Tuesday, November 26, 2013

T-day Side: Brussel Sprout Extravaganza!!

It is officially that time of year again, when eating starts to get seriously heavy, we increase our cardio 300%, and we take serious naps. Thanksgiving tips off when the holiday eating gets a little out of control. When I think of holiday food I think of satisfying several cravings, 1)salt, 2)something hearty, 3) something rich, and 4)definitely some sort of carb is involved. Michael and I have come up with a simple Thanksgiving day side which hits on all of these notes.

Our side is roasted brussel sprouts, tossed with long grain rice, and then topped with crisped pancetta. For vegetarians, just remove the pancetta, then voila, welcome to tasty town.

Ingredients: serves 8
1 ½ lbs brusssel sprouts
2/3 cup diced pancetta
½ cup long grain rice
¼ cup olive oil
½ a lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Start by cleaning and slicing the sprouts. In a colander rinse the sprouts with water, pulling off any outer leaves that look browned of to have holes. Cut the bottom of the sprout of and then cut in half lengthwise. Place in large bowl, and pour in most but about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and mix, sprinkling with salt three separate times. Lay the brussel sprouts out onto two baking sheets and place in oven for 40 minutes.

Be sure that 20 minutes in to flip some of the brussel sprouts around and turn the actual trays around in the oven.

To make the long grain rice, follow the direction of water to rice that they give you (not all rice is the same). Set aside.

While those are cooking in a large sauce pan place all of your pancetta and render it down until it is nice and crispy. If you cannot find already diced pancetta, render the whole pancetta down and dice once crispy. Once crispy, layout on a plate covered with a paper towel. Set aside.

Once the sprouts are done, place all the ingredients in a bowl, pour the rest of the oil in, and squeeze the lemon. Mix and serve!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Vegetable Latke with Persimmon Butter

Happy Hanukkah!! It is amazing because Hanukkah and Thanksgiving happen at the same time, which is awesome! We have created for you a spin on a traditional Latke, which actually will go fantastically with turkey! We have for you a latke made with potato, parsnip, carrot, and yellow zucchini, not to forget our very own persimmon butter on the side.

How do you celebrate Hanukkah if you do? Or better Hanukkah and Thanksgiving together?

*You will need a cheese grater with large holes.

Ingredients: makes 10

1 russet potato
2 large carrots
2 medium sized parsnips
2 small yellow zucchini
1 large egg
3 pinches of salt
¼ cup canola oil

Persimmon Butter:
4 ripe persimmons
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon

If you want to make sure they stay warm then preheat the oven to 200 degrees so you can put the latkes in when you make them, if you don’t mind them being room temperature, then skip this.

Start by making the persimmon butter. Chop up the persimmons and blend in blender until they are pretty smooth. In a small sauce pan, heat the puree, when it starts to bubble, add the sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir cooking for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit.

The latke making is so easy it’s amazing. Peel all your vegetable except the yellow zucchini. Into a large bowl, using the larger holes on the cheese grater, grate all you vegetables, including the zucchini with the skin. Fill the bowl with water, the pour the water out keeping the vegetables, fill it one more time, and let sit for 10 minutes. This gets all the extra starch out.

Strain the vegetables into a colander. Lay out some paper towels, and lay the vegetables on top. Roll the paper towels together, removing any excess moisture. Put everything back in bowl.

Crack the egg into the bowl and start to mix. Put one pinch of salt, mix, next pinch, etc.

In a wide skillet heat your oil to medium high. When the oil is hot enough, using a spoon, spoon a heaping spoonful of the vegetables onto the skillet. Do two at a time.

While those are cooking, lay a tray out with paper towels, so you can place the latke on and let the oil drain off.

Let one side cook for about 5 minutes until nice and golden brown, the flip and do the same.

If you put in the oven, be sure to not put it in with paper towel.

Serve with persimmon butter! Enjoy!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Olive Cracker with Spicy Pimento Cheese

Michael and I have been plugging away at working in the kitchen, painting, entertaining, all the fun stuff that happens around the holiday time. We have made for you a delicious cracker that stays good up to a week, so when you have some last minute company popping by you can put these on a plate and not worry!

We have made for you an olive cracker with a spicy pimento cheese in the middle. To create the shape in the middle, I found a cookie cutter that had a little owl cutout. You can cut a circle for the bottom, and then for the top use the same circle and then cut your shape out. You can find mini cookie cutters at any baking shop, and if you can’t find a cutout, who cares! You don’t need it; it is the taste that matters anyway!

*There will be some pimento cheese leftover, but don’t worry! You can refrigerate for up to 2 weeks!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen

2 cup all-purpose flour, more as needed
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. parmigiano reggiano cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp. black olives, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cream, more if needed

Pimento Cheese:
1/2 pound grated Cheddar
1/2 pound grated Pepper Jack (habanero if you can find it)
1 (4-ounce) can diced pimentos
1/3 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/3 teaspoons granulated onion
2 Pinches cayenne
1/2 cup light mayonnaise

Start by making the cheese by mixing together all the ingredients and blending in a food processor. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.

Put flour, salt, cheese, olives, garlic and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until flour and olive oil create little crumbs that look like sand.

Add about 1/4 cup cream and let machine run for a bit. If it is too dry, and a tablespoon of cream, if it seems really wet, don’t worry.

Roll out dough on a flat surface covered in flour (this will help if the mix is oily) until 1/4-inch thick or even thinner, adding flour as needed.

Cut out 24 circle for the bottom, and 24 with the shape cutout for the top.

Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. If you bubbles form in your crackers, right when you take them out of the oven, press down with a towel for a few seconds. They are more likely to dry flat.

Let cool completely.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Flu Season Mushroom Soup

Flu season is happening as we speak, and it is a serious pain in the buns. I have been trying to get rid of a cough for about two weeks now, and it is not awesome. Michael is super lucky in totally letting my sickness fly over him. In honor of flu season we have made a very simple and healthy mushroom soup, because what else are you going to eat when you feel like snot!!?
Ingredients: serves 6

1 pound button mushrooms
1 pound Portobello mushrooms
1 large shallot
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons chives
Small loaf of French bread
32 Oz. vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 275.

Clean all of the mushrooms, making sure that you get rid of all of the dirt. In a food processor, roughly chop all of your mushrooms and set aside.

Chop up the large shallot. In a large sauce pan (that can fit all of your soup) melt your butter, then add shallot and lightly sauté, about 3 minutes.

Add the mushroom and reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring every so often. Cook about 15 minutes, or until most all of the liquid has disappeared.

Now dice the bread into ½ inch cubes, and place in oven to toast. Let toast about 7 minutes, or until crunchy.

Add the cream, salt, nutmeg, ground pepper, and cayenne pepper and stir. Cook 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to let simmer for 20 minutes.

To serve, pour in bowls, add a few croutons, chop up chives and add to top.

Good luck with your cold/flu!!