Archive for the 'savory' Category

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza with Arugula Date Salad

February 27, 2012

Am I really about to post a recipe of an apparently very common pizza combination and a salad?   Yup, sure am.  Because, at times like these, tasty recipes trump any recipe that may seem ordinary.  Alas, this is pretty tasty.

It’s so good, in fact, that we made this 4 times last week.  Not once, with some leftovers.  From scratch, four different times.  And I could even have some right now.  Seriously, I have nothing more to say.  Mm!

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza with Arugula Date Salad

Of course I know that you can make a perfectly adequate salad!  Seriously, I do.  I won’t even insult you by writing the salad recipe here, as the title suggests.  I will maybe just nudge you to make a salad of arugula, chopped fresh dates, and shavings of the best parmesan with a balsamic vinaigrette (perhaps consisting of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper).  And then maybe suggest that you eat this served directly on your pizza.  See!  Salad makers, I have such faith in you.

1/2 pizza dough recipe, or store-bought pizza dough

3 onions, sliced thinly

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 pears, sliced thinly (toss in lemon juice to prevent from browning)

4 oz. mozzarella, shredded

1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola

honey or agave nectar, to drizzle

salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a pan.  Add onions, salt them, and sautee, stirring often, over medium heat until browned and caramelized, about 25 minutes.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll out pizza dough as thin as possible, about 1/8 inch.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Spread cooled onions all over the dough, up to the edges.  Evenly sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top.  Layer the pears evenly over the mozzarella cheese.  Salt and pepper pears, to taste.  Sprinkle the gorgonzola evenly over the pears.  Lightly drizzle top of the pizza with agave or honey.

Bake pizza for about 15-20 minutes, until the edges are browned and crisp.  Slice and serve with arugula date salad.

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Butternut Squash Soup

January 19, 2012

I don’t know what it is about January.  It’s by far the worst month of the year.  All the festive decorations and trees are depressingly on the side of the driveway, all those delicious holiday flavored creamers are gone, it’s still ridiculously cold outside but you can no longer look forward to sledding during the time off, and pumpkin flavored things no longer seem appropriate.  Oh and.  You really just can’t cut into another butternut squash.

And so I give you butternut squash soup!  Using frozen butternut squash.  It’s brilliant and so fitting for this painfully lethargic time of year.  Eat it steaming with a warm piece of fresh baguette and you may even forget that it’s January.  Or eat it really slowly and maybe it will be February by the time you’re done.  Yum.

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup should taste tangy and sweet and spicy, but no taste overwhelming the others.  I have put the amounts that I prefer, but start out slow and adjust according to your taste.

2 packages frozen butternut/winter squash puree, defrosted

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 cups vegetable stock

2.5 tbsp. honey

1.5 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1.5 tsp. black pepper

1.5 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. all spice

1.5 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup yogurt

2 tbsp. heavy cream

1 cinnamon stick

salt, to taste

1. Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat and add olive oil.  Sautee onions until they are translucent.  Add ginger and let it soften.  Add the garlic and let it cook for an additional minute.

2. Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve.  Immediately after the sugar has dissolved, add stock and defrosted squash.  Stir to combine everything and let it heat up.

3. Add honey, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, cinnamon, all spice, lemon juice and salt.  Place cinnamon stick in the soup.

4. Whisk in the yogurt and taste.  Let the soup heat up again.  Adjust all of the seasonings, if needed.

5. Blend the soup either using an immersion blender, or a regular blender, making sure that the cinnamon stick is discarded.

6. Let the soup come to a simmer and whisk in cream.  Serve with warmed bread.  Or with granola sprinkled on top!

Latkes

December 22, 2011

Growing up, we always used to celebrate Hanukkah.  Just over a month after Diwali festivities had dwindled, we would play with the dreidel, light imaginary candles on the imaginary menorah (we didn’t acutally have one), and eat a makeshift Hanukkah meal, all right next to the…Christmas tree.  Looking back, I see how strange this was.  Or really extraordinarily multicultural.  Or, really, just strange.


