Friday, June 29, 2012

Grilled Lobster Bathed in Lemon-Marjoram Oil

Ingredients for the lemon oil:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
1 bunch marjoram
3 T Limoncello or other lemon liqueur
1 serrano chile (sliced)

* * * * *
 Ingredients for the lobster:
3 2-pound live spiny or maine lobsters
2 lemons (cut into wedges)
zest of 1 lemon  

Preparing the lemon oil: 
Combine the olive oil and lemon zest and juice in a small saucepan and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Pour into a heat-proof bowl, add the serrano chile and limoncello, and let cool. Tie up marjoram and place into lemon oil. As soon as the oil is cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Strain the oil and keep refrigerated until ready to use. It can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar for up to 10 days, no longer. 

* * * * * 

Preparing the lobster: 
Split the lobsters completely in half and remove the head sacs from each half. Being careful not to lose any of the tomalley - and roe, if the lobsters are female. 

To kill the lobsters, hold each one firmly on a cutting board with the head toward you, plunge a sharp heavy knife into the center of the head, with the blade facing you, and quickly bring the knife down to the cutting board, splitting the front of the shell in half. Place the lobsters shell side down on the grill and cook until nearly done, 6 to 7 minutes. Use marjoram bunch to brush on lemon oil. Turn them flesh side down and cook for 1 minute longer, or until just cooked through, and brush with lemon oil again. Serve warm or at room temperature, with lemon wedges and the remaining lemon oil on the side. 


Two Cheese, Zucchini and Tomato Jam Tart

Ingredients for the tomato jam:
2 pounds tomatoes on the vine (blanched with the skin removed), or roma tomatoes
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 T honey
1 lemon (juiced and zested) salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

 * * * * * *

Ingredients for the crust:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 T olive oil
3/4 cup cold water

* * * * * *

1/2 cup tomato jam
 2 cups ricotta
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated, plus more for dusting over the top
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
3 T chives, chopped
2 zucchinis  

Preparing the tomato jam: 
Score and blanch the tomatoes, place in ice bath and remove skin. Place tomatoes, sugar, honey, lemon juice and zest, salt and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Stir and bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Continue to cook allowing the mixture to come to about 220 degrees F or a thick syrupy consistency, stirring occasionally, about 45 to 50 minutes. Put jam into a jar or use immediately. 

* * * * * 

Preparing the crust: 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
In a large bowl combine flour, salt. Add oil, mix together with a fork. Add water and mix until absorbed; knead lightly. Turn dough on to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out flat into a shape to fit a tart pan. Lay over greased sheet pan. Rest for 30 minutes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

* * * * * 

Preparing the filling: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.    

Brush the bottom of the tart shell with the tomato jam. 

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, parmesan, basil and chives. Spoon into the tart shell. 

Using a peeler or mandolin (confidence permitting) shave the zucchini lengthwise into long strips. Cover the filling over the tart using the zucchini. Sprinkle strips with salt and place them in a strainer for 10 minutes to allow excess water to drain. Pat strips dry and lay them over top of the filling. Sprinkle the tart with parmesan and transfer to oven to bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly before serving.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lemon, Garlic and Pine Nut Spaghetti

1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon
2 T pine nuts
6 basil leaves, chiffonaded  

Preparing the spaghetti: 
Prepare spaghetti according to package instructions. While spaghetti is cooking, toast pine nuts in a skillet until lightly golden and remove from pan to a plate to cool. Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add garlic. Cook over low heat until the garlic softens - Do not let the garlic brown. Remove from heat and set aside in a serving bowl. Add basil leaves, parmesan cheese, pine nuts and squeeze lemon into the bowl. Add cooked spaghetti and toss. 

Serves 2


Chocolate Sheet Cake

Ingredients for cake:
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

* * * * *

 Ingredients for frosting:
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 T baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 T milk  

Preparing the cake: 
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from the heat. Stir in sugar and butter until butter is melted. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. 

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased and floured 15-inch by 10-inch by 1-inch baking pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. 

* * * * * 

Preparing the frosting: 
Beat butter, confectioners' sugar, cocoa, vanilla and enough milk to reach a spreading consistency. Frost cake.


Fried Pickles With Ranch Dressing Dipping Sauce

Ingredients for quick pickle:
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 red Fresno chile, split in half 6 Kirby cucumbers (about 2 pounds)

  * * * * * *

 Ingredients for coating and frying:
canola oil or peanut oil, for frying
3 cups quick pickles, drained
1 cup flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 cup panko, pulsed in food processor
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt

 * * * * *

Ingredients for buttermilk ranch dipping sauce:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T chopped fresh chives
2 T lemon juice
1 T chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper  

 * * * * * *

Preparing the fried pickles: 
In a large heavy-bottomed skillet or cast-iron pan, heat enough oil to cover 1/2-inch of the skillet over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a wire rack. 

