Friday, April 12, 2013

Progress on Foods for the Wine Tasting Event

I wrote the other day about the Wine Tasting event coming up this Saturday evening. I have been busily prepping the recipes I created to pair with the 6 wines I will be showcasing. So far, I made the squash and leek mixture for what will (hopefully today) be the little Squash Apple Leek Phyllo Triangles, to be accompanied by the Kendall Jackson Chardonnay Grand Reserve.

First Bite
While I was typing up the recipe, thinking about how good this mixture was, it occurred to me it could also be placed into a 13 x 9 casserole, topped with a little more Asiago mixed with bread crumbs and made into a Squash Apple Leek Gratin. And to take that yet another step further, how about making a galette with the filling? A galette is nothing more than a rustic pie. Using a pie pastry, just roll it out, place on a baking sheet, pile a filling in the middle, leaving about a 3-inch edge. Flip the edges up, folding as necessary to just hold the filling in place and bake. Easy.

The filling was just so delicious, I decided to make a half batch more with the rest of the squash and apples. I didn't have any more leeks, so I just substituted a thinly sliced onion. I already had pie pastry in the freezer. So there I had a most delicious galette for dinner that night, and probably tonight as well.

Squash, Apple and Leek Gratin with Asiago

Making the galette

Makes one 9 x 13 casserole, about 8 - 10 servings, OR 

4 – 6 leeks, white and light green parts only
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup dry sherry or other dry white wine
1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled
4 (6 to 7 ounce) apples (I used Pink Lady)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
A few grinds of black pepper
1 rounded cup grated Asiago cheese, about 4 ounces, divided
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup heavy cream

1 egg, lightly beaten 

Cut ends off leeks, leaving only the white and lightest sections (from 4 to 6 inches) and slice in half lengthwise. Fan the layers under running water to clean out any mud or grit. Laying flat side down, cut them again lengthwise, then slice across into thin strips, making about 4 cups. Cut off the neck section of the squash, which should make about 1½ pounds. Peel and cut in half lengthwise. Laying flat side down, cut each section into three more lengthwise sections. Slice each of these across into thin pieces about 1 x 1½ inches, making approximately 4 ½ cups. Peel and core the apples and cut into 8 wedges apiece. Slice across the wedges into thin slices, making about 6 cups, total.

In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add in the leeks and sauté for about 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the Sherry and cook to evaporate, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the squash and toss to combine; cook for another 5 minutes before adding apples. Add in salt and nutmeg and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the squash and apple are just tender. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Mix together the egg yolks and cream. Pour this over the mixture in the pan along with half the Asiago cheese and combine gently.

Grease a 9 x 13 pan and pour the mixture in. Combine the second half of Asiago with the bread crumbs and strew over top of the casserole. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, or until the cheese and crumbs on top begin to brown and the casserole is bubbling at the edges.  

NOTES: Serve this with a nice buttery Chardonnay. This recipe is easily cut in half; use an 8 x 8-inch casserole.
Squash Apple Leek Galette with Asiago Cheese

TO MAKE SQUASH, APPLE and LEEK GALETTE with ASIAGO: Make half the recipe amount of filling, omitting the bread crumbs. Reserve a bit of the cheese to sprinkle over top of filling later. Prepare a 10-inch pie pastry single crust. Roll it out into about a 15-inch circle. Set the pastry on a baking sheet or a pizza pan. Into the center, pile the filling mixture into the center and spread to about 11 - 12 inches. Strew remaining cheese over top. Flip the edges of the pastry up over the edges of the filling, folding and pleating as necessary. Make an egg wash from one egg yolk with about 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the egg wash over the pastry edges, being careful not to let it run down underneath the pastry or it will adhere to the pan. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling. Serves 6 - 8. This can be a main course for brunch, lunch or supper with a nice green salad alongside.


I also made the Gorgonzola Walnut Spread for the Flank Steak, which will be accompanied by Conn Creek "Herrick" Cabernet. Yesterday I started the day by soaking dried figs, chopped small and put to soak in some dry Sherry while I went outside to shovel the freakishly heavy snowfall we got overnight. When I came back in, the figs had plumped nicely, and I started working with the mushrooms and shallots, sauteing them on high heat to brown and evaporate all the moisture from the mushrooms. I added in some finely chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper and combined with the drained fig pieces. So far that mixture also tastes really fine. I will be adding in a little log of Chevre goat cheese and then placing the mixture into mini tart pans lined with pie pastry, and then baked. I cannot wait to try those. Even without the cheese, the mixture is delightful. These little mini tarts will accompany the Kenwood Pinot Noir.

I also made andouille sausages wrapped in puff pastry and sliced into little coin shapes and baked. The andouille is of local (meaning VERY upper midwest) origin. It is nicely spiced, but not hot-spicy at all. These little andouille coins will accompany the J Lohr Syrah. Last evening, with an abundance of hamburger in  my freezer leftover from a side of beef from a year back, I got out a package of the hamburger. Since 2 andouille sausages were left from making the little appetizers, I decided to make Hamburger Andouille Gumbo, shown here. Not authentic with hamburger, but the rest of the flavors were, and it was so delicious for dinner last evening.

Today will be another terribly busy day. I have to marinate chicken and broil it, broil some asparagus and chop it, make a cilantro sauce for the chicken, make a marinade for the flank steak, wrap the Squash Apple Leek mixture into the Phyllo, and probably a few other things I am forgetting at the moment. Thank heaven for sticky notes, because right now there are so many of them stuck all over my pages of recipe ideas it looks like a flock of birds in the wind.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and sign up for my Newsletter.