Spinach and Corn Strudel

Spinach and Corn Strudel

This is fun and easy. The fillings can be changed to reflect the season. I have made this with mushroom, seafood and other seasonal vegetables. The first time I served this I made a fresh tomato sauce but it works just as well with a good salsa or pasta sauce.

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Ingredients

1 cup part skim ricotta
2 Tbs Parmesan grated cheese
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
nutmeg to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps olive oil
8 oz fresh mushrooms
5 cups raw spinach leaves
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
4 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 cups fresh tomato sauce, salsa or canned tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce

3 medium tomatoes
salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Pepper taste
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar
6 fresh basil leaves

Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, chill them in an ice bath, and remove their skins and seeds.

In a blender or food processor, puree the tomato flesh for about 5 seconds. Add the salt, sugar and pepper.

with the machine running, slowly add the oil and vinegar, blending for 2 to 3 minutes to make a smooth mixture.

Pour into a bowl and stir in the basil.

Preparation

Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly flour a sheet pan.

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, corn, egg whites, lemon zest, nutmeg and seasoning until well combined. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the spinach over medium heat, stirring for about 3-5 minutes. Dry the spinach by wrapping in a cloth towel and squeezing gently. Chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

While the spinach is drying, saute the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of oil, make sure to drain off any excess liquid.

Brush a sheet of phyllo with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Place a second sheet on top of the first and brush it with another tablespoon of melted butter. Repeat with the other sheets.

With the long side of the phyllo toward you, spoon the ricotta mixture on the bottom third of the phyllo dough. Spread spinach and mushrooms on top. Top with the mozzarella shreds.

Roll the phyllo up from the bottom, like a log, tucking the sides in so the filling won’t fall out.. Place the roll on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden.

The serve, ladle the tomato sauce onto 4 plates. Cut 4 slightly diagonal 1 inch crosswise slices of strudel.Place each one a bit off center and cut side up so the pinwheel design of the filling shows. Slices the remaining strudel into 4 pieces, each with a straight crosswise edge and a slightly diagonal edge. Stand one slice on its straight edge and one slice laying down, on the plate.

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Overnight Yeast Risen Waffles

Overnight Yeast Risen Waffles

These are simply some of the BEST waffles. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside with a wonderful yeasty tang to them. Perfect for a weekend brunch. You make these the night before and then in the morning jut add the eggs and baking soda! I served with a homemade strawberry compote. This is adapted from the New York times. I forgot to take a lot of photos but trust me. You want to make these!

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INGREDIENTS

2 ¼  cups milk
1  stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1  package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2  large eggs (beaten)
¼  teaspoon baking soda

PREPARATION

In a small pot over medium heat, combine milk and butter until melted and hot but not simmering. Stir in sugar and salt; remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm water and yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add warm milk mixture to yeast and stir. Whisk in flours. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat waffle iron. Whisk eggs and baking soda into waffle batter. I sort of folded mine in. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray.  Cook waffles (using about 1/2 cup batter per waffle) until golden and crisp. Butter or spray the iron in between batches as needed. Serve waffles immediately as they are ready, or keep them warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve.

Summer Vegetable Galette

Summer Vegetable Galette

This wonderful recipe comes from a blog “The view from Great Island”. This is a great way to use up extra zucchini and squash. I want to make a roasted tomato version as well! Make sure your veggies are thinly sliced. A mandoline slicer is very helpful. I served this with a tomato salad.

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Ingredients

crust
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut in small pieces
  • 5 Tbsp cold water
filling
  • approximately 3 ounces spreadable goat cheese
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1 small new potato
  • thin slices of red onion about 1/2 a small red onion
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the chunks of cold butter and pulse about 25 times, or until combined and crumbly. Drizzle in the water while pulsing, and run the machine briefly until the dough comes together in a lump, this should not take more than 15-30 seconds.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and bring together into a flat round disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F
  4. Slice the squash and potato on a mandoline slicer at set at 1/8 inch thickness. If you are using a knife, slice them as thin as you can so they are flexible and translucent.
  5. Roll the dough out on a sheet of parchment paper that is cut to fit a baking sheet. Roll it to about a 12 inch circle, more or less.
  6. Spread the soft goat cheese over the surface of your dough, leaving a border of dough free so you can roll it later.
  7. Arrange your sliced veggies over the cheese, overlapping them. You will probably not need all of them, I made a fairly thin layer. Separate the rings of the onion slices and feather them over the top. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Roll up the edges of the dough to meet the filling. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Note: keep your dough chilled at all times before baking. If you need to you can put the whole tray in the refrigerator while your oven heats up.
  9. Bake for about 33-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. I like to take the parchment paper and set it right on the rack of my oven for a great crisp crust. If you have a pizza stone you can use that.
  10. Slice and serve the tart hot or at room temperature.
Risotto with Fresh Corn and Basil Oil

Risotto with Fresh Corn and Basil Oil

This has all the wonderful tastes of summer in one dish. Super easy and a nice meal with a side salad of tomatoes and a glass of white wine

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kernels from  ears of corn
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives

Directions

In a blender, combine the chopped basil and olive oil and process until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and maintain a simmer.

