Italian Easter Pie

March 26, 2016

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Easter preparations are in full swing in the Runcible Kitchen here. And the star of the show is this Italian Easter Pie! Yesterday I made my traditional Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns. Good Friday just wouldn’t be the same without them!

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And as for today, it was time to try out a new recipe. And I think this one will be making frequent reappearances. Behold this fantastic Italian Easter Pie!

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What we’ve got here is basically an Easter Calzone or “stuffed pizza” filled with smoked ham, hard-boiled eggs and cheese. Traditionally it is eaten in Italian households the day before Easter, but would certainly be welcome on any Easter Brunch table and would also be a great recipe to keep on hand should you have any extra hard-boiled eggs lingering around after the holiday.

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I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour blog. Rather, I should say I was looking over various Easter bread recipes, trying to pick one to make. Last year I had made Slovak Paska Bread

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and was very happy with the results, so I thought I’d stick with the bread theme. I had pretty much decided on the Polish Babka. But then the Husband happened along and saw the Italian Easter Pie recipe and he was smitten. He loves eggs. Loves them. Could eat them everyday. Prepared anyway. Never gets tired of them. And we had just received an order of King Arthur Italian Style Flour that we were going to try out with a new pizza dough recipe. Sooo….his choice was clear and I got busy making the Italian Easter Pie.  Now I will say, this recipe makes two 12″ Easter Pies. It will serve a whole lot of folks! Apparently there are as many variations on Italian Easter Pie recipes as there are Italian households out there. Everyone has a family favorite. Whilst this pie has fairly mild flavorings (that is why it is important that you use good quality, flavorful ham), I also ran across a recipe that uses a lot of spicier meats, like sausage, pancetta, and salami which looked great. (I’m keeping that one a secret for now to perhaps surprise the Husband with later.)

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I was very happy with how this Easter treat turned out. The crust is light and thin, and I will mention that the Italian Style flour was really easy to work with and roll out.

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The savory filling was perfect, hearty yet not heavy or dense. Italian Easter Pie is generally served warm or at room temperature. And though it is usually enjoyed for brunch or breakfast, I think it would also be great for dinner along with a side salad. Rustic, homey and delicious, this Italian Easter Pie would be perfect for all of your Easter holiday celebrations!

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Italian Easter Pie

  • Servings: 2 - 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 5 cups (539 grams) King Arthur Italian Style Flour or 4 3/4 cups (566.9 grams) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (43 grams) nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) olive oil
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (255 grams) lukewarm water (90° F – 100°F)*
  • *If you use all-purpose flour, increase the water to 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces)

For the Filling:

  • 1 dozen large eggs
  • 1 pound good-quality, full-flavored ham
  • 2 cups (425 to 454 grams) ricotta cheese, part-skim preferred
  • 1 cup (113 grams) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, lightly packed
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme (leaves only)
  • 2 teaspoons Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle (optional – it is a blend of sweet basil, turkish oregano, thyme & garlic)
  • salt, coarsely ground black pepper, and chopped fresh parsley, to taste

For the Glaze:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
  • Maldon Flaky Sea Salt to sprinkle on edge of crust (optional)

Directions:

Mix and knead together all of the dough ingredients — by hand, in a mixer, or in a bread machine — until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. 

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it’s quite puffy, nearly doubled in bulk. While the dough is rising, make the filling.

Hard-boil and peel 6 of the eggs. 

Place the hard-boiled eggs, ham (cut in chunks), and fresh thyme in the work bowl of a food processor. Process until chopped and combined. Don’t over-process; the ham and eggs should still be a bit chunky. You can also simply dice the eggs and ham, and chop the thyme, if you don’t have a food processor.

Combine the ham, boiled eggs, and thyme with the raw eggs, ricotta, and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and about 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Add the Pasta Sprinkle if you are using it.

Deflate the dough, and divide it into four pieces. 

