Cook-Along

David Lebovitz’s Salted Olive Crisps

by Anne Maxfield on April 10, 2014

Accidental Locavore Olive ToastsWhen the Accidental Locavore first saw this recipe in My Paris Kitchen, I knew I had to try it. There were a bunch of oil-cured olives in the fridge, so it was just a matter of finding some whole wheat flour and buttermilk. The buttermilk appeared in the latest butter-making process, and the whole wheat flour is local. This is adapted from My Paris Kitchen, and as David says, requires the use of a good bread knife.

  • ½ cup (70g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (70g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • ½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup (45g) pine nuts, very coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (60g) oil cured olives, packed and coarsely chopped (about 20 olives)

Accidental Locavore Olive Crisps DoughPreheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9” loaf pan with non-stick spray, or oil it lightly. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, herbes de Provence, salt, baking soda, and pepper. Stir in the buttermilk, mix in the olives and nuts. Pour into the baking pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, until it feels set in the center. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen it, remove from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool.Accidental Locavore Olive Crisps Loaf

Decrease the oven temperature to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Holding the outside edges of the loaf firmly, to keep the edges from crumbling, slice the loaf as thinly as possible, aiming for ¼” thick slices. Lay the slices on the baking sheets. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping the slices after 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them during the last few minutes of cooking, you want them to be a deep golden brown, so they’ll crisp up when cooled.

Remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks. The crisps can be stored for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Serve (with some great cheese) and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Olive Crisps With ChevreMy verdict: The first thing I baked in my new oven, these come together really easily and tasted great! The only difficult thing is cutting them perfectly. I used pine nuts instead of almonds (which were in the original recipe) and it was tough cutting through them. It’s nice to have the crunch of the nuts, but it would be a lot easier cutting cleanly, without them. My only other complaint (and its minor) was that I tossed the leftover crisps in a Ziploc bag and they lost their crispness. Now, there are two solutions: finish them or toss the leftovers in the toaster-you choose. We ate them with a nice chèvre, which was a pretty perfect combination. Try them the next time you’re serving a cheese plate, they make a nice change from the usual baguette or crackers.

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Chicken With Mustard and Bacon

by Anne Maxfield on March 27, 2014

Accidental Locavore Mustard Chicken With AsparagusThe Accidental Locavore was lucky enough to get an advance copy of David Lebovitz’s new book My Paris Kitchen, which I’ll tell you all about on April 7th.  The recipes look great and the first one I put to the test was this one for poulet à la moutarde. It was one of those “what’s not to like?” recipes, with bacon and so much mustard I actually ran out of Dijon – something I wouldn’t have thought possible! This serves 4.

  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • Black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (Kosher or sea salt)
  • 4 chicken legs and 4 thighs
  • 1 cup bacon, thick cut and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds or grainy mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • Chopped parsley or chives for garnish

In a bowl big enough to hold the chicken, mix ½ cup of the Dijon with the paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the mustard, coating the pieces well, and rubbing some of it under the skin.

Heat a big skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is just starting to brown. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan and discard the rest.

Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the thyme, cook for another few minutes and scrape everything into a medium-sized bowl.

Accidental Locavore Mustard ChickenIncrease the heat to medium-high, add a little olive oil if needed and the chicken pieces in one layer. Don’t crowd them and cook in two batches if necessary. Brown them well on one side and then flip them over and brown the other side. Give it time as you want the chicken to be really browned as this is where the flavor comes from.

Remove the chicken from the pan and put it in the bowl with the onions. Add the wine to the pan and scrape off the bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the chicken, onions and bacon back to the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes (165° on an instant-read thermometer). While the chicken is cooking, stir it a couple of times, to coat with the sauce.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard seeds or grainy mustard and the crème fraîche into the sauce. Sprinkle the parsley over the top, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Wonderful! An important lesson I learned from Gabriel Rucker and again, making this recipe, is that you really have to have some patience (something I have in terribly short supply) and let the meat really brown – it makes a world of difference! This is a pretty classic recipe and I’ve done a variation of it with rabbit – also delicious! Since Frank isn’t fond of chicken legs, I just used thighs and that worked fine. As you read in the intro, I ran out of smooth Dijon, so added in about 3-4 tablespoons of grainy Dijon, which was fine. If you used a good, strong Dijon, it will give you more of a pronounced mustard taste (which is a good thing – right?). He suggests serving it with some fresh pasta, but rice or mashed potatoes would soak up the sauce nicely too. Definitely give it a try, it’s probably under an hour, start to finish.

