Rustic Tomato Galette

rustic tomato pie

Deep Dish Tomato Pie
Deep Dish Rustic Tomato Pie
There’s no better time than the middle of October to post about a beautiful, summery tomato pie. ūüėõ In my defense, my tomato plants were late bloomers and didn’t really start ripening until the end of September. But I can see this amazing pie going either way: an homage to the bright, sweet, summertime flavors, or being comforting and warming with a depth of rich tomato flavor fitting for the colder months. I can not vouch for this recipe if you use tomatoes from the grocery store, but I would imagine it wouldn’t be half bad, considering the bake time and the way the tomatoes almost go sun-dried in flavor on the top layer. If you do that, make sure the tomatoes you buy are pretty soft and ripe and maybe just stick to Roma tomatoes to be safe.

This pie has¬†a bright, peppery and tangy whole-grain mustard on the bottom of the tomatoes and the smooth, chewy layer of cheese in the middle and then topped with two layers of extra ripe heirloom, beefsteak and Roma tomatoes. I decided to use half whole-wheat flour in my usual crust recipe because whole wheat absorbs more moisture and I knew this pie would be pretty juicy. And it is quite juicy, but I decided to stop thinking it had to be like a tart and started to embrace the tomato for what it is: a fruit to be used in a fruit pie! And every fruit pie I’ve ever had, has an adequate amount¬†of juiciness¬†throughout. Why should a tomato pie be any different? So if you will embrace it, too, I think you will really love this recipe. The flavors are electric. And I hope that you have some good tomatoes left in your garden. And if you don’t, you’re more than welcome to stop by and pick some from mine! Happy October ūüôā

Rustic Tomato Tart Rustic Deep Dish Tomato Pie

Rustic Tomato Galette

  • Servings: 6-8
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1 recipe fool-proof pie crust with half the flour being whole wheat
About 3 pounds fresh tomatoes in an assortment of sizes and varieties
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 cups low-moisture mozzarella (shred it yourself – don’t buy pre-shredded or it won’t melt right)
dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 egg, whipped

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4″ slices and lay out on paper towel-lined sheet pans. Sprinkle with kosher salt on each side of the tomato and let them sit and drain for a few minutes this way. This draws out excess moisture. Let the tomatoes drain while you handle the crust.

Roll your pie crust out and gently form it into a 10″ cast iron pan, letting the excess hang over the edges.¬†Spread the whole grain mustard evenly on the bottom of the crust. (I used this brand and yes, it looks like nothing but mustard seeds!)

Spread the shredded mozzarella over the mustard and then give the cheese a generous sprinkling of dried oregano.

Arrange the tomato slices evenly over the cheese in an overlapping pattern. Sprinkle that layer with oregano and then finish up with the rest of the tomatoes. Gently fold the overhanging pie crust over the tomatoes. It doesn’t have the be perfect. “Galette” is French for “I stopped caring how this looks.” So you get a free pass. If the crust breaks off, just pinch it back together. Really, this is forgiving and you want the extra crust to be there. It’s a buttery, flaky, tomato-juice-absorbing wonder.*

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and brush the crust with egg. Bake for an hour, until the crust is golden brown and the pie is bubbling like crazy. Place a sheet of tin foil over the pie and let it bake another 15 minutes. Let it sit for ten minutes before slicing and serving.

*At this point, you can chill your pie overnight if you’re making this ahead. If you do that, increase your bake time to an hour and a half (or even longer – you’re just wanting a deep brown in your crust and an almost caramelized top layer of tomatoes.)

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Curried Corn Fritters

Curry Corn Fritter
Last week I posted a recipe for Curried Cream Corn and today I want to share with you what to do with the leftovers! In our house, we still have leftovers on a regular basis. With just two adults and one three year old who eats like a bird, we don’t usually use up side dishes in one meal. I transform a side dish into probably four different things by the time the week is over. I might start off with simple roasted corn at the beginning of the week and by the time it’s gone, it’s become part of a chicken wrap, a hash, an omelette, a souffle or perhaps just made into baby food.

