Side Dish

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/

Summertime Potato Salad

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Potatoes, celery, lemongrass and herbs. Vinaigrette instead of heavy creamy dressing. Light and fresh and flavorful. This salad screams summer.

We welcomed in the warm weather with a backyard feast. We recently remade our patio with a chaise, love seat and fire pit. Polish sausage and hot dogs, cold root beers and this potato salad? We are ready to welcome in the longer nights and hotter days with delicious, seasonal meals. And this potato salad? Well, it’s just the first course. We’ll have many more summertime recipes in the upcoming months. So, pull up a seat, grab a plate, and watch out for ants!

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Summertime Potato Salad
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 stalk fresh lemongrass, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. walnut oil
1/3 cup olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Pierce potatoes with a fork. Boil in salted water until fork tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Dice cold potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. In a large bowl combine potatoes, celery, lemongrass and garlic. Toss gently to combine. Add parsley, dill and zest of 1/2 lemon. Set aside.

Whisk together juice of 1/2 lemon, sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in walnut oil and olive oil, whisking the whole time to emulsify. Whisk in sea salt and pepper. Pour over potato salad and toss gently to combine. Serve cold.

Serves 4-6

Friday Instagram Round-Up 5

Hello! So, I missed last week’s round-up. But, I only had a couple of photos (what with a week of late work nights and eating out), so I thought I would roll last week’s into this week’s. So here we go!

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I am currently trying to grow out a pixie cut while trying to avoid that whole Justin Beiber/mullet look. I find dark red lipstick helps.

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Sunday movie night: Bernie with Jack Black and curried kobucha squash and quinoa and kale soup.

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Easy Dinner 1: chicken and sweet pepper stir fry over rice.

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Easy Dinner, The Sequel: penne and pork tenderloin in tomato sauce.

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Saturday night, couple’s dinner with Kat and Kris: veggies with hollandaise.

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Me. Instagramming Kat. Instagramming dinner. Meta.

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Pork and cucumber meatballs with yogurt sauce. The best.

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And, of course, boeuf bourguignon to finish us out.

Have a great weekend friends!

Follow me on Instagram @thehumblegourmet

Wasabi Crab Cakes

Wasabi Crab Cake Ingredients

I love Japanese food.

Seriously.  If I had to decide to eat only one type of food for the rest of my life, Japanese would be pretty high up there.  It’s all in the flavor profile: ginger, sesame, lemon, garlic, soy.  Lighter and more subtle than other Asian styles.  And of course, the wasabi.  Ahh, wasabi.

Japanese Cole Slaw

I am, self-admitted, a HUGE wimp when it comes to spice and heat levels.  Chilies completely overwhelm me, curry leaves me sweating, and don’t even get me started on cayenne pepper.  BUT, when out to sushi, I load my soy sauce with wasabi.  You know why I can handle wasabi?  Because it doesn’t linger.  It hits you, WHAM!, and then it’s gone.  No burned tongue, no water-gulping.  It comes and just as quick, it goes.  I think that’s why I can handle the heat of wasabi.  That, and it’s an excellent sinus clearer

Smile

Wasabi Crab Cakes

One of the best uses I’ve found for wasabi at home is in mashed potatoes.  I don’t want to undersell these: THEY ARE THE BEST MASHED POTATOES.  EVER.  Just like regular mashed potatoes, creamy and buttery, and then that hit of wasabi spice.  Just so, so good.  I eat these like whipped cream, fingerfuls at a time while making them.  It’s amazing that any of these potatoes actually make it to the table, so in love with them I am.  Yum, yum, yum.

I also love crab cakes with mashed potatoes as their base.  These could not be simpler: wasabi mashed potatoes, crab, little special soy sauce, all rolled in black sesame seeds and panko crumbs.  Bake until golden.  Just perfect.

Japanese Cole Slaw

The soy sauce I used for the crab cakes and the coleslaw is incredibly flavorful and incredibly simple.  Just a few slices of lemon, a few slices of peeled ginger, and a few crushed garlic cloves.  Pour soy sauce over them and let it all sit and marinate in the fridge for a day.  The lemon, ginger and garlic flavor the soy sauce in such a brilliant way, I swear you will never have soy sauce straight out of the bottle again.  Delish.

