Cassia’s Favorite Stuffed Green Peppers

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I have to admit, I was very, very surprised the first time I served this to my daughter.  I figured she would look at me, thinking I had gone mad for serving her a green pepper, with what looked like cheese on top.    But, she just cut a bite, put it in her mouth and said she loved it.  Mind you, she was about 7 at the time.

Ever since, she asks me to prepare these stuffed peppers for her.  Honestly, as a kid, I hated them, but, as tastes change and your palate becomes more forgiving and sophisticated, I learned to love them.  These truly remind me of home, not any country in particular, just home.  Throughout the years, we started to adapt our cooking from just Colombian flavors to a more Caribbean style, incorporating ingredients that we had on our lovely island of Nassau, and also some suggestions from a certain “auntie” who is Jamaican.  My Auntie Sharon introduced to us so many Jamaican products, since we were new to these sorts of things.  Ackee, bread fruit, how to eat Guava ( in the dark, if you’re asking, so you won’t see the worms! ) and also, Pickapeppa Sauce.

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Pickapeppa Sauce is akin to Britain’s HP sauce, but with a bite, more tangy and less sweet.  We started incorporating this in many, many recipes.  And this is a staple in my house that I bring back from Miami whenever I can.  I can assure you, that adding this to your beef stew, hamburgers, even dips will give it an extra-special kick!  And apparently it’s really awesome with cream cheese.

So, why not try these stuffed peppers today?

Here’s what you’re going to need:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1/2 leek, sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

50 g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp cumin powder

Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp jalapeno powder (or chili powder if you can’t find)

400g Ground Beef or Pork (or a mix of the two)

2 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp Pickapeppa Sauce ( HP Sauce if you can’t find Pickapeppa)

3-4 long green peppers, sliced open, seeds and ribs removed

1/2 cup cheddar cheese (more to taste)

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).  In a large sautee pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.  Add the onion, carrots, leeks, garlic and cherry tomatoes.  Sautee for about 10-15 minutes, until softened.  Add the tomato paste, cumin, salt and black pepper, garlic powder, and jalapeno powder.  Sautee for another 8 minutes, until nicely softened.

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Raise the heat to medium high, and add the ground beef or pork and cook until browned.   Add the raisins and the Pickapeppa Sauce and cook, stirring until mixed.  Take off heat.

Carefully stuff the peppers until full but not overflowing.

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Place in a baking dish, and top with grated cheese.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes*, until the peppers are softened and the cheese has melted and is bubbling.

Serve immediately.

*  If you prefer the peppers to be softer, you can parboil them for 2 minutes.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Minestrone

Minestronne

 

Nothing screams homey, comfort and belly-warming to me more than Minestrone.  Growing up, it was my mother’s preferred way to get me to eat veggies, mine too now, of course; I also remember watching my uncle carefully chop all the vegetables, and explain to me in which order they should be sautéed, for how long, and of course, his secret ingredient.

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The hard rind of the parmesan cheese.  He rarely threw out any food out, there was always some use for it.  I remember as a kid, watching that incredibly hard and inedible rind being plopped into the soup mid way, and upon its extraction, it was a soft, gooey, gloop of a mess.  For me it was alchemy, magic.  And the taste of the soup…..incredible!

I still make my minestrone exactly the way my uncle taught me, digging out as many veggies from the fridge as I can, but always respecting their taste profiles.  I remember him saying never to put eggplant in, as it would give the soup a more acid taste.  So I don’t use it.  Also, he used broccoli, but this time I found this beauty:

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I think this is purple cauliflower, but the taste seems to be a cross between the two.  It gave the overall dish another beautiful color profile, which I love…..I love eating the rainbow, it just makes me feel so healthy!

The recipe I am going to give to you is by no means written down anywhere, I always make it from my memory.  So, the amounts are not perfect, so hang in there.

