Monthly Archives: August 2014

Galette~ A Beautiful Creation From Your Summer Bounty

If you’ve never had galette, it may be time you’ve tried it. It is much like a pie, but it’s baked without a pie plate, giving it a lovely, rustic, visual quality. It’s also pretty rich, but it’s so good, that I’ll gladly sacrifice calories from another meal to enjoy it. The recipe is not difficult, though it does take a bit of time to prepare.

Summer produce begs to be made into galette

Summer produce begs to be made into galette

The end of summer is the perfect time to make it, too. There is an abundance of beautiful vegetables just begging to be tucked into a buttery, pastry crust with some goat cheese, garlic and herbs, then baked until golden and fragrant. It is company worthy, though your family will thank you, for making it just for them. It is irresistible!

For the Pastry:

1 cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
¼ cup ice water
(I added the leaves of about 3 sprigs of English thyme to the water)

You’ll also need:

1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1-2 zucchini, (I like to use green and yellow)
3 Roma tomatoes
2 ounces goat cheese (approx.)
OR~ use whatever veggies you want
Other goodies can include basil, thyme, onions, olives…. whatever you like!

1 egg yolk mixed with about a teaspoon of water for the egg wash

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Keep the butter chilled

Keep the butter chilled

Cut the butter into small chunks and keep it refrigerated until absolutely needed. Whisk together the salt and flour. Cut the chilled butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or two knives.

 

 

Add ice water with the fresh thyme

Add ice water with the fresh thyme

When you have a mixture resembling lumps the size of small peas, add the ice water. Blend the pastry just enough to hold it together and knead it about 3 times. (Don’t overwork or it will get tough)

 

flatten pastry into  a disc

flatten pastry into a disc

Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.

 

Press the garlic into the olive oil

Press the garlic into the olive oil

Press the clove of garlic into the olive oil and allow to sit.

Prepare a cookie sheet or pizza pan by lining it with parchment paper.

 

Slice zucchini very thin

Slice zucchini very thin

Salt the zucchini

Salt the zucchini

Meanwhile, if using zucchini, slice really thin, sprinkle with salt, let it sit, then rinse and drain. Repeat. This will soften the squash and pull some of the liquid out of it, so it won’t make the pastry soggy.

 

Drain the tomatoes on paper towels

Drain the tomatoes on paper towels

Place about 3 medium, sliced Roma tomatoes (get rid of the seeds, as much as possible) on paper towels and sprinkle salt to taste. Let the juices run out, then pat tops with more paper toweling.

 

mix the goat cheese into the garlic oil

mix the goat cheese into the garlic oil

Mix the goat cheese with ½ tablespoon of the olive oil garlic mixture.

 

Roll out the pastry on parchment

Roll out the pastry on parchment

Preheat oven to 400º. Roll out the pastry until it is about 14″-16″ in diameter on a piece of parchment paper.

 

Spread the garlic cheese over the pastry

Spread the garlic cheese over the pastry

This can sit on any size baking sheet or pizza pan that you may have. Spread the cheese mixture on the bottom of the pastry, leaving a border of about 1½ to 2 inches.

 

Layer the tomatoes on top of the cheese

Layer the tomatoes on top of the cheese

Place the tomatoes in concentric circles on top of the cheese. I added a bit more thyme on top of them.  Layer the zucchini on top of the tomatoes. I also added some thinly sliced red onion and a bit more thyme. Pleat the border up around the veggies, and brush exposed crust with egg wash.

 

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Bake for 30 minutes and check for doneness. I kept mine in for another 7 minutes or so, because I wanted a little bit browner crust.

 

Allow to cool

Allow to cool

A galette is a beautiful thing!

A galette is a beautiful thing!

When it’s done, set it out to cool.

 

I snipped basil on top for garnish

I snipped basil on top for garnish

I added some snipped basil to the top, once it cooled for a few minutes.

Cool. The should be eaten at room temperature. This fact also gives you plenty of time for great picture taking, if you are serving for dinner!

Vegetable galette

Vegetable galette

Just add salad and a glass of wine

Just add salad and a glass of wine

Really, all you need to go with this is a green salad and a glass of wine.

 

Beautiful galette!

Beautiful galette!

Galetter with tomatoes and zucchini

Galetter with tomatoes and zucchini

Bon appetite!!

