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Healthy Green Kitchen Healthy Green Kitchen - Page 228 of 246 - Simple Food. Balanced Living.
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Protein and veggie packed, with lots and lots of herbs so it smells just heavenly while baking, this herbed vegetable frittata makes a wonderful breakfast, lunch or light dinner.

pieceoffrittata

Though it ended up being pretty different from her recipe, this was inspired by Kalyn’s Recipe for Zucchini Bake with Feta and Thyme (though I don’t follow the South Beach Diet, I just adore Kalyn’s recipes and blog!)

I am not usually a fan of using egg whites instead of whole eggs (hey, nature gave us the package as a whole, and I believe the nutrients from eggs are better absorbed as such). That being said, I had so many egg whites in my refrigerator (leftover from recipes where only yolks were needed) that I decided to go ahead and use them here.

I guess I could have made angel food cake or meringues or something but I just didn’t feel like going there…

You can certainly use whole eggs in the recipe, as I will next time I make this. You can also swap out the veggies I’ve suggested and use pretty much anything you like- I used what I’ve still got in my garden at this point, but you can substitute what is local and available to you.

Herbed Vegetable Frittata Recipe

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 tablespoon minced garlic
*1 cup chopped squash (I used pattypan from my garden, but feel free to use yellow squash or green zucchini)
*2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used San Marzanos but any tomatoes will do)
*1 cup chopped greens (I used chard; you can use any dark leafy greens that you like)
*1 cup chopped herbs (I used a combination of basil and parsley)
*Himalayan or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
*6 eggs or 12 egg whites
*1/2 cup mild cheese (crumbled if very soft, like feta, or roughly chopped if harder, like provolone or fresh mozzarella)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn, and then add the squash. Saute for a minute or two. Add the chopped tomatoes, cook a bit, and then add the greens and the herbs. Cook for several minutes until the greens and the herbs are wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs (skip this step, obviously if you are using egg whites). Mix in the sauteed vegetables and the cheese.

4. Butter or oil a deep pie dish or other casserole pan and pour in the frittata ingredients. Bake in your preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the frittata is set. Allow to cool before slicing.

frittatapartial

Leftovers are quite tasty straight out of the refrigerator; they can be reheated, as well.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-Au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Vols-au-vent (French for “windblown”) are delicate hollow shells made with puff pastry. They can be filled with savory or sweet fillings. Mine didn’t rise quite as high as they are supposed to, but they were delicious none the less.

napoleonside

This was a really fun challenge. I’ve never made puff pastry before so I was a little intimidated getting started. Watching this video on making puff pastry helped me understand the process much better.

Now for the puff pastry recipe and directions, courtesy of Steph

Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough

From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups (12.2 oz/ 354 g) unbleached all-purpose flour (I used organic flour)
1-1/4 cups (5.0 oz/ 142 g) cake flour
1 tbsp. salt (you can cut this by half for a less salty dough or for sweet preparations)
1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) ice water
1 pound (16 oz/ 454 g) very cold unsalted butter (I used organic butter)

plus extra flour for dusting work surface

Mixing the Dough:

Check the capacity of your food processor before you start. If it cannot hold the full quantity of ingredients, make the dough into two batches and combine them.

Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at once, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers. (Actually, it will feel like Play-Doh.)

Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern.

puffpastrydoughball

Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that’s about 1″ thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm: if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the Butter:

Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry) with your rolling pin (preferably a French rolling pin without handles), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 10″ square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with “ears,” or flaps.

Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don’t just pull the ends) you should now have a package that is 8″ square.

puffpastrypackage

To make great puff pastry, it is important to keep the dough cold at all times. There are specified times for chilling the dough, but if your room is warm, or you work slowly, or you find that for no particular reason the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it . You can stop at any point in the process and continue at your convenience or when the dough is properly chilled.

Making the Turns:

Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24″ (don’t worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 24″, everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).

With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.

Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24″ and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.

