Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving... Pies!

Being alone for Thanksgiving wasn't that bad. I got some homework done, did a little cleaning and baked some pies! Tim and Chris went to their parents house on the train at about 4:30 this morning. I got to drive them of course, it was really odd driving that early in the morning. When I got home I didn't go back to sleep until 5 and got back up at 9. I decided to call my mom since we barely ever talk anymore due to my lack of time, plus it doesn't help with the time difference. It was a great talk, we were both cooking while on the phone... so similar we are!

Onto the pies, I made some "non-traditional" Thanksgiving pies because Tim and Chris are eating Pecan and Pumpkin Streusel at their parent's house. We have Coconut Cream, Cherry and a Pear Galette! I can say right now that I'm not completely happy with the doughs that I made yesterday after getting home from work. I can redeem myself later though!

I really enjoyed making the fillings though. The Coconut Cream was just pastry cream and toasted coconut, very basic but delicious. I also made a creme Chantilly to decorate the top with. The Cherry was just a cooked fruit method. And the Pear Galette was just like the previous one I made.
On a side note... I ran out of eggs and didn't actually have an egg wash, so I cream washed the doughs instead. I figured why not, it's better than nothing!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pesto Halibut en Papillote with Vegetables

In my current cooking class, we've learned all of the moist- and dry-heat methods. One of them being a form of steaming which is called en papillote. It just means "wrapped in parchment paper". It's actually a very easy method because you could have your whole meal inside... protein and vegetables.

Pesto Halibut en Papillote with Vegetables
Recipe adapted from Three Blondes and a Tomas

3-6 halibut fillets, deboned and skinned
salt and white pepper, for seasoning the fish
3-6 tablespoons butter
1 cup arugula pesto
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 zucchini, julienned
1 yellow squash, julienned

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of butter in the center of each piece of parchment.  Place the halibut on top and season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread some pesto on top of the fish, then top with onions.
  • Toss the carrots, zucchini and yellow squash in a bowl with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Then place the vegetables on top of the onions.
  • Fold the sides of the parchment down the center, then fold in the ends so that the pouch is sealed up nice and tight.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.

I served these with rosemary roasted potatoes. I'd suggest caramelizing the onions, they have too much of a bite and it would really help to bring out the sweetness in them.



Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

I love making these potatoes, they are easy and delicious. I have a ton of fresh rosemary outside right now so I figured I'd at least use it! The addition of the blackened redfish seasoning provides flavor and a little spice as well. I like to serve this for any meal, and it would also be great if you wanted to make a roasted potato salad.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

8-10 medium potatoes, large dice
1/2 cup olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon rosemary {fresh}
1 1/4 teaspoon blackened red fish seasoning
3/4 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients.. Let the potatoes marinade in the mixture until ready to bake.
  • Line a baking pan with foil and top it with the potatoes.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until down.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Poached Pears {with wine}

So originally when I made my first Pear Galette, I did a more traditional poached pear, just in a simple syrup with some vanilla. I figured I'd play with it a bit this time and added in some wine, cinnamon and cloves. I used ground cloves, but whole cloves would work just the same.

Poached Pears {with wine}

3-4 pears
600 g sugar
600 g water
3/4 cup white wine
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon cloves {ground}

  • Peel and core each pear.
  • To a pot, add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Add the pears and cook over low heat, turning the pears consistently.
  • Cook until the pears become translucent.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poached Halibut with Saffron and Cucumber-Dill Sauce

This delicious, yet simple recipe came about when I was talking with Chef Adalberto. He made it during another class he teaches and suggested it to me, he also gave me the saffron for it. I talk a lot about him but never reference him, mostly by accident. He's a very talented pastry chef {The Illegal Bakery} who, luckily, taught us for our first semester baking and pastry class! He's actually leaving to take on the Head Baker position {among other things} over all the Harmons in Utah, he'll bring a lot of greatness to the table.

In relative "fish" news, I got to fillet a whole salmon in class today. It was awesome, I just hope we get to do that more!


Poached Halibut with Saffron
Recipe from Chef Adalberto

3-6 halibut fillets, deboned and skinned
salt and white pepper, for seasoning the fish
white wine, enough to cover the fish
lemon juice

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Season the fillets with salt and white pepper and place in a shallow baking dish.
  • Pour in the white wine until about half way or three quarters up the side of the fish, sprinkle with saffron.
  • Cook for 10 minutes, or until done.
  • Once done, squeeze lemon juice on top and top with cucumber-dill sauce {recipe below}.

Cucumber-Dill Sauce

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup dill weed {fresh}, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

  • After you have grated the cucumber, squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible.
  • To it, add the sour cream, dill, lemon juice and salt and mix well.

