Archive for August, 2012

Popovers

These were perfect! And so easy! No problems with preparing these babies!

Prepared batter and then got interrupted by a ‘must do now task’ so I took the batter and placed a cover over it and set it in the oven where ‘Sam the Slammer’ couldn’t get at it.  (It’s the only appliance that still befuddles him as he has no thumbs. Yes, he can get into the refrigerator and open the cheese drawer. He has held at least 2 parties with our other pooches before we got smart and put a lock on the frig).

I digress . . .

I HAD planned to make them for dinner with home made spaghetti sauce using fresh tomatoes (something I did for the first time) with a salad on the side, but my husband thought he wanted to have them later that evening. So I switched gears and held off baking until after dinner.

When I returned I pulled out the batter and then whisked for several minutes.  There was some settling of ingredients at the bottom of the bowl so I whisked a good five minutes. I have no idea if this made the popovers fluffier.

I put the batter into six of the twelve muffin tins – about 1/3 cup each (I mis-read the 1/4 cup for muffin tins). Once I realized this mistake I went for the maximum baking time.  However, I was still on edge about it and watched the popovers pop. I took pictures of the progression.  I was so impressed that I could actually make these guys.

Baking popovers:  part 1

Baking popovers: part 1

Baking popovers:part 2

Baking popovers: part 2

Baking popovers:  part 3

Baking popovers: part 3

As I watched them ‘grow’ I thought about the popovers that Little Women had on Christmas Day just before they decided to take them to the Hummels. (I just watched the 1933 version this weekend – I have now watched all three versions and read the book several times.)

Although I know these aren’t the best photos, I was so excited that these were rising (I didn’t believe that they would ever turn out!) I still wanted to share. These were easy and turned out great!  Now I know why Amy was so reluctant to give her popovers to the Hummels.  (But she did, though!)

Popovers:  Done!

Popovers: Done!

Berry Galette

Proof of pitted cherries

Proof of pitted cherries

It was an adventure and an obstacle course. I loved the final product – after all I had two chances to bake this baby! So here is the timeline of events:

1) Adventure  🙂       The day before, I made the crust. It was chilling nicely in the frig. I liked the idea of the cornmeal and was excited to see how it would turn out.That part went really well, except I made the whole recipe.

2) Obstacle  😦      I was tired of berries. We just did the nectarine and blueberry pie, we have fruit everyday from the local stand, and blueberries are always in our frig. I even made blackberry ketchup (blog about this later). The second crop of raspberries are not out yet and strawberries just didn’t appeal to me. So I was stuck. I thought that I might choose veggies – but I really wanted to stick to the dessert aspect of this recipe.  So I stood in the fruits and vegetable section of my local store and considered my options. Rejected all the obvious ones: peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon, all the fruits listed above. Then wondered about grapes, but said no. Finally, I looked at the cherries. . .

2)  Adventure  🙂     I LOVE CHERRIES (I put dried ones in the biscotti and that worked for me!) Okay, I bought a bag of cherries.

3) Obstacle   😦     Finding the cherry pitter. Believe it or not, I had one for 25 years, sitting in a drawer just waiting for a second try (I made 1 cherry pie back in 1982.) So, I happily began to look for it. I had it in my hand as recently as a couple of months ago wondering if I should make a pie again when the cherries came in season.  So if I had it in my hand then it must be where always is – in the silverware drawer. I could not find it. I was so desperate, I cleared the drawer, washed the silverware, washed and disinfected the drawer and it still wasn’t there. I asked the ghost in my house to return it. Since it didn’t come back – it was gone.  Meanwhile, my greyhound, Sam, was, as always, by my side. Hoping for some handout.

4) Adventure   🙂   I thought I have to do this another way. So I looked up cherry pitting online. There was one crazy method using a mangled paper clip. I tried it once and then gave up. So I chose my personal avocado pitting method: Slice to the pit, rotate the knife a 360 around the fruit, twist the two side to pull apart then push out the seed with a spoon. So I tried it with the cherries and other than requiring some very fine motor skills I didn’t know I still had, this method actually worked.  I added less sugar,  little wild cherry brandy (I used this for the biscotti) and a generous tablespoon of corn starch to the mixture. It was good to go.

5)  Adventure   🙂  Rolling the dough was great fun. This dough made it very easy (unlike other recipes) and I was ready for the filling.

6) Obstacle   😦  So I rolled the dough out and then scooped the mixture into the middle of the dough. It looked beautiful. The pleats were perfect!  I just forgot one thing:  I didn’t move the rolled dough to the baking sheet BEFORE I added the filling. So I tried to lift it out with two wide spatulas and I could soon see that that wasn’t going to work. I wanted to cry!  Until I remembered . . .

