Sunday, March 11, 2018

Tri-berry Oven Pancakes

If you're looking for the perfect dish for your spring brunch, Ina Garten's Tri-berry Oven Pancakes are just the thing! A colorful mix of fresh berries nestled in a puffy oven pancake drizzled with honey and a dusting of powdered sugar. I'm convinced there is no better way to start the day!

Oven pancakes are perfect for entertataining. Mix up a batch, fill your ramekins, and let the pancakes puff away in the oven while you talk with your guests. I love how customizable this recipe is. I have visions of a beautiful buffet brimming with a colorful array of fruit and a fun variety of toppings: Greek yogurt, whipped cream, lemon curd, grated chocolate, and cinnamon sugar just to name a few. I think it has potential to be the best brunch party ever!

Tri-berry Oven Pancakes
Adapted from Back To Basics
by Ina Garten
Serves 4

1 cup each raspberries, blueberries, and sliced strawberries*
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 4 teaspoons for the dishes
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk*
12 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
Maple syrup/honey and confectioners' sugar, for garnish

*Notes: My store was out of blueberries, so I used blackberries. Your gratin dishes should measure 6 inches in diameter across the bottom and 7 inches across the top. I used skim milk in place of whole milk.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Gently combine the berries and sugar in a small bowl and set aside while you make the pancakes. Place 4 (6 to 7 inch) individual gratin dishes on two sheet pans. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in each gratin dish and set aside.

Place the eggs in the bowlof an electric mixer fitted with a whick attachment and beat on medium speed until mixed. Add the milk and combine. Slowly add the flour, vanilla, orange zest, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and the salt and mix just until smooth. Whisk by hand if the mixture is lumpy.

Place the gratin dishes in the oven for 3 minutes, until the butter is hot and bubbly. Make sure the butter cover the bottom of each dish. Immediately divide the batter equally among the gratin dishes and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. Divide the berries among the dishes, drizzle with maple syrup or honey, dust with confectioners sugar, and serve hot.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Chips, Chips, and More Chips {Apple, Kale, and Sweet Potato...oh my!}

Let there be chips of all colors! Red, Orange, and Green! Veggie chips and fruit chips. Chips for days.

I was feeling snacky, and healthy, and couldn't decide between Giada's Baked Kale and Sweet Potato Chips or her Spiced Apple Chips with Sweet Yogurt Dip, so I made both! In the process, I made friends with my mandoline, and my oven, because I spent the better part of the afternoon slicing apples and sweet potatoes into thin slices. Then I spent even more time standing guard over my thinly sliced beauties while they crisped up in the oven. It was somewhat of an endeavor, but a tasty one!

Giada's Baked Kale and Sweet Potato Chips are seasoned with a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper for a very simple preparation. I thought they made for a very colorful and unique snack and enjoyed both chips, but I definitely preferred the kale chips to the sweet potato chips. I love the kale's light airy texture and find them quite addictive! Both chips really satisfied that salty crunchy craving.

 Baked Kale and Sweet Potato Chips
Adapted from Giada's Feel Good Food
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

1 medium sweet potato (8 ounces)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
3 large kale leaves

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.

Using a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife, slice the potato into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Put in a bowl and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss well. Arrange in a single layer (without overlapping) on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake for 12 minutes. Turn the slices over and continue to bake, checking every 2 minutes, until brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Season the chips with salt and pepper, to taste.

Remove the thick stem from the kale leaves and discard. Cut the leaves into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Put in a bowl and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss well. Arrange the kale in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake the kale until crisp and slightly dark on the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let the chips cool before serving. 

The Spiced Apple Chips with Sweet Yogurt Dip were a fun sweet treat! The apple chips were paper thin and had a very light and delicate "melt in your mouth" texture. I wasn't sure if  I would like the chips dipped into the yogurt dip, but I have to say that I enjoyed the sweet creamy yogurt with the thin crispy apple chips and found it to be a very delightful combination. It really satisfied my sweet tooth!

Making homemade chips was a somewhat lengthy process, but it was a fun one. The best part was I didn't have to feel guilty about snacking along the way! While I enjoyed all the chips, I will say the kale chips were my ultimate favorite. I can see myself making a lot of kale chips in the future. I'm already toying with the idea of making a garlic and parmesan flavored kale chip in the very soon! Yum!

Please note: Cooking and cooling times will depend on your oven and the thickness of your chips.  You will need to check your chips every so often to make sure they are not overcooking.

Spiced Apples Chips w/ Sweet Yogurt Dip
Adapted from Food Network
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

Apple Chips
1 red apple, such as Honeycrisp
1 green apple, such as Granny Smith
Vegetable cooking spray
1/4 cup sugar
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Sweet Yogurt Dip
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

For the chips: Place 1 rack at the top and 1 at the bottom position and preheat the oven to 275F. Line 2 large heavy baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly coat the parchment with nonstick spray.

