Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘blue cheese’

What the Fig?

Our friends have a spectacular fig tree in their back yard.

So when they asked if we’d like some fresh figs to play with, the answer was “of course!”

But then what?

Now don’t get me wrong, Figs are GREAT for you!!  Click here to read all the cool things!

But what to do with fresh figs?  I notice they don’t have a very long shelf life once plucked from the tree, which makes me wonder how the ones we get in the supermarket from California manage to make it this far looking that good??

So here is what I came up with over the course of three days:

 

Note "fig leaf" in background.

Note “fig leaf” in background.

 

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Figs in Smoothies!

No brainer.

Chalk full of fibre and goodness without being overly sweet!

 

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Little fig pizzas:

Super simple.

Take your favorite pita ( or in this case naan bread), or if you are feeling particularly ambitious your own homemade pizza crust……

Add:

  • carmelized onions
  • slices of fresh fig
  • crumbled blue cheese ( or goat cheese but blue is nice with the fig)
  • pine nuts

Put it in the oven till the cheese melts and the figs wilt.

Top with a bit of fresh arugula if you have it.   ( I didn’t but would have like it!)

 

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Next item up is a little more hearty.

Fall is just around the corner so I thought I’d practice a dish that would go well on a cooler day.

“Lamb, Lentil and Fig Stew”!

Again, so easy, but SO satisfying.

In a large pan or Dutch oven :

  • Saute one large onion

Then add cubed lamb meat and cook till browned on all sides.

Then add:

  • 1 cup of rinsed green lentils
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 inch minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • OR  1 tsp curry powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all until everything is well coated.  Then add enough water to just cover everything.

Let simmer till lentils are almost done add more water if needed.

Then add 3 – 4 chopped fresh figs!

Let simmer a while longer till lentils are done and figs have melted down into the stew.

Serve in your favorite way!

Shown here over a bit of mash potato and a little steamed broccoli on the side!

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Did the trick and wasn’t at all sweet, but had the little “Je ne sais quoi”!!

 

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Along with the fresh figs we also received a jar of home made Fig Chutney from our friends.  We only had a twelve pack of figs to deal with, they had the whole TREE so preserves are a great way to go!!

 

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And what better would Fig Chutney go with than Grilled Pork Chops with Roasted Veg??

This was really tasty!!

 

 

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And last but not least, you need to have at least ONE dessert item on the list!!  I mean it IS fruit after all!!

So I whipped up a little fig cake.

I pretty much made the same recipe as my once famous “Pluot Skillet Cake” and just substituted the pluots with figs!

Totally did the trick!

 

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So there you have it, Fig-o-lisious!!

What do you do with YOUR figs??

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Galette

Or sometimes known as “pastry with stuff in it”.

Now I know that I have been on a gluten-free kick lately and by no means have I abandon it.  But I haven’t actually been diagnosed with any sort of condition that prevents me from partaking in gluten, I just notice that I feel a lot better when I don’t eat it.

But once in a while, there are some things that I think just might taste better when using wheat flour.

And as a friend pointed out to me, the more you DON’T eat gluten ( assuming you don’t have a real condition that forbids it) the less trouble it will give you when you only eat it once in a while.

So I just felt like making something a little rich.   The weather hasn’t been so nice lately so eating something comforting always help.

I’m calling it “Leek and blue cheese galette”.

Start with a batch of your favorite pastry recipe.   Now IF you can make it gluten-free and taste good….then all the power to you!!  But my pastry was made with whole wheat flour.   Make a batch and put it in the fridge to chill for at least half hour.

Meanwhile, get your filling going.

Mine was super simple, cause that’s what I had.   And that is the beauty of a galette, you can fill it with just about anything, savory or sweet.

So I sautéed up:

  • 1/2 super thinly sliced leek ( I would have used more but that’s all I had)
  • 2 -3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt & pepper

But then I realized there really wasn’t quite enough there so I chopped up a couple of brocoli florets and tossed them in too.

Set aside and wait for pastry to be cooled.

Chop up some blue cheese or whatever cheese you have and would like to use.

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When the pastry is chilled, divide into as many portions as galettes you will make, and then on a floured surface, roll out a nice round disk, maybe 8″ diameter.

Place it on a parchment covered tray (easier to fill on tray than try and move it later) and then put a generous mound of filling in the center, then top with cheese and then squash it all down a bit.   I also added a bit of Asiago cheese at the last minute.