In a large zip-top bag, add the drained Quick Pickles and flour and shake until well coated. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. 

 In a shallow baking dish, add the panko, dill, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. 

 In batches, dip the floured pickle chips into the eggs and then into the panko, making sure they are fully coated with the seasoned breadcrumbs. 

Place the coated pickles on the prepared baking sheet until all the pickles are coated. 

Working in batches, fry the pickles until they are golden brown, 1 or 2 minutes, turning once. Drain the pickles on a paper towel-lined plate (or another baking sheet lined with a wire rack). 

Sprinkle them with kosher salt as soon as they come out of the oil and serve immediately alongside some dipping sauce. 

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, celery seeds, peppercorns, garlic, chile and 2 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt. 

Using a mandolin, slice the cucumbers 1/4-inch thick and place in a large heat-safe bowl or container. Once the mixture boils, pour the liquid over the sliced cucumbers, making sure the cucumbers are submerged. Let the cucumbers sit in the liquid as it comes to room temperature, for about 20 minutes. Drain the pickles, reserving the liquid. 

Serve as is or fry them. 

 * * * * * *

Preparing the buttermilk ranch dipping sauce: 
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until fully incorporated. Adjust the seasoning. The dressing can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a week.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Jam and Creme Fraiche

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened, and 1 T for greasing the muffin tin
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 cup raspberry jam
creme fraiche (or whipped cream or whipped cream frosting or vanilla buttercream)  

 * * * * * *

Preparing the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Grease the muffin tin. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, flour, baking powder, milk and mix until smooth. 

Spoon batters into muffin tin, filling about two-thirds full. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 9 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 

Dollop creme fraiche over the top and a generous spoonful of raspberry jam. 

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes


Sunday, May 20, 2012

French Toast Muffins

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar 1 egg (preferably room temperature)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup milk

* * * * * *

 Ingredients for the topping:
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  

 * * * * * *

Preparing the muffins: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

 Sift together all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add wet ingredients and stir until combined, but still a bit lumpy. Don't overmix. With an ice cream scoop batter into muffin tins that have sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they just start to turn a bit golden at the edges. 

 * * * * * * 

Preparing the topping: 
Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place melted butter in another small bowl. Dip the warm muffins in melted butter, then dip and roll the muffin in cinnamon sugar. 

Makes 8 to 12 muffins


Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 pound unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
3 cups bread flour
1 T salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 T vanilla extract
2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (Valrhona, 61%, preferred)  

* * * * * * *

Preparing the cookies: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined. 

Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Makes 8 1/2 dozen small cookies


Creme Brulee, Another Way

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water  

* * * * * * 

Preparing the creme brulee: 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 

 Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use. 

 In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7- to 8-ounce) ramekins. 

Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. 

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

 Serves 6



1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 T dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 * * * * * *

 Preparing the brownies: 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper. 

Whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together in a bowl and set aside. Set the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan and cool to room temperature. 

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies will be cakey. 

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. 

Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve. 

 Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days. 

Makes 2 dozen brownies


(Better Than Girl Scout) Samoas

Ingredients for the cookies: 1 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup sugar 2 cups all purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract up to 2 T milk * * * * * * Ingredients for the topping: 3 cups shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened 12-ounces caramels 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 T milk 8 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate Preparing the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together at a low speed. Add the vanilla and milk, adding only enough milk as needed for the dough come together into a soft, pliable ball without being sticky - None at all may be needed. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough seems sticky. Roll the dough out in 2 or 3 batches, between pieces of wax or parchment paper to about 1/4-inch thickness or a little thinner, and cut into rounds using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter. Place on a parchment lined (or on silicone mat) baking sheet and make a hole in the center using a small end of a large round piping tip or a straw. Nicole comments that you can use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Scraps can be re-rolled. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms are very lightly golden brown around the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, to allow them to firm up slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. * * * * * * Preparing the topping: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Watch carefully, especially near the end of toasting time; the coconut toasts very quickly once it begins to become golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2 to 3 teaspoons per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it begins to firm up, to make it soft and spreadable once again. While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching, or over a double boiler. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper or Silpat. Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate. This may require melting additional chocolate, if there is not quite enough for all the cookies. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies


Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of Bisquick buttermilk baking mix 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 1/2 cup milk 2 T unsalted butter 1 T dried oregano 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt Preparing the butter mixture: Mix the butter with oregano and garlic salt. * * * * * * Preparing the biscuits: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray cooking sheet with non-stick spray. Put biscuit mix, cheese and milk in a bowl and mix to form a sticky dough. Using spoon, drop lumps of dough onto cookie sheets 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Brush the biscuits with the butter mixture and bake 5 minutes at 400 degrees F, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F and back for another 5 to 6 minutes.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken and Arugula

Ingredients: nonstick cooking spray 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 large egg whites 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 2 T grated parmesan 1 T grated lemon zest 1 T chopped fresh parsley 4 4-ounce skinless boneless chicken breasts 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 T lemon juice 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 1 5-ounce package baby arugula Preparing the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Whisk together the mustard and egg whites in a shallow pie plate. Combine the panko, parmesan, lemon zest and parsley on a sheet of wax paper. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Dip the chicken, 1 piece at a time, into the egg white mixture, then into the panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Place the chicken on the baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake until the crust is golden and the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Do not turn. Toss the lemon juice, oil, arugula and remaining salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Evenly divide the salad among 4 plates and top with the chicken. Serves 4 (under 300 calories per serving)


Roast Chicken with Salsa Verde

Ingredients for the chicken: 1 4- to 5-pound chicken kosher salt 1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded 2 fresh bay leaves 3 cloves garlic 1 small onion, peeled 1 small bunch fresh thyme 2 T extra virgin olive oil 4 cups baby arugula 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar 1 T extra virgin olive oil * * * * * * Ingredients for the salsa verde: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh flatleaf parsley 2 T salt-packed capers, rinsed and chopped 2 T thinly sliced fresh mint 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 salt-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced 1 clove garlic, minced grated zest and juice of 1 lemon 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (about 1 T) 1 shallot, minced kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Preparing the salsa verde: Combine the extra virgin olive oil, parsley, capers, mint, red pepper flakes, anchovies, garlic, lemon zest and juice, jalapeno and shallots in a bowl and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the flavors to meld for at least 15 minutes before serving; if planning to serve after more than an hour, add the lemon juice at the last minute to keep the color vibrant. Makes 1 1/2 cups * * * * * * Preparing the chicken: A day before cooking, rinse the chicken inside and out under cold water and pat dry. Salt liberally, cover and refrigerate. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lift the skin off each chicken breast and wedge 3 lemon slices and 1 bay leaf between the skin and each breast. Put the garlic, onion, thyme and remaining lemon slices in the cavity of the chicken. Rub the entire chicken liberally with the olive oil. Put the chicken in an ovenproof saute pan or roasting pan breast-side up, slide it into the oven and roast until the thigh reaches 160 degrees F, or until the cavity juices run clear, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes. When ready to serve, in a medium bowl, dress the arugula with the red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces, drizzle with the salsa verde and serve with the arugula salad. Serves 4


Escarole with Garlic and Pine Nuts

Ingredients: 1 head escarole, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds 4 T extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 2 T pine nuts Preparing the escarole: Bring 3 quarts water to a rolling boil. Separate the escarole leaves and rinse thoroughly. Drop leaves into the boiling water and boil, covered, until tender, about 35 minutes When the escarole is tender, drain thoroughly and let dry. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Roughly chop the escarole. Add the garlic to the hot pan and saute until the garlic begins to soften and turn a light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the pine nuts and cook until the nuts are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the escarole and stir until well cooked and very soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve. Serves 4


Chocolate Mousse Trifle

Ingredients for the trifle: 1 quart heavy cream 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1/2 cup creme fraiche 2 batches pudding 3 cups crumbled Oreos 4 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars, such as Heath, chopped * * * * * * Ingredients for the pudding: 4 egg yolks 1 1/2 cups sugar 4 cups heavy cream 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup unsweetened cocoa 1/3 cup all purpose flour 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips Preparing the trifle: In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until aerated, just before soft peaks have started to form. Gently fold in the creme fraiche. In a large trifle bowl, place a thick layer of the pudding, top with a layer of the whipped cream mixture and then sprinkle on half of the cookies and half of the toffee candy. Repeat the process, finishing with the cookies and candy. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours and serve. * * * * * * Preparing the pudding: Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add the cream and salt and whisk until combined. Mix the cocoa and flour together, and then whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. Place the mixture in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously until the mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and chocolate until melted. Let cool. Makes about 5 cups. Serves 8 to 10


