Tuesday, September 19, 2017

White Fish With Braised Artichokes & Peas

By: The Food Hunter

Recently I've been trying to incorporate more fish recipes into my meal plans. Finding recipes that are a step above the basic baked, broiled or fried fish is sometimes a challenge. A few weeks ago I discovered a tasty dish by Jamie Oliver that I recreated below.

The recipe combines your favorite white, flaky fish with braised artichokes & peas. It is relatively easy to make and perfect to win-over finicky dinner guests. I say you can't ever go wrong when you start with a base of shallots and bacon.

White Fish With Braised Artichokes & Peas
 (recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver)

2 small shallots, (keep whole)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
6-8 frozen artichoke hearts
1/4 lb bacon
splash red wine vinegar
1/2 cup organic bone broth
1cup frozen peas
2 (4oz) white fish fillets, (I used haddock)
extra virgin olive oil

Heat olive oil in a shallow pan. Add shallots and thyme sprigs and cook very gently, covered, for 10 minutes, or until soft but not colored.

Boil frozen artichoke hearts according to package, drain and set aside.

Slice the bacon into small strips. Add the artichokes and bacon to the pan and sweat gently for 5 minutes, until the fat runs from the bacon. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and the bone broth. Cook about 10 minutes.

Add peas; there should still be liquid in the bottom of the pan, if not you can add a splash of water. Cook for 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside, covered, while you cook the fish.

Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick pan. Season the fish fillets and cook over a medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet, until just cooked through.

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the vegetables and serve with fish. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My First Homemade Apple Pie

By: The Food Hunter

People are surprised when I mention that until recently I have never made an apple pie. Though I come from a family of bakers, pie was not something we routinely had at our house. It was reserved for holidays and then it was primarily pumpkin pie. So when I saw a basket of beautiful apples at the farmer's market I decided it was time to rectify this. 

Like most pies, apple pie is a fairly simple mix of sliced apples and a few spices. Achieving a perfect crust is the difficult part. Although, I liked this crust a lot, next time I may try it with 1/2 Crisco & 1/2 butter...just to see the difference in taste and texture.

My First Apple Pie

5 to 6  tart green apples, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 pie crust (recipe below)

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat the oven to 425° F.

Prepare the pie dough. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out half of the pie dough into a circle. Place the circle of dough inside a 9-inch pie pan so that it hangs over the edges of the pie pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

Roll out the remaining pie dough on a lightly floured surface to about 14 inches in diameter. Gently place the dough circle on a parchment paper lined sheet pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Place the sliced apples, lemon juice, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. In another bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss the flour mixture with the apples and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.

Remove the piecrusts from the refrigerator. Fill the bottom crust with the apple mixture, mounding the apples into the pie plate. Top the pie with the remaining dough circle, allowing the edges to hang over the sides of the dish. Using kitchen scissors, trim the dough so that only an inch hangs over the edges, pinching the top and bottom crusts together as you trim. Using your index fingers and thumbs, go around the edges of the pie crimping the dough in a wavy pattern. Using a paring knife, cut several small slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape while baking.

Whisk together the egg and water. Lightly brush the mixture onto the top of the pie and sprinkle with sugar. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350ยบ F and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

At this point you should check pie and cover lightly with aluminum foil to make sure it doesn't get too brown. Bake covered an additional 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and allow to rest until cooled, about 1 hour.

Pie Crust
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, cold
6 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and combine. Add butter to the flour mixture and process until it resembles coarse meal. Gradually add ice water, using just enough so the dough holds together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough in two. Place each piece on a sheet of plastic wrap. Grasping the ends of the plastic wrap with your hands, press the dough into a flat disc with your fists. Wrap in the plastic, and chill for at least one hour.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cold Gnocchi Tomato Salad

By: The Food Hunter

On weekends we often structure our meals to replicate the courses of a traditional Italian meal. By this I mean a small appetizer course, followed by a pasta course and then the meat course served with a vegetable. Eating like this allows for both a small pasta and a meat course without feeling completely overwhelmed by the food.

For example, a recent feast at our house started with some warm marinated olives, followed by a cold gnocchi caprese, and a porchetta with a side of broccoli rabe.  Though gnocchi can often be quite heavy serving it as a starter is a great way to not stuff yourself. I found the recipe below on With Salt & Wit and other than using homemade gnocchi and plain mozzarella I didn't change much.

Cold Gnocchi Tomato Salad
1 lb gnocchi
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups marinated mozzarella, diced small
1 large handful of basil, finely diced
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil
Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

Cook gnocchi, drain and toss with olive oil. Place in fridge to chill at least an hour. Once cold toss with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Classic Reuben Sandwich

By: The Food Hunter

The Reuben sandwich was a favorite of mine growing up and something I would order whenever we went out for lunch. Maybe it was because my mom never made them at home; but most likely it was the fact that the sandwich came piled high with meat, sauerkraut and oozed with Russian Dressing.

It's been years since I've had a Reuben, but recently this classic sandwich has been on my mind. So with homemade sauerkraut from the local butcher and fresh rye bread from the German bakery I decided now was as good a time as ever to recreate them at home.

Classic Reuben Sandwich

For the Sandwich
butter, softened
4 slices rye bread
4 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 lb corned beef brisket, thinly sliced
1/4 lb sauerkraut
Russian Dressing, (recipe below)

Butter one side of two slices of bread, and place the slices buttered-side down. Spread Russian dressing on both pieces. Top each with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and corned beef. Top with the remaining bread slices; butter the side facing out.

Preheat a griddle or frying pan to medium heat. Cook the sandwiches on one side until the bread is golden brown. Use a spatula to carefully flip the sandwiches over and finish cooking on the second side. Use a cast iron pan to gentle press the sandwiches.

For the Russian Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
1/8 cup dill relish

Mix all ingredients together and adjust to taste.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Chickpeas & Leeks

By: The Food Hunter

We've been making this Mario Batali recipe for years and I swear each time I do I love it even more. It's super tasty and when served on bread, which is how we do it, makes a nice light meal or hearty appetizer.

Chickpeas & Leeks
(adapted from Mario Batali)

2 cans chickpeas (15 ounces each) rinsed and drained
1 cup Leek Ragu (recipe below)
1/2 cup olive oil
sea salt
1-2 tsps red pepper flakes

Combine the chickpeas and leeks in a large bowl. Add the oil and salt and red pepper to taste. Toss vigorously to combine. (best served at room temperature)

For the Leek Ragu
1/4 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
1 lb leeks trimmed and cut into 1/2 in thick slices
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the leeks season with salt and pepper and cook until softened but not browned about 8-10 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook gently until leeks are soft and water is cooked off, about 15 minutes.