Monday, February 27, 2012

Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée has always been delicious, but when it is local it is even better. Recently, my mom and her friends have been having cookbook parties where each of them cooks one recipe from the same cookbook.  With all these great meals we are having, we are getting introduced to all these new great cookbooks. This recipe is from one of those cookbooks and it is great! We personally had a little trouble with our culinary torch to solidify the sugar, but other than that, it was a great recipe. The jams and jellies at the bottom perfectly round off this delicious dish!! I hope you enjoy this!

Note: these need to chill at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before serving so, if you are planning these for a dinner party, it is best to make them the night before.


 2 tbl. jam or jelly
1 & 1/4 cups heavy cream (Winder Farms)
1/2 cup whole milk (Winder Farms)
3 large egg yolks (Clifford Family Farm)
1/3 cups sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
brownulated or strained brown sugar for topping

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Center rack in the oven.
2. Place six ramekins on a baking sheet lined with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Spoon 1 tsp. of jam or jelly in bottom of each ramekin and spread out as evenly as possible.
3.  Using a medium sized bowl or 4 cup glass measuring cup, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together and set aside.
4. Mix the cream and milk together and bring just to a boil in microwave or on stovetop.
5. Place the bowl with egg yolk mixture on a silicone baking mat or dish towel to keep it from sliding around. Whisking constantly, add about one quarter of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks slowly in a small stream to avoid cooking the eggs. If you add the hot liquid to quickly to the egg yolks, you risk cooking the eggs so be very patient. The slower you go, the creamier the mixture and the less likely that you will need to strain the final mixture. Continue to whisk in the remaining hot cream in a slow but steady stream. Stir in the vanilla.
6. Rap the bowl to remove any air bubbles. If there is a lot of foam on the top of the mixture, skim it off. Pour approximately 1/2 cup of the cream into each individual ramekin. You may need to strain the cream if you notice any lumps. Again, tap each ramekin to remove bubbles and skim any foam off the top.
7. Carefully place the baking sheet with prepared ramekins in the center rack of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the centers are just set.  You can test this by tapping the side of the ramekins. The custard should jiggle just a little but should appear firm and set.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Cover each ramekin with plastic rap and place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
9. You can serve these without caramelized sugar on top but if you have a kitchen torch, working with one creme at a time, sprinkle one tablespoonful of brown sugar on top of the chilled creme and then caramelize with your torch until the sugars bubbles and browns. We have tried using less than one tbl. of sugar to save calories but it doesn't really work and you just end up heating up the creme itself so if you are going to caramelize the creme, I think you are stuck using that additional tablespoonful of sugar.
from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Garlic and Lemon Chicken in a Pot

I was thinking that my poor friend Leslie would never get her cookbook back from me! Every evening we would come home and just leaf through Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan and then 'localize' the recipes and plan out our week. I just wasn't ready to move to the next cookbook for February! This recipe is pictured on the cover of her cookbook and, of course, looks better than the picture here but I am sure it didn't taste any better than ours. The seal from the dough almost makes the pot act like a pressure cooker making the chicken so tender and juicy. The vegetables and broth just give the entire dish a great flavor. The only ingredients you can't get locally are the preserved lemons, olive oil and sugar. Everything else we get from Utah Farms CSA except for the chicken which I buy from the McDowells about 5-6 chickens at a time and then place in my freezer. You can even make your own preserved lemons with just some salt and Meyer lemons.  Liberty Heights fresh has some really fresh and well prized lemons.

My only issue is that I am not sure if you are supposed to actually EAT the bread around the pot rim. There isn't any salt in the dough so, when cooked, it tends to be fairly hard and not too tasteful by itself but gets nice and flavorful and moist if you just break off some pieces and let them soak in the broth, which is what I did.  

You need to pry the pot lid off with either a screwdriver or strong knife so try not to scratch your Dutch oven in the process. It makes a beautiful presentation and we just carved the chicken in the oven itself at the table.


1/2 perserved lemon, peel only, cut into small squares
1 cup water
1/4 cups sugar
5 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large potatoes (russet or sweet),  peeled and each cut into 8 pieces
2 onions, peeled, each cut into 8 pieces
8 carrots, peeled, trimmed and quartered Utah Farms CSA
4 celery stalks, peeled, trimmed and quartered
4 garlic heads, cloves separated but not peeled
3 thyme sprigs (still alive in my herb garden)
3 parsley sprigs (frozen from my friend Sue's summer garden)
2 rosemary sprigs (still alive in my herb garden)
1 chicken, about 4 pounds
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 & 1/2 cups freshly milled flour
3/4 cup hot water

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Center a rack in the oven.
2. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, drop in the lemon peel and boil for one minute; turn off heat; drain and save the lemon peel.
3. Heat 2 tbl. of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetables and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are brown on all sides. Spoon the vegetables into a large Dutch oven or other large pot with a lid. Stir in the herbs and the preserved lemon.
4. Return the skillet to the heat, add additional tbl. of olive oil and brown the chicken on all sides. Place the browned chicken into the Dutch oven, surrounding it with the vegetables. Mix together the chicken broth, wine and remaining 2 tbls. of olive oil and pour over the chicken and vegetables.
5. Mix the 1 & 1/2 cups flour with the hot water in a medium bowl. With hands dusted with flour, roll the dough out into a long rope. Place the long rope of dough on the rim of the pot. Piece it together if it breaks apart but cover the entire rim. Press the lid onto the dough to seal the pot.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 55 minutes.
7. Remove from oven. Now you will need to pry the top off the pot either using a heavy spatula or screwdriver.
8. I just carved the chicken while it was in the pot and then you can dip some of the cooked dough in he broth to soften and eat.
adapted from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Potato, Onion and Leek Soup

This is just another recipe out of Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table cookbook that my Mom's cookbook group had in January. Her friend Barb made this recipe but choose to add some brussels sprouts with the leeks and potatoes although I think you could add almost any vegetable to this soup and it would give it a different flavor. I love it just the way it is but my Mom said she would love to try it with some sautéed red peppers, spinach, or corn but she is very reluctant to use up any more of our winter store of vegetables. Barb served this as the first course of the meal, but as with the stuffed squash recipe posted previously, it is a full meal in itself.

