Tag Archives: gruyere

Gateau des Crepes

14 Jul

I got this recipe idea from a Martha Stewart’s magazine… since I saw it, I have been meaning to make it myself.

We got together a few friends from my French group to celebrate la Fête de la Bastille – France’s  National Holiday – and it seemed only fitting to make one of this gateau to celebrate.

I modified the recipe a bit to make it more vegetarian – particularly made spelt crepes without any eggs.  The results are fabulous and extremely delicious.  The filling is basically the same exact filling as the mixture we made for our Spinach Croquetas, but added some gruyere cheese to make it more French and decadent.

GATEAU DES CREPES

½ medium onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed lightly
2 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs spelt flour
2 cups plain soy milk
2 ounces of cream cheese (optional)
1 ½ cups Gruyere cheese, grated and reserving ¼ cup for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
12 egg-free Spelt Crepes
 
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil.  When the butter has melted, add the chopped onion and the 2 smashed garlic cloves.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the onions cook and look translucent.
  2. Take out the garlic clove pieces.  Add the spelt flour to the onion mixture and stir to become a paste.  Cook the paste moving it around for a few minutes to make sure there will not be raw flour taste later on.
  3. Slowly add the soymilk to the flour/onion paste and whisk it all while adding the milk.  The sauce will thicken once the mixture boils a few minutes. 
  4. After the sauce has thickened, take off from the heat and add the cream cheese, gruyere cheese.   Mix well together to make sure the cheeses melt.  Take out about ¼ cup of white sauce and place it aside.  Add the dried spinach.  Mix well to incorporate the spinach well into the sauce.  Set aside.  The sauce will thicken while standing, and this is a good thing.
  5. After the spinach sauce has cooled, we’ll assemble the crepe stack…
  6. Pre-heat oven to 450F.
  7. On a rimmed buttered baking sheet, place one crepe.  Slather with about 1 tbs of spinach sauce until almost the edges.  Place another crepe on top, slather again with spinach sauce.  Repeat this same thing 11 times and finish off the gateau with the 12th crepe. 
  8. Top the last crepe with about 2tbs of the reserved white sauce.  Place the reserved gruyere cheese on top.
  9.        
  10. Place gateau on the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheeses melt and create a golden lovely top.

 

Allow the gateau des crepes to cool off a bit before slicing into wedges, just like any other cake.  I served this alongside a green salad with a mustard vinaigrette.

 

 

When I made this, the oven was not fully at 450F and the gateau slid out of place and the filling spilled a bit out into the baking sheet.  I have asked if someone else had this same issue, but no replies so far.  I think the oven was too cool still and instead of just heating the filling and making the top golden, it just melted the cheese all over again.  Maybe using the broiler would be a better alternative.

The next few times I have used my leftover crepes, I have rolled them up and served them individual style.  This makes more sense to eat alone or for just two people… and it’s just as delicious.

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Spinach Pinwheels

2 Jun

Originally this was going to be one of the dishes I was going to prepare for my goddaughter and our little experiment.  However, I forgot completely to defrost the puffed pastry and, by the time I remembered, it was too late… and I did not want the kids to arrive and see evidence of spinach before they had to actually taste them.

So, I made them a week later in a get-together I hosted for my bunch from college.  It had been almost a year since our last get-together and we needed to get up to speed with all our lives.  So my friend Aniette and I decided, democratically we needed to get-together NOW!

I liked these because they were easy to make, you can prepare them ahead of time before your guests arrive and bake while people are talking so you have something hot to pass out.   Kind of felt like a short order cook because I would make them, put a plate on a table and by the time I turned around the plate was empty.  So I went back and did some more… and I went back and did some more… and some more… maybe the plate was too little??

 

 Spinach Pinwheels

 

SPINACH PINWHEELS

2 sheets of puffed pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator overnight – I just buy it and place it in the fridge…
1 heaping cup of frozen spinach, it will become about ½ cup defrosted and squeeze it dry
1 tbs butter, melted
About 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
About ½ cup gruyere cheese, grated
A little whole-wheat flour so the pastry doesn’t stick when we roll it

 

  1. Open the puffed pastry (which comes folded in three).  Place some flour onto a clean surface and flour the rolling pin too.  Roll out the pastry so that it loses the creases where the folds were.
  2. Cut the pastry in half.  Set one half aside and work with the first one.
  3. Spread some melted butter on top of the pastry, sprinkle some parmesan cheese, spread an even layer of spinach leaving a border on one edge and sprinkle the grated gruyere on top of the spinach.
  4. Start rolling from the farthest edge from the border you left without spinach.  Roll the pastry onto itself until you create a log. 
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the second half of pastry.  Place both logs in the fridge covered with a moist paper towel for about 10-15 minutes or until you’re ready to bake them.  This is important for the pastry to harden a bit again.  It’ll be easier to cut if the pastry is cold than if it is at room temp.
  6. Slice the logs into ½ inch pieces. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 425F oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the cheeses smell great and the pastry is puffed and golden delicious.