Chilling the Dough:

If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you’ve completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.

The total number of turns needed is six. If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day. Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it.

The recipe makes a lot of puff pastry dough, and puff pastry is very versatile in that you can use it in sweet or savory recipes, so I used it in a few different ways:

I made apple turnovers for my kids:

appleturnover

Then I made pizza with slow roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil…

puffpizza

puffpizzaslice

And finally, I made the actual Vols-au-Vent and used them in a version of one of my all time favorite desserts: napoleons with homemade nectarine jam, vanilla pastry cream and fresh nectarines.

Forming and Baking the Vols-au-Vent

Again, these directions are courtesy of Steph

Yield: 1/3 of the puff pastry recipe above will yield about 8-10 1.5” vols-au-vent or 4 4” vols-au-vent

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Using a knife or metal bench scraper, divided your chilled puff pastry dough into three equal pieces. Work with one piece of the dough, and leave the rest wrapped and chilled. (If you are looking to make more vols-au-vent than the yield stated above, you can roll and cut the remaining two pieces of dough as well…if not, then leave refrigerated for the time being or prepare it for longer-term freezer storage. See the “Tips” section below for more storage info.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll the piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick. Transfer it to the baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the cutting.

(This assumes you will be using round cutters, but if you do not have them, it is possible to cut square vols-au-vents using a sharp chef’s knife.) For smaller, hors d’oeuvre sized vols-au-vent, use a 1.5” round cutter to cut out 8-10 circles. For larger sized vols-au-vent, fit for a main course or dessert, use a 4” cutter to cut out about 4 circles. Make clean, sharp cuts and try not to twist your cutters back and forth or drag your knife through the dough. Half of these rounds will be for the bases, and the other half will be for the sides. (Save any scrap by stacking—not wadding up—the pieces…they can be re-rolled and used if you need extra dough. If you do need to re-roll scrap to get enough disks, be sure to use any rounds cut from it for the bases, not the ring-shaped sides.)

Using a ¾-inch cutter for small vols-au-vent, or a 2- to 2.5-inch round cutter for large, cut centers from half of the rounds to make rings. These rings will become the sides of the vols-au-vent, while the solid disks will be the bottoms. You can either save the center cut-outs to bake off as little “caps” for you vols-au-vent, or put them in the scrap pile.

Dock the solid bottom rounds with a fork (prick them lightly, making sure not to go all the way through the pastry) and lightly brush them with egg wash. Place the rings directly on top of the bottom rounds and very lightly press them to adhere. Brush the top rings lightly with egg wash, trying not to drip any down the sides (which may inhibit rise). If you are using the little “caps,” dock and egg wash them as well.

Refrigerate the assembled vols-au-vent on the lined baking sheet while you pre-heat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). (You could also cover and refrigerate them for a few hours at this point.)

Once the oven is heated, remove the sheet from the refrigerator and place a silicon baking mat (preferred because of its weight) or another sheet of parchment over top of the shells. This will help them rise evenly. Bake the shells until they have risen and begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (180ºC), and remove the silicon mat or parchment sheet from the top of the vols-au-vent. If the centers have risen up inside the vols-au-vent, you can gently press them down. Continue baking (with no sheet on top) until the layers are golden, about 15-20 minutes more. (If you are baking the center “caps” they will likely be finished well ahead of the shells, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when browned.)

Remove to a rack to cool. Cool to room temperature for cold fillings or to warm for hot fillings.

Fill and serve.

*For additional rise on the larger-sized vols-au-vents, you can stack one or two additional ring layers on top of each other (using egg wash to “glue”). This will give higher sides to larger vols-au-vents, but is not advisable for the smaller ones, whose bases may not be large enough to support the extra weight.

*Although they are at their best filled and eaten soon after baking, baked vols-au-vent shells can be stored airtight for a day.