Either way, latkes would sometimes make the menu, often not.  Even though they are, in my opinion, the epitome of Hanukkah food, we never got them quite right.  They were too soggy, or too flat, or too oily, or didn’t have enough flavor.  And then we would always eat them with sour cream, straight from the tub.  Needless to say, the dreidel was far more festive.

But I brought Hanukkah back this year!  And I conquered the latke!  I realized that to make a good latke, you need a little faith…and a good recipe, and we finally have both.  These latkes were crispy and fluffy and not too potato-ey (which can be a problem), with the perfect Greek yogurt accompaniment.   Latkes are finally sticking around for yearly Hanukkah celebrations in this Indian household!

Latkes (slightly adapted from The New York Times)

The key to crispy latkes is to get as much moisture out of the potato, onion, apple mixture, as possible.  Even though this was not a part of the original recipe, after squeezing out the liquid from the mixture as much as I could, I tied my mixture-filled cheese cloth on a faucet to let it drain even further.  What resulted was the most crispy latke on the outside, but a pillowy soft inside.  I have made these several times now, and I have hung up my mixture to drain every time.  I’m assuming that it will work without this step, but why mess with a delicious, perfectly fried, non-soggy latke, I say.

1/2 cup whole or 2% Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon maple syrup

3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled

2 medium onions, peeled

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

Olive oil, for frying

1. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, cinnamon and syrup. Cover and chill until ready to use.

2. Coarsely grate the apples, potatoes and onions. Put the mixture in a clean dish towel and squeeze to wring out as much liquid as possible.  Tie the dish towel onto a faucet to let the mixture drain further, about an hour.

3. When ready, squeeze the remaining juice out of the mixture and put in a large bowl.  Separate the mixture with a wooden spoon.  Working quickly, add the flour, eggs, salt, baking powder and pepper, and mix until the flour is absorbed.

4. Preheat the oven to 250.  Place a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet.  In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of oil. Once the oil is hot, drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the pan, cooking 3 to 4 latkes at a time.  Flatten the latke slightly with the spoon.  When the edges of the latkes are brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes, flip them. Cook until the second side is deeply browned, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Place the latkes on to the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm until the rest of the latkes are fried.  Repeat with the remaining batter.  Serve with dollops of the cinnamon yogurt on top.

Last Minute Thanksgiving Ideas

November 23, 2011

One more day until the big feast!  I’m sure that you have your menus planned and everything is going exactly according to plan.  But juuuust in case you need any last minute ideas for side dishes, desserts, or even for breakfast the next day (early the next day, before shopping, of course), here are a few:

Appetizers and Side Dishes


Baked Rice Balls

Caramelized Onion, Basil, Tomato, Goat Cheese Quiche

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Cheeseless Mac and Cheese

Zucchini Ricotta Galette

Corn Muffin Stuffing

Desserts

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Lemon Ginger Yogurt Tart

Fig Galette

Fresh Apple Layer Cake

Sweet Potato Pudding Cake

Pecan Cornmeal Cake

French Apple Tart

Breakfast on Friday Morning!

Blackberry, Almond, White Chocolate, Lemon Loaf

Pan de Mallorca

Almond Anise Biscotti

Carrot Cake Breakfast Bread

Barley Scones with Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Nutmeg Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bread

Corn Muffins

Hope everyone has a lovely holiday!

Corn Muffin Stuffing (Stuffing Part 2)

November 21, 2011


Things I learned about the art of making stuffing:

1. Don’t be stubborn about not toasting your bread.  I obviously just wanted to stale my bread, thinking that this would result in a much more authentic stuffing.  I cubed up my corn muffins, spread them out on a baking sheet and stuck it in the oven to dry out.  While preheating the oven for a delightfully simple yet delicious apple tart (which will be posted tomorrow), I forgot about the cornbread.  I was just thinking that my kitchen surprisingly smells wonderful, when I realized that corn muffins were burning.  I took them out just in time.  And it turns out that toasting the muffins added a lovely crunch to the stuffing that I quite appreciated.  Toast the bread.

