Posts Tagged 'flour'

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is an iconic dish that most Americans expect on their Thanksgiving holiday table. Originally made with canned green beans and condensed cream of mushroom soup, I took the basic elements of this classic dish and gave it a fresher, modern spin.

First, I substituted tender haricots verts for the canned green beans.

What are haricots verts? Quite simply, they are very small and slender French green beans. (Haricot verts is French for green beans.) They tend to be more tender and flavorful than the thicker American green beans. Most markets now carry them both fresh and frozen.

Next, instead of using canned soup as my sauce, I made a quick cream sauce and flavored it with some shredded sharp white cheddar cheese. (Isn’t everything made better with cheese?!)

Lastly, I tossed chopped pecans and panko bread crumbs with the classic French fried onions for a crunchy topping that makes the dish in my opinion.

This homemade version of the classic canned soup green bean dish is sure to become a favorite at your house. The haricots verts, pecans, and the touch of sharp cheddar in the sauce elevate this dish to new heights. It’s so good you’ll serve it year round!

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen haricots verts, trimmed
8 oz. button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup French fried onions
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees. Lightly grease a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish with butter and set aside.

Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir to combine. Slowly stir in the broth and heavy cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the green beans and stir until well coated. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

In a medium mixing bowl toss together the French fried onions, bread crumbs, and pecans. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir the melted butter into the onion mixture. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the green beans. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden and bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Excepted from “Simply Suppers” by Jennifer Chandler.

 

 

 

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Croque Monsieur

Croque mr

Croque Monsieur

I had my first Croque Monsieur when I lived in France during culinary school. To this day it has remained my favorite sandwich.

Basically, a Croque Monsieur is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. But the French have elevated what would be a simple sandwich into a work of art! A classic ham and cheese is slathered with a béchamel sauce to make it even more indulgent.

The key to a good Croque Monsieur is the ingredients. Since the ingredients are few, you need to use good ones. Traditionally, a nutty Gruyère or Swiss Emmental cheese is used. Most markets carry these cheeses, but in a pinch, a good Swiss cheese could be substituted. As for the ham, this sandwich is a wonderful way to use up the leftovers from your Christmas baked ham.

The béchamel sauce is what makes this sandwich. Considered a “mother” sauce in French cuisine, a béchamel is very simple to prepare. Butter and flour are cooked together over low heat before milk and cheese are added to make this traditional cheese sauce. Thanks to the cheesy goodness that the sauce adds, it really is a knife-and-fork kind of sandwich.

This classic French treat is perfect for supper, lunch or a weekend brunch. They are so rich, serve them simply with a salad or soup. However you choose to serve them, I bet they will become your family’s favorite ham-and-cheese sandwich too.

Croque Monsieur

Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices white sandwich bread, lightly toasted
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 pound baked ham, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. When the butter starts to foam, add the flour. Cook, whisking until thickened, about 1 minute. While continuing to whisk, gradually add the milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the nutmeg, Parmesan, and 1/4 cup of the Gruyere. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

To assemble the sandwiches, place 4 slices of the toasted bread on a baking sheet. Lightly brush each of the slices with 1 tablespoon of mustard. Top each with 1/4 of the ham and 1/8 of the remaining Gruyere (about 1/4 cup). Top each with one of the remaining toasted bread slices. Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the tops of the sandwiches and sprinkle each with 1/4 of the remaining Gruyere. Transfer to the oven and bake until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Variation: Feeling indulgent? Top your Croque Monsieur with a fried egg and you will be enjoying a treat the French call a Croque Madame.

From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Nothing says comfort food like chicken pot pie. Chicken and vegetables in a rich and creamy sauce topped off with a flaky crust makes for a satisfying one-dish meal.

If you thought frozen pot pies were good, you need to try making a homemade one. It’s surprisingly easy to make a pot pie from scratch and I can guarantee it will be infinitely better than any store-bought version.

It’s the savory sauce that makes the big difference. This version uses simple ingredients – butter, flour, chicken stock, and cream – to create a sublime filling. I use poultry seasoning to impart flavor to the dish. If you don’t have this aromatic seasoning blend in your pantry, you can make your own by grinding together 1tablespoon each of dried rosemary, dried sage, dried thyme, and dried marjoram in a spice grinder or mini food processor. Or you can simply season your pot pie filling with a pinch of the aforementioned herbs.

