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Friday, October 31, 2008

Turkey, Brie, and Apple Sandwiches

On a recent trip to LA, I had the delight of enjoying a turkey, brie, and apple sandwich at the airport. It was SO good, that I decided to recreate it at home for my husband. I probably should have asked the shop what went into the sandwich, but it seemed pretty straightforward so I just winged it.

I picked up a long french baguette from the bakery, and sliced it into medium sub sized pieces, the sliced in half. I layered some chicken (the original sandwich had turkey deli meat, but I didn't have any of that... I think some leftover carved turkey breast from Thanksgiving would go great in these!), slices of brie, and slices of granny smith apple. I popped sandwich (open faced) in the toaster oven to broil for a few minutes, until the bread started to brown and the brie melted a bit.

YUM! The chicken I had cooked the night before on the stove, just with salt and pepper, and it was a little to peppery for me, but my husband loved it. I can't wait for leftover turkey at thanksgiving to make this again!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Baked Brie

We are HUGE fans of brie, and typically I just wrap it up in some puff pastry and bake it. I got a different recipe for baked brie at my bridal shower from the famed Linda. Since we wanted to celebrate my certification exam victory (I passed!), we decided to give this recipe a try while we enjoyed a good bottle of wine from our trip to Door County a few months ago.

The recipe is quite simple, it just calls for topping the brie with apricot preserves and slivered almonds, then baking at 350 degrees for 15-20 min. Since I love it wrapped in puff pastry, I still wanted to incorporate that. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until too late that my one sheet of puff pastry in the freezer was no longer worthy of consumption. But, I did have some roll out pie crust, so I used that instead.

I started with rolling out the pie crust, and spreading with apricot preserves and slivered almonds in the center.

I layed down the brie (with the rind cut off), then wrapped the pie crust up around the brie, cutting away a few triangles so as not to have an excess of crust.

I flipped it over, and layed it down on a parchment lined baking sheet. I used some of the leftover dough to make little leaf cut outs for the top (Hi, fall!).

In the oven it went at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes (I left it in a little longer for the pie crust. Mine happened to crack, and I suppose I could have saved it from the oven before that if I had been watching more closely.

This was absolutely delicious, as I expected! We served with crackers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

I am still technically on a baking hiatus, but the cute Halloween related cupcake decorations at Target got to me. I decided that I NEEDED to bake cupcakes and bring them to work. The decision for what kind of cupcake was easy....pumpkin! I had seen a recipe in my google reader at Fresh From Cate's Kitchen and I instantly knew I wanted to make them! Pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting... how good does that sound?!

Along with the Halloween cupcake liners, sprinkles, and carved pumpkin flags that I planned to adorn the cupcakes with, I thought I'd try my hand at more decorating with royal icing. I had some leftover thinned royal icing that I wanted to re-thicken and make spiders with. I completely forgot about thickening it, and ended up working with the thinned icing. After about 24 hours of drying, they were completely dry, and I think they turned out really cute! I used an offset spatula to carefully dislodge them from the parchment paper, and only broke one leg. :-)

Behold... my army of spiders!

The cupcake recipe was soooo easy to throw together. I love the recipes where you just throw together all the dry ingredients, throw together all the wet ingredients, mix them together gently and you are done! The frosting recipe makes enough to quite liberally frost the 18 cupcakes I made, so if you are following the cupcake recipe and only making 12, you could cut down the frosting recipe a bit. Overall, the two go SO well together, the flavors really play off one another. Great dessert!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
From: Fresh From Cate's Kitchen
Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and sugars.
In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack

For the frosting:
4 tbsp butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 cups powdered sugar

With the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese.
Add maple syrup and beat on medium until combined.
Mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, then mix on medium-high until smooth.
Frost each cupcake liberally.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

BB: Vegetable (Chicken) Pot Pie

My husband wasn't going to let me get away with making a pot pie and NOT putting chicken in it. Really, it's fine by me because it's important to me to have a decent amount of protein in a main meal, especially if I am making a treat like pot pie. I made a few changes (listed in italics) with the vegetables she used based on what I had available, and cut the recipe in half. I also decided to try a lattice crust for the first time. I had so much fun making it! We loved the pot pie, and I thought the addition of saffron was really neat. (And I was happy it was in there after I realized I completely forgot to add the parsley!) It was a great comfort meal for a very windy, chilly day!

Vegetable Pot Pie
from Barefoot Contessa Parties! on page 255
Chosen by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen
See the other Barefoot Bloggers here

    For the pie:
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise (omitted)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod (omitted)
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus tips (omitted)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (4 carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound) (omitted)
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley (used dried)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 2 cups diced, cooked chicken

    For the pastry:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Butternut Squash Risotto

My former childhood self would be appalled at my present love for butternut squash. I could bear to stomach it as a child, and after learning a few different ways to prepare it, I fell in love! So, I was excited to see that the next BB recipe was Butternut Squash Risotto. This recipe did NOT disappoint, in fact, it's my favorite risotto to date! We LOVED this and I can't wait to make it again! I cut the recipe in half and it was enough as a side dish for 4 meals.

Butternut Squash Risotto
~1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
~2 tablespoons olive oil
~kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
~6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
~6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
~2 ounces pancetta, diced (omitted)
~1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
~1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
~1/2 cup dry white wine
~1 teaspoon saffron threads
~1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Platinum Chef 9: Apple Pumpkin Chili

I'm BACK! I've been quite busy in the last month preparing for a huge exam. It is OVER now, so I can finally get back in the kitchen and start sharing recipes again. YAY! I also happen to think this is the perfect way to come back... with the Platinum Chef Challenge! I love this event, as it seems to be the only way to get creative juices flowing in the kitchen.

This time, Lisa of Lime in the Coconut chose GREAT ingredients for fall! This round we had to create something with sage, bacon, apples, shallots, and mushrooms. All I have been able to think about since the arrival of fall is CHILI, and I decided that all these ingredients definitely belonged in a chili together. We already have a favorite red chili, so I decided this should go the white chili route. We're a no beef household, so I use either ground turkey or chicken and, for this challenge, turkey bacon (which really is nothing to write home about. I would have much prefered real bacon or some pancetta or something, but alas, those are off the list, too). The flavors really came together nicely in this, and the best part is that it's just an easy throw-together recipe for the crockpot. Love it!

Apple Pumpkin Chili

  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken, browned in a skillet
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) white beans, I went for one can northern and one can navy
  • 1.5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, cleaned, and sliced
  • 4 slices bacon, browned and crumbled or chopped
  • one medium shallot, diced
  • 1 granny smith apple, diced
  • 1/2 of a 14oz can pumpkin puree (about 1 cup)
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • (optional) equal parts arrowroot or cornstarch and chicken broth, for thickening
  • grated gouda cheese, for topping

Combine all except thickener and cheese in a crockpot. Stir to mix ingredients. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6. Add thickener if desired and heat on high for a few minutes to thicken sauce. Serve, topping with grated gouda.