Friday, September 30, 2011

Mushroom and Stilton Galette Simplified

There is a recipe from Williams Sonoma Seasonal Celebrations Series, Autumn cookbook that has made the rounds in the foodie blogosphere.  It is wonderful but rather time consuming in the making.  The problem comes with the dough which has to be frozen a couple of times before going into the oven.  I tried it tonight without all the fuzz and it was wonderful.

To begin with, I did not put the flour and butter in the freezer; but if you wish to proceed with this step may I suggest you do that the night before.  I added all the pastry ingredients to the bowl of the Cuisinart and pulsated 6 or 7 times until it all came together.  Then I stuck it in the freezer for an hour.

I skipped the dried mushrooms (step #2) and went straight to sauteing the fresh porcini, shiitakes and bella mushrooms I had.  For the cheese, I substituted Gruyere but I can't wait to make it with Stilton or Roquefort,

White vermouth was added to the mushrooms and reduced before adding the mushrooms to the tart.

This makes a great Fall lunch accompanied with a salad and a glass of dry French rose.

Serves 4


For the pastry:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into


1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:

1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini or shiitakes

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup sliced green onions

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 lb. assorted fresh wild mushrooms, such as

chanterelles, porcini and shiitakes, brushed

clean and large mushrooms thinly sliced

1/2 lb. fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean

and thinly sliced

1/4 cup white Vermouth (optional)

5 ounces Stilton or other good-quality blue cheese (for a mild flavor use Gruyere)


1. To make the pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. (I put everything in the food processor and pulsed 6 -8 times until it came together) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (I stuck it in the freezer)

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes until softened. Drain the mushrooms and mince finely. ( I skipped this step..I told you, it is simplified)

3. Preheat an oven to 400°F.

4. In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Increase the heat to high, add the fresh and rehydrated mushrooms, and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid they released has completely evaporated, 8 minutes.  Add vermouth and reduce. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

5. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Crumble the blue cheese into a bowl, add the cooled mushrooms and stir well. Spread the mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the mushrooms and cheese, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Lunch At The Lake...Open Face Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches

Whether you are camping or lucky enough to have a house on a lake, this is a great Fall recipe to enjoy with your guests. 

We have been keeping a grill down by the dock to enjoy the cooler temperatures and the Fall foliage.  On weekends a few of our neighbors and their guests come down and cook on the grill.  Afterwards, we build a bonfire and enjoy the stars.  All is not perfect, for with nature come those awful little spiders that seem to gravitate only to my feet! Last time I was down there I got bitten not once but twice by those little monsters on the way back to the house.  You know the rest.  Another two weeks of itching and scratching and a swelled and ugly foot. 


Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of peasant bread
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
 One 1 1/4-pound eggplant, sliced crosswise 1 inch thick
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 4 plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
 1/2 pound buffalo mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
 8 large basil leaves, torn
 Coarse sea salt


1.Light a grill. Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill over high heat until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a platter.

2.Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until charred on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn and grill until tender, about 3 minutes longer.

3.Top the eggplant with the tomato, mozzarella and basil. Cover the grill and cook until the cheese melts, 2 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bread, sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Recipe Food & Wine
Photo Tina Rupp

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chocolate Tea Cake

I found this in Country Living while looking to perfect my recipe for lemon tea cake.  The cake is good enough on its own, without the frosting,  but why not gild the lily this time?!
Serves: 16
Yields: Two (9-by 5-inch) loaf cakes

Oven Temp: 325


 2 1/4 cup(s) cake flour
1 cup(s) cocoa
2 tablespoon(s) cocoa
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1 cup(s) unsalted butter, softened
2 cup(s) granulated sugar
1 cup(s) (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
6 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon(s) almond extract
1 1/4 cup(s) sour cream
1 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoon(s) heavy cream
2 tablespoon(s) sliced almonds


1.Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Combine flour, 1 cup cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda with a whisk and set aside.

2.Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add 1/2 teaspoon extract and sour cream; mix until combined. Add flour mixture in thirds, beating after each addition until batter is smooth.

3.Transfer to prepared pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 15 to 20 minutes, remove cakes from pan, and let cool completely.