*Shaped, unbaked vols-au-vent can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month (bake from frozen, egg-washing them first).

napoleontop

All this, and I still have some dough left over in the freezer! Maybe I can get those super high vols-au-vents on the next try…

In just a few short months, the weather in New York will chilly. Maybe even snowy. The fresh fruits I’ve been enjoying from local farms will be long gone.

pearchutney

Because I don’t look forward to this aspect of winter, I am taking time now to ensure I’ll still be able to taste a bit of summer in the cold months ahead by making homemade preserved fruits…

Last week I discussed some of the ways I like to preserve my fresh herbs for culinary and medicinal use during the winter, and I recently posted recipes for applesauce and pomegranate plum jam (I take this “stocking up stuff” very seriously, you see). Today I am going to show you a few more ways to preserve fruit.

These recipes are easy to make and they all keep beautifully…so go stock up at the farmer’s market or your favorite farm stand (and keep in mind that you don’t need beautiful fruit here, just ripe, so maybe you can even get a large bag or box of bruised fruits on sale). Organic is best, of course, but if that’s not possible, just wash your fruit well with a produce wash that removes unwanted chemicals.

Nectarine Jam
This is very similar to the pomegranate plum jam recipe in that it contains little sweetener (in this case, local apple cider and honey) and is pectin-free. This recipe makes about 3 cups of jam.

Ingredients:
10 ripe nectarines, pitted and roughly chopped (I didn’t peel mine, but you can if you’d like)
1 1/4 cups apple cider
1/4 cup honey

Directions:
Place nectarines and apple cider in a heavy saucepan and turn heat on high. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the honey and mix well.

Allow to cook for about two hours, stirring every now and then to break up any large chunks of the fruit, and to make sure the bottom does not burn. As it cooks, the jam should become nice and thick. Without burning your tongue, taste a bit to make sure it is sweet enough for you. If not, add honey 1 Tb. at a time (or you could add 1-2 Tb. vanilla or lavender sugar, if you have it).

When it is sufficiently thick and sweet to your liking, take your jam off the heat and allow it to cool before spooning into jar(s).

nectarinejam

Spicy Pear Chutney
Here is an unusual savory chutney recipe that works well with many types of fruit. I consulted recipes for lacto-fermented fruits from both Wild Fermentation and Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats before I came up with this recipe. I was honestly skeptical about this one, but it’s really quite tasty, not to mention healthy. I plan to use mine alongside winter meat or poultry dishes; it is also nice as a savory applesauce alternative on potato pancakes.

latkewithchutney

Ingredients:
3-4 pears, cored and chopped (to equal about 3 cups of fruit; you could also try this with apples, plums, peaches, mango, pinapple, grapes, or papaya, or use a combination of fruit)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cashews or pecans, chopped
2 tsp. sea salt
juice of 1-2 lemons
1 leek or 1 onion or the bottoms from 3-4 green onions, finely chopped
1 Tb. (or more if you really like it) grated ginger
1-2 hot red chili peppers, fresh or dried, chopped (I used 1 dried ancho chili- plenty spicy for me)
1/2 cup (or more) filtered water
1 quart or 2 pint very clean glass jars with lids

Directions:
Mix fruit and nuts together in a bowl. Add salt, lemon juice, onion and spices, and mix well. Using a wooden spoon, pack tightly into jar(s). Pound down so that the fruit is quite compressed and the liquid rises. Add water as necessary to bring liquid level with the fruit mixture, which should be about 1 inch below the top of the jar (you need to leave a little room for expansion during fermentation). Keep at room temperature 2-4 days (open to check if it’s fizzy/bubbly as this will confirm fermentation) before transferring to the refrigerator and consume within 2 months.

Figs in Rum Syrup
If you have an excess of figs, or if you just happen to adore them like I do, this is a great way to save (and savor) them. The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be A Domestic Goddess. These are quite sweet and indulgent- perfect to have in your cupboard and bust open during the holidays. They are yummy with a little vanilla ice cream, homemade whipped cream, creme fraiche, or even Greek yogurt, or on their own garnished with some chopped toasted nuts. The recipe uses fresh figs but I have also made this with dried figs. If you don’t want to use the rum, feel free to leave it out and spice it up with some vanilla bean or extract, fresh or dried ginger, and some cinnamon instead. This recipe makes 1 quart.