Southern Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs

Ingredients for the Neapolitan sauce: 1/4 cup olive oil 1 rack baby back ribs, separated (about 2 pounds) 1 large Spanish onion, diced 1 T kosher salt 6 cloves garlic, sliced 1 bottle dry white wine 2 28-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes, chopped 3 T fresh oregano leaves 1 T crushed red pepper flakes, optional 1 fresh bay leaf 1 2-inch by 3-inch parmesan rind * * * * * Ingredients for the meatballs and sauce: 1/3 cup olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced 1 1/2 cups diced day-old wheat bread (like from a pullman loaf) 1/4 cup whole milk 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20 or 75/25) 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 1/2 cup chopped fresh flatleaf parsley 1/4 cup grated parmesan 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 egg Neapolitan Sauce * * * * * Ingredients for the pasta: kosher salt 1 pound spaghetti 15 fresh basil leaves, torn 1 to 2 T butter 1/4 cup grated parmesan Preparing the sauce: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ribs and brown evenly, about 4 minutes. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and cook until translucent, 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until everything is soft but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine, stirring to deglaze the pan. Add the tomatoes along with the oregano, red pepper flakes if using, bay leaf and parmesan rind. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to its lowest possible setting and continue to cook until reduced by about a third, for up to 8 hours. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Remove the bay leaf. If not using right away, let the sauce cool, and then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes about 2 quarts. * * * * * For the meatballs and sauce: In a small saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, the garlic and shallots and sweat until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Soak the bread in the milk in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the beef with the ricotta, basil, parsley, parmesan, salt, egg and the cooked shallots and garlic. After the bread has soaked up the milk, remove it from the bowl and ring out the remaining liquid. Thoroughly mix the bread into the meat mixture. Form the meat mixture into 2-inch balls using about 1/4 cup for each. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan and add the meatballs. Cook until golden on the outside, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place Neapolitan sauce in a large saucepan and add the meatballs. Bring to a simmer and simmer about 30 minutes. * * * * * Preparing the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti al dente, according to the package directions. Add a cup or two of the sauce to the empty meatball pan over medium heat. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the pan, along with the basil leaves, parmesan and butter. Toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter, top with the meatballs and ribs from the Neapolitan sauce and serve with the remaining sauce on the side. Serves 6 to 8


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Polenta and Peas

Type your summary here. 4 cups water 3 bay leaves 2 sprigs rosemary sea salt 1 cup corn grits 2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 2 leeks, white and light green parts sliced thin, OR 1/2 cup sliced ramp stems (1/2 inch pieces) and 2 cups chopped ramp leaves (1 inch pieces) 1 cup frozen peas black pepper, freshly ground 3 ounces fresh goat cheese Preparing the polenta: Add the water, bay leaves, rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and rosemary, raise heat and return to a boil. Slowly pour the corn grits in, whisking as you go. Continue whisking, once mixture is boiling, lower heat and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is thick and creamy. To prevent lumps and the mixture sticking to the pot, whisk every couple of minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and additional salt to taste. Cover pot while you cook the peas and leeks. * * * * * * * Preparing the peas and leeks: In a skillet or frying pan, warm remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the peas and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes or until leaves are wilted and peas are heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon polenta into a serving dish and spoon the peas and leeks over the polenta. Top with crumbled goat cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 2


Spring Sweet Pea Crostini

Ingredients: 2 pounds sweet green peas in their pods 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste 3 T extra virgin olive oil 6 thick slices homemade or artisan baked walnut bread or other artisanal bread 1 large clove garlic fresh pecorino for shredding black pepper, freshly ground Optional: Mint, chervil, or chives, chopped, for garnish Preparing the pea crostini: Shell the peas. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil, add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to the water, add the peas and cook about a minute. Drain and rinse with cold running water to cool them off quickly. Shake as much excess water off as you can. Now you can work in a bowl by hand or with a blender or food processor. Put the peas and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the vessel of your choice. Mash the peas with a fork or pulse to half-mash the peas. Toast the bread. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the toasts with the garlic. Discard the used garlic clove or use in another dish. Spread each toast with its fair share of the pea mash and drizzle them with the remaining bit of olive oil. Sprinkle toasts with grated pecorino and black pepper, as well as more salt to taste (a bit of fleur de sel is nice here) and any herbs you choose to use. For the record, if you make too many of these delights for your guests to ingest – perhaps because you cooked a four-course dinner for eight when there were only four of you present and you made an extra-large salad in a last-minute moment of panic that by some insane logic there wasn’t enough food – any leftover crostini make a tasty breakfast.