4.Stir confectioners' sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa, heavy cream, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon extract together until smooth. Spread icing over top of cooled cakes and top with sliced almonds.

Recipe from Country Living

Monday, September 5, 2011

Poulet A La Normande...Chicken Normandy

One of my favorite French recipes. this dish hails from Normandy, land of apples, cream, Calvados and the famous Bresse chickens.  We may not have the latter but our apples are second to none!

This recipe comes from Alice Waters, the doyenne of California cuisine, owner of the famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkely, California.

Serves 4.


1 (3 1⁄2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 bone-in pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 cup Calvados
1 cup apple cider
1 cup chicken stock
30 pearl onions
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
1 cup crème fraîche (or heavy whipping cream)


1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

2. Pour off most of the fat from the pan. Add the onions, carrots, thyme and bay leaf and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the Calvados, warm slightly, then stand back and ignite it. Once the flames die, add the cider, scraping up the brown bits. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add the stock and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Transfer the breast pieces to a bowl. Cook the legs and thighs for 10 more minutes and add to the bowl. Keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, soak the pearl onions in warm water before peeling. (I used frozen pearl onions and let defrost for a bit) Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Uncover, add 1 tablespoon butter and increase heat to medium-high. Place the apples in the center of the pan. Sear on each side for 10 to 15 minutes, until caramelized.

4. Strain the Calvados sauce and return it to the pan. Add the juices from the chicken. Whisk in the crème fraîche (or whipping cream) Simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season. Add the chicken pieces and warm through.

 Adapted from “Chez Panisse Fruit,” by Alice Waters. Via The New York Times

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A (Last Minute) Indoor Menu For A Soggy Labor Day!

If you live in the South or the Northeast, by now you know that all the plans you made last week for an outdoor BBQ just went out the window.  If you live on a lake and are expecting a small crowd you are frantic by now.

This happened to me years ago when I lived in North Carolina and we had a huge crowd for a pit barbecue on a Fourth of July.  A small house, a big soggy yard, a hundred people and downpours all day! That is one experience I never forgot, so since then I have always had a Plan B to resort to.

With everyone expecting barbecue for the holiday, here is something you can cook inside and make the day before (like today).  Trust me, you will never know the difference.

Plan A

Plan B

Rush to Costco and buy their Kirkland Pulled Pork.  It is fabulous, especially if you mixed it with homemade barbecue sauce.  As an alternative, use Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce! 

Serve with Caraway Cole Slaw and make a batch of Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies!

If you have the right crowd, plan a poker game!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler

This classic cobbler is topped with a simple, rich biscuit dough that lets the berries really shine. The dough comes together in seconds in a food processor. Blackberries or raspberries may be used; a dash of cinnamon rounds out the berries' flavor. The biscuits are brushed with cream and given a light coating of sugar before baking, resulting in a crust with crunch. Vanilla ice cream is a sublime accompaniment/

Blackberries are in season and they are plump and scrumptious.  The only change I have made to the recipe is add 1/4 cup sugar to the dough.  It was a hit!

Serves 6 to 8


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar, plus more if needed and for sprinkling

3 tablespoons cornstarch, plus more if needed

6 cups (3 pints) blackberries or raspberries

Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, and add heavy cream in a slow, steady stream, mixing with a wooden spoon until dough just comes together. Divide dough into 9 pieces, and loosely form each into a ball.

2.Whisk together cinnamon, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Add berries; toss gently to coat. Transfer mixture to an 8-inch square baking dish. Top berries with dough balls, spacing evenly. Brush dough with heavy cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until berries are bubbling in center and biscuits are golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack, and let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream if desired.

Cook's Note

The amount of sugar and cornstarch needed will depend on the sweetness and ripeness of the fruit. Taste the berries. If they are sour, add an extra 1/4 cup sugar in step 2. If juicy, add an extra 1 teaspoon cornstarch. To catch any juices that may bubble over when baking, place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet or lay a piece of foil on the rack below the cobbler.


Peach Cobbler 

You can substitute 8 sliced and peeled peaches for the blackberries.  Omit the cinnamon and add a dash of bourbon if you like.

  • 6 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
bottom photo Lindaraxa


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