What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Egg Veggie Tart! Take ordinary ingredients and spread them over a prepared puff pastry crust and I promise you, your family will eat anything you serve. It’s that good. I always keep a box of frozen puff pastry on hand because it is so versatile. From main courses to desserts, they all turn out like a culinary masterpiece. For everyone to take you seriously though, be sure to wear an apron. It makes you look like a chef who means business. I think I have at least five different styles, some with pockets, some without. And I’m always open for more. Today’s version of a breakfast tart incorporates vegetables and prosciutto that not only add color, but eye appeal. Without regrets, add this recipe to your list of easy-to-assemble meals.
EGG VEGGIE TART
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 ounces Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
3 ounces prosciutto, cut into strips
1/4 pound green beans, cleaned and trimmed
3 eggs plus 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup baby peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons green onion snips
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place puff pastry on prepared baking sheet. Using a fork, pierce the dough evenly across surface, stopping about 1/2” from the edge. At the edges, roll dough once to form a crust. This will keep the ingredients from overflowing. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven to assemble remaining ingredients. Layer the Swiss cheese on the bottom of the crust. Arrange tomatoes, prosciutto, and green beans. Crack 3 eggs onto the dough. Try to place the eggs where the vegetables will “hold” them into place. Sprinkle tart with baby peas. Drizzle with olive oil. Divide grated parmesan cheese over all. Brush the crust all the way around the tart with the egg/water mixture. This gives the crust that beautiful golden color when baked. Bake 30 minutes, or until pastry is cooked through. Garnish with green onion snips. Cut into squares. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Zingy Lemon Blueberry Scones! Question: What do you get when you cross a cake and a quick bread? Answer: An English Scone, of course! Now here’s an excuse to eat something lightly sweetened in the middle of the day. Scones are popular with brunch or afternoon tea in some countries. They are made in a single-serving size and come in several variations. By adding fresh fruit and a sprinkling of sanding sugar, the results are astounding. Drizzle a lemony glaze on top to transform this beauty into a dessert as well.
ZINGY LEMON BLUEBERRY SCONES
3 cups flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated lemon citrus peel
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup milk
White sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Lemon Glaze Icing Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon granulated lemon citrus peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large with sheet with a Silpat nonstick baking mat. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and lemon citrus peel in a large bowl. Add butter and blend until crumbly. Fold in the blueberries and almonds. Stir in the milk. On a lightly floured surface, transfer dough. Form into two 6-inch disks. Cut each disk into 6 wedges. Gently transfer wedges to the prepared sheet; brush with milk; sprinkle lightly with the sanding sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Cool on the pan. Drizzle with lemon glaze. Serve warm.
Whisk together powdered sugar, butter, lemon citrus peel, and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over warm scones.
Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Quiche Fromage! If you’ve ever been to Paris, you can’t help but be charmed by the street vendors near Norte Dame along the Seine River. One in particular featured homemade quiche specialties for picnicking tourists. There’s nothing more charming than grabbing a spot on the nearest bench for a lunchtime picnic in the midst of people-watching, that’s for sure. You can relive the moment with today’s version of cheese quiche made with a puff pastry crust. Ooh là là!
One puff pastry sheet
1/3 cup crème fraîche or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light cream
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
6-7 ounces Sartori Montamoré cheese, crumbled
Thaw the puff pastry for 40 minutes. Roll out to fit a 10 1/2″ pie plate. Crimp the edges and pierce the bottom with a fork. Place pie plate in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line the pastry with foil and place pastry weights in the bottom. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove the foil and pastry weights, pierce dough again if needed, and bake 5 minutes longer until bottom is golden. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, crème fraîche, light cream, Herbes de Provence, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Fold in cheese crumbles. Spoon mixture into the pastry crust. Bake 30 minutes until the filling is golden and the crust is puffed. To test for doneness, insert cake tester. If pick comes out clean, the quiche is baked through. Serve immediately. Enjoy with a glass of Pinot Noir.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Monkey Cinnamon Bread! Cutting corners can be a good thing, especially on a lazy day when I gotta have a breakfast pastry and really don’t want all the fuss. I mean, I know I can make this from scratch and allow time for the dough to rise while scrolling through social media, but honestly…I don’t wanna. I’d rather sip my morning cuppa joe, talk to my husband, and inhale the bakery aromas that drift through the house. Maybe you would, too.
MONKEY CINNAMON BREAD
3 (8-ounce) tubes of buttermilk biscuit dough
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a Bundt pan with butter. Set aside. In a bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Cut each biscuit into four equal pieces. Roll each piece in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Arrange in the prepared Bundt pan. Continue layering until all the dough is used. Transfer the excess cinnamon sugar (about 1/2 cup) to a medium saucepan. Add brown sugar and butter. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Immediately remove from heat. Drizzle the mixture over the dough in the Bundt pan. Bake 30 minutes or until the tops are crisp and turning golden brown. Remove from oven. Rest 5 minutes. Cover the Bundt pan with a large plate. Invert pan. Carefully, left the pan to expose the gooey sweet Monkey Cinnamon Bread.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Juicy Peach Rose Tarts! With the holidays around the corner, take a moment to consider this star attraction on the dessert table. Talk about the “WOW” factor! Peach Rose Tarts work well for morning coffee, family pitch-ins, office parties, social gatherings, birthday celebrations, Date Night, and more. Since they are made in a muffin tin with a few simple ingredients, it’s practically effortless. Once again, the crust is made with prepared puff pastry. You choose the fruit: apples, peaches, plums, pears, or nectarines. No matter the season, no matter the occasion, you’ll come away feeling like a pastry chef.
