Sunday, September 16, 2012

herbed summer squash ribbon carpaccio salad with chevre and pistachios

This time of year is interesting.  We still have warmer weather, and our summer produce hasn't given up just yet.  I mean, I know it's almost Fall.  Technically.  And I'm really ready to start in the kitchen with soups and more roasted veggies and such. This past week I sat out on the deck after work, watching the hummingbirds gather around the feeder, with a nice "cool-ish" breeze blowing.  I heard Reagan High School marching band practicing in the distance, mixed with the still present sweet and nostalgic back-up from chirping cicadas.  All these things tell me it's almost Fall. But the gorgeous summer squash in our bushel and spring/summer herbs still growing in my garden whisper for simple salads for just a little while longer...

herbed summer squash ribbon carpaccio salad with chevre and pistachios
serves 2

3 small assorted zucchini and yellow summer squash
1 lemon, juiced
olive oil
3 T chopped assorted herbs (basil, mint and chives)
scant palmful roasted pistachios, chopped
two spoonfuls of Chevre
(I used a lovely local Texas goat cheese, June's Joy, by Pure Luck Farm and Dairy carried by Farmhouse, and Houston Dairymaids)

Using a mandolin, very thinly slice your squash, lengthwise, in paper-thin slices. Lay flat, overlapping slices on a large platter.  Squeeze over the juice of one lemon, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow the squash to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (it will become weepy).  When you are ready to serve, arrange squash ribbons on two plates, sprinkle with chopped herbs, top with Chevre, chopped pistachios, and one last drizzle of olive oil.  Eat up!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

persimmon, avocado & blue cheese salad with apple cider vinaigrette

It's so often true that in the simplest of things, we find the most delightful things.  Certainly holds up for this salad -- mixed greens, ripe persimmons (delivered from a local farm to my door in my Farmhouse bushel), creamy & green avocado, and tangy artisan blue cheese (first sampled then purchased from my newest neighborhood-TOO-COOL-finds, Houston Dairymaids -- cheese mongers extraordinaire).  Add an ever-so-easy apple cider vinaigrette lightly drizzled over top, and voila!  Love.  It.  Look what happened on my plate for lunch today (she said with a great big, bright, brimming smile)!

persimmon, avocado & blue cheese salad with apple cider vinaigrette
serves 2

For the dressing:
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 T olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:
2 fuyu persimmons, firm ripe, hulled, peeled and sliced thinly
1 avocado, sliced
about 2 or so oz (to your taste) good quality blue cheese, crumbled
mixed greens

Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing, place in a small jar and shake well.  Arrange greens on two plates.  Top with persimmon, avocado and blue cheese. Drizzle dressing over top.   DEVOUR.  Then start wondering immediately about how soon is too soon before you can make it again.  YUM.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

savory sweet corn empanadas with green chiles and feta

End of the Summer means we won't have fresh sweet corn much longer. But while we do, I'm taking advantage! These fresh ears arrived in my Farmhouse bushel today.

I had in mind to turn those sweet ears into a savory filling for empanadas.  I also had in mind to make my life easier by using my tortillas press to make the empanadas. Who has the patience for rolling out the dough and cutting around a small plate to achieve those perfect rounds?  Not me.  I used a combination of whole wheat and regular flour, and cut the dough into 12 equal parts before wrapping in plastic wrap to chill in the fridge.

While your dough chills, prepare the corn filling mixture.

Once the corn mixture is ready, press out each dough disc in the tortilla press, using a sheet of folded parchment paper. 

Place 1-2 T of the corn mixture in center of one half of the empanada, and sprinkle with some crumbled feta. 

Fold the dough over, and seal by crimping with a fork. Brush with egg, and dust with a bit of coarse sea salt.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 13-15 minutes until golden.

savory sweet corn empanadas with green chiles and feta
(makes 12 empanadas)

For the dough:
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 sticks butter, chilled and cut into cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
8 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:
4-5 ears sweet corn, cut from the cob (about 4 c)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 (4oz) can hatch green chiles, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
3 tablespoons half and half
juice from 1/2  small small lemon
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Plus, one large egg, whisked for the egg wash, and coarse sea salt

For the dough, combine the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse to just combine. Whisk egg and water together, and add to flour mixture a little at a time, until the dough comes together.  Divide dough into 12 equal parts, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While your dough chills, make your corn mixture.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat.  Saute corn, green onion and chiles for a couple of minutes.  Add in garlic, mustard, half and half, lemon juice, paprika, salt and sugar and allow to cook for about 5 minutes more.  Place in food processor and pulse a few times so that the mixture begins to break down, but leaving some corn kernels whole.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using a folded piece of parchment paper, press out the dough on the tortilla press, creating a uniform round.  Place 1-2 T of the corn mixture on each round, crumble on some feta, fold over and crimp with a fork to seal the edges.  Transfer to the baking sheet. Once you have completed the process with all 12 empanadas, brush with egg, and dust with coarse sea salt.  Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until golden and serve immediately. 

The empanadas may also be frozen.  To freeze, place unbaked empanadas on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Place in freezer and allow to freeze completely before transferring to a plastic freezer bag.  When you are ready to bake from frozen, brush with the egg, and add a little time to the baking time.