With this curried cream corn, however, the flavors stack up perfectly to become a tasty little fritter. This is another recipe where I just eyeballed the amounts, but I think it’s pretty fool proof and I do have amount approximations for you to follow. Serve these fritters with a bit of sour cream and a side salad for a light(ish) Meatless Monday!

Curry Corn Fritters

Curried Corn Fritters

  • Servings: about 12 fritters
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2 cup of leftover curried cream corn
1 cup flour
1 egg
chopped chives
1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
ooo, jalapenoes would be good!

In a large bowl, combine your creamed corn, flour, salt and pepper, egg and chives (and whatever else you think sounds good!) and whisk to combine. You may need more flour depending on how much liquid your curried cream corn still had remaining. You may have cooked off more than I did, so depending on how liquidy it is, add a bit more flour so that your mixture resembles thick cake batter. If it is dry, thin it out with a little milk.

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers and drop the fritter batter by tablespoons and let them fry about 2¬†minutes per side, or until dark brown on both sides. Remove and let them drain on a paper-towel lined baking sheet and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until you’re ready to serve.

Curried Cream Corn

Curry Cream Corn
Every summer we come up with a corn dish to bring to cookouts and to utilize the crazy cheap ears of corn available from about May through August. As this summer is coming to a close, I wanted to share a recipe that is summery and yet has the warmth in flavor of the fall season just around the corner. As the weather cools, I start thinking of slow simmering stews and soups and braised meats and one really great way to shake the flavors of your kitchen up a bit is to introduce Asian and Indian flavors into your meals. We often use coconut milk when making rice to accompany a Thai dish and sometimes we throw curry powder into a soup to give it that depth of flavor we love in Indian cuisine. For this creamed corn, we combined all three: a curry, coconut milk, Southern creamed corn dish that delivers in flavor and comfort.

This recipe won’t necessarily be “printer friendly” as it’s a “little of this and a little of that” type of recipe. I honestly don’t recall the ratios, but we adjusted and tasted along the way and that’s part of the fun in cooking, in my opinion. Use your own preferences to guide you! We have some lemongrass growing in the backyard (I was so surprised it did well, but it’s BEAUTIFUL – highly recommend you plant some!) and so that’s thrown in there, too. This is not one cuisine or another, it’s just a bunch of flavors we all love! I hope you will love it, too!

Curried Cream Corn

Curried Cream Corn

3 or 4 ears of corn
1 large, sweet yellow onion, chopped (about a cup)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
1 stalk of lemongrass, split in two and bruised with the butt of your knife to release the flavors and oils
2 kafir lime leaves
fresh cilantro and basil, about a cup total, chopped
squeeze of lime

Slice the corn kernels from the cobs (use a serrated knife to make this easier and be careful!)
In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil until shimmering. Toss in the onion and cook until soft and starting to brown.
Add enough coconut milk to cover the corn – this may be the entire can (shake the can really well before opening!) or it may just be half. It kind of depends on how big your corn cobs were. We don’t want the corn to be positively swimming, but just enough liquid to cover the kernels.
Let the corn and coconut milk come to a boil and then add in the curry powder, lemongrass and lime leaves. You can find kafir lime leaves at most Asian supermarkets in the refrigerator section. They like to keep them cold. If you can’t find it, it’s not going to ruin anything, but it adds such a bright, interesting flavor!
Reduce the heat and let the corn and coconut milk and spices simmer for a while, adjusting the seasoning with salt and pepper as you like. When the liquid has reduced just a bit, stir in the chopped cilantro and basil and adjust the seasoning again to your taste with a squeeze of lime and salt.

I’ve got a great use for leftover creamed corn coming up later this week, so stay tuned!

