Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chickpeas with Broccoli Rabe and Bacon

I'm having a hard time writing about this dish. It was tasty, colorful & full of bacon. It uses healthy leafy greens & is pretty low in calories. It came together in no time flat.
Chickpeas with Broccoli Rabe & Bacon
But, it just seemed to be lacking that wow. I stuck right to the recipe except for cutting it in half to serve two & lengthening some of the cooking time (otherwise we would have had some pretty underdone bacon). I think it might just be a good starting point to be improved upon. Perhaps upping the amount or adding to the seasonings. Maybe adding some more vegetables like red pepper. I also can't get the idea out of my head that changing the chickpeas out for some creamy white beans would be really good too.

Chickpeas with Broccoli Rabe & Bacon
(adapted from Cooking Light March '10)

1/2 lb broccoli rabe, trimmed & cut into 2" pieces
1/2 T olive oil
3 sliced of bacon, roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 t dried oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
7 1/2 oz chickpeas, drained & rinsed
salt & pepper
grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe & let cook for 2 minutes. Drain & set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon & cook for 3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the onion, oregano & red pepper. Cook for 4 - 5 more minutes, until the onion is translucent & the bacon is just starting to crisp. Stir in the garlic & cook for another 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas & broccoli rabe & cook until everything is heated through. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Divide between two serving dishes & top with grated Parmesan.

2 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Polish Pork Sausage - Oink!

When we saw Tangled Noodle & Savor the Thyme's Eating Your Words Challenge 2010 we knew we wanted to join the fun. For some reason, we decided almost right away that we wanted to spell something with sausage. Really, I think we were just looking for an excuse to try our hand at making homemade sausage again. Since it was pork sausage, we figured there was only have one thing to say...
Oink Uncooked
Uncooked
Oink Cooked
Cooked

Does this mean we have a bit of a sick sense of humor?

Just like little piggies we ate this sausage right up. It was wonderful with some spicy brown mustard & a sauerkraut relish. We were very happy by the mixture of spices especially the large amount of garlic & the caraway (Matt almost left the caraway out but it ended up being one of our favorite things about this).
Homemade Polish Sausage
The first time we made homemade sausage we weren't happy with the texture at all. This time was 100% better. First & most importantly, we made sure to buy a nice fatty cut of pork. A lot of sausage recipes even tell you to add extra fat. Secondly, we used the coarse setting on our meat grinder.

Some notes about casings: we used natural casings that we get at our local grocery store, Lund's, from the butcher. They cost about $10 a pound but you'll only need less than $2 worth. You can store any casings you don't use in your refrigerator for 1 to 2 years (though we find they stink). If your local grocer or butcher makes their own sausage they will probably have casings to sell. Any casings you don't use can be stored in your refrigerator for 1 to 2 years (though we find they start to stink). You can also buy collagen casings at stores that carry supplies for hunters like Gander Mountain. Natural casings are best for fresh sausages while collagen is good for fresh & smoked sausage.

Polish Pork Sausage
(from Stuffers)

3 lbs pork with a good amount of fat (we used a pork sholder)
1 T salt
2 t black pepper
5 cloves garlic, peeled & pressed
1 t sugar
2 t dried marjoram
1/4 t ground allspice
2 t caraway seeds
1/2 c cold water
6 feet casing (about 1 1/2 oz)

Run the pork through a meat grinder set at a coarse grind. Using your hands, mix in the seasonings & cold water.

Makes enough filling for 12 6" sausages.

Rinse the sausage casings to remove any grit. Feed the sausage casings on to the sausage stuffer. Tie a knot at the end of the casing.
Rinsing the casingsFeeding the casing onto the stuffer
Slowly filled the casing with the ground meat, try to keep the width the same the whole way. Create one long sausage. Stop filling when you have 2 - 3 inches of casing left. Tie a knot at the end.
Stuffing the sausage casings#87 - Sausage!
Twist into desired length sausages, twist clockwise at the first sausage end then counterclockwise at the second sausage end & so on.
Twist into linksTwist into links
Sausages can then be steamed, boiled or grilled. We steamed ours for about 15 minutes until cooked through & then finished them on the grill to get a crispy brown skin. These would probably also be fantastic smoked.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekly Menu 2/29 - 4/3 and Garden Update