This coleslaw is also based on the coleslaw at a sushi restaurant near my work.  They top theirs with dried ginger and fish flakes, which really add something extra to it.  Not having these on hand, I just tossed in some sesame seeds and dried seaweed; different taste, but still delicious.

What’s your favorite flavor profile?  THG

Wasabi Crab Cakes

Wasabi Crab Cakes

For mashed potatoes:

1 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

1/4 cup low-fat milk

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

2 Tbsp. wasabi paste

salt and pepper

For cakes:

3 small cans crab meat, drained

2 Tbsp. lemon-garlic soy sauce

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds

In a large pot, bring potatoes and 1 Tbsp. butter to a boil in salted water.  Continue to boil, covered, until potatoes are fork-tender.  Drain.

Place potatoes in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium to break up potatoes.  While still hot, add milk and remaining 3 Tbsp. butter.  Beat on medium-high until potatoes are completely smooth and fluffy, without any lumps.  Mix in wasabi paste until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Add crab meat and soy sauce to mashed potatoes and fold in gently.  Form potato mixture into 2” cakes, flattened slightly.  In a small bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds.  Roll cakes in breadcrumb mixture until well-coated, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in center of oven until cakes are golden-brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Serves 4-6

Japanese Coleslaw

3 cups shredded green cabbage

1/4 cup lemon-garlic soy sauce

2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

In a measuring cup, whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil until smooth.  Toss with cabbage.  Top with sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6

Sunday Brunch

Orange-Cinnamon Rolls

First things first, I must apologize for my absence last week. Shawn and I got our loan pre-approval (yay!) and have been hitting the “we’re-buying-a-house” work pretty hard. It’s been almost 2 years since we moved in with my parents to begin saving for a home; WE ARE READY. So, I apologize for the neglect last week, and also any future neglect that may happen in the coming weeks/months while I try to balance this work/blog/home buying/life thing.

Last Sunday, we had a brunch. My cousin Mike and his family were up from Bakersfield visiting his wife Jen’s grandparents, and they stopped by on their way back down Sunday morning. I love brunch (doubt that I’m alone in the sentiment). There is so much bread and cheese and powdered sugar involved in brunch, am I right? I generally don’t really like breakfast too much (typical breakfast food is much to heavy for me first thing in the morning), and yet I love brunch. Go figure.

Pancetta and Cheese Strata
Spiced Potatoes and Peppers

My mom and dad decided that the best course of action would be for everyone to make a different dish. My dad made strata, a baked casserole-like dish consisting of egg, pancetta, cheese and crusty French bread. Insane. So, so good, especially the crunchy, toasted bread on top. Yum. My brother Ryan made a dish of potatoes and peppers; incredibly flavorful and just a little spicy. Really great savory dish considering the amount of sweet we had going on.

My mom made Dutch pancakes. These are, and I cannot understate this enough, THE GREATEST BRUNCH FOOD YOU WILL EVER EAT. A spongy, very eggy baked pancake filled with fruit and eaten in slices. So insanely delicious, like a bite of pure happiness. She made one with fresh strawberries (my favorite) and one with apple compote for the filling. Mike and Jen’s 2 little kids, upon seeing the Dutch pancakes, both proclaimed “breakfast pie!” and immediately dove in. Super cute kids.

Strawberry Dutch Pancakes

I decided to go with a brunch classic: cinnamon rolls. Who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls?

I had made a batch of these the day before as well. Emily and I decided to have a Scarlett O’Hara marathon by watching Gone With The Wind and the first half of the mini-series Scarlett. We both went through simultaneous Scarlett O’Hara obsessions recently, with me reading the original book and Emily seeing GWTW for the first time and reading the sequel. Such an iconic and classic story, though we both agreed that the mini-series sequel was laughably bad. Timothy Dalton as Rhett Butler? Clark Gable you are not, my friend.

So, I made a batch on Saturday and then made two batches on Sunday. Yes. 3 batches. It’s amazing I’m not currently in a bread and sugar coma right now.

