Angela’s E-Z Drop Biscuits

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).   In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Stir in butter and milk just until moistened.  Drop batter on a lightly greased cookie sheet by the tablespoon.

Bake in preheated oven until golden on the edges, about 8 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Food of the Month – Sun-dried Tomatoes

Just one ounce of savory sun-dried tomatoes added to your salad, pesto, soup or simply enjoyed on its own provides a boost of vitamin C, iron and fiber.  Such a little addition can do so much!

You can buy sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil or vacuum-packed at the market, or you can dry your own.  Just half and remove the seeds (optional) of the number of tomatoes you want and whack in an oven at 200 degrees and wait. . . 6 or 7 hours.  

So easy to do, and worth the wait. You control quantity, waste less, and can pick out the tomatoes to dry yourself!

To your health!

Grilled Baby Leeks with Romesco Sauce

We absolutely adore leeks, a vegetable that looks like a large scallion, but imparts only a light, buttery onion taste, unlike its bitter cousin.  The leek is surprisingly versatile, and is excellent when roasted with other vegetables or poultry, or puréed for soups, such as vichyssoise.  
Here is an excellent recipe featuring simple grilled leeks with a light and healthy romesco sauce (originated from Catalonia, Spain).  We did substitute home roasted red peppers as we did not have any jars in stock, and served this with marinated grilled chicken. The response was excellent!  Enjoy!
  • 1 small ancho chile, seeded
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnuts
  • Two 1/2-inch-thick slices baguette, toasted and torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons roasted almonds, preferably Marcona, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 roasted red pepper from a jar, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 baby leeks or thick scallions, trimmed
Light a grill. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small heatproof bowl, cover the ancho with hot tap water and soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a pie plate, toast the hazelnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. Let the hazelnuts cool, then transfer them to a kitchen towel and rub them together to remove the skins. Transfer the hazelnuts to a work surface and let cool completely, then coarsely chop.
In a food processor, combine the ancho with the hazelnuts, toasted baguette, almonds and garlic and process to a smooth paste. Add the tomatoes, roasted red pepper and vinegar and puree. With the machine on, slowly pour in the 1/4 cup of olive oil and process until blended and smooth. Scrape the romesco sauce into a bowl, stir in the parsley and season with salt and black pepper.
Brush the leeks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until charred all over, about 3 minutes. Serve with the romesco sauce alongside.
The romesco sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
*Courtesy Food & Wine Magazine

How to Roast Peppers

There is nothing like roasting your own red bell peppers.  The taste is better, there are no artificial ingredients, it’s economical, and best of all, EASY!  

Step One: Rub oil on peppers and put them under the broiler until blackened, turn to get all sides.

Step Two: Put the pepper into paper bag, seal and let rest for 15 minutes.

Step Three: Once cool, take the pepper out and pull the green stem out.  The core and seeds should easily fall out and the skin will easily peel off.

And it will smell so good!

Puréed Broccoli and Roasted Garlic Canapés

 

Puréed Broccoli and Roasted Garlic Canapés
This is a slightly modified version of a recipe from epicurious.com.  Though it does call for some cheese, this appetizer is actually packed full of vitamins. Enjoy!
  •  garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets plus 1/2 cup peeled thinly sliced stalks (from about 8 ounces broccoli)
  • 1 cup canned cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained (or organic pino or navy beans)
  • fresh basil
  • 1/8 cup freshly shredded parmigiano-reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 16 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices
  • sliced roasted red bell peppers
  • cracked pepper and kosher salt to taste

 

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine garlic, oil and crushed red pepper in small custard cup. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until garlic is tender, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly. Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes.

Steam broccoli florets and stalks until very tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Drain. Transfer to processor. Add beans, basil, lemon juice, oil-and-garlic mixture. Process until smooth. Still in parmigiano and season broccoli puree with salt and pepper. 

Spread broccoli puree atop toasts and top with slices of roasted red bed pepper. Transfer canapés to platter and serve immediately.

The Wine, Cheese & Etc. Forage

Many people feel that they cannot enjoy a proper meal without taking the time for shopping, preparing and cooking.  And who has the time for that?  Your partner and friends can always enjoy a good forage:

The Cheese.  Don’t think you have to be a total foodie to compile a good cheese arrangement.  Start with some opposites, such as a cheddar and some brie. Whatever you like.  

The Wheat.  A couple of different types of crackers will do, and maybe any leftover french bread.

The Drink. That’s what friends are for. Have them bring the bottle (s).

The Etc.  A good dry salami, delicate prosciutto or basic ham from your local deli counter (or whatever is left in your fridge) is always a good compliment to the cheese.

Arrange 3-4 cheeses, the wheat and the etc. on a large wooden cutting board or serving platter and have the wine glasses waiting.  If you have a herb garden, grab whatever is the most plentiful and use as a garnish on the tray.

The point is that you will be sitting down to a nutritious (but yes, high in fat) meal with good company that takes little prep time.  

Some cheese and wine experts may balk at my advice.  True, some people go all out, supplying proper utensils such as cheese knives and researching the proper wine to accompany each type of cheese. Now that takes time.  I’d rather get on with it and enjoy the food and the company, the most important part!

Stuffed Mushrooms

I have been using this recipe for over six years now, and this is actually one of the easiest recipes to get comfortable with.  It always adds flair as a side to whatever your entrée is.

You don’t need as much bread as they call for, though you will always end up with extra stuffing that it good to save to use with chicken breast or pork loin.  We use baby bella mushrooms for the better flavor and color, and it only costs a few cents more than traditional white mushrooms. 

 

  • 3 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 20 large (2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter) white mushrooms (1 lb)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Tear bread into pieces and pulse to coarse crumbs in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and toss with oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a shallow baking pan and bake in middle of oven until golden, 6 to 8 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.

Pull stems from mushroom caps (to create space for stuffing) and finely chop stems. Put mushroom caps, stemmed sides down, in a lightly oiled large shallow baking pan and bake in middle of oven until mushrooms exude liquid, about 10 minutes, then remove from oven.

While mushroom caps are baking, melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté chopped stems, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, garlic, oregano, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Cool vegetables slightly, then add to bread crumbs along with cheese and parsley and toss well.

Turn mushroom caps over, then mound mushroom filling in mushroom caps, pressing gently (there will be some filling left over). Bake in middle of oven until mushrooms are tender and stuffing is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Courtesy epicurious.com