Mushroom Flatbread with Fontina and Balsamic Reduction
(each flatbread serves 1-2, recipe is for 2 flatbreads)
For red onion “jam”:
3 red onions, thinly sliced
1/3 C olive oil
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t dried thyme
Several cranks of black pepper
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 C red wine vinegar
1/2 C sugar
1 t mustard seeds
3 bay leaves
Zest of half an orange
In a preheated skillet, add oil, onions, salt, thyme and black pepper. Sauté until onions begin to soften. Add garlic. Continue to sauté onions are very soft and garlic is fragrant.
Add remaining ingredients and continue to sauté over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and a thick, syrupy consistency is achieved.
Remove mixture to a bowl and allow cooling. Once cooled, remove bay leaves and pulse onion mixture in a food processor until a smooth, spreadable consistency is achieved.
2 – 8 ounce containers of Baby Bella mushrooms (wiped clean, stems removed, caps cut into 6 pieces)
2 t Herbs de Provence
Several cranks of black pepper
In a preheated skillet, place a generous amount of olive oil (1/3 C). Add mushrooms, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. Allow mushrooms to sit a bit before stirring. Allow some color to develop and for the mushrooms to render out their liquid. Remove for later use.
For balsamic reduction:
1 C balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
In a small sauce pan, combine vinegar and honey. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Continue to monitor until you see a thickening on the bottom of the pan. The mixture will reduce by at least half. Once vinegar is thickly coating bottom of pan, remove it from the heat and allow cooling.
Invert a cookie sheet and place into a cold oven. Set oven temperature to 425 degrees. Allow it to fully reach temperature and an additional 10 minutes.
Brush both sides of Naan with olive oil.
The smooth side will go down. On the top side, spread a nice coating of onion jam. Arrange mushroom pieces evenly over onion mix. Then, top with a generous amount of grated Fontina cheese.
Place flatbread into oven for 12 minutes of baking. Carefully remove. Cut into 4 pieces. Garnish with Parmesan Reggiano, crispy prosciutto (optional), salad greens and a generous drizzle of balsamic reduction.
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Enjoy the flavors!
For posole corn:
1 – 12 ounce package of white corn posole
1 T salt
Allow posole corn to soak overnight in a bowl of water. The next day, drain water off and place corn in a large pot. Add salt and cover with water by at least 2 inches. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 2- 2 1/2 hours adding additional water to maintain the coverage by 2 inches or so. The final texture will be “toothy” but tender. Drain. Reserve cooking liquid.
For chile puree:
1/3 C vegetable oil
5 Ancho Chiles (stems removed, seeded and torn into smaller pieces)
7-8 Chile Arbol (stems removed, seeded and broken into smaller pieces)
1 yellow onion, diced
6-8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 corn tortillas (each cut into six pieces)
1 T cumin
1 T dried oregano
1 box of chicken stock
In a preheated skillet, add oil. Once shimmering, add remaining ingredients and sauté until chiles, onion and garlic have softened. Moderate your heat to prevent burning on the bottom of the skillet. Enjoy this process! The fragrance is heavenly. Once softened, allow cooling. Slowly, puree mixture in a blender using chicken stock. Adding stock slowly forces a “grinding” of the ingredients. The puree will look like mole. A very silky texture is what you’re looking for.
2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into chunks
1/4 C vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
In a preheated Dutch oven, add oil. In batches, brown pork pieces seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.
1 carton chicken stock
2 t salt
Several ladles of posole cooking liquid
Combine posole corn, chile puree, browned pork, chicken stock salt and posole liquid into the Dutch oven. Mix well, cover and place into a preheated 275 degree oven for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Remove and allow cooling for about 20 minutes, uncovered.
Ladle into bowls and top with traditional garnishes.
Thinly shredded green cabbage
Radishes, small dice
White onion, small dice
Crispy tortilla wedges
The combination of the deeply rich, flavorful broth with the raw garnishes is so delicious. This can be made three days out. It also freezes well for later use. It’s a journey but SOOOO worth the effort. There are times when you need a quick meal on the table and there are times when a process is just as rewarding as the meal itself. This recipe represents the latter. Tightly focus on each step and you will be rewarded with a heart-warming bowl of goodness.
