Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grilled Summer Salad

4-5 summer squash of different kinds, sliced thickly lengthwise
1 large sweet onion, sliced into disks
Olive oil (extra virgin)
1 teaspoon salt
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 ounces soft goat cheese

Rub olive oil over the sliced squash and onion slices, using as much as you need. Grill them on your BBQ on high for a couple of minutes per side (make sure you get nice grill marks). Let them cool, then cut them all into manageable salad-sized pieces and place in a salad bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients and toss together, drizzling more olive oil in if it looks too dry. 

This can sit in the fridge, but if it's going to be a while before you eat it, don't add the salt or goat cheese until right before serving.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Creamy Swiss Chard Souffle

I'm having to watch my weight a bit, so please excuse the calorie counting. (Has anyone noticed that I like the word "cream" a lot? That could explain the extra weight...)

1 bunch Swiss Chard
1 half white or yellow onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry
1/4 cup flour
5 eggs
2 ounces crumbled feta
2 tablespoons pine nuts
a small handful of fresh dill
a small handful of fresh parsley
zest of half of a lemon
a dash of nutmeg
a teaspoon of black pepper (or to taste)
a teaspoon of garlic salt (or to taste)
9 inch deep pan, I used a square glass one
(see below for sauce ingredients)

Preheat over to 350 or 375 depending on how hot your oven runs

Remove the stems from the chard leaves and chop fine. Also chop the onion up and saute them both in the olive oil on med-high heat until soft, adding the sherry and sprinkling with a pinch of salt about halfway through. After about ten minutes or so, add the rest of the chopped chard leaves and take off the heat and cover, letting the leaves just steam for a few minutes. Let it all cool.

Beat the five egg whites until stiff.

In a bowl mix the 5 egg yolks with the rest of the flavorings, pine nuts and feta etc., then toss with the flour and the cooked and cooled chard mixture (but don't add the liquid that has come out of the chard though). Stir in a 1/4 of the egg whites, then fold the rest in gently as you would for any souffle. 

Spray the pan (9x9-ish) with a bit with PAM or something then fill and bake for about 45 minutes. The top should be brown and the middle moist, but not soupy.

For bechamel-like sauce (to add the nice creamy element), cook 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon olive oil on med-high for a minute until bubbly, then add a scant cup of skim milk and a pinch of salt and pepper and a dash of Tabasco and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thick.

Cut the slightly cooled souffle into four pieces and top each with bechamel.

275 calories per serving OR 220 calories per serving without the sauce

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Golden Squash Dinner Rolls, Two Versions

For this recipe, you can either make the squash rolls, or you can fancy them up with bacon and sage if you want a sweet/savory breakfast roll.


1 little block of fresh yeast, or 2 packets of dried yeast
5 cups of flour, plus 1 cup or more for kneading (dough is supposed to be very soft though)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup Irish or other grass fed butter, melted
1 1/2 cups of cooked and pureed Kabocha squash (or any other winter squash, pumpkin, or yam)

1 egg yolk
1 cup of whole milk, warmed up a little

For the bacon rolls alternative:
1 lb. bacon slices, chopped up, fried up and drained
12 sage leaves

Dissolve the yeast in a little lukewarm water, then add with all the rest of the ingredients in a stand mixer and mix it up with your bread hook. (Or just do it by hand.) The dough is really soft and sticky, that's okay. 

Scoop it out into an oiled bowl, cover it with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for at least one hour, or until almost doubled in size. Then, adding a bit of flour as needed, knead gently with your fists for a minute or two on a well floured board, or just do it in the bowl if you don't want to make a mess.

You can form the rolls easily if you keep your hands floured or oiled- cut the dough into four equal chunks, then cut each of the four again, and then again, for 32 total rolls. You can look up how to shape dinner rolls on Youtube if you don't know how to do this, but take each piece then fold up the edges and form it into a nice ball by stretching the top smooth and tucking the edges under. (for bacon version, squish some of the cooked bacon pieces into the middle of the dough.)

If you have one really big baking sheet they will all fit on one pan, just really close together, but I think doing 16 per regular  sized baking sheet is perfect. I also use parchment paper to line the pan becasue the dough is so soft.

Alternately, you can split the dough into two parts and make 12-16 rolls out of one half, and use the other half of the dough to make cinnamon rolls the next morning. 

Let them rise in a warm place until they puff up nicely, mine usually take at least 30 minutes. Brush the tops with melted butter and for the bacon version, place a large buttered sage leaf on top of each. You can also dust the plain ones with flour if you like that look.

Bake them at 350 for 20 minutes in a convection over (or a little more if you make the 12 giant ones) until they are nice golden brown on top. In my regular oven they took almost 30 minutes on 375, so just keep an eye on the color, your oven might be different.

These are so good with nothing on them, but of course they are best sliced in half and served with lots of good honey. 

If you're doing the bacon breakfast version, cut them in half and put scrambled eggs and a slice of cheese inside and just a splash of maple syrup to make a breakfast sandwich.