look the same. The corn bread recipe is inspired by the one in Gourmet Cookbook that I grew up with... Great for kids or kids at heart. They keep well in the fridge for several days and also freeze nicely. That only happens in my house if I make a double batch!

Serves 10
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal
2 organic eggs
1 cup whole or 2% milk
3 tablespoons melted butter or bacon drippings, more to grease the pans
1/2 cup grated cheese such as cheddar
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno (optional)
14 ounces mini hot dogs

Place 4 cast iron corn muffin pans into a cold oven. Heat the oven to 400 degrees for at least 30 minutes. Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Stir in the grated cheese & minced jalapeno.

Whisk together the milk & eggs. Pour over the flour mixture. Gently stir together with the melted butter. Be careful to stir only to combine. Do not over mix! Take one pan out of the oven. Next you'll have to grease the corn pan. I find the best way to do this is to take the rest of your stick of butter and run it along the inside of the corn forms. The butter will bubble up immediately, very cool.

Spoon in about 2 tbsp batter into each corn section. Gently press 2 mini hot dogs into each section. Place pan back in the oven. Repeat with the remaining 3 pans.

Bake the corn dogs for approx 20 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes. Gently remove each corn dog with a couple of small forks. Place onto a baker's rack. Serve with mustard if you wish.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May Wine

This time of year is so nice!  Everything is starting to come up in the garden, ahhhh.....  So, that means it's time to make May Wine or Maiwein in German.  Growing up, we always had sweet woodruff growing under the lilacs.  When it's blooming you can make May Wine.

Pick a handful of sweet woodruff once the dew has dried.

Open a bottle of good white or rose wine.  I'm using an Austrian rose for mine today.  Don't use an overly bold wine, something along the lines of a Pinot Grisio, Chenin Blanc, or a Gruner Veltliner will work great.

Put the blossoms in a glass pitcher or jar and pour over the wine.  Let sit in a cool place or fridge for several hours or overnight.

Strain out the blossoms.  Serve over ice, mixed 50 - 50 with seltzer or club soda.