Monday, October 14, 2019

ChezCindy: Roasted Acorn Squash with Soy-honey Glaze

This squash dish is a surprising twist on using typical Asian ingredients for an interesting seasonal meal.  Add steamed rice or roasted chicken for a full dinner.  I used acorn squash, but butternut squash would make a great choice too.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Soy-honey Glaze
2 pounds acorn squash
4 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Halve and remove the seeds from the squash, cut into wedges about 1/2 thick, using the ribs on the acorn squash as an easy guide.  Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper for easy clean up.  Place the squash slices onto the tray.

Combine the remaining ingredients into a small bowl, whisking to combine.  Brush the squash slices with the sauce, turning over to coat both sides.  Place the tray into the hot oven, roasting for 15 minutes.  Remove the tray from the oven.  Using tongs, turn the slices over, brush with additional sauce.  Place the tray back into the oven, continue roasting for 10-15 more minutes until the squash slices are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.  Remove from the oven and serve.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

ChezCindy: Homemade Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin butter is less well known than its cousin apple butter yet similar in style and use.  But unlike apple butter, pumpkin butter can be made in less than 30 minutes.  Whereas apple butter takes hours to make.  Each are a combination of fruit, or vegetable in the case of pumpkin, cooked down with spices to form a silky-smooth spread for toast and muffins or as a condiment for a cheese tray.  You can also stir pumpkin butter into cooked oatmeal or blend into smoothies.  I recommend spreading it on waffles and then adding syrup.  And let's not forget spooning over vanilla ice cream topped with chopped walnuts for a simple Autumn treat.

Homemade Pumpkin Butter
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cider, apple juice or water

Measure each ingredient and add to a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring the ingredients to combine.  Stir frequently, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the mixture is thick and smooth.  Allow the pumpkin butter to cool completely.  Transfer to a jar with a lid such as a glass canning jar.  Label and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Measure each ingredient and add to a small bowl to combine.  Transfer to an airtight jar with a lid such as a small glass canning or jelly jar.  Label and store in your pantry for 6-9 months.

*If you have not made your own pumpkin pie spice, use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.  

Friday, September 27, 2019

ChezCindy: Apple Pie Galette with Sugar Glaze

A galette is a French pastry similar to a pie.  It is pastry dough wrapped over a filling made from fruit, sugar, spices, and butter.  This free-form, pie-like pastry doesn't require a special pan - just a nice flat surface for baking.  If pie making is new to you, try making a galette.  You will have great success.

This recipe for apple pie galette comes together much quicker than a standard pie, and it bakes in about half the time.  But there is no shortcut on flavor!  This is a real treat, with or without the ice cream.  I used apples from the farmers market, since it is apple season.  But any fruit works with this recipe.  Even with the apples, you could add a handful of dried fruit, such as cranberries or golden raisins.  Pears would be delicious in this exact same recipe.  Use what you have and what you like for this free-form pie.

Apple Pie Galette with Sugar Glaze
1 1/2 pounds tart apples, granny smith or other
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 single 9-inch pie crust, homemade or store bought
1 tablespoon cold butter, diced into small pieces

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.  Set aside.

Peel the apples, dicing into small 1/4-inch cubes.  Place the diced apples into a medium mixing bowl.  Add in the sugars, spices, pinch of salt, and lemon juice, mixing to combine.  Add in the flour, mix to coat the apples.

Roll out the pie crust into a single 9-inch round.  Place the crust onto the parchment lined baking tray.  Scoop out the diced apple mixture 1 cup at a time, mounding into the center of the pie crust.  You will need roughly 2 1/2 - 3 cups of dices apples.  Spread the apples, leaving a 2-inch border.  Fold the edges of the dough up and over the apples in a free-form style, pleating as necessary.

Place the galette into the preheated oven, baking for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown, the apples are soft, and juices are bubbling.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool.

Make a sugar glaze while the galette is cooling:  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar into a small bowl.  Add a teaspoon of cream or milk to the sugar, stirring to combine.  Add a 1/2 teaspoon cream/milk as necessary, stirring until the sugar is a thick pourable liquid.  Using a spoon, drizzle the sugar glaze over the cooled apple galette.  Cut into small wedges and serve.

Monday, September 2, 2019

ChezCindy: Turkey Taco Sliders on Sweet Potato "Buns"

These turkey taco sliders are great for many occasions; lunch, dinner, snacks when watching football, or movie night at home.  I used ground turkey, but ground beef is an easy substitute.  Instead of using slider buns, I served the sliders on roasted sweet potato rounds in place of the buns.  If you are not interested in doing this as a paleo dish, use slider buns instead and serve the roasted sweet potatoes as a side dish. 

