Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pi Day post, try 3

My blogging software, MarsEdit, seems to have eaten 2 attempts at this post--eaten without leaving any remnants in the drafts folder, to boot. I'm trying one more time, with intermediate publishing to make sure it's working. I think each version is getting more succinct.

Gotta make pie on Pi Day...

Not quite Beatrice's Chicken PieFirst up: Variations on family favorite Beatrice's Chicken Pie. Beatrice made it with a double crust in a 2 quart casserole dish, using your basic Crisco pie crust. I made individual pot pies in ramekins with a top crust only, using the crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen's pancetta, white bean and chard pot pies. Worked quite well, except for the pie whose crust melted and sagged to the baking sheet before it set. Why only one of six did that, I have no idea.

Chocolate Midnight PieDessert: Chocolate Midnight Pie from the King Arthur Flour web site, a half recipe. Used Dave's Vanilla Coffee Syrup instead of the Kahlua I didn't have, including a little bit in the crust instead of using espresso powder. (Some espresso powder did go in the filling.) Speed-cooled it on the countertop and then the fridge instead of the overnight chill the recipe called for, and it set up fine. Good pie, lovely and fudgey.

Chocolate Midnight Pie

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Help-clean-out-the-fridge supper

cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart breadThe menu:

vegetable-beef soup, a re-incarnation of leftover beef stew with a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and some stock providing the new life

cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart bread from Smitten Kitchen (blog, not the cookbook this time), made with a bottle of Guinness that has been in the back of the fridge for rather a long time and the ends of fontina and Gruyere from Christmas cooking, filled out with some good sharp cheddar.

I drank the rest of the Guinness as an accompaniment, of course.

The bread was very good. I've been clipping recipes using this type of pull-apart bread, where you basically stack up sheets of dough like a deck of cards in a loaf pan. All of those clippings were for sweet breads until I saw the SK variation. Tonight was a perfect night for it, being chilly and rainy and perfect for soup and fresh-baked bread.

cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart breadNo real notes on the recipe: except for using the odd bits of cheese as part of the mix, I made it as written. One note for future baking is to make sure the loaf is done in the middle, maybe by checking the temperature--my loaf was done but almost on the edge of doughy due to the cheese level.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

SKC: Butternut squash and caramelized onion galette

SKC: Butternut squash galetteWriteup on the same day as the baking, for once! (I've still got a backlog of 17 or so SKC posts from late summer/early I have no notes on most of those, you'd think they'd be quick to do.)

A little cold snap (well, cooler, anyway--most of my basil is still alive so we haven't gotten to freezing yet) has me overdosing on winter vegetables and comfort-type food. I've bought the parsnips and carrots for a third making of the SKC Honey and harissa farro salad, picked up lots of kale some of which ended up in the wild rice gratin, some sort of different winter squash I didn't note the name of that got simply baked and eaten with salt and pepper, and a butternut squash. This recipe turns out to be a great vehicle for butternut squash, though it does take a while to put all the pieces together. I decided on a half recipe, knowing that at most 4 of us would eat it (me, sister-in-law, younger niece, and perhaps the nephew). The full-sized version is supposed to serve 8.

Here's the process: the squash itself is cubed and oven-roasted. Thinly sliced sweet onion is caramelized on the stove. Squash and onion get mixed together and cooled (and in my case, refrigerated for a day and a half), then mixed with grated fontina and some fresh thyme. The crust uses sour cream and a little white wine vinegar for tenderness, and a little whole wheat flour is suggested as an option. I forgot to do that (shouldn't try to make pastry in the morning before having all my coffee), so I used whole-wheat flour to roll it out to try to imbue a little virtue. The crust seemed quite soft even after being refrigerated for most of the day, but it rolled out easily.

For the half recipe I rolled the dough to about 12 inches, piled the squash mixture in the middle, then folded up and pleated the sides. It baked for 35 minutes (same time as the full-size recipe calls for, as really it's about baking the pastry) and came out golden brown and beautiful, if leaking a little liquid. Maybe the squash suffered a little from the almost 2-day hold in the fridge?

Results: it's lovely. The crust was flakey and tasty (and no soggy bottom despite the liquid that baked out), and the squash-onion-cheese filling is a great combination. Nephew even ate most of a piece, though he removed some of the squash, preferring the onion, cheese, and crust. We may repeat this one over Thanksgiving or Christmas as an entree or a side. The half recipe was a good decision when using this as a side dish--there's almost half of it left over.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

SKC: Plum poppy seed muffins

Plum poppyseed muffinsYet another from back in June (hey, we made a NYC Broadway trip in July, and I don't deal well with interruptions...): June 24.

