Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Broccoli-Cauliflower-Watercress Soup

Adapted from Watercress-Cauliflower SoupMartha Stewart Dinner at Home

Dinner at Home by Martha Stewart has become my favorite cookbook.  It’s arranged seasonally and meal-based – that is, there are starters, the main dish, sides/salads and dessert.  In fact, I love this book so much that I’m truly considering ordering copies for my girls to have themselves (maybe someday they’ll actually have their own household).

This soup is delightful. You can make it with all non-frozen items, and good homemade stock (just like the recipe calls for); or you can do what I usually do – use frozen veggies and good canned low-sodium stock.  If you are fortunate to live near a Publix Supermarket, then you can buy whole bags of watercress, rather than just bunches, making it even easier.  However you make it, it’s bright and tangy, light and satisfying.  The original recipe calls for just cauliflower and I’ve made it that way, but I’ve come to like it even more when I substituted broccoli for half the cauliflower.  I haven’t tried it using just broccoli, but suspect that would be great, too.  If you’re looking for a total vegetarian meal, you could use vegetable stock in lieu of chicken.

The soup is great as a starter course, a light lunch on its own, or even a great accompaniment to a Ham-and-Dijon-on-French-bread (OK fine – you can pick your own sandwich). Whatever or whenever you serve it, it’s sure to please.

Not just for soup – throw this in salad for extra tasty goodness

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 12oz package frozen chopped onion
1 12oz bags frozen cauliflower
1 12oz bag frozen broccoli
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth/stock
2 cups water
2 ½ tsp. kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
1 4oz bag of water cress (or 2 large bunches, thick stems trimmed a bit)

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.

Add the onion and sauté until translucent (about 5-7 minutes or so, need to allow some of the water to cook off the frozen onion). Add the broccoli and cauliflower, broth/stock, water, salt and some cracked pepper; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender (about 15 minutes).  Remove the pot from the heat; add the watercress and stir to wilt a bit.

I left mine with some texture and a few chunks, but you can puree this completely smooth if that’s your preference.

You can puree the soup in batches using a conventional blender, or use an immersions blender and do the work right there in the soup pot (which is what I do because I don’t have a blender any more).

That’s it. You’re done.  Soup’s On!

 

10 Comments »

How To Turn Your Healthy Fruit Tray Into Something Even Better

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You make this dip, that’s how.

I’m rather not fond of most fruit dips – they’re either too sweet, or gloopy; or they taste like the cream cheese or sour cream. Sometimes people put weird stuff in it, so most of the time I just end up passing on it.  Fruit dip should be a silky, sweet-with-a-bit-of tang affair.  It should complement the fruit, not compete with it.  Mostly, though, it should make you willing to come to blows for the last little dollop.

This one here is all of that – totally deeeevine, dahling.  Also you can be brain dead and make it.  It’s good on other things too (like muffins and graham crackers and nilla wafers).

  • 1 8oz pkg cream cheese AT ROOM TEMP (I’m not kidding about this, either)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste (see note below)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks (see other note below)

Beat the cream cheese until it’s extremely smooth and creamy.  If you think you’ve beaten it enough, go back and beat it some more.  NO LUMPS.  Add the brown sugar and beat until it’s no longer grainy.  Add the vanilla bean paste and beat some more.  Scrape the bowl down often.  You don’t want lumps of anything and you can’t beat it once you add the whipped cream.  Fold in the whipped cream with a spatula.  That’s it.  You just make a little bit a heaven.

The afore-promised NOtes:

Note #1 – Vanilla Bean Paste.  I really paused before calling this out because I didn’t want to sound all snooty and like an ingredient-snob.  Truth is, though, unless you really don’t want the specks of vanilla bean, this stuff can’t be beat because it’s hugely cheaper than the beans themselves.  I bought a ginormous bottle of it on Amazon and it’s worth every penny.  Of course, you can buy it in reasonable quantities, but I’m not exactly reasonable in all things.  You do use it in the same quantity as extract, but you just won’t get the same look (no specks).

Note #2 – The whipped cream.  We didn’t whip the cream.  Instead we poured 1/2 cup of cream into a mason jar, screwed on a plastic lid (I buy these by the gross, too) and shook it for about 2 minutes.  I didn’t sweeten the cream. but you can add sugar and vanilla and shake it and get really excellent whipped cream.  We wanted very soft peaks, and this was an easy way to control.  Also if you have small children you can put them to work.  I saw this on Pinterest or FaceBook or something and have been dying to try it – turns out it works (which can’t be said for the notion that you’re not peeling your corn correctly – tried that and major FAIL).

