Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Savory Wheat Crackers

June 3, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, other savory, savory things, 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 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 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!

pitas

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Summer Vegetable Tart

July 16, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, other savory, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, veggies | 14 Comments
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summer vegetable tart

Gale Gand’s Summer Vegetable Tart at first sounded so promising.  My CSA is throwing all kinds of vegetables my way, and it can be a challenge (a fun challenge) to get them taken care of before the next week’s batch takes over my fridge.  I was kind of surprised, then, to see that the “summer vegetables” in the recipe are just garlic, onions, red peppers and mushrooms.  Those are more like “whenever vegetables,” so I took some creative license and added zucchini and summer squash to the mix.

The tart is simple enough– the shell is just layers of butter-brushed phyllo baked till golden.  The veggies are sautéed separately and then loaded into the baked shell along with some cheese.  That’s it, all done and ready to serve.  It’s okay.  It certainly isn’t bad, just a little dull, even though I tried to pep mine up with some hot pepper flakes and fresh parsley.  The phyllo shell gets soggy in a hurry, and because the filling is never baked, it stays loose and messy.  I prefer the Cheese and Tomato Galette we did last month, and I think a riff on that will be my next attempt at a summer veggie tart.

We’re going without hosts now for TWD, so 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: Cheese and Tomato Galette

June 18, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, other savory, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, veggies | 21 Comments
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cheese and tomato galette

Flo Braker’s Cheese and Tomato Galette uses the same cornmeal and sour cream dough as the Crunchy Summer Fruit Galette we did last summer.  The dough was still as sticky as I remembered, but I rolled and formed it directly on the parchment I used for baking, so I didn’t tear my hair out. 

The recipe specifies the filling as tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and jack, but you can play around with the herbs and melting cheeses.  You can see I used dill in lieu of basil, and while I did have mozz in here, I used a more flavorful washed rind cow cheese instead of Monterey jack.  Also, I sprinkled a little s&p on the tomatoes because I like them seasoned. When I turned my galette in the oven, I noticed the tomatoes had given off some liquid.  I just tipped it out with a spoon so it wouldn’t make my tart watery.

I split this with my husband– it’s little.  With a salad and a glass of wine, it was a nice summery dinner.  I have an extra round of dough in the freezer, so I’ll make this one again.

cheese and tomato galette

We’re going without hosts now for TWD, so 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!

Maple-Glazed Meatballs and a BOOK GIVEAWAY!

March 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Posted in book review, other savory, savory things | 29 Comments
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maple-galzed meatballs

As a kid, getting breakfast for dinner was a rare and exciting treat.  As an adult, I can do this any darn time I please, but it still hasn’t lost it’s excitement factor.  Clearly I’m not alone in this, because there’s a new book called Breakfast for Dinner by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth.  This book has savory takes on pancakes and waffles, lots of egg dishes and even breakfast for dessert, but these Maple-Glazed Meatballs– like breakfast sausage doused in syrup– were what I wanted to try first.

These meatballs are flavorful and moist. Because of their sweetness, I wouldn’t pair these with pasta, but they make a great app or a perfect TV snack.

I want to send a copy of Breakfast for Dinner to one of you!  Just leave me a comment (one per person, please) on this post before 4:00 pm EST on Friday, March 8 and I’ll randomly choose a winner from the list.  Be sure your e-mail address is correct so I can contact you.

***Giveaway Winner Update: I used random.org to generate a random comment number to find the winner. It selected comment 18, so congratulations to AnnaZed. I’ll be sending your book soon!***

Maple-Glazed Meatballs- makes about 24 meatballs
from Breakfast for Dinner by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth

Steph’s Note: The original recipe called for ground pork, but I used ground chicken instead.  If you do, too, you may find that you need to add extra tablespoon of so of breadcrumbs and give the mix about a 30 minute rest in the fridge before portioning into meatballs.

for the meatballs:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground pork (or ground chicken)
1 egg
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

for the glaze:
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

-Line a baking sheet with foil.

-Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion.  Cook until translucent, 7 to 10 minutes.  Stir in apples, ginger and garlic.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.

-In a large bowl, combine pork, egg, breadcrumbs, milk, maple syrup, fennel, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper.  Add the cooled onion mixture.  Mix with your hands until uniform. Roll by tablespoonfuls into 1-inch balls, or use a small ice cream scoop to portion.  Arrange on prepared sheet.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 400°F.

-For the glaze, whisk together maple syrup, tomato paste, apple juice and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

-Brush meatballs with half of glaze. Bake 10 minutes. Brush with remaining glaze. Bake 5 to 7 minutes longer or until cooked through (internal temperature of 160°F. Serve warm.

Please note that the publisher, Quirk Books, sent me a copy of this book.
Breakfast for Dinner

Deviled Eggs for Jessica’s Bridal Shower

October 3, 2012 at 6:00 am | Posted in other savory, savory things | 14 Comments
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deviled eggs

I love a good party, and I’m so happy to have been invited to a virtual bridal shower for Jessica from My Baking Heart!  I’ve gotten to know Jessica through TWD.  She’s an amazing baker (and cook, too)…clearly C knows that he’s a lucky guy.

