Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Parmesan Puffs

November 17, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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parmesan puffs

It doesn’t matter if I’ve made it myself or if I’ve bought it at the store, I try to never waste a scrap of puff pastry.  So much potential in those little buttery off-cuts…pigs in a blanket, palmiers, Michel Richard’s Parmesan Puffs…I could go on, but let’s focus on the Parm Puffs.  Take your leftover bits of puff, cut them into willy-nilly shapes and fry them up in a bit of oil till they’re puffed and golden.  Then sprinkle them with salt and shower them in good grated parmesan.  Cheesy, buttery and salty– they are the perfect holiday party nibble.  My hostess-with-the-mostess tip of the day: Champagne and fried stuff is a match made in heaven. Continue Reading Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Parmesan Puffs…

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Torte Milanese

October 6, 2015 at 11:41 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, veggies | 5 Comments
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torte milanese

This is my “take two” of Michel Richard’s Torte Milanese recipe.  I did the first take last fall, when we prepared Richard’s homemade puff recipe and did other stuff with it.  Pictures of that version were lost, unfortunately, and were never to be seen again, except perhaps by the hackers who encrypted them a few weeks later.  Hope those bastards got hungry.

The only silver lining to all that mess is that I was encouraged to make this tasty torte, which is a full meal of layered scrambled eggs, cheese, veggies and meat encased in puff pastry, again.  And I got to play around with it a little this time.  I used chard in lieu of spinach for the greens, I left out the ham layer and instead crisped up some bacon and cooked them into the scrambled eggs, which I flavored with the herbs I had on hand (thyme and basil), and I used a mix of cheddar and Swiss cheeses.  Even my roasted red pepper layer was actually a combo of red and yellow ones.  I would say that the puff stayed the same, except I used store-bought instead of homemade this time.  Its savory, salty (in a good way) and very filling.  Plus, the tall slices look great with all those layers of good stuff.

The recipe says to bake the torte at 350°, but I don’t think puff pastry bakes well that low, so I started it at 400° and turned it down at the halfway point for the rest of the bake.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

TWD Rewind: Cheese and Tomato Galette

September 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, veggies | 13 Comments
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cheese and tomato galette

Flo Braker’s Cheese and Tomato Galette is more of a revisit than a rewind.  I first made this one with the group a couple of years ago, but I’ve also made it many times since.  I hope I’ll still see tomatoes at the Greenmarket here for a couple more weekends, so I can squeeze in one more of these this year!

The dough is the only tricky part about this galette.  It bakes up nice and crisp, but it starts out super sticky.  I roll it well-chilled and directly on the parchment I’m going to use for baking so I move it as little as possible.  After the dough is rolled into a circle, it’s then easy to just slide the parchment onto the baking sheet, top it and pleat it up. 

The recipe specifies the filling as tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and jack, but I play around with the herbs and melting cheeses depending on what’s in the fridge.  I’ve used dill, cilantro or parsley (even pesto–which is amazing!) to replace the basil, and while I do always like to use the mozzarella in here, I’ve subbed the Monterey jack with cheddar, provolone, etc.  Also, I like to season the tomatoes with salt and pepper.  If the tomatoes give off some liquid while the galette bakes, I just tip it out with a spoon at the half-way point so it won’t make the tart watery.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan, or look around…it’s out there.   Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll for other rewinds this week!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Savory Puffs

June 16, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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savory puffs

If you are looking for a little nibble for early evening rosé hour on the deck, might I suggest Norman Love’s Savory Puffs?  I love making pâte à choux sweet or savory, I think it’s one of the most fun classics.  This particular recipe is actually a little unusual…instead of just plain old water as the liquid ingredient in the dough, it uses cucumber and onion juice, along with a bit of milk.  I made a reduced-size batch (I skipped the éclair version) so rather than actually juice the cuke and onion, I just grated some of each on a box grater, salted the mix lightly and left it to drain for a while over a sieve.  Then I gave it a final squeeze, measured out the juice that drained off and used it in my choux paste.

