Tag Archives: Winter

Cranberry Chocolate Pecan Pie

Cranberry Chocolate Pecan Pie 6493

Pecan pie is probably one of the first desserts I ever learned how to make. Unless dipping strawberries in whipped cream counts. Likely not.

cranberries 6524

You see, my grandfather, Pawpaw, is probably the world’s biggest pecan pie fiend, so when we weren’t sure what to get him for Christmas, my mom and I would bake him a pecan pie and that would be his Christmas present. More often than not, in my family pecan pie made an appearance at Christmas dinner as well as Thanksgiving.

Cranberry chocolate pecan pie 6485

cranberry chocolate pecan pie 6496

So that probably figures into why I feel completely comfortable sharing a pecan pie with my dear readers even though it’s December and Thanksgiving leftovers are already a thing of the past.

Cranberry Chocolate Pecan Pie 6514

I’ve shared a very special version of pecan pie in the past here, and this one is quite different enough that I don’t feel redundant. Today we’re adding chocolate (!!!) and fresh cranberries. Because chocolate ALWAYS works, and because I’m firmly in the camp of believing cranberries belong on December menus all month long.

Cranberry Chocolate Pecan Pie 6505

We always baked Pawpaw a very traditional pecan pie, so I’m not sure how he’d feel about this one. But Matt and I did love it. I’m not gonna lie – it’s rich, as most pecan pies are, and I think the chocolate takes that over the top even more. But the pop of the tart cranberries was welcome to my palate, and I think this is a great pie to bake if you’re looking to shake up tradition a little. I hope you enjoy it!

Cranberry Chocolate Pecan Pie 6507

{One Year Ago: Mint Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies}
{Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Pecan Souffled Pancake}

Source: slightly adapted from The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker

Ingredients:
Pie dough for 1 (9-inch) pie, chilled
1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup bourbon
1 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 oz. good quality dark chocolate, rough chopped
3 large eggs
1 (8 oz.) bag of chopped, toasted pecan pieces

Directions:
On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out your pie dough into a 12-inch circle. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate and transfer the dough to the plate. Crimp the edges decoratively, then chill the pie shell in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven.
To make the filling, combine the cranberries, sugar, bourbon, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the cranberries soften and the mixture thickens, 4-6 minutes. Add the butter and chocolate and stir until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool about 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy and well blended. Very slowly pour in a small amount (about ¼ cup) of the cranberry chocolate mixture into the beaten eggs, whisking continuously. This will temper your eggs so they do not scramble when you add them to the pie filling. After your eggs are tempered, slowly pour them into the cranberry mixture, stirring continuously until combined. Now stir in the pecans.
Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator. Set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the pie filling into the pie shell, and bake until the filling is just set and slightly puffed, about 45 minutes. Cool the pie completely on a wire rack. Cut into slices and serve.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Pops

Meyer Lemon Pudding Pops

So, today’s post is on a Sunday, yes, but it’s not part of #SundaySupper; just consider it a bonus post! Y’all know this past week our theme was Christmas Gift Week, where I highlighted some food/cooking related gifts I received from my family members.

Meyer lemon pudding pops

In actuality though, my original plan had been to do a Winter Citrus week, and make recipes using winter citrus like blood oranges, kumquats, Meyer lemons, and the like. Well, winter citrus arrived a little early up here, and I just plain missed it. At the start of the year, when I went looking for it, all that was left was some Meyer lemons. So I only made one winter citrus recipe this year, and it was too good not to share with you.

beautiful Meyer lemons

This recipe is supposed to just be a pudding. Which sounded just perfectly fine and dandy to me, so that was the original plan. On my first batch, I scrambled the eggs. I guess I had the heat too high. Oops. Fortunately I had enough ingredients to start over, so I did, but I think on the second try I had the heat too low, out of paranoia, and the mixture didn’t get thick enough. I stored it in the fridge for two days, and it never thickened into a proper pudding texture. Not one to throw in the towel, I simply poured the mixture into my ice pop maker and waited to see what would happen.

Meyer lemon pudding pops

Um, delicious, creamy, lemony pudding pops happened. Score! Seriously, make them this way! So good!! And if you don’t get Meyer lemons where you are, or missed them for the season, then you can use regular lemons, or use half lemon and half orange, both zest and juice, to approximate the Meyer lemon flavor and color. Enjoy!