So, here’s what you’re going to need

Serves 8-10

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 stalk of celery, sliced

1/2 leek, halved lengthwise and sliced

6-7 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 handful of green beans, chopped into 2 inch sticks

1/2 zucchini, diced

6-7 broccoli or purple cauliflower florets, chopped

1/2 cup white beans, from can or jar

1 tsp dried oregano

3 cups vegetable stock

1 large can (800 g) crushed tomatoes

1 parmesan cheese rind (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots, celery and leeks.

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Sprinkle in some salt and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium high, and add the rest of the veggies, except for the beans.

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Saute until the mushrooms are just starting to soften, about 6 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes, parmesan rind and oregano.  Let it come to a boil, and then lower the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Five minutes before you take it off the heat, add the beans.  Taste and add more salt if needed, and some pepper.

Serve with the grated parmesan.

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From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Saveur Magazine Classic Recipe No.19 – New England Clam Chowder

 

I had high hopes for this recipe.  Being one of my favorite chowders and all.  (Ok, my super-duper favorite is Conch Chowder, but conch is hard to come by here.)  Paolo chose this recipe, he was really excited, loving clams, loving New England.  He also had never tried this and was super intrigued.   Alas, I have to say it was a total disaster.

As I mentioned in my first Saveur Magazine post,  I am going to prepare the recipes exactly as it states in the magazine.  I’ve prepared this dish from another recipe of mine and it has been a complete success.  I have eaten this dish a gazillion times too.  The problem that I found with this recipe, is that it was extremely watery.  A little red flag started waving wildly as I read the recipe calling for 6 cups of water to 2 cups cream.  And no thickener.  And, I would highly advise to place the clams in water to rid them of the sand, because I was straining and straining and straining.  But, anyhoo, I proceeded to recreate it in complete trust and experimental nature.

Needless to say, my two co-judges were not pleased at all.  Another recipe bust, another lunch that we ended up eating mainly bread and the sautéed porcini I had made as a side.  But, tastewise it was delicious.

So, without further ado, the rankings:

Overall points:  4.6/10

Difficulty:  Medium, as it has numerous steps and a wee bit time-consuming

Availability of ingredients:  Easy, if you can’t find fresh clams, frozen will do in a cinch.

10 lb clams in the shell, preferably cherrystone, scrubbed

4 oz. thick-cut bacon, finely chopped

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves

2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves

2 1/2 lb. new potatoes, cut into 1/4″ cubes

2 cups heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Oyster crackers and hot sauce for serving

1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat.  Add clams, and cover pan;  cook until clams are steamed open, about 10 minutes (discard any that do not open).  Remove from heat, and let cool.  Remove clam meat from shells, and roughly chop;  set aside.  Pour cooking liquid from pan though a fine strainer into another bowl (you should have about 6 cups; if not, add enough water to make 6 cups); set aside.

2.  Heat bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until its fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes.  Add butter, thyme, onions, and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add reserved cooking liquid and potatoes, and bring to a boil;  reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Add chopped clam meat and cream*; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper;  serve with crackers and hot sauce on the side.  Serves 8.

* I suggest you lower the heat to minimum, if not your cream is going to curdle.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Saveur Magazine Classic Recipe No. 32 – Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garclic

Saveur Magazine Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

This is a recipe I have been so intrigued to try for a long, long time.  It is in one of my old cookbooks, and I just never got around to it.  When we started this challenge, we decided that each of us would get to pick a recipe for the week.  This was Paolo’s choice, and I was really excited because I was finally going to be able to try it.

As a dish, it is fairly easy to make.  The smells as you cook the chicken, then the garlic, are absolutely wonderful.  Now, as for the finished dish…..hmmm.  We all decided that it was much too garlicky.  My daughter was not so pleased, and Paolo isn’t such a huge fan of garlic as I am.  Honestly, we were all not as impressed as what we were expecting.  I had high hopes for this. But I think if you switch it up a bit and follow my other cookbooks recipe, it would be less pungent and more velvety.  In the book it calls for you to leave the garlic unpeeled and bake the chicken in the oven for an hour and 45 minutes.  That said, onto the recipe and our rankings!

