My Summer “Pasta”

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Zucchini Pasta with the Paderno Spiralizer

Every summer, I plant my little garden with zucchini, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, herbs, lettuce and cucumbers. What I find is that I always have way too many zucchinis! I’ve given them away to friends and neighbors but eventually, we are all overwhelmed with too many and the need to find new ways to cook them.

Over the few past months, many kitchen / food / cooking websites have featured spiralizers. Which ones are best, easiest to use, clean, whatever. You’ve probably seen them. But it does get one thinking. Personally, I use the Paderno 4 blade and it works like a charm.   So I figured it was time to put it to use.

One night, I made spiralized zucchini for my family, which includes my teenaged sons who could live on soda and chips. And maybe “Goldfish.” It was a simple pasta recipe with seared scallops. My 16 year old son commented that he couldn’t tell the “real” pasta from the zucchini. We all kind of playfully smiled and enjoyed that moment – it’s all zucchini. And it’s a vegetable. Which is healthy. Low carb. And it’s gluten free.

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Seared Scallops with Zucchini “Pasta,” English Peas & Cherry Tomato

I was recently honored once again to teach in the Santa Clarita Central Park Community Garden for the 5 year anniversary celebration. So why not share my simple zucchini pasta recipe with these gardeners? Afterall, they are gardeners and probably have the same overabundant issue with zucchini that I have.

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Ready for Class! Santa Clarita Central Park Community Gardens

Zucchini Alla Checca

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit:  The Fraiche Kitchen

Ingredients

4 med. zucchini – “spiralized”

2 spring onion, thinly sliced or shaved on mandoline

1/2 c Chicken stock

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 c cherry tomatoes, quartered (or roma, or heirloom)

½ c loosely packed basil, chopped

¼ c + 2 Tbl Olive oil

½ c Parmesan cheese, grated plus extra for garnish

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Mix garlic, tomatoes, ¼ c olive oil and basil. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 Tbl olive oil in large skillet. Sauté spring onion until translucent.
  3. Add spiraled zucchini to skillet. Quickly sauté. Add chicken stock. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Cook zucchini, gently stirring. Allow stock to reduce. Add butter to zucchini and toss.
  5. Add parmesan and gently toss. Sauce will come together somewhat creamy.
  6. Add garlic / tomato / basil to zucchini and gently toss. Check seasoning for salt & pepper to taste.
  7. Divide among 4 serving bowls. Garnish with parmesan.
  8. Serve!

You can use any sauce.  Just prepare the zucchini through Step 4!

* Nutrition Notes: Zucchini is low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol & Sodium. It is a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 & Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Magnesium, Postassium, Copper and Manganese.

Source:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2640/2

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On the Menu – Crispy Duck Breast with Fig Jam, Creamy Polenta and Sautéed Green Beans

TFK recently taught a cooking class at the Whole Foods in Valencia,  Yep, right there in the veggie section!

Ready! Set! Cook!

Ready! Set! Cook!

And we promised to share the recipes from the class.

Enjoy!

TFK

Crispy Duck Breast with Fig Jam

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 Duck Breast halves with skin, approx. 8 oz each
  • 1 # mission figs, halved lengthwise
  • ¼ c aged Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Trim fat from the flesh side of the duck breasts. Turn duck over (to skin side) and score the fat in a close crosshatch pattern. Season with salt & pepper.
  2. Put breasts skin side down into heated skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 12- 15 minutes, or until richly browned and fat is rendered. Turn breasts over and cook additional 3- 5 minutes, 125° for rare or 135° for medium rare on instant read thermometer. Remove to warm platter.
  3. Pour off fat, leaving 1 Tbs. in pan. Add figs, cut side down, in single layer and cook over medium-high heat to caramelize them.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar, stir. Continue to cook until figs have softened and vinegar has thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Slice duck breasts, layer shingle style on plate and top with figs.

Creamy Polenta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 c polenta (not instant)
  • 2-3 c mineral water
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

Method

  1. Bring 2 cups of the water and salt to boil in saucepan over high heat.
  2. Gradually pour polenta into water while whisking constantly. Return to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer, whisking every 5-8 minutes until thickened, approx. 40 minutes, adding the milk, then the additional mineral water as necessary.
  3. When grains are soft and creamy, add butter and parmesan cheese, stirring. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Sautéed Green Beans

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. green beans
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 oz pancetta, diced or julienned
  • 1 Tbs EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Juice from 1 lemon

Method

  1. Blanch green beans in boiling, salted water for 30 seconds. Strain and plunge into ice water, “shocking” the beans.
  2. Heat skillet. Drizzle with EVOO and add pancetta. Cook until beginning to crisp.
  3. Add shallots. Cook until softened.
  4. Add green beans. Sauté green beans and allow to caramelize.
  5. Add lemon juice, stir. Season with salt & pepper, adjusting seasoning to taste.
  6. Serve.