Meyer Lemon pudding pops

{One year ago: Blood Orange Margaritas}

Source: adapted from The Galley Gourmet

Ingredients:
6 tbs granulated sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
1 ¼ cup half-and-half
2 large egg yolks
1 tbs freshly grated Meyer lemon zest
Pinch of kosher salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions:
In a medium bowl, add the sugar, cornstarch, half-and-half, egg yolks, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan. Cook between medium and medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon. This took me about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and butter. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2-3 hours.
Once thoroughly chilled, pour into your ice pop molds and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Unmold, again according to manufacturer’s instructions, and serve.
Makes 6 ice pops

Garbanzo Bean, Lentil, and Vegetable Stew

garbanzo bean, lentil, veggie stew

Happy Friday everyone! Today we wrap up Winter Stew Week by being good and eating our vegetables, like mom said we should. In deciding what kinds of stew to make for this week, I wanted to be sure and have a vegetarian option in there, but of course didn’t want it to be bland. Or too light. I mean, it is stew after all. This legume-and-potato-filled bowl really fits the bill on all counts. Very hearty and filling, without weighing you down. And it comes together much more quickly than beef stew, yet tastes like it slow cooked all day. Win!

Garbanzo Bean, Lentil and Vegetable Stew

So now let’s recap Winter Stew Week.

First up, I could not do a theme of stew without including a classic beef version. This one was delicious, and included some dark greens for our health!

Red Wine Beef and Chard Stew

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, we ventured down South for a classic: Brunswick Stew! Easy, hearty, delicious.

brunswick stew

 

 

 

 

 

And yesterday we had a Spanish-inspired fish stew, which was light, healthy, and very scrumptious.

fish, fennel and saffron stew

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this week and this gave you some good ideas for what to make on those bitterly cold days when you need something earthy and cozy. Also, be sure you check out some other stew recipes from the blogosphere!

Garbanzo Bean, Lentil and Veggie Stew

Recipe Round-Up:
Cabernet Braised Short Rib Stew from How Sweet Eats
Guinness Beef Stew from The Texan New Yorker
Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken Stew from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
Fish and Zucchini Puttanesca Stew from Closet Cooking
Spicy Calamari Stew with Garlic Rubbed Ciabatta Toasts from The Texan New Yorker
Crock Pot Chickpea, Butternut Squash, and Red Lentil Stew from Eat Live Run

Source: adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook, edited by Barbara Fairchild

Ingredients:
2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large sprig of rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp caraway seeds
½ tsp cayenne
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
½ cup water
1 cup dried lentils
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped Yukon gold potatoes
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 (10 oz.) bag of baby spinach

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and carrot. Sauté until softened. Add the rosemary, garlic, tomato paste, coriander, caraway seeds, and cayenne. Stir for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the stock, water, and lentils. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot, and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are mostly cooked. Add the beans, potatoes, and parsley. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked.
Stir the spinach into the stew. Let it wilt, about 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and serve; but don’t forget to fish out the rosemary stem!

Red Wine Beef and Swiss Chard Stew

Red Wine Beef and Chard Stew

Welcome to the second-ever Week Of… blog series here at The Texan New Yorker! This week we are feasting on WINTER STEW! Although it’s been freakishly, unseasonably warm the past few days up here in NYC, the past few weeks pretty much everyone in the continental US has been hearing about cold fronts, blizzards, snowstorms, and polar vortexes, pretty much ad nauseum. We get it. It’s cold.

red wine beef and swiss chard stew

So maybe some warmth from the kitchen is in order. I’m not sure anything can warm you up like a hearty stew. And when I think of stew, I think of a nice, chunky beef stew. While I’ll demonstrate this week that it may be a culinary crime to limit stew to just beef, I think it might also be a culinary crime to discount it.

Swiss chard in the salad spinner

Swiss chard, cleaned

And that’s why we’re starting our Winter Stew week with beef. This was everything you demand want from a beef stew: warms your bones, warms your soul, flavorful, tender beef chunks and lots of veggies. The original recipe called for green beans, but seeing as they’re currently out of season, and we’re all supposed to be eating more dark greens, I threw in some Swiss chard instead. It was quite welcome and fit with the stew’s flavor profile very nicely. Enjoy! And stay tuned for more winter stew ideas this week!

