Black bean sheet pan nachos


 

Last week it felt like Summer! It was totally t-shirt weather. I bought blossoms from the farmers market, and spent the days with the windows open. And now suddenly it is wintertime again! So confusing. Last time I checked it was March. It shouldn't snow in March! 

Luckily I have just the way to make it feel like summer! I have partnered with The Feedfeed and Earthbound Farm to share these black bean sheet pan nachos. Sheet pan nachos are one of my favourite throw together meals. They work perfectly to help clear out your fridge, and are perfect for feeding a crowd. You can really put your own spin on them. For these ones in particular, I layered tortilla chips with cheese, then topped them with a super simple, flavourful bean mixture. I then baked them in the oven, and topped them with chopped tomato, avocado, and the Earthbound Farm Southwest chopped Salad mix. I combined the enclosed tomatillo dressing with some lime juice, crema and chipotle powder, which created a sauce for the Nachos. I then garnished them with chopped spring onion, watermelon radish, and the crunchy tortilla chips and sunflower seeds that come with the salad pack. Everything comes together amazingly to make an easy dish that is perfect for a quick dinner or lunch. 

If you haven't had salad on nachos before, take my word for it - it's awesome, particularly something that is cabbage based like this salad kit. The salad adds a crunch and freshness which helps to cut through the cheese and toppings. The bean mixture that I have used here is made with dried beans, but in a pinch you could use canned black beans - just drain and rinse them, add them to the garlic and onion mix, and then add less water than you would with dried beans. Simmer for 15-20 minutes to help distribute the flavours, and ensure you season well. The bean mixture is super versatile, so I like to make a big pot and use later in other dishes. 

I am a big fan of cheese evenly dispersed between the chips, so I like to layer the cheese with the chips when you are arranging them in the baking tray. This means you don't have to rely on the cheese melting the whole way through, and you aren't left with any cheese-free boring naked chips. 

Have fun with these! They are always a crowd pleaser, and can be adapted to suit a variety of different tastes. I can't wait to make them again soon for friends! 

 

 

Black Bean sheet pan nachos
- Serves 6-8 -

Black beans
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Large red onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
12oz (350g) dried black beans
Approximately 2 Litres (8 cups / 64 oz) water or stock
Salt and pepper to season

Nachos
12oz (350g) plain tortilla chips
1 bag Earthbound Farm Southwest chopped salad kit
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced (optional)
Cooked black beans, heated.

Tomatillo lime Crema
1 sachet tomatillo dressing (From the Earthbound Salad kit)
1/4 cup crema or light sour cream
juice of one lime
1/4 tsp chipotle powder

- PROCESS -

BLACK BEANS

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the garlic and onion, and sauté for five minutes, or until translucent. Add the black beans, and sauté for another 30 seconds or so to coat the beans in the garlic and onion mixture. Add the stock or water. (You want enough to cover the beans by approximately 10cm / 4 inches). cover the pot, and bring to the boil. Once the beans have reached a boil, remove the lid, and turn the heat down to very low, until the water is very gently simmering. 

Boil the beans for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and creamy. Add extra water if necessary throughout the cooking process. Once the beans are tender, increase the heat to medium and boil for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cooking liquid reduces to a thick sauce. Season well. Set the mixture aside until you are ready to use, or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge if you are making ahead. Heat well before using. 

TOMATILLO CREMA

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing sachet, crema, lime juice and chipotle powder. Mix until well combined.

ASSEMBLY

Preheat the oven to 425˚f / 220˚c. If you have pre prepared the bean mixture, heat it either in a pot on the stove, stirring frequently, or in the microwave until hot. Arrange half of the nachos in the bottom of a half-sheet baking tray. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Top with the remaining nachos, then sprinkle over the second third of the cheese. Distribute the hot bean mixture evenly over the tray. (If you prefer less beans on your nachos, do not use all of them). Top with the remaining cheese

Bake the nachos for 8-9 minutes,  until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and place on a heat-proof trivet or mat. 

Top the Nachos with the the chopped salad mix, tomato, and chopped avocado. Spoon over the tomatillo and crema sauce. Garnish with the spring onion, watermelon radish, and sunflower seeds and tortilla crunch from the Salad Kit. Serve immediately.

Thank you so much to The Feedfeed and Earthbound Farm for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own. 

