Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spinach Lemon Pasta

Spinach Lemon Pasta
adapted from the pioneer women

2 large handfuls of spinach
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 Tbs. extra lemon juice
4 Tbs. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb (500 g.) pasta of your choice
2 cups (0.5 L) creme fraiche (or sour cream)
salt to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated, to garnish
parsley, to garnish (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F (190 C)
2. Cook pasta until al dente.
3. In a skillet, melt butter over low heat, then add the spinach. Once spinach is completely wilted, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add lemon juice, and turn off heat.
4. Add creme fraiche, lemon zest, and salt to taste.
5. Combine cooked pasta with the creme mixture, pour into an oven-safe pan and cooked covered for 15 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes.
6. Squeeze the extra lemon juice over the pasta after removing from the oven, and generously top each serving with Parmesan.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fruit Tart

It would be easy to make just the creme part of this, put it in a bowl, and eat it. So delicious! I'm never using sugar cookie dough and boxed custard jello to make a fruit tart again (well, maybe I would still use a sugar cookie dough crust : ) )

Fruit Tart
from joy of baking

1 tart or pie pastry for the crust (I bought a roll of pastry)
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) milk or cream (or a combination)
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 g.) granulated white sugar
2 Tbs. (20 g.) all-purpose flour
2 Tbs (20 g.) cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 Tbs. liqueur (optional)
1/2 cup (120 g.) apricot preserves
1 Tbs. water
3 cups (720 mL) fruit

1. Cook tart according to packaged directions (poking holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork to avoid the bottom puffing up) and set aside.
2. In a sauce pan, bring the milk just to boiling.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk sugar and egg yolks together. Whisk in flour and cornstarch until a paste forms.
4. Once milk boils, whisk the sugar/egg mixture while pouring the milk into.
5. Once combined, put back into the pan and cook until boiling, whisking constantly until creme becomes thick. Take off heat and whisk in vanilla and liquor (if using).
6. Pour immediately into a clean container and cover with lid (very important!).
7. Put the water and apricot preserves into a bowl, and microwave for about 1.5 mins (taking out and stirring every 30 seconds) until completely liquid. Brush a little bit of apricot preserves onto the entire inside of the cooked tart crust, and set aside to dry for 20 mins.
8. While crust is drying, cut up fruit (I used strawberries, raspberries, and kiwi).
9. After tart is dried, spread the creme evenly into the crust, then layer the fruit on (in a pattern or just dump it all on), and then drizzle the rest of the apricot preserve glaze over the fruit (reheat if not fully liquid).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zucchini, Basil, Pine Nut Pasta

Zucchini, Basil, Pine Nut Pasta
adapted from food on paper

500 g. dry linguine (or other pasta)
1 large zucchini, grated (or 2 small/medium zucchinis)
handful of basil, chopped coarsely
1 clove garlic, minced
45 g. pine nuts (about 1/2 cup)
juice of 1 lemon (plus zest, optional)
dried chilli flakes (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)
grated Parmesan (to garnish)

1. Cook linguine until al dente.
2. While linguine is cooking, in a heavy-bottomed dry pan, toast the pine nuts on medium-low heat, stirring them until they are all brown and fragrant (being careful not to burn).
3. Drain pasta and add back into pot, and add rest of ingredients and cook on medium-low heat until garlic is fragrant and everything is combined well.

Potato Gratins

Serious deliciousness. Just make sure your potato slices are really thin.

Potato Gratins
adapted from taste food blog

3/4 lbs yellow potatoes
4 oz. melty cheese
1 cup creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1 clove garlic (crushed with garlic press)
salt and pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (175 C)
2. THINLY slice the potatoes (using mandolin preferably).
3. Combine garlic, creme fraiche, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
4. Butter 4 ramekins with the butter. Then layer potato, creme fraiche mix, and cheese (occasionally adding more salt and pepper in the layers) until all ingredients are used up, ending with a cheese layer.
5. Bake uncovered for 1 hour (if cheese starts to burn, cover with foil).

Insalata Caprese

Seriously one of my favorite summer-time things to make. But, even though it's mid winter, it was time to make this because I finally got around to making the balsamic reduction I've always wanted to! This makes a great light meal with a ramekin of potato gratin, hunk of baguette, and a glass of white wine.

