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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Asparagus and Potato Tart with Honey

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Who would have thought that honey would work so well with roasted asparagus, laying lusciously  on a bed of mashed buttermilk potatoes? I did not, but then inspiration struck, and boy am I glad that it did!

I’ve been looking through my french cookbooks, and sadly, while this is something that would come from a french cookbook it was inspired by Jamie Oliver. I believe the book I was looking at was At Home with Jamie, and I saw a photo (that’s all it took), with some white asparagus laying on a very velvety mound of mashed potatoes, encompassed in some puff pastry. I thought to myself, hell, I can do that, and so I did.

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Asparagus Tart with Potatoes and Honey

  • about 16 asparagus soldiers, trimmed of the tough stems
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes ( I added buttermilk when making mine, to make sure it was extra creamy)
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • salt and pepper, to taste (If mashed potatoes are not seasoned)
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • parmesan cheese, approx 1/4 cup
  • clover honey, how much you use is to your taste, or omit

Season mashed potatoes with salt and pepper, or wait to season (if not already seasoned) till it’s laid out on the pastry sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and grease. Lay out the puff pastry sheet (store bought is perfectly fine). Score the sheet so you get a 1/2 inch border. Make sure you use a sharp knife but don’t cut all the way through the pastry sheet. you can also use a fork to prick the sheet in the  middle to ensure it doesn’t get puffy with the ingredients on it.

Dollop the mashed potatoes on the sheet, making sure not to go over the border line. Smooth it out to an even layer of potatoes all around the pastry sheet.

Add the asparagus, laying them gently and closely together to make a line across the potatoes. You can add these in any lines you like: vertical, horizontal, or even diagonally. I did mine horizontally, but I rotated from left to right so it so that every other spear touched the left or the right side of the border (to get asparagus in every bite, essentially).

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15-17 minutes. Make sure the pastry boarder is puffing but isn’t get golden. Turn up the temperature up to 400 degrees F and bake for another 5 minutes or so. Checking to make sure the edges don’t burn.

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Take out and let rest two minutes. Drizzle with honey (I used organic clover honey, but any honey flavor will work here. I expect avocado honey will be especially amazing here), then let sit for another 4-5 minutes to allow honey to get slightly absorbed. Cut into squares and serve.

Don't mind that shiny thing in the corner, that's my knife. I couldn't resist a bite!

Don’t mind that shiny thing in the corner, that’s my knife. I couldn’t resist a bite!

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Warm Potato and Salmon Salad with Blue Cheese

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I haven’t been a salad person, but lately I’ve been finding myself almost eagerly awaiting lunch or dinner so I can create a hearty and delicious salad. I think wilted leaves and over salted dressings are the reason for my past dislike of salads, but anything you create at home will be better than what it was when you went out. That’s a guarantee. This guarantee has allowed me to be a salad person again. It feels great.

The idea for this salad came from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook. He has a similar dish, in which a large plate is lined with smoked salmon, and warm potatoes are laid out on top to be eaten after being dressed in oil, vinegar, spices, and dolloped with a horseradish sauce. Overall, the dish is amazing, and I did make it earlier this week. The smoked salmon and potatoes went so well together that I wanted to recreate the dish, but use more ingredients, specifically those I bought earlier in the week, and I knew I had to use.

This led me to a marvelous salad. Honestly, I’m quite proud. Not only was this salad super filling, but it was unbelievably healthy. I think the healthiest thing I’ve ever made.

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Warm Potato, Salmon and Blue Cheese Salad

  • fingerling potatoes, enough for one (I think I used about 6 for myself, and cut them in half)
  • approx 1 handful of micro greens of your choice (I used micro kale)
  • 2-3oz of smoked salmon
  • few sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • about 1 cup of baby heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 oz blue cheese of choice, cut up into bite sized, dollop-able pieces

Boil a pot of water for the potatoes. Salt the water and add the potatoes, if you cut them in half they will cook faster, about 9 minutes or so. Test with a knife to make sure they are done and soft all the way through.

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In a bowl add the micro greens and dill. Mix with your hands to make sure the dill is more or less evenly distributed. Using your hands, rip the salmon into bite-sized pieces and place on top of the greens.

In a separate bowl, add the oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and vinegar. This will be the bowl the warm potatoes will be added to.

Start prepping the tomatoes and add to the greens as the potatoes are cooking.

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When the potatoes are done drain and let sit for about two minutes to make sure they aren’t scalding. Add to the vinegar and oil bowl and mix. Add them to the salad, making sure the oil and vinegar and garlic bits are all in the salad bowl. This will be a type of dressing. You don’t need much since the salmon is equally oily.

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Attempt to mix together as quickly as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Dollop the blue cheese on top and enjoy!

