Monday, March 17, 2014

Endive Ham Rolls aka Endives au jambon

Several years ago I found this recipe on a French language site, Les Fruits et Les Legumes Frais (Fresh Fruits and Vegetables). Actually, the site was then called 10 par jour or 10 per day. Regardless, I've enjoyed making this classic and simple dish from time to time. 

At the deli, I ask for the ham to be cut into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Thinner slices could be used, but you may want two or three per roll. The dish can be prepared ahead, refrigerated, and baked just before serving. As I prepared this dish today, I thought that two or three stalks of asparagus would make an equally good vegetable to roll up into the ham. I've adapted the recipe slightly from the original

Endive Ham Rolls

6 endives, washed, with outer leaves removed and ends cut off
6 slices ham, either from the deli or from a leftover baked ham, about 1/8 inch thick
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
3/4 cup finely grated Swiss or Gruyère cheese

Steam the endives until tender, about 15 minutes. If you don't have a steamer, place them in about 1/2 inch of barely simmering water. Drain and let cool. This could be done ahead and the endives stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Cut the endives in half lengthwise. Cut the ham slices in half crosswise. This step will depend greatly on the size and shape of your ham slices. You want the ham to mostly cover the endives and to wrap around them with a bit of overlap.

Wrap the endives in the ham. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour. Let cook until barely golden. Do not let it get overly browned. Stir in the mustard, if using. Whisk in the milk and cook the sauce until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour about half of the sauce into an 11 x 8 inch baking dish. Arrange the ham and endive rolls on top in rows. Pour the remaining sauce over each row. Sprinkle with grated cheese. 

Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the rolls are hot throughout. The ham may brown a little on the edges. 

Enjoy with a green salad and some white wine. ooh la la


Meringue Chocolate Almond Cookies

Faced with a quantity of egg whites in the fridge, I made these meringue based cookies. They are light, but addictive. I think it has to do with the way they melt in your mouth, with the added flavors of almonds and chocolate. Easy to make, and they are gluten and dairy free (depending on the chocolate chips used.) 

Meringue Chocolate Almond Cookies

2 egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate (I used a combination of both)
1 cup sliced almonds, blanched or not

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Begin adding the sugar, two tablespoons at a time, and beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Beat in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate and almonds with a silicone or wooden spatula. 

Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets. Allow for some spreading. Bake 20 - 25 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the parchment, then carefully remove. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bavarian Apple Torte

I posted this over on my main blog, but wanted it here, too, for referencing.

Apple desserts - yum! I first tasted this torte at the home of my cousin Caroline and was happy to see it show up in a family cookbook a few years later. Not overly sweet, but just sweet enough. Apples, cream cheese, cinnamon, and almonds on an easy crust. This really is easier than apple pie. 

Layer One:
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Blend in flour to make a soft dough. Spread or press on bottom of 9 inch springform pan.

Layer Two:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Pour onto pastry in pan.

Layer Three:
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups peeled, sliced apples (I used three Spartan apples and had just the right amount to fit on the pan - I didn't measure them)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Combine the sugar and cinnamon, add the apples and toss together. Arrange on cream cheese layer and sprinkle almonds on top. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then increase baking temperature to 400 degrees and bake until the apples are tender, about 25 minutes more. If the almonds begin to brown too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Cool slightly. Remove from pan, loosening edges with a knife first. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.