Red Wine Beef and Swiss Chard Stew

Source: adapted from Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs

Ingredients:
2 lbs. beef chuck stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups beef stock
2 cups dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 6-inch sprig of rosemary
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium bunch of Swiss chard, leaves stripped and torn
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 F. Place your large Dutch oven, or other large oven-safe stock pot over medium-high heat. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tbs butter in the Dutch oven, then add the beef cubes and brown on all sides. Do this in batches if necessary; do not crowd the pan as that will cause the beef to steam and not brown properly. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl.
When all the beef has been browned, lower the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the carrots and onions and sauté until softened. Add the flour and stir until all traces of it disappear into the veggies. Now add the beef stock, wine, and tomatoes. Toss in the rosemary.
Slide the browned beef cubes back into the pot along with any juices collected on the plate. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiling, shut off the heat. Cover the top of the pot with aluminum foil, then cover with the pot’s lid. Place the pot of stew into the oven and cook for 50 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the potatoes and chard. Replace the foil and the pot’s lid, and slide the stew back into the oven. Cook for another 50 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and discard the foil. Place the pot on a burner and simmer on medium-low for 15-20 minutes with the lid ajar. Season to taste again with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley. Fish out the rosemary stem and serve.

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Today will conclude the first Week Of… blog series, where I walked you through my efforts to like broccoli better. Last but certainly not least, we have the classic broccoli-cheddar combo, this time in quiche form. And yes, real men will eat it. Because it’s good. Real good.

making broccoli cheddar quiche

My plan for my Fridays when doing the Week Of… series is to accompany the recipe with a Recipe Round-Up of sorts. I’ll recap the week, plus post some other links, from my blog and others’, of recipes germane to the week’s theme.

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

So without further ado, here is the week’s recap!

First, we pureed the broccoli in this delicious Broccoli Basil Soup, so that Julie cannot complain about the texture.

broccoli basil soup

 

 

 

 

 

Secondly, we (quickly!) deep-fried the broccoli florets to make this unbelievably amazing appetizer, Bang Bang Broccoli. Undoubtedly the least healthy broccoli on the menu this week, but it’s so delicious that you kind of forget about that.

bang bang broccoli

 

 

 

 

 

And yesterday we gave props to oft-forgotten broccoli stalks with Roasted Broccoli Stem Dip with Parmesan-Black Pepper Pita Chips. A light, healthy, lemony dip to satisfy dip cravings without expanding your waistline.

roasted broccoli stem dip with parmesan black pepper pita chips

 

 

 

 

 

And here are some more broccoli recipes for your perusal and enjoyment!

broccoli cheddar quiche

Broccoli Cheese Soup from The Texan New Yorker
Roasted Bagna Cauda Broccoli from Food 52
Broccoli Parmesan Fritters from Smitten Kitchen
Southwest Broccoli Queso Chowder from SoupAddict
Broccoli, Bacon, Mushroom and Red Onion Pizza from Farm Fresh Feasts
Cheesy Broccoli Orzo from See Aimee Cook
Roasted Broccoli with Lemon, Chili-Garlic Oil, and Parmesan from Simply Scratch

Broccoli cheddar quiche

Stay tuned for next week’s theme: WINTER STEW!!

{One year ago: Adobo Salmon Salad Tartines}

Source: adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

Ingredients:
PASTRY CRUST:
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, very cold
6 tbs ice water

QUICHE:
4 thick-cut slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium head of broccoli, florets only, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
7 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 oz. sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
First, make the crust. Add the flour and salt to a large bowl. Working quickly, cut the butter into small pats and add to the flour. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, work the butter into the flour until it resembles the size of small peas. Add the water and mix to combine with a rubber spatula until it has mostly come together. Knead lightly with your hands to get those last few scraggly crumbs. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
Unwrap the chilled pie dough disc and place it on a lightly floured work surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle to fit your pie plate. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared plate. Press the dough into the plate, then trim any overhang and crimp the edges decoratively. Stick the pie plate in the fridge while you prep the filling.
While the pie shell is chilling in the fridge, make the quiche filling. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and sauté until the fat has rendered and the bacon is nice and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Pour out all but 1 tbs bacon fat. Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the onion and broccoli floret pieces; sauté until softened and the onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Shut off the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and half-and-half. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the quiche: spoon the broccoli mixture over the bottom of the pie crust. Add half the cheese and spread in an even layer. Now pour the egg mixture carefully over the filling. Add the rest of the cheese on the top.
Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Carefully slide into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean with no runny egg clinging to it.
Let rest about 10-15 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve hot.

