Monday, October 28, 2013

Martha Stewart: Spinach Pie

Ah, spanakopita.  Such a delicious nectar of the gods.  And such a pain in the rear to make.  I mean, seriously, who has the time to fold all of that phyllo dough into perfect little triangles??  Well, maybe I could, but I much prefer this incarnation.

More of a casserole than a pie, this is a great dish for a potluck (which is where this one went), especially if you fear that there may be a lack of vegetables.  This way everyone gets their greens and they actually taste good.

Spinach Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart

¼ cup (½ stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
½ pound feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried dill
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 ounces frozen phyllo sheets, thawed and thinly sliced

Make the filling:

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until garlic is tender, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in spinach, feta, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, dill, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Fold in eggs until combined.

Pour mixture into a 9-inch springform pan; press firmly to flatten.

Make the topping:

Melt remaining ¼ cup butter in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, gently toss sliced phyllo to separate, then toss with melted butter until coated.

Cover the top of the pie evenly and completely with the topping. (To freeze, cover pie tightly with plastic wrap, being careful not to flatten topping. Bake within 3 months; do not thaw first.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake until heated through and topping is golden brown, about 1 hour 15 minutes for frozen pie (30 minutes for unfrozen pie).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Closet Cooking: Jalapeño Popper Corn Fritters

You won't believe this, but I actually found some corn at the grocery store, and it wasn't gross.  I'm not sure where these beautiful cobs came from, but God bless that farmer.  Who knew you could get produce like this in October.  I really hope I didn't just buy something from Peru...

I pinned this recipe a while ago, and I drool over it every time I flip through my pins.  It just looks so...delicious.  So I used my beautiful corn to make these fritters.  Not quite as spicy as I thought, so play with the jalapeño.  After all, every jalapeño has a different spice level.  And the original recipe said bacon was optional.  Bacon is never optional.

Jalapeño Popper Corn Fritters
Adapted from Closet Cooking blog

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
½ cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 to 3 jalapeño peppers, diced
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon coriander, toasted and ground
2 green onions, sliced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 lime, zest and juice
2 tablespoons oil
½ cup Jalapeño Popper Dressing

Mix the corn, flour, egg, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, jalapeños, bacon, paprika, coriander, green onion, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, form into ¼-cup patties, and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Serve with jalapeño popper dressing.

Makes 4 servings

Jalapeño Popper Dressing
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup fresh diced jalapeños
1 clove garlic
1 green onion
1 tablespoon cilantro
2 tablespoons bacon, cooked and crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

Puree everything in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Friday, October 11, 2013 Best Eggnog

I know it's early to be talking about eggnog.  I know, I know.  But the thing is, THIS is the time to make the eggnog so that it's beautiful and mellowed by the time you're drinking it at Christmas.  Same sort of thing with fruitcake.  All those beautiful things you eat at the end of the year have to be made ready months ahead of time so that they have the chance to age properly.  So get yourself a good bottle of bourbon, whip some of this lovely stuff up, and leave it in the back of your fridge until Christmas.  Don't poke it, pull it out, or anything.  Leave it alone.  It will be waiting for you when the fire is crackling and the Christmas music is playing.

Note:  This is some strong booze.  Some really, really strong booze.  And you can let it age in your fridge for a year.  Or two, if it lasts that long.  Just be careful when you finally sample it, because it may knock you on your rear.

Best Eggnog

For the eggnog:
12 large eggs yolks (reserve the whites)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 to 4 cups bourbon
1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup Cognac or brandy
½ cup Myers’s dark rum
Pinch fine salt

To serve:
12 reserved egg whites
1½ cups cold heavy cream
Ice (optional)
Freshly grated nutmeg

For the eggnog:
Place the reserved egg whites in a very clean and airtight container and freeze until the eggnog is ready to serve. Combine the yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well blended and creamy. Add the the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a 1-gallon glass jar and tightly seal the lid. (Alternatively, you can bottle it.) Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 week and up to 3 weeks.

To serve:
The night before serving, place the frozen egg whites in the refrigerator to thaw. When ready to serve, let the egg whites come to room temperature. Place the egg whites in the very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a large punch bowl. Place the cream in the stand mixer bowl (no need to wash the bowl) and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to the punch bowl. Stir the eggnog base with a rubber spatula to re-combine, then add it to the punch bowl. Gently whisk the eggnog together until just combined and no large pockets of whites or cream remain (do not overwhisk or you’ll deflate the eggnog). Serve in punch cups over ice, if desired, and garnished with grated nutmeg.

Makes 16 servings