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Croque Madame Muffins: A Great Brunch Recipe!

by Anne Maxfield on May 2, 2013

Accidental Locavore Croque MadameAlthough the Accidental Locavore never has white bread in the house, for this recipe from Rachel Khoo’s great book The Little Paris Kitchen, I snuck out and bought a loaf. As with anything this simple, the better your ingredients, the better tasting the results. This is her version of a croque madame, which is traditionally a croque monsieur with a fried egg on top. The sauce will serve 6, it’s up to you to make as many “muffins” as you’d like. It should take you less than an hour from start to finish.

For the mornay sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¾ cup milk, warmed (you want it lukewarm)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
  • ¼ cup grated Gruyère cheese (plus a little more for sprinkling on top)
  • Salt and pepper (purists would use white pepper here)

For the muffins:

  • 6 large slices white bread, crusts removed (I’ve been using Pepperidge Farms Farmhouse White, which works well)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 ½ ounces ham, thinly sliced or cut into strips
  • 6 eggs

Accidental Locavore Bechamel SauceTo make the sauce, melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk hard until you have a smooth paste. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly. Put the pan back on the heat, add the mustard and nutmeg and simmer gently for 10 minutes, whisking frequently. The sauce should thicken and be the consistency of thick tomato sauce. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese and add the salt and pepper. Taste for seasonings and set aside.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350°. Flatten the bread with a rolling pin (or a wine bottle) to about ¼”. Brush both sides with the melted butter and place in a muffin pan. Press into place. Then, add an equal amount of ham to each and top with an egg. Add 2 tablespoons of sauce to each and sprinkle with the rest of the Gruyère. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on how runny you like your eggs. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I’ve made these twice for brunch, they’re pretty easy and taste great. Since I currently don’t own a muffin pan, I’ve been cooking them in ceramic ramekins on a cookie sheet. The advantage is that you can have more stuff in each one and use bigger eggs, the disadvantage is the cooking time ends up being close to 30 minutes. We tried using brioche tins, but they were a mess and impossible to clean. The last time I made them, I had great Serrano ham, fresh eggs from my friend Bill and aged Gruyère from Murray’s…pretty spectacular! If you wanted to do them for a bigger meal, a simple salad would go nicely.

Update: Bought a muffin pan and it made a huge difference! Only one thing to think about, you’ll need smallish eggs when you use the muffin tin. Also, having the bechamel sauce made ahead of time makes this done in a half an hour. Added bonus, run the crusts of the bread through the food processor to make fresh bread crumbs!

 

 

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Accidental Locavore Recipe for Corn Soup

by Anne Maxfield on February 2, 2012

Accidental Locavore Corn SoupThe Accidental Locavore can’t think of a cozier place to be on a snowy January day, then in the kitchen. Rather than shovel snow, or worse, get stuck watching football, the Locavore thought  it was time for corn soup. This recipe, adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain cookbook, has intrigued me since this summer, and because of it, there were a dozen corn cobs and a large bag of frozen kernels in my freezer. It would serve about 4 big bowls and took about 1 1/2 hours, mostly unattended.

For the stock:

  • 12 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf

For the chowder:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 slices, bacon (optional), sliced into 1/4″ strips
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • Salt, pepper and sugar, to taste

Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the corn. Cut the cobs in half and put in a large stock pot. Put the kernels on a baking sheet. Add to the stockpot: the bay leaf, onion and 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the cobs and cook until it’s reduced to about 5 cups of liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the corn kernels, garlic and bacon on the baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring once or twice until slightly golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Remove the garlic from the corn and bacon mix. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook while stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the alcohol is evaporated. Add the corn kernels and bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 30 minutes.

If you like your soup really smooth, purée it in a blender (and if you like it really smooth, strain it after blending it). If, like the Locavore, you prefer it a little chunky, remove about 1/4 cup of the kernels and some of the bacon and set aside. Purée the remaining soup in a blender, food processor, or use a stick blender until you reach the desired texture.

Stir in the creme fraiche or sour cream, the kernels and bacon you set aside. Taste and add salt, pepper and sugar as needed. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: this was really good, maybe not as good as the corn and potato chowder I usually make, but a good variation. Bobby Flay’s original recipe has you add sugar in before blending and that made it too sweet. The Locavore likes using the cobs to make stock and next summer, will just collect them and toss them in the freezer for future soups. Since I was using frozen cobs and kernels, everything took longer, but the end result was delicious! I also tossed in a little jalapeño Tabasco sauce to give it a little kick.

Frank’s verdict: really good. He would have liked a little more texture, which was easily remedied by adding in some more kernels.

 

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