Thursday, May 31, 2007
The pastry puffs and gets golden and flaky. The filling is a mellow combination of cooked salmon, sauteed mushrooms and green onions, cooked rice, thyme, and non-fat sour cream. A little egg white wash sticks the top and bottom pastry together and glazes the top for shine. Hot from the oven these make a great starter course, or, combined with salad or soup, a couple make a full meal. If you are going to have lots of cake and ice cream, you don't really need anything else...well, maybe some champagne!
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 green onions, sliced, including some of the green tops
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup - 1 cup cooked salmon, in small chunks, no skin
(I used left over grilled salmon, which worked well)
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup non-fat sour cream
salt and pepper
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1 egg white
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The fact that it was four pages long was cause for a little apprehension. It can also be found at the bottom of this post.
The taste of the St. Honore' cake was sublime. The richness was evident, but the flavors were nicely subtle.The pastry cream especially was delightful. I flavored mine with rum.
This recipe starts with some comments by Helene who is the hostess for this month along with Anita. The group is growing so quickly that I've stopped counting how many members there are.
"Turns out that May 16th is Saint Honore (pronounced o-no-ray) Day, patron Saint of pastry chefs and bakers. It also turns out that there is a very traditional cake named after him: Gateau Saint Honore. It is the “must pass” element of pastry school students and it is a cake that includes several elements and techniques that bakers should try at least once: puff pastry, cream puff dough, caramel and pastry filling. There are many fillings as they are bakeries: chiboust cream, pastry cream, Bavarian cream (aka Diplomat cream).
The cake building goes like this:
- base of puff pastry
- rings of cream dough baked on top (so that the cream sticks)
- cream puffs set on the pastry filling or hooked to the base with hot caramel
- cream filling to fill everything
I compiled recipes from Bo Friberg’s books “The Professional Pastry Chef” editions 3rd and 4th, and "The Advanced Pastry Chef". It is straightforward and very close to what you would find nowadays walking on the streets of Paris and popping into a bakery (close our eyes, you’re there).
I realize it calls for time consuming puff pastry so you can use store bought that is totally fine, but if you have never made it why not try. It is just a long process, but the recipe given below makes more than you need so you can freeze it and use it later for something else.
The recipe for the Saint Honore cream is flavored with rum and that may not appeal to you, so substitute an alcohol that you like more (Grand Marnier, White Godiva, Kirsch,…), or use vanilla, without changing the filling altogether.
Make them round, square, oblong, heart shaped…your call.. Have fun!
Before you say “oh my lord is she crazy?!” The only difficult part I could foresee is the cream puff dough, but once again it is a very cool technique to learn if you have never made it before. (just remember the words “thick mayonnaise”!)
The cream filling and the puff pastry (if using)can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
One more thing: the caramel is necessary to hook the puffs but if you are caramel challenged and don’t feel like using it to decorate the remaining of the cake and do not wish to end up like Jenny perched on high chair spunning sugar you can totally skip it.
Last thing: I liked the idea of co-hosting so new members would not have to wait a year or so to participate and I asked Anita from Dessert First to co-host this month. We are going to do it “round –up” style but modified because of logistics issues. We will divide the DB between our two blogs and list your name –blog- post url on our respective blogs."
Gateau Saint Honore: Components and respective recipes follow:
Pate a Choux – Cream Puff Dough
Saint Honore Cream
8oz sugar for caramel
1 cup heavy cream + 1 tsp sugar
Pate a Choux – Cream Puffs Dough
4 ¾ oz. all purpose flour (135 gr)
1 cup water ( 240 ml)
2 oz unsalted butter (58 gr)
¼ tsp. salt (1 gr)
1 cup eggs (240 ml)
Sift the flour and set aside.
Heat the water, butter and salt to a full rolling boil, so that the fat is not just floating on the top but is dispersed throughout the liquid.
Stir the flour into the liquid with a heavy wooden spoon, adding it as fast as it can be absorbed. Avoid adding it all at once or it will form clumps.
Cook, stirring constantly and breaking up the lumps if necessary, by pressing them against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a mixer bowl. Let the paste cool slightly so that the eggs will not cook when they are added. You can add and stir the eggs by hand but it requires some serious elbow grease.
