Friday, 23 September 2016

Drunken Cherry Galette

Let's talk about galettes.

Galettes are basically just a fancy name for a pie that is "ugly".  Except these galettes are SO PRETTY.

Straightforward ingredients...  Sugar, flour, salt, butter, water.

In a large bowl, combine the flour,

With the salt and sugar.

Then add in the pieces of butter.  It's best if the butter is cold.  For the majority of baked goods - butter should be at room temperature (or melted if the recipe indicates).  But for pie - COLD.

Then, using a fork or a fancy schmancy pastry cutter if you have one, cut the butter into the flour until it is about the size of peas.

I prefer my pastry cutter - but a fork works just as well.  Though it might take a little longer.

Then you're going to add in cold water (again - pie crust ingredients must be cold), and stir the mixture until it comes together.  Knead it until it holds together in a dough ball and then refrigerate.

On to the filling.

Remove the stems and pit the cherries.  I used a chopstick to remove the pits and it worked really, really well.  Just press the chopstick through the cherry from the stem end and the pit will pop out the other side.

Once all the stems and pits are removed, put the cherries in a shallow dish.  I used a pie plate.

In a measuring cup, combine the wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

Then add in the sugar.

Stir the wine, lemon, and sugar mixture together and pour over the cherries.  Stir around to coat the cherries.  I would probably use a different vessel for this next time.

Let sit for about an hour.

After the hour is up, strain the liquid from the cherries and transfer into a pot.  The recipe says to remove 1/4 cup of the wine mixture from the pot, but I didn't.  And it turned out just fine.  Just took a little longer to cook down.

Start simmering the wine mixture until it is reduced to 1/4 cup.  (Mine was only a couple of tablespoons because I halved the recipe).  Then stir in the cherries and add in 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.  Stir again.

The get your dough ready.  Split the dough into equal portions and roll out to desired thickness. 

Top with the cherry mixture and fold the edges up and over the cherry mixture.  It doesn't need to be perfect!

Brush the top of the crust with an egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Then bake.

I topped mine with freshly whipped cream.

Oh - MY this turned out so good.  It's slightly time consuming - but altogether worth it.  

I loved a number of things about this recipe.  1 - the crust was so easy to put together.  2 - the wine, lemon, and cherries came together completely perfectly.  3 - it is easily halved.  4 - It is BEAUTIFUL in its imperfection.

The last thing.  Probably that I abandoned my fork and ate it like a pizza.  I have no shame.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!  xoxo - Heather

Drunken Cherry Galette
Note:  I didn't halve the recipe below
Note:  I'm using my "mistake" instructions - but I believe it'll turn out
11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 - 6 Tablespoons ice cold water
1 1/4 pound sweet cherries (pitted cherries will yield 1 pound)
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup sugar
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 egg whisked with 1 Tablespoon water
coarse sugar for sprinkling
whipped cream for topping
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add the butter.  Cut the butter with the flour mixture until the butter is the size of peas.
  3. Add 4 Tablespoons of water to the flour mixture and stir together.  Add the last bit of the water 1 Tablespoon at a time - but only as needed.  If the mixture holds together when pinched between your fingers, no additional water is required.
  4. Gently knead until a dough comes together.  Shape into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  6. Remove the stems and the pits from the cherries.  Place in a shallow dish.
  7. Combine the wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar in a bowl.
  8. Pour over the cherries and stir to coat.
  9. Let cherries soak for one hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  11. Strain the liquid into a pot over medium heat.  Set the cherries aside.
  12. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduced to about 1/4 cup.
  13. Once the liquid has reduced, add the cherries and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.  Stir to coat the cherries and dissolve the cornstarch.
  14. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll out to desired thickness.
  15. Place a dough round onto the baking sheet, put 1/4 of the cherry mixture into the center of the dough and fold the edges up around the edges of the cherry mixture.  Don't enclose the cherries. 
  16. Repeat with the remaining 3 dough rounds.
  17. Use the egg whisked with the water and brush the tops of the dough.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  18. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
  19. Remove and let cool.  You can eat this while it is still warm (totally amazing) or let it cool to room temperature. 
  20. Top with whipped cream.

Source:  The Brewer and The Baker

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Million Dollar Spaghetti

If you're a resident of Alberta, you know that September long weekend sits on a knife-edge of weather.  Either it will be freezing cold or smoking hot. 
This long weekend of 2016.  Freezing cold.  Which is fairly average.
So let's do a pasta casserole. 
That name though - it cracks me up every time.  I suppose it's because the casserole itself is quite rich.
Feel free to use a fancy spaghetti sauce if that's what blows your skirt up.  But an inexpensive sauce like President's Choice Marinara Sauce is perfect (and tastes delicious).

In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese.

Sour cream.  And the cream cheese (I forgot it's picture!).

Cook up the ground beef and add the pasta sauce.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, place half the butter (cut into "cubes) in the bottom of the dish.