Frickin’ Fritos AKA Frito Pie
2 pounds 85/15 ground beef
2 T water
2 t salt
1 t baking soda
Mix ingredients well and allow to sit on counter for 20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
5-6 Dried Ancho chiles (seeded and torn into 1” pieces)
Place chiles in a dry Dutch oven over medium / medium high heat. Toss until chiles are fragrant and slightly smoking. Careful not to burn. Remove chiles to the bowl of a food processor. Allow cooling.
1/3 C fritos
2 T cumin
1 T paprika
1 T garlic powder
1 T ground coriander
2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
2 t black pepper
Combine fritos and spices with cooled chiles in the food processor. Process until chiles are completely broken down and ingredients are well combined. Place spice mix into a bowl for later use.
1 – 14.5 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
Place tomatoes and juice into the now empty processor bowl and puree.
3 T vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
Place oil into preheated Dutch oven. Add onion and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Once onion is translucent, add garlic. Once fragrant, add ground beef. Cook beef until browned. Drain off excess fat/liquid.
1 – 14.5 ounce can of pinto beans (optional)
1 T minced chipotle in adobo sauce
2 1/2 C water
2 t sugar
2 T apple cider vinegar
Return meat to Dutch oven and add spice mix, pureed tomatoes, beans, chipotle, water and sugar. Place Dutch oven in a preheated 275 degree oven for two hours. Stir chili after one hour of cooking. Remove from oven, uncover and allow chili to sit for 15 minutes. Before serving, add vinegar.
Dressing Up Leftovers
Leftovers from the big meal….you don’t want to waste, but you need to freshen them up a bit. How about a risotto with leftover veggies? How about a gratin with leftover honey baked ham? How about panini sandwiches with ham, cheddar, cranberries and grain mustard? Here are a few ways to repurpose leftovers. ENJOY!
Sunsets are coming earlier which means cooking and photography happen earlier.
Ham and Cauliflower Gratin
4 slices sandwich bread, crusts removed and quartered
2 T butter, soft
1/2 t salt
A few cranks of black pepper
Place ingredients in a food processor. Process until bread forms a uniformed size of “crumb”.
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed into smallish florets
1 T salt
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Carefully add salt. Add cauliflower and cook until outsides have softened but insides are still firm. Drain and cool.
2 T butter
2 T shallot, minced
1 C of leftover ham, cut into cubes
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 T flour
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t cayenne
1 t dried thyme
A few cranks of black pepper
3/4 C grated sharp cheddar (do not use pre-grated cheese)
In a preheated skillet, add butter. Add shallot and sauté until softened. Add ham and garlic. Sauté until fragrant and warmed through. Add flour. Mix well. Make sure all bits of flour have been coated. Add cream, nutmeg, cayenne, thyme and pepper. Stir to combine and slightly thicken. Off heat and cheese and stir to combine and melt.
Combine cauliflower with cheese/ham mixture. Mix well.
In a 2-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, add cauliflower/ham mix. Sprinkle with additional cheddar (if desired) and spread bread crumbs evenly over the top.
Place dish into a preheated 450 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes or until topping is golden brown and edges are bubbling. Remove from oven and allow 10 minutes cooling before serving.
Ham and Cheddar Panini
So we purchased a Honey Baked Ham for the holidays from the Honey Baked Ham Store (their version is the best). After serving slices Christmas Day, there was plenty left for using in other recipes. Here’s one sure to please. A panini press is not necessary. You can do all of these steps in a non-stick skillet. I used olive oil for brushing. Melted butter would be great also. Leftover fresh cranberry sauce added a nice component. Other ingredients are: stone ground mustard and sharp cheddar slices. I think warming the cold meat up is important. I grill marked the ham on the press before assembling the sandwich.
Risotto with Veggies
It seems that more and more, risotto recipes are being baked in a Dutch oven instead of the tedious stove top version which requires lots of stirring and attention.
I had some ingredients which were used for Christmas Day lunch leftover. Risotto is a perfect vehicle (or pasta!) for lonely ingredients needing a home.
Below is a basic risotto recipe (baked, not stirred) which can be used with a variety of ingredients…let your imagination and your pantry go wild.
