About Jeannine

Hi, I'm the Jeannine behind Jeannine's Cuisine. My blog is all about cooking from scratch with the freshest ingredients available.

Savory Oatmeal with Kale and Mushrooms

Savory Oatmeal 2

Breakfast – for some people it’s as easy as opening a box of cereal and pouring on the milk. For me, it’s never been that simple. For all you cereal lovers out there, I’m sorry, but I just can’t stand cold cereal. It was the breakfast of choice for my busy parents to feed us as kids, but somewhere on the way to growing up, I liked it less and less until it reached the point that I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I decided to rebel.

Savory Oatmeal 4

 

My father and I always enjoyed something else for breakfast on the weekends after watching Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, our favorite cartoon. Breakfast might be Pop Tarts, or toast with peanut butter or Cheese Whiz. It was NEVER cereal. So, that fateful morning I told my mother I was not going to eat cereal, that I wanted something else for breakfast instead. The answer was not what I wanted to hear: my mother told me I would sit at that table until I finished my cereal, “or else.” Well, my dislike for cereal was certainly stronger than my desire to go to school. Duh! So hours later, well after school had started, there I sat in front of a bowl of really soggy cereal. I never ate cold cereal again.

Savory Oatmeal 3

These days I’m always on the lookout for decent dishes to make for breakfast that are relatively healthy and don’t take a ton of work. I still dislike cold cereal, but have gradually started to add hot cereal or grain bowls to my breakfast selections. I’ve always been more about savory than sweet, and breakfast is no different. So when I came across a recipe for savory oatmeal, I had to try it.

This oatmeal is delicious. It really tastes more like a rice bowl than oatmeal. I made it even more so by adding some soy sauce and a splash of Siracha sauce. Yes, I’m weird that way.

Savory Oatmeal 1

Savory Oatmeal with Kale and Mushrooms

4 Servings

The only drawback to this dish is that steel cut oats take a little time to cook. I made this the day before I planned to eat it and it warmed up in the microwave just fine. Oats are supposedly easier to digest if they are soaked even for a short time before cooking them, if not overnight. I soaked them for the time it took me to chop and sauté the vegetables. Place the oats in a bowl, cover with water, add a tablespoon of cider vinegar and soak for the length of time you have available, up to over night. Gomasio is a dry Asian condiment made of sesame seeds, seaweed, and salt. You can substitute sesame seeds of you don’t have it.

1 cup steel cut oats

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

pinch of red pepper flakes

1 bunch kale, stems stripped and discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced

1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted

Gomasio or sesame seeds for sprinkling

Place the oats in a large saucepan (preferably non-stick) with 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 30–60 seconds. Add the kale and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté 6–8 minutes, until tender.

Divide the oats between four bowls. Top with the sautéed vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with toasted walnuts and sprinkle with Gomasio.

Adapted from Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman

Props used in the photos courtesy of Brian & Herma Leak

Salt-Crusted Caraway Rye Bread

 

Rye Bread 1

This year we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving at one of my favorite restaurants, The Inn at Little Washington. Unfortunately, the visit to the restaurant coincided with my recent return from a trip to Africa, where I picked up a pretty nasty bug that accompanied me home, where it continued to wreak havoc on my digestive system for weeks. As anyone who has been there knows, the restaurant is not cheap and is best reserved for special occasions for that reason. So imagine my dismay when I could barely get through the meal. Fortunately the obliging and very well-trained wait staff packed up my Thanksgiving dinner for me to take home. It was just as good the next day, even if I wasn’t eating it in such elegant surroundings.

Rye Bread 4

Fortunately, I could eat bread in spite of being so sick. This bread was served with several others in the bread basket at the restaurant. All were really good, but this one was a standout for both me and my husband. The crunch of the salt and the caraway seeds on the outside was a nice contrast to the currants and nuts in the bread, and butter only made it better. Weeks later, when I volunteered to take an appetizer to a dinner party, this bread with a couple of different spreads was what I chose to take.

Rye Bread 2

 

Salt Crusted Caraway Rye Bread

3 Cocktail Size Loaves

I served this bread at a dinner party as an appetizer with the smoked trout spread from an earlier post and with honey butter, both to rave reviews from the dinner guests. The bread also works well with thin slices of cheese or smoked salmon. It also freezes well, making it ideal to have on hand for unexpected guests.