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My Pasta Rosa

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I’ve been looking up recipes online and through pinterest for quite some time now. And something just dawned on me. I need to stop. I have maybe 20+ cookbooks that are just sitting in the bookcase, and they are screaming at me to be used. My last cookbook purchase was Nigella Lawson’s new book, Nigellissima. Almost every recipe that I open this cookbook to, is a keeper. The one that I’ve been eyeing the most is Nigella’s Pasta Rosa.

I didn’t quite have the ingredients for her version, but I will admit I was heavily influenced by her recipe when making my own.

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Pasta Rosa

  • 2 oz (or whatever single serving of pasta you prefer) of spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup small, cooked shrimp
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp creamy horseradish sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • milk, to texture (I used almond milk, but you can use coconut, whole or part fat milks)
  • 2 tbsp or so of fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Put a large pot of water on stove and heat to a rolling boil. Salt the water heavily, and add the pasta. Cook till al dente, about 8 minutes or so, depending on if you’re using thin or regular spaghetti.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Heat through, about 5 minutes or so, turning occasionally. Add creme fraiche, horseradish, and paprika to the pan. Let everything melt together, creating a sort of thick sauce. Add a little bit of milk to get the desired consistency you like.

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When the pasta is done use a pasta spoon or tongs to remove from the water, and allow to drain excess liquid while holding over the pot, very minimally. The starchy water helps the sauce adhere to the pasta.

Before serving sprinkle with parsley and parmesan. Serve immediately, and eat greedily.

Berry and Stone Fruit Galette

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I went blueberry picking last Saturday. It was short, and my friend and I quickly realized that we had gone too late in the season (good, ripe, berries were few and far between). I did manage to get about 3 lbs though. And although I won’t be making my blueberry jam again this year, I will be using it to make a various, and large, assortment of baked goods. I think that’s only fair.

I realized that I was in the mood for pie but not for the double crust prep, nor the extra steps to ensure the pie was cooked all the way through, and the berries would be soft, but not too juicy and fall apart. Blueberry is very hard to make. I saw my friend make one with her blueberries and it was a mess. I mean, she did great, but I don’t think I could have that sort of patience. Instead, I picked up some raspberries and nectarines and decided a galette (or crostata, as some say) would suffice.

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Berry and Stone Fruit Galette

  • 2 small nectarines, or any stone fruit of your choice such as one large peach, or 2-3 apricots
  • 8 oz of raspberries (one of those containers at the super market)
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • teaspoon of butter
  • teaspoon of vanilla
  • teaspoon of Australian Pink Salt ( just got this today, from Williams-Sonoma, use any salt you like)
  • 1 store bought pie crust
  • 1 egg (for egg wash, optional)

In a medium pot, over low heat, melt the butter. In a bowl mix the berries and brown sugar. Add berries to pot and stir in vanilla. Cook for about 15 minutes or so on low heat to allow the juices to escape. Add salt, and turn off heat. Allow to cool for about an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare your baking sheet by adding and greasing your parchment paper.

Roll out your down, either homemade or store bought.

With a slotted spoon, scoop out the berries into the center of the dough. Slice up the stone fruit and layer on top of the berries. Fold over the dough leaving an opening in the center of the pie. I like to put a round piece of stone fruit in the center, almost like an eye. Crack an egg in a bowl and quickly whisk. Brush over the crust of the pie and in the center. If you like, you can also sprinkle some raw sugar over the crust for added crispiness.

Bake for 15-17 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to sit for a good 15 minutes before transferring as the berry juices will not be stable. Some of my mine leaked out, but that wasn’t not a problem, the point of this sort of pie, is that it’s rustic, and a few small holes in the crust, where juices leaked out, are just fine.

 

Enjoy~

On A Side Note

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Stuff has gone down in the last few months (well, more like last two months really). Not to go into details, let’s just say that a lot has changed in my life, and rather quickly. First off, work has me running around back and fourth, and although I’m flattered that I’m getting so much work, I’m also a little (a lot) bummed out that I won’t be getting much of a summer break. I’m scared I’ll be too burned out when LAUSD starts back up and I’ll be working 100% full capacity.

 

School is almost over (for the summer). I have one more class this coming Tuesday, and then I have a break for about three weeks before my next class. I know that my horrid oral exams are also coming up and I have not cracked a book to study due to personal reasons, and that alone is enough to keep me up at night. 

Due to the lack of time, and overall hot weather later, I haven’t been cooking, and instead relying on going out, or making quick pasta with canned sauce for sustenance. Long story short, I will be attempting cooking sometime this weekend, I hope, and perhaps you’ll see a lasagna, or ribs, or some sort of stew in your future. 

 

Till then!