I based the recipe on the Neely’s. I decided to forgo the nuts and instead I added orange zest and orange juice to the rolls and the glaze. Orange-cinnamon rolls are such a great combination, with the heavy spice of the cinnamon and that little zip of freshness and tartness from the orange. Yummers.

What’s your favorite brunch food? And, more importantly, Clark Gable or Timothy Dalton?  THG

Orange-Cinnamon Rolls

Mike’s Cheese and Pancetta Strata (adapted from this recipe)

6 oz. pancetta, cubed

1 loaf crusty sourdough French bread

1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

8 eggs

3 1/2 cups milk

1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 pinch pepper

Butter a 9×13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  In a frying pan set over medium-high heat, fry pancetta until brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towels and allow to cool to room temperature.

Cube bread into 1” pieces and put into prepared baking dish.  Add pancetta and cheeses, mixing with hands to distribute evenly.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, Tabasco, Dijon mustard and pepper.  Pour mixture evenly through baking dish.  Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours, or overnight.

Bake at 350ºF for 1 hour until strata is set and crispy on top, golden-brown.  Serve immediately.

Serves 10-12

Laura’s Dutch Pancakes (from the Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook)

4 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp. butter, softened

3 cups strawberries, sliced

powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs.  Sift in flour and salt together in a small mixing bowl.  Add flour mixture to eggs, alternating with milk, until a smooth batter has formed.  Butter the bottom and sides of a cast iron skillet.  Pour batter into skillet.  Bake in the middle of oven for 20-25 minutes, gradually reducing heat to 350ºF.  The pancake should puff up along the sides and be crisp and golden-brown all around.  Remove from skillet.  Fill with sliced strawberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Cut into slices and serve.

Serves 8-10

Orange-Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from this recipe)

1/2 oz. (2 packages) dry active yeast

1/2 cup warm water

4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

5 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

zest of 1 large orange

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast and warm water.  Let stand for 5 minutes to soften yeast.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and salt until well combined.  Whisk egg mixture into bowl of yeast until well combined.  Whisk in 1 cup of flour, then melted butter until smooth.  With the mixture set on low, add remaining flour 1 cup at a time, waiting until each cup is completely combined.  Mix well until strong dough is formed and springs back when tapped.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size in a warm place, about 1 hour.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest.  Punch down raised dough and dump out on a floured surface.  Roll into a 12×15” rectangle.  Brush dough with melted butter.  Pour sugar mixture evenly over dough.  Working on the longer end, roll somewhat tightly into a log.  Cut off the ends.  Cut log into 8 even pieces.  Place slices in a greased 9” round baking pan.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size again, about 1 hour.  Bake at 400ºF about 30 minutes, until rolls are puffed up and golden brown.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract.  Whisk in orange juice until smooth and at a good, thick consistency.  Pour over cinnamon rolls.  Serve at room temperature.

Makes 8 rolls

Mole Chicken Burritos

Mole Chicken Burrito Ingredients

I love slow cookers.

The idea that I can throw ingredients into a pot in the morning, simmer them all day, and in the evening have a ready-to-go dinner waiting for me is magical.  And with a schedule like mine, with club events and working until 8:00 some nights, not having to think about dinner is very handy.  And, if done right, what comes out of the pot is insane.  Super tender, super juicy, super flavorful.

Mole Chicken Burritos

This chicken is bursting with flavor.  Spicy, but not too hot, a rich bitterness courtesy of Guinness stout in place of chicken broth, and a smooth hint of chocolate.

Sidenote: I am loving using chocolate in a savory dish.  Seriously; it’s a pretty brilliant combination that I hadn’t tried up to this point.  Making this dinner, I was reminded of the scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when she talks about making rice and chicken with chocolate sauce, which then proceeds to explode out of her pressure cooker.  Oh, Holly Golightly, you’re such a kook.

ANYHOO, mole chicken.  This chicken cooked in the stout and spice mixture for about 9 hours, low and slow.  It was so tender, it quite literally fell completely off of the bone.  This, my friends, is exactly what you’re looking for.  Tender, tender chicken.  Awesome.

Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce

I made a roasted tomatillo and avocado sauce to go with it.  Tomatillos roasted in the oven with a head of garlic, avocado, lime, yogurt and spices, all blended into a smooth, silky sauce.  Essentially, pureed guacamole; but the texture of this, with the creamy avocado and yogurt, is phenomenal.  I could eat gallons of this.  So good.

