Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lentils, Sausage and Spaetzle

Matt and I are trying to figure out where to go on vacation this year. Right now the place on the top of the list is Munich and the Bavarian Alps. One of the things that kept coming up while Matt was doing research was this dish.
Lentils, Sausage and Spaetzle
It seemed a little weird to me, both lentils and spaetzle, but we loved it. We cooked the lentils with bacon and vegetables to give them a lot of flavor and seem a little more like a stew. Traditionally, this dish is made with German hot dog, but we went with a bratwurst. These were wonderful housemade brats from our local grocery store, Kowalski's. They added another layer of flavor to what I was afraid would be a band dish.

We didn't make our own spaetzle, because I can't seem to get the hang of it. Luckily, one of our local German restaurants sells their in the grocery store.

Lentils, Sausage and Spaetzle

2 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 T olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 c dried lentils
handful fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 bratwurst links
salt and pepper
hot cooked spaetzle

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until it renders its fat. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until the onion is translucent and the rest of the vegetables are starting to get tender. Add the lentils, 2 cups water and parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes. Add the brats and cook covered for another 15 minutes until the brats are cooked through and the lentils are tender. It should be the consistency of a stew. If it is too watery, let cook with the top off until thicker. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve over spaetzle with mustard.

Makes 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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekly Menu 2/27-3/2/12

We are Lego fans in these house and when we saw this minifig in the latest series we had to get it.
Best new minifig
I hear there is a lack of people training to be butchers these days, so at least we have the Lego version, hee.

I am in my second week of being in a splint thanks to tendonitis. So, Matt is stuck with most of the kitchen duties. I can help, but things like chopping and such are out for me. I can even only type one-handed. That said we are looking at meals over the week that are a little easier for him to throw together after work.

On to Menu Planning Monday...
Matt roasted a chicken on Friday, so a lot of this week will be using that up.

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Pizzeria Lola Night

Ramen with mushrooms and toasted corn

Chili - Just a real basic ground beef version

Chicken in mushroom sauce with spetzale


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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pancakes with Brie and Cloudberries

Yesterday was Pancake Day, so Matt made me pancakes for dinner. Well, actually we had planned to have these pancakes this week before we realized it was Pancake Day, we just got lucky.
Pancakes with Brie & Cloudberries
We were just looking for a good vehicle for the cloudberry jam we brought back from Sweden.
Cloudberries are a tart fruit similar to raspberries and blackberries that are typically found in the Nordic and Baltic countries as well as parts of Canada. We've never been able to find them in the states, so we were excited to bring some home. We really like there flavor, but they are quite seedy, even more so than raspberries.

Ok, back to the pancakes. Matt thought it would be good to add a savory element to them, so he picked up a local soft cheese that was quite similar to a brie. The tangy, funkiness of the cheese was a perfect pairing with fruit. We put a layer of cheese between to hot pancakes making the cheese all melty and runny and then topped it with the jam. It was a great brinner, but would also be wonderful for a brunch.
Pancakes with Brie & Cloudberries
No other recipe here, but I'll share Matt's tricks for making a tastier, fluffier pancakes with Bisquick. He adds one more egg than the recipe calls for and uses buttermilk instead of milk. He stirs in the eggs first and then adds the buttermilk until it reaches his desired consistency. He adds a touch of vanilla for a little more flavor. Finally, he lets the batter sit for 10 minutes before using, he says the batter even rises a little in the bowl while resting.

Hope you all had some great pancakes yesterday too!

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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Red Beans, Chorizo and Rice

I was about to put chili on the menu again last week, but then realized it had been a long time since we'd had a nice big pot of beans and rice. Matt noticed there were a couple chorizo links in the freezer, so we decided to add those too.
Red Beans, Chorizo & Rice
Other than cooking the bean, this is a one pot meal. The rice absorbs wonderful flavor from being cooked in the bean cooking water, red peppers and liquid from the tomatoes. Yes, you can use canned beans, but then I might add some chicken stock with the rice for a little more flavor.

Red Beans, Chorizo and Rice

1 1/2 c dried red beans (we used Good Mother Stallard from Rancho Gordo)
1 T olive oil
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 - 3 links chorizo, 6 to 9 oz (Spanish chorizo), sliced in half lengthwise and cut into half moons
1/2 t smoked paprika
1 t dried parsley
1 c long white rice
1 14 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper
hot sauce (optional)

Rinse and sort the beans. Put into a pot or crock pot an add 4 1/2 cups water. If cooking on the stove bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Let simmer until the beans are tender, 3 - 4 hours. If using a crock pot, set it to high and cook the same amount of time. Add more water if it looks dry while cooking. Set aside. Do not drain.

