Thursday, March 27, 2008

Apple and Dried Plum Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream and Cognac


1 1/4 c a/p flour
1/2 t granulated sugar
1/2 t fine salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (preferably 0 trans fat), frozen, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 stick chilled unsalted butter (4 T) cut into 1/2" pieces
3 T ice water


12 medium pitted dried plums (prunes)
1/3 cup Cognac (or brandy), of drinkable quality
4 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored; each quarter cut into 3 wedges
3 T granulated sugar
3 T unsalted butter, melted, divided
1/4 cup apricot preserves, heated and strained

Vanilla ice cream

Special equipment - 9" removable-bottom tart pan

  1. For the crust- blend flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Add the shortening and butter, blend by pulsing until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  2. Add ice water, continue to pulse until moist clumps form. Gather dough into a ball, and flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least one hour.
  3. For filling: combine dried plums and Cognac in small bowl. Cover and let stand 2 hours, stirring often. Drain the dried plums, reserving the Cognac. Cut the dried plums in half, set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 400*. Position a rack in center of oven. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, into a 12" round. Transfer dough to a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. Fold overhanging dough in and press, forming double thick sides, refrigerate crust for 30 minutes or place in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Mix apples, sugar and 2 T of butter in large bowl. Pile apples into dough-lined tart pan.
  6. Bake tart until apples are just tender, about an hour.
  7. Tuck rehydrated dried plums into spaces between apples. Brush fruit with remaining T of butter. Bake until apples are very tender and crust in golden brown about 20 minutes longer.
  8. Blend 1 T of reserved Cognac into strained preserves to make a glaze. Brush glaze over warm tart.
  9. Cut tart into wedges and serve warm or at room temp with ice cream. Drizzle some of reserved Cognac over ice cream if desired.
I got this recipe from a Viking cooking class I attended. I watched the chef prepare the dough and here's the thing. Even HE made a mess of it. HA! So there. His dough was not beautiful and he did not care one flip. His point was to follow the principle of pie dough so that it would TASTE great, and he told us what the principles were as he was patching great holes in the tart crust dough. When he finished spackling his dough he said now take a sip of your wine and watch THIS. And he filled the dough with the beautiful apples just filled it slap dab full piled it up and shmushed them a little then he looked at us, threw his hip out and put his hand on it and said NOW. Can you SEEEEEEE the crust? AHAAA! Of course not.

I'll be making this tart again you can bet. It's so soooooo delicious and special.

Crispy Potato Galette

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
3 T canola oil, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 ounces garlic herb cream cheese (such as Boursin)
3 whole green onions, white and green parts chopped separately)

Line a large bowl with cheesecloth folded double. Coarsely grate the potatoes into the cloth, then gather the edges of the cheesecloth together and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

Heat 1 1/2 T of the oil in a 10" nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Press half of the potatoes into a thin, even layer in the pan. Sprinkle with s&p.

Leaving a 1/2" plain border, scatter the cheese and the white parts of the onions over the potatoes. Press the remaining potatoes over the filling in an even layer.

Cook over medium high heat until crisp on the bottom, pressing occasionally with a spatula, about 10 minutes. Place a rimless baking sheet over the pan and invert the galette onto the sheet. Add remaining 1 1/2 T oil to the same pan, then slide the galette, browned side up, back into the pan.

Cook until crisp and golden on second side, about 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with chopped green onion tops; cut into wedges to serve.

This galette can be made two hours ahead. Turn onto a baking sheet and let stand at room temp. To serve: warm on a baking sheet in a 350* oven until crisp, about 15 minutes.

Roasted Chicken with Herb Butter, Onions and Garlic

7 T unsalted butter brought to room temperature
1 T chopped fresh flat leaf parsley plus 3 large sprigs
1 T finely chopped fresh thyme plus 3 large sprigs
1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary plus 3 large sprigs
1/4 t fennel seeds crushed
1/2 t kosher salt plus additional as needed for seasoning
1 wole 3 pound chicken giblets removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 medium onions peeled and quartered
14 cloves garlic peeled
1/2 cup dry white wine of drinkable quality
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 t a/p flour

