Nov 5 2014

Autumn Root Vegetable Gratin

When I came across this recipe, I knew right away that it was going to be delicious. And let me tell you, it’s more than delicious, it’s deeply satisfying as well. I really love root vegetables; I especially like how creamy their texture is when cooked. Other than the lovely creaminess of the vegetables, I think there are two keys to this gratin’s success, the first being the garlic steeped milk and the other being fresh nutmeg. Whatever you do, don’t skip those steps. I mean it! Fresh nutmeg! I made the gratin in a dutch oven, even though the recipe specified a much smaller baking dish, and I was happy I did since I didn’t measure my vegetables and ended up making quite a bit more than I should have. Which was a good thing in the end, since Mick and I annihilated the entire pot in a very short period of time.

Autumn Root Vegetable Gratin

1 ½ cups whole milk ( I used 2% and some cream)

2 cloves garlic

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

¾ pound butternut squash

¾ pound white potatoes

½ pound parsnips

Salt and pepper

¼ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves – optional

¼ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary – optional

1 cup grated Gruyère

1 cup grated Pecorino

Heat the oven to 400° F. Put the milk in a small heavy saucepan and peel and smash one of the garlic cloves. Add it to the milk and then heat the milk over low heat until it just starts to bubble at the edges. Remove from the heat, add the nutmeg and let steep while you continue with the recipe.

Peel the second garlic clove, cut it in half and rub the cut side around the inside of a 6-cup baking dish no more than 2 inches deep. Rub 1 tablespoon of the oil all over the inside of the dish.

Peel the squash, potatoes and parsnips and cut them into very thin slices (1/8-inch thick). If you have a mandoline, now’s the time to use it.

Layer the vegetables into the baking dish, alternating between squash, potato and parsnip, and fanning them into concentric, overlapping circles. Season generously with salt and pepper and sprinkle a third of the cheese and a third of the chopped herbs over the slices. Repeat twice, making the top layer as neat and tidy as you can.

Remove the garlic clove from the hot milk and pour the milk evenly over the vegetables. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top of the gratin and bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbly and the vegetables yield easily when you poke them with a sharp knife. If the vegetables are tender but the top isn’t as brown as you’d like, turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes — watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn! Let the gratin cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.


Sep 3 2014

Peaches on Ricotta

I would probably eat just about anything with ricotta on top. While at the cottage a few week back I found myself fully stocked with fresh local foods and had nothing but my imagination holding me back. Peaches on ricotta toasts with honey and cinnamon was born one evening when I was craving something sweet. It’s the perfect end to any long summer day, and comes together effortlessly.

Peaches on Ricotta

Bread, toasted

Ricotta cheese

Peaches, sliced

Honey

Cinnamon

Layer in that order and enjoy.


Aug 28 2014

Ricotta & Marinated Summer Squash

These cool appetizers are a lovely way to showcase all the summer squash that are in season right now; like zucchini and patty pans. But beware, the squash needs to marinate for a couple hours in the fridge before you can assemble and serve, so this is definitely a think ahead dish!

Ricotta and Marinated Summer Squash

3-4 medium-sized zucchinis and patty pans

½ bunch basil, minced fine

½ bunch mint, minced fine

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp red chili flakes

1 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

1 shallot sliced into thin rounds

Ricotta cheese

Marinate the Squash

With a vegetable peeler, peel ribbons of squash.

Mix in bowl with herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, seasonings and sliced shallot.

Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.

Assemble

Slice fresh crusty bread in 1/3-inch slices. Toast if you would like (I did).

Spread with ricotta and top with ribbons of marinated summer squash.

Drizzle with a bit more olive oil.


Aug 28 2014

Summer Berry & Oat Cobbler

This summer has been a little too chilly for my liking. A few weeks ago I found myself at a cottage during the worst of the cold/rainy weather; it felt like fall. All I could think about was warm stews, and soups, and breakfasts! This summer berry and oat cobbler is perfect for cool summer days, when the berries are still at their peak and you don’t mind turning on the oven. I found the recipe over at Nourished Kitchen, where I have been getting a lot of recipes recently, since I bought her cookbook. Both the blog and this recipe are worth a go. I will definitely be making it again in the near future; it was adored by everyone who sampled it. Oh, and I used cherries and blueberries in mine.

Summer Berry and Oat Cobbler

For the Filling

6 cups mixed berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the Topping

2 cups oat flour – whiz oatmeal in your magic bullet or coffee grinder

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg

2 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup

To make the filling, combine the berries, maple syrup, sugar and cinnamon in a pot and bring to a boil, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes as the berries expel their juice. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, water and lemon juice until smooth. Pour into the boiling berry mixture and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken. Pour into a 9-inch round baking dish.

To make the topping, combine the oat flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter, until the dough is in pea-sized pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and maple syrup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms.

Break off golf ball size pieces of the dough, lightly pat into a circle and place over the berries. Continue with the remaining dough. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden.


Aug 26 2014

Overnight Chia Pudding

In case you didn’t know, chia seeds aren’t just for growing sprouts on lamb-shaped terracotta statues. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and they also contain fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese. Those tiny little seeds pack a nutrient punch! When immersed in liquid they absorbed up to 12 times their weight and take on a gelatinous like texture. I know that the word gelatinous rarely means anything good, but trust me, they are delicious, and very easy to work with.

Although the title of this blog post is overnight chia pudding, don’t let that stop you from making this kind of pudding in a pinch, it can take on its pudding like texture in minutes; you don’t have to wait hours. I enjoy making this pudding for breakfast since it’s easy to whip up the night before, but this can be made for dessert as well, in about 20 minutes. Sometimes I stir in some cocoa powder and or cacao nibs to make it more decadent and dessert-like.

Overnight Chia Pudding

1 cup vanilla almond milk

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Sprinkle cinnamon

Pour all ingredients into a mason jar, screw on the lid and shake until there are no lumps. Place in the fridge overnight. Stir once more and top with fresh fruit.