OLD-FASHIONED CAULIFLOWER PIE with POTATO CRUST

Old-Fashioned Cauliflower Pie with Potato CrustI recently made this for dinner, and loved it!  It takes about an hour to pre-prepare, but the potato crust is well worth the effort.  I prepared it when I had time in the afternoon (you could do so the evening before as well), and then did the final baking before serving dinner.

POTATO CRUST

2 firmly packed C. of grated raw potatoes

½ tsp. salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 C. grated onion

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the raw potato strings in a colander. Add salt to the potatoes & let them set for 10 minutes, then, using your hand, squeeze out the excess water.

In a medium bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, & the onions & stir to mix well.  Pat the potato mixture into the greased pie pan gently with the back of a spoon.   Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove the pie pan from the oven & let rest & cool a bit before adding the cauliflower mixture. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

 FILLING

½ tsp. salt

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 C. half & half cream

2-3 Tbs. Mascarpone (cream cheese)

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. paprika

Make the potato crust & bake it while you are preparing the pie mixture. In a small bowl, beat together the salt, eggs, half & half, pepper & paprika, then set aside.  You may be tempted to make more liquid than this, but believe me, this is enough!

3 Tbs. butter

½ C. onion, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp. seasoned salt

1 tsp. savory

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets

In a frying pan over medium heat, sauté the onions, garlic & seasoned salt until the onions soften & the garlic just begins to colour.  Add the savory, thyme, oregano, parsley & cauliflower & cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

1 C. grated Cheddar cheese

1 C. grated Swiss cheese

Paprika, for garnish

Optional:  Top with pretzels, coarsely crumbled, for a nice crunch

Layer the baked potato crust with half of the cheeses, then the cauliflower-herb mixture, then all the remaining cheese.

Pour the cream mixture over the top.  Bake 35-40 minutes at 180°C (350°F), until the pie is firm & set & the top is just beginning to brown up.  Remove the pan from the oven, let sit for 10 minutes to firm up, sprinkle with paprika & serve.

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Tex-Mex Pizza on a Bisquick Crust

This week we tossed together a delicious pizza (pizza’s big on the menu with a teenager in the house) with a Tex-Mex twist.  The photos didn’t turn out well, so you’ll just need to use your imagination!  It’s worth the effort – this is going on my go-to list!

The baking pan we used was one of those large oven sheets that usually comes with your oven; for that size you’ll want about 4 cups or more of bisquick, with enough water to knead it into a springy dough.

Tex-Mex Pizza

 

Mix the Bisquick dough (click here for a DIY mix) with enough water to make an elastic dough, then roll it out and put in onto a buttered pan (I use coconut oil).  You can either leave it raw to top with the ingredients, or pre-bake it a bit.

 

Pan Dish:

2 Chicken breasts, diced and cooked with:

2-4 shallots, sliced in thin rings

a handful of freshly chopped coriander

lime juice – a good dose to sauté into the meat and onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté this mixture together until the meat is cooked through, and remove from heat.  Into the warm mixture, toss:

1 small can of garbanzo beans

1 small can of kidney beans

a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

spices to taste (fajita spice mix, or chilli powder, or a bit of mesquite spice)

Toss to combine, then set aside.

 

1 avocado

a handful of black olives, chopped

300 gr. grated cheese of choice (Cheddar would work great, but there are several Swiss cheeses that are great alternatives too)

Preheat your oven to 220°C (430°F)

Slice 1 avocado in “half-moon” slices, and chop the olives; distribute both over the crust.

Pour the pan mixture over the avocado and olives, spreading it out to the edges evenly.

Top with the grated cheese and pop into the oven.

Bake ~20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browning slightly.

 

En Guete!

 

 

Go-To Bisquick Apple Pie

Groaning Bisquick Apple PieI made this pie tonight by combining two recipes and tweaking – as one does.  It’s delicious, and I think I can stop looking for a go-to recipe for apple pies!  The crumbly crust of Bisquick contrasts with the creamy smooth filling and texture of the baked apple slices to make it a sensuous experience in the mouth.

