Oaty Sausage Cakes & Granola Bars – ChatterRecipes April 2014

Oaty Sausage Cakes & Healthy Granola Bars

Image from Jessica Grajeda's Blog

Ironically, as I mentioned in the ChatterLog, even though I may not feel as drawn to Horses as one might expect, being born in The Year of the Horse – I do however, love to eat what they eat – Oats! I have always loved anything with OatsOat Bars (which in England we call flapjacks, but in America flapjacks are what we call pancakes – go figure), Oatmeal Granary Bread, Oatcakes, Oatmeal Crisps, Oatmeal (as in good old “porridge” oats), Oatmeal Cookies, Granola, Granola Bars, Muesli, even Oatmeal Soap… bring it all on… Now, if you’re at all curious as to the difference between Groats, Old-Fashioned or Quick Oats, then check this blog post on Oats by Health & Nutrition Counselor Jessica Grajeda. All Oats start out as Groats, the Steel-cut Oats are Irish, while the Stone-ground Oats are Scottish. I found this first recipe in an old M&S cookery book by Louise Steele that includes both Oats for our grazing Horse, and Meat (in the form of Sausage) for our carnivorous Aries! And since this newsletter is also entering into the domain of Taurus, ruled by Venus, lover of “sugar & all things sweet” I am giving you a second recipe using Oats that is sweet instead of savory!

Oaty Sausage Cakes

Ingredients:

1lb Pork Sausage Meat

1 medium Onion (peeled & finely chopped)

3 heaped tablespoons plus another 2oz Porridge Oats (quick-cook variety)

¼ to ½ teaspoon dried Mixed Herbs

1 teaspoon Mustard (or Mustard Powder)

¼ teaspoon Salt

Freshly-ground Black Pepper

1 Egg (beaten)

4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Flour (for dusting)

Recipe (makes 8 cakes):

Place the Sausage Meat in a large bowl with the chopped Onion, 3 tablespoons of the Oats, Herbs, Mustard, and Salt & Pepper. Mix ingredients together well (preferably with your hands!) until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. On a lightly-Floured board, form each one into a 3-inch round cake or patty. Dip each cake into the beaten Egg and then roll in the remaining 2oz of the Oats and coat thoroughly. Heat the Vegetable Oil in a frying pan and cook the cakes over moderate heat for about 15 minutes, turning frequently using a fish slice, until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper (a brown paper bag works better than a paper towel, which tends to make “crispy” turn to “soggy!” The recipe book suggests serving these for breakfast with fried eggs and tomatoes, but I wouldn’t limit yourself to their suggestion…

Healthy Granola Bars

Granola Bar © Matthew Klein

So for our sweet treat using Oats for Taurus, I found this “healthy” and very easy recipe for Healthy Granola Bars on a website called Red and Honey: The Art of Valiant Living The beauty of this recipe is it not only uses healthier ingredients by substituting Honey for Sugar for instance, but it is also totally flexible, meaning, if you want to switch up some of the ingredients, you can. Use your favorite ingredients or experiment with something new…

Ingredients:

2/3 cup Almond or Peanut Butter

2/3 cup Virgin Coconut Oil

2/3 cup Honey or Maple Syrup

2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats

2 cups total of whatever else you’d like in the bars…. Chopped Nuts such as Hazelnuts or Pecans, Dried Fruit such as Apricots, Cranberries or Dates, Coconut Flakes, Pumpkin, Sesame or Flax Seeds, Dark Chocolate Mini-ChipsYou get the idea…

Recipe:

Mix together the Almond or Peanut Butter, Coconut Oil and Honey in a small saucepan and warm until everything is melted. Sir together and add in the Oats, and then the rest of your dry ingredients. If you are using Chocolate Chips, you might want to let the Honey Mixture cool before you add those, otherwise they will all melt. Another recipe I read on a website called Inspired Taste, suggests adding a few of the Chocolate Chips to the warm mixture so it helps to set the bars and hold them together, and then add the rest of the chips later when the mixture is not as warm. Press the Granola Bar mixture into a 9×13 pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars, wrap individually and store in the fridge.