Roll two of the dough pieces into rounds about 13″ in diameter, and place them on lightly greased or parchment-lined 12″ pizza pans. Or roll into ovals about 10″ x 14″, and place on two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Note: If you’re using parchment, it’s easiest to roll right on the parchment, then lift the crusts, parchment and all, onto the pans. I actually baked these pies on a pizza stone which I preheated in the oven. So I simply rolled the crusts out and assembled the pies on parchment paper. Then I transferred the pies to the heated stone on a pizza peel or paddle.

Divide the filling evenly between the two crusts, covering them to within 1″ of their edges. You’ll use a generous 3 cups (about 27 ounces) for each crust.

Roll out the other two pieces of dough, and place them atop the filled crusts, gently stretching them, if necessary, to cover the filling. Seal the crust edges by rolling the bottom crust up over the top, and pinching together.

Using a sharp knife or pair of scissors, cut a 1″ hole in the very center of each top crust; this will allow steam to escape.

Make the topping by whisking together the egg and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Paint each crust with some of the topping; this will yield a golden brown, shiny crust with mildly sweet flavor, a perfect foil for the salty ham. Sprinkle flaky sea salt on the rolled edge of the dough.

Allow the pies to rest while you preheat your oven to 350°F, about 15 minutes. They don’t need to be covered.

Bake the pies for about 25 – 35 minutes, until they’re a deep, golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and carefully slide them off the pan/parchment and onto on a rack to cool. 

Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Enjoy!

Italian Easter Pie brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Italian Easter Pie:

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Thermoworks Super-Fast Thermapen Cooking Thermometer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

Cuisinart Food Processor

Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat

SAF Instant Yeast

Emile Henry Flame Top Pizza Stone

14″ x 16″ Aluminum Pizza Peel

King Arthur Flour Italian Style Flour – This is a 00 Flour

Non fat Dry Milk Powder

Maldon Sea Salt Flakes (Fleur de Sel)

Penzey’s Spices Pasta Sprinkle (this is a link to the Penzey’s website)

I should also mention that King Arthur Flour has a wonderful shop full of kitchen essentials as well as their quality ingredients on their website. Definitely worth taking a peek!

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Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes

March 13, 2016

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O.k…So you know that Colcannon I told you about yesterday? It is pretty ahhhh..mazing all on its own right? Well guess what? I don’t know if you will actually have any leftovers when you make up a big old batch of Colcannon…but if you do…you can make Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes the next morning!

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Squeeeeee! I love leftover recipes! And boy oh boy is this a fantastic one! You take that mouthwateringly delicious Colcannon and stir in some lovely Irish Cheddar, an egg and a bit of flour. Then you simply drop it onto a hot skillet and fry it up. Good Lord above!!! These little Colcannon Skillet Cakes are crisp and crunchy on the outside and filled with all the warm, gooey, cheesey Colcannon goodness on the inside.

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You might just have to  double your Colcannon recipe just to make sure that you do have leftovers so that you can make these Skillet Cakes. And they’re not only great for breakfast. We’ve had them as a side dish for dinner as well. So delicious! I wouldn’t have thought you could improve on Colcannon, but here we have. Comfort food nirvana has been achieved!

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Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes

  • Servings: 8 cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup leftover Colcannon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, grated
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • oil to grease skillet
  • sour cream & chives for serving

Directions:

Place leftover Colcannon in medium mixing bowl.

Make a well in the center of the Colcannon and add beaten egg. Mix until combined.

Sprinkle grated cheese and flour over Colcannon/egg mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated

Heat a thin layer of oil (I used bacon grease, though any vegetable oil or even butter will work just fine) over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Drop large cookie scoops full of Colcannon mixture into the pan. You can actually make any size Colcannon cakes that your heart desires. However, I have found that smaller cakes give you more of the crisp factor than larger cakes. But proceed as you wish.

Allow cakes to cook undisturbed until the underside is golden brown. Flip the cakes and continue to cook until the second side is browned.

Remove cakes to a paper towel lined dish covered with foil until ready to serve. Serve warm with sour cream and chives if you desire.

Enjoy!

Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes:

Norpro 2 Tablespoon Cookie Scoop

Le Creuset Iron Handle 10 1/4 ” Skillet

Le Creuset Silicone Cool Tool Handle Sleeve

 


The Model Bakery’s English Muffins

February 1, 2016

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Here it is…February already. It seems the Husband and I made it through the recent blizzard event, lovingly dubbed “Snowzilla” relatively unscathed. And tomorrow, my favourite varmint, Punxsutawney Phil, will be stepping out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and letting everyone know if there will be 6 more weeks of winter or if perhaps Spring is on the way. Groundhog Day is nigh!

One extraordinary rodent!

One extraordinary rodent!

Phil & all the folks up in Punxsutawney aren’t the only folks celebrating now. February 1st, which falls half way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, also marks the festivals of Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day and Candlemas, all of which are associated with fertility, fire, purification and weather divination. Quite an auspicious time of year! I’m very happy to be marking an event today as well. February 1st just happens to be the 5th year anniversary of  the my cooking blog! Yup… Five years ago today I posted my first recipe. It was for Cream Tea Scones with Currants.

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I’ve posted some tasty “Anniversary Edition” recipes since then as well like Banana Rum Muffins:

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And last year I was able to successfully bake up a genuine Crack Pie!

IMG_0897So the pressure was on to pick a great dish to share on this my 5th Year blogging and I definitely have a winner for you: The Model Bakery’s English Muffins!

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I mean who doesn’t love an English Muffin? With all of those delightful nooks and crannies, it’s just the perfect vehicle for lashings of salty butter and sweet fruity jam. Seems I’m not alone in my adoration of the muffin. Folks have been enjoying these for a long, long while. Certainly you’ve heard the traditional English nursery rhyme “The Muffin Man”

Oh Do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane?

In Victorian England folks were able to have fresh “muffins” delivered right to their door by a fellow known as….you guessed it, The Muffin Man. In 1874, Samuel Bath Thomas moved from Plymouth England to New York City. Once there he set up a bakery and began selling what he called “toaster crumpets”. They were similar to English crumpets but were thinner and pre-sliced. He was the founder of Thomas’s English Muffins which are still sold in many groceries today.41g0DUQLjuL

And whilst I’m thankful to Mr. Thomas, having enjoyed the convenience of easily buying a packet of English Muffins, whenever the mood struck me, I’ve got tell you…those store-bought muffins don’t really hold a candle to these homemade gems! Oh Good Lawd above! Once you taste these big honking, tender, moist & fluffy Homemade Muffins, you’ll be hooked. Sooooo worth the effort. You’ll never be found in the Muffin aisle of your local grocery again. (Sorry Mr. Thomas!)

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Now there are many recipes out there for homemade English Muffins, but this one from the Model Bakery reigns supreme! There is a reason their muffins were featured on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate. The Model Bakery has been open in Napa for over 80 years. Dedicated to authentic artisan baking traditions, they specialize in Artisan Breads but also will tempt you with a complete range of pastry products. And if you’re not planning on visiting Napa anytime soon, they not only mail order some of their delicious baked goods, but have also published a great cookbook: The Model Bakery Cookbook: 75 Favorite Recipes from the Beloved Napa Valley Bakery , so that you can bake them at home. I’m telling you these muffins are just heavenly. Larger than your usual English Muffin, they bake up wonderfully fluffy and light as a cloud, yet are substantial enough to hold up to any breakfast sandwich you might send their way.

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And with this dough, you don’t have to fiddle around with any old-fashioned muffin rings. You cook them up on a griddle, completely free form.  If you can resist eating the whole dozen in one sitting, a feat of self-restraint that would definitely be worthy of admiration, I’m glad to say these little darlings freeze well, allowing you to have these awesome muffins on hand at the drop of a hat! So what are you waiting for…

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The Model Bakery's English Muffins

  • Servings: 12 Muffins
  • Difficulty: easy, but several steps and dough rising times to be factored in
  • Print

From: The Model Bakery Cookbook

Special thanks to Steven & Julie, fellow baking enthusiasts, for sharing this killer recipe with me!