 

 

Carrots and Celery: A Colorful Spin on Steak House Sides

Steak, Roasted Carrots and Celery Salad
Summer hasn’t felt very summery until these past¬†two weeks. The rains finally stopped and the heat finally reached into the upper 90’s and it’s starting to feel like Lubbock, again. We weren’t sure what to do with all that rain and all that…not watering our lawns, so¬†we sorta forgot how. I was so used to my garden looking like Swamp Thing that I honestly forgot to keep watering about a week after it quit raining so heavily. Then when things started to wilt, I realized that everything might be thirsty. So I’m back in the swing of watering every other day and I’m enjoying seeing things grow. However, if we had to survive off of what I have growing in my garden, we’d have all died a few weeks ago. I want to be better and grow enough to sustain us year round, but I’m not there, yet. I grew up in a family of farmers but I am not one of them.

We benefit from families of farmers in this town, however, and one of those families is Holy Cow Beef, a family that produces amazing beef products right here in Lubbock, TX. They run an honest, humane, grass-fed beef corporation and their products are extremely high-quality. We bought a New York strip from them, among other cuts, when they were at the Lubbock Downtown Farmer’s Market last weekend and happily made this weeknight meal for our family last week. Matt seared the steak in butter on the stove and finished it in the oven – a favorite and classic way we like to cook a steak. The three of us ate dinner from just one portion! ¬†I roasted orange and purple carrots along with parsnips and served that and the beef along with a blue cheese celery salad. Yes, this plate was served to our three-year-old (no short-order cooking around here) and here’s how it went:

“I only like the orange carrots.”
“I will only eat one celery.”
“More meat, please.”

So I’d highly recommend if you’re in this area, to stop by the farmer’s market on Saturdays and check out what Holy Cow Beef has to offer! We’ve been eating less meat in general, and so buying high quality products from local producers helps us value the days we do have meat a little more. Quality over quantity is a good idea, especially if you, like me, are a carnivore.

 

Blue Cheese Celery Salad
I wanted to share the recipe for the blue cheese and celery salad with you, today. It was so refreshing and different as a side for the steak. I think it would make an amazing topping for a burger, a different dish during football season, or as a side for BBQ!

Blue Cheese Celery Salad*
serves 4

¬ľ cup mayonnaise
4 cups celery, cut into ‚Öõ-inch-thick half moons (about 8 stalks)
¬ľ cup fresh orange juice
1¬Ĺ teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons chile oil
¬ľ cup celery leaves
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
¬Ĺ cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

Spread the mayonnaise among 4 plates. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the celery with the orange juice and season generously with salt. Drizzle with the chile oil (you could also use olive oil and crushed red pepper), then toss in the celery leaves. Scatter the dressed celery on top of the mayonnaise, then top with the chives and lots of blue cheese, and serve.

*adapted from Tasting Table

 

Roasted Carrots
And instead of the classic fries or a baked potato that you typically see alongside a steak, I did a colorful trio of roasted carrots. I simply peeled and sliced three of each orange and purple carrots and parsnips and coated them in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and then roasted them at 400 until soft when pierced with a knife. Then I browned one tablespoon of butter and tossed them right before serving.

 

Blue Cheese Celery Salad with Seared Steak

Homemade Baby Food – but you’ll sneak a few tastes, too!

Parsnip and Golden Beets
I’ve worked this past week on compiling a baby food post for anyone seeking out ideas for making baby food at home. I don’t make baby food at home because I’m a store-bought skeptic. In fact, the last time I was at Target and looked at all the baby food options, I was a little bit blown away. It’s completely dizzying how much variety there is in stores these days. So I’m totally for buying baby food. But at .99 cents a pouch, I’ve still got the price beat by making it¬†at home. With a two dollar butternut squash, I can make almost a dozen jars! I also love cooking and tasting and seasoning food for my girls. I find myself sneaking a few bites of their food and I love knowing exactly what goes into¬†the stuff they eat.

Making baby food gets me into a zen-like state in the kitchen as well. I’m not exactly sure why, but I love the process. I love choosing ingredients, maybe even ingredients I don’t use very often, and making something tasty for my babies. I also love the complete blank slate that a six month old baby is in that high chair. They have never tried a single food and I get to show them everything I’ve ever tasted! Hey baby, this is guacamole – you can thank me later.

