13 July 2012

Brussels Sprouts Gallete with Rye Crust

Another day, another galette. Roll out dough, stuff it with what you'd like, fold up and bake, and a meal is present. After posting  the wild raspberry rye galette with the good, but not authentically relaxed crust last week, I felt like: well, why didn't I make the crust the way I knew it needed to be made, the long way, the double folded way, the twice-chilled way, the Kim Boyce way, to get the ultimate flakiness out of it? I felt  like I'd cheated, like I'd avoided the challenge. And  like someone who knows how well a vintage piece of furniture is made and but buys the cheaper replica anyway, I felt like I'd jumped the gun with the dough. So, I made it the proper-er way and gave it a savory filling while at it. And as we often find with things that sound daunting at first, they are not always what they seem, thankfully.

Brussels sprouts. They've been pretty popular over the past few years popping up in restaurants and specialty shops, pan-fried, on pizza, roasted, completely living up to being that thing people used to hate but now love. And yet it is not with that rationale that I chose to stuff the sprouts into a  rye tart with garlic, oregano, walnuts and parmesan, but out of sheer necessity of course. The rest of the veggies in the fridge were just kinda boring today. Except garlic.

The secret to the buttery rye dough that rolls out smooth and bakes up with its promised wonderful flakiness, is the allowance for the gluten to relax, twice, in the fridge, before it bakes. The other component is folding the dough like a letter before rolling it out. And, if you have an afternoon at home, you can do the steps as breaks. As for the filling, I went for simplicity: a tiny smear of dijon mustard on the bottom, a smattering of parmesan, toasted walnuts, and cooled, pan-fired brussels sprouts with garlic and fresh oregano. A hint of lemon, the tiniest dollops of feta, and that was it.

Play around but remember that this is a rustic savory pie, and an ample salting, and strong vegetal flavors are enough, for you don't want to overshadow the wonderful rye butter crust. I loved everything about this savory galette. While I only had a limited amount of sprouts on hand, you can certainly make the folding of the galette more shallow and less tucked, and increase the filling quantity.

I ate this for a late-ish Friday night dinner with red wine over echoes of light rain and couldn't help but feel notes of a quiet, we-always-make-from-scratch, country life in every bite. My life isn't that countryized by any means, but I love capturing the little pockets of it.

Brussels Sprouts Galette with Rye Crust

Rustic Rye Tart Dough:

1/2 c rye flour
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 T very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. 
4 T ice water

Sift Dry ingredients into a bowl. Add butter on top of flour and work flour and butter between your fingers so the dough forms pea size crumbs. Add the cider vinegar, the water, working from the sides, gather dough to center so it forms a ball. Flatten it slightly into a disc, place in plastic wrap tightly, refrigerate an hour minimum.

Get out a rolling pin and lay a piece of parchment out. Sprinkle it with flour, lay the dough disk on the parchment, sprinkle with flour very lightly. Roll it into a rectangle.

Now, fold the dough like a letter, the left side in then the right on top of it.

Roll it out again into a rectangle, fold like a letter again. You are creating layers.

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate again for an hour minimum. Take it out, roll it out thinly but not too thin, in a circle.

While all this is refrigerating, etc., make the filling.

Sprouts Filling:

1/2 T whole grain mustard
1/4 c fresh grated parmesan
2 T chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 T olive oil or butter
Lemon juice
1 T fresh oregano leaves
Pinch pepper flakes
1 large clove garlic, smashed
Big handful brussells sprouts, quartered
Small handful baby spinach, chopped
Few dots of feta

Heat a skillet, drop olive oil in it. Smash the garlic clove with the side of a knife and your fist, so it is still intact but smushed. Let it fry in the pan for a few minutes on low heat with a pinch of salt, turn it over, add oregano, when oregano is bright green, add pepper flakes, scrape up the mix, transfer to bowl and squeeze about 1 T lemon juice in. Return skillet to heat and add Brussels sprouts, a pinch of salt and cover the pan. Let them cook a bit on low-med heat, adding a tiny bit of broth or water after a few minutes, then turn up the heat and let them brown a bit more, tossing them. When they are nicely caramelized and you can cut through them well, remove from heat. Transfer to the garlic mixture, add the chopped spinach and let the mixture cool while your tart dough continues resting. Important to let it cool.

When your tart dough is ready, preheat oven to 400 degrees, roll it out thin on parchment and spread mustard, then parmesan, then 3/4 of the walnuts. Add sprouts mix, the rest of the walnuts, and the feta. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and fold the sides up. Bake about 40 minutes, you want the top golden, the bottom firm. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 ample slices, serving 2 as a main or 4 as a side.