The idea that this meal cooked all day virtually unaccompanied is just the cherry on the pie of this dinner.  Or rather, queso fresca on the mole chicken burrito of this dinner.

What’s your favorite slow cooker meal?  THG

Mole Chicken Burritos

Mole Chicken

1 14 oz. can of Guinness stout

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 whole chicken, quartered

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large slow cooker, combine Guinness, water, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, sea salt and cayenne pepper.  Add chicken, flipping over once so that both sides are coated.  Cover and simmer on low for 8-10 hours until chicken is cooked through and tender.

Remove chicken from slow cooker.  Remove bones, skin and cartilage; discard.  Shred chicken meat.  In the slow cooker, add chocolate to the liquid.  Whisk until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Add chicken back in to mixture and mix to coat.  Cook over low another hour.  Serve hot on warm flour tortillas with black beans, spanish rice, queso fresca and avocado sauce.

Serves 6-8

Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce

2 large tomatillos

1 medium head of garlic

2 medium avocados

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp. ground paprika

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Cut tomatillos and head of garlic in half across their equators.  Coat with olive oil.  Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, turning tomatillos halfway through.  Once roasted, remove garlic from the skins.  In a blender, puree tomatillos and garlic until smooth.  Add avocado and puree.  Once smooth, add lime juice and yogurt and blend to a smooth consistency.  Pour into a bowl.  Add paprika, black pepper and sea salt and mix to combine.  Serve immediately.

Makes approximately 3 cups

Zesty Grilled Chicken, Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad and Fried Polenta Cakes

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

I’ve prepared dinner for you all.  Just an easy, super flavorful, super delicious dinner.

Polenta Cakes

Start with polenta.  Sweet roasted garlic mashed into a paste.  Pecorino Romano cheese, sharp and salty.  Fresh thyme. sea salt and pepper.  A touch of olive oil for body and flavor.  You may want to just scoop this straight out of the bowl.  But wait.

Fry squares in a thin layer of oil; crispy and golden brown on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside.  This alone could be your meal.  Oh.  So.  Good.

Raw Vegetables and Quinoa

Roast some vegetables.  Potatoes, peppers, romaine lettuce; whatever you want.  Toss them in olive oil, a little ground mustard.  Roast them nice and crispy.  These would be great on their own; but we’re not done yet.

Roasted Vegetables

We’re making quinoa.

Now, I know that quinoa can sound very sort of “crunchy granola hippie”.  But trust me, it’s great.  Very similar in texture to couscous, but with an earthier, grainier taste.  Yum.

Zesty Chicken, Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa and Fried Polenta Cakes

Toss the vegetables and quinoa together while they’re both still warm.  A simple vinaigrette of roasted garlic paste, red wine vinegar, thyme and olive oil.  That’s it.  Simple, delicious.  Like good old-fashioned comfort food, but healthy.

Zesty Grilled Chicken

And the chicken.  This chicken is so juicy and flavorful.  A super simple marinade of equal parts Worstershire sauce and lemon juice.  Just douse those babies and let them sit.  When they’re ready, just plop them on the grill top.  Done and done.  And delish.

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

This dinner is great to make ahead of time.  The chicken marinade and the polenta cakes can all be made the night before and refrigerated.  Very easy, very yummy and very healthy.  If you put that whole “fried and cheesy” thing aside.

Smile
  THG          

Empty Plate

Fried Polenta Cakes

1 whole head of garlic

1 package pre-made polenta

1 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped

Sea salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. canola oil

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cut the head of garlic in half widthwise.  Coat the cut ends in olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil.  Roast in the oven until garlic is golden brown and soft, about 30-35 minutes.  Squeeze the garlic out into a small bowl.  Mash to a smooth paste. 

Microwave the polenta in a large bowl for about 30 seconds until softened.  Add 2/3 of the garlic paste to the polenta and mix well (reserve the remaining 1/3 for the salad vinaigrette).  Add the cheese, olive oil, thyme, sea salt and pepper to the polenta and mix well.  Brush the bottom of a baking sheet with olive oil.  Dump the polenta onto the baking sheet and press into the sides, spreading the mixture evenly across the pan.  Refrigerate to set for at least 2 hours.