For the topping: In a small bowl, stir the sugar, cinnamon, and salt until blended.

For the apple chips: Stand each apple upright. Cut 1/4 inch vertically off the right and left sides of each apple (this creates a steady surface for slicing on the mandoline and makes things much safer). Set the mandoline or v-slicer for cutting 1/16-inch-thick slices (should be paper thin and transparent). Cut slices until the apple core is exposed. Turn the apple over and cut slices off the remaining apple until the core is exposed. Arrange the apple slices in a single layer on one of the baking sheets. Repeat with the second apple. (If you're like me then all of your slices will not fit onto the baking pans. Make another batch or select only your nicest slices and eat the rest).

Using your fingertips, sprinkle the apple slices generously with the topping (I sprinkled generously but only used half the topping).  Bake until the edges curl and the chips are golden and feel crisp, 40 to 45 minutes. Pull the parchment with the apples onto the work surface and cool completely, 20 to 30 minutes (the chips will crisp more as they cool). NOTE: My chips cooked and cooled in half the time

For the dip: In a medium bowl, stir the yogurt, honey/syrup, vanilla, and salt until blended. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve the dip alongside the apple chips.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ina Garten's Sole Meunière

People think I'm joking when I say this, but sometimes I just get really hungry for some fish. A nice, light, flaky piece of well-seasoned fish. There is just something about the texture that I find delightful.

This week I found myself craving fish. Lucky for me, we're cooking up Ina Garten's French recipes and Sole Meunière is a French recipe I've always wanted to try.

Sole Meunière is a very simple dish. I found some beautiful sole fillets. A light coating of flour, a quick saute in butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of parsley and lemon zest and you're all set. Quick, easy, and classic! A staple preparation for any light delicate white fish.

I will definitely be making this again!

Sole Meuniere
Adapted from Food Network
by Ina Garten
Serves 2

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and black pepper, to taste
4 fresh sole fillets, 3 to 4 ounces each
6 tablespoons butter
 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 200F. Have 2 heat-proof dinner plates ready.

Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large shallow plate. Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towels and sprinkle one side with salt.

Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Dredge 2 sole fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. While the second side cooks, add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to the pan. Carefully put the fish filets on the ovenproof plates and pour the sauce over them. Keep the cooked fillets warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining 2 fillets. When they're done, add the cooked fillets to the plates in the oven. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.

Ina's Bistro @ IHCC

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Ellie Krieger's Mediterranean Braised Green and White Beans

I love to cook, but I DO NOT LOVE WASHING DISHES! So, I look for recipes that are delicious, but simple, and don't require a sink full of dishes. One-pot meals are a favorite for this reason.

In the winter time, when you're looking for something hearty to warm you up from the inside out, a comforting one-pot meal is just about the best thing on the planet. Unfortunately, these dishes tend to be heavy in fat and calories and leave you feeling like you need to take a nap and/or cuddle up with a blanket on the couch with some Netflix. There's a time and place for all of these things, but since I've done a lot of that lately, I was looking for something a bit lighter and healthier.

Ellie Krieger's Mediterranean Braised Green and White Beans was the perfect dish.  A slow-cooked blend of green beans and white beans simmering away in a flavorful tomato sauce would serve as a satisfying vegetarian entree or a side dish. The good thing is that this recipe makes quite a bit, and only tastes better with time, so you can serve it both ways throughout the week.

Now, I must admit that I am very partial to beans, so I knew that I would absolutely love this bean dish. However, I was not prepared for how delicious it really was! It really does taste like something that's simmered for an hour, with incredible flavor. This is incredibly comforting and hearty, somewhat like a chili, and perfectly eatable all on its own. In fact, I did serve it up just like a chili in a bowl and enjoyed it as a main. Since the recipe made quite a large batch I also divided it up and will be enjoying it along with some chicken for my lunch in the next few days. I would most definitely make this again! It's a perfect 10!

Mediterranean Braised Green and White Beans
Adapted from You Have It Made
by Ellie Krieger
Serves 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
One 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes
2 pounds of green beans, trimmed
1/3 cup chopped parsley
One 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: Red chili flakes, if you like a little heat

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, eight minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, one minute more. Stir in tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste is lightly caramelized, one minute more. 