Roasted Broccoli Stem Dip with Parmesan-Black Pepper Pita Chips

roasted broccoli stem dip with parmesan black pepper pita chips

In my week covering broccoli and exploring some different ways of preparing it, I really wanted to do something with the broccoli stems. They kind of get the shaft. They are admittedly not as aesthetically pleasing as the florets, and when not pureed, don’t seem to taste as good either. But they still deserve their day in court, so to speak, and apparently Jennifer Perillo thinks so too. When I was hunting around for broccoli recipes to make for this week, I immediately lit up when I saw that she had made a dip out of broccoli stems for her book.

roasted broccoli stems

Seeing as I simply adore dips of just about any kind, I knew this was going on the menu. I must say, it’s a pretty ingenious idea! The stems are roasted, then pureed with lemon and Greek yogurt and a touch of Parmesan. The end result is extremely tasty! It was smooth and somewhat creamy, very lemony, and didn’t scream broccoli stems at you. I have no children to test-drive this on, but I think you could at least get a child to try it, and who knows, maybe even like it!

Parmesan Black Pepper Pita Chips

I do heartily recommend it for a healthier dip and appetizer alternative. I absolutely loved the pita chips I made for dunkers (also from Jennie’s book), but if you wanted to go even more low-calorie, you could use carrot sticks, celery sticks, and red bell pepper pieces. Enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli Stem Dip

{One year ago: Easy Cranberry Apple Cake}

Source: Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

Ingredients:

DIP:
3 cups coarsely chopped broccoli stems, from about 1 medium head of broccoli (I like to peel my stems before chopping them)
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

PITA CHIPS:
4 whole wheat pita breads, cut into eighths
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

DIP:
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the broccoli with the olive oil, salt and pepper in an 8-inch square baking dish. Roast in the oven until the pieces are tender when pierced with a sharp paring knife, about 18 to 20 minutes.
Scrape the broccoli into the food processor bowl. Add the garlic, lemon juice, cheese and half the yogurt. Pulse 2 to 3 times to break up the broccoli, then process for 1 to 2 minutes until it takes on a chunky, pesto-like consistence. Stop the machine, add the remaining half of the yogurt, and process again until very smooth. Taste, and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
Transfer the dip to a bowl and serve with the dunkers of your choice.

PITA CHIPS:
Preheat the oven to 400 F (or keep it there from the broccoli stems). Lightly grease a baking sheet. Spread the pita wedges onto the sheet in an even layer. Brush each wedge with the melted butter. Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan cheese onto the pitas, then liberally sprinkle them with black pepper, to your heart’s desire.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the chips are lightly golden brown and crisped. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly and serve with the dip.

Bang Bang Broccoli

Bang Bang Broccoli

Welcome to the second official day of my very first Week Of… blog series: BROCCOLI! As I mentioned on Monday, I’m trying to coax myself into liking this uber-healthy, readily available vegetable, so I’ve been experimenting with different ways of preparing it. Today’s prep might just be my favorite broccoli I’ve ever tasted in my life. Seriously.

Of course, take into consideration that that statement isn’t quite as strong as it seems; since childhood, I’ve taken great pains to not eat much broccoli, so take that for what you will. But y’all, it’s so unbelievably delicious.

bang bang broccoli

It’s a rip-off of a dish I had in a restaurant about a year ago. It was one of those small-plates places, where the whole table takes a few bites of everything. This little plate was one of our favorites. I did a little digging online to research what exactly bang bang is (mostly a shrimp dish), and came up with a little something that Matt and I went absolutely nuts over! I cannot encourage you highly enough to give this one a try. I’ll scarf eat broccoli this way any day of the week.

A few recipe notes: as written, the sauce is HOT! And it’s just sriracha, so I don’t really get it, but be warned. If you don’t like it super spicy, back off on the hot sauce a bit. Secondly, you’ll want to serve it right away, or it goes soggy. Thirdly, these little things cook very quickly. Don’t walk away. I think that’s it! Enjoy!!

Bang Bang Broccoli

{One year ago: Caramelized Onion Gorgonzola Galette}

Source: adapted from That’s So Michelle

Ingredients:
1 medium head of broccoli, florets only
1/2 cup cornstarch
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 tbs garlic powder
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
Canola oil, for frying

SAUCE:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Sriracha
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbs sugar

Directions:
I recommend making the sauce first, so the flavors can marry together while you’re cooking the broccoli. Simply whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Refrigerate if not using within the half hour.
Chop the broccoli into bite-size pieces, but don’t go too small. The pieces should be a good, hearty bites, not little princess bites. Set aside.
On a plate or in a shallow bowl, mix the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl or pie plate.
Pour about 1 inch of oil in a high-sided skillet and heat over medium-high. Test the oil by dropping a pinch of flour in; it should fizzle and rise to the top.
Toss the broccoli pieces first in the cornstarch, then tap off the excess; then coat them in the egg white, making sure to drain off the excess. Then toss them back in the cornstarch to coat, again shaking off the excess. Then carefully place them in the hot oil. Fry, turning once, then remove with a spider or slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. They cook VERY quickly, about 60 to 90 seconds total. When they come out of the oil, immediately sprinkle with a touch of salt.
Let them drain just a minute, then toss them in the sauce. Work in batches if need be. Serve immediately.

