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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Wild Rice and Mushroom Dressing



Wild Rice and Mushroom Dressing

Source: Bon Appetit
Serves 10

1 c pecans
2 c wild rice
salt to taste
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 T orange juice, preferably fresh
2 T honey
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
12 oz mushrooms, torn or cut into large pieces (a variety is nice)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teas chopped thyme
1/3 c chives, optional

Toast pecans until somewhat darkened and fragrant. My favorite way to do this is in a microwave for a minute (that works in mine; test yours the first time you use this technique). Cool and chop coarsely.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the wild rice until most of the grains have split and all are tender. Drain and run under cool water. Allow to cool in a colander and return to the pot.

In the meantime, place the vinegar, orange juice, and honey in a small jar and shake vigorously until combined. Add the crushed garlic and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the garlic clove. Add to the rice and toss until coated.

In a large skillet over medium heat, start 1/4 c olive oil. Place the leeks in the warm oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are slightly browned and tender. Stir in some salt and add to the rice and stir. 

Wipe out the skillet and heat another quarter cup of oil over medium high heat until the oil begins to shimmer and comes close to smoking. Spread the mushrooms in the skillet in a single layer and cook without disturbing until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn and keep cooking until brown all over. Reduce heat if needed and toss often. Mix in the thyme and add to the rice. Stir in the pecans and the chives, if using.

Serve at room temperature or reheat briefly if you prefer it warm. The dressing can sit on the counter (covered) for about 3 hours on the day it is served.

Components can be prepared ahead if needed and combined on the day you plan to serve. I stored the rice, leeks and mushrooms, and orange juice dressing separately in the fridge and combined just before serving.  

Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

I feel lucky that I still have some cherry tomatoes and pomegranates from my garden. But both are available from the grocery store, as are the herbs, so you don't have to wait until summer.


Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

Source: Yotam Ottolenghi on NYTimes Cooking
serves 6

2 pints mixed small or cherry tomatoes, of varying colors if possible
2 teas za'atar spice mix 
3 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 yellow or red bell, pepper, seeds removed and very thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/3 c loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn (optional if you can't find it)
1/3 c loosely packed fresh mint leaves, torn (optional if you can't find it)
1 1/2 teas freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt, as needed
3 1/2 oz of feta cheese, crumbled

Cut the tomatoes in half  and place in a salad bowl. Mix the spice mix with half of the olive oil and set aside.

Add the pomegranate arils, sliced pepper and onion, herbs, lemon juice to the tomatoes. Stir and then add the remaining olive oil and some salt. Mix the salad gently and sprinkle it with the cheese. Spoon the za'atar mixture over the salad just before serving.

Note: If you absolutely can't get your hands on fresh herbs, use some dried versions. If you don't have any basil or mint, you can substitute oregano but use about one third as much, or to taste.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Canned Oven-roasted Marinara

A flavorful sauce for the nights a pantry meal is called for.


Canned Oven-roasted Marinara

Source: The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving pg. 204
Yield: about 8 pints or 4 quarts

20 pounds plum tomatoes
1 1/2 c chopped onion (about 2 medium)
vegetable cooking spray
1 c dry red or white wine
1 T salt
1T dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Ball Citric Acid or 1/2 c bottled lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375F. Wash the tomatoes. Cut them into halves or quarters, as necessary, to create uniform size and arrange in a single layer on large rimmed baking sheets. Bake, in batches, at 375F for 45 minutes or until tomatoes are very soft and beginning to brown. Cool.

Spread onion on a separate large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally. 

Press tomatoes, in batches, through a food mill into a large bowl; discard skins and seeds. Place tomato puree and caramelized onion in a large stainless steel or enameled stock pot. Stir in wine and next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until reduced to desired texture. Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in citric acid or lemon juice.

Ladle hot marinara sauce into a hot jar, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim until completely clean and center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling-water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled. Ensure that there is at least one inch of water over the top of the jars. Bring water to a full boil.

Process jars 40 minutes adjusting for altitude, (adding 10 minutes for 4000-5000). Turn off heat; remove lid, and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Ensure each jar is sealed and store. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Olive Oil-Walnut Cake with Pomegranate

 Here's a gorgeous and tasty cake which takes advantage of pomegranates, the most beautiful food.


Olive Oil-Walnut Cake with Pomegranate

Yield: 10 servings

Altitude adjustments for 4,000-5500 ft.:

Add 1 T flour
Subtract 1 T sugar
Decrease baking powder to 1 1/2 teas

For the cake:

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 c AP flour (I used half kamut flour)
1 c walnuts, toasted
2 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
4 large eggs, separated
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 teas vanilla
2 teas orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350F. Oil (or spray with cooking spray) the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan. Place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom and lightly oil it as well and set aside.

Grind the walnuts in a food processor until they are finely chopped. You want this to be like almond flour. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse a couple of times to mix. 

Whip the egg whites and set aside. Use a stand mixer and set them aside in a bowl or plate while mixing the batter or whip them with a hand mixer in a separate bowl.

