Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ina Garten's Engagement Roast Chicken {The Very Best Roast Chicken}

Long time watchers of  Ina Garten's cooking show, Barefoot Contessa, know that she is The Queen of Roast Chicken.  Ina has many recipes for roast chicken and countless others celebrating chicken. Her inspiration behind these recipes is her husband, Jeffrey. Chicken is Jeffrey's favorite and Jeffrey is Ina's favorite.

These two things, Ina's love of Jeffrey and therefore chicken, are apparent to anyone who catches a few segments of her tv show. In fact, my husband has surmised as much after only seeing a few snippets here and there. It's so evident that for years we've had a running joke about Ina and Jeffrey and Friday night chicken dinners.
Weeks ago my husband called me laughing when he saw the text that my newest cookbook, Cooking For Jeffrey was set to arrive in the mail. He said, "it's about time she wrote a book dedicated to cooking for Jeffrey." So, my husband was delighted when on Friday I sent him a text to let him know that I was making Ina's Roast Chicken for dinner, Jeffrey's favorite. Let's just say he had high expectations because he knows that Jeffrey gets only the best!

This recipe started off just like all the rest, but Ina throws a few wise tips in. Namely, the size of the pan and the reason why it's so important. The chicken is nestled with two sliced onions and lemon wedges. The pan needs to be somewhat of a tight fit or the onions will burn. This was most helpful for me because in the past my add ins (onions, garlic, lemon, potatoes, carrots, etc) have all been in a pan that was too large which resulted in burning and scorched tasting gravy, etc. The second, and equally helpful tip, was to cut the slices of onion thick so that they would hold up in the oven. The result was perfectly cooked onions and delicious gravy. Score!

Ina says to use a 9 x 11 roasting pan and you can definitely do that, but I prefer to use my cast iron whenever possible so I went ahead and used my 12" cast iron skillet. It was the perfect fit!

There is a reason why this chicken is called Engagement Roast Chicken. The word is that the chicken is so delicious it earns marriage proposals! While I think that is somewhat of an exaggeration, I can understand the name. This is quite simply THE VERY BEST ROAST CHICKEN I've ever made! We found this to be the ultimate in chicken, tender and juicy with a perfectly crisp and golden brown skin. The onion gravy is equally delicious, with a fresh pop from the lemon, and really elevates the chicken to another level. All in all, this was divine, exceeding all expectations. From now on, this is my one and only roast chicken recipe. Five stars, Ina!

Engagement Roast Chicken
Recipe found on Food Network
by Ina Garten
Serves 4

1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 lemons
1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
good olive oil
2 onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry.  Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons.  Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.  Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14") roasting pan (if the pan is too large the onions will burn - I used a 12" cast iron skillet). Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan. 

Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine (I didn't have wine so I subbed in extra chicken broth in it's place) and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce.

Cooking with Alliums @ IHCC

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ina Garten's Cheese Straws {For Mom}

I started my cooking blog almost ten years ago and my mom was with me, tasting and testing recipes, every step of the way. Rightly so, because she was the reason I loved cooking to start with. She had me working beside her in the kitchen as soon as I was able to stand. My short legs were no match for the counter, so for years she kept my little stool by the kitchen counter so I could sprinkle salt and pepper, roll dough, and cut with my plastic knife. 

When I was a bit older and could reach the counter on my own, I can remember asking question after question. "Mom, can we add this spice? Can we add that spice?" She would always say, "We can add whatever we want because it's our kitchen and we make the rules." Cooking was art and the kitchen was our studio.

Like many women of her generation, my mom was never really one to follow a recipe. She never set a timer or made a recipe the same way twice. In fact, she was this way in all aspects of life, not just in the kitchen. She always said, "I like to walk my own path" and boy oh boy was she right about that. On the other hand, I've always been one to follow the rules and so we would banter back and forth, all in fun. She would tell me to loosen up and not be so straight and I would suggest that she set a timer or write her recipes down so that I would know how to duplicate them in the future. We would always meet somewhere in the middle. A perfect balance.  

