Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red beans and rice

I love the Cajun recipes on Gumbo Pages. All reliably delicious and flexible. This one I had to adapt to our pantry, but still turned out great. The original recipe can be found here (also a vegetarian option). My version is below... and yes, I'm sure using dried beans would have been better, but this was still really good!

1 lg can red kidney beans, drained
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thym
2 dashes Scotch Bonnet hot(!) sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
dash liquid smoke
Creole seasoning to taste
black pepper
(salt if needed at the end, but be careful - the Creole seasoning can be pretty salty)

The meat options are bvery flexible. I just used a little of everything I had on hand.
1 thick slice of a small ham, chopped
1 Chipolata sausage, cooked and sliced
5 thin slices of spicy paprika smoked sausage
1 thick-cut slice of bacon, cooked and shopped
1 bratwurst sausage, cooked and sliced

Sauté the Trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper) until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. After the beans are drained, add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, then add the meats, seasonings, and just enough water to cover.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for two hours or until the whole thing gets nice and creamy. Stir occasionally, making sure that it doesn't burn and/or stick to the bottom of the pot.

Serve over hot white long-grain rice.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

BBQ pizza with chicken and leeks

This was thrown together on one of those nights that there appeared to be not-a-whole-lot in the fridge!

1 batch favorite pizza crust
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
thinly sliced grilled or baked chicken breast
1/4 cup leeks, trimmed and sliced, then sautéed in a little butter
fresh cilantro

Make pizza dough according to instructions thru to spreading out on pizza stone or baking tray.

Spread barbecue sauce over dough. Top with chicken and leeks. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in preheated oven at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Sprinkle with freshly snipped cilantro.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Apple pastries with glaze

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I got from my mom who got it from my grandmother. It's far too good!

1 prepared pastry crust
1 lg apple, cored and cut into sixths
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp water
2-4 Tbsp sugar
3-4 drops almond extract

Using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry crust into 6 triangles. Wrap one triangle around each apple slice. Pinch the ends to close, but don't worry if they're not perfectly sealed. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 350° for 15 minutes or until browned.

While they bake, melt the butter in small saucepan. Dissolve sugar, then add water and almond extract. Let simmer over low heat until pastries are done. Drizzle over top just before serving.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mâche salad with honey vinaigrette

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
8 cups mâche
1/4 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup cubed roasted beets

In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Pour over mâche and toss gently. Serve with beets and pecans.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Layered taco dip, made in France

Tex-Mex is one of the hardest cuisines to make in France, but this taco dip quenched a serious craving. Can be made up to a day in advance. Packs easily for picnics or pot-lucks. Dip in!

Layer 1:
1 lg can red kidney beans, drained
1-2 tsp taco seasoning OR ground cumin, if desperate
salt to taste

Using a stick blender or food processor, purée the beans and seasoning. Spread evenly in your serving dish.

Layer 2:
8-10 wedges of cream cheese, like La vache qui rit
1/2-3/4 cup either sour cream, crème fraîche or fromage en faiselle (drained)

Blend well using stick blender. Spread on top of bean layer.

Layer 3: 1 lg tomato, chopped

Layer 4: 1/2 onion, chopped

Then top with whatever sounds good to you! I used pitted black olives, sliced jalapenos and then some chopped fresh cilantro.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Soft honey & ginger cookies

No molasses for ginger snaps? No problem.

2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger (I know it sounds like a lot, but just trust me)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar + 2 Tbsps sugar (set aside)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup honey

Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and honey. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven at 350°.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Carrot pancakes

These are a favorite around here! Think pancakes with a hint of carrot cake or pumpkin pie... Yeah. they're good.

1 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup purée carrots

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, carrots and melted butter. Stir until just mixed and flour 'disappears'. Don't worry if it's a little lumpy.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot with maple syrup.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Fancy-schmancy pigs in a blanket

2 bratwurst sausages, cooked
2-3 cups good sauerkraut
1 prepared pastry crust
Dijon mustard

Using a pizza cutter, slice the pastry crust into 8 triangles, each about the size of a small slice of pizza.

Cut the brats in half lengthwise and then again in the center to make 8 little brat-lets.

Place one brat-let on the thick end of each pastry triangle. Dot with Dijon, then put a scoop of sauerkraut (not too wet, so drain a second or two if needed) on top. Roll the brat-let and sauerkraut up in the dough, pinching the end to secure it, then place on a backing sheet.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is browned.