18th November 2015
Fall is all about root vegetables for me. Right now in the super markets here there is a wide array of beets: red, golden, and candy cane. I bought an assortment to experiment with at home. My husband made beet chips with the golden ones, we tried out marshmallows with the candy cane, so that left only the red.
Food 52 has a recipe for a Rustic Beet Tart, which served as inspiration for my beet pizza. Rather than a pizza with a tomato sauce, this version has a layer of goat cheese custard that pairs perfectly with the oven baked beets. You need a little bit of time for this recipe, but all of the ingredients are inexpensive and it’s quite easy to make!
Beet Pizza, makes 1 pizza
- 3 small (2 to 3 inch/ 5 to 7 cm diameter) beets
- Pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup / 60 mL whole milk
- 3-5 oz / 85 to 41 grams of goat cheese
- Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
- Peel the beets then place each beet on a small square of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in the foil. Bake at 400 F / 200 C degrees anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your beets. They’re done when they are knife tender and can be pierced with the tip of a paring knife with ease.
- Once the beets are knife tender, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.
- While the beets cool, roll out the pizza dough into a nice circle. Transfer the pizza dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Roll in the edges of the pastry about an inch along the edge so that you have a delicious pastry wall. You want to make sure that the custard doesn’t leak out when poured into the “shell”.
- Combine the egg and the goat cheese with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Slowly add the milk or cream, stiring until you have a thick but pourable consistency. It should be no thinner than pancake batter.
- Slice the beets into rounds. You should get 5 or 6 rounds from each beet.
- Pour the custard into the pastry shell, then lay the beets on top, being careful not to overflow.
- Bake at 400 F / 200 C until the pizza is golden, the custard is set, and the top is just a little brown. Slice and enjoy!
17th November 2015
I’ve mentioned it before, but I love pickling! It’s a great way to use up your leftover vegetables and the pickling process adds another dimension to the taste and texture.
This recipe for Japanese Pickled Cucumbers is what’s referred to as a “refrigerator pickle”. Refrigerator pickles are ready to eat in only a matter of days and the vegetables tend to stay crunchier. These cucumber slices will be ready in 3-4 days and stay good for up to a month.
And what can you do with these pickles? They’re a perfect compliment to sushi and rice or on sandwiches!
Japanese Pickled Cucumbers
- 1 English cucumber
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Wash the cucumbers and slice in thin coins. Place in a bowl and sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of salt on them, and set aside for five minutes. Rinse off the salt and drain the cucumbers.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Place in a lidded container and let sit in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, then they’re ready to eat!
13th November 2015
I love sweet potatoes all year long, but especially once the weather turns colder. So sweet, warm, and comforting!
This recipe for Sweet Potato Squares from Yotam Ottolenghi is perfect as a starter, a side, or a main course if paired with a nice salad.
The sweet potatoes are baked in the oven with goat cheese and chili peppers, then topped with a garlicky mixture before serving.
I used organic pastry dough because I was short on time, but if you have time you can also use your favorite dough recipe.
Sweet Potato Squares, makes 4
3 sweet potatoes
- 9 oz/250 g pastry dough
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 6 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
- 3 1/2 tablespoons goat cheese
- 1 chili pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Course sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 F/205 C. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins for 35 to 45 minutes, until they soften up but are still slightly raw in the center (check by inserting a small knife). Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into slices 1/8 mm thick.
- While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, roll out the pastry to about 1/16 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out four 2 3/4 by 5 1/2-inch rectangles and prick them all over with a fork. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, place the pastry rectangles on it, well spaced apart, and leave to rest in the fridge at least half an hour.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Using an icing spatula, spread a thin layer of sour cream on the pastries, leaving a 1/4-inch border all round. Arrange the potato slices on the pastry, slightly overlapping, keeping the border clear. Season with salt and pepper, crumble the goat cheese on top, and sprinkle with the chili pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through. Check underneath; it should be golden brown.
- While the galettes are cooking, stir together the olive oil, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt. As soon as the pastries comes out of the oven, brush them with this mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.
8th November 2015
Fall is here!
I love the Autumn – the weather: cool, fresh, and crisp, the clothing: layers upon layers, the colors: warm browns, golds, oranges, and reds, and of course the food! I love mushrooms, roots, pumpkins, and squash!
So for my first fall dinner this year I made Jamie Oliver’s Grilled Mushroom Risotto. This is one of my all time favorite recipes. You get a double dose of mushrooms. First, you soak the dried porcini mushrooms and add them with the rice along with the soaking water. And secondly, grilled mushrooms to top the risotto! The grilled mushrooms are combined with lemon and parsley and add a fresh and zesty accent to the risotto!
Grilled Mushroom Risotto, serves 4
- 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock , hot
- 1 handful dried porcini mushrooms
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion , peeled and finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery , trimmed and finely chopped
- 400g risotto rice
- 75 ml white wine
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large handfuls wild mushrooms (I used chanterelles), cleaned and sliced
- A few sprigs fresh parsley , leaves picked and chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
- Extra virgin olive oil
Heat your stock in a saucepan and keep it on a low simmer. Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour in just enough hot stock to cover. Leave for a couple of minutes until they’ve softened. Fish them out of the stock and chop them, reserving the soaking liquid.
In a large pan, heat a lug of olive oil and add the onion and celery. Slowly fry without colouring them for at least 10 minutes, then turn the heat up and add the rice. Give it a stir. Stir in the wine. Keep stirring until the liquid has cooked into the rice. Now pour the porcini soaking liquid through a sieve into the pan and add the chopped porcini, a good pinch of salt and your first ladle of hot stock. Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.
Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. This will take about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, get a dry griddle pan hot and grill the wild mushrooms until soft. If your pan isn’t big enough, do this in batches. Put them into a bowl and add the chopped parsley, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Using your hands, get stuck in and toss everything together.
Take the risotto off the heat and check the seasoning carefully. Stir in the butter and the Parmesan. You want it to be creamy and oozy in texture, so add a bit more stock if you think it needs it. Put a lid on and leave the risotto to relax for about 3 minutes.
Take your risotto and add a little more seasoning or Parmesan if you like. Serve a good dollop of risotto topped with some grilled dressed mushrooms, a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.