In this post I have a couple of techniques for you to apply to literally any fruit or vegetable you can find in the freezer aisle. Then I have a couple recipes from my favorite baby food book, Tyler Florence’s, Start Fresh, and then I have a couple original recipes based on what sounded good to me and what was on sale at the grocery store. You’ll soon see that I don’t exactly follow the “rules” of baby-feeding.¬†I find the rules restrictive, paranoid and somewhat unnecessary. You do not need to only introduce your baby to one food a week. ¬†If they have a reaction, it will most likely occur within 24 hours. ¬†It also makes no sense to me to start babies off on something that could be mistaken for wet cardboard in flavor and texture (rice cereal – have you tasted that stuff?!) ¬†It’s no wonder kids are expected to eat “kid food” when they are started off on bland carbs and not challenged very much in the variety category thereafter.¬†I started both my babies off with fruits and vegetables¬†and have alternated and given them something new nearly every day after we hit the solids stage. ¬†If you get in the habit of changing up what your baby eats from the very beginning, then variety will become the norm in your house and they’ll never know that most other kids only eat brown food. ¬†That’s another rant for another day.

Here’s some recipes for you new moms out there – send me any ideas you have, too! ¬†I love new ideas that help me get out of my cooking ruts!

Apricots and Maple

Roasted Maple Apricots with Mint
Roasted Apricots with Maple Syrup and Mint

8 apricots, split in half
3-4 TBS pure maple syrup (avoid honey until a year old!)
2 sprigs mint (I have a fun chocolate mint plant in my backyard that I used)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Arrange the split apricots on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with maple syrup. ¬†Sprinkle with cinnamon (if you wish) and roast for 20 minutes. ¬†Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. ¬†Add the mint leaves and pulse till combined. ¬†Thin out with water if it’s too chunky. ¬†I like to freeze baby food in muffin tins or ice cube trays and then once frozen, I store the cubes in a freezer bag for easy access. ¬†I just label the bags with what’s inside and when I made it!

Avocado Pineapple and Yogurt

Banana Avocado Pineapple Yogurt
Banana Avocado and Pineapple Yogurt*

1/2 avocado
1 small banana (or half a large)
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/4 cup whole fat, plain yogurt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. ¬†This doesn’t keep well the next day (it discolors – still tastes fine, but it turns a weird gray from the avocado) so best to keep the portions small. ¬†I cut this recipe in half and Ellie ate it over the course of two days.

*from Start Fresh

Carrot Apple and Mango Puree
Carrot, Mango and Apple Puree

I made this and loved the flavors! ¬†I think it needs longer than 25 minutes roasting – maybe because my oven is on the cool side. ¬†But I think roasting mango alongside carrots doesn’t quite work because carrots and apple take way longer than a mango to roast and then your mango loses a lot of its water. ¬†So, in my opinion, I would roast the carrots and apples together and then add in the mango at the end, or just when you blend. ¬†Make sure you line your pan with foil. ¬†The sugars in the mango will glue themselves to your pan if you don’t! – from Start Fresh

Frozen Peach
Frozen Fruit Baby Food

I love making baby food from frozen fruits and vegetables! There’s always an organic option if that’s important to you, and fruits and veggies are often flash frozen at the peak of freshness. ¬†The only fruit I’ve encountered that isn’t so great frozen is mango. Everything else seems really ripe and awesome. ¬†Here’s what I do:

1 bag frozen fruit – 8 oz (in the pic above it was a bag of peaches)
1 TBS unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla or cinnamon or any spice you want to experiment with!

In a large saucepan, add the frozen fruit and butter and a splash of water.  Cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble and the fruit thaws.  Stir in your vanilla or cinnamon and let it simmer for a bit longer, smashing up chunks of the fruit.  Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth!

