Savory Pastries

Rosemary, Lavender and Goat’s Cheese Bread

French Herbed Bread 2

 

So, is everyone ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow?  We’re hosting for the second year in a row, so we are in the process of turkey brining/chestnut roasting/mad prepping before the big day.  Got all of the deep cleaning in the house done on Sunday (yay for productivity!), so on Thursday it’s just cooking, some light cleaning, and some definite parade watching.  Growing up, my family always traveled to Bakersfield to visit my dad’s side for Thanksgiving, so I never watched the parade until I was an adult, but I definitely get the appeal.  But, we always listened to Alice’s Restaurant in the car on the way down, so I insist on continuing that tradition even when we’re staying at home.  

:-)

I wanted to post a recipe this week, but was at a bit of a loss of what to do.  I figured everyone is pretty overwhelmed with turkey/potato/green bean/squash/pumpkin/various pie recipes, so I thought I would go in a less traditional direction.  I wanted to do something as a starter, something a less traditional, a little … different.  So, in looking for something new and different, I looked to Rachel Khoo.

French Herbed Bread 1

 

For those of your who aren’t familiar with Rachel Khoo, I insist you get familiar.  She is a culinary creative, originally from London but based in Paris, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu and now has several cookbooks and a show on the Cooking Channel.  She does fresh, modern interpretations of classic French dishes.  She is also one of the most adorable human beings on Earth.  I discovered her cookbook, “The Little Paris Kitchen,” on our trip to Calistoga in May.  I have been working my way through the book, trying as many recipes as I can.  They are all so fresh and interesting and inventive.  I have a full-on food crush.

French Herbed Bread 4

One of the recipes I had been dying to try was this bread: Lavender, Rosemary and Goat Cheese bread.  Almost like an herbed focaccia, with pockets of hard goat cheese sprinkled throughout.  I could hear it calling me every time I flipped through the book.  I could resist no longer.  I had to make it!

Imagine this bread, crusty and warm, straight out of the oven, with a dish of soft butter or good olive oil on the side.  Everyone ripping pieces off, dipping, enjoying the sharp hit of the cheese throughout the soft, aromatic dough.  This would make an excellent starter to an elegant and hearty Thanksgiving.  Or, just a nice afternoon’s lunch.  Or breakfast.  Really, anytime.  This bread is pretty fantastic.  Upon making the bread, I realized that I had run out of dried rosemary.  I decided to use Herbs de Provence instead (a dried French herb mix of lavender, thyme, fennel, savory and basil), which worked beautifully, though I imagine the lavender and rosemary combo would be just as tantalizing.

With a little bit of time for rising, this bread is actually incredibly easy to make, and so rewarding to eat.  Make this, either tomorrow or another day, your taste buds will thank you.  

:-)

Have a happy and indulgent Thanksgiving friends!  THG

French Herbed Bread 3

 

Rosemary, Lavender & Goat's Cheese Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  2. 1 cup lukewarm water
  3. 3 cups bread flour
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  5. 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  6. 1/2 tsp. dried lavender
  7. 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  8. 3 oz. hard goat's cheese, cut into small cubes
Instructions
  1. Mix the yeast with the warm water, stirring until the yeast has completely dissolved. Mix the flour, salt, rosemary and lavender in a large bowl. Pour in the dissolved yeast and the olive oil and mix to form a dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it forms a sooth, sticky ball. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour, then put into the fridge overnight.
  2. The following day, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until it forms a smooth ball again, then cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough into a large circle and then cut the circle in half. Make a large cut down the middle of each half without cutting all the way through the dough, starting a little way in from the rounded edge and stopping before the opposite side. Make three small slashes on each side of the cut, then use your fingers to gently open out the slashes to look like the veins of a leaf. Place each half on a piece of parchment paper and push the cubes of cheese randomly into the dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 475F.
  5. Put a baking sheet in the oven to get hot while oven is preheating. Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt. Once the oven is hot, place the bread on the hot baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400F and bake for another 12-15 mintues or until the bread is golden brown. Serve warm with butter and olive oil.
Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen
Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Apple, Arugula & Goat Cheese Quiche

Apple Arugula Quiche 1
Do you feel it?  The change in weather?  The darker mornings and shorter days?  The crisp, cool smell in the air?

