De Ma Cuisine

Thursday

20

November 2014

0

COMMENTS

Holiday Dinner Party Menu Ideas

Written by , Posted in Holiday, Menu Planning, Potlucks

It’s getting to be the holiday season. I love this time of year! I love family gatherings with people I don’t see often enough, dinners with friends who are so dear to us (especially being so far from both of our families), hot chocolate with marshmallows on a cold night while Home Alone plays and we decorate the tree.

I love planning the menu for a dinner party, large or small. Sometimes I like to go with traditional – like for Thanksgiving dinner, I don’t want to try something new, I just want the same thing every year. But, for the other events, anything can go.

Here are some ideas for a menu for a holiday dinner or party.

The Intimate Dinner Party

The idea is a small-ish, sit down dinner party. You can let guests bring something, if you’d like. And whatever you end up preparing, most of the ideas for this party can be prepared at least partway the day before.

You could serve a Crudité Platter, Nuts and Seeds, or a Cheese Platter for guests to snack on while you put the finishing touches on dinner.

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Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup for a light appetizer (serve it in small bowls so guests don’t fill up before the main course)

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Chicken Pot Pie made with seasonal veggies (one of my all-time favorite foods)

Warm Arugula and Orange Salad

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Baguettes served with Herb Butter (mix some seasonal herbs with unsalted butter and a pinch of salt) or Honey Butter (mix 1 t, or more, honey, with a pinch of salt, and 1/4 C unsalted butter)

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Apple Bourbon Galette

The Buffet Style Dinner Party

Let guests bring dishes to share. Or, take care of the main two or three dishes, and let guests bring the appetizers, desserts, and sides. Make sure you have warming dishes or crock pots, so hot food stays at a safe and yummy temperature. Below are some ideas for things that you might want to prepare, or suggest to guests who need help with ideas. Having a variety of foods will ensure that there’s something for everyone.

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Fresh Herb and Dried Tomato Bruschetta

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Vegan Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Soup

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Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

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Lasagna8Classic Meat and Cheese Lasagna

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Chicken and Rice Casserole

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Fish Wellingtons (make them minis) (another one of my favorite foods)

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomatoes (switch out tomatoes for veggies that are in season, like brussels sprouts, cabbage, or fennel)

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Turnip and Potato Gratin

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Vegan Fruit Crisp (use fruit that is in season, like apples, pears, or persimmons)

Trio of Soups

Soups are a wonderful, easy, comforting way to feed a crowd. Make three of your favorites and ask guests to bring the bread, wine, and dessert. Or, make your favorite and ask a few others to bring theirs. Other guests can bring bread, wine, and dessert.

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Minestrone to be served with Baguettes

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Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup to be served with Mushroom and Prosciutto Flatbreads

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Browned Butter and Four Cheese Broccoli Soup to be served with Apple Rosemary Flatbreads

The Everyone You Know Holiday Party

Make this a tapas party. Let guests bring an appetizer or dessert to share. Depending on how many of each you want to have, you could split the alphabet and have guests on one side bring the sweets, the others the appetizers.

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Grape Toasts

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Parsnip Fries with Dip

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Hawaiian Sliders

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Spicy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes (cut them in to bite-sized pieces before roasting, follow regular instructions, just on a smaller scale)

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Chard Wraps with Quinoa and Raisins

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Lavash Chips and Guacamole

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Radish and Feta Toasts

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Crostini with Sausage and Braised Greens

However and whatever you are celebrating this holiday season, I hope it’s filled with great food, wonderful friends and family, and lots of laughter!

I’m taking some time off this coming week to be with family, but I’ll be back on December 1st, with persimmons and bacon.

Happy Eating!

Monday

10

November 2014

0

COMMENTS

Apple Rosemary Flatbread

Written by , Posted in Appetizers, Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Cheese, Fruit, Herbs, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Pizza, Quick and Easy, Sides, Snacks, Vegetarian

AppleRosemaryFlatbread-1

I love when it’s apple season. I think I say that every season about something. I love the changing of the seasons and the promise of something new that comes with it.

I especially love fall.

There are things to love and things to be ready to be done with no matter what season we’re in. But, after a long summer, today’s cool breeze and cloudy sky is a literal breath of fresh air. Combine that with an apple or pear, eaten out of hand, while at my desk editing photos, and that makes for quite a nice fall day.

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The day I made this flatbread it was still hot and sunny. Today I want to eat all the soup.

This flatbread would go nicely with soup. Apples pair nicely with winter squash, so this might be delicious alongside a Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, a Browned Butter and Four Cheese Broccoli Soup, or a Leek and Potato Soup. I always want bread with my soup. Often it’s some sliced homemade baguettes with salted butter. But, sometimes I want bread with a little bit more. This flatbread meets that requirement.

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Apples are usually just eaten raw at our house. We love them as a snack. They’re full of fiber and are a great way to tide me over when I’m already starving and it’s not nearly time for the next meal.

In this case though, they’re thinly sliced and then chopped.

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They’re going to top this lavash (you could also use whole wheat or regular tortillas, or a par-baked pizza crust). But first, some olive oil.