Apple and Blackberry Pie


 

Haaaaaappppyyyy Pi Day! I have decided that if I had a day that was my spirit animal, today would be the day! How are you celebrating? There is meant to be a blizzard hitting NYC right about now, so I have a funny feeling that it will be a snow day! Everyone was at the supermarket getting their snow-day french toast ingredients (milk, eggs and bread), and the shelves were starting to be empty and the line was out the door. Thankfully I stocked up super early this morning after the gym, and didn't need any of the ingredients for french toast! (we are having pizza! haha). 

In the Spirit of Pi day I thought I would share a pie that encompasses a couple of different techniques. The thing that I love about pie dough is how versatile it is. The same dough can be worked in a huge number of different ways to yield different results. There is a knack to making the dough itself (my friend Erin, the queen of pie dough, just released a super helpful video talking all about pie dough and how to make it, what it should look like etc), but once it has come together, there are so many different options in how you decorate your pie, what filling you use etc. I have tried to demonstrate a few of my favourite techniques here - a basic lattice using cut strips, pie stamps, and a braid done using the pasta maker. 

- Cut strip Lattice: This is a super quick and easy way to decorate a pie. I like to use a ruler and a pastry wheel to help me cut my strips. One of my current favourite ways to lattice is in a herringbone pattern, which I have also used on this pie. 

-Pie stamps: These are my favourite way to add a super pretty yet super simple touch to a pie. The stamps that I use both cut out the shape and imprint a pattern onto the cut-out, so you can add leaves, flowers etc to the top of your pie. They are great for hiding messy ends of braids, little imperfections in your lattice, or just for covering the entire top of the pie for a slightly different effect.

-Stand mixer pasta attachment: This is the most recent technique I have developed for pie lattice. Using the pasta roller / cutting attachment means that you get very smooth, consistent strips of dough, perfect for a detailed lattice or a nice tidy braid. I have found however that by putting the pastry through the pasta maker it tends to make it quite tough and brittle, so you won't get as nice of a flaky tender texture to your pie pastry as you would if you rolled it by hand. For this pie I only used a small braid around the edge of the pie, as I wanted the lattice and stamps to still have the nice flaky texture.

I went with a super simple classic apple and blackberry pie. I increased the amount of pastry I would usually use for a 9 inch pie, because of all the elements included. If you were doing a simple lattice, or just a lattice and stamps, make the amount of dough used in this recipe instead. I did a fat (approx 1 inch strips) herringbone lattice in the centre of the pie. As always I followed the tutorial by the amazing Stella Parks. I then ran a small amount of pastry through the pasta roller and fettuccine cutter on my kitchen aid, and made three simple braids with the strips, which I placed around one edge of the pie. I finished off the pie by rolling out the excess dough from lining the tin, and cut out lots of leaves and flowers. I used these to cover any messy spots on the lattice, hide the ends of the braids, decorate the edges of the pie, which brought the whole design together nicely! I totally free-styled this as I went, which is half the fun of it - you don't know what it is going to look like until you are finished! 

So happy Pi day! Have a good one! Make some Pie. 

 

 

Apple and Blackberry Pie
- Makes one 9 inch Pie -

Pie Dough from 'Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie book'

Pie Dough
3 3/4 cups (560) Flour
Pinch of Salt
3 tsp (12g) sugar
3 sticks (340g) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar


Filling
600g / 1.3lbs apples, cored and sliced thinly
Juice of 2 Lemons
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1/3 cup (85g) raw / turbinado sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/3 cup (50g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Egg wash
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line the pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1/2 an inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Wrap the remaining pastry tightly in plastic wrap and place into the fridge for use later. Refrigerate the lined tin until ready to add the filling.

FILLING

In a large bowl, place the cored and sliced apples. Toss with the lemon juice, and drain off any excess. Sprinkle over the granulated sugar, and mix well to combine. Leave to sit for approx. 30 minutes to allow the fruit to release any excess moisture. 

Drain any excess liquid that has accumulated in the bowl, and add the blackberries, flour, raw sugar and cinnamon. Mix well to combine, and turn out the mixture into the lined pie dish. 

ASSEMBLY

Remove the second disc of dough from the fridge. Cut off a small fist sized chunk, and set aside to use for the braids. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remainder of the pastry into a large rectangle, approximately 1/8 inch (3mm). Using a ruler as a width guide and a pastry wheel, cut the pastry into strips approximately 1 inch thick. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. 

Using a pasta maker, flour the dough set aside for the braids. Pass through the widest setting on your pasta maker multiple times, folding and pressing it back together between passes until it is smooth and homogenous. Decrease the thickness on the machine to the second widest setting, and pass the dough through several times. You want it to be at least 10 inches long (it doesn't matter if it is narrow). Pass the dough through the cutting attachment of the machine, and place the cut strips onto a baking sheet. Divide into three groups of three strands. Press the ends of the strands together, and braid in a simple 3 strand braid, pinching the strands together once your braid is the desired length. Repeat two more times for the other braids, and then place on the lined baking sheet. 