2. When in doubt, add more seasoning.  Stuffing is a weird, tricky beast.  You have all of these competing flavors, but you just may not have enough salt.  And there is absolutely no way to tell!  Because you try everything separately, but never together.  Especially when you have raw eggs mixed in!  Season the sauteed veggies, and the roasted potatoes, and the egg mixture.  Because otherwise, you have a whole lotta flavorless stuffing, which is just bad news bears.

3. If you are vegetarian, don’t add fake sausage.  It turns purple.  A very off-putting purple.  I mean, just don’t do it.

4. I still don’t get stuffing.  I just don’t understand it.  And though my first taste of it, and my first attempt at making it was successful, it’s just a bunch of random things thrown in a casserole over soggy bread.  But that’s exactly why it’s completely brilliant too!  How can it not taste great?!  So as long as everything on its own is delicious, your stuffing will probably be too.

Stuffing (adapted from a-many google searches on stuffing)

1 recipe corn muffins, cut into small cubes and toasted for 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven

3 tbsp. butter, plus more for greasing the casserole dish

1 onion, diced

3 stalks celery, chopped into the same size as onions

1 apple, cored and diced

1 tbsp. fresh thyme

1 sweet potato, seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted and diced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

2 eggs

1/2 cup cream

1 1/2 cups veggie broth

Place the cubed and toasted cornbread into a large bowl.  To it, add the cranberries, pecans, sweet potatoes, and parsley.  Stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 375.   Grease a large casserole dish with butter.  Over medium heat, melt the 3 tbsp. butter and sautee the onions and celery until soft and lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and thyme.  Add the apples and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the mixture to the cornbread.  Stir to combine.

Whisk together the eggs, cream and broth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour over the cornbread mixture and stir until everything is well coated.  Pour everything into the prepared casserole dish and bake for about 40 minutes until the top is nice and toasty.

Zucchini Parmesan

September 15, 2011
Do you remember when I really didn’t like zucchini?  How I didn’t like it in any shape or form ever.  I tried to develop a taste for it, but it never really did anything for me.  Until I went to Italy this summer.  The Italians really know how to cook!  Bet you didn’t know that.  And they definitely know how to cook zucchini: it always ended up fresh, light and clean.  Exactly how zucchini should be.

I ended up completely making a 180 about zucchini.  I started putting it in everything!  Pastas, pizzas, salads, as a side – I used zucchini in everything that I did not like zucchini in before.  This was a summer of transformation for me.  I like to call it the summer of zucchini love.

One of my favorite dishes that I had in Italy was a zucchini parmesan.  It was absolutely delicious and totally unlike any parmesan dishes I had before.  The zucchini was lightly sauteed, not fried, and just sprinkled with breadcrumbs and the best fresh cheese ever (the Italians make good cheese too!).  It was all brought together by this thick tomato sauce that was out of this world.  I tried to recreate it, and it was quite tasty.  But I’d advise you to take a trip to Italy so you can try the original version.  And then you can experience your own zucchini love.

Zucchini Parmesan (slightly adapted from here)
2 lbs. zucchini
salt and pepper
2 cups basic  tomato sauce
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
3/4 cup breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to 450.  Oil two baking sheets with olive oil.  Slice the zucchini about 1/2 inch thick and place onto prepared baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake until the slices turn golden brown, about 8 minutes.  Let cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350.  In a casserole dish, spoon 1/4 cup tomato sauce.  Layer the zucchini on top.  Sprinkle with 1/4 of the basil leaves, 1/4 of the parmesan, slices of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.  Keep covering by layering until all of the ingredients have been used.  Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.  Let cool slightly and serve.

Easy Whole Wheat Oat Bread

August 11, 2011

You know, there are just some recipes that I want to make as soon as I see them.  This, my friends, is one of them.  Saw the recipe on Tuesday, made it on Wednesday, and I’m just getting ready to make it all over again.  It’s that easy, and it’s that good.