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, stir to coat, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the rice and stir until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the simmering broth a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the broth is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next ladleful. After 10 minutes, stir in the corn. After about 20 minutes, the rice should be tender to the bite and creamy. If you need more liquid, use more broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chives and 2 Tbs. of the basil oil. Divide among bowls, drizzle with more basil oil, garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Baked Greek Chicken

Baked Greek Chicken

This is lemony, tangy goodness. An easy weeknight dinner. Serve over rice with some homemade pita bread.

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Ingredients

  • chicken, boneless thighs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice and zest
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • smoked paprika
  • Williams-Sonoma lemon garlic seasoning

Instructions

In a bowl whisk together the plain Greek yogurt along with the olive oil, garlic, zest and juice from a lemon, the red pepper flakes, chopped fresh oregano, parsley and kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and marinate for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Use cooking spray or olive oil and coat the inside of a baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika, lemon-garlic seasoning and feta cheese.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes-1 hour or until golden brown and chicken has 165°F internal temperature

Cucumber and Avocado Bisque

Cucumber and Avocado Bisque

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This is the perfect creamy, cold soup to serve on a hot day. Super simple to make with just a few ingredients. My husband hates cucumbers and he loved this. I topped with blue cheese and a drizzle of lemon balsamic vinegar. This came from a cookbook I just finished, “Big East Forkful” with recipes from Jim Leeson’s kitchen. This recipe may have originally come from Maude’s Courtyard – a favorite Nashville restaurant when I first arrived here in 1981. The original recipe calls for European seedless cucumbers but I used seedless Persian cucumbers and it tasted perfect.  I tweaked the recipe to my own tastes- added more avocado and I did not salt and leave the cucumbers sit.. The KEY is seedless cucumbers. I have included the original recipe card. This is a great cookbook filled with simple, country recipes.

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Ingredients

1 Medium seedless European (or Persian) cucumber, chopped
1 Medium ripe avocado, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 Cup Chicken stock
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
1/2 tsp Salt

Blend all ingredients and chill. Serve garnished with blue cheese and drizzle with lemon balsamic vinegar.

Pita Bread

Pita Bread

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I know what you are saying… why would I make it when I can just buy a bag in the store? But then you would never know the delicious, habit forming, and really pretty easy, joy of making it and eating it fresh and warm from the oven. These are warm, doughy bits of deliciousness. Please try!!! From the New York Times recipe. My brother and sister-in-law introduced me to this recipe and it is very easy. I have used a pizza stone and a cookie sheet and the pizza stone does work best.

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INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purposed flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

PREPARATION

Step 1
Make sponge: Put 1 cup lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl.
Add yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add the whole-wheat flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and whisk together. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place, uncovered, until mixture is frothy and bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Step 2
Add salt, olive oil and nearly all remaining all-purpose flour (reserve 1/2 cup) ]. With a wooden spoon or a pair of chopsticks, stir until mixture forms a shaggy mass. Dust with a little reserved flour, then knead in bowl for 1 minute, incorporating any stray bits of dry dough.

Step 3
Turn dough onto work surface. Knead lightly for 2 minutes, until smooth. Cover and let rest 10 minutes, then knead again for 2 minutes. Try not to add too much reserved flour; the dough should be soft and a bit moist. (At this point, dough may refrigerated in a large zippered plastic bag for several hours or overnight. Bring dough back to room temperature, knead into a ball and proceed with recipe.)

Step 4
Clean the mixing bowl and put dough back in it. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then cover with a towel. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place. Leave until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Step 5
Heat oven to 475 degrees. On bottom shelf of oven, place a heavy-duty baking sheet, large cast-iron pan or ceramic baking  tile. Punch down dough and divide into 8 pieces of equal size. Form each piece into a little ball. Place dough balls on work surface, cover with a damp towel and leave for 10 minutes.

Step 6
Remove 1 ball (keeping others covered) and press into a flat disc with rolling pin. Roll to a 6-inch circle, then to an 8-inch diameter, about 1/8 inch thick, dusting with flour if necessary. (The dough will shrink a bit while baking.)

Step 7
Carefully lift the dough circle and place quickly on hot baking sheet. After 2 minutes the dough should be nicely puffed. Turn over with tongs or spatula and bake 1 minute more. The pita should be pale, with only a few brown speckles. Transfer warm pita to a napkin-lined basket and cover so bread stays soft. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

8 six-inch diameter breads