In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  Cut out two 2 1/2” squares of the polenta and add to the oil.  Fry until golden brown and crispy on the outside, about 3-5 minutes per side.  Drain on a paper towel.  Repeat with the remaining polenta.  Serve warm.

Makes approximately 8 cakes

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

6-8 medium red potatoes

1 red bell pepper

1 head romaine lettuce

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp. ground mustard

2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, plus 1 Tbsp. minced thyme leaves only

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1 cup uncooked quinoa

remaining roasted garlic

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Dice potatoes and bell pepper into 1” pieces.  Toss, including full romaine lettuce head, with olive oil, ground mustard, 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, sea salt and pepper.  Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast in the middle of the oven until slightly soft, about 20 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and romaine lettuce to the baking sheet and roast another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup uncooked quinoa and 2 cups salted water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, covered, until water is completely absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.  Let stand off heat 5 minutes and fluff with fork.

In a small bowl, whisk roast garlic paste, red wine vinegar and fresh thyme leaves until smooth.  While whisking, drizzle in olive oil.  Whisk until emulsified.

In a large bowl, combine roast vegetables and quinoa.  Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

 

Zesty Grilled Chicken

1/2 cup Worstershire sauce

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts

 

In a small bowl, whisk together Worstershire sauce, lemon juice and garlic.  Set aside.

Rinse and dry chicken breasts.  Place between two sheets of saran wrap and pound thin.  Place in a shallow dish.  Pour marinade over top, making sure all chicken breasts are completely submerged.  Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  When searing hot, brush with olive oil.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, being sure to wipe off any excess garlic.  Grill until cooked through, about 7 minutes per side.  Remove from heat.  Slice on the diagonal and serve immediately over polenta cakes.

Serves 4

Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas

Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas

Confession: I love cooking Indian food.

All the spices and herbs, the infinite number of curries, the colors, the smells, it’s just too fun. That you can take the same ingredients and, depending on your ratios, can come up with a million different flavors and heat levels is awe-inspiring.

Green Curry Chicken Ingredients

I used to be really intimidated by cooking Indian food. Curry! So many spices! What if it tastes completely horrible? I pictured myself toasting cumin seeds to an almost burnt level, putting way too much cayenne or ginger in and singing all of my taste buds off. I thought that I would always have to rely on pre-mixed curry powder, that the spices in Indian food were way too exotic or expensive for me to get. I thought any Indian food I made would just taste like a bland, inappropriately spiced attempt at a complex and exciting cuisine. And what’s worse, I imagined my Indian-loving husband would take one bite of my Indian food and pronounce it “Blegh!”

But, one day, I decided to just bite the bullet and try my hand at it. Because honestly, how can you possibly learn how to cook something without ever attempting to cook it? I found a recipe for tandoori-style chicken (no source on this; I can’t remember where I got the recipe!) and got to cookin’.

The recipe was fairly simple: curry spices mixed together and added to yogurt, which the chicken was marinated in for several hours. From there, just broil the chicken.

After taking the crispy, blackened chicken out of the oven, I thought to myself “well, that LOOKS like tandoori chicken”. One bite, and I knew: I had successfully made Indian food. Yay!

Green Curry Chicken

I’ve become much more confident since then.  So much so, that I’ve begun to experiment and create my own curry recipes.  Like this recipe here: Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas.

Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas

Fresh mint and cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemon and all kinds of curry spices, ground together into a paste and folded into Greek yogurt.  So delicious.  The fresh herbs add a very refreshing flavor to the sauce; they cool down the spiciness of the garlic, ginger and ground spices.  The lemon adds a nice crispness to the sauce as well.  For the inside-out samosas, I did a mixture of Yukon gold, red and purple potatoes, just to add interest and color, as well as green peas.

