Saturday, August 18, 2012

Easy Peasy Peach Croissants

I'm almost embarrassed to post this recipe it's so easy.  Almost.  But it's SO good and the end results are SO pretty to look at I can't resist!  

This is another recipe from the Savory Sweet Life cookbook, which I would have glossed right over for the time being had Alice not featured it in her weekly cookbook club.  And just in case that wasn't incentive enough, the timing of her feature coincided with the debut of local peaches here in western Massachusetts.  Enough said.  Off to the store I went to purchase a package of frozen puff pastry.  

You begin by thawing one sheet of frozen puff pastry.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut the peaches in half (my peaches were on the small side so I used three peaches) remove the pit and cut the peaches into slices.
Roll the puff pastry sheet out on a lightly floured surface and cut into four equal square pieces by cutting the sheet in half vertically and horizontally.  Take one square of puff pastry and rotate it so it looks like a diamond.  Place peach slices across the center of the diamond from left to right.   

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then grab the top and bottom corner and bring them to the center, pinching them together to seal them.  Repeat this process with each of the remaining squares and peach slices.

Place the croissants on the baking sheet.  Brush the puff pastry with an egg wash.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the croissants are golden brown.  I topped mine with coarse sugar (because coarse sugar on top of nearly any baked good makes it better). 

I imagine these would be good with any sort of fruit filling.  I know I'll be making them with apples in a few weeks and would also like to try them filled with chocolate!

This is a great recipe to have on hand when you have overnight guests.  It's quick, simple and yields impressive results!

 Bon Appetit!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Orzo with Zucchini

So my dilemma this morning is figuring out whether I should make double chocolate zucchini bread OR lemon poppy-seed zucchini bread.  Perhaps a loaf of both?

Meanwhile, I've been meaning to share this recipe for orzo with zucchini (and CHEESE) with you!  Since we're in the height of zucchini season here in the northeast, I figured there's no better time than the present, so here you go!  

This recipe came from my friend, Kathryn, a few years ago and has become a 'regular' in our household.  You can use any type of cheese.  I've made it with good (imported) parmesan, goat cheese or most recently with Misery Mountain cheese from Cricket Creek Farm.   It's simple, hearty and delicious!

Orzo with Zucchini

1/2 lb. orzo
3 T. or so olive oil
a lot of zucchini: five or six small ones, two or three large ones, or even more
1 yellow or white onion, finely diced
1 c. or so grated/shredded cheese of your choice (the original recipe calls for parmesan, but I've used goat cheese, parmesan, or local farmstead cheese),salt and pepper to taste (I like to use Borsari and fresh-grated pepper.  Borsari is produced by one of my childhood neighbors, you can read more about that here.)

Mixing orzo, zucchini and cheese

1. Cook orzo according to package directions.
2. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Squeeze out excess water.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute grated zucchini and onion over medium heat until well-cooked and beginning to brown (be patient, this will take a while)
4. Combine cooked orzo with cooked zucchini and onions. Stir in cheese.

Serving it up!

Bon Appetit!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cabbage and Beet Borscht

I know I've posted before about how I don't like cucumbers, and now I have to rag on another vegetable:  beets.  They taste like dirt.  There, I said it.  Their sweetness just makes the dirt-flavor more pronounced.  They're what I imagine a mud pie would taste like.  Yuck.

But, a lot of people like beets.  They're beautiful.  We get them quite frequently in our CSA share.  And I'm not one to give up--there has to be a way to prepare these that will be better than palatable.  Something I'll think is good.

And I may have found that recipe.  Cabbage and beet borscht.  My mother-in-law likes borscht, and she was coming over for dinner so I figured I'd use up my dreaded beets on a meal I knew at least one person would enjoy.  I scanned around the internet looking for a recipe, and ultimately settled on this one since I also had a head of red cabbage sitting in the fridge from the CSA.

I followed the linked recipe from Allrecipes pretty closely (except I omitted the optional caraway seeds, and vegetable quantities were approximate based on how much I had on hand).  It appears to be a near-clone of the Borscht recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook, a cookbook that is sadly lacking from my bookshelf.  Perhaps this will be the impetus I need to finally add The Moosewood Cookbook to my collection!

End result was a soup where the beet flavor was tamed from "dirty" to "earthy".  I can live with earthy.  I mean, I wouldn't want to eat this borscht every day, but for the times when we get beets in our CSA share, well, this isn't such a bad way to use them up!