This isn’t one of those intimidating yeast breads.  There’s no kneading, only a 30 minute rise time (directly in the loaf pan!), bake it off for 30 minutes, and ta da!  You’ve got yourself some delicious bread!  Start to finish time takes maybe an hour, and that’s just pretty awesome.

In all fairness, this won’t replace your sandwich bread, and it will be hard to toast.  It has this soft crumbly texture that will be hard to make anything that needs a sturdy slice.  But it is just screaming for some butter and jam, while it’s just coming out of the oven.  A perfect staple for afternoon tea, if you do that sort of thing.  If not, it’s great for breakfast too.

Easy Whole Wheat Oat Bread (recipe from 101 Cookbooks)

1 1/4 cup warm water

1 packet yeast

1 tablespoon honey

In a bowl, mix together the water and yeast until the yeast is dissolved.  Add honey and stir until the honey is thoroughly mixed in.  Set aside for 10 minutes.

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp. flaky sea salt

2 tbsp. butter, melted

In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients.  Place the butter in a loaf pan and brush generously to cover the entire surface of the pan.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated.  Scoop the dough into the prepared pan and spread to make sure that it is evenly distributed.  Cover with a clean, damp cloth and set the pan in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.  Bake bread for 35 minutes until baked through.  Broil for 2 minutes until the top has turned a deep brown.  Let cool in the pan, on a wire rack.  Eat warm.

Tomato Pesto Crostada

June 29, 2011

Tomatoes! Basil! Corn(meal)!  We can’t get more summer than this, people!  This, my friends, is summer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  It’s nothing less than a splendidly delightful summer tart.  And you already know how much I love my tarts.

Turns out that I also love summer.  So go to the market and get fresh tomatoes and basil and corn(meal)!  And enjoy this outside!  With a cold beverage.  As I’m doing right now.  (Instead of writing a better post, and filling it with pictures instead, making you think that it is actually a long post).  Long live the warm weather.

Tomato Pesto Crostada (adapted from Always With Butter)

For Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour

½ cup cornmeal

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

½ cup greek yogurt

¼ cup oil

Stir together flours, sugar and salt.  Mix in the yogurt and oil until well combined.  If still crumbly, and not coming together, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together.  Form a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and let chill for 1 hour.

For Filling:

1 pint cherry tomatoes

¼ cup fresh prepared basil pesto

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. tomato paste

pinch oregano

pinch red pepper flakes

1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk

Pierce all the tomatoes with a fork.  Mix together pesto, olive oil and garlic until well combined.  Add tomatoes and toss.  Salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll out crust until 12-14 inches in diameter.  Move the dough to the parchment paper.  Spread the tomato paste in a circle in the center of the dough, leaving a 1 inch border.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, pinch of oregano and pinch of red pepper flakes.  Mound the tomato/pesto mixture onto the tomato paste.  Spread grated parmesan cheese on top.  Fold the border over the filling.  Brush the egg mixture over the folded crust.  Bake until the crust is nicely browned, 30-40 minutes.

Zucchini Ricotta Galette

May 19, 2011

I’m not the biggest fan of zucchini.  It’s so overused in the vegetarian options at restaurants.  It always a let-down, whether it’s steamed, sauteed, fried, an entree, or a side dish (and it’s been cooked as all of them in the past).  It’s disappointing, not exciting, never seasoned well, and frankly, quite boring.

So the surplus of the zucchini and summer squash in the recently reopened farmers markets does not entice me.  But what does entice me??  This recipe for a ricotta zucchini tart!  Not so much the zucchini part, obviously, but definitely the ricotta.  And the mozzarella, and the parmesan and the garlic oil.  Mmm.

