Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Puff Pastry Pear Tarts

Puff Pastry Pear Tarts

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This dessert is as easy as one, two, three! You know what my secret to a great dessert is? The answer is Puff Pastry.  Puff pastry is the best thing since sliced bread I mean it. I always keep a box in my freezer. Sweet or savory, you can make so many dishes using puff pastry.

For my Puff Pastry Pear Tarts, you can use apples with maybe some caramel sauce, really just anything that’s in season or that looks good to you.

Steve loves pears so that’s what I’m using here.

Start by taking a box of frozen puff pastry and thaw it overnight in the frig. You want to keep the dough cold.

Puff Pastry (2)

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Puff Pastry Pear Tarts (3)

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Puff Pastry Pear Tarts (4)

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time for 2 tarts: 20 to 25 minutes
Cook Time for 4 tarts: 40 to 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yields: 4 tarts, 8 servings
Equipment: 4 rimmed baking sheet pans, parchment paper, chef’s knife, large mixing bowl, 1 (1-quart) saucepan, pastry brush

Ingredients:
1 box of Puff Pastry, 2 sheets, thawed in refrigerator and cold
all-purpose flour
4 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick
1 lemon
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of chili powder (optional)
1/4 cup of fig jam
2 tablespoons of water
4 tablespoons of Turbinado sugar

Directions:
The night before transfer the puff pastry to the refrigerator and allow it to defrost or on the counter for about 1 1/2 hours.

Prepare The Puff Pastry:
Start by lining 4 rimmed baking sheets pans with parchment paper. Lay one sheet of the pastry out onto a lightly floured board. The tri-folded pastry sheet, when unfolded, has three equal parts. Cut directly down the center between the creases forming two equal 5″ x 7.5″ rectangles. Refer to the pictures above. Transfer the pastry sheet to the lined baking sheet. Create a border using a paring knife to trace a small rectangle on the puff pastry, (refer to the picture above) leaving a 1-inch border. Be careful not to cut all the way through the dough. The 1-inch border will puff up and be the edge of the tart. Use a fork to dock, or poke small holes in the center of the rectangle. Transfer the puff pastry to the refrigerator. Repeat this process making 4 puff pastry tart shells.

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Prepare The Pears:

Peel, halve, and core the pears. Set the pear, flat side down, on a cutting board, and use a chef’s knife to cut the 1/8-inch thick slices. Fill a large mixing bowl halfway with water. Slice a lemon in half, squeezing all the juice into the water. Toss the remains of the lemon into the water too. Transfer the sliced pears into the bowl of *acidulated water.

Shingle the pears laying them as close together as possible, make sure they stay inside the border.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 1 stick of butter, chili powder (optional), along with 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar, stir to combine.

Take a pastry brush and brush the sugar-butter mixture over all the pears.

Place two of the baking sheet pans with the puff pastry pear tarts in the center rack of the oven, keeping the other two trays of prepared tarts, in the frig ready to follow when the first two come out of the oven. This will ensure they will bake evenly. Now, if you’re lucky enough to have duel ovens you can bake all 4 tarts at the same time. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown and the pears are tender. Once the first two tarts come out of the oven, replace them with the two from the frig.

While the tarts are baking, in a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt 1/2 a cup of fig jam with 2 tablespoons of water, stir to combine.

When the tarts come out of the oven brush the fig jam over all the pears and over the edges of the tarts. Finally, sprinkle with Turbinado sugar all over the top.

That’s all there is to it. I’d say that’s pretty easy. Serve my Puff Pastry Pear Tarts with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

*Acidulated water is water where some sort of acid is added, often lemon juice.

Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Pappardelle Alla Bolognese

2014-08-25 16.53.42

My Pappardelle Alla Bolognese will have you coming back for seconds. The beautiful thick flat pasta known as Pappardelle is perfect for this ragu, known as Bolognese, to complement these ribbons of pasta. Let me tell you how I make this delicious sauce.

I wanted to mention that whenever I make any type of tomato sauce I always have extra. This time is no different. What I decided to do is to post one or two recipes using my leftover Bolognese. At the bottom of this post is a link to one of those recipes. I hope you’ll check out my Portobello Mushroom Pizzas.

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Rosemary-1

Rosemary (2)

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Onions

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Roasted Red Peppers

Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Olive Oil

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Fennel

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Chicken Broth

Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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fresh basil

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Prep Time: 30
Cook Time: 3 hours 17 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 47 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, large slotted spoon, colander, 1 large mixing bowl, 2 medium-size bowls, 1 (10-cup) food processor, mini food processor, 1 (6-quart) stockpot

Ingredients:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound of (90% lean) ground sirloin
1 pound of ground pork
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons of dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 large leafy-top carrots, peeled cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3 ribs of celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of Cabernet (a good red wine)
1 cup of chicken broth, unsalted
1 (12-ounce) jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed (substitute roasted red peppers)
1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
2 fresh bay leaves (substitute dry)
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of brown sugar (light or dark)
2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, extra sprigs for garnish
2 (16-ounce) packages of Pappardelle

Directions:
Here I’m using three types of meat, sweet Italian sausage, ground pork, and lean ground sirloin.

