Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fig and Olive Tapenade

I found this recipe on It is really good and easy. I only modified it to use goat cheese, instead of cream cheese.

1 cup chopped dried figs
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup chopped kalamata
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped toasted
1 package Goat Cheese

1. Combine figs and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, and liquid has reduced. Remove from heat, and stir in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, thyme, and cayenne. Add olives and garlic, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend.

2. Unwrap cream cheese block, and place on a serving platter. Spoon tapenade over cheese, and sprinkle with walnuts. Serve with slices of French bread or crackers.

Mini Chile Rellenos

I stopped by the grocery store two days ago with my husband and I saw these beautiful mixed color mini peppers. I thought they’d be cute as mini chile rellenos. Here is the recipe I developed.

1 pkg. mini stoplight colored peppers
½ c. soy crumbles
½ c. hash browns (frozen)
¼ c. onion
2 tsp. garlic, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
½ c. Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
2 egg whites
1 tblsp. Flour
1 can enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash peppers and remove top and seeds. Place peppers on a baking sheet and cook in oven until tender. Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Mix in cumin and hash browns. Cook until hash browns are hot. Mix in soy crumbles and cook until just heated. Remove from heat and mix in the cheese. When the peppers are soft, remove from the oven and stuff with the crumbles/cheese mixture. With a hand mixer mix the egg whites with the flour until firm peaks form. Dip the stuffed chiles in the mixture until coated. Then sauté chiles in oil in a frying pan. Once browned on each side place chile rellenos on a bed of enchilada sauce. Enjoy!

Mock Voice's Mushroom Cappuccino

Voice published its recipe for its mushroom cappuccino on its website. The soup intrigued me. I thought it was kind of cute. This is why I decided to replicate it. What better place to start with the actual recipe.

First I made the soup exactly the way it was written. The soup turned out super creamy, more than I tasted in the actual soup when I went to Voice, so later took out about 2/3rds of the cream. I also added some other stuff and chose not to put it through a sieve. I like it a little chunky. The foam recipe works well enough. I need to learn how to make it more "foamy". Let me know if anyone knows how to do this. I also added a couple bay leaves and some thyme. My recipe follows.
I love when great chefs share recipes, so I can make a futile attempt at copying them and making them my own.

3lbs mixed mushrooms (crimini, white-button, shitake, baby bella)
2 large onions (sliced thin)
3 tblsp. Chopped garlic
½ stick butter
2 cups dry white wine
5 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic in butter until caramelized. Add Mushrooms, chopped. Sweat until the mushrooms have shrunk down. Cook about 15 minutes. Add the thyme, paprika, and bay leaf. Add wine and reduce by 3/4ths. Add broth and cream and cook for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth.

For foam, mix 1 tbslp truffle oil and ¼ cup heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer until thick. Top pureed soup with truffle foam. Enjoy!

Ash-e Reshteh

(Ash-e Reshteh=Noodle Soup in Farsi, Ash=soup, Reshteh=noodle)
My aunt-in-law, Pershang, makes the best ash. I once requested she let me observe while she made it. I did, then I went home and followed the Iranian standard cookbook "Food of Life". I also used some of Pershang's twists.

Here is the cookbook's recipe.

Persian noodles are available at Phoncia. Kashk is also available at Phonecia.

1/4 cup red kidney beans, soaked
1/4 cup navy beans, soaked
1/4 cup chickpeas, soaked
3 onions, finely sliced
3 Tbsp. oil
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. turmeric
10 cups water
1/2 cup lentils
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup chives or scallions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dill weed, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
2 cups spinach(fresh or frozen), chopped
1 beet, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb. flat egg noodles or Persian noodles(Reshteh)
1 Tbsp. flour
1 cup liquid kashke or sour cream, or 1/4 cup wine vinegar

*Gheimeh Garnish
1/4 lb. beef, in 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. yellow split peas
1 tsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. saffron, dissolved in 1 Tbsp. hot water
1/2 tsp. salt

*Mint Garnish
1 onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. dried mint flakes

Soup instructions:
In large pot, brown onions in oil. Add salt, 1/4 tsp. of the pepper, and turmeric. Pour in water and add kidney beans. navy beans, and chickpeas. Cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add lentils and broth. Cook 35 minutes. Add scallions, dill, parsley, spinach, and beet. Stir occasionally and
cook 20 minutes or until done. Correct seasoning(add the rest of the pepper if needed) and add more water if too thick. Add noodles, flour and cook until noodles are done--about 10 minutes.

