January 19, 2011

Savory Baking Recipe Contest

Today marks the first day of the Easy Bake cOven Recipe Contest! I asked all of our members to submit a savory recipe for the month of January. For the remainder of the month, it is your job to vote for your favorite recipe. The winning recipe will become the February Recipe of the Month, and the winner will receive a copy of Savory Baking, by Mary Cech.

Why savory? For a few reasons... I feel like we forget about the savory, or forget what we can make when challenged. Sweets baking comes easy for most of us in this club, and it was actually hard for some members to come up with something they make that is savory. I relaxed the term "baking" a little for this reason, and we received very different entries. I have posted them in random order and want you to vote for your favorite, or which you think you might actually make. See the Voting Poll at the right in the sidebar. Please vote only once for only one recipe. Feel free to pass this along to friends and co-workers to get their vote as well.

Just for fun, (and because I'm not participating in the contest) I thought I'd submit one of my own savory baking recipes, which explains the current image behind the Easy Bake cOven logo. I had not made many savory items besides dinner when I was challenged by Daring Bakers to make Puff Pastry in the form of Vou al Vents. We were supposed to be creative with the toppings, so I made one savory and one sweet (mostly I couldn't resist). The savory was by far the crowd favorite, so I thought I'd share it with you here. Mine doesn't count in the poll, but definitely try it sometime!

Voting ends on January 31st 11:59pm PST. No votes count after that time. February 1st we will reveal the winner of the contest as our February savory recipe. Happy voting!

The Lovely Lady Baker
Roasted Tomato and Cheese Tarts
3oz Goat Cheese
Tomato slices 1/4" thick (about 4 large tomatoes)
1 C onion sliced super thin and separated - caramelize over low heat with a tiny bit of butter
Feta Cheese
Puff Pastry

You can make your own puff pastry, or buy the frozen kind. Roll into a long rectangle about 4" wide and as long as your baking sheet. Cut 1/2" strips the same length as the rectangle is long and lay on top of the edge. Do the same for the short end. Think about forming "walls". Bake according to package instructions or see this post here for more information on making your own puff pastry. You can also form them into individual squares or rounds with cookie cutters or biscuit cutters, but it’s not necessary as you can cut the rectangle into strips after assembly.

Roast the tomato slices on a lightly greased, rimmed baking sheet in a 400˚F oven until edges start to brown (about 20 minutes). Smear some goat cheese on top of the finished puff pastry. Spread the tomatoes evenly across the goat cheese, or stack two layers of tomato for each individual tart (I used small yellow and red heirloom tomatoes). Then spread the onion across the tomatoes or add about a tablespoon of caramelized onion on the individual tart. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and fresh thyme to your hearts content.

Savory Recipe Contest Entries

Lemon Thyme and SeaSalt Shortbread Cookies
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Stir the flour, salt, lemon peel, and thyme together in a medium bowl. With your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until a coarse, crumbly mixture forms.

Blend the lightly beaten egg, egg yolks, and water together. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the egg mixture for brushing.Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the remaining egg mixture and blend together with your hands without kneading the dough together; the dough will look a bit crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough together once or twice, just until it sticks together. Press the dough into a 1-inch disc, wrap in plastic film, and refrigerate until firm, about 1/2 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line the bottom of a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place it on a floured work surface. Press the dough into a 6-by-5-inch rectangle. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a larger 10-by-7-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough in half, forming two 5-by-7-inch pieces. Using a pizza wheel or sharp paring knife, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

Carefully place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet leaving a little room between each cookie. Brush the tops with the reserved egg mixture and sprinkle a little coarse sea salt on top. Gently press the salt into the surface of each cookie so it does not fall off. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Chicken Pot Pie
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 Leek, chopped
1⁄2 cup onion, chopped
1⁄4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1⁄4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cups diced cooked chicken (I use rotisserie chicken – both white and dark meat)
1 cup frozen peas
2 medium carrots, sliced as coins
1 – 1 1⁄2 cups chopped broccoli
Additional chicken broth to cook vegetables

Make two recipes of the Flaky Pie Dough, recipe below.

Melt butter in medium size sauce pan. Add leek and onion and cook until just tender. Add flour, blending flour well into the mixture – do not brown. Add chicken broth, chicken, parsley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until sauce is well thickened. Cook carrots in chicken broth until just tender, remove and set aside. Blanche broccoli in the chicken broth. Rinse peas in cold water. Add vegetables to chicken mixture.

