Monday, August 16, 2010

I thought for sure I would make a savory galette (and I will be making the carmelized onion and butternut squash recipe from Smitten Kitchen at some point) but when I stumbled on this recipe on Cooking Light it was love at first sight. Pears, cheese, caramel. Need I say more?
The recipe itself said to use a pre-made refrigerated pie crust but where's the challenge in that? No. I must make my own. I pulled out my handy Betty Crocker Cookbook and found a recipe in there that I have used before. Problem being, I didn't have enough Crisco so I had to make the oil-based crust and just wasn't the same. It was super-crumbly, tough to roll out and just looked plain sad. Luckily, galette does not need to be pretty. Rustic, I believe was the proper adjective for a galette. My crust was rustic looking. It looked much better with a layer of cheddar cheese on it (what doesn't look better when covered in cheese, right)
I peeled, cored and sliced up 5 bosc pears and tossed them in nutmeg and lemon juice. Then I added a little flour. WAY too many pears! Three would have been plenty. There is no way I could have piled all those pears on my sad little crust and had anything to fold up on the edges. If I had paid attention to the comments on the Cooking Light website, I would have known this. Live and learn. So I put on as many as I could while being able to pinch the edges of the crust up enough to hold everything together. Popped it in a 400 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, let it cool a bit and then made up some caramel on the stove to pour over the top.
To my surprise, the crust cooked up nicely and was perfectly flaky. The cheese and pears combo is a nice one cold and even better when the pears are baked and sweetened on top of melted gooey cheese. Caramel drizzle? Can't really ever go wrong there. The only thing I wished I had was a little vanilla ice cream with it. The warm/cold collision would have made it even better.This was my submission for this month's Have the Cake Challenge!

Posted by -colleen

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sauce (almost) from scratch

In my efforts to cook more and eat less processed crap I decided to make my own sauce.
Adapted both these recipes from Skinny Italian, my new favorite cookbook.

Plain sauce:
28 oz can of tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried basil

Pour all the juices and broken up tomatoes into large saucepan (broke up tomatoes just by holding the can over the saucepan and squeezing them with my hands). Add paste and bring all to a boil. Lower heat, add basil and simmer.
Threw this over a little #11 spaghetti and topped with some peccorino romano cheese.

Took about 3/4 of this and made a spicier version too:
3 cups of above sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
I just threw this all together and simmered for a few minutes then poured it on top of 3 chicken breasts and 4-5 cubed red potatoes and cooked in the crock pot on low for 8 hours.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July's Baking Challenge!

This is my submission for July's Have the Cake Challenge!
I was quite intimidated by this challenge and the humidity we have had all month has been an great excuse to put it off (and gain tips from my fellow bakers on what not to do and what to look out for)! So on the last day of the month I decided I had to put aside my fears and get baking.
The recipe I chose was from Simply Recipes. It uses the smaller individual pavlovas which I thought would work better.
I started by separating the eggs which was no easy task. As I learned from Rena, even a small amount of yolk would ruin everything so after getting three done perfectly, I slipped and dropped an entire egg in the whites. I tried to fish out the yolk whole but a little dribbled in so, sigh, I started over again. This time I smartened up and did one egg at a time in a different dish and then poured the whites in the mixing bowl when they were perfectly yolk free. I ruined only one more egg this way (and my dog has lots of yolks for dinner the next few nights). So egg whites and salt in the mixer and begin whisking (oh how I <3 my Kitchen Aid mixer)! I then gradually added the sugar and cornstarch. I used Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (NOT the Splenda for baking-that stuff is nasty) instead of regular sugar. After that had mixed a couple minutes I poured in the vanilla and distilled white vinegar, turned the mixer to high and left it going for about five minutes and did all the dishes.
Once it was nice and formed with stiff peaks, I spooned 8 large dollops of the meringue on a lined cookie sheet and put it in the oven. After about a half hour, they started to look a little beige so I did as the recipe said and lowered the temperature and turned the pan around.
I decided to do a fruit topping of blackberries and raspberries, heating them with some sugar until they broke up. I forgot to buy heavy cream for whip so I made up a little glaze for it as well using lemon curd, lemon juice, honey, vanilla and a little water. I just whipped it up until it was a nice thick but creamy substance.
Perfection! A delicious, light dessert!