Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here are some authentic recipes straight from Ireland.Read More
Happy New Year everyone! Most of the decorations are put away, and I'm happy to be back blogging and cooking. As I write, there are carpenters working on the bakery building adding a "pantry". It's going to be great. Lots of room to put away the shelving units that have been taking up space for years. There will be more room for classes, and I'll be able to welcome larger groups. Since we didn't need two pizzas, and it's the middle of the day. I invited the guys for lunch. It's freezing cold and a nice hot pizza sounded good. It makes me feel a little like Ina Garten!
I decided to use Chianti for the wine. The kind with the straw around the bottle. When we were Christmas shopping, I found boxes of the drippy candles that change color as they drip. My dad loves these and so do I. I could use a regular wine bottle, but since I needed wine and the candles needed a bottle, this was the perfect match. I need to drink or use about another 750 ml's of wine before the candle dripping can commence but I'm off to a good start. If you look at the box, you'll see the wine bottle sketched out! I promise to show you the bottle once it's been dripped.
There are some fun recipes just around the corner. The recipe for today is from Baking with Julia, by Dorie Greenspan and is part of the Tuesdays with Dorie blogging group. It's not too late to pick up a copy and join the fun.
On to the pizza...
A few years ago, I was making the Onion Soup from Thomas Keller's Bouchon. In the recipe, he teaches how to cut an onion perfectly so it will wilt and cook down nicely for caramelized onions. I used the same technique here and will show you how it's done.
If you run out of room, turn the onion around and start from the other side. Cutting this way will break the membrane in the layers of the onion and help to make them move tender and softer as they caramelize.
So what is confit (cone-fee)? It's the process of cooking to make the fruit of vegetable soft but sweet. Orange peels are confited before being dipped into dark chocolate. Confiture is jam in French. So think... tender, sweet onions.
Once the onions (sprinkled with sugar) are in the pan and cooked a bit, the wine, red wine vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper as added. I simmered the confit for about 1 1/2 hours. Just the perfect time for the dough to have a second rise.
The dough is very easy to put together and has a wonderful texture and feel. If you're not planning to make the onion confit, you should still head over to The Boy Can Bake and Paul will have all the recipes for you.
I used a mix of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheeses with an assortment of olives. A few of the olives were stuffed with blue cheese so they were a great addition.
Exactly 15 minutes later the pizza was crisp, golden and delicious. I baked mine on parchment on a baking sheet and skipped the peel process.
Have a great time making this pizza! (and dripping candles...)
We've got a chill in the air, and it's time for thick soups and stews. Today's recipes are truly a salute to late summer. Our CSA has provided us with a bounty of peppers and tomatoes, and I'm happy to put them to use in the Chicken Basquaise recipe. I also had the treat of using a locally grown chicken. This recipe is great because you can make it with only chicken thighs or wings if you like. The meat will simmer and be nearly falling off the bone when it's served. I decided to serve ours over brown rice. What's Basquaise, you ask? It means in the style of the Basque region. A region on the border of France and Spain. The foods are unique, simple and hearty. Chicken is browned and combined with a onions, garlic, tomatoes, white wine, and thyme. The vegetables are simmered first, until tender, then the chicken is added. the mixure simmers for 45 minutes, until the chicken is tender. I let mine simmer longer, for "falling off the bone" tenderness.
For a little extra punch and flavor of the region, you can add a pinch of chili powder.
I had a blast peeling and chopping the tomatoes. They were SO juicy and flavorful. I had to take a picture as they were almost ready to drip off the cutting board.
On to the bread. This recipe is absolutely delicious. Serve it with any meal, make toast, make crostini, just make this bread! Be patient, though. It's sticky and a tad bit tricky. I know you can do it!
As I read through Basque recipes, I learned the shepherd would place bread dough in a special iron pot and bury it in the coals of his campfire in the morning. After tending the flock all day, he would return to the pot of bread, which would be ready. The first piece would be cut from the top and given to the sheep dog. Since my dogs are herders (in need of a herd), this is for them. They didn't get any bread, but were very interested. The aroma and flavor of this bread is amazing. I didn't add the sage, but I know it would add great flavor.