Things continue to move fast on the garden front this spring.
New Smaller Raised Beds
Matt finished changing our two 4'x8' raised beds into four 4'x4' beds. These should be much easier to harvest. All he has left to do is put rocks in the last walkway, this keeps them from getting muddy. Its hard to believe we'll be planting our peas outside this week! Actually, its been quite a warm spring, Matt had planned on building a cold frame for lettuce & spinach but we don't need it this year. (If you are wondering about the trash can, that is actually our homemade compost bin. We started it last year & had some beautiful black compost to work into the beds this year.)
BroccoliJalapenos
Indoors the broccoli & jalapenos are both getting their second leaves.
Tomatos & Peppers
Seeds have been started for carnival peppers & three types of tomatoes. Other than brussels sprouts this is the last of the seedling we'll be starting inside as everything else will start from seed outside.
Garlic
Oh, & check out how well the garlic is doing!

On to Menu Planning Monday...

Homemade Polish Sausage

Chickpeas with Broccoli Rabe and Bacon

Salmon with Roasted Lemon

Moroccan Chicken

Friday - I'm betting we'll eat out

Saturday - we'll have City Ham at my sister's

I made Senate Bean Soup with our ham bone for lunches

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ad Hoc Potato Hash with Bacon and Melted Onion

We're cooking our way through Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home...

I realized we hadn't done an Ad Hoc dish in a while & since I was planning on making potatoes with the Cherry & Almond Glazed Ham I figured I pick a potato dish from the book. The final choice was mainly based on what recipe I had all the ingredients for.
Ad Hoc Potato Hash with Bacon & Melted Onions
Let's just start out by saying do not even look at this dish it you are trying to watch what you eat...butter, deep frying & rendered bacon fat!
First you slow cook onions in a lot of butter making them creamy & tender. The cheesecloth packet there contains bay, thyme, peppercorns & crushed garlic.
Melting Onions for Hash
Then you deep fry diced potatoes until the are tender & golden brown.
Fried Potatoes for Hash
Then you slow cook bacon cut into lardons letting it render its fat. The deep fried potatoes then go into the rendered bacon to fry up until crisp. Stir in the onions & bacon & eat. Really good but forget your diet for the day for this treat.

I have a little complaint about how the recipes are written in Ad Hoc. I find that often the order the directions are given isn't set up very well for the home cook. For example this recipe has you deep fry the potatoes for 8 minutes then has you render the bacon for 30 minutes. If you haven't read the recipe carefully (um, I would never do that, no never) then you find yourself having to wait for the bacon with the potatoes already done. When I write a recipe I like to list the things that are going to take a while to cook first so people can plan ahead & get those time consuming parts started first. I've been caught by this with a couple of the recipes in Ad Hoc so far. Now I just know to make sure to read everything carefully first & set up my own order of cooking.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cherry and Almond Glazed Ham

We'll be heading up north to my sister's for Easter next weekend which means none of the lovely leftover ham for sandwiches or ham bone for soups. The only cure for that was to bake our own ham this week.
#83 - Cherry & Almond Glazed Ham
My sister is planning on making Alton Brown's City Ham which is absolutely fabulous. We didn't want to make the exact same thing so Matt suggested we do a riff on the recipe using almonds & tart cherries instead of the crushed ginger cookies & kirsh instead of bourbon for the liquid. I agreed with him that those flavors would be fabulous with ham & off we went.

The almonds give a little crunch to the glaze which is perhaps unusual but a nice added texture. Then you have the mixture of flavors tart from the cherries, sweet from the kirsh & brown sugar & a little bite from the mustard. Mix that all with the saltiness of the ham, yum!

We had a relatively small ham, only 3 pounds so it baked quite quickly. Plan on extra time to reach temperature if cooking a larger piece of meat, I've added notes regarding that in the recipe.

Cherry & Almond Glazed Ham
(adapted from Alton Brown)

1 3lb smoked ham (the kind that is already cook & just needs to be heated)
brown sugar
Dijon mustard
1/4 c slivered almonds
3 T dried tart cherries
kirsh (in a spray bottle)

Preheat oven to 250 F.

Rinse & drain ham throughly. Place cut side down in a roasting pan. Use a small knife to cut diamonds into the skin & first few layers of fat .

Tent with foil & insert a thermometer into the center of the ham. Bake for 2 hours (3 -4 hours for a bigger ham) until the temperature registers 130 F. Use tongs to remove the diamonds of skin & fat that comes with it.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Dry the ham & them coat with the mustard. Then press on a coating of brown sugar.

