Monday, September 19, 2011

Cooking Strange Leafy Veggies Part 2: Eating and disguising greens

When we started this whole CSA thing I didn't know what I was going to do with all of my greens.  There was that first recipe that I posted (see here), then after that we just ate them sauteed for a while, sometimes with pine nuts, and/or crasins (recipe here).  Well, here is a list of suggestions for what to do with your greens, including a few ways to disguise them to help get your husband or family to eat them!  If we join the CSA again next year I will be looking back at this list...

Suggestions for Kale, Swiss Chard... etc. 

•  Throw it in a skillet with some other veggies and meat and have that be your whole meal.  I liked my sausage and potatoes dish.  

•  Sautee them with some garlic, and if you want add some toasted pine nuts and raisins (I use craisins because I like them better...)  Click on the picture above for a link to a recipe.

•  Put in veggie soup!  I didn't actually do this, but what a great idea! Nick's cousin Debbie suggested this to me.
Edit: Or try this recipe from The Pioneer Woman - similar to Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

•  Stir fry!  I enjoy making an occasional stir fry.  We had a shrimp stir fry the other day that pretty much used all the rest of our veggies.  Broccoli, green and red peppers, onions, garlic, greens, and carrots.

•  We really enjoyed this eggplant dish.  The pasta sauce was a good place to hide the greens.  Which leads me to my next idea...

•  Add all of your veggies to your pasta sauce and eat with your favorite pasta!

•  Kale chips - haven't made these, but there are a ton of recipes for them online!  

Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Tomatoes Recipe
•  Really want to make this - Swiss chard with garbanzo beans and fresh tomatoes 

Have any more ideas for greens?  Please share!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cook's Illustrated Lattice-Top Fresh Peach Pie

My blogging is falling way behind my cooking with the end of the summer to school year transition!  Actually, the whole summer has been slow on blogging.  We'll see what Fall brings, but I hope to be able to share some more recipes in the next few months.  With me being behind, this peach pie is now kinda out of season for farm fresh peaches, but can be made with your normal grocery store peaches anytime!

I really enjoyed making this pie!  This was my first lattice-top pie, so I was being pretty dramatic about how proud I was of myself.  Luckily it was only Nick here to see it.  I just felt so accomplished making a lattice top pie!  It's extra work (not much) and it looks much better than a full top crust (much).  Oh yes, so proud of myself.

My other big accomplishment with this pie was the consistency of this filling.  I have been making apple pies the last few Autumn seasons and have had some trouble with too juicy pies.  I tried adding more flour, adding cornstarch... still full of juice and soggy-bottomed!  This recipe called for potato starch.  My search for potato starch in Community Market resulted a chain of store associates telling me they didn't know what I was talking about.  They made me feel like I'm crazy.  To all of you, go to this link, look at the last ingredient.  Am I crazy?  Does it not say potato starch?

Luckily I remembered what the alternate ingredient was and found that instead.  I used Minute tapioca to make my peach pie filling thick and yummy.  And that it was!

Oh, and a side note... try this pie crust.  Even if you have a pie crust recipe you love and trust, try this one.  It's worth it!  I had a fight with my food processor while I was making this so I ended up just using a pastry blender, but the recipe still turned out great.  I will definitely use this crust recipe for my next pie!

Here is the recipe, from Cook's Illustrated online.

Lattice-Top Fresh Peach Pie
Pie Dough
• 3 Cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 tsp. table salt
• 7 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
• 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), chilled, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and frozen for 30 minutes
• 10-12 tablespoons ice water

Peach Filling
• 6-7 medium peaches (ripe, about 6 cups)
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• pinch ground cinnamon
• pinch ground nutmeg
• pinch table salt
• 3-4 tablespoons potato starch (or Minute tapioca)

1.  In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined.  Add shortening and process until mixture has texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds.  Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture.  Cut butter into flour until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses.  Move mixture to medium bowl.

2.  Sprinkle 5 Tbsp. ice water over mixture.  With rubber spatula fold water and flour together.  Sprinkle remaining 5 Tbsp. ice water over mixture and continue using folding motion to combine until small portion of dough holds together when squeezed in palm of hand.  Add up to 2 Tbsp. more ice water if necessary.  Dough should feel quite moist.  Turn dough onto clean, dry work surface.  Gather and gently press together in cohesive ball, then divide into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other.  Flatten large piece into a round 5-inch square and smaller piece into a 4-inch disk.  Wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling.

3.  Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable).  Roll larger dough piece to 11 by 15-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.  Transfer dough rectangle to cookie sheet line with parchment paper.  With pizza wheel (or fancy edged fluted pastry wheel - to be added to my wish list) or paring knife, trim to even out the long sides of the rectangle, then cut rectangle lengthwise into 8 strips 1 1/4 inches wide by 15 inches long.  Freeze strips on cookie sheet until firm, about 30 minutes.

4.  Roll smaller dough piece on lightly floured work surface or between two large sheets of plastic wrap to 12-inch disk.  Transfer dough to pie plate by rolling dough around rolling pin and unrolling over 9-inch pie plate or by folding dough in quarters, then placing dough point in center of 9-inch pie plate and unfolding.  Leave dough that hangs over the lip of the pie plate in place to seal the edges.  Refrigerate dough-lined pie plate.