Mix in the eggs, one at a time, using the paddle attachment on low or medium speed. Do not add all the eggs at once. Check after a few, the dough should have the consistency of thick mayonnaise.
Transfer the dough to a piping bag and use as desired.
Pate Feuillete – Puff Pastry:
Makes about 2 1/2 pounds.
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (420 gr)
3/4 cup cake flour (105 gr)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (7 gr)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, well chilled (60 gr)
1 1/4 cups cold water (295.5 ml)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (14 gr)
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, well-chilled (405 gr)
1/ Make the dough package: In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours with the salt. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture; using your fingers or a pastry cutter, incorporate butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
2/ Form a well in center of mixture, and pour the water into well. Using your hands, gradually draw flour mixture over the water, covering and gathering until mixture is well blended and begins to come together. Gently knead mixture in the bowl just until it comes together to form a dough, about 15 seconds. Pat dough into a rough ball, and turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly, and place in refrigerator to chill 1 hour.
3/ Make the butter package: Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon flour on a sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Place uncut sticks of butter on top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon flour. Top with another sheet of paper; using a rolling pin, pound butter to soften and flatten to about 1/2 inch. Remove top sheet of paper, and fold butter package in half onto itself. Replace top sheet of paper, and pound again until butter is about A inch thick.
Repeat process two or three times, or until butter becomes quite pliable. Using your hands, shape butter package into a 6-inch square. Wrap well in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until it is chilled but not hardened, no more than 10 minutes.
4/ Assemble and roll the dough: Remove dough package from refrigerator, and place on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, gently roll dough into a 9-inch round. Remove butter package from refrigerator, and place it in the center of the dough round. Using a paring knife or bench scraper, lightly score the dough to outline the butter square; remove butter, and set it aside. Starting from each side of the center square, gently roll out dough with the rolling pin, forming four flaps, each 4 to 5 inches long; do not touch the raised square in the center of the dough. Replace butter package on the center square. Fold flaps of dough over the butter package so that it is completely enclosed. Press with your hands to seal.
5/ Using the rolling pin, press down on the dough at regular intervals, repeating and covering the entire surface area, until it is about 1 inch thick. Gently roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 9 by 20 inches, with one of the short sides closest to you. Be careful not to press too hard around the edges, and keep the corners even as you roll out the dough by squaring them with the side of the rolling pin or your hands. Brush off any excess flour. Starting at the near end, fold the rectangle in thirds as you would a business letter; this completes the first single turn.Wrap in plastic wrap; place in refrigerator 45 to 60 minutes.
6/ Remove dough from refrigerator, and repeat process in step 5, giving it five more single turns.Always start with the flap opening on the right as if it were a book. Mark the dough with your knuckle each time you complete a turn to help you keep track. Chill 1 hour between each turn. After the sixth and final turn, wrap dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before using.
Saint Honore Cream (Rapid Chiboust or Diplomat Cream)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (7 gr.)
1/4 cup cold water (60 ml)
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar (130 gr)
½ cup all-purpose flour (70 gr)
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk (500ml)
1 Tb. rum
¼ cup whipping cream (57 gr)
3 egg whites
dash of salt
1/2 cup sugar (105 gr)
Soak the gelatin in the 1/4 cup of cold water.
Put the sugar, flour, and salt into a saucepan and stir together with a whisk. Add the yolks and enough milk to make a paste. Whisk in the remainder of the milk.
Place over low heat and stirring constantly, cook until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Stir in the whipping cream.Set the mixing bowl in cold water and stir until the cream is cool. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and using clean beaters, whip them with the dash of salt. As soon as the whites begin to stiffen, gradually add the 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until they are very stiff. Fold the egg whites into the cooled cream.
8 oz sugar (240 gr)
Caramelize the 8 oz. of sugar: Fill a bowl that is large enough to hold the pan used for cooking the sugar with enough cold water to reach halfway up the sides of the pan. Set the bowl aside. Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and cook until the sugar until it has caramelized to just a shade lighter than the desired color. Remove from the heat and immediately place the bottom of the pan in the bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. (See below to see when to do this step)
Roll the puff pastry out to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick, 12 inch square (30 cm). Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate covered at least 20 minutes.