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 a yellow (or white) onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 C Arborio Rice
1 T butter
1/4 C dry white wine
3 C chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 C grated Parmesan reggiano, plus more for topping
In a preheated Dutch oven (on the stove top), add oil.
Once shimmering, add onion.
Once onion is translucent, add garlic, thyme and bay leaves.
Once that is fragrant, add Arborio Rice and butter.
Stir until rice is coated and butter is melted.
Add additional oil if it appears too dry.
Add wine, scraping up bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until wine almost evaporates.
Add chicken stock and your other prepared ingredients.
Place Dutch oven (covered) into a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.
Carefully remove Dutch oven and stir ingredients. Check the rice for “al dente” like texture. Return the covered dish to the oven and cook for an additional 20 or so minutes. You are looking for a slight thickening of the broth and “al dente” rice – fully cooked but a bit “toothy”. Not gummy. Allow risotto to sit for 10-15 minutes covered on the counter. Add cheese at this point and any other additional topping you want.
Chicken Pot Biscuit
3 C yellow onion, small dice
2 C carrots, peeled, small dice and blanched
2 C celery, small dice
2 1/4 sticks butter
1 C flour
1 package fresh dill, finely chopped
7 1/2 C chicken stock, heated
1 – 10 ounce package of frozen peas
3/4 C heavy cream
2 t salt
Cracked pepper (be generous)
1 rotisserie chicken, all meat removed and shredded into larger pieces
In a large preheated pot, add butter. Once melted, add onions and celery and 1t of salt and some cracked pepper. Over medium heat, sauté until onions and celery soften. This will take some time. Please do not rush.
Add flour to onion mix and stir until well incorporated. Make sure flour is fully coated with butter/veggie mix. Cook for an additional 5-8 minutes making sure the flour does not stick or burn. Adjust heat as necessary.
Slowly ladle in the warmed stock stirring as you go. Once stock is fully blended add carrots, dill, peas, cream, chicken, remaining 1 t salt and more cracked pepper.
Under a medium low heat, continue to cook until hot. Adjust seasoning. Keep warm until biscuit baking is complete. Serve hot chicken mixture with biscuits on top.
CHEDDAR DILL BISCUITS:
2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t sugar
3/4 t salt
1 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 T fresh dill, finely chopped
1 C buttermilk, cold
8 T butter, melted and at room temperature for 15 minutes
2 T additional butter, melted for brushing tops of biscuits
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine cold buttermilk with 8 T room temperature butter. You should have clumps of congealed butter in the mix. This is important for the texture of the biscuit. If the butter is too warm, it will not congeal as well.
Add congealed butter mix to the flour mix. Fold gently until ingredients are combined.
Using a small ice cream scoop, portion biscuits onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush the additional melted butter on the tips of each biscuit.
Place biscuits into a preheated 475 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until golden and slightly crisped. Remove biscuits and top prepared bowls of chicken potpie filling.
Slabs of Chocolate aka High’s Brownies
(recipe makes 12 large brownies)
2 sticks butter
1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 T instant espresso powder
1 T vanilla
1 C plus 2 T sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 T flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 C chopped walnuts, toasted
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13” X 9” jelly roll pan with non-stick spray. Make sure to spray sides. Press parchment paper into the pan and trim off excess.
Microwave the first bowl for five minutes at 50% power. Remove from microwave and slowly whisk until smooth.
In the large bowl, combine ingredients and stir gently just to incorporate the eggs. No whisking!
In the smaller bowl, combine ingredients making sure the nuts and chips are fully covered in the flour mixture.
Add melted chocolate mix to the egg mix and gently combine. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Add flour mix to cooled chocolate mix and combine. Again, gently. Do not overwork the batter.
Pour batter into the prepared jelly roll pan.
Place into oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then, carefully take the baking pan and gently tap it on the oven rack allowing the air to escape. Rotate pan and bake for another 20 minutes or until the batter is not jiggling.
Remove to a cooling rack. Once the brownies have cooled to room temperature, place them in a refrigerator for further cooling. Once cooled, wrap in plastic for overnight storage.
For service, remove from brownies from the refrigerator and cut them into pieces using a very sharp, heavy knife.