Best meal of the summer: Fried Chicken with Poblano Mashed Potatoes and Chorizo-Thyme Gravy and Roasted Corn with Manchego & Lime

Single Rose


This post is a little different than usual and I don’t have any pictures of the food so I’ve substituted a few of my birthday flowers.  I had dinner with a friend recently and she made the most wonderful food I just had to recommend the recipes!  As we’ve pretty much established, I’m a picky eater and not too fond of anything beyond meat and potatoes and pasta so this is a real surprise.  Having seen the recipe I’m sure I would have never tried it as it has some ingredients I’m not used to and it does take some time and effort, but the Fried Chicken with Poblano Mashed Potatoes and Chorizo-Thyme Gravy from Epicurious.com which she served, along with their recipe for Roasted Corn with Manchego & Lime was absolutely wonderful and I fully intend to make it myself.  Everyone at the meal loved it and we all took home leftovers, which didn’t last long at our house!

Pink Rose

Potato LeekTart

Potato Leek Tart


I’m sad to say this dish was just not very photogenic.  It has great flavor and was a big hit with family and friends but I just couldn’t get a good picture so I had put off posting it.  However, it was very tasty and I’ve been requested to put it up so here it is!
Printable Recipe for Potato Leek Tart
Ingredients:
1 pkg frozen puff pastry
4 slices of bacon chopped finely (optional)
2 large well washed and finely sliced leeks
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 lb peeled medium diced potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces finely grated Gruyère cheese
Procedure:

Puff Pastry


Place both sheets of pastry on a jelly roll pan pinching together the sheets in the middle to make one single layers and bake at 400 degrees for approx 5 minutes – it will not be fully done.  Remove from the oven and set aside, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Boil the potatoes in a large pot for 15-20 minutes, they should be firm but mostly cooked.
In a  large skillet or dutch oven, fry the bacon pieces until crisp.

Saute the leeks until wilted


Saute Leeks


Add the sliced leeks and cook until wilted.

Add garlic and pepper


Saute with garlic and pepper


Add the garlic and pepper and sauté for 1 minute

Add cream


Add the cream 1/4 cup at a time while stirring constantly and allow most of it to absorb before adding another 1/4 cup.

Add potatoes


Mix well


Add the potatoes and mix well.

Add cheese


Add 1/2 of the cheese

Spread on tart shell


Pour onto the partially baked tart shell and spread evenly.

Add cheese


Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the filling is browned and bubbling.

Baked potato leek tart

The Daring Cooks Challenge – handmade spätzle (with meatballs in cream sauce)

Spätzle with meatballs in cream sauce


This month’s challenge was to make noodles, with a suggestion for Spätzle.  A long (long) time ago I lived in Germany for several years and became very fond of them but although I’ve made lots of other types of noodles,  for some reason just never tried these.  I know my choice of meatballs in cream sauce really isn’t traditional with them, there was the usual time crunch and I had some ready made meatballs on hand that could be made quickly.  Thanks for the great idea and I will be making these more often (and with more traditional meals – maybe schnitzel) now that I know how quick and easy they are!
Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!
I followed the recipe given by Steph for the Spätzle but instead of the sauce she provides, I made the weekday meal version – prefab meatballs with a simple cream sauce to serve with them.
Spätzle:

Boiling the spätzle


Draining


Meatballs and Cream Sauce
Ingredients:
1 lb fully cooked meatballs (purchased or your favorite recipe)
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 TBS butter
2 TBS flour
1 TBS Better than Bullion (or 1 teaspoon bullion granules)
2 cups milk or half and half
Procedure:
Heat and brown the meatballs in a large skillet adding a little oil if needed, then remove and set aside.  Add the onion to the skillet and brown well (add a little more oil if there is not enough fat from the meatballs).

Saute the onions and meatballs


Add the butter and stir in the flour and cook until it is lightly browned.