Frozen Spinach
Frozen Vegetable Baby Food

8 oz frozen vegetables – in the pic above, I used frozen spinach
2 TBS butter
a pinch of salt
a splash (1/4 cup) of water)

In a large pan, add the vegetables and a splash of water and bring to a simmer. If you’re using spinach, you won’t need that water. Most other veggies could use a little moisture, and if you’re using peas, add enough to where they boil in the water because you’ll just strain the peas out when you puree and add water to thin out the consistency. Add the butter and salt and stir until melted and then blend until smooth.

Parsnip and Golden Beets
Parsnip and Golden Beet Mash

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
4 small golden beets, peeled and chopped
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
1/2 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

Heat your oven to 375 and toss the beets and parsnips with oil and roast until softened and slightly browned, about 25 minutes. ¬†Transfer to a food processor and add a tablespoon of butter and the chicken or vegetable stock and process until smooth. ¬†You may need to add a bit more stock to get a smoother texture, but if you’re baby can handle chunky stuff, go for it. ¬†This has a FABULOUS flavor. ¬†There’s something magical about parsnips and butter, so I definitely don’t skip out on adding the butter. ¬†Fat is good for baby’s brain development. ¬†Don’t hold back! This is the puree you’ll want to eat, too. ¬†It’d be a great substitute for mashed potatoes at a family dinner!

There you are, my friends. ¬†I hope some of these recipes help you explore and try new things in your own kitchen! ¬†Most all of these recipes can be altered to fit any combination of ingredients, so be creative! Add fresh herbs and onion or experiment with various seasonings like curry. ¬†Have fun! That’s the whole point!

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup - spin on the traditional Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup
I placed Olive’s bowl at the table first so it would have time to cool down while I got mine and Matt’s ready. I started hearing Olive saying, “Mmm!” and “This is so good and juicy, Mama” and at first I assumed she was putting on another one-act play because Olive hasn’t been too enthusiastic about meals, lately. ¬†Certainly not enthusiastic enough to compliment the food. ¬†Usually, it seems as if she just merely tolerates food until she can get down and play again. ¬†And as I thought back while she was inhaling this soup, I remembered the last time she was this enthusiastic about food, it had very similar ingredients in a potato curry Matt made. ¬†She is apparently our Asian flavor lover. ¬†And I love that. ¬†I love that she won’t bat an eye at cilantro, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and lemongrass. ¬†She will certainly protest if I try to get her to eat…lettuce, or something else benign like that. ¬†But big, bold flavors are her bag (as long as it’s not SPICY!) And the occasional chorus of “mmm” and “this is good, Mama,” is so few and far between that I make mental note of the dishes that inspire that response in her. ¬†I never thought I’d care so much about someone’s opinion of food until I had a child. ¬†But sharing food and sharing a JOY of food is precious and even more so when that person is family.

We’ve done a few spins on classic dishes in the past¬†and have loved the results. We’ve done biscuits and curry “gravy” and a green chili corn chowder and loved the fusion of classic American dishes and flavors from other cultures. ¬†I made up a spin on the classic Campbell’s Chicken and Rice you may have grown up eating, but instead, included all the flavors we love from Asian cultures. ¬†It was super comforting and would be fantastic for a cold, rainy day like we’re having today. ¬†I didn’t have coconut milk, but I think it would be a fantastic addition in place of the heavy cream. ¬†This soup is built with lots and lots of taste-testing along the way. ¬†Every soup should be, I think. ¬†So I’m giving approximate ingredient amounts, but I encourage you to taste and add things you love for yourself. ¬†We added Sriracha (of course) and lots and lots of cilantro as a garnish and some tasty frozen Vietnamese egg rolls for a side and enjoyed the heck out of this dish. ¬†I hope you do, too! ¬†Happy Monday.