Insalata Caprese

2 large ripe tomatoes (or large cherry tomatoes), sliced 1/3" thick
1 handful basil leaves (roughly torn if using cherry tomatoes)
1 mozzarella ball, cut into 1/4" slices (then quartered if using cherry tomatoes)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar (or 1 tsp. balsamic reduction, recipe here)
salt and pepper (to taste)

1. Arrange caprese salad: tomato slice, leaf of basil, mozzarella, repeat, in a centric circle.
2. Drizzle olive oil over salad, following the pattern. Same with balsamic. Grate fresh pepper over salad, and serve.

Balsamic Reduction

Balsamic Reduction
from oui chef cook

1 cup balsamic vinegar (use high quality aged balsamic)

1. Put vinegar in heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot. Heat on low to get a light simmer.
2. Reduce until syrupy, or desired consistency (about 45 minutes).

Test consistency by taking a spoon, drizzling on a cool plate, and run your finger through it to see if it's where you want it. Too thick, stir in water and try again. Be careful not to let it burn, especially at the end of the cooking.

Store at room temperature.

Friday, January 13, 2012

French Onion Soup

Definitely one of the most delicious and professional made things I've ever done. So tasty, and a French girl who was over eating gave it the official seal of approval. Win!

I adapted Alton Brown's French Onion Soup recipe to be vegetarian. I think I did a good job : )

French Onion Soup
adapted from Alton Brown

4 lbs. sweet onions
3 Tbs. butter
2 tsp. salt
2 cups white wine
20 oz. vegetable broth
10 oz. apple cider or juice
Bouquet garni: thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and parsley tied together with string
1 loaf french bread
salt and pepper
splash cognac
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

1. Heat 2 large pans on medium-high heat. Slice onions into thin half moons.
2. Divide butter into the two pans, melt, and then add onions. Add 1 tsp. salt to each pan. Cook, scrapping bottom of pan constantly, until all onions are completely caramelized (25 minutes).
3. Combine caramelized onions into one pan, and add enough wine to cover onions, and turn heat to high until wine is reduced to syrupy consistency.
4. Add broth, apple cider, and boquet garni to pan. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
5. Heat broiler in oven, placing rack in top 1/3rd of oven.
6. Cut about 1/4th of the french loaf into 1" cubes. Place on backing sheet, and broil bread cubes for 1 minute.
7. Season soup mixture with salt, pepper, and cognac. Remove boquet garni and ladle soup into ramekins. Place bread cubes into ramekins, and cover with grated Gruyere. Place ramekins on baking sheet or pan, and broil for 1-2 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
adapted from flourishing foodie

1 pre-made pie crust
3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (15 oz.) roasted pumpkin
12 fl. oz. evaporated milk
(1 cup. heavy cream, 1 Tbs. vanilla sugar for whipped cream if desired)


If using real pumpkin:
1. Pre-heat oven to 325F (160 C), cut into 1" or 2" cubes, removing skin, and place in baking pan (with 2 inch lip). Cover with foil, and bake for 90 minutes, or until meat is tender.
2. Into blender, take pumpkin chunks out of oven-pan, removing from the liquid that has separated during the baking and blend. Then pour puree into paper-towel lined colander, and press until liquid does not surface to the top.

3. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (205 C).
4. Butter pie/tart pan, and lay dough into the pan, and trim excess. Freeze for 20 minutes.
5. In medium bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cloves.
6. In large bowl, beat eggs with whisk. Add pumpkin puree and sugar mixture and whisk.
7. Slowly add evaporated milk, and whisk until all ingredients are combined.
8. Pour pumpkin filling into pie crust. In small bowl, whisk 1 egg white and 1 Tbs. water. Brush crust with egg wash, then cover crust with tin foil.
9. Cook for 15 minutes at 400 F (205 C), then reduce heat to 350 F (175 C) and cook for 35 minutes.
10. Remove pie from oven, remove tin-foil, and cook for last 15 minutes at 350 F (175 C).
11. Let pie sit for 2 hours before serving.
12. Beat vanilla sugar and heavy cream until desired consistency, and serve with pie.

Mushroom Sauce Pasta

Mushroom Sauce Pasta
adapted from lemons and anchovies

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. mushrooms, sliced
pinch nutmeg
1 cup cream
1/2 cup white wine
3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 lb. pasta
Parmesan for grating

1. Soak 1 oz. of the mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid.
2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
3. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat, add dry mushrooms. Cook until they start to wilt. Add soaked mushrooms, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
4. Add wine and reserved mushroom liquid, and turn up heat cooking liquid down to half.
5. Add cream, nutmeg and parsley. Bring down to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Remove from heat, combine with pasta, and sprinkle grated Parmesan over.