Broccoli Basil Soup

broccoli basil soup

Welcome, welcome! I’m extremely thrilled to post the very first installment of my new Week Of… blog series, where every week’s recipes revolve around a stated theme. Without further ado, this week’s theme is BROCCOLI!

broccoli

If you just groaned, it’s okay. I don’t judge you one bit. The reason I picked broccoli is because it seemed very appropriate for the beginning of the year, when people are making New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier. And while I’m not really making any per se, one of my food goals is (and has been) to like broccoli. While I’ve done very, very well at eating and liking my vegetables since my mid-twenties, broccoli is one that has kept not working for me. But it is so incredibly good for you that I feel I have to give it another try.

So that’s what this week is all about. Finding new and interesting ways to cook broccoli so that I might actually enjoy eating it! First up, we have soup. Reason being, the broccoli is pureed, so I cannot possibly complain about the texture (something I have vehemently done in the past).

broccoli basil soup + goat cheese toast

But instead of the more common broccoli cheese soup, I wanted to find a soup I would like that didn’t drown the vegetable in cheese (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course). I’m always fond of basil, so this soup was really enjoyable for me. Win! Oh, and the goat cheese toasts on top didn’t hurt anything, either. Of course. But, in all seriousness, I did really enjoy this soup. I hope you will too, regardless of where you fall on the broccoli spectrum. And stay tuned, for on Wednesday I shall bring you broccoli in the form of a delicious Asian appetizer – you don’t want to miss it!

Broccoli Basil Soup

Quick recipe note: the recipe does not call for adding any dairy. I swirled in a touch of heavy cream to improve the pictures. While quite tasty, the soup without the cream is a shade of green that just doesn’t photograph well. You food bloggers know what I’m talking about. So I added the cream to change the color. Taste-wise, I actually preferred it without the cream. Go figure!

Source: slightly adapted from Cowgirl Chef by Ellise Pierce

Ingredients:
1 large head of broccoli, florets removed from the stalk
Olive oil
1 shallot, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4 cups vegetable stock
A good handful of fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper
Small crusty bread slices, such as a sliced baguette
3-4 oz. goat cheese

Directions:
Prep the broccoli by chopping the florets into small-ish pieces. Then peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler, trim the ends and chop into 1-inch pieces.
Drizzle a little olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until softened. Next add the broccoli florets and stalks and stir a few times just to coat them with the oil and sauté just a tad. Add the vegetable stock. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once it boils, turn the heat down and simmer until the broccoli is tender but not mushy, about 15-20 minutes. Test the doneness – a sharp paring knife should slide easily into the stalk pieces.
When done, shut off the heat and add the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Then puree the soup with an immersion blender or carefully in your regular blender, working in batches if need be.
Meanwhile, toast your bread slices and then immediately smear them with a generous amount of goat cheese.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with 1 or 2 goat cheese toasts on the side.

Gingerbread Dutch Baby

gingerbread dutch baby

Okay, I have a question for all the Dutch babies out there: where, I repeat, WHERE, have you been all my life??? These are the coolest, easiest, tastiest things EVER! You simply whip up a simple pancake-like batter – in the blender, no less! – and then you melt some butter in a cast-iron skillet. Once it’s melted, brush it up the sides, pour in the batter, and poof! You’re done with your part and the oven does the rest of the work.

Gingerbread Dutch Baby

Inside the oven, these babies puff, and wrinkle, and cave, and look so cool when you pull them out. The edges crisp but the inside stays moist. Texturally they are somewhere between a French crepe and an American pancake. Dutch babies are also known as German pancakes, and you’ve gotta wonder if this is just German efficiency at work here. Because they get whipped up in no time, way less time than it takes to make a batch of crepes or pancakes, and they taste just as good if not better than either! Oh, and perfect to serve to a brunch crowd.

