Plenty {Caramelized Garlic Tart}

We had a very low-key weekend, it was soooo nice. I even found a few hours to park myself on the couch under a nice warm blanket and read my book uninterrupted. It has been months since I finished a book, such a rare treat.

I was also able to spend some time in the kitchen, took on another recipe from Plenty, the cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. I have made a few recipes from this book, and they all are better than the next. Recipes like sweet potato wedges with lemongrass dipping sauce, burnt eggplant with tahini, and smoky frittata. The smoky frittata is my fav! HIs cookbooks have a cult following, now I know why.

Caramelized Garlic

This time I gave the caramelized garlic tart a try. Easy enough recipe, though peeling all the garlic cloves was a pain in the ass, and I reeked of garlic. Quick wipe of my hands on the stainless steel faucet and I was good as new.

Caramelized Garlic Tart
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 2 medium heads of garlic, separated and peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ tbsp sugar
  • 1 rosemary sprig, whole
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese
  • 4 semi-soft goat cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sour cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Roll puff pastry, and place in pie pan. Bake 20 minutes.
  3. Place garlic cloves in small pan, cover with water, bring to a simmer, and blanch for three minutes. Drain.
  4. Warm olive oil over high heat, add garlic, and fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add vinegar and water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add sugar, herbs, a pinch of salt, and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and liquid becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes.
  7. Set garlic aside, discard rosemary sprig.
  8. Break the cheeses into big bite-sized pieces and scatter into the partially baked crust.
  9. Add the garlic and syrupy sauce.
  10. Whisk together the eggs, cream, and sour cream, ½ teaspoon of salt, and generous pinch of pepper. Pour over everything.
  11. Bake 45-55 minutes, until the filling has set and the top is golden brown.

 

caramelized garlic

I could have stopped at making the garlic, and just spread that on bread. Syrupy sauce not pictured, I removed the garlic and cooked it down to thicken some more.

caramelized garlic tart

My finished product is not purty, but it sure was tasty! The garlic flavor is not harsh at all. It is similar to flavor as roasted garlic, however the cloves have a more solid texture, it is not as spreadable (if that makes sense).  No matter, it was delicious! It is rich, so best served with a nice crisp refreshing salad.

Onto a crazy fun week, glad I was able to get some r&r to prepare.

 

Friends and Football {Artichoke and Spinach Dip}

Our family loves to spend a Sunday watching the Bears. The schedule this year has not coordinated with our family schedule. Lacrosse took most of our Sundays, and the Monday and Thursday night games are too late for school nights. Last weekend my husband was lucky enough to get to see the game, his two favorite teams, the Bears and Lions. This weekend is our first chance to watch and enjoy the Bears as a family. What goes better with football than, football food!

We always struggle to come up with new appetizer ideas. Always! Yet, most of the recent recipes I have posted are appetizers. Go figure. I decided to go old school and flip through my book or recipe cards for some ideas, and ran across a recipe for artichoke dip that caught my eye (and I had everything on hand)…

Artichoke Recipe Card

My friend Jill gave me this recipe. Jill and I worked together in NYC. Our office was on Park Ave in midtown, it was very shee-shee. It was the hey-day, breakfast was served every Monday morning, the kitchen was stocked with drinks and snacks, a show-shine came in once a week and shined the executive’s shoes at their desk, a masseuse came in once a week and setup shop in the conference room. An expensed lunch at a place like Le Cirque was standard practice. Good times! Of course, being the IT people in the office, we shared a counter for our desks in an inside space that was essentially the copy/server room.

The office occupied the entire floor of the building. The executives sat around the perimeter in the windowed offices. The admins around the inner perimeter outside the offices. Everyone in the office was so nice, especially considering I was an outsider and essentially squatting in their office while continuing to work for the folks back in Chicago. It was a very fortunate situation for me. Over time I came to realize the inner perimeters of admins had segregated each other around geographic origin. All the native Mid-westerners sat down one two walls, and the East Coasters down the other walls. The separation had happened naturally overtime, the two groups seemed to mix like oil and water. It was such an odd phenomenon to me.

That was over 15 years-ago. Jill and I are have both since moved back to the Midwest. We don’t get a chance to see each other often, but we keep in close touch. No one is better a host then she, no detail is ever overlooked. Her cooking is pretty fabulous too. She is always the first person I run to when I am in search of a recipe, or to get help with a party or dinner gathering, among other things. She gave me this recipe probably 13 years-ago after she came to stay with us in Chicago. What I really love about this recipe, is the flavor of the artichoke is not drowned in cream cheese or other overwhelming ingredients. While it is hearty, it is not too heavy.

Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Artichoke and Spinach Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 T. butter
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 small package frozen spinach
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 small can chopped green chiles
  • ½ cup mozzarella, grated
Instructions
  1. Heat butter in a skillet. Saute onion about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook 1 more minute. Let cool.
  2. Defrost spinach in strainer. Press water out.
  3. In a large bowl mix all(except mozzarella) ingredients.
  4. Transfer mix into greased casserole, top with mozzarella.
  5. Back at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Serve with pita chips or thick tortilla chips and vegetables.

 

I changed the original recipe a little bit. I cut back on the mayo and added some sour cream. I like this new Greek yogurt and sour cream mixture from Breakstone’s. It is essentially light sour cream cut with plain Greek yogurt.

