Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fresh Tomato Tart

Saying Farewell To Summer Tomatoes

It is with heavy hearts The Cooking School bids a fond farewell to garden fresh tomatoes. We know the Grainger tomatoes from Tennessee taste good and Romas are available year round, but let's be honest - there is no substitute for a locally grown tomato! So as a last salute to summer tomatoes, we present for your dining pleasure a Tomato and Onion Jam Tart. This quick and easy tart is made with phyllo dough - no need to prepare a crust. We opted to cut the tart into round, appetizer servings for the photo, but sliced into generous squares with a side salad, it will make a light and flavorful dinner. Heirloom varieties are still available at Jungle Jim's International Market, so this tart could be served at your house tonight!


Assemble the ingredients before starting. We selected the yellow and the red heirloom tomatoes and then added a handful of grape tomatoes to fit into the open nooks and crannies.


Line the bottom of buttered pan with 1 sheet of phyllo dough and brush lightly with butter. Repeat layers with remaining 7 sheets of phyllo, brushing lightly with butter between each sheet of phyllo (Keep dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel if necessary between layers to prevent it from drying out.)


Stir the jam to loosen it up; it will be easier to spread.


Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the onion jam over the last layer of phyllo.


Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the jam.


Don't be tempted to use more jam or cheese. The result will be a soggy, greasy and heavy slice of tart.


Arrange the sliced tomatoes over the cheese, nestling the spaces between the large heirloom slices with sliced grape tomatoes.


Sprinkle with dried oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.


Finally, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top.


Bake 35-40 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool 3-5 minutes before slicing.



Tomato and Onion Jam Tart

5 tablespoons butter, melted
8 sheets phyllo dough (9x13-inch sheets), thawed overnight in the refrigerator
2-3 tablespoons Roasted Onion Garlic Jam or Fig Jam
4-5 ounces shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
2 medium/large heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
Handful grape tomatoes, sliced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375°. Brush a 9x13x1-inch rimmed baking pan (quarter sheet pan) with some of the melted butter.

Line bottom of buttered pan with 1 sheet of phyllo dough and brush lightly with butter. Repeat layers with remaining 7 sheets of phyllo, brushing lightly with butter between each sheet of phyllo (Keep dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel if necessary between layers to prevent it from drying out.)

Brush onion jam lightly over the last layer of phyllo. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over jam. Arrange tomatoes over cheese, filling spaces between large heirloom slices with sliced grape tomatoes. Sprinkle with oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Bake 35-40 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 3-5 minutes before slicing.

Serves 4 as an entrée



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Cool Weather = Soup!

Welcome back soup weather! If you enjoy autumn weather, chilly mornings give eager foodies permission to start thinking about and paging through soup recipes - somewhat like the gardener's equivalent of dreaming as they look through seed catalogs. Remember those big bowls of steamy, fragrant soup? They're back!! The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's International Market is offering you a chance to initiate soup season with a creamy and delicious Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup. Bright green heads of broccoli, creamy cauliflower and orange carrots provide a nutritious punch of flavor and bursts of color. We garnished the soup with some pumpernickel croutons, but you can serve your soup with crusty bread or crunchy crackers.


The step is to chop the vegetables by hand or in a food processor. You don't want to pulverize them in the food processor, so keep an eye on the size while you pulse/chop. 


Melt the butter in a 4 to 5-quart pan over medium heat; sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk to combine.


You'll want a smooth, bubbly mixture.


Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until smooth.


The result will be a slightly thickened, smooth mixture.


Add the chopped carrots, celery and onions.


Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add the chopped broccoli and cauliflower florets and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring 
occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender.


Cube the cheese and ready the half and half. We are going to be honest - there just isn't a very good substitute for Velveeta cheese in this soup. It imparts a cheesy flavor and a nice, smooth consistency because it melts evenly. We can't guarantee the results if you choose to use another type of cheese. We guarantee an empty soup bowl if you do!

