Sunday, November 18, 2012

Polenta with Grilled Vegetables


Olive oil, to grease
1.5L (6 cups) water
2 chicken stock cubes
220g (11/4 cups) instant polenta (cornmeal)
40g (1/2 cup) finely grated parmesan
20g butter
2 tbs olive oil
30g (1/3 cup) finely grated parmesan, extra

Brush a 16 x 26cm (base measurement) slice pan with oil to lightly grease. Line the base and 2 long sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.

Place the water and stock cubes in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Gradually add the polenta in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly, until combined. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens and the polenta is soft.

Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan and butter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight to set.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line the base of a large roasting pan with non-stick baking paper. Cut the polenta into 12 equal portions. Place, in a single layer, in the lined pan. Drizzle over the oil and sprinkle with the extra parmesan. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve.

Grilled Vegetables

3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved
3 yellow squash (about 1 pound total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
3 zucchini (about 12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
3 Japanese eggplant (12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
12 cremini mushrooms
1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
12 green onions, roots cut off
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers; 7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms; 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter. The key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they've been placed on the hot grill.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Serve the vegetables, warm or at room temperature 

To Serve

Place polenta on a plate, top with the vegatables and drizzle with a spicy tomato chutney . Crumble Feta cheese over the top and serve hot or cold. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients needed for 8 servings:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup of condensed milk
½ cup of cream
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
POUR into pie shell.
BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Pie Crust

Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 225 grams tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold

Gather your ingredients: Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. In a large bowl — I like to use a very wide one, so I can get my hands in — whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Get out your pastry blender.
Make your mix: Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with the pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop. Yes, even if it looks uneven; you’ll thank me later.
Glue it together: Start by drizzling 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there (see how that big bowl comes in handy?). Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.
Pack it up: Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. I like to use the sides to pull in the dough and shape it into a disk. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.
Do ahead: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecan halves

COMBINE  sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla extract in same bowl; stir in nuts.

Spoon over pumpkin layer.

BAKE for 50 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Coffee Liqueur

2 cups hot brewed coffee
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups vodka (excellent with a vanilla vodka) 
1/2 cup good brandy or cognac 

In a pan on low to medium heat combine sugar, coffee and vanilla . Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside until completely cool then add vodka and brandy. Funnel into bottles, seal and let set for six weeks.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This was made as part of Novembers Cook-off; Come join the fun over at Blueberry Girl on Facebook.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchen 
makes 2 pies
For the crust:

300 grams of gluten free gingersnaps (or regular)
10 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup Cointreau or Drambuie (can substitute and non-alcoholic juice or cider)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
Fresh whipped cream, to serve

For the Crust

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, butter, sugar and salt. Press mixture firmly into 2 9-inch pie pans (if you have any extra mixture left over, you can press this into muffin tins with great results). Bake for 10 minutes, and cool on a wire rack.

For the pie filling: 
In a small bowl sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over 1/4 cup Cointreau to soften for 5 minutes. Set the mixture over a bowl of hot water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.
In a heavy saucepan whisk together the pumpkin puree, heavy cream and 1/2 cup of sugar, 3 egg yolks, the cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt and cook the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula for 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the gelatin mixture, and let the mixture cool.
In a large bowl beat 4 egg whites until they hold soft peaks, and fold this meringue into the partially cooled pumpkin mixture.

Pour filling into pie shells and chill for at least six hours and till firm. Serve with whipped cream.

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