The Missing Ingredient

A Food Blog

Savory Sweet Potato Pear Soup and Soft Parsley and Garlic Pretzels January 9, 2009

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I didn’t think I was going to be able to enter this round of Platinum Chef being out of town for the two weeks prior to the deadline.  Lucky for me the deadline was extended!  These ingredients were fun and I just love sweet potatoes and pears so this was right up my alley.  Kate from Paved with Good Intentions picked the following ingredients:  carrots, potatoes, pears, parsley, and egg.  I had a heck of a time thinking about that egg.  I thought long and hard about a quiche or frittata or my favorite…pot pie!  Mmm love that stuff.  I wanted to use my new emersion blender (thank you Lien!) so I figured soup would be fun.  I wanted bread with my soup (of course) and thought a flavored pretzel would be fun!

Savory Sweet Potato Pear Soup

1-tablespoon butter

½ red onion, chopped

½ cut carrot, chopped

½ cut celery, chopped

2 very large sweet potatoes (about 1.5 pounds), peeled and diced

2 pears, peeled and diced

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1-teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon cumin

5 cups low sodium low fat chicken broth

1.     In a large pot, melt butter on medium heat.  Sauté onion, carrot and celery 3-4 minutes or until onion is translucent.

2.     Add potatoes, pears, coriander, curry, and cumin and sauté 1-2 minutes.

3.     Add chicken broth and bring to boil, simmer 20-25 minutes until sweet potato is soft.

4.     Using emersion blender, blend until smooth.  Serve warm.

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5.     Leftover soup can be frozen flat in large freezer bags and defrosted in a saucepan.

 

 

Soft Parsley & Garlic Pretzels

Inspiration:  # 117047 Recipezaar 

1 package dry yeast

1 ½ cups warm water (100-110 degrees)

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 cups flour

2 tablespoons packed finely chopped parsley

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 large egg, beaten

Coarse salt or sea salt

1.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper.

2.     Dissolve yeast in water in a small bowl. Tiny bubbles form around edges to ensure yeast is active.  Add salt and sugar. 

3.     Pour mixture into stand mixer and add all the flour, parsley, and garlic powder.  Using hook attachment, knead until well blended and smooth, approximately 4 minutes. 

pretzel-dough

4.     That kind of looks like a turkey, huh?!  Anyways, cut dough into 6 even pieces and roll into approximately 2-foot ropes.  Create a rainbow shape and using each end, wrap around each other 3 times.  Invert twisted center and press ends into dough to form pretzel shape.  Place onto prepared baking sheet. 

pretzels-shape

5.     Brush pretzels with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle with coarse salt or freshly ground sea salt. 

6.     Bake approximately 17-19 minutes or until golden brown.

pretzel-finishes

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Platinum Chef Challenge #10 Results! November 27, 2008

When Lisa from Lime in the Coconut chose my entry as the winner for Platinum Chef Challenge #9 I was honored and so excited!  But then I had the daunting task of choosing the next ingredients.  I couldn’t find a site that listed all previous 9 challenge ingredients so I did my best to choose ingredients that most likely had not been picked yet.  I thought I might have chosen ingredients that were too difficult when I only had one entry at the original deadline.  Now I’m glad I added the extension because I received a total of 5 fabulous recipes!  In no particular oder (well actually, it is the order I received the entries), here are the recipes:

Cara, from Cara’s Cravings, the Platinum Chef Challenge creator:

Cara decided to adapt a recipe from Cooking Light to make Lentil-Goat Cheese burgers.  Personally, I love this idea!.  She served it with some baby spinach and a lemon vinaigrette adapted from a Orange Tarragon dressing recipe in her Moosewood Low-fat Favorites Cookbook.

 

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Lentil Goat Cheese Burgers

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 cup dried lentils

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon olive oi

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 ounces goat cheese

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 large egg white, lightly beaten 

1.  Place first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender; drain. Discard bay leaf. Place lentils in a large bowl; partially mash with a fork. Cool slightly. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. Add onion mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients to lentils; stir well to combine. Cover and chill 45 minutes. 

