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Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

Broccoli and cheddar pinwheels – from Parents Need to Eat Too!

Posted by Jeanne on February 20, 2012

Debbie’s book comes out tomorrow!

If you want to pre-order, today is the last day to get your free digital starter kit.  Or, if you’re the gambling type, leave a comment on THIS POST about your first food memory by Tuesday, February 21st at midnight CST and you will be entered to win a copy!

I have to say, I’ve been really spoiled by having a copy in hand for a couple of weeks now.  This book is great and I forsee using it a lot once this kid is born (due date in t-minus 26 days.  OMG.).  The recipes I’ve tried have worked well and the time estimates aren’t gross exaggerations like they are in some recipes/cookbooks (see also:  damn near every recipe in Cooking Light magazine’s time estimates, Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals that take an hour).

Also, Curt is seemingly enthralled by the “make baby food” instructions that accompany most of the recipes.  It’s the little things that count.

Broccoli and Cheddar Pinwheels

1 pound prepared pizza dough, white or whole wheat (I used half a batch of this dough)
2¹⁄₂ cups finely chopped broccoli, or one 10-ounce package of frozen chopped broccoli, defrosted and finely chopped  (If you don’t mind the additional cleanup, you can do the fine-chopping by pulsing in the food processor. It’s important that the pieces be quite small, or you’ll have trouble in the assembly.)
1 to 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, depending on how much you like cheese (who doesn’t like cheese?  We definitely used two cups.)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line or grease a baking sheet.  (I would HIGHLY recommend lining the baking sheet.  We used a silpat and there was some cheese-oozage that would have been a bit of a nightmare to remove from an unlined sheet).

1. Remove pizza dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes to 1 hour before you plan to use it.

2. Steam the broccoli until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. (We used the food processor to chop the broccoli up, as suggested.  Worked like a dream.)  Cool slightly, then combine broccoli with the Cheddar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Roll or stretch the dough on a floured work surface into a large rectangle, about 10 x 14 inches. Don’t worry if you can’t get those exact measurements, but take care not to stretch the dough so thin it rips.

4. Spread the broccoli mixture over about three-quarters of the dough, leaving an uncoated portion at one short side.

Begin to roll the dough from the short side covered with the broccoli spread, and keep rolling until you’ve got a nice, neat log of dough.

   

5. Using a serrated knife or a pastry scraper, cut the log into 8 equal pinwheels.

Carefully lay the pinwheels flat on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes.

Verdict?  These are REALLY tasty.  This is one of those recipes that is greater than the sum of its parts – the ingredients list isn’t much but don’t let that fool  you.  Also, they come together really quickly.  I plan to make another batch as soon as I have more pizza dough.

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Cooking, Entrees, Parenting, Sponsored Post, Vegetarian | 7 Comments »

Daring Kitchen December 2011: Char sui bao

Posted by Jeanne on December 18, 2011

Blog-checking lines: Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

I am a day (actually several days) late and a dollar short on this one, as it was supposed to be posted on the 14th.  But I did make it before the posting date – just couldn’t get it together enough to actually write the post.

Char Sui (Cantonese BBQ Pork)

Ingredients

1 pork fillet/tenderloin (roughly 1-1.5 pounds)
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 TB peanut oil
3 TB honey


2 TB hoisin sauce
1 TB light soy sauce
1 TB dark soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 TB shaoxing cooking wine
½ tsp ground white pepper
pinch of salt
½ tsp five spice powder
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp red food colouring

Directions:

Trim the pork loin to remove fat and tendon and slice lengthways so you have two long pieces, then cut in half to make four pieces total.  Place in a non-reactive container for marinating.

Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.  Cover pork well with ⅔ of the marinade mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, I did overnight. Place the reserved ⅓ portion of the marinade covered in the fridge to use as a baste when cooking the pork.

The next day, pre-heat oven to moderate 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place a rack in the pan to elevate the pork, and place the pork on the rack.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes, basting with the remaining marinade and turning every 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn the heat up to 400°F and cook until cooked through.  If you want, you can run under the broiler at the end of the cooking process to get some nice charring on the ends/edges.

Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

Makes 12

Dough Ingredients

1 TB yeast
0.25 C sugar
0.5 C warm water
2 C plain flour
1 egg
3 TB oil
0.5 tsp salt

Dough Directions:

Place the sugar and warm water in a bowl, mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and leave it for 10 – 15 minutes until it becomes all frothy.

Measure flour into a large bowl.  Add yeast mixture, egg, oil and salt and stir. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.  (I actually did this in our stand mixer.  I’m lazy about doughs).

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it has doubled in size. This will take from 1 – 2 hours depending on weather conditions.

While the dough rises, make your filling.

Filling Ingredients

12 oz. char sui, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 TB hoisin
1 TB dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
0.25 C chicken stock
1 tsp cornstarch
0.5 TB vegetable oil

 Filling Directions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan over medium high heat.  Add diced char sui and spring onions, and cook for 1 minute.

Add hoisin, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture and stir fry for one minute.

Mix cornstarch and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.  Stir well and cook until the mixture thickens, about a minute or two.  Set aside until ready to use.

Assembly

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a dash of water

Preheat oven to 400º F.  Grease a baking sheet, or line with a baking mat or parchment paper.  Once dough has doubled in size, knock back and divide in to 12 portions.  Shape each portion into a round ball.

Roll and stretch each ball of dough to a circle approximately 3 inches in diameter.

Keep the dough slightly thicker in the center, so that when the buns cook they do not split on top.

Place about two tablespoons of filling on the dough circle.

Then gather the edges and seal your bun.

Place the bun seal side down on your baking sheet. Continue with rest of dough.

Once all buns are complete brush with the egg wash.

Bake in your preheated oven of for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Verdict:  delicious!  The meat was a pain to make because of all the steps, but the dough was SUPER easy to work with, and stuffing them goes quickly (much faster than making tamales or dumplings/empanadas if you’ve done those).  We have quite a bit of char sui left, and I think sometime before the spawn arrives I’m going to make a whole ton of these and freeze them.

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, red meat | Leave a Comment »

A delicious wedding

Posted by Jeanne on June 19, 2011

A couple of months ago, my friend Naomi’s friend Claire contacted me about possibly catering her wedding.   Naomi and Claire both live in Minneapolis, but the wedding was to take place on a ranch/retreat center near Watertown, South Dakota.  It’s still under construction, and the facilities are very limited – fridge, running water, electricity, coffee maker.  No stove, definitely no serious kitchen.

Thankfully, we knew this ahead of time and planned the menu accordingly. The bride and groom made arrangements for someone to haul in an enormous grill and make steaks for everyone, leaving us with the apps, sides, and dessert.  This is how Carla, who traveled to the wedding with me, felt about this:

The grill guys told us they were relieved not to have our job, and we felt the same about theirs – everyone did what they were good at, and I think we were able to pull it off.  The bride and groom were happy, and that is the most important part!

Appetizers

Dried apricots with chevre & pistachios

Marinated feta, olives, roasted peppers, roasted garlic, marinated artichokes + selection of flatbreads

Soup shooter duo – chilled corn chowder with chive oil & chilled zucchini soup with fresh basil

Smoked salmon, capers, creme fraiche, onions, tomatoes + baguette

The groom and flower girl peruse the appetizer selection.

(aside:  what is going on with my fonts here?  Why can’t I get a consistent font?  WordPress, sometimes you are a mystery to me.)

Sides

Potato gratin (this one was very stressful, as it had to be cold during transport for safety reasons, but was to be served hot.  We warmed it with sternos and prayers to the gods of cooking.  It worked!)

Couscous salad with grilled summer vegetables, olives, capers, and pistachios

Haricots verts salad with shallot & tarragon vinaigrette

Caprese panzanella

Assorted rolls

Desserts

Brownie tarts, topped with either honey-candied pecans or dark-chocolate covered pomegranate


Pound cake with balsamic-roasted strawberry sauce

Cheesecake bites with fresh berries and honey

Thanks to Tom for the app/side pictures, and to Kate for the dessert pictures!  And thanks to Claire and Darren for letting Jeanne Cooks World be a part of your day.

