Monday, October 19, 2015

Apple & Pear Galette

Got a bit of cooler weather this past weekend, and because I have absolutely no chill, and have been hard wired to have the excitement of a puppy dog about EVERYTHING, I made a fall dessert. The high was 84. Not exactly screaming fall, but I'm from Houston.

This is a rustic dessert, the best kind in my opinion, made up of a combination of apples and pears, tossed in apple pie seasonings, and put in a puff pastry. Galettes are free form pastries, hence the rustic look.

You can make this in a tart pan if you like, which is what I did, and fold over the edges to give it that gorgeous "I'm not perfect" look. Otherwise, if you don't have a tart pan, simply put this on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It will still be gorgeous.

I made a quick vanilla simple syrup to put over the top of the galette, but next time, I'm thinking a drizzle of salted caramel.

Super simple dessert, perfect for fall.

Apple & Pear Galette

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly (Red or Bosc)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon
1 puff pastry, thawed, but cool
3 tablespoons melted butter
Raw sugar, or turbinado sugar 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

If using a tart pan, lightly butter the bottom and edges. If no tart pan, place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet.

In a bowl, toss the apple and pear slices with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and the juice from half a lemon. Watch out for the pesky seeds!

Roll out the puff pastry to a thin 1/8". If using a 9" tart pan, roll it out so that it is bigger than the pan in order to fold in the edges. Place the rolled puff pastry in the tart pan, or place on the parchment paper.

If using the tart pan, place the apple and pear slices tightly and neatly into the pan. Make it as pretty as you like. If using the parchment method, start placing your apple and pear slices 2 inches from the edge of the puff pastry, to allow for the folding.

Once all the apples and pears are cozied up in the pastry, fold in your puff pastry edges on top of the apples, crimping where they meet. Brush on the melted butter and sprinkle with raw or turbinado sugar.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, rotating the pastry every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking. 

Once the apples are softened, and you have a golden pastry, it's ready!

You can make a quick simple syrup to glaze the pastry, or drizzle on some caramel, or just simply eat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! 



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pumpkin Butter + Muenster Grilled Cheese

I try to hold out on the pumpkin recipes because they are all over the place! But I discovered pumpkin butter with the help of a friend in book club. She mentioned that she makes grilled cheese sandwiches using pumkin butter and Gruyere. Book club was 3 weeks ago, and it has been on my mind ever since!

I figured I'd pick up a jar from Trader Joe's, but then a favorite blogger of mine, Minimalist Baker, posted a 20 minute pumpkin butter recipe, and I knew, I had to just make it myself.

For those of you new to pumpkin butter, it is a thick, and creamy pumpkin spread . It has the warmth found in anything pumpkin because of the pumpkin spice mix and maple syrup used in this recipe. I could imagine adding this on pancakes or waffles, or incorporating it into desserts like brownies, and cheesecake. I made a half recipe, so about one mason jar worth, which is more than enough for me to last this "fall" season. 

My husband is anti-pumpkin, so I didn't tell him what KIND of grilled cheese we were having. I stood over him while he took his first bite and after he told me how good it was, I let him know it was pumpkin. It was fine. Cheese + butter > pumpkin.

Pumpkin Butter + Muenster Grilled Cheese

Half batch of pumpkin butter 
4 slices of hearty bread
4 slices of Muenster (or any cheese)
4 tablespoons SALTED butter

Turn on oven broiler to preheat.
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Spread pumpkin butter inside all 4 slices of bread, arrange cheese slices over the pumpkin butter, one per slice of bread. Close the sandwiches. Spread butter on both sides of both sandwiches and place in skillet. Get a nice LIGHT brown on both sides because we will finish them off under the broiler.

Once the sandwiches have some color to them, stick them under the broiler to melt the cheese and get a golden crust on the sandwich. Flip the sandwiches to do the same on the other side. 

Remove the skillet from the broiler, don't burn yourself, and cut your sandwiches in half.

Enjoy your ooey, gooey, pumpkin-y sandwich!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lemon Caper Chicken

Hi! I feel like I start all my posts the same way, telling you how crappy I feel that I have waited so long to post. Well, here's another.

The issue with blogging is that in order to post consistently, i feel like you have to be "on," and witty, and maybe inspiring, sometimes all at once before even posting the recipe. I just don't feel like that's who I am as a blogger. Sometimes I just want to post the recipe and scurry off, but since I'm an avid blog reader, I feel the pressure of writing a "piece" before I get to posting what I made in my kitchen.

If it's fine with you, sometimes I may have nothing much to say, but want to share my recipe with you, so on those days, I'll simply post up the recipe with a simple hello.

Here's a one skillet meal for those of us who cook, and also do the dishes.

Lemon Caper Chicken

4 thin chicken breasts (from 2 large breasts)
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
3-4 mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons capers
1 cup chicken, or veggie, stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, etc.)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
olive oil
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
feta cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Don't forget to take out any pots and pans living in there! It happens. 

Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in skillet. Get a nice brown on both sides of the chicken. No need to fully cook them because they will finish off in the oven. Remove from skillet to a plate.

In the skillet, add shallots, mushrooms, and capers. Saute for a minute. Add chicken stock, garlic, red chili flakes, fresh herbs, and lemon juice to the vegetables. Scrape off the brown bits (this is good stuff), and let this come to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced. 

Turn off heat and whisk in butter until fully incorporated, and then add in the heavy cream. Place the chicken breasts back in the skillet, covering with sauce. Sprinkle in the tomatoes and place the skillet in the oven for an additional 10-12 minutes until chicken if fully cooked.

Remove from oven, and sprinkle on the feta!