By Judy Lyness on 12.10.2014
The holiday season has officially begun and one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is some easy, delicious and jaw-dropping recipes that will satisfy even the fussy eaters around.
My first offering are these roasted beet napoleons: Gluten free, minimal work and lovely to look at. (They could be considered vegetarian if your friends eat dairy.) I made these for an EatWith event and Thanksgiving. All were devoured. In fact, one of my guests dipped the beet scraps in the chevre…they are that good.
ROASTED BEET NAPOLEONS
The most important element is getting beets that are big enough for the circle cutter that you’re using. I use a 2 ½ inch cutter. The other important element is a mandolin or a very sharp knife. I use the latter.
3 Large beets (I like to use different color beets—red, yellow and candy striped)
1 8 oz. log of herbed goat cheese or chevre (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
- Roast beets. It’s okay if they are a little under done. It makes them a bit easier to slice.
- Cool beets, peel and thinly slice.
- With your circle cookie cutter cut out circles from the beet slices.
- In a large sauté pan add the sugar and vinegar. Heat to a boil so that the sugar dissolves
- When the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is at a gentle boil add beet slices. Cook for 2 minutes and then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Continue until are slices are done. If you are using different types of beets start with the lightest color. The liquid retains the color of the beets.
- Remove beets from liquid and place on paper towels to cool. Place more paper towels on tops to blot all sides of the beets.
- This step can be done a day or two in advance. Just make sure there is a good padding of paper towels between the layers. The beets really bleed.
- Remove goat cheese from refrigerator about an hour before assembly. This makes the goat cheese easier to spread. If the goat cheese is really dry place in a bowl and mix with a little plain yogurt or sour cream until it’s smooth.
- Place beet slices on a work surface. If your slices are thick only use three for each napoleon. If thin use 4 or 5.
- Spread a generous tablespoon or on the bottom and middle beet slices. Continue until done.
- Stack the cheesed slices on top of one another and crown with a clean beet slice.
- With a very sharp knife slice into quarters or sixths.
- Garnish with reduced balsamic or fresh herbs.
If you make the napoleons too far in advance the beets will bleed into the cheese.
By Judy Lyness on 10.22.2014
The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing and it’s just the cool enough to turn on the oven and bake something that will fill the house with the flavors of fall. Here’s an easy apple tart with goat cheese. What I like about these tarts is that they are great at the beginning or end of a meal.
Apple Tart with Goat Cheese Filling
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 5 oz goat cheese (chevre like that comes in a log)
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- zest of one lemon
- 3 apples peeled and cored. Sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon course sugar
- Roll puff pastry to measure 8″ x 16″ rectangle
- Cut out 8 4″ circles. Place four 4″ circles on a lined baking tray. Brush with water a half inch border. Cut the remaining circles with a 3 1/2 cutter to form a ring. Place one ring on each circle. Score the edge and brush with egg wash.
- In a small bowl blend the goat cheese, honey, zest until it is a smooth paste.
- Place a quarter of the cheese mixture in the middle of each tart.
- Arrange apple slices on top of filling in a decorative manner.
- Sprinkle apple slices with coarse sugar.
Bake in 375 oven for 15 – 20 minutes. The apples should have a nice browned edge.
By Judy Lyness on 10.14.2014
Halloween is fast approaching. So here are some great Halloween ideas for you this year.
My personal favorite are these healthy in disguise pumpkins just ready to be decorated.
Next are these two great ideas–Cake pops and marshmallow mummies.
The CakeGirls just have too many wonderful ideas to post. Just jump over to their site and bask in the abundance of Halloween ideas.
Here are some of my favorite bloggers and their creative and tasty ideas. First up is this recipe from Cooking on the Weekends.
Photo by Cooking on the Weekend
Or Valentina’s Spooky Spider Truffles.
Photo by Cooking on the Weekends
Over at Christina’s Cucina there are wonderful cookie decorating ideas.
Photo by Christina’s Cucina
Or these very scary Witches Digit’s.
Photo by Christina’s Cucina
Dorothy over at Shockingly Delicious has some spooky deviled eggs.
Photo by Shockingly Delicious
Have a spook-tacular day!!!
Squash blossoms. Whether they stand alone a single bloom or are attached to a tiny delicate squash they are absolutely wonderful. In the past I would stuff them with chevre that’s been embellished with chives, thyme and basil dip them in a batter and fry.
I was cleaning out my photos and ran across this video from 2009 of a lovely stranger at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. She was kind enough to share her recipe with me…and now you. Seeing this short clip brought a smile to my face. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
By Judy Lyness on 08.07.2014
Chilled Pea Soup
It’s hot here in Los Angeles. This is a repost of a chilled pea soup that is a standard in my house. It’s an easy and satisfying summer soup, try it, you’ll like it. It took me three different experiments to get this just right. So give it a go. You’ll be happy that you did.
A few words of caution before you proceed. The pea and cucumber mixture has a tendency to erupt in the blender, so please make sure the top is on and a protective towel on top of the lid. Enjoy!
