Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Add vegetables to large pot of boiling, salted water. Cover and cook until tender ~ about 15 mins.

2 Cups Diced Potatoes
1 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Cup Sliced Celery
2 Cups Chopped Broccoli
1/2 tsp Salt
2 ½ Cups Boiling Water
While the vegetables are cooking, melt butter in a skillet. Whisk in flour, then pour in milk, stirring continuously until it thickens.

¼ Cup Butter
¼ Cup Flour
2 Cups Milk
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Dill Weed
1 tsp Minced Parsley
¼ tsp Ground Pepper
½ tsp Dry Mustard
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
10 oz Grated Cheddar Cheese

Stir in spices and cheese, then remove from heat.

Pour cheese sauce into pot with vegetables and mash with potato masher, or immersion blender, until it reaches desired consistency. Garnish with shredded cheese and parsley.
1 ~ Substitute cauliflower for broccoli and add 1 cup diced tomatoes.  See 22 July post for this yummy version..

2 ~ Add extra potatoes instead of cauliflower, and add bacon and chives.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie!

I'm participating in French Fridays with Dorie - a club dedicated to cooking our way through her new cookbook, "Around my French Table."  It should be loads of fun - and there's still time to join.  It starts this Friday, 1 October 10.

Here is the link to what I said about myself.

It would be great to have you join in the fun!  I'll be photo-documenting our journey through this book right here on my blog.  Even if you don't join the club, you know I never have enough good things to say about Dorie and her recipes, so I highly recommend that you buy this book.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Individual Fold-over Apple Pies with Streusel Topping

Individual Fold-over Apple Pies with Streusel Topping

Where to begin?  I bought these cute individual pie plates at the le Creuset outlet in Camarillo yesterday...and, I bought Gala apples.  I perused a lot of recipes, but kept thinking about how wonderful the Folded-over Pear Torte was that I made last weekend.  Since Dutch Apple Pie is my favorite, I figured out a way to have the best of both.  Not only are they pretty, they taste great, too!

I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe for the Folded-over Pear Tart, but I doubled the Crust recipe and used 4 medium Apples in lieu of the 3 Pears.  I didn't add any dried fruit, and added the walnuts to the streusel topping.

Streusel topping:
4 Tablespoons Butter
2/3 cup Flour
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/3 cup Walnut pieces

To assemble the pies, roll out the dough, cut each piece into 3 pieces to fit the pie plates.  It can be very soft, so handle it delicately ~ it doesn't have to be perfect , but you need enough to fold back over the filling (I love this part because I've never been able to make beautiful pie crusts!). 

Distrubute the apples evenly among the pies, then pour filling until they are 2/3 full.  Spoon streusel in the middle of the pie, then fold crust towards the middle.  Place 3 pie plates on each of 2 parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Bake according to the original directions, but reduce baking time to 45 - 50 minutes.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Lemony Chicken Soup and Garlic Rolls

Lemony Chicken Soup
I made this soup with leftover Chicken, Potatoes, and Broth from Greek Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, but I will list the ingredients so you can make it from scatch, too.

For either version:
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 small Onion, diced
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced (1 clove)
3 ribs Celery, thinly sliced
2 Carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium Zucchini sliced into large matchstick pieces

For leftover version:
Stir in:
Strained, reserved Chicken Broth
Chicken, removed from Bones
1 additional cup Chicken Broth
Juice of 1/4 Lemon
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup White Wine
Coninue to simmer until throughly heated (about 15 minutes)

For from-scratch version:
Stir in:
2 cups shredded Chicken
2 large Potatoes, cubed
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 teaspoon dried Thyme (or 1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup White Wine
Coninue to simmer until Potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork (about 30 minutes)

Garlic Rolls
OMG!  These rolls are unbelievable good!  Our friends, the Barones, brought these rolls to Thanksgiving dinner at John's sister's house.  We finally found them at Sam's Club.  They're from Sister Schubert.  You just bake them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes - straight from the freezer!  I drizzled them with Olive Oil and sprinkled Garlic Salt on them. 