  1. Preheat oven to 425*, position rack in bottom third of oven. Mix butter, chopped herbs, fennel seeds and 1/2 kosher salt in small bowl, blend well.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper toweling. Remove and discard any large pieces of fat. Season cavity of chicken with s&p; fill with herb sprigs.
  3. Cut off wings.
  4. Starting at neck end of chicken, gently slide your fingers under skin of breast and upper part of legs, loosening skin from meat. Spread 3 T of the herb butter under skin of breast and upper leg meat. Place chicken on a rack in a large roasting pan; tie legs together with butcher's twine to hold its shape. Scatter onions around chicken. Season chicken and onions with s&p.
  5. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter the garlic cloves around chicken. Brush chicken onions and garlic with 1 T of the herb butter then return to oven and continue roasting for 30 minutes more.
  6. Remove chicken from oven. Reserve 1 T of herb butter for sauce, and brush remainder on chicken and vegetables.
  7. Return to oven, continue roasting until chicken is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180*, about 30 mins. longer. Tilt chicken so juices from cavity drain into roasting pan. Transfer the chicken to a platter, surround with the onions and garlic, then tent loosely with aluminum foil.
  8. Pour pan drippings into gravy separator and set aside. Place roasting pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, pour wine into pan, quickly scraping up any browned bits that have formed on bottom of pan. Add stock to pan and bring to a simmer. Spoon off and discard fat that has accumulated in the gravy separator; add defatted pan drippings to the pan.
  9. Stir the reserved T of herb butter and flour together to make paste. Bring liquid in roasting pan to simmer; whisk in butter/flour paste. Simmer sauce until slightly thickened, whisking occasionally. Season with s&p, serve with chicken.
This recipe is from a Viking cooking school I attended. It's a super simple dish to prepare and our chef did not deglaze the pan (#8 and 9) but just included instructions for that. I wouldn'tve known what to do if the dish had been any more moist than it already was..... it was fabulous.

Salad of Mixed Greens, Walnuts, Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese

2 T white wine or Champagne vinegar
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 orange)
1 1/2 tsp finely minced orange zest
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T walnut oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 small beets, unpeeled
1 T extra virgin olive oil
6 cups baby lettuces with frisee
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces chilled fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
Thin strips of orange zest, for garnish

  1. For the dressing: Combine vinegar, orange juice and zest in small mixing bowl, whisk until evenly mixed. Add oils in a slow steady stream whisking continuously until dressing is slightly thickened and creamy (emulsified). Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside until needed.
  2. For the salad: preheat oven to 400*. Scrub beets, toss them with olive oil in small roasting pan. Roast beets until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour; cool, peel, and cut into 1/2 inch wedges.
  3. Mix lettuces and walnuts in a large bowl. Toss with just enough dressing to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad among four chilled plates, arrange beets around greens. Top salads with goat cheese and orange zest; serve immediately.

This recipe is from a cooking class I took at The Viking Cooking School. It's an awesome salad. When you roast the beets, it makes them so sweet they taste like you've sprinkled sugar on them.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

White Chili

This is the White Chili recipe I use. My family loves it, which is rare for something I cook! I am going to cook the beans all day in the crockpot. Then I'll add the chicken and turn up the heat for the last hour or so.

White Chili
1 pound large white beans, soaked over night
6 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped (divided)
tablespoon oil
2 4-oz cans chopped green chilies
2 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground gloves
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups diced cooked chicken breasts
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

Combine beans, chicken broth, garlic and half of the onions in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very soft, 3 hours or more. Add more chicken broth, if necessary. In a skillet, sauté remaining onions in oil until tender. Add chilies and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Add to bean mixture. Add chicken and continue to simmer 1 hour. Serve topped with grated cheese.

8-10 servings

Chocolate Chip Cookie

This is so easy...but as the directions say don't overbake.

Skillet-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, I used the teeny ones cause that's what I had on hand
1/2 cup chopped nuts..........optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; mix until they are fully incorporated. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Transfer dough to a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (I actually used my 12-inch skillet and cut down the cooking time to about 30 minutes), and press to flatten, covering bottom of pan. Bake until edges are brown and top is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Don't overbake; it will continue to cook a few minutes out of the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges. Serve warm; top each wedge with a scoop of ice cream.

Enjoy ..........Cactus