Ingredients:

For the Biga:

  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml water
  • 1/2 cup/ 75g bread flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant (also called quick-rising or bread machine) yeast

For the Dough:

  • 1 1/3 cups / 315 ml water
  • 3/4 tsp instant (also called quick-rising or bread machine) yeast
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 1/2 cups/ 510g unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed

Additional Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup/ 35g yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
  • 6 tablespoons melted Clarified Butter (recipe follows) as needed

Directions:

To make the biga: At least 1 day before cooking the muffins, combine the flour, water, and yeast in a small bowl to make a sticky dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. The biga will rise slightly.

To make the dough: Combine the biga, water, yeast, olive oil, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Affix the bowl to the mixer and fi t with the paddle attachment. Mix on low-speed until the mixture looks creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in 3 cups/435 g of the flour to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn off the mixer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let stand for 20 minutes. (To make by hand, combine the water, biga, yeast, oil, and salt in a large bowl and break up the biga with a wooden spoon. Stir until the biga dissolves. Mix in enough flour to make a cohesive but tacky dough. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.)

Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that barely cleans the mixer bowl. Replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed (if the dough climbs up the hook, just pull it down) until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface to check its texture. It should feel tacky but not stick to the work surface. (To make by hand, knead on a floured work surface, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and feels tacky, about 10 minutes.)

Shape the dough into a ball. Oil a medium bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil, leaving the dough smooth-side up. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until almost doubled in volume, about 2 hours. (The dough can also be refrigerated for 8 to 12 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding to the next step.)

Using a bowl scraper, scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut into twelve equal pieces. Shape each into a 4-in/10-cm round. Sprinkle an even layer of cornmeal over a half-sheet pan. Place the rounds on the cornmeal about 1 in/2.5 cm apart. Turn the rounds to coat both sides with cornmeal. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until the rounds have increased in volume by half and a finger pressed into a round leaves an impression for a few seconds before filling up, about 1 hour.

Melt 2 Tbsp of the clarified butter in a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat until melted and hot, but not smoking. In batches, add the dough rounds to the skillet. Cook, adjusting the heat as needed so the muffins brown without scorching, adding more clarified butter as needed. The undersides should be nicely browned, about 6 minutes. Turn and cook until the other sides are browned and the muffins are puffed, about 6 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel–lined half-sheet pan and let cool. (It will be tempting to eat these hot off the griddle, but let them stand for at least 20 minutes to complete the cooking with carry-over heat.) Repeat with the remaining muffins, wiping the cornmeal out of the skillet with paper towels and adding more clarified butter as needed.

Split each muffin in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Toast in a broiler or toaster oven (they may be too thick for a standard toaster) until lightly browned. Serve hot. (The muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

To make the clarified butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until completely melted and boiling. Cook until the butter stops sputtering, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Skim the foam from the surface of the butter.

Line a wire sieve with dampened, wrung-out cheesecloth and place over a medium bowl. Carefully pour the clear, yellow melted butter through the sieve, leaving the milky residue behind in the saucepan. (Discard the residue.) Pour into a small container and cover. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Psssst: If you can’t be bothered making your own clarified butter, you can just go buy some Ghee off the supermarket shelf or order on Amazon!)

Enjoy!

The Model Bakery’s English Muffins brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Helpful Links to Kitchen Tools & Ingredients I used in making these English Muffins:

So this is a new feature I’m adding to my blog. Below you will find a list of Amazon Links to some of the Kitchen Tools and Ingredients which may not be found in your local grocery store, that I used in making the above recipe. You certainly don’t have to order them from Amazon if you’d prefer not to, but you can at least take a look at them there and then proceed as you wish. You also might be able to make the recipe perfectly well without any of these tools, but I use them and feel they make things much easier for me.