While the puff pastry is resting, make the pate a choux and place it in a pastry bag with a # 4 (8mm) plain tip. Reserve.
Leaving the puff pastry on the sheet pan, cut a 11 inch (27.5 cm) circle from the dough and remove the scraps. (An easy way to cut it is to use a 11inch tart pan as a “cookie cutter”). Prick the circles lightly with a fork.
Pipe 4 concentric rings of Pate a Choux on the pastry circle. Pipe out 12 cream puffs the size of Bing cherries onto the paper around the cake.
Bake the puff pastry circle and the cream puffs at 400F (205C) until the pate a choux has puffed, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375F (190C) and bake until everything is dry enough to hold its shape, about 35 minutes longer for the cake and 8 minutes longer for the cream puffs (just pick them up and take them out as they are done).
Place about 4 oz (114 gr) of the Saint Honore Cream in a pastry bag with a #2 (4mm) plain tip. Use the pastry bag tip or the tip of a paring knife to make a small hole in the bottom of each cream puff. Pipe the cream into the cream puffs to fill them. Refrigerate.
Spread the remaining cream filling on the cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set the cream.
Caramelize the 8 oz. of sugar:
Fill a bowl that is large enough to hold the pan used for cooking the sugar with enough cold water to reach halfway up the sides of the pan. Set the bowl aside.
Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and cook until the sugar until it has caramelized to just a shade lighter than the desired color.
Remove from the heat and immediately place the bottom of the pan in the bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
Dip the cream puffs into the hot caramel, using 2 forks or tongues to avoid burning your fingers.
Place them on a sheet pan. The caramel must be hot enough to go on in a thin layer. Reheat if necessary as you are dipping, stirring constantly to avoid darkening the caramel any more than necessary. Also, avoid any Saint Honore cream to leak out of the puffs and get mixed in with the caramel while dipping as the cream can cause the sugar to recrystallize.
Whip the one cup of heavy cream and teaspoon of sugar to stiff peaks. Place the whipped cream in pastry bag fitted with a #5 (10mm) star tip. Pipe a border of whipped cream around the top of the cake. Arrange the cream puffs, evenly spaced, on top of the filling, next to the cream.
Option: Before filling the cake, take care of the cream puffs, dip them in more caramel, hook them up to the base. Fill with the cream filling and fill the holes with the whipped cream.
3 modifications possible:
- puff pastry can be store bought or made follwing the recipe provided
- liqueur in the cream filling can be omitted or changed, oranges or lemons can be used, but no chocolate or coffee,... The idea is to keep the cream white/off white
- shape/size of the cake
- cream puffs set on the cream or dipped in caramel and glued to the base
Anita and Helene (which interestingly enough is pronounced "hell-en") co-hosting.
Stone throwing very optional...
Due date: Sunday May 27th
Saturday, May 26, 2007
1. You seem to garden a lot. Would you rather be in your garden or your kitchen and why?
I am spending a lot of time in the garden this year. For the second time in my life I have enough time and the energy to do a big garden. The last time was 20 years ago when we moved her and that summer I didn’t hold down a paying job. I always do some gardening, but usually it’s been limited in the past by other time commitments.
I’d rather be in my kitchen than my garden. I just love to use the fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the garden in the kitchen. Today is a perfect example. I should have been fertilizing the plants, but yesterday I found that the grape leaves were perfect size and age (still young and supple) for stuffing and I picked a bunch to blanch. I love dolmas and have wanted to try making them for years, but never had the time. Today I found that there were enough male zucchini flowers to stuff, so I picked them, too. Then, instead of being in the garden, I had a wonderful morning in the kitchen making dolmas and baked stuffed zucchini blossoms. Guess what is really true is I like to eat and be creative with food. I could live without gardening, but would be miserable if I couldn’t cook.
2. What made you want to join the Daring Bakers challenges?
I was inspired by the croissant three-day marathon. Not only was the challenge daunting and exciting, but it was clear that a lot of fun happened among the bakers, too. Each one of the participants except one had blogs that I regularly visited, too, which made it even more fun to read about. Guess I wanted to have some fun with the girls and see if I could meet the challenges. Not only has it been fun and forced me to try things outside of my comfort zone, but I’ve started to bake more and have ‘met’ a wonderful group of very supportive, generous people.
