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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cornmeal Crepes with Figs and Pears


This morning I made cornmeal and flour crepes with fresh figs, pears and a dollop of whipped cream. Sounds kind of fancy right, but really it’s not and this recipe ended up being very easy to put together. The recipe came from the September 2013 issue of Bon Appetite. I have had page 73 torn out since then. They are “filed” by where they land in the box and left for a rainy day. Apparently this was the day……….

The hardest part of preparing this dish for me was turning the first crepe (see pic below) So for the one I followed their prep school tip which was; "Once the edge of your crepe is golden and lacy and the center has set, gently loosen it with a spatula. Then, using your fingers pull up the crepe and swiftly pull over.” I used this method and the rest of the crepes turned out near perfect. But there was one more tip to add which was not anywhere in the instructions. The cornmeal easily sank to the bottom of the bowl in between cooking each crepe. I quickly learned that before pouring the batter into the skillet that I needed to re-stir each time so that the cornmeal was throughout the batter and not laying at the bottom of the bowl. Adding the cornmeal in the batter gave the crepes a little more texture than was I was used to but both my husband and I enjoyed the way they turned out.




My last concern was would this combination of fresh pears and figs taste good together as part of the topping. Would the delicate pear pair well with the fruity fig? Most fresh figs have been described to taste like a mix between a strawberry and a peach. I don’t know if that is how I would describe them but they worked together famously. After the first bite I knew this meal was a home run. This would make a wonderful breakfast, brunch or even an after dinner dessert.


Ingredients:

1 large egg
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (divided) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (divided)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups heavy cream (divided)
1 pear (cored, skinned at cut into slices)
4 fresh black mission figs (cut into half and then each half into 1/3rds)
2 tablespoon roasted pistachios (garnish)

To prepare:

Combine egg, milk, flour, cornmeal, sugar, vanilla, salt and 1/4 cup cream in a medium bowl, whisk until smooth.

Take the remaining 1/2 cup of whip cream, pour into a cool glass bowl (if possible put one in your freezer for about 1/2 hour. Add 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with a hand beater until soft peaks before. Set aside and put into refridgerator.

Heat a 10" skillet over medium heat. Add a small pat of butter, then 3/4 of a ladle of batter, swirl pan around until bottom of skillet is covered. Cook until edges are golden brown and batter is set, with a spatula lift up and then using your fingers, lift up and turn over, 30 another 30 seconds or so. On to the next one until batter is gone.

Serve crepes folded, topped with cream cream, pears and figs. Then garnish with pistachios. Enjoy!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Cottage Cooking Club Month of August

Here we are in the month of August, the Cottage Cooking Club a group of international blogger's cooking together and then posting our experiences along with the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cookbook, "River Cottage Veg". Our group is meant to be a project aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes in our everyday cooking, and is and has been inspired by our dedicated leader Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness. Andrea picks one recipe from each of the chapters. This month’s challenge was to showcase a personal favorite vegetable and or herb and incorporate it into one of our recipes. I prepared 3 out of the 10 of this month's choices.

The first dish I prepared was the chickpea, chard and porcini soup. Hugh explains that the purpose of these types of soups is to be satisfying substantial, like a main meal, which this was. However I made a few changes. Since I love mushrooms I decided to substitute fresh mushrooms from central Oregon instead of the dried. And I used Swiss chard as it is growing like mad in my garden for the greens. I served this soup with slivers of Parmesan cheese and some whole grains crackers. My husband even had seconds.


The second dish and my all-time favorite of Hugh’s so far in his book was this recipe, Eggplant and green bean curry. Eggplant has always been one of my favorites, but I have never been able to prepare it like I have had and love in Thai restaurants. This was as close as I have come to that texture and flavor. The curry sauce was a combination of a rich tomato base and coconut milk that paired together very nicely. The green beans were a great accompaniment.


Now for the third and final dish, Cheat’s cauliflower cheese. This is where I added green onions; one of my favorite little subtle packs of flavor. I grow green onions in both Arizona and Oregon and use them fresh all year long. I am learning that cauliflower is so versatile. I have seen it made into bread, pasta and rice. Certainly this veggie has been poorly represented. This is another dish that could be served as a side dish or a main, just add a salad.


These recipes have adapted from the River Cottage Veg, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. First recipe; from the chapter "Hefty soups" Chickpea, chard, and porcini soup" (page 149). Second dish from the chapter "Comfort food and feasts" Eggplant and green bean curry” (page 29). Third dish from the chapter “Side dishes” Cheat’s cauliflower cheese (page 378).

To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the LYL post for August 2015 on the CCC website, by clicking here.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tomato Cobbler


I bet this happens to you too, you check your email or feed and a recipe comes across that checks all the boxes. Everything that you are loving or craving at that moment. Your mind starts mentally going over the ingredients that you have, will need or can substitute….. This is one of those recipes.

