CtBF – Potato, feta and basil tortilla

Not something I make often, but I did enjoy the versions I made with French Friday’s. I wasn’t sure about the basil. Well, and not the feta. I’ll admit I did look back at the other recipe, you know, “just in case”.

Easy enough! Potatoes diced. Cooked to barely tender in some good olive oil, and then the green onions added.

I used 8 eggs because they were very large, and my potato was just under a pound. These get whisked with the pimente de esplette, salt, and the chopped basil. Isn’t this so pretty out of the garden? Surprisingly the only basil still here are the purple varieties. Gardening?

The egg mixture gets poured over the top, and then gets topped with some feta crumbles. Cooked fairly gently on the stove for about 20 minutes to create a bottom crust and so that the tortilla is almost set.

Popped into the oven for about 5 minutes at a high temp or under the broiler to just get the top set. Once out of the oven, it gets flipped over (or alternatively slide out of the pan).

This can be served hot, warm, room temperature or cold. Though my preference is warm or room temperature. As part of a tapas spread, or with a glass of crisp rosé.

I’d forgotten how good this is. And makes for lovely leftovers as well.

You can find out what other cooks thought about the recipe here.

CtBF – buttermilk ice cream

This is some of the best ice cream I’ve made. Yes, I just said that.

I decided to get a new ice cream maker because a) it was on sale, b) it’s hot in Arizona so ice cream is good, and c) because everyone, but especially my mom, loves ice cream.

I’ve made quite a number of versions, and even bought David’s The Perfect Scoop. His vanilla custard style was actually my favorite. Up until now. There’s anew favorite in town.

It’s easy! Heat some cream with some sugar and a bit of corn syrup to make it creamier. That’s cooled (supposed to be for 8 hours in the refrigerator, but I cheated and did fewer in the freezer).

The tangy flavor of the buttermilk was fabulous. We had it with berries. I think it could be yummy with many other toppings. I’m even thinking maybe some sweet waffles or maple-something. I guess my idea is not fully baked.

But the texture is beautiful, even the next day. I did set it out for a few minutes to barely soften. Worked perfectly!

This was one of my favorites out of the book. Really delicious!!

CtBF – eggplant caviar

When I was planning on making this, I hoped that my favorite farm stand would have eggplant. At first glance, no. But when it was mentioned, the guy immediately went out and picked a bucketful. Doesn't get fresher than that!!

When I read the recipe, I immediately thought use the grill! So I charred them, then roasted them over indirect heat. No heating up the kitchen!!!


It took a little longer than I thought it would, but was in no hurry.

Once roasted to softness (with a little olive oil and salt), the eggplant is allowed to cool. Then the flesh is scraped from the shells. Then whirred with lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, I used roasted garlic and some fresh-picked basil. It was temping to use mint as well. I'd love to hear how that turned out if anyone used it. This was really dump and stir, I referenced the recipe, but didn't follow it (honestly not sure how much eggplant I had!). This makes for a very delicious, light spread. It gets a glue of olive oils and a little more smoked paprika for serving. As suggested, I served this with some crostini. A few pickles too. And, since I had a fresh fig from my new tree, I put together another version with ricotta, prosciutto and the fresh figs. All served with some sparkling rosé. It's difficult to beat this as a lovely summer repast. Totally enjoyable, and perfect for a summer afternoon.

You can check out what others thought about this simple but delicious dish, by checking out the Cook the Book Fridays site.

CtBF – herbed fresh pasta

A theme for me is finding – “oh, I have that, but it’s in storage… somewhere!”. And my storage space is not accessible except during the weekdays, regular work hours. Which makes it safe, but not super handy. In said storage unit. Somewhere. Lies a cool pasta attachment for my Kitchenaid. I bought it when I took an Italian cooking class at Sur la Table. And promptly never used it. Well, I actually schlepped it to UT on a visit because that brother thought it would be fun to make (it was). The challenge is that not only does it take up space, but the last thing I really need is a lot of homemade pasta. Another brother’s girlfriend hosted a surprise party at a different SLT where we made pasta as well – it was great. My niece thought it was so fun, so off went the manual one that used to reside in a cupboard somewhere around here – and now resides with her. Hopefully she uses it more than anyone else did. All of which left me pasta-maker-less.

Not getting a lot of encouragement from the recipe description – “the only people I know who are able to do that as well as a machine are Italian grandmothers”. I’m not an Italian grandmother. So my expectations were now fairly low.

I did have semolina available on the other hand, and a garden full of herbs. I decided to hedge my bets and make 1/3 of a recipe (since there were 3 eggs in the original one). As I look at the recipe again, and the photos, apparently I missed an egg yolk!

The missing yolk might have been why I needed to add so much water – that and the fact that I live in Arizona – where, if you didn’t know, it’s pretty dry. ;).

I’m pretty sure that my thickness was kind of like a credit card, as the recipe suggests, but really, not as see-through as the photos.

I was just going to serve it plainly – just some butter, cheese and pepper. Nice thing about fresh pasta is that it doesn’t take long to cook, so once it’s prepared, it’s fast!

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You can see what others thought of this pasta recipe by checking links to their posts here.

CtBF – lentil salad (and a hummus make-up)

Seems that I was on the same cadence as a few others. Making (or posting anyway) both of these recipes this week. 

I have often written about how much I learned to love lentils on this blog. Apparently my dog does too because the last time I made them, I made a larger batch and froze some. Who knew my puppy would steal the bag thawing on the countertop? 😡. I’m the only human that lives in the household who shares our affinity however, so I don’t make them quite as often. This was a GREAT reminder about how I need to change that. 

Super simple, and just a tiny bit different than the other recipe I use for lentils – this is exactly a recipe I could make at any time because I almost always have everything on hand. 