© 2014 Louisa J. Curtis And just to prove my love of Oats – these items are all currently in my pantry!

Oaty Sausage Cakes & Granola Bars – ChatterRecipes April 2014

Oaty Sausage Cakes & Healthy Granola Bars

Image from Jessica Grajeda's Blog

Ironically, as I mentioned in the ChatterLog, even though I may not feel as drawn to Horses as one might expect, being born in The Year of the Horse – I do however, love to eat what they eat – Oats! I have always loved anything with OatsOat Bars (which in England we call flapjacks, but in America flapjacks are what we call pancakes – go figure), Oatmeal Granary Bread, Oatcakes, Oatmeal Crisps, Oatmeal (as in good old “porridge” oats), Oatmeal Cookies, Granola, Granola Bars, Muesli, even Oatmeal Soap… bring it all on… Now, if you’re at all curious as to the difference between Groats, Old-Fashioned or Quick Oats, then check this blog post on Oats by Health & Nutrition Counselor Jessica Grajeda. All Oats start out as Groats, the Steel-cut Oats are Irish, while the Stone-ground Oats are Scottish. I found this first recipe in an old M&S cookery book by Louise Steele that includes both Oats for our grazing Horse, and Meat (in the form of Sausage) for our carnivorous Aries! And since this newsletter is also entering into the domain of Taurus, ruled by Venus, lover of “sugar & all things sweet” I am giving you a second recipe using Oats that is sweet instead of savory!

Oaty Sausage Cakes

Ingredients:

1lb Pork Sausage Meat

1 medium Onion (peeled & finely chopped)

3 heaped tablespoons plus another 2oz Porridge Oats (quick-cook variety)

¼ to ½ teaspoon dried Mixed Herbs

1 teaspoon Mustard (or Mustard Powder)

¼ teaspoon Salt

Freshly-ground Black Pepper

1 Egg (beaten)

4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Flour (for dusting)

Recipe (makes 8 cakes):

Place the Sausage Meat in a large bowl with the chopped Onion, 3 tablespoons of the Oats, Herbs, Mustard, and Salt & Pepper. Mix ingredients together well (preferably with your hands!) until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. On a lightly-Floured board, form each one into a 3-inch round cake or patty. Dip each cake into the beaten Egg and then roll in the remaining 2oz of the Oats and coat thoroughly. Heat the Vegetable Oil in a frying pan and cook the cakes over moderate heat for about 15 minutes, turning frequently using a fish slice, until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper (a brown paper bag works better than a paper towel, which tends to make “crispy” turn to “soggy!” The recipe book suggests serving these for breakfast with fried eggs and tomatoes, but I wouldn’t limit yourself to their suggestion…

Healthy Granola Bars

Granola Bar © Matthew Klein

So for our sweet treat using Oats for Taurus, I found this “healthy” and very easy recipe for Healthy Granola Bars on a website called Red and Honey: The Art of Valiant Living The beauty of this recipe is it not only uses healthier ingredients by substituting Honey for Sugar for instance, but it is also totally flexible, meaning, if you want to switch up some of the ingredients, you can. Use your favorite ingredients or experiment with something new…

Ingredients:

2/3 cup Almond or Peanut Butter

2/3 cup Virgin Coconut Oil

2/3 cup Honey or Maple Syrup

2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats

2 cups total of whatever else you’d like in the bars…. Chopped Nuts such as Hazelnuts or Pecans, Dried Fruit such as Apricots, Cranberries or Dates, Coconut Flakes, Pumpkin, Sesame or Flax Seeds, Dark Chocolate Mini-ChipsYou get the idea…

Recipe:

Mix together the Almond or Peanut Butter, Coconut Oil and Honey in a small saucepan and warm until everything is melted. Sir together and add in the Oats, and then the rest of your dry ingredients. If you are using Chocolate Chips, you might want to let the Honey Mixture cool before you add those, otherwise they will all melt. Another recipe I read on a website called Inspired Taste, suggests adding a few of the Chocolate Chips to the warm mixture so it helps to set the bars and hold them together, and then add the rest of the chips later when the mixture is not as warm. Press the Granola Bar mixture into a 9×13 pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars, wrap individually and store in the fridge.

