Savory Crustless Popovers

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3 eggs
2/3 C half and half
½ C plain lowfat yogurt
1 T unsalted butter, melted
1/3 C flour
½ t salt
4 oz. mild cheddar, shredded
2 T each fresh parsley and chives, finely chopped (or other herbs of your choice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs, half and half, yogurt and butter. Add the flour and salt, stir in the cheddar and herbs. Fill greased ramekins or mini-muffin tins until 3/4 full, and bake for 20 minutes, or until set, puffy and lightly brown on top. Let popovers cool at least 10 minutes before unmolding (they will fall slightly, this is normal!). Gently invert to unmold. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 standard muffins.

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Marinated Goat Cheese with Citrus, Olive Oil and Herbs

Adapted from Chef Todd Knoll of Jordan Winery. Knoll likes to pair this with a good Chardonnay. This easy and flavorful appetizer can be adapted year-round by changing the citrus with the seasons.

CitrusMarinatedCheese

1/4 pound aged goat cheese (Cypress Grove Midnight Moon or a Manchego may be substituted)
4 broadly peeled rind pieces of one blood orange, pith removed (any seasonal citrus)
4 broadly peeled rind pieces of one Meyer lemon, pith removed
10 whole black peppercorns
5 whole white peppercorns
1 C candied kumquats, halved (2 Tbsp of English marmalade may be substituted)
1 blood orange, peeled and divided into segments (any seasonal citrus with minimal seeds may be substituted)
6 sprigs thyme
2-4 bay leaves, whole
¼ C olive oil
Coarse or flaky sea salt, to taste

Slice cheese into 1⁄8-inch thick triangles. Use a vegetable peeler to broadly peel citrus rinds (approximate length: 2-3 inches). In a nonreactive bowl, combine sliced cheese with orange and lemon rinds, black and white peppercorns, marmalade or kumquats, 8 blood orange segments, 4 thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Add olive oil and gently toss.

Cover and set aside to marinate at room temperature for eight hours or in a refrigerator a minimum of 24 hours (or up to three days).

To serve, bring the cheese marinade up to room and toss gently again in same bowl to refresh ingredients. Arrange the cheese slices and marinade naturally on a platter. Top with a few more citrus rinds that have not been marinated. Drizzle with additional olive oil. Garnish with a few fresh thyme sprigs and salt to taste. Serves 6 -8.

 


Pan-Fried Halloumi with Fennel, Olive & Mint

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Halloumi is the cheese you can cook. It doesn’t melt, it just gets a nice crust on the outside when you pan-fry or grill it. Salty, chewy and intense, the cheese is a favorite in Cyprus, its country of origin, where in the summer it is commonly served grilled with tomatoes or watermelon. Halloumi is becoming increasingly popular around the globe and when you try this recipe you’ll understand its following. High in protein — the cheese is typically made from goat or sheep’s milk — it’s a great substitute for meat in vegetarian diets. This treatment makes it a good choice as a first course. Served as a side with a rice pilaf or lentil stew, you have a lovely filling meal you won’t soon forget.  The remaining half of the fennel bulb can be added to a roast vegetable to accompany this or your next meal. This recipe was adapted by Adrienne, who demoed it at USBG September 16 2015.

3 T olive oil
½ medium fennel bulb, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1-1/4 cups)
½ medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 pitted Kalamata olives, slivered (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 t finely grated lemon zest
1/3 C minced fresh mint
1 8-oz. package halloumi cheese, cut into 1/4- to 3/8-inch-thick slices

Heat 2 T olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the fennel and onions, cover and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften (but don’t let them brown), 2-3 min. Reduce the heat to medium low, add 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper and continue to cook until the vegetables soften completely, another 2-3 min. Turn the heat to low and stir in the olives, lemon zest, mint. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.

Wipe out skillet and add remaining olive oil; heat on medium high until hot, about 1 minute. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, cook the halloumi until golden in spots, about 2 min. Flip and cook until the second side of each slice is golden, about 2 min. more. Reduce the heat as needed if the halloumi is browning too fast.

Shingle the halloumi on a serving platter. Stir the vegetables and spoon over the halloumi, drizzle with hot olive oil from skillet. Serve immediately.