New Oil & Vinegar set!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Greek Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, Sauteed Zucchini, and Pear Torte

Greek Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut 1 1/2 pounds Potatoes into spears.
Drizzle Olive Oil over them.
Sprinkle with Sat and Pepper, then toss.
Set aside.

Clean a whole Chicken (don't forget to check the cavity for spare parts!).
In the cavity, place:
2 - 3 sprigs fresh Thyme
4 cloves Garlic

Sprinkle Salt and Pepper all over the outside of the Chicken.
Place Chicken in a Dutch Oven.
Surround with seasoned potatoes and an additional 3 - 4 cloves of Garlic.
Drizzle Lemon Olive Oil and the juice of 1 Lemon over them.
Garnish with another 2 - 3 sprigs fresh Thyme.
Pour a cup of hot water into the pan.

Place pan in oven, uncovered, for half an hour.
Reduce heat to 375 degrees.
Baste Chicken and Potatoes, adding more hot water, if needed.
Continue cooking for another hour.

Remove Chicken and Potatoes from pan, and carve Chicken.

Strain remaining liquid and reserve for another use.

Folded-over Pear Torte
Another fabulous French dessert from Dorie Greenspan!  This recipe comes from my favorite cookbook, Baking from My Home to Yours.  There are a couple differences from her original recipe.  We left out the dried fruit, and I used a 9" cake pan with a removable bottom because I didn't have an 8" springform pan (but now, it's on my list!).  C'est merveilleuse!


The fresh taste of Autumn!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Peach Iced Tea, Cheese Enchiladas in Fresh Tomatillo Salsa, Mexican Rice, Refried Beans, and Avocado Pico de Gallo

Peach Iced Tea
Fill a 1-gallon pitcher with Ice.
Pour in a 12-ounce can of Kern's Peach Nectar.
Add 2 slices of Orange, quartered.
 Place 4 Ginger-Peach teabags in a 4-cup measuring cup.
Add boiling water to make 4 cups.
Steep until desired strength, then discard teabags.
Pour hot tea over Oranges and Ice in pitcher, and stir well.
Serve over ice - add sweetner, if desired.

Cheese Enchiladas in Fresh Tomatillo Salsa
Tomatillo Salsa
Although tomatillos look like green tomatoes once they have their husks removed, they have a unique, tangy flavor that is mild and refreshing.  I bought these fresh at our local Farmers' Market for 80 cents!

Bring water to boil in a large saucepan.
1 teaspoon Salt
1 pound of Fresh Tomatillos with husks removed
Boil for about 8 minutes until Tomatillos turn dull in color. 
Drain Tomatillos, then plunge into a bowl of Ice Water.

In the meantime, set up your Food Processor, and add:
1/2 White Onion, roughly chopped
1 small can Roasted, diced Green Chiles (you can use any chiles you like - I must admit, I'm a wimp!)
Juice of 1 Lime
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, stems removed
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Add cooled Tomatillos, and blend on high until well blended.

Cheese Enchiladas
Although this recipe makes six, it can easily be adapted to make any number you like.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon enough Tomatillo Salsa in the bottom of a medium-size baking dish to cover it.
Wrap 6 Corn Tortillas in a damp paper towel, and microwave for 10 seconds.

Place one tortilla on a clean, flat surface, then place some of each in the center:
2 Cups Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
Roll up tortilla, and place seam side down in the pan.
Repeat for all six tortillas, then cover with remaining Tomatillo Salsa.
Top with Cheese, and bake for 30 Minutes

Avocado Pico de Gallo
In a medium bowl, stir together:
About 15 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1/2 White Onion, finely diced
1 ripe Haas Avocado, peeled and diced
About 6 sprigs fresh Cilantro, minced
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon (or Lime)
1/2 tsp Salt

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Curried Pork over Rice

Curried Pork over Rice
We used the leftover Spiced Pork Loin for this dish, so we cut the spices in half.
In a large skillet, saute:
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 ribs Celery, finely diced
1/2 White Onion, finely diced

When Onion is softened and begins to be transparent, add 1 pound cubed cooked Pork.