Chinese Chicken and Rice

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup

2 cups shredded chicken from two chicken breasts or 4 chicken legs/thighs (bone in)
2 kaffir lime leaves
A two inch piece of peeled ginger
2 stalks lemongrass, split
1/2 white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk)
salt to taste
1 cup jasmine rice
1 carrot, diced small

In a large stock pot, add¬†the (raw) chicken (bone-in) and cover with water till it’s submerged by abut 2 inches. Add the kaffir lime leaves (can be found at most chinese markets in the freezer or fridge section – this isn’t¬†essential but it gives the soup that¬†thing that I can’t describe but it’s wonderful), ginger, lemongrass, onion and garlic and bring the water to a boil. ¬†Let the chicken boil until the internal temp registers at least 165 when inserted into the thickest part of the meat. ¬†Remove the chicken, let it cool, and pull off all the meat. ¬†Return the bones to the pot and let it continue to boil while you cook the rice.

In a small saucepan, add 1 3/4 cups water, a tablespoon of olive oil, the diced carrot and a pinch of salt and the cup of rice.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, stir and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes until tender.

Remove the chicken bones, the lemongrass and onion and discard. ¬†Return the shredded meat to the pot. ¬†Add the vinegar, sugar, fish sauce¬†and salt to the broth until it tastes…right. ūüôā This is the point where you need to trust your palate. You may like it with more vinegar or more sugar, more fish sauce, whatever. ¬†I tasted and adjusted and then added the heavy cream.

Spoon rice into bowls and ladle the chicken soup on top.  Garnish with LOTS of cilantro and serve!

Creamy Potatoes with Thyme Browned Butter

creamy boiled potatoes with thyme and browned butter
Some days you just need someone to think up a side dish for you. This is not complicated. ¬†This is nothing you couldn’t come up with on your own. ¬†But your brain is zapped. And there are days I stand there with my fridge gaping and I just can’t be creative anymore. ¬†I roasted the potatoes yesterday, I don’t want to roast them again! So, if you’re like me and you don’t necessarily want to do something crazy or ambitious on a Monday evening, but you DO want something different that someone else thought up for you – then this recipe is for you. ¬†Clean, simple, warm, filling and utterly delicious. ¬†Boiling the potatoes in their skins gives them that appealing pop when you bite through the skin and the interior is smooth and creamy. ¬†Add in some browned thyme butter and this could almost be a meal in itself…

…but if you have a three year old who has a bit of an opinion about dinner, then you can’t serve these alone because then she’ll ask, “Where’s the rest of the meal?” She’s been asking me that for about a year, now. ¬†Where she even got that phrase, I’ll never know. ¬†But it’s pretty intimidating.

Creamy Potatoes with Thyme Browned Butter

Boiled Potatoes with Thyme Browned Butter

  • Servings: 4-6 as a side dish
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1 lb baby red potatoes (red creamers)
4 TBS unsalted butter
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme, plus a teaspoon of chopped leaves
kosher salt for seasoning

In a large pot, submerge potatoes and salt the water generously.  Bring to a boil and boil until soft when pierce with a knife.  This took me around 15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and transfer into a large bowl.  In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat, and add the thyme sprigs and cook till the foaming subsides.  When brown butter solids start forming at the bottom of the pan and the butter smells nutty, immediately remove from the heat and add the thyme leaves.  Swirl around and then pour over the potatoes, tossing to coat evenly.  Sprinkle the potatoes with kosher salt and serve.

Savory Vegetable Souffles – Meatless Mondays Never Tasted So Good

Brussels Sprout and Cheddar Souffle Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Souffle
Happy Monday After Daylight Savings Time! ¬†This will be a hard week for many, getting used to the time change. ¬†I love it once the adjustment takes place because I LOVE that it stays light outside till nearly 8:30 in the spring and nearly 10 in the summer. ¬†We get to play later (it seems) and it’s important to not feel so closed in after months of the cold, dark evenings of winter.

