Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blueberry Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

Ingredients for muffins:
3 cups minus 2 T flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
big pinch of salt
dash of nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 generous cup plain, unflavored yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

* * * * * *

Ingredients for streusel:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparing the muffins:
Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line muffin tin with liners. Prepare streusel.

In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla, egg, and yogurt. Add the dry ingredients and stir to a count of 10.

Add blueberries to mixture and stir 3 times, being careful not to overmix.

Press 1 tablespoon of streusel into the bottom of the liner. Scoop the batter into the baking cups, leaving room for streusal. Sprinkle streusel on top of batter, gently pressing into batter.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the streusel has browned.

Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

* * * * * * *

Preparing the streusel:
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Work the ingredients together until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the butter.

Makes 2 dozen muffins


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nutella Toasts

1/4 cup Nutella
4 slices brioche bread or challah, or good cinnamon raisin bread
1 1/2 T unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup bitter orange marmalade
fleur de sel, or any coarse salt
coarsely chopped toasted blanched hazelnuts, for topping

Preparing the toasts:
Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet or the broiler pan with aluminum foil.

Put the Nutella in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and heat, stirring frequently, just until it is softened and warm.

Brush one side of each slice of bread with melted butter, and put the bread, buttered side up, on the baking sheet. Run the bread under the broiler; pull it out when the slices are golden. Spread the marmalade over the hot bread and then, using the tines of a fork, generously drizzle each tartine with some warm Nutella. Top with a few grains of fleur de sel and some chopped hazelnuts.

Serves 4


Nutella Buns

3 sheets store-bought puff pastry (each strip/sheet approximately 2 1/2- by 12- inches)
3/4 cup Nutella
1/4 teaspoon orange extract or 1/2 T orange blossom water
3/4 cup lightly toasted nuts, chopped into small pieces (hazelnut, walnut, almond, or your choice)
melted butter, as needed
sugar, for lightly rolling the swirls

Preparing the buns:
Thaw the frozen puff pastry sheets for 30 to 40 minutes at room temperature. The sheets should be slightly stiff, but soft and pliable enough to fold/bend without tearing.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the Nutella in a heat-proof bowl and heat in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Add the orange extract/orange blossom water and whisk it until smooth and silky.

Take 1 pastry sheet, and spread one third of the Nutella on it, leaving a little bit of space on the edges, so the Nutella does not ooze out when rolled and baked.

Sprinkle one third of the toasted nuts evenly over the Nutella. Hold the 2 ends of the shorter side of the strip and tightly roll the strip into a cylinder. Seal the end/edges with a wet finger; press it down well so it does not come apart while baking.

Brush the pastry roll with melted butter. With a very sharp knife, slice each roll horizontally into 3 to 4 swirls.

Repeat with the other 2 pastry sheets.

Roll all of the swirls in sugar and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Remember that dark baking trays will bake the pastry faster, so keep an eye on them while they are baking.

Remove from the oven, cool for about 10 minutes and serve.

Makes 12 buns


Nutella Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella

Preparing the ice cream:
Place the milk, cream, sugar and espresso in a saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to boil. Turn off heat and immediately add the salt, vanilla and Nutella.

Whisk until the Nutella is fully melted. Chill the mixture in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until it is cold.

Process in an ice cream maker, according to manufacturer's instructions. Store the ice cream in the freezer.

Makes 3/4 quart


Nutella Stuffed Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 T Nutella
water, as needed
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Preparing the cookies:

In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together until light and creamy. Add the flour slowly until the dough forms. Do not overmix. Shape the dough into a ball and cover. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Form the scraps into a ball and reroll to make more circles.

Fill each dough circle with a small spoonful of Nutella. Dip your finger in tap water and spread on the edge of half the circle to help create a seal. Fold the dough over to create a crescent. Crimp the edge with a fork. Place the cookie on the baking sheet.

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool, then sift the confectioners' sugar on top and serve.

Makes 32 cookies


Monday, July 25, 2011

Vanilla Almonds

1 egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups whole almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparing the vanilla almonds:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Beat the egg white with the vanilla extract, add the almonds and stir to coat. Combine the sugar, salt, and cinnamon and combine with mixture. Place in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove and cool on wax paper and break into clusters.

Makes 4 cups


Cherry Pie In A Jar

Ingredients for the cherry filling:
5 cups fresh or frozen pitted cherries
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the crust:
pie crust recipe making 1 (9-inch) pie crust or use a store-bought variety
4 T cold butter, cubed
melted butter, for topping
sugar, for topping

4 1/2-pint oven-safe glass jars (Ball)

Preparing the cherry filling:
In a heavy-bottomed skillet cook fresh or frozen cherries and lemon juice over medium-high heat, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat, stir the almond extract into the cherries and cool.