© 2014 Louisa J. Curtis And just to prove my love of Oats – these items are all currently in my pantry!

Spinach Pie – ChatterRecipe January 2014

Spinach Pie – ChatterRecipe January 2014

Spinach © Lou Manna

This month’s recipe comes courtesy of one of my favorites Ian Garten in her book The Barefoot Contessa, but she attributes the recipe to her dear friend Brent Newsom of Brent Newsom Caterer in Bridgehampton, NY.  Capricorns like their Spinach, they need the Iron, so this was an easy pick – a delicious Spinach Pie, baked whole and then cut into 6-8 portions, as opposed to the Greek Spanakopita that are made individually.

Ingredients:

3 cups chopped Yellow Onions (approx. 2 Onions)

2 tablespoons good Olive Oil

2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

1½ teaspoons freshly ground Black Pepper

3 x 10-ounce packages frozen chopped Spinach (defrosted)

6 extra-large Eggs (beaten)

2 teaspoons grated Nutmeg

½ cup freshly-grated Parmesan Cheese

3 tablespoons plain dry Breadcrumbs

½lb (or 8oz) good Feta Cheese (cut into ½ inch cubes)

½ cup Pignoli (aka Pine Nuts)

¼lb (or 4oz) Salted Butter (melted)

6 sheets Phyllo Dough (defrosted)

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, sauté the chopped Onions with the Olive Oil for about 10 to 15 minutes until translucent and slightly browned. Add the Salt and Black Pepper, and then allow to cool slightly. Squeeze out and discard as much of the liquid from the defrosted Spinach as possible. Put the squeezed Spinach into a large bowl and then gently mix in the Onions, Eggs, Nutmeg, Parmesan Cheese, Breadcrumbs, Feta and Pignoli. “How hard is that?” as Ina would say… Next, grease an ovenproof, non-stick, 8-inch sauté pan with Butter and line it with 6 stacked sheets of Phyllo Dough, brushing each one with melted Butter as you go and most important, letting the excess dough hang over the edge of the pan! Pour the Spinach Mixture into the middle of the Phyllo Dough and neatly fold the edges up and over the top so as to seal in the filling. Brush the top with melted Butter and then bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden brown and the filling is “set.” Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely – no matter how good it smells – and serve at room temperature.

*If you decide to use fresh Spinach, I suggest you lightly steam it first, and then squeeze out the excess liquid. Spinach reduces down to almost nothing when you cook it and retains a lot of excess water, unless you squeeze it out. So you’ll probably need at least double the number of bags of fresh Spinach to produce the equivalent of 3 x 10-ounce packages of frozen Spinach.

Cuban Fried Pork Chunks – ChatterRecipe July 2013

Masitas de Puerco or Cuban Fried Pork Chunks

Masitas de Puerco/Cuban Fried Pork Chunks © Steve Giralt

For this month’s recipe I asked last year’s July ChatterArtist and food photographer Steve Giralt to share both a recipe and an image with us. And the timing was perfect since his brand new and very own First Generation Cuban-American Cookbook will be available from July 15, 2013! And the tasty recipe that Steve shared with us from the book is Masitas de Puerco, or Cuban Fried Pork Chunks, which serves six. Ironically (or not) when I asked Atlanta-based food photographer and another Cancer, Iain Bagwell to do the same thing last July, he too gave us a dish with “pork” as the main ingredient! Coincidence… Or not…

Steve says, “Many cookbooks are written by very talented and passionate chefs who live, breathe, and eat food day in and day out. Their knowledge of ingredients, spices, flavors, and culinary techniques is unparalleled, and the food they create can be unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. I am not a famous chef nor do I even aspire to be a famous chef! I don’t cook food for a living, nor do I even cook dinner every night. Oh yea, I’m not even really Cuban; I was born in Miami to Cuban parents making me a first generation Cuban American. So how am I qualified to write a Cuban cookbook?