Put the almonds & cherries in a food processor & pulse until about the texture of sand & slightly sticky. Press the almond/cherry mixture all over the ham. Spray all over with the kirsh.
Cherry & Almond Glazed Ham
Cook until thermometer reaches 140 F about 30 - 1 hour.
Cherry & Almond Glazed Ham
Let sit 1/2 hour before serving.

We served the ham with Potato Hash with Bacon & Melted Onions, which I'll talk about tomorrow.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hard Pretzel Bites

We been eating a lot of hard pretzels lately but sadly I noticed this week that the cupboard was bare so I decided to try making my own.
#82 - Hard Pretzel Bites
I went to the internets for a recipe & the first one that came up was from Alton Brown. All the reviews said it made the best pretzels so I figured I couldn't go wrong. I did change the recipe slightly by exchanging some of the flour with whole wheat flour. Also the pretzels were to be boiled in water before baking but I decided to add a little more flavor & boil them in beer. I used a pretty hoppy IPA & you can really taste the hoppy/malty flavor in the pretzels.

I had a hard time rolling out the dough into thin snakes, it was just too elastic. Rolling it, then letting it rest & then rolling it again helped but there was still some bounce back. So, some of my pretzels weren't as completely hard as I would have liked. The thin ones were crispy all the way through while the thicker ones were crispy on the outside with a little bit of a soft pretzel middle. Figure your pretzels will puff to almost 50% their width when boiling so trying to get a thin snake is good.

I chose to make pretzels bites instead of the sticks in the recipe. I think 14" sticks would have been a little tricky to handle in the boiling to pan stage. I experimented a lot with the length of the bites & in the end decided about 1" is just right. They puff up a bit during the boiling & are a perfect one bite snack.

Hard Pretzel Bites
(adapted from Alton Brown)

1 c whole wheat flour
3 1/2 - 4 c all-purpose flour
1 3/4 c warm water
1 T sugar
2 t kosher salt
2 1/4 t active dry yeast (1 package)
vegetable oil
1 bottle of beer
1 egg beaten with 1 T water
kosher salt

Weigh out 22 ounces of the flour & set aside.

Put the warm water, sugar and salt in a large mixing boil. Sprinkle the yeast on top & let sit until it begins to foam. Add the 22 ounces of flour. Mix together to combine. Knead by hand or with a bread hook on a mixer until the dough is smooth & not too sticky. Oil a bowl & put the dough in it. Cover with a towel & let rise about an hour until double in size.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put the beer in a small saucepan & bring to a simmer, keep an eye on it as it easily foams up & boils over.

Work with a small amount of dough at a time, about 1 ounce, & keep the rest covered. Roll into a thin snake (try to get your snake between 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick) on a lightly oiled surface. (If the dough is very elastic & hard to get thin let it rest & roll again.) Cut the snake into 1" pieces. Drop the pieces a few at a time (I did about 10 at a time) into the simmering beer. Let simmer for 30 seconds, the pretzels will puff up & some may start to split, this is what you want. Remove from the beer with a slotted spoon & place on a baking sheet that covered with either a silicone pad or parchment paper & oil. They won't get much bigger while cooking so you can put them about 1/4" apart on the sheet. Continue until all the dough is gone. If the beer starts to get too low to cover the pretzels either add more or do what I did & just add some water.

Brush the pretzels with the egg an water mixture. Sprinkle generously with the kosher salt. Bake for about 55 minutes until the pretzels are hard & a dark brown. Remove to a rack to cool.

It's hard to say how many this makes since I did a lot of different sizes but I bet you can get at least 200 of the 1" bites.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How does your garden grow? Fast!

I'm always amazed at how quickly the little green seedlings pop up in our seed starting trays.
Broccoli
After a week the broccoli has almost reached the top of the plastic greenhouse cover.
Jalapenos
Two more jalapenos have come up since I took this picture on Sunday. We're pretty happy to see such good germination since these seeds were a year old. Today we saw the first of the ancho peppers start to peek through the soil too. Today we'll plant the sweet little carnival peppers, my special request for this year's garden. Matt spent the weekend digging out the old raised beds. He cut the two 8' x 4' in half to make four 4' x 4' beds. The dirt is still a little frozen so moving it around is hard work & he only got once bed put back in so far.

