Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Country Apple Galette

I took a French cooking class at Sur-la-Table this winter with both of my sister-in-laws. Not only was it a fun evening together, but it was also a wonderful way to learn how to make some things that were out of our cooking realms, and then enjoy the fruits of our labor by sitting down to a delicious French meal! You should really consider taking a class at your local Sur-la-Table; the prices are incredibly reasonable, they prep and clean everything (worth the price of admission in itself), the classes are small and intimate and completely hands-on, the instructors are knowledgeable and engaging, you can bring your own wine to make the evening more lively, the menus are well thought out, and the finished product is a meal that might cost upwards of $100 in a restaurant. We all left the class feeling satisfied belly-wise and kitchen skills-wise.

Anyways, one of the items we made that night was a Pear Galette. A galette is basically a free form pie or tart which you can fill with anything you can imagine, savory or sweet. It is a fairly simple dessert, with very few ingredients and very little time involved. Well, especially little time if you purchase your pastry dough as I did! It is a fresh and delicate dessert that really lets the ingredients sing. I used apples because it is winter, and because I like apples! I found this Jacques Pepin recipe on Food and Wine. At some point I will try the dough recipe and I will report on how it turns out later.

The apple galette turned out beautiful and so yummy! We actually took this over to a friend's house for dessert. It traveled easily and reheated perfectly to be served after dinner warm and bubbly out of the oven. I think you really only need two or three apples tops. I did not do the bottom layer of chopped apples (I was running very short on time!), I just did the decoratively arranged sliced apples, and that turned out to be plenty of apple in the dessert. I actually think you could cut the sugar down to 1 tablespoon rather than two. Otherwise I think the recipe is pretty much perfect.

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1 refrigerated pie dough
4 Golden Delicious apples (I think you could actually use just two or three tops)
2 tablespoons of sugar (I think you could cut this down to 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of butter, cut into small pieces

1. Gather your ingredients and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel, halve and then quarter the apples. Once each apple is in 4 pieces, you can easily cut out the core from each piece.





Still messy!

All cleaned up with no skin!

3. Thinly slice the apple quarters into crescent shaped slices. Set the apples aside.



4. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and the cinnamon.

5. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray and stretch the pastry dough into a circle on the tray.

6. Decoratively arrange the apple slices on the dough, leaving about an inch at the edge of the dough uncovered.

7. Drizzle the honey evenly over all of the apples.

8. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture evenly over the apples.

9. Dot the small pieces of butter evenly onto the apples.

10. Gently pull the 1 inch of uncovered dough up over the apples to create a one inch border.

11. Bake the galette in the 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. You want the pastry to be golden brown and the apples to be tender.

12. Serve warm or at room temperature. Ice Cream might be a fun addition!    

Sleepy puppies after a big walk and bath!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Raspberry Chipotle Chicken Sandwiches

This homemade sandwich is an easy reinvention of my favorite sandwich at Breadwinners Cafe, the Raspberry Chipotle Chicken Sandwich. This is a very easy sandwich, perfect for a Friday night dinner at the end of a long week. I usually have most of these ingredients on hand, and if you have leftover chicken that makes the sandwich even easier. Making this sandwich at home also lets me share two of my favorite products with you!
Fischer & Wieser is a fantastic company that specializes in sauces, spreads, jellies, dressings, and salsas. My tiny local grocery store has a very small selection of these products, but it does carry the Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, something I use for lots of different recipes. Check out their website to see all of their products and ideas! 

I love Borden's Shredded Gouda because it melts much more easily, especially on sandwiches, than if I shredded a big chunk of Gouda myself...they must have changed the composition a bit so that it melts at a lower temperature. 

non-stick spray
1 loaf of ciabatta or other hearty bread
2 breasts of chicken, thinly sliced
1/2 a cup of shredded Gouda
4 tablespoons of Fischer & Wieser Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

1. Slice the ciabatta loaf into two 3 inch pieces, and then cut in the middle to expose the soft interior of the bread.
2. Thinly slice the re-heated chicken breasts and then set aside.
3. Place one piece of bread of each 3 inch piece in a skillet heavily coated with non-stick spray. Heat the skillet to medium heat. 
4. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of Gouda on each piece of bread in the skillet. 
5. Let the Gouda begin to melt, and then place the sliced chicken on top of the cheese.
6. Carefully drizzle 2 tablespoons of the Chipotle sauce over each sandwich half. 

7. Add the other piece of bread to your sandwiches and press down. Cook for another minute. 

8. Carefully flip each sandwich and press down again. You want both sides to be pressed and crispy, but not burned. Cook on this other side for about 3 minutes. 

9. Pull off the skillet and enjoy with sweet potato fries! 

Cort playing the piano with me.

Cort and Shafer cuddled up with me at the piano!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken Souvlaki

I have mentioned a few times before on this blog how much I love Greek food. I have several Greek restaurants in Dallas I enjoy, and usually when I have a craving I Robert and I go out to eat there. Last night, however, I decided I wanted to make my favorite Greek meal, chick souvlaki at home. Outside of hummus, this is really the first Greek meal I have made in my kitchen. I modeled the ingredients and plating after the chicken souvlaki served at Ziziki's, my favorite Greek restaurant.

I made a few modifications due to a recent allergy I've developed for raw onions and garlic. Usually you see onion with the chicken and garlic in the sauce but I substituted bell pepper and garlic powder and was really pleased with the results. This meal really came together quickly and Robert and I even got to go workout at the gym while the chicken was marinating. Pair this with pita and roasted potatoes for a great meal.

So before we get to the recipe I have a slight confession. Initially I was only planning to write about the tzatziki sauce recipe and not chicken souvlaki so I didn't take any photos of marinating or cooking the chicken and bell peppers. The final result was so tasty, I knew that I wanted to post the whole meal, even if I was a few photos short. So hopefully you can forgive the lack of photos at the end, fortunately it's a pretty straight forward process.

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Chicken Souvlaki

2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
fresh ground pepper
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Red bell peppers
Onions (if desired)

Peel the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and discard.
Dice the cucumbers and place in a colander. Sprinkle with kosher salt and set in the sink to drain off some of the excess water. (This will help keep the sauce from being too runny.)
After 30 minutes, place the cucumber in the bowl of the food processor along with the dill, garlic powder, lemon juice and pepper.
Puree until smooth. 
Pour the Greek yogurt into a large bowl.
Gradually stir in the cucumber puree.

When the sauce is ready, cube the chicken and bell peppers (and onions if desired) into 2 inch cubes and string on a skewer.
Place in a shallow dish and pour a good amount of tzatziki sauce over the chicken.
Let marinate in the fridge for about an hour.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat and sear the chicken and bell peppers.
After 5 minutes, transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve on pita with more tzatziki sauce drizzled on top with roasted potatoes and enjoy.

Source: Tzatziki recipe slightly modified from Kalyn's Kitchen