Garlic Whipped Feta and Corn Galette

I had such fun with the last recipe from Miryam Levy that I was very happy when her daughter, Victoria, let me play with another. This was pretty basic when it came to me with a simple ingredient list – a pound of corn, a container cream cheese, some feta cheese, eggs, flour, baking soda and salt and pepper. The directions were spare, too: mix the ingredients in dough and bake over medium heat. Hmmmm.

As I had pizza on my mind, my mind went immediately to making a galette or crostata. These are flat rustic pies from France or Italy which may be made sweet or savory. Whipping the cream cheese and feta together (with a little garlic) would make a deliciously cheesy filling. All that would be left to do is sprinkle on some sweet corn kernels, fold over the ends and give it an egg wash before baking. It turned out to be very easy and quite tasty – so much so that my niece and her best friend gobbled up three slices a piece!

This is something that I could see being served as an appetizer, as a cheese dish with cocktails or even for the last course of the meal, as the sweetness from the corn is quite satisfying. If you want to increase the richness (not that it needs it!), consider sautéing the corn in a little butter to coat before sprinkling them on the pie.

Garlic Whipped Feta and Corn Galette

1 batch of pie dough (store bought is fine)
4 ounces feta cheese
4 ounces whipped cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sweet corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 egg

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place feta, cream cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth.

Roll pie dough out to a circle about 1/8″ thick (or just unroll the dough if using store-bought) and lay on a large baking sheet that has been coated with olive oil.

Spread the whipped feta across the surface of the pie dough, leaving about 1/2″ of space around the edges.

Sprinkle corn kernels in an even layer on top of the whipped cheeses and garlic.

Fold the edges of the pie dough up over the edge of the filling and pinch it together to help it keep its shape. Don’t worry about how pretty it is – galettes are supposed to be “rustic!”

In a small dish, whisk egg together with 1 tablespoon of water to form an egg wash.

Use a pastry brush to brush egg wash over the edges of the galette.

Bake at 425 for 20 – 25 minutes or until the dough is lightly browned. Slice and serve immediately.

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Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

It is that time of the month and I’m craving chocolate. I just had to make these dense and rich cookies. They totally hit the spot!

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies


2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time. Pour in vanilla. Slowly combine flour mixture alternately with milk. Stir in pecans and morsels.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating cookie sheet midway through baking. Cookies will still look soft. Cool for 2 minutes on pan before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

I love mashed potatoes and can eat a lot at a single siting. Which means that I compensate by making too much and then have leftovers. Just plain reheated mashed potatoes aren’t very good, though. Using them to top shepherd’s pie is one way to use them but making potato cakes is even better.

It helps to use good mashed potatoes – I’m using the leftovers from Sunday’s Savory Potato Pie. I pulled 2 cups aside after adding the sour cream but before adding the egg or seasonings.

Making these with a good cheese (gouda, cheddar, parmesan) or adding onion will give you a kicked up side dish that goes well with nearly everything. We ate a more basic version tonight with hamburgers. After adding a bread crumb coating and a little pan frying, the exterior becomes crispy and the interior stays nice and creamy. Delicious!

Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup bread crumbs

In a mixing bowl, stir together potatoes, flour, egg, cheese, black pepper and salt. If your mashed potatoes are very wet, add more flour. If they are dry, add sour cream or milk to loosen them up. The mixture should be sticky, though. Drop large spoonfuls into the bread crumbs and press to coat and form into a patty.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet. The oil should be hot before adding the patties, as otherwise the potato cakes will become greasy. Working in batches, brown potato cakes on each side. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. Sprinkle with a little coarse salt for serving.

 

 

 

Miryam Levy’s Savory Potato Pie

A writer friend of mine is translating her mother’s handwritten recipes from Hebrew. For 40 years, Miryam Levy has created and collected recipes from a variety of world cuisines – Jewish, Arab, Israeli, Russian, Romanian, etc.

Not a big cook herself, Victoria Avilan has been having folks fix different dishes and photograph the end result so she can create a family recipe book. I love the idea of collecting and preserving family food memories, a task that can become more difficult as family members age and become medically fragile. I was happy to do my part to help bring the cookbook to life.

Here is the original recipe:

Miryam Levy's Savory Potato Pie

Crust (You can use store bought pie crust.)
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 block margarine
3 tbs water
Prepare dough. Lightly grease 9-inch pie plate and make pie crust. Preheat oven to 450˚F and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

Filling

2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
2 eggs
parsley
Cumin, turmeric, garlic powder, salt and pepper (Or the seasoning of your choice)

Mix filling together.

Preheat oven to 400˚F and bake for 15-20 min.

Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

You can sprinkle on top with diced chives and sour cream before serving.

I took her recipe and began by expanding the measurements and instructions. I also decided to take her option of topping with sour cream and instead made a batch of sour cream mashed potatoes. I also increased the amount of mashed potatoes, as I wanted the pie to fill more of the shell. I experimented with various spices until I came up with a delicious savory mix. Because I was using turmeric, I choose to use gold potatoes so the finished pie was a beautiful, deeply golden color.

Miryam Levy's Updated Savory Potato Pie

Pie Crust (you can use store bought)

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons water

Prepare dough by combining flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulsing until it is looking crumbly. Drizzle in water and pulse until crust comes together. Pat into a round, cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Roll out the crust to about 12 inches. Lightly grease 9-inch pie plate and set in the pie crust. Preheat oven to 450˚F and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

Filling

3 pounds gold potatoes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup milk (if you’re using different, starchy potatoes increase milk up to 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Scrub the potatoes well and cut into cubes before placing them in a large pot. Cover them with cold water and add the salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside until the potatoes are done. Stir 2 tablespoons of heated milk/butter mixture into the sour cream, to make it easier to incorporate.