Gingerbread Dutch baby

I wanted to make something gingerbread for the holiday season (it seems that December is the only acceptable month to make anything gingerbread-themed in Food Blog Land), and couldn’t decide between waffles, or cookies, or maybe a cake; and then I remembered this recipe for a gingerbread Dutch baby, and now here I am! This would make a perfect Christmas Day brunch if you’re so inclined. Enjoy!

Gingerbread Dutch baby, sliced

{One year ago: Pumpkin French Toast}

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup whole milk
2 tbs unsalted butter
Maple syrup, to serve

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Crack the eggs into a blender and puree until they are smooth and pale yellow in color. Shut off the blender, then add the brown sugar, molasses, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and whole milk. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.
Melt the butter over high heat in a 9 or 10 inch cast-iron, or other oven-proof skillet. The original recipe calls for a 9 inch, the closest I had was a 10 inch cast iron, and it worked just fine. As the butter is melting, brush it up on the sides of the skillet thoroughly. Remove the pan from the heat, then pour the batter into the skillet. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. (Mine, in the larger 10 inch skillet, took only 15 minutes to bake).
Slide the Dutch baby onto a plate, or leave in the skillet; slice into wedges and serve with the maple syrup. You can also dust powdered sugar on the top; that’s how it is pictured in the SK cookbook, and it looks just scrumptious that way, but as someone who got a little hurried to snap pics because the scrambled eggs were getting cold, I can assure you that it’s just fine without.

Green Gumbo

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I made this meal a few weeks ago whilst still on my I’ve-just-come-back-from-New-Orleans high, and am just now able to share it with you. Gumbo is of course a NOLA classic, but it usually contains either chicken or seafood. Although many people ardently take sides on which version of gumbo is better, I stay neutral in that debate, for I love them both. So I figured that if I love the Cajun (chicken) and the Creole (seafood) versions pretty equally, then it stands that I would probably love a meat free version too.

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I was correct. This may not be completely traditional, and I will freely admit that I never saw a green version of gumbo on any restaurant menus when I was down there, it’s still quite tasty with huge flavor. It’s still unmistakably gumbo, but with the calorie count lowered and the nutrient density much higher thanks to the dark greens. We both loved it. And the leftovers only get better.

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I found this recipe in a Rachael Ray cookbook where it was touted as one of her 30 Minute Meals. And I’m sorry, but no, Rachael, you cannot make gumbo in thirty minutes. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for recipes that come together quickly, (we all need those at times) and I’ll freely admit her 30 Minute Meals concept that launched her career into the stratosphere was pretty darn genius. But the idea of making proper gumbo in thirty minutes or less is really kind of offensive. You can’t do it. Gumbo needn’t take all day, but it does take longer than half an hour, otherwise your roux isn’t executed correctly and the flavor is off. So I heavily adapted her recipe to account for a proper roux, which yielded a delicious tasting gumbo.

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And now I will answer the million dollar question people ask all the time: how long does it take to make a roux? Well, the answer varies depending on who you ask and the type of gumbo you’re making. It is generally understood that Cajun gumbo needs a darker roux than Creole gumbo. Some cooks advocate taking up to an hour to make a proper Cajun roux. But a general rule of thumb that I like to follow is that roux takes about a beer.

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So crack open a cold beer, sprinkle in your flour, and start stirring and drinking (but not guzzling). When you’ve finished your beer, your roux should be done. It’s a good rule. I followed it for this gumbo, and the flavor was great. Enjoy!

Source: heavily adapted from 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
3 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 fresh bay leaf
1 (12 oz.) bottle pale beer
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbs hot sauce (I used Texas Pete’s)
1-2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 bundles of dark greens (I used dandelion greens), stemmed and chopped
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 scallions, chopped
Cooked white rice, for serving

Directions:
First you make the roux. Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Melt the butter. When it is completely melted, sprinkle in the flour. Using a wooden spoon, start stirring. Keep stirring until your roux resembles the color of peanut butter. This will take a good 15 to 20 minutes. If it starts to smoke, lower the heat. Do not walk away or stop stirring. If it burns, you must start over, because that burnt taste will end up in the gumbo and make it taste yucky.
Once your roux is done, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Saute until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.
Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and add the bay leaf. Now add the beer and stir to thicken a little. Add the stock, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, and greens. Season the greens with the nutmeg then stir them into the gumbo.
Bring to a quick boil, then let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
To serve, ladle some gumbo into a bowl, then use an ice cream scoop to serve some rice on top. Garnish with scallions and serve hot with extra hot sauce at the table.