Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sweet Potato & Gouda Gratin

This recipe (from Sunset magazine, October 2016) was a good excuses to use the slicing and shredding attachments to my KitchenAid mixer – they’ve been packed away in storage since shortly after I got them about 2 years ago! I love thyme. Still, it was relatively strong to my taste in this recipe. I might reduce it whenever I make this again. Also, even after sitting more than 10 minutes, the cheesey sauce was still a little thin. I increased the flour in the ingredients list below…hopefully that’ll make it creamier.

3 - 4 medium-large sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled and thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced, rings separated
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus thyme sprig for garnish
1 tsp coarse salt
½ tsp coarse pepper
1 T flour
6.5 oz gouda cheese, shredded
¼ C flour
1 C heavy cream
¾ C chicken broth

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Toss together shredded gouda and 1 T flour in another bowl.

Lightly coat a 3 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange half of sweet potatoes and half shallot onto bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle with half the thyme, salt and pepper. Layer half the gouda-flour mixture onto seasoned sweet potatoes. Arrange remaining sweet potatoes and shallots in a second layer.

Whisk ¼ C flour with half cream until smooth. Whisk in remaining cream and broth. Pour over sweet potatoes; top with remaining gouda.

Bake 45-55 minutes, increasing temperature to 400°F for the last 5 minutes or so, until gratin is bubbling and golden brown on top. Let sit 10 minutes before serving (sauce will thicken). Set a thyme sprig on top to garnish. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Polenta - Cauliflower Puree with Barbecue Shredded Chicken

You could just put BBQ shredded chicken over creamy polenta, but the cauliflower puree increases the polenta base without adding many calories, and the flavor is so mild as to be nearly unnoticeable. The homemade, mustard based barbecue sauce is good, and easy to tweak to your personal tastes. However, if you’re in a hurry, store-bought BBQ could be substituted easily to save time.

12 oz cauliflower florets
1 C (low sodium) chicken stock
½ C coarse cornmeal
3 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp coarse salt
½ C tomato sauce
3 T water
2 T yellow mustard
2 T ketchup
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
dash chile powder
12 oz cooked, shredded chicken (mix of breast and thigh)
½ c thin sliced scallions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Process the cauliflower in a food processor until very finely chopped. Transfer to saucepan; add stock and cornmeal. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking often, until cauliflower is cooked and mixture is thickened (~15 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Combine tomato sauce, water, mustard, ketchup, garlic, onion and chile powders in a small sauce pan. Bring gently to a simmer, stirring often until slightly thickened (5-10 minutes). Stir in shredded chicken.

Divide cauliflower-polenta into 4 bowls; top with chicken and barbeque sauce. Garnish with scallions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Chocolate Tart with Cocoa Whipped Cream

I have quite a few chocolate tart/pie recipes. But, when I was without internet connection recently, I found this one (ripped out of a magazine – probably Cooking Light or Food Network, but it’s ripped off the page so I can’t be sure). Worth adding to the options…

6-8 oz crushed chocolate wafer cookies
          (plus extra for garnishing, if desired)
3 T sugar
¼ tsp salt
6 T butter, melted

1 ½ C whole milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 C sugar
2 T cornstarch
1 T cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 C cold heavy cream
2 T cocoa powder
3 T powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make crust: Crush (or process in a food processor) wafer cookies to fine crumbs. Stir in sugar and salt. Add melted butter, blending until the mixture starts to clump. Press to bottom of springform pan and slightly up the sides. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven; while still warm, use the back of a spoon to gently press any cracks together. Cool.

Make filling: Heat 1 C milk in saucepan just to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and ½ C milk in a large bowl. Temper the egg mixture by slowly whisking in hot milk until mixture is smooth. Transfer everything back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil and thickens (~5 minutes). Remove from heat; add chopped chocolate, whisking until melted. Pour filling into crust; smooth with spatula. Cover with plastic wrap (directly on top of filling to prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate until cold and set (at least 2 hours).

Make topping: Whip heavy cream with powdered sugar and cocoa powder to soft peaks. Spread cocoa-whipped cream on tart. Garnish with additional cookie crumbs, if desired. (Or garnish with chocolate sprinkles, jimmies, etc.)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Sesame-Ginger-Chickpea-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 tsp vegetable or canola oil
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 T sesame oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp coarse salt
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ C tahini
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp grated or minced fresh garlic
2 tsp rice vinegar
¼ C hot water
1 T Sriracha sauce
¼ C thinly sliced scallions
1 tsp sesame seeds (white & black mixed adds visual appeal, but any sesame seeds will do)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lightly coat sweet potatoes with vegetable oil and pierce multiple times with a fork. Bake for 1 hour, until tender. Cool until handle-able. (Bake chickpeas while they’re cooling; see below.) Split potatoes lengthwise; score inner flesh deeply with a knife.