Once the sauce is made, you can add chicken and your favorite vegetables. This version uses traditional ingredients like carrots, potatoes, and peas. Roasted root vegetables like parsnips and turnips are also delicious in a pot pie.

If you are short on time, you can pick up a rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store for this recipe instead of baking your own chicken. This short-cut can save you about 30 minutes in your prep time.

Once the filling is complete, top the pie with a pie dough and bake until heated through with a flaky pie crust.

Besides being delicious, another wonderful thing about pot pies is that they can be made a day in advance. If doing so, either top with the pie crust just before baking or make sure the pie filling is completely cooled before topping with the uncooked pie crust. You can also freeze the unbaked pot pie to bake on a busy day.

Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

3 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
1 cup peeled and finely slices carrots (about 4 carrots)
1 cup peeled and diced white potatoes (about 1 large potato)
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 unbaked pie crusts (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with the olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until cooked through, about 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove and discard the bones and the skin. Cut the chicken meat into large dice. (You should have about 3 to 4 cups of chicken.)

While the chicken is roasting, in a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the water to boil. Add the carrots, potato, onion, and peas and cook until crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Raise the oven temperature to 395 degrees.

In another large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the chicken stock and cream. Add the poultry seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, carrots, potato, onion, and peas. Stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings as necessary.

Pour the filling into a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. On a lightly floured surface, place the two pie crusts on top of each other. Roll the dough until it is big enough to cover the baking dish. Place the pie crust over the top. Flute the edges, if desired, and cut slits in the top for steam to escape. Brush the crust with the beaten egg. In case of overflow, place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes.
Serves 8.

Cooking Tip: Sometimes I top the filling with biscuits rather than the pie crust. For a short cut, you can use canned biscuits, but I prefer homemade. Just add the biscuits 15 minutes into the cooking time to prevent burning.

From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Potato Chip Cookies

potato chip cookies0934

Potato Chip Cookies 

Who doesn’t love potato chips? They give these buttery cookies from the kitchen of my talented friend Nancy Kistler a delicious salty crispness. Bet they become your favorite way to use up all those crumbs at the bottom of the potato chip bag! Thanks Nancy for sharing your recipe!

Potato Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cups crushed potato chips (classic style)
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix until well blended. Stir in the vanilla and chips.

Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough, spaced about 2 inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned around the edges, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl and roll the cookies in the sugar to lightly coat. Store at room temperature, with waxed paper between the layers, in an airtight container.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Cooking Tip: Do not refrigerate or freeze the unbaked dough as the potato chips will become soggy.

From The Southern Pantry Cookbook by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks. Food styling by Jennifer Chandler.

Vegetarian Gumbo

veggie gumbo

Vegetarian Gumbo

“Vegetarian Gumbo with Beans?!” – You may question.  I did too … but my friend Justin Fox Burks insisted I give his recipe a try.

Well … as usual … Justin’s recipe was some darn good stuff.  His concoction of veggies and spices offers a tasty gumbo that had everyone at our table asking for seconds.

Justin and his wife Amy Lawrence are co-authors of the fabulous vegetarian recipe blog “The Chubby Vegetarian.”  Their blog has become my go-to for all things veggie.  It is a great resource for dishes so delicious and creative that you will never miss the meat. This recipe is also featured in their new book “The Southern Vegetarian” (May 2013, Thomas Nelson Publishers).  I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and am loving everything I have made so far. It’s a must for vegetarians and meat-eaters both!

Back to the gumbo … Justin’s recipe calls for liquid smoke. An ingredient I had never used before.  But since it was at Whole Foods I figured it was safe to eat! I used the Hickory smoke flavor. It gave the gumbo that depth that a smoked sausage adds a traditional gumbo.

Enjoy!