* * * * * *

Preparing the pies:
Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface. Using the ring from the lid of the jar, cut out 4 circles of dough, that will be the tops of your pies. With the remaining dough, use a 6-inch inverted pie plate to cut 4 circles that will line the inside of each 1/2 pint glass oven-safe jar. Working with the dough as little as possible, make sure that the dough covers the surface area inside the jar with the exception of a 1/2-inch at the top.

Once each jar is lined with pie dough, fill each with 1/2 a cup of cherry pie filling. Place a small pat of butter on top of each pie, and top with the pie dough circles or make a lattice pattern. Make sure you vent the top of the crust by creating a slit so that the steam can escape. Using your finger or a fork, press the 2 pieces of dough together around the perimeter.

Brush each pie crust with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Seal each jar with its metal lid and place in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

Baking the pies:
If baking pies fresh, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. If baking pies straight from the freezer, increase the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes.

Makes 4 pies


Mushroom Tart

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds cleaned, mixed mushrooms, (sliced or quartered depending on variety)
gray salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 T butter, divided
2 to 3 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 T freshly chopped thyme leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 egg, well beaten
2 T freshly minced parsley leaves
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
flour, for dusting work surface
8 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
Preparing the tart:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat 2 large saute pans over high heat. Working in batches divide the olive oil between the 2 pans. When the oil is hot but not quite smoking, add the mushrooms, season with gray salt and pepper, add the butter to each pan and allow to caramelize. Once mushrooms have cooked down to half their volume, transfer all mushrooms to 1 pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the light brown and fragrant. Add the thyme until it crackles. Add the cream and bring up to a simmer. Reduce the cream by about half and stir in the grated parmesan, and the lemon juice. Shut off the flame and quickly stir in the beaten egg. Remove from the stove and let cool to room temperature. Add parsley and stir.

While mushroom mixture is cooling, roll out the pastry dough on a floured surface. Roll the dough out so that it will line a 10-inch removable bottom tart pan. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with the dry beans. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Remove beans and paper.

Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

When both the filling and shell have cooled to room temperature fill the shell with the mushroom mixture and top with the crumbled blue cheese. Arrange the tart mold on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Slice in wedges and serve.

Serves 8 to 10


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie

Ingredients for the crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 to 3 T ice-cold water

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the filling:
1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
1 envelope (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin powder
1 (13 1/2-ounce) can pure coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 large whole egg
2 T butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (15-ounce) can cream of coconut
2 cups shredded, flaked coconut

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the topping:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 T powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded, flaked coconut, toasted or not

Preparing the crust:
In a large bowl, combine flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the vinegar and 2 tablespoons water, until the mixture forms a ball, adding more water if necessary. Pat into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roll the dough out to an 11-inch circle to fit a 9 1/2-inch glass pie plate. Place the crust in pie plate and trim and crimp edges. Place the dish on a baking sheet for easier handling. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust well with a fork. Line the inside of the crust with a piece of foil or parchment, allowing edges to extend several inches beyond the perimeter. Place 2 cups of dried beans in the crust to weight it down during baking and prevent shrinkage. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is no longer raw on the bottom. Remove the foil and beans by carefully lifting the foil out by the overhang. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Ideally, chill the crust for about 4 hours before proceeding.

* * * * * *

Preparing the filling:
Place 1/2 cup cold milk in a medium-size mixing bowl (preferably with a pouring spout) and sprinkle the gelatin over top. Set aside to soften, about 5 minutes.

Bring the remaining milk and coconut milk to nearly a boil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.

When the gelatin is soft, add the sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and egg and whisk until very well blended. Gradually whisk about a 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the gelatin mixture; repeat this process once or twice using about 3/4 cup of the hot milk mixture. Pour the warmed gelatin mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly . Cook for about 3 more minutes or until the mixture is very thick.

Strain the pastry cream through a fine wire strainer into a large clean bowl; whisk in the butter, coconut extract, and cream of coconut until smooth. Stir in 2 cups shredded coconut.

Pour into the cooled pie shell and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

* * * * * *

Preparing the topping:
Beat the heavy cream in a large bowl on high speed until foamy. Add the powdered sugar, and vanilla, and beat until soft to medium stiff peaks form. Spread over the pie. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Chill for at least 8 hours and keep any leftovers refrigerated.

