Oktoberfest in Germany begins Saturday, September 22, 2012, and ends Sunday, October 7, 2012...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rustic Red Chard Galette with Dried Apricots and Toasted Pine Nuts

This week we received a big bunch of red chard in our Bountiful Basket, and I had planned to sauté them and use as a side with a chop.   Well, that plan went by the wayside when I turned the page of a cookbook titled “Martha Stewart’s new Pies and Tarts”.   The recipe that inspired my dish tonight is a Swiss Chard Galette.   Martha’s recipe, however, uses goat cheese – and that is a problem – for me.  I do not like goat cheese.  I really, really, do not like goat cheese.  I can’t even understand why some people do like goat cheese.   Anyway, this recipe still intrigued me, so I tried a substitution more suited to my palate and combined cream cheese with feta and it was very good.   I will share my adaptation, but encourage you to check out this book and use the original recipe if you enjoy goat cheese.  I should also tell you, the end result is worth it, but this is not something you can start an hour before dinner.   It is a pretty easy recipe, but with many steps, so start it earlier in the day.   You can do all or some of the steps and set it aside and then assemble an hour before you want to serve.   This is what I made…….

Red Chard Galette with Dried Apricots and Toasted Pine Nuts

For the crust:
½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 ounces cream cheese  (from an 8 ounce brick – balance will be used in filling)
1 large egg yolk
1 egg white for egg wash

For the filling
12  ounces Red Chard, washed, with stems removed and reserved
2 tablespoons extra virgin-olive oil
1 large onion, sliced lengthwise ¼ inch thick
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
5 ounces cream cheese  (the remainder of an 8 oz brick)
1 cup feta cheese
2 tablespoons milk
½ tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons dried apricots, cut into 1/4" in pieces

Make the crust:   In a food processor, pulse flours, oats and salt to combine.  Add butter, cream cheese, and 1 egg yolk, and process until dough just comes together, 15 to 20 seconds.   The texture will be like little peas. 

Dump all onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  

Bring the sides and ends together and press dough into a disk.   Wrap up tight and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Make the filling:   Slice chard stems into ¼ inch pieces.   In a large skillet, heat tablespoon oil over medium heat.   Add stems and onion slices and cook, stirring until slightly brown, 8-10 minutes.   Cover skillet, and reduce heat to low.   Cook stirring occasionally, until stems are very soft, about 15 minutes.   Add vinegar, and cook stirring until liquid is reduced by halt – about 2 minutes.    Season generously with salt and pepper.   Remove from heat, and transfer onion mixture to a glass or ceramic bowl.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high.  Tear leaves into large pieces, and sauté until slightly wilted, about 1 minute.  Stir in thyme, season with salt and pepper.  Cover with lid and remove from heat.

In a food processor, add the cream cheese, feta, and milk.  Run on slow speed until well mixed and smooth.   Add the nutmeg and pulse twice to combine.     Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 12 inch round, ¼ inch thick.   Then place on stone.   If you do not have a baking stone, roll your dough out on parchment paper, and then place on a baking sheet.

Arrange onion mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 3-inch border around edge.

Spread cheese mixture over onion mixture.

Top with chard-leaves mixture.

Sprinkle with chopped apricots and toasted pine nuts.

Fold in in edges of dough and press down gently to seal.  

Whisk egg white and brush on exposed dough.   This will help to seal the crust.

Place in oven and bake until crust is just golden, 40-45 minutes. Do not over bake.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

                                      Enjoy !!! 

Served with a green salad and fruit....

Or topped with sour cream and drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar - garnished with Thai and basil flowers....

Link for the cookbook:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit

Thinking about a breakfast or brunch menu, and want to add something zippy and pretty?   Try this….  Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit.    It is super easy and almost elegant.   All you need is a grapefruit or grapefruits and brown sugar.   You could also add cinnamon, ginger, sprinkle with currants, the sky is the limit.   Anyway, here are the steps.   You take it from there.

Slice grapefruit in half and remove any visible seeds.   Place face up in a muffin tin.    Place about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar on each and press it into the fruit.

Place about 8 – 10 inches under broiler and allow to broil until the sugar and juice become syrupy and there is slight browning on the rind/sides.

Remove and enjoy as soon as it is cool enough to eat.
              I garnished ours with basil flowers.

Enjoy  !!

Blackberry and Apple Muffins

I have a fun little cookbook titled  “1 Mix 100 Muffins” by Susanna Tee.   It inspires a lot of creativity.  When you think about it, what can’t you put into a muffin?   Whether sweet or savory, muffins are easy to make and great to gift.   I have a friend that just learned she will be facing a health challenge so I brought her some “love” muffins.   This recipe is perfect for creating something that is both comforting as well as pretty – and pretty yummy too.   Try this the next time something warm from the oven beckons…..

Blackberry and Apple Muffins    (my adaptation)


Oil or butter for greasing – or paper liners
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
Heaping ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. sour cream
6 Tbsp. oil  -  I use canola
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cup apples – diced ½” or smaller
1 ½ cup fresh blackberries
3 tsps. Raw brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F.    Grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan – I actually got a 19 cup yield.

You will need two bowls.  One for the wet ingredients and one for the dry.

Peel and chop the apples - set aside along with the blackberries.

Dry whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

In the other bowl add the eggs and using an electric mixer whisk briefly.  Then add the milk, brown sugar, sour cream, oil and vanilla – mix on low until well incorporated.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and add the apples.  Using a large spoon, stir gently until just combined – do not over mix.

Spoon a small bit of batter into the prepared muffin pan, then place 3 blackberries on top of the batter.   Top the berries with another small bit of batter.   By using this process your batter will not be colored by the berries as it would otherwise be if you stir the blackberries into the batter.    

