Sunday, March 31, 2019

My Top Five Ruth Reichl Recipes!

We are wrapping up our time with Ruth Reichl at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I've made some really fun and different recipes with Ruth and I've definitely really enjoyed my time in the kitchen with her. These are my top five Ruth Reichl favorites, in order.

(Click on the recipe title for the recipe and original post)

Number Five: Ruth's Cheddar and Garlic Twice-Baked Potatoes. I've made a lot of twice-baked potatoes in my time and these are among my favorites. We love the hint of garlic and all the proportions are just right. These are a perfect side dish for a special meal.

Number Four: Ruth's Food Cart Curry Chicken. A New York City food cart specialty and a busy cook's best friend. This is a delicious weeknight chicken dish that is perfect family food. The chicken is tender and flavorful, but mild enough to be kid-friendly. I highly recommend this one!

Number Three: Ruth's Parmesan Walnut Salad In Endive Leaves. This was the very first Ruth Reichl recipe I made and it stuck with me ever since. This is a beautiful appetizer, or spread, for any party or gathering. The colors are gorgeous and the flavors are fresh and bright. I love the crunch from the walnuts against the chewiness of the cheese and the crispness of the endive leaf. It's a little creamy, but light. It's healthy and a little indulgent. It's just perfectly balanced. This would be a great dish to take to any potluck!

Number Two: Ruth's Shirred Eggs Over Potato Puree. Um, creamy mashed potatoes with an ooey gooey egg on top? Yes, oh my word, yes. Pure bliss. Total comfort food. Please make this!

Number One: Ruth's Baked Cheddar Olives. A retro recipe if there ever was one. Here is a dish that was present at many women's bridge parties in the 1950s. I wasn't sure what to expect with this recipe, but it was so different and I just knew I had to give it a try. I was mind blown by how delicious these were! The dough bakes up around the olive like a cheese cracker and these are the most addictive little devils. I absolutely LOVE this recipe and I think you should make them for every single party until the end of time! Baked Cheddar Olives for everyone, for ever and ever.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Tessa's Omeleta Horiatiki {Potato, Feta, Oregano Omelet}

Tessa Kiros is definitely one of my favorite cookbook authors. Her cookbooks are not only gorgeous, but they're packed full of rustic family-pleasing dishes, such as this Omeleta Horiatiki (Potato, Feta, Oregano Omelet). 

For whatever reason, I was expecting this dish to be a simple frittata with the welcome addition of one of my favorite cheeses: feta. I was expecting a dish that I would really enjoy. I wasn't prepared to have my mind blown.

This is no ordinary egg dish, folks. My first surprise: the potatoes form a golden brown crust on the bottom that is heavenly. I guess I was expecting the potatoes to be dispersed throughout the egg. The crust really makes this dish! Plus, the oregano is crumbled onto the potatoes and helps to deliver a wonderful flavor throughout the omelet. The eggs cook perfectly with Tessa's method and have a fluffy consistency, plus the feta cheese just takes this dish over the edge. This is an A+ egg dish. One of my favorites, for sure.

I do want to point out a few things I noticed while making this. I felt like the directions were a little vague, such as fry the potatoes. Ok, Tessa. Over what kind of heat? Add the eggs and cook, but over what kind of heat. Everyone's stove will be different, but mine cooks especially hot, so I cooked over medium-low heat. I didn't fry my potatoes until they were golden brown. I fried them until they were cooked through and starting to turn golden in places. Turns out this was a good move because the potatoes will continue to brown and form a crust once you add the eggs and you wouldn't want them to be too golden or they would become too brown and/or burn. When I added the eggs I turned the heat all the way to low and covered the skillet for 3-5 minutes, checking to make sure the eggs weren't getting overcooked. When there was only a little bit of liquid on the top of the omelet I placed the skillet in the oven on broil and watched closely until there was no more liquid. I was so pleased with the results because the potato crust was perfectly golden and the egg was perfectly cooked. consistency.

As I mentioned, this is one of my favorite egg dishes. I can see myself making this again and again. It is perfect with the potato, feta, and oregano but I can also see adding chopped tomato, zucchini, olives, and maybe even some capers, especially during the summer months.

If you love egg dishes as I do, please do yourself a favor and make this one. It is absolutely delicious!

Omeleta Horiatiki {Potato, Feta, + Oregano Omelet}
Adapted from Food From Many Greek Kitchen
by Tessa Kiros
Serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil
10-1/2 ounce potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8 inch rounds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3-1/2 ounces feta
6 eggs, lightly beaten
ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add the potatoes and fry gently on both sides until golden (but not too crisp) and completely cooked through. Salt lightly. Crumble the oregano over the potato with your fingers, then crumble the feta on top.