Mexican-Inspired Quinoa Casserole

quinoaQuinoa is one of those slightly mysterious ingredients that nonetheless is becoming a staple in America’s kitchens. Hailing from its native Peru, quinoa’s tiny seed is packed with complete protein, anti-oxidants, fiber, anti-inflamatory agents, a whole range of essential enzymes, while still gluten and fat free. The grain, or seed, rinsed first to extract the bitter-tasting film it naturally secretes – then toasted dry and finally cooked until it corkscrews like a miniature fiddlehead – has a nutty, cereal-like flavor that becomes a canvas for anything from spicy hot peppers to sweet strawberries and everything in between. This dish borrows flavors from another South American country – Mexico. You don’t need much quinoa – here a scant half-cup, loaded with beans and corn and other ingredients, is transformed into a hearty dish that will fill the bellies of six to eight diners. Feeding the multitudes you might say. Danielle demoed this as part of a class at Brookside and another at US Botanic Garden in February 2015 when our topic was “hearty casseroles.” What a great turnout on a couple of very cold days.

½ C quinoa, cooked in 1 C vegetable broth or water (see below)
1 ½ C frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 T olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 C frozen corn
5-6 scallions, trimmed and sliced, white and green parts
½ C salsa – your favorite brand, mild, medium or hot
1 ½ T chili powder or chili seasoning
2 t oregano (Mexican preferred)
1 T fresh lime juice
1 ½ C shredded Mexican cheese blend, Fiesta blend or Cheddar – divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. When the quinoa is cooked, transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Put the hash browns in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the hash browns to the bowl with the quinoa.

In a medium-sized skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the diced bell peppers. Sauté until tender crisp, about 3 minutes. Add them into the bowl, along with the black beans, corn, sliced scallions, salsa, chili powder and oregano. Mix well, add the lime juice and ¾ cup of the shredded cheese. Mix well again. Transfer the mixture to an 8×8 baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with (non-stick) aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes, until cheese has melted. Serves 6.

Cooking Quinoa

For the best flavor and fluffiest texture, dry-toast the quinoa before adding the water: rinse the quinoa according to the package directions, then put it in a medium pot without oil or butter. Let the grains dry out a bit and toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the water, bring to a boil and cover with a lid. Simmer  10-15 minutes-do not stir the quinoa while it is cooking. This will allow it to cook evenly and steam holes to form. The quinoa is cooked when you see the grains form a little white spiral tail. This is the outer germ of the grain that twists as it cooks, but stays attached to the kernel.


Winter Greens and Potato Frittata

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Any chard – red, green, rainbow, baby – works well in this, but you can also substitute  spinach. Adding potatoes picks up on the traditional Spanish omelette concept and it makes this frittata filling enough for dinner, especially paired with a hearty fall green salad. The frittata also is tasty at room temperature and makes a great appetizer.  Danielle demoed this frittata at the US Botanic Garden in October and it was slurped up by a class of first-graders who were visiting from a local school, where the kids tend a community garden. The recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking.

6 ounces rainbow chard, washed
2 T canola oil
1 t fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 C (about 1 lb) Yukon Gold potatoes, grated
1 C sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
10 large eggs
6 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 400F. Separate the chard stems from the leaves and slice each ¼ inch thick. In a 12-inch oven-safe non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, chard stems, grated potatoes and rosemary. Cook until soft and browned in spots, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stir well and spread the mixture evenly in the skillet. Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Mix in the chard leaves and grated cheese and pour over the potato mixture. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until frittata is set, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting and serving.


Greek Zucchini Fritters

zucchini fritttersThe zucchini this year has been fantastic. Typically by mid-August borers hidden in the stems of squash plants have done their work almost overnight rendering foliage into wilted into a mass of brownish detritus. The few plants that do withstand a borer invasion rarely survive the onslaught of squash bugs, which spread a fungus that paints plant’s big, coarse leaves with white powder. I measure my success in growing squash in how long I can keep either one of these scourges at bay, and this summer has been a banner one. It might be the cold winter we endured, or our relatively cool summer here in the mid-Atlantic, with far fewer hot and humid days than we typically experience, but whatever the reason, the  zucchini, patty pan and yellow squashes have been coming on abundantly and the plants are showing no signs of stress yet.patty pan Read More