Ingredients:
18-20 Black Mission Figs (fresh or dried)
1/2-1 1/2 cups sugar (Nigella states 1 1/2 cups sugar for the fresh figs; I decreased this to 1/2 cup for the dried)
approx. 2 1/2 -3 cups water
1/3 cup white rum (plus more as needed)
1 quart or 2 pint glass jars with lids

Directions:
Wash and dry the figs (be careful not to bruise the skins if using fresh figs). Place in a colander or bowl while you prepare the syrup.

Boil the sugar and water in a large pan; stir so that the sugar dissolves completely. Allow to boil gently for about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the rum and the figs. Bring the pot back to a simmer and allow to cook for about 1/2 hour, partially covered. Stir every now and then so that all of the figs are covered and cook equally.

With a slotted spoon, remove the figs to clean jar(s). Put the syrup back on the stove and allow to boil for about 10 minutes more, so it is further reduced. Remove from the heat and add the last 2 Tb. of rum and pour over the figs. If some of the figs are not immersed in liquid, add more rum so that they are all covered.

Cap tightly and allow to sit in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks. These should them be consumed within 6 months.

figsinsyrup

Preserved Lemons
Preserved lemons are big in North African cuisine and they are also used in Jewish dishes from the Sephardic tradition. Since you need to wait a full month for these to be ready, and I only started mine last week, I cannot vouch for their taste…I’m pretty excited about them though. I believe you can do this recipe with Meyer lemons, or limes, even oranges, as well.

A quick google search illustrated that there is no one way to make preserved lemons. While trying to decide how I would do mine, I checked into how a few of my favorite food bloggers have done it in the past…

Preserved Lemons by Elise Bauer/ Simply Recipes
Preserved Lemons by Heidi Swanson/101 Cookbooks
Preserved Lemons by David Lebovitz

…and I decided on the following, which is probably closest to David’s:

Ingredients:
6-8 lemons, dipped in boiling water for 10 seconds and then wiped clean to remove any wax (or just scrub your lemons very very well or use organic unwaxed lemons)
1 cup Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup sugar (some recipes don’t use sugar, but I like the idea of using a little)
2 cinnamon sticks- optional
fennel seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns- optional
olive oil-optional
1 qt glass jar with lid

Directions:
Trim the ends off your lemons and slice them into quarters. In a small bowl, mix your salt and sugar together, and pack some of this into the bottom of your jar.

Put your lemons into the salt/sugar mixture and mix well so that all the lemons are coated. Then pack the lemons into your jar.
Push down hard so you can fit as many in as possible, and then top off with some more of the salt/sugar mixture if there is room.

You may end up with a little of the salt/sugar left over; I mixed mine with a little coconut oil and used it as a body scrub :)

lemons1After a few days, the lemons will start to exude their own juices and it will look more like your lemons are hanging out in a jar of liquid with some sugar/salt at the bottom. Some of the lemons will probably not be submerged at this point, so you can add the juice of a few more lemons to your jar (as well as any of the spices you want to use).

Lastly, I poured in some olive oil to bring the liquid over the lemons (some recipes suggest doing this; some don’t).

Next, every day for a month, make sure the cap is on tight and give your jar a couple of shakes to distribute any salt/sugar not in solution.

After a month’s time, the lemons will be ready for use; just rinse and chop the rinds and use them as you would lemon rind in any recipe, in Middle Eastern dishes, or check out David Lebovitz’ link above for a bunch of great ideas for how to use your preserved lemons. Store in the refrigerator and they should keep for 6 months or more.

Do you have a favorite method for preserving fruits? I’d love to hear about it!