Then stir in:
3 Tablespoons Flour
1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground Corriander
1 teaspoon mild Yellow Curry
1 teaspoon Salt

Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup White Sherry.
Stir in 1 cup Chicken Broth until it makes a creamy sauce.

Just before serving, stir in 1/2 cup half-and-half.

Serve over steamed White Rice.
Garnish with Peanuts, Shredded Coconut, and whatever else you like.


Starfish at Channel Islands Harbor

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spiced Pork Loin, Asparagus and Bits of Bacon, Baked Potatoes, and Aunt Kak's Cream Cheese Brownies

Spiced Pork Tenderloin
John made this flavorful rub for 2 Pork Tenderloins.
Mix together and spread all over meat:
1 Tablespoon Mild Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon

Grill over medium-high heat for 10 minutes on each side.
Slice into 1/4 inch medalions.

Asparagus and Bits of Bacon
Another wonderful vegetable recipe from Dorie Greenspan's brand new Around my French Table.  We eat a lot of asparagus, so it was nice to try a new recipe - the flavors really go well together.

Baked Potatoes

Aunt Kak's Cream Cheese Brownies
My aunt gave me this recipe about 25 years ago - and it's just as good today as it was then!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt:
3 Tablespoons Butter
4 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate
Set aside to cool.
Cream Cheese Batter
In a stand mixer, cream:
3 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons Butter

Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, and add:
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Flour
Continue to beat until fully blended.

Stir in 1/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips
Set aside.
Chocolate Batter
In a medium bowl, beat:
2 Eggs
3/4 cups Sugar

Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, and stir in:

1/2 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt

When fully blended, stir in cooled melted Chocolate mixture.
Stir in 1/4 cup Pecans, chopped

Spray a 9-inch sqare pan with non-stick baking spray.
Pour half of Chocolate batter in bottom of pan, and spread evenly.
Cover with Cream Cheese batter.
Then top with remaining Chocolate batter.
Blend back and forth with the flat side of a knife until marbled.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Colorful Bell Peppers for sale at the Channel Islands Farmers' market.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sangria,Steamed Artichokes, Seafood Paella, and Birthday Cake!

A special treat at the Biltmore in Montecito!

For my birthday, John created a meal with Spanish flair!
In a large pitcher, stir together:
1 Magnum (or 2 Bottles) semi-dry Red Wine
Juice of two Oranges (~1 Cup)
Juice of one Lime (~1/4 Cup)
Juice of one Lemon (~1/3 Cup)
1/4 Cup Grand Marnier
1/4 Cup Brandy

Make Simple Syrup by filling a 1-cup glass measuring cup with sugar, then filling it with water.
Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring, then heating again until sugar is fully dissolved.
Add desired amount of Simple Syrup to wine mixture until it reaches desired sweetness. 
We added 1/4 cup.  You should be able to taste the tartness of the citrus, and it shouldn't be overly sweet.
Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Pour over crushed ice and garnish with quartered orange, lemon, and lime slices.

Steamed Artichokes with Chili-Lime Mayonnaise
Trim stems off Artichokes and steam for about 45 minutes until you can easily pull one of the center leaves with a pair of tongs.  Artichokes are great served warm, or at room temperature.

We like to dip them in Chili-Lime Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
Juice of 1 Lime
1 tsp Chili Powder

To eat an Artichoke, pull leaves off, dip base in sauce, and scrape meat off with your teeth.
When you get near the center, pull off remaining leaves and clear out fuzzy part - we've found that a grapefruit spoon works great for this. 

Cut the Artichoke heart into pieces and dip in remaining sauce - this is the very best part & it's worth the work!