Transfer them to a cool plate and serve them immediately.

Spinach Puffed Empanada

9 May

I visit the Serious Eats website almost daily… I love it as a source of news and inspiration in regards to food. 

They just recently launched this series of Weekend Cook and Tell where they scour the various food sections of national newspapers to find an article or recipe to inspire a weekend cooking project.  This weekend’s project is to make a great weekend meal by cleaning out your pantry.  They were inspired by an article in the Chicago Sun-Times  about making meals out of whatever you have on hand.

I am pretty anal-retentive about having a tidy fridge and lately I have not been able to keep it as organized and tidy as I would like.  So I am on a rampage of using up everything in my fridge and to liberate it as much as possible.  So you would think why I was so drawn to this project…  I actually went to the market today and I did not use up anything that entered the house today… all of the ingredients have been in the house for at least a week.

I actually used a bunch of stuff I had mostly in my fridge and freezer… and not new things I had; I used up stuff I had bit and pieces, like:

  • ¼ bag of frozen cut-leaf spinach – I don’t know how long this was in there because I was using another bag and moving thing around this morning I found this other bag…
  • 1 2-inch piece of leftover gruyere cheese – left over from making Popeye Pita Pizzas and the Cauliflower and Cheese Mac
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry – left over from a get-together I had last Saturday where I made Spinach Pinwheels that got too soft and fused together and re-froze because I did not know what to do with it at the time…
  • ½ onion – left over from making a batch of my Veggie Dip
  • 1 scallion – left from making a Green Goddess dressing for a friend
  • toasted pepitas – leftover from my Mexican Lasagna recipe
  • breadcrumbs I made a few months ago from bread that got too hard for a sandwich

 The results were spectacular…  I was inspired by a recipe from Ina Garten in her Barefoot in Paris book.  When I read the recipe I realized I had all the most important ingredients in my pantry to recreate it. 

 

 Spinach Empanada 4

SPINACH PUFFED EMPANADA

1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted for only 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge
About 1 ½ cups of frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed and as much water squeezed our as possible
About ½ cup gruyere cheese, grated
About ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tbs olive oil
1 scallion, sliced thin
About ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
About 2 tbs whole-wheat breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs butter, melted
Whole-wheat flour – to work with the puff pastry

 

My apologies in regards to the amount of ingredients in this recipe… because my intention was to CLEAN THE FRIDGE, I really didn’t measure them when I was putting it together.  I just took what was left of the spinach, what was left of the gruyere, a few finger-fulls of breadcrumbs… and “played it by ear”/improvised.  I include a few photos so you can see how the mixture looked when put together…

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onions and garlic.  Sauté for a few minutes until the onions start to soften and become a bit translucent.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the spinach, scallions, onion mixture, gruyere and parmesan cheeses, breadcrumbs, pepitas.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach Filling

The puffed pastry usually comes folded in thirds, but I defrosted it at room temperature for over 40 minutes and it basically fused together and I was not able to open it up as you usually can.  So what I did was to dust it with a little bit of whole-wheat flour, cut it into two pieces and roll it out.  What’s puff pastry than layers and layers of pastry rolled together… so ours will have 3 extra layers than what the manufacturers intended… 

  1. I rolled the two halves of puff pastry one a bit larger than the other… you’ll see why later on.  I rolled it enough to fit the baking tray of my toaster oven.  I cover the baking sheet using a layer of aluminum foil and then parchment to ease up on the cleaning.
  2. Place the larger pastry half onto the baking sheet lined with parchment. 
  3. Transfer the spinach mixture carefully onto the puff pastry leaving about a ½ inch border all the way around.  Try to flatten the mixture a bit to make it an even layer. 
  4. SPinach Empanada 1
  5. Place the smaller layer on top of the spinach.  Bring the edges of the puff pastry together folding one onto the other and securing by pinching with the tines of a fork.
  6. Spinach Empanada 2
  7. Brush the top layer of pastry with the melted butter.  Make 3 slits on the top for the steam to escape.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and smells delicious.
  9. Take it out of the oven carefully and out of the baking sheet to cool off a bit into a cutting board.

Spinach Empanada 6 

Spinach Hole

I was so thrilled to make a large spinach “pastelillo”… served with a nice Salade des Haricots Verts, this made for a great light dinner. 

Spinach Empanada 5

And thanks to it… my freezer and fridge have a few less clutter than before.  This challenge came in with great timing…  I created a delicious meal I have never done before with ingredients I already had in my fridge.

I am sure I can come-up with a few extra of these; I’ll definitely keep you posted…

Re-creating the Pizzas at Co. Part 1 – The Popeye Pita Pizza

9 Apr

Recently, my friend AnnieMariel and I were bored and took a plane to spend a weekend in NYC…  during this visit we had lunch at Co., a new pizza restaurant in Chelsea

When we were talking about our travels and dining experiences to our French class friends, they asked us to please recreate for them the pizzas we had at Co.  They just though they sounded as delicious as we thought they tasted.  We described them in such detail they just could not be left out in the dark.

We gathered at the house of another friend, which meant I had to transport everything to her house to make the pizzas.  And since I am not dexterous in the bread-making department as you already know… I decided to make these pizzas on Pita bread.  Pita bread is perfect and super reliable t make quick pizzas at home and are in the round shape people expect.  You already saw the version I did for my “nieces” when we were traveling in Vermont.

Here is what you will need to make this spinach-lover pizza…

 popeye-pita-pizza-4

POPEYE PITA PIZZA

Makes 1 personal pizza

 1 whole-wheat pita bread, the larger the better
About 1 tsp olive oil
About 1 tbs gruyere cheese, grated
About 1 tbs pecorino romano cheese, grated
 3 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese – make sure it’s the fresh kind, not the part-skim processed kind
About 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach, washed and dried in a salad spinner
Garlic salt and freshly cracked black pepper

 

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 F.
  2. Place pita bread in a parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle a bit of the olive oil and spread it all over the bread.  Grate the gruyere and the pecorino cheeses on top of the pita bread.  Place the slices of mozzarella on top.  Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper.
  3. Now place as much spinach as you can on top of the pizza.  Try to accommodate as much of those 2 handfuls of spinach as possible, because it will cook down a lot.  Drizzle with extra olive oil and sprinkle with additional salt and fresh pepper.
  4. Place in the oven and bake until the edges of the pita bread start to toast.
  5. Take out of the oven and let it cool off a bit.  After about 3 minutes, cut into 4 slices using a pizza wheel slicer.

 

The girls could not believe how good this pizza was… they were raving all about it for days.  My mom had a chance to try it too the next day.  She was also impressed at the flavors and the look.

French Quesadilla

31 Aug

You know me… the Puerto Rican girl with a French fixation. 

After my French get-together, I had a lot of left-overs from the party.. . Gruyere cheese, lots of onions, bread…  I think I thought I was going to cook soup for a French Army or Navy 😉  So, I had to get creative in how I used up all of that without boring myself and that’s how the French Quesadilla came about.

This comes together really fast and has a nice flavor to it.  Perfect for a lunch or simple supper, it can even impress a date.

 

 

FRENCH QUESADILLA

1 whole-wheat flour tortilla
2 tbs caramelized onions – I’ll show you how to caramelize them, but you don’t need the whole batch for this – recipe follows
1 tbs sun-dried tomato jam
3 ounces of gruyere cheese, shredded
Canola oil spray

 

  1. In a large skillet sprayed with canola oil over medium- high heat, place the flour tortilla and heat up a bit, for about a minute.
  2. Place half of the cheese on the tortilla.  Fill half the tortilla with the onions and the other half with the sun-dried tomato jam.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Fold the tortilla, so you know have a ½ moon.
  3. Let the cheese melt on one side for about 2-3 minutes, then flip the quesadilla so the cheese on the over side can melt evenly too.

 

To caramelize onions:

1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 tbs butter
Drizzle olive oil
1 1/2 tbs white wine vinegar with tarragon
Salt and Pepper
  1. Follow the same procedure you might have used if you made my French Onion Soup.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter with the drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. 
  3. Place the onions and stir to make sure they’re all covered.  Let the onions get soft for about 6-7 minutes, stirring them occasionally. 
  4. Lower the heat a bit and cover the pot.  Let them cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.  Stir them occasionally. 
  5. Almost at the end of the 30 minutes, add the salt, pepper and vinegar.  The vinegar will help you scrape anything that might have stuck to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. 

Allow to cool off and use in your favorite recipe…

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