We did use a little of the bounty from last summer when I had some friends over last night to make homemade ravioli with the garlic scape pesto that we froze last spring.
Rolling out the doughMaking ravioli
Making ravioliMaking ravioli
Three cheese ravioli ready to cookThree Cheese Ravioli

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, March 22, 2010

Who stole my cooking mojo?

Matt & I can't seem to get motivated to get in the kitchen & cook anything interesting these days. We'll have a meal planned but as it gets closer to dinnertime we look at each other & say "I feel like going out." Maybe its the change of seasons. Officially, winter is over & we are tired of its heavy meals
#80 - Minneapolis
At the same time its too early for the first for the fresh spring vegetables to be available up here in Minnesota. This is the tricky part of trying to eat more seasonally & locally. It's really made us realize how much more we need to freeze this year to get through next winter. I have a feeling once we can start hitting the farmers markets again & see that first asparagus, greens & rhubarb we'll be inspired again. Until then hopefully we can find a few dishes to keep us interested...and you too.
#79 - Snowdrops - First flowers of spring
(The first snowdrops of spring give us some hope!)

On to Menu Planning Monday....

Cheese Ravioli with Garlic Scape Pesto - Using the pesto we made last spring & froze

Cherry & Almond Crusted Ham - One of those dishes we put off last week

Grilled Steak - The snow pile in front of the grill has finally melted & we can get to the grill again

Pasta with Crescenza-Stracchino with tomatoes & roasted red peppers - We are addicted to this cheese

Chicken Teriyaki Bowl

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mini Italian Meatloaf

Sometimes the tastiest dish are born from using up what you have on hand, this is one of those dishes. I had half a pound each of ground beef & Italian sausage plus some roasted red peppers lingering in the fridge that needed to be used. We like to make our meatloaf with different ground meats so I thought why not use the Italian sausage & play on those flavors.
#77 - Mini Italian  Meatloaf
Boy, did these ever taste good! Matt wasn't so sure about the red peppers but they added great flavor & were't overpowering at all. I especially liked the glaze of ketchup & red wine on top with a little bit of grated Parmesan. The bacon wrapped around each meatloaf looked really great plus added a nice smokey/saltiness.

I was worried a pound of meat wouldn't be enough to fill one of our loaf pans so I made mini meatloaves in muffin tins. This actually ended up being a good way for us to control our portion size to about 3 oz of meat per serving. We each ate one for dinner & the remaining four will make nice sandwiches on some homemade oatmeal bread.

You can skip the bacon if you want. We actually made two without it but, found that the ones with bacon around them came out from the muffin tins much easier.

Mini Italian Meatloaf

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c roasted red pepper, chopped
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 egg
salt & pepper
1/2 c bread crumbs
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb Italian sausage
6 slices bacon (you can do this with just 4 strips. Cut them to fit the tins & use the leftover pieces to got around the last two tins)
2 T ketchup
1 T red wine
grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Put the onion, garlic, red pepper, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and egg in a bowl. Beat lightly with a fork. Season with salt & pepper. Mix in the bread crumbs. Add the meat & use your hands to mix together being careful not to work the meat too much.

Grease or spray 6 muffin tins. Place a slice a bacon around the side of each muffin tin. Add the meatloaf mixture in the middle of the bacon filling the tins to the top.
Mini Italian Meatloaves
Place the muffin tray on a baking tray to protect your oven from drips. Bake for 30 minutes.

Whisk the ketchup & wine together & brush on the top each meatloaf. Then sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake for another 10 minutes. Let sit 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

6 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pasta with Mushrooms, Anchovies and Spinach

Believe it or not this is our first time cooking with anchovies. I've always been told they melt away in things like pasta sauce & just add a wonderful salty flavor. Why didn't I listen earlier?
#76 Pasta with Mushrooms, Anchovies & Spinach
This is a very simple dish that comes together in about 1/2 hour. It was perfect for us on a night where we needed to have dinner between my coming home from the day & Matt heading out for the night. Don't be fooled by the simplicity though, this sauce has many layers of flavor.

Pasta with Mushrooms, Anchovies & Spinach

1 T olive oil
1/2 c red onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
2 anchovies in olive oil, minced
8 oz whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed
1 spring fresh rosemary, leaves removed & minced
1 T tomato paste
1/4 c dry red wine
4 - 5 oz short pasta
Large handful of spinach
salt & pepper
grated Parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions & garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook until the mushrooms are really tender & the liquid they release evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add the anchovies & stir for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, rosemary, tomato paste & wine. Let simmer while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta.