Overall taste points: 5.6 / 10

Difficulty:  Easy

Availability of Ingredients: Easy to find

3 tbsp olive oil

1 3-4 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

40 cloves of garlic, peeled (you can use up to 100 cloves)

1/2 cup dry vermouth

3/4 cup chicken stock

1 tbsp. chopped tarragon ( I used parsley because I couldn’t find tarragon yesterday)

Heat oven to 350F.  Heat oil in a 6qt Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to pot and cook, turning once, until browned, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to an 8″ x 8″ baking dish; set aside.  Add garlic to pot; cook until browned in spots, about 6 minutes.  Add vermouth; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.  Add stock; boil.  Transfer 1/4 of the garlic to baking dish; mash remaining into stock.  Pour over chicken, bake until chicken is glazed and tender, 15-20 minutes.  Garnish with tarragon.  Serves 6-8.

 

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Saveur Magazine Classic Recipe No. 24 – Rosti

Rosti

 

For years now I have always loved Saveur Magazine.  Along with Martha Stewart Living I remember way before I became a chef I would read every single article and recreate all the recipes at home, or almost all.  Some of them I really couldn’t because of time or not being able to find the right ingredients.  But, I have every single copy still and they rest proudly on my shelf.  I love revisiting them and re-reading the articles.

Saveur is on a league of its own, though.  More than just a food magazine, I absolutely adore the stories that go along with the recipes.  It’s almost like a travel AND food magazine at once.  Just a week ago, I received my October 2012 copy and tucked into it immediately.  I love that they showcase 101 Classic Recipes, and the fantastic part is that they aren’t 101 American Classic recipes, they are classics from around the world.  I was so intrigued by the amount of things that I hadn’t tried yet, that last Sunday over lunch, I announced to my family I wanted to recreate every single one.  The look on Paolo and Cassia’s (my daughter’s) face was priceless.  They picked up the copy and started leafing through it, and they decided that ok, I could, but they would have 4 vetoes each.  That didn’t mean I wasn’t going to make them, just that they weren’t going to try them.  After much discussion, I agreed.  I mean, I am the foodie, but I can’t force them to eat something that they really don’t like, even though I told them unless you try it you won’t know.  But hey, that’s still 97 recipes that they WILL try!

So, obviously I am not going to make all of them consecutively, but you will know which ones come from the magazine because in the title I will always mention the magazine and the number of the recipe.

I decided to begin with this one because I have a lot of potatoes at home.  Also, I love Rosti.  I first tried it when I was 10 years old when we traveled to Switzerland to look for schools.  Obviously, this is something super easy to like, it’s potatoes.  But all the incarnations available are simply astounding.  Cheese, mushrooms, onion, bacon, the list is endless.  I think I have tried most variations throughout my six years in Switzerland, and it was always a cheap and tasty way to feed a teenager.

This recipe is the classic version, just potatoes.  It really is kind of like a large hash brown, but thicker.  It is crispy and crunchy on the outside, moist and dense on the inside.  Perfect on its own, or as a side, for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

I hope you enjoy this voyage with me, as I will be recreating exactly as much as I possibly can all the recipes, even if they differ from how I make them ( a lot of my family classics in it).  But that is how you learn, right?  Also, I will give you my family’s reaction to it.  We’ve decided to rate them on how much we like it, and I will rate it on difficulty and if the ingredients are readily available (mind you I realize that we don’t all live in the same place, so I will take that into account too).  3 voices are better than one, I think?  Except for today’s, since my sweetie is in Madrid.

So, without further ado, the super easy and delicious recipe for Rosti!

Taste: 2 out of 3  said excellent

Difficulty: Easy, beginner level

Ingredients readily available: Definitely

2 1/4 lb russet potatoes (about 3 large)

2 tbsp lard or unsalted butter

2 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

1.  Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes.  Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.  Peel potatoes, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.  Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.

