Even people who don't like green beens love this.
Even people who don't like green beens love this.
THis one is a favorite around my house. A trick I learned to enhance the presentation is to use a roll cut. Cut the carrot crosswise on the diagonal. Roll the carrot 180 degrees, move the knife 1 inch up the carrot and cut again on the diagonal. Repeat.
I am learning great things from Chef Bernard Chirent. A couple of days ago, he gave another cooking class at Plate It Up! and once again I learned to make some magnificent dishes that are easy to prepare.
Milles-Feuilles is French, meaning "thousand leaves" - referring to the many many layers of dough and butter in puff pastry. The puff pastry used here was simply purchased from the local supermarket. Believe me, it doesn't get much simpler than this and the presentation and flavor are impressive.
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 bunch asparagus
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons cream
1 cup white wine
Cut the puff pastry into 1-1/2inch x 3-inch rectangles and bake it according to the directions on the package - or about 425F until puffed and golden.
Saute the asparagus for 2-3 minutes in hot olive oil.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce the wine until there is only 1-2 tablespoons left. Add the cream. Then add the butter a bit at a time, whisking furiously. Add just enough curry so that you can barely taste it - Don't add so much that the curry overpowers the other flavors.
Pull each puff pastry apart. Place the lower half on a plate. Pile a few asparagus spear on it, pour a little of the sauce over the asparagus, then place the top half of the puff pastry back on. Serve.
I learned to prepare several other dishes as well, including the most scrumptious Lemon Curd, but those will have to wait for another time.
If you haven't been here for a while, let me fill you in: My Sweet Lady Wife and I are 'between houses'. The old house has been sold. We close on the new house December 5 (16 and a wake up). Meanwhle, we are living in this little two bedrom apartment. The aparment is nice, as apartments go - it is clean, quiet, and safe. For a Foodie, however, the kitchen leaves a lot to be desired: there is about two square feet of counter space. Two of the stove's four burners actually work well enough to almost boil water.
As a result, dinners must be simple. (And add to this the fact that I have a cold this week). A couple of weeks ago, Elise posted a scrumptious chicken recipe and Molly wrote about her Brown Buttered Corn. I had a menu.
I don't believe I have ever had a simple corn dish that tasted as good as Molly's Brown Buttered Corn. The thyme really gave the butter some flaver and it transfers to the corn wonderfully. My Sweet Lady Wife - who is a Wisconsin farm girl and a corn connoisseur - loved it. Definitely a keeper.
I modified Elise's chicken recipe to be more 'saucy' (A little more vermouth and cream in the pan sauce). I also used applewood-smoked bacon instead of the pancetta. It was excellent. I think it's really difficult to turn a naked chicken breast into something really tasty but this certainly was.
Corn, Leeks, Mushrooms, and Pancetta Sauteed and Wrapped in a Warm Tortilla
Inspired by a recipe in the September 2007 issue of Fine Cooking, this was unbelievably tasty. My ingredients and quantities were a bit different from the the Fine Cooking version:
2 Tbs olive oil
3 oz thinly sliced pancetta
3 Leeks, white and light green part only, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cups coarsly chopped cremini mushrooms (they call them Baby Belle around here)
2.5 cups frozen corn kernels
2 Tbs choped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 Tbs chopped thyme
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1/8 cup white wine
Over low heat, saute the pancetta in 1 tbs olive oil until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and let drain on some paper towels.
Add 1 Tbs of butter to the pan and turn the heat up to medium-high. When the butter has stopped foaming add the leeks and 1/2 tsp of salt. Saue until the leeks have softened and have lightly browned.
Add 1 Tbs of butter and 1 Tbs of olive oil. Add the mushroms. Cover and cook until the mushrooms have release their liquid. Uncover and saute until the mushroms have browned slightly .
Add 1 Tbs butter and the corn. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the corn is tender. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Let the wine reduce a bit.
Trn the heat to low. Add the cream, thyme, and parsley Crumble in the pancetta. Add pepper to taste. Let the cream reduce a bit.
Remove from the heat and spoon into warmed large tortillas. A little Picante sauce or salsa on top would be good
OK, so what do you do when the outside temperature is 197 in the shade? Grill, of course!
I made these kabobs with just large shrimp (16-20 count) and mild Italian sausage.
Inspired by a recipe in Vegetarian Southwest by Lon Walters, I made these polenta-stuffed peppers. The original recipe called for adding mole (a Mexican spicey chocolate sauce), but being German, I have a very conventional view of chocolate so we skipped the mole. (I still think Belgian chocolate is the best)
Polenta Stuffed Peppers
2 Red Bell Peppers
2 cups cooked polenta
4 green onions, green part diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 of a 4-ounce can diced mild green chilies
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
Reheat polenta in a saucepan, adding a little water if necessary. I used a tube of pre-cooked polenta found at the local Sprouts market. The objective is to get the polenta to the consistency of a thick milkshake.
Add the green parts of the green onions, cumin, pine nuts, chilles, and 3/4 of the cheese.
Cut the tops off the red bell peppers and clean them out. Fill with the polenta mixture. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 350F. Top with the remaining cheese and let make long enough for the cheese to melt.
This was the only saving grace from tonight's dinner. I initially decided to prpare them because they would add some color to the presentation of tonight's meal and because my wife loves onions. Surprisingly, they were as sweet as candy. This was definitely good enough to make again, good enough to serve to guests even.
6 medium - large red onions
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 325F. Peel the onions, quarter them, and trim the ends. Salt and pepper the cut surfaces. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onions, one cut side down and saute until golden brown. Flip each onion so the uncooked cut side is down and saute it too (about 4 min per side).
Put the onion quarters, skin side down, in an oven-proof baking dish.
Mix the honey and vinegar in a small bowl and drizzle it over the onions. Bake foe one hout. Every few minutes, baste the onions with the honey-vinegar sauce from the bottom of the dish.
Remove from the oven and serve.
This is my version of Ribollita, adapted from La Mia Ribollita Preferita (My Favorite Ribollita) found in Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italy.
Ribollita is Tuscany's most famous bread soup. Ribollita means re-boiled as this soup is typically prepared ahead and then returned to a boil just before serving. Jamie's recipe calls for cavolo nero cabbage. Of course, finding it here in Arizona is just not possible. Jamie recommends kale as a substitute, though Savoy cabbage is a more common substitute. I've been on a Swiss chard kick recently so I decided to use that instead. Similarly, Jamie recommends zolfini beans instead of the more commonly-used cannellini beans. It is hard enough to find cannellini beans around here. In addition, I added something that you don't normally find in ribollitta: three anchovy filets. They dissolve into the soup and add just a bit of flavor.
Being a bread soup, trying this recipe was a good way to use up the rest of the pullman loaf I made a few days ago.
To say this was seriously good was an understatement. I have almost had to resort to an armed guard in front of the refrigerator to prevent my lovely wife from devouring the leftovers in one sitting.
1 14oz can of Cannellini beans
1 small potato
1 medium red onion
3 celery stalks
3 cloves garlic
1 pinch ground fennel seeds
1 tiny pinch red chili flakes
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
12-16 oz Swiss chard
2-3 fist-sized pieces of stale coarse bread, crust removed
extra virgin olive oil
3 anchovy filets, coarsly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken broth
Peel the potato. Quarter the tomato. Place a saucepan contaning 2 cups water over medium heat. Add the cannellini beans, bay leaf, potato, and tomato. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, potato, and tomato and discard them. Drain the beans, reserving about a half a cup of the cooking liquid.
Finely mince the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Using a saucepan or other vessel large enough for the finished soup, add about 2 tablespoons olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, ground fennel seeds, and chili. Lower the heat to barely a simmer. Partially cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes until everything is tender but not browned. Add the can of diced tomatoes and the anchovies, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the cooked cannellini beans along with the reserved cooking liquid. and bring to a boil. Stir in the Swiss chard and wait for it to wilt down. Tear the bread into small chunks and add it to the soup. Add chicken broth until the soup is thick but not dry.
Cook for up to an additional 30 minutes, adding additional chicken broth as necessary. Stir in 4-8 tablespoons of olive oil and serve.
In fact, they weren't just delicious. I have never had Brussels sprouts taste so good. Molly, if you are reading this, your recipe has gone into my permanent collection. Yum!
My local supermarket had some fresh sole filets yesterday and that reminded me that I had not yet tried to make Sole Meuniere myself since the French cuisine cooking class. Now what to serve with it? It looked like they had just received a fresh shipment of apsparagus, so I grabbed that too.
Thumbing through the recipes I've collected off the 'net, I cam across Ruth at Once Upon a Feast's recipe for Leek, Mushroom, and Swiss Chard Soup. Ruth unfortunately left the mushrroms off the ingredient list, but as a 'shroom lover I figured half a pound would be enough. An interesting thing happened. As I got down to the final step where you are supposed to add the cup of cream, I first stated the soup. It had this wonderful earthy flavor that begged to be served as is. So the cream stayed in the fridge and we enjoyed a lower-calorie version.
One of the remarkable things about this meal is not that it was great-tasting and better than I've had in most restaurants, I spent all of about $27 serving this meal for four people.
Since I've hyperlinked to the recipes for the sole and soup, I'll put just the asparagus receipe here:
1 bunch thin asparagus
3-4 tablespoons dry white wine
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450F. Break the tough woody base end off each asparagus spear. Place the asparagus in a large bowl. Sprinkile with salt and pepper. Add the wine and oil and toss.
Put the asparagus in a baking dish and place on a middle rack in the oven. Roast about 5 inutes until crisp-tender. Sprinkle a little shaved parmesian on tap and serve.