2.  Divide mixture into 3-4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Cook patties 5 minutes on each side or until done.

 

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Roasted Garlic & Lemon Vinaigrette

1 whole head of roasted garlic (squeeze the cloves out of the skins)

1/4 cup lemon juice

salt & pepper

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp minced fresh tarragon

2 tbs white wine vinegar

1.  Combine garlic cloves and remaining ingredients in a blender, process until smooth and creamy. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.


Kate, from Paved with Good Intentions

Kate took a delicious classic take on the ingredients:  soup and salad.  But boy did she ever jazz up a classic minestrone by adding sausage.  What a delicious sounding soup!

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Sausage and Lentil Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil

5 links hot italian sausage

7 oz ham, shredded

2 onions, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp cumin

3/4 tsp thyme

8 cups chicken broth

1 can whole tomatoes

1/2 lb dried lentils

1 bunch spinach leaves, chopped

1.  Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add sausage links and cook until done. Remove sausages from pot, cool, and slice sausages.

2.  Add ham, onions, and green pepper to the pot. Cover and cook 15 minutes.

3.  Add garlic, cumin, and thyme. Cover and cook 5 more minutes.

4.  Add chicken broth, sausage, tomatoes, and lentils. Lower heat, cover, and cook two hours.

5.  Remove from heat, add spinach, and let stand 2 more minutes.

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Warm Goat Cheese Salad

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/6 cup olive oil

2 belgian endives

1 bunch spinach

1/2 granny smith apple, sliced into 8 slices

2 oz goat cheese, sliced into 2 rounds

chopped walnuts

1.  Preheat broil. Combine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Shake to blend.

2.  Add oil and shake again.

3.  Place endive leaves and spinach on plate.

4.  Place slices of apples on broiler pan into two fans. Place round of goat cheese on top of each fan of apples. Broil 5 minutes.

5.  Use spatula to place apples and goat cheese in center of salad. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with walnuts.


Ms. Feather Flower, from Ms. Feather Flower’s Kitchen:

Ms. Feather is a new blogger and I’m so happy that she joined our challenge!  Her blog focuses on gardening with a section to highlight fresh vegetable recipes.  Hope to see more from her!  She created a spicy baked side or suggests that it could be served over rice for a vegetarian main.  I think it would be a great topping for flatbread or pizza.

 

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Tangy Spinach with Lentils and Goat Cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp cayenne red pepper

10 oz regular spinach – rinsed, stems removed and cut into 1/2 inch slices (or 1-10 oz bagged baby spinach)

2 cups cooked lentils drained

1 small fresh tomato, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3 oz goat cheese 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Uncover and mix in the lentils, tomato, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover and continue cooking until the spinach is wilted, about 4 more minutes.

3. Transfer the spinach to the baking dish and dot with goat cheese, pushing it down into the dish.

4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the goat cheese is lightly browned.

 

Next we have Lisa’s entry from Lime in the Coconut:

Lisa put a Mediterranean twist on the challenge ingredients.  Or at least I like to think so because lentil spreads remind me of delicious hummus and babaganush dips.  You’ll have to check out her blog for detail pictures which will help tremendously when you make her dish.  The roasted garlic head looks amazing!

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Goat Cheese and Lentil Bruschetta Topped with Fresh Baby Spinach

1 cup lentils

2 sprigs rosemary

2 small bay leaves

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1/4 cup olive oil

1 head of roasted garlic (to roast the garlic cut off the top, brush it with olive oil and place it in a baking dish. Pour water into the dish so it goes about 1/2 way up the head of garlic. Cover with foil. Preheat your oven to 425 and put in the garlic for about an hour or until soft. Remove, let cool and then squeeze out your soft cloves

juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

1 bag of baby spinach leaves

1 loaf of French baguette

16 oz of spreadable herbed goat cheese (or any variety of goat cheese you like)

 

1.  To make the lentil spread, combine your dry lentils, rosemary, bay leaves, chicken stock and water in a pot and place the lid cocked over top to let steam escape. Turn the burner to medium heat and allow the liquid to come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until lentils are tender.