Posted in Appetizers, Baking, Catering, Cooking, Desserts, Entrees | 4 Comments »

Spring herbage spring rolls

Posted by Jeanne on May 15, 2011

So it’s been awhile.  This time, I’ve got nothing.  I just haven’t been cooking very much, or anything very interesting.

I am also trying to figure out what to do with my post-race self.  I spent so much time wishing the race was over, that I was done training, that I didn’t have to run… and now it’s over and I don’t know what to do with myself.  The TNT coaches refer to it as post-race blues, I have been referring to it as Stockholm syndrome, and it sucks.

Anyway.  It’s spring!  At least in theory – earlier this week it was summer and now it feels like fall again?  Anyway, you should make some spring rolls.  I did.

Spring rolls are nice because you can make as many or as few as you want, or as you have ingredients.  From the bottom:  shrimp, carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and basil.  I also used rice noodles.

Definitely not the prettiest spring rolls ever, but they were delicious.  Now that we  have some mint growing again I can’t wait to add it to my spring rolls!

Also, I totally missed this month’s Daring Kitchen challenge – gumbo!  I just ran out of days and couldn’t get a post up.  You can use the below if you’d like to check out the blogs for the people who actually did the challenge.

Blog-checking lines: Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Fishes | 2 Comments »

Daring Kitchen April: Edible Containers

Posted by Jeanne on April 14, 2011

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

I came up with two ideas for this challenge:  beef & chocolate bock stew in an Irish soda bread bowl, and a chicken & peanut stew in a sweet potato bowl.

Beef & chocolate bock stew, inspired by this recipe.

3 TB canola oil, divided
0.25 C all-purpose flour
2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt
5 C sliced onion (about 3 medium onions)
1 TB tomato paste
4 C beef broth
1 (12-ounce) bottle Sam Adams chocolate bock (or other dark beer)
Freshly ground black pepper
1.5 C carrot, cut into chunks (I used those pre-cut “baby” carrots)
2.5 C Yukon gold potatoes, cubed

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with some salt; dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining oil and beef.

Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Return meat to pan. Season with salt & pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add carrot and potatoes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender.

Irish soda bread bowls, inspired by this recipe.

3.5 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking-soda
0.75 tsp salt
1.5 C milk

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly flour baking sheet. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Mix in enoughmilk  to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball.

Turn onto a lightly flour surfaced and knead just until dough holds together, about 1 minute. Stretch dough until it is about 2 inches high, and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter.  Or the lid of a jar.

Have you seen my biscuit cutter?  It appears to have run away from home.

Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer bread to rack and cool until they can be handled.

Cut through the top of the bread, around in a circle, and remove.

Scoop out the insides of the bread, trying not to poke through the outer edge.

Serve stew in bread bowls.

And secondly:

Chicken & peanut stew, inspired by Bittman’s The Best Recipes In The World

2 TB vegetable oil

8 chicken thighs, about 2 lbs. (I used boneless, skinless thighs)

Salt & pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

0.75 tsp cayenne pepper

0.25 tsp ground cumin

One 14-oz. can diced tomatoes

4 C chicken broth or stock

0.75 C natural peanut butter

Chopped scallions, for serving

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken pieces with salt & pepper and add to the skillet, browning well on all sides.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside; return the skillet to the heat.

Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Stir in cayenne, cumin, and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes begin to break down, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and add 3.5 C of the stock.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

While chicken cooks, whisk together remaining 0.5 C of chicken stock and the peanut butter.  When the chicken is cooked through, add the peanut butter mixture to the pan.  Simmer another 20 to 30 minutes, or until sauce mixture thickens.

After the dish was fully cooked, I cut up the chicken into small bites and added it back into the sauce.  I wanted smaller bites, rather than full pieces of chicken, so they would fit well into my sweet potato bowls!

