Saturday, March 28, 2015

Apple Cheese Blintzes

 
When I was growing up, I remember going to Mother's day brunch every year with my parents and grandparents. We always went to the Hyatt downtown for their Mother's day buffet and my favorite thing was the blueberry blintzes. They were a little sweet with a cottage cheese filling. I know that's not how you should eat at a buffet. I know that's not the smart way to do brunch (the smart way, as we all know, is to fill up on bottomless mimosas and the most expensive things possible, i.e. smoked salmon and prime rib carving station, when available.)
 
My family stopped going there for brunch when I was about 10 years old but I still remember how much I loved the blueberry blintzes. Now I hate buffets (especially brunch buffets) and I would never go back for fear of it ruining my childhood memories, but I knew I had to try making blintzes for myself. I had to use stewed apples because that's what I had, but it was an awesome change. Still not as good as the blueberry, but not bad.
 
This recipe came from Smitten Kitchen and it was wonderfully and all mine with a couple tweaks. I knew upon reading it that it was a recipe that I could trust because it called for quark (which I don't use, but which is traditional) and her mother in law makes it. I make my own crepes and I don't have a real recipe, so you can use her recipe if you like. I'll give you my rough proportions below.

 
Ingredients for crepes
  • A couple eggs
  • Equal volume of milk
  • some flour
  • pinch of salt
Ingredients for filling
  • 2 cups quark, farmers cheese or medium curd cottage cheese (I used ricotta in these pictures and it was not as good)
  • about 1/4 cup of sour cream or crème fraiche (more if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • zest of half a lemon
  • sugar to taste (about 2-4 Tbsp)
  • an egg if you desire a firmer blintz
Directions
  1. Crack a couple eggs in a measuring cup. Then pour in the same amount of milk and mix. Add flour until the right consistency is reached and let sit for half an hour at room temperature. Strain out the lumps and adjust amount of milk as needed. Then make crepes in a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. I have no way to help you flip the crepes. I just use my fingers to flip them (but then again, I am a badass)
  2. Mix together all ingredients for the filling. Place a little in the middle of the crepe and fold like an envelope. Then fry the blintz in a little butter until browned on the outside.
  3. Top with your desired stewed fruit (blueberries or cherries are best, but I used apples cooked in a little butter, brown sugar and lemon juice).


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Kale Baked Eggs


Kale is a contentious vegetable in our family. Actually, it used to be but I've forced it on my husband so much that I think he's gotten used to it. He used to hate kale, squash of every kind, beans of every kind (except green) and quinoa. Now he only hates quinoa, and even hate is a strong word.

This breakfast was totally husband approved. He likes kale when I make sure to add lots of garlic, crushed red pepper and lemon. The oozy eggs add a richness to the kale and the greens make it so hearty and wonderful. Like everything else in our house, this gets served with crusty bread.

Today we had a wonderful day. It was the first really nice day we've had in a long time. We woke up late, made breakfast, caught up on some TV shows, sat in our PJs for much too long and eventually went out with some friends to the driving range/mini golf. It was a great double date with my husband and one of my best friends. Who could ask for a better Saturday and a better beginning to spring?

Kale Baked Eggs

Ingredients (for 2 people)
  • 4 eggs
  • half an onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch kale, stalks removed and coarsely chopped
  • grated gruyere/parmesan cheese
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon juice
Directions
  1. Sautee the onion and garlic in a little olive oil or bacon fat (in this case, we used the fat from our breakfast sausages). Add the kale, cover and cook on low until kale is wilted.
  2. Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and lemon juice to taste.
  3. Make 4 indentations in the kale (if using a big skillet) or divide into 2 individual skillets and make two indentations each. Crack eggs in the holes and place skillet in a preheated 350 degree oven.
  4. Cook eggs for 10 minutes or until desired doneness is reached. A couple minutes before they're done, sprinkle eggs with cheese.
  5. Eat immediately with crusty bread.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Secret Recipe Club: Irish Brown Bread

 
It's the third Monday of the month again. That means it's time for Secret Recipe Club. You all know what it's about by now. Every month, a group of awesome bloggers make another member's recipe (in secret, of course) and reveal it on a given day. The third Monday of the month belongs to group C. I love participating with this great group of people, seeing everyone's recipes and occasionally remembering one of my old recipes I may have forgotten.
 
This week, I was assigned Nicole over at PicNic. Nicole is a New Zealand native who is studying for her PhD in Biochemistry. She has a great assortment of recipes in every category. I was really tempted by her Stuffed Mushrooms or her Seafood Gumbo (though this didn't look like any gumbo I'd ever seen...I assumed it was just a difference in culture). I would have gone with her ANZAC biscuits if I didn't already have an amazing recipe given to me by an old boyfriend's mother, but I ended up choosing her recipe for Irish Brown Bread instead. It's a family recipe that is hearty, delicious, and goes perfectly with anything. Plus, tomorrow is St. Patrick's day. I had to post something like this.
 