It’s fall.

Oh, how I have waited for fall!  I like mild weather; not too hot, not too cold.  I like sweaters and coats and hot coffee and boots and warm stews.  I like candles lit in the fireplace, snuggly blankets on the couch, the smells of roasting squash and cinnamon and rich, hearty soups.  I like the feeling of looming holidays, the harvest festivals, the general sense of mischief and merriment in the air as Halloween approaches.  I like fall.

Apple Arugula Quiche 3

 I did cheat a bit.  I made this quiche in the summer.  It’s light and lovely and worked well for a backyard picnic lunch.  But the flavors work well for the fall too.  Apples and arugula.  The zing of the goat cheese.  A little salad on the side, and you are ready to enjoy the season.

Apple Arugula Quiche 6

 Most of my blog cooking gets done on the weekends.  With getting home late, and it getting darker earlier now, it just makes more sense.  So, Shawn and I do our best eating on the weekends (this quiche included).  There’s something really satisfying about spending your Saturday surrounded by food; farmer’s market in the morning, some baking, some eating, dessert, a nice dinner.  Weekends work well for those slowly prepared foods; braising, roasting, stewing.  Your whole house fills with the scents of dinner at home; there is no cozier feeling.

Apple Arugula Quiche 4

 

I mean, just look at that quiche!  You can bet the whole house smelled like apples and cheese, the peppery crust.  We were salivating by the time it was ready to eat, just wanting to dive in headfirst.  Yum, yum, yum.

How will you be welcoming in the fall?  THG

Apple Arugula Quiche 5

 

Apple, Arugula & Goat Cheese Quiche
Serves 4
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For the crust
  1. 1 1/2 cups flour
  2. 3/4 cup unsalted butter, in 1/2" cubes
  3. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  4. 1 tsp. black pepper
  5. 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
  1. 2 Granny Smith apples, sliced 1/8" thick with a mandoline, seeds removed
  2. 6 eggs
  3. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 5 oz. Chevre goat cheese, softened
  6. 2 cups fresh arugula, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, pepper and sea salt. Add cold butter and work with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add ice water 1 Tbsp. at a time and mix until dough just begins to come together. Form into a ball and flatten. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 6.5 by 16 inch rectangle (12 inch round if you are using a round tart pan). Carefully fit dough into a 4.5 by 14 inch tart pan (or 9 inch round), pressing gently along the sides to fit to pan. Pierce the bottom with a fork and refrigerate 20 minutes to set.
  4. Line tart shell with parchment paper and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes in center of oven; remove parchment paper and weights and bake another 10 minutes until bottom has just cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk eggs until thick and ribboned. Whisk in cream and milk. Add goat cheese and arugula and mix well to combine.
  6. In the cooled tart shell, lay apple slices long ways (or in concentric circles), overlapping until pan is filled. Carefully pour egg mixture over the apples up to just under the edge of the crust. Bake 30 minutes at 375 F until egg mixture has set.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes

Sunchokes & Golden Beets

Hi!  How are you?!  I’ve missed you!  How was your Christmas/New Years/Chanakah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice?  Are you hungry?

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes
Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  I used to, until I figured out that I feel into a shame spiral the second I broke them.  Which I always did.  Usually around the 6th of January.  I suck at resolutions.

So, instead I make goals.  Goals, as opposed to resolutions, seem a little more flexible.  A little less rigid.  You can break a resolution, but you can’t really break a goal.  You just keep working towards them.  You can stumble, go a little off track, but it’s a constant process, which works better for me personally.  Resolutions are either on or off; goals are a journey.

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes
One of my goals, really a goal I try continue and build on every year, is to maintain healthy eating.  What is my idea of healthy eating?  No processed food, vegetable heavy, lean proteins, not too much sugar, healthy fats.  Basically, more food from the earth than from the factory.  Foods that give me energy instead of zapping it.  I can tell throughout my whole body when I’ve been maintaining a healthy diet; my skin is clearer, my energy is higher and cleaner.  I have a fairly sensitive stomach and have had a lot of issues with digestion, so when my system feels very clean and on track, I know that I’ve been eating healthily.  So, healthy food goals are a constant in my life. 