Inside-Out Samosas

I marinated the chicken in the yogurt sauce for about an hour before cooking it.  One VERY important thing to note when making this dish, or any dish where you are using a sauce as a marinade: DO NOT TRANSFER THE SAUCE STRAIGHT FROM MARINADE TO TOPPING.  When you marinade meat in a sauce, you run the risk of cross-contamination and, most commonly, salmonella.  I used half the yogurt mixture to put on as a marinade for my chicken breasts, and reserved the other half to use as a sauce, so that it never came in contact with the raw chicken.  You can use a marinade as sauce after removing the meat, but you will want to boil the marinade for about 15 minutes to be sure that any and all bacteria is killed off.

If you haven’t yet tried you hand at cooking Indian, I highly suggest you give it a go.  Don’t be intimidated.  You’ll definitely be glad you did

Smile
  THG

Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas

Green Curry Chicken

1” fresh ginger, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground mace

1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1/3 cup lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup Greek yogurt

4 boneless chicken breasts

In a food processor, combine ginger, garlic, cilantro, mint, spices, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Pulse until ground into a paste.  Spoon paste into yogurt and mix to combine well.  Divide yogurt mixture in half.  Refrigerate one half.  With the other, coat each chicken breast completely.  Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour marinade over top.  Cover and let sit for at least 1 hour.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Brush with a small amount of olive oil.  When the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts.  Cook until grilled on each side and cooked through, about 7-10 minutes per side.  Serve hot with the reserved yogurt sauce spooned over top.

Serves 4

Inside-Out Samosas

1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, mixed variety

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2” fresh ginger, finely minced

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tsp.ground cumin

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1/2 tsp. ground paprika

salt and pepper to taste

juice of 1 lemon

Peel the potatoes and dice into 1/2” cubes.  Boil potatoes in salted water until just tender, about 8-10 minutes.  After draining the potatoes, blanch the green peas in the salted water for 1 minute.  Immediately submerge in ice water to stop the cooking.  Set both potatoes and peas aside. 

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add ginger and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add cumin, turmeric and paprika and sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add potatoes and peas and toss to coat with spice mixture.  Remove from heat.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

Ragoût D’Agneau aux Artichauts

Artichokes

Shawn and I went to the library on Saturday. Wanna see what I got?

The Country Cooking of France

Ooh. Ahh.

The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan is a book of, obviously, French country food. All recipes from and in the style of what they eat in Provence. Beautiful photography, incredible recipes and great stories that really get into the daily living in the French countryside. Butchers, cheese shops, farming, fishing, hunting for truffles. Earthy, hearty, unpretentious foods. I do not want to give this book back in two weeks.

Ragoût D'Agneau aux Artichauts Ingredients
Ragoût D'Agneau aux Artichauts

I am something of a Francophile. I have always dreamed about going to France, namely Paris. I used to think the best way to “do” France would be to go for an entire year; that way you have the time to take in everything the country has to offer. The cafes, the museums, the architecture. Montmartre, Lyon, the Rivera, Bordeaux, St. Germain. I want to go. So. Much.

But, until that happens, making French food will have to do. I adore French food, particularly their rustic, country foods. There is something so natural about those Provencal dishes; a lot of stews and soups, breads and pastries, unfussy and slow-cooked with time, love and patience. And gobs and gobs of cheese. I always loved that the French end meals with cheese platters; something we Americans have gotten backwards since we tend to start a meal with cheese platters, with appetizers.

Ragoût D'Agneau aux Artichauts

This cookbook is pages upon pages of truly French food. I mean, there’s a chapter called “Frogs and Snails”. THAT’S French.

The book is divided into main ingredients; Poultry, Beef and Lamb, Savory Tarts, Vegetables, Breads. Every recipe has its proper French name, as well as a translation in English. It talks about where recipes originated from, why you prepare certain dishes in certain ways, recommendations for dishes to serve them with and even advice on how to store them if you’re cooking dishes ahead of time. It talks about each Provence, what type of dishes they’re known for, how the climate affects their vegetable planting and crops. It even goes into detail on annual festivals in certain areas and their traditions.

I knew that I wanted to take on one of the recipes this week for dinner. After flipping through the book a few times, I settled on Ragoût D’Agneau aux Artichauts, basically a lamb and artichoke stew. Yum. I also decided to do a warm bean salad on the side, with a red wine vinaigrette. So much deliciousness.