In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, ½ tsp salt, and ginger. Gently pat chickpeas dry with paper towels. Toss in a wide bowl with sesame oil; sprinkle with garlic-salt-ginger and toss to coat evenly. Bake 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Combine tahini, fresh ginger, fresh garlic and vinegar in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons hot water; stir until smooth. Combine Sriracha with 1 tablespoon hot water in another small bowl.

Drizzle a couple teaspoons of tahini mixture over each half of sweet potato. Season with remaining salt. Spoon Chickpeas generously over each potato, drizzle with remaining tahini mixture and Sriracha mixture. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

Season with additional salt (if needed) to taste.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Gingerbread Blackberry Crumb Muffins

I have another version of gingerbread blackberry muffins, but when I was without internet, I made them this way – a modified version of the Peach Spice muffins I made just recently. They’re slightly milder than my other recipe, but very fluffy and moist. And I love throwing a bit of crumble on top of almost ANY muffin!

1/3 C butter, melted
¼ C sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
1 egg
¼ C molasses
½ tsp vanilla
½ C buttermilk
1 ½ C + ¼ C flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1½ tsp ground ginger
2 C fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 12 muffin cups or coat lightly with non-stick cooking spray, or use paper liners.

Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add egg, molasses, vanilla and buttermilk, stirring until well blended. Add dry ingredients, stir until just combined (except ¼ C flour). Gently toss blackberries with ¼ C flour; gently fold blackberries into batter.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. If you want the ‘crumble’ on top, use this streusel crumble topping (or something similar if you have a favorite). Sprinkle over muffin tops.

Bake 15 – 18 minutes until muffins are crowned, lightly browned, and a toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Peach Spice Muffins

I already have a variety of muffin recipes on this blog, easily adaptable. But…recently being without internet connection for a few weeks after moving, I had a print copy of this one, and some fresh peaches begging to be used!

1/3 C butter, melted
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla
½ C buttermilk
1 ½ C flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
2 C diced fresh peaches

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 12 muffin cups or coat lightly with non-stick cooking spray, or use paper liners.

Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add egg, vanilla and buttermilk, stirring until well blended. Add dry ingredients, stir until just combined. Gently fold in diced peaches.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 15 – 18 minutes until muffins are crowned, lightly browned, and a toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Strawberry-Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars

Depeding on the tartness of the rhubarb, and the sweetness and juiciness of the strawberries, I sometimes adjust the sugar and/or cornstarch a bit with this recipe...

Ingredients, oatmeal base:
1 C butter
2 C brown sugar
2 eggs 
½ tsp vanilla
3 C oats
2½ C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Ingredients, strawberry-rhubarb layer:
3 C rhubarb, large diced (1")
3 C strawberries, large diced
¾ C sugar
zest of one orange (approx 2 tsp zest)
1/3 C orange juice
2 T cornstarch

Crumble Topping Ingredients
¾ C flour
1 C rolled oats
¼ C sugar
½ C brown sugar
½  tsp salt
¾ C butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350˚.

To make oatmeal base...
Cream together butter and brown sugar; beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir in oats. Add flour, soda and salt all at once, stirring until well combined. Spread evenly over a jelly roll baking sheet, and just slightly up the edge (baking sheet with a 'lip'). Bake 12 minutes; remove and cool slightly while you prepare filling and topping.

To make the fruit filling...
In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and zest. Dissolve cornstarch in orange juice; add to rhubarb-strawberry mixture and gently stir to combine. Spoon or pour mixture over oatmeal base.

In a large bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients of crumble topping to evenly distribute. Cut in butter and continue mixing until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle generously over strawberry-rhubarb layer. Bake 30-40 minutes until fruit is bubbling and crumble topping is golden brown.

Cool completely. Slice into bars to serve.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hot White Chocolate

Hot chocolate always sounds good in the winter -- especially near Christmas time, with a splash of peppermint Schnapps! -- or on summer campouts or around a bonfire. Right now, it's spring. Not that you'd know it looking outside...our eternal gray-rainy weather in the Pacific NW. With that, something warm to drink still sounds good, so here's a swtich to add variety: Hot WHITE chocolate. Sweet and creamy, the vanilla flavor shines through.

