Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Squash Gratin

I don't think this is really a gratin. I think gratins have more cheese and maybe cream added, so I'm not sure what this is really, but it good!

Squash Gratin

1 large potato
1 yellow squash
1 zuchini
hanful of grape tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
plenty of salt and pepper
herbs if you like: rosemary, thyme, oregano whatever your favorite!

In a nice baking dish or pie plate, pour a bit of oil and rub it all around. Peel and slice your potato in very thin rounds. Make a layer of potato around the bottom. Sort of like a crust. Slice squash and zuchini in equal size rounds. Carefully place them artfully around your dish. Top with sliced tomatoes, the rest of the olive oil, the parmesan and seasonings. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes until top is nice golden brown and potatoes are cooked through.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chocolate Ganache Coconut Pie

If you like coconut and chocolate you will love this pie. It takes like a Mounds candy bar, except oh, so much better. It's really as easy as pie to make. Haha. But you'll have to forgive me because this is a "cooks" recipe. I'm not a baker and I don't do well with measuring. So realize that this pie was NOT measured, just a guess here and a taste there. But it'd be really hard to mess up, so dive in and please, don't forget to lick the bowl. I used coconut oil in the recipe, simply because coconut oil is really, really good for you. If you don't want to use coconut oil, then just use a bit extra butter in the crust and omit it in the ganache. No harm done.

Chocolate Ganache Coconut Pie

2 cups of UNsweetened coconut flakes
4 tbsp of butter*
2 tbsp of coconut oil
drizzle of honey to taste (use local, raw honey!)

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

*I used salted butter because the salt adds a bit to balance the sweetness. If you use unsalted butter you might add a pinch of sea salt to the crust. I actually added a tiny pinch extra to the crust anyway.

Spread coconut flakes on a cookie sheet and place in the middle of your oven. Broil on high, watching VERY closely. Stir a few times until nicely toasted. While coconut flakes are toasting, in a medium size bowl melt the butter and coconut oil in the microwave. (You can use the stovetop and transfer to a bowl also.)

Add coconut flakes to butter and coconut oil and stir until well moistened. Drizzle in a  very small amount of honey and taste. You want the crust slightly sweet, but not too much!!

Press coconut flakes into an ungreased pie plate, pushing them up the sides. Then drizzle a thin layer of honey on top of the coconut flakes.

In the same bowl (as to reduce the amount of dirty dishes!) Heat the heavy cream until warm to the touch, but not boiling. (Or again, use a pot and transfer to the bowl.) Add in chocolate chips and stir. At first it'll look like milk chocolate. Keep stirring, suddenly it'll get darker and glossy looking. Add vanilla.

Pour chocolate into the crust and refrigerate for at least two hours. Enjoy! This pie was rich enough that we cut it into about 16 pieces and everyone was satisfied!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

On the Thanksgiving Table, I'm not sure if you should put this sweet potato recipe with the savories or the sweets. If you are being honest, it really is a dessert. And it is oh so good. And to think, growing up, I hated sweet potato casserole. Truth is I thought it looked funny because it was orange, I don't think I actually tasted it. Hopefully my sweet potato casserole will have a nut topping on it by tomorrow. The nuts are so good, I keep pinching a few here and there. Definitely double the nut part of the recipe if you want any left over for your sweet potatoes!

Sweet Potato Casserole

3lbs of sweet potatoes - I happened to have grown my own, but I'm sure the supermarket variety would be just fine!
4 tbsp oil
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 beaten egg
about half a bag of marshmallows

Peel and chop sweet potatoes in big chunks. Toss in oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until they are very fork tender. Place sweet potatoes in a baking dish. Add melted butter, brown sugar and vanilla. With a big fork, or a wire potato masher, mash potatoes in big chunks, keeping texture. Beat egg and stir it in to the potatoes, tempering the egg if the potatoes are still hot. Top with one layer of marshmallows. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until marshmallows start to brown. Sprinkle candied nuts on top and push into the marshmallows.

Chili-Candied Nut Topping

2 cups of pecans
1/4 cup honey
4 tpsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter in a skillet. Add honey, brown sugar, chili powder and cinnamon. Stir until mixed. Add pecans and stir to coat. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, but be careful not to burn the sugar. Pour out in a single layer on a silpat or parchment paper to cool completely. If making a day ahead once cool store in a zip bag or air tight container.

Originally posted on  11/26/09

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Quinoa Burgers

I wish I could take credit for this recipe, because it is SO good. Maybe it is just something "different" and I'm in the mood for new foods right now. I found a photo of these burgers on Pinterest and clicked on the link which took me to Eating Well, Living Thin's blog. Not a real food blog, but most recipes can be turned back into real food. I ditched her suggestion for low-fat cottage cheese for whole milk cottage cheese and got rid of the sugar in the recipe completely. It was only 1/2 tsp and I don't use Splenda anymore. I can't believe how much of that stuff I used to consume. I read the other day that they were trying to invent a new type of rodent poison when they discovered Splenda. Yum. Blah! But I digress... these burgers were delicious, especially fried in lard rendered from a humanly raised pig.

Quinoa Burgers

2 heaping cups of cooked quinoa*
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, finely grated
1 clove garlic grated
3 eggs
4 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
pinch of salt
oil that is stable for frying, such as lard, peanut or coconut oil.

In a large bowl (I started out too small and had to go up a size which is always annoying!) combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrots, eggs, flour, cumin, salt & pepper and grated garlic.

Heat frying pan with about 1/4 cup of oil and dollup out the batter. It's pretty mushy. Let fry for about 5 minutes per side before flipping. Remove when golden brown. Homemade tzatziki sauce was a great topping!

*Basic Quinoa
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter

Melt butter in a pot. Add quinoa and stir toasting it a bit. Add water, bring to a boil, stir really well, cover, lower to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.

**Not to self, something crunchy would be good in the batter. Perhaps finely diced cucumber or celery??

Friday, November 11, 2011

Squash & Leek Soup with Feta & Bacon

Now that cooler weather is here, I was really wanting a hearty soup to make. I love roasted butternut squash with feta so I thought sprinkling it on top of the soup would be tasty and I was right. I love creamy soups but only if I can sprinkle in enough toppings to give texture to the soup. So I went a little crazy adding bacon, pine nuts and feta cheese!

Butternut Squash & Leek Soup with Feta & Bacon

1 large butternut squash
olive oil
2 leeks
3 cloves garlic
1 lb bacon
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp cumin
pine nuts

Peel the butternut squash and cube it into large pieces. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 for 15 minutes, flip the pieces and continue roasting for another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut up bacon into small pieces and cook in the bottom of a large soup pot. Remove bacon but leave the bacon grease in the pot when it is crispy.

Wash leeks really well and cut into small pieces. Cook them in the bacon grease along with the minced up garlic. Add nutmeg and cumin. Put the squash cubes in the pan and add your chicken stock. Using either an immersion blender or by pouring the soup in batches in a stand blender, puree until smooth. Add cream until the consistency you like. You can also add milk/water or more chicken stock if you like. Serve with toasted pine nuts, feta crumbles and reserved bacon.

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