Most of you probably know Tricia from her blog Saving Room for Dessert. She gardens and every summer she grows the most fabulous tomatoes. Her recipes are legendary and last year she put together this amazing, flavor bursting tomato cobbler. She used large and cherry red and yellow tomatoes. Onions were sautéed, then garlic, thyme and cayenne pepper was added. Tomatoes and brown sugar were added and simmered together. The filling is topped with a fresh thyme and mustardy tangy biscuit like dough and then baked in the oven. Needless to say my husband and I ate almost the whole pie in one sitting it was so good. I made this dish a week later and again this year. This can only be described as summer's best on a plate……

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Saving Room for Dessert.

Ingredients:

Tomato Filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (did not use)
2 large tomatoes (cut into large chunks)
2 pints tomatoes mixed (red, yellow and orange)(halved)
1 teaspoon brown sugar (packed)(I used dark)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter

Biscuit topping:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (thinly sliced)
2/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Begin by sautéing the onions in olive oil using a large oven-proof skillet. Sauté’ until golden in color. Add the garlic, thyme and cayenne pepper (if using). Stir for another minute or so and then add the tomatoes, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes start to soften about 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and gently stir in the flour. Cut the butter into tiny pieces and the top of the tomato mixture. Set aside.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Add sliced butter. (You can use a pastry cutter, I used 2 knives in a scissor motion). Blend until you get pea sized lumps. Add in the milk, thyme and mustard and mix until a sticky dough forms. (careful not to over mix). Then using a ice cream scoop, drop dough over the tomato filling. Brush the dough with milk and bake 45 to 55 minutes until golden brown.





Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Plum Cake


Bad rodent has resurfaced once again and all of my snap peas are gone, every single one. I saw the tip of his head and I believe he is some type of mole. Now after all the awful things I have said about him I can only imagine he is kind of cute and just trying to make a living. What is the best thing to do about this situation, I’m not sure. One thought is to dig 1 to 2 feet around the perimeter of the garden and place chicken wire to make a barrier if you will. Or maybe I could plant him his own garden. My husband has other ideas. ….so for now I am thinking the perimeter will do.

Now on to this plum cake. Plums are the late bloomers of summer, now the stars of the show. Dessert never tasted so good. I bought plums today at the farmers market. They were not quite ripe but I went ahead and made this gem anyway as I could not wait any longer. The plums baked down and became sweet and syrupy and once again you are reminded why fresh seasonal fruit is always best. The batter was very thick and I had some serious doubts about how it would turn out. But in the end the batter puffed up and nestled the plums ever so wonderfully. This is the kind of recipe that you want to keep in your back pocket. Other fruits could be substituted, it's easy to make, and mouth watering delicious.

This recipe has been adapted from Marian Burros who's recipe was published by the New York Times. There is a little story about how popular this recipe has become, you might want to check it out.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick softened)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
12 Italian or purple plums halved and pitted
Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon for topping

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350° Use a cake or spring form pan (I used a 9 inch cake pan). Prepare for baking by buttering pan, line with a prepared round of parchment paper, smoothing out to remove any creases or air bubbles. Brush another layer of butter over the parchment paper. Then flour and shake any excess out.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the sugar and butter together. Add flour, baking powder, salt and eggs, mix well. Scoop batter into prepared baking dish.

Place plum halves in batter skin-side up. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (the amount depending upon the sweetness of the fruit and how much you like cinnamon). Lightly squeeze fresh lemon juice all around. Bake for approximately 1 hour. (mine was done in 50 minutes) Enjoy!






Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fig-Maple Oatmeal Scones International Scones Week


It's international scone week (ISW) and I'm linking up with the talented Tandy Sinclair from Lavender and Lime who is hosting this grand event. This is my first time participating and I’m very excited to be involved. Can you imagine a whole week of celebrating scones. What a world we live in.

Scones have a unique texture kind of between a biscuit and a muffin. They can be sweet or savory. Everyone seems to have a favorite. Regardless of the type they are perfect for breakfast and afternoon tea.

For ISW I am sharing these Fig-Maple Oatmeal scones. For this recipe I used fresh figs which were delicious. Though I believe dried figs would have been a better choice for a more pronounced flavor. This scone is flaky with a nice crumb and the maple glaze added a light sweetness. I would definitely make these again.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from the Food Network by Ina Garten.

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour plus a sprinkling more to roll out scones
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup quick cooking oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 sticks cold butter (cut into pieces)
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup maple syrup grade B
1/4 pound of fresh figs (cut into fourths)
1 egg (beaten) plus 1 for egg wash before going into oven

For the maple glaze:

¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup maple syrup B grade

To prepare:

Combine flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt in food processor. Add butter and pulse until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Places mixture into a large bowl and add buttermilk, maple syrup and the egg and mix until just combined. Gently add in figs.


