Archive for September, 2012

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Steak, Mushroom and Guinness Pie

September 28, 2012

I love savory pies, and the other day I had a hankering for a steak pie. The result was unbelievable and something I would consider in the top dozen recipes I have EVER made. You could make the filling stew ahead of time and then just add the pastry crust the day you want to enjoy. It makes about 4 giant portions or 6 hearty bowls of steak pie. Yumm!

You will need:

  • 2 T butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1 large vidalia onion, finely diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 2 T oregano
  • 1/2 t fresh pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 1/2 lb steak, cubed (think beef stew)
  • 2 T flour
  • 3-4 medium red bliss potatoes, chopped OR small bag (~12-16 oz) tiny baby nibblers potatoes
  • 12 oz Guinness Stout
  • 1 c beef stock
  • 1/3 c Gorgonzola cheese (optional if you don’t like blue cheeses)
  • 1 1/2 c cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 package puff pastry, thawed

Then you will…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet with high sides, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until soft, about 7-10 minutes.
  3. Add the celery and carrots, rosemary, oregano and mushrooms and cook, stirring often until the mushrooms are browned and dry.
  4. Season the steak with the salt and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Stir the meat and flour into the pan and cook over high heat for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the potatoes, stout and stock and mix well. Allow to come to a boil.
  7. Pour the filling into a 9×13 glass baking dish, set on a baking sheet (to catch any bubbling over or spills). Place in the oven for an hour.
  8. Cover with tinfoil and continue baking for another hour.
  9. Remove from the oven.
  10. Stir in the Gorgonzola and half of the cheddar.
  11. Top with remaining cheddar. (If not baking today, stop here. Allow the filling to cool and then refrigerate covered until ready to use. Heat the cold filling at 350 for 25 minutes to warm it up before continuing to the next step.)
  12. Top with the puff pastry sheets, sealing around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  13. Bake 45 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
  14. Allow to cool at least 5-10 minutes before serving.

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Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

September 24, 2012

For my friend’s 30 birthday, we went on a day trip to Rehoboth Beach. I wanted to bring along a scrumptious dessert that could be easily packed and eaten without utensils. I found this recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod and had to try it out myself. This was incredible! My friend renamed these “boulders of happiness” since I cut palm-sized bars due to being half asleep at the time. If you make these, be sure you have friends and family nearby — they won’t last long!

You will need:

  • 2 1/8 c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 12 T butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 c  chocolate chips (I used semisweet)
  • 10 oz caramel candy squares, unwrapped (I used Werther’s chewy caramels)
  • 3 T heavy cream
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars

Then you will…

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking pan (which is an 11 X 7 pan-I used a 9×9 square glass Pyrex dish) with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. NOTE: I lined my dish with foil and then sprayed to make it easier to remove the bars during the cooling process.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugars together until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave caramels on High until caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.
  5. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
  6. Pour hot caramel over the cookie dough. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough over the caramel and spread dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered.
  8. Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.
  9. Bake cookie bars for 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan.
  10. Cool bars on a wire rack to room temperature. Cut bars into squares and serve.
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Rosemary Walnuts

September 21, 2012

These are incredibly easy to put together and are great as a bar nibble with a glass of cabernet sauvignon. They would also be delicious mixed in with rice pilaf as a side dish, as recommended in J. Silverman Hough’s wine pairings book.

You will need:

  • 2 c raw walnut halves
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t red wine vinegar
  • 2 t fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 t coarse kosher salt

Then you will…

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re fragrant and tasted, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the vinegars, rosemary and salt, stirring until the mixture is evenly distributed and has been absorbed into the walnuts.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish to cool before enjoying!

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Artichoke and Prosciutto Tart

September 17, 2012

This recipe also comes from J. Silverman Hough’s book on small plates with wine, and it is a lovely accompaniment to dry white wines. For my wine and cheese party, I cut the puff pastry into smaller bites before baking rather than making one larger tart as below.

