Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gluten Free Angel Hair Pasta with Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Pumpkin Sauce

I could only think of pumpkin on Halloween night which turned out to work in my favor. I had seen a recipe for a pumpkin lasagna that sounded fantastic so I went to the drawing board with what I had in my pantry. The end result was a creamy, well-balanced pumpkin sauce accented with roasted garlic and flecked with roasted mushrooms. I’ll be making this one over and over this fall.

1 pint crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 head of garlic, still in paper
8 leaves of fresh sage, diced
3 strips of thick cut bacon, diced into bit sized pieces
1 can pumpkin puree or 1 cup fresh puree
1 cup milk
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and more for topping
1 package brown rice angel hair pasta
4 stems chives, diced for topping

Set oven to 350°. Arrange sliced mushrooms on a baking sheet and toss in 1 tbsp olive oil with 2/3′s of the chopped sage, salt and pepper. Chop the top off of the garlic head, place on roasting pan and then top with about 1 tbsp olive oil. Roast for about 25-30 minutes or until garlic is soft to the touch. Stir mushrooms occasionally.
Meanwhile, pan fry the bacon in a large skillet. Once crisp, transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Leave the drippings and add the pumpkin to the skillet over low heat. Use a wooden spoon to stir and pick up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Next add in the roasted mushrooms, bacon, remaining sage, milk and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Dice up 1-2 cloves of the roasted garlic and add to sauce.
Cook the brown rice pasta to just under al dente. Drain and add directly to skillet with sauce. Add the parmesan cheese and use tongs to combine the pasta and sauce over low heat. Plate in serving bowls, sprinkle with a little extra cheese and the diced chives. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cinnamon Honey Sweet Potato Pie

Cinnamon Honey Sweet Potato Pie 

A classic recipe emerged from a trip to the local Farmer's market. Walnut Hill Farm had a plethora of earthy, massive sweet potatoes spilling out of buckets on the table so I picked up a few to work with. I also made a stop by one of my favorite vendors, Alfredo’s Honey, and picked up a tub of whipped cinnamon honey (I think I am working on my 7th tub from him).  The two market picks just seem to be a marriage made in heaven, right? Having not made a sweet potato pie before, I did a little research online and found a recipe that seemed to be in-line with what I had in the pantry and what I had picked up from the market.  I modified it slightly by using a homemade gluten-free crust which will be featured on, my new website created with a fellow Richmonder and lover of all things tasty and gluten-free. I also changed up the cinnamon portions since I was working with a cinnamon flavored honey. Here’s my take:

Cinnamon Honey Sweet Potato Pie
Filling Ingredients:

2 large, roasted sweet potatoes removed from skin (about 3 cups)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup Alfredo’s local cinnamon honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup melted butter

Start by dry roasting the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet in an oven set to 375° for about 50-60 minutes or until soft to the touch. Once cooled, scrape flesh from skin and place into a food processor, pulse until broken down. Add remaining ingredients, except butter and pulse until smooth. With the food processor on, drizzle in melted butter until combined.

Fill a par-baked, gluten-free pie crust (will fill a 10″ pie) and bake at 350° for 35 minutes. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean or the center of the pie should spring back when touched.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Italian Style Brisket and Zucchini Stackers

A modified take on Tyler Florence’s brisket recipe and a side dish to complement any entree…
Italian Style Brisket
4 Roma tomatoes, halved
8 springs fresh thyme
1 garlic cloves, smashed and finely minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles striped from the stem and chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb brisket
Fresh cracked black pepper
6 basil leaves, shredded
2 cups carrots, rough cut
2 celery stalks, rough cut
2 small white onion, quartered
1 cups dry red wine
1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes with basil
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 300­°. Half Roma tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and place thyme stems directly over each half. Drizzle with olive oil and oven roast for about 25-30 minutes or until edges brown lightly.
Kick the heat up on oven to 325°. Combine the chopped rosemary leaves with 1/8 cup olive oil, finely minced garlic, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and about 1/8 tsp fresh cracked black pepper to make a thick paste. In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed large pot, add olive oil to coat bottom. Season all sides of the brisket with salt and pepper and add to hot oil to brown.

Once a good color has formed on all sides, cut the heat and evenly coat the top of the brisket with the rosemary paste mixture. Next add roasted tomatoes (with thyme stems), basil, carrots, celery, onion, canned tomatoes, wine, bay and top with parsley and more rosemary if you have it.

Top dutch oven with a lid or wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Transfer to oven for 3-4 hours cooking time, baste with sauce every 30 minutes. If liquid drops too low, add beef stock or water in small increments to keep the brisket mostly covered.
Once cooked, transfer the brisket to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Return pot to stove top, set the heat to low and use a hand blender to blend all ingredients thoroughly (remove bay leaves and herb stems first).  Add 1/4 tsp fresh red pepper flakes for a spicy kick (optional).