Make the sauce


Stir in the Better than Boullion or bouillon granules then add the milk or half and half. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return the meatballs to skillet and heat through, about 1 minute.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad (from someone who doesn’t like salads) – Daring Cooks (very challenging) Challenge

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

As we have already established, I’m a picky eater.   I generally don’t do salads of any kind mostly because I don’t like condiments – no ketchup, no mustard, no dressing (or anything with vinegar in it), absolutely no mayonnaise and healthy is clearly not my strength so coming up with a healthy potato salad recipe was a big challenge for me. I’m not a big yogurt fan either, but some of the flavored ones are ok so I went with that.  The best part though is that I do love potatoes in pretty much any form so I had something to work with! This was inspired by the sweet potato casserole that usually goes with Thanksgiving dinner.  Thanks to Jami for a great challenge.

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

Printable Version

Ingredients for 4 side or 2 main course salads:

2 large sweet potatoes cubed into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon bacon or regular salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

6 pineapple rings

1 1/2 cup pecans toasted

1 cup coconut (1/2 toasted)

1 6 oz orange yogurt cup

1 11 oz can mandarin oranges

4 large fresh lettuce leaves

1/4 cup dried cherries

1 tablespoon marshmallow cream

Sweet Potatoes for baking

Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet.

Drizzle

Drizzle with olive oil

Sprinkle

Sprinkle with cinnamon and bacon salt

Mix

Drizzled and sprinkled

Mix to coat.

Coconut, pineapple and pecans

On a second baking sheet place the pecans, 1/2 of the coconut and the pineapple cut into half circles and sprinkle the pineapple and pecans with brown sugar, cinnamon and bacon (or regular) salt.

Sprinkle

Roast both pans in 400 degree oven for approx 10 minutes until the coconut and pecans are toasted – watch carefully they will go from brown to burned quickly.  Remove them from the pan and continue to roast the sweet potatoes and pineapple for  a total of 30-45 minutes until tender and lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and cool.

Roasted sweet potatoes

Roasted pineapple

Drain the mandarin oranges, reserving the liquid.  Mix enough of the liquid with the orange yogurt to thin it to a pouring consistency.

Roasted and ready to mix

Reserve 2 pineapple 1/2 slices and cut the remaining into bite sized pieces.  Mix the sweet potatoes, pecans (reserving a few for garnish), toasted coconut and bite sized pineapple pieces together in a mixing bowl with the dressing.

Plated

On the serving plate lay down the lettuce, add the potato mixture, surround with the reserved pineapple half slices and the mandarin oranges, sprinkle with the untoasted coconut, reserved pecans and dried cherries.

Almost done

Top with a dollop of marshmallow cream.

Fresh Herb Pasta

Fresh Herb Pasta

Pasta made into Ravioli

I’ve watched the little Italian ladies on TV make fresh pasta on a board by just putting down the flour, making a well for the egg, adding a little water and maybe some olive oil and gracefully mixing it up into a beautiful dough.  Unfortunately my first few attempts were not nearly so successful.   I ended up with either the flour dam breaking and egg all over the floor, a struggle to get the dough to form and then the pasta was either too wet or too dry and stubbornly refused to make anything resembling a proper shape either by hand or with the pasta machine.   When I finally got something I could roll, apparently I didn’t do it enough and it was so thick it was like eating a wet sock.  I readily admit that I love fresh pasta but I also admit that for the few cents it costs, I was willing to just buy it.  Finally though, I have discovered this method that makes a great, easy to work with dough with very little effort.  It works with just a rolling-pin, or a pasta machine and cooks up wonderfully.  Of course, the use of the food processor is probably cheating, but that along with using the semolina flour makes all the difference in the texture.

Printable Version

Pasta Ingredients

Ingredients for 4 servings:

1 cup fresh herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme or whatever  combination you prefer, this time I used lemon basil)

1 cup semolina flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons water (approx. add just enough to make the dough form a ball)

Procedure:

Add herbs to the food processor

Pulse several times until the herbs are finely chopped

Add the flour, salt and eggs

Pulse until well mixed

Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, it shouldn't take long to become smooth and elastic since the food processor has done most of the work

Kneaded and ready to rest

Wrapped in plastic to rest - at least 10 minutes 30 is better

After the pasta has rested, you can roll it out with a rolling-pin or run it through a pasta machine and make whatever shapes you want.