Saturday, May 29, 2010

Potato Ricotta Galette

This is just a quick one. Galettes are great because you can modify them in so many ways. This was really delicious. If you haven’t made one yet, based on this one or this one, do it now.

Potato Ricotta Galette:

Makes a super tasty galette

½ recipe galette dough
2 red potatoes, thinly sliced
Ricotta cheese
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Dried oregano
Sea salt
Olive oil

Bake potatoes, mixed in olive oil and oregano, in a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Roll out galette dough. Spread the ricotta cheese over the dough, sprinkle with chopped garlic and oregano, and cover with potato slices. Fold in the dough and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. My potatoes cooked a little longer in the first step than I would have liked and as a result were a bit crispier than intended at the end of baking. It still rocked though. I will definitely do this one again and keep on experimenting with galettes. How can crispy dough and garlic ever be anything but amazing?

Dark Herb Bread

This is only a slightly modified James Beard recipe. It’s modified a bit because I misread rye meal as rye flour. It still was awesome and made for great toast with soup.

Dark Herb Bread modified from Beard on Bread:

Makes 1 large loaf

2 packages (or 2 Tb.)
1 Tb. granulated sugar
1½ - 2 c. warm water (100-115 degrees)
3 c. whole-wheat flour
1 c. rye flour
1½ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ c. olive oil
1 Tb. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tb. parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. rosemary
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Combine the yeast, sugar, and ½ cup of the warm water in a mixing bowl and allow to proof. Mix whole-wheat flour, rye flour, and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the yeast mixture and 1 cup of warm water. Mix, adding additional water if necessary, to make a firm, slightly sticky dough. Mix in herbs and turn the dough out on a floured board and knead until smooth and rather elastic, about 10 to 15 minutes, adding as much as ½ cup flour as you require. As always, I did most of this in a stand mixer. Form into a ball, place in a well-oiled bowl, and turn to coat with the oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1½-2 hours.

Punch the dough down and knead again for about 5 minutes, then shape into a loaf to fit in a well-oiled 10 x 5 x 3-inch tin. Cover and allow the dough to rise again until it is above the rim of the loaf tin. Slash the loaves lengthwise (or crosswise) about ½” deep with a knife. Insert the garlic slices into the loaf.

Bake in a preheated oven of 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees, and continue baking for 30 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when rapped on top and bottom. Remove the garlic slices. Cool on racks before slicing.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

One of the desserts that will always remind me of home is strawberry-rhubarb pie. I have a vague memory of the first one I ever had. I can’t remember where or who I was with or why I was wherever I was, but I do remember the combination of tart rhubarb and ridiculously sweet strawberries. It’s always stuck with me.

When I was at the farmer’s market and saw this ridiculously beautiful rhubarb, I knew I had to get it. I also bought a very large amount of strawberries, which I am surprised made it home because they were just so sweet, I kept snacking on them on the walk back. Anyway, for a pie that reminds me of home, of course I had to use The Fiddlehead Cookbook. Hometown cookbook, hometown pie, happy Becca. I didn’t use the crust recipe they use, instead subbing in the one my mom sent me oh so long ago. Use it. It’s amazing. I had extra rhubarb and strawberries and this is reflected in the recipe below. I also noted the original amounts. Oh yeah, and make sure you get the leaves off of your rhubarb. Those are poisonous.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie from The Fiddlehead Cookbook:

1 9” pie (8 pieces)

1 unbaked double 9” pie crust (see the recipe I use here).
5 c. sliced fresh rhubarb stems (orig. 4 c.)
1½ pint fresh strawberries, washed, patted dry, and stems removed. Large ones cut into quarters. (Orig. 1 pint)
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/3-1½ granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of your strawberries. Mine were sweet, so I went to the low side.
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tb. butter

Place rhubarb, strawberries, flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a large glass or stainless steel bowl, mix well, and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Pour rhubarb mixtures into unbaked shell, mounding toward center. Dot filling with butter, cut into teaspoons. Use water to dampen lip of pie shell. Loosely fold top crust in half and transfer to pie. Unfold and center on pie. Trim upper crust to match lower. Folding under, pinch two layers of crust together to create a secure and attractive edging to pie. Yeah, I sort of tried to do this. It was pretty enough.

