Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gourmet Gratitude: Part Two

Now, everyone always says that leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving but that doesn't mean you have to eat them as is! Get creative and add some fresh ingredients. You might just prove that old saying true :)

We made some fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes for dinner on Sunday night using my leftover candied pumpkin puree. Breakfast for dinner. Always a good choice.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic

And with the last of the veggie turkey and stuffing, we made Leftover Quesadillas. I cut up the leftovers into small pieces, sauteed them in olive oil, and added some sliced jalapenos, fresh parsley, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Once it was nice and hot I stuffed it inside a whole wheat tortilla with some sharp white cheddar cheese and a bit more fresh parsley. Topped it off with some chopped romaine and diced tomatoes, and viola! 

Photo by shantilly picnic

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gourmet Gratitude: Part One

Photo by shantilly picnic

Now that we've polished off the last of our leftovers, I thought I'd share a bit of a recap of our Thanksgiving festivities. We spent the holiday in Tarrytown, NY with Steve's warm, loving family. Shortly after arriving on Wednesday night I began my baking extravaganza. I decided to get all the desserts done on Wednesday so I could focus on rolls and other dishes on Thursday. I came ready for business with my prepared tart dough's (gluten free and regular, made on Tuesday) and candied pumpkin puree (made from scratch with two cute little sugar pie pumpkins Steve-o picked up).

Apple Pie with Lattice Top 


Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic

Gluten-Free Apple Pie with Fall Foliage Top

It would be very difficult to do a lattice top with gluten free dough because of how crumbly it is. So instead, I used my new copper, leaf cookie cutters to make a festive fall topper. Couple tips for when working with a gluten free tart dough: (1) have a bench knife on hand to help scrape the dough from the table and (2) use a tart pan with removable bottom, instead of a pie pan.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic

And here's the Pumpkin Pockets, back by popular demand. I make these little pockets of heaven every morning at Saltie and couldn't resist making them for Steve's family. Regina's gluten-free pockets were marked with a little chocolate chip. :)

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic

Pull-Apart Butter Buns

These unfortunately didn't rise enough so that we could pull them apart (due to some inactive yeast). It's a good idea to test your yeast before using, especially if it's been sitting a while.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic

Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

I wish I would have snapped more pictures of these gluten-free rolls because they exceeded expectations!

Photo by shantilly picnic

Regina's pear, cranberry, and spiced walnut salad. So delicious!

Photo by shantilly picnic

Every year, for as long as I can remember, my mom takes a drive to the Seventh-Day Adventist Loma Linda Market to pick up as many Meatless Smoked Turkey rolls as she can lug back. Lucky for me, I was able to smuggled one back to NY in my carry-on this year. I cut it in half, basted it with garlic butter, and baked it over a Vegetarian Stuffing (just like my mom makes it).

Photos by shantilly picnic

And here it is, in all its glory. Veggie turkey, stuffing just like my mom's, butter bun straight from the oven, light and fluffy mashed potatoes (by Mark), caramelized carrots (by Big Steve), and roasted brussels sprouts (by Reg). The aged Riesling put it over the top. Who says white wine doesn't age well??
Photo by shantilly picnic

 And on Friday, with full bellies, we drove off into the sunset... Literally.

Photo by shantilly picnic

Monday, November 21, 2011

Israeli Street Food

Photo by shantilly picnic
Every trip I take home must consist of at least one night with my girls. And although a night on the town is always fun, what I really wanted to do is cook. Lucky for me my gorgeous friend Ronit offered to host the dinner party at her new place. It was the perfect oppotunity to cook up some yummy, authentic Israeli food! I've made Sabih before with Steve back in NY but I knew Ronit would be able to teach me a thing or two.. 

First lesson, Sabih was brought to Israel in the early 1950's by Iraqi immigrants. The taste tantalizing combo of fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, tahini, salad, and zhoug are traditionally stuffed inside a pita and sold by street food vendors. We served an open-faced plated version along with plenty other delicious Israeli dishes that I can't pronounce. 

Ingredients:
Serves 6 

1 large eggplants
1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil, for frying 
6 thick slices rustic country bread, toasted
 
6 organic, free-range eggs, hard-boiled and cut into slices
Salt and black pepper

Tahini Sauce (T'china):
1/2 cup tahini paste 
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, crushed

Salad:
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 small cucumbers, diced
2 spring onions, thinly diced 
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Zhoug (S'chug): 
1small bunch cillantro 
1 small bunch of parsley
2 jalapenos, seeded unless you like the spice
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 tsp ground cardamom 
1/8 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp water 

Directions:

Cut the eggplant width ways into inch-thick slices and lay them out on a large plate. Sprinkle the eggplant with kosher salt and let sit for a few minutes to pull out some of the moisture, then blot with paper towel. Heat the frying oil in a wide pan. Fry the eggplant in batches until nice and dark, a couple minutes per side. Add oil if needed throughout the batches. Remove from the pan, place on paper towel to drain, then sprinkle with salt.

To make the zhoug, put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. 

