Marjoram Compound Butter

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Compound Butter

Compound butters mix herbs, seasonings, butter and perhaps olive oil to create a flavor-packed finishing butter.  We use compound butter as a way to use up extra herbs from cooking.

Most compound butters appear to call for ratios of 2 to 3 tablespoons of herbs to 8 ounces of butter.  In some cooking, the higher fat content works. But as a finishing butter, the extra fat can feel heavy.

We use a much smaller ratio of herbs to butter to get stronger flavors–in the recipe below, a ratio of nearly 1-to-1.  We use this compound butter to finish many dishes such as pan roasted prawns.  The only watchout with the recipe below is to not leave the butter in too long or the herbs will burn.

Ingredients

2-3 T marjoram leaves

2 1/2 T butter

Directions

Remove leaves from stems and rough chop. Cube butter into 1/4 inch squares.  This pre-work yields better distribution of hearbs across the compound butter after mixing.

Place leaves in food processor and pulse 3 to 4 times.  The leaves should be finely chopped.

Add butter and blend for about 30 seconds. Using spatula, scrape butter herb mixture from sides of food proessor bowl and mix for another 20-30 seconds.

Remove compound butter from bowl and place onto plastic sheet.  Role butter into a log. Use or refrigerate for further use.  The pictures below display the final mixing and forming of compound butter into a log.  The picuter is shiny due to the plastic and not strangly colored butter.

Favorite Bagel with Sockeye Salmon Lox

Ingredients

2 Boiled bagels or 4 slices hearty whole grain seeded bread

6-8 slices Sockeye salmon lox

3/4 C cream cheese

1/3 C capers

2 T red onion thin sliced

Tomato slices(optional)*

Directions

Yields 4 bagels

Cut bagel in half and toast bagel or bread. Generously apply cream cheese to each half. Add onions, lox, capers. Tomato slices if desired.

Notes:

*I usually only use heirloom or fresh from the garden tomato slices when available.

Most bagels are simply bread dough in the shape of a bagel and baked. A true bagel is boiled than baked. If I cannot get a boiled type bagel, I will use a whole grain or artisan bread.

Sockeye salmon or red salmon is an Alaskan salmon. It is salt brined and can be smoked ususally with alder wood. It is a wild caught salmon and not farm raised. Costco is carrying lox. It is either Sockeye(red) or Coho(silver) or Pacific salmon. If I don’t make my own lox; I buy lox from Alaska Sausage and Seafood Company, Anchorage, Alaska.

Cream cheese favorite is Gina Maries. It is cultured milk, cream, and salt, nothing else. Costco sells Sierra Nevada organic cream cheese in a double roll package that is also milk, cream, and sea salt. They are more crumbly than other cream cheeses. They are drier and a little more acidic in taste.

I will add my bagel recipe this week. It is a potato bagel recipe. They are not always pretty but taste great with good mouth texture.

Tarte Flambe Pizza with Chicken, Olives, and Artichokes

Mediterranean inspired pizza with rosemary chicken, Kalmata olives, artichoke hearts, and a sprinkle of feta. The pizza dough is an Alsatian recipe that bakes to crispness in 10 minutes or less.

Ingredients

Dough

1 1/4 C flour

3 T canola oil

1/4 t salt

5 T water

Sauce

1/3 C creme fraische

1/3 C fromage blanc(can substitute sour cream)

1/4 t nutmeg

 

Topping

1/4 C Leftover rotisserie rosemary herbed chicken breast*

2 T chopped kalmata olives

2 T basil leaves torn

1 1/2 artichoke hearts chopped

4-6 roasted garlic cloves halved

3/4- 1  C mozzarella shredded.

1-2 slices provolone diced

3 T grated Parmesan

1/4 C feta crumbles

Salt and pepper

Directions

Oven temperature 550º F Baking sheet 13″ by 18″ lined with parhment paper Appetizer or serves 2

Mix flour,salt and oil until crumbly. Add water until dough comes together. Knead until smooth. Cover and rest for 1 hour.