Serve sauce along side sliced brisket and use it in the side dish…
Zucchini Stacks
1 ‘One Ball’  zucchini, 1/4″ slices
1 red pepper, sliced in rings
1 green pepper, sliced in rings
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 cup homemade tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Season the sliced vegetables with olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Grill them on medium-hi until grill marks form, flipping once.

Next, transfer to an oiled baking dish by stacking the vegetables – zucchini on the bottom, topped with the pepper rings. Cover each stack with tomato sauce, top evenly with cheeses and bake until the brown and bubbly.

Given the current power outage due to Irene, I cooked mine covered with foil on the grill and it took about 20 minutes.
The braised brisket becomes very tender after hours of cooking and absorbs a punch of flavor from the wine and roasted tomatoes. They really work together, the sauce and the brisket, each lending their flavors to the other.  Even when topped with the rich tomato sauce, the veggies hold their own earthy flavors.  The zucchini resembles a pumpkin in looks, taste and seeds which can be removed if you are not a fan.  I think I’ll pick up a few more next week at the Farmer’s Market, stuff them with a bacon and grain combination and roast them…

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pesto and Goat Cheese Spread

I started salivating earlier this week, dreaming up all of the wonderful treats I could make with a nice crusty baguette and a fresh bunch of basil that I brought home from our local Farmer's Market. I came back to a go-to dip that hits the spot all summer long.  Rarely do I go without homemade pesto in my kitchen, especially when I can buy basil in bulk and make tons to freeze.  So, with the two huge bunches I picked up and a tasty roll of black peppered goat cheese, I put together a fresh, bright dish that would be a perfect summer evening snack or compliment to any Sunday brunch. 

Makes about 2 cups

4 handfuls fresh basil leaves
1/2-2/3′s cup toasted, unsalted walnuts
1 wedge parmigiano reggiano
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
pinch salt
Pulse all ingredients in a processor except oil until chunky. Next, slowly drizzle in the olive oil – add as much oil as needed to get to the right consistency.  I tend to keep it a bit tight because you can always add a little more oil to each dish when using the pesto and for the purposes of a dip, the less oil the better.

Pesto and Goat Cheese Dip
Servings: 4-6

Remove all but 2 tbsps of pesto in processor and store separately.  To the processor, add zest and juice of 1/2 lemon and 4 oz of black peppered goat cheese.  Blend until creamy.  The black peppered goat cheese adds a sharp tang to the dip which is balanced out by the freshness of the lemon. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with toasted, oiled baguette rounds.

Anna B’s gluten-free baguette had the perfect texture for this dip.  Toasted on a low heat with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt, the crusty outside and slightly chewy inside made for a great base to the creamy, sharp flavors of the pesto and goat cheese.

Not only did the basil provide a summer fresh taste, but the pale, vertical blooms made a modern and fragrant bouquet for the kitchen.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tender Mock Steak with Fried Green Tomatoes and Garlic Leek Cream Sauce

We picked up green tomatoes from Walnut Hill Farm at our local farmer's market just before they ran out and I am so glad we did because I was ready for a southern fried treat.  We also headed over to Victory Farms and grabbed a bunch of leeks and a garlic bulb from Fertile Crescent.  The last stop was back to Deer Run Farm of Amelia where we picked up an interesting cut of meat – Mock Tender Steak which, unlike it’s name suggests, is not inherently tender. We were given some great info on the cut and told to marinate, so marinate we did!  Here’s how we pulled it all together:

Gluten-Free Fried Green Tomatoes
2 sturdy green tomatoes, sliced thick
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs (suggested to me by a fantastic Forest Hill neighbor!)
3 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour
3 stems of thyme
kosher salt
After slicing the tomatoes, set up the dredging stations by grabbing two shallow bowls.  In one bowl, combine buttermilk, egg and pinch of salt and pepper and whisk until combined.  In the second bowl, combine breadcrumbs, flour, thyme leaves that have been removed from stems and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Breading Station

Dredge each tomato slice first in the buttermilk mixture and then in the breadcrumb mixture until well coated (pressing with fingers will help the crumbs to stick).  Next, add a few tbsps canola oil to a fry pan and once ripples form on the oil, add the tomatoes two at a time. Cook on each side for about 1-2 minutes until a golden crust forms.  Transfer fried tomatoes to a casserole dish and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Garlic Leek Cream Sauce
2 leeks, diced and rinsed
1 clove fresh garlic, diced
1/2-2/3′s cup milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2-3 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour
salt and pepper
Start by putting the milk in a sauce pan over low heat to warm slightly.  Next, lightly sauté the leeks and garlic in a sauté pan over medium-low heat for just 1-2 minutes.  Begin to add the flour 1 tbsp at a time and whisk vigorously until a paste forms.  Once a good consistency is reached, raise the heat slightly and slowly add the milk to the sauté pan, whisking as you go.  Continue to stir to keep the milk from burning and until the sauce thickens to desired consistency.
Testing, testing
When the sauce is ready, you should be able to coat a wooden spoon with the sauce and draw you finger down the back to form a line.  At this point remove from heat and strain leeks and garlic from the sauce.  Use the spoon to force all the liquid from the vegetables. Discard the leeks and garlic and set sauce aside until ready to serve.

