Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Reubens and Potatoes in the Snow

Good Morning Folks! The snow is falling outside- those lovely, lightly-drifting flakes. It's chilly outside but toasty warm in the kitchen. I love an excuse to bake and snowfall is one of the best. The kids come in the door after school to the scent of something hot from the oven. I count my blessings and working from home certainly is one of them.
Lately Sherwood and I have enjoyed Reuben sandwiches both at home and out for lunch. The flavors of pumpernickel bread, sauerkraut, corned beef and swiss cheese are so luscious together. I've never been a my-food-cannot-touch-on-my-plate kind of gal. I enjoy the mingling of flavors. Reubens are a perfect example of layers of flavors coming together- the sum is better than the parts. So, on this frosty day, we're going to enjoy a little variation of the classic Reuben sandwich. It's baked potatoes for dinner with a topping like no other- the Reuben filling. So delicious!

Reuben Potatoes
Serves 4

4 Large Maine Potatoes
2 cups diced corned beef
1 1/2 cups Morse's Sauerkraut- chopped a bit
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 clove minced fresh garlic
2 T horseradish
8 oz Cream Cheese
3 T freshly grated swiss cheese for topping
Paprika for garnish
Bake Potatoes in a hot oven (425'F) for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Let sit until cool enough to handle. In a bowl combine corned beef, Morse's sauerkraut, swiss cheese, chives, garlic, horseradish.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the centers of the potatoes. Try to leave the skins intact. Mash the potatoes with cream cheese and stir in the corned beef mixture. Mound the mixture into the skins of the potatoes. You might need to set two potato halves together for them to stand up. Sprinkle with swiss cheese and paprika. Place in the oven for 30 more minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melty. Serve with a light salad with thousand island dressing and pumpernickel toasts.
I do love melty cheesy potatoes--- yumyumyum.
Savor. Linger. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic and Olive Oil

This is delicious as a spread on crusty bread. You can scoop it up with a slice, spoon some on like bruschetta or mash it up a bit and spread it on thick.
1 large eggplant
juice of 1 lemon
2 medium garnet sweet potatoes
2 large carrots
5 cloves garlic or more if you like
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon thick sweet soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Peel the eggplant and chop into 1 inch chunks. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, and the drizzle with the lemon juice. Fill the bowl with water to cover the eggplant. Drape a paper towel over the top. Press the paper towel down into the water to completely soak it. Let eggplant sit while you prepare the sweet potatoes.
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and carrots into 1 inch pieces. Place the chopped sweet potatoes and carrots into a large zip top plastic bag. Pour 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil over the veggies and squish it around inside the bag to coat all of the pieces. Peel and chop the garlic coarsely and add to the bag. Massage it into the oil to disperse.
Drain the eggplant and squeeze it a bit to remove as much of the liquid as possible. Add the eggplant to the carrot bag along with the remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, thick soy, Bragg's or soy sauce and garlic powder. Move all of the vegetables around in the bag together to coat completely. Pour out onto a greased sheet pan. Roast in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour or until the eggplant is a deep golden brown. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and serve warm.

Blue Cheese Apple Butter Puff and Happy Leap Year!

We have just celebrated a Leap Year Landmark with a party. What fun it is to have a house filled with happy people, yummy treats to share and lovely music in the background. We had such fun! Here is a little treat to serve at a party or alongside your next soup and salad.
Pastor Chuck’s Apple Butter contains all the concentrated goodness of Maine apple flavor and fresh complimentary spices.
Serves 8
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
8 oz crumbled blue cheese
4 Tablespoons apple butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
Unfold puff pastry sheets one each on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan. Gently press seams together where the pastry had been folded. Brush each sheet with 2 Tablespoons of apple butter. Sprinkle 4 oz of blue cheese on top of the apple butter. Fold the pastry sheets back up the way they had been in the package. Fold one third toward the center, then fold the other side over the top of the folded pastry. You’ll end up with a narrow rectangle for each piece of pastry. Brush each rectangle with the beaten egg. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are puffed and lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes. Place on a cutting board and slice each puff carefully with a serrated knife into eight pieces.