Asparagus Goat Cheese Galette (Recipe Review)

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One of the items I was most excited about on my most recent menu plan was the Asparagus Goat Cheese Galette from Simple Bites.  And so, Saturday night, I tried the recipe out.

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Overall, I followed the recipe very closely and had good success with it.  This meal wasn’t my first experience with galettes (also, here), so that helped.  I love that the dough is partially made in the food processor and the 20 minutes the dough needed in the freezer was perfect for getting together the rest of the ingredients – trimming the asparagus, shredding the cheese, setting up the parchment on the baking sheet.

I found this recipe really straight forward and easy to follow.  I just made a few minor adjustments:  Even though I rolled the dough out into the 12” circle the recipe called for, when it came time to add the asparagus it seemed like I had way too much.  I was able to place about half a pound of the vegetable across the dough (leaving the 2 inch border) before it was full.  Unable to tell whether I should place an additional layer of the asparagus on the galette, even after looking at the recipe, I didn’t add any more.  And  I didn’t bother to cut the crust into a perfect circle; I like my galettes rustic.  I also opted to skip the egg wash and just brushed the folded over crust with olive oil.

Nevertheless, the asparagus galette was awesome.  As hoped, the crust was flaky, the asparagus soft and the cheese melty.  We got four servings out of the recipe, which made for excellent lunch leftovers.  I will definitely be adding this galette to my recurring recipe collection. 

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Recommended Recipe: 30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels

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Remember that time I made an awesome raspberry danish for Christmas breakfast?  I have a confession to make: I didn’t revisit the recipe’s website, Sally’s Baking Addiction, after finding and making the recipe.  Yes, the danish was delicious and yes, the website looked impressive, but for whatever reason, I never bothered to go back and see what other ideas she had posted.  Perhaps it had something to do with the hundreds of other blogs already clamoring for my attention in my Feedly tab.

Fast forward to last week, when my friend Beth posted on Facebook a recipe for 30 minute soft pretzels that she’d just made.  The recipe was, of course, from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  It’s a small blogging world, after all.  Beth’s post couldn’t have come at a better time; though I was about to begin a week long break from school, spending time in the kitchen hasn’t been at the top of my list of priorities lately.  I’ve been thinking about making soft pretzels for a while now but the recipes I have take hours to complete.  This recipe promised half an hour of work and didn’t even require a mixer.  Sign me up.

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So, earlier this week I set out to make the pretzels.  For my first go-round with this recipe, I only used all-purpose flour, though Sally provides guidelines for adding whole wheat.  I even skipped the baking soda bath because I was feeling especially lazy.

pretzel pieces

Everything went really well until it came time to shape the pretzels.  I don’t know if it was my dough or my motivation, but after a brief struggle shaping the pretzels, I opted to just make pretzel sticks instead.  This detour resulted in my completion of the recipe in closer to an hour than 30 minutes, but that tends to be normal for me and recipe following.  I get distracted easily.  (You would not believe how long it took me to write this post.)  They were a little lumpy and not the prettiest pieces of food ever, but I figured they’d taste fine.

pretzel sticks unbaked

I was not disappointed. The pretzels smoothed out during baking and came out really well.  These do have a somewhat different texture than one’s standard soft pretzels.  I’d put them somewhere between a soft pretzel and a breadstick, though I’m sure my choice of shape affects my opinion as well.  But don’t let that deter you…they are delicious and this shape and size makes them perfect for dipping.

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Brian and I have been enjoying these pretzels with mustard, honey mustard and Sriracha.  They’re keeping fairly well in a zip top bag, though I don’t think they’ll be around much longer.  Oh, and I just added Sally’s Baking Addiction to my Feedly account.

Recipe Rundown

Somehow, despite the fact that I’m still not working, life got kinda crazy last week.  Also, I’m sometimes a really lazy blogger.  I could write a whole post about that.  But I won’t.

Even when I’m not posting, I am cooking.  Here’s a brief look at what went down in my kitchen last week.