In a large sauté pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. To the pan, add the sweet Italian sausage and rosemary. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon transfer the sausage to a large mixing bowl leaving the grease with the pan.

To the same pan add the ground pork and ground sirloin. Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, and 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, stir to combine. Frequently stirring, cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Turn the heat off.

Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the ground meat to a large platter lined with a paper towel allowing for any excess fat to drain. Transfer the cooked ground meat to the bowl containing the sausage.

The next step is to prepare the *sofrito (vegetable mixture) and purée the Piquillo peppers.
In a food processor add the quartered onion, garlic cloves, pulse until puréed. Next, add the chopped celery, repeat the process. Again repeat the process with the chopped carrots. Refer to the picture containing the *sofrito above. Next, add the Piquillo peppers to the food processor, pulse until the peppers are puréed again as seen in the picture above. Set the bowl aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute allowing the spices to *bloom (to release their essential oils).

Next, add the *sofrito, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, and tomato paste stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently allowing the vegetables to release their water and soften around 5 minutes.

At this point add the chicken broth and red wine. Stir and allow the liquids to reduce by half, 3 to 4 minutes. This completes the base for the Bolognese.

Next in the pot goes the cans of tomatoes. Add the whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and the diced fire-roasted tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon break up the whole tomatoes. Add bay leaves (don’t forget to remove the bay leaves when the sauce is done), 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, and the brown sugar. Stir to combine.

Turn the heat down to medium-low, simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Next, add the browned meat to the sauce, stir to combine. Simmer over low heat for another 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat off. Tear fresh basil leaves dropping them into the sauce, stir to combine, cover to keep hot.

In a large stockpot filled with 8 quarts of salted boiling water, drop both packages of the Pappardelle. Cook according to directions on the package,  8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain really well.

To the bottom of a large, family-style serving bowl add 1 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Add the cooked pasta to the bowl and toss coating all the pasta. Ladle 2 to 3 large ladles full of the Bolognese and toss through. Garnish with fresh basil. Top with more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve hot.

I like to serve Pappardelle Alla Bolognese family-style.

*Sofrito is generally a Caribbean sauce or Latin American sauce of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs. In this recipe, it’s the use of carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and Piquillo peppers.

*Bloom is a term used in cooking. Blooming spices or herbs in fat before the liquid goes into the pot can extract far more flavor than by simply simmering these ingredients in water.

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas

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Twisted Roasted Chicken Salads

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These two recipes will have you thinking differently about the traditional way of making chicken salad. These are my Twisted Roasted Chicken Salads.

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Olive Oil

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Red Onion

Diced Red Onion (2)

Cranberries And Pistachios

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Arugula

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Red Onion

Diced Red Onion (2)

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Cilantro

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 4 servings (2 servings per chicken salad)
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 3 large mixing bowls, chef’s knife

Ingredients For Roasted Chicken:
4 chicken breasts, bone-in skin-on
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients:
2 heaping cups of roasted chicken, bite-size dice
2 tablespoons of store-bought fresh basil pesto
1 cup of seedless green grapes, halved
1/2 cup of pistachios, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of golden raisins
1 cup of arugula leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced
2 ribs of celery, finely diced
1/2 cup of good mayonnaise (adjust the amount if needed)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients:
2 heaping cups of roasted chicken, bite-size dice
1 mango, pit removed and small diced
1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons of Fresno chili, seeded and minced
1/2 cup of fresh store-bought salsa, (mild, medium, or hot style)
1/2 cup of green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
1/4 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of pistahios, lightly salted
1/2 cup of good mayonnaise (adjust the amount if needed)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Place two chicken breasts onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Rub each breast with equal amounts of olive oil. Sprinkle each breast with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the chicken the oven, allow it to cool before removing the skins and bones. Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces. Transfer the diced chicken to a large mixing bowl.

Tip: Complete all the vegetable prep while the chicken is in the oven.

In the first large mixing bowl add the halved grapes, chopped pistachios, golden raisins, chopped arugula, diced onion, diced celery, lemon juice, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

In the second large mixing bowl add diced mango, diced onion, sliced green onions, cilantro, pistachios, minced Fresno chili, fresh salsa, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

Next, evenly divide the roasted chicken between the two bowls.

Finally, add mayonnaise to each of them. The amount of mayonnaise may vary slightly. Start with half a cup of mayonnaise, mix to combine. Check the consistency of your liking. You can always add a bit more but you can’t take it out. No one wants a running chicken salad.

I like to garnish using an ingredient from that specific salad. The first one topped with arugula and the second with cilantro.

These two totally different flavor profiles are what give these Twisted Roasted Chicken Salads their unique flavor.

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