In a large pot like a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, onion, garlic and celery. Sauté until the onions are translucent and everything is tender. Stir in the chorizo, paprika and parsley. Add the rice and cook for one minute. Add the beans with cooking water and the tomatoes. You want there to be a little more than 2 cups liquid (just eyeball it). If you need a little more add some water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is tender.

Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with hot sauce if desired.

Makes 6 servings and is really good reheated as a leftover.

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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Potato, Onion and Endive Tart

Sometimes it feels like I'm always planning my menus around items in the fridge or freezer I need to use up. The other day Matt noticed I had a bunch of half packages of phyllo and puff pastry dough in the freezer. (I always forget I have it and buy a new package.) So, this tart was a way to start working my way through them.
Potato, Onion and Endive Tart
It has a classic combination of potatoes, onions and a good cheese. The endive was a last minute addition after I received this crazy Valentine "bouquet."
Endive Bouquet
If I hadn't already had the onions caramelizing, I might have skip them all together and just used the endive. Endive has a bitter taste when raw, but braised or caramelized it get a wonderful sweetness.

Potato, Onion and Endive Tart

1/2 T olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin
salt and pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme chopped, about a 1/2 t (or a pinch dried)
2 endives, roughly chopped
2 small yukon potatoes, thinly sliced (no need to peel them)
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
about 1 c grated comte cheese (gruyere would be good too)

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onions. Season with a little salt and pepper and the thyme. Let cook on low, stirring occasionally, until almost caramelized. When the onions are almost as brown as you want, add the endive. Continue cooking until both the onions and endive are brown and completely soft.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potato slices. Boil for 1 - 2 minutes to par-cook. Drain.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Roll the puff pastry out on a baking sheet. Press it out a little. Using a sharp knife draw a border about 1/2 inch in around the whole edge of the pastry sheet WITHOUT going all the way through the dough. Use a fork to make indentations in the center square also without going through the dough. Brush with beaten egg.

Spread the grated cheese evenly around the center square. Top with the potato slices overlapping them a little. Top with the onion and endive mixture.

Place on center rack of preheated oven. Turn heat down to 350 F. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. The cheese should be melted and the pastry puffed and golden.
Potato, Onion and Endive Tart
Let sit a few minutes before cutting.

Makes 2 main course 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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekly Menu 2/13-2/18/12

It was a cold, cold weekend here in Minneapolis, like windchills of -13 cold, perfect weather for a big pot of Flemish Stew.
Flemish Stew
We used this recipe from Serious Eats. It so simple you really don't even need recipe. You just cube some beef, then brown it and some roughly chopped onions. Add a bottle of good Belgium sour beer, the sourer the better in my book (it's important to use the right beer). Thicken with flour and season with fresh parsley and thyme. Let simmer all day until the meat is so tender it falls apart. The recipe said it only took 3 hours, we cooked it for about 5 to get it as tender as we wanted (Next time I'll cook it in the crock pot rather than on the stove). I was also supposed remove the meat to skim off fat and thicken the sauce, but our sauce wasn't fatty and didn't need thickening. Finally, we served it the traditional way, over a bed of french fries. The crisp oven baked fries added a nice texture against the tender meat and soft onions.

On to Menu Planning Monday...

Salmon Casserole - This never got made last week due to some more kitchen construction (ok, really I was too busy sewing doll clothes for Project Project Runway.)

Valentine's Day at Pizzeria Lola - Yeah, we were going to stay home but decided to go out for pizza instead.

Leftover Flemish Stew

Red Beans, Chorizo and Rice

Maybe some pasta, haven't really decided yet.

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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sweets for the Sweet

Matt and I don't usually go out for Valentine's Day. (Though this year we are going to Blackbird's Black Hearted Beer Dinner the weekend before.) When we have we find that you often get stuck with a set prix-fixed menu and rushed servers trying to get the crowds through. Instead we prefer to go out another night and make a special dinner at home. To me, sharing dessert can be one of the most romantic parts of the meal. Here's a few favorites from us, most of which have recipes sized just for two!

Red Velvet Creme Brulee Red Velvet Creme Brulee for Two

IMG_5012 Dobos Torte

Chocolate Valentino Chocolate Valentino with Raspberry Ice Cream

Chocolate Mousse Chocolate Mousse for Two

#165 - almond brown butter cake with apricot ginger filling Almond Brown Butter Cake with Apricot Ginger Filling

Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake with Chocolate Sauce

Of course, there are lots of small batch cupcake recipes throughout the site too that would work perfectly!