2. Heat lard and oil in and 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.  When lard has melted, add potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and mix well, coating potatoes with fat.  Using a metal spatula, gently press potatoes, molding them to fit the skillet.  Cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

3. Cover skillet with a large inverted plate, invert the rosti over onto plate, then slide it back into the skillet, cooked side up; cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with salt, and cut into wedges to serve.  Serves 4.

Verdict:  It came out perfectly cooked, really easy to make.  The time was spot on for the cooking on each side.  The only gripe we both had is that 1 tbsp of salt is way to much.  I would reduce the amount to half a tablespoon.  But everything else was perfect!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Arroz Caldoso a “Seis Manos” – “Six Hand” Seafood Stew and Rice

Arroz Caldoso de Pescado

 

This is one of those feel good Sunday dishes.  All over Spain, you can find variations of this.  Truly one of the most comforting and homey dishes, it is also a main feature in many menus here, from small family run restaurants to Michelin starred dining rooms.

Rice is taken very seriously in Spain, with a plethora of incarnations, from Paella to Rice Pudding, Salads to Stews, it is almost national pride.  I have called this “Six Hand” because it was a collaboration between three people, our amazing hostess, Dolors, long time friend and extraordinary woman, my friend Fer, who hails from Zaragoza and is a killer in the kitchen, and myself.  Each one of us had a part in making this dish, and it was such a great experience, because that is what Sundays are all about.  Family, Friends, Food and Fun.  Oh, and spending an afternoon in our hostesses breathtaking Ramblas loft was a plus, too.

The key to arroz caldoso is in the stock.  This is an inexpensive way to make a dish for a large family, and because you are showcasing the stock, it has to be quite amazing.  It is the canvas to the rest of the ingredients, and you can let your imagination go wild.  We decided on monkfish, squid, shrimp and mussels.  Then, the finishing touch, is obviously the rice.  And bomba rice is the one that you need to splurge on, since I was informed that if you use regular short grain rice, there is a chemical reaction that occurs when paired with shellfish stock.  Apparently, the grain splits, and lets out too much of its starch, making this more of a cream than a stew.

It was an amazing lunch, and all of us, even the kids (all 10 and under) repeated three times.  Now that speaks for itself!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 6-7

3 liters good quality shellfish stock, preferably homemade (recipe below)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

6 roma tomatoes, finely diced

1 nyora pepper, soaked and peeled

2 tsp spicy Pimenton powder (or hot smoked paprika)

400 g monkfish, cubed

1 large squid, cut in bite sized pieces

a few pinches of good quality saffron threads

400 g Bomba rice

400 g shrimp, peeled and deveined

200 g mussels, steamed and shelled

Fresh parsley, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and sauté until sauce has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the nyora pepper, stir until mixed, and sauté another 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper the squid and monkfish, and add to the tomatoes along with the pimenton and saffron.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until tender.

Add your shellfish stock to the fish and squid, add the rice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer, about 10 minutes.  In the last few minutes of cooking, add the shrimp, mussels, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

For the stock:

5 liters of water

shrimp shells and heads from the shrimp you will be using in your stew

monkfish heads and bones (ask your fish monger to give these to you when you buy the monkfish)

fennel, stalks and fronds

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

1 bay leaf

some saffron, nyora peppers, pimenton and salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients and boil for about 40 minutes.  Spoon the foam off the top as it cooks.  When done, leave on the stove and cover, and let it sit, so the flavors will meld, about 20 minutes.  Strain and reserve.

 

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

Sancocho Colombiano: Colombian Soup

Sancocho

Welcome to the Expat Hospital.  Wow…this past week has been, well, less than stellar.  It started with my daughter getting sick on Monday.  I got the virus on Thursday, one of my dogs got sick on Friday, then the other one last night.  The only person spared, at the moment, is my boyfriend Paolo.  Let’s see how that goes!

