Teeny Tiny Kitchen

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Vegetarian
Dilled Asparagus, Leek and Parmesan Tart PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Saturday, 12 April 2014 22:07

 

I had a friend over for dinner the other night, and I had the joy of turning her onto puff pastry. It was like Christmas morning when we were kids.

 

“Ooooh, it's so pretty!”

 

Yes, it was.

 

Puff pastry is magical because it can elevate the simplest ingredients into a full-on art presentation. Oh, and it takes little-to-no time to come together.

 

Magic, indeed.

 

It's great to keep in the freezer for nights when you want a gorgeous meal that's light on prep. Sometimes I make puff pastry dishes for myself when Jedd has band practice and I'm craving an indulgent dinner. And that was how this tart came about. While he was rocking in the Cave of Legends, I was sipping a crisp malbec and diving into this crispy and lemony asparagus tart. And best of all was the look on his face when I gave him half this tart at midnight with a side salad.

 

“I was NOT expecting this!”

 

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Fried Pickles with Horseradish Habanero Dipping Sauce PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Sunday, 16 March 2014 20:22

 

A few years ago a group of us had a “fried dinner” party at a friend's house. Fried chicken, fried okra and fried pickles were served, along with copious amounts of beer and wine. Our friends are southern, and they know how to fry. And we all know how to drink beer. It was a most excellent dinner party.

 

As delicious as everything was, the fried pickles were a revelation. I'd never even heard of them, let alone tasted the wonder that is deep fried dills. I wanted to eat the whole batch myself.

 

I'm not a huge fryer myself. It's too much of a mess. But, every once in awhile – Lordy, Lordy – this woman craves a good fried pickle. And the joy of this recipe is that it gives you big taste, without a big mess. You don't need a gazillion tons of oil, like with fried chicken or even oven rings, so the house doesn't smell like a fryer for days.

 

Also, you can cater the spices in the batter to your taste. I like using a Cajun seasoning and seasoned salt. However, you could just use black pepper and Frank's hot sauce or whatever else you have kicking around in the spice drawer.

 

This is the kind of appetizer that can make a boring or bad day a little brighter. Because fried pickles are happy food.

 

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Spicy Swiss Cheese and Green Olive Crackers PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 17:45


 

Hello, Superbowl Sunday! Although the closest I get to following a team is re-watching Friday Night Lights, the day does lend itself to festive party food – if only because it's still dark as pitch outside.

 

Bring on the snack food!

 

And these crackers are delicious, simple to make and the ingredients are probably things that you have in your house right now. Seriously. So if you have a crowd coming over to watch the game, and are nervous you're a little light on finger food, whip these together. No fuss, no muss.

 

Also, this recipe can be used as a blue print. If you'd rather make blue cheese and almond crackers, then swap out the olives and Swiss, and substitute in the blue cheese and almonds. Do it. You'll like it. I consider these “pantry and refrigerator” crackers because I make them all the time with what I have on hand. Parsley, dill, oregano and parmesan? Sure! Pickled jalapenos, cheddar and cilantro? Sure!

 

The only drawback to these crackers, is that they are so simple to make that it's easy to whip up a batch as a post-dinner snack before bed.

 

Bad crackers, bad!

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Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Crostini PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Saturday, 30 November 2013 14:38

 

 

You've had it happen. I've had it happen. At some point before dinnertime, you realize that you have no idea what to make. And you kind of don't care whether it's comfort food or just plain rice. You just need something in your belly. But what happens when there's really not a lot in the kitchen? Well, sometimes you get really lucky.

 

I reuse old plastic containers for leftovers – empty cottage cheese, ricotta and sour cream containers are perfect. They work just as well as expensive Tupperware and it's more eco-friendly. Normally, I mark the top of all the containers with whatever leftover I put in them, but I kept seeing this one ricotta container without the telltale masking tape description. So I was wary of the container I had forgotten to mark, and just kept moving it around without dealing with the contents. I knew it couldn't actually be ricotta, because I hadn't bought any for awhile - and we can go through a container of ricotta in a night.

 

Then the other night I was searching for something for dinner, and the pickings were slim. Two nearly imploded tomatoes in the fruit basket. One onion. Some shriveled herbs in the fridge. And that pesky ricotta container that I was sure held some old gravy or couscous. I picked it up to throw it out and noticed it was heavy.

 

And it wasn't some weird overlooked leftovers, it was ricotta. Sweet, sweet, you-can-make-practically- anything-as-long-as-you-have-it ricotta. And it had two weeks to go before the “use by” date.

 

Bonus: I had some sourdough bread in the freezer.

 

So, within 5 minutes I had a plan for dinner.

 

Jedd walked through the door with a bottle of wine and in half an hour we had dinner on the table and a glass of inexpensive – but really good - wine* in our hands.

 

And I thought to myself, “This is how you win a Thursday night.”

 

*Pepperwood Pinot Noir, is less than 6 dollars a bottle and it's ridiculously good. Note: I'm not a shill for the company, but hey – I'm open to the idea. Call me.

 

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Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Cranberries PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Saturday, 23 November 2013 00:14

 

 

Hello November. How's it going? You're looking a little gray and drab. But, you still have amazing produce and I'm not about to turn down all you have to offer.

 

Especially when you provide me with fresh brussels sprouts.

 

And I do love brussels sprouts.

 

So does Jedd, as it turns out.

 

A few years ago I realized I hadn't eaten brussels sprouts since I lived at home with my parents – in the early 90's – and I decided to buy some. I mentioned that to Jedd and he became ridiculously happy.

 

“I love those!”

 

So, for 15 years I had erroneously assumed he didn't like these cute little vegetables. And apparently, he had assumed the same of me. You know what they say about people who “assume,” it does make an ass out of you and me.

 

For the rest of the winter we ate brussels sprouts 3-4 times a week. I'm not saying that we were obsessed over making up for lost time, but we sure did eat a lot of them.

 

And roasting them with lemon quickly became my favorite way of preparing them. It even surpassed my childhood favorite of brussels sprouts tossed with vinegar. The sprouts are caramelized and tangy. If you have them on hand, cranberries are a wonderful addition too. They add sweetness to the dish.

 

This would be a pretty addition to the Thanksgiving table, or just a Wednesday night meal.

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