Golden Beets & Sunchokes
  

These galettes feel good.  Nutty whole-wheat and brown butter crust, golden beets and sunchokes marinated in sherry vinegar and good olive oil, a little thyme and a handful of pea shoots on top.  Very simple preparation, to allow the delicious root veggies to shine. 

I like golden beets best; they don’t have as much of that super-earthy (read: dirt) flavoring that red beets have, which could really over-power the sunchokes in this dish.  The sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes), like a light buttery cross between an artichoke heart and a potato, are so subtle and lovely.  I made chips from them and soup this week, and have many more plans for this fantastic winter veggie.  This dish is perfectly filling without overwhelming.  A side salad of arugula, watermelon radishes and pomegranate seeds will round out this little dinner perfectly.

Stay tuned for some more healthy eating recipes this month, including my first ever giveaway at the end of the month!  I’m so excited!!!

What are your goals and resolutions for the new year?  THG

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes
Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes

Pastry crust:

6 Tbsp.  unsalted butter, divided

1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/8-1/4 cup ice water

Filling:

1 golden beet, sliced 1/16” thick

2 small sunchokes, sliced 1/16” thick

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

pea shoots for garnish

In a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat.  Let cook until butter begins to brown.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sea salt and black pepper.  Add remaining 4 Tbsp. butter, cubed and cold.  Using a pastry cutter or your hands, mix butter into the flour mixture until broken down and resembling coarse crumbs.  Add cooled brown butter and mix to combine.  Add ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough begins to come together.  Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While dough is setting, mix golden beet and sunchoke  slices with olive oil, vinegar, thyme, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl until well coated.  Let marinate until ready for use.

Preheat oven to 375 °F.  On a well-floured surface, divide dough in half.  Roll one half into a rough circle, about 1/8” thick.  Place on a ungreased baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.

In the center of each dough circle, place 5 beet slices, overlapping.  Place 5 sunchoke slices on top of the beets.  Fold in the sides of the dough over the veggies to form a crust, leaving a 2” or so opening.  Sprinkle pea shoots on top.  Bake in the center of oven until crust is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Serve warm.

Serves 2

Lemon Herb Biscuits

Lemons

This past week has been CHILLY.  Rain, cold wind, almost no sun.  It felt like the heart of winter right on the cusp of spring.

Lemon Herb Biscuits

I want spring to be here.  Blossoms, sunshine, fresh flowers.  The hills in the East Bay are green as Ireland during the spring (but brown the rest of the year).  Everything just looks and smells so fresh; the sparse bleakness of winter becomes a distant memory.

Lemon Herb Biscuits
Lemon Herb Biscuits

These biscuits are my attempt at ushering in the spring.  Light, bright and fragrant.  Zesty lemon and earthy sage and thyme.  A little butter, a little honey.  A little plate of springtime.

Lemon Herb Biscuits and Eggs

One of the great things about living in the Bay Area is that our seasons run into each other.  Winter is never too cold, summer never too hot.  Because of this, produce that may only be available most parts of the country for a couple of months can be available here even longer.  Shawn and I had a Meyer Lemon tree in our old backyard that bloomed all year round.  My dad’s tomato garden sprouts from July to October most years.  Huge varieties of produce available anytime you want them.  It’s nice.

Lemon Herb Biscuits

The lemon in these biscuits are fresh off of my mom’s backyard tree.  Fresh herbs, buttermilk, a little sea salt and sugar.  So good.  Lemon just tastes like sunshine, doesn’t it?  Really fresh lemon, so bright and juicy and puckeringly tart.  It almost warms you up just to eat it.  I always considered lemon and citrus in general to be a springtime treat more than winter.  That sweet-sour deliciousness just pairs so perfectly with crocus and daffodils and cherry blossoms.  I think citrus should rethink it’s seasonal availability

Winking smile

What is your favorite springtime flavor?  THG

Lemon Herb Biscuits

Lemon Herb Biscuits

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. sea salt

1 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, 1/2” cubes

2 Tbsp. lemon zest

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, finely minced

1 Tbsp. fresh sage, finely minced

1 cup cold buttermilk, plus more for brushing

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Butter a large cast iron skillet.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and sugar.  With a pastry cutter, cut in cold butter cubes.  Mix well until the mixture resembles small pebbles.  Add in lemon zest and herbs; mix to combine.  Create a well in the middle of mixture.  Pour in buttermilk and mix to combine into a ball of dough.