Place the egg yolks and the sugar in the stand mixer's bowl and whisk on low until the sugar is dissolved. Then whisk at a higher speed until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, 3-5 minutes. Occasionally, scrape down the sides.

Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and orange zest and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture with mixer at low speed. Beat until combined, one or two minutes. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the egg whites, first adding about a third to lighten the batter, then folding in the remainder until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place it on a cookie sheet and set into the oven on the middle shelf. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Test with a skewer or toothpick and when it comes out clean remove the cake and cool on a rack. If you used a cake pan, invert the cake onto a plate or cake platter. If you used a springform pan take the cake out. I'll admit that I liked the looks of the cake baked in the springform pan.

For the syrup:

1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c orange juice, freshly squeezed from 3 oranges
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves

While the cake bakes, stir these ingredients together in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove the spices and allow to cool. The original recipe suggest you spread the cake with half the syrup and the spoon more over the cake at the time of serving. I just allowed diners to drizzle the syrup over their cake. 

Serve the syrup topped cake with Créme Fraiche, lightly whipped cream, or Greek yogurt and top with pomegranate arils. 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Chicken Curry Stew

A tasty cold weather option. 


Chicken Curry Stew

Adapted slightly from

2-2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into roughly bitesize pieces
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 T curry powder
1 medium onion, diced
2 teas minced garlic
2 teas fresh thyme, or a good-sized sprig
1/2 teas paprika
1/2 c coconut milk
1 teas tomato paste
2 c chicken broth (this can be adjusted if you want more liquid)
1 lb red or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 1/2 inch pieces
12 oz carrots, sliced 
12 oz red bell pepper, cut into bitesize slices
2 T parsley (optional)

Season chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. Then heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Saute chicken until slightly brown, about 8 minutes. Add curry powder, onions, garlic, thyme, and paprika. Stir for 5 minutes, to allow the flavors to blossom. 

Add coconut milk and tomato paste, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the broth, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. 

Add the potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender, another 10-12 minutes. Then add the pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add parsley, if using. Adjust the liquid level if desired, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Chopped Carrot Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Nuts

Here's a great salad for when summer heat slows down lettuce production. It's also good in cool seasons, too.


Chopped Carrot Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Nuts

Source:  Cook's Illustrated 
Serves: 4-6

3/4 c hazelnuts, toasted and skinned, or you can use pecans and skip the work of skinning
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T honey
1/2-1 teas salt 
1/2 teas freshly ground pepper
1/4 teas grated orange zest plus 1/3 c juice
1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved and cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pd carrots, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 c fresh chives (or as much as you can come up with

Cook's Illustrated suggests you leave the peels on well-scrubbed carrots because they add flavor. 

Place the nuts in a food processor and chop coarsely, about 10 pulses. Remove to a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and orange zest, and juice. In the empty food processor, chop the fennel coarsely, 10-20 seconds, and scrape the work bowl if needed. Place the chopped fennel into the large bowl with the dressing. Then chop the carrots in the food processor, running it 10-20 seconds. Place the carrots in the bowl with the fennel. Stir well. Add half of the chives and nuts and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the remaining chives and nuts. Or divide the salad among individual plates and top with the chives and nuts before serving. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Corn and Cucumber Salad

Nice for summer time, especially when it gets so hot that the farmer's markets have a lower supply of lettuce. The very flavorful dressing recipe could be used for other salads.


Corn and Cucumber Salad

from Cook's Country Magazine
Serves 4-6

1/2 c olive oil
4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
salt and pepper
5 T lime juice (3 limes) (or you can substitute lemon)
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, halved, seeded and sliced thin (optional)
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 c)
1/3 c fresh basil leaves, torn or cut in chiffonade (thin strips)

 In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat bring 1 T of the oil to the point that it shimmers and add the corn, 1/4 teas salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the kernels become tender and display some brown spots. Transfer to a large bowl and place in a fridge to allow to cool completely, about 45 minutes. If you don't have that amount of time, spread the corn on a baking sheet to cool before placing in the fridge.

In the meantime, in a small bowl whisk the lime juice together with the remainder of the oil (7 T), another 1/4 teas salt, and 1/2 teas pepper. Reserve 1/4 c of the lime mixture in a separate bowl and add the onion and jalapeno to what's left of the mix. Stir well and allow the onions and jalapeno to sit for at least 15 minutes while the corn is chilled. To the reserved vinaigrette add the sour cream, stir well and set aside.

When the corn is chilled and the onions have rested, mix the cucumbers into the corn, add the onion-jalapeno mixture (including the juices) and toss until all ingredients are coated. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper if needed. Stir in basil leaves. Plate or serve, passing the feta and the sour cream dressing.


The amount of dressing is small so allowing diners a free hand may delete your supply before it makes it around the table. 

The magazine suggests serving this salad from a platter which allows you to top with the feta and the dressing before passing it to diners. If you know you won't finish the salad in one meal and hope to save left overs, don't add the basil, feta, or dressing. Refrigerate with those ingredients held separately, although you should wait to cut the basil until just before serving.