Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Chip Off The Old Root

These are the roots prewashed, peeled, and sliced. 

I had been thinking about what to do with turnips (again), and had the idea of intermingling them with beets. Then that evolved into making them into chips. Using a mandolin I sliced the beets and turnips into perfect chip size slices.Turning the oven to a low temperature of 250, I put my roots slices in a single layer spread onto two pans. With a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper and a little olive oil, I put them in for about 40 minutes, flipping them half way through.
This was a pretty successful experiment. The turnips crisped up great, and because they are already peppery in flavor, the salt and pepper just added a little something extra. The beets kind of crisped up, I put on a little too much olive oil, so they just kind of roasted. I had leftovers and baked them again to just warm them up, and they crisped up a little more. I read another variation of a beet chip recipe, where they fried them, and they let the beets sit for a couple hours to let them dry out. Allowing them to sit would also help them to crisp as well.
I made a little yogurt dill sauce to dip the chips in. I don't have an exact measurement of how much I put in but it was just some Greek yogurt, a little lemon juice, and dill. The yogurt mellowed out the pepper, and the inclusion of dill works really well with the roots. Dill is one of those foods (or herbs to be specific) that I used to hate, but love, and reminds me of potatoes, salmon, and Scandinavians all things I love.
The finished product, the turnips almost look like real potato chips.

This is just a side note but when beets are cut up they are just so pretty, I think it might be my favorite shade of red. Do you have a favorite vegetable color?

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Greens on Toast

You know those days when you are not super hungry but just want a little something to nosh on. This happens every so often to me due to eating at weird times or having a larger meal and than later not being very hungry, but just wanting a little snack. This is the perfect snack to fill the void.
This recipe is adapted from the book Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys

Red Kale and Spinach
Sauteing greens is such an easy way to use them up, and I normally try to find a more adventurous way to use them up, but when I found this recipe I wanted to try it. Sautee  four chopped garlic cloves with four anchovy fillets, and cayenne in olive oil until everything sizzles, but not brown. Using a mixture of red kale and spinach add to the pan with a little salt and pepper. Cover the greens letting them steam and wilt for five minutes or so letting them still keep their bright green color.

While your greens cook toast some crusty bread by brushing it with olive oil. When your toast is nice and brown take it out and get ready to eat.
A platter of greens and toast
The greens with the inclusion of the anchovies and the extra garlic are so good. A perfect saltiness and with a little squeeze of lemon it was delightful. We had intended to just eat what was on the plate but returned to the kitchen for more bread. So much for not being hungry.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Home Made Green Pop Tarts

I've been thinking a lot about foods that we think of as savory or sweet and making them their opposite. An example of this came up at lunch the other day when my aunt suggested a savory pop tart. This idea intrigued me and I soon began looking for dough recipes. I wanted the dough flaky, and I was afraid using a regular dough recipe would not be the right texture. I was also trying to avoid using shortening. The L.A Times about a month ago, had a feature on  making home made pop tarts. I ended up using their recipe for dough and the rest of the article as a very loose guideline in assembling of the tarts.
Collard and Onion Paste
For the filling I used caramelized onions, collard greens, a mix of feta and fat free ricotta, salt and pepper. I started by caramelizing two good size onions. As the onions were finishing, I tossed in the collards to let them cook down for a few minutes. When everything looked about done, I put my collard and onion mixture into a food processor.

I then added about a cup and a half of crumbled feta and a cup of ricotta to the green mixture. Then comes the filling of my little green pop tarts. The L.A Times has a little bit of a complicated rolling out and cutting process involving the use of a ruler. I ditched the ruler making my pop tarts not very uniform in size, I also knew I had more filling than dough and not wanting to waste any of my tasty green filling, they would not be anemic filled pop tarts.  We spread the filling out on one side of thinly rolled dough, and then placed the other side on top. Cutting each long strip into about four good size pop tarts and leaving one little square tart.

Our finished product was delish. It tasted a little like spankakopita but with the inclusion of caramelized onions it had a slight sweetness to it. They were filling and flaky and once again it's a tart that can be eaten at any time of day. My tarts are not as aesthetically appealing as real pop tarts but it's something to work on. I am already thinking of other vegetables that can be used for filling these retro hand held pastries.

Cooling Tarts

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Dandy Mustard Tart With A Sprinkling Of Spinach

The last couple of times I have attempted to make tarts, they were not a success, mainly having to do with the tart crust. I had sworn off baking for a while because of my tart debacles, and found myself looking longingly at fruit filled pastries, and envying the golden, buttery crust.  I then realized that tarts are not just exclusive to sweet but can be savory as well.
The mustard greens and red kale
 While flipping through the The  Joy of Cooking looking for ways to use some greens I found a Chard Tart. Replacing the chard with mustards, red kale, and a little spinach this tart turned out great.
One of the reasons why this tart appealed to me was that the crust was easy. No delicate cutting in of butter, no chilling of dough, there's not even a use of a rolling pin. I mixed the ingredients together and then pressed it into the tart pan. While the crust baked for fifteen minutes I browned a few shallots, because we were out of onions. and then put in the greens and let them cook a little bit, just until they lose their bitterness but still have a bright green color.
Mixing the greens with a few eggs, some heavy cream, and some Parmesan, I poured this mixture into my golden tart shell. Letting it bake for half an hour it came out like this.
This is something I would make again, experimenting with different combinations of vegetables. The tart wasn't quite as eggy as a quiche, allowing the greens to be more dominant in flavor. The other great thing about savory tarts is that they can be eaten for any meal. They are great for breakfast or for dinner with a salad on the side. I think now I will strictly be a savory tart maker and leave the sweet tarts to the pastry chefs.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

A Glaze Turned Up

A family of turnips

Turnips are often thrown together with other root veggies, or mashed along with potatoes. I wanted to make something that just featured the turnips alone. I found this recipe on epicurious for glazed turnips with scallions and parsley.  This was a somewhat successful recipe, the main problem being my lax job of peeling the turnips. I read that for smaller turnips you don't have to peel them, so for the little one I didn't and the larger ones I kind of just peeled like a carrot. Not realizing that turnips skin is a little tough this makes for an interesting textural contrast when eating soft braised turnips. Now I know that they need to be peeled thoroughly, I will not make that mistake again.  They did however braise nicely, and are a good pairing with the green onion and parsley.  They make me want some sort of meat on the side.

The Finished Turnips
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