Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Cottage Cooking Club | March Recipes

The CCC cooking through River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall




February marked the tenth month of cooking along with this group, where we have made it half way through the book, and cooked over one-hundred recipes (as a group, not individually - well, except Jora maybe. :)) Boy, time sure does fly.

Andrea, our leader, has declared March our make-up month. This gives us a chance to make any recipes we hoped to have made, but did not get to.  I chose five, and there are still more I would like to get to. Maybe we should have a make-up month every quarter.. ;)



My March selections are as follows:

Crudités with Tarator Sauce p.105
Beetroot Pizza with Cheddar p.180
Refried Beens Foldover p.190
Cheesy Peasy Puff Turnover p.220
Steamed Veg with a Hint of Garlic p.372







Steamed Veg with a Hint of Garlic


Easy peasy! Can't get much easier than this.


I don't know why I haven't thought to steam a medley of vegetables before now. I have steamed broccoli and carrots together, but that's about it.

Here we have broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and cabbage, steamed to perfection, tossed with some garlic butter, salt, pepper, and a dash of red chili flakes, that I added to give it a little kick.


This was enjoyable, though I would have preferred a stronger garlic essence; even though I used three garlic cloves to Hugh's one clove, it still was not very prominent. Maybe if the garlic/butter mixture had more time to meld, it would have had a stronger garlic flavor. Then again, the title does read, a hint of garlic.

I had the leftovers the following day for lunch, and it actually tasted even better. 


Crudités with Tarator Sauce



The tarator sauce consists of toasted walnuts, bread that has been soaked in water, garlic, olive oil, lemon, s&p, and dusted with paprika just before serving.


Unfortunately, I did not care for this dip at all. I found it to have a bitter taste (maybe I added too much garlic? Is that even possible?) and well, just plain nasty.


Also, the oil kept separating, no matter how many times I stirred it. Did I not squeeze the bread of all the water? (The recipe calls for you to soak the bread in water first, and to squeeze most of it out.) I'm wondering if it would be better if the bread wasn't soaked in the water, and allowed to soak up the oil instead.


Refried Beans Foldover


This is very much like a burrito. Instead of a tortilla, we have a homemade soft flatbread that is topped with a bean mixture that is made up of cannellini beans, onion, garlic, red chile, oregano, and grated tomatoes.

This is then topped with whatever your heart desires. I chose to add some cheddar cheese, red onion, avocado, and Greek yogurt. I had planned on a few slices of tomato as well, but I forgot to buy an extra tomato.

The flatbread is made from Hugh's magic bread dough, that was not so magical for me. Actually, he calls it magic, because this one dough can be transformed into just about any shape - flatbreads, pitas, breadsticks, rolls, or even a loaf of bread.

I had issues with rolling out the dough. It kept shrinking back, even after giving the dough an additional rest. I tried re-rolling a couple of times, and still it shrunk back. So I gave up, and just cooked them. They were, in my opinion, too thick, and even though cooked through, they had a very doughy texture & taste to them.

My husband loved them, he even took the remaining breads to work and devoured them; at least they did not got to waste. :) 


Beetroot Pizza with Cheddar



This recipe also calls for using the magic bread dough; after the issue I had with the previous recipe a few days ago, I just was not in the mood to tackle it again, so I went with the store-bought Boboli pizza crust.

I have had success with the dough recipe in the past, when I made the Asparagus Pizza (to die for), and the Pizza with New Potatoes and Brie, another delicious recipe - both from the River Cottage Veg cookbook.


The pizza dough, whether homemade or store-bought, is topped with tomato paste, caramelized onions, cooked beets, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, salt, pepper, and drizzled with a bit of olive oil.



Yeah. This was good. So far, every pizza I have made from this book has been delicious; and I'm not a pizza lover. I'll order it in, only when I don't feel like cooking, or going out. 



Cheasy Peasy Puff Turnover


This recipe comes from the chapter, Pantry Suppers. To me, this means a quick and easy meal to throw together with what you have on hand - in the pantry.

Me, I never have puff pastry on hand, or frozen peas, and rarely do I have cheese - if I do, it is usually spoiled by the time I need it.

But that did not stop me from making these easy, surprisingly delicious turnovers; nor should it stop you.
 

These beauties are comprised of puff pastry, frozen peas, cheese (I used Gruyère), egg, salt and pepper.