With a fork or a small knife, make a pattern of small holes or slits in top of pie. Lightly dust with a pinch of sugar and place in oven. Put a cookie sheet lined with foil on shelf directly below pie to catch any drips. This is pretty good advice for any pie baking you may do, FYI.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until juices are bubbling out of slits in center of pie. Mine was done at 40.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack for 30 minutes or more before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for 1 day, longer in the refrigerator.

This pie was so good! I loved it! The only oopsie I made was not adding more flour when I added in more fruit. As a result, it was a little more liquidy than I would have liked, but still very tasty and not so soggy as to be an off texture. The crust is very forgiving and a small error like that didn’t ruin the pie. While it is best day of, I loved eating this for the next few days afterward. This is a perfect late spring pie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Slow Cooker Applesauce

This recipe combines two things I love: using up sad looking produce and cobbling together recipes. I had a big bag of apples that sat in the back of the fridge for a ridiculous amount of time that I kept promising Aaron I would use up. Finally I managed to get my act together and search for some recipes, forgetting that I had already done this when I had initially intended to do something with my sad sack of apples. I think I really enjoy the phrase sad sack of apples. Anyway, I ended up with two recipes that both had things I like about them and decided to stick them together and call it slow cooker applesauce. The originals are here and here.

Slow Cooker Applesauce:

Makes about 3 large mason jars worth

12 apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
Juice from 1 lemon plus a little more
¾ c. water
1 c. brown sugar
¾ tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. vanilla

Combine the apples and the water in the slow cooker. Add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir well to combine. With this many apples, it might be difficult, but it will work out in the end. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Mine were perfectly tender and ready at just about 5 hours. Mash up with a potato masher.

I froze two of the jars and kept one in the fridge. There would’ve been enough for three full mason jars, but I kept eating it. It’s so good! The tang of the lemon plays well off of the sweetness of the sugar. The vanilla adds a nice layer of flavor as well. I would use more lemon juice and less sugar on sweeter apples. It’s just like apple pie; you’ve got to adjust based on what you have. I highly recommend making this, if for no other reason that you have a sad sack of apples and they need some love. This stuff is great on everything, but I like it best by itself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Once, oh so long ago (okay not that long ago), I declared that the buttermilk pancake recipe on the back of my buttermilk powder was the best thing in pancakes and the only one I made. Yeah, and then my dear friend Alton Brown (and by dear friend I mean I adore his food nerdliness on a regular basis) had a show about pancakes and I was hooked. And, as it turns out, they make for terrific waffles as well!

“Instant” Pancake Mix and Waffles from Good Eats:

3 batches of pancakes…or waffles! (About 12 pancakes per batch.)

6 c. all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder
1 Tb. kosher salt
2 Tb. sugar
(Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix. Use the mix within 3 months.)
2 eggs, separated
2 c. buttermilk
4 Tb. melted butter
2 c. "Instant" Pancake Mix, recipe above

Turn on your waffle iron.

Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter. Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out. Normally, when doing pancakes, you add your fruit to the top after they’ve been placed on the griddle. This doesn’t work out as well for waffles, so I mixed in my fruit, which was dried cranberries and pomegranate seeds, right into the batch.

Pour in the batter. Don’t do what I did here, which is pour in far too much. Underestimate with waffles and you will be much happier. Let the iron do its thing. Pull the waffles when they are crisp at the edges. Serve with butter, jam, and maple syrup. Aaron got this jam at the Oregon Historical Society, where he volunteers, and it is amazing! I want to eat it on everything. Including more waffles.