05 July 2012

Fried Artichoke Omelet

One of the things I find fascinating about artichokes in addition to their wonderful slight tang, is how meaty/juicy they can actually be, and when they are fried up and smushed a bit in this omelet, seasoned with herbs, parmesan and ample salt, you'll get a texture that almost resembles an extremely moist poultry.

I decided I'd be depriving the artichokes of proper seasoning if I didn't spiffy them up with some herbs, so I biked to the little flower farm around the corner and got  fresh oregano and fresh rosemary. A little goes a long way here. I particularly love the tang of the artichoke with the earthy, distinct oregano. I start by frying the artichoke pieces in a little oil, constantly turning them, then pour on a bit of parmesan and salt, let them sit, and add the herbs.I  used an ample amount of artichoke pieces as I like a large vegetable to egg ratio for the most part with flat omelets.

Fried Artichoke Omelet

Olive oil
sea salt
cracked pepper
fresh herbs- oregano and rosemary, about 1 T chopped finely
4 artichoke hearts (canned fine), chopped into quarters and then chopped again
2 eggs, beaten
pinch red pepper flakes
wedge parmesan, shaved to 1/4- 1/2 c

Heat a small skillet (I used a small stainless steel fry pan), wait a minute until it heats, and then add a glug of oil to coat the bottom. Add the chopped artichokes and saute a few minutes, then add salt and crushed pepper flakes. Sautee a bit more, then add a small handful grated parmesan. Toss and let sit for a moment, then add herbs and toss. Turn the heat off while you beat the eggs. Return pan to low-med heat, pour in eggs, ad another little glug oil around the edges of the egg, and let cook a few minutes until the bottom starts to set. Add the rest of the parmesan and let cook until a spatula can lift the omelet. At this point, I wanted the top to cook a minute more so I popped the pan in the broiler for literally under a minute. Keep an eye on it. Transfer carefully to a platter, top with a few flakes salt, a tiny drizzle oil. Let cool a few minutes and enjoy.

02 July 2012

Wheat Germ Corn Muffins

I was staring at a bag of Bob's Red Mill raw wheat germ in the cabinet the other day and wondering if there was anything I could do with it. I certainly wasn't going to eat it as is, because, well, I'm just not that die hard when it comes to brans and wheats and germs and other in the raw grain stuffs.

Rumor has it that if you stare at something long enough, you may eventually figure out what to do with it. I smirk to admit that figuring out what to do with raw wheat germ was as simple as turning the bag over. There was a recipe for Bob's Wheat Germ Corn Muffins.

Hmm, corn muffins aren't my usual choice to bake but I was suddenly seduced, especially since these are enhanced by the graininess of wheat germ, a vitamin and mineral powerhouse. And then I had a sense memory. This past Christmastime, I'd had corn muffins made by the hostesses of a bed and breakfast in downtown Brooklyn of all places. Whether it was the company I kept, the treat of having someone prepare breakfast or the fact that their corn muffins with honey were pretty good, I don't remember, but I remember the sweet grainy corn muffin taste, and the occasion, and the baskets the muffins were in and the little signs signaling the ones with and without honey, and sitting at a wooden table on the windy, cold, late December morning with Ed before we trekked off for the day. 

One of the nice things about cornmeal is it doesn't exactly have a season. It can produce lighter yellow spring fare or serve as the base for hearty winter grain breads. Bob's recipe is somewhere in between. It called for a base of wheat germ, cornmeal and regular flour moistened by milk, eggs and melted butter, and sweetened with sugar. I adapted it a little, subbing 1/4 of the regular flour with rye flour, all the sugar for honey as per above mentioned taste remembrance of honey and corn, and replaced 1/3 of the milk with Greek yogurt. Additionally, I draped some honey over the top of each muffin before they baked. The yield here is up to you to a degree. I made about 9-10 small/medium muffins, but if you prefer all around smaller, go ahead and spoon the batter out into all 12.

Grainy without being bland, and honey-kissed, they are just moist enough to create a delicate crumb, and not to mention, they lend an appropriate amount of sweet corniness to an otherwise straight-edge morning muffin. They are also great alongside a lunch avocado salad.

Wheat Germ Corn Muffins

1/2 c raw wheat germ
1/2 c organic cornmeal
1/4 c rye flour
1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour 
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder

1/4 c butter, melted, cooled a bit
1 egg, beaten
2 heaping Tablespoons honey + scant 1 T more for topping
2/3 c milk
Scant 1/3 c Greek plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, grease and/or line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners. Sift all the dry ingredients together in one bowl, and mix the egg, honey, milk, yogurt and melted butter together in another. Stir together until just combined, fill muffin tins about 2/3 full, drape a little honey over each, and bake about 25-30 minutes or until just a little browned on the top and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack and serve a little warm.