Sprinkle the raw brown sugar over the tops of the muffins and then place in oven.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until they are well risen, golden brown, and firm to the touch.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.


             Enjoy !!

Here is a link for the cookbook:  1 Mix, 100 Muffins

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes

I have a lot of recipes to use up bananas that we don’t eat au-natural fast enough.   I had a few this week that were perfectly freckled so I made my favorite pancakes…   Whole Wheat, Oatmeal and Banana.   Not only are they heavenly eaten hot off the grill with butter and syrup, but they make a good snack later even without the fixins.  I put the ones we don’t eat at breakfast in baggies and then take a few to the park with the kids.   After about an hour of running and climbing they make the perfect snack.   Sooo, next time you have freckly bananas on the counter try this…..

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes

2 cups Quaker oats, old fashioned (you could also use instant)
2 cups whole wheat flour  
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  
1 cup sugar  
4 tsp. baking powder  
1 tsp. baking soda  
1 tsp.  salt  
2 eggs
4 cup milk  
4 Tbsps. oil - I use canola  
2 tsp. vanilla extract  
2 large bananas, mashed  


You will need two bowls.  One large bowl for the dry ingredients, and one for the wet.  

First, dry whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl - then add the dry oats and combine.

Next, in a small bowl mash the bananas.

To the other bowl add the eggs, milk, canola oil, vanilla and banans.  Using and electric mixer,  mix on low until well incorporated.  Next, pour the wet ingredients into the dry.  Using a large spoon, stir just until moistened.  Do not over mix.

Heat a griddle or skillet with oil, and cook over medium-high heat.  I set my griddle at 360 F.   Next, using a 1/3 cup measuring scoop or cup, pour batter onto the griddle.  Cook until bubbles form on top and the edges look a little dry.  Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

Enjoy !!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Broiled Artichoke Heart with Thai Basil Garnish

So I’ve had these three large artichokes in my refrigerator for over a week now, which is about 7 days longer than I should have neglected the little darlings.   Anyway, I needed to use them up and frankly my husband was not properly impressed with my last effort which involved the whole trimming and steaming process.   I even made a nice aioli dipping sauce.   I think the dainty pulling off of the leaves and taking a tiny nibble from the very bottom of each leaf just seemed a little silly to him.   So anyway, back to the three on hand…. What to do….Okay, so I thought let’s just go right to the “heart” of the matter (a little humor).   I removed the hearts and broiled them with Olive Oil,  Garlic Salt, Pepper, and then topped them with grated parmesan cheese.   I didn’t even take pictures of the process because I wasn’t going to blog it, but here’s the thing , I garnished the plate with Tai Basil flowers and chopped Tai Basil leaves and the presentation was so pretty I just had to share it with you.   The process was super easy too so give this a try……

Bring a large pan of water to a boil   ( large enough for 3 large artichokes)

Boil those bad boys for 10 minutes and then turn the heat off and allow them to “sauna” for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the water and when cool enough to handle, slice right down the middle from top to bottom, so you have two halves.

Remove the heart – minus the choke from each half.    Place on baking pan and spray with olive oil.   Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper over each.    Broil until just a little color is showing.   Then sprinkle the top of each with grated parmesan cheese – Return to broil until cheese is melted.

Garnish plate with chopped herbs.    This is where a little personal herb garden comes in very handy.   See my post titled Herb Garden.

Oh, and by the way, hubby liked it – a lot!    We are looking forward to the next time our Bountiful Basket has some artichokes for us!

Enjoy !!!

Tropical Banana Muffins

A while back I came across some king size muffin tins.   Rather than the giant size tins that are a true double of the standard size, the king size gives an elongated larger muffin.   They make a perfect individual gifty presentation.    The recipe I used starts with a banana base and is embellished with chopped pineapple and coconut.    Sprinkling some coconut on the top of the batter will result in a nice toasted coconut top.    Give this recipe a try and let me know how you like it…..


1/2 cup butter   (1 stick)  room temperature
1/4 cup margarine  (1/2 stick)  room temperature
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 cup chopped pineapple (I used leftover lightly grilled)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons Rum
1 ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup packed brown sugar   ( I used dark)         
1 cup grated coconut  ( I used Baker's Angel Flake Coconut)


You will need two separate bowls.   One will be for the wet, the other for the dry ingredients.  You will be adding the wet to the dry.   If you have a food processor, use that for your wet. 

Line your muffin tins with papers, or spray with oil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Chop your Pineapple into ½ inch cubes.  Set aside.

Add the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder to the dry ingredients bowl.   Dry whisk to evenly blend the leavening.   Set aside.

Place peeled and broken banana pieces in food processor and add the butter, margarine, eggs, and sugar.   Run on med-high until smooth.    Then add the vanilla and rum.   Pulse twice to incorporate.

Pour the wet ingredients from the food processor over the dry ingredients.   

Add the pineapple and coconut. With a large spoon barely fold the wet into the dry.   Then with an electric mixer with dough hooks mix very briefly on low to ensure all is well incorporated.   Do not over mix.

Using a cookie dough scoop fill your tins.   If you are using a standard size tin use a medium sized scoop.   If you are using a giant or king size tin use a large scoop.    Sprinkle coconut on top of batter filled muffin slots and then place in oven.

Regular size muffins will be done in 20-25 minutes.   King Size muffins will take 30-35 minutes.    Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into muffin – if it comes out clean it is done.

NOTE:   If the toasting coconut topping is getting too brown, cover with a sheet of foil.   This will not hamper the baking process, but will keep the coconut topping from going from brown to burned.


Here is a link for the tins:    Wilton 6 Cup Kingsize Muffin Pan