…I have the unusual job of photographing food for a living. Making food look mouth-wateringly delicious and tasty in photographs is what I do; it’s my art, and I understand it. I feel I have the same passion for photographing food as many chefs have for cooking food. It is that passion which was the catalyst for me making this cookbook. Beyond my passion for photographing food, I love cooking and eating Cuban food! It’s part of my being…

…This is not a cookbook with hundreds of recipes, it’s a small selection of just 20 recipes that are at the heart of Cuban food and you can’t go wrong making any of them. If I can make these, so can you! These are delicious, foolproof recipes that are guaranteed to make everyone at the dinner table happy. Beyond the recipes, this book was photographed and designed to be a work of art. It was printed by a printer that does lots of art books for museums, on the very best paper stock, in order to make the images look amazing.”

Ingredients:

2 ½ pounds fresh Boneless Country Style Pork Ribs or Boneless Pork Shoulder

¼ cup Lemon Juice

¼ cup Lime Juice

½ cup Orange Juice

10 Garlic Cloves (minced)

1 large Spanish Onion (diced)

1 cup Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Oregano

1 teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 teaspoon Onion Powder

2 cups Water

Salt and Pepper to taste

Recipe:

1.     Cut Pork Ribs into 2” chunks and put in bowl.

2.     Mix together Marinade by combining Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Orange Juice, GarlicChopped Onion, ½ cup Olive OilOregano, Ground Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and 1 teaspoon Salt and pour over Pork chunks.

3.     Cover and marinate for at least 3 hours or ideally overnight in the refrigerator.

4.     Remove Meat from Marinade, reserve 1/2 of the Marinade for use later.

5.     In a large wide pot or Dutch oven place 2 cups of Water, ½ cup Olive Oil, the Pork chunks and the reserved Marinade. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let the Water evaporate out until you are left with just the Oil. This should take about 30 minutes.

6.    You must be careful once most of the Water is gone because the Meat can burn quickly if you’re not careful. Turn the Meat so it browns on all sides, and then remove from pot.

7.     Season with Salt and Pepper and serve warm with a squeeze of Lime on top.

8.     Serve with Rice and Black Beans.

Strawberry Shortcake – ChatterRecipe June 2013

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake © Elizabeth Cecil

You may recall a couple of years ago, we featured sandwiches, since Gemini likes to “pair” things together, so here (especially for my Gemini friend) is a delicious dessert sandwich, also known as Strawberry Shortcake! Some of you may also remember I mentioned Massachusetts-based food photographer Elizabeth Cecil in last month’s newsletter, in my Palm Springs Photo Festival Report. During one of our conversations, Elizabeth and I somehow got to talking about Strawberry Shortcake (like you do), and I mentioned I was looking for a good recipe, so sure enough, she very kindly me sent this excellent recipe (slightly adapted) from one of her favorite cookbooks by pastry chef Claudia Fleming, “The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern.”

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups All Purpose Flour

3 1/2 tablespoons Sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons Baking Powder

1/8 teaspoon Salt

6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cold & cut into 1/2 inch cubes (use sea salted butter if you love salty sweets)

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Heavy Cream (if you’re feeling decadent) or Milk (if not!)