Perfect Pies Class

Perfect Pie Class

Sunday, July 12th 2-5pm

Hosted in a Private Residence in Valencia, CA

Berry Pie from Porch Pies

Learn how to make Perfect Pies – from crust to filling – with Robyn Poarch of Porch Pies!

You’ll learn how to make the crust, shape & bake, as well as 2 kinds of pie fillings.  Best part – you get to take home 2 Perfect Pies to share with family & friends!

Bring your fav pie plate and we’ve got the rest covered!

See you in the TFKitchen!

Eventbrite - Perfect Pies with Robyn


Chocolate Pecan Pie for Me, Gluten Free!

I just love pies, especially summer fruit.  And apple.  And chocolate pecan.  Oh hell, just about any.  I’ve been making lots of them lately too, for clients and dinners.  But I have to admit, pie crust intimidates me!  It’s one of those kitchen skills that I did not learn as a kid.  There is a touch, a feel, to pie dough that comes with practice.  It’s a perfect balance of moist but not wet, firm hold but not clumps.  And if you are gluten free, well, that’s just a whole ‘nuther thing all together!  But oh those pies – how I want to devour them!

I’ve been making Chocolate Pecan Pies since I was a teenager.  The recipe is the same whether you need a regular or gluten free crust.  I made these chocolate pecan pies for a recent dinner and could not even taste them.

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So I was determined to work out a gluten free pie crust that I could enjoy.  I’ve been reading so many recipes for dough, online, cookbooks, magazines.  And there are so many out there.  I seem to keep going back to the America’s Test Kitchen book, How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.  I just love the food science that they throw in, such as how to keep it tender while keeping structure.  Naturally, I changed it a bit as I just have a problem following a recipe exactly as written. But oh was it yummy!

Gluten Free Chocolate Pecan Pie

Gluten Free Chocolate Pecan Pie

And yes, I’ll share.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

1 GF pie crust for 9″pie*

3 Tbs butter, melted

3/4 c sugar

3/4 c light corn syrup

1 tsp vanilla paste or extract (or Bourbon!)

5 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c dark chocolate chips

1 c chopped pecans

whole pecans to decorate top

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Roll pie dough between 2 sheets of wax paper.  Remove top wax paper and use bottom sheet to invert dough into pie pan.  Turn edges under and shape crust as desired.
  3. Put chocolate chips into pie shell.  Follow with the chopped pecans.
  4. Mix melted butter, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla.  Add to lightly beaten eggs and mix.  Pour into pie shell.
  5. Place whole pecans on top of batter in decorative pattern.  They will stay on top!
  6. Bake pie approx. 50 minutes, turning half way through.
  7. Allow pie to cool completely before cutting.

Enjoy!

TFK

Gluten Free Pie Dough

  • Servings: For one 9-inch pie
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Ingredients:

1 1/4 c GF AP flour mix + extra for rolling

1 Tbs sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp xanthum gum

5 Tbs butter, cold, unsalted

2 Tbs Crisco®

3 Tbs cold water

1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar

1 1/2 tsp crème fraîche

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, xanthum gum, salt & sugar in mixing bowl.
  2. Scatter butter & Crisco on top of dry mix.  Using bowl scraper or pastry cutter, cut fat into the flour until size of peas.
  3. Make a well in center of flour / fat mixture.  Add crème fraîche and vinegar.  Mix using bowl scraper or fork.  Add half of water, mixing and adding water as necessary just until dough comes together.
  4. Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Pat and shape into a disk, wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Or up to 2 days.)
  5. To use dough, remove dough from the plastic wrap and place between 2 sheets of lightly floured wax paper.  Roll dough to fit pie pan.
  6. Remove top paper and use bottom sheet to invert dough into pie pan.  Gently lift and press into pan using paper as necessary.  Remove wax paper.
  7. Tuck overhang underneath itself and use fingers to shape as desired.

*Gluten Free Pie Crust for 9″ adapted from America’s Test Kitchen