If using kashke or sour cream, set aside a heaping Tbsp. for garnish. Stir 2 Tbsp. of soup into remaining sour cream. Stir this mixture slowly into soup. Reheat just before serving, adding more water if it's too thick.

About 1/2 hour before serving, prepare gheimeh garnish. Brown meat, onion, and garlic in oil. Stir in water and split peas. Cover and cook 20 minutes over low heat. Add tomato paste, saffron, and salt. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.

While gheimeh is simmering, prepare mint garnish. Brown onion and garlic in oil. Remove from heat. Crush mint flakes in hand and stir into onion. Pour soup into tureen, garnish with gheimeh and mint garnish and reserved sour cream by floating them on top.

Shabak Notes: Instead of using dried beans I used canned. 1 can of beans to 1/4 cup of dried. This made it easier. I also ampped up the mint and added fried onion to the garnish. This is what Pershang does and boy it adds to the taste. I also serve with a dollup of yogurt--the whole milk, Bulgarian kind from Phonecia. God I love this ash...

Vegetarian Reubens

I love reuben sandwiches. Here is my vegetarian version.

2 sliced of rye bread
2 tblsp saurkraut
1 tblsp thousand island salad dressing
4 strips soy beef
enough swiss cheese for one sandwich

Toast bread. Thaw and heat soy beef. Layer bread, dressings, kraut, soy beef, and cheese. Toast in the oven until cheese is melted. Consume. Yum.

Cauliflower Mac n' Cheese

This months Bon Appetit magazine had a good recipe for cauiflower mac. I love mac, so I leveraged it. Turned out quite good. Here is the original recipe. I paired it up with vegetarian reubens.

1 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower, cored, cut into 1-inch florets
2 large heirloom tomatoes
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Coarse kosher salt
2 tab
1 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower, cored, cut into 1-inch florets
2 large heirloom tomatoes
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups coarsely grated Comté cheese (or half Gruyère and half Fontina; about 9 ounces), divided
3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup crème fraîche*
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
10 ounces penne (3 1/2 cups)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from crustless French bread ground in processor)
lespoons all purpose flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups coarsely grated Comté cheese (or half Gruyère and half Fontina; about 9 ounces), divided
3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup crème fraîche*
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
10 ounces penne (3 1/2 cups)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from crustless French bread ground in processor)
Cook cauliflower in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Using large sieve, transfer cauliflower to bowl. Add tomatoes to pot; cook 1 minute. Remove from water; peel and dice tomatoes. Reserve pot of water.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and green onions. Cook 1 minute to blend flavors. Remove from heat. Season with coarse salt and pepper.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in cream. Cook until sauce thickens, whisking occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add 2 cups Comté cheese; whisk until melted and sauce is smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup Parmesan, then crème fraîche and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Return reserved pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to same pot. Stir in cauliflower mixture and sauce.

Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon in half of pasta mixture; sprinkle with 1/2 cup Comté cheese. Top with remaining pasta mixture and 1/2 cup Comté cheese. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in small skillet. Add breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Remove from heat; mix in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Sprinkle crumbs over pasta. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pasta uncovered until heated through and bubbling, about 35 minutes.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Parsnip, Apple, and Machego Au Gratin

I went to Feast, and was inspired by the parsnip au gratin they served. I thought it was really clever, and I thought to myself "gee, I don't think I've ever cooked parsnips." So I went home and the next day came up with my own version. I liked the subtle sweetness of the parsnips and how it contrasted with the machego. I thought maybe a teeny bit of green apple would be nice in it as well. I'm doing my best to remember what I all put in it, so here goes. Looking back I think this is an easily modifiable recipe. You could add carrots or any other root vegetable or squash. Feel free to get creative.

1 medium size green apple, peeled and sliced in thin sliced.
1 bunch parsnips, peeled like you would a carrot, and sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded machego
1 cup shredded gruyere
1/4 stick of butter
4 cloves garlic
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
enough slices of hearty bread to cover the bottom of your casserole dish

1. Saute onion and garlic in the butter, until soft

2. paraboil the sliced parsnips until kind of soft

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. In a large mixing bowl, mix the egg, the cheese, sauted onion, parsnips, and sliced apple. Mix until it is all blended.

5. Put a layer of toasted bread on the bottom of the casserole dish.

6. Pour the parsnip mixture in the dish on top of the bread. Pack it down.

7. Top it all up with enough cheese to cover the mix. You should add more or less depending on your love of cheese.

8. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and a little bit browing.

Note: Let the au gratin cool a little before slicing, because it will cut easier when a little cooled.

Tomato Bread Pudding

Yummmy....Recipe to come.