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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Is it just me or does it seem like everyone is sick right now? Both Matt and I seem like we are on the verge of coming down with something, a cold or flu maybe. It seemed like a good week for some homemade chicken noodle soup.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken soup is such a basic I didn't even think about posting a recipe for it here. Then a friend of mine asked if I was going to post it after she recently had a bad experience with a salty canned soup. Oh, I heard her there, I have a big problem with canned chicken soup too because of the salt and the MSG. Then Matt told me this was the best batch of soup I'd ever made, so I figured I best write it down even if just for my own reference.

In my book there are three main things needed for a good chicken noodle soup, good stock, fresh parsley and the right noodles.
Homemade Stock
My freezer is almost always full of homemade stock. It's so easy to make and so much better than most you get in the store. All I do is put a chicken carcass or two, a couple of carrots, some celery stalks, a quartered onion, some thyme sprigs and a few crushed peppercorns in a large soup pot. Cover it all with a good amount of water and let it simmer all day. Often I add more water as the day goes on. At the end of the day I strain it into two cup containers and fill the freezer. I've made it with just the carcass and it's been just fine but it's such much better with the vegetables. I do not salt my stock until I use it.

Fresh flat leaf Italian parsley seems to be the ingredient that makes my soup taste like the ones we love from a deli. I think it is the fresh, almost citrus flavor it adds. Do not skip it.

Noodles. This has been the hardest thing to get right. When I get chicken noodle soup from the deli it has these thick egg noodles that still have a little toothiness to them. I've tried making my own,
#341 - Homemade Egg Noodles for Soup
they were good, but a lot of work and I ended up with a ton. I was really hoping to find them ready made (I know, I know but often when I'm making chicken noodle soup, it's because I dont' feel well, so the easier the better). Well, this time I found them, Mrs. Weiss Kluski Egg Noodles
They were perfect!

Ok, I guess I did have a lot to say about this "basic." On to the recipe. Most recipes I've seen for chicken noodle soup on line have you start with the whole chicken and make the stock. Mine assumes you have the stock already made which means it comes together in about an hour.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
If you have leftover cooked chicken you can use it in this and just skip the step of cooking it.

1/2 T olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
1/2 c chopped onion
1 c sliced carrots
1 c sliced celery
8 c chicken stock (if you stock is very flavorful and thick use part stock part water, with mine I go half and half)
1/4 c chopped flat Italian leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1 t fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper
4 oz dumpling egg noodles

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and sauté until it is no longer pink. Add the onions, carrots and celery. Sauté until the onion is translucent.

Put the stock into a large soup pot. Add the cooked chicken and vegetables. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the parsley, the bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes.

Add the salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a boil. Add the noodles. Let cook at a rolling boil for 16 minutes or for the time required for your noodles. You want the noodles to be cooked but not mushy. In the last minute or two add the remaining parsley.

Check once more for seasoning.

Makes 4 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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Drunken Pig Chocolates (and other Valentine's treats)

Recently, I picked up some heart-shaped silicone ice cube trays from IKEA and Target which inspired me to try my hand at making filled chocolates.
Filled Chocolate Hearts
I did a bit of research online and it didn't look like too tricky a process. Basically, just use a brush to coat the molds with chocolate, let set, fill and top with more chocolate. I learned a few tricks along way, like freezing your molds makes it easer to coat them with chocolate. For a complete step by step on assembling the chocolates visit my craft blog, Just Crafty Enough.
Filled Chocolate Hearts
The main reason I wanted to try making my own filled chocolates was so I could fill them with whatever I wanted. I was thinking bacon and Matt suggested bacon jam. Then I though bacon jam made with bourbon and drunken pig chocolates were born.
Filled Chocolate Hearts
The salty, meaty jam with just a touch of heat works perfectly inside the sweet chocolate.

Drunken Pig Jam
Filled Chocolate Hearts
3 strips bacon, chopped
1/4 c thinly sliced onion
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t cayenne (yes, the picture shows ancho chili powder, but we changed our mind)
1 T packed brown sugar
1/4 c bourbon

In a small skillet cook the bacon over medium-high until it renders its fat and it just cooked but not crisp. Remove to paper towel cover plate to drain. Leave about 1/2 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan. Add the onion and cook until it becomes translucent but not brown. Turn the heat to low. Stir in the cinnamon and cayenne. Add the brown sugar and bourbon. Let cook on low until everything is sticky and brown. You want your onions to look caramelized.
Filled Chocolate Hearts
Put into a small food processor and purse until you get a chunky paste. Let cool before using to fill chocolates.
Filled Chocolate Hearts
Makes about 1/3 cup.