Sauce: Mix in small bowl and set aside

Assemble

Roll  and pat dough until paper thin.  Spread sauce then half of the mozzarella and provolone Add garlic, olives, artichokes, chicken, and basil. Top with remaining cheeses. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake about 10 minutes on lowest rack in oven.. Remove, slice and eat. Serve with green salad

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Roasted Salsa Verde

Tomatillos are an incredibly veratile ingredient that really stand out in a simple salsa verde.  In this recipe, the tomatillos are roasted anf then pureed into a wonderful tangy sauce.  This recipe can also be made without the roasting, but the sauce should be eaten same day.  This salsa can be combined with avocado for a wonderful salad dressing or dip.

 

What is a tomatillo?

Tomatillo is a tart fruit that is native to Mexico.  It is bright green in colot and grows within a husk. When I was growing up, we had a gooseberry plant with produced tangy (mouth-puckering) berries.  The gooseberry plant is related the tomatillo.

Ingredients

6 tomatillos

3 garlic cloves

2 Serrano chilis

3 T cilantro

1 shallot diced

Directions

Husk, wash, and slice tomatillos.  Fresh tomatillos can feel sticky to the touch, but the stickiness washes off.

Remove skin from garlic cloves. No need to chop.

Place cut tomatillos and garlic cloves in non stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook about 7-9 minutes until browned and then turn them over and repeat step.

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Once browned and softened put ingredients into a food processor. Add diced serranos (or other peppers) and blend.

If using immediately, add cilantro and onion. If storing, add cilantro and onion when ready to use.  Cilantro or onion can be fresh choped and added or pureed in a belnder.

Notes

We add serrano peppers for some extra heat, but other peppers can be used for more heat, or peppers can be avoided for no heat.

Peppers such as poblanos can also be roasted and added to the sauce.  This changes the sauce flavor to a more earthy, savory and less fruity sauce.

Flatbread with Chèvre Raspberries Bacon

Ingredients

Crisp flatbread covered in spicy arugula with fresh raspberries, crispy bacon, crunchy pecans, creamy blue cheese dressed lightly with lemon vinaigrette

1 flatbread 9 x 11″

1/3 – 1/2 C Chèvre

4  slices of bacon crisp and crumbled

1/2 C pecans

2 C arugula

6 ounces raspberries

1/3 C blue cheese crumbled.

Lemon vinaigretteLemon Garlic Dressing

Directions

Preheat oven 400º F  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place flatbread on prepared baking sheet and butter generously with chèvre to the edge. Transfer to oven and bake until edges are lightly browned about 8-10 minutes. Remove and cool for 5 minutes. Add arugula and remaining ingredients over arugula. Drizzle lightly with lemon dressing. Cut into 8 or 12 slices. Serve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Roasting brussel sprouts turns them from a bitter despised vegetable into a delicious carmelized vegetable. They are sweet with some crunchy leaves. 

Ingredients

2 C sliced brussel sprouts

3 T olive oil

Salt and pepper.

Fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1 t lemon zest(optional)

Directions

Preheat oven 400º F. Foil cover baking sheet. Serves 4

Rinse and dry brussel sprouts. Cut off the tip end and remove outer layer of leaves. Slice in half and place on baking sheet. Pour olive oil over them and toss until all sides are coated  in oil.*

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in oven. Roast 8-10 minutes then toss and roast another 8-10 minutes on other side until outer surfaces are carmelized. Remove, add lemon juice and zest. Toss and serve.

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Note:

*This step could be done in a bowl.

Lemon adds brightness to the dish.

Brussel sprouts have become the favorite vegetable of out family and our guests. We enjoy them year round. In the warm months when we have the grill going, this is an easy to grill vegetable.

 

Moist Pumpkin Bread

 

A moist pumkin bread flavored with holiday spices. It is good for breakfast, snacking, or desserts plain or with cream cheese.

Ingredients

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2 C flour

1 t baking soda

1/2 t baking powder

2 t cinnamon

2 t ginger

1/2 t nutmeg

1/4 t cloves

1/4 t allspice

1 t salt

1/2 butter softened

3/4 brown sugar

2 eggs

1 can(15 ounces) pumpkin*

1/3 C sour cream

1 t vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven 350º F  Butter and lightly flour or spray Pam Baking  9 x 5 x 3 inch pan.

Tools needed

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In small bowl add dry ingredients then mix and set aside.

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In stand mixer with flat beater attachment add butter and sugar until mixed. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add in sour cream, pumpkin, and vanilla and mix.

Add flour mixture and mix on slow speed until combined.  Pour into prepared pan.

 

Bake about 60-70  minutes. Bread is done when inserted cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to baking rack to cool.

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Note:

I prefer Libby’s® pumpkin when making this bread. I get more consistent results batch after batch. It seems to me that the pumpkin contains more solids and less moisture?

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Flavored Croutons

An easy way to use leftover bread and enjoy croutons packed with flavor. Use them on salads or a replacement for panko or bread crumbs. Delightful as a snack.

See our Familia Recipes Garlic Croutons Lesson on making this simple recipe with amazing flavor.

Ingredients

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Left Over Bread*

Olive Oil

Garlic cloves

Directions 

Peel the garlic clove with a knife. Cut bread into cubes.(If bread is not dry, place in oven for 4 minutes, remove and cool.)

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Apply garlic to all surfaces by rubbing it on the surfaces. Make take more than one clove. Using pastry brush, paint the sides lightly with olive oil. Place in oven and bake for about 4 minutes per side.Remove and cool on baking rack.

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Note:

*I had leftover olive bread this week.

We prefer rustic or artisan breads. They make flavorful croutons for salads. When I need panko or bread crumbs, I place my croutons in a plastic bag and easily crush them to desired fineness.

Balsamic & Walnut Oil Dressing

Balsamic & Walnut Oil Dressing is great for salads with blue cheese.  Walnut oil is very distinctive and can be blended with other oils to reduce its intensity.

Ingredients

1/4 C balsamic vinegar

1/2 C walnut oil

2 t sweet mustard *

1 t garlic minced

Salt and pepper

1/4 t red pepper flakes (optional) **

Directions

Mince garlic or use a garlic press.

Add ingredients to a salad dressing shaker and shake until emulsified. Taste to adjust seasoning.  Oil can also be whisked in a deep bowl.

Note

* If sweet mustard is not available, mix 2 tsp of Dijon mustard and 2 t sugar together,

** I like a little heat in my dressings, so I add pepper flakes.

Finding a Good Balsamic

Balsamic vinegars vary in degree of acidity and sweetness.  Real balsamic is always barrel-aged.  Authentic balsamic comes from the Modena region of Italy and may be very expensive..  However, it is possible to find affordable and great tasting balsamic.

I chose a moderate-priced balsamic for use in this salad dressing.  I either select my balsamic dressings by tasting before buying or by using a resource such as Consumer Reports or Cooks Illustrated.  Italian groceries and stores such as Williams Sonoma often have tastings, and it’s worth seeking out tastings to build the palate for different types of balsamic.  Using the Internet for recent reviews such as New York Times, Bon Appetit, Americas Test Kitchen, or Amazon also works.  If you are in California one country, many   wineries also feature balsamics.  Coscto also has a good balsamic under their Kirkland label.

Finally, there are traditional and white balsamic vinegars.  White balsamic is lighter and has a slight sweetness.  Happy hunting for your favorites.

Hint of Almond Butter Cookies

A delicate butter drop cookie that is crisp with a hint of almond.  Vanilla or other flavorings can be substituted. 

Ingredients

2 1/4 C flour

1 t salt

1 C butter, softened

3/4 C sugar

1 egg

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 t almond extract

* Food coloring

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375º F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

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Combine flour and salt in small bowl and set aside.

Place softened butter in stand mixer bowl using the flat beater attachment. Beat until fluffy., and then add sugar and repeat process. Hard butter bands around in the mixed and does not whip properly.  Softened butter is room temperature and creamy.  If using the microwave to soften butter, make sure not to melt the butter into a liquid.

Add egg and flavorings. Beat  until ingredients are combined and fluffy. Add flour and mix until incorporated.

Remove beater attachment and bowl from stand mixer. Using spatula remove dough from beater. Scrape remaining flour from sides of bowl and stir vigorously until all incorporated.

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Ready to bake or color.

We had an Italian meal planned and wanted a fun dessert.  We divided dough into 3 bowls for plain, red, and green dough. The colors of the Italian flag. We added food coloring until we achieved desired depth of color.

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We hand formed the flags and balloons; the remaining dough was made into drop cookies. Bake the cookies 6-8 minutes and remove to baking rack.

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Note:

The dough is delicate. When making a spritz cookie, I use more flour for a firmer dough.

The baked cookies are crisp with a hint of almond. We serve them with ice cream and sorbets. They are a year around favorite but more importantly an easy drop cookie to make.