Zucchini Bread Bake-off

I had the fun task of being one of the "blogger's choice" judges at Fat Moon Farm's zucchini bread bake-off.  The other two judges were Kathi from The Full Fridge and Andy from My Untangled Life.  It was fun to meet other bloggers who are passionate about food and cooking!

I made a loaf of the double chocolate zucchini bread Jules posted the other day.

It was good--certainly didn't disappoint.  I didn't have espresso powder so I subbed a teaspoon of cinnamon--I'd probably use more in the future as you couldn't taste the cinnamon.  Also, like Jules, I sprinkled some coarse sugar on top, because, well, I thought that was a FINE idea!

But, my favorites of the day were a lemon poppy zucchini bread and a banana zucchini bread--I hope they end up sharing the recipe as anything I think is better than chocolate, you KNOW it has to be good!  Those were the two breads us three bloggers chose for the "bloggers' choice" awards.

**EDIT TO ADD--Here's a link to the Fat Moon site about the event, with links to recipes!

And here are the real winners--all of us who got to try all the delicious zucchini bread!  Thanks, Elizabeth at Fat Moon, for planning this fun event!

And check out the lovely flowers they gave me!  Aren't they beautiful?? 

A lovely afternoon, and one of the many reasons why I enjoy eating locally and getting to know local farmers and producers!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

100 ways to serve Peanut Coconut Sauce

Our posts have been a wee bit scarce the past couple of weeks, but that doesn't mean we haven't been cooking!  I've got a few recipes I can't wait to share with you.  

Several weeks ago I posted this recipe for noodles with peanut sauce. Since then, this peanut sauce, which keeps well for a couple of weeks in the fridge, has joined the ketchup, mustard and mayo in the condiment shelf, so I thought I'd share some of the many ways we've been serving it up.

You've heard me wax poetic about Alice Currah's Savory Sweet Life Cookbook (which is the source of the aforementioned peanut sauce recipe).  She also has an AMAZING recipe for Thai Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers (which sounded a lot like Chicken Satay to my undiscriminating palette).  One night I found myself with a pork shoulder steak on hand from Holiday Brook Farm.  SO, I whipped up a batch of Alice's marinade and poured it over the pork steak so it could 'do its thing' overnight.  We grilled the pork over indirect heat (lighting alternate burners on our gas grille and placing the meat over the unlit burner).  I served it with sauteed snow peas (also from Holiday Brook Farm) and Alice's Coconut Rice, which is out of this world (and also good with Peanut Coconut Sauce drizzled on top). 

Here's the recipe for the marinade, which I followed to a T.

1/4 cup soy (Okay, I told a little white lie above - I actually used Tamari to make this gluten free.) 
3 Tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon curry powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger 
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.  Pour over meat, covering it well.  Place in fridge (covered) to marinate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

For the rice cook enough rice (I prefer jasmine rice here) to yield 4 cups.  As the rice is cooking, set a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat.  Add 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut and stir frequently until most of the flakes are aromatic, toasted and browned (3 to 4 minutes).  Immediately transfer the rice to a large bowl.  Add the warm rice to the bowl, and mix the rice and coconute continuously with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice has change dcolor from white to light brown.

A week or so later, we were experiencing a wicked heat spell here in the northeast.  I couldn't bring myself to cook indoors and decided to put the leftover Peanut Coconut Sauce and Nappa Cabbage from our CSA share at Holiday Brook Farm to good use.  I chopped the cabbage and shredded a few carrots on top for a splash of color.  I grilled a couple of boneless chicken breasts and cut them into chunks, then tossed them into the cabbage/carrot mixture.  Added a few toasted, sliced almonds and some fried mung bean threads.  Poured some Peanut Coconut Sauce on top and voila - dinner was served!  Even my other half, who would normally balk at the idea of having salad for supper really enjoyed this! 

And finally, the recipe for which this sauce is intended.  Thai Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers.

I again used the  marinade recipe above, but only had time to let the chicken 'soak' for an hour.  Then I grilled the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes turning the skewers over half-way through.  Serve with Coconut Rice and a salad - YUM!

I know I *promised* 100 ways to serve Peanut Coconut Sauce and I've only shared three, but honestly, there have probably been 97 additional servings right off the spoon.  This sauce is THAT good.  So do yourself a favor and try it soon!

Bon Appetit!