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Then a good handful of cheddar. Cheddar is probably my favorite cheese to pair with apples. And to eat with some crackers after a good workout… or any time of the day or night.

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The cheese is topped with rosemary, salt, and pepper, then baked for a little bit, just to get things started.

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Raisins are added about two minutes before the end of the baking time. They get just a bit soft and warm.

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And that’s it. Easy, peasy, apple peel… I dunno.

Happy Eating!

Apple Rosemary Flatbread
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Side, Bread, Snack
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 flatbread or large whole wheat tortilla (I used lavash, you could also use a par-baked pizza crust)
  • 1 t olive oil
  • to taste salt
  • 1 small apple, thinly sliced and chopped
  • to taste pepper
  • ¼ to ½ t dried (or 1 t fresh) rosemary, chopped
  • ¼ C cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1-2 T raisins
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Top lavash with olive oil and brush over surface. Sprinkle with salt. Top with apple, rosemary, pepper, and cheese. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese has mostly melted.
  3. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with raisins. Return to the oven and bake for 2 minutes more.

Thursday

6

November 2014

0

COMMENTS

How to Make Pesto – Part 2 – Kale Pesto

Written by , Posted in Cheese, Condiments, Fruit, Gluten Free, How To, Quick and Easy, Sauces, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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Kale is one of my favorite greens. No offense to spinach, chard, and collards. I just extra love kale. I love that it’s sturdy enough to be turned into chips, but that it’s softness can be brought out in a Massaged Kale Salad.

Plus, it’s an awesome shade of green. I love green.

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This pesto comes together so quickly. I changed things up a bit from the Basil Pesto in part one of the pesto series. But, if you wanted to, you could just sub the kale for the basil in that recipe.

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The main difference with the Kale Pesto is I omitted the nuts. Nothing wrong with nuts, just wanted to try something different. I also added some lemon (zest and juice) and some spices.

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Other than those changes, the rest is the same. Lots of garlic, some parmesan, and olive oil.

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I like to use my awesome KitchenAid hand blender, but a food processor or regular blender would work just fine.

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It made enough to overflow this little jar, so I used a few scoops on the Spicy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes that I’d made the same day.

Do this. Today.

You’re welcome.

Other ways to use your pesto could be:

Roasted Chicken and some Crispy Potatoes (or hello, with the Spicy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes!).

Cheddar and Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich and dip it into some Roasted Tomato Soup. (Shoot! I’ve already eaten lunch! Why didn’t I make this?!)

Kidney Bean and Kale Chili (with plenty of spicy chile peppers) – serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a spoonful of pesto, and a slice of lemon for squeezing over the top.

Sauté mushrooms and onions and top with pesto once cooked.

Roasted Pesto Topped Potatoes (new potatoes, or larger potatoes cut into bigger chunks, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, and chili powder, roasted until crispy outside, tender inside – 350F, 25-40 minutes, depending on the size of the chunks, serve topped with pesto).

Happy Eating!

Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, washed well and stripped from stems (save stems for stock)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • to taste salt
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese
  • dash cayenne or red pepper flakes
  • pinch lemon zest
  • pinch ginger
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blending apparatus. Blend for at least 60 seconds, stopping and scraping down the sides if needed.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
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Monday

3

November 2014

2

COMMENTS

Spicy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Written by , Posted in Cheese, Dinner, Gluten Free, Herbs, Holiday, Lunch, Potatoes, Roasting, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian

TwiceBakedSweetPotatoes-8

I’m thinking about the upcoming holidays. I’m making lists of gifts to buy for others, things I’d love to have (not that I need anything else), and recipes to make while we’re with family. A few weeks ago I was talking with my brother, Josh. We really like food, so that’s usually part of any conversation. We decided that at Christmas we’re going to make Duck Tourtière, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans with Bacon and Almonds, and a Butter Lettuce Salad with Pine Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, and Cranberries.

I may try to sneak these Spicy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes in to the mix. Or I might see if I can add them to the Thanksgiving dinner menu… Whenever it happens, I’ve got to eat these again.

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They start out simple – some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then in to the oven.

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While they roast away, cilantro is washed and chopped.

Confession: I didn’t think I liked cilantro. I’m still not sure that I do. But, I’ve heard that you either love it or hate it, and if you hate it, you think it tastes like soap. I don’t think it tastes like soap, so I must love it.

I’m learning to, in any case.

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The cilantro is mixed with a bit of spicy chile pepper (cayenne would work too), garlic, and cheese. Once the sweet potatoes are finished with their oven time, the flesh gets scooped out and mixed in too.

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Mash it up and make it as creamy as you’d like. I like a few lumps left in there for texture.

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They get to roast for a little while longer while the toppings are prepared. More cilantro, some Greek yogurt, and some Kale Pesto (Basil Pesto would be great too!).

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I sprinkled them with some coarse sea salt before they went in to the oven. I didn’t add any more cheese to the top. You could do the opposite if you’d prefer.

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A good dollop of Greek yogurt goes on top, cilantro is sprinkled, and pesto waits to adorn.

Happy Eating!

Spicy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: Half of a sweet potato.

