Veggie Pot Pie

I thought this recipe was especially interesting because it uses cornmeal in the biscuit topping.  It definitely gives it a little more of a sweet flavor.  The other nice thing about this recipe is that there is a lot of flexibility in what vegetables you can add to it.  I used kale, but I’m pretty sure you could substitute any other leafy green.  The original recipe also called for parsnips, but I wasn’t quite brave enough.  Perhaps you will be.   It makes quite a bit, so I enjoyed it all week for dinner/lunch.

Ingredients:

2-3 carrots, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
Small bunch of kale (or other leafy green), about 2 cups chopped
8 ounces of mushrooms, slided
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (I only had red wine vinegar, and it was fine)
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken)
1 can cannellini or red beans (I omitted, it didn’t seem like there was enough room in my pan)

For the topping:

3/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons cornmeal
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter (softened)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (I also omitted because I didn’t have any).
1/2 cup buttermilk (I substituted 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar)

1. In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add the carrots, onion, mushroom and kale.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute till the onion turns translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.  Add the flour and cook for another minute.  Stir in the white/red wine vinegar, soy sauce, tomato paste and thyme.  Cook for another minute.   Stir in the vegetable broth (I definitely used less than the 3 cups, add as much as it seems like is necessary).

3. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.  I added a little bit of cornstarch to make it thicken even more.  If you are using beans, you can add them now.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine white flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, baking power and salt.  Stir in butter and cheese to combine.  Then add in buttermilk until a dough forms.  Knead a little bit with your hands to combine all the ingredients and form a ball of dough.

5. When the vegetable sauce is thickened,pour into a baking pan.  Place scoops of dough on the top.

6. Bake about 30 minutes at 400 degrees, until the ball of dough are lightly browned.  Let cool before serving.

Source: A Couple of Cooks

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A Birthday Cake and Beer

For a special 27th birthday recently, I had some time to make a cake for the birthday boy.  I saw a recipe for a Chocolate Guinness Cake and I thought that it would be perfect.  This particular birthday boy happens to very much enjoy his beer.  Plus, I only needed one can out of the 4-pack and gave him the rest.  The cake came out moist and chocolately and I hope was enjoyed by all.  I made chocolate ganache for the top of the cake.  I was hoping that it would swirl around the top, but it didn’t quite work like I wanted.  I ended up just spreading it across the top like icing.  For the writing, I used leftover royal icing from Valentine’s Day cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup Guinness (or other stout)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

for the ganache:

3 oz. chocolate chips

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon coffee granules

 

1. Bring 1 cup Guinness and 2 sticks of butter to simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the cocoa powder and whisk until it is smooth.  Mine didn’t become as smooth as I expected, but I think the point was to not have clumps of chocolate.  Let cool before you add it in the next step (or else the eggs will scramble!)

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In a mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream in another bowl.  Add the Guinness-butter-cocoa power mixture to the eggs.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Remove from the mixer and combine with a spatula.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   Grease your cake pan well.  I used a 9 in. springform pan, but a bundt pan would work as well.

4. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake about 35 minutes, until you can stick a knife in the cake and it comes out clean.  Let cool before icing.

5. To make the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream and coffee in a microwavable bowl.  I microwaved it for 15 seconds, then stirred.  I repeated until the chocolate was melted and the mixture was smooth.  I drizzled it over the top of the cake.

6. For the royal icing, I combined the following in a stand mixer:

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp. meringue powder

5 tbsp water

Mix it until it is not as shiny and looks a little more dull.  If it’s too stiff to pipe, add a bit more water until the texture is better.  For much better instructions than this, you can check out: Annie’s Eats

 

Source: Smitten Kitchen

 

Little Pretzel Bites

I love pretzels.  I love them at the airport, in the mall, from a concession stand……basically wherever and whenever.  I have seen recipes for pretzels, but just hadn’t gotten up the courage to try them yet.  I had a free afternoon before the Superbowl a few weeks ago, and thought that I would finally attempt to make pretzels at home.  Success!  They were not very difficult to make and I was very happy with their crunchy outside and chewy inside.  I bought spiced brown mustard to serve alongside them at the Superbowl party.   Enjoy!

Makes about 50-60 bites

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 quarts water

3/4 cup baking soda

For the egg wash:
Whisk one egg with 1 tablespoon of cold water.

Coarse sea salt, for garnish

Oil, for prepping your bowl to rise the dough in

 

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer,stir to combine the warm water, brown sugar, yeast and melted butter.  Let sit about 5 minutes, until it has become foamy.

2. In the same bowl, using the dough hook attachment in a stand mixer, slowly add the salt and flour until just combined.

3. Increase the speed of the mixer to about medium-low.  Keep mixing/kneading until the dough looks more elastic and starts to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl.  This takes about 3-4 minutes.

4.  Using your hands, remove the dough from the bowl and knead slightly to form it into a ball.  Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a dish cloth.  Put in a warm place (I put it in front of my space heater) and let it rise until it doubles, about one hour.

5.  When the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl and place on a generously floured counter.  Punch it down and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

6. Roll each piece into a long rope, like a snake.    The recipe I used said about 18-20 inches, but I couldn’t get mine that long without it breaking.  Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces and place them on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper).  I tried to get between 7-8 little pretzel bites from each rope of dough.

7. Boil your water in a large pan.  Once the water is bowling, add the baking soda.  It splashes up a bit, so be careful.

8.  Boil the pretzel bites for a about 30 seconds.  I added enough pretzels in each batch so that they still had plenty of room to float around.  If you have a slotted spoon, use it to help you remove them from the water and put back on your baking sheet.

9.  Once they are boiled, brush the pretzel bites with the egg wash and sprinkle them with salt.

10.  Bake for about 15-18 minutes, until they are golden brown.  Cool before serving, but they are definitely best while still warm.

 

Source: The Curvy Carrot.  Originally from Two Peas and their Pod.

Roasted Acorn Squash, Barley, Spinach and Feta

I’ve recently been trying to prepare a good amount of food on the weekends to take for lunch for the whole week.  I’ve also been trying to learn how to cook and eat different vegetables, like acorn squash.  I pretty much avoided all different types of squash growing up.  So I’m expanding my horizons!  Acorn squash had a sweet, delicious taste.  This was a meal that I made on the weekend and was able to divide up to take to lunch each week.   I ended up dividing up the food into three different containers, so they were ready to grab each day when I went to work.  Overall, it was a pretty tasty lunch!  And I still enjoyed it as much on the third day.

Ingredients

1 acorn squash

bunch of spinach (could also substitute kale or other greens)

barley (enough to make about 1-2 cups cooked)

feta cheese

olive oil

salt and pepper

dressing of your choice

optional: walnuts or sunflower seeds

1. Cut the acorn squash into long strips and remove the seeds.  Toss the slices with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast at 425F for about 30-40 minutes.  The acorn squash should be tender.  Remove from the oven and let it cool.

2. Prepare the barley as directed by the package.

3. When the acorn squash is done, cut into cube size pieces.  Rinse the spinach and cut into easy-to-eat pieces.

4. Prepare the salads.  I divided them up into the three containers I was going to take to work.  I placed barley on the bottom, spinach next and topped it with acorn squash and feta cheese.

5. I put the salad dressing on my salad each morning before I went to work so that it wouldn’t get soggy.

Adapted from A Couple of Cooks