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

Kitchen Aid Artisan Series 5 Qt. Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

Le Creuset 11 3/4″ Cast Iron Frying Pan

Ghee (Clarified Butter)

 


Cinnamon Buttermilk Mini Muffins

November 6, 2015

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Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

So….did I hear someone say “Indian Summer”? Because that is what we’ve got going on around here! Good grief! Here it is November and tomorrow it is supposed to hit 80°F! Let me tell you it is super bizarre seeing folks running around in shorts with all that lovely Fall foliage as their backdrop. And although most people seemed thrilled with the weather, it kind of makes me a bit uneasy. I’m afraid it portends no Fall whatsoever. One day it will be 80° F and with little notice at all, besides my head exploding as it usually does with big swings in temperature, the mercury will crash down to freezing. I hope I’m wrong. I love autumn and would like to get in a few brisk jacket days and bonfires before I’m buried in layers of wool!

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Luckily these Cinnamon Buttermilk Mini Muffins are great no matter what the temp, though the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors do give them a very Fall-type vibe. Though I must confess, no matter what the season, I just can’t get enough of them.

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These little muffins are kind of like a cross between a doughnut and a muffin. The batter is actually a doughnut batter, but then these muffins are baked, not fried. The buttermilk makes them oh so moist and tender. And the cinnamon/sugar coating is not only delicious and crunchy but also adds to the doughnut-ness of this treat. Now you can make these muffins full-sized, but I love to bake them in a mini muffin pan. The mini muffins are just the right size to pop straight into your mouth. You know, like a doughnut hole. And being so pint-sized, you won’t feel as guilty when you have more than one….Oh and believe me you will!

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Cinnamon Buttermilk Mini Muffins

  • Servings: 30 mini muffins or 9-11 full-sized muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe from: Williams Sonoma

Ingredients: 

  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease a mini muffin or standard muffin tin with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray; fill any unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping.

To make the muffins, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well until pale and smooth.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins and let stand until cool enough to handle.

To make the topping, in a small, shallow bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Put the melted butter in another small bowl. Holding the bottom of a muffin, dip the top into the melted butter, turning to coat it evenly. Immediately dip the top in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating it evenly, then tap it to remove excess sugar. Transfer the muffin, right side up, to the rack. Repeat with the remaining muffins. Let cool completely before serving.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Buttermilk Mini Muffins brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Zucchini, Spicy Grilled Corn & Cheese Pancakes

September 16, 2015

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Keep the zucchini recipes coming? No problem! I’ve got a great one for you here – Zucchini, Spicy Grilled Corn & Cheese Pancakes! The husband says this may well be his favourite recipe of 2015. I must admit, I can see why. Moist, light and bursting with fresh summer garden goodness these savory pancakes are not only delicious warm from the frying pan, but are also great at room temperature or even cold right out of the fridge.

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One of the things I love about these pancakes besides the fresh zucchini is the bit of spice factor. You know us and our penchant for hot and spicy by now. So I’ve added a bit of Spicy Grilled Corn to the mix. The zesty lime/chili combo of spices and the grilled flavour adds so much to this dish. And of course when I added the cheese in, I went with a Habanero Jack Cheese. The great thing here is that if you don’t want to turn up the heat like we do, just use fresh corn and maybe go with the parmesan or cheddar cheese option. It’s all up to you and your taste buds. We’ve eaten these pancakes as a main course with a fresh salad on the side, as a side dish paired with some grilled chicken, re-heated them for a quick savory breakfast and snacked on them between meals. They would be amazing as a summer appetizer as well. Just make them silver dollar sized and top them with a little dollop of sour cream and fresh chives. That versatility, along with ease of preparation makes them a winner in my book! So if your garden runneth over with zucchini, griddle up some of these mouthwatering pancakes. Folks will swoon!

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Zucchini, Spicy Grilled Corn & Cheese Pancakes

  • Servings: 20 pancakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup chopped chives or scallions; about 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 4 cups coarsely grated zucchini; about one 10″ zucchini
  • 1 cup spicy grilled corn (recipe to follow, you can use regular corn if you can’t be bothered to grill corn – but I think the grilled corn option is the way to go!)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Spicy Habanero Jack cheese.
  • sour cream & fresh chives for serving

Directions:

Preheat a griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat; if you have an electric griddle, set the heat to 400°F.

Beat the eggs with the oil, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined.

Add the herbs, spices, scallions, zucchini, corn and cheese, stirring to combine.