Stir the spinach into the sauce until just wilted. Taste the sauce & season with salt & pepper as needed. Add the pasta & stir to combine. Serve topped with grated Parmesan.

2 servings

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Colcannon

When we were planning our menu for the week I asked Matt if he wanted something Irish like corn beef since it's St. Patrick's Day. He suggested we try making colcannon instead.
#74 - Colcannon
I had never heard of colcannon but discovered online that it is a traditional Irish dish typically made from potatoes, butter and cabbage. A cheap filling dish. Lots of things can be added to it & some of the more typical are milk, bacon or ham, kale and leeks. We had potatoes, half a cabbage, some kale & bacon on hand so it seemed like a no brainer for us to make this. Matt said he had seen a version on Serious Eats that put a soft egg on top. We thought that would make it more of a meal instead of a side dish so we added that as well.
Colcannon with a Soft Egg
This was surprisingly good. There's no one strong flavor in it but the cabbage is mildly sweet & the bacon adds a little salt. The potato is quite creamy. The egg on top added a nice richness to the dish. I think we would probably make this again but maybe add a little more bacon or perhaps some leftover ham (oh, there's an idea for Easter leftovers).

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Colcannon

2 slices good bacon, chopped
2 russet potatoes (about 1 lb), peeled & quartered
1/2 head green cabbage (about 1 lb), cored & thinly sliced
2 green kale leaves, stem removed & thinly sliced
6 T unsalted butter
1/2 c warm milk
salt & pepper
2 poached or soft fried eggs (optional)

Cook the bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel & set aside.

Put the potato in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil. Let boil until tender, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cabbage & kale. Let boil until the cabbage turns a bright green, about a minute. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pot. Reduce heat, cover & let simmer for 2 more minutes. Drain throughly.

Drain the cooked potatoes & return to the warm pot. Add the remaining butter & the warm milk (start with a little less milk & add more as you need it). Mash until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in the bacon, cabbage & kale. Taste for seasonings again.

Serves as a side dish or top with an egg for a main dish.

2 servings

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ad Hoc Banana Bread Pudding

We're cooking our way through Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home....

Matt loves bread pudding so he was happy to hear the next Ad Hoc recipe I was making was banana bread pudding. It was a good use for the brioche that was leftover from the Ad Hoc Grilled Cheese.
Ad Hoc Banana Bread Pudding
This is a pretty decadent bread pudding because not only is it full of some really amazing tasting custard (it was so good I was tempted to just throw it in my ice cream maker & eat it plain) and brioche but after you cook it you fry the slices in butter! The book suggests topping it with berries, chocolate or mascarpone, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to open a jar of our Black Forest Preserves. The dark chocolate & cherries were perfect with the rich custards & bananas.

This was a pretty simple recipe as far as the Ad Hoc recipes go. You slice the brioche & then toast the slices to golden brown in the broiler. The custard is a very basic custard; eggs, cream, sugar & vanilla. Your baking dish gets a thin layer of custard then a layer of the brioche slices that have been soaked briefly in the custard. Then on top of that you add a layer of bananas that have been sliced in half both directions. Another layer of soaked brioche goes on top of that. Then the remaining custard is poured over the top. Let it sit for 30 minutes so the bread can soak up the custard.
Banana Bread Pudding resting
Topped with a layer of parchment paper & some tin foil, the pudding gets cooked for an hour at 300 F in a water bath. After cooling still covered you refrigerate it for at least 6 hours. Then cut into slices which get fried in butter until water & brown.
Frying up the Banana Bread Pudding
This is where we ran into problems. That layer of sliced banana kept the pudding from sticking together very well. The end pieces where the bread touched bread worked better. This made it really hard to fry it up. It still tasted fabulous though. I would definitely do this again but I'd chop the banana & brioche into smaller pieces & mix them all together. I think this would make the whole thing easier to cut.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, March 15, 2010

Start of gardening season and weekly menu

There is still a few snow piles that haven't melted but yesterday's 61 degree weather has got us thinking about gardening.
Almost there
Well, at least about getting the plans together for this year's raised beds & starting a few seeds.
Garden Plan 2010
The jalapenos, anchos & broccoli are the first to start.
Seed Starting
Outdoors we are starting to see the garlic peek up. A lot of the herbs have surprisingly come back after the winter, I'm seeing parsley, oregano, Mexican oregano, mint, rosemary, sage & thyme green in the garden.
Garlic Sprouts
(look closely & you'll see the little green sprouts poking up.)