3. What is your favorite meal from childhood?
Thanksgiving turkey dinner is hands down my favorite meal. I love turkey. The most memorable Thanksgiving dinner was the year by sister was born (she knows who she is) because Mom was in the hospital. My older brother, sister and I cooked the dinner. The turkey was undercooked. The peas were burnt. The potatoes were lumpy and cold. The kitchen was an amazing mess. Within a few months we were given cooking lessons and began to cook one night a week. I was 10 or 11 at the time and up to then had mostly baked for fun. So glad that sister was born, especially at Thanksgiving!
4. Who is your biggest inspiration in life? Who is your biggest inspiration in your food life?
My biggest inspiration in my life has been my Mom. She was college educated and had a career during the war, but her real career, according to her, was to raise a family. She also volunteered, was active in politics and the church, and was almost always ready for a cup of tea with me after school. I’m also college educated, but worked part-time some of the time while my children were growing up so that I could be available and spend time with them. I have been active in politics, have volunteered in a number of ways and even taught a church school class with kindergarteners one year (but never again). I wouldn’t change any of it. When my son died at 16, I was especially thankful that I had spent so much time involved in his life.
My Mom is also the biggest inspiration in my food life. Unlike many cooks in the 50’s and 60’s, she made many things from scratch, showed us how to stretch a pound of meat (an important skill when you have ten people sitting around the dining room table), made jams and jellies, canned, and took real joy in seasonal foods. When the strawberries were ripe, we had shortcake. When the first tomato of the season was ready, we had BLTs. Asparagus were prepared very simply, so we could enjoy them in their spring glory. My dad grew up on farms and may have encouraged the former city girl in this appreciation. The whole family would go and pick berries, peaches, and grapes in season and then return home to prepare them. She is an outstanding baker, too. My cooking reflects that seasonal approach and I don’t mind lots of peeling and chopping, blending and stirring. I feel lucky that she was willing to pass along so much when, in truth, she doesn’t like to share her kitchen.
5. You say in you bio that you are a novice artist. What kind of art are you into?
My current passion is watercolor. I’ve been working in watercolor for about a year and a half, but only recently found my style. I really enjoy the spontaneity of wet on wet watercolor painting. I’m hoping soon to be proficient enough to do portraits. Many years ago I would sketch people and have always been interested in drawing people.
I also have been taking a lot of time to enjoy photography, not only for blogging, but compositions in nature. I have no training, but I’m slowly learning what works and what doesn’t.
In the past I spent years doing stained glass designs, often making the patterns myself. With progression of my eye problems (4th nerve palsy) stained glass is more taxing than enjoyable.
I have an associate’s degree in graphic arts and do pro bono newsletters for non-profits and the occasional job, which is also artistic. The eye problem has curtailed that as a profession, but I still enjoy what I can do.
Peabody, I really appreciate that you interviewed me and that you obviously put a lot of thought into the questions. I’ve been enjoying your blog for about a year now and love your passion for baking.
So that's a little more about me than you might want to know, but I'll bet you read it anyway :)
Do you want to be interviewed?
Here are some directions:
1. Leave a comment saying, "Interview me."2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. Beware, I may ask personal questions! Please make sure I have your email address.3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
The sun is shining. The grape leaves are large, but young and supple. The zucchini are blossoming on the rediculously large number of plants I planted this year. The mint has grown tall in the lower field near the grapes and ollaberries. I need an entry for Waiter, There's Something in My...Stuffed Fruit/Vegetable, being hosted by Jeanne at Cooksister.
Inspiration came twice. First I decided to make dolmas, a dish that I've long enjoyed, but never made. Dolmas are grape leaves stuffed with a mixture that usually contains rice and mint. Sometimes they have ground meat, sometimes currants, cinnamon, allspice or other spices. I found a recipe that only needed a few changes at Great Party Recipes website.