1 tablespoon yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

7 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds, divided

1 tablespoon salt

2 1/2 cups rye flour

3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

2 cups warm (95 degrees) water

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup dried currants

1/4 cup kosher salt

Combine the yeast, sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the caraway seeds, the tablespoon of salt and both flours in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until thoroughly combined then slowly add the warm water with the mixer running. Continue to mix until the dough forms a ball and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Add the pecans and currants and continue to mix for an additional 2 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, wipe out the bowl and spray it with cooking spray. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a towel and set in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down, divide into thirds and form each into a slender loaf about 12 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Combine the kosher salt and the remaining caraway seeds in a small bowl. Brush the loaves with water and coat them with the caraway seed mixture, using your fingers to pat as much of the mixture as possible into the dough, as shown in the photo below.

Rye Bread 3

Place the loaves on a lightly greased sheet pan and set in a warm place for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 30 minutes, turning the pan every 10 minutes so they brown evenly. Cool on a wire rack.

Adapted from The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook by Patrick O’Connell

 

Smoked Trout Spread – Michigan Style

Fish Dip 1

Today’s recipe comes from historic Fishtown in Leland, Michigan. Fishtown was an active fishing village in Northern Michigan in the early 1900s, and today it remains as one of the only working commercial fishing villages in Michigan. These days, the fishing shanties on the dock are more likely to house chic boutiques and specialty food shops. However, you can still walk along the docks and observe smoke coming from the smokehouses, fishnets drying in the sun, and the fishing tugs coming in. Fishtown was designated as a Michigan State Historic Site in 1973 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Fish Town

One of my favorite places for food and drink in Leland is the Cove, located right at the head of Fishtown, overlooking Lake Michigan. The ambience is great, the food delicious, and the beer is cold. However, the Cove is probably most famous for the Chubby Mary, an over-the-top Bloody Mary with a smoked chub poking out of the glass. Whaaat? Is that a fish in that drink? Trust me folks; the tomato juice, horseradish, lime and lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce soak up the smokiness of the fish, and it’s delicious. Mario Batali, who settled in the area, thinks so too, so it has to be good, right?

Chubby Mary

Another Fishtown special is Smoked Whitefish Spread. Smoked whitefish is a little hard to come by in Northern Virginia, so I make this with smoked trout with excellent results. There are variations of this recipe everywhere, but the foundation is the same for all – smoked whitefish is combined with something creamy and some seasonings to make a spread that will go with everything from tortilla chips to rye bread. It’s the perfect appetizer for your next dinner party. With a salad and some bread or crackers, it also makes a pretty decent lunch or snack.

Fish Dip 2

Smoked Trout Spread

8-10 Servings

You can experiment with various kinds of smoked fish for this recipe. The original calls for whitefish, but smoked trout, mackerel, and smoked salmon would work ask well. I used one package of smoked trout filets with good results. Serve with thin slices of cocktail bread, crackers, or crudites.

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt

Splash of Tabasco

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt to taste

2 scallions

8 ounces smoked trout (or other smoked fish)

Peel the skin off the fish, remove any pin bones and flake into a bowl, using your fingers to break the fish into tiny pieces.

Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add the yogurt, Tabasco, lemon juice, and salt and stir until smooth and completely blended. Fold in the scallions and trout until distributed completely throughout the mixure. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Fish Dip 3

 

Swiss Chard Gratin

Chard 1

Many years ago, well before I even knew I wanted to go to culinary school, I bought a book called Le Cordon Bleu At Home. It’s a huge book with a series of “lessons” that are supposed to take your cooking from simple to spectacular, Cordon Bleu style. I don’t know about that. Some of the recipes in the first couple of lessons are well above what I would define as beginner level, especially for someone who does not already know how to cook. But I’ve always loved Cordon Bleu cookbooks, for consistently reliable recipes and this one is no different. I make it every year and it has been delicious every time.

Chard 2

My husband often jokes about my 5-year recipe rotation. He’s right. I love experimenting with food and trying new recipes. However, once in awhile a recipe becomes a keeper, and I end up making it frequently.

This is one of those recipes. I grow chard every year and usually have an abundance of it. I’m always on the look out for a new recipe to take chard to the next level. In this case, chard leaves and stems are first blanched then mixed with a creamy béchamel sauce, topped with cheese, and baked until golden and bubbly. Yum, yum, yum!

