Kale + Gruyère Puff Pastry Tartlets ~ Last week I help put together not one, but t-w-o parties –– It was a b-u-s-y week to say the least –– whew-wee. It was during this time that I was looking for things to make that could be easily transported, and hopefully served hot because this weather has been so darn coo coo lately. I also needed to get something together for dinner because well, we have to eat too. I have long been a fan of puff pastry and pretty anything that’s touched it along the way. Don’t be intimidated or afraid to work with this ultra flaky pastry dough –– just be sure to thaw it out first and keep it cool until ready to use. Throw it on a floured surface, top with fresh chopped kale greens twisted in with some creamy Gruyère cheese then bake it up, pat yourself on the back, and enjoy your awesomeness while chomping on these tasty morsels.
Mix the kale in with the Gruyère cheese-y goodness sauce.
Lay out chilled puff pastry onto a floured surface and cut into 12 (somewhat even) slices.
Place onto a lined cookie sheet and poke the center of each piece.
Add filling into the center of each piece.
Pinch up the sides, using slightly wet hands can help seal up the sides, then place in the oven to bake.
Remove when golden in color and “puffed” up.
Serve ‘em up –– these didn’t even make it to a party, they ended up being our dinner.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place garlic, onion, and butter into a large pan over medium heat. Stir and cook until butter is melted. Once butter is melted whisk in flour until well incorporated then slowly add in milk while continuing to whisk together. Next add in the gruyere cheese and continue to stir together for another 1-2 minutes or until cheese is almost completely melted. Remove from the heat, add in the kale, and stir well.
Lay out puff pastry and cut into 12 equal pieces then place each piece onto the prepared cookie sheet leaving space between each one. Using a fork poke a few holes in the center of each piece. Then place a heaping Tablespoon or two into the center of each pastry piece until the mixture evenly divided onto each piece. Then using wet fingers, pinch and fold up all of the sides to create and open pocket for each portion. Once all of the sides are pinched up place into the oven for 25-30 minutes of until pastry puffs up on the sides and is golden brown in color. Once golden in color, remove from the oven and serve.
Top 8 Kitchen Tips ~ The other day a good friend of mine asked me what my favorite “kitchen tip” would be if I was to share just one. I was kind of taken back by this because it’s not a question that I get often, although tips always seem to creep into my recipes in one form or another, but choosing O-N-E? I don’t have just one I have many, so why not talk about these and share them with you? First and fore most cooking at home should be some what fun and not just looked at as a chore. I know this can be a hard concept to agree with because, let’s face it, we are a B-U-S-Y group of people. So, if (and when) cooking at home I think there are a few things that can be very useful once you get into the groove of it.
First up: stay sharp! Sharp knives are key in any kitchen. A lot of chefs will tell you to sharpen them every time before you use them –– is this realistic in a home kitchen? Probably not? … but I think it is something that should be done at least once a week (or so) if … you are using them daily, that is. I had a hard time narrowing this list down but here are some other tops picks for all things kitchen.
When using ginger, fresh is best and bonus, it smells amazing. Use the back of a regular spoon to remove the outer skin. Then, slice, dice, or chop what you need. One of the great things about fresh ginger is that it store easily. Peel it, then cut how you want it, and place in a ziplock, airtight bag in the freezer and your good to go for up to 3 months.
I use brown sugar quite often and I really can’t stand when it gets to firm to get out of the container. Solve this by simply placing an end piece of a loaf of bread (you weren’t going to eat it anyway) into the storage container along with the sugar –– you will never have hard brown sugar again.
I adore fresh herbs. This trick may make your refrigerator look a bit like a science lab but it keeps your herbs fresher, longer. Wash to herbs well –– such as parsley, cilantro, basil, thyme –– and trim the ends off.
Place the cut herbs into a glass with about 1″-2″ of water. Place a plastic bag gently over the top and store in the refrigerator. Use herbs as needed and change water every 3-4 days.
We eat a LOT of Texas citrus –– especially this time of year. This short video explains how to segment it to get maximum fruit minus the peel. A side tip for this: after you segment, squeeze the remaining center of the fruit into a glass and use this juice for an easy salad dressing.
Speaking of citrus … lemon is another household favorite. To get the maximum amount to juice extracted from it, place the whole fruit into the microwave for 20 seconds before slicing and juicing.