Stir in the flour.

Grease the hot griddle lightly. Drop the batter in 1/4 cupfuls onto the griddle; a muffin scoop works well here. If necessary, spread the cakes to about 3 1/2″ to 4″ diameter.

Cook the cakes for 3 minutes, or until they’re brown on the bottom, and bubbles have appeared on their tops. The top surface will appear somewhat dry and set.

Flip the cakes, and cook them for about3 to 4 minutes on the second side, or until they’re as moist/cooked as you like when you break one open.

Repeat until you’ve used all of the batter.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold; with butter and grated cheese, or without. Store any leftovers, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator. Reheat in a toaster or toaster oven, if desired.

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Spicy Grilled Corn

This recipe will likely yield more than the 1 cup you need for the zucchini pancakes. But having extra Spicy Grilled Corn around is not a problem! You can eat it cold, straight from the fridge, sprinkle it over salads or warm it up for a side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ears of fresh corn in husk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp chili powder

Directions:

Combine olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, brown sugar and chili powder in small bowl and whisk together.
Preheat grill.
Peel back the corn husks, discarding all but a couple inner layers. Remove corn silk, then baste with dressing, and recover corn with remaining husk.
Grill on med-high for 20-25 minutes, turning 3-4 times during cooking time.
Remove the corn from grill and allow to cool a few minutes. Once it has cooled enough to handle, cut off stem end, place the flat cut end on bottom of large bowl, and use a corn zipper to strip the kernels from the cob. Or if you don’t have a zipper, run a small sharp knife down the length of the cob, slicing off kernels.

Enjoy!

Zucchini, Spicy Grilled Corn & Cheese Pancakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 


Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Potato Nests with Spicy Horseradish Cream & Guinness Mustard

March 14, 2015

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Alright, alright, alright….I told you all about that Corned Beef Hash leftover recipe yesterday, as well as burst your “Corned Beef is an oh so Irish dish” balloon. Today I’d like to let you in on another recipe you can turn to after your big Corned Beef and Cabbage St. Patrick’s Day Feast or as a bit of a teaser appetizer before hand. Are you ready? Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Potato Nests with Spicy Horseradish and Guinness Mustard.

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These little devils are delicious. Kind of like that big St. Patrick’s Day feast all compacted into a tiny little appetizer. The “potato nests” used here are amazing. I mean, who doesn’t love hash browns? And that is basically what you’ve got here except they’re better. Yup…I’m just going to go ahead and declare it…These nests are better than hash browns. Why you might ask. Well, let me tell you, these nest have the crisp factor over regular hash browns. Hash browns are really difficult to do well. Often they turn out way too soggy and greasy. But these little potato nests cooked in muffin tins have a lot of crispy crunchiness going for them. Literally all the edges are sporting it, yet they are still tender on the inside of the cup, which makes for a wonderfully satisfying bite. And once you’ve got those potato nests ready to go, it’s pretty easy to stuff them with some leftover corned beef, shredded Irish Cheddar, chives and the choice of two wonderful sauces; Spicy Horseradish or Guinness Mustard. I must say, these condiments steal the show. You probably should have them on hand for your big Corned Beef Feast as well, because they really enhance the flavor of that meat.

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This dish comes together pretty quickly, especially if you use the Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash browns which can be found in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. If you are going old school and grating your own potatoes, make sure you wring them out well to get rid of that extra moisture so that they will cook up nice and crispy. But if you can take the shortcut of pre-made hash browns, you should definitely go there. Don’t feel guilty, it is so worth it. Your time is valuable. And if you take advantage of this timesaver, you’ll be tucking in to these adorable tasty Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Potato Cups before you know it. And I think that is a great thing!

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Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Potato Nests with Spicy Horseradish Cream & Guinness Mustard

  • Servings: 12 Potato Nests
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the potato nests:

  • 1 – 20 ounce bag of Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns (if you can’t find these you can substitute in 3 1/2 cups shredded Russet potato which has been rinsed, and squeezed dry in a towel.)
  • 1 cup Irish cheddar, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you like a little kick!)

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups diced or sliced corn beef
  • 1 cup Irish Cheddar, shredded
  • chives, to sprinkle over the top

Serve with Horseradish Cream and Guinness Mustard (recipes listed below)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F and thoroughly spray a 12 cup cupcake tin with baking spray or grease with butter or oil.

Place shredded Hash Browns and cheddar cheese in medium-sized mixing bowl. Add spices and mix. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and then toss until mixture is coated.

Using 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, fill each well of the cupcake tin with the hash brown mixture.

Using the back of a spoon and your fingers press the hash brown mixture into the sides and bottom of the pan. I actually used a 1/4 cup measuring cup with tapered sides to assist me in making the correct shape for these nests.

Bake potato nests in lower third of the oven for about 60 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. The inside of the potato cup will not appear as dark as the bottom, so actually check the bottoms from time to time.

Remove nests from the oven and let cool for a minute or two. At this point you will probably need to reshape your “nest” a bit. Gently do so with the back of a spoon and then let them cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack.

Once cool, run a knife around the edges of the nests and very carefully remove them from the cupcake tin.

Reheat the leftover diced corned beef  in the microwave. Spoon it into the waiting potato nests. Sprinkle with a bit more shredded cheddar and top with chives.

Serve the Corned Beef & Cheddar Potato Nests with Horseradish Cream and Guinness Mustard on the side.

Horseradish Cream Sauce

Recipe from: Bon Appetit

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons prepared white horseradish (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or green onion tops

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Guinness Mustard

Recipe from: Bon Appetit

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coarse-grained Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons regular Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Guinness stout or other stout or porter
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon golden brown sugar

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Enjoy!

Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Potato Nests with  Spicy Horseradish Cream Sauce & Guinness Mustard brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Corned Beef Hash

March 13, 2015

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Corned Beef and cabbage! What would St. Patrick’s Day be without it? The quintessential Irish dish, or is it? Well, I’m sure all of my Irish friends (the ones that actually live in Ireland, not the Irish American ones to be specific) are saying…”What would it be without it? What would it be with it is a better question!” That’s right folks…Corned Beef and Cabbage is not considered “Irish” by the Irish themselves. They don’t really eat it there on St. Patrick’s Day or likely any other day of the year. “Hey….”I can just hear some of you saying…”I visited there last St. Patrick’s Day and I was served up a big old plate of the stuff”. I don’t doubt that you were. The Irish, being as accommodating as they are, made it up just because they knew hoards of Irish American tourists were going to turn up and be expecting it. It is not traditional for them whatsoever! But, that being said…it IS traditional St. Patrick’s Day fare for all the Irish Americans out there, who are the ones that really got that St. Patrick’s Day party going. And the recipe for today, Corned Beef Hash, doesn’t have so much to do with how to cook that big old hunk of corned beef and vegetables (hint….you boil the bejesus out of it….Just kidding 🙂 You simmer it all day, ever so gently… ), but what you do with the leftovers. I love recipes for leftovers. So much so that I’m giving you the one today and another one tomorrow. (bit of a spoiler, but it is for a corned beef appetizer, so stay tuned!). The husband swears that this Corned Beef Hash is fantastic. Indeed he preferred it to the original Corned Beef Feast we’d had the night before.

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But I’m sure some of you folks are still reeling from me letting the old “Corned Beef isn’t really Irish” cat out of the bag. So let me explain a little bit. Corned Beef, as I’m sure ya’ll know, has nothing to do with corn. The “corn” part of the title refers to the fact that large grain rock salt (salt kind of the same size as a grain of corn) was traditionally used to cure it. Back in the day, before reliable refrigeration, this “corning” was done to preserve meat. That vibrant pink color that corned beef is sporting is due to the pink salt that was used to cure it. Now this isn’t the fancy pants pink Himalayan salt that you may have read about, nope this is salt with good old sodium nitrate mixed in, which has been dyed a bright pink so that it is easily distinguishable from regular salt. It is the same reason why hot dogs have that rosy pink hue. Saltpetre, or potassium nitrate has also been used to preserve meat since the Middle Ages. Interestingly enough, it is also one of the main ingredients in gun powder. Saltpetre inhibits the germination of C. botulinum endospores as well as softens tough meat. Seventeenth century Ireland was the largest supplier of corned beef  in the world. That was because beef was very plentiful in the country and the salt tax in Ireland was 1/ 10 of what is was in England which meant the Anglo-Irish could import high quality salt at a lower price, cure that plentiful beef that they had in abundance and ready it for export. Which they did so much so that Irish Corned Beef was regarded as the best on the market from the 1600’s until about 1825.  However, although the Irish were exporting a lot of beef, they were not eating it. The Irish traditionally ate pork and beef was too expensive. After the potato famine in the mid 1800’s, many Irish immigrated to the United States. Once they arrived, many settling in New York, and living next to the many other immigrants of that time, they found that pork was very expensive, but that beef , which had previously been unaffordable, was plentiful. Their fellow immigrant Jewish butcher neighbors often sold an inexpensive cut of cured or corned beef brisket, which had started out quite tough but had been transformed by the curing process into a tender flavourful cut of beef. The Irish, being very adaptable, substituted this Jewish Corned Beef for the more expensive joint of bacon in their familiar boiled cabbage and potato recipe, thereby transforming and reinterpreting  the dish.

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So there you have it, not an Irish dish per se, but an exceedingly Irish American dish. I hope this recipe will inspire you to cast your eye not only to the big St. Patrick’s Day feast, but also to the days after. The leftovers days. St. Patrick’s Day is only four days away, so plan ahead! Buy that bigger cut of brisket and cook up a bit extra, so that you’ll have plenty of leftovers to work with. I promise you, you won’t regret it. This Corned Beef Hash is phenomenal. Just what the doctor called for to perk you up the day after the many St. Patrick’s Day parades, festivities and undoubtedly excessive green beer guzzling.

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Corned Beef Hash

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: BonAppetit

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups leftover shredded Corned Beef
  • 1 medium onion, left over from Corned Beef feast
  • 1 large russet potato, left over from Corned Beef feast
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup Irish Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Chopped fresh chives (for serving)

Directions:

This recipe assumes that you’ve already made your St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef Feast and have managed to set aside a few leftovers, namely 2 cups of shredded corned beef, 1 medium onion and one large russet potato. I had used baby red potatoes when I made my corned beef dinner, so I just used a big handful of those.

Preheat oven to 200° F. Thinly slice cooked onion and potato into 1/2″ pieces; toss in a large bowl with corned beef, 1/4 cup parsley, and 1 cup Irish Cheddar. Moisten with some reserved cooking liquid if mixture seems dry. If you don’t have cooking liquid, just use a splash or two of Guinness; season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the corned beef mixture and press down to form a pancake. Cook undisturbed until the underside is golden brown and crisp, about 6 – 8 minutes. Set a plate over the pan and carefully invert the pancake onto it; then slide it back into the pan, uncooked side down. Press it back into pancake shape again and then once again…do not touch it! Let it cook for 6 – 8 minutes again. Then carefully transfer it to a baking sheet, tent with foil and pace in the oven to keep warm until you are ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining butter and corned beef mixture.

Meanwhile, bring 2″ of water to boil in a large saucepan or frying pan. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add vinegar.

Crack an egg into a small bowl and once the water has reached a temperature of 190°F, slide the egg into the water. Repeat with the remaining eggs, waiting until the egg whites are opaque before adding the next egg. Poach for about 4 minutes to 4 1/2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a paper towel. Trim away any whispy egg whites if you desire. Eggs can be poached 2 hours ahead of time; place in a bowl of ice water and chill. If you are planning on doing eggs ahead and will need to reheat, you may want to reduce initial cooking time to 3 – 3 1/2 minutes so that they are not overdone after reheating. Reheat in simmering water for 1 minute prior to serving.

Serve eggs over hash, seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with chives, more cheddar and more parsley.

Enjoy!

Corned Beef Hash brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 


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