1 tablespoon Turbinado Sugar (can skip this to cut down on the sugar factor)

2 pints Strawberries, hulled and cut lengthwise

1-2 tablespoons Sugar (to your taste)

1 1/2 cups Whipping Cream

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1-2 tablespoons Sugar (depending on how sweet you like your whipped cream)

Recipe:

To make the Shortcake Biscuits, in the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer w/paddle attachment, combine the Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt. Pulse to combine. Add the Butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If you do not have an electric mixer or food processor and are doing this by hand, simply mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and then use your hands to work in the Butter. Next, add 2/3-cup Heavy Cream (or Milk) and pulse (or gently mix) just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently pat into a one-inch thick round. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the chilled dough into roughly 9 biscuits, and brush the tops with the remaining Cream (or Milk) and sprinkle with a little Sugar (if desired). Place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined pan and bake until golden, for about 20 minutes or so. Cool on a wire rack. In the meantime, prepare the Strawberries, hull them and cut lengthwise. Toss the Strawberries with a little Sugar (to taste) and let sit for 15-30 minutes until juicy.

To prepare the Whipped Cream, first chill the mixing bowl and electric mixer attachments in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Then beat the Cream, Vanilla and Sugar together on high until soft peaks form. And finally, to assemble the biscuits: Split the Shortcake Biscuits in half, fill with some of the Strawberries and top with Whipped Cream. Gently place the top half of each Biscuit on top of the Cream. Serve immediately.

*Now, if any of you are worried about your cholesterol levels, Elizabeth also gave us a non-dairy alternative for the Whipped Cream, from her friend Laura’s recipe using Coconut Milk instead:

Whipped Coconut Cream

1 13-oz can Unsweetened Coconut Milk (not lite), chilled overnight

1/4 cup Sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

1 tablespoon Tapioca Starch

Open the chilled Coconut Milk. The contents will have separated into a thick layer of hard Coconut “Cream” and a translucent layer of liquid. Scoop out the hard cream only and transfer it into a mixing bowl. Discard the clear liquid or reserve for other use. Beat the hard Coconut Cream on high speed until it looks whipped, then add Vanilla, Sugar, and Tapioca Starch and continue beating for 5 minutes to aerate. It will look just like dairy whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to use. Can also be made the day before.

Asparagus with Parmesan – ChatterRecipe May 2013

Asparagus with Parmesan

Green Asparagus with Parmesan © StockFood / Newnham, Alan - StockFood UK

Taurus certainly loves the finer things in life, and naturally that includes, fine wines and dining. But fabulous food doesn’t always have to be complicated; instead it can simply be about enhancing the flavors of the best, fresh ingredients that are in season. Taurus is the sign of the zodiac that says, “I have, I have the fruits of the earth in my hands” because they are the gardeners of the zodiac, and they love to grow, whether it is food, flowers or vegetables. Asparagus is one the Taurus vegetables, so our recipe this month is Asparagus with Parmesan, and if you’re a Taurus, you’re probably an Asparagus lover! Here’s a simple and simply delicious recipe (serves 4) for all you Asparagus fans out there.

Asparagus is a spring vegetable, once classed as part of the Lily family. And even though there is still a debate as to the validity of this observation, if you’ve ever wondered why your pee smells after you have eaten Asparagus (and I know many of you have), it is because certain compounds in the vegetable are metabolized to produce Ammonia (and we all know that smells pretty pungent) as well as various Sulfur-containing degradation products (and we know that isn’t exactly the nicest smell on earth either – think of rotten eggs…). However, Asparagus has been recognized for its beneficial cleansing and medicinal properties for many years. By neutralizing the Amonia, it helps us feel less tired, it also acts as diuretic and is a great source of Vitamin C and Potassium.

Ingredients:

1¼ lbs Asparagus

1 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)

Extra Parmesan Cheese (shaved – optional for more garnish!)