You will need:

  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, cut into thin slices and roughly chopped
  • 2 small red bliss potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1 sheet (half a package) puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 1/4 c Gruyere cheese, shredded and divided
  • 4 oz artichoke hearts, quartered lengthwise (thawed or marinated; roughly 1 cup)
  • 2-3 slices of prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 1 1/2 t fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 t fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 lemon wedge

Then you will…

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of well-salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the leeks and cook until tender, 1-2 minutes. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until tender 2-3 minutes. Drain. Set the potatoes with the leeks and reserve for use later.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 10-inch square. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Using a fork, pierce the pastry all over. Refrigerate the dough for at least 20 minutes or up to a day.
  7. Preheat the over to 400 degrees.
  8. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cheese on the pastry dough, leaving a one-inch border. Arrange the potatoes, leeks, artichokes and prosciutto on top.
  9. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.
  10. Just before serving, sprinkle with the fresh chopped herbs and squeeze the lemon wedge over the top.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Minted Pea Crostini

September 14, 2012

This recipe comes from a book by J. Silverman Hough on wine and cheese pairings with small plates. It was an unexpected taste combination that went very well with crisp white wine. I used a little squeeze bottle to drizzle the sour cream, but you could always just add a dollop with a spoon.

You will need:

  • 1 c peas – either fresh & blanched or frozen & thawed
  • 24 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 t olive oil
  • 3/4 t salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 16 small thin slices of walnut bread or other dark/whole grain bread, toasted
  • 1/3 c sour cream

Then you will…

  1. Blend together the peas, mint, olive oil and salt in a food processor until it forms a course puree, scraping down the sides as necessary. (May be made up to one day in advance and stored covered in the fridge.)
  2. Taste, ideally while sipping your wine, and season with pepper and any additional salt to taste.
  3. Spread each toast with about 2 teaspoons of the puree.
  4. Top each with a teaspoon of sour cream and serve.
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Lavender Honey Cheesecake

September 11, 2012

What could be a more fitting closing to a wine and cheese tasting party than cheesecake? This is a twist on a more traditional cheesecake that is a bit less sweet. We served it with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and drizzled with a bit more of the honey, but it would be delicious with your favorite fruit compote as well.

You will need:

  • 5 oz chocolate wafer cookies
  • 5 T butter
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz regular cream cheese (no skimping!), softened at room temperature
  • 8 oz quark or ricotta
  • 8 oz creme fraiche
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 T raw sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 T lavender honey, or to taste

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Place an 8-inch springform cake pan on a baking sheet in preparation.
  2. To make the crust, you will crush the cookies until you have even-sized pieces. You can either use a food processor or put them in a plastic bag and break apart with your hands or a rolling pin.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the cinnamon and cook a few seconds until fragrant.
  4. Mix in the cookie crumbs. Remove from heat and stir until they have absorbed all the butter.
  5. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared spring form. Distribute evenly along the bottom of the pan and press down firmly with hands or a spoon to set the crust. You do not need to put crust up the sides on this recipe.
  6. Bake 20 minutes, until crisp.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese together with the quark/ricotta and the creme fraiche.
  8. Whisk in the vanilla, raw sugar and one egg.
  9. Whisk in the remaining eggs.
  10. Whisk in the honey one tablespoon at a time. Two tablespoons will give you a tangy cheesecake; more will be sweeter.
  11. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 30 more minutes until just firm.
  12. Turn off the oven and allow to cool in the oven.
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  14. Remove from springform prior to serving.
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Baked Bread ‘n Tomato

September 7, 2012

This dish is reminiscent of stuffed peppers, but it makes use of tomatoes and bread instead of peppers and rice — which are soooooo tasty at this time of year. When you take it out of the oven, you want to let them sit for at least 5 minutes. This wait time will allow them to cool enough to move them in one piece from the baking pan to your serving dish. The below recipe is adapted from Epicurious.

You will need:

  • 1 loaf Italian bread, trimmed of crust and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 T flat Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 T oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T capers, roughly chopped
  • 1 t salt
  • 4-5 T olive oil
  • 4 large tomatoes, tops cut off and seeds scooped out
  • 4 oz goat cheese, sliced into 4 rounds

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Bake the bread for 5 minutes on each side. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Increase the temperature to 375 degrees.
  3. Tear the bread into small chunks and chop them in the food processor until you have fairly even crumbs that are not too fine.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the parsley, oregano, garlic, capers, salt and olive oil. Stir in the bread crumbs until well mixed. If there doesn’t seem to be enough olive oil to coat them all, add a little more.
  5. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out all the seeds. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, in a 9×9 baking dish (larger if needed).
  6. Put a little of the crumb mixture in the bottom of each tomato and press down.
  7. Add the goat cheese and then fill the tomatoes with a generous amount of the crumb mixture, heaping it on top.
  8. Bake until a brown crust forms, about 20 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
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