If you have a broiler, preheat it now. Pour the eggs into the skillet, shuffling gently so that they can leak down and around the potatoes. Put the lid on and cook over low heat until the eggs are set throughout but still runny on top. Keep an eye on the heat to ensure that the bottom doesn't burn but forms a golden crust. Take the lid off and place the skillet 4 inches or so under the broiler. If you aren't using a broiler, just keep the lid on the skillet and continue cooking the eggs slowly.  When it's slightly runny here and there, remove from the heat and leave it with the lid on for a couple of minutes. Loosen the edges and slide it out of the skillet upright onto a large serving plate. Serve hot, with a grind of black pepper. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Ruth Reichl's Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon and Cream and Pierogi

On St. Patrick's Day I feel compelled to eat at least one of these three things: cabbage, potatoes, and/or corned beef. This St. Patrick's Day I opted for Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon and Cream. My mom used to saute cabbage and bacon and mix it into egg noodles, but I didn't have any egg noodles so I did the next best thing and tossed my cabbage with pierogi.

 My mom's egg noodles with sauteed cabbage and bacon will always have a special place in my heart, but the choice to add the pierogi...well, that was one of my better decisions for sure. The pierogi is the best of both worlds. A little pasta.  A little mashed potato. It's the perfect compliment to Ruth's Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon and Cream.

Ruth's Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon and Cream is perfectly delicate and pleasant to eat. Everything about it feels perfectly balanced and light. If you're expecting a pungent strong odor that sometimes happens when you cook cabbage, don't. Only beautifully fragrant smells here. In fact, my kids, who don't like cabbage, both came downstairs because they said it smelled wonderful. They even tried a few bites and deemed it delicious.

This is a winning side dish that can easily be turned into a main dish by adding in pierogi, egg noodles, and/or potatoes of some sort. I will gladly make it again and again!

Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon and Cream
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
Serves 4-6

1/4 pound bacon (4 slices, cut crosswise into 1/2" wide pieces)
1 small head cabbage, cored and sliced
1 teaspoon salt*
1/2 cup heavy cream
black pepper
12 pierogi, if using (homemade or boxed)
Optional: parsley, for garnishing

Note: I wanted to mix the cabbage with egg noodles, but I didn't have any so I opted for pierogi.   You can make your own pierogi or buy a box. I boiled mine for a few minutes in a separate pan and then mixed them into the cabbage when they were done cooking.

Cook bacon in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cabbage and salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until cabbage is wilted about 3 minutes. Add cream, reduce heat to moderately low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. (I noticed that I had to be pretty heavy handed with the salt).

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Ruth Reichl's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

On Fridays at school, we order lunch from a catering service. I always order the same sandwich, drink, and chips, BUT I ALWAYS have a hard time trying to decide whether I want a chocolate chip cookie or an oatmeal raisin cookie. I love them both equally! Or, do I?

As much as I love chocolate, I almost always opt for the oatmeal raisin cookie. I love the chewiness of the oats and the raisins so much, maybe even more than I love chocolate, and that is saying something!

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs we're cooking with food that starts with R, for Ruth Reichl. The very first thing I thought of...Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

This recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies is a little different than other recipes I've tried. These cookies are definitely not as sweet as a classic oatmeal raisin cookie, but they are good. They reminded us more of a granola bar or a healthyish breakfast cookie. We really liked them alot, and I would make them again, but this wouldn't be my go-to oatmeal raisin cookie recipe..

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
Makes about 2 dozen

1-3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins

Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375F. Butter two large baking sheets. 

Stir together oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add oat mixture and beat until just combined. Mix in raisins.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto buttered baking sheets and flatten mounds slightly with moistened fingers. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 12 minutes total. Transfer cookies to racks to cool. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Ruth Reichl's Steamed Broccoli with Caper Brown Butter

We are crazy for broccoli in my house. Most of the time I prepare it simply, steamed with a touch of butter and salt. I can never seem to make enough. The other day I laughed out loud when my husband, who is as carnivorous as they come, declared that he "loved broccoli just as much as he loved a good steak." 

I thought he was just being silly, but then we went to a steakhouse with friends. He ordered a ribeye and chose broccoli casserole and broccoli as his two sides. When his food came he ate the broccoli first, so maybe he wasn't really joking.

Today I felt like a new spin on broccoli and was thrilled to find Ruth Reichl's recipe for Steamed Broccoli with Caper Brown Butter.  The brown butter lends a wonderful nutty flavor to the broccoli and the capers are bursting with their salty briny flavor. This broccoli dish is simply outstanding and so very easy to put together. A new favorite, for sure!

Steamed Broccoli with Caper Brown Butter
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
Serves 4

1-1/2 pounds broccoli
3/4 stick (about 6 tablespoons butter)
3 tablespoons drained capers
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Note: This may seem like a lot of butter but trust me and go ahead with it. Also, it may seem like a lot of capers but the capers make this dish. In fact, next time, I may even add more capers. The recipe calls for using some of the stalks, but I opted to use only the florets.  I also cooked my broccoli in a steamer basket in the microwave.

Cut stalks from broccoli and peel with a paring knife, trimming any fibrous parts, then cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Cut heads of broccoli into 1-1/2-inch-wide florets.

Steam broccoli stalks and florets in a steamer rack set over boiling water, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in capers and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in parsley, salt, and pepper.

Toss broccoli with caper butter and serve.