Over the years we cooked side by side, sharing recipe after recipe. When my husband and kids snarled their nose at some of the dishes I made, because they were too fancy or had ingredients they didn't like, mom was always there. She was never picky and always gave compliments on everything that came out of my kitchen. My biggest fan. My best recipe taster, always encouraging me to try everything. On an off chance that she didn't like a dish, she always had kind and constructive feedback and we would always laugh and joke and talk about how our failures were always our biggest lessons.

A few weeks ago my mom, who was so full of life, lost her battle with cancer. She was only 64. I am so sad that our time was cut short, but am beyond thankful for all the time that we did have. I know that we lived it well, together. There are no words to express how very much I will miss her, and all of our kitchen adventures. My last promise to her was that I would be okay, and one of the best ways I can think to honor that promise, is to keep writing this blog. So keep cooking I must.

I chose this recipe because mom and I both loved cheese and anything bready.  I can see her now using Ina's recipe as a guideline and telling me that she was going to use more cheese and seasoning than the recipe called for because she liked to be a rebel. So more cheese and more seasoning it is, because I know that would make mom smile. I also decided that I didn't want to season the straws with thyme so I swapped out the thyme for Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Oh, and I didn't thaw the puff pastry overnight in the fridge either.  I thawed it right on the counter, last minute. How's that for being a rebel?

The results were delicious and we all enjoyed them. The only problem is that we have leftovers and that, my friends, is going to take some time to get used to.

Cheese Straws
Adapted from Food Network
by Ina Garten
Makes 22 to 24 cheese straws

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge farm), defrosted overnight in the fridge
1 extra-large egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan*
1 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese*
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves*
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste

*Note: Feel free to swap out the cheese and the seasoning in order to suit your taste buds. I used Parmesan and Gruyere because they're my favorites. However, I swapped the fresh thyme for Italian seasoning on one batch and red pepper flakes for the other. Half of the fun in this recipe is making different versions every time.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it is 10 x 12 inches. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper, to taste. With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don't over bake or the cheese will burn. Cool and serve and room temperature.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

My Top Five Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Favorites!

Oh Hugh, my time with you was short, but we were able to have some great kitchen adventures and make some memorable dishes together. These five are my top favorites and are all dishes that I will be making over and over again for years to come!

{Click on the recipe title to be directed to the original recipe and post}

I originally decided on this recipe solely because someone had given me a whole box full of garden-fresh tomatoes. I was expecting for it to be good, but instead the final product was downright mind-blowing! This was easily the best tomato sauce I've ever tasted and will be my perfect recipe for tomato sauce going forward. I am already waiting for next year so I can make batch upon batch and learn how to can it!

Again, I made this recipe based on the need to use up some puff pastry, and some beautiful rainbow Swiss chard, and did not expect to fall head over heels for this tart, but fall I did! I should have known better. I mean who doesn't want to wake up to flaky puff pastry with eggs, greens, and cheese. Two slices, please!

Welsh Rarebit is essentially cheese sauce over toast and let's face it...who wouldn't like that? Well, I can tell you that I had attempted it several times in my kitchen and wasn't a fan until now.  Previous versions resulted in a grainy cheese sauce that was just unpleasant. Hugh's version, on the other hand, was luscious and creamy and somewhat addicting. Expect to eat more than one slice!

People can hate on kale all they want, but I love it. In fact, I crave it. Everyone else can eat macaroni and cheese and plain old spaghetti, but I'll be eating this Cavatappi with Kale Ragu.  Holy cow...this is one of the best pasta dishes around. Make this if you love greens like me, and I promise you won't be disappointed!

And, finally, Hugh's Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad because who doesn't love a good noodle salad? Especially one that is so full of good-for-you green stuff and crunchy delicious peanuts? Perfect for any lunchbox!