Turnout dough onto a lightly floured surface, shape into a square of sorts and roll out with floured rolling pin until approx 3/4 inch thick. Cut into fourths, then once more at a diagonal to form eight triangles.


Transfer to prepared baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool at least 15 minutes. Then combine sifted confectioner's sugar and maple syrup to form a glaze using a glass measuring cup. **easier to pour that way** Pour glaze in a zig zag like pattern on top of the scones. Enjoy!


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Squash Blossom and Zucchini Pizza


I don’t know about you but I feel like summer is going by at warp speed. I have been fighting with some kind of rodent that seems intent upon destroying the garden. I have named him bad rodent (I know that’s not very original) and since the garden is fenced, bad rodent tunnels underground and eats the roots of my plants. I keep destroying the tunnels but to no avail. If anyone has any ideas?

This should be my final squash blossom recipe of the summer. Here I prepared a pizza. To begin with I made and rolled out the pizza dough and then applied a very thin coat of pesto. Usually I make my own but basil does not grow so well on the coast so I bought some pre-made from Costco. It really is delicious. Next the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese was added. I then cut 6 squash blossoms completely on one side and laid them out flat along the bottom edge all the way around the dough. In the middle I placed zucchini slices and added a dollop of ricotta cheese. We both enjoyed this combination as it was quite tasty.

Recipe for dough from What’s Gaby Cooking click here…..

Ingredients:

1 pizza dough
1 to 2 tablespoons of prepared pesto
6 squash blossoms (for prep instructions click here)
1 medium zucchini squash (sliced thinly)
1 cup mozzarella
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon ricotta cheese (optional)

In a medium-sized skillet add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté zucchini slices until lightly browned. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

To the prep area where you will be rolling out the dough, add a small sprinkling of flour, then place dough on the area. Using a rolling pin roll out dough picking up dough and moving it a little in the same direction around and around until dough is rolled out to your liking. (I like mine on the thin side).

Measure 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto onto the dough and using a baking or pastry brush spread across dough leaving a small edge around the very edge of the pizza. Add both mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.


Take each zucchini blossom and completely cut one side. Spread out flat along the bottom of the pizza leaving the edge connecting them all like a flower. Place zucchini slices side by side in a circle to fill in the middle.


Add a dollop of ricotta cheese if desired. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes until crust is golden brown. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Squash Blossom Soup with Poblano Chili


I bought squash blossoms this week-end at the farmers market. They only last a few days so I had to come up with a couple of recipes very quickly. Usually I stuff them or make them into a frittata. But this time I wanted to make something different. I decided upon a soup that would have a creamy base but with no milk or cream added. I’ve done this before in other soups by using a single potato.

I started off by sautéing an onion, then adding chicken stock and a chopped potato. After the potato softens half of the squash blossoms are added and cooked a few more minutes. Then the mixture is removed from stove-top and blended until smooth. The base becomes silky and will have a light yellow color courtesy of the squash blossoms. The soup goes back into the pot and a roasted chopped poblano chili is added. Then the zucchini and corn. Simmer just a few more minutes until zucchini is tender and then add the other half of the squash blossoms reserving a few for garnish. Cook a few more minutes and that’s it you’re done. Scoop into bowls and garnish.

This recipe has been adapted from Kitchen Konfidence.com for original recipe click here.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion (chopped)
3 cups chicken stock
1 medium Yukon potato (peeled and chopped)
15 large squash blossoms (divided) (for instructions on how to prepare squash blossoms click here)
1 poblano chili, (roasted, peeled, deseeded and chopped*)
1 medium yellow squash (cut into slices and then cut into halves and then half again)
Kernels from 1 ear corn
Small amount of parsley for garnish

Makes enough for 2 very large bowls

To prepare:

In a medium-sized soup pot add olive oil and then onions. Sauté until soft. Add chicken broth and potato and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until potato is tender about 12 to 15 minutes.

Take 7 squash blossoms and cut them into ribbons, then add to stock, simmer another 2 to 3 minutes. Since I left my immersion blender in Phoenix, I used my blender and blended in batches. (remember when turning on a blender with hot liquid; place a dish towel on top of the blender in case any of the hot liquid seeps out. You want the broth to be smooth and a light yellow color.


Pour the soup back into the pot on medium heat and add the poblano chili. Simmer another 10 minutes then add the zucchini and corn. Cook until zucchini is tender another 3 to 5 minutes. Then cut 7 more squash blossoms into ribbons and add into soup pot. Cover and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve cut the remaining squash blossom into ribbons lengthwise and garnish soup. For more color add parsley to the top.


*To prepare poblano chili. Turn on broiler. Place poblano on oven rack and turn every 2 to 3 minutes until charred and blistered all the way around. Place in a small paper bag, seal tightly and let sit about 10 minutes. Remove the charred skin. It should come right off. Make a slit down the side of the pepper and remove the seeds and veins.