Serves 8 to 10


Roquefort, Shallot & Walnut Salad

shallots, thinly sliced
good quality vinegar, champagne perhaps
romaine leaves
mixed greens
dandelion leaves
toasted walnuts
roquefort or stilton cheese crumbled
plain yogurt
extra virgin olive oil
chive blossoms

Preparing the salad:
Sprinkle salt over the sliced scallions and a cover with vinegar. Let marinate for about 5 minutes.

Mix a couple of tablespoons of vinegar into the yogurt along with about 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste for proportions.

Lay out romaine leaves on platter. Spread mixed greens and dandelion greens over the top. Squeeze out the shallots that have been macerating in the vinegar (discard vinegar) and sprinkle the shallots over the top of the lettuces. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese over the top. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top. Drizzle the dressing over the top and spread the chive blossoms (pinch off the backs) around the platter.


Chocolate Blackout Cake

Ingredients for the frosting:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee, cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate, cooled
3 cups powdered sugar
3 T milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparing the cake:
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed for two minutes. Batter will be thin.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 9- by 13-inch pan or two 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes for a 9-inch by 13-inch, or 30 to 35 minutes for layer pans.

* * * * * *

Preparing the frosting:
Combine frosting ingredients and mix with a hand or stand mixer. Spread frosting on cooled cakes.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kid-Friendly Pastina With Carrots & Peas

1/2 pound (8 ounces) pastina or other small-shaped pasta, such as farfallini
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
kosher salt
2 T chopped fresh basil leaves

Preparing the pastina:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until the peas are warmed through and the carrots are tender. Stir in the cooked pasta. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses. Stir until the mixture is incorporated and forms a sauce. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with chopped basil.

Serves 4


French Fries In Duck Fat

After using the duck fat, strain the duck fat through a fine mesh strainer and transfer to a glass container. Keep refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months.

4 medium russet potatoes
8 cups canola oil
2 cups duck fat
sea salt

Preparing the french fries:
Peel the sides of the potatoes but leave some skin on the ends. As you peel, place the potatoes in a bowl filled with cool water. Cut the potatoes into matchsticks (1/8-inch square) and place back into the bowl of clean cool water. Allow the potatoes to sit for 1 hour, changing the water as it becomes cloudy to remove the starch.

Heat the canola oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven or deep skillet to 325 degrees F.

Drain the potatoes and dry well with paper towels. Carefully add the potatoes to the oil, in batches if necessary, and cook until they just lose their opaque look and are starting to firm up, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain well on paper towels.

Heat the duck fat in a heavy saucepan to 375 degrees F; ideally you want the duck fat 3 to 4 inches deep.

Carefully add the fries to the duck fat and cook until crispy and evenly golden, about 8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and season with the sea salt or truffle salt.

Serves 4 to 6


Grilled Potato Wedges

4 large Russet potatoes, cut into wedges and par-cooked
canola oil, for brushing
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T sherry vinegar
juice from 2 grilled lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 T smoked paprika
flatleaf parsley leaves, for garnish

Preparing the potato wedges:
Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high heat.

Brush the potato wedges with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill until nicely charred and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

While the potatoes are grilling, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, sherry vinegar and grilled lemon juice. Whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Pull the potatoes from the grill to a platter and dust with smoked paprika. Drizzle the sauce over the warm potatoes and scatter the parsley over the top.

Serves 4 to 6


Red Cabbage Slaw

1 head purple cabbage, tough bottom ribs discarded, leaves shredded
3 carrots, peeled and grated
1 red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 cup malt vinegar
kosher salt
1/2 to 2 cups mayonnaise
2 T Dijon mustard

Preparing the slaw:
Combine the cabbage, carrots and onions in a large serving bowl. Douse the vegetables with the malt vinegar, season with salt and let sit for at least 1 hour in order to soften the cabbage and make it seem almost cooked but still with a great texture.

Drain the vinegar before adding the mayonnaise and the mustard. Taste for seasoning. The final outcome should be a creamy and tart slaw. Serve cold or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.

Serves 6 to 8


Fish And Chips

3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wide sticks
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
1 teaspoon baking soda
kosher salt
1 bottle cold beer

Preparing the fish and chips:
2 pounds haddock fillets, skinned and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch wide strips, 5 to 6 inches long

Heat the oil in a large deep, pot over medium heat. Bring the oil to 325 degrees F. Regulate the temperature with a candy thermometer. Keep the potato sticks in a bowl of water to prevent browning before frying. Remove to paper towels and dry well before placing in oil. Working in batches, fry the potatoes until they are cooked through and tender but have no color, about 4 to 5 minutes. Be sure the fries have plenty of room and gently swish them around as they are cooking. Remove them from the oil and put them immediately on a paper towel lined baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and raise the temperature of the cooking oil to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, seafood seasoning, baking soda and pinch of salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and gently stir in the cold beer. Mix until just combined. When the oil is preheated to the correct temperature, dip the fish fillets in the batter mixture. Coat the fish generously. When adding the fish to the oil, dip about 1/3 to 1/2 of the fillet into the oil and allow the batter to start puffing and then gently slide it into the oil. Fry the fish until they are golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes turning the fish over during the cooking time. When the fish are done, remove from the oil and put immediately on paper towels to blot the excess oil. Arrange the fish on a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. Hold the fish in the preheated oven until serving. Work in batches and be sure not to crowd the oil.