 

Greek yogurt sour cream

The chiles provide a good zip, but not too much heat. The curry adds great flavor, but no one would guess it was an ingredient. The lemon juice adds some brightness. While leftovers are rare, they make great pita nachos (pitas, topped with dip, mozzarella, back and then top with chopped tomatoes and green onion) or as a pizza topping.

Artichoke Dip Pizza

This was a victory in the kitchen, I am 2-2 this weekend. Can’t win ‘em all! We got plenty of Bears time today, especially thankfully we escaped the worst of the storms. The pictures look devastating, heartbroken for those impacted.

An Apple A Day {Apple White Cheddar Scones}

I finally checked out Mariano’s, a new grocery chain that is all the rage in our area. There is not one in my neighborhood but on my way home from girls weekend a few weeks ago we passed one that was have it’s grand opening. The store definitely lived up to all the hype! Amazing amounts of gorgeous produce, and the cheese section – I could have just spent the whole time in that section. I ended up grabbing an aged Gouda and big block of sharp white cheddar.

The meat section is pretty amazing too, their homemade sausage was delicious. I got a red pepper Fontina Italian sausage, they were on sale for $1.99/lb. There is a huge meat selection, and a large section of seafood too. Glad it is not too far from our house, because it is cheaper than Whole Foods and has a better choices than the fish market we often go to. They also have a bakery with some incredible bread, I got a pepperoni cheese bread that we devoured for lunch.

They also had my favorite, honey crisp apples from Michigan! I missed the last few weeks of the farmers market so I was happy I could pick up these apples up, I eat one every day. Honey crisps have become my favorite fall food.  And what goes better with apples than cheddar, sharp white cheddar to be exact. I made these scones for Blocktoberfest, and made them again recently from frozen. I love a fresh scone, day old scone not so much. They were just as delicious from frozen.

 

Apple and White Cheddar Scones

 

Beyond baking up and cooling the apples, these are really fast to throw together. They are more on the texture side of a biscuit, very light and airy. While I do prefer my scones a bit more dense and dry, these are delicious. Great for breakfast or as a dinner roll.

 

Apple White Cheddar Scones
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 honey crisp apples
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • ¾ cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • 1 egg
  • egg wash
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
  2. Peel apples, then cut them into a large chunks. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased) for 20 minutes. They will take on a little color.
  3. Transfer apples to dish and set in fridge for about 15 minutes to cool.
  4. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  5. Place butter, apple chunks, cheese, cream and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on On low to just combine ingredients.
  6. With mixer on low, sprinkle flour mixture over the top and mix until the dough just comes together. It will be very wet.
  7. On large cutting board (or counter top) sprinkle about 1 cup of flour and place the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle about ¼ cup more flour on top.
  8. Use your hands to bring all the dough together in a large ball, work it into a circle shape and flatten to about ½ think.
  9. Cut circle into quarters, then cut each quarter in half.
  10. Place scones on baking sheet lined with parchment or that has been buttered. Leave a few inches between each one.
  11. Make egg wash, beat egg with punch of salt. Brush over each scone, top with a pinch of sugar on each.
  12. {you can flash freeze them at this point, and bake from frozen about XX minutes}
  13. Bake about 30 minutes.
  14. Cool on wire rack.

 

I prefer the whole-egg egg wash, over just the yolk, it gives the scones great color. Results are the same if you egg wash before or after freezing, so go ahead and egg wash them before you freeze.

 

Apple and White Cheddar Scones

 

Next time I am going to try Gouda in place of the cheddar, I think that would be fabulous.

 

Apple and White Cheddar Scones

Good Eats!

Blocktoberfest {Pumpkin Cheddar Dip}

September, gone in a flash, and October is about to do the same. I can’t let October slip by without a pumpkin recipe. Over the weekend we had out annual Blocktoberfest. The block party gods watched over us again, we have some pretty amazing weather considering it was the last weekend in October.

blocktoberfest

Blocktoberfest is always a fun time, and often the one time a year we even see some of the neighbors. Huge turnout, even ate into the night. Always a fun time with three consistent components year after year, awesome neighbors, great food, tie dye, and a fire pit.

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Apparently we are competitive bunch, we had our annual chili competition, and added in pumpkin carving and pumpkin dessert contests. As the ballot counter, I voted for less voting next year. For my dessert entry I made my salted caramel bars, I mixed some pumpkin purée into the caramel sauce. Not award-winning, but tasty. I did pick up a prize for my pumpkin and my husband won the chili contest.

pumpkin carving

My side of the street was on the hook for appetizers. I knew I wanted to make one with pumpkin, and I wanted to serve something warm.  I was skeptical throwing these ingredients together, luckily it turned out delicious. Turned out to my favorite of the day, hot pumpkin cheddar dip.

Pumpkin Cheddar Dip

Blocktoberfest {Pumpkin Cheddar Dip}
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. low-fat cream cheese (room temp)
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup pumpkin purée
  • 3 green onions, sliced (reserve some for topping)
  • ½ tsp. seasoned salt
  • ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • roasted pumpkin seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients, except pumpkin seeds, until well combined.
  3. Spoon mixture into an oven safe dish.
  4. Bake about 25 minutes, until heat through.
  5. Top with pumpkin seeds and sliced green onion
  6. Serve with crackers and vegetables

 

A nice warm appetizer was perfect on a crisp cool day. And a good savory option for using pumpkin. Glad I didn’t let October pass without a great pumpkin recipe.