Zucchini Goat Cheese Patties

zucchini patties 2

Avui faig país. Fa ja més d’un any que tinc un blog de cuina amb formatge en un país gastronòmicament molt ric (i en molts altres aspectes també, què coi!) i em dedico a fer receptes amb Emmentals, Bries, Cheddars i Parmesans. I no és que no estiguin bé, de fet són deliciosos, però i un bon tall d’Urgèlia? I un mató de Montserrat? I un Recuit de Fonteta? I un Tupí d’Ossera?

Avui reivindico el formatge de km 0, perquè ens les donem de patriotes i ens posem l’estelada fins i tot a les calces però després anem al Caprabo i comprem formatges de tot arreu menys de casa nostra. I mentrestant el nostre patrimoni formatger queda reduït a vendre’s en firetes d’artesans de pobles perduts.

Doncs no, menys postureig nacionalista, menys creure’ns més catalans perquè tenim mil i un gadgets amb estelades i rucs que hem comprat al tot a cent xinès de la cantonada, que fa estelades com podria fer banderes d’illes de la polinèsia, i més recolzar els nostres productes i els nostres productors. Si volem aixecar un país, posem-nos-hi de veritat, collons!

(Com que explicar tot això a la recepta en anglès per al públic internacional és una mica complicat, us dic que el que allà és goat cheese és en realitat un formatge tendre de cabra de Montbrú, uns formatgers del Moianès. Suau però amb molta personalitat, així amb un punt àcid, boníssim).

zucchini patties prep 2

One year ago, on May the Cheese Be With You: Chips del Diamant

Zucchini Goat Cheese Patties

Servings: 12-14 patties (depending on the size)

Prep time: about 40 min

You will need:

  • 2 medium zucchini, shreaded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 1/2 crumbled goat cheese (or feta, if you prefer)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (or corn starch)
  • 1/2 teasppon baking power
  • about 1 cup bread crumbs (enough quantity to thicken the paste)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

This will be a lot like making your own hamburguers, but with zucchini instead of meat. You’ll see.

First of all, put the shreaded zucchini into a strainer, toss with the salt and let it stand for about 10 minutes. After this time, the zucchinis will have let go the major part of their water. (If right after reading this sentence a little anoying voice inside your head is singing Frozen’s “Let it go”, don’t worry, I have exactly the same problem as you). So, squeeze the zucchini until as dry as possible and set aside.

zucchini patties prep 1

Beat the eggs in a large bowl (large enough to contain all the other ingredients). Mix in the dried zucchini, onion, cheese, garlic and black pepper, then add the flour and baking powder and stir until well incorporated.

zucchini patties prep 4

Now you’ll probably have some too-liquid-to-be-patty-shaped mixture, so add bread crumbs and stir until thick enough to form little patties (but don’t add too much bread crumbs or you’ll obtain some nice zucchini and goat cheese rocks when cooked).

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Form patties of about 1,5 tablespoons of mixture each and fry them unil golden brown on both sides (I’m not saying you have to fry them one at a time, but don’t overfill the pan or you’ll end by having one huge zucchini patty to share with the entire family). Let them dry a little on a paper towel-lined plate and that’s it.

zucchini patties prep 3

You can used them either as a starter or as a side dish for salmon, for example, as I did, or you can even turn them into some nice vegetarian hamburgers.

zucchini patties 1

Enjoy! 🙂

Annie

Crêpe Savoyarde

crepe savoyarde

El viatge virtual gastronòmic d’avui ens porta a la falda del Mont Blanc, a on segur que no hi fa la calor enganxosa horrible que fa ara mateix a Barcelona. No sé si recordareu que fa uns mesos us vaig parlar d’una crêpe que em vaig menjar en un viatge a França i que mai he oblidat. Doncs bé, després d’anys recordant aquella crêpe als meus somnis, l’altre dia em vaig decidir a tornar-la a fer. Tampoc podia ser tan complicat, només necessitava el formatge adequat: el reblochon.

Reblochon

Aquest formatge, que té una indicació geogràfica protegida des del 1958, va néixer al massís d’Aravis, a l’Alta Savoia.

alta savoia

Diu la llegenda que per allà el s.XVI els agricultors de la zona feien la primera munyida de la vaca al matí per donar-la al propietari i que a la nit, quan ningú mirava, en feien una altra per quedar-se-la ells (pot semblar una mica lleig això de robar la llet d’un altre, però estic segura que les condicions de vida dels agricultors eren molt més dures que les dels senyors propietaris, per tant no em sap greu que els hi prenguessin part de la llet). D’aquesta segona munyida en va sortir el terme reblocher, que vol dir agafar la mamella de la vaca per segona vegada (una mica literal, sí), i d’aquí en va sortir el reblochon.