I have included a recipe for homemade taco seasoning.  Easy to make and most likely you already have the spices in your cupboard.  I then used the taco seasoning in the slider recipe and for a taco ranch dressing.  Top the sliders with your favorite taco toppings and enjoy!     

Turkey Taco "Sliders"
1 pound ground turkey
2 teaspoons taco seasoning, recipe below
1 teaspoon kosher salt
olive oil for the pan

2 large sweet potatoes
olive oil for roasting
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Scrub the sweet potatoes.  Leaving the skins on, cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch rounds.  Lightly oil each potato round, placing each onto a sheet tray.  Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, flip each round to side two, continue roasting for 10 minutes.  Remove tray from the oven, setting aside for use with the turkey sliders. 

While the potatoes are roasting, combine the ground turkey with the taco seasoning and salt.  Form the turkey mix into 2-ounce patties.  

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Drizzle a small amount of olive oil into the pan, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan.  Place the turkey patties into the hot skillet, cooking on side one for 4-5 minutes.  Flip the patties over to continue cooking on side two until each side is golden brown and the patty is cooked through to internal temperature of 165 degrees.  Remove from the pan, set aside to build the sliders.

Place the sweet potato rounds onto a serving plate.  Top each round with a turkey slider patty.  Top each slider with you favorite taco toppings such as diced tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, avocado and taco ranch dressing.  

Homemade Taco Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients into a small bowl; stir to combine.  

Taco Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise, homemade  or store bought 
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of smoked paprika
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; stir to combine.  

Sunday, August 11, 2019

ChezCindy: Asian Salmon Cakes

We enjoy traveling to New England and particularly love Maine.  We fly into Portland and spend time in the city, but our destination is always the quaint coastal towns.  Portland is an up and coming food city with great restaurants, bakeries, and shops.  So much great food to try.  One of my travel pleasures is to capture food memories by creating a new discovered dish when I return home.  

At one of the Portland restaurants, we discovered Asian Salmon Cakes.  They were unlike any seafood cake we have had previously, usually being crab cakes.  The salmon cakes were tender and moist with a crisp exterior, served with a miso mayo.  Often times the restaurant will share their recipe, but this time this restaurant was not comfortable doing so.  This would become my next research task when I returned home: how to recreate the Asian Salmon Cakes.  

It took a few tries with some fails, but I finally created a salmon cake recipe that matched what we had at the restaurant.  Maybe even better.  Making the salmon cakes does require a few steps, but it is worth the effort.  I like to serve the salmon cakes with pickled savoy cabbage.   Pickled Vegetables

Asian Salmon Cakes with Miso Mayo
1 tablespoon finely diced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon finely diced serrano or jalapeno pepper 
2 green onion scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1-pound poached salmon
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, plus more for dredging
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
2 limes for serving

Poach the salmon:  Cut the salmon into 2-inch pieces.  Place the salmon into a small saucepan.  Cover the salmon with cold water, add a teaspoon of kosher salt.  Place the saucepan onto the stovetop over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat covering the pan.  Set a timer for 2 minutes to poach the salmon; drain the salmon into a sieve discarding the water.  Allow the salmon to cool.  

Working with a large bowl, combine the finely diced peppers, scallions, ginger, cilantro, egg, salt and coconut milk.  Fold in the cooled poached salmon and 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs.  Scoop the salmon mixture into 1/3-cup mounds.  Place the cakes onto a parchment lined baking sheet, lightly flattening the cakes.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.  

Heat the vegetable oil for frying in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Gently coat each salmon cake in panko to coat the sides, top and bottom.  When the oil is hot, carefully place each cake into the oil, cooking for 2-3 minutes on side one, and 2 minutes on the second side.  Remove from the pan, placing onto paper towels to absorb the excess oil.  Serve with lime wedges and miso mayo.  

Miso Mayo
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white or yellow miso paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients into a small bowl.  Stir to combine well.  

Friday, August 2, 2019

ChezCindy: Summer Corn Risotto

Summer Corn Risotto is a lighter version of what can often be thought of as a rich winter dish.  Each are delicious in their own way.  In the winter I often make wonderful risotto with sautéed mushrooms or butternut squash, served with seared salmon.  But this recipe is all about summer.