2.  Once lentils are cooked, drain them, remove the bay leaves and the rosemary stems (many of the rosemary leaves will have come off the stems, this is fine it will all get pureed in the food processor. You just have to remove any woody stems.) Place the lentils in a food processor, add your lemon juice, garlic and vinegar and process. Stream in the olive oil as the processor is running until you have a creamy spread-like consistency. Add in salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

3.  Preheat your oven to 350. Slice your baguette in half longways, as if you’re going to make a sandwich with the entire baguette. Once you’ve done that then slice it into 4 in pieces. Drizzle olive oil over each piece, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in your oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until bread is toasted. If it’s warm out you can grill your bread, or if you have an indoor grill you can grill your bread. It was cold outside and I didn’t feel like pulling out my indoor grill pan so I toasted it in the oven. Worked just fine.

4.  Once the bread is toasty, pull it out and spread a layer of goat cheese on each piece.

5.  Then spread a thick layer of lentil spread on each piece.

6.  Finally, top with a handful of baby spinach leaves.

7.  You can place the bruschetta back in the oven for about 3 minutes to wilt the spinach just a bit and warm the spreads.


Finally we have Cookie from Workout then Cook:

In the past month, Cookie has added some great sounding fall seasonal recipes on her blog which everyone should checkout.  For the challenge, Cookie stuffed a pork chop with a delicious sounding goat cheese spinach mixture and served with a light lemon lentil salad.  The pork chop looks fantastic as I love the stuffing idea.  


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Pork Chops stuffed with Goat Cheese and Spinach

1 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 c frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

2 oz goat cheese, softened

½ tsp grated lemon rind

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 boneless pork chops

 

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.  In medium bowl, mix cheese, mustard, lemon rind and spinach until well blended.

3.  Using a sharp knife, slice pockets into chops by slicing horizontally into the side, and almost through to the other side. Season the outside with salt and pepper. Stuff chops with spinach mixture, allowing stuffing to overflow out of pockets.

4.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and sear on 1 side until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip chops and cook another 4 minutes until done.

 

Lentil Salad with Lemon Dressing

½ c dried brown lentils

1 medium tomato, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1.  Cook lentils in pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Place in large bowl. Mix in tomatoes.

2.  Whisk together olive oil, mustard and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Add dressing to salad; toss to coat. Add goat cheese. Transfer salad to serving bowl or platter.

 

So after three days of thinking I’ve finally picked a winner.  And the winner is…Kate from Paved with Good Intentions!  I loved her soup idea and it really fits with the fall season.  She creatively used all of the ingredients in a classic dish.  I really would love to make this soup.  Congratulations!  Be sure to check out her blog and the continuation of the Platinum Chef Challenge.

 

Platinum Chef Challenge #10!! Lentils, Lemon, Goat Cheese, Spinach, Vinegar October 19, 2008

I’m so happy to have won the Platinum Chef Challenge #9!  Lisa from Lime in Coconut was so sweet to host the challenge.  We’ve made it to the 10th round and hopefully we will have a bigger turnout this time!  I’ve posted a 3-week deadline so get your kitchens ready. Please pass the challenge on to your friends and fellow bloggers.  Keeping with the momentum from PCC9, I’ll send a prize to the winner!!

 

Here is a review of the rules (from the challenge’s creative leader, Cara of Cara’s Cravings ):

 

“Platinum Chef Challenge started as an activity on a cooking message board to encourage members to create a meal out of 5 selected ingredients. You might think they go together, and you might not. You might have used them before, or maybe not. Maybe you will have a recipe in mind, and maybe you will create a new one. Most likely, you’ll put on your creative (chef’s) hat and whip out something new and exciting.  To play, just create a meal using the five given ingredients and blog about it. Please link back to this post, and feel free to include the event logo in your blog. The meal can consist of 1 or 2 dishes – so you can use all the ingredients in one recipe, or make two. Example: main dish + side, appetizer + main dish, main dish + dessert, etc. But, if more than one dish is created, each dish must use at least two of the ingredients (and, any ingredient may be repeated and used in both dishes if desired). You can add whatever other ingredients you like.”