2 C whole milk
1/2 C heavy cream
3/4 C white chocolate*
1 tsp vanilla paste*
dash salt

whipped cream for serving

* You can use white chocolate chips, but they have stabilizers added so they won't lose their shape melting into cookie doughs, but you want it to melt into the milk here, so white chocolate bar or slab chunks will blend better. Also, you can just use vanilla extract, but the thicker paste (which is syrupy and has the seeds for a bit of visual contrast) is more decadent and dresses up just a plain mug of white. Alternately, you could simmer a vanilla bean in the milk, then split it and scrape the seeds into with your hot cocoa.

Bring milk and heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan. While it's heating, chop the white chocolate into small chunks. Add chocolate chunks and stir until melted. Stir in vanilla paste and dash of salt. Top with whipped cream.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Pico de Gallo

We make this every semester in my Intro to Foods & Nutrition class (vegetables unit recipe and some good knife skills practice!). I don't know how I never got it on the blog yet...

2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or concasse)
1 medium onion, small diced
½ jalapeno, seeded, small diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp lime juice
s & p to taste

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro.
Stir until evenly distributed.

Add lime juice; stir to combine.

Add salt & pepper to taste.
(Start with 1/8 tsp each; taste. Add more as desired.)

Refrigerate 30 minutes. Garnish with additional sprig(s) of cilnatro. Serve with tortilla chips or over other dishes.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dutch Apple Pancake

I still want to fiddle with this recipe a bit. I made a single serving version (1/4 the recipe - pictured); I'm also not wild about the oat crumble in this recipe. I generally love a good crumble, and I saw some Dutch Apple Pancake recipes that included it, so I thought I'd try it that way. But I think I might prefer to just let the apples shine on their own. The crumble adds another dimension for sure, but in my opinion kind of weighs things down. With the whipped egg whites, I was anticipating a fluffier finished product.

6 eggs, separated
1 C milk
½ C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
½ C flour
1/3 C sugar
¾ tsp salt
½ C rolled oats
½ C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ C + 1 T butter
4 Granny Smith apples

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine egg yolks, milk, cream and vanilla in a bowl. Add flour, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt, stirring until well combined. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites into soft peaks. Gently fold in yolk and milk mixture. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, stirring to mix evenly. Add melted butter and mix into a crumble. Spread evenly over the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray. (If you have a large, oven-safe skillet to bake Dutch Apple pancakes in...even better! But a glass baking dish works fine too.)

Peel, core and slice apples. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet; add apples, cooking over medium heat until softened and just beginning to carmelize. Spread apples evenly over crumble already in baking dish.

Gently pour egg mixture over apples. Bake approximately 35-40 minutes (more if your skillet is smaller and the pancakes are thicker, less if thinner...) until egdes are browned and center is only slightly jiggly, but not runny! -- Eggs should be cooked to 155° F.)

Invert to serve.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Honey-Rosemary-Sriracha Carrots

Using up an insane amount of baby carrots in my fridge right now, and a bottle of Sriracha I've had for... I don't even know how long. (I'm not much of a Sriracha fan, or anything too spicy for that matter -- I'm a wuss!) But, threw this together and really enjoyed it.

1 T olive oil
1 T honey
¾ tsp Sriracha (go for more if you want it to really kick)
½ tsp rosemary
2 C baby carrots
generous pinch coarse salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Stir together oil, honey, Sriracha and rosemary. Toss with carrots.

Spread in single layer in a baking dish. Season with salt.

Roast approx. 20 minutes, until fork tender.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Vanilla Donuts...sort of's task on Cornwall Church's advent calendar is: "Make a donut run!"  But I knew I had a doughnut recipe I wanted to try. Or try modified: the original recipe calls for soy milk; I have none (and don't want any!). I also don't have a doughnut pan, and don't have any intention to buy one unless I find a fabulous recipe, and discover a good reason to for making them more often. (...which I really don't foresee!) These are...okay. Not too densely cakey (especially when still warm!), even though they're baked; and they're a quick bread style, using baking powder. I want to find a good yeast recipe. But for now...

½ C plus 2 T butter, softened
1 C sugar
2 eggs
½ t vanilla
3 C flour
1½ T baking powder
½ t salt
1 C milk (soymilk if you want to go that way...)

Preheat oven 350°. Lighlty coat doughnut pans (or mini muffin tins!) with non-stick cooking spray.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients and milk a little at a time, alternately.

Fill pans 2/3 full. Bake 12-15 minutes, until just beginningto brown at the edges. Remove to wire racks to cool.

For sugared doughnuts, dip in melted butter and then in sugar (or sugar cinnamon, etc.). Or frost with thin glaze of powdered sugar and water. If desired, add sprinkles.