Stop by the farm market and pick up fresh corn on the cob.  We'll cut the fresh corn from the cob and then use the cobs to make a corn stock.  The homemade corn stock contributes to the lightness of the dish, instead of using the normal chicken stock.  But all sense of virtue stops here.  We finish the risotto with butter and parmesan cheese.

Serve as a light supper or add grilled shrimp for a more robust meal.

Summer Corn Risotto
3-4 cups corn stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of white pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
chopped fresh herbs - chives, basil or parsley

Warm the stock in a saucepan over low heat.  Maintain at a low temperature.

Working with a wide saucepan with deep sides over medium heat, add the oil to the pan.  Add the chopped shallot, stirring for 2 minutes to soften.  Add in the Arborio rice, stirring to coat the grain in oil.  Cook until the rice is somewhat translucent with a tiny white dot in the center of the grain.  This should take 3-4 minutes.  Add in the wine, stirring until completely absorbed by the rice.

Begin adding the warm stock 1-2 ladles at a time, stirring frequently.  Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding another ladle of stock.  Continue adding the stock, stirring nearly the entire time.

About 12-15 minutes into the process, remove a few grains of rice to test for doneness.  The grain should still be somewhat dry at this point.  Add in the salt and pepper, stirring with more stock.  When the rice is almost tender to the bite and looks creamy, remove from the heat.  Stir in the butter and the fresh corn.  Taste for seasoning, adding more salt as needed.  Stir in the parmesan cheese, add a bit more stock if the risotto looks too dry.  The texture should be creamy and just a bit loose.  Sprinkle with fresh herbs if desired.  Serve immediately.

Corn Stock for Risotto or Chowder
4-5 ears of fresh corn
1/2 small yellow onion
1 clove garlic
6-8 whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt

Using a sharp knife, cut off the kernels from the cob.  We will use the cobs in the stock; saving the corn kernels for another use.  Use the corn kernels when making corn risotto or corn chowder.

Place the corn cobs into a large stock pat with deep sides.  Add in the remaining ingredients to the stock pan.  Add 10 cups of cold water to the stock pan.  Bring the contents to a boil.  Reduce to medium heat simmering for 25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the stock cook for about 10 minutes.

When cool enough to handle the corn cobs, using tongs, grab each cob one at a time.  Using the back of a knife, scrape down the sides of the cob scraping the corn milk into the stock.  Discard the cobs, repeating with each cob.

Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve to strain out the vegetables and peppercorns.  The corn stock is now ready to use.  Stock can be cooled and stored in the refrigerator for 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month, until ready to use.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

ChezCiindy: Zucchini Pesto Puff Pastry Tart

Summer time and zucchini.  There are so many ways to cook zucchini, but this one has become a new favorite.  Especially when the recipe calls for puff pastry and parmesan cheese, what's not to love?  Even if you are not a fan of zucchini, try this.  It is quite delicious.

I recommend serving this as an appetizer with a crisp white wine or for lunch with a green salad.  If you want to take this to the next level and make a decadent dinner, here's what I recommend.   Once the tart is baked and is cooling, cook sunny-side up eggs in a skillet.  Top the tart with the eggs, then cut into large squares and serve immediately.  I'd serve this with champagne, of course.

Zucchini and Pesto Tart
1 sheet of puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farms
2 small zucchinis, about 6-inches each
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon basil ribbons
salt and pepper
sea salt to finish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Thaw one sheet of puff pastry according to package directions.  Once thawed, place the folded pastry dough onto a sheet of parchment paper; unfold.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to roughly 12x10 inch rectangle.  Transfer the parchment paper carrying the dough, placing onto a large sheet pan with sides.  Score a 1/2-inch border at the edges of the puff pastry dough, being careful not to cut through.  This will form an edge for the tart.  Using a fork, dock the dough within the borders, adding tiny holes every inch or so.  This will allow steam to escape when baking.

Using a mandolin, or a sharp knife or food processor, cut the zucchini into thin slices, about 1/8th-inch thick.  Spread the pesto on to the crust, staying within the borders.  Layer the sliced zucchini evenly in one layer over the pesto.  Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over the zucchini, staying within the borders.  Sprinkle the basil ribbons over the cheese.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the tart.  Sprinkle with roughly 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Place the sheet tray into the hot oven.  Bake the tart for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.   Remove from the oven, allowing the tart to cool for 5 minutes.  Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and a final sprinkling of sea salt before cutting into squares for serving.  The tart may puff up while baking, but it will settle once removed from the oven.