Nikki from Pennies on a Platter organized this big celebration, and we are going to have a fabulous table of drinks, snacks and sweets prepared by a list of incredible ladies.  I decided to bring along deviled eggs.  They are one of my favorite cocktail snacks, and I just love how retro they are.  The recipe below is for deviled eggs at their most basic, but you can jazz them up an infinite number of ways with spices and fresh herbs.  I used a French curry mayo that I bought at the fancy mayonnaise shop here in Brooklyn (I was just too intrigued by the strangeness of a mayonnaise shop not to stop in and buy something), and sprinkled over smoked paprika and chives.  Of course I piped my filling in with a star tip because it’s a special occasion.

Please visit Jessica to say congratulations and head over to Nikki’s to see the whole party spread.  Cheers to Jessica and Chris!

Deviled Eggs- makes 12 halves

6 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar or squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

-Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat.  Turn off the heat, cover and let stand 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with water and ice cubes. Transfer eggs to ice water with slotted spoon and let cool 5 minutes.

-Peel eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Put the yolks in a fine-mesh sieve and use a spatula to press them through sieve and into bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and stir vigorously until smooth.

-Arrange whites on serving platter and mound with the yolk mixture, either using a spoon or a pastry bag and tip.  Serve immediately.

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Semolina Bread

July 17, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 17 Comments
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semolina bread

I thought I was in for a whole day project when I set out to make Nick Malgieri’s Semolina Bread.  The recipe calls for three two-hour proof periods, but with the East Coast heat and humidity, my kitchen is its own proof box.  I had that loaf ready for the oven in under five!

I made the dough in the food processor.  So easy.  I cut the salt by a quarter teaspoon, and added it to the dough after the rest period in the processor.  Besides that and my shorter proof times, I followed the recipe as-is.

I wanted my loaf to be like bread from the Italian bakeries over in Carroll Gardens, so I spritzed it with a little water and sprinkled on some sesame seeds before I put it  in the oven.  Then they all more of less fell off when I cut into it, but whatever.  I had a crusty, golden loaf of bread, and it was delicious.  My favorite part of a crusty loaf like this is the end bit.  Actually my favorite parts, since there are two end bits!  Slathered with a little salty butter, they are my ideal baker’s treat.

semolina bread

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Renee’s The Way to my Family’s Heart and Anna’s Keep it Luce.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Oasis Naan

June 5, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 32 Comments
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oasis naan

Phew…I cut it close on this one.  I just made Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Oasis Naan a couple of hours ago.  Luckily it’s a pretty simple bread dough, as long as you have the time to proof it.

The recipe calls for making this flatbread dough by hand.  I’m lazy…I used the food processor, same as I do for pizza dough.  (I must say here, that I only made a half batch of dough, so everything fit just fine.)  I started by adding the minimum amount of flour to my processor bowl, then with the machine running, I poured in my water/yeast combo.  I added more flour to touch and turned off the machine for 10 minutes.  Then I sprinkled the salt and a little bit more flour over the dough (because it still felt pretty sticky) and turned it back on for a few more seconds.  I kneaded it on the counter for about a minute before putting into a bowl to proof.

The dough bakes up nice and puffy (be sure to dock it well!), and chewy, too.  I topped mine with chopped spring garlic and za’atar spice, but I bet all kinds of things would be good on top.  You could even make them like mini pizzas.  It’s not quite as soft and charred as the naan I get from my local Indian takeaway, but I’d make this again for sure.

We ate our naan with a freekeh, beet, chickpea and feta salad I concocted.  Very healty…I think my husband thought the naan was the best part!

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Maggie’s Always Add More Butter and Phyl of Of Cabbages & King Cakes.  There’s also a video of Alford, Duguid and Julia making the bread together, and the authors wrote this article that gives more naan tips.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Pizza Rustica

April 3, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, other savory, savory things, tuesdays with dorie | 30 Comments
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pizza rustica

This week TWD is putting on our Easter best with Nick Malgieri ‘s Pizza Rustica.  If you are wondering “what heck kind of pizza is this?” then think instead of cheese pie.  Ricotta, mozzarella, pecorino…like calzone filling inside pie crust.  This is rich and special…no wonder it is an Italian Easter tradition.

The pie dough is a pasta frolla, which is actually a sweet dough, and is used in cookies as well.  A sweet dough may sound odd for a savory pie, but with the salty filling, it just works.  I should note though, that I cut back the sugar in the recipe from 1/3 cup to 3 tablespoons.  For me, this was just the right level of sweetness.  The dough also has some baking powder in it, so it puffs a bit and reminded me a little of a biscuit.  The pasta frolla is really easy to work with.  If you need to patch it while rolling it out, just press it back together.  For better browning, you can brush the lattice strips with a little eggwash before baking.

At the shop where I work, we make a pizza rustica almost every day.  The filling has prosciutto in it and I don’t eat pork, so in the year and a half I’ve been there, I’ve never had a taste!  I was really excited to make one at home that I could finally try.  This recipe also has prosciutto in the filling, but I think the substitution possibilities are pretty limitless here.  In mine, I went with chicken sausage and kale (both of which I cooked and cooled first), and some red pepper flakes for spice.  One thing that I’ve learned from making rustica at work is that it’s important to remove any excess liquid from the filling components before assembly.  The night before making my PR, I drained my ricotta in a sieve lined with a coffee filter.  I also was sure to squeeze any juice out of my cooked kale before chopping it up.

I think that pizza rustica is best eaten room temperature.  And you know what goes great with it?  Red wine.

pizza rustica

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Emily’s blog, Capitol Region Dining, and Raelynn’s blog, The Place They Call Home, as they are co-hosting this recipe.  Thanks, ladies!  There’s also a video of Nick and Julia making the pizza rustica together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

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