I served this over steamed asparagus.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Classic Meatloaf

I can't say I've ever loved meatloaf, until now. Dianne made it one time for me and it was so great I decided to get the recipe from her. I love how basic it is too, just makes it that much easier to throw together if needed quickly!

Classic Meatloaf

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cups bread, cubed
1/4 cup onions, chopped
2 teaspoons mustard

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients and mix well until combined.
  • Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and put the mixture into it, shaping evenly.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes. Take out of the oven and pour the fat off of it before spreading on the sauce {recipe below}. Once ready, spread the sauce over the top evenly and bake for another 5 minutes.


1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon mustard
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Mix all of the ingredients together.

I served this with garlic mashed potatoes and corn!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

I was going to make this last week but got a bit busy with homework. So I decided to just make it today since it's my only day off to do anything I want! I got this recipe from a cookbook that was at Dianne's house when we visited over a year ago. I really love lamb gyros but I'd rather find a place that does them well. At least when I'm at home, I know I can make a pretty decent one with chicken instead!

Chicken Gyros

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano {dried}
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion {powder}
1 teaspoon salt

  • In a bowl or bag, place all of the ingredients together and mix well. Marinate for up to 2 hours.
  • Once ready, place the chicken on a grill {I use a George Foreman} or in a pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup cucumber, finely chopped
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon mint
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Mix all of the ingredients together and let sit for at least 1 hour before using.


pita bread
tomatoes, sliced
red onion, thinly sliced
tzatziki sauce {recipe above}

  • Take a piece of pita bread and layer with the lettuce, chicken, tomato, red onion and tzatziki sauce.


Chunky Chicken Salad

The time changed and because we gain an hour, it's going to be getting a lot darker soon. I can't say I love this fact since I take all of my photos {or try to} in natural light. Hopefully everything will work out in the months to come!

Yum, snacks!

Publix, a grocery store that I used to shop at with my mom had a lot of great pre-prepared salads and such. Typically, I would never buy this kind of stuff at any other store because I don't trust the quality. Since I've moved, I've been missing it and when Tim said he wanted some kind of chicken salad for lunch this week I was lucky to find a recipe. This is as close as it's going to get in terms of flavor and I'm happy with that. I'm sure he'll enjoy it too!

Chunky Chicken Salad
Recipe from Publix

2 lbs chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 tablespoon parsley {dried}
3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoons basil {dried}
1/2 teaspoons dill weed {dried}
1/8 teaspoons white pepper
1/8 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, steamed and chopped
1/4 cup onions, chopped

  • In a large bowl combine everything and mix thoroughly.
  • Cover and chill overnight for several hours before serving.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tiramisu {no recipe}

So Chef Adalberto was given the task to make 800-900 mini cheesecakes and florentines for a charity event in Wyoming this weekend and needed help with production after class. Today, a couple of us stayed to help and were rewarded with Tiramisu that we had made during our time in the bakeshop. We were excited to say the least!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Boston Clam Chowder and Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Mmmm, again with the "soups". I've made this a few times and it's always been great. The bacon and garlic were my own doing... they just make everything taste better! One thing I loved about the original recipe was the use of red wine vinegar, it gives the chowder such a great flavor.

Boston Clam Chowder
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

3 strips of bacon, chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups  potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart half and half 
2 6.5 oz cans chopped clams
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

  • Drain the clams and reserve the liquid.
  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon for about 5-7 minutes. 
  • Put the vegetables in and pour the clam juice and water over the top. Simmer until the vegetables are almost tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan melt the butter and add the flour, making a roux with a wire whisk. Constantly stirring, add the half and half slowly. Cook and stir until smooth and thickened, without boiling. 
  • When slightly thickened, add the roux to the vegetables and add the clams, salt, vinegar and pepper. 
  • You can keep the chowder warm {without boiling} for a up to an hour or serve immediately.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits
376 g bread flour
7 g salt
3 g garlic {powder}
22 g baking powder
128 g butter, cubed {cold}
165 g cheddar cheese, shredded
213 g milk
garlic and parsley butter {recipe below}

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a bowl, add in the flour, salt, garlic powder, baking powder and butter. Mix with your fingertips, making sure the butter stays about the size of hazelnuts.
  • Add in the cheese and milk and mix until combined, making sure not to overwork.
  • Form the dough into a rectangle or square and using a circular cutter, push it down but don't twist {this helps the biscuits to rise evenly when baked}.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes, brush with the garlic and parsley butter.

Garlic and Parsley Butter

3 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic {powder}
3/4 teaspoon parsley flakes {dried}

  • In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients.

The biscuits are something I just whipped up. Traditionally, I serve this soup with a more simplistic version of this recipe but because of taking my baking class, I feel that using somewhat of a pre-prepared  method just isn't fair to myself and others around me. Plus, it's fun to test out recipes to see how they will work out!