So there you have it, a luscious, silky fruit dip – and you can jazz it up if you like – a little cinnamon (emphasis, little) would be lovely for a fall dip; even some almond extract would be nice.  Dark brown sugar would probably yield a more robust flavor, but I like it as is.

There’s a little left in the refrigerator, but it’s seconds are numbered.

19 Comments »

Guy Food that Girls Love

Bacon-wrapped, Cheeseburger-stuffed Jalapeños !!!!!

I made these for dinner one night last week. No, we didn’t have anything healthy to offset the atery-hardening goodness. The inspiration came from Oh Bite It (by way of The Drunken Spatula on FB); I loved the idea but wanted to make them a little heartier so that I could sort of pass them off as a meal with a semi-straight face (how exactly do you manage that, Maevey? Well, you skip the cream cheese (!) and use shredded potatoes instead)

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Drool-worthy, aren’t they?

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Yes – they tasted as good as they look

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A close-up view (sorry it’s so blurry)

Want to know how I made them?

Brown together:
2lb ground chuck
1 bag frozen onion
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic (I used the refrigerated kind)

Once browned, dump everything into a colander and drain the daylights out of it.

Prepare the 20 jalapenos:

Slice in half lengthwise
Remove seeds and ribs if you don’t want too much heat (I removed them but on retrospect that was a mistake and I’m going to leave them in next time – well I might wussify a couple for Iseult; Angharad doesn’t care – she hasn’t run across a food hot enough for her to not add some Sriracha – go figure)

In a very large bowl, combine:

1 package Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash brown Potatoes (don’t use the frozen ones – too much liquid)
4 – 5 cups cheese (I used cheddar but next time I’m going 50/50 cheddar and pepper jack
The drained meat mixture
Salt & Pepper – not a lot

Toss everything together until well combined.

Pack generous handfuls of the cheeseburger mixture into the peppers and wrap with a strip of bacon (you see what mine look like).

How much bacon do you need? I’m not sure – buy two pounds – you want about 40 slices – OK you want a slice for each jalapeno; it’s not like you can have too much bacon in the house or anything, right?  RIGHT??????

If you have leftover meat mixture (I did) then bake it up in a small casserole dish and eat it with bagel or pita chips 🙂

I lined a baking sheet with some foil and then placed a large cooling rack over it. You don’t want to bake these directly on the baking sheet – they end up mushy (I know because I baked some of them that way and just weren’t as good). Bake them for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees F (I’m typing this directly into wordpress and can’t get the “degree” thingie-symbol, but you know what I mean).

They’ll be hotter than the sun when they come out of the oven, so try and wait a nanosecond before cramming one into your mouth (I take no responsibility for any injuries incurred due to a lack of self control).

So there you are….guy food girls love.

Make these today and head over to Oh Bite It for other eye-rollingly delish recipes (and if you’re not following The Drunken Spatula on FB, well, start now)

[I corrected the spelling of Spatula (misspellings kind of annoy me).  It’s the one word I can never spell correctly – it comes out Saptula or Spatual or Sapluta… you get the picture.  Le Sigh.]

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Saturday Morning Baking – Blueberry Muffins

Muffins are a perfect food. They’re quick, easy to make, generally cheap.

Except when they’re not.

I get frustrated when they’re more like cupcakes. Using every bowl in your house? Multiple kitchen appliances? 11 individual steps? All kinds of strange and esoteric ingredients? Two hours of your life?

Le Sigh.

The muffin should be a friendly food. It’s a Quick Bread (did you notice the word “quick” there?); a whip-up-spur-of-the-moment food; you shouldn’t have to schedule your day around them – save that for yeasted breads.

Let Muffins Be Muffins, people! (my new rallying cry)

There’s nothing fancy here – a simple muffin batter is elevated by mashing some of the berries and leaving the rest whole. A light, slightly cinnamon-y streusel is sprinkled over the top. 15 minutes to whip up, 20 in the oven. You won’t need to run out to some specialty market for ingredients. And you won’t have Mt. Dishmore in your sink. And you won’t need to take a powder to recover from the baking process.
By the time these babies are out of the oven, you’ve cleaned up the kitchen and the coffee is ready.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Heat the oven to 400˚F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners (or grease them well).

