As a food blogger I must, of course, write about my Thanksgiving meal. Last year Jasper and I hosted both or our parents and siblings at our house in NoVa. This year, we were able to travel out to Bend, OR to spend the holiday with his family.
Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
Last fall, my friend Melissa brought my attention to a butternut squash galette recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I didn't get around to making it and sorely regretted it all year. So this year I determined to make it as soon as it started to get chilly out. Boy, am I glad I did! A sweet and creamy filling wrapped up in a flaky, buttery crust - there is nothing better.
These posts are a little behind schedule - the CSA finished a couple of weeks ago, but I have been bad about posting. Sorry about that!
Oops! I forgot to take a picture of the crate this week, so I took some pictures of individual produce.
In the crate this week:
Tomatoes - large and small
Onions - red and white
In the crate this week:
2 Korean Melons
Last weekend, a friend and I went berry picking at Homestead Farm in Poolesville, MD. It was the end of strawberry season and the beginning of tart cherries, so we got to pick both. There is nothing more satisfying or fun than harvesting your own food (though my legs are sore from squatting to pick strawberries, and my arms are sore from reaching up for the cherries).
The farm has a nice open patch of grass for parking next to the main store - which sells vegetables, herbs, and flowers; jams and sauces made at the farm and elsewhere; and already picked berries (sold at a higher price than if you pick your own). From the store you can either walk (a long way) to the berries, or hop on the tractor that drives back and forth between the fields and the store. You can bring your own containers, or pick up a cardboard carton from the store. I ended up with almost 7lbs of berries! I decided to make pies with my haul - a sour cherry lattice pie and a strawberry icebox pie.
Sour Cherry Lattice Pie
adapted from Martha Stewart
Pate Brisee, recipe follows
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
2 lbs fresh sour cherries, pitted (about 6 cups), or 1 3/4 pounds frozen sour cherries, partially thawed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
vanilla sugar* or coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one disc of dough to a 13 inch round, 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, and trim leaving 1/2 inch overhang. Refrigerate crust for 30 min while you prepare the lattice strips.
On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll out second disc of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut 14 strips (12 inches long and 1/2 inch wide) with a fluted pastry wheel or a sharp knife; use a ruler if you have trouble making even strips. Place strips on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate until cold, about 10 minutes.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add cherries and vanilla, and toss. Pour cherry mixture into prepared pie plate. Dot top with butter. Lightly brush exposed edge of crust with egg.
Make the lattice: Lay 7 strips of dough across pie. Fold back every other strip. Lay another strip perpendicular in center of pie. Unfold the strips over perpendicular strip. Fold back the strips that are under the perpendicular strip. Lay a second perpendicular strip next to the first. Unfold the strips over the second perpendicular strip. Repeat, weaving strips across half the pie. Return to center, lay a perpendicular strip on unwoven side of pie, and repeat. Trim strips to make a 1-inch overhang. Tuck extra under rim of crust, and crimp to seal. Brush lattice with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate 30 min until firm.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Transfer pie plate to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling (if using fresh cherries, begin checking after 1 hour; if using frozen, it will take about 1 hour, 35 minutes). If top begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil and continue to cook.
Let pie cool completely on a wire rack.
*I keep a jar of sugar with vanilla bean pods in it. Whenever I use a vanilla bean, I toss the empty pod into the jar. The sugar becomes infused with vanilla flavor. It is great for baking and for coffee. When the sugar starts to run low I fill up the jar again, shaking it every now and then to distribute the flavor.
adapted from Martha Stewart
This is seriously the BEST dough recipe. It is flexible, it won't crack, it is super tender and flaky and awesome. It is important that everything be COLD.
Makes two 9 inch single-crust pies or one 9 inch double-crust pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup chilled butter flavored Crisco, cut in pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Whisk or sift together the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and shortening, and cut together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the ice water evenly over the flour and work together with your hands until the dough just holds together. Do not overwork.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide in two. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two discs. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 min before using.
Strawberry Icebox Pie
adapted from Martha Stewart
10 graham crackers (2 1/2 by 5 inches)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
2 quarts strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate. In a food processor, blend graham crackers until finely ground. In a bowl, combine crumbs, butter, 3tbsp sugar, and salt. Press mixture into the bottom and up the side of the pie plate. Bake until crust is lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, cranberry juice, 3 cups strawberries, cornstarch, and salt. Using a potato masher, gently mash strawberries. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until very thick, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in remaining strawberries. Pour into cooled pie crust. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours (or up to 1 day). Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Ah, spring - new beginnings, new growth, and the start of peak veggie season. I am a vegetable fan, but I despise the plain steam treatment, so I am always looking for new ways to incorporate vegetables into fun dishes. Zucchini and spinach are two of my favorites because they are incredibly versatile and easy to add to any dish. One of my favorite spring dishes combines them with pasta and a Gruyere sauce for a creamy, cheesy, and flavorful veggie casserole. You can add in shredded or diced cooked chicken for more protein, if you wish.
Start with fresh, medium sized zucchini - they have fewer seeds and more flavor than larger ones. Also look for vibrant skin - younger, fresher zucchini will have a more tender skin that is easier to eat. Leave the skin on - it has a lot of nutrients!
Spring Shells and Cheese
adapted from The Food Network
Time: 1.5 hrs Serves: 6-8
2 lb medium zucchini
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups whole milk
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 lb medium pasta shells
4 shallots, minced
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
4 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)
4 oz baby spinach
Grate or shred the zucchini (do not peel) into a colander. Toss with 1 tablespoon salt, then place in the sink to drain for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess liquid.
Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, nutmeg, cayenne, 2 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until the raw flour smell cooks out, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, about a cup at a time. Then add the thyme, bay leaves, and lemon zest and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened slightly, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain into a bowl, discarding the herbs.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and add to the sauce.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini mixture to the pasta along with the egg yolks and all but 3 tablespoons of both cheeses. Stir to combine, then add the spinach.
Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheeses. Bake until browned on top and heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Another easy way to incorporate zucchini into a family friendly dish is to bake it with flour, cheese, eggs in a pie dish. This rich, dense, savory pie is sure to be a hit. The original recipe called for Provolone cheese - you can certainly use that, or Mozzarella, but I prefer Gruyere. I also like to add more basil than originally called for.
adapted from Real Simple
Time: 1.5 hrs Serves: 6
3 cups grated zucchini (about 1.5 lbs)
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tbsp grated Parmesan
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1 tbsp of the Parmesan. Spoon the zucchini mixture into a greased pie plate. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown, sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.