Posts tagged ‘appetizer’

April 20, 2011

Panzanella

Panzanella

It’s cold. It’s rainy. It doesn’t feel like spring at all. Welcome to the Midwest. On weeks like these, I turn up the thermostat to 80, put on shorts, turn up the reggae  and dance around my house while cooking up something summery and pretending it’s sunny and beautiful outside. During one particular occasion, I decided to be ‘Italian’ and make a beautiful Panzanella. This light summery salad is a perfect way to forget a cold rainy day. The thing I love most about it is that it’s different. It’s not your typical ‘lettuce and tomato’ salad (though there’s nothing wrong with typical salads when you’re craving them), and the  fact that it has the toasted bread makes it able to be a meal all in itself. This salad is definitely a keeper in my salad repertoire.

Panzanella

Ingredients

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (I like to use a combination of purple or yellow or orange, to nicely colorize the dish)
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette


1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Source: Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

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February 2, 2011

Red Pepper and Leek Mini-Quiches

 

Leek and Red Pepper Mini Quiches

This is one of the last recipes  that I plan on posting from my sister-in-law’s baby shower…but I just had to post it. These were so delicious that my husband even ate a few and he absolutely refuses to eat quiche usually. Truth be told, I have never cooked with leeks but that has now changed since making these. Smelling the leeks while cooking the quiches, I knew that this was going to be good.

These would be perfect as a fancy brunch dish or just a good start to a weekend. I’m looking forward to trying out different combination of vegetables in them.

Leek and Red Pepper Mini Quiches

Ingredients

For the cheddar pastry

1/4 lb. white cheddar cheese, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 3 Tbs. cold water

For the filling:
1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 leek, white portion only, or 2 large shallots, finely chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 lb. dry-aged white cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

To make the cheddar pastry, in a food processor, pulse the cheese until crumbly. Add the flour and salt and pulse until the cheese is finely crumbled. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fluffy bread crumbs. Drizzle the egg over the mixture and pulse twice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. water over the mixture and pulse until a rough mass forms. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add another 1 Tbs. water.

Place the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a smooth ball. Divide in half. Roll out half the pastry into a large round 1/8 inch thick, pushing the dough outward from the center and rotating it about a quarter turn each time you roll, sprinkling more flour underneath as needed.

Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many pastry rounds as possible and ease them very gently into the cups of a mini-muffin pan. The bottoms should remain rounded and the dough edges flush with the rims. Gather up the scraps, reroll, cut out additional rounds and line additional cups. Repeat with the remaining dough half, working in batches if necessary. You should have a total of 48 lined cups.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

To make the filling, in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and sauté gently, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the bell pepper and cheese. In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until blended, then whisk in the cream, mustard, salt and cayenne. Add the egg mixture to the leek mixture and whisk to combine. Pour 1 Tbs. of the filling into each of the pastry shells, evenly distributing the solids and liquid.

Bake the quiches until they are puffy and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes (the quiches will sink a little as they cool). To loosen them from the muffin cups, run a thin-bladed knife around the sides, then carefully lift the quiches out of the cups. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Makes 48 warm bites.

Source: Williams Sonoma