Potato Pea Salad with Tarragon and Mustard Seed

This dish can be served warm or refrigerated. Ingredients: 1 pounds of fingerling potatoes or new potatoes 2 cups fresh peas 1 cup packed Italian parsley 1/4 cup packed tarragon leaves 1 garlic clove 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/8 cup lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 T whole grain mustard 1 T capers 5 scallions 1/2 cup chopped celery lemon zest Preparing the potato salad: Place potatoes in a pan with enough water to cover by about an inch with one tablespoon of sald and cook for 20 minutes or until it's fork tender. In a food processor, pulse parsley, tarragon, garlic until finely chopped. Add olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Pulse a few more times and set aside. In small pot blanch fresh peas 2 minutes, in heavily salted water. Drain potatoes and peas and place both in one large bowl. Add chopped scallions, capers, whole grain mustard and celery. Fold in the parsley and tarragon mixture. Pepper to taste.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vanilla Scones with Vanilla Glaze

Ingredients for scones: 2 whole vanilla beans 3/4 cups heavy cream 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting 2/3 cups granulated sugar 5 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, chilled 1 whole large egg * * * * * Ingredients for glaze: 1 whole vanilla bean 1/2 cup whole milk, plus more if needed 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted, plus more if needed a dash of salt Preparing the scones: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out all the vanilla "caviar" inside. Stir the caviar into the cream. Set aside for 15 minutes. Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the cold butter into pats, and then use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour. Keep going until the mixture resembles crumbs. Mix the vanilla cream with the egg, and then combine with the flour mixture. Stir gently with a fork just until it comes together. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and lightly press it together until it forms a rough rectangle. (Mixture will be pretty crumbly.) Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 12-inches by 7-inches and 1/2- to 3/4-inches thick. Use your hands to help with the forming if necessary. Then cut the rectangle into 12 symmetrical squares/rectangles. Next, cut each square/rectangle in half diagonally, to form two triangles. Transfer to a parchment or baking-mat-lined cookie sheet and bake for 18 minutes, removing from the oven just before they start to turn golden. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. * * * * * Preparing the glaze: Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the caviar. Stir the caviar into the milk. Set aside for 15 minutes. Mix the powdered sugar and salt with the vanilla milk, adding more powdered sugar or milk if necessary to get the right consistency. Stir or whisk until completely smooth. One at a time, carefully dunk each cooled scone in the glaze, turning it over if necessary. Transfer to parchment paper or the cooling rack. Allow the glaze to set completely, about an hour. Scones will keep several days if glazed. Makes 24 scones


Chicken and Olives Tagine

Ingredients: 2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 T butter 2 T olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 T fresh ginger, minced 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 cloves garlic, pressed 1/4 cup wine 1/4 cup chicken broth 1 confit lemon, chopped, or preserved lemons 1/2 cup gently crushed briny olives 1/4 cup chopped fresh flatleaf parsley 3 T finely chopped fresh cilantro Optional: almonds, chick peas, currants couscous, for serving * * * * * Ingredients for lemon confit: 3 organic lemons, skin scrubbed well kosher salt 4 peppercorns 1/2 lemon, juiced Preparing the chicken: Pat the chicken dry, and season well with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and brown the chicken on all sides. Add the onion, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add the garlic and stir for a minute. Increase heat and deglaze with wine, stirring, and allowing it to bubble. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes, then remove the chicken and set aside. To the sauce, add the lemon, olives, parsley, and cilantro and then return the chicken to the pot. Heat for 5 more minutes and serve over couscous * * * * * Preparing the lemon confit: Place the lemons, 2 to 3 tablespoons salt, peppercorns, and lemon juice in a quart jar and cover with water. Store chilled for 3 weeks. Serves 4


Sweet Onion Relish

Ingredients: 4 to 6 yellow onions (small dice) 4 T brown sugar 3 T balsamic vinegar 3 T red wine 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar salt and pepper Preparing the relish: Saute the onions in a skillet over medium-low heat until translucent and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Deglaze the pan with both vinegars and the wine. Simmer on medium-low heat until all the liquid has been evaporated, about 15 minutes. Makes about 3 cups