CHILLED PEA SOUP
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 bag of frozen peas thawed
- 3 Persian cucumbers chopped
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 TBS dill
- 2TBS mint
- 1 cup heavy cream (amount will depend on the consistency that you desire)
- 1-2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (amount will depend on the consistency that you desire)
- Add olive oil to hot saute pan
- Add onions and garlic. Cook on medium high heat for 3 minutes or until transparent.
- Add peas and cucumbers. Cook 3-4 minutes.
- Add sour cream, mint, dill and cook for another minute.
- Add half of the pea mixture to a blender. Use the stock to help with the blending process.
- Once the first half is done add the remaining pea mixture and continue to puree adding a little cream and stock. Keep tasting so you can decide to go with more cream or stock.
- If you think it’s pureed enough, let it go for another minute.
- Strain puree through a medium strainer.
- Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
- Chill for at least four hours. It’s best when done over night.
By Judy Lyness on 07.30.2014
Fresh figs are my absolute favorite fruit. So I was thrilled to be part of the recent Figology Fest that highlighted three different types of fresh figs–black mission (my personal favorite), brown Turkey and Calimyrna. Talk about a little bit of fig heaven…I was knee deep in figs.
I created a black mission and mascarpone fig tart that utilizes both fresh and dried figs when I was baking professionally. You can check out that recipe here.
Fresh fig and mascarpone tart–Two Broads Abroad
Since this was the FRESH FIG Fest I came up with a fresh fig tart that utilizes all my favorites–Black mission figs, lemon ricotta filling, all cradled in a crisp almond crust. This tart is a visual delight and a flavor sensation.
Fig Tart with Lemon Ricotta Filling
1-2 lbs Black mission figs stemmed and halved
- 1 stick unsalted butter cubes
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup almond flour for dusting
- Place dry ingredients in food processor, pulse. Add butter and pulse until it looks like coarse corn meal.
- Add milk and mix just until the batter holds together.
- Roll out dough using almond flour to dust your surface and dough. Place dough in tart pan, trim edges. Score the bottom of tart dough with fork.
- Bake in 375 oven for 15 minutes until is just browns on the edges. Check dough at about 5 minutes and pop any bubbles.
- 1 lbs. whole milk ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 1 yolk
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 t vanilla
- 1/4 cup milk
- Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
- When tart shell is baked, pour batter into shell and bake at 325 until gently set, about 20 minutes.
- Let tart cool. When cooled place on serving dish
- Place fig halves with the beautiful seeded side facing up on top of the ricotta filling starting from the outside and working your way in to the middle. Once all the figs are placed, slice remaining figs in thirds and place between the halves.
When temperatures start to hit the 80s the last thing I want to do is cook. So I always turn to gazpacho, the chilled Spanish soup the sings of summer. Here’s a video to show you just how easy gazpacho is to make.
The following recipe is a combination of quite a few recipes that I’ve tried. I like Persian cucumbers because they have more bulk to them. You can use red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, so long as they are ripe.
- 2 lbs tomatoes (about 5 large tomatoes)
- 3 Persian cucumbers peeled
- 1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper without seeds for mild, with for a bit more zing
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 red onion peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2-4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes
- 1/4-1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of cilantro
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
- Fill bowl large enough to hold the tomatoes with ice water
- Place tomatoes in boiling water for 30 –45 seconds
- Plunge tomatoes into ice bath and cool.
- Coarsely chop the cucumbers, garlic, your choice of pepper, onions
- When tomatoes are cool. Slide off tomato skins, core and coarsely chop. Keep the cool water in case you need to thin out the soup.
- Add half of all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. If the mixture is too thick add some of the ice bath water.
- Pour into clean bowl.
- Add vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper according to your taste. Chill.
- Before you serve check the seasonings and texture. Add more water if needed.
By Judy Lyness on 07.09.2014
Mango and Cherry Clafoutis
I was in a dilemma, What birthday cake to make when that person hates cakes? I had just picked up a mango at the store that was perfectly ripened and some really dark, sweet cherries just looking for a purpose. What to do? Whipped cream was off the check list as well. Hmmmm?
Thankfully, I have an abundance of incredible food bloggers to guide me. Cynthia Woodman of What a Girl Eats had just posted a recipe for clafoutis that made me drool. I ogled Valentina of Cooking on the Weekends’ flaugarde pictures and recipe. Inspiration at last! My game plan was beginning to take shape. A group message to Valentina, Cathy of She Paused for Thought and Christina of Christina’s Cucina asking if a mango and cherry clafoutis sounded weird. The overwhelming response was “go for it!”!
Got to say it was a rousing success!!! I used Cynthia’s recipe as a road map and this is what I came up with.
- 1¼ cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup toasted coconut
- ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/2 of a regular mango, pitted, pealed and sliced length wise
- 16 or so dark sweet cherries, halved and pitted (your fingers are going to get stained but the reward is worth it)
- 1 Ataulfo mango, pitted, pealed and sliced length wise
- Place first five ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth less than a minute.
- Heat oven to 350
- Grease a nine inch pie pan or baking dish with butter or oil.
- Pour about a 1/2 inch layer into dish and bake for about 10 minutes.
- Slice and pit fruits.
- Remove dish from oven
- Arrange fruit on top of layer in pan
- Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- Pour remaining batter into dish and return to oven.
- Bake 40-50 minutes. It’s done when an toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.