Sweet potato bowls

2 lb. sweet potatoes

Olive oil

Salt

2 TB butter

0.25 C flour

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  Rub sweet potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place in a baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake until very soft, 40 to 60 minutes.  Cool, uncovered, until the sweet potatoes can be handled.  Lower heat to 350F.

Peel sweet potatoes, discarding skins.  Add butter and flour,  mash until very smooth, and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Prepare a muffin tin with butter, oil, or cooking spray.  Place a heaping tablespoon of sweet potatoes into each cup, and press up the sides to form a small “bowl” shape.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are firmed up and can be removed from the muffin tin.

Serve the chicken stew inside the sweet potato bowls, garnished with scallions.

Yummy and cute!  Thanks to Renata and the Daring Kitchen for another great challenge.

Posted in Appetizers, Baking, Breads, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Entrees, red meat, Soups & stews | 1 Comment »

Asparagus

Posted by Jeanne on March 5, 2011

Spring will soon be upon us – and that means asparagus!  At least to me…

Head on over to the Daring Kitchen’s Food Talk page and see a couple of my favorite ways to eat asparagus.

Tonight, there will be sushi for us.  Tomorrow, hopefully a planning post about the upcoming week.  Happy Saturday everyone!

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Side dishes | Leave a Comment »

Terrine

Posted by Jeanne on December 21, 2010

One day, several months ago, we were watching Bourdain’s show on the Travel Channel and Curt turned to me and said kind of wistfully, “Make me a terrine?”

Of all the millions of things he could request that I cook – THIS is what Curt wants.  I suppose I knew he was weird when I married him.

I first heard of terrines in Ruhlman’s book The Soul of a Chef.  I’ve read the book over and over and over.  The book consists of three sections, and the first documents several chefs as they take the Certified Master Chef (CMC) exam at the Culinary Institute of America.

Charcuterie is featured prominently in the CMC exam, as a method of using scraps that might otherwise be wasted and as a classical technique.  Charcuterie is an old form of cooking, and was developed from the need to preserve meats and fish in the days before refrigeration.  Sausages, bacon, salami, pate, confit – are all examples of charcuterie.  It’s one of those things that makes me wonder “how did they come up with that?  How many times did it have to suck before it worked?  How many people died from poorly preserved meats, and how manymeh but not deadly sausages were there before there was awesome kielbasa?”

These are the things I think about at night.  That and the poor bastard that first ate an artichoke.

We used the recipe for shrimp and salmon terrine from Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s book Charcuterie.  I won’t reproduce the recipe here – because you really, really should buy this book.  If you’re at all interested in old-school preservation techniques, it’s absolutely fascinating.  I can’t wait to try more of the recipes in this book.

Spinach, shrimp mousse, and sauteed mushrooms.

Laying the salmon in the center.  You put in two-thirds of the mousse mixture, lay in the salmon, and then top with the rest of the mousse.  Then you cook it in a water bath until it reaches an internal temperature of 140F.

Once it’s cooked, you cool it a bit, weight it, and then chill it.  And then comes the terrifying part:  slicing it.  I truly had no idea what to expect, or if it would even hold together when I took the weights off and unwrapped it.

Success!  IT WORKED!  We shared some of it with the neighbors, along with some rillettes, toasted bread, and dijon mustard.

Sometimes preservation is a beautiful thing.

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, red meat | 4 Comments »

Retroactive Crocktober plan

Posted by Jeanne on October 31, 2010

In preparation for the busy week ahead (who am I kidding, they are always busy weeks) I planned the following for my tribute to Crocktober:

Butternut squash & sage soup, plus white bean and rosemary bruschetta

Orange chicken + rice

Chipotle red bean & sweet potato chili

Lentil soup (I think I’ll add some cumin and lemon – and may leave out the Canadian bacon.  We’ll see though.)

Mongolian beef + rice

I’m sneaking this one in just under the wire to meet the Kitchen Play deadline – but I want to win the fancy-pants cookware from Sur La Table!  So tonight, we’re having the butternut squash & sage soup with some white bean and rosemary bruschetta – originally posted by the very talented Maris of In Good Taste.