Drain potatoes and return to the warm pot. Mash and then stir in the heated milk and butter. Fold in the sour cream. You want about 3 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes. Set aside the potatoes to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic and onion powder. Use a hand mixer or a whisk to mix potatoes, eggs, parsley flakes and the other seasonings together. Place into prepared pie shell and smooth the top. At this stage, the pie can be refrigerated overnight before baking.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown and pie is firm. If cooking from the refrigerator, bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Optional: sprinkle with diced chives before serving.

Pickle Juice Brined Chicken

Daisy waits for the chicken to be done

I don’t know about you but when I eat the last pickle in the jar, it hurts me to let all that juice go down the drain. I’ve taken to saving it and using it as a brine on chicken. It is great as a base for fried chicken (especially if you’re like me and a fan of Chick-fil-a’s chicken but not their politics). It doesn’t make pickle chicken, though. There is a nice tang, like what you get from a buttermilk soak. I wanted to see if I could translate it to grilled or roasted chicken as well.

I used one of my favorite meat rubs (Emeril’s Rustic Rub) but any kind you have that includes salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper would be delicious.

Pickle Brined Roast Chicken

4 lb whole chicken
2 cups pickle juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry rub, plus additional

Stir together the pickle juice, sugar and rub. Whisk until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Place the chicken and liquid in a zip top bag and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

For grilling: Heat up a chimney full of coals and pour them in a half circle around the edge of your grill.

For the oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat an ovenproof skillet (I use cast iron) over medium high heat.

Remove chicken from the brine. Dry off the chicken and then coat with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with your dry rub.

For grilling: Place the chicken breast side up on the grill and and cook over indirect heat for about an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

For the oven: Place a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. Set the chicken breast side down the hot pan and allow it cook for 10 minutes to brown. Flip the chicken over and transfer it right into the oven. Cook for 60 minutes in the oven or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Black Bottom Bourbon Pecan Pie

I might damage my Southern cred with this confession but I find the pecan pie recipe on the back of the Karo Syrup bottle a little too sweet. However, earlier this year, we had a delicious black bottom bourbon pecan pie at High Hat Cafe that wasn’t so sweet and had a deep flavor from the bourbon. So we took to the drawing board and started by altering the pecan filling. We switched the corn syrup with cane syrup and reduced the sugar. In the past, I have used a ganache with bittersweet chocolate and cream to coat the bottom of the pie crust before adding the filling but, after using all the cream in the Bourbon Vanilla ice cream, we had to stick with just morsels.  The idea for using cocoa in the pie crust came from Saving Room for Dessert. We also followed the America’s Test Kitchen tip and added vodka and water to the crust to make for a very tender crust that is also easier to roll out.

Look out, Thanksgiving! There is a new pie in town!

Black Bottom Bourbon Pecan Pie

Dark Chocolate Pie Crust

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons cold butter
ice water and vodka

Bourbon Pecan Pie

1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 eggs
1/2 cup cane syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup chopped pecans
a heaping cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
a handful of pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350F

First make the crust. Put the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Break up the shortening and butter into smaller pieces and drop into the processor bowl. Pulse maybe 10 times more until the mixture is crumbly and the butter and shortening are well distributed.

While the machine is running, drizzle in the 1 1/2 tablespoons ice water and 1 1/2 tablespoon vodka (don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off), and stop just when the dough comes together. Stop the machine and feel the dough, if it comes together when pressed between your fingers, it’s ready. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a cocoa’d surface (instead of flour). Fit the dough into a 9″ pie pan that you have coated in shortening. Prettify the edges. Put the crust back in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

For the filling, whisk together the bourbon and the cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, and then the corn syrup and sugar. Stir in the melted butter and the chopped pecans.

Take the pie crust out of the fridge and cover the bottom with the chocolate chips. Pour the filling over the chips. Arrange the remaining pecan halves over the entire top of the pie. Cover with aluminum foil so the pecans on top don’t get too dark.

Bake for about an hour until bubbling and puffed on top. Let the pie cool on a rack before cutting.

Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

Michelle and I collected a five gallon bucket full of pecans from the ground beneath one of her parent’s trees. As we worked, we talked about what we were going to do with them. Top of the list was to make a Black Bottom Bourbon Pecan Pie (here is our recipe). As I’m a firm believer that you can’t have pie without ice cream, I thought we should keep with the tipsy theme so we fixed a batch of bourbon vanilla.

For extra umph, if you have a vanilla pod, slice it in half and scrape out the seeds. Add pod and seeds to the cream and milk and sugar as it heats. Once you’ve added the eggs and cooked the custard through, remove the pod before cooling the custard.

Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of table salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons bourbon
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, mix cream with the milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Warm the cream mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Pour a portion of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks and whisk to temper the eggs. Then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof rubber spatula until the custard thickens slightly (it should be thick enough to coat the spatula and hold a line drawn through it with a finger), about 10 minutes. Don’t let the sauce overheat or boil, or it will curdle. Remove from heat. Stir the bourbon and vanilla extract into the custard.

Cover the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the churned ice cream to an air-tight container and freeze for at least 4 hours or up to 2 weeks.