Make the streusel – in a small bowl, combine until crumbly and then set aside:
• ⅓ cup sugar
• ⅓ cup flour
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. cinnamon
• 3 Tbsp. butter

Make the muffins – In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:
• ¾ cup whole milk
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a smaller bowl, combine

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• 1 Tbsp. baking powder
• ½ tsp. salt

• 1 ½ cups blueberries (mash ½ cup of blueberries & leave 1 cup whole)

Add the dry ingredients to the milk & egg mixture and gently combine. Fold in the blueberries. Don’t over mix – this is a quick bread recipe and you don’t want tough muffins.

Fill the muffin cups and sprinkle the streusel over them (be generous).

If you like, you can sprinkle some cinnamon-sugar over the streusel. It’s not necessary, but we like it.

Bake the muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. (I always check after 15 minutes because my oven tends to be disagreeable if I don’t pay it enough attention).

Cool on a wire rack and enjoy.

Obligatory note of caution – the fruit is really hot when these come out of the oven. Of course, you CAN eat them immediately, but I’m not responsible for any blistering that may result from lack of will-power (and the smell of these beauties WILL test that will-power)

Makes 12.

Note – these work equally well with fresh or frozen berries. You don’t want to defrost your berries (well, you need to let the ½ cup of berries that you’re going to mash soften a bit. I made these with frozen and nuked the ½ cup for about 20 seconds just until they got soft enough to mash – easy peasey)

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No, they don’t look perfect. They’re Muffins. They should have that imperfect, rustic look.

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Weeknight Supper – Chicken Milanese with Arugula, Apple and Walnut Salad

I have to share this – it’s so damn delicious and I’m going to apologize in advance for the fairly imprecise measurements and preparation technique. I found myself in the kitchen one night with a package of thinly sliced chicken breasts and really not sure what to do with them (they’re not my favorite thing to cook for the most part).  I’d been to Trader Joe’s that day and bought some Honeycrisp apples and Wild Rocket and suddenly it came to me – I could make crispy chicken with a kickass salad.

I cored, halved, and thinly sliced the apples and then tossed them with lemon juice which not only prevented nasty browning, but added a nice tart contrast to the sweetness of the apple. If you can’t find Honeycrisps or don’t like them (is that even possible), I’d go with another sweeter apple – maybe even a pear.  Anything tart will just not be pleasant.  I think that apple and walnut is one of the more sublime combinations, so I added toasted nuts to the mix.  If you don’t like walnuts, then substitute your own favorite.  The bitter-ish greens really hold up to the acid of the dressing (lemon & olive oil), as well as providing a lovely contrast to the sweet-tart apple and the crispy chicken. Finally I sprinkled some kosher salt over the top. Don’t skip that part.

All in all, this ended up being a perfect dinner salad, satisfying and just screaming “autumn” to me. It didn’t actually take a long time to make and if you’re a family with children, it’s a great opportunity to engage their help.  My mother made chicken Milanese all the time (of course she baked hers with tomato sauce and mozzarella and called it Chicken Parmesan) and my brothers and I loved to help her bread the chicken – messy, but fun.

Let’s get started.

  • 1.5 lb chicken cutlets (thinly sliced chicken breasts) – say 6, maybe
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2-3 eggs, well beaten (start with 2 and add an extra if needed)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (add a little more if needed)
  • Olive Oil for frying the chicken
  • Wild rocket (or arugula or watercress or other spicy green
  • 1 large Honeycrisp apple
  • ½ cup walnut meats, toasted
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Prep the salad:

Core and halve and very thinly slice the apple (thin, but not quite shaved). Place the apples in a small bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, making sure that they’re completely coated.  This will keep the apples from turning an unpleasant brown and also is part of the joy of this salad.  Cover and refrigerate

Toast the walnuts (gently, because these babies will burn in an instant) and coarsely chop. Set aside.

Dump the greens in a large bowl and keep refrigerated (you can do this at the last minute if you want)

Prepare the chicken:

Heat the oven to 300˚F and place a large cooling rack over a baking sheet and set in the oven (I put the chicken in here to finish cooking through and also keep warm while I cook the rest of the chicken)

Set out three bowls or pie pans (or paper plates for the flour and bread crumbs if you want);

Combine the flour, salt, garlic powder and pepper

Lightly coat a cutlet with the seasoned flour. Dip in the eggs then in the breadcrumbs

Repeat with remaining chicken

Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat – you want the oil fairly hot when the chicken hit it. Cook the chicken in the hot oil until brown and crispy on each side (3-4 minutes per side)

Watch the oil – you may need to raise the temperature when initially adding the chicken, but then drop it down once the oil temp rises.