1 Lemon (cut into wedges)

A few sprigs of Parsley (as garnish)

For the Marinade:

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Dry White Wine

1 teaspoon White Vinegar

3 Garlic Cloves (crushed)

¼ teaspoon Herbes de Provence (or dried herb of your choice)

Salt & Black Pepper

Recipe:

Trim the woody ends from the Asparagus – if you take one spear and bend it, it should break right about where the “woodiness” ends and the goodness begins! Make the Marinade by combining the Olive Oil, White Wine, Vinegar, Garlic, Herbs, Salt & Black Pepper. Then toss the Asparagus in the Marinade, cover and let sit for a further 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan Cheese onto a large plate and then roll each spear of Asparagus in the Cheese to coat it. Arrange the Cheese-covered Asparagus in a single layer in an ovenproof dish and then bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned and sizzling hot. Garnish with the wedges of Lemon and a few sprigs of fresh Parsley and serve with your favorite fish perhaps, or even as an appetizer! And if you love your Cheese, you can always add some extra shavings of Parmesan on top! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Chili – ChatterRecipe April 2013

Best Chili Recipe – at least, that’s what they say…

Two Bowls of Chili with Sour Cream © StockFood / Keller and Keller Photography

According to the website, MomsWhoThink this month’s recipe is the best Chili you’ll ever make! With surprise ingredients like Beer and Unsweetened Cocoa, the blend of flavors and seasonings is apparently quite mouth-watering. And on the Cooking Light website, there are a bunch of top-rated recipes. They also inform us that no self-respecting Texan would ever add Beans to a traditional Chili Con Carne, so this month’s recipe certainly passes that test, but if you do fancy adding in a can of Kidney Beans, I won’t tell Texas, I promise! And besides in many other regions, Chili simply wouldn’t be Chili without adding in some Beans! I tend to agree!

Ingredients

2 1/2 lb. Ground Lean Chuck

1 lb. Ground Lean Pork

4 Garlic Cloves (finely chopped)

1 cup Onion (finely chopped)

8 oz. Hunt’s Tomato Sauce

1 cup Water

1 12oz can Beer

3 tablespoons Chili Powder

2 tablespoons instant Beef Bouillon (or 6 cubes)

2 tablespoons Ground Cumin

2 teaspoons Paprika

2 teaspoons Dried Oregano

2 teaspoons Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander

1 teaspoon Unsweetened Cocoa

1/2 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce

1 teaspoon Cornmeal

1 teaspoon Flour

1 teaspoon Warm Water

Recipe

1. In a large saucepan brown about half of the Ground Meat (the Beef and the Pork), and drain the fat.

2. Remove the browned Ground Meat from the pan and put to one side, then brown the rest of the Ground Meat, draining all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.

3. Add the Garlic and Onion, cook and stir until tender.

4. Add the other half of the browned Ground Meat back in along with the Tomato Sauce, Water, Beer, Chili Powder, Beef Bouillon, Cumin, Paprika, Oregano, Sugar, Coriander, Cocoa, and Hot Sauce. Mix well.

5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

6. In a small bowl, stir together the Cornmeal and Flour, then add the Warm Water and mix well.

7. Stir into Chili and cook, covered, for an additional 20 minutes.

8. Serve with your choice of Rice, Corn Chips, Grated Cheese, and a dollop of Sour Cream

Roasted Potato Leek Soup – ChatterRecipe February 2013

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

Leek and Potatoes in Ladle  James Jackson / Food And Drink Photos Ltd

I know, I seem to have a thing about “roasted” vegetables right now but I really do love the way “roasting” brings out the flavors of each vegetable. Last month we gave you oven-roasted vegetables to accompany your roast, and this time, I’m going with a Roasted Potato Leek Soup. For one thing, it is bitterly cold right now in New York as I prepare this newsletter, so the most natural thought was to have a recipe for something warming, like a nice hearty soup. And then, it’s also the month of February, and Valentine’s Day, and my father’s birthday, and as I reflect I find myself thinking back to my parents… In their younger more “happily married” days, they were quite social creatures – Aquarius is the most social sign of the zodiac after all, and my father certainly was that, while my mother was a Cancer, who are literally the homebodies. And, since we lived in the countryside, we didn’t eat out much at all, that was a rare treat. So it was more commonplace to stay at home and have dinner parties.

