Tuesdays With Dorie: Savory Brioche Pockets

This weeks assignment was to make ‘savory brioche pockets’. Brioche pockets filled with carmelized onions, mashed potatoes, goat cheese, chives and asparagus tips.
I made the brioche on Thursday, let it rise overnight and made the ‘pockets’ on Friday and enjoyed one for lunch with a big salad on Friday.
The brioche is not difficult, I made it once before when we made the pecan sticky buns. I liked the brioche much better in this application than I did in the sticky buns. That was just TOO sweet and TOO buttery!

Make the sponge
let it rise
make the dough–incorporating all that butter never seems like its going to work
knead it forever
let it rise
Rest in fridge for at least 8 hours. Mine got at least 20 hours

I decided to make 4 pockets and turn the balance of the dough into loaves of brioche

The recipe suggests cutting circles out of the dough and forming them into circular pockets. I’m more familiar with making borekas, which are an empanada style pocket, and its all one piece. I went with what I knew
I cut off a piece of dough, rolled it out into a round (okay, they usually look like amoebas.) On one half of my amoeba, I layered onions, the potato/goat cheese/chive mixture, and two lightly cooked asparagus tips. Then, I folded the empty half over and sealed it up and put it on a sheet to rise. I made 4 in total and put three of them directly into the freezer for future good eating (tomorrow, perhaps, or maybe for dinner tonight)
When it had risen long enough, I brushed it with some egg wash and sprinkled on some poppy seeds and coarse salt. Into the oven it went. Out came deliciousness
I didn’t forget about the other 2/3 of the dough! I divided it into 12-roughly equal sized blobs and put 6 into each baking tin. I put both tins in my ‘proofing box’ (the microwave with the door cracked open so the light stays on)and popped them in the oven when I ran out of time. What came out were some of the most amazing bread I’ve ever baked. Really–more like cake than bread. One of those loaves went into the freezer too.
It was insanely delicious with butter. Insane!
You’ll be able to see other people’s work at the LYL (leave your link) post at Tuesdays With Dorie. Carrie at Loaves and Stitches is our host for the week, and you’ll be able to find the recipe at her blog.

And you should totally make this. It was a really satisfying-and fancy-lunch. It wasn’t difficult. If you’re not into the ‘pockets’ just make the brioche. It’s really good too!

What’s With Dinner? Collard Greens

A few years ago I belonged to a CSA, and in the winter the bitter greens started coming. Week after week, I steamed or lightly sauteed and held my nose and ate them. I just didn’t get it. People loved eating their greens. I was obviously doing something wrong. David said it was like eating spinach on steroids. Eventually I opened up the cookbook that would change my greens eating forever. How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman. When I found his recipe for collard greens with double garlic, I knew that was the recipe for me. It called for a TON of garlic and to cook the greens significantly longer than I had been previously. I gathered my ingredients and started cooking.

I killed some time yesterday during Dorothy’s gymnastics practice at our local hydroponic farm: First Fruits Hydroponics. They’ve got beautiful strawberries and tons of other vegetables. Yesterday I picked up some berries and these greens. I’d never picked-my-own greens before, but I’ll definitely be doing it again. These were the youngest and least bitter collard greens that I’ve ever eaten.

some red pepper, vegetable stock, and salt (if you want)

cut the central vein out of the leaves, I find it to be tough, so I just remove them
tonight’s dinner: leftover lasagne, homemade foccacia (a baking with julia project….post will be next week) and these greens. Yum. Reid asked to taste them and he enjoyed the small amount that he ate.
Collard Greens with Garlic
Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.

1 lb collard greens, washed, central vein removed and chopped
1/4 cup garlic, sliced thinly
1/4 cup olive oil
dash of red chili flakes
1/2 cup chicken stock, vegetable stock or water (I typically use vegetable stock)
salt, optional

saute the garlic in the oil over medium heat with the chili flakes and salt if you’re adding it…don’t let it get brown
add the greens and stock, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes until the leaves are wilted and tender
remove the lid and cook a little more until some of the stock evaporates.

Can I just show you this cool picture? Is it weird that I think water on collards is a cool picture? You tell me:

Eating Healthy: Quinoa Salad

Do you eat quinoa? Its a south-american grain that is high in protein (9 g per cup of cooked quinoa) We eat a fair amount of it in our house, frequently serving it instead of rice.
IMG_1457This is a recipe that I adapted from a pasta salad that I think I found in Gourmet magazine many years ago. The recipe originally called for orzo, and we ate it that way (happily) for years. But last Passover it dawned on me that quinoa is K-for-P, and so I gathered my ingredients and got to cooking. Feel free to make this with orzo if you want. Its delicioius either way.IMG_1458 IMG_1460 I made mine with a mixture of white and red quinoa today because I had some red on hand. It made the salad super pretty, but it tastes the same as white, and I wouldn’t make a special trip to the store for the red stuff.
IMG_1462 Quinoa Salad
here’s another recipe that you can adapt to what you like to eat. Have great tomatoes on hand? Use ’em. Tomatoes have no flavor? Leave ’em out. Want to keep it dairy free? Don’t add the feta cheese. Its all good!