The recipe instructs you to make one large turnover. I chose to make smaller individual ones; they are just more fun that way, and also, it's easier in my opinion, to transport the leftovers, if there are any.


These were a hit, to say the least. My daughter & I each had one and split another, and Andy, he had three! Yes, three, at one sitting!

The only thing I would do different next time, is add more cheese...

I served these with a beet salad, made from the leftover beets from the beetroot pizza, but I like the idea of my fellow bloggers, serving these alongside a bowl of soup.




To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the the CCC website and look for the March LYL post - or you will be taken there directly by clicking here.

We have been asked not to publish the recipes here on our blogs. We encourage you to go out and purchase the book and join us on this fun and healthy adventure!






 




Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Cabbage with Prosciutto

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young



This stir-fry was surprisingly tasty. It's amazing that such a small amount of prosciutto (one ounce) adds so much flavor; and the cabbage is cooked only until it is crisp-tender. This made for a wonderful side dish to our grilled market steak.

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Ginger
Bowl 2: Cabbage
Bowl 3: Salt, sugar
Bowl 4: Chicken broth, dry sherry, cornstarch
Bowl 5: Prosciutto



I now have a use for all the left over cabbage I always seem to have in the fridge, that usually sits there until its demise, sad to say. But no longer! Looking forward to making this again - soon!


We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 199, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.  

Wok Wednesdays is an online cooking group. If you would like information about joining us, click here, or visit us on Facebook. Would love for you to wok along with us!





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TWD | Baking Chez Moi | Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking Chez Moi
by Dorie Greenspan



The delicious caramelized Rice Krispies topping.

Ha! This piece looks like a fish!

Before you begin baking the bars, you make a crispy topping made from (my childhood cereal), Rice Krispies; not much to it really. You just melt a bit of butter and oil, add the cereal and stir until all the grains are evenly coated as possible, and stirred some more until the cereal turns a nice golden brown.


The base of these tasty treats are basically a shortbread cookie crust with the addition of brown sugar. Dorie states to show the dough "who's the boss" to get it spread evenly over the pan. This tells me there may be a bit of a struggle ahead. I found wetting my hands helped to spread the dough into the pan, with little sticking to the fingers. I'm sure using a piece of buttered parchment would work just as well.

Once the base is baked to a lovely golden brown (the instructions say to bake the crust for about twenty-two minutes; mine was ready at thirteen minutes), the top is scattered with chopped chocolate and returned to the oven for a minute or so, just until the chocolate has melted.


The melted chocolate is spread evenly over the shortbread base.


Then topped with the caramelized Rice Krispies.


I originally cut the bars as suggested in the book, about a two-inch square. However, when I tasted these little gems, I found them to be overly sweet.


So I cut the squares in half, which I thought were the perfect size, especially if they are served as party fair.

I sent the lot (minus one) with my husband for him to share with the boys. Of course, I had to have at least one with my morning coffee, and I found that the sweetness dissipated somewhat after sitting overnight. Good thing I sent these away! I probably would have eaten them all! 

The following morning, I received a text from the Mr., everybody liked them. :)


Tuesdays with Dorie is an online baking group. We are making our way through Baking with Julia and Baking Chez Moi, both by Dorie Greenspan. 

We have been asked not to post the recipes. You can find this recipe on page 324 of Baking Chez Moi.

You can check out my fellow bakers results by clicking here for a list of their links.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wok Wednesdays | Beef Chow Fun

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young



Beef chow fun - a popular dish in Cantonese restaurants. I was excited for making this dish, for I am a lover of all pasta; and this dish includes wide cut noodles, my favorite, though the noodles in this dish are made with rice, not with your typical wide egg noodles.

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Ginger, garlic
Bowl 2: Flank steak, soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil
Bowl 3: Fermented beans
Bowl 4: Rice noodles
Bowl 5: Bean sprouts
Bowl 6: Scallions
Bowl 7: White pepper
Bowl 8: Oyster sauce, dry sherry
 

My husband asked if we had this before. I replied, nope! We're having beef chow fun!

Oh, Jeff & I have that all the time. You do? Hubby tells me, when he and Jeff, a co-worker, have to grab a quick bite to eat before a class or meeting, they go up the street to the Chinese restaurant and order beef chow fun. Well, whataya know!

"... this dish is a major test for chefs in Cantonese cooking," as noted in Wikepedia. 

Ha! I failed! Better keep my day job.