JUICY PEACH ROSE TARTS
1 box puff pastry, thawed and each sheet cut lengthwise into strips, finishing with 6 strips per sheet
1/3 cup apricot jam
5-6 ripe peaches, thinly sliced into half moons with skin on
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick oil. Set aside. Slice the peaches as thin as possible. Transfer to a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with a few drops of water. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Microwave on High for 15 seconds. This makes the peaches flexible enough to roll. Take one strip of puffed pastry dough. Spread it with a thin layer of apricot jam. It acts as an adhesive. Layer peaches on left side of each strip, slightly overlapping with the skin edge off the pastry. It will resemble half moons. Fold the other side of the pastry to seal. Beginning at the bottom, tightly roll the stuffed peach pastry into a flower. Transfer to the prepared muffin tin. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly before dusting with powdered sugar.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Easy Empanadas! Imagine this: a light, flaky, buttery pastry pocket filled with tender savory meat. Now add a kick of spice and a finish of pimento-stuffed olives. Mmmm. Sure you can add cheese or go completely vegetarian. That’s the beauty of cooking at home. Make it to suit your personal taste. Either way, in three bites, you’re ready for seconds. Don’t forget the dipping sauce.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound ground beef, lean
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed olives, chopped
1 egg, whisked
1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry sheets
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add oregano, sweet paprika, cumin powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Add ground beef. Stir and cook until meat is crumbly. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Remove from heat. Fold in pimento-stuffed olives. Cool meat mixture completely, about two hours in the refrigerator. Cut pastry sheets into 4” rounds. Place 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each round. Brush water around the outer edge of each round. Fold round in half. Press to seal. Using fork tines, press down on edges. Carefully transfer empanadas to the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 1” apart. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to prevent leakage while baking. Brush empanadas with whisked egg. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce or salsa.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Danish Pumpkin Spice! The mere mention of pumpkin spice sends people into a tizzy. It could be simply because it signifies the turning of a new season and screams, “limited time only!”. The crisp Autumn leaves, smell of woodsmoke, and anticipation of holidays looming on the horizon resurrect desires of nostalgia. We can’t help it. Longings of yesteryear where childhood memories and romantic flashbacks are pause for distraction. Family traditions and customs return to life. This is us.
DANISH PUMPKIN SPICE
2 tubes crescent rolls (8 count each)
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon allspice
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
2 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chestnut praline syrup
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Unroll crescent rolls into a rectangular shape. Cut along the seam to separate into two equal rectangles. Each rectangle will container four crescent rolls. Press seams together, cutting each rectangle into four squares. When you do this, you will have 8 squares from each tube. Place squares on the silicone baking mat before filling. In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin purée, sugar, vanilla extract, allspice, and egg. Whisk until smooth. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin spice mixture into the center of each square. Fold the edges around, by rolling and crimping, to form the Danish. Sprinkle chopped pecans over all. Bake 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Cool before glazing. Repeat with remaining dough. To make the glaze, beat Neufchâtel cheese until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar. Stir gently. Add vanilla extract and chestnut praline syrup. Transfer glaze to a zipper sandwich bag. Snip off the tip of one corner. Squeeze bag to drizzle glaze in stripes over each Danish.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Upright Pot Pie! Do you ever have those nights when you can’t decide what to cook for dinner? You look in the refrigerator and all you see are leftovers? Again? Well, I had made a beef pot roast earlier in the week, so all the ingredients were on hand to make individual servings of pot pies. Obviously, if you don’t have mashed potatoes and gravy on hand, you can improvise. Keep it upright by filling custard dishes with single servings and then top them off with crescent roll pastry sheets. It requires very little effort, but the taste is home cooking at its best.
UPRIGHT POT PIE
2 cups beef pot roast, chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 cup brown gravy
1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/2 cup baby carrots
1 cup mashed potatoes
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat. Add beef and stir. Reduce heat and gradually add gravy and mixed vegetables. Spoon mixture in ungreased single serving custard cups. Transfer cups to a baking sheet, in case they bubble over while baking. Remove dough from tube. Do not separate into triangles. Place one square over each custard dish. Press lightly around edges. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve with mashed potatoes and baby carrots.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Old-Fashioned Blueberry Peach Galette! For a rustic dessert that is sure to please, this classic French pastry is a perfect blend of natural fruit sweetness complimented by a flaky butter crust. No need for a pie plate, it is oven baked on a sheet pan. *Note: Be sure to prep the pan as directed. Otherwise, you may need to replace it.
OLD-FASHIONED BLUEBERRY PEACH GALETTE
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 tablespoons ice water
3 cups peaches, sliced
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon apricot preserves, melted
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons almonds, sliced
Preheat oven to 425°. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Then line it with parchment paper. Make a 9-inch pie crust: cut butter into flour and salt until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry cleans the side of the bowl. Gather pastry into a ball; shape it into a flattened round on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 9-inch crust and place on parchment paper. Combine sugar, blueberries, and sugar. Beginning in the center, arrange fruit into a fan, spiraling around the pie. Be sure to leave a border. Fold edges of dough toward the center, pressing gently to seal. The dough only partially covers the fruit. Brush the melted preserves over the fruit and along the edges of the dough. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° but do not remove the galette. Bake an additional 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the galette from the baking sheet by lifting it with the parchment paper. It needs to cool on a wire rack to keep the bottom from getting soggy. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Serve warm.
* Serving suggestion: Top with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.