Add the tomatoes with their juices, crushing each tomato with your hand over the pot before adding it. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Then, add the green beans, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover, lower the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the white beans and continue cooking, covered, until the green beans are very tender, 30 minutes more. Serve.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Butternut Squash Hummus

It's Superbowl Sunday and we all know what that means: it's time to get your dip on! Now, most Superbowl parties have a variety of dips that are sinfully delicious, using copious amounts of cheese, mayo, and meat. Don't get me wrong, I do love all of those, but this time around I'm opting for a healthier option: Ina Garten's Butternut Squash Hummus. It's been on my go-to list for a long time!

I've always liked butternut squash, but I fell head over heels in love with it when I made Ina'a Butternut Squash and Ricotta Bruschettas. That recipe is so good it has me craving butternut squash on the regular, so I figured this recipe for Butternut Squash Hummus would be a good way to satiate that craving.

I love traditional hummus of any variety, but this is definitely NOT your traditional hummus! This recipe gets it's roots from a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe and if you're familiar with Ottolenghi's recipes than you know that he is known for building complex flavors and textures. This recipe definitely tastes like an Ottolenghi recipe, which is always a good thing.

I think the first thing worth noting is that this hummus does not taste of chickpeas, or beans, in any way. There is an entire can of chickpeas in the recipe, and it does help to lend a creamy texture, but it's the butternut squash that is the heart of the dish. The complex flavors come in with the variety of ingredients Ina uses to flavor this hummus. For example, the Greek yogurt gives the dip a bit of tang, the small amount of Sriracha provides a surprising amount of heat, the tahini and the toasted squash seeds lend a nutty flavor, and the drizzle of maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness. All in all you've got a sweet, spicy, savory, nutty, creamy and crunchy delight of a dip!

I am absolutely crazy for this dip! I love the gorgeous orange color, all the fun toppings, and the complex flavors. I find myself strangely addicted to it! This is one of those recipes that is even better the day after once all the flavors have had a chance to meld. I'm really looking forward to enjoying this for lunch throughout the week. I would definitely make this again!

Butternut Squash Hummus
Adapted from Cooking For Jeffrey
by Ina Garten
Serves 6-8

1-1/4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and 1-inch-diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
salt and pepper, to taste
1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, drained with liquid reserved
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
4 teaspoons
minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 teaspoon Sriracha
Pure Grade A maple syrup, for serving (optional)
Toasted pita bread, or pita chips, for serving
Toasted butternut squash seeds, for garnish

Notes: I opted to leave out the cinnamon in this recipe. I like cinnamon in sweet dishes, but prefer to omit it from savory dishes. I tossed the butternut squash seeds with a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted them at 400F for about 10 minutes.

 Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.Toss with your hands and spread the squash out in one layer on the pan. Roast for 25 minutes, until tender, and set aside for 15 minutes to cool.  

Reserve 1/3 cup of squash for the garnish and transfer the rest to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Add the chickpeas, yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, Sriracha, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and pulse until coarsely processed but not pureed. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved chickpea liquid and pulse a few times to combine. If the hummus is too thick, add more liquid a few tablespoons at a time. Taste for seasonings, transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the reserved butternut squash, toasted butternut squash seeds, if using, and drizzle with maple syrup, if desired, and serve at room temperature with toasted pita bread or pita chips. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mark Bittman's Beef and Potato Samosas

Whenever I feel a little restless, I head straight for the kitchen for some good ol' kitchen therapy. Sometimes this means roasting a whole chicken with all the fixings, other times it means making one of my mom's recipes, but today I wanted to make something different. Something I never made before. Something to completely get lost in. 

I grabbed Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything and when I found Beef and Potato Samosas I knew I had found the right thing. Doesn't everyone love a little handheld pie?

I chose to make a beef and potato version because I was craving comfort food and wanted a heartier option, but you could totally make these vegetarian by making a potato samosa or even a lentil samosa. It's all good!

The dough for the samosas came together easy and I was surprised how easy the dough was to roll out and shape. I didn't have any breaking or tearing, which is what usually happens to me. One tip I will give you is to taste your mixture before filling the samosas. You'll want to make sure your mixture is perfectly seasoned because you can't really season them afterward.

You can choose to fry your samosas, which I'm sure is delicious, or you can choose to bake them. I chose to bake mine and was so glad that I did. I didn't feel like I was missing out at all and I didn't have a big oil mess to clean up. Major score!

These samosas have been on my to-do list for years and years and I'm so thankful I finally got around to making them. I can't wait to pack them for my lunch this week. Yum!

Beef and Potato Filled Samosas
Adapted from How To Cook Everything
by Mark Bittman
Makes 10-12 large 
or 20 small

About 1-1/4 pounds baking potatoes, russet
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more as needed
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning mixture
8 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons plain yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk
1 tablespoon ice water, plus more as necessary*
3/4 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 fresh chile, minced or cayenne to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder*
1 teaspoon coriander or fresh cilantro, to taste
salt and black pepper to taste 

Note:* Recipe calls for around 1 tablespoon of water to get the dough to form a ball. I had to use about 5 tablespoons of water. Regardless, the dough still turned out wonderfully. I finally got to use my Curry Powder from Penzey's and even though it turned a neon green kind of color when it hit the heat it was still delicious!