I had a little issue with the noodles as you can see. The recipe calls for fresh broad rice noodles, that come in a sheet, and you can cut them to size. I could not find the noodles in sheet form, so I purchased, what I thought were pre-cut, close to the size I wanted.


Only come to find, they were not cut at all, but rolled. I tried unrolling them, and this proved to be quite difficult, if not impossible. I was able to unroll them after cutting the strips into approximately half-inch pieces. This however, took me about twenty to thirty minutes to complete.

After tediously unrolling, I placed the noodles into a bowl and they were sticking to each other something awful. I had posted a question to the group FB page, and was told by another member to oil my hands, and work the noodles gently. It did help separate them, but they started to break apart - so I stopped, and forged on.  (After I had made dinner, I found that I could have just cut the noodles as I did, and tossed them into the wok, where they would have unrolled on their own..)


Clumpy noodles or not, this was fabulous! Andy, said he actually liked the noodles this way; not to mention it's way better than what he and Jeff have on class night. So, not a total fail. :)

I will definitely be making this again, once I get a chance to find the correct style noodles.



We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 269, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.  

Wok Wednesdays is an online cooking group. If you would like information about joining us, click here, or visit us on Facebook. Would love for you to wok along with us!





TWD |Baking Chez Moi | Lemon Madeleines

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking Chez Moi
by Dorie Greenspan  




I'll rarely pass up a recipe if lemon is involved. Citrus and I, we go together like...


A little advanced planning is needed in making these little teacakes.  The batter needs to chill for at least one hour, then after being placed in the molds, they are chilled for an additional hour before baking.

I came across an article on The Kitchn, where they grease the molds with melted butter that has flour mixed into it. Brilliant. It's like homemade Pam Baking Spray (which I have never tried - but hear it works well). My madeleines slipped right out of the pans.

The ratio was three tablespoons melted butter with one tablespoon flour stirred in. Just don't think that you can put it in one of those Misto sprayers; remember, butter hardens as it cools, and will clog your sprayer.


The recipe states it yields twelve madeleines. However, there was enough batter to make extra, in which I used my mini fluted molds, which are always fun to use, though not always so much fun to clean.


I did not quite achieve the prominent hump that madeleines are known for. It may be due to the fact I skipped the additional chilling period, after the batter was placed in the molds. I did place my buttered molds in the freezer while the batter was chilling the first hour, then placed the filled molds in the freezer, maybe ten minutes, while the oven pre-heated.


The madeleines are glazed (optional) with a simple mixture of confectioners sugar and lemon juice. I like that Dorie has you place the madeleines back in the oven (500°F) for a minute or two, just until the glaze starts to bubble; it gives the teacake a nice glossy sheen. Alternatively, you can give them a little dusting of confectioners sugar.


I glazed some, dusted a few with confectioners sugar, and left some plain.


These madeleines turned out light and spongy, with a slight lemon essence; not the intense lemon flavor I was hoping for and expecting, as I do when I read "lemon" in the title of a recipe. Still, these made a tasty treat that would go nicely with a cup of tea, or even a glass of bubbly, I hear.



Tuesdays with Dorie is an online baking group. We are making our way through Baking with Julia and Baking Chez Moi, both by Dorie Greenspan.

We have been asked not to post the recipes. You can find this recipe on page 212 of Baking Chez Moi, or by clicking here to be be directed to WNYC where they have the recipe posted on their site.

You can check out my fellow bakers results by clicking here for a list of their links.



Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Cottage Cooking Club | February Recipes

The CCC cooking through River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall




My recipe selections for February:

Avocado and Ruby Grapefruit with Chile
Roasted Beet Soup with Horseradish Cream
Winter Stir-Fry with Chinese Five-Spice
Roasted Squash and Shallots with Merguez Chickpeas
Potato Rösti
 
To see the complete list of recipes offered for January, click here.



Avocado and [Blood Orange] with Chile


How gorgeous is this?!! 


I so enjoyed this extremely easy and quick salad.

This simple salad consists of only an avocado, blood orange (the recipe calls for a ruby grapefruit; however, not only do my meds say no grapefruit, but I have a blood orange tree that was quite plentiful this year), a fresh red chile, cilantro, and olive oil.

The "dressing" is just spooning some of the citrus juice over the salad, with a sprinkling of salt & pepper, minced chile, and a drizzle of olive oil.

So simple. So tasty. So beautiful.