Stay tuned! I Heart Cooking Clubs will be cooking with the one and only Ina Garten for the next six months! I can hardly wait to get started!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Out-Of-This-World Roasted Tomato Sauce

You know those recipes that are pure perfection? Well, this is one of them! Seriously though, I made this recipe because I had fresh ripe tomatoes coming out of my ears, and it totally caught me off guard how dang delicious this Roasted Tomato Sauce was! Perhaps it was because I had some really good garden-ripe tomatoes, I'm not sure, but this is my new go to recipe for making tomato sauce.

Things started out beautifully with a gorgeous display of fresh cut tomatoes glistening on the roasting sheet. A hefty scattering of garlic and a few herbs, salt and pepper really jazzed things up! I popped it into the oven and within a few minutes I began to worry.  I could smell garlic and not in a good way.  I felt like the garlic was going to burn and ruin the sauce, but it was too late to do anything about it so I left it all to roast.

Then I had another moment when I was pushing the tomatoes through the sieve and the sauce was nothing but pure liquid but I forged on. Hugh talks about the different consistency and suggests cooking the sauce down on the stove top to thicken it so I did just that.

The sauce was cooking down when my husband walked in and said "wow, what is that delicious smell?" Now, my husband is not fond of tomato sauce, unless it's covering a plate of pasta, so it was huge when he stuck a spoon in the sauce and started swooning. He said, "that sauce is incredible, it's perfectly seasoned." Of course I stuck my spoon in immediately after and discovered he was right. In fact, we both poured a little bit in a small cup and sipped it like a soup. Roasting those tomatoes really brings out the flavor! We debated eating it as a soup right then and there, but decided to save it for pasta.

The tomato sauce was heavenly over some pasta, but it was even better the next day when my mom and I got the idea to make some Italian-inspired Parmesan-Basil Fried Green Tomatoes (click on the link for the recipe-) and dip them them into this roasted tomato sauce! Doubling down on tomatoes was even better than we imagined and we now have a new favorite snack! I can't wait to get a new batch of tomatoes so I can make both the sauce and the fried green tomatoes again. It was a lovely combination. A summertime delight for sure!

Roasted Tomato Sauce
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Makes around 2 cups

3 to 4 pounds ripe tomatoes, larger ones halved
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
A couple sprigs of marjoram
A few sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up if halved, on a baking sheet. Scatter over the garlic and herbs, and trickle over the oil. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Put the baking sheet in the oven for about an hour, maybe a bit longer, until the tomatoes are completely soft and pulpy, and starting to crinkle and caramelize on top.

Set the tomatoes aside to cool for half an hour or so.  Then tip them into a large sieve set over a bowl and rub the pulp through with a wooden spoon, or use a food mill. Discard the skins and seeds. The sauce will seem like liquid, and that is fine, you can cook the sauce down on the stove until it thickens, if you desire.

Theme: Dippity Do Dah! @ IHCC

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Pan-Roasted Asparagus with a Crispy Fried Egg {Perfection On A Plate}

This recipe is all about texture and flavor.

Crunchy, cheesy, herbaceous breadcrumbs with the kick of red pepper flakes and a hint of lemon zest sit atop a crispy-bottomed fried egg that oozes with yolk down over the tops of pan-fried asparagus spears. I'm telling ya....this is the perfect breakfast or brunch dish. This is really the perfect anytime dish. 

I was wowed by how good this was! In fact, this was so good, I instantly felt mad at myself for not making it sooner. Do you ever do that? I do. After that first bite I found myself thinking "why oh why did I allow this to sit on my "to make list" for so long? Nonsense I tell ya.

There's just something about the crunch of the breadcrumbs and the oozing egg yolk that is the perfect topper for the asparagus. It just really wakes up those taste buds and keep you wanting more.

It's one of those dishes that is kinda naughty but kinda angelic. Widely satisfying, but still light. You know, one of those rare dishes that strike the perfect balance. The kind you make again and again and highly recommend. Perfection on a plate.