I didn't make any notes on these, and the memory isn't strong. Vaguely I recall that the chunks of plum were too moist, making little wet pockets (and not jammy ones), and the poppyseeds were a nice crunch but annoyed when they got in your teeth. I'd say I must have cut the plum pieces too large...but looking at the picture, I don't think so.

Put this one down as not bad, but not a high priority for a repeat.

SKC: Peach and sour cream pancakes

Peach sour cream pancakesAnd another catch-up from June, the 23rd for this one:

Younger niece was still away--after diving camp, she travelled with some friends from the Italy year and did at least one or two college visits along the way. Most of the SKC recipes so far had been on her "don't appeal to me" or "don't care about" list, so no worries there. This morning's breakfast, though, was on her "must do" list, and I made it anyway under the influence of her brother. Nephew called me one evening after supper and asked if I'd be willing to cook the peach pancakes with him. No problem! I had ripe peaches and sour cream (the only items that might have needed a grocery store trip) on hand.

Peach sour cream pancakesThe recipe gives a thick batter with sour cream as the 'liquid' (plus one egg), and we did have to scrape at the bowl to get 8 4" pancakes out of it. (I'll use a scant 1/4 c. of batter per, next time.) The peaches are sliced thin, and the slices are placed on top of the batter when it goes on the griddle. A careful flip puts the peach slices directly on the griddle for the second side, where they brown a little. I wouldn't have called it "caramelized" as Deb does--maybe riper peaches would have gotten more browning, or a little sprinkling of sugar might have added to it. Very yummy, and really no more trouble than plain pancakes-from-scratch.

SKC: Fingerlings vinaigrette with sieved eggs and pickled celery

Fingerling (and roasted asparagus) vinaigretteCatch-up post from way back--made this on June 22:

A potato salad, of the vinaigrette variety. Mine was not officially fingerlings, but baby Yukon Gold relatives. Cooked the potatoes along with the egg, and both were done in the time recommended for the egg. I made a half recipe of potatoes and vinaigrette, but made the full amount of pickled celery as the somewhat aged celery in my hydrator needs to go into something. The extra half shallot got sliced into rings and thrown into the pickling solution, too.

Fingerling (and roasted asparagus) vinaigretteAlso on my supper plate was roasted asparagus, maybe somewhat over-roasted (oven temp wasn't high enough, I think, so the spears shriveled before they browned much). There's leftover vinaigrette and half an "roasted asparagus vinaigrette with sieved egg and pickled shallot". (No celery...just didn't work.) Dinner was a double-vinaigrette, then, with the remains of the Pine Street Market smoked brisket, sliced thin and reheated in a little homemade barbecue sauce.

SKC: Wild rice gratin with kale, caramelized onions, and baby Swiss

SKC: wild rice gratinLast night's dinner was this dish from the vegetarian entree section, though my redition was really "Wild rice gratin with kale, caramelized onions, and gruyere and Monterey jack cheeses", as there was some concern (not me personally) that an all-Swiss cheese version would be too....Swiss cheesy. I'll take a vote next time, but I think an all-Gruyere or similar version would be wonderful.

SKC: wild rice gratinThe notes: for the "wild rice blend" I used this Lundberg version found at the DeKalb Farmer's Market, which is brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, Wehani (red) rice, and Black Japonica--much better than the old boxed "long grain and wild rice" with a seasoning packet. I cooked it without salt, but I think it'd be better to add some during the cooking rather than try to season the entire casserole mixture. I cooked 2 cups of the mix then measured the 5 cups cooked from the results, rather than do the math on the water needed for 1-2/3 cups of raw rice. Leftover rice is not a bad thing.

SKC: wild rice gratinNot too much else to note beyond the cheese substitution...I used lacinto kale which is about all I buy these days, and made breadcrumbs from a mixed-grain bread from Publix. (The recipe says "fine, dry breadcrumbs" which could be interpreted as that almost-powder stuff in a blue can...but no. Just no.) I used a 3-quart (13"x9") glass casserole dish instead of the 2 quart called for, and I like the more spread-out version in order to get more bubbly topping. (Also because the oval 2-quart casserole I thought I owned could not be might have been sent off to the thrift store donation bin because of a chip.) Maybe next time the breadcrumb amount will be upped to that same end.

This went over well with sister-in-law, nephew, and even cheese-ambivalent younger niece. I think it will get a repeat, and before that I'll be trying the leftovers with a soft-boiled egg.