Check out the original recipe here to see Alton’s fabulous tips on making pancakes with this stuff. I know I’ve said it before, but I think I may have found the perfect pancake/waffle recipe. I try to serve it to my friends whenever they come into town because pancakes and waffles are a good way to show your friends you love them. And it gives you an excuse to eat waffles!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Broccoli and Pesto Sausage Mac and Cheese

Here’s another oh hey, when did I make this? post. I have pictures, so obviously it happened and I do remember this being good. Mac and cheese is super simple and amazingly delicious. Plus, it helps to use up those random bits of meat and veg in your fridge. And I love cheese. There, I said it. Like that was a surprise to anyone.

Broccoli and Pesto Sausage Mac and Cheese:

Makes a bunch

Milk or cream
1-2 c. finely shredded cheese (Tillamook’s white cheddar rocks!)
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 pesto chicken sausages, heated and chopped (other or no meat is also cool)
1 large head of broccoli, steamed and cut into florets
Rotini pasta (or whichever shape you like. I’m particular to wagon wheels when it comes to mac and cheese. And yes, I’m aware that the mac in mac and cheese means macaroni noodles, but I like different shapes.)
Handful of bread crumbs

Boil off your noodles to al dente. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

Using your flour and butter, make a roux. Don’t brown the butter. Slowly stir in milk until you reach a consistency you like. It’s better to put in less and add more if it looks off after the cheese than have a sloppy mess. Slowly add the shredded cheese. When you get something resembling a cheese sauce, take off the heat. Mix in the garlic.

Add the cheese sauce to the pasta. Stir in the broccoli and sausage. Take the whole mixture and place in a large casserole. Top with bread crumbs and stick in under the broiler until the crumbs brown a bit. Eat and be happy.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Fish Tacos

The problem with not writing up recipes after you make them is, of course, not really remembering what you did. So, as a result, you all get to read about my delicious fish tacos and hopefully I remember correctly what was done.

One of the thing I like most about cooking is making marinades. I think it has something to do with the way it can change the scope of a meal based on the herbs and spices you use. In this case, I used snapper because rock fishes make for great tacos. So does halibut, but snapper is much cheaper. As I know you all are very smart, I don’t have exact amounts for this recipe, but I know you can figure it out. I also know that traditionally, fish tacos are served with cabbage and white sauce, but I just didn’t feel like it this time. They are still quite fantastic.

Fish Tacos:

Serves 3-4

1 lb.–ish snapper or other rock fish
Herb vinegar
Olive oil
Fresh lemon juice
Fresh lime juice
Ground cumin
Mexican oregano
Eggs, beaten
Corn taco shells (hard or soft)
Whatever taco accoutrements you enjoy

Cut fish into strips, about 1” wide, on an angle. In a large container with a lid, add fish, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, ground cumin, cilantro, and Mexican oregano. Close and shake around. Refrigerate at least overnight. Shake it up every 12 hours or so. Mine marinated for about 2 days because other dinner plans came up. It was still good.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Dredge fish through flour, then egg, then panko. Place fish on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle fish with additional olive oil. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, turn the fish over, and cook until done, another few minutes. Stuff into tacos. We had ours with pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and homemade guacamole and served with Mexican rice.

This makes a little or a lot, depending on how much fish you have, and I ended up also making fish nachos that same week, which was also delicious. It’s so easy and with summer coming up, you’re going to want these.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Homemade Goat Cheese

I have my computer back! Hooray! And now that I have all my links and everything, I can update once again. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on my backlog of lovely, tasty things very soon. And hopefully you will like them.

I made goat cheese a few weeks ago and this is going to be a brief post because I was really unimpressed with the results. The original recipe (here) did make it sound amazing and it all looked beautiful. I found the link on Renai's blog and thought why not? The answer is because the results are eh.

I used sage and more garlic than the original asked for and ended up with slightly creamy garlic-sage. I had to add most of the drippings back in. The texture was mostly fine, but that tang, that thing that you look for in a delicious goat cheese, or really any goat cheese, just wasn't there. Perhaps if I used a different goat's milk (I got mine at TJ's) or something like that, it would've been better, but mostly it just seemed like a waste. Renai and I talked about it and it is a fun experiment and your results may differ, but I wouldn't recommend it.
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