Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Apple Galette (easier than pie!)

Rustic and so tasty looking, this is my go-to desert when I am rushed and I know I have some pie dough in the fridge.  Actually, that is how I ended up making my first galette.
  We had to bring pumpkin pie to a gathering and when I made the dough, I made the whole recipe, enough dough for two pies.  Even though I had never made one before, I knew a galette could be made using regular pie dough and a fruit filling. You've heard the term "easy as pie?"  Well, this is way  easier!

Apple Galette

2 baking apples (Granny Smiths are good) peeled, cored and sliced about 1/8 inch thick
1/2 cup white sugar plus more for sprinkling on the crust.
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons butter to dot the pie
1/4 cup apricot preserves*
One recipe pie dough  (followed below)

Preheat oven to 425°F
Mix apples, sugar, cinnamon and salt and set aside.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll one disc of dough into a circle about 14 inches in diameter and transfer to baking sheet.
Place apple slices in a concentric circle on the dough leaving about 4 inches of dough exposed around the edge.
Dot with small pieces of butter in various places.
Fold the dough in around the fruit.
Brush dough with water and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Heat preserves and brush on exposed apples.

Pie Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening or lard
Ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, place the flour, sugar and salt and pulse a few times to mix.
Add the butter and shortening and pulse 11 times or until the fat is cut into the flour to resemble the size of small peas.
Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water and pulse several times adding a little more water if needed until the mixture comes together.  (Do not add too much water,)
Remove the dough, divided in half and form each half into a 5-inch disk, wrapping each in plastic wrap and refrigerating until needed.

*I have used various kinds of jams including strawberry and even orange marmalade with great results!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nasi Goreng

I know I will catch a lot of flack from my friends in Indonesia and Malaysia for this recipe because it is probably not what they would call original, for one thing.  For another thing, both cultures seem to lay claim to this preparation of fried rice and some other dishes that they both share but  prepare in different ways.
This recipe comes from Southeast Asian Food by cookbook author, Rosemary Brissenden.  I am currently cooking my way through this fabulous book starting at the beginning which focuses on recipes from Indonesia.
To make it even spicier (and tastier IMO), I like to add bajak sambal, a sweet, sour, fiery condiment that none of my Indonesian friends seems to have heard about but one which I make at least twice a week to go with my daily breakfast of nasi goreng, the fried rice of Indonesia and Malaysia.

Nasi Goreng

3 tablespoons or more oil
8 oz rump steak or boneless chicken, cut into very thin strips
7 oz shrimp peeled and deveined (optional)
3 cups steamed rice, cooled.  (leftover is best)
1 tablespoon Javanese soy sauce (I use kecap manis)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Fried onion flakes for garnish
One egg per person 
Shrimp crackers

Spice Paste

4 medium-length red chilies, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
2 cloves garlic
5 shallots, sliced.

Grind the spice paste ingredients to a rough paste.  Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or pan and fry the spice paste until fragrant.  Add the beef and shrimp (if using) and stir-fry until they are cooked.   Add the rice and mix well. Add more oil if necessary, and the soy sauces, and keep stirring until the rice grains are coated, everything is warm and the color is even.  Set aside and keep warm.
 In a separate pan, fry the eggs until they are cook but the yolks are still soft. Serve the rice on individual plates, garnished with fried onion flakes and a fried egg on top.  Decorate the plates with the sliced tomatoes and cucumber.  Serve with a side dish of shrimp crackers.