Call it a quiche or a tart or a pie. No matter, it is all a variation of sweet or savory ingredients baked in a crust. My favorite way to cook is “one-dish”. I have never figured out if that is because I am not a fan of cleaning up lots of pots and pans just to end up with all the food together on a plate, or if I take a somewhat lazy approach to cooking? My “Savory Baby Cauliflower and Broccolini Deep Dish Pie” recipe is full of vegetables, cheeses, eggs all in a crust…one pan, one dish cooking.
Often I make up a meal out of whatever strikes me as interesting in the grocery. A couple of week’s ago I found some fresh clusters of baby cauliflower and very small broccolini, as well as a nice thick wedge of Comte’ on sale at Costco all baked up into this deep dish pie that is quite quick to assemble. Once it’s in the oven you can pretty much ignore it while it’s baking. If you can’t find baby cauliflower or broccolini just use regular, cutting into small clusters.
Trim any larger stems from each of the vegs and set aside. Roast trimmed heads in olive oil at high heat. Save and cook the larger stems in a pan of water while cauliflower and broccolini are roasting. Gather all of your ingredients at this time.
You can use a simple homemade or store-bought crust. Whatever works for you. Grainy mustard smeared over the bottom and sides add a delicious flavor to the crust along with a sprinkling of grated cheese. A good tip is to scatter grated cheese over the bottom of savory pies as it will melt and seal the crust and keep it from getting soggy.
Eggs, cream, spices and cooked stems all pureed in a blender or food processor.
Roasted broccolini and baby cauliflower layered in the crust. Filling poured over and topped with remaining cheese before baking.
Fluffy and light, crust thin and crisp, lightly browned and ready to eat.
Here have a bite….enjoy. Be well. Be kind.
Baby Cauliflower and Broccolini Deep Dish Pie
- 8 oz Baby Cauliflower, trimmed (save trimmings)
- 8 oz Broccolini, trimmed(save trimmings)
- olive oil
- 1 store-bought pie crust or your favorite homemade
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Comte Cheese
- 2 oz Goat Cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Mexican Oregano, or whatever you have
- freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 tsp, or jarred
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread trimmed cauliflower and broccolini out on pan. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Roast for about 12-15 minutes or just until veggies are just starting to char. Remove pan from oven. Set aside. Lower oven heat to 350 degrees.
- While veggies are roasting, line a 9 inch springform pan with the pie crust. Smear bottom of crust with the grainy mustard and sprinkle 1/2 cup of the Comte cheese over mustard.
- In a small pan quickly boil the cauliflower and broccolini stems/trimmings in a bit of salted water until “fork tender”. Drain.
- To a blender or food processor, add the cooked stems, goat cheese, eggs, heavy cream, oregano to taste, nutmeg, sea salt and black pepper. Blend until smooth and well mixed.
- Spread the roasted baby cauliflower and broccolini over the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with another 1/2 cup Comte, gently pour blended egg-cream mixture over all. Top with remaining 1/2 Comte.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the pie is set in the middle and golden brown. Test with a toothpick or skewer. Remove from the oven. Set on a wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes or until ready to serve cut in slices. Great with a simple salad and a glass of crisp white wine.
Notes: I buy Rancho Gordo Mexican Oregano. It has more texture and is more flavorful than most I have found at supermarkets.
I highly recommend getting a nutmeg grater if you do not have one. They are inexpensive and nutmeg freshly grated is so much better than what you find in a jar.
This year Valentine’s Day falls on a very wintry Sunday and what could be more delicious than a steaming cup of Le Chocolat Chaud, Hot Chocolate, made the French way sipped slowly on a bitterly cold morning? No powdery mixes with water added, but a full rich cup made with hot milk, good quality bittersweet chocolate chopped, raw sugar and vanilla extract. After all it is Valentine’s weekend and a little effort is called for. Nothing fancy or costly, just a cup of love.
Maybe a pinch of cayenne for some extra heat, or cardamom for a bit more exotic flavor?