I’ve been in a new, happy rut, lately. ¬†On most Mondays lately, I’ve been making a vegetable souffle. ¬†I hardly ever have my act together for dinner on Monday and I usually haven’t been to the store for the week (like today), but I nearly always have some sort of leftover veg in the fridge and (usually) four eggs. ¬†Voila – this beautiful souffle, big enough for all of us to eat more than a big portion. ¬†I’d say it would serve 4 as a side dish or 2.5 (like us) as a main. And it’s so versatile!Brussels Sprouts Souffle
The pics above were made with Brussels sprouts and cheddar and the pics below were spinach and gruyere. ¬†I’ve done leftover broccoli with white cheddar, leek, and asparagus, too! ¬†If you have eggs, cheese and some leftover vegetables, you have a meal! ¬†And a really good one. ¬†Every time I have made this, Olive has said, “this is a good meal, Mama.” Good enough for me! ¬†It’s a wonderful vehicle for getting more vegetables into your little people, as well.
Spinach and Parmesan Souffle

Savory Vegetable Souffles

  • Servings: 4-6 as a side
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1/3 cup grated parmesan or fine bread crumbs
2 cups cooked vegetables, finely chopped.  Use boiled brussels sprouts, spinach, leeks, asparagus, kale, whatever floats your boat!
5 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs, room temp and separated
1/2 cup grated hard cheese – cheddar, gruyere, gouda, romano, parm, etc

Heat the oven to 375F. Butter a 6-cup souffle dish or 6 one cup ramekins, if you want everyone to have a nice, neat side dish of their very own.  Coat the sides of the dish with cheese or breadcrumbs. Cook your vegetable in salted boiling water until tender.  Drain and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup butter over medium heat, stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. ¬†Whisk in the milk and cook until the sauce has thickened, whisking the entire time. ¬†Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a splash more milk if it gets too thick (you want a thick gravy consistency). ¬†Set aside off the heat. ¬†Into your egg yolks, whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream sauce to warm them and then return them to the rest of the sauce and whisk to incorporate. ¬†Stir in the cheese and when it’s melted, fold in the vegetables.

With a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff. ¬†Stir a quarter of them into the souffle base and then fold in the remainder until no white streaks show. ¬†Bake souffles on a rimmed baking sheet in the middle of the oven until risen and golden, 30-35 minutes. ¬†The middle will be slightly wobbly if you’ve made it in one large dish. ¬†Serve immediately!

*recipe adapted from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone cookbook, which is completely fantastic so far. ¬†Hasn’t steered us wrong, yet!

 

 

 

Spinach and Parmesan Souffles

White Bean Stew with Smoked Sausage and Kale – Using Up Leftovers!

Scrappy Stew - White Beans, Kale and Roast Chicken
So it seems winter is going to beat us down at least one more time before spring officially arrives. ¬†Maybe more, but I’m hoping for just one last hurrah. ¬†I used to love winter and all its coziness and hot tea and warm socks. ¬†But now that I’m a mother of two little people, I find winter to be quite suffocating. ¬†I just NEED there to be the option to go outside. ¬†When I had Ellie back in November, I quickly taught Ollie how to open the backyard door by herself. ¬†That was probably the best move I made all year. ¬†She could come and go while I fed the baby and everyone was happy. ¬†But when it snows, there’s this expectation from Ollie that we MUST GO OUTSIDE NOW AND YOU MUST GO WITH ME. ¬†And it just isn’t that easy. ¬†And frankly, as most of you know, it takes 15 minutes to get a child bundled up to go outside and then 5 minutes for them to get so cold they want to come back in. ¬†I fail to see how it’s worth the effort.

The one thing I DO love about cold weather is the food. I love making a huge pot of beans and eating it over the following days in various ways. ¬†Over cornbread, with smoked sausage, in a quesadilla, with a fried egg, whatever, it’s all good. ¬†And this most recent batch of stew we made was my favorite. ¬†Because Matt made it. ¬†Seriously, though, we both make our beans in the same way and much in the spirit of the Family Meal Blog, I always love when a recipe is made by someone else in this family. ¬†This stew also does my most favorite thing in the entire kitchen-world: it uses up leftovers! ¬†We threw in a half used can of diced tomatoes, a handful of kale, onion, and some¬†leftover turkey and sausage from a local bbq joint¬†and it was frankly, amazing. ¬†The beauty of a good bean stew is that you can add anything and if the beans are good, you’re good to go. ¬†For this, I recommend using dried beans instead of canned, although canned would cut the prep/cook time by a good 8 hours. ¬†They just don’t have the depth of flavor that starting with dried beans does. ¬†And because we’re a part of Rancho Gordo’s Bean of the Month Club, (yes) I recommend you get their beans if you can find them!

