Saturday, January 21, 2017

Italian Greens Salad with Sauteed Apple, Crispy Bacon and Aged Gouda

Waiting to be tossed

This is our new, favorite salad.  Been making it throughout the holidays and into the new year.  A good fall and winter salad.

You can tell from the lighting in my photos that we are cooking when it is dark outside this time of year.  Rather depressing.  But this salad is bright and homey at the same time.  We really like it.
Image result for wegmans italian greens mix
A mix of romaine, endive and radicchio Italian greens hold up well to the bacon, sauteed apple and aged Gouda cheese.  Or you can use escarole.

The salad dressing is sweet and spicy, because it is made with Dijon mustard and maple syrup.  It goes well with the apples and the bacon.

Only make this with real maple syrup.  And look for extra-aged Gouda in the cheese section. Smoked bacon works best, but anything you have will do.

Italian Greens Salad with Sauteed Apple, Crispy Bacon, and Aged Gouda
(adapted from Fine Cooking, Dec 2016/Jan 2017)

Serves 4

1 8 oz bag of Italian Blend Salad Greens
(or 8 cups of cored and chopped escarole)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 T. pure maple syrup
1 T. Dijon mustard
4 slices of bacon
1 large crisp apple, cored and sliced into wedges
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) coarsely grated, aged Gouda
salt and pepper to taste

In a large salad bowl, add the chopped greens.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard.

In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, to render out the fat, until crispy.  Remove from the skillet to a paper towel to drain and cool.
Drain off the fat, then add the apples, placing them one side down, and cook over medium heat until browned, then flip them over and brown the other side.  You want them to start to caramelize and start to soften, but not get mushy.  Takes about 3 minutes per side, a total of 7 minutes to get them softened and brown.

Scrape the apples from the skillet over the greens, then break up the bacon into bite size bits over the apples, then grate the aged Gouda cheese over the top. Season with salt and pepper. (we didn't need anything but pepper due to saltiness of the bacon.)

At the table, add the dressing, then toss it together and serve.

If you want a more wilted salad, then you can add the dressing to the hot apples in the skillet, and then pour it over the greens, before adding the bacon and cheese.  Season. Then toss together and serve.

Both ways are good.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

8th Anniversary for Feast Everyday

First post was about the value of good rice

Wow, it has been 8 years ago today that Feast Everyday has been in existence. Started it January 17th, 2009.

It was fun to read the first post and the related comments from Anne and Emily.  Click here:

706 posts later.  Which means we must have over 700 recipes now available to use.  

Thanks to everyone who has participated.

I hope you will help me keep it going in 2017 by sharing recipes, links, your favorite products and tools, or good stories.

And, a special thank you to my husband, Tom, who has been a good sport and a regular contributor to Feast Everyday.

Happy 8th Birthday, Feast Everyday!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Noosa Yoghurt

Made with A Touch of Honey
Thick and Extra Creamy

I discovered Noosa yoghurt in a grocery store in a tiny town in Iowa when we were on a driving trip across the Midwest to the Dakotas last fall.  It is made in Colorado by a woman who is an Aussie ex-pat and local dairyman.

I felt guilty about liking it so much because Greek yogurt is crucial to our dairy industry here in New York state.  And I thought that it was going to be only available west of the Mississippi.

To my surprise, when we got home, I discovered that Wegman's has it, but it is tucked away, in the corner, far away from my usual brands.

And they have added smaller 4-packs in 2 flavors over the last few months.  

And then I saw it at Target, in some additional flavors, like Passion Fruit and Pumpkin.  

If you go to their website, you can sign up a friend for a coupon for a free sample to try it.  

It is a very cute and fun website, just like the packaging.

Yes, it is a little pricier than the more popular brands, but it is good for you and a real treat.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Molasses Cookies (with Coconut Oil)

Good to know that you can substitute coconut oil for the Crisco shortening in the recipe on the Grandma's jar. Made them twice this way.

The second time, I learned to melt the coconut oil in the microwave before adding, to make the dough easier to work with.
A simple, flavorful cookie.  Dusted them with sparkling sugar for an extra touch. (Instead of sprinkling them with water, as the original recipe suggests.)

Molasses Cookies
(adapted from the jar of Grandma's Molasses)

3/4 cup softened coconut oil (or shortening like Crisco)
1 cup light brown sugar packed (dark works well too)
1 egg (at room temperature)
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cloves
1 t. cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese)
1 t. dried ginger powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a microwave safe vessel, like a Pyrex measuring cup, soften the coconut oil in the microwave until smooth and almost transparent.  Heat for 10 seconds at a time and check.  You want it to be fluid but not too hot.  Cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and the sugar, then add the molasses and whisk, and then the softened coconut oil.  The residual heat from the coconut oil will help with incorporating the molasses into the mixture and keep it all smooth.  But don't worry if you get a few globs.  Do your best to incorporate it all together.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.

Gently stir in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to create a dough.

My dough was ready right away to form into balls.  You can chill it it you want or need to.

Roll into balls about the size of a walnut, and then roll them in sparkling sugar or any coarse sugar, like demerara or turbinado.

Place them in rows on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Let them cool for 5 minutes or so, then using a spatula, remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

And they froze well, too.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies by Tom

Recently we were watching " The Great American Baking Show" and one of the contestants was making a chocolate cake flavored with peppermint.  I thought this sounded pretty good and guessed I would be able to find many recipes that used both ingredients in order to make cookies.  I was right! 

But the one I found, and ultimately modified, started off as a gluten-free recipe from Heartbeet Kitchen.  The pictures made their cookies look really good. 

What I am offering today is a modification of the Heartbeet Kitchen gluten-free chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies.  If you want to use the gluten-free recipe, just substitute teff flour for wheat flour.

The finished product was very fudgy and full of peppermint flavor.  This was exactly what I was aiming for.


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Makes approx. 40 cookies

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 1/2 ounces dark chocolate
2 large eggs
1 egg white
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark, Dutch processed cocoa powder
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (I actually think the recipe would benefit from increasing the amount of flour.  More discussion below.)
1 tablespoon corn starch
pinch of salt
1 drop peppermint oil, or 1 1/4 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
powdered confectioners sugar for rolling the cookie dough balls in

Over low heat, melt the butter and dark chocolate in a small sauce pan.  It is very important to constantly stir the entire time.  Once the chocolate is just melted, remove from the heat and set aside for at least 3 minutes to cool.

In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs, egg white and sugar until light colored and frothy with little bubbles sneaking out of the top.  I found it easiest to do this in our stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment.

Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture and continue whisking to incorporate.

Add the cocoa powder and stir.  Next add the flour in two additions.  Then the corn starch, salt and peppermint.  Whisking the whole time until there are no more streaks of flour visible.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and freeze for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

(Baker's note:  Before freezing, the batter will be very loose.  In fact, I think too loose requiring more flour.  Although I did not add more flour this time and the cookies turned out just fine, the cookie batter was extremely hard to work with even after being in the freezer for 20 minutes.  The next time I make these I will add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour to stiffen the batter a bit more.)

When the cookie batter is done in the freezer, use a cookie scoop or teaspoon to make tablespoon sized balls.  Drop the balls in the confectioners sugar and roll around until completely covered.  Place on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and lightly press down to slightly flatten the cookies.

Bake for 11 minutes and take out from the oven.  Cool initially on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack.

The only difficult part of this recipe was actually handling the cookie dough.  It was extremely sticky, and that made it hard to actually roll a ball.  The warmer the dough became, the stickier it got.  So it was important to keep the unused dough in the freezer while a cookie sheet was baking.

But even with this handicap, the cookies tasted great.  I will definitely make these cookies again.