Tomato and Caramelized Onion Tart

Delicious! Everyone loved this tomato tart. We ate it in one sitting.

Tomato and Caramalized Onion Tart
adapted from tarte du jour

1 recipe whole wheat and olive oil pastry crust
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
1.5 tsp. salt
4 oz. gruyere cheese, grated
2 large eggs
1 cup cream
3 Roma tomatoes (or any other kind), sliced 1/2" thick

1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
2. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in large pan. Add onions, 1/2 of the thyme, and 1 tsp. salt. Stir, scrapping the bottom constantly, until onions are completely caramelized (about 20-25 minutes).
3. In large bowl, beat together eggs, cream, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.
4. Place caramelized onions in pre-baked tart crust, spreading evenly. Pour custard over the top. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the onions. Arrange tomato slices cut-side up over cheese. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rest of the thyme.
5. Bake 40-45 minutes until top is lightly golden brown.

Whole Wheat and Olive Oil Dough

This is the crust I used for my tomato and caramelized onion tart. Delicious!

Whole Wheat and Olive Oil Dough
from tarte du jour

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used flour with some whole grains)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cold water

1. Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Add olive oil and combine. Add water and combine until just absorbed.
2. Gently kneed dough until it comes together, and form a ball.
3. Dust a surface with flour, place dough ball on it, and cover with a little flour. Roll into 12" circle, dusting dough with flour as needed to avoid sticking.
4. Transfer dough into tart pan, fit in, and trim excess dough. Completely cover dough in foil and chill for 30 mins.
5. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (205 C).
6. Take tart pan out of oven, fill with dried beans, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove beans and foil and bake for 5 more minutes.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Baked Eggs (Oeufs Cocotte)

LinkBaked Eggs (Oeufs Cocotte)
from yummy mummy kitchen

1/8th cup chopped vegetables (I used zucchini and onion)
1 Tbs. creme fraiche
1 egg
salt and pepper
optional: fresh herbs to top

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Sauteed chopped vegetables in olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Mix creme fraiche and vegetables in bottom of ramekin. Crack egg over the top.
4. Place ramekin in baking dish and fill with hot water so it comes half-way up ramekin.
5. Bake 15 minutes, or until egg reaches desired done-ness. Sprinkle on fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Mushroom Toasts

Mushroom Toasts
from Gratinee

12 slices French baguette, toasted and cut on diagonal
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, minced
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
splash white wine
1 Tbs. creme fraiche
fresh thyme leaves
fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper
dash lemon juice
4 Tbs. grated Parmesan

1. Melt butter and olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion, soften for 2 minutes, add garlic, cook for 1 min.
2. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium high. Fry mushrooms until golden brown and no liquid remains in pan. Add the wine and cook off liquid.
3. Take mushrooms off head, mix in lemon, creme fraiche, thyme, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Top the baguette slices with mushroom mixture and 1 tsp. Parmesan each.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I'm back! 4 months in India (with some great recipes to share, just as soon as I get back into the states with my spice cache). But for now, cheap, cheap fine French ingredients! So exciting!! First off:

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
adapted from Katherine Martinelli

1 lb. pasta
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
olive oil
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 Tbs. butter
salt and pepper
2 Tbs flour
2 cups cream fraiche
2 cup grated Gruyère
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbs. whole grain Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. paprika
1 cup breadcrumbs, optional

1. Preheat broiler. Toss cauliflower in olive oil, place evenly in 13x9x2" baking pan (or smaller if you're halving the recipe) and broil until lightly browned.
2. Lower oven heat to 350, cook pasta until al dente.
3. Melt butter in sauce pan over medium-low heat, then sprinkle in flower and whisk. Whisk in creme fraiche until heated throughly. Add 1 1/2 cups Gruyère and whisk until fully melted, then add 1/2 cup Parmesan and mustard, and then the Paprika, salt, and pepper all to taste. Remove from heat.
4. Combine pasta, sauce, cauliflower, and tomatoes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top (and bread crumbs if desired).
5. Bake pasta uncovered for 35 minutes.