Pan-Fried Asparagus with a Crispy Fried Egg
Adapted from Food Network
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

Breadcrumb Gremolata
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon lemon zest (1 lemon)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed
salt and pepper, to taste
4 large eggs

For the Gremolata: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and olive oil and toast, stirring often with a wooden spoon until golden brown. Place in a small bowl and while still hot, add the lemon zest, red pepper flakes and salt. Mix together and cool the mixture to room temperature. Stir in the parsley and cheese.

For the Asaparagus: Wipe the pan with a clean dish towel. Place over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the asparagus and salt to taste.  Cook, stirring and flipping often with tongs until the asparagus is bright green, cooked through and slightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Divide the asparagus among four serving plates. To the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Crack 2 of the egg into the pan, being careful as it may splatter, sprinkle with salt and reduce the heat slightly and cook until the edges are light brown and crispy and the whites are just set, 2 to 3 minutes. The yolk should still be runny. Repeat for the remaining 2 eggs. Using a slotted spatula, slide an egg on each plate. Sprinkle each dish with the breadcrumb gremolata and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Just For Kicks {Spicy Favorites From the Stirring The Pot Kitchen}

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we're celebrating spicy dishes that give either a little bit, or a lot of kick! I'm having company this week and didn't have enough time to throw together a new dish, so I'm recapping with five of my favorite spicy dishes, as well as a shout out to a dish I've mentioned before, that are perfect for the summer months!

Here in the Stirring the Pot household, we love spicy dishes! They are simply are favorites. I've mentioned this dish several times on my blog, but Madhur Jaffrey's Delicious Chicken Bits is hands down our favorite dish I've ever shared on this blog. It's spicy mainly because it has quite a bit of cayenne pepper in it, but also because it is full of other spices like cumin, paprika, garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper, salt, and thyme. It is a celebration of spices and is a must make for fans of spicy food.

And now onto my five favorites, in no particular order: (click on the link to be directed to the original post and recipe)
This whipped cream cheese is heavenly. Chopped up serrano pepper and garlic give it a truly wonderful flavor profile and it is remarkable and addictive on bagels for breakfast. Of course, this cream cheese is wonderful on just about anything. Trust will not last long!

Light and delicious veggie enchiladas with a super-fiery-not-for-the-faint-of-heart habanero salsa to set your mouth on fire! The avocado is not's necessary to cool your mouth down!

This burger is a wonderful mix of flavors: chorizo, chipotles in adobo, poblano chiles, onions, and garlic.....and ooey gooey Monterey jack cheese. A tasty way to enjoy a burger this summer!

A lovely and unique meal for the slow cooker, this chicken is flavored with tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and a splash of jalapeno pickling juice. The chicken is fall off the bone tender and this is a light and fresh meal that is perfect for spring and summer.

 A light and easy tomato sauce made with a hint of garlic and pickled jalapenos is the perfect way to jazz up fish for a nice light summer meal. This was a very pleasant dish and a great way to add a little kick to your regular old weeknight dinner routine. The potatoes really round it out and make it a nice little meal. 

What are some of your spicy favorites?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Potatoes with "Deconstructed Pesto"

My mom is definitely the one with the "green thumb". In fact, for some time, I think my neighbor's thought she was the lady of the house mainly because she was the one outside planting, pruning, watering, and weeding. It's not that I didn't want to be the one with the green thumb. It's more because I wasn't any good at it and the more I tried the more mom came behind me, cleaning up my messes and fixing my mistakes, as moms are prone to do.

Years ago, mom dug a small herb garden off the back porch and she planted chives, oregano, cilantro, basil, and mint. The herbs did well, but over time we widdled it down to chives, basil, and mint, mostly because they thrived the most and we liked them best.

If I ever got real busy and forgot about the herb garden mom always let me know. She would cut huge bouquets of fresh herbs and place them all over the kitchen, and I'd always laugh because it was her way of telling me they needed to be used.

This summer my mom's been sick and she hasn't spent too much time outside in the garden. Just last week the doctor's told us her cancer was terminal. They say we have time, and we are thankful for that, but we are all still in shock and beside ourselves. I've spent many hours staring into space since that day, but the only thing that really helps me is getting in the kitchen.

