Sunday, October 30, 2011

Purple's pleasure

This is my favorite sandwich. It's the creation of a local sandwich shop. Best consumed with organic, Monument Farm's chocolate milk.

2 slices of wheat bread or focaccia
1 tbsp garlic and herb aioli
2-3 slices of ripe avocado
2-3 strips of crispy bacon
4 thin slices of roasted turkey breast
pickled jalapeno
purple onion

Spread the bread with the aioli. Microwave the toppings (except the lettuce and tomatoes) piled on the turkey breast. Transfer onto one of the bread slices, cover with lettuce and tomatoes, add the other bread slice. Serve.

Pot roast

This tastes pretty good and its preparation requires very little effort.

5 lb chuck roast
2 yellow onions
8 carrots
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
0.5 cup red wine
black pepper

To a large cast iron skillet add the olive oil. Begin to heat on medium heat. Preheat the oven to 275F.

Pat the meat dry and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Pat with flour until coated evenly. When the oil is hot, dear all sides of the roast, until golden brown.

Remove the roast and add the onions cut in thick slices, and the carrots cut in quarters (larger chunks). Brown them. Add back the roast and add all other ingredients. Bring back to a boil. Cover and move to the oven.

Cook for 3-4 hours. Remove from oven and make sure meat is fork-tender. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chocolate-vanilla layer cake

I was craving something sweet and chocolatey. This took less than an hour to whip up.

4 eggs
4 tbsp flour
4 leveled tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
0.5 tbsp vanilla sugar

8 oz semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate bar
1.5 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp Ghirardelli cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
0.5 tsp vanilla extract

Shred the chocolate bar.

Line a 15x10 baking sheet with good, nonstick baking paper. Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla sugar until white and fluffy. Add the flour mixed with the baking powder and continue beating. Pour onto the parchment paper and bake in a preheated 350F oven without opening the oven door for about 10 minutes, continue baking until the edges are slightly browned. Cool in the oven for a few minutes before removing from the pan and peeling off the parchment paper.

Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients with the exception of the chocolate for the filling. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil gently. Stir until the filling thickens. This will only take a few minutes from the moment boiling was reached. Stir in the shredded chocolate and the vanilla.

Using a ruler, cut the cake sheet into 3 equal slices. Cut these in half (not as shown in the picture). Spread each sheet with cream and assemble. Coat the outside and sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa. Slice and serve with whipped cream.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fancy baked potatoes

These were not really worth the effort as far as taste goes, but they looked pretty.

2 Russet potatoes
16 slices of pepperoni
16 slices of fresh Parmesan
3 tbsp butter
2 oz shredded cheddar
3 tbsp sour cream

Wash the potatoes and slice as seen on the picture, not quite all the way through. Rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Stick pepperoni slices and Parmesan cheese between the slices, alternating. Cut the butter on top. Place in a baking shape and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes in a preheated 400F oven.

Remove the foil and continue baking for another 20 minutes, until done. Shred the cheddar and sprinkle on top. Replace into the oven for 2-3 minutes. Serve with sour cream on top.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chicken and peppers pasta sauce

I had two extra bell peppers and a jar of marinara. This is what became of them. The roasted peppers were amazing in this dish, they were extra sweet and juicy. The entire marinara sauce took on their flavor.

4 chicken thighs
2 large, sweet, red bell peppers
0.5 cup white wine
1 jar marinara sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
0.5 tsp cayenne
1 tsp oregano flakes
black pepper

Heat a cast iron skillet to hot on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Place them skin-side-down in the hot skillet.

Cook for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400F.

Slice the peppers and add to the hot skillet. Caramelize the peppers, until the pieces become tender and sweet. Set aside. Return the chicken to the skillet and bake for 30 minutes.

Move the chicken and the peppers into a saucepan and add the white wine, heat to a boil and add the cayenne and oregano. Simmer until reduced by half. Add the marinara and rinse the jar with a cup of water. Simmer for 20 minutes covered, turning the chicken pieces after 10 minutes. Serve over linguini pasta.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hungarian cabbage biscuits

My favorite Hungarian biscuits (kaposztas pogacsa) are leavened with yeast instead of baking powder. It gives the product an additional dimension of flavor. They can be flavored with pretty much anything, but cabbage, cheese, potatoes, cottage cheese and pork rinds are popular. This is a vegetarian version inspired by the $29 cent cabbage in our co-op.

1 small cabbage (2 pounds)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp black pepper
500g flour
170g butter
1 egg
1 egg white (for egg wash)
2 tsp dry yeast
2 tbsp water
0.5 cup milk
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar

Shred the cabbage on the larger, cheese-shredder. Salt using 1 tsp salt and set aside for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, squeeze out the excess liquid.

Heat a skillet on medium-high and caramelize a teaspoon of sugar with the oil. Add the cabbage and brown, stirring frequently.

Flavor with black pepper and allow to cool.

Bloom the yeast with the other tsp of sugar in lukewarm water. Add the lukewarm milk. Mix the flour with the salt. Crumble the butter into the flour.

Add the flour mix to the yeast mix, add the egg. Knead together. Work in the cabbage and knead for a few minutes on a floured surface. Form into a ball and brush with oil.

Allow to rise in a covered bowl for 30 minutes. Press out and fold, repeat this twice more in 20-minute intervals. Roll out into a 0.75-inch-thick layer.