Chopped Callabaut chocolate and sugar added to a cup…..
…hot steamy milk slowly poured in while stirring to melt the chocolate.
Make it, sip it, share it. Be kind, be well. Love and be loved.
Le Chocolat Chaud or Hot Chocolate
- very good quality bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
- whole milk (or you can use other milks of your choice)
- raw or turbinado sugar
- vanilla extract
- optional: cayenne pepper, cardamom
- For each cup of chocolate heat 1 cup of milk slowly, until steamy, but not boiling.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of chopped chocolate to each cup.
- Add in sugar to taste and a bit of vanilla extract.
- Slowly pour hot milk over chocolate mixture in each cup and stirring until melted. Top cups off with more hot milk and serve.
- Optional prep idea: Put all ingredients for multiple cups together in a saucepan, heating over medium heat while whisking. Serve hot.
Adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz
Rewritten and reposted from Jan. 2016 Food on Fifth.
Canning, putting-up, or freezing doesn’t have to just be done in the summer when local, fresh produce is available. Often in the winter there are sales in supermarkets on good quality produce from around the world.
I am a fan of “small batch preserving” whether it is canning, freezing or pickling…..jams, marmalades, sauces….don’t have to be a grand production…but a soothing, easy and fun kitchen endeavor.
In my work as a food stylist I often run into great deals while shopping for photoshoots that I just cannot pass up. Such were these juicy grape tomatoes with the sweetest flavor ever. For the shoot I needed quite a few cartons and as often happens there were lots left over to make a few cans of this stunning and delicious thyme roasted tomato sauce.
Keep your eyes open while winter grocery shopping. Look out for email sales notices that offer price cuts for your favorite vegetables and fruits. Cold weather days, stuck inside? Good times for making a batch to eat, and one to save for later, using my easy-as-this recipe.
Olive oil, tomatoes, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and lots of fresh thyme are all you need, although you may come up with some clever ideas to make this sauce even better?
Roasted until tomatoes start to split open and get a bit of charring then put into clean class jars poking with a long wooden spoon or skewer to release any air bubbles and break down the tomatoes even more to release juices, fresh thyme added to jars….lid on and freeze.
One quart for dinner with pasta, one jar in the freezer for later, both fresh and tasty.
Small Batch Winter Thyme Roasted Tomatoes
- 4-6 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
- good quality olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a large handful of fresh thyme, divided
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Line baking sheets (one or two) with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl toss the tomatoes in a generous splash of olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and most of the thyme, saving some to add to the finished jars of tomatoes. Spread tomatoes out on baking sheets in single layer.
- Roast tomatoes until skins start to pop and char. I like a lot of char, but do what you like. Remove from oven. Pull out any larger thyme stems and toss.
- Divide roasted tomatoes between jars. Use a long wooden spoon or skewer poke tomatoes down into jars to release any air bubbles and release more juices. Add fresh thyme leaves to each jar.
- If freezing then leave a 1 inch head at the top of the jar to allow for the contents to expand when they freeze. Let cool completely before putting in the freezer.
- This is a great sauce for pasta, or for adding to soups. Very good with roasted chicken as well.
Fresh pears in a brown sugared-whole wheat crust, baked until caramelized with just a splash of dark rum and a hint of cardamom might provide some comfort and solace for this week in winter, January 2021. The kitchen is where I find I can take a deep breath and bring forth something delicious and comforting. That is a good thing and I need that right now.
Fresh USA Pears from The Fruit Company, ripened to perfection, golden and red and juicy, sliced and wrapped in a buttery cardamom crust.
A “Pear, Brown Sugar, Rum and Cardamom Galette” with caramelized edges to die for.
Seek solace where you can find it. Be well. Be kind.
Pears, Brown Sugar, Rum and Cardamom Scented Galette
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 sticks/1/2 cup chilled butter, but into small pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 to 2 teaspoons milk
- 2 large, ripe, but somewhat firm pears – cored, cut in half and thinly sliced, keeping slices together
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cream to brush edges of crust
- 1-2 tablespoons raw or Demerara sugar for sprinkling
- In a food processor combine whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, salt and cardamom. Pulse to mix. Add butter pieces and process until mixture is crumbly looking. Add egg and 1 teaspoon milk to processor and pulse until a dough forms. Add more milk if needed. Dough will be a bit moist.