My mom's always been my blogging buddy. Since the very beginning. The one I cook for. My bravest taste tester. My biggest fan. So this week when I questioned what in the world I could make, I thought of her and what she would do, if only she felt better. I found my answering staring out at the herb garden. It was in need of some love. I started on the basil first and was happy when I found this delicious Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall dish of Potatoes with "Deconstructed Pesto".

It reminded me of another dish I made back in 2011 when the basil went crazy and mom went outside and filled vases upon vases of basil for me to use. The whole house reeked of basil, and we love the scent, but oh boy...there is such a thing as too much and it makes me laugh now thinking about it. That week I think everything I cooked had basil in it. But of all the dishes we tried we tried that week, the one standout was Ina Garten's Basil Potato Puree. We fell in love with those potatoes. In fact, we still talk about that dish from time to time. Mom always calls it a "special dish" and/or "the freshest potatoes ever tasted." I linked that one above, because if I had my pick between the two potato dishes I'd pick that one, but both of these are tasty summer pleasures.

As for me, I'm heading back out into the herb garden. The mint is out of control and I think I got a few more empty vases...

Potatoes with "Deconstructed Pesto"
River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall
Serves 2-4

1 pounds baby potatoes, cut to uniform size if needed
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
good handful of basil, shredded
generous squeeze of lemon juice
good handful of grated Parmesan

 Place uniformly cut (potatoes need to be similar sizes to cut in the same time) into a medium-sized saucepan, cover with water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes, until tender.  Drain the potatoes and set aside.

Put the same saucepan back onto the stove top and add the olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste. Allow the garlic to cook for around 1 minute, then add potatoes back into the saucepan and stir in the shredded basil, some lemon juice, and some grated Parmesan cheese. Taste, adjust seasoning (usually potatoes always need more salt) and serve. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Donna Hay's Beef and Chorizo Burgers w/ Chipotle Mayo

Years back, when we were cooking the recipes of Donna Hay, my friend Michelle of Ms.enPlace shared Donna's Beef & Chorizo Burgers and they looked incredible.  The recipe was simple enough, basically just two simple ingredients: beef and chorizo, but we all know how much flavor chorizo imparts, so I knew without a doubt that this recipe would be a winner with my family.

The original recipe calls for a beetroot relish but Michelle opted to make a Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce for her burgers, which I think is perfect! So I'm taking a nod from Michelle, swapping the sour cream for mayo, and making a chipotle mayo.

Now let me tell ya, these burgers are the perfect way to switch up your burger game. I love a good old-fashioned cheeseburger, but in the summer time when burger season is really in high gear, it sure is nice to change it up from time to time. With all that flavor I didn't even miss the cheese! I highly recommend these burgers for one of your upcoming cookouts!

Beef & Chorizo Burgers w/ Chipotle Mayo
Recipe by Donna Hay, found on Ms. enPlace
Serves 4

For the Burgers
1 pound ground beef
6 oz. fresh Mexican chorizo
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
4 hamburger buns
lettuce leaves, or any of top..toppings of your choice

Chipotle Mayo
1/2 cup mayo
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped
1 teaspoon adobo sauce

For the Chipotle Mayo: In a small bowl place all the mayo ingredients and mix until blended. Chill until ready to use.

For the Burgers: Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.  Add the ground beef and chorizo to a mixing bowl. Season the meat mixture with salt and pepper and gently combine with your hands (try not to overwork it). Divide mixture into 4 portions and shape into patties.

Brush both sides of the burgers with olive oil and place on the grill or grill pan. Grill to desired doneness (about 7-8 minutes for medium well). While the burgers cook, brush the inside surfaces of the buns. Place them on the grill when the burgers have just a couple of minutes left.

Dress the burgers with chipotle mayo and or lettuce or toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Happy Fourth of July to everyone who is celebrating!!

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!