Ragoût D'Agneau aux Artichauts

This dish was really a bit thinner than most stews, but still thicker than a soup (a stoup!). White wine and beef broth flavored by the garlic, meat, tomatoes and artichokes. I tossed in some fingerling potatoes just for good measure and because I love potatoes in stew.

The dish is supposed to be made with lamb, but this being The Humble Gourmet, and lamb costing an arm and a leg, I chose to go with beef instead. Still delicious, though I’m sure the lamb would have added a whole other level of depth to the broth. Seriously though, why is lamb so expensive? Who decided that the most delicious ingredients have to also be the most expensive? If I were making this for just Shawn and myself, I probably would have gone ahead and got the lamb, but I was making this dish for 5 people. 5 people stew = way more lamb than I could ever afford for one Monday night dinner.

Ragoût D'Agneau aux Artichauts

There is definitely a distinct taste to French food. The wine in the broth really sweetened things up and kept it from being too heavy or salty. The artichokes were a great addition, a nice little variety from the meat/potatoes/carrot/celery stews I’m used to (Irish-style). The recipe called for baby artichokes, but those can be hard to find in the Bay Area this time of year, so I went with regular artichokes and just peeled them down to the inner leaves. Next time, I will definitely go for the smaller artichokes, because the larger ones are just a little more fibrous than I usually like. I also peeled the stems of the artichokes and added them into the broth. They had a much more concentrated artichoke flavor, like a slightly tougher artichoke heart. Very good.

White Beans with Red Wine Vinaigrette

For the bean salad, I went with regular white beans. I wanted to use fava, but my grocery store didn’t carry them dry, and I prefer to cook my own beans to canned in this type of dish. I did a quick soak on the beans, which is a great method if you’re looking to make beans for dinner but either forgot or didn’t have time to soak them overnight. Simply put the beans in a large pot of salted water. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Let the beans boil for 2 minutes, then move them off the heat and let sit in the pot for another 10 minutes. Drain and cook accordingly. It does the same work an overnight soak does in about 20 minutes; very handy little trick to have. Be sure to pick out any stones or other oddities from your beans; you’d be amazed how many strange little rocks I’ve found in bags of dried beans.

Well, after this little Monday night jaunt to Provence, I can tell you for certain that my desire to travel to France went from “desperately-want-to-go” to “oh-my-god-someone-buy-me-a-plane-ticket-now-I-MUST-GO!”. While I wait for my first-class ticket (you are sending it, right?), I’ll just indulge in some pain au chocolat and café noisette. Ne pas vous joindre à moi?  THG

Ragoût D'Agneau aux Artichauts

Ragoût D’Agneau aux Artichauts

(adapted from Anne Willan’s The Country Cooking of France)

1 4- to 5-pound lamb breast or shoulder OR stewing beef

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. flour

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups beef or veal broth, plus more as needed

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large tomato, seeded and roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. dried thyme

juice of 1 lemon

8 to 10 baby artichokes OR 4-5 medium artichokes

1 lb. fingerling potatoes

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 lemons, cut into wedges

Trim the meat and cut into chunks.  Pat dry the meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat.  Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch.  Remove each batch with a straining spoon and set aside.

Over medium heat, whisk the flour into the remaining olive oil until brown, about 3 minutes.  Add the wine and bring to a boil.  Add the beef broth, garlic, tomato and dried thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the meat and push down so all the meat is completely submerged in the broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour.

In a large bowl, fill up halfway with cold water and add the lemon juice.  Trim the stem from the artichokes.  Cut off the dried end and peel the outside layer.  Cut into chunks and add to the lemon water.  Cut the artichokes in half across the equator.  Peel back the tough leaves to the center.  Cut into quarters lengthwise.  Cut out the furry thistle (this section is inedible).  Immediately add the cut artichoke hearts to the bowl of lemon water.  Set aside.

Wash the fingerling potatoes and cut in half lengthwise.  Add to a bowl of cold water.  Set aside.

When the meat is tender, drain the artichokes and potatoes and add them to the Dutch oven.  Add more broth to cover if necessary.  Increase heat to medium and cook, covered, until artichokes and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Skim off any excess fat on the surface of the pot.  If the broth is too thin, increase the heat and boil it down to the desired thickness.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the parsley.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

Warm White Bean Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

1 lb. dried white beans, soaked

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 whole shallot

1 bunch fresh sage and 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied together (bouquet garni)

salt and pepper to taste

8-10 cups water

Vinaigrette:

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 shallot, roughly chopped

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil plus 1 tsp.