5.  Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat over to 425 degrees.  Prepare to blanch peaches to make peeling easy by bringing 3 quarts of water to boil in large saucepan, and filling a large bowl with 2 quarts cold water and 2 trays ice cubes.  With a paring knife, score a small x at the base of each peach.  Next, lower the peaches into boiling water with a slotted skimmer.  Cover and blanch until their skins loosen, about 2 minutes.  Use a slotted skimmer to remove the peaches to ice water and let stand to stop cooking, about 1 minute.  Finally, cool the peaches, then, starting from the scored x, peel each peach, halve and pit it, and cut into 3/8-inch slices.  Toss peach slices, lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and potato starch (or Minute tapioca) - 3 tablespoons for moderately juicy peaches, 4 tablespoons for very juicy ones - in medium bowl.

6.  Turn mixture into dough-lined pie plate.  Remove dough strips from freezer;  if too stiff to be workable, let stand at room temperature until malleable and softened slightly but still very cold.  Weave the lattice top together, beginning from the middle longer strips, and alternating adding in a strip going in each direction.  (I think there is a tutorial on the source page at the bottom of this post, but I do it slightly differently - do whatever is easiest for you!)  Lightly brush lattice top with 1 Tbsp. water and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar.  Place pie on baking sheet and bake until crust is set and begins to brown, about 25 minutes.  Rotate pie and reduce over temperature to 375°.  Continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes longer.  Cool on wire rack 2 hours before serving.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Baked Three Cheese Eggplant

Reasons to try this:
1.  It's a vegetarian meal that doesn't include pasta
2.  How often do you eat eggplant as a main dish?
3.  Use up the rest of your ricotta cheese after making lasagna!
4.  It's a sneaky way to make your husband or whoever you will share this with eat healthy greens!

Okay, so this dish is baked eggplant topped with tomatoes, onions and spinach (or in my case, whatever greens I had from the CSA), then cheese and tomato sauce.  This was one of those recipes that I made with what was in my fridge, so we missed the yummy ricotta cheese.  The other thing that I modified in this recipe was the amount of sauce.  It called for 3/4 cup sauce.  I used an entire jar of Marinara.  What can I say? We like sauce!

Lastly... don't stack your eggplant.  Make sure it can all touch the bottom of the pan.  I had two pieces that didn't fit that I stacked on the others, and they weren't cooked as much as the others.

The recipe below includes my adjustment of sauce, but has the original directions for spinach and ricotta cheese.

Spinach (oops, I used random greens instead), tomatoes, onions, and garlic

Baked Three Cheese Eggplant
1 eggplant
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
• 1 tablespoon garlic powder, or to taste
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 10 oz. package fresh spinach leaves
• 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
• 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
• 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 1 jar of your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce
• 2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds.  Place on a baking sheet, brushing both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle garlic powder on top and bake for 10 minutes.

2.  Heat pan to medium.  Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.  Add chopped tomatoes and spinach.  Cook and stir for a few minutes, until tomatoes have released their juices.  In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozz. cheese, 1/2 cup parm. cheese.  Set aside.

3.  Place the eggplant in a greased 9x13 pan.  Top with spinach and tomato mixture.  Spoon the cheese mixture on top.  Pour pasta sauce over the cheese, and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

4.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until eggplant can be easily pierced with a fork.

Layered, before baking


Monday, September 5, 2011

Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at HomeAdam and Heather bought me these great recipe books for my birthday - one of cupcakes, and one of ice cream.  This was my first experiment from them!  Making ice cream is not the easiest thing - but there is nothing really difficult about it either.  You just have to take some time, follow directions, and then clean up while your ice cream maker is doing all the work!  I have an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid and I love using it (KitchenAid KICA0WH Ice Cream Maker Attachment.  This book is called Jenis Splendid Ice Creams At Home by Jeni Britton Bauer.

If you make this be careful about how long you roast your cherries for.  The recipe said 30-45 minutes and I left mine go for about 40, stirring every 15.  When they cooled they were really hard to separate to layer in the ice cream.  And to eat they tasted mostly either very hard and crunchy - or stuck to your teeth.  I think they should be kinda soft and chewy.  

On the whole, I thought this tasted like cream cheese ice cream (or cheesecake?), and I'm not a huge fan of cream cheese.  So Nick ended up eating most of it.  This ice cream had a cream cheese base.  Actually, a lot of the ice creams in this recipe book have a cream cheese base.  I think the cream cheese taste is so potent because of the double cheeses, but I'm curious if you'll be able to taste the cream cheese in the other recipes.  Oh well, I'll let you know next time.... onto the recipe!

Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries
Makes a generous 1 quart
• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
• 1/2 cup (about 4 oz.) fresh goat cheese
• 1 1/2 oz (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
• 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
• 2/3 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• Roasted cherries (recipe below)

Make a slurry by mixing 2 Tbsp. whole milk with 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch.  
In a separate bowl whisk the goat cheese, cream cheese, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. 
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Bring the mixture back to a boil over med-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a 1 gallon ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag into the ice bath.  Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.  Pack the ice cream into a storage container, alternating it with layers of the cherries and ending with a spoonful of cherries; do not mix.  Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Roasted Cherries
Makes about 1 1/4 cups
• 2 cups pitted fresh or frozen (not thawed) red or black cherries
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 2 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Combine the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a 9-inch square baking dish, tossing to mix.  Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until the juices are thickened and bubbly.  Stir every 15 minutes.  Let cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.