For the rest of my fillings I started with a basic chocolate ganache recipe from Joy of Cooking. I brought 3/4 cup heavy cream to a boil. Removed it from the heat and then stirred in 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate. My pan must have been too hot because my ganache broke and became an oily mess, luckily that is an easy fix. I whisked in a little more cold cream, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until the ganache came back together and became the smooth, shiny filling I wanted.
Filled Chocolate Hearts
Let the ganache cool to room temp before using it as a filling. You can put it in the fridge to help speed that process.
Filled Chocolate Hearts
Once you have the finished ganache, you can flavor it with anything you have on hand. I made three different flavors, cayenne, salt and cherry bitters. Just mix the flavoring with the ganache and taste until you get the flavor you like. I have to say I was really surprised at how good the cherry bitters were, it tasted like a chocolate covered cherry. Other thoughts I had for flavorings were lavender and St. Germain.
Filled Chocolate Hearts
The ganache filling worked really well in the chocolate because it set up stiff enough to help make the chocolates easy to press from the molds.

I also tried using caramel made from our Apple Cider Syrup as a filling, but it wasn't very successful. I had to heat it a bit to make it soft enough to get in the molds. Problem is then in was warm enough to melt the chocolate. When I tried to press it out of the mold it just fell apart. Maybe it I let it set up longer it would have worked out.


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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekly Menu 2/6 - 2/11/12

We finally got to taste our New Years Ale this weekend.
Matt's New Years Ale
We were a little worried about it carbonating because we had a hard time getting the honey to incorporate before bottling. But as you can see, that wasn't a problem at all. The beer tastes wonderful, a strong Belgium ale with hints of clementines and coriander. Quite crisp. We also bottled our Blackbird Mocha Stout yesterday, now it's a two week wait before we can taste it.

On to Menu Planning Monday....

Pork Belly Pizza at Pizzeria Lola

Salmon Hotdish - basically tuna hotdish using salmon

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Potato and Onion Tart

Flemish Stew over Frites

This weekend we'll be at the Black Hearted Beer Dinner at Blackbird. I'm really looking forward to Chris' amazing foods paired with black IPAs, Stouts and Porters.

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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Matt's Hawaiian Stir-Fry

Last week, I suggested to Matt that we have some of the sausages we have in the freezer for dinner. He started listing the kinds we had and remembered there was a Hawaiian sausage flavored with pineapple and cherries. He thought it would be good in a stir-fry.
Matt's Hawaiian Stir-Fry
I have to be honest with you this did not turn out exactly as we had planned. The sausages were uncooked, so Matt put them to simmer in a pot with a little water. Well, the skins burst open and they completely fell apart. What we were left with was more of a ground Hawaiian sausage. Luckily, this would work just as well in the stir-fry as slices of sausage.

The sausage itself was really interesting. We picked it up at RJ's Meats last summer. They used a mixture of ham and pork along with the pineapple, cherries and spices. The flavor of the ham really stood out in this sausage, to tell you the true it reminded me a lot of Spam. And really can you get more Hawaiian than Spam?! Mixed with some red pepper, coconut and fresh pineapple, it gave us a little flavor of the tropics during a Minnesota winter.

Matt's Hawaiian Stir-Fry

1 T canola oil
1/2 a red pepper, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1 1/2 c pineapple cubes
3/4 c cooked white rice (we used jasmine)
6 oz Hawaiian sausage, sliced or crumbled (or use Spam)
2 eggs, whisked
handful of unsweetened coconut flakes

Sauce

2 T soy sauce
2 T oyster sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T hoisin sauce
1 T honey

Mix sauce ingredients together and set aside.

In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion and pepper. Cook 1 minutes. Add the pineapple. Cook 2 minutes until the pepper is softened and the pineapple starts to brown. Add the rice and sausage. Stir to combine. Pour in the egg and stir until cooked. Add the sauce and coconut. Cook until everything is combined and hot.

2 servings

By the way the left over red pepper, sausage and pineapple made for a great pizza later in the week.
Hawaiin Pizza
We just added some red sauce and mozzarella.

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. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski
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