Making the Best of Young Ginger

It’s been a busy week and again, we are in the mood for something refreshing. I noticed last week that young ginger is now available at the farmers market, so I picked some up. So many things can be made from it, and it  is so soft, tender and much easier to peel and grate. If you like ginger, and If you’ve never had ginger in this form before, you will love it!

Young ginger~ so tender

Young ginger~ so tender

I just made some cucumber namasu with what I bought on Saturday. If you’ve never had namasu before, it is a nice, little Japanese side dish made with uncooked vegetables, marinated in a simple vinaigrette. It’s then chilled and in the process, it becomes slightly pickled. The first time I ever had it, it was made from bitter melon, and it was absolutely delicious. An elderly, Japanese friend of Monty’s gave some to us, and what I loved about it was the bits of bean thread (also known as long rice or cellophane noodles) and imitation crab that was in it. Today I made it with Japanese cucumbers, and if you ask me, it really is about the marinade. Here’s how I did it:

1 large English cucumber (or several small Japanese cucumbers, if available)
1½ teaspoons salt
4 oz. mung bean or rice noodles
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (young ginger,
if available)
1 tablespoon bottled sushi ginger, chopped
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced crosswise
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon bottled sushi ginger liquid
1 teaspoon sesame oil (or to taste)
4 oz. flake crab meat, chopped (optional ~
imitation is okay)
1 tablespoon sesame seed (I used white and black)

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Place mung bean or rice noodles into a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow them to sit for 1 hour, then drain.

Snip the bean thread into small pieces

Snip the bean thread into small pieces

Snip into 1-2 inch lengths with kitchen shears, if you have them. Set aside.

 

Peel, seed and slice the cukes

Peel, seed and slice the cukes

Spoon out the seeds

Spoon out the seeds

Peel cucumbers and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and then cut into thin slices. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumbers and mixit in. Marinate in the fridge for about an hour, then rinse excess salt off with water. Drain, then gently squeeze out any water from the cucumbers. Pat them dry.

 

I like to add some sushi ginger juice

I like to add some sushi ginger juice

Chop the green onions and gingers, and place them into a bowl.

Heat rice vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, until the sugar dissolves. Cool. Mix in liquid from sushi ginger and the sesame oil.

 

Toss the ingredients, adding in the sesame seeds

Toss the ingredients, adding in the sesame seeds

Mix gingers, green onions, crabmeat and sesame seeds with the cucumbers.

Mix the bean thread in

Mix the bean thread in

Add the bean thread and toss again.

 

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours

Dress with cooled dressing and chill for several hours.

 

A sprinkling of furikake makes a good garnish

A sprinkling of furikake makes a good garnish

Garnish with some furikake, if you have some.

Serves 4.

Namasu with bean thread

Namasu with bean thread

A cool, refreshing side dish

A cool, refreshing side dish

We enjoy our summer dinners on the lanai. I served this with one of our favorites~  Chinese pork with long squash, which I posted a few weeks ago. Delicious together!

dinner

Dinner on the lanai~ namasu served with Chinese pork and long squash

Dinner on the lanai~ namasu served with Chinese pork and long squash

Namasu with bean thread

Namasu with bean thread

A Refreshing, Exotic Salad

Okay, it’s time to get a little exotic, here. You might have noticed that I have a passion for passionfruit, though we call it lilikoi, here. The season is in full swing right now, and there are lots of wonderful things that can be created from these tangy, little fruits.

The passionflower is very exotic looking

The passionflower is very exotic looking

As you can see, the flower is quite exotic-looking. The many varieties have different colors and shapes, all of them interesting and colorful.

 

You can see how the fruit forms from the flower

You can see how the fruit forms from the flower

The fruit is interesting too, especially when you see how it is formed from the flower. You know it’s ripe when the skin turns yellow, red or purple.

Anyway, it has a tangy, citrusy flavor that lends well to desserts, as well as sauces and dressings. I also has a bazillion seeds inside, which you will either love for their texture or dislike for their quantity. I personally love them, but I really like texture in my food. The season lasts here from about late June until December, and believe me, I buy enough when I see it to collect the juice and pulp for future use. I really miss it, when it can’t be found.

People tend to make sweets from the fruit, but I’ve made a point of finding lots of savory recipes to use them. This is a salad dressing that I found online, and fell in love with. I couldn’t find the absolute source, just because I found it shared many times. So, to the creator of this, wherever you are, thank you!