 

To participate, please post your dishes on your blog (linking back to this post), and send an email to xigumdrops@hotmail.com by midnight (PST) on Sunday, November 9th (extended to November 24th), with the following information:

 

Name

Location

Name of your dish(es) and your blog

Pictures you want in the Round-up

Link to the PCC10 post in your blog

(If you don’t have a blog, send recipes and photos in your email and I will include you in the PCC Round-up that way!)

 

Here are your five challenge ingredients:

Lentils (any variety you want)

Lemon

Goat cheese

Spinach

Vinegar (any variety:  balsamic, apple cider, red wine, etc)

 

Good luck and happy cooking!

Amanda

 

Walnut Crusted Pork Chops October 5, 2008

For my entry in the Platinum Chef Challenge #9, I decided to make 2 dishes; a crusted pork and an apple salad.  The walnut from the pork chops ties in nicely with the walnuts and apples in the Arugula Fuji Salad. Plus this was easy to make!  It requires 30 minutes chilling time but besides that, the recipe is really simple. My changes are in green.

Adapted from:  Cooking Light

4 boneless center-cut pork chops, trimmed

1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire suace

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp. ground sage

1/3 cup walnuts, finely ground

2 Tbs. bread crumbs

1 shallot, minced

Bacon drippings (from Arugula Fuji salad)

1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

 

1.  To prepare pork, place chops in a shallow dish; drizzle evenly with Worcestershire.  Combine salt, sage, and black pepper in a small bowl.  Add walnuts, bread crumbs, and shallots to salt mixture; toss well. Press walnut mixture onto both sides of pork chops.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

 

2.  Using the leftover bacon drippings from the pan in Arugula Fuji salad, add pork chops to drippings in pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  Add 1/4 cup chicken broth to pan.  Cover, reduce heat, and cook 6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.  Serve with arugula fuji apple salad and wild rice.

Visit #9 Platinum Chef Challenge at Lime in Coconut

 

Arugula Fuji Apple Salad with Vinaigrette

I got the idea from an LAPD banquet that I attended on Saturday and thought it would work perfectly for the Platinum Chef Challenge #9.  #9 ingredients include apples, shallots, bacon, mushrooms, and sage.  This salad goes with my walnut crusted pork chops and was really delicious.  I cut the apples into fancy slices to create visual appeal but it would be just as good with the apples cut into wedges.

Vinaigrette:  

2 Tbs and 1 tsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 shallot, minced

pinch granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 slices turkey bacon

1/2 Tbs. butter

3 large button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 large fuji apple, thinly sliced cross-wise

Arugula, about 1 cup

Coarsely chopped walnuts

 

1.  Combine first 7 ingredients into a small bowl.  

2.  Cook bacon on medium-low heat until a small amount of drippings forms in the pan.  Push bacon to the side and add butter to the drippings.  Once butter has melted, sauce mushrooms until tender, about 4-5 minutes.  You may continue to cook bacon until it is crispy if you prefer it crisper.

3.  Crumble or chop bacon (depending on if you liked it crispy or soft) and add bacon and mushrooms to the vinaigrette.  Save bacon drippings to make Walnut Crusted Pork recipe.

 

4.  Place an apple slice on a plate, top with vinaigrette, then top with arugula.  Place an additional apple slice on top of the arugula, followed by vinaigrette and arugula.  Top with final apple slice and sprinkle with walnuts.  Serve with Walnut Crusted Pork and wild rice.

Visit #9 Platinum Chef Challenge at Lime in Coconut.