Friday, January 30, 2015

Broccoli Potato Ricotta Knishes


Knishes are fun pockets of vegetables, mixed with cheese and baked in a bready dough. Classic varieties include potato and onion and broccoli and cheese. For this recipe, I am using a dough recipe from a favorite cookbook "Cooking Under Wraps" by Nicole Routhier. The filling is more of a compromise for me between potato and broccoli . . . I did a mix of both. (Little things like that thrill me). These can be made ahead of time, and even frozen and reheated.

This will make 8 individual knishes. I make the dough first, and let it rest/cool in the fridge, and then the filling, which also needs to cool. 

Dough
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1-1/2 Tbl. hot water
2 Tbl. olive oil 

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a medium sized mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk egg, hot water and oil and then add to flour mix. Knead until smooth, cut into 8 pieces, make into small balls, and refrigerate, covered for about an hour. Then make the filling while the dough rests. (The time resting really helps the dough get smooth, and the cooler temp keeps the baking powder action in check until baked, so don't skip this part.)

The dough does not get larger while resting, so any small plate is fine.

Filling

1 small/medium potato, diced small
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 a small onion, sauteed until caramelized
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 c ricotta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1 egg mixed with a little water to make a wash

I just cover the broccoli and potato with water and simmer until both are fork tender. Drain and put in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher until mixed, Add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well. 

You want some texture in the filling, soft but not pureed.
Cool  a little before you fill the knishes. On a slightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into a 6" circle, it will be thin, but should roll out very easily.


Place about 1/4 c. filling in the center, leaving an inch or more around the edges, flattening down the filling in the center. Brush the edges with a little water or the egg wash. Pull dough up over the filling, and pleat as you go. You can fully cover the filling, pinching the dough together in the center, and place pleats down, or leave a little filling showing and bake pleats up. 

The dough should be soft and very workable. Tug the dough up and over.
Place on a lightly oiled baking pan. Brush the surface of the knishes with an egg wash, covering the sides as well as the top. 


Bake  at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes, or until tops are nicely golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Spicy Ginger Pickled Carrot Slices


I have always been an adventurous eater, but some cooking methods make me a bit nervous. Those would include pressure cooking, deep fat frying, candy making and home canning. I have made refrigerator pickles in the past, and so when I recently decided to try some pickles, that seemed the most comfortable way to go. I figured if the pickles were good, they'd get eaten pretty fast anyway. 


I have made a fair amount of pickled vegetables in the last few months, and one of my favorite combinations is ginger and carrot. So when I saw these beautiful rainbow package of carrots, I thought I'd try some mixed carrot slices in a pickle. 

So for a basic pickle brine, you will want vinegar, some salt, some sugar and whatever herbs/seasoning you want. Simmer to dissolve the sugar and infuse some flavor and then pour over your prepared vegetables, cool, and refrigerate.

Spicy Ginger Pickled Carrot Slices

6 large carrots, peeled and sliced thin (about 1/8")
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl. sugar
1 Tbl. coarse salt
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 knob of fresh ginger (about the diameter of a silver dollar), unpeeled and sliced thin

1 clean jar with tight fitting lid (about a 4 cup size)




Heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper flakes,  and ginger slices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Stir. Remove ginger slices.



Add carrot slices to pan, and simmer about 30 seconds to a minute in brine. Pour all into clean jar and let jar of carrot pickles cool to room temperature. Close lid and refrigerate. These should stay crispy for a few weeks. Use in sandwiches, salads or as a stand alone snack.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

RED CURRY COCONUT BACON COOKIES or "Make Some Crazy Ass Cookies . . ."




Every year, I make a lot of Christmas cookies. I try to make everyones favorites and then try something new on top of those. This year I was challenged by a friend to make some crazy cookies, so on a whim, I tried to think of the weirdest combination of ingredients I had on hand that morning. I had cooked some really decent bacon for breakfast and still had some bacon fat. I also have red curry powder and some grated coconut. So basically, how could I use those ingredients together and make a well balanced cookie? Here is my recipe, and I must say, they came out like a very nice sweet spicy cookie. 

Red Curry Coconut Bacon Cookies

2-1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp. red curry powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/8 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c bacon drippings with any little bits of bacon
1/2 c softened butter 1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 large egg
3 Tbl. orange juice
3 Tbl molasses
2 Tbl. raw honey, softened in microwave
1 c. shredded coconut 1/2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped if large

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. In a second, larger bowl, cream the shortening with both sugars and the egg until the mixture is well mixed. Add the orange juice, orange peel and molasses, and stir together to incorporate completely.

Add the dry ingredients from the first bowl and mix to make a smooth, evenly mixed dough. Add a little more orange juice if mixture seems dry

Lightly grease your cookie sheets (you may need to do a few batches, but you probably only need to grease them once). Using two spoons, scoop out about a tablespoon of dough at a time and drop onto cookie sheet. Place about 2” apart. They do not spread out too much. Bake for about 11 to 13 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on racks. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.