Potato Pierogis

I like to serve this alongside borscht garnished with fresh dill. Ingredients for pierogi dough: 4 pounds all purpose flour 1 T extra virgin olive oil 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F) nonstick cooking spray * * * * * * Ingredients for mashed potato filling: 2 pounds red potatoes kosher salt 1 stick butter 4 ounces cream cheese 3 ounces sour cream 1 T granulated garlic 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 1 pound soft European farmer's cheese milk to thin, if necessary nonstick cooking spray To Serve: 4 ounces olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, julienned and sauteed sour cream 1 ounce clarified butter 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley Preparing the pierogi dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, olive oil, eggs, salt and 2 1/2 cups warm water. Start the mixer on slow for a minute, and then switch to high for another couple of minutes until the dough pulls away from the bowl. Then slow the mixer down to medium speed and slowly add the remaining 1 cup warm water. Once the water is absorbed, return the mixer to high and let the dough beat for 10 minutes. Remove from the bowl. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Form into balls, spray with nonstick spray, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in a warmer area for 20 minutes. Spray the counter or large cutting board with the nonstick spray and begin to roll the dough with a rolling pin. Roll until a consistent thickness of 1/4-inch. Then spray with nonstick spray. Use about a 3-inch circle cutter and press down hard and give a slight twist to completely separate from the rest of the dough, continue this throughout the entire piece. Remove the scraps and in-betweens, save, re-ball and re-roll. Then flip the circle cut-outs; they are ready to be stuffed. * * * * * Preparing the mashed potato filling: Boil the red potatoes, leaving the skin on, in a stock pot with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Once the potatoes are soft, drain off the water and place in the mixer bowl with the dough hook or paddle attachment. Add the butter right away so it will start to melt. Then add the cream cheese, sour cream, granulated garlic, onion powder and black and white peppers into the bowl and mix on a medium speed. Mix until smooth and free of all lumps. Add the farmer's cheese and mix on high for a couple minutes until a little fluffy. Season with kosher salt. Loosen with milk, if necessary. Set aside to cool. * * * * * Assembling the pierogis: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray to prevent sticking. Place about 1 teaspoon of the potato and cheese filling in the center of all the cut-outs. Then pick up the dough with two hands and fold over the filling. Slightly pull out both sides at the base of the fold, then continue to pull, then pinch, and form and seal as you continue around the half moon. Double check for any areas that aren't smooth or completely sealed. Repeat. Place on the prepared baking sheet. In a large saucepan bring three-quarters of a gallon of water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt to a rapid boil. One by one, drop in the pierogis. Par-boil them until they float, about 5 minutes. Then place them back on the baking sheet to let cool. The pierogis can be made ahead to this point. They can be refrigerated or frozen, but bring to room temperature before continuing. * * * * * When ready to serve: Cover the bottom of a saute pan with olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, saute the pierogis; they should sizzle once they hit the oil. After a minute or so, flip them, looking for a golden brown color. Plate with the sauteed onions and a side of sour cream for dipping. Drizzle with the butter and sprinkle with the parsley. Serves 8 to 10


Roasted Parmesan-Crusted Green Beans

Ingredients: 1 pound haricots verts extra virgin olive oil kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup grated parmesan Preparing the green beans: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Trim off the tough end of the beans and arrange the beans on a nonstick cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and bake until the cheese melts and forms a crisp shell over the beans, about 10 minutes. Let the beans sit a few minutes for the cheese to cool slightly. Lift the beans out onto a platter and serve. Serves 4 as a side dish


Buttermilk Corn Bread

Ingredients: 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus more for greasing 2 cups yellow cornmeal 3/4 cup all purpose flour 6 T sugar 1 T baking powder 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/4 cups buttermilk 1/3 cup sour cream 2 large eggs Preparing the cornbread: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch by 9-inch by 2-inch metal baking pan. Blend the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a processor for 5 seconds. Add the butter cubes. Blend until the butter is reduced to tiny pieces, 15 to 20 seconds. Whisk the buttermilk, sour cream and eggs in a large bowl to blend. Add the dry ingredients from the processor and stir until evenly moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the corn bread until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool the bread on a rack at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Turkey Chili

Ingredients: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 4 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped 2 large poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded and diced 1 celery stalk, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (dark meat) 1 T all purpose flour or corn meal 4 T tomato paste 3 T chili powder 1 T ground cumin 2 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 3 cups low-salt chicken broth (preferably organic) One 15 to 16-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained Assorted garnishes, such as chopped onion, shredded white Cheddar, chopped tomatoes, chopped radishes, pickled jalapenos, crumbled cotija cheese, tortilla chips, and/or pico de gallo, and/or sour cream Preparing the chili: Heat the oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, poblanos, celery and onions. Saute until the vegetables soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turkey and saute until no longer pink, breaking up the turkey with the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over and stir to blend. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to blend. Add the broth and beans. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the flavors blend and the chili thickens to desired consistency, stirring often, 20 to 30 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper. Serves 4


