Friday, June 10, 2011

Cheese Party and Bruch

We hosted a cheese tasting brunch.

Here are the recipes and a few pictures of the very memorable and delicious morning.

Jamie Oliver

Mixed Herb Crostini

Get any mixture of soft herbs like fennel tops, green or purple basil, parsley, mint, chervil,
thyme leaves, or sorrel and roughly chop them.
Take six cherry tomatoes and halve them, then rub one of the halves into each of your hot crostini.
Grate some pecorino or Parmesan over the top and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over your chopped herbs.

Mixed nuts (Ina Garten)

1 pound roasted unsalted cashews
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175°C).
2. Spread the cashews out on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven until warm, about 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt, and butter.
Thoroughly toss the warm cashews with the spiced butter and serve warm.

Mini Quiche (Canadian Living)

24 Frozen mini tart shells, (in foil cups) thawed
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

8 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup chopped mushroom

Filling: Place tart shells on rimmed baking sheet; divide bacon, green onions and cheese among shells.

In bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper; pour into tart shells.
Bake in bottom third of 375°F oven until pastry is golden and filling is just set,
25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.
(Make-ahead: Let cool. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days; reheat in 400°F/200°C oven for about 4 minutes.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Black Bean and Lentil Salad with Curry Viniagrette

When I opened the front door this morning, it was like a wall of heat hit me in the face.

To me heat means salad and smoothies for lunch and dinner.

This salad is really easy to make if you have a few cans of beans in your pantry.

I used two cans of black beans and one of green lentils but you could surely use almost any sturdy bean.

Feel free to use any vegetable you have. Grated carrot, thinly sliced celery, green peppers, chives or cucumber would be great in there.

The vinaigrette is a bright combination of ginger, lemon and curry.

I like to serve this as a side to sausage, cheese and crackers or boiled eggs.

A perfect meal for a day when you don't want to heat up the house by using the oven.

Black Bean and Lentil Salad with Curry Viniagrette

3 cups cooked beans (I used 2 cans Black beans)
1 cup cooked black or green lentils
1 cup cooked brown rice (optional)
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced into crescents (optional)
1 cup vegetables, chopped or grated (I used a combination of zucchini, carrot and tomato)

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon of fine-grain sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1-2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (from 1-inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl toss the beans, black lentils, red onion, and vegetables.
In a bowl or jar whisk together this garlic, salt, the curry powder, fresh ginger, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Whisk well, taste, and add adjust flavors/salt if needed.
Pour about half of the dressing over the beans and give it all a toss.
Add more dressing a bit at a time until it is to your liking.

Serves about 4 - 6 as a side.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Southwest Bean Burgers

I love burgers.

Going out for burgers is a pretty cheap date.

Going out for burgers is my idea of a good time.

Perhaps I should qualify that, going out for good burgers is my idea of a good time. (Not as cheap but way more...ummm...good.)

I'm pretty lucky, though, because the best burgers I've ever had are always free.

The combination of my mum's perfect burgers and my dad's crazy barbecue skills are a match to be reckoned with.

These aren't those burgers but they're really good anyway.

These are made with friendly and yet exciting things like corn tortilla chips, chilies and black beans.

You're excited already right...?

Make these, bake them and top them with any toppings you would put on a beef burger.

I like mine with salsa, cheddar cheese, hot peppers and sour cream.

Southwest Bean Burgers

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 cup grated carrots
1 fresh chile, minced or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup ground corn tortilla chips
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Warm the oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.
Stir in the chives, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper and cook until the onions soften, a couple of minutes.
Add the mushrooms, carrots, chiles, and orange juice, lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook,
stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes.
While the vegetables cook, combine the ground tortilla chips, beans,
and egg in a large bowl and mash well with a potato masher, or pulse in a food processor
and then transfer to a bowl. When the vegetables are tender, drain, and stir into the bean mixture.
Form the burger mixture into six patties (a heaping 1/2 cup per burger) and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 25 minutes, until firm and lighted crusted.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chicken Pita Sandwich with Cucumber Yogurt

Warm, herb flecked, chicken bites layered in a pita with slices of feta and tomato and topped with cucumber-chive yogurt is the perfect dinner on a very hot, late spring night.

We had some hot weather here this past week. Not wanting to turn the oven on, an abundance of fresh herbs in the garden and being inspired by Everyday Food's Chicken Koftas, I made these lovely little sandwiches.

I loaded the chicken up with chives and parsley and seasoned them with salt, pepper and cumin but left the rest of the toppings pretty basic.

This came together so quickly. With some sparkling lime water, it was a cool, refreshing way to end a hot spring day.

Chicken Pita Sandwich with Cucumber Yogurt
(Everyday Food, Martha Stewart June 2011)

1 1/2 lbs ground chicken
1/4 C minced chives
1/3 C minced parsley
3/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced small
1/2 C plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp veg or canola oil
1-2 medium tomatoes, in thin wedges
feta, sliced or crumbled
fresh chives or mint for serving

In a large bowl mix together chicken, chives, parsley, cumin, salt and pepper. Form into 8 oval and slightly flattened patties.
In a small bowl, toss together cucumber, yogurt, salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Cook patties until brown and cooked through.
Divide patties among pitas.
Top with tomatoes, feta, yogurt sauce and herbs.
Fold in half and serve.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Biscuits and Gravy

While we were reading, By the Shores of Silver Lake, Clara and I were both oo-ing and aw-ing at the breakfast the Ingalls ate Christmas morning.

Fried pork and potatoes, biscuits, gravy and hot applesauce.

Clara decided that sounded like a pretty prefect dinner for tonight.

We started by throwing together some simple buttermilk biscuits. Clara can make these biscuits almost entirely on her own. They're very simple and very good.

Even though it's not exactly prairie fare, we are also having sausage gravy.

Along side the biscuits and gravy we are having some roasted new potatoes, applesauce, and maybe an excerpt or two from one of Laura's books.

Buttermilk Biscuits

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
heaped 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist).
Drop by Heaping Tablespoonful onto a lined baking sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes.

Sausage Gravy
(Alton Brown)

1lb breakfast sausage, bulk style (we used lamb sausage squeezed from the links), drippings reserved

1 1/2 oz all purpose flour
2 C whole milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage in a skillet.When done, remove sausage from pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat.

Whisk flour into the fat and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk a little at a time.
Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally while the gravy comes to a simmer and thickens.
(Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan, that's where the flavor is.)
Check seasoning, add crumbled sausage and serve over toast or biscuits.