Again, working in batches, fry the fries a second time at 375 degrees F, until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove them from the oil, immediately put them on paper towels and toss with kosher salt. Transfer the fish to a serving platter and serve with the fries.

Serves 2 to 4


Chocolate Espresso Cookies

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup dark chocolate-covered espresso beans
1 cup flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 T water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preparing the cookies:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

In the bowl of a food processor, finely chop the chocolate covered espresso beans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chopped espresso beans, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, water, and vanilla extract. Gradually add the dry ingredients and stir until thick and smooth. Fold in the melted chocolate. Stir in the chocolate chips. Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, scoop level 1/4 cupfuls of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until slightly puffed and the tops begin to crack, 18 to 20 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets and serve.

Makes 1 dozen cookies


Miso Soup

12-ounce block firm silken tofu
2 quarts dashi
6 T dark or red miso
2 T light or white miso
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Preparing the soup:
Wrap the block of tofu in 2 layers of paper towels and lay on a plate. Invert a second plate on top of the tofu and weigh down with a 28-ounce can. Leave for 20 minutes then cut the tofu into 1/4 to 1/2-inch cubes.

Heat the dashi in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. When the dashi reaches 100 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, ladle 1 cup into a small bowl. Add the miso, and whisk until smooth.

Bring the remaining dashi to a bare simmer, approximately 10 minutes. Add the miso mixture and whisk to combine. Return to a slight simmer, being careful not to boil the mixture. Add the tofu and scallions and cook for another minute or until heated through. Remove from the heat, ladle into soup bowls and serve immediately.

Serves 8


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Grilling Pizzas

Place a pizza stone on the grill and a piece of pecan wood on or a smoker box of water-soaked wood chips (applewood works well, too) on the grill. Heat grill for 5 minutes on low. Turn heat up to medium for 5 minutes and then test pizza stone with a drop of water. If it sizzles, then the grill is ready for the pizza. If the drop of water doesn't sizzle, turn heat up to high for 5 minutes. When ready to put pizza on the stone, turn the grill down to medium again. Calibrating the heat is tricky -- If the stone is too hot, then lower the overall cooking time (check after 2 to 3 minutes) and watch the pizzas carefully throughout cooking.

After placing the pizza on the pizza stone, close the top and grill for 3 to 5 minutes. With tongs (have a long spatula ready if the pizza sticks to the stone), shift the pizza around and grill for another 3 to 5 minutes. Watch carefully. When pizza is done, remove and let rest for a couple of minutes before cutting.

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for rolling dough
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 scant T honey
1 T extra virgin olive oil, plus some additional for coating the bowl/greasing the trays

cornmeal for the pizza peel

* * * * * *

Ingredients for topping the pizzas (use all or in any combination you wish):
extra virgin olive oil
mozzarella cheese
fontina cheese
Italian fontina
basil leaves, hand-torn
marinara sauce

Preparing the dough:
Combine the yeast and warm water in the bread machine pan. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Sift the flour over the yeast mixture. Add the salt, pepper and honey. Turn the bread machine on the dough/pasta cycle. When the machine has mixed and kneaded the dough and proofed to double in size, or after it's mixed and kneaded, remove to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume.

Lightly flour a cutting board or flat surface. Turn the pizza dough onto the floured area and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. The flour should feel smooth and the ingredients fully integrated. Place the dough inside a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place, about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume.

If dough isn't being used immediately, divide it up and place in oiled ziplock bags or Saran Wrap and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

If using immediately, press gently on the dough and turn it onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, rolling each quarter into a loose ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for an additional 15 minutes. Flatten each ball, one at a time, and roll into a 6-inch round. Place each round in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.

When ready to bake, roll out a disc of dough to about a 6 inch circle. Sprinkle the top of a pizza peel with coarse-ground cornmeal and lay the dough on top. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil before layering on toppings to create a barrier that will help to prevent the crust from getting soggy. Next, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the pizza, arugula and basil mixed, shredded cheeses, prosciutto and grate pecorino-romano and/or parmesan-reggiano over the top. If using eggs, break them into a bowl and wait until the pizza is placed on the pizza stone on the grill before putting the raw eggs onto the top of the pizza.