Photo by shantilly picnic

Photo by shantilly picnic
For the tahini sauce, put the tahini paste, water, lemon juice, garlic and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Mix well by hand and add a little more water if needed. The consistency should be slightly thinner than honey. Make the salad by mixing the tomatoes, cucumber, spring onion, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, spoon a tablespoon of tahini sauce over each toasted piece of bread, then arrange overlapping slices of eggplant on top. Drizzle over some more tahini and lay sliced hard boiled eggs on top of the eggplants. Drizzle more tahini on top and spoon over as much zhoug as you like. Place a little salad on top of each sabih and serve the rest on the side.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Some of the other dishes included Ronit's flame charred eggplant smothered with tahini sauce, quinoa stuffed red peppers, and falafel.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic
These zaatar pita chips were a last minute thought and they ended up being SO good. Cut or tear your pita bread in halfs, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with zaatar and a little salt. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Photo by shantilly picnic
 Dipping sauces: hummus, tahini, and matbucha.

Photo by shantilly picnic 
 And last but definitely not least, spinach and cheese borekas! 


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Backyard Wild Morel Pasta

Photo by shantilly picnic
Last weekend was the closest I've ever been to foraging, when I picked some wild morels that were growing in my parents backyard. It's an incredible treat to find edible mushrooms in your own backyard and morels might be the most easily identifiable. Also called Morchella, morels appear sponge-like, similar to pine cones or honeycomb. There are black and brown morels, the brown being most common. There aren't many mushrooms that can be mistaken for a morel but it is possible. The best way to be sure is to cut them in half, lengthwise. If it's hollow, you've got yourself a morel! They do contain small amounts of hydrazine toxins, which means they shouldn't be eaten raw and apparently, shouldn't be consumed with alcohol. I learned this after enjoying my delicious finds with a big glass of unoaked chardonnay..

Ingredients:
Makes 4 servings

Fresh pasta
4-6 large brown morels
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
Grey sea salt 
Fresh ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan

Procedure:

First, try not to over wash the morels, as it may ruin the delicate flavor. I rinsed them very carefully under a slow stream of water using a small paint brush to remove some of the hard-to-get soil. Remember to cut them lengthwise to (1) make sure they're morels and (2) get rid of any stowaway buggies. 

Photo by shantilly picnic
In a large skillet melt butter on medium heat. Add garlic and saute until lightly browned, then add morels and saute until the mushrooms have given off most of their liquid and are slightly browned. Remove the morels and set aside. Add the white wine and a pinch of salt to the remaining butter. Boil the liquid until is had evaporated to the consistency of syrup. Add the morels back to the skillet and briefly mix everything together. Remove from the heat and serve over fresh pasta, topped with freshly shaved Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.  


Photo by shantilly picnic
Add the white wine and a pinch of salt to the remaining butter. Boil the liquid until is had evaporated to the consistency of syrup.


Photo by shantilly picnic

Add the morels back to the skillet and briefly mix everything together. Remove from the heat and serve over fresh pasta, topped with freshly shaved Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. 

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ithaca-Baked Apple Dumplings


Photo by shantilly picnic

I'm in year two living on the East Coast and with two beautiful Fall seasons under by belt I think it's safe to say it's my favorite time of year. Especially on those crisp, cool days when the warmth from the sun is strong enough to cut through. That's the kind of weather we had last weekend when we were up in Ithaca visiting our friends, Bobby and Emma. We spent our days exploring waterfalls, Cornell, farmers markets and antique centers and evenings in the Cayuga St. Kitchen, cooking and baking up a storm. There's nothing better than cozying up with friends in a oven-warmed house.

For a full recap of our Saturday night dinner, please check out Emma's latest post on Cayuga St. Kitchen. For dessert, I wanted to use some of the delicious apples bounty from their last CSA pick-up.

Ingredients: 
Makes 6 dumplings
 
6 apples of your liking, peeled and cored
1 cup raisins
Juice and zest from one lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
Flaky tart dough (find the recipe on my Shaker Lemon Pie post)

Procedure:

Make the tart dough first so it can refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Place the peeled and cored apples in large bowl or baking dish. Add lemon zest and juice, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and toss together. Cover and and refrigerate.

Time to plump your raisins. While the apples are macerating put the raisins in a small sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. (You can add whiskey, brandy, vanilla extract, more spices, etc to the raisins for even more flavor). Next, stuff as many raisins as you can possibly fit inside the apples.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Roll out your tart dough and cut into 6 triangles that will wrap completely around each apple. Top off the apples with any leftover raisins.

Photo by shantilly picnic
If you're a fan of salty/sweet, try adding a couple slices of cheese before wrapping up the apples. I used brie and it melted throughout very nicely.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Fold each side upwards and use a fork to press the seems together. Egg washing the inner edges helps, especially if the dough is on the dryer side.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Egg wash the entire outside and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes or until the apples are very tender. Baking time will vary with apple size and variety. I recommend testing them after 30 minutes by piercing them with a toothpick.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic