Okra Cornmeal Cakes with Chèvre and Roasted Tomatoes

I wonder if I somehow have southern blood running through my veins. I love okra, sweet potatoes, collard greens, southern green beans, cornbread and lots of other southern specialties. This recipe is a lovely combination of several of those specialties, and doesn’t it just look spectacular?? Thanks to Annie’s Eats for the fabulous recipe!

Yield: about 14 cakes

Ingredients

For the roasted tomatoes:
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Generous drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt
Generous pinch of sugar

For the corn cakes:
2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1½ cups water, plus more as needed
8 oz. okra, stems trimmed and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 jalapeño, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
¼ cup canola oil, for frying

To serve:
About 3 oz. herbed goat cheese
Fresh herbs, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  • To make the roasted tomatoes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and sugar on a rimmed baking sheet and toss well to coat.  Bake for about 40 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  If not using immediately, refrigerate until needed.
  • To make the corn cakes, combine the cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend and set aside.  Combine the egg and water in a liquid measuring cup and whisk lightly.  Add the liquid mixture to the bowl with the cornmeal mixture, and stir just until combined.  Fold in the okra, jalapeño, and garlic until incorporated.  The mixture may seem a bit watery at first, but give it a minute for the cornmeal to soak up the liquid.  If the mixture is too dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time.
  • To cook the corn cakes, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until very warm.  Drop in scoops of the dough mixture, about a scant ¼ cup each, spaced an inch or two apart.  Cook, flipping once during cooking, until both sides are lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Transfer the finished cakes to a paper towel-lined rack and repeat with the remaining dough mixture.
  • To serve, place a small dollop of the herbed chèvre on top of each warmed corn cake.  Let it sit for a minute or two to melt slightly, then spread gently over the top of the corn cake.  Top each cake with a few of the roasted tomatoes and garnish with fresh herbs as desired.  Serve immediately.
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Fruit Bruschetta

This looks just so wonderful! If you haven’t tried fruit with balsamic vinegar, you’re in for a treat. The idea comes from a Polish gourmet blog by way of Pinterest. It’s simple and sublime!

Ingredients

Several slices of sourdough bread

8 ounces of fresh goat cheese (chèvre)

Several ripe plums and 4 ounces of fresh raspberries

Two tablespoons of honey

1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar, olive oil for drizzling

Fresh thyme and rosemary

Directions

Toast or grill slices of bread on both sides. Drizzle olive oil on toasted bread and spread goat cheese on one side.

Cut plums in half and remove stones. Put in small pot, add honey and thyme. Cook over low heat for a few minutes until plums are tender but not falling apart. Spoon plums onto prepared toasts and drizzle with some of the fruit syrup in pot.

Put half of the raspberries into the pot with the remaining syrup, add balsamic vinegar and chopped rosemary. Heat until the raspberries just break down. Add remaining raspberries and stir. Spoon fruit onto prepared toasts and drizzle with fruit syrup.

Eat while warm.

 

Spend some time with this tasty app!

Even though it is not the Christmas holidays, I was tantalized by this gorgeous red and green chevre appetizer today. It fits in any time of the year, and is soooo simple, you hardly need any time at all to make it for guests who suddenly drop in and need something impressive and yummy. There’s an app for that, and this is it! Thanks to sing for your supper!

 

Goat Cheese Log with Pistachios and Cranberries/Cherries

1 8-ounce log goat cheese
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries, roughly chopped

sliced baguette or crackers for serving

In a small pan over medium-high heat, toast the pistachios until fragrant; about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.

Combine the pistachios and cranberries or dried cherries in a plate and roll the goat cheese log in the mixture until completely coated. Place on a serving dish and sprinkle the remaining pistachio/cranberry or cherry mixture around the log. Allow to sit out at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving so the cheese will soften nicely and become more spreadable. Serves approximately 6-8.

Arancini (Crispy Rice Balls) with Gouda

These are luscious, savory and interesting tasty bits to pop into the mouth whenever you are hungry…especially if you have some leftover rice you’ve been puzzling over, as to what to do with it.

Thanks to Bon Appetit for the great recipe! Their version uses fresh made risotto, but you can use leftover rice if you have it. Also, feel free to use ground fennel if you cannot get fennel pollen.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 1/2 cups to 5 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen* or freshly ground fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
  • 30 (about) 1/2-inch cubes of goat Gouda, Raclette or other aged goat milk cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
  • 6 cups vegetable oil (about; for deep-frying)
  • Orange, lemon, and/or lime wedges (optional)
  • *A spice extracted from wild fennel plants; available at specialty foods stores and from zingermans.com.

Preparation

  • Melt butter with oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add rice, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, and stir until rice starts to become translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and cook until absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth and simmer, stirring often, until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until risotto is creamy and rice is tender, stirring often and allowing broth to be absorbed each time before adding more, about 25 minutes total.
  • Remove risotto from heat. Mix in fennel pollen and all citrus peels. Season with pepper and more salt, if desired. Spread risotto out on large rimmed baking sheet and cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • Place cheese in small bowl. Beat eggs and milk in medium bowl. Place panko in another medium bowl. Using wet hands, shape 1 heaping tablespoonful risotto into ball; enclose 1 cheese cube in rice. Dip rice ball into egg mixture, then into crumbs to coat. Place on clean rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining risotto, cheese, and coating. Cover with plastic wrap and chill on sheet at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Place large rimmed baking sheet in oven. Pour enough oil into heavy large saucepan to reach depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach deep-fry thermometer to side of pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 340°F to 350°F. Add 4 to 5 arancine at a time; fry until golden brown and crisp, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 5 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet in oven to keep warm.
  • Mound arancine on platter. Garnish with citrus wedges, if desired, and serve hot.