Cut the top into a checkered surface with a sharp knife. Cut circles and place onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush tops with egg wash or milk.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a cookie rack. Serve.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Caramelized onion mashed potatoes

My husband is a fan of mashed potatoes. He said these were the best he has ever eaten.

1 large yellow onion
6 medium potatoes
3 tbsp butter

Slice the onion into 0.5-inch slices. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Boil in salty water.

Preheat a cast iron skilled to hot (but never on maximum heat). Add a little bit of oil, add the sliced onions. Heat stirring occasionally until they caramelize. This works amazingly in heavy, cast iron skillets.

When the potatoes are soft, drain, mash with salt, butter, milk and caramelized onions. Serve.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reuben chicken roulade

What to make if you have leftover sauerkraut and bacon in the fridge...reuben chicken roulade!

1 large chicken breast half
4 strips of bacon
1/3 cup sauerkraut
3 oz swiss cheese
2 tbsp thousand island dressing
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
black pepper
0.5 tsp ground caraway seeds

Slice into the chicken breast so you can fold it open. Hammer it thin.

Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and ground caraway seeds. Spread the sauerkraut, dressing, cheese slices and breadcrumbs over 2/3 of the breast, roll it up.

Secure the breast in a rolled-up position by folding bacon strips all around it. Sear in a preheated cast iron skillet until light brown (1-2 minutes on four sides each).

Preheat the oven to 400F and bake the chicken breast for 20-30 minutes, until cooked. This will hugely depend on the thickness of your roll. Serve after slicing slanted.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eggplant sandwich

I came up with this on the spot, and it turned out rather well.

1 eggplant
2 eggs
seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tbsp mayo
2 cloves of garlic
3-4 basil leaves
parmesan cheese
bread rolls
olive oil
1 jar marinara sauce

Mince garlic and basil, mix with mayo.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Slice the eggplant into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Salt and allow to sit at room temp for 15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Beat eggs with 1-2 tbsp milk and coat eggplant slices with egg mixture. Toss with breadcrumbs. Layer on a baking sheet brushed with olive oil, spray tops with olive oil.

Cook 7-10 minutes in the oven, then flip slices and cook for another 7-10 minutes, until golden brown.

Toast the rolls and spread with the garlic mayo. Place eggplant slices on top. Spread with marinara and top with cheese. Broil until cheese melts. Serve.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin bread

Another fall favorite. This version is not to sweet, so for the sweet-toothed among us, the sugar amount can be upped by a cup.

2 cup flour
1.5 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
0.5 tsp cloves
0.25 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

4 eggs
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
15 oz pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9x5 inch pans.

Mix oil, eggs, pumpkin puree, water and sugar until well-blended.

In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Combine with wet.

Pour into baking shapes, bake for about 60 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).

Cool in shape for 2-3 minutes, then finish cooling covered on a cookie rack.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Penne with Italian sausage

Quick and tasty. Penne is such a fun pasta, I love how the holes fill up with sauce!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 clove garlic
0.5 tsp cayenne
1 jar marinara
1 cup water
0.5 cup white wine
2 tbsp minced parsley
1 lb penne
1.5 cup freshly grated parmesan
0.25 cup heavy cream

Squeeze out the sausage from the skins. Fry up in the olive oil ion medium heat until nice and browned. Stir constantly to break up the sausage into small bits. Add the parsley, minced garlic and cayenne. Cook for 1 more minute.

Add the white wine and reduce until most of the wine is gone. Add in the cream and bring to a boil. Mix in the marinara, and rinse the jar with the water into the pot.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes. Mix half of the sauce with freshly cooked and well-drained penne pasta. Spoon the rest over the plates and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan.

Butternut squash soup

Butternut squash is not very flavorful, but roasted it definitely has a sweet, earthy favor...with a tang of cucumber/melon at the end. I was never a fan of the spicy versions of this soup. So this is a sweet one.

1 butternut squash
0.25 cup cream
0.25 cup apple cider
1/3 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp maple syrup

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.

Place it cut-side-down on a baking shape and bake in a preheated 375F oven for an hour.

Scrape out the meat and mash with a fork. Add apple cider, stock, syrup and the spices to taste. Mix well and blend in a blender until smooth.

Mix in the cream until homogeneous. Taste and add more spices if necessary. Serve warm, with a drizzling of cream.

Pumpkin pie

A less sweet, more pumpkiny version of the old fall favorite.

1x 9-inch pie crust
2 cups of pureed, roasted sugar pumpkin
1.5 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp white sugar
0.5 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
0.25 tsp nutmeg
0.25 tsp cloves
0.5 tsp lemon zest

Press the pie crust into a glass pie dish. Preheat oven to 425F.

Mix sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Add the whipped eggs, stir in. Blend in pumpkin puree and finally the cream.

Whisk well and pour into pie crust.

Bake for 15 minutes before lowering the temperature to 350F. Bake a further 40-50 minutes, until center is set.

Cool on wire rack for 2 hours, cover with foil and store in the fridge as necessary. Serve with whipped cream.

Pumpkin puree

In the fall, when pumpkins are all over the place, I don't buy canned pumpkin puree. Preparing the real thing is really simple and straight forward.

1 medium sugar pumpkin

Cut the pumpkin in half, perpendicular to the stem. Scrape out the seeds and roast them, if you so desire.

Place the pumpkin cut-side-down onto a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the pumpkin for 80-90 minutes.

Scrape out the inside and puree or mash with a fork. Cool and freeze in batches.