Roasted Beet Soup with Horseradish Cream

 
 
Whole beets, smashed unpeeled garlic, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs are tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper in a baking dish. A cup of water is added, the dish covered tightly with foil, and baked until the beets are tender.


The scent of the beets baking was sublime.

The cooked beets are coarsely chopped and placed in a blender along with the garlic (squeezed from their skins), and some vegetable stock. This is puréed until smooth, and then transferred to a sauce pan to be warmed up, and more broth added if needed, depending on how thin you like your soup.

The horseradish cream is made by mixing Greek yogurt (or sour cream, or crème fraîche) and grated fresh horseradish if available - otherwise use creamed horseradish. The fresh was available to me, and I would have preferred using it, but cost wise, I went with the jarred. The fresh would have cost over six bucks, and the jarred was only two something, and being I don't ever use the stuff, I won't feel as bad for tossing out the rest, after the expiration date.


Too bad the sublimeness did not carry over to the final dish. The flavor of this soup, I did not care for at all - I added some extra salt and dried thyme to punch it up a bit, but to no avail. Such a bummer, for we are beet lovers.


Winter Stir-Fry with Chinese Five-Spice


I love stir-frying! It's amazing that you can have a delicious and healthy meal on the table in no time at all.

 Mise en place.

Stir-frying is a quick process, so you want to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go. 

One important note about stir-frying in general, is to make sure your ingredients are as dry as possible to avoid hot oil splatters when the vegetables are added to a hot wok.


This wokful of deliciousness is comprised of carrot, parsnip, mushrooms (I used shiitake), Brussels sprouts, noodles, shallots, chile, garlic, sugar (just a pinch), salt, pepper, soy sauce, rice wine (I use dry sherry), Chinese five-spice - which adds a warm, and slightly sweet flavor, and a splash of lime juice squeezed over just before serving.


This meal took less than ten minutes to cook! And the prepping of the vegetables wasn't much longer than that - using a food processor or mandoline will make shredding of the Brussels sprouts fast and easy, but I was too lazy to pull either piece of equipment out, so I just used my chef's knife. 


It's apropos that this recipe was included in the February line-up. February 19th was Chinese New Year, and certain foods have special meaning to the Chinese people; for example, noodles (uncut) stand for a long life, mushrooms signify longevity, and mixed vegetables mean family harmony, to name just a few.

Hope your Chinese New Year was wonderful!



Roasted Squash and Shallots with Merguez Chickpeas


No, there isn't any sausage in this dish (merguez is a small, thin, spicy sausage). Hugh takes the same seasonings used in the sausage to spice up the chickpeas.


First, butternut squash is roasted along with shallots and garlic until they are tender and caramelized.

While the vegetables are roasting, the chickpeas are prepared (if using canned as I did - otherwise using dried, they need to be cooked beforehand). Cumin, fennel, cilantro and caraway seeds are toasted until fragrant. The seeds are then transferred to a spice/coffee grinder to be crushed into a course powder. In a small pan, the ground seeds are mixed with some garlic, rosemary, paprika, cayenne, salt, olive oil, and the chickpeas, and cooked gently until heated through.

The squash mixture is plated and topped with the chickpeas, and is garnished with some parsley.

As pretty as this dish is, and as much as I love chickpeas and squash, this one just did not do it for me. My husbands comment was, "it's different".



Potato Rösti


Potato Rösti, as the Swiss call them, or here in the States, we call them hashbrowns.


Not much to them - shredded potato, salt and pepper. These can be made in small patties, as I have done here, or in one large pancake. I always like mini versions best - more fun that way.

Hugh suggests par-boiling the potatoes first (I skipped this), and allowing them to cool completely before shredding. I did place the shredded potatoes between paper towels to squeeze as much moisture from them as possible before cooking, though this was not in the instructions to do so.

The shredded potatoes are mixed with salt and pepper, then formed into patties and fried in oil until browned and crispy on both sides.

To try and pizazz them up  a bit, I added a dollop of Greek yogurt, and some sambal oelek for a little kick.

Hashbrowns have never really been my thing - and they still aren't. The hashbrowns I have had, have been a lot tastier. My husband informs me it is because of the melted butter that is drizzled over them while cooking - and we all know, butter makes everything better!



To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the the CCC website and look for the February LYL post - you will be taken there directly by clicking here.

We have been asked not to publish the recipes here on our blogs. We encourage you to go out and purchase the book and join us on this fun and healthy adventure!