The cooked lentils with their vegetables get tossed with a mustardy vinaigrette and allowed to cool. Then toasted walnuts and fresh parsley are added. That’s it!! And it is delicious!! In fact, I think it would be a great thing to make a small batch each week and add it to, or as a side dish for, anything. This would be endlessly adaptable with any veggies on hand, or with different herbs (almost went with basil – a great combo). So! A hit! Which leads me to the hummus. I’ve made it before (for the dukka), but had not done the whole “peal the skins off of the chickpeas” thing. This time I did, after reading about what a difference it made. 

Full disclosure, I used canned. I’ve come to my fondness of chickpeas late (though I have a chickpea tomato salad that has to be made each summer). So, I’m not cooking them from dry. Also, I was swept up in the Cuisinart blade debacle and still have no food processor. The mini one doesn’t cut it. I still have an old-school blender, so after trying to make it smooth with less than success, I put it in the blender. Made all the difference in the world! Silky!!!

My other trick is using Trader Joe’s tahini. It’s complete different than other tahinis. Different texture. Different color. Yummy. 

Anyway, this hummus got the full treatment: dukka, extra virgin olive oil, toasted pepitas and ground sumac. The full Monty. The whole enchilada. The whole nine yards. You probably get the idea. 

This ended up being perfect for an afternoon visit with a good friend who eats vegan. Of course, always my favorite to serve “regular” foods that fit the bill. 
So, a couple of terrific recipes for an afternoon visit with friends. And a great reminder in general. 

CtBF -Fresh herb omelet

(BTW, I had to double-check that spelling… yep, what’s in the book – not what I would normally type). This week’s recipe for a French-style omelette is accompanied by more text descriptions of David’s omelette experiences and ideas for accompaniments than there is for the recipe itself! That’s a good thing, because it makes for a simple lunch for a day like today, though of course, it could make for a lovely, quick meal at any time.

Ingredients are pretty much always on hand. And I was still able to use some fresh parsley from the garden.

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I’m usually not a home omelette person – sure, I like them at a restaurant, where they have myriad of filling and sauce options. This is a simple one, and I thought that it would be great to try. The eggs are beaten with a touch of cream, a bit of salt and a good grinding of pepper – the herbs are added as well.

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Instead of the 10″ pan suggested, I used an 8″ pan – happily – I thought it would have been  the thickness of a crêpe if I had. I shouldn’t have bothered with the trying to get runny egg to slip under the initial egg cooked in the pan – I could never get it straightened out.

I too thought that the idea of the cheese in one line down the center didn’t make sense – so mine spilled over. I don’t like uncooked whites, but enjoy softly-cooked scrambled eggs – I got over-worried and cooked mine a bit too long. BUT, still lovely nonetheless. img_1391

This was fun, fast – and I really need to remember to make these!!!! This was a delicious lunch – and perfect for me. I think if I didn’t fuss, this could be done in less than 5 minutes. There’s always a bit of cheese on hand, some herbs… and some leftover veggies would be great too. (I wouldn’t mind those duck-fat fries that David mentions – but that’s not going to happen!). This would allow me a nutritious, fast lunch that will stick with me for the afternoon.

And while this is a perfect quick lunch, I can see this being a nice meal for dinner as well – and obviously breakfast. There are tweaks I will make (a little less butter, don’t fuss with the eggs, cook it a little less – try different cheese/fillings), but this was fun, because it really did help me with something I don’t do – and should – so a perfect start to a new year!!!

 

CtBF -Scalloped potatoes with blue cheese and roasted garlic

Wow, these may have been the best scalloped potatoes I’ve ever had!

Today, I thought I’d use a BLUFbottom line up front. Bottom line – these are amazing! And to be fair, I think that this is one of the times when an amazing-quality ingredient really was worth it.

To back up, there are plenty of French recipes that have you add a blue or roquefort cheese to a dish. I think there are mixed results. Sometimes it’s overpowering, others simply discordant. For this recipe, I decided that I would try to get around all of this – and went to the cheese counter. They were very helpful in providing descriptions. The one I bought said that it was creamy and smooth – wonderful melted. Seemed the perfect cheese for my dish.

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The cheese, if you’re interested is “St Agur Blue”, and is French in origin, though the helpful label says simply that it is made from Cows milk, penicillium roqueforti, salt and rennet. If you’re familiar with the recipe, you can see that I’ve also cheated with the garlic. This is remarkably delicious when added to recipes – and this was to be a week-night meal. I really didn’t have time to roast more garlic – and decided not to use the leftover roast garlic that likely remained tucked alongside the roasted beets from earlier in the week. And no – I didn’t even peel the potatoes! I did, however harvest some chives from the garden!

Simply put, layers of thinly sliced potatoes lay the groundwork for the chives, cheese, salt, pepper and roasted garlic. I made three layers. And then poured the half & half (with a dash of cream, yes) on top. I skipped the heating of the cream – it was going into the oven.

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I covered mine for about half of the time. The dish was pretty deep, so I think it took a bit more than the hour at 375 degrees. I uncovered it to get the nice crust – pushing the potatoes under the cream as I did so.

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This creates a dreamy dish of terrific flavors – all blend well, but have their subtle counterpoints in the dish. To say we loved it would be an incredible understatement. I served it with a simple, perfectly-grilled steak. Yes, I should have had a salad, and it would be terrific with this too.

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This is such an incredibly simple and fast dish to prepare – all of the time is spent while the potatoes bubble and simmer away in their cheesy-creamy bath. So while decadent, this is an easy dish for a show-stopping weeknight meal, or of course a special occasion. Not for everyday, but certainly is simple enough that it could be so.

To find out how others made their potato recipes, you can check the links out at Cook the Book Fridays.