Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winter Squash Pie with Bulgur and Feta

I adapted this recipe from Martha Rose Shulman's Mediterranean Harvest. Butternut squash is roasted then added to an egg, onion, bulgur and feta mixture. The crust is made with a yeasted olive oil dough. The original recipe called for dried mint. I used marjoram and thyme instead. The pie was good but not great; it lacked a little flavor. I would add more feta next time.

Winter Squash Pie with Bulgur and Feta

Butternut Squash (about 2 pounds)
salt and pepper
2 T olive oil
3 T medium bulgur
1/4 cup warm water
1 onion, finely chopped
4 large eggs
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 recipe Yeasted Olive Oil Pastry

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a small knife and pierce the whole squash in several places. Place in the oven for 30 minutes to soften and make it easier to peel. Remove from the oven, let cool for about 10 minutes, then peel and cut into 1/2" chunks. Place the squash in a baking dish, then toss with 1 T olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the dish with foil and return to the oven to roast for 1 hour. Stir once or twice during roasting. When done, set the squash aside to cool but leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, soften the bulgur in the warm water for about 15 minutes. Stir and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 T olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and crumble in the feta. Add the bulgur, onion, squash, marjoram, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out the pastry dough into a 14-inch round. Fit the dough into a well oiled 10-inch tart pan and pinch a lip around the edge. Scrape the filling into the pie shell and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until firm and beginning to brown. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Yeasted Olive Oil Pastry (Makes two 14" pie crusts)

2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature, beaten
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and leave for about 5 minutes. Add the egg and olive oil and beat. Mix the flour and salt together then add to the wet ingredients. Work the dough until it comes together in a mass. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until the dough is smooth. This won't take long. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise for an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for a minute or so. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out as directed in the recipe.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Achiote Fish and Rice with Black Beans and Plantains

Rick Bayless gets credit for this regular on our dinner list. Mahi Mahi filets are marinated in achiote paste and lime juice; then broiled. The rice is a pilaf with onions, garlic, black beans and fried plantain. The steamed green beans were tossed with the last peppers from the garden (roasted). Both Tess and Lisa say this reminds them of Hawaii. That's because whenever we go someplace tropical for vacation, I take achiote paste in case we find some nice fish to cook.

Monday, November 16, 2009


After a 20 mile run today, I wanted something that didn't require too much effort. I used a pizza dough recipe I adapted from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook. The toppings were what we had in the refrigerator - Piquillo Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Whole Milk Mozzarella, and Laura Chenel Goat Cheese. I also broke up a couple of heads of garlic, and simmered the cloves in some olive oil for about an hour.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Julia's Beef Stew

This recipe was adapted fram a Julia Child essay in Food and Wine magazine. Although the beef marinates overnight, the dish is easy to put together.

3 pounds beef chuck, well trimmed of fat and sinew
2 onions, chopped
9 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
9 bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with their juice
1 T+ olive oil
1 bottle red wine
2 cups chicken stock

Cut the beef into 2-inch chunks. Add the beef, onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, carrots, tomatoes and wine to a large enamel-lined cast iron casserole. Let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the beef chunks from the marinade and dry thoroughly on paper towels. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches. Add back to the marinade. If the crispy bits in the pan look like they are in danger of burning, add some chicken stock to the skillet to deglaze the pan. Add the deglazed pan juices to the marinade, wipe out the skillet, add a bit more olive oil and continue browning the meat. Do a final deglaze of the pan, then add these pan juices to the marinade along with the remaining chicken stock.

Bring the beef and marinade to a simmer on the stove. Place in the oven uncovered and cook for three hours.

When the meat is cooked, remove it from the casserole. Strain the cooking juices, wipe out the pan, then return the meat and strained cooking juices to the pan. Rewarm if necessary.

We like this served with buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gulf Prawns with Spicy Tamarind Sauce

This is one of our staples. The recipe is in Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors. I process tamarind pulp into liquid then freeze it in ice cube trays. Two cubes equal 1/4 cup. This was Tess' idea after I told her that Gulf Coast Prawns were on sale at Nugget, our local grocery store.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Kale, Prosciutto and Peppers

This is a Bruce Aidell recipe from his Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork: A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World's Favorite Meat cookbook. I use a Lodge Logic Pro 20-by-10-7/16-Inch Cast-Iron Grill/Griddle to sear the meat, then I transfer it to the oven to finish cooking. Don't forget the Romesco Sauce.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Coq au Zin

Okay, I used a Malbec instead of a Zinfandel. This is a recipe from Epicurious that I really enjoy. Fairly simple to put together although it does spend an hour in the oven. Served it with Creme Fraiche Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Asparagus.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pappardelle with Cripy Prosciutto and Preserved Lemon Butter Sauce

My Mother, Sister and I all have November birthdays, so we pick a restaurant and do a single birthday dinner every year. This year we decided to go to Ella in Sacramento. Tess and I downloaded their menu to see what looked good and we found Pappardelle with Crispy Prosciutto and Preserved Lemon Butter Sauce. It sounded so good that I came up with my own version.

3 slices prosciutto
4 large shallots
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 stick cold diced butter
1/2 of a preserved lemon, diced
chives for garnish

Fresh Pasta
2 2/3 cups unbleached flour
4 eggs
1 1/3 tsp salt

Prepare the fresh pasta, roll out and cut into 3/4" wide noodles.

Cut the prosciutto into 1/4" slices. Fry in a saute pan until crisp. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Fry shallots in the rendered prosciutto fat until lightly browned. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter a little bit at a time. Once the butter is incorporated, add the preserved lemon. Keep sauce warm while you prepare the pasta.

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. Cook the pasta until it is almost done. Drain and add to the pan with the sauce. Raise the heat and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Toss with the crispy prosciutto and serve in bowls. Garnish with 1 1/2 inch lengths of chives.

This turned out to be very good. I'm curious to see how the Ella version compares.