In a large pot, bring beans, garlic, shallot, bouquet garni, salt and pepper and water to a rolling boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until beans are tender, about 45 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and shallot and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add red wine vinegar and bring to a boil.  Reduce vinegar by halt.  Drain vinegar into a large measuring cup.  Whisk in mustard, parsley and salt and pepper.  While vigorously whisking, add in olive oil.  Whisk until emulsified.

Pour vinaigrette over beans and toss to coat.  Serve warm.

Serves 6-8

Thai-Style Noodles with Shrimp

Thai-Style Noodles with Shrimp

I’m a fairly adventurous eater.  I’ll try most any type of cuisine.  Moroccan, Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, Mongolian. 

I remember the first time I had sushi.  I was about 12 years old, and my mom took my brother (who was 14) and I to a Japanese restaurant.  I was thrilled at the idea of trying this very sophisticated and grown-up food; Ryan was a bit wary.  When our dishes came, Ryan saw that his came with a big pile of smoked salmon, which he loved.  He immediately put a whole handful in his mouth.

But it wasn’t smoked salmon.

It was pickled ginger.

Have you ever seen the face of a teenage boy who has just, unbeknownst to him, eaten a massive mouthful of pickled ginger?  It’s like a cartoon; steam from the ears, face turns bright red.  He quickly spit it out and declared sushi to be “totally gross”.  It took him until he was about 20 or so to really appreciate sushi.  That pickled ginger stays with you.

Raw Veggie Thai Salad

But, regardless of ginger mishaps, I loved sushi that first try.  It was really what started me on stepping outside of my food comfort zone.  If raw fish could be so delicious, what else is out there?

San Francisco is an awesome city for eating.  So much diversity, both culturally and economically.  Perfect for a cash-poor foodie like me. 

Winking smile

The first time I had Thai food was in San Francisco.  I was with my roommates, wandering aimlessly around 9th and Irving and completely starving.  We went into a tiny, hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant on a whim (mainly because Gordo’s had a line out the door).  I had fresh spring rolls with mi krop and a green papaya salad. 

Heaven.

Heaven after the first bite.

Thai-Style Noodles with Shrimp

I love me some Thai food.  I think it’s an excellent cuisine for people just venturing out of their own little food box.  A lot of common flavors are utilized, just in different preparations and combinations.  Garlic, cilantro, basil, lime, rice, coconut.

This dish uses some subtle Thai flavors, with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, cilantro and lime.  A little rice vinegar, brown rice noodles, shrimp, red bell pepper and mushrooms.  I did a side salad of cucumber, tomato, green beans and carrot, all julienned, with a very simple lime vinaigrette.  Just light, bright and very Thai-ish.  Adventurous but still close enough to home that anyone could enjoy it.  And no pickled ginger to be found

Winking smile
  THG

Thai-Style Noodles and Raw Veggie Salad

Thai-Style Noodles with Shrimp

2 lemongrass stalks, whites only, roughly chopped

2 whole garlic cloves

1” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

1 lime, juiced and zested

3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

10 oz. rice noodles

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 lb. medium-sized shrimp, uncooked, deveined and tails removed

2 cups white mushrooms, sliced

1 red bell pepper, julienned

3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds

In a food processor, combine lemongrass, garlic, ginger, lime juice and zest and cilantro.  Process until it reaches a paste consistency.  Set aside

In a large saucepan, boil rice noodles in salted water until al dente, about 4-5 minutes.  Drain and rinse.  Toss with a little vegetable oil to keep from sticking.

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and bell pepper and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Add herb paste and rice wine vinegar and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

Raw Vegetable Thai Salad

1 English cucumber, peeled and julienned

2 large carrots, peeled and julienned

1/2 lb. fresh green beans, cut in half lengthwise

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

Large pinch of sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Combine all vegetables in a large bowl.  In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine lime juice, rice wine vinegar and sugar.  Whisk in vegetable oil to emulsify.  Pour over vegetables and toss.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6