When pizza is cooked, remove from the grill and let rest for a couple of minutes before cutting.

Makes 4 6-inch pizzas


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Curried Chicken Sandwiches

1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups diced cooked chicken
12 (1/2-inch-thick) pumpernickel, wheat, or white bread slices
3 T diced green onions

Preparing the sandwiches:
Bake coconut and almonds in shallow baking pans at 350 degrees F, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until toasted.

Stir together cream cheese and next 4 ingredients; gently stir in chicken. Spread evenly on bread slices; trim crusts, and cut each slice into 3 strips. Sprinkle evenly with coconut, almonds, and green onions.

Makes 36 sandwiches


My Boyfriend Talks About Our Shared Love


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Corn Fritters

1 1/4 cus self-rising cornmeal mix
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 (15.25 ounce) can corn, drained
vegetable oil, for frying

Preparing the fritters:
Heat oil to 325 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal mix, flour, sugar, and salt. In a small bowl, combine milk and eggs. Add milk mixture to cornmeal mixture, stirring well. Stir in butter and corn.

Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a Dutch oven, or use a deep-fryer. Drop by tablespoons into hot oil. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, or until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Makes 24 fritters


Penne With Arugula & Pine Nuts

Ingredients for the dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the pasta:
1 pound penne rigate pasta
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 T capers, rinsed and drained

Preparing the dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper until smooth. Set aside.

* * * * * *

Preparing the pine nuts:
Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before using.

* * * * * *

Preparing the pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a high-sided skillet, whisk the butter over medium heat until melted. Simmer until foamy. Continue to cook until the butter has a nutty aroma and turns a caramel color, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the pasta, dressing, arugula, tomatoes, parmesan, pine nuts, and capers. Toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time to loosen the sauce, if needed.

Serves 4 to 6


Capellini With Fresh Tomato Sauce, Basil & Parmesan

4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
extra virgin olive oil
2 T minced garlic (6 cloves)
18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried angel hair pasta
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Preparing the pasta:
Combine the cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours.

Just before you're ready to serve, bring a large pot of water with a splash of olive oil and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil and add the pasta. Cook al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra fresh basil leaves and toss well. Grate fresh parmesan over the top.

Serves 6


Shrimp With Fennel & Feta

4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups medium-diced fennel
1 T minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 T Pernod
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds (16 to 20 per pound) peeled shrimp with tails on
5 ounces feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 T minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 lemons

Preparing the shrimp:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-or 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fennel is tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato paste, oregano, Pernod, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Arrange the shrimp, tails up, in one layer over the tomato-mixture in the skillet. Scatter the feta evenly over the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over the shrimp.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp. Serve hot with the remaining lemon cut into wedges.

Serves 4


Vanilla Pound Cake With Black Cherry Sauce

nonstick baking spray
all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
6 large eggs, separated
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sliced almonds

* * * * *

Ingredients for black cherry sauce:
2 T sugar
1 T cornstarch
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup black cherry juice
1 (12-ounce) package frozen dark sweet cherries

Preparing the vanilla pound cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 12 to 15-cup fluted pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the scraped vanilla bean seeds, beating until combined. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture, alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gently fold into the butter mixture. Spoon into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the top of the cake. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with black cherry sauce.

* * * * *

Preparing black cherry sauce:
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and lime zest. Stir in the black cherry juice, whisking until smooth. Add the cherries. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute.. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Serves 8 to 10


Salted Caramel Ice Cream

1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
1 recipe of ice cream base
1 T pure Tahitian vanilla extract

* * * * *

Ingredients for ice cream base:
1 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Preparing the ice cream base:
Heat the milk in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Prepare an ice bath by setting a 2-quart bowl over a larger bowl partially filled with ice water.

Set a strainer over the smaller bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color and the sugar has dissolved. Gradually pour the warmed milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the same saucepan you used to warm the milk. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Strain the custard into the top bowl of the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Add the heavy cream and stir over the ice bath until cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Makes about 3 cups.

* * * * *

Preparing the ice cream:
Heat the sugar in a dry heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat the sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and swirl the pan so the sugar melts evenly, and continue cooking until it is a dark amber color.

Carefully add the heavy cream (the mixture will splatter) and cook, stirring until all the caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and stir in the sea salt. Set the caramel mixture over a bowl filled with ice water and stir until chilled to room temperature. Combine the caramel mixture with the ice cream base and add the vanilla.

Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions.


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