Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kale chips

In our CSA this week, we got 3 bags of fruit & veg. First thoughts? What are we going to do with all of this kale that we're not going to do with all this Swiss chard??

My sister once recommended making kale chips. So, I gave that a try. They were delicious & crunchy & a little salty! All things that I like. The only drawback is that the stalk is still a little chewy after drying.

Here's what I did:

Lay kale on a sheet pan & spray with olive oil/Pam. Sprinkle a little salt over the kale. Bake in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes.

& voila! You have kale chips. Yummy, nutritious, & good for hand-to-mouth repetitions while watching TV/baseball.

Edit: I was just advised to try Indian spices with these. My friend Jaime makes them all of the time!!

- Keri

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

Saw carrots, squash, and zucchini at the Farmer's Market so I decided to make chicken pot pie, even though it is not really a summer dish per say.  The original recipe comes from "The Heart of Pittsburgh II," A Cookbook from Historic Pittsburgh.   I changed it up a bit, added way more vegetables.  This is labor intensive, but worth the effort.  

Vegetable Chicken Pot Pie

2 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1/2 chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 chilled shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5-7 T cold water

2/3 pieces of boneless chicken
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
3 carrots, peeled and cut
2 celery, cut
1 head of broccoli or 1 bag
1 squash
1 zucchini
bell pepper 
1 package of spinach

1/4 c butter
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1/2 c flour
1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 c heavy cream
salt and pepper

Butter a 4 quart casserole dish.  (I use a 9x13 dish and another smaller one cause I don't have a casserole dish that size.)

For Crust:
Mix flour, salt, and sugar.  Add butter and shortening.  Blend, using a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal.  Add the cold water, 1 T at a time, mixing with a fork until dough starts to form a ball.  Shape dough into a flat rectangle; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For Filling:
Place chicken and broth in a large pot over medium heat.  If necessary, add water to cover chicken.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken to a plate.  Add potatoes, carrots, and celery to pot.  Add rest of vegetables.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender but firm.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes and vegetables to prepare casserole.  Cook spinach and if necessary, broccoli.  Cut the chicken into 1/2 inch pieces.  Transfer to casserole, mix with the potatoes and vegetables.  

For Sauce:

Strain liquid from pot and reserve 4 cups.  Skim fat off of top.  Using the same pot, over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add shallots, saute over medium heat for a few minutes.  Add the flour gradually, whisking for 2 minutes.  Add the 4 cups of broth and the wine.  Bring to a boil, whisking continuously.  Add cream, boil for 5 minutes, whisking frequently, until sauce thickens.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour 1/2 of the sauce into the casserole, mix well.  Add additional sauce to just reach the top of chicken and vegetables.  (Do not overfill.)  

Let mixture cool for 30 to 45 minutes.  Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Allow chilled dough to soften slightly.  On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/2 inch larger than the casserole.  Place dough on top.  Cut slits in dough to allow steam to escape.  Place casserole on a baking sheet for 50 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and top is lightly browned.  

Note:  Dough may be made up to 2 days ahead; wrap tightly and refrigerate.  Filling and sauce may be made 1 day ahead; mix together as instructed.  Cover tightly and refrigerate.  Do no assemble until pot pie is ready to bake.  
8 servings


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Strawberry Pie

Strawberries are my favorite food.  I eat them from mid-April until mid-June when I can get them from the Farmer's Market. They are way better from the Farmer's market, at least I think so.  Much better flavor and riper.  People really love Strawberry Pie.  My dad once asked my mom why she didn't make it for him.  ha ha  The graham cracker crust comes from the Healthy Firehouse Cookbook.  Truthfully, I think the crust is why people like the pie.  You can also make a similar peach pie, just blanch the peaches in hot water for 30 seconds and take off the skins.  I got the basic strawberry portion from the internet, no idea where, but I have modified it.  

 Graham Cracker Crust:
graham crackers, I suggest cinnamon type
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Crush graham crackers.  I use a rolling pin and baggie, but you could also use a 
food processor.  Melt butter (about 1 minute in microwave) Mix together.  Put mixture in pie pan and form to sides.  Cook 8 to 9 minutes.  Cool.

Strawberry Portion:
1 quart strawberries (about 4 cups)
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons 
corn starch

Blend/Puree in blender 1 cup of strawberries, 2/3 cup of water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Heat on low heat in sauce pan about 3 minutes.  Mix together 1/3 cup of water and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.  Make sure you continuously stir the cornstarch in the water so it blends and there are no lumps.  Add the 3/4 cup sugar and cornstarch/water mixture to berry mixture.  Stir continuously until it boils.  It will be a few minutes.  You can turn up the heat a little.  Once it boils, take off heat and let cool.  Stir it every so often. 

Cut up remaining strawberries.  Put in 
pie crust.  Pour cool strawberry
gel over strawberries.  Serve with 
whipped cream if you desire.  Enjoy!

This is not the greatest picture, but I made this pie after camping (and being tired) for the first time ever and in a tent and before going to a Memorial Day picnic.  The pie will gel more after you put it in the refrigerator.