For The Dough: Place the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium mixing bowl, and stir to blend. Cut half the butter (4 tablespoons) into small bits, add it to the flour, and use your fingers until the flour mixture resembles small peas and the butter is mixed in. Add the 2 tablespoons of yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk and stir to mix. Then, add 1 tablespoon ice cold water at a time until the mixture starts to form a ball. Knead the dough for 1 minute by hand, then cover with plastic wrap and rest in the fridge while you make the filling.
For The Potatoes: Peel the potato (should be about 1 large) and dice them into 1/2" cubes; set them in a pot of water to cover, turn the heat to high. Boil them until soft, 5 minutes should work fine.  Drain and set aside.

For The Beef:  Heat 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, chile, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and coriander. Allow the vegetables to cook down for a few minutes. Add in the ground beef and stir, until the meat loses its color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and stir to combine the mixture. Remove the mixture with a slotted spoon, being careful to leave the grease behind (you do not want a wet greasy mixture). Place the meat and potato mixture into a bowl and allow it to cool before making the samosas.

To Make The Samosas: First and foremost, I found it is best to watch a Youtube video in order to learn some helpful tips about folding the samosas. In Bittman's book, he tells you to break off a piece of the dough, roll it into a circle (adding more flour if necessary), place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center, then fold over and seal with a few drops of water. He says to repeat these steps until you are done making all the samosas. I watched a video that had me roll the dough into a circle, cut the circle in half, place the dough in the middle, and roll up into a triangle shape. I made some samosas smaller like this and then I made some larger half moon shapes. The size and shape you chose to make are up to you.  

To Cook: You can fry the samosas. If you do you will need a frying pan with about 2 inches of oil at a temperature of about 375F. Fry only a few at a time, until they are golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and keep in a warm oven until you have finished frying all of them 

I chose to bake mine for a healthier option. If you chose to bake yours as well, then bake them on a buttered baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes at 350F. Do not feel as if you're compromising by baking your samosas, they are wonderful and taste just like little handheld pies! 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ina Garten's Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

This week we got around four to five inches of snow. That may not sound like much accumulation to some of you, but here in Kentucky that is enough snow to shut down school for a full five days! We love it when this happens because we have the perfect excuse to relax and be cozy, without interruption, for days. This gives us plenty of time to cozy up with our blankets and catch up on movies/shows, play board games, cook up tasty goodies, and go sledding. I love winter. I love how nature forces you to stay in and slow down.

Of course, reality has come knocking on the door because school is back in session tomorrow. This means our cozy time is over and it's time to get back to the grind. Today will be a flurry of activity. There will be plenty of hussling around as clothes need to be washed and laid out, backpacks and binders prepared, last minute assignments completed, and lunches prepped.

With all the hussle and bustle I wanted to make something quick, using ingredients I already had on hand. A quick look through Ina Garten's recipes revealed this recipe for her Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes. This is the perfect recipe since I have some leftover buttermilk from the muffins last week. Plus, I don't have to run to the store for anything...major score!

Ina's Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes are heavenly. The potato ricer (pictured above and below) is the best tool I have found to achieve the desired fluffy and light texture. Mashed potatoes have a way of warming your soul. The perfect comforting indulgence. This is much needed for my kiddos as they have not had a full week of school since the middle of December! This week is going to be hard on them as they get back in the swing of things. So, to cater to them, we had a very kid-friendly meal of chicken tenders, Ina's Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, and green beans. It was a thumbs-up from everyone. I can definitely see myself making these mashed potatoes again!  

These Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes are also for my dear friend Deb, of Kahakai Kitchen, who is feeling under the weather. She loves mashed potatoes. Thinking of you, Deb, and hoping you feel better soon!

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from Food Network
by Ina Garten
Serves 5 to 6

1-1/2 pounds boiling potatoes
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-1/2" cubes. Add them to the boiling water and bring the water back to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done. 

As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place a food mill fitted with a small dish/blade over a heatproof bowl. Pass the potatoes through the food mill, turning the handle back and forth. (Alternatively, you can use pass the potatoes through a potato ricer- which is the method I prefer and used for this recipe). As soon as the potatoes are mashed, stir in the hot milk mixture with a whisk or rubber spatula. Add enough buttermilk to make the potatoes creamy. Add salt and pepper, to taste. If needed, you can place the potatoes over a pan of simmering water for up to 30 minutes to keep them warm, adding a little extra hot milk to keep them creamy.