Passionfruit (lilikoi) is easily scooped out, once cut

Passionfruit (lilikoi) is easily scooped out, once cut

The salad is made from local ingredients;  you may have to substitute a few things, but if you use your imagination, you will get pretty close. You can likely find frozen passionfruit juice in your local store.

 

Mango and peppers

Mango and peppers

I couldn’t resist buying these beautiful peppers. I’m going to use the red one in the salad.

If you’d like to try, here’s what I used:

For the Salad

4 cups fresh, local, baby greens
1 cup micro greens (if you can find them)
1 mango, diced
½ cup diced sweet, red pepper (or rainbow peppers, if you can find them)
1 small or ½ large avocado, sliced
¼ cup finely sliced red onion

For the Dressing

½ cup fresh strained lilikoi pulp & juice (I kept the seeds in)
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup raw local honey
½ teaspoon of your favorite sweet/hot mustard (I like dijon)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup olive oil
pepper to taste

Start with some greens

Start with some greens

The fresh, local greens come first, of course. This is a lovely mix of lettuces, herbs and baby spinach~ they may be fragile, but they have a lot of flavor.

 

Add micro greens

Add micro greens

Add the micro greens~ they give a nice, herby flavor.

 

I added sweet, red pepper

I added sweet, red pepper

Here’s the red pepper!

 

Lilikoi juice~ I like the seeds, too

Lilikoi juice~ I like the seeds, too

Make the dressing next: measure the lilikoi juice into a jar.

 

Measure dressing ingredients into a jar

Measure dressing ingredients into a jar

Add the rest of the dressing ingredients in with the juice and cover.

 

Shake it up!

Shake it up!

Shake until blended. The mustard should help to emulsify it the dressing.

 

Add avocado last

Add avocado last

Add the onion and avocado last, then add the dressing.

Greens with mango, avocado and lilikoi dressing

Greens with mango, avocado and lilikoi dressing

Serve on salad plates.

 

This makes a very, nice salad to serve with beef or fish

This makes a very, nice salad to serve with beef or fish

I found this combination uniquely wonderful!

 

Add shrimp to make it a full meal

Add shrimp to make it a full meal

If you’d like to make it a full meal, add some shrimp and top with a bit more dressing.

 

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It’s delicious~ enjoy!

Using Up “Hurricane Bananas”

Sometimes you get lucky, you know that, don’t you? I’ve been busy the past week, due to the existence of two hurricanes close to our waters. Hurricanes tend to throw a real, curve ball into whatever it is you are trying to accomplish at the time. Whatever you’re doing, you need to stop and prepare to survive. For me that meant gathering supplies, cleaning the lanai, so the plants wouldn’t become hurtling, airborne objects in the wind, and cleaning and organizing the household, so as to lessen any potentially disastrous impacts. It was a lot of work and not something I would want to do every week, but since we hadn’t had such a warning in twenty-two years, it was okay.

Since non-perishable food is so important in such a situation, I was so happy when Monty came home with a huge hand of bananas last Thursday night, given to him by a coworker. It is nice to have something fresh in such a situation. Thankfully, Hurricane Iselle fizzled out once it hit the Island of Hawaii, and Julio drifted well away from us, leaving me with a bunch of bananas, bottles of water, and a bunch of canned food to be stored for another day. Knowing how we only use maybe 3-4 bananas in a week, I knew the day would come soon, that I would have to whip up some banana nut bread. Since they are starting to get brown and soft, today must be the day.

Making healthy banana nut bread can be easy

Making healthy banana nut bread can be easy

 

Here’s what we’ll need:

1/3 cup vegetable oil

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup mashed bananas

1¾ cups whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup hot water

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup chopped macadamia nuts

Mash the bananas with a fork

Mash the bananas with a fork

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Pre-heat oven to 325º.

Grease (or spray with cooking spray) a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oil and honey. If you measure the oil first, the honey will pour out of your measuring cup much easier. Add in the eggs and mix well. Stir in vanilla and mashed bananas.

 

Stir the flour and salt into the egg and honey mixture

Stir the flour and salt into the egg and honey mixture

Gradually still the flour and salt into the wet ingredients, mixing just until everything is almost fully moistened. If you over mix, the bread becomes tough.

 

Stir in the nuts

Stir in the nuts

Next, add in the nuts, again being careful not to over mix.

 

Mix the baking soda with hot water

Mix the baking soda with hot water

In a measuring cup, mix the baking soda with hot water and stir it into the batter.

 

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for one hour. Check with a toothpick for doneness~ mine usually needs another 10-15 minutes, or so.

 

Remove when done, and allow to sit for a few minutes

Remove when done, and allow to sit for a few minutes

Once done, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, before removing from pan.

 

Put on a rack to finish cooling

Put on a rack to finish cooling

Carefully remove from bread pan and allow to finish cooling on a rack.

 

Slice and serve

Slice and serve

Slice and serve. This bread freezes really well, if you’d like to stash some away to be eaten in about six months, or so.

 

Good for breakfast

Good for breakfast

Try it for dessert

Try it for dessert, too

 

Fig Bars with Thyme~ A Nice Twist On a Classic

Beautiful figs!

Beautiful figs!

I think figs are a totally beautiful fruit. I love the way they look, as well as their taste. I love the slightly crunchy texture of the seeds and that sweet distinctive flavor. I also love their beautiful, dark color on the outside, and when you open them up, the seeds display a whole other kind of beauty.

 

On the tree

On the tree

They do grow here, because I’ve seen quite a few trees with fruit. But I never see them at the farmers markets, and I when I see them at any other market, they are quite expensive.

 

Whole Foods figs, on sale

Whole Foods figs, on sale

A couple of weeks ago, I did find some on sale at Whole Foods, and trust me, I snapped them right up!

I knew what I was going to do with them, too. Last year, I made these fig bars last summer, and I liked them so much, I decided to make them again. Thyme is my favorite herb, so it’s fitting to put two beautiful things together.

 

Figs and fresh thyme

Figs and fresh thyme

 

For the pastry:

½ cup walnuts
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour (you can also use white whole wheat flour)
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the jam:

2 pounds very ripe figs, stems removed, unpeeled
¼ cup sugar
7 to 8 large sprigs fresh thyme
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice; more or less to taste

Make the jam first…

Coarsely chop the figs

Coarsely chop the figs

Coarsely chop the figs and put them into a saucepan along with the sugar, and thyme.

Cook the jam

Cook the jam

Cook them until the juices reduce and the figs become soft, tender and “jammy.” This should take about 20-30 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside.

What’s nice about the jam is that it can be made and stored for several weeks, if tightly covered in the refrigerator.

 

Next, make the pastry crust:

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray or grease the bottom and sides of an 8″x8″x2″ pan.

I’ll come right out an tell you that I have a food processor, but it’s a small one. (We have no counter space here). So I’m going to do the first step in it, and then switch to more manual methods. If you have a nice, big processor, by all means make the entire crust in it.

Process the walnuts and a little sugar

Process the walnuts and a little sugar

For the first step, grind the walnuts and 2 tablespoons of sugar of the white sugar together. Remove and set aside.

 

Cut the butter in

Cut the butter in

In another large bowl (or the food processor, if large enough) combine the flour, remaining sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the butter, cutting it in with 2 knives or a pastry cutter, until the mixture becomes crumbly.

Mix until crumbly

Mix until crumbly

 

Add egg yolk and vanilla

Add egg yolk and vanilla

Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix them in. The mixture won’t form into to a ball, so just expect ti to be a little moist, but not really firm.

 

Press pastry into the pan

Press pastry into the pan

Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the pan, flattening with a spoon. Bake for 30 minutes, or until you can press the crust, and it will make a slight indentation. It should be lightly browned.

 

Spread the jam on top the crust

Spread the jam on top the crust

Spread the fig jam on top of the crust, working to make it as even as possible.

Fig jam~ try to spread it evenly

Fig jam~ try to spread it evenly

 

Sprinkle remaining pastry crumbs on top

Sprinkle remaining pastry crumbs on top

Sprinkle the remainder of the pastry evenly on top of the jam, and return to the oven for about 40 minutes, or until browned on top. Allow to cool, then cut into 1½-inch squares.

 

Fig bars with thyme and lemon

Fig bars with thyme and lemon

Serve and enjoy!

 

Fig bars with thyme and lemon~ sweet and healthy

Fig bars with thyme and lemon~ sweet and healthy

I’ve been keeping them refrigerated, tightly covered. They’re also  delicious with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla yogurt!