Go-To Bisquick Apple Pie

CRUST

2 C. Bisquick Mix

½ C. Softened butter

5-6 Tbs. Hot water

Whisk together with a fork until smooth and a ball is formed.  Pat into a buttered pie dish, smoothing it up the edges.  Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling:

FILLING

400 gr. apple juice

2 Tbs. cornstarch

2 Tbs. butter

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 medium cooking apples (peeled, cored & sliced)

Combine apple juice & cornstarch in a medium saucepan, stirring well. Cook over medium heat until thickened & bubbly. Stir in butter, cinnamon, & vanilla. Add apples; toss well to coat.

Pour into the pie crust, spreading evenly.  Bake at 180°C 35-40 minutes, until crust is golden brown.  Let it rest ~10 minutes; the liquid will firm up.

Add a dollop of whipped cream, and enjoy!

Elvish Lembas Bread

In honour of Lammas Day, I’d like to share a recipe for Lembas Bread, the Elvish bread from Lord of the Rings.  This recipe is floating around all over the internet, so unfortunately I don’t know who the originator is to give them proper credit.  This type of bread is similar to Hardtack, which has a long history of being used as part of a pilgrim’s travelling provisions; sailors survived on it during long sea voyages when fresh bread had long gone the way of the “bargemen” (weevils), and pioneers travelling west through America took it along in their provisions for the journey.

Also attached is a template for a Mallorn leaf, which in LOR lore, the elves used to pack the bread for travelling.  To make the leaves, I’d recommend a forest green cloth, or a mesh-fibre table cloth.  I’d also recommend making the bread before cutting out the leaves, so that the latter fit the former.  Adjust leaf joints to the size of squares as you pack them.  Just copy the jpg, adjust the size for printing out your template, then cut it out and have fun!

By the way, if you love reading, and love Elves, check out my 2-part fantasy novel, The Cardinal!  Available in Kindle and Paperback.  Just click on the cover art to link to Amazon.  Enjoy, and be sure to write a great review to let other people know what you loved about the story!

This makes a delicately lemon-flavoured, lightly sweetened scone-type bread.

Lembas Bread in Mallorn LeafLembas Bread

2 ½ C. flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 Tbs. cold butter
1/3 C. sugar
2/3 C. milk
½ tsp. lemon extract

Preheat over to 425°F (220°C). Mix flour, baking powder, & salt in a large bowl. Chop butter into mixture with a pastry cutter or knead in with your fingers until you get a crumbly mixture. Add sugar & mix. Add milk & lemon extract & stir with a fork until dough forms.

Roll the dough out about ½ inch thick. Cut out 3 inch squares & transfer to a cookie sheet. Criss-cross each square from corner to corner with a knife. Bake for about 12 minutes or until set & lightly golden.

Mallorn Leaf

MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKEN PIE with MINT & CORIANDER SAUCE

Moroccan Spiced Chicken Pie WatermarkedThis typical Middle Eastern pie is crammed with lovely contrasting flavours, and a main dish well worth the effort!  It looks complicated, but it’s really not – put on some good music, and enjoy the experience!  If you want to spread this preparation over two days as I did, then you can dry-roast the spices, toss the meat mixture together raw, and keep chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to put it all together; then, cook the meat mix, wilt the spinach and toss into the meat mixture, along with the roasted spices.  When you’re ready to bake it, follow the assembly directions as below.

MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKEN PIE

 

1) Dry-Roasted Spices

2  tsp. coriander seeds

2  tsp. cumin seeds

1  tsp. paprika, plus extra for dusting

½  tsp. ground cinnamon

140  gr. whole blanched almonds

140  gr. pistachios, shelled

In a pan, dry-roast the spices and nuts together, stirring regularly.  It only take a couple minutes – be careful not to allow them to burn.  This process brings out the flavours.  Set them aside to cool.

2) Wilted Spinach

A dash of olive (or coconut) oil to sauté

225  gr. fresh spinach

A dash of salt and pepper

Sauté the fresh spinach leaves with a bit of oil and salt and pepper; pour into a bowl and set aside for now.

3) Meat Mixture

2-3  shallots, quartered

4  cm gingerroot, finely chopped

1  tsp. ground cumin

2  whole garlic cloves

A dash of olive (or coconut) oil to sauté

900  gr. chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks

75  gr. dried cranberries

6  Tbs. clear honey

400  gr. canned chickpeas, drained & rinsed (either as-is, or blend into a paste)

3  Tbs. lemon juice

4  Tbs. fresh coriander, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).  Sauté the shallots, ginger, garlic and cumin together with the chicken; when the meat is nearly done, add the remaining ingredients and heat through, adding the roasted spices and the wilted spinach, tossing well to mix.  Set all aside while you prepare the pastry.

4) Pastry

100  gr. butter or coconut oil

2 flaky rectangular pastry doughs

A bit of cream to brush

Grease a rectangular casserole dish and line with one of the rectangular pastry doughs.  Poke with a fork a few times.  Pour in the filling mixture, and top with the second dough; pinch the edges together and trim off any excess dough.  Brush the top of the dough with a bit of cream, and then pierce several places with a fork.

Bake at 200°C /400°F for 35-45 minutes, until the dough is golden brown.  Serve with the Mint & Coriander Sauce.

MINT & CORIANDER SAUCE

Moroccan Mint & Coriander Yogurt Sauce Watermarked

100  gr. low – fat Greek yoghurt

50 gr. Plain yoghurt

1-2 mint tea bags – contents only, or 2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves very finely chopped

3 sprigs fresh coriander, finely chopped

¼ C. Red bell pepper, finely diced

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Prepare the ingredients and toss all together, stirring thoroughly to blend.  Serve as a side sauce, chilled.

Strawberry–Pretzel Delight

strawberry-pretzel dessertThe recipe last week reminded me of this dessert; this has a shock factor, as people don’t often associate pretzels with something as sweet as this concoction!  I made this for a dinner with my husband’s work team and their spouses, and it was a huge hit – the salty pretzels are a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the strawberries.  You could substitute any fruit you want, and I’m sure it would turn into a smash hit too!

Strawberry Pretzel Delight

2 C. Crushed pretzels
¾ C. Butter, melted
3 Tbs. Sugar
8 oz. (225 gr.) Mascarpone (or cream cheese), softened
¾ C. Sugar
8 oz. (225 ml.) whipped cream (sweetened [American] or unsweetened [the European way!])
6 oz. (170 gr.) strawberry Jello (or plain gelatin + 1 tsp. strawberry extract and part of the frozen strawberry juice)
2 C. Boiling water
2½ C. Strawberries (frozen and thawed, or fresh – the freezing brings out their juices when thawed)

A few fresh strawberries, prepared for a garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter and 3 tablespoons white sugar; mix well and press mixture into bottom of 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake 8-10 minutes, until set; set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl cream together the Mascarpone and sugar. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread mixture onto cooled crust.
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in (frozen) strawberries and allow to set briefly. When mixture is about the consistency of raw egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.  Garnish, and serve with a smile.

Autumn Roasted Vegetables

I made these last week, and served them with oven-baked beef fillets and wild rice, with a glass of red wine – all make a great combination!

DSCN4028Autumn Roasted Vegetables

3 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
4-5 potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups Brussel sprouts (cut in halves if large)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into inch pieces
1 Tbs. Olive oil
1 1/2 C. Chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. Dried thyme
S&P t.t.
2 Tbs.. Finely chopped pecans for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss vegetables with the oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Place vegetables in a roasting pan. Pour stock into the pan. Roast 45 minutes, stirring and turning every 10 to 15 minutes. When nearly tender, raise oven heat to 425°F (220°C) and continue roasting 10 to 15 minutes more or until vegetables are browned and tender. Remove from oven, drain of any excess liquid, and serve hot, garnished with pecans.

I prepared the vegetables as suggested, but there are two ways to bake these, with two different outcomes:

1) Place all the ingredients into a roasting pot – mine is a deep dish with a deep lid, for baking e.g. a turkey – it’s basically like a slow cooker for the oven.  I heated the oven to 160°C (320°F), and roasted the vegetables about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  About 10 minutes into the process, I put the lid on upside down, and used it as a casserole dish to slow-bake the beef fillets (which were bought pre-marinated, though you could marinate it in a complementary flavour, or rub it down with your favourite spice combination); I flipped those occasionally, and both were ready at the same time.  The vegetables came out more steamed than roasted with this method, but were still delicious!

2) The second method would be to spread out the vegetables in a baking pan, as single-layered as possible, and follow the baking instructions and temperatures as stated.  They will come out crisper.  If you want them really crisp, leave out the liquid, and give them a bit more oil in the tossing phase.  To avoid them drying out, you could put an oven-proof dish of water in the bottom of the oven, or a small ramekin of water in a corner of the roasting pan, remembering to check the water level occasionally so that it doesn’t evaporate all the way.