My version uses yellow onion, a different amount of tomato and green onion, and more lemon zest. It also used fresh grape leaves, since I have them in abundance. We don't have a vineyard, but there is a prolific set of vines in the lower field and they are very happy this year. The next idea I had was to make stuffed zucchini flowers. The stuffing recipe I decided to use, which I found at the CUESA website, also used mint. I followed the recipe closely, except that I made mine minis by putting a couple of stuffed flowers into small souffle dishes.
The dolmas were easy to do, but took some time. A good tip is that when preparing the mint, roll a few leaves together and make a chiffonade like with basil, then cut across the shreds to mince them. I discovered that because I was using fresh grape leaves that they were different sizes and needed differing amounts of filling. I also found that placing the filling far enough into the leaf that I could fold the stem end on top of it, rather than placing the filling right at the stem, seemed to work well. After they were cooked and cooled I sampled one. It was even better than at the deli. The taste was fresher and the lemon was zingy. I'll be doing this one again.
The stuffed zucchini blossoms were delicious, but the blossoms themselves sort of got lost in the filling and crumbs. If I make them again I'll go easier on the crumb mixture. There was left over filling from both recipes, so, for lunch, I mixed them togehter in a skillet, added freshly steamed zucchini slices and heated it all up. That went very well with the stuffed zucchini blossoms.
Fresh mint and even zucchini blossoms are available in season at farmers' markets. You can purchase grape leaves in brine. These are both tasty dishes for a meal when you are doing small dishes. Dolmas make great appetizers, too. Ones with meat are served hot and ones without meat are served at room temperature.
35-40 large fresh grape leaves, rinsed to remove any impurities, or 8 ounces grape leaves, in brine (about 40-45 leaves)
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups cooked long grain rice
2 green onions or scallions, finely chopped
½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1 tablespoon zest of lemon
½ teaspoon fresh lavender flowers, chopped (optional)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil
boiling water (about 1 cup)
Blanch the grape leaves in boiling water, drain in a colander, running cold water over them to cool them. Set aside to cool while making the filling. Alternately, if you are using grape leaves in brine, place them in a large heat-proof bowl. Pour just enough boiling water over the leaves to cover and let them soak for about 20 minutes. Drain again and rinse under cold running water.
Filling: Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir often to keep them from burning or becoming too brown. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the rice, mint, lemon zest, lavender, and pine nuts. Mix thoroughly; making sure the rice is well-coated with oil. Taste and add salt if needed, to taste.
Line the bottom of a shallow pan or skillet, with a tight fitting lid, with grape leaves. Take the rest of the cooled grape leaves to your work area. Spread out one grape leaf in front of you, vein side up and stem end toward you. Place 1- 2 teaspoons of the rice mixture in the center, fold stem end over the filling, bring the sides of the leaf toward the center and roll tightly, forming a cylinder. Repeat until all the filling or all the grape leaves are used. As you finish each cylinder, place it on top of the grape leaves in the skillet, seam side down, placing the cylinders close to each other, touching. If at all possible, keep them in a single layer.
Drizzle with the lemon juice and ¼ cup of olive oil. Add enough boiling water to almost cover the dolmas. Cover the pan tightly and simmer for ½ hour. Remove from heat and let the dolmas cool in the pan. Serve at room temperature. Garnish serving platter with lemon slices if desired.
Adapted from a recipe at www.greatpartyrecipes.com
Friday, May 25, 2007
A month ago the garden was calling to me to come away from the keyboard, out into the sunshine and fresh air and to get my seedlings planted, the weeds pulled, some flower seed started, and some mulch spread. I was looking forward to squash and tomatoes and wildflowers at the very least.
A month later and I made my first harvest today of some small green and yellow zucchini. The plants are growing and seem to be happy, the first tomato blossoms are opening and a couple of the wildflowers are blooming. The wildflower area is filled with plants in a mat of various kinds of foliage. Next month, if not sooner, I'll have photos to show you. Should be beautiful!
Some new things have been added in the last month. A friend gave me some bright geraniums and I bought a six pack of deep blue lobelia. Sweetie bought me some Russian Red Basil, which is in one of the planters with the lobelia.
I planted some morning glories and sweet peas. No flowers yet, but the plants are starting to climb the supports. I started some seed of regular cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, and chard. Yesterday they were big enough to plant. Most went into containers (look at the last container on the walkway), but a couple went into the ground, protected with anti-gopher wire netting.