Now I’ve told you before that my father loved his food, he came from a food-obsessed family, and it drove my mother crazy! He could be very critical and wanted things done “his” way, especially when it came to culinary execution. Thus my mother was quite intimidated by him in the kitchen and cooking was not necessarily the pleasurable pastime that it might have been for most Cancers. And for some reason, I find myself flashing back to my mother making Vichyssoise, the good old-fashioned way, before anyone had blenders or food processors! In order to make a perfectly smooth and creamy soup, you had to pass it through a sieve, or a hand-mill! A very laborious task and not one that my dear mother particularly enjoyed! This slightly updated recipe comes courtesy of one of my go-to-girls, Ian Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa.

And many thanks for this month’s image which comes courtesy of Mark Butler at the UK-based stock agency Food and Drink Photos, one of the world’s leading suppliers of food and drink images. Be sure to visit their website to see their extensive range of images!

Ingredients:

2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (peeled 7 cut into ¾ inch cubes)

4 Leeks (washed thoroughly of all the sand, drained and chopped both white & light green parts)

¼ cup Olive Oil

Salt & Black Pepper

3 cups Baby Arugula (lightly packed)

½ cup Dry White Wine (plus some extra)

6-7 cups Chicken Stock (homemade if possible, could substitute with Vegetable Stock)

¾ cup Heavy Cream

8 oz Crème Fraîche

¼ cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the Potatoes and Leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer, and then add the Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon Salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper and toss with your hands to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender. Add the Baby Arugula and toss to combine. [Now, I happen to love Arugula, but if it’s not your cup of tea, leave it out and maybe add a little Spinach, or simply use a few more Leeks and Potatoes. Certainly a classic Leek & Potato Soup doesn’t normally include Arugula!] Roast the vegetables for a further 4 to 5 minutes until the Arugula is wilted. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and place on top of the stove covering 2 burners. Stir in the Dry White Wine and 1 cup of the Chicken Stock and cook over low heat scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan.

In batches, transfer the Roasted Vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or a blender if you don’t own a food processor) adding the pan liquid, plus about another 5 cups Chicken Stock to make a puree. Pour into a large pot or Dutch oven, and continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they’re all done and combined in the large pot. Add just enough of the remaining cups of Stock to make a nice thick soup. Add in the Heavy Cream, Crème Fraîche, 2 more teaspoons Salt and 1 teaspoon Black Pepper and season to taste. When ready to serve, re-heat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons Dry White Wine and the Parmesan Cheese. Serve hot with extra grated Parmesan Cheese and some Crispy Shallots (optional), which are really simple to prepare.

For the Crispy Shallots (optional):

5-6 Shallots (peeled and sliced into thin rings)

1½ cups Vegetable or Olive Oil

Unsalted Butter

Paper towels or a sheet of brown paper

Peel and slice about 5 to 6 Shallots and cut into thin rings. Heat a combination of 1½ cups Vegetable or Olive Oil along with 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter in a saucepan and cook the Shallots for about 30 to 40 minutes until they are golden brown. Stir occasionally to make sure they cook evenly, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or a sheet of brown paper. Once they have been dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.

Oven-Roasted Vegetables – ChatterRecipe December 2012

Oven-Roasted Vegetables

Oven-Roasted Vegetables © Renee Comet

For the ChatterRecipe this month I wanted to give you something simple but delicious to accompany your turkey, duck, ham, or whatever your roast of choice may be! So often it’s all about the main event, but the “side” dishes are really important too and can make or break a meal! Here’s the easiest thing in the world – Oven-Roasted Vegetables! By roasting the vegetables, it brings out a naturally delicious flavor and is best when using seasonal vegetables. Now if you don’t like this particular combination, you can always substitute with whatever vegetables you like and use the same simple cooking method.

This easy recipe is courtesy of Trisha Yearwood (as featured in USAWeekend.com)

And thanks also to DC-based and one of my favorite food photographers Renee Comet for providing us with the image for this month.