  
Add the cheese cubes and stir until melted.


Stir in the half-and-half, ¼ cup at a time, until the soup reaches your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and heat through and serve. It tasted really good!


Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup

¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2½ cups chicken broth
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ pound broccoli florets, chopped
½ pound cauliflower florets, chopped
1 pound processed cheese spread, cubed
¼ -¾ cup half-and half, to thin to desired consistency
Salt and pepper, to taste


Melt butter in a 4 to 5-quart pan over medium heat; sprinkle flour over butter and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Add carrots, celery and onions; stir and bring to a simmer. Cover pan and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped broccoli florets and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender. Add cheese cubes and stir until melted. Stir in half-and-half, ¼ cup at a time, until soup reaches desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and heat through.

Serves 4


From Leigh’s cookbook Be Your Guest


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mixed Berry Microwave Jam

Preserving Fruit

Capture the bounty of summer fruits in a delightfully sweet and berry-packed homemade jam. This Mixed Berry Microwave Jam will disappear on slabs of toasted, buttered bread so quickly that you won't have to perform the scientifically approved process of a hot-water bath canning session to make it last. You can safely enjoy the fruits of your labor for 2-3 months if you keep it refrigerated. Regular shoppers at Jungle Jim's International Market know to stop in the fresh berry section to discover plump raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries just waiting for a chance to become jam! 


Four simple ingredients are needed:  3 cups assorted ripe berries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1½ cups sugar,½ teaspoon butter. We put the butter and lemon juice in the same small bowl.


Crush berries to measure 2 cups (a potato masher works well for crushing).



The berries should be a soupy, chunky mess! You'll enjoy the berry aroma.


Put all the ingredients in a deep microwave-safe bowl. We really like using Pyrex in the microwave. This is an 8-cup bowl.


Place in the microwave (on a plate or paper towels in case of boil-over) and microwave on high 7-8 minutes or until mixture comes to a full boil.



Remove from the microwave and stir the fruit mixture. Microwave again, uncovered, on high for 8-9 additional minutes, stirring 2-3 times, until the jam begins to coat a spoon and droplets are thick when dripped from the side of a spoon (total microwave time will be 15-17 minutes).



Have ready two 8-ounce or one 16-ounce clean jar(s) with lids. Pour into jars, cool to room temperature and refrigerate.


The jam will remain fresh 2-3 months in the refrigerator. This recipe yields approximately 2 cups of jam.



Mixed Berry Microwave Jam

3 cups assorted ripe berries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon butter


Have ready two 8-ounce or one 16-ounce clean jar(s) with lids.

Crush berries to measure 2 cups (a potato masher works well for crushing).

Place 2 cups crushed berries and remaining ingredients in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or 3 quart bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.

Place in microwave (on a plate or paper towels in case of boil-over) and microwave on high 7-8 minutes or until mixture comes to a full boil. Remove from microwave and stir fruit mixture. Microwave again, uncovered, on high for 8-9 additional minutes, stirring 2-3 times, until jam begins to coat a spoon and droplets are thick when dripped from the side of a spoon (total microwave time will be 15-17 minutes).

Pour into jars, cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Jam will remain fresh 2-3 months refrigerated.

Makes approximately 2 cups



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chicken Tacos

Weeknight Tacos

For a spicy weeknight dinner, try this Chicken Taco recipe that packs a big punch of flavor and texture. Tacos make for a great dinner because each person can add their favorite toppings and everyone ends up with a smile on their face. Leftover chicken makes this dish even easier to quickly throw together - grilled, baked or rotisserie chicken will work. The staff at The Cooking School staff at Jungle Jim's International Market love it when we can enjoy testing a taco recipe!


Start by heating the olive oil in an 11-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper and sauté until softened, 3-4 minutes.



Stir in the chili powder, cumin and oregano.



Stir to combine. The aroma is wonderful!


 Add the drained tomatoes and pureed chipotles.


Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer.


Stir in the chicken, cover the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is heated through, 7-8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and set aside.



An easy way to slice an avocado is to cut it in quarters, Twist and pull them apart. Remove the pit. If the avocado is ripe, the peel will pull off easily. Slice into thin pieces or dice - your choice. Set aside.




Heat a small cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Warm the tortillas one at a time, turning once, until slightly puffy and just beginning to show char marks.


The steamy, fragrant chicken is ready to be stuffed into the charred corn taco shell.


Assemble tacos by spooning some of the chicken mixture over a warmed tortilla. 


Top with avocado slices, cheese, cabbage, cilantro and sour cream. Squeeze lime juice over all, fold your taco in half and enjoy.


Who wouldn't be pleased to enjoy several of these bad boys?! A cold beer and some hot sauce might be in order. Just sayin'.


Chicken Tacos

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
1 14.5 ounce can petite-diced tomatoes, drained
1½ tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
12 small (5½-inch) corn tortillas
1 large ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
6 ounces crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup sour cream
1 lime, cut into wedges


Heat olive oil in an 11-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and sauté until softened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and oregano. Add tomatoes and pureed chipotles and bring to a simmer. Stir in the chicken, cover pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is heated through, 7-8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

Heat a small cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Warm tortillas one at a time, turning once, until slightly puffy and just beginning to show char marks.

Assemble tacos by spooning some of the chicken mixture over a warmed tortilla. Top with avocado slices, cheese, cabbage, cilantro and sour cream, squeeze lime juice over all, fold taco in half and enjoy.


Serves 4

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

White Chocolate Brownies

Brownie versus Blondie

While these squares of delicious, buttery, chewy white chocolate confections were baking, the aroma was tantalizing the office staff at Jungle Jim's International Market. One of the perks of working in the administrative office area is enjoying the delightful aromas wafting out of The Cooking School. If you are partial to sweets, please make these White Chocolate Brownies immediately! As these were baking, Leigh posed the question:  What is the difference between a brownie and a blondie? Many of us assumed that a brownie would be always have cocoa and result in a deep brown chocolate color. Conversely, a blondie would then be any chewy bar that did not use cocoa. The difference actually comes from the type of sugar used - a blondie uses brown sugar and a brownie uses white sugar. Doesn't matter what you call them - these are just plain good! 


Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving a little overhang around the edges of the pan. Grease the foil and set aside.

Heat the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently, in a large saucepan over low heat, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. As is readily apparent, we used up all our odds and ends of white chocolate. Never waste chocolate!


Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the melted chocolate, then stir in the eggs and vanilla. The mixture will look a little curdled. We have been asked why we specifically use a wooden spoon in our recipes. Leigh favors using a wooden spoon when the batter is stiff; however, you can use your favorite utensil to mix the batter. 



Add the all-purpose flour and salt. Combine thoroughly.


Add the chopped, toasted pecans. Quickly stir just until mixed.



 Pour the batter into the prepared pan.



Bake the brownies 30 - 35 minutes until the top is lightly golden but the center is still somewhat soft when pressed lightly. Let them cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the brownies at least 3 hours. Using the foil, lift the brownies from the pan. Cut into 20 - 25 squares. You can thank us later for bringing these to your attention.




White Chocolate Brownies

1 cup unsalted butter
10 ounces white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans


Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving a little overhang around the edges of the pan. Grease the foil.

Heat the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently, in a large saucepan over low heat, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the melted chocolate, then stir in the eggs and vanilla. (the mixture will look curdled)  Add the flour, salt, and chopped pecans. Quickly stir just until mixed. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake the brownies until the top is lightly golden but the center is still somewhat soft when pressed lightly, 30 - 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate the brownies at least 3 hours. Using the foil, lift the brownies from the pan. Cut into 20 - 25 squares.


Recipe from: Nantucket Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase