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Vegetarian Country Captain

26 Jan

  • 1  tablespoon  canola oil
  • 1 1/2  cups  finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2  cups  diced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
  • 1  tablespoon  curry powder
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  cups  organic vegetable broth
  • 2  tablespoons  mango chutney
  • 2  tablespoons  whipping cream
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 3  cups  cauliflower florets
  • 2  cups  frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
  • 3  cups  hot cooked long-grain white rice
  • 1/4  cup  dried currants
  • 1/4  cup  sliced almonds, toasted
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Sliced green onions (optional)


1. Heat a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add chopped onion, and cook for 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add apple; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add flour, curry, and garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in chutney, cream, and salt. Add cauliflower and edamame; cook for 8 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve over rice, and top with currants and almonds. Garnish with cilantro and green onions, if desired.

Jeanne Kelley, Cooking Light, January 2011

This was the first I’d ever heard of Country Captain, but I love curry dishes so I had to try it.  According to Sam Sifton, Culture Editor at The New York Times, Country Captain is rumored to have originated in the Southeastern coastal region, carried across the Atlantic by spice traders back in the 17th or 18th century.  It was later popularized by Franklin D. Roosevelt who is said to have been a big fan.  The dish typically consists of pan-fried chicken and peppers in a curry sauce and is served over rice.

My guess is that the Southern die-hards would scoff at this vegetarian adaptation and I might agree that a chicken version would make for a more well-rounded and generally satisfying dish.  Nonetheless, I thought this was a nice go-to for weeknight, low-key cooking and it packs a major veggie punch which nobody can complain about in the Midwest, mid January.   I’m also always happy to find a new one-pot dinner idea.  I served the Country Captain over jasmine rice with almonds, cilantro, green onions and a dab of Greek yogurt.  I might also recommend adding a touch of cayenne pepper as it simmers to spice it up a little.

Sifton, Sam.  Demystifying Demystifying Country Captain, the one-dish wonder of the coastal South.  The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/magazine/25food-t-000.html

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Ricotta, Gorgonzola and Honey Spread

29 Dec

1 15-oz. carton whole milk ricotta cheese

6 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

1/2 tsp. snipped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed

1/4 tsp. snipped fresh rosemary or 1/8 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

1 Tbsp. honey

36 toasted baguette slices

Sliced apples, fresh thyme, and/or toasted chopped walnuts

Honey

1. Place ricotta in a large mixing bowl.  beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in Gorgonzola, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon rosemary until combined.  Fold in 1 tablespoon honey until just combined.  Spoon mixture into a serving bowl.  Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.

2. To serve, spread on baguette slice and top with apple slices, thyme and/or walnuts.  Drizzle with honey.

Makes 36 appetizer servings.

Better Homes and Gardens, December 2010

I made this one for Christmas and it was perfect for just such an occasion.  Rosemary and Thyme have both always reminded me of the smell of pine trees and everyone kept saying they tasted just like Christmas.  Perfect!  The honey works to soften up the otherwise coarse cheeses and helped create a creamy finish.  Total genius.

Apple-Cranberry Pie

29 Dec
 

  • 2 portions  Alan’s Pie Pastry, or 2 rolled refrigerated piecrusts
  • 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup  cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp.  lemon juice
  • 1-1/4 cups  sugar
  • 1/4 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp.  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp.  ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp.  salt
  • 1 recipe  Pastry Cream (recipe below)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp.  whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll one pastry portion to a circle 14 inches in diameter. Transfer pastry to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Trim pastry even with rim of pie plate; cover and set aside. On a floured surface roll remaining pastry to a 12-inch circle; cover and set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine apples, cranberries and lemon juice. In a small bowl combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice and salt.

3. Spread bottom of crust with Pastry Cream. Toss apple mixture with dry ingredients; add to pie tin. Immediately add top crust. Trim to 1/2-inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Cut 4 small openings, so the steam is released. Combine egg and whipping cream; brush liberally on pie. Place pie on a baking sheet.

4. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cover edges of pie with foil, if necessary, to prevent overbrowning. Cool on wire rack.

Pastry Cream: In a small saucepan combine 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup sugar; cook over medium heat just until bubbly on edges. Meanwhile in a medium mixing bowl beat 2 egg yolks, 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup hot milk mixture; quickly beat in remaining milk mixture. Return to saucepan; cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thick and comes to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Transfer to bowl; cover surface with plastic wrap. Cool. Chill to store.

Bettter Homes & Gardens, November 2010

After making this recipe, I feel that I can rest easy, contented that I have made the best apple pie in the entire world.  I am hesitant to even share this recipe as I would like to horde it forever and claim it as my crowning achievement in life.  It is amazing.  Enough said.

So here is a cheesy picture of me – being proud of my best-ever pie.

Butternut Squash Bisque

26 Dec

1 2-3 lb butternut square or 3 12-oz pkgs. frozen winter squash, thawed

1/4 cup butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped

1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large Braeburn or Gala apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1 48-0z box reduced sodium chicken broth

1 cup apple cider or apple juice

2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

3 oz. smoked Gouda or smoked cheddar cheese finely shredded

Crumbled cooked bacon, celery leaves and/or shaved gouda cheese (optional)

1. Peel, seed and cube butternut squash.  In a 6 qt. Dutch oven, melt butter over medium high heat.  Add fresh squash (if using frozen squash add with apples and broth), onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add apples, broth, cider and chipotle peppers.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover; simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables and apples are tender.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.

2. When slightly cooled, puree in pot using an immersion blender (or puree in batches in a blend; return soup to sauce-pan.)  Bled in sour cream.  Heat through.  Remove from heat; stir in shredded Gouda until melted.  Top with bacon, celery leaves and/or Gouda cheese.

Servings: 8

Better Homes & Gardens

This is one of my all-time favorites.  The chipotle and Gouda creates a nice smoky flavor and the chipotle also makes the bisque perfectly spicy.  You can use vegetable broth to keep this dish vegetarian-friendly.  I always use fresh squash and apple cider, both of which keep the bisque incredibly flavorful.  Perfect for a fall or winter day.