Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Swiss Chard, Green Onion, and Cheese Tart

Our local Whole Foods decided to close their old store and open up a huge, brand-spanking new, double-the-size store right down the road at an upscale shopping center. Now between you and me, I much prefer the older and smaller store, finding it much easier to to get in and out of, but I realize that everything is all about being out with the old and in with the new lately, so, so be it. Focus on the positive, right? The new store, which is double the size, will obviously have double the merchandise and I'm sure I'll like that. Also, big bonus, the old store had a MAJOR sale before they closed, marking everything down to 50% so they could clean their shelves before closing!

Fifty percent off at Whole Foods is exciting news for me so I ready and waiting. When I got there the shelves were already starting to thin out. I was able to find some beautiful Swiss chard, fresh cherries, and grapes. Racing through the hoards of people I made my way to the freezer section to score some gluten free goodies for my son and I found lots of Dufour puff pastry, and since puff pastry can be pricey and Dufour is known to be the best, I grabbed several boxes.  Puff pastry stores well in the freezer and is fabulous to have on hand!

I've always been in awe of Whole Foods artisan chocolate aisle and they did have quite a bit of chocolate left to chose from. I will confess I spent most of my time in the chocolate aisle, looking over all the choices and I must say I ended up with about 15 bars of artisan chocolate in my cart. I mean how can you pass it up when it's 50% off. That's not likely to happen again! At the checkout I scored big on a few $15 cooking magazines, which were also half off, and cheered with delight when my total, which was $250, quickly became $125. Never has my cart at Whole Foods been that full and I was more than pleased with my haul.

On my way home I was brainstorming a way to use both my Swiss Chard and puff pastry and when I came across Hugh's Lettuce, Green Onion, and Cheese Tart I was inspired. I decided to swap his pastry dough for puff pastry (I can't be bothered to make pastry anyway) and also swap the lettuce for the Swiss Chard, and this tart was born.

Flaky puff pastry, colorful Swiss Chard, artisan English Cheddar, a layer of green onions, together with a pinch and a dash of salt and pepper, and this made for one delectable meal. I see many more puff pastry tarts in my future!

Swiss Chard, Green Onion, and Cheese Tart
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
Serves 4-6

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon canola/olive oil
1 bunch Swiss Chard, rinsed and chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
4 or 5 green onions, rinsed and sliced
4 ozs. or 1/2 cup English Cheddar, grated
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out thawed puff pastry to 1/8 inch so that it fills a 10" tart pan.  Place it into the tart pan, cut off the excess, and reserve the excess for topping the tart later.  Place the tart pan with the puff pastry, and any excess puff pastry, in the freezer for 10 minutes.
 In the meantime, you will need a sheet of parchment paper and some beans to make a pie weight so that you can place them in the tart pan and keep the pastry from raising while baking. Place the tart, with the pie weight into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Then remove the pie weight and bake for another 5, or until puff pastry is golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Make the filling.  In a large pan, add 1 tablespoon of canola or olive oil to the pan, along with the Swiss Chard, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until wilted and tender. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, for flavor. Using a slotted spoon, arrange the Swiss Chard into the tart shell.

Add the sliced green onions to the hot pan and saute for a minute or so.  Layer the green onions over the Swiss Chard, then top the tart with the grated cheese.  

In a medium bowl, beat two eggs, one egg yolk, and the cream and milk.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Carefully pour this mixture into the tart shell (you may not need all of it). Decorate the top of the tart with the remaining puff pastry dough. I cut mine into squares and just arranged them on top, but feel free to make whatever design you like. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Theme: A Pinch Of This, A Dash Of That

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Top Five Asian Dishes!

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are celebrating Asian Dishes this week. This past week my family and I have been gone on family vacation. While we had an absolutely fantastic time visiting both Gettysburg and Hershey, PA we did come home to bad news regarding my mom's health so I wasn't really up to making a new dish this week.  However, I didn't want this week's theme to go by unnoticed because Asian Dishes are some of my family's absolute favorites (plus I needed a distraction)! So, below is a roundup of my family's Top Five Asian Dishes!

(Please click on the recipe name to be directed to the original post)

Madhur Jaffrey's Delicious Chicken Bits is hands down the BIGGEST hit I've ever made on my blog. I have been asked by my family to make these chicken bits over and over again. In fact, if I ask them what they want on the menu they always request this dish. The chicken is spicy and flavorful and perfect with rice and veggies. We lovingly refer to it as Indian Chicken due to all the delicious spices.  I've made this dish more than any other dish on my blog!

These dip-worthy chicken patties are a lot of fun as an appetizer or as part of a main dish.  Loads of fun to eat they are a great hit with anyone!

If the name Most Delicious Meat Cubes doesn't get your attention then think about a crispy flavor-packed exterior and a tender meaty interior. These Most Delicious Meat Cubes are similar to carnitas, but with Indian spices are they are delectable! I urge anyone to try them!

This Chicken with Garlic and Black Pepper reminds me of the Delicious Chicken Bits above, just with a different flavor profile. In fact, while my family enjoys the spicier Indian flavors of the Delicious Chicken Bits the most, I prefer this garlic and black pepper version. Both chicken dishes pack a flavor punch and are quick easy weeknight meals that go well with rice and veggies.

And these babies...well, I didn't mean to post a carnivorous meaty roundup, but sometimes it is all about the meat, especially when it is packed with flavor like these bad boys.  You can actually see all the flavor running through these meatballs like little pieces of confetti. I think the picture is all the convincing you need to whip up a batch. They are dunkalicious!

These are my favorite Asian Dishes. 

I'd love for you to share some of yours!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Two-Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo and Poblano

Tortillas keep well in the fridge and I almost always have them on hand.  In fact, it's far more likely for me to have tortillas on hand than actual sliced bread. We use them for wrapping up breakfast burritos, lunch wraps, burritos, tacos, and last but not least, endless varieties of quesadillas.

If you have a tortilla, odds are you have some bits and bobs and some leftover cheese to make a quesadilla with.  I've made plain cheese quesadillas, veggie quesadillas, bean quesadillas, chicken, beef, pork... you name it. I had never made a chorizo quesadilla until today...and I must tell you it was one of our favorites!

These Two-Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo and Poblano were a hit with the whole family!  Of course, if you've had chorizo before than you know that anytime chorizo is involved, it is a flavor explosion! Pair that with two kinds of creamy ooey-gooey cheese, and a slight kick from the poblano and you have a pairing that is notches above the rest!

Two-Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo and Poblano Chile
Adapted from What's For Dinner?
by Curtis Stone
Serves 4

canola oil
12 ounces fresh Mexican-style chorizo, casings removed
1 poblano chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into long thin strips
salt and pepper, to taste
2-1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
Four 9 inch flour tortillas

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of canola oil, then add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up into bite-size pieces with a wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a bowl, Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet (mine had pretty much zero fat - add canola oil if needed).

Add the chile to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for around 5-8 minutes, or tender and slightly charred.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile heat a large griddle or skillet over medium-low heat. Mix the Jack cheese and Mozzarella cheese together. Brush one side of each tortilla with oil (or butter). Turn the tortillas oil side down on the work surface.

For each quesadilla, sprinkle a heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture over the bottom half of a tortilla and top with one-fourth each of the chorizo and chiles, then another heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the filling and press lightly to compact.

Working in batches, place the quesadillas on the griddle and cook, turning halfway through cooking, for a total of about 6 minutes, or until golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Transfer to a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve hot.

Theme: May Potluck!