Snickerdoodles

I never used to be a big fan of baking.  Yes, I frequently made cookies and brownies and such, often from a mix, for my debate team kids, but I was often unhappy with the way they turned out.  Suddenly I’m very into baking, which is fun but less than helpful when I really should be focusing on dinner.  It would’ve been all okay last week if Smitten Kitchen hadn’t posted an incredibly tempting recipe for snickerdoodles.  They looked too good.  I had to make them.  I’ve never even made snickerdoodles before…but I had to make these.  (Poor Brian…he has to come home after work to hear my ramblings about why I *had* to make cookies…not that he’s complaining)

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They were “totally awesome” (if you’re my sister, you’ll get that. Otherwise, I’m sorry).  I would make more this week, but I have other plans for my oven.  Highly, highly recommended.

Spicy Bean and Cheese Burritos

Another Rachael Ray recipe, I made some substitutions to her Spicy Bean and Cheese Burritos.  I subbed vegetable broth for beer, because I’m too cheap to go buy beer just for one recipe.  I also used canned chopped chilies instead of pickled jalapeños.  The resulting burrito filling was this:

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Definitely not bad, though not very spicy.  We put the filling and cheese into whole wheat tortillas and attempted cooking them on my George Foreman grill.

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Final analysis: The burritos were fine, though would’ve benefited from a bit more spice and crunchier tortillas.  The lack of crunch was probably my fault and next time I’ll try cooking them in a skillet.  However, Brian and I were fans of the whole wheat tortillas, which we’d never had before, so those will definitely reappear on a future shopping list.

This week, be prepared for recipes that involve baking and apples.  Brian and I went apple picking on Saturday :)

My New Kitchen (and Curried Brown Rice)

As I’ve mentioned about a million times, Brian and I recently moved to a new apartment.  I’d just like to share with you my old kitchen:

old kitchen It was a shared kitchen/dining area, but as far as the kitchen’s concerned, that was it.  All our appliances, dishes, bakeware, glasses, mugs, pots, pans AND food were kept in these cabinets.  It was a little cozy.

This is my new kitchen:
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More cabinets (though the perspective on this picture is a little difficult).  Definitely more drawers.  Lots more counter space.  What’s that behind the door in the lower right corner?

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Oh, it’s a pantry! A whole closet in which to store food (and my reusable shopping bags and apron collection)! Imagine that!

Needless to say, Brian and I (probably mostly me) are greatly enjoying our new kitchen.  It’s nice to not have to empty out an entire cabinet to access what we need.

If you’re looking for something to cook in your kitchen, I highly recommend Curried Brown Rice with Tomatoes and Peas, as recently seen on Cheap Healthy Good.  The dish was cheap and healthy and good, as expected, plus you can read about her worst date ever.   I’d never made anything with brown rice before, but since it’s baked in the oven it’s pretty impossible to mess up.  I used regular curry powder, since I’m too cheap to buy anything I don’t have to, and it still tasted great…though now I really want to try it with Madras curry.  Brian and I don’t like peas, so I subsituted assorted frozen veggies for the peas.

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Chilled Tomato Soup with Tarragon Sour Cream

Question: What’s vegetarian, easy and fast to make, apparently better than my gazpacho, only takes 2 steps and only needs 10 basic ingredients?

Answer: Food & Wine’s Chilled Tomato Soup with Tarragon Crème Fraîche”.

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I’m really ready for fall, and thankfully it’s starting to feel like it around here.  Nevertheless, it still seems a little early to be making soup (Brian and I have grand plans to spend the entire winter making and eating soups).  Luckily, my free September 2009 issue of Food & Wine contained the perfect solution:  Chilled Tomato Soup with Tarragon Crème Fraîche”.  The ingredient list is really simple: tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, vegetable broth, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, crème fraîche and tarragon. Chances are, you already have almost all of those ingredients.

Ultimately, I halved the recipe (which then ended up only getting us through last night because Brian and I both had two servings), omitted the salt and pepper (I like to leave out salt whenever possible, especially since my broth wasn’t low sodium) and substituted sour cream for crème fraîche, because my supermarkets don’t appear to carry it.  And what was I going to do with leftover crème fraîche?

Brian and I both loved the soup, possibly even more than the gazpacho I made a few months ago.  The flavor is really fresh and I’ll eat anything with tarragon in it.  It’s a summer soup and not particularly hearty so I would recommend serving it as a side or getting a good loaf of bread to go with it.

My soup craving is satisfied for the moment…but I’m still looking forward to making “real soup” in the near future.