Food


This weeks’ theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs was Fresh and Fruity.  Which is a great theme for this time of the year.  So many fresh fruits and veggies everywhere.  But here in the south while we have plenty of veggies coming in we don’t really have any fruits.  Watermelon is about all.  Fortunately for me I have some ‘fresh’ fruit that I canned last year so I used that.

For these….

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apple and pear upside-down caramel tarts

They are mini versions of a tarte Tatin and they are easy to put together.  And delicious.

Caramel sauce:
    1 ½ cups sugar
    4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup whipping cream

Tarts:

    2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into ½-inch–thick wedges
    2 Anjou pears, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
    1 frozen puff pastry sheet (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • To make the caramel sauce: Stir the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a medium heavy saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a simmer, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar that clings to the side.
  • The sugar that clings to the side of the pan has a tendency to crystallize and ruin the silky consistency of the caramel, so wiping the sugar off the sides of the pan will help prevent this from happening.
  • Allow the sugar syrup to boil without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan and swirling the pan occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly, for about 8 minutes or until it begins to turn golden brown.
  • You will need to watch the syrup closely as it can burn quite easily.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add the butter and whisk until the butter melts and the mixture forms a caramel sauce. Stir in the cinnamon.
  • Pour three-fourths of the caramel sauce into four 4-inch-diameter cake pans with at least 1 3/4-inch-high sides, dividing equally.
  • Allow the caramel in pans to cool.
  • Whisk the cream into the remaining caramel sauce to blend and set the caramel sauce aside.
  • To make the tarts: Arrange a layer of the apples and pears decoratively over the caramel in the pans, then stack the remaining apples and pears to fill the pans completely. Unfold the pastry on a work surface and press the seams together if necessary.
  • Cut out four 4-inch rounds.
  • Place the pastry rounds over the apples and pears and tuck the pastry down between the sides of the pans.
  • Prick the pastry 5 to 6 times with a fork or small sharp knife.
  • Cover the tarts with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day to chill the pastry.
  • Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  • Transfer the tarts to a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through and the apples are very tender.
  • Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the juices to cool and thicken slightly.
  • Place a plate over each tart.
  • In a swift movement, invert each tart onto each plate.
  • Remove the pans.
  • Drizzle some of the reserved caramel sauce around the tarts and serve.
  • Reserve any remaining caramel sauce in the refrigerator for another use.
  • These are definitely going into the dessert rotation. I always have puff pastry in the freezer and always have apples and pears on the counter (or in the pantary) so it would be no trouble to put these together – often.

    These are from relaxed cooking with curtis stone (page 358)

    Check wit the other members of I Heart Cooking Club to see what they made with fruit this week.

    There is just something about risotto. It’s not easy to make. Well, it’s easy, it just takes a while. All the stirring and adding broth and stirring. But with the right combination of flavors it is well worth the effort. And this risotto was well worth the effort.

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    This is Julie Shafer’s Risotto with Lemon and Asparagus

    Julie says she learned to make risotto as a small girl cooking with her mother, grandmother, and aunts.  While we think of risotto as something fancy, she says it is just a staple of Italian cooking.  She also suggests that this is just a basic recipe and any local, seasonal veggie can be used.

      2 lemons
      2 small bundles asparagus
      1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
      2 tsp unsalted butter
      2 Tbl olive oil
      2 cups Arboio or Carnaroli rice
      2 – 3 quarts homemade or low-sodium store bought chicken broth, heated.

    Zest the lemons then juice them and strain the juice.

    Prepare the asparagus by peeling {which I did not do} and cutting off the tough ends.  Cut into 1″ pieces and steam to crisp.  {I am not a fan of steamed asparagus so I sauteed mine lightly in a little butter until just done.}

    Sautee the onion in butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  The onions should be fragrant and transparent.  Add in the rice and stir until the rice is well coated.  Season with salt and pepper.  {Salt and pepper are NOT in the recipe so I seasoned lightly and then later seasoned to taste.} Cook until the grains are almost clear.

    Add the hot broth in to the rice/onion mix one ladle at at time and stir until it is absorbed. Continue this process until the rice is ALMOST creamy.

    Add in the lemon juice, zest, steamed asparagus and one last addition of broth.  Cook for one additional minute.

    Remove from the heat and add in the Parmesan to taste.  Add additional Salt and Pepper if needed. Let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes then serve.

    Garnish with shaved Parmesan (optional)

    This was really good.  I think I would use a little less lemon juice next time because I think it tended to overpower the asparagus.  You many not need a full 3 quarts of the broth.  I made 1/2 of the recipe and did not used a full 4 cups.

    This is definitely a repeat.  I can imagine how it good it will be with different mushrooms, or maybe some spinach, or even just different cheeses.  It is very adaptable.

    The recipe is on page 639 of O’Niel’s One Big Table,  an eclectic  collection of recipes from home cooks around the United States.

    I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

    My Birthday was this past Sunday. I turned….. old enough!! It was a good day with lots of BarBQue and lots of cake. Perfect!!

    And since it WAS my birthday week, Kaye chose CAKE for our theme this week. Thanks, Kayte!

    But it also happened to be Father’s Day.  And the Man’s favorite cake is Carrot Cake.  Mine happens to be…cake!!  Any cake with lots of frosting!  So kill two celebrations with one dessert!

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    There are not many cake recipes in Ellie’s books but there happens to be a darn good Carrot Cake Cupcake recipe in The Food You Crave.  It is just as good as the one I make for his birthday every year only healthier.  Less sugar.  Less oil.  Same frosting.  Same great taste. Still moist. Still sweet.  This may be my new g0-to for carrot cuppys!!