Assembly: Preheat over to 350˚F. Divide the dough in half and roll out both halves according to the size of your pie pan. Place one of the dough discs into a lighting greased pie pan. Pour the chicken mixture into the pie pan. Top with the second disc, flute the edges, and cut slits into the top of the dough. Bake until crust is light brown, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Flaky Pie Dough
Original recipe from Nick Malgieri who contributed this to the Austin Statesman. Note: The baking powder encourages the dough to puff slightly while baking so that it presses into a hot pan bottom and bakes through evenly preventing an underdone bottom crust. The amount of water added to the dough is always variable. When the flour and butter mixture is very finely rubbed together and a little warm, it will absorb less water; when it is dry and cool and a little undermixed, it will absorb more. Too little water makes a flakey crust that will crack during rolling; too much water makes an elastic bread-like crust that lacks flakiness.
1 1⁄4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt (I use kosher salt)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 – 3 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium-size mixing bowl; sitter well to mix. Add butter pieces and toss once or twice to coat. Use hands or pastry blender to cut butter and dry ingredients into tiny pieces, continuously pinching and squeezing butter into dry ingredients. Be careful to keep mixture uniform by occasionally reaching down to bottom of bowl and mixing all ingredients evenly together. Continue process until mixture resembles coarse-ground cornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain visible. Scatter 2 tablespoons water on mixture and stir gently with for (dough should begin holding together.) If mixture still appears dry and crumbly, add remaining water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until dough holds together easily. Scrape dough onto lightly floured surface and form in disc. (If doubling recipe, form into two equal discs.) Place dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disc. Refrigerate dough between 2 pieces of plastic to use, at least 1 hour. 
Makes about 10 ounces dough, enough for a single crust. Roll out according to the size of your pie dish. I usually refrigerate the pie crust and pan while I finish making the filling.

Overnight Brisket Sandwiches
1/2 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. oregano
1/4 t. basil
1/2 t. italian seasoning
1/2 t. seasoned salt
1 t. seasoned pepper
1/2- 1 t. chili powder
1/4 t. red pepper (if desired)

Place beef brisket in a roasting pan and cover with 2-3 sliced medium onions. Sprinkle with 1 T salt. Add water to pan until meat is about half covered. Cover roaster tightly and cook @ 200 degrees, overnight.  Let meat cool slightly and take off all visible fat. Strain broth. Wrap meat and refrigerate both meat and broth until thoroughly cold. Thinly slice beef across the grain. Remove fat from the top of broth. Add spices to broth and simmer. Correct seasonings after simmering. Add sliced beef to broth and heat until just warm. If left too long, the beef slices will not hold together. Serve on hard rolls with bowls of broth for dipping.

Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Yams
8 cloves of garlic
3 T olive oil
1 ½ lb baking potatoes, cubed
  1 ½ lb yams, cubed
½ c milk
¼ c butter
½ t dried rosemary
½ c grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste 

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease an 8” square baking pan.
2. Place garlic in small ovenproof bowl, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until very soft. Cool and peel the garlic; reserve the oil.
3. Boil potatoes and yams in a large pot of salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 c cooking liquid.
4. Return potatoes and yams to pot. Add milk, butter, rosemary, garlic and reserved olive oil. Mash to desired consistency, adding reserved cooking liquid as needed. Mix in ¼ c cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
5. Bake until heated through and golden on top, about 45 minutes.

Mediterranean Bruschetta
Artisan olive bread (Kalmata)
Extra virgin olive oil
feta cheese
fresh mint

Slice the olive bread, lay slices on baking sheet and toast lightly in oven. Remove from oven. While warm: Drizzle olive oil over slices, Spread hummus on bread, Top with sliced cucumbers and sprinkle crumbled feta over top. Finish with chopped, fresh mint leaves, fresh ground pepper, and another thread of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy with a glass of wine outside!

Vegetarian Pasties with Gravy
For the Pasties
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening
1 cup cold water
½ c. green peas
½ c. cooked lentils
1 onion, chopped
½ c. rutabaga, cubed
1 carrot, diced
salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons margarine

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
2. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, combine vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Divide dough into six pieces, and shape into balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a 6 inch round. Place approximately 1 cup filling on one half of each. Dot each with 1 tablespoon margarine. Draw the other half of the pastry over the filling. Crimp edges to seal in filling. Prick with a fork and place on prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.

For the Gravy
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce to form a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the broth. Season with sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Serve the pasties hot with gravy over the top.

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