Chard 3

Swiss Chard Gratin

6-8 Servings

I like to use rainbow chard for this recipe, but any chard will do. You could probably use kale if you prefer. I use a large oval 10-by-15 gratin dish for this, but you can also use a regular 9-by-13 dish. The recipe makes a lot, but it freezes well, so don’t worry about the leftovers.

Salt

2 pounds Swiss chard

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

white pepper

3/4 cup crème fraiche, divided

1/4 cup flour

1 3/4 cups milk

pinch ground nutmeg

1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 425. Butter the dish you plan to use for the gratin.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the chard leaves from the stalks. Tear the leaves into pieces and set aside. Cut the stalks into 2-inch lengths and add to the boiling water. Return the water to a boil and cook the stalks 8 minutes. Add the chard leaves to the pot cook another 2-3 minutes. Drain the chard and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a frying pan over high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid and it has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup crème fraiche and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to make a thick paste. Slowly add the milk a splash at a time, whisking the mixture after each addition. Add salt, pepper, and the nutmeg, and cook the béchamel sauce until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup crème fraiche.

Squeeze as much water out of the chard as possible, roughly chop it and place in a bowl with one half of the béchamel sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Spread half of the chard mixture in the gratin dish. Top with the mushrooms then the remaining chard mixture. Spread the remaining béchamel over the top and sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 10-15 minutes.

Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu at Home by Le Cordon Bleu

 

 

 

Orange-Scented Baklava with Almonds and Hazelnuts

Baklava 1

In about 2 weeks, my husband and I will be departing for Athens, Greece, to explore cruising for the first time. We decided on a week-long cruise that begins in Athens and ends up in Venice, Italy. We’ve also added a few extra days at the beginning and end to extend the trip. It’s a vacation that we have been looking forward to for a long time.

With the Mediterranean on my mind, I’ve been reading a lot of Mediterranean cookbooks lately. The upcoming trip has definitely had an influence on my cooking as well.

Baklava 3

This baklava is a little different than what you typically find in a standard Greek restaurant. It includes the addition of cinnamon, cloves, and orange, which gives it an almost exotic flavor. Additionally, rather than the usual walnuts, it includes almonds and hazelnuts. Do not be put off by working with filo; yes, it can be a little tedious, but the end result is so worth it.

I used Flor di Sicilia in this dessert. It’s an orange and vanilla flavoring available from King Arthur Flour. It’s wonderful in this baklava, and I can’t wait to try it in other dishes. It’s pretty strong, so a little goes a long way.

Baklava 2

Orange-Scented Baklava with Almonds and Hazelnuts

18 Pieces

If you don’t have or can’t get the Flor di Sicilia, you can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons of orange flower water. Allow frozen filo to thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator. It will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours to bring it to room temperature.

1 cup whole almonds

1 cup hazelnuts

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 pound filo, room temperature

6 tablespoon butter, melted

3/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon King Arthur Flour Flor di Sicilia

Place the nuts in a bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Take out 3 tablespoons of the nuts and set them aside to be used for garnish. Add the spices and the sugar to the nuts in the processor bowl and pulse to blend. Transfer the nut mixture to a medium size bowl.

Remove the filo from the box and trim it so that all the sheets fit in an 8-inch square baking pan. (I used a standard Pyrex one.) Use one of the filo sheets to check the size of your pan. You don’t want it creeping up the sides of the pan. Cover the stack of filo with plastic wrap and a damp towel. You’ll need to make sure you keep it covered as you are working with it, so avoid having it dry out and break.

Place a sheet of filo in the bottom of the pan and brush it lightly with melted butter. The six tablespoons should be just enough butter to assemble the baklava, without it becoming a greasy, soggy mess. Add another layer of filo and brush with butter. Continue until you have six sheets of filo in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the filo with 1/3 cup of the nut mixture. Top with three more sheets of buttered filo, then another 1/3 cup nut mixture. Continue with the three sheets of filo and 1/3 cup nuts until you have used all the nuts. Ideally you will have seven layers of nut filling. Top the last layer of nuts with 6 more sheets of buttered filo as you did in the beginning. Place the pan of baklava in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will make it easier to cut.