On to Menu Planning Monday...

Colcannon - Our nod to St. Patrick's Day

Italian Meatloaf - A dish we didn't get to last week

Pasta with Mushroom & Anchovy Sauce

Asian Tuna

Cherry & Almond Crusted Ham

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peas and Carrots Pasta

You'd think after three years of marriage I would know to trust Matt & his taste. He's always printing out recipes he thinks we should try & often I question his choice. More likely than not though, I end up liking the recipe once we make it. This was one of those circumstances. Matt said he wanted to try this carrot pasta & I just had a hard time imagining it would be any good. I was so wrong.
#70 - Peas & Carrots Pasta
I didn't really look at the fact that the carrots are roasted with garlic until they are caramelized. Mixed with heavy cream & cheese they turn into a rich flavorful sauce. I decided to add a little red pepper flakes to the dish because I thought a some heat would be good against the sweetness of the carrots & peas. Both Matt & I agreed that spice really added a lot.

Despite the fact this is made with heavy cream & cheese it still felt like a light meal, plus its full of veggies!

Peas & Carrots Pasta
(adapted from The Cooking Photographer)

8 oz carrots (about 3), peeled & cut into 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 T olive oil
salt & pepper
6 oz pasta
1/3 c heavy cream
3 T grated Parmesan
1/8 - 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 c frozen peas, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place the carrots, garlic & thyme in a small roasting pan. Drizzle with the olive oil & stir to coat. Season with salt & pepper then stir again. Roast in the oven for 45 - 50 minutes brown & caramelized.

Cook pasta according to directions.

While the pasta is cooking, put the roasted carrots & garlic into a food processor or blender. Add the cream, parmesan & red pepper. Blend until smooth.

When the pasta is cooked set aside 1/3 - 1/2 cup off the cooking water. Drain the pasta & return to the hot pan. Stir in the blended carrot sauce and the peas. Add some of the reserved cooking water if the sauce is too thick. Serve with more grated Parmesan.

Serves 2

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ad Hoc Grilled Cheese and Simple Tomato Soup

We're cooking our way through Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home...

Two Ad Hoc recipes in one week! What am I crazy? No, not really, as this was a pretty simple recipe. I mean, how hard can you really make grilled cheese? This one did require making your own brioche but making bread isn't really that hard, just time consuming.
#69 - Ad Hoc Grilled Cheese
I must admit I didn't use the Ad Hoc brioche recipe, instead I went with the one in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I'm afraid I put a little too much dough in the pan so it got huge while baking & I had a hard time getting it to cook through.
Large loaf of brioche
It was still pretty darn tasty, in that heavy, eggy, buttery, rich brioche way. (& I have lots left over to make the Ad Hoc Banana Brea Pudding!)
Making Grilled Cheese
From there all you need is some good gruyere, about 1 1/2 oz per sandwich, & unsalted butter. Slice the bread & cheese thinly, the book calls for the bread to be 1/4 inch but I had a hard time slicing that thin & not having it fall apart.
Making Grilled Cheese
Melt a tablespoon or two of the butter in a skillet over medium heat until it just starts to brown. Assemble the sandwiches & put them in the skillet. Brown on one side & then flip to brown the other. Put the sandwiches on a baking sheet & spread a teaspoon more butter on the top of each. Bake in a 350 F oven until the cheese is melted. Cut off the crusts & enjoy a rich buttery treat.

I served it with a tomato soup that I threw together pretty quickly with what I had in the pantry. I used the tomatoes I canned last summer & it had a much fresher taste than store-bought soup.

Simple Tomato Soup

2 cans tomatoes (I used whole because that is what I have but you can use diced or crushed, whatever)
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t dried minced onion
1 t dried basil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t sugar
1/4 c heavy cream
salt & pepper

Put the tomatoes including juices in a medium saucepan. Crush with a spoon. Stir in the garlic, onion, basil, vinegar & sugar. Bring to a simmer & let cook for about 15 minutes. Purée either in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return to the pot & stir in the cream. Add salt & pepper to taste. Heat without boiling & serve.

2 small servings

So a question for you all. The book says they serve this grilled cheese sandwich at the Ad Hoc restaurant. If you went to one of Thomas Keller's restaurants would you order a grilled cheese sandwich?

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski
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