Posts Tagged goat cheese

Beet Pot Pie

I think I was overexposed to certain things as a child. Things like ponies and precious little heart-shaped objects and anything pink.

I hate pink. Pink is for little girls and Valentine’s Day cards and Pepto Bismol commercials. It is very rarely allowed to invade my home.

Obviously there’s an exception clause for food. Raspberry tarts and curds, salmon poached in red wine, and anything made with beets can’t help but be pink. If the flavor is assertive enough, I’ll forgive my dinner for looking a bit girlish and twee.

This definitely makes the cut.

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Beets and goat cheese really should never be separated. Puree the two together, bake them in a crust, and you’ve got a delightfully filling vegetarian meal. It is also the most brightly colored pot pie you’ve ever seen.

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The filling and crust can just as easily be made in a 9″ tart or pie tin. I enjoy the deep dish ramekins, but mostly because they provide an excuse to dig in with a spoon.

Ingredients

For the crust:

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1 1/4 cups flour

1 t salt

1/4 t white pepper

1/4 t nutmeg

8 T (1 stick) cold butter

3 T ice water

For the filling:

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3 medium beets

4 oz goat cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup cream

1/4 t white pepper

1/4 t nutmeg

salt, to taste

Directions

First, roast the beets. Rub them with a little olive oil, wrap tightly in foil, and bake at 400°F for an hour or so.

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While those are roasting, make the crust. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor.

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Pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter in chunks.

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Pulse in 1-2 second bursts until the dough is the consistency of damp sand. Add the water and run the machine until the dough comes together.

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Sprinkle the counter lightly with flour and turn out the dough onto it.

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Roll it about 1/8″ thick in a vague rectangle shape (or round if using a pie/tart pan). Butter two 10-oz ramekins (or 4 6-oz ones, or a pie tin).

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One could line things neatly. Or, if one is not talented at doing things neatly, just flop the dough into the prepared bakeware, call the draping parts rustic, and have done with it.

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Put the ramekins in the refrigerator while you make the filling. The food processor is useful again here, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wash it. Put the roasted beets in the bowl.

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whirr

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This is not pink. It is a delightful deep red.

Add the goat cheese and process until uniform in color.

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Now it’s pink. Lament.

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Add cream, egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

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Give it another whirl to combine.

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Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

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Serve with green beans sautéed with dried cranberries. Just trust me. It’s a weird combination but oh so good.

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This is just as good as a hot dinner or a cold meal the next day. The filling is very soft. If you feel it would be improved by a bit of crunch, throw a handful of chopped walnuts on top or fold them into the filling before baking.

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Asparagus Tart

I’m a big fan of savory tarts. The broccoli cheddar tart is a winter favorite around here, and quiches filled with spices and greens crop up quite often as well. If I have a few scraps of cheese and a couple of different vegetables in the fridge, there’s a good chance they’ll be thrown together in a tart without any real recipe or planning.

All these things are delicious. Cheese, flaky crust, eggy filling; who could say no? But they aren’t exactly healthy. And that’s a shame, because there’s no reason they shouldn’t be.

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So I tried for healthier. No more all-butter crust: I went with whole wheat flour, olive oil, ricotta cheese, and loads of vegetables. It could be leaner, with low-fat ricotta and broth or low fat milk instead of cream, but I didn’t go there. Honestly I’ve never bought a low-fat cheese in my life and don’t intend to. This recipe is easy to modify. Don’t like asparagus? Try greens, mushrooms, carrot coins, squash, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

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Ingredients (serves 6-8)

For the crust:

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1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 t salt

1/2 t white pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

3 T ice water

For the filling:

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1/2 cup ricotta cheese

4 oz goat cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup cream

1 lb asparagus

about 1/2 t salt

parmesan, to taste

Directions

For the crust:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the olive oil.

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Stir with a spoon until the mixture is uniform.

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Add the water and knead until the dough forms a ball.

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Press the dough into a buttered tart pan or pie tin. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.

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Boil the asparagus for 3-5 minutes while the crust is baking.

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When the crust is done, spread a layer of ricotta across the bottom of it.

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Crumble the goat cheese over the ricotta. Mix the egg and cream in a small bowl.

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Pour the egg and cream over the cheese, and top with the asparagus. Sprinkle the tart with salt.

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Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.

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Serve immediately.

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This crust is different, very crumbly and complex. I didn’t expect to like it; ordinarily I don’t even keep whole wheat flour in the apartment, because the texture annoys me. The simplicity of it with the olive oil, and the soft, rich filling offset that enough to make me go back for seconds on this one.

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Asparagus and Artichoke Pizza

Pizza is not at all difficult to make. It requires a little planning, and a choice between a food processor and elbow grease. That’s about it. Make pizza at home, and not only will it be piping hot and crispy-crusted from the oven, but you can put any toppings you want on it, and any (or no) sauce.

I make pizza at home by necessity. While there are pizza places I can trust not to attempt tomato homicide (love ya, Urban Crust), for the most part pizza out just isn’t worth the risk or the expense. Enter pizza at home. You don’t have to have a pizza stone to make it–heck, my “pizza stone” is an old stone chess board I picked up for $3 (The chess pieces are my pie weights), and it replaces an 18″ square unfinished stone tile from Home Depot that snapped when we moved. Before the tile, I used a cookie sheet. Want a deep dish pizza? Use a cast iron skillet. Ignore people who tell you the only way to make good pizza at home is with expensive equipment. It just isn’t true, and you’ll miss out on good pizza if you trust them.