Seafood Paella
Paella is a traditional Spanish dish.  In researching recipes, we found that it varies by region, and like risotto, or pasta, forms a basis for whatever ingredients you choose to put in it.  We chose a combination of Chicken, Smoked Sausage, Clams, and Shrimp.

The ideal pan for making Paella is shallow with a large diameter and a lid - we used a Wok.
Paella requires a bit of prep work.

To get started:
Slice 1 Pound of fresh Green Beans into 1 1/2 - 2 inch pieces
Quarter enough Cherry Tomatoes to make 2 Cups
Finely dice 1 White Onion
Mince 1 Clove Garlic

Thinly slice 1 Pound of Smoked Sausage
Cut 1 Boneless Chicken Breast into cubes and sprinkle with Tony Chacere's Original Creole Seasoning

Thoroughly scrub 2 Pounds fresh Clams.

Make 4 Cups Seafood Broth - we use Penzeys Seafood Soup Base
Steep 1/4 teaspoon Saffron Threads in 2 Tablespoons boiling water.

In a large pan, saute:
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Minced Garlic
Seasoned Chicken

When Chicken is beginning to brown, stir in onions and cook until they begin to soften - about 5 minutes.
Pour in:
Saffron and water
Seafood broth
Green Beans
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme

Bring to a boil over high heat, then sprinkle with:
2 1/2 cups Arborio Rice

Cover, and cook without stirring for about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Stir.

Reduce heat to low, add shrimp, and place clams on top - hinged side down.
Cover and cook for another 10 minutes until clams open.
Discard any clams that do not open (we had 5).

Stir, and serve with fresh bread.

Birthday Cake!
This lovely cake is from The Bread Basket in Camarillo. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dinner Salad with Gorgonzola, Chicken Madeira with Mushrooms, Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin, and Symphony Cookies

Dinner Salad with Gorgonzola
For 2 salads, share between 2 bowls:
Spring Greens
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced
2 ribs Celery, sliced down the middle, then diced
4 Green Onions, thinly sliced
6 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1/2 Haas Avocado, peeled and diced
Sprinkle with Gorgonzola
Drizzle with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Chicken Madeira with Mushrooms
Dredge 3 boneless Chicken Breasts in 1/4 cup Flour, and 1/2 teaspoon each Salt, and Pepper.
Set aside.

In a large skillet, saute:
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon minced Garlic

When garlic is browned, add floured chicken, cooking about 4 minutes on each side to brown.
Reserve remaining flour mixture.
Remove Chicken from pan.
Stir in remaining flour mixture, whisking until well-blended.

Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup Madeira wine.
Stir in 6 Green Onions, sliced.

When wine has evaporated and onions begin to soften, pour in 1 cup Chicken Broth, and return Chicken to pan.
Add 8 ounces White Mushrooms, rinsed and quartered.
Cover pan, and stir occasionally, until sauce thickens, Chicken is cooked through, and mushrooms are soft and diminished in size. 
Place Chicken on dinner plate, and ladle sauce over it.
Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin
This is the first recipe I've tried from Dorie Greenspan's brand new cookbook, "Around my French Table."  It's a great way to serve cauliflower in a cheesy custard topped with bacon.  Dorie says it would be a good Thanksgiving side-dish, and I agree.

Symphony Cookies
Simply use your favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, but substitute 4 smashed Hershey's Symphony bars with toffee and almonds for the Chocolate Chips.  I placed them in a large ziploc bag, sealed it, and smashed them with my rolling pin.  Although the candy bars contain almonds, I added 1/2 cup chopped Pecans as well. 

My favorite recipe is "Mrs. D's Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Marcel Desaulniers' "Death by Chocolate Cookies".  He is the owner and executive chef of The Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, VA, which I've had the absolute pleasure of dining at several times.  He creates a seasonal menu based on the freshest ingredients.  Be sure to save room for one of his marvelous chocolate creations!


Fresh Asparagus for sale at the Channel Islands Farmers' Market

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