Short Rib Chili with Polenta

Ingredients for chili: 3 pounds meaty short ribs, on the bone kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper One 2-ounce package dried New Mexico chiles (about 8), stemmed, seeded and cut or torn into pieces 2 large dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut or torn into pieces 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 6 large cloves garlic, chopped 1 large red onion, chopped 1 T freshly ground cumin 1 T dried Mexican oregano 1 cup beef broth 2 T dark agave 1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee one 15 to 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained Optional: adobo sauce, from can of chipotle chiles, chopped green onions, polenta, coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate (Lindt brand preferred) Garnishes: lime wedges, sour cream, chopped cooked bacon, chopped red and/or green jalapenos * * * * * Ingredients for the polenta: 2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth (preferably organic) 2 T unsalted butter kosher salt 1 cup polenta or regular cornmeal 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed Preparing the chili: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Arrange the short ribs on a large sheet of foil. Sprinkle all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the New Mexico chiles, ancho chiles and 1 1/2 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chiles are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender. Holding the top on firmly, blend until the chile puree is smooth. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the short ribs in batches and brown on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes per batch, transferring the short ribs to a bowl each time. Add the garlic and red onions to the drippings in the pot. Saute until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in the cumin and oregano. Add the chile puree from the blender, the broth, agave, and espresso; stir to blend. Return the short ribs and any juices from the bowl to the pot; stir to coat. Bring to a simmer. Cover and place the pot in the oven. Braise until the ribs are very tender, about 2 hours 30 minutes. Tilt the pot. Spoon off and discard any fat that rises to the surface and pools at the lower end. Using tongs, transfer the ribs and any loose bones to a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully cut the membrane off each piece of meat (try to cut away only the membrane and not any meat). Discard the membranes and all bones. Cut the meat into small (scant 1/2-inch) cubes. Return the meat to the sauce in the pot. Mix in the black beans. Season the chili with about 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. If desired, add the adobo sauce by teaspoonfuls to increase the spiciness. Transfer the chili to a large bowl. Sprinkle with the green onions. Ladle chili over polenta. Sprinkle generously with chocolate. Serve with the garnishes and warm corn tortillas. * * * * * Preparing the polenta: Bring the broth, 2 1/2 cups water, butter and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy, large saucepan over high heat. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Continue to whisk until the polenta begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the polenta is very thick and tender, stirring often with a flat-bottom spoon or heatproof rubber spatula to prevent sticking or burning, about 20 minutes. Blend the corn in a mini processor until a coarse puree forms. Stir the corn puree into the polenta. Season with more salt if desired. Serves 4 to 6


Grilled Eggplant with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

Ingredients: 1 cup sherry wine vinegar 1/3 cup sugar extra virgin olive oil 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 medium eggplants Preparing the eggplant: Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals or heat a gas grill. In a non-corrosive saucepan, reduce the sherry wine vinegar and sugar by boiling rapidly until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. It should be thick and syrupy. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small saute pan, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until browned. Slice the eggplants vertically in 12 very thin slices with the skin on. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and grill them until they are just about to burn, the duration will depend on how hot the grill is. You want some char here, nearly black is good. This can also be done in a skillet. Drizzle the vinegar syrup over the eggplant slices and garnish with the garlic. Serves 4 to 6


Wheat Berry Salad wth Bacon and Mushrooms

Ingredients: 2 cups wheat berries 3 bay leaves 1 bundle fresh thyme kosher salt 4 ounces slab bacon, cut into lardons extra virgin olive oil 1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice a pinch crushed red pepper 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped 1 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms, sliced (shiitake, cremini or oyster work well) 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup chicken stock 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped Preparing the wheat berry salad: Put the wheat berries in a medium saucepan and toss in the bay leaf and thyme bundle. Fill the pan with water and season abundantly with salt. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the wheat berries until they are soft, 1 hour. Drain the wheat berries and reserve. In a large straight-sided saute pan, render the bacon until almost crispy. Add a few drops of olive oil and add the onions. Season the onions with salt, a pinch of crushed red pepper and the rosemary. Bring the pan to a medium heat and cook the onions for 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat with the oil. Season the mushrooms with salt and cook them for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the wine has reduced by half. Toss in the wheat berries and the chicken stock. Cook until the stock has reduced almost all the way but the salad is not dry. Stir in the parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.