Roll out any leftover dough. Using pie stamps, cut out shapes from the dough, and place on a second lined baking sheet. 

Using the thick strips, follow this tutorial to create a herringbone lattice. You only really need the centre part of the pie to have the full effect of the herringbone lattice, so once you are close to the edges of the pie, you can leave them unwoven, as these parts will be covered by the braid or stamps. 

Arrange the three braids around the edge of the pie in your desired position. 

Arrange the cut out stamps around the pie, using them to cover any imperfections in the lattice, or messy ends of the braid. Press down lightly to adhere them to the pie, using a small amount of water on the backs of the cut-outs if necessary. 

Place the finished pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. 

BAKING

While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 400˚f/200˚c. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. 

Remove the pie from the fridge and brush with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar. Place on the baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is beginning to set and go golden. Reduce the temperature to 375f/190c, and cook for a further 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. 

Tan Square


 

One of my most treasured possessions is my Grandmother's recipe book. I'm sure I've said this before. Each member of my family has a printed copy of her recipes. But I am lucky enough to own the REAL DEAL. It is filled with pages and pages of her writing, which started to deteriorate as she lost her eyesight. There are little notes such as "good", or "tried and tested" noted alongside recipes. You can always tell whether it is her recipe or not, as she was the queen of credit where credit was due. There are a few in there written in by Mum, and a few more on loose pages written by my cousins. There are also some super weird ones - I came across a recipe today for 'fruit salad base' which contained 4kg of gherkins. But my favourites are the ones that we used to bake together - me standing on a chair pulled up to the bench, and her rushing round the kitchen and loosely following the recipe, always turning a blind eye to me licking the bowl or eating the mixture. Damn, I miss her SO MUCH. 

I've made it a wee goal of mine to bake my way through it - adding my own wee adaptations, or decoding the recipe a little. It is an incredible feeling pulling something out of the oven and having it taste just as you remembered it. 

And this one is no different. Tan square (or tan fingers, or tan slice) is super simple - a basic shortbread base, a condensed milk caramel, and then a little more of the base sprinkled over the top of the caramel. I tweaked the recipe a little from the one in Grandma's book (It was actually a recipe of her friend's so I'm not altering the family history or anything here), by changing the makeup of the filling. The original called for 3 Tbsp of condensed milk, but nothing is more annoying than half cans of things that are a pain to measure, so I wiggled the recipe a little to include the whole can. I also finished it with a little flaky sea salt to help cut through the sweetness. 

The recipe calls for golden syrup - which I find that I have to order online here in the States. It is totally worth it if you haven't tried it before - it has a different depth of flavour / sweetness to corn syrup or honey. You could sub liquid honey in a pinch. Either way this slice is perfect for a morning tea, with a cup of coffee, or for taking to a picnic or friend's house. This one's for you Grandma. 

 

 

Tan Square
- Makes a 9" x 13" pan (approx 12 large squares, or 24 smaller fingers)

Base / crumble
225g (2 sticks + 2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g (2/3 cup) sugar
425g (3 cups) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract

Filling
One 400g (14oz) can condensed milk
75g (5 Tbsp) unsalted butter
3 Tbsp (68g) golden syrup

Flaky Sea salt, such as Maldon, for finishing
 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 350˚f/180˚c. Line a 9"x13" (23cm x 33cm) tin with parchment paper, leaving some overhang to help with removal of the slice once cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until thick and pale, approximately 5 minutes. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla, and mix on low until combined. Place 1 cup of the base mixture into a small bowl and set aside. (This will form the crumb later). 

Press the remaining base mixture into the baking tin, using a spoon or bottom of a glass to compact and smooth down. Place in the fridge to chill while you prepare the caramel. 

In a medium pot over low heat, combine the condensed milk, butter and golden syrup. Stirring continuously, bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture has thickened and is light golden brown in colour. (It will colour up more in the oven). Remove from the heat, and pour over the base. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. 

Using your fingers, press some of the base mixture together in the bowl to form lumps - you want a range of sizes of 'crumb'. Sprinkle the base mixture evenly over the caramel. 

Bake the slice for 25-30 minutes, until the filling is a deep golden brown and the crumb is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and finish with a flaky sea salt. Cool completely before removing from the tin and slicing.