7) Adventure  🙂  I had made a full recipe of the galette dough and I had the other half still chilling!  Yea! for me!  So I ripped open the one sitting on my counter, got the filling out and then went to the frig for the second rolling.  I put in the filling and even some extra butter. And soon enough, I had it ready for the oven. It wasn’t as pretty as the first one, but it was decent. I was so happy that I flipped Sam a slice of butter to which he responded happily then moved in for more.

8)  True love is a compliment that is NOT squeezed out of someone!  🙂  My husband came home in the middle of all of this and exclaimed, “It smells like a bakery in here! What are we having?”  I told him and  he said, “I never had a galette before.”  Neither had I. So when it came time, I pulled it out of the oven and set it to rest on the counter top.

9) Here comes trouble   😐   My husband and I had to leave and so I left the galette cooling on the counter. My counter cruising greyhound, Sam, who has been observing the baking (as he always does looking for a slice of something), was nearby. I had to surround the cooling galette with traps and obstacles.  I did so and felt it was safe.  We left.

Sam, the perp

Sam, the perp

10) Never underestimate the problem solving skills of your dog  😐  When we returned . . . there was no galette.  There were no broken objects that surrounded the galette. They had just been pushed aside. After I recovered from the shock of losing the galette, I had to find where Same took it to eat it.  I searched the entire house and finally found a few crumbs and cherry stains on a dog bed on the second floor.

11)  Obstacle   😦  I was furious. He has done this before and I know better. But still, I think, he won’t this time. HA!  My husband recognized the signs of fury and calmly said, “Honey, you need to forgive Sam.”  Forgive him????  I wanted to wring his neck!  The obstacle here was NOT WRINGING HIS SKINNY LITTLE NECK!
12)  Adventure  🙂  I made another batch of dough – twice.  I realized halfway through the mixing that I couldn’t remember if I washed my hands.  I knew I hadn’t changed my clothes. (We were taking care of horses at the barn when this happened.  Enough said. . . )  So, I dumped out the mixture and took a shower and then returned to the kitchen.  I guess fury can make one do many things.

13) Adventure   🙂  I made the second galette to see if we liked it as much as Sam did. I did all the same steps, but was really good at pitting cherries now. It took me half the time. (Is that another outcome of rage and fury????)

14) Adventure  🙂 We had the galette last night and though I don’t think it was as pretty as the first one, it was good just the same AND my husband liked it!  Yea!

15)  Obstacle   😦  I never did find the cherry pitter.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cherry Berry Galette #2

Corn, Chile, and Cheese Quesadillas

Corn, childe and cheese quesadillas with summer squash

Corn, chile, and cheese quesadillas with summer squash

I took a leap of faith and tried Quesadillas. The recipe I found in “Cooking Fresh” magazine (Spring 2012, pp95) seemed easy enough – just lots of ingredients. It is labeled vegetarian and quick (under 30 minutes). It took me longer but I was being really careful with my steps. I have wanted to try cooking quesadillas for a long time, but felt intimidated. This recipe had so many of my favorite foods, I had to try it. I loved the corn and summer squash! I added more heat by using a jalapeno pepper instead of the milder pablano pepper. I also would have added more of the chipolte chile powder for more zip, too. I think I would added 1/2 tsp. 1/8 didn’t do it for me. I served with rice and made it a Sunday afternoon dinner. I found that I didn’t use all the veggie mixture or the cheese – seemed too much. So I saved for leftovers. My husband loved it and has asked for it again soon. That’s approval for you! So here it is:

5 Tbs vegetable oil
1 c small-diced fresh,mild chiles (pablano) OR to add more heat, I used jalapeno chiles without seeds
1 11/2 cups small diced summer squash
Kosher salt and freshly ground peper
1 cup fresh corn kernels (2 medium ears)
1/8 tsp chipolte chile powder
1 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
4 9″ tortillas
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
Sour Cream optional

Fit a rack over a baking sheet and put the sheet in the oven. Heat to 200 degrees F.
In a large 12″ skillet, heat 1 Tbs of the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chiles and cook, stirring until soft about 3-4 minutes.
Add the squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the squash softens and starts to brown, 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in the corn and chipolte powder and cook for 2 minutes. Spoon into a bowl, let cool for a few minutes, and then fold in the tomato, cilantro, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture.

Lay several layers of paper towel on a work surface. Wipe out the skillet, put it over medium-high heat, and add 1 Tbs of the oil. When it’s hot, put one tortilla in the pan. Quickly distribute 1/2 cup of the cheese evenly over one half of the tortilla and about a quarter of the remaining vegetable mixture over the other half. When the underside of the tortilla is browned use tongs to fold the cheese side over the vegetable side. Lay the quesadilla on the paper towels, blot for a few seconds, and then move it to the rack in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest. Cut into wedges and serve with the reserved vegetable mixture and sour cream.