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water or broth
cucumber, diced (use a cucumber you don’t mind eating the peel of)
scallion, sliced, white and light green parts only
grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice and olive oil as dressing

cook the quinoa in the water, fluff with a fork and let cool to room temperature before adding the vegetables and cheese if using.

cool in the refrigerator and enjoy!


I think I was in graduate school the first time I ate tzaziki. I was hooked immediately. I even went out and bought two yogurt strainers, because 1997 was before they sold Greek yogurt, and if you wanted to make tzaziki, the first step was to strain the yogurt to make it thick. So you had to plan ahead. Not anymore. Greek yogurt makes this a super easy thing to make.

And you know how healthy Greek yogurt is, right? It is PACKED with protein! Untitled
Choose cucumbers that you don’t mind eating the peel. I like Kirby or English/hot house cukes. Grate and then squeeze as much liquid as you can from them. I put mine on a kitchen towel and twist. Untitled
Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and stir. Its that easy. In five minutes you can have lunch. Or a dip for a party. Or a savory breakfast. It would not be difficult for me to find an excuse to eat this at every meal.
Today I put it on a huge mound of salad greens and called it salad dressing
This isn’t a recipe as much as its a formula, you can add or subtract as you and your taste buds see fit.

Greek yogurt (I like lowfat)
Grated and drained cucumber
Lemon juice

Mix together in a bowl. It will last for several days in the refrigerator. If it collects some water on the top, just stir it back together. No worries!

What’s for dinner: pasta with really good tomato sauce

I get Food and Wine Magazine in the mail every month. There’s usually a few recipes that I want to make, and always very pretty pictures to drool over. While l was flipping through the latest issue, I saw a recipe for “The Best Pasta for $4 a Serving” and was intrigued. The header note said that this was almost as good as NYC’s Scarpetta, and their pasta is $24 a serving. I don’t live in New York, and I don’t think I’d pay $24 for a plate of pasta with tomato sauce even if I did. So, I gathered my ingredients and made this for dinner on Monday night. It wasn’t difficult, but it did require the use of several different pots.

There wasn’t anything exotic about the recipe except that it called for making a mushroom broth–boiling mushrooms and water down for about an hour (mine took less time).
And simmering garlic and olive oil together for about 1/2 hour (boy did my house smell good….its too bad we don’t have smell-o-blog)
and putting it all together with 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes
And then I blended it all together with the stick blender and simmered it for about an hour. And then I served it family style with some basil.
The nice thing about this recipe is that after I invested that kind of time, I ended up with 3 containers of sauce I froze for future good eating.

$4 Spaghetti That’s Almost as Good as $24 Spaghetti
I’ve never been much for making my own pasta sauce, but this recipe might convert me. I think the only thing I would change is to cut back on the olive oil. 
From Food and Wine Magazine, August 2012
makes 4-6 servings plus 4 cups of sauce to use another time

4 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3/4 cup peeled garlic cloves (4 ounces–from about 4 heads. I only had two at home, so that’s what I used
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 28-oz cans peeled italian tomatoes with their juices
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb spaghetti, or your favorite shape
1/4 torn basil leaves
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

In a saucepan, bring mushrooms and 3 cups of water to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the broth is reduced to 1 cup–about one hour. Strain and discard the mushrooms.

While the mushrooms are doing their thing, put the garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan and simmer that until the garlic is soft and fragrant and lightly brown–about 1/2 hour

In a large non-reactive pot, combine tomatoes, garlic and oil and the mushroom broth, puree using an immersion blender and simmer over moderatly low heat until thickened, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper

Cook the pasta until al-dente, and drain, return to pot and cook with 2 cups of the sauce for about 1 minute. Serve with basil and cheese.

What’s for dinner? Vegetable stif-fry with tofu and peanuts

I don’t recall where I found this recipe, but its a definite keeper. Its got a ton of vegetables, tofu for protein, a little bit of spice and a lot of yumminess.

Its super easy. The hardest part is chopping the vegetables. And lets face it….that’s not such a difficult job.
photo photoMatchsticks of peppers, carrots and mushrooms

photo photo
a little hit of lime in the sauce, which I also toss with the tofu to get a little flavor in there….if you know what I mean.

I’m looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Vegetable stir-fry with tofu and peanuts
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T lime juice
1/2 t sriracha
1 T canola oil
2 carrots, cut into very thin strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into very thin strips
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
2 cups bean sprouts
firm tofu, cubed
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
rice, for serving (or linguine, or rice noodles)

Mix the soy sauce, lime juice and sriracha in a small bowl. toss a small amount into the cubed tofu and let sit.

heat the oil in a large frying pan. Saute the carrots and bell peppers until tender, then add the mushrooms, then the tofu and bean sprouts.

Add the rest of the sauce and serve over rice. sprinkle some chopped peanuts and sliced scallions over as garnish.