Thursday, September 27, 2012

Veggie Update!

I'll be posting this week's other two recipes tomorrow and Friday, but in the meantime, I wanted to share what came in our CSA box today, because it's all just so pretty.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Around My French Table -- Hummus (and Pita Chips!)

New week, new cookbook!

I bought this cookbook because I fully intended to get involved in this fabulous online community called French Fridays with Dorie.  Every week, they make something out of this cookbook and then share their blog link on the French Fridays homepage.

Unfortunately, as it happens, life got in my way.  The job I had at the time didn't allow me much money to buy a lot of the extra and random things needed for the recipes, and the project fell by the wayside. 

There are a couple recipes out of this cookbook that I love, and I'm finding more as I read through it again.  Today's offering is hummus, which actually confused me at first, because. . .hummus isn't French.  But who am I to question Dorie Greenspan?


Adapted from Around My French Table
serves: 4-ish


1 can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans. . .they're the same thing!), drained.  Save the liquid.
2 split garlic cloves
1/3 cup tahini
2 tbl. lemon juice (Fresh is better, but you know how it goes.)
1/4 tsp. cumin (Optional, but it really is better with the cumin)
Salt and pepper

Put chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and lemon in a food processor and. . .process until smooth.  Add the reserved liquid a little bit at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Add cumin, salt, and pepper, and give it another whirl.

Put in a bowl covered in plastic wrap and chill until serving time.  (If you're planning on eating it right away, just stick it in for 5-10 minutes.)

That's it!

The pita chips are Dennis' creation.  A few months back, we were having hummus and some other stuff for dinner, and I'd bought some pitas.  Dennis said, "I think I'll make some pita chips out of these," and I said, "I'll just eat mine plain."

About 10 minutes later, I was handing him my sad pita and saying, "Would you. . .make this into chips please?"

Here's why:

Pita Chips
serves:  Depends on how many you make and how much people eat

2 - 5 pita pockets (Again, it depends on how big you cut the chips and how many you want)
Olive Oil
Garlic salt (or regular salt)

Preheat over to 400°F.

Cut the pitas into triangles by cutting them in half, cutting those halves in half, etc. until you have the size and number of chips you want.

Place the chips on a foil-lined cookie sheet and spray with olive oil.  (You can also drizzle the oil, but I've found it's much easier to spray them.)  Sprinkle with salt or garlic salt.

Bake for 5 minutes or until the edges toast to light brown.

(Dennis' artistic hummus shot)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cooking with Mickey -- Raspberry Soufflé

Today ends the week of Mickey.  As of right now, I'm not entirely sure how I'll end up formatting this blog.

My original plan was to take each of my cookbooks and make three things a week out of them -- a main course, a side, and a dessert.  But then I started looking at how many cookbooks I actually have, including small, product-specific cookbooks and cookbooks that are strictly cookies and cupcakes, and this one weird cookbook that's mostly science-experiment type things.

So I don't know.  But for now. . .we soufflé!

Soufflés have a bad reputation of being notorious for falling in the middle during baking.  As such, I wouldn't let Dennis walk in the kitchen while they were baking (it only took 20 minutes!) and I walked around on the sides of my feet and opened and closed cabinets and drawers very carefully.  And they didn't fall!  I'm not sure what they were supposed to look like, but mine weren't sunken in the middle, so I'm going to call that a win.

This is a fairly time-consuming recipe, so you should know that beforehand.  It's also a grand moment of "Holy crap, I did it!" when they come out.  So, worth it, I think.

Raspberry soufflé

Adapted from Cooking with Mickey Around Our World
serves: 4


2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 package frozen raspberries (Since they're no longer in season)
2 tbl. raspberry liqueur (NOTE: I used raspberry vodka because the liquor store didn't have mini bottles of liqueur.  The recipe turned out fine, but liqueur would probably add a richer flavor and more sweetness.)
6 egg whites
Granulated sugar
1 tsp. confectioners' sugar
1 tbl. cream

Preheat over to 350°F.

Mix the sugar and flour in a saucepan and blend in milk.  Add both the egg and the egg yolk and mix.  Cook this over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens to be custard-like.  Set aside to cool.

Thaw and drain raspberries.  mash with a fork, combine with the liqueur and cook until the combination is the consistency of jam.  Strain and cool.  Combine 3/4 cup custard with the raspberries.

Beat egg whites until they are very stiff (I used my mixer.) and fold into the raspberry-custard concoction.

Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture.  Lightly butter and coat with granulated sugar four 8-ounce soufflé dishes.  Put the dishes in a pan of hot water, being careful to not have the water spill over into the dish, and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately after dusting with confectioners' sugar and pouring on a sauce made of the remaining 1/4 cup raspberry mixture combined with 1 tbl. cream.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cooking with Mickey -- Caesar Salad

I decided to start this project a few days ago, after the grocery shopping had already been completed, and so I had to get a little creative with what I'm making out of the Mickey Cookbook.  It had to contain stuff we already had around the kitchen.

We had tortellini from Trader Joe's (I'm madly in love with Trader Joe's) for dinner last night, and we needed something to go along with it.  Some kind of vegetable was needed, and that vegetable was found in the form of a Caesar Salad, apparently from Disneyland's Club 33.  I don't know how much you know about Club 33, but it's this exclusive restaurant within Disneyland's New Orleans Square with a waiting list to join that is years long and membership costs in the thousands of dollars.  You have to be invited by a member to go in and have a meal.  Needless to say, I've never been.

I didn't make my husband join a waiting list of pay me thousands of dollars to have dinner (Although, maybe that's a good money-making venture. . .), but I did make this salad from Club 33.

I used a completely different recipe to make the croutons that I put in the salad, but I'll include that as well.  (I made mine with fresh cheddar garlic bread I received in last week's CSA box.  Those croutons were AMAZING.

One other note:  The recipe in the cookbook called for a coddled egg to be put in the dressing.  A coddled egg is one that has been very slightly boiled for about a minute.  I didn't know what coddling an egg meant until I looked it up, and I was informed that you should use very fresh eggs, and even then, there's still the slight risk of salmonella.  Since my eggs came from Aldi and not a nearby farm, I decided not to risk it, and used mayonnaise instead of an egg.  I think it turned out even better than it would have with a possibly-undercooked egg.

Dennis looked thoughtful when he took his first bite of the salad.  I thought something was wrong, but he told me he just wasn't used to all the rich flavors.  Overall, I call this a win.

Caesar Salad
Adapted from Cooking with Mickey Around Our World
serves: 2


1 garlic clove
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 tbl. red wine vinegar
Scant 1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 head lettuce (Romaine is best, I used Iceberg)
1/2 cup croutons (or. . .make your own!)
1/2 lemon or a few splashes of lemon juice
Parmesan cheese

Combine a couple shakes of pepper, crushed garlic clove, mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.  Set aside.

Tear lettuce into medium-sized pieces.  Add croutons to lettuce and squeeze some lemon juice, either fresh or bottled, over the bowl's contents.  Mix lightly.  Add the dressing mixture and mix well.  Sprinkle cheese on top and serve immediately.

And to make the croutons. . .

Garlic Parmesan Croutons 
Makes enough for 2 salads

4 half-inch thick slices of bread (French bread works well.  I used a cheddar garlic loaf.)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 tbl. grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes and set aside.  In a large skillet, melt the butter, then remove from heat.  Stir the cheese and garlic powder into the butter, then add the bread cubes and stir until everything is combined.  

Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir.  Put them back in the over and bake for 10 minutes more.  Cool completely.  These are DELICIOUS.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cooking with Mickey -- Cheese Quiche

My inaugural cookbook choice is one that my dad had in the kitchen when I was growing up, and that I loved to look through, just for the illustrations.  It's called Cooking with Mickey Around Our World, and it is a collection of the most-requested recipes from Disney World and Disneyland.  (At least, the most-requested recipes circa 1986.)  My absolute favorite part about this book is the illustrations, both on the cover and on the divider pages.  I got it for four bucks at a used bookstore.  WELL worth it.

I'm not sure what Mickey's cooking, but it. . .doesn't look too appetizing.

In case you couldn't tell, I LOVE these illustrations.  They're old, but still adorable.

The recipe I made was the Cheese Quiche (page 103).  I found this recipe a few weeks back when I had an extra pie shell to use (even though the recipe gives you the page number for a pie shell recipe. . .I prefer to just use the pre-made frozen ones).  I made a few changes, but the same basic idea is still the same.

It came out looking lovely.

Please excuse the charred pile of egg in the top left of that picture.  That is exactly why I bake these with a cookie sheet under them.

My husband took a bite of this and said "That's. . .a lot of cheese."  And the way I make them, it is.  But I also think he was OK with that, because he gobbled down his piece and got another.  As with almost everything I make, the amounts of cheese (and, in this case, zucchini), are subjective.

Cheese Quiche (with Zucchini!)
Adapted from Cooking with Mickey Around Our World
serves: 6-8 (unless you're like me and cut it into quarters!)

1 frozen pie shell
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 tsp. salt
5 eggs
Shredded cheeses: cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan
Sliced cheese: Swiss
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1 large zucchini, diced (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together half and half, eggs, and salt.  Set aside.  In the pie shell line the bottom of the pie shell with 2-4 slices of Swiss cheese.  Mix other cheeses in pie shell, interspersing the zucchini bits if you're using them.  The original recipe calls for 9 oz. of the first two cheeses and 4 oz. of Parmesan.  I don't measure them, but put in a handful or two.  Sprinkle nutmeg over the top.

Place the quiche on a cookie sheet to catch spills and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the quiche comes out clean.  Mine actually baked for an hour.  Check it at 45 minutes.  When thoroughly baked, remove from oven and let the eggs set, about 10-15 minutes.