Dump on a well-floured surface.  Roll out to 1/2” thick rectangle.  Using a floured 3” biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and fit snuggly into the cast iron skillet.  Brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining buttermilk.  Bake in the middle of oven until golden brown on top, about 30-35 minutes.

Makes 8-10 biscuits

Pancetta Quiche with Spinach and Mushrooms

Pancetta and Mushroom Quiche

I’ve been having food dreams lately.

Quiche Crusts

I dream I’m on a show like Cupcake Wars, but I don’t know what I’m doing, and everyone keeps taking my supplies, and my dogs keep coming into the kitchen and messing everything up.  And the show is being hosted in the house I lived in when I was little.  I’m starting to think I’m either cooking a lot, watching a lot of cooking shows, or both.

Quiche Ingredients

My husband and I are currently living with my parents while we save to purchase our first home.  My sister is also living with my parents while she saves to move to Sacramento.  Basically, my parents’ house has become a giant waiting room for their children.  Poor, patient Mom and Dad.

Pancetta and Spinach

So because there are now 5 people living under one roof, I’ve been having to cook for a lot more tastes than just Shawn’s and mine.  Shawn likes this, Mom dislikes that, Dad can’t eat these, Caiti won’t eat those.  It’s actually been an interesting challenge to try and find recipes every week that will work for everyone.  So when Caiti asked me to make quiche for dinner, I knew that was a perfect opportunity to specify to everyone’s different palette.

Pancetta Ingredients

I made a basic quiche recipe, which is eggs, cheese and half and half.  I fried up some pancetta, delicious and salty and crunchy.  I love using pancetta in recipes that call for chopped or crumbled bacon, and Trader Joe’s has some great pancetta for a really good price.  After adding it to the quiche batter, I split the mixture in two and began to customize.  Caiti wanted mushrooms in hers, but Shawn doesn’t like them, so I did mushroom, feta and pancetta quiches for Caiti and me, and spinach, Fontina and pancetta quiches for Shawn and my mom (she doesn’t care for feta).  My dad, who had no problem with any of the ingredients, got a combination of the two.  I used my basic flakey pie crust recipe (you can find it here), but I substituted half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.  It added a great nutty, natural taste to the crust the complimented the savory filling really well.  I topped all of the quiches with the leftover Fontina cheese to add a bubbly, crusty top to the smooth and eggy filling.

Quiche with Roasted Veggies and Apples

Salad and Roasted Veggies with Apples

I made a simple side for the quiches by chopping up carrots, purple potatoes and honey crisp apples to bite-sized pieces and roasting them with olive oil, salt and pepper.  They were totally delicious; something I could easily eat and entire bowl of by myself.

Quiches Before Baking

Easy dinner that is quickly customized for everyone at your dinner table.  Happy family, happy Humble Gourmet.  And no Quiche War dreams afterwards either.  THG

Quiche Dinner

Pancetta Quiche with Spinach and Mushrooms

Whole wheat pie crust, baked in individual ramekins and cooled to room temperature (recipe here)

3 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups half and half, at room temperature

1 8 oz. package pancetta

2 cups Fontina cheese, shredded

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped

2 cups button mushrooms, rough chop

1 package (4 cups) fresh spinach

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pancetta to hot skillet.  Fry, stirring occasionally, until brown and crispy, about 8-10 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.  In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add spinach to skillet and wilt, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes until spinach has significantly reduced in size and is bright green.  Place wilted spinach between paper towels and ring out.  Give the spinach a rough chop and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, egg yolks, half and half, pancetta, 1 1/2 cups of the Fontina cheese and sage.  Mix well to combine.  Divide batter into two bowls.  In one bowl, add feta cheese, mushrooms and salt pepper; mix to combine.  In the second bowl, add the wilted spinach and salt and pepper; mix to combine.  Pour batters into the prepared crusts about 3/4 full.  Top quiches with remaining Fontina cheese.  Bake in center of oven until quiche is set all the way through and cheese is golden brown and bubbling, about 60-75 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Serves 5-6