Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hand Me a Pie

I love getting fresh garden treats from our CSA at Almost Urban farms. Even though I do silly things like plant my own zucchini, beans, and potatoes and at times get overwhelmed with too much of a good thing, I still love it.  Some times I feel inundated with the dark leafy greens....there I said it. I love garden fresh veggies, but get tired of kale, Swiss chard, lovage, beet greens, and even plain old lettuce.  I'm not a huge salad lover.  The Boy loves sautéed greens and creamed greens but Hubby isn't a fan of cooked greens.  I like them mixed in with salads, but I can only eat so much salad.

What is a girl to do? Well, first off, I'm always on the hunt for new ideas, second, I seem to have a back log of magazines with recipes in them....soooooo it is that I happened upon a recipe for Kale and Spinach hand pies in the January 2013 edition of Chatelaine magazine.  It is a spanokopita inspired hand pie with feta using a pastry dough instead of phyllo. Of course I didn't follow the I ever? 

Greens and spinach hand pies 

1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, cold and cubed

Break out the food processor for this one.  Give the cottage cheese and egg yolk a whir with the blade.

Add the flour, salt, and butter.

Pulse until a ball forms.

Divide into 2 even portions, roll into rectangles, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 1 1/2 hours.  This is a soft and squishy type of dough. You should still see tasty bits of butter through out it.

While the dough is getting its chill on, heat up a large skillet and wash up some dark leafy greens and get your ingredients ready. This time I used:

A handful of kale
A bunch of Swiss chard
Beet greens from 5 or 6 medium sized beets
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
A healthy grating of nutmeg
2 tsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup feta, crumbled

Wash your greens how ever you normally wash your greens, remove any large and tough ribs from the greens. Chop them all up into bite size pieces. (I hate biting into something and having a long string of greens pull the rest of the filling out.)

Sauté the onion until soft (some garlic would be a great idea here too!)

Add in the hot pepper flakes, greens, and grate in the nutmeg.

Continue to sauté until the green are wilted.  Set aside to cool.

Once cool, drain any excess liquid and stir in the feta.

Now you are ready to rock n roll and assemble.

Pre heat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

The amount of dough should get you 10 rectangles approximately 6" x 5", give or take.  Mine never turn out the same size.

Lightly flour the counter and roll out the dough and cut into 10 somewhat even rectangles.

Divide your greens into 10 somewhat even portions.

Scoop 1 portion of greens onto the middle of each rectangle and fold the pastry in half (short end to short end) to enclose the deliciousness inside pressing to seal the edges. Crimping with a fork makes a nice pretty edge....

Brush the tops with an egg wash and use just the tip of a sharp knife to puncture the tops of the pies to vent the steam.

Pop into the oven and bake. For about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

These were wonderful!  The pastry was flakey and easy to work with.  The Boy enjoyed leftovers direct from the fridge when he came home from work, or before work, or before bedtime....

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bacon and Beans

Garden season is in full swing. Not only are we getting fantastic veggies from our CSA, I harvested my first ripe tomato from my own garden today and everyday brings in more handfuls of beans.  Today it was the purple pole beans.  They are gorgeous!  Now beans are great for munching on straight from the garden, in fact I watched my friend's 5 year old daughter pack away a bunch of the beans I brought over the other day.  That's how you know they are tasty! There are many ways to prepare fresh beans, that s if they make it in from the garden....

A while back I tried a side dish at a restaurant that was called 'firecracker beans'.  It was basically over cooked beans with limp bacon and no spice....not too appealing.


Tonight I decided to make my own firecracker beans and boy oh boy were they tasty. There really wasn't too much to it.  My bacon was in the freezer and since I've been doing quite a bit of cooking with it, I unwrapped it and hacked of the end, sliced it up and tossed it in the pan. 

2 slices bacon, sliced
1 big handful of beans
1/2 to 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
A large fry pan

 Once the bacon is close to crisp, pop in a good pinch of hot pepper flakes. (If your bacon has left lots of grease, drain enough grease to leave about a tablespoon) Use up to a teaspoon, depending on how spicy you like it.
  Let the flakes heat up a little and add the beans. Sauté the beans for no more than 3 minutes.  You want the beans to still have some snap and not get soggy.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Eat the beans.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!