To print this recipe, click HERE
Basque Shepherd's Bread
Yield: 1 Loaf
3/4 c Water
1 T Olive oil
1 3/4 c Unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T Sugar
1 tsp Dried sage
1 tsp. To 1 tsp. salt - to taste
1 1/2 tsp Active dry yeast --- or---
LARGE LOAF (or 2 smaller loaves)
1 1/4 c Water
2 T Olive oil
3 c Unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Dried sage
1 tsp To 2 tsp. salt - to taste
2 tsp Active dry yeast
Add all the ingredients together in a bowl, and mix well with a wooden spoon. When dough is no longer shaggy, turn out onto the counter, cover with the bowl, and allow it to rest about 5-10 minutes. Then, using a bench scraper to help, pull the dough toward you, fold over the top, pick up the dough and slap (upside-down) on the counter surface. Repeat until the dough no longer sticks to the counter. The dough will be smooth, very loose, and a little sticky. Use a dusting of flour to help shape the dough into a ball. Allow the dough to rise for about an hour until doubled. I used a baguette pan, and made a long loaf shape which was contained by the sides of the pan. You could use a cast enamel pot or bread pan to contain the bread. Allow the bread to rise a 2nd time for about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and the internal temperature is 180 degrees F.
Here's the whole meal, tender chicken, aromatic vegetables in very flavorful broth, and warm wonderful bread. Let me know how your bread turns out! Stop by soon, I have a great apple dessert recipe for you.
It's been such a great month so far. We've traveled to fun places and just hosted a wedding reception. It was a belated reception! The sweet couple got married last summer in the Rockies, then celebrated with friends here in Wisconsin this summer. While I was supposed to be writing and posting the French Friday's With Dorie post, I was elbow deep in decorating, baking, fluffing pillows, and turning our yard into a summer party wonderland. Before I tell you about the salad, I have to get you a peek at the party. With the help of my friends and florists extraordinaire, Jennifer and Scott, we clustered BIG grapevine balls and hung them from the tent ceiling. Our friend, Paul, made a door frame which held an old door we found in our garage when we moved in. It was the perfect entryway for our guests.
So what does a pastry chef make for her step-daughter's weddding reception? PIE! Another friend, Diane and I made pie, pie, and more pie! It didn't take very long to make 17 pies. Cherry, Peach and Blueberry. I'll save crust and pie filling for another post...
Back to the salad... Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan is the source of this recipe. The scallop salad was a big hit as we were racing around running last minute errands. The scallops got to ride home on ice, and waited patiently for lunch time.
Instead of using fresh corn, I had some corn, still on the cob on the freezer. I let it defrost lightly and removed it from the cob. It was slightly soft, but nice and cold for the salad.
Instead of the grill, I heated my grill pan, and seared the nectarines, then wiped the pan, added some oil and seared the scallops. It went together SO quickly! A quick dressing for the corn salad and lunch was ready! I would have to say that the basil coulis preparation was one of the best parts. The fragrance and texture of the delicate garnish was amazing!
Here's to summer, good friends, sweet babies, families, and happy Marriages!
And P.S.... Happy 100th Birthday, Julia Chld!
First things first. I know it's wrong, but I like to spell tartlet, tartlette. It just seems more fitting for a small French pastry. Smell is such a huge part of taste. If you're stuffy, nothing seems to taste good. There are some smells that make you happy with just a whiff. This recipe combines those fragrant and delicous ingredients. Basil, fresh tomatoes, garlic, baking puff pastry, and goat cheese. I went out to the tomato patch to check on the progress, and ta-da! I picked about a dozen San Marzanos. These are amazing little guys. They look like a Roma, but are even meatier, and more flavorful. They're that tomato of choice for wood-fired pizza makers in Italy. They're one the key ingredients in Pizza Margherita. Don't you love the smell of tomato plants?