The Chubby Vegetarian Gumbo

Click here for the original recipe.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped tomato (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 medium)
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons creole mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon vinegar
10 dashes Tabasco
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 quart vegetable stock
4 cups sliced okra (1/4 inch slices, stem-end discarded)
1 1/2 cups red beans (1 16 ounce can, drained and rinsed or makes your own)
10 ounces crimini mushrooms (quartered)
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups diced  green pepper (1 large)
1 1/2 cups diced red pepper (1 large)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 ribs)
4-5 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/2 cup sliced green onion (for garnish)
5-6 sprigs baby dill (for garnish)

To make the roux, place the canola oil and the flour into a medium-sized dutch oven. (This is the pot in which you will eventually make the gumbo, so using it now saves on dishes later. A heavy pot like this is essential when making a roux because of its ability to distribute heat evenly.) With the oil and flour in the cold dutch oven, turn the heat on medium. Whisk the mixture constantly until you notice that it has become nutty (it’ll kind of smell like — gasp! — fried chicken) and fragrant (both of which happen about five minutes into the process). At this point, turn the heat to low. Keep a close eye on your roux, and whisk the mixture about every minute so no part of the roux burns. Continue in this fashion for about another twenty minutes or until the roux has taken on the color of an old penny. Remove the pot from the heat. Congratulations — you just made your first roux!

Place the tomato, onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, Tabasco, soy sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg and oregano into the work bowl of your food processor. This is quite an unconventional method for making gumbo, but it works beautifully. Blend mixture until smooth. This is your flavoring agent for the whole dish. Now return the dutch oven with the roux still in it to a burner set to medium-high heat, and immediately add the mixture you just made in the food processor. Stir to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring the resulting mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated, and it resembles a paste. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Once the mixture is heated through, turn the burner to medium-low. Add the okra, red beans, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red peppers, and celery to the pot. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until everything is heated through, but not mush.

To serve, ladle out some gumbo into a bowl and top with about 1/2 cup of rice, a few green onions, and a sprig of fresh dill. Have plenty of crusty french bread and butter on hand for sopping up the amazing broth.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cooking Tip: If you like okra but are not a fan of the sliminess that sometimes can occur with it, sauté the sliced okra in batches in one tablespoon of canola oil until lightly browned. Add the cooked okra to the gumbo. Problem solved.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I should call this recipe Sarah’s Disappearing Banana Bread!

My youngest daughter can’t not get enough of banana bread.  It is one of her favorite treats to eat … and to make with her momma!

Sarah has the unfortunate curse of being allergic to nuts, and unfortunately most versions of this quick bread are made with walnuts.  She had a wonderful nut-less banana bread last summer we found at the Malibu Farmers Market. Since then, we have been on a quest to re-create a similar version.

Many of the recipes we tried were delicious … but none had the moistness of the one we had enjoyed last summer.  Then one day a friend told me to try adding sour cream to the mix. It was a brilliant suggestion! The sour cream gave the bread that delicious moistness we were lacking with other recipes we tried.

The chocolate chips were Sarah’s idea …  my little sous-chef always knows how to make a sweet over the top!

Enjoy! (But be forewarned … it will disappear very quickly!)

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 -inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Add the reserved flour mixture and mix until well blended. Add the bananas, sour cream, vanilla extract, and cinnamon and stir to blend. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about for 60 to 70 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack just until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and place onto a wire rack to cool.

Serves 8.

Cooking Tip:  It happens to all of us.  Some days bananas ripen faster than we can eat them.  If I have bananas that are overly ripe, I throw them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. That way, I always have ripe bananas on hand to make this bread and I am not wasting food.

Variation: If you are not allergic to nuts like Sarah, add a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts to the batter for what I’d call a “Chunky Monkey” version!

Freezes well.

Rustic Peach Tart


I love summer peaches! You know the ones that are so ripe and juicy you have to eat them over the kitchen sink?!

Here’s an easy dessert you can make with this late summer treat.  Don’t fuss over the perfect crust. Instead whip up a rustic version that is meant to look a little rough around the edges.

Depending on what’s in season, you can substitute apples, pears and even blueberries for this peaches.

Rustic Peach Tart 

1 unbaked pie crust (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
4 peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices, about 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll the dough into a 10-inch round about 1/8-inch thick.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the peaches, 1/2 cup of the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt and toss to coat. Fill the center of the pie crust with the peach mixture in an even layer, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border up and over the apples, overlapping every 2 to 3 inches, to make a rim. Brush the rim with the egg wash and evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the rim.

Bake until the crust is nicely browned and the peaches are bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Serves 8.


Jennifer Chandler

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