I thought it would be a good riff on soup & sandwich for a cold Halloween evening.

Butternut squash & sage soup, inspired by this recipe.

1 TB olive oil

3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed

4 C  stock (chicken or vegetable, I used chicken)

20 fresh sage leaves, divided

Now our sage plant looks like a child that has been given a terrible home haircut…

2 sprigs fresh thyme

0.25 tsp ground nutmeg

Salt & pepper

2 tsp. butter

Turn slow cooker on high and add olive oil, onion, and garlic.  Let cook for a few minutes until fragrant.

Add squash, stock, thyme, nutmeg, and 10 of the sage leaves (crumbled to release the oils).  Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours, or until squash is very tender.

Remove the thyme sticks (and the sage if you like).  Blend with a stick blender, or in batches in a regular blender.  Add some additional stock if the soup is too thick. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Warm butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Fry sage leaves until slightly browned around the edges and crisp; drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Serve soup garnished with fried sage leaves.

And also adorable bruschetta.  We didn’t have fig balsamic as recommended, so I bought some figs instead and served them on the bruschetta, and drizzled the whole thing with some balsamic reduction.

Yum.

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Garden/Seasonal, Soups & stews, Vegetarian | Leave a Comment »

Daring Kitchen October: Dolmades

Posted by Jeanne on October 14, 2010

Epic fail. These look great, smell great… no flavor.  Absolutely NONE.  Totally my fault.

I really shouldn’t mess with recipes for cuisines I don’t make that often. Like Greek food.  Especially Greek food that is rolled in grape leaves which I have never used for anything before… aaaaaah.

Ok.  The filling.  For the meat version, I used some elements of this recipe, and this one, and also this one and this one.  For the vegetarian version, I mostly just used this recipe with a dash of this recipe, but without the pine nuts and raisins – thereby eliminating any flavor.

D’oh.  So that was the first problem.

Leaves!  The grape leaves were the second problem.  Grape leaves are well, leaves – and they tear.  They tear REALLY REALLY EASILY.

Also they are not that big – this is about a tablespoon of filling.  So based on the amount of filling, we made approximately ten million of them.

Rolling rolling rolling…

They look pretty, don’t they?

So I followed the cooking instructions given in this recipe, and cooked them in the crock pot… I probably should have just cooked them in a pot.

The inside view!

We ended up having pizza that night.  Epic cooking fail on my part!  But – lesson learned.

Follow.  The.  Recipe.  Especially the first go-round.

Thanks to the Daring Kitchen for another great challenge!

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Side dishes | 10 Comments »

Herbalicious – veggie spring rolls

Posted by Jeanne on September 21, 2010

I love, love, love fresh spring rolls.  I’ve only made them a couple times before, and I haven’t made them in YEARS.  I remembered it being a huge pain in the neck.

But there was some beautiful mint, and some gorgeous Thai basil.

And Julie gave me some rice paper wrappers a couple months ago, so I figured fate and herbs were speaking to me.

I used the mandoline to thinly slice an English cucumber, and I soaked about 3 ounces of thin rice stick noodles in hot waiter until they were soft and pliable, about 7 minutes.

After I drained the noodles, I tossed them with the chiffonade mint and basil, some sesame oil, fish sauce, and chili/garlic sauce.

I soaked the rice paper wrappers one at a time for about 10 seconds in warm water to soften them up, and then laid them on a towel to assemble.

I laid down the cucumbers first and then topped with the noodles.  Then it was off to rolling – the cucumbers made it kind of squared off and I feel like maybe I should have used more noodles to fill out the rolls better.  But I didn’t want to tear the rice paper – it was pretty delicate already.

Folding, folding, folding.

When the rolls were made, I made a quick spicy peanut sauce to serve with them.  Because really, part of the beauty of spring rolls is that they are a fabulous vehicle for peanut sauce.

They were so, so good – and way easier to make than I thought they would be.  I fell prey to the myth that spring rolls are hard to make and they totally weren’t.  Hooray!  More spring rolls are in our future.

Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Vegetarian | 1 Comment »