White Bean and Kale Stew

 

White Bean Stew with Smoked Sausage and Kale

  • Servings: 8-10
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*start this recipe the day before you want to eat it! Modified for a slow cooker below the recipe!

1 lb dried white beans, such as canellini
2 bay leaves
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced (these three ingredients together are called mire poix)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes (we used half a can because that’s what we had leftover in our fridge)
1 smoked sausage link, chopped
4 oz. smoked turkey breast
1 small bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped

The night before you want to eat this stew, rinse the beans and then submerge them in a large stockpot by about 2 inches of water along with the bay leaf.

In the morning, bring the beans to a boil in the same water you soaked them in and add the onion, carrot and celery and garlic cloves. ¬†Season with salt and pepper. ¬†Reduce to an active simmer and cook until beans are tender. ¬†This time can really vary. ¬†I’d say on average, I have the beans simmering for about 2 hours before they are a texture I like. ¬†Some like al dente beans. ¬†I’m not one of those people. ¬†I also don’t like them to be total mush, like canned, but it’s your preference, really. ¬†Just start tasting them after an hour and keep going if you’re not satisfied.

After about an hour of simmering, add in the tomatoes and meats (and honestly, the meats were leftovers in our fridge. You could add bacon, ground beef, no meat at all Рthis soup will be amazing no matter what).  Toss the kale in about 30 minutes before serving and adjust the seasoning of the stew with extra salt and pepper.  Remove the bay leaves and serve with crusty buttered bread.

Slow Cooker Note: this could all be done in a slow cooker if you wanted to get it on before you go to work.  Just soak the beans in a large slow cooker overnight with the bay leaves with at least 2-3 inches of water covering the beans.  In the morning before you leave for work, add in the mire poix and garlic and turn it to low.  When you get home, add in the rest of the ingredients and turn it on high for about 30 minutes to let it boil.  Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Green Beans with Toasted Pecans and Blue Cheese

Green Beans with Toasted Pecans and Blue Cheese
I’m on a quest to serve up vegetables in a different way each week. ¬†It’s not a New Year’s resolution or anything like that, but just a general promise to be more dedicated to making vegetables enticing. ¬†So often I just rummage through my fridge or freezer and half heartedly throw a vegetable alongside whatever we’re having for dinner. ¬†And I cook them the same way every time. ¬†So every trip I make to the grocery store, now, I grab a would-be-boring vegetable and resolve to make it more interesting than my standard roast-everything method.

Last week I did this with green beans. ¬†I usually boil them in salted water until they are tender (not squeaky!) and then brown a little butter and toss them. ¬†It’s fine. ¬†It’s just what I always do! ¬†So this time, I boiled my green beans, set them aside and then tossed in some toasted pecans and blue cheese crumbles and a few dried cranberries and got everything all nice and warm and it was totally delicious. In fact, it was more exciting than the main course! ¬†The best part – it was quick and easy and shocked us out of the same ol’ routine. ¬†Not bad for a green bean.

Green Beans with Blue Cheese and Toasted Pecans

Green Beans with Pecans and Blue Cheese

  • Servings: 4-6 as a side
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  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot of adequately salted (that’s about 1/8 cup salt per stock pot. ¬†Or more. ¬†Tastes like the ocean, at least) boil green beans until tender. ¬†Your teeth should not squeak when you chew them! Strain the green beans and set aside. ¬†In a large skillet, toast the pecans until fragrant, and then toss in the green beans, blue cheese, cranberries and a dash of salt and pepper. Add a splash of olive oil if they seem too dry, but depending on your blue cheese, you may get enough oil from it to coat the beans nicely. ¬†Don’t let your cheese burn!