Archive | June, 2012

strawberry + goat cheese galettes

22 Jun

My parents came to visit and brought along some beautiful fresh, local strawberries (thank you!).  I had this recipe idea kicking around in my head for a while so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

Turns out it’s very good.

For the pastry I used this recipe for pasta frolla (sweet pastry dough) but cut the recipe by a third so I’ve included the reduced measurements for convenience.

I’m thinking a balsamic glaze drizzled over top, or maybe some fresh basil mixed in with the strawberries would be really tasty… but I could be wrong.  Eventually I’ll revisit this and see but in the meantime if any of you, you beautiful sophisticated intelligent readers, try a variation that works let me know.

Makes 5 galettes.

strawberry + goat cheese galettes

ingredients

pastry – from Kitchen Window

  • 2 c flour
  • 2/3 c confectioner’s sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2/3 c unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs

filling

  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 150 g goat cheese

preparation

For pastry – Mix flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl.  Add butter and mix with a pastry cutter until small, pea sized clumps are formed.  Add one whole egg and the yolk of the second egg (set the white aside for later) and mix until just combined.

Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead briefly, form into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using to make it pliable enough to work with.  Divide the dough into 5 chunks and roll each into a ball.  Roll each ball out on a well floured surface – they should be thin, rough edged circles – and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

For filling – Combine strawberries, lemon zest and sugar.

Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle.

Top each rolled out pastry round with a heaping tablespoon of goat cheese and spread it, leaving a 2 inch border with no cheese.  Top the cheese area with a mound of strawberries and fold the pastry border up over the edges of the filling.  Repeat with each round.  Pile any leftover strawberry mixture in the middle of the pastries.

Remember that egg white we set aside?  If not that’s ok but if yes brush egg white over the pastry so it gets nice and crispy and shiny.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden-brown.

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grilled corn salsa + chicken salad

13 Jun

Just a nice simple summer salad… Goes well with some beer and some being outside.

Makes 4 servings

grilled corn salsa + chicken salad

ingredients

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 ears of corn (in husks)
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalepeno, seeds removed and flesh finely diced
  • 6 roma tomatoes, seeds removed and flesh diced
  • 3 small or 2 large avocados, diced
  • 4-5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

preparation

Combine diced red onion, jalepeno, tomatoes, avocado, green onion, cilantro and garlic in a large bowl with juice of half a lime and 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Mix together and set aside.

Heat grill to medium high.

Place corn, in husks, on the grill and cook until husks are charred and corn is tender –  about 12 minutes.  Peel back the husks to let the corn cool.  Once they’re not too hot to handle, cut the kernels off the cob and mix into the salsa.

Meanwhile, squeeze juice from remaining half of the lime over chicken breasts along with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Rub seasonings into both sides of breasts.

Place chicken on the grill and cook – about 5 minutes on each side… maybe more maybe less, it depends how busty your chicken is.

Slice the chicken, lay it on top of a heap of grilled corn salsa and serve with some sliced baguette or fresh corn tortillas.

cinnamon + sea salt chocolate chip cookies

5 Jun

I’m not really a sweet tooth kind of person.  I like desserts.  Even candy sometimes (especially these…), but sweet always takes a back seat to my unhealthy, artery hardening passion for salt.  I love it.  I really really love it.

I used to live down the street from Ezra’s Pound and on some lucky days when I went in to get my coffee they would have these chewy chocolate chip cookies dusted with cinnamon and sea salt.  Normally, I wouldn’t get excited about cookies but these were different.  These were salty.  And sweet.  And cinnamon-y.  And just wonderful.

I moved and now I make my coffee at home and after many cookieless months I realized I could probably make them for myself.  And so I did, and I think they turned out rather nicely.  I used a basic recipe from Gourmet, as I mentioned I’m not much of a cookie person so I don’t have my own favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe… but if you do, use it.

Just one last little thing.  I’m rambling a bit, I know…  Get some flaked sea salt – such as Maldon – if you can.  The texture is perfect for the cookies.  It can be a touch pricey but it’s worth it, great to have around for any dish where a good quality sea salt is called for.

Makes about 36 cookies

cinnamon + sea salt chocolate chip cookies

adapted from Gourmet, October 2003

ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 heaping tbsp flaked sea salt

preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F with a rack positioned in the middle.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time until mixture is creamy.  Beat in vanilla.  Add flour mixture slowly and mix until just blended, then stir in chips.

Scoop 1 heaping tbsp of batter for each cookie and roll into a ball, arranging balls 3 inches apart on 2 baking sheets. Flatten mounds into 3-inch rounds using moistened palm of your hand.  Take a generous pinch of cinnamon (about 1 tbsp for each baking sheet) and dust over cookies lightly then sprinkle with a generous amount of flaked sea salt.

Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden, 10-11 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool and continue making cookies in same manner until batter is used up.

pasta + roasted tomato sauce

2 Jun

I work all day and I get home and I. am. so. HUNGRY.  But I’m also tired.  So the trick is to have an after work dinner that is both satisfying for my tummy and not too much work for my brain and body.

This loose, roasted pasta sauce is just right.  The best thing about it is that there are plenty of variations so even if I make it every couple of weeks – which I do, especially in the winter – it doesn’t get too boring.

The recipe I have here features some wonderful Columbian chorizo sausage (from Segovia – if you’re in Toronto go there..).  It’s also great with shrimp and/or mussels, just add them in the last five minutes in the oven, or leave out the meat altogether and add a few extra tomatoes and some more onion to bulk up the sauce.

Makes 4 servings

pasta + roasted tomato sauce

ingredients

  • 2 handfuls of linguine (or any pasta of your choice)
  • 2 lbs roma tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 large sausages, cut into large pieces

preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut the tops off of the tomatoes.  Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds.  Cut each half into about 3 pieces.  Crush the 6 garlic cloves with the side of a heavy knife, remove the skin and tough bottom from each.

Throw the seeded tomatoes, crushed garlic cloves, sliced onion, basil, capers and sausage in an ovenproof dish.  Squeeze the juice from the 1/2 lemon over everything and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat and put the dish in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Cook the pasta while the sauce is in the oven.

Once sauce is cooked, toss with pasta and serve.