    The recipe or Carrot Cupcakes with Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting is on page 285.  But it is also on Food Network.

    What other cake did we enjoy this week.  Check out Let’s Make Cake at Eating with Ellie.

    Ooey, gooey, melty cheese!  What’s not to love?  And in this simple dish from Donna Hay it all comes together.

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    Zucchini, Cheese, and Pasta Slice

    This was so good.  Very soft and melty just out of the oven.  Just as good at room temp.  The only seasoning is just salt and pepper but the ricotta really adds a lot of flavor.  The result is a creamy grown-up mac and cheese.  

      1½ CUPS (135G) SMALL PASTA
      3 MEDIUM ZUCCHINI, GRATED
      1 CUP (200G) RICOTTA
      1 CUP (120G) GRATED CHEDDAR
      ¼ CUP (60ML) VEGETABLE OIL
      4 EGGS
      1 CUP (150G) SELF-RAISING FLOUR
      SEA SALT AND CRACKED BLACK PEPPER
      ¼ CUP (30G) GRATED CHEDDAR, EXTRA, FOR SPRINKLING

    Cook the pasta {I used elbow macaroni.} until al dente.  Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Turn out into a lightly greased 8″ x 12″ dish. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes at 350°F until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Let cool {or not….} and slice into squares.

    The recipe is from Donna Hay’s website.

    Visit Wednesdays with Donna Hay for more Cheesy Delights! which was the theme this week.

    Well.  It seems like every time I open The Big Table I find another Chicken recipe that sounds too tasty to pass up.  While the method for cooking this one was, shall we say, different, the ‘sauce’ was outstanding!!

    The reason I say the method was different is because the chicken is cooked twice.  Fried, then baked.  The ‘sauce’ is poured into the bottom of a roasting pan the fried chicken is then baked OVER the  ‘sauce’ on a wire rack.  I had to read the instructions a couple of times before I realized what Frank Reese was explaining.

    Frank is a poultry farmer and comes from a long line of poultry farmers. His mother and grandmother used this dish to feed the groups who came to harvest in the spring and fall.  Fortunately he has pared the recipe down to feed 4 – 6 people rather than 30 or 40.

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      2 cups AP flour {I really think 1 cup would be more than sufficient. That’s all I used.}
      1 tsp poultry seasoning {commercial or Frank’s recipe below}
      1 tsp Kosher salt
      1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
      1/2 tsp sweet paprika
      8 pieces chicken
      1 cup veggie oil or shortning
      2 Tbl butter
      1/2 cup water
      1 cup heavy cream
      1/2 cup milk

    Preheat oven to 325F.

    Mix together the flour, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mix shaking off the excess before placing on a wire rack.

    Fry the chicken in the oil and butter mix in a cast iron skillet over medium until the chicken is golden brown.  This will probably take about 8 – 10 minutes.  It doesn’t need to be completely cooked as you will bake it as well.

    Drain off the oil through a fine mesh strainer saving the brown bits.  Return the bits to the skillet, add the water, mix well, and simmer, whisking the whole time, for one minute.  It will become nice and thick.

    Pour the milk and cream into the bottom of a roasting pan.  Add in the water/flour mix and stir to combine.  Place a roasting rack over the ‘sauce’ and place all the chicken on the rack.  {This is what I had to read over again to make sure I understood.}  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours until the chicken is tender.

    I served the ‘sauce’ over rice but it would be equally good over some mashed potatoes.

    The sauce/gravy was outstanding.  The flavor from the baking chicken dripped into the ‘sauce’ below and added another depth of flavor.  I did add just a smidgen of salt and pepper.

    Frank’s Poultry Seasoning

      3 tablespoons dried thyme
      2 tablespoons dried rosemary
      2 tablespoons dried marjoram
      1 tablespoon dried savory
      1 tablespoon dried sage
      2 teaspoons celery seeds
      1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
      1⁄2 teaspoon ground fennel
      1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
      1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients.
    The spice blend can be stored in an airtight
    container for up to three months.

    The recipe is on page 313 of One Big Table, the book I am using this month for Cookbook Countdown.

    I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

    The only thing I left out in the title – PESTO!  This is sooo good. Fresh pasta mixed with home made pesto and shrimp.  What a great combination.! How can you go wrong with that?

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    fresh linguine with garlic shrimp and homemade pesto

    The theme this week for I Heart Cooking Clubs was Surf and Turf.  We could use seafood or beef/poultry/etc.  When given a choice I am definitely going with the Surf!!

    I used some whole grain spaghetti instead of linguine and left out the roasted tomatoes – not a fan!   I will definitely make this again.

    Try as I might I just couldn’t replicate Curtis’ nice little mound of pasta.  And I tried – several times.  But it’s not how it looks, right!

    Did Surf win out over Turf this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs?  Check it out and see!

     

    I will admit that I am NOT a big fan of legumes.  Peanuts, yes, but legumes also include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soybeans, and tamarind. Some of these aren’t really for human consumption. But I am not a big fan of the beans or peas. I have just learned to like lentils. I had the choice of two different recipes to fit this week’s theme from Gaye – Lovely Legumes – Peanut Butter Cookies or this pilaf.

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    This Garden Lentil Pilaf includes shallots, spinach, grape tomatoes,  {I used a small tomato from the garden} basil, mint, parsley, and green lentils {although I used yellow because that is what I keep.}  Seasoned with a little salt, pepper, and lemon juice it was good.  I wasn’t sure if I would like it, cause I am not a big veggie eater, but I did.  And I will make it again.

    The recipe is from Ellie’s So Easy (page 186).  You can also find it HERE!

    What else did the Eaters make to go with Lovely Legumes.  Check it out!

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