I discovered that some violas, nasturtium, calendula and poppy plants self-seeded. I weeded carefully around them, so they are now ready to bloom. Parts of the garden even received bark mulch. Now I need to weed again and spread some more mulch.
It is so much fun to go out into the garden and harvest the first fruits of my labor...squash, sweet squash. Keep an eye out in the coming month for recipes that make use of the 'future food' that is now food ready for the kitchen.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Coyotes yappin' lazy on the hill
Sleepy winks of light along the far skyline
Time for millin' cattle to be still...
So now the lightnin' s far away
The coyotes nothin' skeery...just a singin' to his dearee
So settle down you cattle...'til the mornin'
A cowboy's lullabye song, getting the cattle to sleep while on the cattle drive.
This was a song that I learned from a former Girl Scout leader when I was a girl. She was the wonderful, formidable, talented and independent woman whom I named my daughter after. She was 65 to my 12, but we became fast friends. So I'm inviting her to the latest Blog Party#22, hosted by Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness. Welcome to the party Mrs. Pat !
For the cowboy themed party, I'm bringing some Chuckwagon Meatballs, some Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and some Cowboy Cookies...but of course. The meatballs are coated with a barbeque sauce made even better with garlic and the bite of mustard. The cookies are mini versions of the big fat cowboy cookies that take a 1/4 cup batter and fill the fist. Still tasty as little cookies and still with the great cowboy cookies flavors, especially the oatmeal.
18 frozen meatballs...I used Foster Farms turkey meatballs
1/2 cup barbeque sauce - your favorite brand
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Thaw the meatballs on half power in the microwave or overnight in the fridge.
In a glass measuring cup combine the barbeque sauce, mustard, garlic, and pepper. Microwave on high one minute. Stir, microwave on half power one minute.
Gently stir the meatballs into the sauce, coating the meaballs with the sauce.
Microwave on half power a minute at a time, checking after each minute, until heated through. Serve with toothpicks, one for each meatball.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
On a sheet of waxed paper, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars, white and brown, until well mixed. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until light and well mixed. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips, cranberries and walnuts.
Cover dough and chill 1 hour.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
One of the nice things about working there was that over time I became friends with most of his children and family, as well as with the others who lived on the farm. Each year when the Derby race took place in Louisville, KY, there would be a Derby Day party at the farm, too. The doctor and others at Rainbow's End grew up in Louisville, so it was a traditional party, with mint juleps and a betting pool. We would watch the race on televisions set up high over the heads of the enthusiastic crowd. For many years it was a huge party, but in the last few years it has become smaller, which I like better. This year, on Saturday, I brought my Mustuse Pie for the potluck and enjoyed catching up with some pretty nice people.
So what, exactly, is a Mustuse Pie? It's the kind of dish that gets put together when you hunker down in front of the fridge and go through it. This half of a baked potato gets pulled out along with these steamed broccoli flowerets, the rest of the egg substitute, some non-fat ricotta cheese, those blanched green beans, a bit of cooked chopped spinach, this tomato which is starting to soften, but is still good...all the leftovers from the week that we must use up. I have Grandma L. to thank for this cute name for what is basically leftovers.
Since lots of the folks at the potluck are vegetarians, I didn't add any meat or poultry, or even fish. I did boil up some whole wheat spaghetti, broken in half first, but otherwise mostly used leftovers. You could add cubed cooked chicken or turkey, some sausage, or cooked shrimp, too. This isn't really a hard and fast recipe, but sort of suggestions for your own combinations of items that are 'must use' when you make the pie. It may sound like a hodge podge, but it sure makes a tasty dish.
1/2 lb whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente', and drained well
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup or so blanched green beans, cut into one inch pieces
1 cup or so steamed, chopped spinach (O.K. to use frozen, but drain well)
1/2 cup steamed broccoli
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 lb ricotta cheese (I used non-fat)
3 eggs, or equivalent egg substitute
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Salt & pepper
1 medium to large tomato
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Oil the bottom and sides of an 8 inch diameter pie plate.
Cook the pasta and drain well.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick or seasoned cast iron skillet, then saute' the onions and garlic until onions are transluscent, about 4 minutes. Add the potato and cook another minute or two until one side is lightly browned.