And the basil...what a punch!
Wait! For those of you who just read the word puff pastry and are ready to move on, please stay. You'll be using a sheet of pastry that you can purchase at the grocery. All you'll need to do is thaw and unfold it. Here's your chance to make a beautiful tart that will look like you spent all day. You could if you wanted to, but you don't have to. Sometime we'll make puff pastry together. It takes time, but it's really worth it.
This recipe is part of the French Fridays with Dorie online cooking group. The recipe comes from Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan. I'll walk you through the basic steps, just in case you don't have a copy.
First you'll open your thawed box of pastry and unfold it. Find a bowl or cup that's about 3-4 inches in diamenter and trace four circles. If the puff pastry has tears where is was folded, gently smoosh it together. Not too hard though. Once you have your circles, move the dough to a baking sheet, covered with parchment, and poke with a fork. This keep the puff pastry from puffing too much. A way to make sure the dough puffs evenly is to set another sheet of parchement paper and a baking sheet or cooling rack on top. The dough will still puff and be flaky, just nice and even.
Here's the dough! Super simple.
After you've removed the puff from the oven, let it cool. It should be nice and golden.
Now on to the pesto. I filled the food processor with basil, garlic, and pine nuts. Gave it a whirl, when I realized that I didnt' have any parmesan cheese. Another oops! No problem. There's going to be cheese on top, so I added the drizzle of olive oil and had a great tasting topping for the tarts. Here's the recipe I made:
To print this recipe, click HERE
2-3 cups basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2-3 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (apparently optional)
1/2 cup olive oil, or to desired consistency
salt and pepper to taste
Pulse the basil, garlic, nuts and cheese until to forms a chunky paste. Drizzle in olive oil until pesto is desired consistency. Season to taste.
It's so easy! However, we're in the together and I don't want you to miss out on this tart. You can buy pesto, and it will be fine. You can find it in the refrigerated department or the condiment aisle.
Now be creative. Put a big dollap of pesto on each tart. Then, slice the tomatoes, and cheese. If you have one big tomato, place a big 'ol slice on the tart. I had smaller sized tomatoes, so I made a pinwheel around the tart. I used both goat cheese and fresh mozarella. I put the goat cheese around the edges, and the mozarella in the middle, in case it oozed. Once they were all assembled, I baked mine for about 5 minutes until the cheese looked melted, then I popped the pan under the broiler for about 15 seconds. WATCH carefully, they will brown and burn very quickly.
The easiest part of all... Find three friends. Make a salad, pour a glass of wine and enjoy!
The first snow has fallen, the tree is up, and it's time for warm, comfort food. Cooking on a Sunday afternoon is a great way to warm up the house, try new recipes, and prepare great food... and future leftovers. In a previous enty, I mentioned Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan. Gary, my husband, came home late last week and asked if I had ever heard of the book. Well! I pulled it out, and he immediately flipped to the recipe he had heard about while listening to a podcast in the car. The recipe was for Hachis Parmentier, the French version of Shepard's Pie. I suggested we try the recipe, so off he went to the grocery to pick up a few ingredients.
The vegetables were chopped and ready to start simmering with the beef. Here's the pan ready to start. It was just what we had hoped for. The house smelled great, the kitchen was warm, the Packer's were winning.
About three hours later, here's the beef, minus the vegetable, ready for the potato topping.
The mashed potato topping the beef was imbibed with a little cream, butter, and warm milk. Here's the final prep ready for the oven.
I started cooking around 3 and pulled the steamy, puffy dish out out the oven about 7. The gruyere was melted and golden brown.
If you have some time to chop, simmer, mash and bake, this is a wonderful, warm winter treat. I have to admit that it did use several pans and utensils. It's not a one-pot wonder, but it's worth every pan. Thanks Dorie, but a great book and delicious afternoon.
As you're looking for holiday gifts, I would put this book high on the list for your cooking friends. In the words of Julia Child, Bon appetit!