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat it to 350 degrees. Remove the baklava from the freezer. The butter is now cold enough to cut the baklava without smashing it or having it bounce out of the pan. If a piece does come out, just place it back where it belongs. Using a long thin serrated knife (a steak knife or a tomato knife is good for this) cut the baklava into thirds all the way through to the bottom. Rotate the pan 90 degrees and cut it into thirds again. You should have nine squares. Cut each square in half on the diagonal. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes more. Allow the baklava to cool.

When the baklava is almost cool, make the syrup by heating the honey in a saucepan on the stove until it begins to simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Flor de Sicilia or orange water. Pour this mixture over the cooled baklava and sprinkle with the remaining nuts. Allow the baklava to sit uncovered at room temperature for at least 2–3 hours; however, 8 hours is best.

To serve run a knife along the cut marks and gently lift the baklava out of the pan. Allow one to two triangles per serving. You can store the baklava loosely covered at room temperature for 5 days. You can also double-wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it.

Adapted from Desserts – Mediterranean Flavors, California Style by Cindy Mushet

Cheeseburger Quinoa Bake – How I Convinced my Husband to Eat Quinoa

Quinoa 1

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of cookbooks. I have quite a collection that varies depending on where I’m traveling or what is influencing me at the time.

Lately, that influence has been taking a closer look at what we eat with an eye to doing a little tweaking. Although our meals are generally pretty healthy — we try to avoid processed foods and consume a lot of vegetables, there is definitely room for improvement. It was a pretty busy Spring, and with not as much time to cook, those cheat days start slipping into cheat weeks. Plus, we’re going on a Mediterranean cruise later this summer, and it would be really nice to avoid having to buy a new (larger) swimsuit.

Quinoa 3

A couple of weeks ago, I was surfing around on Amazon and found a cookbook called “The Dude Diet,” by Serena Wolf. Normally I would skip right over any cookbook with the word “diet” in the title, much less “dude.” However, having just consumed a plate of nachos at Chilis and with that cruise looming, I decided to take a closer look, and I’m so glad I did. This is a book that’s written for my life right now – way too busy to do a lot of all-day cooking and starting to think of nachos as a food group. It’s not a book that I’ll cook from everyday, but when I need ideas for made-from-scratch lunches or dinners for busy weeknights, this is a winner. It’s a nice collection of healthy recipes that don’t skimp on flavor. And the fact that the author is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris doesn’t hurt.

The book arrived, and after skimming through it, I decided to start with this post’s recipe – a quinoa casserole with cheeseburger flavors. My husband follows the “Primal Blueprint” a Paleoish grain-free diet. I’m totally on board with that and try to be supportive, but I’m not ready to give up grains entirely. Therefore, finding meals that suit both of us can sometimes be a challenge. So when I found out that quinoa was considered more of a seed than a grain and was now permitted on the Primal Blueprint plan, I was not disappointed. And my husband was not disappointed in the dish, which is really saying something. He would have preferred more burger and less quinoa, but we both liked it, and it was a quick and easy dish to prepare for the week’s lunches.

Quinoa 2

 

Cheeseburger Quinoa Bake

4-6 Servings

This is a versatile casserole that could be changed up in a variety of ways. Just think of your favorite burger toppings – sautéed mushrooms, jalapenos, bacon bits, etc. Feel free to swap out cheeses as well. Pecorino or Swiss come to mind. I used gluten free Panko, but any other type will be fine.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups beef broth

1/3 cup gluten free Panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound ground beef

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided

Combine the quinoa and the beef broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for 14 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and allow the quinoa to rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the Panko, sesame seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of the smoked paprika in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika to the skillet and cook, stirring, until meat is no longer pink. Add the tomato paste, mustard and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and cook for 3 more minutes.

Stir the diced tomatoes into the meat mixture, then mix in the quinoa and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Sprinkle the top of the mixture with the remaining cheese, followed by the Panko mixture. Bake for 25 minutes until bubbly and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted from The Dude Diet by Serena Wolf

 

Kirsch Kuchen (Sour Cherry Cake)

Cherry Cake 1

While I was shooting the photos for this post, my production assistant, Cloudy had a few ideas of his own.  I didn’t even realize he made it into this photo until I started processing.

Cherry Cake 3

This is what I would call a tea cake. It’s the perfect snack on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. I’ll be having mine with a cup of tea while I thumb through a couple of new books and procrastinate about doing the laundry. Perfect!