I’m happy to report that due in part to my laziness in not wanting to be creative, and in part to my grocery store not having nice looking eggplants, I begrudgingly used zucchini and loved it.  It’s the simplicity (or, blandness, let’s not kid ourselves) of the zucchini that I despise so much that works beautifully with all of the other components.  No, really.  I’m sure that other vegetables would work, but it’s the balance of the cheese to the vegetables that is key here.  Delish.  Zucchini and summer squash, I’m coming back for you.  For this tart only.

Zucchini Ricotta Galette (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Crust

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup oil

Mix all of the ingredients together.  Roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.  Flatten out to form a disc.  Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Filling

2 zucchinis, or summer squash, sliced in 1/4 inch thickness

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

1/2 cup parmesan, shredded

2 garlic cloves, minced

1.5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

Spread the zucchini on a double layer of paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt.  Let it sit for 30 minutes, and then gently blot the zucchini dry.  While waiting for the zucchini, mix together the minced garlic with the olive oil and set aside.  Mix together ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  Add a teaspoon of the garlic oil and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll out the refrigerated dough to a 12 inch round.  Place onto the baking sheet.  Spread the cheese/garlic mixture onto the dough, leaving a two inch border.  Lay the zucchini on the ricotta filling.  Drizzle the remaining garlic oil on top of the zucchini.  Fold over the border over the filling, pleating and pressing to make it secure.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is bubbly.  Take it out of the oven and sprinkle basil leaves on top.  Let the tart sit for 5 minutes and then slice.

Cheeseless Mac and Cheese Florentine

March 31, 2011

Okay, I get it.  No one really craves cheese-less macaroni and cheese.  All you’re left with is macaroni and…  But this little number is something different.  It has all of the delicious qualities of a standard mac and cheese, the gooey-ness, the creaminess, even the cheesiness, believe it or not, but without the actual cheese.  I can see that you’re not sold yet.

White beans and cashews blended up together are what makes the consistency so cheese-like.  But then it has all the flavors of a normal mac and cheese – dried mustard, onions, breadcrumbs, the works.  It’s pretty much a win/win – a protein and vegetable filled, cholesterol-free (bonus!) dish, disguised as the comforting form of mac and cheese.  You’re craving it a little bit now, I can tell.  Make some and see if you ever go cheese-full again!?  Okay, that’s not a challenge.  Everyone loves cheese.  But you know what I mean.

Calling all requests! I did a bit of spring cleaning this week.  Great for the swim cap I thought I had lost 6 months ago.  Bad for me realizing that I have over seventy cookbooks and magazines that I never turn to whenever I want to find a recipe.  The internet has been my source for recipes and my cookbooks have been left for my bedtime reading (I like the pictures).  But no more!  I am challenging myself not to buy a single cookbook or magazine until I have tried something from every readable source that I have.  And I need your help!  Tell me anything you’d like to make – savory, sweet, brunch, dessert, vegan, gluten-free, really anything.  And I will make it my mission to find a cookbook recipe, put my spin on it, if need be, and post as many as I can.  Everyone wins!

Mac and Cheese Florentine (adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker)

8 oz elbow macaroni
10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, cooked as directed, and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 and 3/4 cups water
1 can white beans, rinsed
1 and 1/2  tbl. miso paste
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook macaroni for 6 minutes in boiling water.  Drain and add spinach.  Toss to combine.
2.  Saute chopped onions in the oil over medium high heat.  Cook for 7-8 minutes, until translucent, but not brown.  *Do not salt the onions!
3.  Grind cashews in food processor. Add 1 cup of water and blend. Add cooked onions, white beans, miso paste, remaining 3/4 cup water, lemon juice, dried mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, garlic powder and salt.  Blend again until smooth.  Taste and adjust the spices as necessary.  Pour bean/cashew sauce over the cooked macaroni and spinach.  Mix until well combined.
4.  Pour mixture into lightly greased casserole dish.
5.  Melt butter in a pan, over medium-low heat.  Add breadcrumbs and toast until browned and fragrant.  Spread on top of casserole.  Bake for 30 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Let sit for 5 minutes before digging in.