Sunday, June 30, 2013

basil black pepper goat cheese and onion bread

I made this bread the first time fairly soon after Dana wrote about it. I remember we ate it quickly. And then, I forgot about it. Fast forward to last weekend, when I picked up a book from my overflowing shelves and found the recipe written on a scrap piece of paper. So I pulled up the post again and made the bread. This time I used black pepper and basil goat cheese from the market that was first to hand out of the cheese shelf. I was a bit haphazard with stacking and laying the dough in the loaf pan and ended up with a more layered effect but it still tastes wonderful.

Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread (adapted from Dana Treat and Food &Wine)
Makes one 9-inch loaf

1½ sticks cold butter, 1 stick cubed
1 large onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely grated black pepper and basil goat cheese (3 ounces)
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk (1 c milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a large metal loaf pan. In a large skillet, melt the ½ stick of butter; pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a small bowl and reserve. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is softened, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the onion mixture onto a plate and refrigerate for 5 minutes, until cooled slightly. Stir in the cheese.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add the buttermilk and pulse 5 or 6 times, just until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Pat or roll the dough into a 2-by-24-inch rectangle. Spread the onion mixture on top. Cut the dough crosswise into 10 pieces. Stack 9 pieces onion side up, then top with the final piece, onion-side down. Carefully lay the stack in the prepared loaf pan and brush with the reserved butter.

Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until it is golden and risen. Let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding and serving.

warm asian salad with feta

This recipe was adapted from a Canadian cheese booklet of recipes I got somewhere, probably one of the grocery stores I frequent. This recipe caught my eye as I had substitutable ingredients and it sounds pretty good. And it was. It was meant (according to the recipe) to serve 4 but it barely served 2 for supper but maybe as I used mixed greens instead of spinach, it wasn't as chewy as it should have been.

Warm Asian Salad with Feta (adapted from All you need is cheese magazine)
1/3 c roasted cashews, in pieces
1/2 lb ground pork
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
 2 tsp thai green curry paste
1 medium red pepper, diced
4 c mixed green salad leaves
1 c crumbled feta

To a saute pan, add ground pork, shallot, garlic and ginger and cook until the pork is cooked all the way through. Add a bit of water to the green curry paste and stir it into the mixture.

Add the red pepper and salad leaves to a large salad bowl. Add the pork mixture, cashews and sprinkle with feta. Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

evening picnic at the park (and a rice salad)

Our boy's field hockey ended a week ago which meant the end of late afternoons sitting around a field chatting with friends watching the boys play. So I thought of inviting a few of them to have a picnic in the park at the beach just over the railway tracks from where the boys played hockey. It was a grey and drizzly day but there were patches of blue developing through the afternoon. By the time we all rolled into the park, it was mostly sunny and clear and warm enough to be pleasant. We snagged a couple of picnic tables, shooed off the birds, and laid out our shared meal. Some buns, deli meats, a roast chicken and a couple of salads.

The kids ran around playing war and dodgeball and my boy waded in the surf up to his armpits. We watched the new lifeguards in training and enjoyed the evening. This went by.

My contribution was this brown rice salad from Catherine at Ben and Birdy which was a big hit.

Brown Rice Salad with Asparagus, Feta and Lemon (adapted from Ben and Birdy)
2 c brown rice
1 large bunch of asparagus
1 shallot, minced
5 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 c crumbled feta
3/4 c chopped, toasted almonds

Add the rice to boiling water (cook it like pasta) and let cook for 25 minutes. Drain well and then add back to the pot, cover with a towel and the lid and let steam for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, lay out the asparagus on a baking sheet, and roast for about 5 minutes in a 375 deg F oven until the asparagus is slightly tender and slightly browned. Cut into 1" pieces.

Dry roast the almonds over medium high heat until the almonds are toasty brown.

Mix the lemon juice, shallots and olive oil in a small jar and shake to mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

For the picnic, I kept all the pieces separate - rice, asparagus, feta, almonds and dressing and then combined them all at the table. Lovely.