- Form dough into a ball, press out flat into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let dough sit out for 10 minutes.
- Mix together cornstarch, brown sugar, rum and vanilla extract until well blended.
- On floured surface roll dough disc out to make a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Edges will be jagged and that is okay. Place dough on parchment paper lined sheet pan. Gently place sliced pear halves, cut side down, on dough circle nestling them close together, leaving an edge of dough all around to fold over fruit. Fold dough edges up and over the sliced pears, leaving the center open.
- Drizzle cornstarch mixture over and down between the pears. Brush edges of the crust with the cream and sprinkle the raw sugar over all.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until galette is golden brown and bubbly. Let cool on the baking sheet. Serve in wedges. Great with whipped or ice cream.
Spontaneous soups are often the best. What to have for lunch? Something cozy, delicious and quick. Yellow lentils, a package of Mahatma yellow rice with seasonings and a couple of golden beets in the fridge drawer and some chicken broth…30 minutes later and we were enjoying lovely, warm and steamy bowls of “Golden Soup”. So very “easy-as-this”.
In my early cooking days one of the most exotic items available in local groceries was Mahatma seasoned rice. There were no local import groceries, nor International aisles in supermarkets. There was little to be had from other cultures in the way of food….I thought a package of yellow seasoned rice was “it”. To this day a few packages reside alongside lots of other aromatic and culturally-dense rice in my pantry. No rice shaming please. Thank you.
Saltines and a heavy-handed splash of Cholula…lunch is ready. Be well. Do the right thing. Wear your mask. It can be as “easy-as-that”.
Golden Soup - Lentils, Rice and Beets
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup yellow lentils
- One 5 oz. package yellow rice with seasonings (like Mahatma brand)
- 2 small, or one large yellow beet, peeled and thinly sliced, then chopped
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth (or veg)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or Italian seasoning
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To Serve: Saltines and hot sauce, like Cholula
- Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until slightly softened. Turn heat to medium.
- Add in lentils, rice packet, beets and stir well. Pour in water, broth and herbs, a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Turn heat to low and cook for 30 minutes or until beets are just softened. Add more broth or water if soup gets too thick. Taste, adjust seasonings if need be. Serve with crisp saltines and a splash of hot sauce if you like.
The whole Holiday “thing” this year is a mind bender for sure. No large gatherings, nor small for that matter. None of the Christmas Eve dinner parties…nada! This is not to say that the joy of making and gifting has to be put on hold. We just have to be a bit more creative and in doing so perhaps new traditions will be born.
It is pretty redundant to say that Tennessee has some great whiskey producers. Through my friend Nancy, I discovered one that is deliciously perfect for my Holiday homemade gift this year. Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Hand Made Sour Mash Whiskey infused with some of the best pears I have ever eaten from The Fruit Company in Hood River, Oregon sent to me by USA Pears, and 24 to 36 hours of time is all it takes and this already great sipping whiskey is even better.
I made a pear galette with some of the pears (that post will be soon) and added the cores and a few leftover pieces of the pears along with citrus peel to the whiskey in a glass jar.
24 hours later ready to be strained and decanted and sipped and gifted.
A splash of simple syrup topped with a bit of pear whiskey over ice and garnished with a thin pear slice….or just a wee glass while waiting for Santa for some new and soothing Holiday traditions.
Pear Infused Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
- Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Hand Made Sour Mash Whiskey (or other favorite) 750ml
- 2 Chopped up fresh pears, including peel and cores
- peel of one orange
- peel of one lemon
- Pour whiskey into a large glass jar.
- Add all fruit/citrus. Cover jar.
- Leave sitting for 24 to 36 hours for infusing.
- Strain through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth into a pitcher. Decant into smaller individual bottles with a tight-fitting lid for gifting.