This bread was incredibly easy, delicious and perfect for a weeknight dinner because it doesn't involve yeast. I made it with a wonderful Honeyed Chicken that was just screaming for a crusty brown bread. It tastes like Irish Soda Bread (a good or bad thing, depending who you ask) but I enjoyed it. I had some problems with the dough being too wet and I had to add quite a bit more flour (but perhaps there's a difference between New Zealand and US cup measurements)
 
Today is also my first day of my new job. I'm writing this two weeks before the posting date, but I'm already looking forward to reading all of your comments when I get home.
 
Thanks so much Nicole! I'll be sure to come back to your blog again for more great recipes.
 
Irish Brown Bread
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup AP flour (I used about 1/4 cup more to kneading)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
Directions
  1. Mix together flours, salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk,
  2. Stir ingredients until combined. Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth (should still be a little shaggy, but should hold it's shape better. I only needed a minute or so)
  3. Place the loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  4. Let cool completely before slicing. Serve with a stew or for breakfast with butter, honey or jam

 


Honeyed Chicken with Prunes

 
My husband got me the Game of Thrones cookbook as part of my Christmas gift this year. It's called "A Feast of Ice and Fire" and includes an assortment of really fantastic recipes from the blog Inn at the Crossroads. This recipe came from the section "The North/The Wall". This recipe feels so perfect for the winter (it was still cold when I made it, but now it's almost spring and almost a little too warm for this). The sauce is a little sweet, sour and savory. It seems like the kind of thing that would be perfect on a table in Winterfell.
 
"'Hungry again?' he asked. There was still half a honeyed chicken in the center of the table. Jon reached out to tear off a leg, then had a better idea. He knifed the bird whole and let the carcass slide to the floor between his legs. Ghost ripped into it in savage silence."
-George R. R. Martin "A Game of Thrones"

I think my husband and I prefer a nice roast chicken in general with crispy skin, but this was a great change of pace. It would go great with mashed potatoes or roasted turnips, but it was just as good with simply dressed arugula and brown bread. Give it a try (and with the TV show starting up again in a month, perhaps it will be a great centerpiece for your table as well).

Ingredients
  • 1 whole roasting chicken
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dried mixed fruit (I used raisins and prunes, but apricots or cranberries would be great as well)
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint, chiffonade
  • 1 Tbsp butter for the sauce
Directions
  1. Rub the chicken with some of the melted butter and sprinkle generously inside and out with salt and pepper
  2. Place chicken on a roasting rack and roast at 400 degrees until cooked through (about an hour to an hour and a half)
  3. Meanwhile, mix honey, vinegar, fruit, mint and remaining butter in a pot and simmer for about half an hour until it is reduced by half and syrupy. It should be sweet and a little tart.
  4. Brush syrup on the chicken while still hot and serve with a little extra on the side.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Buttermilk Biscuits

 
Biscuits are one of my favorite things to make. I've been searching for a great cut-out biscuit recipe for a really long time and I think I've finally found it. These are super buttery, flakey and light. They go perfectly with anything that might merit a biscuit (soup or breakfast sandwiches or fried chicken. The options are endless).
 
I've been trying to find a recipe for sky-high buttermilk biscuits for a while and these were pretty good. They don't turn out nearly as great in a regular oven as they do in a convection oven, but they're still pretty wonderful. Give them a try the next time you make biscuits. I haven't even attempted to find a better recipe.
 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
 
Directions
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. Cut in butter until the mixture is sandy and the pieces of butter are the size of small peas.
  3. Make a well in the center and mix in buttermilk until the mix just comes together.
  4. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead it a couple times so it comes together.
  5. Roll dough to about 3/4 inch thickness and cut with a floured cookie cutter
  6. Place biscuits touching each other a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the tops with a little extra buttermilk and bake at 400 degrees until golden (about 15 minutes)


 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Ginger Pumpkin Soup


Winter is almost over. It's now March and even though it's still below freezing outside, it will soon be springtime. Gone will be the winter squash and beets (stupid stupid beets). Soon enough, we'll be seeing peaches and tomatoes at the farmers market. At least, I hope that happens soon. I can't spend another day chipping ice and almost slipping multiple times on the way to work.

I made this soup with a great pumpkin I got in my CSA box. This soup is absolutely wonderful, creamy, delicious and spicy. It's a great main dish meal with a piece of crusty bread. It would be a wonderful first course soup as well. We enjoyed it immensely for several days.

Ingredients
  • 1 3 1/2 lb pumpkin
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 inch piece of ginger root, grated
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • greek yogurt or heavy cream
  • cilantro, scallions and toasted pumpkin seed for garnish
  • roasted red pepper for garnish (optional)
Directions
  1. Cut pumpkin in half a scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake the pumpkin in the oven for 30-45 minutes until tender. Scoop pumpkin out the skin when cool enough to handle.
  2. In a large pot, sautee the onions, garlic and ginger in a little olive oil until tender. Add spices, pumpkin and stock. Cook for another half hour until the flavors blend and season to taste.
  3. Pour soup into blender and blend until smooth. Return to the pot over low heat.
  4. Taste soup and add cream or greek yogurt as desired to mellow the flavor of the ginger. Simmer until desired consistency is reached. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with desired garnishes.




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