I del reblochon en va sortir la meva crêpe. Anys després, va ser exactament com la recordava: cruixent per fora i màgicament bona per dins, amb la combinació perfecta de bacon, ceba caramel·litzada i reblochon fos.

Crêpe Savoyarde

Prep time: about 1,5 h

Servings: 2

You will need:

  • For the dough:
    • 1 egg
    • 65 g flour
    • 125 ml milk
    • a pinch of salt
    • 1 teaspoon butter
  • For the filling:
    • 2 medium-sized potatoes
    • 150 g bacon
    • 1 onion (if you’re a true caramelized onion lover, make it 2 or 3, depending on the size)
    • about 150 g reblochon
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • a pinch of salt

Mix the ingredients for the crêpe dough in a bowl until the batter is nice and smooth. Cover it with plastic film and let it stand in the fridge for an hour.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon, and chop up and cook the onion over a very low flame until brown and soft. Wash and peal the potatoes, cut them into slices and put them in a pot with a pinch of salt. Cover them with water and let boil for 5 min.

When your dough has rested enough, choose the best frying pan you have (the size doesn’t matter, but it has to be really non-sticky or your crêpe will end being a scrambled-like thing) and put a teaspoon of butter in it. When melted, carefully pour the amount of dough necessary to cover all the pan with a very thin layer. We’re not making pancakes, we’re making crêpes, so when I say thin I mean really thin. Cook both sides and let them cool. The amount of crêpes depends on the size of your pan, but don’t worry, even if you make two big crêpes or a hundred little ones, when filled they’ll taste like heaven.

crepe savoyarde prep 1

Preheat your oven to 180ºC and get ready for the crêpe-assembling party. The optimal order is potato-onion-bacon-cheese-butter, which should be something like this:

crepe savoyarde prep 2

crepe savoyarde prep 3

crepe savoyarde prep 4

crepe savoyarde prep 5

crepe savoyarde prep 6

crepe savoyarde prep 7

Now carefully transfer your crêpe on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake until crunchy on the outside and your cheese is completely melted.

crepe savoyarde 2

Enjoy!

Annie

Braised French Onion Chicken

I love windy weather. I thoroughly, utterly enjoy windy weather. I find it invigorating. Exhilarating. To me, it feels like coming home. I also love when it rains. Like, really rains. Pours, actually. Kiwis and komodo dragons (because cats and dogs are just too mainstream). Crashing seas, flooding rivers; you get the picture. Hell is breaking loose outside, and you are curled up inside near your heat source of choice, stuffing your face with all things winter. People go into hysterics and you’re all “Well, don’t panic. I’ll get the arc, you get the animals.” I am truly a child of wind and sea.

But then, sometimes, usually when you are on your way to work, planets align, fates collide, and the universe presents you with a magnificent alliance of chances: rain and wind, together.

And man do I hate when that happens. You stand alone on the dark and forsaken city sidewalk, wielding a flimsy pink umbrella (it really ought to be pink, you know), trying – desperately trying – to figure out where the hell to point the thing, as it seems to be raining upward. Water pours into your oh so stylish rain boots, rendering them quite useless, and the laws of physics work against you, preventing you from moving forward much at all. And just like that, standing on the edge of a dramatic cliff with your hair caught in the wind à la Pocahontas, or stuffing your face with all things winter à la Homer Simpson, is quite out of the question. What then, I ask myself, is the point of wind and rain, if one cannot be a blonde Homer-Simpson-shaped Pocahontas?

Alas, it seems the universe has no answer to that.

French Onion Chicken

But I do. The answer is caramelized onions. And Gruyère. Those are really the only two things that can help survive said weather. Or at least recuperate, when all else fails.

Braised French Onion Chicken

Servings: I’d say about 7 or 8, but don’t underestimate the power of this chicken. People will go through it fast. It’s, like, superchicken. I bet it could fly. We should try tossing it out of the window.

Okay, on second thought, that might not be such a good idea.

Prep time: about 2 hours

You will need:

  • olive oil
  • 1kg onions, sliced into semi circles
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • thyme and rosemary to taste
  • 2 cups (about 500ml) chicken broth, separated
  • 1,5 kg boneless, skinless chicken, any cut, cut into filet-like pieces
  • 2 tablespoon (30ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoon (60ml) Dijon mustard (or any other smooth mustard)
  • 200gr (7 oz) Gruyère cheese, grated

Start by just covering the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil.

French Onion Chicken Prep 1

Add the sliced onions and cook on low heat for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding some water if things get too dry. When the onions turn evenly beige, add some thyme and rosemary to taste.

French Onion Chicken Prep 2

Cook another few minutes, then turn heat to high and cook until onions turn dark, stirring frequently. At this point, add 1 cup of broth, scrape the pan for all those little burnt bits that are really the best thing ever, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, season your chicken with salt and pepper and brown it in a separate pan. Set aside.