For a quick cocktail: Over ice in a glass pour a splash of simple syrup and pear infused whiskey, garnish with a thin slice of ripe pear and enjoy.
Celebrate Small might be a good motto for Holidays 2020. A plump roasting hen pulled from the freezer, or bought fresh, along with a handful of fresh herbs is a good starting place. I added cut up oranges, plums and potatoes in their skins to the pan.
Don’t be so hard on yourself this season. Take a deep breath. A one-pan dinner popped into the oven until it’s ready helps make life a little bit easier. Some days I feel I’m doing good to complete this sort of small task, but eat we must even as the world is whirling out-of-control around us. Take a quick walk around your neighborhood while your bird is roasting. Being active makes most things better. A cozy dinner helps as well.
Serve roasted potatoes and fruit in a bowl with lots of the pan juices. You might think leaving the rind on the citrus is a no no, or combining them with new potatoes along with plums and lots of fresh thyme might be odd, but when they roast together with the hen in the pan juices they are simply delicious.
I’ve always preferred a roasting hen to a turkey. They don’t take so long to cook, they stay juicier. I roast hens throughout the year always keeping one in my freezer. I buy local hens, grain fed and usually about 4 to 5 lbs for celebrations. Smaller sizes for everyday.
Thank you for voting for Biden-Harris. Celebrate Small. Take care, wear your masks and be well.
Thyme Roasted Hen with Plums, Citrus and New Potatoes
- One 4-5 lb roasting hen, rinsed & patted dry
- 3 lbs new potatoes, cut in half or quarters
- 6 plums, seeded and cut into quarters
- 2 oranges, rind left on, cut into thick slices
- a large handful of fresh thyme, divided
- Olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place roasting hen on a flat work surface and pat skin dry a second time. Rub skin all over with olive oil. Generously rub in 2 tablespoons of the fresh thyme leaves. Place hen in a large heavy pan. I used a 12 inch cast iron, but any large pan with do. Season bird with salt and black pepper.
- Roast the bird for about 40 minutes then add the new potatoes, plums and oranges to the pan. Pour in chicken broth. Continue to roast until the a meat thermometer inserted into the fattest part of the bird reads 160 degrees, another 30-40 minutes. You want the skin to be crisp and dark golden brown. Serve roasted hen cut into pieces with potatoes & fruit on the side. A chilled wine and a baguette for sopping up the juices on your plate is all you need.
Teresa Blackburn Food Styling
Cobblers are great desserts for any time of the year. They can be somewhat tricky…very easy, but tricky. I am totally turned off if I take a bite of cobbler and find some crust inside that is wet, doughy and sometimes not really cooked. The fruit can be delicious, the spices genius, but if the crust is not crisp then I do not want another bite.
Needless to say, as a Southerner, I have had my share of cobblers and I have had my share of not very good ones. I got this idea from a recipe in the cookbook “Cherry Bombe”. I changed and tweaked and this exceptionally crisp crust cobbler is what I came up with. It is as easy-as-this.
A pint of fresh berries and 8-10 apricots or plums or pluots, lemon infused olive oil, aromatic raw vanilla sugar (more on aromatic sugars here) and your favorite pie crust recipe are the basics.
Fruit not-overly-cooked with a little cornstarch and raw vanilla sugar.
Rolled out crust, randomly cut with a fluted pie cutter..I really like using the one with zig-zag edges. Brushed with olive oil and a generous scattering of sugar. Baked until golden brown.
Crust pulled apart. Fruit and crisp crust layered in baking dish. Cook time is minimal…about 15 minutes because each element is already cooked.
Crunch, crispiness, fruit and a little scoop of ice cream. Not a soggy bite to be had. Life is hard, make it easy on yourself when you can. Be safe, be well. Take care.
VOTE BIDEN-HARRIS, PLEASE, FOR ALL THINGS GOOD IN THIS WORLD.