Spicy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, halved
  • 1 t olive oil
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 T unsalted butter
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1/4 C cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 chile pepper, ribs and seeds removed, minced (or pinch cayenne)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • coarse sea salt, for topping (optional)
  • Greek yogurt, for topping
  • kale (or basil) pesto, for topping

Instructions

  1. Brush both sides of the sweet potato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Pierce a few times with a fork. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, or until the flesh is tender.
  2. Scoop out the flesh and mix with cilantro through garlic. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Return the filling to the skins and top with sea salt. Return to the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes more.
  3. Serve topped with yogurt, pesto, and reserved cilantro.
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Monday

27

October 2014

0

COMMENTS

Chicken Pot Pie

Written by , Posted in Baking, Dinner, Herbs, Leftovers, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, One Dish Dinners, Potatoes, Poultry, Vegetables

ChickenPotPie-12

Today is one of those fall days where it actually feels like fall. I’m wearing jeans and a sweater and am totally comfortable.

I’m also going through the photos that I took of the Chicken Pot Pie that I made the other week and drooling. We ate the leftovers for dinner last night, otherwise I’d probably be heating them up for lunch right now.

So that’s a little bit about my life.

Fall weather and Chicken Pot Pie make me happy.

So do things like my dog’s whiskers, the way the sky can turn such brilliant shades of orange and pink after the sun’s gone down, and a good Skype conversation with my dad.

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I have to tell you, this particular Chicken Pot Pie recipe is one of my favorites. After tasting the sauce I yelled, “Oh my gosh!”, to no one but myself. So, I just had to share it with you.

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It’s a simple pie with humble ingredients. I make this often enough, and use what I have on hand. So it can range from things like carrots, potatoes, and celery, to parsnips, squash, and peas. It feels like the kind of meal that’s been made for years and years and years, by people who at the end of the day, just want something nourishing and delicious to fill their bellies.

This meal fits that exactly.

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A couple of weeks ago I roasted some chicken. The leftovers and pan drippings were frozen. Saved just for this meal. The bones went into the freezer, for the next time I need to make stock. I defrosted the chicken in the fridge overnight and then shredded it and dropped it into the cooked veggies. 

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I usually use chicken stock for this dish. But, this time I had pan drippings. You can tell the difference by the jiggliness of it. The pan drippings jiggle, while stock is more liquid. The fat will rise to the top of both. I like to scrape it off (and give it to the dog as a treat).

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For this type of dish, I find it a little bit easier to just whisk the thickening agent (flour or cornstarch) together with some of the liquids, and add it to the pan. It thickens nicely once it boils. A traditional roux can be made instead (you know, where you heat some fat, then add an equal amount of flour and cook for about 30-60 seconds, then whisk in the stock and let it thicken), if you prefer.

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After it boils and thickens, the milk is added. I don’t like it when the sauce breaks, so I like to leave the milk out until the end. Then heat it ever so gently, just until steam rises.

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Once the seasoning is checked, the skillet is set on a baking sheet (in case of overflow – I’d rather clean that than the inside of the oven).

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Pie crust is rolled out. I used Alana’s recipe (from her cookbook).  I tried to work quickly, but since the skillet and filling were both so hot, it got a little soft. It didn’t seem to matter in the end though.

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The crust is brushed with egg and sprinkled with some of the sea salt that we brought back from Paris. Just because it feels fancy and I like the crunch.

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And then it bakes and bakes and suddenly it’s done and the air smells like so much goodness that I almost can’t contain myself. I want to devour the entire pie before it’s cooled and before my friend arrives for lunch.

But, I don’t. I restrain myself. I eat a normal sized portion and don’t even yell about how good it is in the middle of our conversation (although she did interrupt us to ask about the pie crust). I like when things get interrupted because something is just too good to keep quiet about.

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Happy Eating!

Chicken Pot Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 4

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 carrot (or parsnip), chopped
  • 2 small potatoes (or combination of 1-1 1/2 C potato, radish, turnip, or rutabaga), chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato (or 1 C peeled acorn or butternut squash), chopped
  • 1 small onion (or 2 shallots), chopped
  • 2 stalks celery (or 1 fennel bulb), chopped
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 t fresh rosemary (or thyme), chopped
  • 1 small summer squash, (or 1/2 C cauliflower or peas), chopped
  • 1-2 C chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 C chicken (or vegetable) stock or chicken pan drippings
  • 2 T all purpose flour (or 1 T cornstarch)
  • 1/2 C cold water
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • coarse sea salt
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat an oven proof skillet. Add oil. When oil is hot, add carrot through rosemary. Cook covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add summer squash and chicken and cook for about 3-5 minutes more, or until veggies are tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Whisk stock or pan drippings with flour and water. Add to the skillet, turn the heat to high, and bring it to a boil. Let it thicken for about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, turn heat to medium-low, and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until steam rises, but do not boil. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set on a baking sheet.
  4. Roll out pie crust. Top the filling with the crust (careful, the skillet is hot!). Make a few air vents with a sharp knife. Brush with the egg and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Bake for 22-30 minutes, or until crust is browned and flaky.
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