Add the beans, spinach, broccoli, basil and rosemary to the skillet, stir, cover, reduce heat, and cook until vegetables are just heated through.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta and feta cheese with the eggs, mixing well to blend. Stir in the drained pasta, then fold in the vegetable mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour into the prepared pie plate. (If there is too much for one pie, just oil another pie plate and make another pie with the rest.)
Slice the toamto into 5 or 6 slices. Arrange over the mixture in the pie plate, then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the pasta starts to brown and the cheese melts. Cool slightly before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
One of the delights of blogging is that I can read post of writers from around the world, and they can read mine. Reading about the differences in culture and food traditions and seasonings in other locations encourages me to experiment a bit and do a bit of vicarious dining, too.
On an evening like today's, however, I feel sorry for fellow bloggers who don't live within driving distance of Petaluma, California. I met my fellow blogger, Anna, at a lovely small restaurant just south of the new theatre district in this small town on the Petaluma River in Sonoma County. It is called le Bistro and has been serving dinners to lucky diners for a number of years. It is a bit off the beaten path and seems to be one of those places that the locals like to keep a secret. Here's hoping that a vicarious experience of this little bistro will make it a little easier if you can't come in person.
When I drove up the door was open, inviting you in. There are cafe' curtains on the lower section of the windows along the front in true French style. Once inside you notice the linen topped tables with small candles, the music playing softly in the background, and the open kitchen with the Chef /owner Corey Basso hard at work. The lovely young woman at the front of the house was welcoming and attentive.
I started with the special soup of the day, Red Pepper Tomato with Pesto. It came in a simple white flat soup bowl, a lovely golden red with a swirl of pesto. All of the subsequent dishes were beautifully presented, too. The soup had a wonderful depth of flavor, a hint of texture from the red peppers, and the basil in the pesto enhanced the tomato flavor.
Anna had a salad of fresh and lively mixed mesclun, a generous amount of gorgonzola, toasted pecans and the perfect amount of dressing just coating the leaves. While the starters were being prepared, we managed to polish off a basket of good French bread and some butter.
There were a number of interesting entrees to choose from. The special of the day, Alaskan halibut with a dijon mustard crust and buerre blanc was appealing, and they had two different chicken dishes, but I decided that the tenderloin of lamb with red wine and rosemary had even more appeal. Anna decided on the tenderloin of pork.
They both came with roasted potato rounds and an assortment of vegetables. Often such an assortment will be cooked together and taste of the same sauce. Not so with these. The asparagus spears were grilled, the carrots were thinly sliced and seemed to be poached in a salty broth, and the tender young green beans were perfectly cooked with a haunting herbal note that may have been tarragon, but it was very subtle.
Unlike some fancy (and more expensive) restaurants that serve exquisite food, but in tiny portions, the portions here are generous. The lamb slices covered half the plate, were accompanied by an excellent sauce, and were tender and delicious.
The potatoes came in a cute stack, browned and crusty on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. Everything was seasoned to perfection. Anna said that her pork was equally delicious. For her review go here. If it's not up yet, try a little later. She has a lot of reading to do tonight for school.
We could easily have stopped there, but when all the other food was so good, dessert seemed like a good idea, and it was.
Anna had the Brandy Cherry Parfait, with rich ice cream, brandied cherries, fresh strawberries and kiwi fruit, and freshly whipped cream. Some crisp cookies added a nice crunch.
I had a Kahlua Gelato Torte with Chocolate Sauce. It was a very warm evening and it proved to be a challenge for the kitchen to keep the torte from melting, but it arrived with a fudge and nut topping, chocolate fudge swirl under the slice of torte, scoops of whipped cream and even some strawberries and kiwi garnish. The torte had a distinct coffee flavor and was very rich. It went well with the excellent coffee we had with dessert. The perfect ending to a fine meal.
So if you do live within driving distance of Petaluma, consider coming to Le Bistro for dinner. You'll be glad you did. But let's keep it a secret, O.K? With only ten tables, I don't want it to become too popular since I'm likely to be back soon.
312 Petaluma Blvd. South
Petaluma, Ca 94952
credit cards accepted