Then add half the cooked pasta. 

Spread the cottage cheese mixture on top of the pasta.

Then add the rest of the cooked pasta and the rest of the butter.

Top with the cooked beef.

Bake for 30 minutes, top with desired amount of cheddar cheese (I wish there'd been more!), and bake a little longer.

Very rich - it's a hearty meal that's ready pretty quickly.  Definitely use a pasta sauce that you love!
I would reduce the amount of cream cheese for the next time as I found it to be a little overpowering.  (I'll note the change in the recipe below)

While this pasta is not great for your waistline (so few casseroles are!), it's a great "feel good" recipe for when the rain is persistent and the wind is cold. 
Every now and then, a cold and gross September long weekend turns into a beautiful and spectacularly warm fall.  I've got my fingers crossed that we're in for that.  While we're waiting for that to happen - fill yourselves up with casseroles!
Xoxo - Heather

Friday, 19 August 2016

Japanese Potato Salad

One of my most favourite side dishes at a barbecue is potato salad.  And it can be made a zillion different ways.

My preference is for a mostly creamy, slightly chunky version.  But I think is mostly stems from my penchant for mashed potatoes - I could eat mashed potatoes and gravy

When I made the California Roll Burgers, I wanted to do something a little outside the normal.  And when I came across this potato salad, I figured it would be perfect match.

Check the glorious ingredients.    

That's the veggie and egg part, but let's talk about the other important part.  The seasoning.  I definitely recommend getting your hands on Japanese (Kewpie) mayonnaise.  It's actually fairly easy to find (I pick mine up in Superstore).

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, rice vinegar, salt, and sugar.  This is going to get stirred into the potatoes once they're cooked and mashed to your desired consistency.

You're going to laugh now.  Things happened and I kind of was busy and forgot and then magically there was cooked, mashed potatoes and diced carrots and corn being stirred into them.

The cucumber is sliced thinly and salted and the excess water gets squeezed out of them.  Then they too get stirred into the potatoes.

Although the salad is slightly tedious - it's actually REALLY delicious.  Creamy, sweet, tangy, the veggies give it a lightness and a freshness that's really perfect in the midst of a heatwave.

If you happen to have Japanese Mayo on hand because you've made, say, California Roll Burgers - or you've been ambitious enough to make your own sushi from scratch, I would say that this potato salad should definitely be on your list of must-makes.

PS-  I LOVED that this recipe included the weights of each item.  It did my obsessive brain a favor.

Japanese Potato Salad
2 medium russet potatoes (400g)
1/2 medium carrot (80g)
1/2 fresh corn kernels (60g)
4 inches Japanese cucumber, thinly sliced (80g)
1 large egg
100g Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra sale for cucumber and potato

  1. Peel and cube carrot.
  2. Remove the husk and silk from corn.  Cut the corn kernels from the cob.
  3. Steam the carrot and corn until cooked through (about 8 to 10 minutes).  
  4. Place cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt to coat evenly.  Let sit for about 5 minutes, then squeeze as much excess water from the cucumber as possible.
  5. Hard boil egg and cut into pieces.  I like to place eggs in cold water and bring the water to a rapid boil.  Continue to boil for 10 minutes, then place the pot under running cold water to cool the eggs.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, and honey (and salt and pepper as desired). Whisk until smooth.
  7. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Put the potatoes into a medium sized pot and fill with water, about an inch above the potatoes.  Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain the water and mash until the potatoes have reached your desired consistency.  Keep in mind that they may break down further when mixing in the veggies and mayonnaise mixture.
  8. Stir in the mayonnaise mixture.
  9. Add in the carrots, cucumber, and the egg.  Stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper and additional mayonnaise as desired.
  10. Transfer the potato mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
Source: Food 4 Tots

Friday, 12 August 2016

Oscar Style Burgers

There are burgers.  Then there are BURGERS. 

This is one of those occasions.  I don't really want to spoil it for you - so read on

First - of course, the bun and burger patty.  Followed by a few spears of grilled asparagus.

Followed by a whole lotta lobster.  This is about half a lobster.

And then the whole works is topped with a homemade béarnaise sauce.

Don't be shy.  Put it on there.

Oh gosh.  Oh glorious butter sauce.

And get ready to crush it.

Be prepared.  This UBER-fancy burger is monstrously high on the messy scale. You're going to want to make sure you have a ton of paper towels - you read that right, paper towels, napkins are simply not going to cut it.  And if you happen to have a couple of those little moist towelette packets laying around, I encourage you to have those on hand too.

So incredible and rich I could barely stand it.  The sauce so creamy and dreamy it was completely heavenly.

Of COURSE I ate two.  How could I not? 

If you happen to have some lobster kicking around and need something to do with it (although how often does THAT happen) that knocks your socks off, I definitely recommend doing this.

I love lobster.