Deglaze the chicken-pan with the other cup of broth, and carefully whip in the balsamic vinegar and the mustard. Or you can do what I did, and forget about the fact that you needed to reuse the chicken pan, place said chicken pan in the sink, then remember 10 minutes later that you actually did need the chicken pan, place it back on the fire, then remember that you had already poured soap on the chicken pan, and hastily return the chicken pan to the sink. But that step really is optional.

Now fill the bottom of an oven proof dish with the caramelized onions, making sure to include all those juices we have been carefully producing. Top the onions with the chicken, trying to keep them in a single layer, if possible.

French Onion Chicken Prep 4

As you can see in this picture, it isn’t always possible.

French Onion Chicken Prep 5

Pour the balsamic Dijon sauce over the whole thing and cover the dish with a double layer of aluminium foil. Bake on medium-high for 30 minutes.

French Onion Chicken Prep 6

Remove the dish from the oven, uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Now, the amount of Gruyère you top this with is entirely up to you. You can give it a light sprinkling and keep it healthy. Or – not. You see, this may come as quite a surprise to you, but I truly, honestly, love cheese. I know, you never would’ve known, right? So what I did was grate some Gruyère, top the chicken with it, survey the dish with a dissecting eye, and then double the amount of cheese.

French Onion Chicken Prep 7

Just right. Now place it back in the oven and give it another 5 minutes on high heat.

It will look entirely too liquid when you remove the dish from the oven, but trust me, this is as it should be, as the sauce will thicken as it cools a bit. And I do recommend you allow it to cool a bit, unless you enjoy having burn-blisters on your tongue.

And yes, I speak from experience.

French Onion Chicken 2

Enjoy!

Gorgonzola Soup, or Confessions of a Gorgonzola Addict

Gorgonzola Soup_2

Let me sing you the song of my people.

My people are intense and flavourful. My people are creamy and smooth. White and blueish and greenish, in that dodgy mouldy way. They have mysterious customs and are known by many a name; but around here we address them only by one –

Gorgonzola.

No, seriously. If Gorgonzola were a man, I’d marry him. If it were a woman I’d marry it. Hell, I think I might just go ahead and marry it anyway. If I told you how many recipes of mine contain Gorgonzola, you’d be pressing that panic button under your desk PDQ.

Oh, the many joys of Gorgonzola… I shall not – cannot possibly – list them all here, so I will let the crowning jewel of my Gorgonzola recipe collection speak for itself.

Now, this recipe masquerades as a cream of vegetable wannabe, what with the onion and all that, but do not be fooled. This is not a light summer dish. This is so, so much more. This is roasted onions and molten Gorgonzola and crispy bacon, and you will hear your arteries sigh resignedly while your soul sings with bliss. It might even dance a little jig, if you add enough bacon. Because, you know, everything is better with bacon.

And Gorgonzola.

Gorgonzola Soup

(This recipe originally came from Culinary Concotions by Peabody‘s blog, which is awesome on so many different levels.)

Servings: aprox. 5 – 6

Prep time: a little over an hour

You will need:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 small potatoes, or 1 medium, peeled & diced
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3 cups (aprox. 700ml) chicken broth
  • 1 cup cream (aprox. 250ml)
  • 120-150gr Gorgonzola cheese
  • bacon to taste, I recommend 200gr, cooked

Heat some olive oil (I just eyeball it, but I’d say you need about 2 or 3 tablespoons) and add the chopped onions and potatoes.

Gorgonzola Soup Prep 1

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent. It should look somewhat like this:

Gorgonzola Soup Prep 2

At this point, you want to add your chicken broth, wait for it to boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover your pot and simmer gently (I repeat, gently. You do not want to boil the living daylights out of this little baby) for about 30 minutes. Use a fork to check whether your potatoes are nice and soft. Simmer a little longer if necessary.

Gorgonzola Soup Prep 3

Proceed to take the pot off the heat source and carefully puree with a hand blender. I say carefully, because it’s hot, and you don’t want the soup splashing on your hands. Or on your face, for that matter. It will hurt. I speak from experience.

Now, once you’ve stirred around a bit to catch any stray bits of potato that have eluded the mortal knives of the blender, and your soup is nice and smooth, return the pot to low heat and stir in the cream. At this point you seriously want to avoid any boiling, because the soup now contains cream, and cream is a joyful creature prone to boiling over. If you’ve ever tried scraping burnt cream off your stove, you know the nightmares I speak of.

So, to preserve your sanity, keep the heat low and stir. All. The. Time.

And now the games begin.

Add tablespoons full of Gorgonzola to the soup and stir continuously until they have melted into the onion and potato base. Taste as you go, because some brands of Gorgonzola are milder than other, and you don’t want to overdo it.

Divide the soup among the bowls and top with a light sprinkling of crumbled bacon. Or, you know, dump a truckload on it.

Gorgonzola Soup

Enjoy!