I set aside those shreds of veg in the sieve (now relieved of excess moisture) and used them in my puff filling.  Waste not, want not– am I right?  First I chopped them up a bit finer and then stirred them, along with some herbs and seasoning into a mild, soft cheese curd that I like called Cloumage.  The smoked salmon version of the filling sounds delicious, but will have to wait for another rosé hour…perhaps next week, as I still have a few empty puffs in the freezer (and another bottle of rosé in the fridge).  Want to come over?

savory puffs

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (there’s a a video here of Chef Norman making the puffs). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Matzos

April 21, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, quick breads, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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The Matzo recipe from Lauren Groveman is bread at its most basic.  Really, it’s just flour, salt and water, hand-kneaded and with no real resting period required.  A little ground pepper and some sesame seeds are technically optional, but I wouldn’t skip them…they make a boring-sounding dough interesting and flavorful.

The instructions say to roll the dough as thin as possible.  When I make crackers, I like to roll them out on my pasta machine rather than with a wooden pin.  I did that here, too, and because the machine cranks out long, narrow, strips, I wound up cutting them into smaller pieces than the large, plate-sized matzos shown in the book’s photos.  The smaller pieces seemed also more easy to deal with using the kinda scary-sounding baking-and-flipping-on-a-blazing-hot-sheet-tray technique called for in the recipe.  I only burned myself once, so I’d call that a success!

I got matzos that were much more thin and delicate than the store-bought ones I’ve had.  And did I already mention how good the sesame seeds are in here?  I made a little smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese spread to go with the matzos, and the combo was every bit as addictive as chips and dip.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (there’s also a video of the episode). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Alsatian Onion Tart

November 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, veggies | 10 Comments
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alsatian onion tart

This Alsatian Onion Tart is our third  Michel Richard puff pastry recipe in a row!  This is a great easy recipe to toss together for brunch or lunch (or dinner) if you have some puff in the freezer already.  It’s actually designed to use scrap puff pastry that’s been rerolled, but I didn’t have enough scrap and sacrificed a fresh sheet.  It was worth it.

This is very similar to the flammkuchen I like to get at German beer hall in my neighborhood (except I think they use a flatbread base instead of puff pastry).  It’s almost like a pizza topped with slightly sweet, soft onions simmered in chicken broth, bacon and a touch of cream.  I put some fresh thyme on mine, too…hopefully the Alsatians won’t mind.

While the recipe specifies four very large onions for the topping, two of my onions were most definitely small and the other two were medium-sized at best.  I was crying so freaking much chopping them, I don’t think I could have physically handled anymore.  I had plenty for a nice thick layer anyway.  I actually thought it looked like too much cooked onion but I put it all on there.  Also, I used turkey bacon instead of slab bacon so I skipped the blanching step and just gave it a quick sauté.  Oh yeah, and I baked my tart at 400° because I like puff to be a little browner than I’ve found I can get it at 350°. You can prep the components a day in advance and assemble the tart right before baking.

The recipe says this tart is best just baked, but I had leftovers that I reheated in a 325° oven the next day, and they were great.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Puff Pastry Pizzettes

October 21, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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puff pastry pizzettes

I’m no interior designer.  This has been made painfully obvious to me by my home decorating choices (more accurately called mistakes).  Right now I’m trying to choose a few paint colors and I just can’t.  I can’t.  I need a glass of wine and a treat.  Thankfully, that I can do, and easily, too, with Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Pizzettes.  These little one bite snacky hors d’oeuvres are meant to use up the scraps from the other week’s Sunny-Side Up Apricot Pastries. Homemade puff pastry (heck, even store-bought– it’s expensive!) is a no-waste situation.  I only made two of the apricot pastries so I really didn’t have a whole lot of scrap to go with here and just got six pizzettes.  Even so, I made two versions with goat cheese– one with tomato and the other with sautéed leeks.  I’m annoyed that I forgot to put a little parsley leaf on top of each tomato one…my picture would have been cuter!  See what I mean?  I fail on the design details.

These were a tasty little snack with glass (or two) of wine.  They were best warm, though.  The room temp one I tried had definitely lost some of its crispiness.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Savory Wheat Crackers

June 3, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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savory wheat crackers Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Savory Wheat Crackers were a nice little snack to munch on with a chilled glass of wine this past (very fine) weekend.  I’ve made crackers before…here, for instance.  Also, in the restaurants I’ve worked in, pastry always had to make the crackers to go with the cheese plates.  Rolling cracker dough out with a pasta machine (or a sheeter like we had at my first job) is my pro tip from those days.  It gets them super thin, although you have to use a fair amount of flour to not shred the dough in the roller.  I took these to the second thinnest setting in my machine and then topped my crisps with nigella seeds, ground coriander and fleur de sel. This whole wheat cracker dough is super basic….no leavening necessary.  It comes together with a whiz in the food processor, although my dough was a little sticky, so I added some supplemental AP flour to make it behave. The recipe makes a lot of dough…even the half recipe I made yielded tray after tray of crackers!  They have to be rolled, cut and baked in batches.  It was like a Nabisco factory in my kitchen on Sunday.  Actually, I forgot to cut two of the trays before I put them in the oven– I just broke those into big shards after they were cool.  Real Nabisco would so fire me.  You need a ripping hot oven for these and will likely have to tack on a few minutes to the stated baking time. My crackers took 6-7 minutes to bake through, rather than the three minutes in the recipe.  One minute too many, though, and the crackers will be charcoal (and yes, I did torch a tray myself)! I made a little spread out of famer’s cheese and flowering chives to snack on with these crackers.  I have lots more to eat up, so I’ll have to think up some other ideas.  For the cracker recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Scallop and Pesto Purses

May 6, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, tuesdays with dorie | 18 Comments
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scallop and pesto purses

I’ve been trying to lay off the sweets a bit lately.  No more dessert every night, I’ll mostly keep that to weekends.  This is because I can tell my trainer would like it if I dropped a few pounds.  The things I do for this guy….I even got up early to run a 5K on Sunday!  He’s right of course, and he has made me strong, so at least that running was a piece of cake (unlike the cake I’m not eating).

I do miss baking stuff more than once a week, though, so it’s nice to have a little savory project to put together.  To tell the truth, these Scallop and Pesto Purses, courtesy of Gale Gand, were more of a quick assembly task than a real baking project.  Take a nice, fat sea scallop and a schmear of pesto, bundle it up in a phyllo dough wrapper and pop it in the oven.  These purses are intended to be elegant appetizers, but I will probably never have a dinner party sophisticated enough to serve them (pigs in a blanket, anyone?).  After I snapped this photo, I put a few of them together on each plate with a bit of salad, and we had them as dinner…with the rosé, obvi.  They were really tasty and the scallops cooked nicely inside (which I was worried about since I couldn’t really tell what was going on in there).  The juices from the scallop did make the bottom of the purses soft, but we were knife and forking it, so it wasn’t a big deal.

I pounded together a little bit of parsley pesto for these in my new mortar and pestle.  It was my first time making pesto this way– normally I use the food processor– and it was so good, I made more a few nights later for pasta.

scallop and pesto purses

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas (& Pitas)

August 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 9 Comments
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eastern mediteranean pizza

Lord knows I’m not above making a pita pizza from time to time, but usually it’s out of sheer convenience (and sometimes out of desperation).  Before Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas, I certainly wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of making my own pita dough for one.  Not that it was a hard dough to make or anything, but like any yeast bread, it does take time.

The topping for these pizzas is lamb (although I used ground turkey) sautéed with onions and garlic, tomatoes and pine nuts.  Mine wound up a little on the dry side, probably because I used cherry tomatoes, which didn’t give off much juice.  I tried to jazz up my finished pizza with some feta and chopped scallions, but if I make it again, I’ll make sure the topping has just a touch of sauciness to coat the meat.

The bread dough has a fair amount of whole wheat flour in it, which gives it a slightly nutty taste.  The recipe calls for baking individual pizzas, but I made a double-sized one instead and baked it on my pizza stone.

Since I had to make pita dough before I could make the base of my pizza, I went ahead and made some actual pita breads with it as well.  And then we had warm pita and hummus snack.  I was quite pleased that my pitas puffed enough to get a pocket– my husband initially didn’t believe that I made these, as I always get my pitas at the great Damascus Bakery here in Brooklyn.  The next morning, I took my last homemade pita, opened its pocket, and made a fried egg sandwich out of it.  Tasty!


We’re going without hosts now for TWD, so for the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. There’s also a video of Jeffery and Naomi making the dough and pizzas with Julia.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

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