Cherry Cake 2

This is a very popular cake in Germany. It’s made with a variety of different fruits, depending on the season. The first time I had this cake was at a café in downtown Stuttgart in the fall. It was made with the same small dark plums that grew in our backyard in Herrenberg.

Cherry Cake 4

Many German pastries are not very sweet, this one included. If you are looking for something really sweet and rich, you would be better off with Black Forest Cherry Torte, one of my personal favorites. It consists of layers of decadent chocolate cake filled with whipped cream and cherries and topped off with more cherries and chocolate shavings. I love German pastries, so I was thrilled when I received a copy of Luisa Weiss’ “Classic German Baking,” for Christmas. The book contains all of my favorites, including the Black Forest Cherry Torte. A tour through the book is not quite a trip to Germany, but a close substitute.

Served plain, the cake is especially good for breakfast with a cup of coffee. You can also dust it with powdered sugar or top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Cherry Cake 5

Kirsch Kuchen

8 Servings

I made this with canned sour cherries. However, you can also use fresh pitted sour or sweet cherries. Feel free to experiment with the fruit. Chunks of fresh plum are good as are any of the summer stone fruits. I am providing both metric and U.S. measurements. However, if you have a kitchen scale, I recommend using the metric measurements.

130 grams/9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter, room temperature

180 grams/1 cup minus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

3 eggs

Zest of 1 lemon

180 grams/1 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

500 grams/2 cups fresh or canned sour cherries,

powdered sugar for dusting or whipped cream for serving

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Pit the cherries if fresh or drain them if canned. Set aside.

Place the butter and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula when necessary. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the cherries. The batter will be fairly thick.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes until golden brown and starting to pull from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then release the sides of the pan and place the cake on a rack to finish cooling. Dust with powdered sugar when completely cool or serve with whipped cream.

Adapted from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

 

Ginger Rice

ginger-rice-1

We’ve all had those moments when you look in the refrigerator and say, “how did I end up with so much ______?” With me it was ginger. I had what seemed like tons of the stuff. So what to do with it? I decided to prepare a ginger-flavored rice to go with a few of the Asian dishes I had planned for the week. We eat a lot of Asian food, probably because it can be prepared relatively quickly, aside from what my husband refers to as “choppy choppy.” Translated that means chopping vegetables and other ingredients for a recipe. The rice turned out great and really complemented the stir fry and the curry I prepared later.

ginger-2

For such a gnarly and, dare I say ugly, tuber, ginger packs a huge wallop of flavor. I fell in love with ginger in Santa Fe, New Mexico, of all places. I went to Café Pasqual’s for breakfast and had a glass for fresh pineapple juice flavored with ginger, and I’ve never forgotten it. Yes, I’m one of those people that remember aspects of a certain meal decades later. Hmmm.

ginger-rice-4

 

Plain white rice certainly has its place in the food world. Many cultures have been eating it for centuries. However, when it starts to seem a little ho-hum, try flavoring it with some ginger to wake up those taste buds.

 

ginger-rice-3

Ginger Rice

6 Servings

I recommend you grate the ginger with a Microplane-type grater. If you don’t have one, you might want to consider getting one – it’s one of the most useful kitchen tools there is. However, you can also chop the ginger very finely with a knife. Feel free to cook this with stock or even coconut milk instead of water for extra flavor. You could also use brown rice, but you will need to increase the water to 2 1/2 cups and the cooking time to 45 minutes.  Some finely sliced scallions or some toasted sesame seeds (or both) would be a nice garnish.

2-inch piece fresh ginger

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup white rice

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel and grate the ginger. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat the grains with butter and ginger bits. Quickly add the water to avoid burning the ginger; then add the salt. Stir to blend.

Raise the heat to high and bring the rice mixture to a boil. Then lower so that the rice is barely simmering, cover and cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes.

 

 

Linzer Star Cookies

cookies-1

 

Happy Holidays!

montana

We arrived in Montana yesterday to find plenty of snow and some pretty frigid temperatures. Well, frigid to me at least. 26 degrees probably felt like a heat wave to the poor folks who were dealing with 30 below temperatures the previous week. Ouch! We don’t get much chance to see a white Christmas in the Washington, DC area, so I’m hoping the snow sticks around, at least through Sunday.

It’s five days until Christmas. That’s five more days to bake, bake, bake. So let’s get busy, and make some cookies.

cookies-2

I first tasted Linzer Tart when I was in culinary school. I loved the nutty, buttery crust with the contrasting sweet and sour raspberry jam inside. During a two-year stint living in Germany a few years ago I tried every Linzer Tart I could find in Germany, and in neighboring countries as well.

cookies-3

Fast-forward to a few years later, and I discovered Linzer Cookies in a Food and Wine Christmas cookbook. Where have these cookies been all my life? They have all the great taste of the tart, but in one tidy, cookie-size package.

Have fun baking or doing what ever brings you and your family joy during this Holiday season. Merry Christmas from Jeannine’s Cuisine.

Adapted from Food and Wine magazine

cookies-6

Linzer Star Cookies

3 Dozen

Feel free to adjust the type of nuts and the flavor of jam you use for these cookies. They won’t be a traditional Linzer, but give them your own spin. I’m thinking you could do a mixture of macadamia nuts and pineapple jam for a tropical spin on the cookie. Or how about almonds with an orange marmalade or cherry jam?

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

Zest from 1 lemon

1 1/4 cups hazelnuts

1 1/2 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, ground

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Powdered sugar for dusting cookiesCream the butter with the sugar for about 5 minutes in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle. With the mixer running add the egg yolks one-at-a time and then add the lemon zest. In a food processor, combine the hazelnuts with the bread flour and process until finely ground. Add the cinnamon and cloves to the food processor and pulse until mixed. Add the nut mixture to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix on low until fully combined. Separate this dough into two discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two sheet pans or cookie sheets by covering them with parchment or silicone mats. Working in batches, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a 2-inch round cookie cutter. Use another smaller star-shaped cutter to cut stars out of the center of half of the 2-inch rounds. Place the round cookies on one pan and the cut out cookies on another. Chill any dough scraps and reroll and cut as before. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating the pans at the halfway point. Let the cookies cool in the pans.

cookies-4

In a small bowl, mix the raspberry jam with the anise and coriander. Use a small strainer to dust the tops of the cut out cookies with powdered sugar. Use a small spatula to spread a thick layer of jam on the cookie rounds and top with a cut out cookie.

cookies-5

 

 

 

Creamy Carrot Soup with Ginger

carrot-soup-first-2

I was looking for a festive orange-colored soup for Halloween, but not really in the mood for the pumpkin soup I usually make this time of year. I wanted to make something a little lighter and brighter.

carrot-soup-2

Years ago I discovered cookbook author, Clifford A. Wright, when he wrote a fascinating book on the history of Mediterranean cuisine, which won the James Beard award for Cookbook of the Year. Since then I’ve discovered that not only is he an expert on Mediterranean cuisine, but he travels worldwide and writes about other cuisines as well. Traveling the world eating good food?  I want this guy’s job.

carrot-soup-4

According to Mr. Wright, carrot soup was probably created by the French. However their version, Puree Crecy, more than likely did not contain ginger. Whatever the origin of this particular soup, it’s a nice change from the standard carrot soup we made in (French) culinary school. The ginger adds a nice spiciness, without overpowering the soup.

carrot-soup-recipe

Creamy Carrot Soup with Ginger

6 Servings

As with all pureed soups you can do the final blending any number of ways.  This soup is best blended and strained until it is completely smooth. I recommend a high speed blender such as Vitamix or Blendtec.  However, if you don’t have one, a regular blender or a stick blender will also work. You will just need to strain the soup after blending it to make it as smooth as possible

2 tablespoons butter

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped

1.5 pounds young carrots, sliced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (about a 2-inch piece)

6 cups chicken broth

3 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup whole milk

2 cups half-and-half

chopped fresh cilantro for garnishing

  1. Melt the butter in a pot over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium low, add the carrots and ginger and cook until softened, about 20 minutes.
  1. Add the chicken broth and the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup, in batches if necessary. Strain the soup if you want a smoother texture. Return the soup to the pan, add the milk and half and half and heat to serving temperature without letting it come to a boil. Check the seasoning. Garnish each bowl of soup with a sprinkling of the chopped cilantro.

Adapted from The Best Soups in the World by Clifford A. Wright