For the crust, I adapt Mark Bittman’s crust from How to Cook Everything. For the topping, I just use whatever I feel like at the time–in this case, asparagus, artichokes, and goat cheese. This recipe makes  a small pizza to serve 2-3 people. Double it to serve more.

Ingredients

 

For the crust:

1 t instant yeast

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 cup warm water

2 T olive oil

For the topping:

1/2 lb grated mozzarella

4 oz goat cheese

1/2 lb cooked asparagus (steamed, roasted, however you like)

10-12 cooked artichoke hearts (sautéed in lemon butter is best; steamed, boiled, or roasted will work)

a pinch of salt

1-1 1/2 cups sauce of your choice, if desired

Directions

Pour the flour, yeast, and salt into the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse briefly to combine.

With the blade running, drizzle in the water and olive oil. As soon as the dough comes together in a cohesive ball, turn off the food processor.

Knead the dough briefly and form it into as round a ball as you can. Place this dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for at least an hour or up to two. If you need it to rest longer, put it in the fridge.

Turn the risen dough out onto a chess board/tile/cookie sheet that you’ve lightly dusted with a bit of flour or cornmeal. Preheat the oven to 500°F. No, that is not a typo. You need a really hot oven for pizza. it will cook fast and crisp up beautifully.

Punch it into a rough circle. (Full disclosure: my pizzas are usually unholy trapezoids, shapes that fit neatly into the dreams of great Cthulhu and are best not seen by sane men. This is the real reason I’ve never written about a pizza on here before. This one looks all right, though.)

Let the crust sit another ten minutes or so, so that you can smack it back into shape if that pesky gluten tries to contract and shrink your pizza. Add your sauce, if using, then cheese and toppings. I actually like to put the toppings underneath the cheese, because the cheese glues them down and keeps them from sliding around when the pizza is cut, but they look better on top. It’s up to you.

Bake at 500°F for 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt (and any other spices you like) and serve piping hot.

So good. Pizza you can eat on the couch, knowing it hasn’t been marinating in its own sweat for half an hour in the backseat of a delivery person’s car.

A note about cutting pizza: I hate pizza cutting wheels, because there is not enough room in anyone’s kitchen for a tool that’s only good for one thing. I use a sharp knife and press down with a gentle rocking motion, without sawing or sliding, until it cuts through. The pizza gets cut, all the cheese does not slide off, everyone is happy. Well, everyone except the guy who was secretly trying to steal all the cheese.

 

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Kale and Acorn Squash Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells are a compromise of a dish. They’re cheesy and delicious like lasagna, but more filling-oriented and neater to eat, like an overenthusiastic tortellini. (Just pretend the simile makes sense, okay? Thanks.) As far as compromise goes, they’re often the best of both worlds. After all, you could never fit this much squash into one bite of lasagna, and tortellini is finicky to make at home.

These shells are a great weeknight dinner, especially when you’re dealing with a chilly February in Texas. At least the metroplex isn’t iced under and terrified this year–those of us who live in the South have no idea how to handle even small doses of below freezing weather, nor should we have to. It’s the American South. It has a contract with its residents that temperatures will never drop below 50° F, and we’ll all speak in accents the rest of the world can mock. There are rules.

At any rate, even though my pumpkin supply has been tragically cut off for the year, acorn squash is still abundant and we’re a long way still from the summer days when I poke sadly at zucchini and wonder why it still gets to be called squash when it lacks all the good squash qualities. Acorn squash is sweeter than pumpkin, and a bit stringier, but still brilliantly orange and velvety. Combined with tangy goat cheese and bitter, crunchy kale, it makes a perfect filling for the shells.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

18 jumbo shells, cooked

1/2 of an acorn squash

2 T butter

1 bunch kale

4 oz goat cheese

2-3 T marscapone

1/2 lb mozzarella, grated (divided use)

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F and get out your squash. These things can be a little intimidating to cut into, as they are quite hard, but if you just give it a really good whack with a nice heavy knife, you’ll be all right. Just use a sturdy cutting board and pretend you’re chopping wood.

Chop it in half and scoop out the tasty, tasty seeds.

Peel it and chop into half-inch dice. Spread the squash in a baking pan and dot with the 2 T of butter and a sprinkling of salt.

Roast at 400° F for 20-30 minutes, until the flesh is translucent and the edges just begin to caramelize. You could alternately cook the squash in a cast iron pan on the stove over high heat for 10-15 minutes, for a lot more browning. I will almost certainly do that next time, as it is both quicker and more flavorful.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Set the squash aside and prepare the kale. Cut the central ribs out of the leaves and lay the leaves on top of each other in a stack.

Roll that stack up tightly and slice it into thin ribbons (this is called chiffonade, for those of you who are interested).

Toss the squash, kale, goat cheese, marscapone, and half of the mozzarella in a bowl and mix well.

Arrange the cooked shells in a buttered baking dish and stuff each one with as much filling as it will hold. Or a little more. I won’t judge.

Top the stuffed shells with the remaining 1/4 pound of mozzarella and a thorough sprinkling of Parmesan.

Wrap the dish snugly in tin foil and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake another five minutes or so, just to get some nice browning on top.

Serve with steamed broccoli and ciabatta.

This is just as tasty the next day, although the crunchy Parmesan lace is somewhat diminished by microwaving. It’s gooey and salty and just a touch sweet all at once, which makes it the perfect cure for just about any craving you may be having right about now.

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