Crisp Crust Deconstructed Fruit Cobbler
- one 9 inch pie crust dough – your favorite recipe or refrigerator crust works fine
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, I used a lemon infused oil, but any will do
- 1/2 cup homemade vanilla sugar, or raw sugar + 3 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 pint of fresh berries, blackberries, raspberries or blueberries
- 8-10 fresh apricots, pitted and thickly sliced, or peaches fresh or frozen
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- a few tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Spread the pie dough out on the parchment. Brush with olive oil and dust with the 3 tablespoons sugar. Use a fluted pastry wheel, or a knife, and cut the dough into random shapes. Pull cut pieces apart just a bit and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Stir together the 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the fruit, add lemon juice and water and toss to coat. Heat until fruit just begins to bubble. Turn to simmer and stir continuously for about 5 minutes or until mix is slightly thickened but still juicy.
- Butter a smallish baking dish with butter. Scrape half the fruit mixture into the baking dish. Top with half the baked crust pieces. Add remaining fruit and top with remaining. crust pieces.
- Place in oven and bake just until heated and bubbly. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a really easy treat.
Recipe adapted from “Cherry Bombe – The Cookbook” published by Potter
Just a Google away you can find all about the birth, life and death of John R. Lewis. Just a Google away you can sift through the important facts, as well as the minutiae. Just a Google away you can see movies of marches, videos of beatings, hear his speeches and we can learn what it meant to be such a man. We should all be grateful.
There was a proposal recently in Nashville to rename 5th Avenue North to Rep. John R. Lewis Way. From the first I, and many of my neighbors who are lucky enough to live on this street, were pretty thrilled about this proposal. We felt proud. While some of us celebrated, the proposal quickly became a “bone of contention” for others in the neighborhood. I am still thinking on this. Why anyone would be against this street renaming other than a few “inconveniences” is fraught with anxiety about where I live and what this all says about my neighborhood. Could people possibly be worried about property values going down, is it because Mr. Lewis was black, does it remind others about our very checkered history with racism right here in Nashville. I would rather not have to think on this, but I find I need to. Our neighborhood association board voted against the name change. It seems that our street will partially be renamed, but not all of it, and for that I am disappointed in us as citizens.
Just a Google away you will find that John R. Lewis went to college in Nashville. Much of Nashville was a pivotal location in the Civil Rights Movement, with Lewis leading successful sit-ins at then segregated lunch counters on 5th Avenue North. Some against the renaming of our street to honor John R. Lewis said “we should do more”, I say what could be more long lasting and visible than driving down Rep. John R. Lewis Way every day coming and going, reminding us of him and his goodness. I would have been proud.
Just a Google away I also discovered that one of John R. Lewis’s favorite foods was “Sweet Potato Pie”. So today, in honor of the most honorable of men, I will share with you one of my favorite sweet potato pie recipes from chef and author, Edna Lewis (no relation to John R. Lewis). It is one fine pie. Make your own “Food-for-Thought Sweet Potato Pie”, slice it and share it, take a bite, and remember.
We must take comfort in the small things. Say their names. BLM.
Food for Thought Sweet Potato Pie
- 2 cups fresh cooked sweet potato pulp, well mashed (Edna Lewis says “sieved” which I did not do)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 (small) eggs, separated (I used large and recipe worked great)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup melted butter
- 1 and 2/3 cups (whole) milk (I used half & half)
- Two unbaked pie shells (I used refrigerator pastry, you can make your own as well)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat egg whites until frothy.
- Put all other ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and pour into a bowl. (This is how I “sieved” the sweet potatoes.)
- Fold frothy egg whites into the sweet potato mixture. Pour into pie shells and bake for 40-50 minutes until set. (Cover loosely with foil if crust starts to get too brown.)
- Cool 30 minutes before cutting.
My Note: I had never been a big fan of sweet potato pie as most I have eaten have been dense and cold. This pie has a light, airy, almost soufflé quality. It must be the addition of the frothy egg whites. Either way, eaten while warm is a pretty divine culinary experience.
Original recipe by: Edna Lewis, Chef and Author