Ingredients:

½ pound Baby or Fingerling Potatoes (halved lengthwise, quartered if larger)

½ pound Brussel Sprouts (ends trimmed & halved)

½ pound Carrots (peeled & cut diagonally into ½ inch pieces)

1 medium Butternut Squash (peeled & diced)

¼ cup Vegetable Broth

¼ cup Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Black Pepper

Aluminum Foil

Recipe:

Prepare all of the Vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with Aluminum Foil. In a large bowl, mix together the Olive Oil, Broth, Salt and Black Pepper, and then toss with all the cut Vegetables until they are coated. Drain off the excess Broth. Spread the Vegetable Mixture onto the lined baking tray and then pour over the remaining Broth. Roast in the hot oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender, stirring once. And that’s it!


Fruit Crisp, Crumble or Crunch – ChatterRecipe October 2012

Individual Rhubarb Crisps © Lou Manna

For the ChatterRecipe this month I invited New York food photographer Lou Manna to not only give us one of his yummy images, but also the recipe as well. I wanted something seasonal, so we went with a great “fall” desert – Fruit Crisp, Crumble or Crunch. To be honest, this dessert doesn’t limit itself to just the “fall” – it can be made all year long with whatever fruit is in season. In England, where I grew up, it was called Fruit Crumble, and if you grew up here, especially down south, it would have been Fruit Cobbler, but whatever you want to call it – it is a simple baked desert with fruit on the bottom and a crunchy topping – yummy! You can basically make a Fruit Crisp with pretty much any of your favorite fruit, be it Apples or Pears, Peaches or Plums, and for this particular recipe one of my own personal favorites, Rhubarb – it’s your choice! And if you prefer less Sugar, you could always substitute with some Agave, Honey or as we’ll see with this recipe Maple Syrup. In fact, this recipe for Individual Rhubarb Crisps comes to us courtesy of the Federation Of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers!

Ingredients for the Bottom:

2 lbs fresh Rhubarb (cut into 2” dice, could also substitute w/thawed frozen Rhubarb)

1/2 cup pure Maple Syrup (from Canada!)

3-4 tablespoons All-purpose Flour

Ingredients for the Topping:

1/3 cup + 1/2 cup old-fashioned Rolled Oats (not the instant variety!)

2/3 cup chopped Pecans (could substitute with another nut, such as Walnuts)

4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (cold & cut into small pieces)

1/4 cup Soft Brown Sugar (lightly packed)

2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar

1/2 cup pure Maple Syrup (from Canada!)

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Vanilla Ice Cream (optional for serving)

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the topping by first putting the 1/3 cup of the Rolled Oats into a food processor and process until finely ground. Now, if this seems like too much work for you, then I’m sure you could substitute the ground Rolled Oats portion with some All-Purpose Flour instead. Then put the Ground Oats (or Flour) in a mixing bowl along with the chopped Pecans, cold Butter, Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, and the remaining ½ cup of unground Rolled Oats. If you’re using an electric mixer, use the pastry blender or paddle attachment, and if you’re making it by hand, use your fingers to mix the ingredients until the Butter resembles the size of peas. Set aside. For the filling, combine the chopped Rhubarb and Maple Syrup in a large mixing bowl. Then sprinkle (sifting is even better) the Flour over the Fruit and combine. If the mixture is too runny, add a little more Flour – consistency should be thick and sticky like Elmer’s Glue! Pour your Rhubarb mixture into a 9” x 9” baking dish, or how about individual ramekins or ovenproof teacups? Top with the dried Oat mixture and bake until the Rhubarb is bubbly and the topping nicely browned – approx. 20 – 25 minutes. Serves 6.

Additional food styling notes from KD:

I love to prepare this in mismatched antique teacups and then serve them on the saucers. For an extra treat, place a maple leaf candy on each saucer. Also, I usually make a double batch of the topping, because the more the merrier for this delicious crumble! (You can tell this recipe comes from Canada, not just because of the Maple Syrup, but also because she calls it a Crumble! And one more note from me – have some Vanilla Ice Cream on hand to serve with this as well!