Mixed Greens with Cambozola, Hibiscus Pearls, and Pear Vinaigrette

Today I’m going to ask you to use your imagination. Have a glass of wine, close your eyes, turn on some Simon and Garfunkel, and imagine you’re entertaining your nearest and dearest. Imagine you’re tasked with cooking a fabulous dinner for your terribly handsome beau on his 50th birthday. And imagine that last minute rush before dinner is served—the rush to get dinner on the table and make sure that hot food stays hot and salad stays fresh.

Hibiscus Pearls
Can you imagine that? Good. Now imagine that the beautiful ingredients below came together in a perfectly composed salad that I didn’t have a chance to photograph on that lovely night before serving it!

Hibiscus Pearl Salad.jpg

Sorry, folks. By the time dinner was served, the sun had gone down and I couldn’t justify whipping out my lighting set-up to photograph the finished salad. So just imagine a bed of velvety greens tossed in sweet and sour pear vinaigrette, topped with creamy, pungent Cambozola, toasted walnuts, crispy apples, and my mad scientist experiment, hibiscus pearls. Imagine that!

A word about those hibiscus pearls: this was my first foray into molecular gastronomy. It was a success, and much simpler than I imagined. I steeped a cup of hibiscus tea and spiked it with hibiscus extract from l.c. finn. I boiled that with agar agar, and used a regular eyedropper to squeeze the mixture into a tall glass of cold oil to form the pearls. That’s the extent of the special ingredients and equipment. The flavor of the pearls was distinct but not overwhelming; a little tart, like pomegranate juice. The texture was smooth and gelatinous—sort of like biting into a creamy drop of tea. For instructions on making agar agar pearls, visit http://molecule-r.com/en/content/67-pearls-training. You can purchase the extract here.

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Cherry Crisp

Cherry Crisp3

Goodbye summer.

Cherry Crisp

Goodbye ice cream trucks and picnics and ripe tomatoes.

Cherry Crisp2

Goodbye road trips and outdoor concerts. Goodbye action blockbusters in air conditioned theaters. Goodbye lemonade.

Topping Ingredients

Goodbye s’mores and dandelions and thunderstorms and fireworks. Goodbye reruns and strappy sandals. Goodbye sunburns. Goodbye baseball and crickets chirping.

Cherry Filling

Goodbye fresh cherries.

Cherries

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Pear and Apple Crostata

It’s my 2nd blogiversary! That’s right, imaginary internet friends, Galley Kitchen turns two this month.

I plan to celebrate the terrible twos by having a temper tantrum in the grocery store and demanding TWO stories at bedtime. Or maybe I’ll make a pie. I haven’t decided yet.

A year ago in my one-year blogiversary post, I set a couple goals for the 2011-2012 blog year, and I’m feeling pretty good about my progress. I learned to cook fabulous dinners on an unemployed lady’s budget, I learned to take decent photos after sunset, and, thanks to Handsome Greg, I have three new adverbs at the ready (frostingly, gravily, and somewhatkumquat).

The very first recipe I shared on Galley Kitchen was inspired by an overabundance of apples, so today I’m sharing another apple recipe. This Pear and Apple Crostata is a perfect fall treat; the filling has just enough sugar and cinnamon to turn  the apple and pear juices into a luxurious sauce, barely coating the tender fruit snuggled under a flaky duvet of pie crust. Next time I’ll brush the pie crust with egg wash—it was a tiny bit dry—but I’ll otherwise follow the recipe as is.

Continue reading for the Pear and Apple Crostata recipe

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Goat Cheese, Apple, and Walnut Grilled Cheese Sandwich

In honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, I’m posting a different grilled cheese sandwich every single day through the month of April. You’re welcome.

The pillows on my bed are crummy. The stuffing is all flattened, and about 5 minutes after the pillow cases emerge from the dryer, they’re already covered in cat hair. I want pillows that are pillow-y. In fact, I want to rest my weary head on pillows as fluffy as warm, soft goat cheese.

I swear these thoughts actually occurred to me while I enjoyed this grilled cheese sandwich. As I floated through crisped Italian bread, fluffy goat cheese, gooey honey saturating tender apple slices, and crunchy walnuts, I wished for a good night’s sleep as satisfying and as comforting as this sandwich.

Can you name another dish as satisfying as a good night’s sleep? I didn’t think so.

For general grilled cheese tips, visit the inaugural grilled cheese sandwich post.

Continue reading for the Goat Cheese, Apple, and Walnut Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe

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Turkey, Brie and Pear-Apple Butter Grilled Cheese Sandwich

In honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, I’m posting a different grilled cheese sandwich every single day through the month of April. You’re welcome.

OK. I admit it was pretty much a given that turkey, brie, and pear-apple butter would make for a stellar grilled cheese sandwich. But did any of you stop and think about the bread? Did you even bother to consider how the choice of bread could completely change the taste of the sandwich?

I thought not.

So I’m asking you, as a favor, please grill this sandwich – tender deli turkey, oozing brie, and sweet pear-apple butter – on savory, pungent caraway rye bread. And please, please enjoy the earthy perfume of toasted caraway seeds in the air when the buttered bread hits the griddle. Could you just do this one little thing for me?

Thanks.

For general grilled cheese tips, visit the inaugural grilled cheese sandwich post.

Continue reading for the Turkey, Brie, and Pear-Apple Butter Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe

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Pear-Apple Butter and Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich

In honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, I’m posting a different grilled cheese sandwich every single day through the month of April. You’re welcome.

Cheddar and apple are already considered by many a perfect pair. When you add into the mix ripe pear, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and melt it between buttery whole wheat toast, the resulting sandwich is (dare I say it?) perfect. Sweet, salty, and gooey, with a hint of spicy warmth. This is pure comfort between two slices of bread.

For general grilled cheese tips, visit the inaugural grilled cheese sandwich post.

Pear-Apple Butter and Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Recipe Type: Sandwich
Author: Bake Up, Little Suzy
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 25 mins
Total time: 1 hour 50 mins
Serves: 1
Sweet, salty, and gooey, with a hint of spicy warmth. This is pure comfort between two slices of bread.
Ingredients
  • Pear-Apple Butter
  • 2 ripe pears, cored and sliced
  • 2 red delicious apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pear-Apple Butter and Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • 2 slices wheat bread
  • Butter
  • 2 slices cheddar
  • Pear apple butter
Instructions
Pear-Apple Butter
  1. Place the fruit and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is very soft when pierced with a knife.
  2. Remove the pan from heat; add brown sugar, spices and lemon juice and stir to blend.
  3. Puree mixture until very smooth in food processor fitted with a steel blade.
  4. Return the mixture to the saucepan; simmer over low heat, stirring frequently for 30 minutes, or until thickened to desired consistency. Strain.
Pear-Apple Butter and Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  1. Top each slice of bread with cheddar cheese.
  2. Spread pear-apple butter on one slice of cheddar.
  3. Close it up and butter the outsides of the bread.
  4. Griddle on medium-high heat until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.