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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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.

Twice Baked Potatoes

The grocery store had large bags of Russet potatoes on sale, so we bought a couple and used the largest out of the bags to make twice baked potatoes. I like to keep them in my freezer for a quick, weeknight side dish.

For the ones we were having with dinner, I placed them on the grill and let them warm up in the hickory smoke goodness as the chicken finished cooking for about 20 minutes. After ten minutes, I added the cheese. I choose provolone as it really becomes delicious when you add smoke to it.

Twice Baked Potatoes

12 large potatoes
1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons)
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese or other melting cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash potatoes, pat dry and coat with vegetable oil.

Bake potatoes until done, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, just enough to handle. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out interiors. Leave enough potato in the shell for it to retain its shape. Mash together potato interiors with butter and milk. Add a light amount of salt and pepper. Refill potato skins with mashed potato. Sprinkle tops with cheese.

If you’re making the potatoes to eat immediately (ie not to freeze), replace some of the butter with sour cream. Feel free to add bacon bits and even some cheese into the mash before filling the skins.

Bake the refilled potatoes at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

From frozen: Bake the potatoes straight from the freezer at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sweet Corn Pudding

I’m a sucker for corn puddings and corn casseroles. I’m even known to use the recipe from the box of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix (recipe found here) or even the cheesy goodness of Paula Deen’s version. Since those can be a little sweet, I was pleased to watch P. Allen Smith introduce his Aunt Antha’s Sweet Corn Pudding on his show (here is the video). I cut his version down, as I rarely entertain eight people at one time these days.

4 ears fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob (about 2 cups kernels)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk (for richer pudding use half and half)
1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (white if you have it)
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Put about half the corn in a blender or food processor until finely chopped.

Stir eggs and milk into a bowl. Add the corn and all its liquid. Stir to combine. Add in the cornstarch, salt, pepper and melted butter. Stir well. Pour into a well buttered baking dish and bake until the center jiggles slightly when shaken and top has begun to turn brown. This takes 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot.

Broccoli Casserole

I remember as a kid having a casserole with nearly every supper. While they’ve fallen out of fashion, I still have fond memories of all the things my mom could do with a can of cream of mushroom soup. Here is a recipe for a side dish that is sized for a small family – double everything if you’re feeding a crowd!

Broccoli Casserole

1 box frozen chopped broccoli or 1 head of fresh, cut into florets
1 small onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup (for more broccoli umph, use cream of broccoli soup)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons butter, cut into thin slices
Crushed Ritz crackers, for topping

Steam fresh broccoli for 5 minutes (frozen doesn’t need this step). Thaw ad drain well if frozen. Sauté onion in a little olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Combine soup, egg and cheese in a large bowl and mix well. Add in broccoli and onion and stir well. Pour into a quart casserole dish. Sprinkle crushed cracker crumbs on top and dot top with butter. Bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour, until golden and bubbly.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

For breakfast this morning I made some sweet potato pancakes. They were sweet enough to need only a splash of maple syrup and they went really well with some salty, smokey bacon.

To get the sweet potato mash, Michelle fills a crock pot with rinsed sweet potatoes and puts them on low overnight (6 to 8 hours). Don’t pierce them or anything or you’ll get a mess in the bottom of your crock pot! The next day, use a spoon to take the peel off. After mashing them, she stores them in 2 cup servings in zip top bags in the freezer. Perfect for making a side dish for dinner or adding into crescent roll or biscuit dough or, like here, in pancakes.

I didn’t have any buttermilk, so I used a combination of Greek yogurt and milk. You could also use sour cream in place of the Greek yogurt. If you have buttermilk, use 1 1/2 cup in place of the milk and Greek yogurt/sour cream.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 1/4 cups mashed sweet potato
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Place sweet potatoes, Greek yogurt, milk and egg in a medium bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and add to the mixture. Whisk to combine.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until mixed. Do not overmix and, for best results, let the batter stand while you heat griddle and preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a griddle over medium heat. Add batter by 1/4-cup measures. Cook until the first side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until browned on second side and pancakes are puffed, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and set in the warm oven and repeat until all pancakes are cooked, adding more butter to the griddle as necessary. Serve immediately with a little maple syrup.

Fried Green Tomatoes Fannie Flagg Style

I’ve posted about frying green tomatoes before, but I recently reread Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and decided that this time I would use Fannie Flagg’s recipe from the back of the book (page 403).

Michelle picked the tomatoes from her garden, so they were particularly good.

Fried Green Tomatoes Fannie Flagg Style

1 medium green tomato per person
Salt
Pepper
Cornmeal
Bacon drippings

Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Season each side with salt and pepper and then coat both sides with cornmeal. In a large skillet, heat enough bacon drippings to cover the bottom of the pan and fry tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides. If you don’t have bacon drippings (and, why not?), use vegetable shortening to fry them in.

As Fannie Flagg wrote, “You’ll think you died and gone to heaven!”