It is a really quick meal to make and you should have most ingredients in your larder. We did have to go out and buy whole milk since we usually only have 2% milk in the house and we didn't know if that would work. We made this right before I had to go off to a viola lesson and then come back to a girl scout meeting. Things then got a little crazy when I accidentally left my viola at home and so we had to turn around and come back home to get it for my lesson. Of course, now we were running really late and had girl scouts waiting on our front stoop when we got home. We couldn't eat in front of them but still hadn't eaten dinner so we offered all the girl scouts a bowl of this soup. They all loved it so I guess it isn't true that kids don't like healthy-homemade food!


2 tbl.  butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 small cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 cups peeled and cubed russet potato
6 thyme sprigs (still alive in our herb garden)
2 fresh, large sage leaves (still alive in our herb garden)
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (homemade)
3 cups whole milk (Winder Farms)
Redmond Sea Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir until well coated with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and let cook over low heat for about 10 minutes to sweat the onions. Cook until onions are soft but not colored.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, raise heat to medium and bring to a boil. Once the soup boils, reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer gently for another 30-40 minutes. Stir pot often, and add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook until the vegetables are soft and can be mashed.
3. Season again with salt and pepper if needed.
4. Once vegetables are soft, you can puree some or all of it or serve chunky. My preference is to slightly puree the soup with my immersion blender.
adapted from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan
---our friend Barb added some brussels sprouts in step #2. Now, I am a BIG lover of brussels sprouts but other "non-lovers" still thought this soup was delicious
---Barb also added homemade croutons to each bowl. We make these all the time by taking some stale bread, cutting it into cubes, spraying with olive oil and then baking in a 350 degree oven until a golden brown.
--- I would love to try this recipe with a little added corn but I am reluctant to use up my stored, frozen kernels in a dish that is delicious already. It being February, I am starting to hoard some of my stored food to last until spring and summer come around!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Margherita Pizza

To say that this pizza is delicious isn't the only word I would describe this pizza as.  This pizza is simple yet incredibly tasteful.  Our winter CSA continues and this week we got tomatoes.  Who could imagine getting tomatoes at the end of January and beginning of February? Well now we know better! These tomatoes are grown with geothermal energy and taste as good as the ones we get during the summer.  Check out Castle Valley Tomatoes video to learn more about how these tomatoes are grown in our own state of Utah year round. Then, we didn't have any basil left at home so we went to the Dan's to buy some fresh basil and what do we find but Farmers Daughters herbs which are grown right here in Salt Lake Valley. That was a really big surprise for us and we just laughed about it once we read the My mom and I instantly thought of making a Margherita Pizza, which simply is a pizza with tomatoes, basil, garlic, and mozzarella. Well, we didn't have any basil left so we were going to have to go to the store to buy it and likely it wouldn't be local but we really wanted to make this pizza.  So off we go to Dan's to buy the basil and to our surprise, they are selling fresh herbs from Farmers Daughters Herbs grown right here in Salt Lake Valley. Check out their website. It is full of information and recipes for herbs.

This pizza is a  really fast meal and an easy one to make too, so don't be afraid to try it.  It will thrill your taste buds and make you feel like it is summer again!  I hope you enjoy it! 

P.S. I must add that in our winter CSA we got pistachios.  It was simply amazing to find out that those delicious nuts can be grown right here in Hurricane, Utah.  I was very excited and told all of my friends who weren't quite as excited as I,  but now I know I can eat pistachios and not feel like I am cheating!

You should also check out the Harmons Grocery Store website since they partner with local growers like Castle Valley and sell these tomatoes in their stores. Just click on Great People then local partners to learn more. They even talk about selling the pistachios from Hurricane, Utah. I never knew that before!


Pizza dough recipe:

2 tsp. dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
 3 & 1/2 cups flour (we use freshly ground)
1/4 cup semolina flour (freshly ground durum wheat)
1 tsp. Redmond sea salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 semolina flour. Let sit about 30 minutes or until bubbly.
2.  Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to the yeast mixture with the cold water and olive oil and mix to make a soft dough. Place dough in Kitchen Aid mixer and, using bread paddle, mix on low-medium speed for 10 minutes or knead with hands until smooth and elastic.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in volume, about 1-2 hours. Punch dough down and let rise another 45 minutes.
4. Divide dough into 2 discs and let rest for 30 minutes before shaping.  Using pizza peel, shape dough into 10 inch round. Recipes makes 2-10 inch pizzas. Dough can be frozen after first rising for later use.

For pizza:

Dough above
1 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (Utah Farms CSA)
4-6 large basil leaves, cut into strips (Farmers Daughter Herbs)
2-3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (Utah Farms CSA)
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (Gossner Cheese)
2 tbls. grated parmesan cheese plus additional for taste (Gold Creek Farms)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place pizza stone in oven.
2. Spread olive oil over pizza dough with a brush and spread the finely chopped garlic evenly on the crust.
3. Spread the mozzarella cheese over the crust evenly.
4. Place thinly sliced tomatoes across the pizza and then season with salt and pepper.
5. Spread the basil strips evenly across the pizza and sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese across the top
6. Slide prepared pizza from pizza peel onto to heated pizza stone in the preheated oven.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until bottom is a nice brown and cheese is melted.