Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Apple Roses

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Every now and then I come across a recipe that catches my eye. I love to put my own spin on any new recipe. It just so happens, it’s Steve’s birthday today so I thought I’d surprise him with these Red Apple Roses. 

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Puff Pastry (2)

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mint

Fresh-Mint-Leaves

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive prep time: 1 hour (to defrost pastry)
Cook Time:  35 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6 roses
Equipment: muffin tin pan, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
2 Red and Delicious apples sliced as thinly as possible (1/16th of an inch)
1/2 cup of Apricot preserves
1 lemon, juiced
4 cups of water plus 1 tablespoon for the apricot preserves (for red roses, substitute plum jam)
1 sheet of thawed Puff Pastry cut into 6 equal strips
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of Turbinado sugar
powdered sugar
garnish with sprigs of fresh mint

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Prepare the apples.
Start by removing the core and thinly slicing two Red and Delicious apples. In a small bowl filled half-way with water add the juice of one lemon. Place the sliced apples into the lemon water and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, to soften, allowing the apples to be pliable. Using a mesh strainer, drain off all the water. Return the apples to the bowl and set aside.

Prepare the jam.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the apricot preserves and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir together and microwave for 30 seconds. Mix with a spoon so that the preserves have a thick syrup-like consistency. I also have some ground cinnamon for the apples. It adds warm sweetness to the apples.

Prepare the dough.
Flour your cutting board or marble surface with flour. Roll the pastry out until it’s half the thickness (almost double in length), and the creases are smooth. Cut into 6 equal strips crosswise, approximately 2 inches wide.

Assemble the apples.
Lay the pastry strips down and brush the jam over each one. Place the apple slices along the top half of each strip. laid out in an overlapping style. Evenly sprinkle the ground cinnamon over each strip. Fold up the bottom half of the strip, then carefully roll up each one until you have formed a rose.

Brush the apricot preserves over the pastry dough and lay the apple slices where they hang over the edge of the pastry. Sprinkle a pinch of ground cinnamon over each apple. Grab one end of the dough and roll up the pastry very gently.

Place the roses in buttered greased muffin tins and lightly dust each one with a little Turbinado sugar. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Brush the tops of the roses with the remaining apricot jam. The apricot jam gives the roses a beautiful shine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Once the roses have cooled, arrange them on a beautiful dessert plate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and dust with a little powdered sugar.

Note: If you prefer red roses, substitute a plum jam.

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Ribollita With Chicken Sausage Meatballs

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I’m giving this traditional Italian vegetable soup a makeover. I’ve added chicken sausage meatballs to what was an already perfect soup. Now it’s even heartier. This is my Ribollita With Chicken Sausage Meatballs.

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Fennel

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Cookie Dough Scoops

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Stuffing (2)

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Kale

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Olive Oil

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Chicken Broth

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E.V.O.O.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time 48 to 50 minutes minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 10-cup food processor, 1 (6-quart) saucepot, cookie dough scoop, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, Microplane, mesh sieve

Ingredients For Chicken Sausage Meatballs:
1 pound of ground chicken breasts
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup of heavy cream
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds

Ingredients For Ribollita:
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 diced onion
1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
1 cup of (leafy-top) carrots (2 medium-size carrots), diced
3 ribs of celery (1 cup), diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (15-ounce) cans of Cannellini beans, 1 (15-ounce) can drain and rinsed, 1 (15-ounce) can purée
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of nutmeg freshly
1 (28-ounce) can of San Marzano whole tomatoes
2 quarts of chicken stock, unsalted
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
3 cups of chopped kale
3 cups of Savoy cabbage, chopped
5 slices of good sourdough bread, crusts removed
1/2 a cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
*E.V.O.O for drizzling over the top of each bowl

Directions For Chicken Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Line two rimmed baking sheet pans with parchment paper. Spray each one with non-stick cooking spray.

In al large mixing bowl add all the ingredients from the list above, except the ground chicken, mix to combine. Add the ground chicken last. Using a fork, combine all the ingredients (flavorings) throughout the ground chicken. Do not overmix.

Note: Every few scoops of the meat mixture spray the inside of the scoop with non-stick cooking spray for easy removal. After forming a few meatballs, lightly spritz your hands with warm tap water. This will give your meatballs a smoother texture.

Using a cookie dough scoop, scoop the meat mixture into your hands to form the meatballs. Lightly spray the tops of all the meatballs with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, use this time to prep all the vegetables from the list above. Once you’ve prepped the veggies the meatballs should be ready to come out of the oven. Set the two trays of meatballs aside.

Start the Ribollita.
Over medium heat, add the olive oil and diced onions. Sauté until soft and translucent but not brown. Add crushed red pepper flakes and diced pancetta, cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Next, add the diced carrots, celery, and bay leaf stir to combine. Add the minced garlic, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook together for 10 minutes until the veggies start to soften. At this point, add the whole canned tomatoes with their juice. Use a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes.

Next, add the chopped cabbage and kale, and freshly grated nutmeg, cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the greens wilt down. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the puréed Cannellini beans, stir to combine. Next, add the whole beans, again stir to combine.

Pour in the unsalted chicken stock. This is the point when you add the cooked meatballs. Still on medium-low heat simmer for another 15 minutes. At this point add in the cubed bread and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. The bread will dissolve and thicken the soup. The Ribollita With Chicken Sausage Meatballs is done at this point. Turn the heat off add the fresh basil leaves, stir to combine.

To Serve:
Ladle a good helping of the Ribollita into large porcelain soup or pasta bowl. Add a nice helping of the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Finally. lightly drizzle your best *E.V.O.O on top. I promise, if you love really good soup or a delicious stew, I would say try making my Ribollita With Chicken Sausage Meatballs.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

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Tips And Tricks In The Kitchen

Let's Dish

Have you ever been in the kitchen and started to cook or bake something and realized you were out of a certain ingredient. Well, I have a few tips and tricks that may help.

Buttermilk:
I know I don’t always have buttermilk when I need it. I learned a trick and I want to share it with you. How to make buttermilk using two ingredients you most likely have your kitchen. All you need is 1 cup of whole milk, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir together and let sit for 10 minutes on the counter. You now have buttermilk for your recipe.

Cake Flour:
Most of us have all-purpose flour in our pantry. Now, I’m not sure I really understand the science behind this but, I did learn that all-purpose flour has a higher protein content, than cake flour. In order to lower the protein content of the all-purpose flour, all you do is measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Next, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Whisk together to combine well and you now have cake flour. Amazing right?

Powdered Sugar:
Powdered sugar is another easy one you can make if you have a spice grinder. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar to the spice grinder with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. That’s it. If you should need more than one cup, just add 1 tablespoon cornstarch for every cup of sugar.

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