So, the only thing that I was actually hungry for, was my mom’s Sancocho.  Sancocho is a dish that has variations all over South America and the Caribbean.  It originates from Spain and the Canary Islands, from Cocido, which means cooked.  Sancocho means parboiled.  This soup, or stew as some would call it, is not only delicious, but is ridiculously nutritious.  And so easy.  All you need is a very very big pot, and some time to peel and dice.  And then you boil.  In my family, we add pumpkin, yuca, green plantain, carrots, corn, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, scallions, cilantro….and some chicken and beef.  It makes a crazy good soup.  And of course, I remember my dad telling me that it was Jewish Penicillin.  So……this is what we have eaten ALL WEEK LONG in the expat household.  Or at least, I have.

So, since it is flu season and all that, why not share my super easy, super delicious, super healthy recipe of my mom’s Sancocho?  I am sure you will like it, and will cook it up even when you aren’t feeling under the weather!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

(Sorry, have no idea how many it serves and the ingredients are approximated, use more or less, depending on taste!)

5 chicken legs or thighs, skinned

200 g pork or beef ribs

1 onion, quartered

4 scallions

2 tomatoes, quartered

2 carrots, sliced

1 potato, cut into cubes

1/2 yuca or malanga, peeled and cut into chunks

1 plantain, cut into chunks

1 large slice of pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks

2 corn on the cob, cut into 4 pieces or 6 pieces

Cilantro, plus a tbsp of the leaves

1 tbsp vinegar (apple cider is best)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Lime wedges, to serve

White rice, to go with if you want, in the soup or as a side

In a large stock pot, add all the ingredients up to the cilantro leaves (you want to add a couple of sprigs of cilantro).  Cover all of it with water and bring to a boil.

When the chicken is cooked and your vegetables are tender, add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  Boil 5 minutes longer, and strain the broth into another pot.  Discard the scallions, tomatoes, onion, cilantro sprigs.  Return all the “eating” vegetables (carrots, potatoes, yuca, plantain, pumpkin and corn) plus the chicken and beef to the broth.

Serve in large bowls with a little bit of veggies and the meats for everyone.  Sprinkle with the cilantro and lime.  Eat while it’s hot, and sweat out that flu!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Cherry Tomato, Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart

Cherry Tomato, Roquefort, and Caramelized Onion Tart

 

Last night we had a small gathering at a friend’s house, and since she offered up her wonderful roof top terrace, I wanted to chip in not only by bringing some wine, but making something to take to the party.   But, I also didn’t want to spend too much time cooking, since that is what I do everyday, for my family, and for work.  I do love what I do, but sometimes I just don’t feel like doing anything.

Well, this recipe is perfect for those situations, and it works just as well for dinner, or lunch in a pinch.  The prep time is absolutely minimal if you buy some store-bought pizza dough or Pate Brisee.  This leaves you plenty of time to enjoy your friends or family, and all you have to do is serve a salad to go with it, and you have an exquisite, easy meal.  Isn’t that the best?

So here’s what you’re going to need:

1 store-bought Pizza or Pate Brisee dough

1 box cherry tomatoes, halved

1 onion, sliced

1 small package blue cheese

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 sprig of thyme

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, add the oil, sugar, thyme leaves, and the sliced onion.  Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the onion is softened and turning golden.  Strain the onions, set aside.

Roll out the dough, and heat the oven according to package directions.  Place the sliced cherry tomatoes randomly over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border on all sides.  Top with the caramelized onions and the blue cheese.  Place on a baking tray in the middle rack of the oven.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until your dough is crisp.  Remove from the oven.  It’s best when eaten warm, not boiling.  And it tastes marvelous cold, too!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Warm Chickpea Panzanella Salad with Torn Basil

Chickpea Panzanella SaladAs summer begins to wind down, and it’s just that teeny little bit cooler, I feel my body asking for warmer things.  Not your fresh lemony bright food, something with more of a consistency, and warmth.  It’s funny, before I moved to Spain, there were two things that I would have never eaten.  Cold Soup and Warm Salad.  They were just weird to me.  But, as I see that living in Barcelona is coexisting with your environment perfectly, a.k.a. no air-conditioning, you find more creative ways to cool yourself off.  Hence the cold soup.  Now, with the wind just a bit chillier, and not yet time to put on the heating, the warm salad.