Tender Mock Steak Marinade
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
3 stems rosemary,
1 clove garlic, rough chop
2 stems of thyme
salt & pepper
Combine all ingredients above and add to a plastic ziploc bag.  Add the steak and marinate on the counter in a sealed bag for about 20-30 minutes prior to grilling over medium heat for just a few minutes for medium-rare.  Be sure to let the steaks rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.  The longer you are able to marinate the steaks the more tender they will be but ours had a great texture and the rosemary really permeated the meat.
Dinner is served!
Drizzle the cream sauce over the warm, fried tomatoes and top with the steak…just try not to go back for seconds on this one!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jalapeno Ranch Slaw Burgers

This is a delicious and non-traditional topper for a burger, great crunch and loads of flavor!

Jalapeno Ranch Slaw Burgers

(makes 4-6 servings)
1/2 small red cabbage, shredded
1/2 pint sun gold tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
3 spring onions, greens and whites diced
(makes 1 cup – save remainder to top salads, sandwiches, eggs, chips, chicken, what have you…)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp fresh chopped chives
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 jalapeno, diced
1 Serrano chili, fresh grated
pinch of salt
In a large bowl, combine cabbage, tomatoes, chives and parsley. Set aside. Combine all ingredients for ranch dressing in a separate bowl, use a hand grater to grate the entire Serrano chili into the dressing. Mix well. For the slaw, add about 1/4 cup of dressing and combine. Add more dressing if desired and finish with a little extra salt and pepper to taste. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving to let the flavors come together.  Store remainder of ranch in a separate, air tight container in the fridge.

For the burgers, we keep it simple – scant 1/4 tsp garlic salt and 1/4 tsp pepper per 1 lb of meat.  Form into patties and add a sprinkle of kosher salt to the outside of the burgers just before grilling. Grill for about 4-5 minutes on each side over 400° grill for medium to medium rare burgers. The Faith Farm ground beef we picked up at the farmer's market came out perfectly - so much flavor for so little work and the burgers were perfectly juicy.
Jalapeno Ranch Slaw Burgers

Plate it up on a whole wheat bun with a heaping mound of the Jalapeno Ranch Slaw, nothing else needed!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Farmer's Market Omelette

It’s so satisfying to bike over to the neighborhood Farmer’s Market to pick up a few fresh ingredients for breakfast.  At South of the James you can find every ingredient needed for a hearty, healthy start-to-the-day.  My quest started with fresh eggs so I ended up at Deer Run Farm of Amelia where my husband got a lesson in ground meat for burgers from a friend of the farm (she raved so much about the farm we thought she was an employee) and I learned about their grass-fed, grass-finished beef and the health benefits of eating eggs from their free-range hens.   It was a perfect stop, start to finish, so we walked away with a dozen eggs for omelettes and a brochure for ordering ahead for next week.

Deciding on an omelette was the easy part of the morning, choosing what to fill it with took a little more time.  Spinach & mushrooms?  Tomatoes and peppers?  Luckily, across the way from Deer Run Farm was a group I hadn’t seen before, Manakintowne Specialty Growers.  They had a great set up, tables and baskets full of fresh herbs.  They also had little bits of information typed out on paper for some of the less recognizable greens, one of which was a few bunches of garlic scapes.  The woman manning the table told me they added delicious but mild garlic flavor and were a great accompaniment to spinach or squash.  So I grabbed a bunch and went off in search of the final additions – a shiitake mushroom from Casselmonte Farm (purchased by the ounce), a container of baby squash and zucchini and a bunch of basil from Victory FarmsVictory Farms and finally, some goat cheese from Bonnyclabber Cheese Company.

Here’s how it all came together:

Farmer’s Market Omelette

Prep Time: 5 minutes       Cook Time:  10 minutes
Serves: 2

4 farm fresh eggs
1 tbsp water
1 baby squash, diced
1 baby zucchini, diced
1 shiitake mushroom, diced
2 garlic scapes, bulb discarded and green stem diced
6 basil leaves, sliced in ribbons
salt and pepper
2 ounces goat cheese (or however much or little you like)
Start by heating a non-stick omelette pan that has been sprayed with canola cooking oil over medium-high heat.  Add the zucchini, squash and mushrooms to sauté, season with salt and pepper.  While the veggies cook, whisk the eggs with water until fully incorporated. Once a good color has developed on the squash, add the chopped garlic and basil and stir to distribute evenly.  Cook for an additional minute and then transfer the cooked veggies to a dish and set to the side.
In the same pan, add half the eggs for one omelette and turn the pan to evenly distribute.  Using a spatula, skim the outer edge of the pan and force the uncooked egg to the side until all liquid is cooked through.  Next, scatter half the sauteed vegetables and herbs in the center of the omelette and top with goat cheese.  Using the spatula, gently fold both sides over the center to close and then transfer the omelette to the serving plate.  Enjoy while hot!