If you’ve never had roasted garlic you really, I mean, really should. This is one I think everyone should know. Make a large batch and keep it on hand for topping pizzas, flatbreads, pasta dishes, cheeses, and more. SO good.
Mushrooms are fun to cook with but stuffing them can be a bit tricky. Use a spoon handle to gently scoop out the stem without cracking the ‘shrooms in half.
Saag Paneer Pappardelle ~ I haven’t always enjoyed Indian food. Growing up, my parents had some dear friends from India that would have our family over for dinner once in a while and I remember these dishes and smells fondly. However, after a trip to England –– a land filled with copious amounts of Indian Restaurants –– I had one of those well, let’s just say it was a bad experience. It took a long time for me to come back around to Indian food again and now I’m back in full force. Once of my favorite dishes is Saag Paneer –– basically its a creamy spinach with a firm cheese that doesn’t really melt and cooks up more like a tofu. There are a few places around town that do this dish well, but I have discovered that I am kinda picky about this dish. Many places tend to “over work” their spinach and often times they blend it up into almost a full pulp –– I am not a fan of this style. I like to taste and see my spinach and right now the spinach season is in full swing so, why not? Toss this creamy sauce and dish into a bowl of thick pappardelle noodles and my world is a happy one. This recipe can be complicated if you let it be and if you have the time, or a wild hair, you could even make your own paneer cheese –– here’s a great how-to for that –– but I opted to keep this recipe fairly simple. You could also use ghee for this recipe, if you have that great, if not my steps include a shortcut to a clarified butter which works well here. This is a deliciously fine way to enjoy your spinach and cheese ~ dig in.
Gorgeous spinach from Johnson’s Backyard Garden to start this dish off right.
Paneer cheese cut into cubes.
A mixture of spices really make this dish and of course, the cream.
Add in the spiced cream – yum.
Serve some up for you and a friend (or two) and dig in.
Cook pappardelle according to directions. While that is cooking, clean spinach well, remove end stems, and set aside. Slice paneer cheese into cubes and set aside. Place a large pan over medium high heat and add in the garlic and olive oil. Place butter (if using) into the microwave for 30 seconds -- otherwise skip this step and use ghee. Once butter is finished pour the clear part of the butter slowly into the garlic pan. Discard the thick creamy part of the butter. Next, add in paneer cheese cubes and sauté for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes add in the grated onions and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes or until cheese is golden. Once golden remove the cheese and onions from the pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl add the red pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, salt and pepper and whisk together well. Next add the cream into the spices and whisk together well then set aside. Place the spinach into that same pan used for sautéing the cheese, over medium high heat. Sauté the spinach for 2 minutes then slowly pour in the spiced cream mixture. Continue to sauté for another 3 minutes then add the cheese and onions into the spinach pan and stir together well. Let cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat.
Add the spinach and cheese mixture into a large bowl with the cooked and drained pasta. Stir together well and serve.
Honey Mustard Broccoli Chicken ~ There has been a slight theme going on around these parts as of late, have you noticed? I’ve been all about the e-a-s-y weeknight dinner. This is not a new trend for me, or anyone for that matter, but I have been trying to add more and more options to our weeknight family meals. This is mainly in part due to the fact that we are in the thick of the school year and life with elementary aged kids –– so I look at this as more of a survival tactic, to get us through until spring break at least. This week I’ve added this Honey Mustard Broccoli Chicken dish into our weeknight madness I mean, repertoire. The small cuts of chicken cook up quickly while the sliced broccoli gets hot but remains crunchy with a sweet and slightly tangy sauce. This pairs well over a bed of quinoa, couscous, or brown rice if you want it to be a little heartier and it happens to be gluten free if that’s your thing. I made this recipe over at Studio512 yesterday with the always lovely Amanda Tatom –– you can watch that video below in the meantime pause and take a moment, you deserve it.
Fresh broccoli may be cut into larger pieces or bite size if you prefer.
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces to cook up faster.
Easy peasy honey mustard sauce = yum.
I always enjoy my time with Amanda Tatom on Studio 512 ~ click the photo above to watch us make this dish together.
Place milk and corn starch into a medium bowl and whisk together until the corn starch is fully dissolved. Next add in mustard, honey, salt, and pepper and whisk together well then set aside.