Panzanella is such a simple salad, it literally is the epitome of ease.   The large crusty bread chunks soak up the vinaigrette.  I wanted to add some chickpeas because 1) I LOVE EM!  2) well, they elevate this salad from side dish to main dish in my book and 3) they’re healthy!  And what is better than having a few friends over and all you have to do is fry up some bread, and toss some dressing on to the greens?  Nothing, in my book.  It just gives you more time to spend with them.

chickpea panzanella salad

 

Apart from adding some torn basil into the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and chickpeas, I also fried the bread with some basil leaves and cracked pepper.

bread cubes

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 4

1 baguette, cut into cubes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large bunch basil, 3/4 of  the leaves torn, the rest left intact

200 g cooked chickpeas

1/2 cucumber, diced

10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 head of romaine lettuce, cut

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

Lemon juice

Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large frying pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and warm up.  When hot, add the bread cubes, some cracked pepper and the intact basil leaves.  Fry the bread until crispy on all sides.  Keep warm.

In a large bowl, add the rest of your ingredients up to the romaine lettuce.  Drizzle with the olive oil, and the lemon juice (however much you like) and garlic salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Add the fried bread and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Free form Cheese, Bacon and Onion Pie

Ingredients for Cheese, Bacon and Onion Pie

Ahhhh, the pie.  That magical, wonderful, filled with goodness food.  So humble, yet so incredibly fabulous.   I love pies.  I don’t make them that often, but I had to start after perusing a book that belongs to my friends Laura and Jim.

They have this amazing book which I stole borrowed, aptly and simply called “Pie” by Angela Boggiano.  They brought it back from the UK, and it is a veritable smorgasbord of pies!  I swear to you, every time I look through it, I start salivating like Pavlov’s Dog.  I honestly want to make EVERY SINGLE RECIPE.

I decided to tackle this one first, well, because one, it’s fairly easy and I am quite busy what with back to school and the such.  And also, who the heck doesn’t like cheese, onion and BACON??????  Just thinking about the combination makes me hungry.  Then finding out that it also has potato?  Oh….*swoon*.

Cheese, Onion and Bacon Pie

You can whip this up in no time if you’re having guests for dinner, because it calls for store-bought puff pastry.  And, if you’re guests or you are vegetarian, omit the bacon, and it’s still going to be UH-MA-ZING.

Cheese, Onion and Bacon PieServe it with a nice lemony salad, and you have a decadent and delicious meal.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

“Pie” by Angela Boggiano

Serves 4 (but I think it serves more, unless you’re REALLY hungry.

500g ready-made puff pastry

Beaten egg, to glaze

2 medium floury potatoes

1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into 2 cm strips

2 large onions, thinly sliced

200g mature Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

3 tbsp double or heavy cream

Ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C.  Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Drain and when cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into thin slices.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes until beginning to color.  Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened but not colored.  Set aside to cool.

Divide the pastry into two portions.  Roll out one half to form a 25cm square, (or in my case, leave it round).  Lay the pastry on a lightly greased baking tray and brush the edges lightly with beaten egg.   Spread the sliced potatoes over the pastry leaving a 2.5cm border,

Potatoes over pastrythen top with the bacon, onions, and black pepper.

Sprinkle with the grated cheese.  Drizzle over the cream.

 

Roll out the second piece of pastry to form a 28cm square (or leave it round, but with a larger circumference than the bottom piece…sorry I didn’t measure mine out!)  Place over the filling and press the edges together to join.  Trim away excess and cut a cross in the middle of the pie.  Brush lightly with beaten egg and bake in the top of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 C and cook for another 25-30 minutes, or until golden and risen.

Serve cut into wedges.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla