Friday, August 6, 2010

Kath's Casserole

My friend Kath is gluten-intolerant.  I thought about that when I was looking at one of my old recipes for a Ham & Noodle Casserole.  So I decided to rework it.  I am happy with the results; so were my official tasters.



4 T sweet butter                                                             
1 small onion, chopped fine                                          
Cooked rice with pine nuts (recipe follows)                     
2 eggs, slightly beaten        
8 oz creme fraiche
4 oz grated Gruyere                                                     
1/2 lb chopped cooked deli ham
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart casserole.
  2. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Set aside.
  3. Cook the rice according to the recipe below.
  4. While the rice cooks, in a large bowl, mix the eggs and crème fraiche, then add the cooled onion, cheese, ham and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the cooked rice, mix to combine, and transfer to the casserole.
  6. Bake in middle of oven for 40-45 minutes. Cover if top is getting too dark.

Serves 4.



1/3 c pine nuts                                                              
1 T butter                                                                     
1 large shallot, minced (or about 2 T minced onion)
1 c uncooked rice (not converted rice)
1-1/2 c low-sodium chicken stock


  1. Toast pine nuts in nonstick skillet until lightly browned.  Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in pot.  When melted, add shallot and cook until tender.
  3. Add rice and stir to blend; cook about 1 minute over medium-low heat.
  4. Add the chicken stock, turn up the heat and bring to a full boil.  Stir thoroughly, cover with tight fitting lid, turn burner to lowest setting and cook exactly 17 minutes.  DO NOT OPEN POT AT ANY TIME WHILE COOKING!
  5. Open pot, stir in pine nuts.  If serving as a side dish, also mix in 1 T butter.  For recipe above, omit butter.

Note:  this rice recipe is designed for a gas cooktop, where the heat can be immediately controlled. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Falling behind, catching up; Ribs at Nanzie's

I truly meant to get my new recipes finalized in the last two weeks, but so much has happened that I have had to let them slide.  But this week, I hope to revisit and refine them to the point that I am satisfied.
In the meantime, I had a great ribs dinner at Nanzie's house this weekend.  Now, I am a Northerner, so ribs are out of my comfort zone.  I enjoy them but don't make them.  Nanzie's are delicious!  Oh, and she makes fried leeks that I find irresistible!  Maybe we can get her to share her recipe?
I had a very good burger tonight.  It was a riff on a recipe in Food & Wine.  I shredded some Pepper Jack and mixed in a diced Pepperoncini.  I stuffed the burger with this mixture, then moistened the outside with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt & pepper.  Cooked it with the grill on "high" for 6 minutes total, turning once (that's for medium rare; cook to your liking).  Toasted a roll, added sliced tomato from my neighbor's garden, and enjoyed it immensely.  Finally, weather that encourages you to cook -- outside or inside.
I have all the ingredients on hand to rework my Rice and Ham Casserole.  In the next few days, I hope to get it done and then give tasting samples to my local tasters (aka, "victims").