Place a large pan over medium high heat and add in olive oil, garlic, and onions. Sauté for 1 minute then add in the chicken while continuing to sauté for another 3 minutes. Next, add broccoli into the pan and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes. Finally, reduce heat to low and add in the honey mustard mixture. Stir until well combined, remove from heat and add in fresh cilantro , give a final stir then serve.
Rustic Cheddar Potato Soup ~ Oh goodness this weather –– one day you are warming up and sunny, and the next day you are threatening a freeze with drizzly clouds. It is during this “season” that I love to warm-up the house, and our bellies, with the smells of a slow cooker soup. My parents came to visit last week, after a long road trip, so I wanted to have something on-hand for them to eat. A slow cooker crockpot soup seemed to be the ideal thing and it paired well with our brisk nights. I threw it all in a giant pot and let it cook down until they were ready to sit (again). What makes this soup creamy is putting half of it into the blender then adding it back into the big pot. You can leave this step out if you’d rather not deal with the blender or if you just truly like a more chunky style soup either way the results will be flavorful and hearty. I also enjoy this one with the potato skins still on but if they aren’t your thing you could always peel them off. Make a batch, then cozy up.
Once everything is chopped, it’s ready to slowly cook.
Add everything, except the cheddar and parsley, into a large slow cooker and place on low heat. Cook for 2 hours then remove half of the soup and place it into a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy then add it back into the slow cooker and stir together well.
Turn the slow cooker to the warm setting. When ready to serve add half of the cheddar cheese and the parsley into the slow cooker and stir well. Serve into individual bowls, then top each with 1/4 cup of cheese. Serve.
Red Fish Tacos with Carrot Dill Slaw ~ We have had a busy few weeks filled with parties, out of town guests, piano lessons, clubs, classes, and more –– whew-wee. When these types of weeks happen it’s hard to get dinner on the table in a timely manner so I am always trying to come up with healthy and easy to assembly meals for such occasions –– join the club, right? You already know about our strong love for all things taco around this household so this dish was a natural progression into mealtime. I started out, as most of us do, rushing to get home and get dinner going after one of those crazy days but soon after I started to make these tacos, I realized this recipe was too delicious not to share. I picked up some red fish at the farmers market but you could substitute this with the favorite fish of your choice –– preferably one that’s fairly thin but slightly meaty and mild in flavor. Having some fragrant fresh dill still on hand from this dish, I added some in with crispy carrot shreds, lime juice, and a touch of honey to top the fish with a hearty amount of zesty slaw. The results? delish! and … there was still enough time for books and cuddles before bed.
Grate or shred the carrots to mix in with the zesty slaw dressing.
Add in the fresh dill.
Now you’ve got fresh Carrot Dill Slaw –– I made extra for lunch the next day –– yum.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a heavy duty oven save pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Next add fish into the pan then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook fish for 3 minutes, then transfer pan into the oven. Continue to cook in the oven for 6-10 minutes or until desired doneness is reached. Once finished remove from the oven and set aside.
for the carrot slaw
Add olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl and whisk together well. Next add shredded carrots and dill and stir together until well coated then, set aside.
Place about 1/4 cup of the fish into a tortilla. Top with about a 1/4 cup of the carrot slaw, two tablespoons of cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. Continue process until all of the tacos are assembled then serve.
Pink Grapefruit Old Fashioned ~ This is really not and “old” fashioned but more of a modern day, upgraded one in honor of love week. Since we are “in the mood for love” this month, I decided to bring out a few new heart-race-worthy recipes –– including this one –– for the occasion AND I […]
Country Style Roasted Lamb with Mint Chimichurri ~ I always have food on my mind, or so it seems, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about lamb. Partly due to the fact that the American Lamb Board is bringing it’s Lamb Jam Tour to Austin for the first time (I am honored to be […]
Dark Chocolate Cheese Cake Mousse Crepes ~ I apologize for the delay in posting during this last week but I bring you dark chocolate so … that’s ok, right? I haven’t posted as of late, not for lack of eating or drinking mind you … but, for being swamped with visitors and birthday parties galore […]
Broccoli Bites with Yogurt Dill Sauce ~ Broccoli has not always been a household favorite around here. In fact, I feel like it took y-e-a-r-s of trying to get a *certain* someone to even accept something green to touch his plate. You know, as a new parent, you often hear people tell you “just keep trying, […]