Borani-e Bademjan (Eggplant-Yogurt Dip)

I promise not to post any more appetizers for a while…it’s just been such a treasure trove lately. This is a lovely yogurt and eggplant dip recipe from Saveur Magazine.

INGREDIENTS

2 large eggplants
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, plus ½ small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced, plus 1 clove, thinly sliced
½ cup Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ tsp. crushed saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp. water
½ cup chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oven to 375°. Place eggplants on a foil-lined baking sheet, and prick all over with a fork. Bake, rotating, until skin is charred and flesh is very soft, about 1 hour; let cool. Scoop out flesh, transfer to a colander, and drain for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat ¼ cup oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add the medium onion; cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Add eggplant and minced garlic; cook, mashing, until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer to a bowl. Add yogurt, salt, and pepper; stir until smooth. Cool.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining onion; cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside. Wipe skillet clean and return to heat with remaining oil. Add sliced garlic; cook until lightly browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic chips to paper towels to drain; set aside. Transfer eggplant mixture to a bowl and drizzle with saffron; garnish with caramelized onions, garlic chips, and walnuts.

Pogácsa — Hungarian Cheese Bites

Thanks to Delicious Days, we now have a new and wonderfully crispy cheesy appetizer!

The great thing about this recipe is that you receive a maximum of crisp flakiness with a minimum of tedious puff pastry techniques. They almost triple in height while in the oven, and seem to breathe!

These are perfect for those people who pay close attention to how they eat something. Of course, you can eat them all at once, which is only half the fun. Better yet,  nibble away one thin layer after another layer of the flaky pastry, starting from the bottom up to the top, to finally be rewarded with the cheesy, crusty top layer.

Ingredients (~ 36 nibbles):

175 g chèvre

125 g cold butter

125 g bread flour (type 550)

3/4 tsp fine sea salt

1 egg (M or L), lightly beaten

20 g freshly grated cheese (mix of Gruyere and Grana Padano or other sharp, dry cheese)

Directions:

Start the night before: Line a large metal sieve with either a clean cheesecloth or a paper towel and fill with the Chèvre. Leave covered to drain in a cold spot, preferably in the fridge.

On the next day: Cut cold butter into cubes and put into a bowl together with 125 g of the drained Chèvre, flour and sea salt. Quickly knead together by hand or with a handheld mixer (use the dough hooks), just make sure not to overwork the dough, small visible spots of Chèvre and butter are fine.

Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with some flour and carefully roll it out to a rectangle, about 1 cm (0,4 inch) thick, then fold the dough like a letter into thirds (when making puff pastry this procedure is called “one turn”). Rotate and repeat the step, then wrap the dough into plastic foil and freeze for 20 to 30 minutes. Throughout the whole process it is important to work quickly, but in case the dough gets too warm and too hard to work with, just wrap it into foil and freeze for a couple of minutes. If you are having trouble keeping the edges of your dough straight, use a large ruler: push it against the sides from time to time, this helps to keep a nice rectangular shape.

Remove the dough from your freezer and repeat step no.3. Put into the freezer for another 20 to 30 minutes. In case you are completely new to making puff pastry and turning the dough, this video is a great starting point (although the dough isn’t folded into thirds).

 Preheat the oven to 200°C (~390°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer again, dust surface and rolling pin one last time and roll into a neat square (~ 18 x 18 cm/ ~ 7 x 7 inch), trimming the edges with a sharp knife if necessary. Then cut into small squares ( 3 x 3 cm/ 1,2 x 1,2 inch) using the large ruler (for measuring and pressing down the dough, while cutting) and knife or pizza cutter.
Place them on the lined baking sheet not too close to each other, then brush with the beaten egg. Top with a mix of freshly grated Gruyere and Grana Padano, then bake on middle level for about 15 minutes or until puffed and nicely golden brown (don’t get nervous, if the butter looks like it is leaking during the first minutes, that’s normal).
Place on a cooling rack – or eat right away… Best eaten the day they were made.

 

 

 


Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts

No such thing as too many appetizers, I feel. I am going to be a grandma soon, so of course, I have been cruising baby thing blogs when up popped this recipe! Had to have it. Thank you to Jenny Steffens Hobick, whom I discovered through Pinterest:)


Anytime you say “goat cheese” or “caramelized onions” you hear “ooohs” and “ahhhs” – can you imagine the reaction when you put them together on puff pastry?  This is a great recipe.  It is pretty and special looking, but it is so simple.  It works great cut into small pieces for a cocktail party, in large pieces with a salad or as a side dish with dinner.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart
18 hors d’œuvres | 9 medium-sized for salad or side

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (usually comes with 2 per box, so this is an easy recipe to double)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 red onion, sliced thinly
4 ounces of goat cheese

Start by caramelizing the onions in a saute pan in olive oil over medium heat.  This will take 10-15 minutes.  Keep stirring until they start to turn brown… you’re bringing out the sugar in the onion and creating a caramel.

On a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, place a sheet of puff pastry (unfolded from the package). Cut it along the folds into three long pieces.  Pile the onions down the center of each piece.   Top the onions with chunks of the goat cheese evenly distributed.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes until puffed and the edges are brown.