Put the chicken in the oven on prepared rack in the oven while you finish with the rest of the cutlets.

Once all the chicken is cooked finish assembling the dish.

Toss the greens with @3Tbsp lemon juice and 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Taste it at this point.  I like mine fairly acidic, so adjust as needed, adding more juice/olive oil to suit your taste buds.  Put a large handful of greens on each plate; sprinkle with the walnuts.  Place a chicken cutlet on the greens and top with a handful of the lemon-coated apple sliced.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.

That’s it. Sweet-tart apples, crunchy walnuts, warm crispy chicken, belligerent greens – some stay cold and crunchy, some get a little wilted and that tiny burst of salt.  Perfect.

I found that I chicken cutlet per salad worked fine for us. But you can certainly add more for those with larger appetites.

I’d think this would serve 3 – 4 nicely – you might need a little more greens.

I really hope you try this out – it was so yum that it’s absolutely going to feature prominently for as long as I can get my hands on those apples. I might also add a little goat cheese.  Hmmmmm – something to think about.

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Let’s ignore that the table is not properly set, shall we, and just focus on the food.

9 Comments »

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!!!

I have tons of recipes for chocolate chip cookies, but because I love you all, I’m sharing my favorite recipe with you.

These are eye-ball-rollingly-delicious. I almost always make a double batch (because it’s actually as easy as making a single batch) and then freeze the balls of raw cookie dough. That way, you can pop a couple in the oven when you need some deliciousness and you won’t feel compelled to eat the many dozen that the recipe actually makes. If that doesn’t prove I have your waistline in mind, I don’t know what will.

Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups salted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups (or 1 12-oz pkg) semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
Heat oven to 350˚F.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
Mix butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour mixture, until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chunks/chips.
Drop dough by ¼-cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets.
Makes 26 jumbo cookies

Tip: Scoops work well for dispensing cookie dough and making sure they’re all the same size.

Tip: For 2 ½ inch cookies, drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown – yields @ 4 dozen cookies.

To freeze uncooked dough: line baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough onto baking sheets, just so they balls of dough aren’t touching. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer. Once the cookie dough balls are completely frozen, place in plastic freezer bags. To cook frozen dough, place on (parchment-lined) cookie sheets and bake at 375˚F for 10-14 minutes, checking after 10 minutes.

I truly wish this recipe was my own creation, but it’s not. I pulled it off the inside of a box of Land O’Lakes ™ butter. Here’s the link to the recipe on their site (because one must give credit where credit is due, dontcha know.)

 

(And, no, the Land O’Lakes ™ people didn’t pay me to talk about their butter or their recipe)

8 Comments »

For Crying Out Loud! It Can’t Be This Late Already!!!!

What to fix for dinner under these circumstances?

There are some people who never find themselves in that type of situation.  I am not one of those people.  Some of this is due to a low-level (SNORT…GASP…CHOKE) state of disorganization here Chez Maeve; but the bigger part is due to wildly fluctuating schedules of the people who live here.  Angharad’s summer classes are all at night and she works most days – so there’s that; Iseult has a rather active social life (as long as she has met her household obligations); and my workday can get extended several hours if my West Coast office needs support or we have a sudden data call.

Suffice it to say, I find myself in this rather frequently, so I have become rather adept at switching gears by stocking “emergency meal stuff” in the pantry.  Last night was one such evening.  We were going to have Tandoori Chicken Skewers with Peach Chutney, but a late afternoon situation squashed those plans.  A quick perusal of the pantry revealed a box of fettuccine, cans of whole plum tomatoes, and bread crumbs.  In the fridge we have parmesan cheese and eggs.  There’s fresh basil growing outside.  Hmmm…sounds like the perfect evening for…

Fettuccine Nests with Quick Marinara

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I recommend turning it out onto a cutting board; makes cutting so much easier

For the Fettuccine Nests:

  • 8oz dry fettuccine, cooked and chilled
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt & Pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.  (I cooked the entire 16oz package of fettuccine and just refrigerated the rest.  I ran the hot pasta under cold water and let it drain a bit – worked fine).  Mix the fettuccine, eggs, cheese, bread crumbs and parsley in a bowl (or if you’re me, in the pot you cooked the pasta in).

Heat the olive oil in a skillet (I used a nonstick pan and I recommend the same); add the pasta mixture pressing down to cover the entire bottom of the pan, and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown and crispy – about 3 minutes; flip and cook another 3 minutes or so.  Slide it onto a paper-towel lined plate (to soak up some of the oil) and then cut into wedges.

For the Quick Marinara

    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp. minced/pressed garlic
    • 2 large cans whole peeled tomatoes
    • 10-12 leaves fresh basil (I don’t recommend using dried in this recipe)
    • ¼ – ½ tsp. dried red pepper flakes (optional)
    • Kosher salt
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I like to serve in a pasta bowl with the sauce on the bottom

Heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook for a few minutes over medium heat.  Pour in the juice from the tomatoes then squish the tomatoes to beak them up (kids love doing this even when they’re nearly 15); Puree the tomatoes carefully with a wand blender (you could also do this in the can – way less messy – or use a regular blender ,but I don’t have one and it’s too much work anyway) until you get the level of smooth/chunky you like -we like ours relatively smooth.

Reduce the heat to low; add the basil, season with salt & pepper and heat through – say 10 minutes.

The recipe indicates enough for four people, but in reality if you’re feeding more than three, I recommend making two of these “nests” (after all, you  have enough pasta).  They cook up quickly enough and there’s plenty of sauce to accompany it; add a salad and you have a great meal on the table in about 30 minutes.

Recipe Adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue No. 93 (May/June 2012) – Fettuccine Nest with Fresh Marinara

 

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Cool Grown Up Treats for a Hot Weekend

Sometimes it’s nice to make an adult-version of kid-fare – and this is a simple and very nicely grown up version of everyone’s favorite gelatin dessert. I was first turned on to this by The Food Librarian – and have made it a number of times during the summer. It’s creamy and sweet and highly caffeinated – what’s not to love?

Let’s discuss a couple things. This needs to be made with really strong, fresh brewed coffee – and don’t think of using decaf (that’s just heretical). I made mine using a certain coffee chain’s “Verona” roast and I made it strong! Secondly, you’re going to use a whole can of sweetened condensed milk. There are no acceptable substitutes. Really, there aren’t.

OK, so now that we’ve talked ingredients, let’s talk pan size. I made mine in an 8×8-inch pan because I like that thickness. You can use a 9X13-inch pan or even a 7-11-inch. Just bear in mind, the larger the pan, the thinner the squares of gelatin will be. This is considered “finger gelatin”, so it’s firmer, allowing you to eat it with your fingers, legitimately (the other really fun part about this!).

So how to serve. well, I like to cut it into squares, put them on a chilled plate and top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon or some ground sweet chocolate, like this one (NOT unsweetened cocoa powder). I suppose you could finely grate some semi-sweet chocolate over the top and that would be nice also.

Enough chitchat! Onto the recipe

• ½ cup cold water
• 3 packages unflavored gelatin
• 2 cups strong brewed HOT coffee
• 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

Pour the cold water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Allow the gelatin to bloom (get all fat and puffy and translucent), about 10 minutes. Add the coffee and stir gently until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir gently to thoroughly combine. Pour the gelatin into your pan and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 8 to 10 hours or until firmly set. Cut into squares and enjoy.

You don’t actually have to cover the gelatin, but things tend to get spilled in my refrigerator, plus there are usually onions and other pungent occupants, and I prefer my sweets uncontaminated.

For other amazing gelatin desserts (she makes one with ice cream!!!!!!!), do head over to visit the Food Librarian’s website. You’ll be glad you did.

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Now that all the bubbles are dealt with (the back of a spoon works great), it’s ready to set up for a couple hours

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See those little bubbles – what happens when you don’t stir gently enough

 

 

 

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Happy National Apple Pie Day

I know some people are afraid to make pie crust.  That’s OK.  I used to be afraid of it, too.  And even though I’ve made hundreds of pies, I’m always reminded to be respectful of the dough – it has a will of its own and it’s not afraid to exert it.

So, what to do if you’re really not of a mind to pay deference to pastry?  Well, you can make this delicious Apple Shortbread Tart from the “Loaves and Fishes Cookbook” by Anna Pump.  I like making this in the summer, when the heat and humidity just add to the difficulties of rolling out pie crust.  Let’s face it, when its 90˚F outside, and you’re heating your oven to 375˚F – the kitchen is just not a suitable environment for dealing with something as pernickety as pie pastry.  It’s extremely versatile – you can use other fruit, vary the topping, etc.  It’s an all-around good recipe to have tucked away.  Plus you can have the entire thing done from start to finish in an hour –how’s that for last minute dessert?

For the Crust

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature, sliced into 8 Tablespoons
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream (you can use whole milk or half & half)

Heat the oven to 375˚F.

Make the crust by blending together the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add the butter, egg yolk, and heavy cream; use your hands to create a crumbly mixture.  Press the dough into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

For the Filling/Topping

  • 7 medium apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Place the apples over the dough in a circular pattern.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until crumbly and sprinkle over the apples.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until the apples are soft when pricked with a knife.

So yummy warm with ice cream.  I often double the crumb topping and have also used apple crisp (oat-meal based) crumbs.  I’ve made this with pears, peaches and plums.  In fact, I might need to bake one today .

 

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Yes, Really, I do Actually Cook for my Family…

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[Ed. I forgot to include a cup or so of the tomatillo sauce with the chicken mixture.  You CAN make a perfectly respectable filling without it, but I think it adds a little extra moisture and helps to bind the filling.]

Yes, folks, it’s a real, live recipe with picture!  These stuffed peppers were so delicious.  They do take a little while, but if you plan in advance (hahahahaha), you could make the sauce on the weekend and then reheat it.  You could also use a rotisserie chicken and have excellent results.  I use this chicken filling and the sauce for all kinds of things – enchiladas, Mexican “lasagna” using corn tortillas instead of pasta; it’s very versatile and you can adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes. Once I added some cream cheese and extra sauce, baked it for a bit and made a sort of hot dip for corn chips.  Very yum. So, without further ado, I give you..

 

Stuffed Poblanos with Salsa Verde

For The Salsa Verde:

  • 1.25lb tomatillos, well washed and quartered if large
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 2 cans diced chilies
  • 1Tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock (preferably low sodium)

Cover the tomatillos with water in a deep sauce pan; bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until almost tender (about 5 minutes); drain well.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and add the onions.  Sauté until translucent.  Add the onions to the tomatillos, along with the remaining ingredients and puree with a wand blender (or puree in batches with a regular blender – I don’t have one for reasons which have nothing to do with the recipe –then return to the sauce pan).  Heat the sauce to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes or so.  This mixture tends to scorch rather easily, so keep an eye on it while bringing it to the boil, and do give it several stirs.

Again, you can make this ahead and then just heat it up.  It actually makes a ton of sauce.  This is not a spicy sauce, but you certainly could increase the heat by adding a jalapeno or two (chopped and sautéed with the onion) – leave the ribs and seeds for extra heat.

For the Poblanos:

  • 6 poblano peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 3lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or a rotisserie chicken)
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water (don’t need if using the rotisserie chicken)
  • I can diced tomatoes with chilies (I used Rotelle), well drained
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 cup salsa verde (can you believe I left this out?)

Heat the oven to 425˚F.  Line a large baking sheet with foil** and place the poblanos skin side up.  Roast for about 20 minutes or until slightly charred.  Remove the pan from the oven and fold the foil up around the peppers.  Let steam for about 10 minutes, then remove the skin from the peppers.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F.

Simmer the chicken in the stock until tender; drain and coarsely chop – you want about three cups cooked chicken (but if you have a little more, that’s fine).  If you use a rotisserie chicken, just shred the meat (light and dark).

Combine the chicken, pepper jack cheese, drained tomatoes/chilies, cumin, oregano, and garlic powder, and about a cup of the salsa verde.

Place the chilies skinned side down on the baking sheet (you can use the same foil); fill the chilis with the chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with cheddar.  Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and the cheese is melted.

Serve on a pool of salsa verde.

 

**I MUST tell you about Reynold’s Grilling Wrap – this is the best stuff.  It’s wide, like heavy duty foil, but one side is nonstick, so seriously, you line your large baking pans with this stuff and there’s no sticking and no cleanup.  It’s super heavy duty.  It can also be hard to find.  I buy it by the gross when I can find it.

 

Salsa Verde adapted from “More Chicken Breasts” by Diane Rozas

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