Tag Archives: cheese

Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos

1 Dec

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Bon Appetit swooped in and helped me jazz up my Thanksgiving leftovers.

There really is no better way to put it:

“Leftovers. They’re perfect, really. You’re in the middle of a four-day weekend, the house is once again empty, the kitchen is clean, and all that remains is a giant Ziploc bag full of turkey for you to eat from the fridge in your pajamas. Without leaving the house, you have all you need to make sandwichespot pierisotto, you name it. But what if there were something more? Something even better? What if there were… Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos?”

And then I proceeded to make Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos, and they were just the crunch I needed to get me over the hump of mushy comfort food remnants.

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Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos

from BonAppetit 

Tortilla Chips

Stuffing

Turkey, shredded or cut up (if you have leftover crispy skin, throw that in, too!)

Mashed potatoes

Gravy

Cheese, shredded

Raw Brussels sprouts, cut into slivers (or any kind of green vegetable)

Cran sauce

Sour cream or Greek yogurt

Combine pieces of leftover stuffing with a layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet. This is your base layer.

Shred the turkey (The skin, too! It gets crispy in the oven) and nestle it with the chips/stuffing. Mashed potatoes are next, acting like refried beans. A little grate of white cheddar and a drizzle of gravy. Pop in a 425 degree oven until it gets oozy and crispy all in one, about 10-15 minutes.

Out of the oven and in come a few hits of leftover cranberry sauce (I like to say “cran sauce”), a few pinches of leftover raw brussels sprouts shavings (made this salad on Thanksgiving day), and some dollops of sour cream.

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Red Lentil Soup

9 Oct

The weather is turning here in New York, and that means it’s soup and stew time! Soups and stews are a treat because I can stretch a pot out for a few days, guaranteeing a healthy meal in a pinch.

Last week I made a rendition (with purple potato, romanesco, turnips, turnip greens…) of the always satisfying Tofu Panang Curry.

This week I made a riff on a soup by my favorite soup/stew queen, Heidi Swanson. She always gets her veggies in, with some sort of plant-based protein (tofu, lentils, quinoa, beans, nuts…), and then tops everything off with nuts or olives and a spoon of yogurt or a sprinkle of cheese. Her soups and stews have a little of everything, just the way I like.

I made her very simple red lentil soup. It has brown rice for texture and substance. I added in some veggies from my Sunday farmer’s market trip. To top things off, I sprinkled a hefty amount of queso fresco on top (you could use any cheese you want, or if you are vegan you could use chopped avocado and/or sliced almonds…). I also added on the side some roasted delicata squash, my absolute favorite because it is super easy to cut, and you can eat the skin!

Heidi explains:

Red lentils collapse and lose structure quite quickly – and in this case they shift color a bit. Don’t let that throw you. And it’s actually the rice that retains it’s texture here, while the lentils provide the body for the soup. So don’t be alarmed when your lentils stop looking like lentils after about ten minutes in the pot.

Red Lentil Soup

adapted from Heidi Swanson

serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

Optional: 2-3 shallots, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 cups liquid (I used 2 cups broth, 4 cups water)

1 1/3 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed

1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed

salt, to taste

Optional: 1 chopped medium red potato (or sweet potato), large handful of chopped greens (kale, turnip greens…)

Toppings: queso fresco (or feta), roasted delicata squash…

In a big soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium and add the onion, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the water/broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice. Add the potato and kale, if using. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is very tender, and not at all toothsome. By this time, the lentils will have collapsed into a thick slop of sorts. If you need to add more water/broth at any point do so a splash at a time, until the soup thins out to the point you prefer.

Unless you used a salty broth, you will likely need to salt generously, until the the soup no longer tastes flat. Serve each bowl topped with queso fresco and roasted delicata squash. You can also top with avocado, olives, sliced almonds, yogurt…

Tomato Blue Cheese Tarte Tatin

24 Aug

I’ve been busy enjoying life on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, in a petite rustic cabin with no running water and no electricity. For 4 days, I was peeing in the woods and not taking showers. I wore a headlamp and lit candles to see at night. The days were filled with hiking and bushwhacking up mountains and through meadows, and the evenings with melting marshmallows by a fire on the beach. It was totally dreamy to be out in nature, to be one with the biting bugs and scurrying animals and calm waves of the ocean’s tide coming in and out.

It’s amazing what one can miss with just a week absence of internet. The moment I had access to my computer again, I started plowing through, trying to catch up on all the blogs I read.

Heidi’s tomato tarte tatin immediately caught my eye, especially since I had a pie crust in my freezer just waiting to be used.

I made a big trip to the farmer’s market today, where I found heaps of gorgeous tomatoes, onions, green and yellow beans, cucumbers, melon, and white peaches. I even bought my lunch at the farmer’s market–whole wheat focaccia with eggplant, spinach, and goat cheese.

This tarte tatin is basically an upside down pie. Filling on the bottom, crust on top. I sautéed onions and combined them with fresh tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Into a pie plate and sprinkled with blue cheese. I think blue cheese and honey are a swoon-worthy combination, so I squeezed a bit of honey over everything for good measure. Pie crust on top. Egg wash. Salt. Oven.

The blue cheese melts right into the tomatoes, the juices so rich they give off hints of a beefy French onion soup.

Real talk: I used the cap of my canola oil to cut out the circles in the center of the pie crust.

Also, I like to place the pie plate onto a baking sheet. It just makes it easier to take in and out of the oven.

Tomato Blue Cheese Tarte Tatin

adapted from Heidi, of 101 cookbooks

serves 6-8

**NOTE: Use whatever pie crust you like. I think Heidi’s rye crust sounds great. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe (see below) that can go into a savory or sweet pie. 

1 extra large (or 2 medium) onion(s), chopped

1-2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 pounds (24 oz.) small tomatoes

scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1-2 tablespoons flour

2-3 tablespoons blue cheese

1 teaspoon honey, for drizzling

1 pie crust

1 egg (for egg wash), whisked

flaky salt, for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 400F / 205C.

While the oven is warming, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium and saute the onions. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are deeply golden and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

While the onions are cooking, cut any larger tomatoes in half. You can leave the small cherry tomatoes whole. Add the tomatoes to the caramelized onions along with the sea salt and balsamic vinegar. Transfer to a deep pie dish. If you get the sense that your tomatoes are quite juicy, and might release a lot of liquid, you can toss the mixture with a tablespoon or two of flour at this point. Sprinkle mixture with crumbled blue cheese and drizzle with a touch of honey.

Roll out your pie dough, cut out 3 circles around the center, and cover the tomato mixture – tucking in the sides a bit. Brush the crust with the beaten egg wash and bake in the top third of the oven until the crust is deeply golden and the tomatoes are bubbling a bit at the sides, 25 – 30 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes, then serve.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 45 min

Pie Crust

from David Lebovtiz’s Ready for Dessert

makes 2 rounds

**NOTE: You only need 1 round for the Tomato Blue Cheese Tarte Tatin. You can keep the other round in the freezer.

2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (8 ounces/225 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (3-cm) cubes and chilled

6-8 tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl using a pastry blender, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the chilled butter cubes and mix just until the butter is broken up into rough 1/4-inch pieces.

Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water all at once and continue mixing just until the dough begins to hold together. If necessary, mix in the additional 2 tablespoons ice water.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1 hour.

STORAGE: The disks of dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Farmer’s Market-Inspired Tacos

22 Jun

It’s taco time!

Steamed corn tortillas, refried black beans, garlicky sauteed summer squash, blanched asparagus, fresh basil, cheesy shreds, salt n’ pepper.

There’s no better way to enjoy fresh summer vegetables.

I was inspired by the produce at the little farmer’s market near my apartment.

Not necessarily the traditional accouterment for tacos, but I went with my craving.

I’m a sucker for oven-roasted asparagus, but there was no way I was turning on the oven today, not in this 100 degree weather.

Instead, I boiled water in a large saucepan, salted the water, dropped the asparagus in for 3 minutes, took them out with tongs, and seasoned them with salt and pepper. All too easy and the result produced the most vibrant green asparagus I ever laid my eyes on.

Heavy on the garlic. That was my motto for the summer squash saute. I lightly fried the garlic in just a little oil, then added my thinly sliced squash to the pan, sautéing until browned. The trick is not to move things around too much in the pan. Only stir every 1-2 minutes or so.

Basil gets thinly sliced into a chiffonade (just roll the leaves and slice into thin ribbons) and added at the very end of cooking.

I purchased Thai basil, which has a more licorice/anise flavor profile versus the sweeter Italian basil. You can use either basil variety interchangeably. I was feeling experimental today so I went with Thai. Talk about fusion! Of course, you could always use cilantro or another herb of your choice in this dish.

Steaming tortillas is a cinch in the microwave.

Place two tortillas side by side on a large plate. Top with a damp paper towel. Place two more tortillas on top plus one more damp paper towel to cover everything. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute and you’ve got yourself steamed tortillas (enough for 2 servings= 2 corn tortillas per serving).

 Have you tried refried black beans yet? Tasty town. Out of the can and into a small pan to be heated with a little grated cheese on top. Protein power.

Taco assembly involves a hefty helping of beans spread onto a steamed tortilla. Topped with the summer squash saute, 2 or 3 asparagus spears, some extra grated cheese, and basil. Salt and pepper make my wheels turn. You can add some hot sauce or chili flakes if you wish.

Tacos in the summer are a must. Check out these charred corn and feta tacos that I made last summer.

Vegetarian tacos=rad.

Farmer’s Market-Inspired Tacos

1 bunch of asparagus

3 medium summer squash/zucchini

1 tablespoon oil (canola)

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

fresh basil, about 6-7 leaves picked

1 can refried black beans

about 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used sharp cheddar and smoked gouda)

corn tortillas

Snap the woody ends off of the asparagus. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Once the water boils, add some salt. Gently drop the asparagus into the water for 3 minutes. Take the asparagus out of the water with tongs, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Dump out the excess water.

Halve and thinly slice the summer squash. In a pan (you can use the same pan as above so long as you dry it out), heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the squash and saute until browned. Only stir every 1-2 minutes so that the squash can get nice and golden brown. Add the chili powder and some salt. Roll the basil leaves up and slice them into thin ribbons. Once the squash is nearly done cooking, stir in the basil leaves and turn off the heat.

To prepare the beans, open the can and place the contents into a small saucepan. Heat on low. Add about half of the grated cheese and stir into the beans until melty.

To steam the tortillas, place tortillas onto a plate with damp paper towels between each tortilla. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute or until soft and pliable.

To assemble the tacos, spread a hefty amount of beans onto a tortilla. Add some squash. Place 2 or 3 asparagus spears on top. Garnish with extra cheese, basil, salt, and pepper.

You’ve done well, my friends.

Broccoli Quiche

26 Mar

Life as a pastry cook really hit me hard last week. One of our key pastry chefs was on vacation. I was working longer hours, many of them by myself. On Wednesday night, we had 45 people with reservations, on paper. Easy. I prepped for that amount give or take a few, and I felt solid and set up for the night. When more than double the amount of reservations showed up, things got a bit crazy.

I was running out of my set-up. Ice creams were melting. Bowls were not yet cold enough (we keep bowls in the freezer so that our frozen desserts stay cold by the time they arrive at the guest’s table). I had to whip more cream “on the fly” (as in ‘right now’!). I had to torch multiple creme brulee orders. I had to bake off more caramelized apples. I had to supreme more blood oranges. I had to pipe more “whipped chocolate flan” into bowls. I ran out of ramekins filled with honey and ricotta to go with the chocolate bread. There were birthdays that needed “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate on a plate. And of course, the machine that spits out ticket orders ran out of paper.

My hands were shaking, the sweat was dripping down my back. My legs were shot. My mouth was dry.

I did it. I plated all of the desserts. I shuffled and I shook until I got it all done. I re-stocked my mis-en-place. Everyone ate and was satisfied. I left work that night at 11:45pm. I had the biggest adrenaline rush. The next morning, my whole body ached and as I stretched out of bed, I prepared to do it all over again that night.

Even on my days off, I can’t seem to get myself out of the kitchen. I guess I’m a little obsessed. It is, however, a totally different kind of kitchen to be at home versus in a big restaurant kitchen.

This weekend I made a broccoli quiche inspired by Joy the Baker’s beautiful asparagus quiche. And you should totally watch this video with Joy frolicking in the garden and cooking in the test kitchen at the French Laundry in Napa, CA. I’m completely jealous and inspired, and the video just makes me miss California living even more.

I happened to have extra pie dough leftover in my freezer from (eek) Thanksgiving. Sure, I probably should not have kept it in the freezer that long, but it was there, I used it, and it tasted superb. I stuck it it the fridge to defrost overnight and Bam! I had everything I needed to make a comforting quiche for a cozy Saturday morning  afternoon meal. I’m totally into the studs of broccoli and the browned cheesy bits. And you simply cannot go wrong with buttery crust and black coffee.

Broccoli Quiche

filling adapted from JoytheBaker’s website and the JoytheBaker cookbook

pie dough for a single crust 9-inch pie, I used the pate brisee from Sherry Yard’s book

Dough: *You can use any dough you want, you could even use puff pastry for a quick fix

4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and placed in the freezer for about 15 minutes

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

about 1/4 cup ice water

1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar (or cider vinegar) *see note below

Filling:

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 head of broccoli, chopped

1 bunch of scallions, sliced into thin rounds

6 large eggs

1 cup milk (I used 1%)

1/2 cup heavy cream

pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup grated white cheddar or Gruyere cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

To make the dough:

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the partially frozen butter cubes and, with your fingers, rub and press the butter and flour between your thumbs and first two fingers to create flattened broken walnut sized pieces. Combine the ice water and vinegar and add the liquid all at once; mix lightly with a fork until the dough just comes together.

Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling it out (the well-wrapped dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks). I had my dough already made and frozen. I transferred it from the freezer to the refrigerator 2 days before I wanted to make the quiche so that I could just pull the dough out on Saturday morning and get going.

*Note: the amount of water can be variable. It is better to have a slightly wet/tacky dough than one that is too dry; add a little water if your dough seems dry.

When you are ready to roll out the crust, on a well-floured work surface, gently roll out the pie crust into about an 11-inch circle.  Press together any spots that might tear.  Carefully lift down and place into the 9-inch pie plate.  Use a pairing knife to trim the edges of pie dough, leaving about 1/2 inch extra dough overhang.  Fold the excess dough under and crimp with fingers.

Place your rolled out crust in the fridge or freezer to chill while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the broccoli and scallions and saute for about 4 minutes, until bright green and slightly tender. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, and salt and pepper. Whisk until blended.

Add the cooked vegetables to the unbaked pie crust. Sprinkle with half of the cheeses (1/4 cup each of cheddar and Parm.). Pour the egg mixture over everything. Top with remaining cheese.

Place a baking sheet in the oven. Carefully place the pie plate of quiche on top of the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 45-55 minutes, until quiche puffs up and is set.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes to an hour before cutting it.