Then just start turning the pastry in towards the middle, sort of folding it over itself.  It is okay to have some of the filling under the pastry, but most of it will be exposed.

Continue until the whole round is folded in.

Repeat with as many as you will be making.

Now I just forgot, but it is a good idea to brush the pastry with something, like a beaten egg or milk, just to help give it that nice shiny pastry look.  But no big deal it you forget.

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Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and pastry looks baked.

Serve as desired.

You could also make smaller ones as party snacks or appetizers.

I paired them with a nice little arugula salad with shaved Asiago and oil and lemon  dressing.

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My crazy arugula is still growing away out on the deck!!  I keep hacking it down and it just grows back!!  Let’s see if it lasts through the winter!!

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Savory Bread Pudding

Here’s another little gem you might want to enjoy over the holidays……..

I call it a “savory bread pudding” but I’m sure you could come up with other names for it.

Savory Bread Pudding

This could be used as a nice alternative to stuffing (dressing) if you are still looking for a bready side dish without all the turkey bother.  It does have dairy and eggs, but no turkey juice, so the vegetarians can eat this.

Here is what you will need:

  • aprox 3 cups of cubed bread of some kind
  • 1 onion or shallot finely diced
  • 1 cup of mushrooms of your choice, sliced
  • 1 -2 cups of chopped baby spinach ( depending on how much you chop it)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme ( or poultry spice if you have that)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of 1/2 & 1/2 cream ( or whipping cream if you are inclined)
  • few dashes of hot sauce
  • some cheese ( I used some good white cheddar and a little bit of blue and parmesan cause I had it)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a pan with butter or olive oil.

Then in a frying pan with a bit of butter or olive oil, saute the onion and mushrooms, then add the thyme or PS and the S&P.

Meanwhile, cube your bread into 1/4 or 1/2 inch cubes and add them to your greased pan.  Then add in your cooked onions and mushrooms and toss them all together.

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Then lay on a layer of spinach and a good handful or two of the cheddar cheese and then stir those into all the other stuff till everything is thoroughly mixed.

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Then is a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the cream and the hot sauce.

Then pour the eggs and cream all over the bread then kind of swirl it around to make sure everyone is getting a little of the creamy love!

Even squeeze the bread down into the cream a bit to make sure it is all getting a bit soaked.

Then finish with a few sprinkles of the other cheeses like some blue cheese and parmesan.

Pop into the hot oven for at least 1/2 hour and then have a look at it.  Giggle it a bit, if it is still too wabbly, put it back in for a few minutes.

Then you might want to put it under the broiler for a few minutes just to brown off the top.

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To be honest, I probably could have just eaten a big bowl of the stuff by itself.   But instead I used it as a side dish with a spicy sausage stuffed Portobello mushroom.

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But I definitely feel it is worthy of a holiday side dish!

Anniversary Dinner

Now don’t get me wrong, I like going out to restaurants as much as the next person, but when you have a live in Chef sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense to go out!!

The Chef and I were celebrating our anniversary this weekend so he was nice enough to “whip me up” a little something for my dinner!!

We started with an appetizer of beet and goat cheese pin wheel terrine with basil infused oil.

Beet and goat cheese pin wheels

Colourful and light.

Then a lovely salad of arugula  with a beautiful refreshing oil and lemon dressing and shaves of Parmesan cheese.

Arugula salad with lemon, oil and shaved Parmesan cheese

For the main course we had beef and asparagus rouladen topped with gorgonzola cheese, accompanied by pured roasted celeriac topped with Boursin cheese and roasted root vegetables with topped with Blue cheese.

Beef and asparagus rouladen with roasted celeriac, root vegetables and three cheeses

Scurmp-delly-ishes!!!

Needless to say, with all the flavours and textures going on there, it only seemed appropriate to have a nice simple dessert.

Strawberries macerated in sugar and balsamic vinegar with Greek yogurt, with a sprig of mint and a shard of dark chocolate!

macerated strawberries with Greek yogurt and mint

Good time had by all!

Slitty potatoes

Have been seeing these everywhere lately and thought it was time to try them.

I have reason to believe they are really called “Hasselback” potatoes and are originally Swedish in nature.  Although I have seen Laura Calder on the Food Network’s  “French Food at Home make them on her show too so I imagine a few cultures lay claim to them.

So start with some nice potatoes.

Mine weren’t too big, about goose egg size.  That way they cook quicker.

Oh and turn on the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash and dry the potatoes, then very carefully start at one end and make a bunch of evenly spaced slits along the whole length of the potato.

Be careful not to cut all the way through.  You want to stop just short of going through the skin on the bottom.

Meanwhile, and this is up for interpretation, but what I used in this particular incidence was……..

In a small bowl mix a few spoonfuls of soft butter, a couple of shots of olive oil and some very finely chopped fresh rosemary sprigs.   Stir that up well.  You could also just use olive oil if butter isn’t your thing.

Then take each potato and slog on this mixture, being sure to get some down into each slit.

Repeat until they are all covered.  Then give them all a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Then bung them in the oven for up to 45 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.

But obviously keep an eye on them and give them a poke near the end to know if they are done.

Feel free to add a little more butter or what ever you please once they are done!  I’ve added a little blue cheese to mine.

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Serve with your favorite meal.

My Valentines

I know that many of you have expressed envy over the fact that I have a Chef around the house.

And although there are MANY perks to this, there are also a few hazards, like the high risk to your waistline and the fact that there ALWAYS seems to be a lot of dishes!

But on this past Valentines Day this year, I was once again treated to a lovely meal!

Actually it started with a very nice breakfast, simple but effective.

Eggs, cooked inside slices of red pepper that looked very much like heart shapes, on toast, with a bit of cheese.  I couldn’t have been happier!

Heart shaped eggs

Who knows what I had for lunch?  Probably nothing, knowing I would be coming home to a feast.  And a feast it was.

For weeks I have been nagging the Chef to try out something I saw on someone else’s blog.  The other blogger had taken goat cheese, rolled it into balls, breaded them and then deep fried them and then tossed them in hot sauce.  Exactly like you might do with chicken wings!

The Chef, not liking to be outdone, took it up a notch!

Instead of just goat cheese, he used shredded chicken and blue cheese!  So these balls were even closer to a chicken wing!   But then we just dipped ours in hot sauce instead of having them completely covered in them.   

Very tasty! 

Chicken & blue cheese balls

Then we moved on to the “Party Snack Sampler”.  I am a big fan of party snacks so to start with a few to whet my whistle, was very nice.

Tapenade topped goat cheese, hummus and pita. 

And my favorite little Spanakopita!

Spanikopita

Next was a simple salad of bundles of baby greens wrapped in finely sliced cucumber with a nice sun-dried tomato and balsamic dressing.

Then the main event.  asparagus filled ravioli on a mound of puree of sweet roasted butternut squash, topped with brown butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Asparagus ravioli with butternut squash and brown butter

Finally, for dessert, the triple header chocolate delight!!

Home made chocolate pudding, topped with grated chocolate infused whipped cream and a shard of Lindt 70% dark chocolate bar!  

Chocolate Triple Header

Doesn’t get much better than THAT!

I am a lucky girl.

Creamy chicken and sausage pasta

Sometimes the BEST meals come from “cleaning out your fridge”!

That’s pretty much what this dish was all about.

I still had some left over sausage and peppers from the other night and it seems we always have some left over cooked chicken kickin around so that was the base for how this dish evolved.

I started with a hot deep skillet and then added:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • one large onion ( of your choice) coarsely sliced or chopped
  • 4 -5 gloves fresh chopped garlic

Let those cook up awhile and get to know each other.  Then add:

  • left over sausage and peppers
  • left over cooked chicken ( cubed up)
  • any other interesting left overs  ( I had about a 1/4 of caramelized onions for some reason)

Heat those through so that everything is nice and warm then add:

  • about a cup of heavy cream 

Now if you are a non-dairy type you could add crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce of some sort at this point and go in that direction.  But then we couldn’t very well call it “creamy chicken and sausage pasta” anymore.  So if you want that on your conscience so be it!

Heat until the cream is almost coming to a boil, turn it down a little and let it “reduce” by about half.

Then add in some of your other favorite flavours.  I added:

  • some poultry seasoning
  • some thyme
  • some oregano
  • some smokie paprika

keep stirring and then add some cheese if you wish.  Again, I was just cleaning out the fridge and found a partly used pack of pepper corn Boursin cheese which I added and a reasonable chunk of blue cheese to give it extra zing.

Once that was all melted down and everything was super creamy I added a few handfuls of washed baby spinach, just to give it some extra colour and nutrition count.

Then it was ready.

In goes your favorite cooked pasta, toss it up and there is no time you have a yummy yummy creamy pasta dish!

Top with a little fresh grated parmesan cheese if you have it and away you go.

Creamy pasta with chicken and sausage

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