Abby's Braised Spiced Pork Shoulder with Fennel and Onions

Ingredients: 2 T coriander seeds, toasted 2 T cumin seeds, toasted One 4-pound boneless pork picnic shoulder, sliced in half along the grain kosher salt extra virgin olive oil 1 fennel bulb, sliced 1 large onion, sliced a pinch crushed red pepper 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated 2 cups dry white wine 1/4 cup Dijon mustard 3 bay leaves 1 bundle fresh thyme 3 to 4 cups chicken stock Preparing the pork shoulder: Using a spice grinder, grind the coriander and cumin seeds until they are a fine powder. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle the pork shoulder with the ground spices and salt, then tie each piece so they cook evenly. Coat a Dutch oven with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Brown the first pork on all sides. Remove the pork from the pan and reserve. Discard the fat in the pan and give a few drops of new oil. Repeat with the second pork and remove. Lower the heat to medium and toss in the fennel and onions and season them with salt and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Cook the onions and fennel until they are soft and very aromatic, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the wine and reduce by half. Stir in the mustard and add the bay leaves and thyme. Return the pork to the Dutch oven and add stock to the pan until it comes halfway up the side of the pork. Add salt if needed. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover and put the Dutch oven in the preheated oven. After 1 hour, turn the pork over and add more liquid to the pan if the liquid level has gone down. Cover and return to the oven for 1 hour. Turn the pork back over and return to the oven without the lid and cook for 45 more minutes. The liquid should concentrate. Remove the pan from the oven, remove the pork and reserve for 15 minutes, tented with aluminum foil. Skim any excess fat from the pan and reduce the pan juices, if needed. Slice the pork and serve with onions, fennel and juices.


Fried Artichokes with Yogurt-Mayonnaise Dip

Ingredients for the artichokes: 10 baby artichokes extra virgin olive oil 6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled 1 bunch fresh thyme 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper * * * * * Ingredients for the dip: 32 to 35 ounces Greek yogurt 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary 4 teaspoons garlic powder 6 T mayonnaise 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper Preparing the dip: Drain the yogurt in cheesecloth or paper towel for a short while so it thickens even more. Place the yogurt in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix together. * * * * * Preparing the artichokes: Remove and discard the artichoke stems. Peel off lower leaves (approximately 18.) Slice off the top half so that only the light green remains (artichokes should be approximately 1 1/4 inches), then cut the artichoke in half lengthwise. Place the artichokes in a medium pot, flat side down, and add olive oil to just cover. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring the olive oil to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a low flame and simmer for 15 minutes. Insert a knife into the lower half and if easily penetrated, it's done. Remove the thyme and garlic from the pot, raise the heat and fry uncovered for approximately 2 minutes, turning over the artichokes midway. They are done when brown and crispy. Remove the artichokes from the pot and place them on paper towels flat side down. Sprinkle with salt and serve with a mayonnaise-yogurt dip.


Fig, Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

Ingredients: 2 T extra virgin olive oil kosher salt 6 to 8 T fig spread or jam 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin freshly ground black pepper 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto 1 bunch arugula 1 cup shaved parmesan dough for one 17-inch by 10-inch pizza Preparing the topping: Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface as thinly as possible. Dough should be roughly 17 by 10 inches. Place on a large baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Spread the fig spread all over the surface of the dough. Lay the slices of mozzarella all over the surface of the pizza crust. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake the pizza until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately drape the prosciutto slices over the hot pizza. Sprinkle generously with the arugula and parmesan shavings.


Berger Cookies

Ingredients for the cookies: 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 T baking powder 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) white granulated sugar 3 large eggs 4 1/2 cups (19 ounces) all purpose flour 1 cup (8 ounces) milk * * * * * Ingredients for the chocolate icing: 3 1/2 cups (21 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate 2 T light corn syrup 4 T unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) heavy cream Preparing the cookies: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, salt, vanilla, and baking powder. Beat in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour to the wet ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Do this gently; there’s no need to beat the batter. Using a muffin scoop, or a 1/4-cup measure, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Flatten each mound of dough to a circle about 3-inches across with wet fingers. Leave 2- to 2 1/2-inches between each cookie, for expansion. Bake the cookies for about 11 minutes, or until they’re a mottled brown on the bottom (carefully tilt one up to look), but not colored on top. You may see the barest hint of browning around the edges, but these cookies are supposed to be soft and cakelike, so don’t overbake them. Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. * * * * * Preparing the icing: Place the chocolate chips, baking chocolate, corn syrup, butter, and cream into a large microwave-safe bowl, or into a large saucepan. Heat the mixture till it’s very hot; the cream will start to form bubbles. Remove from the heat, and stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature; this will take at least a couple of hours, so plan accordingly. When completely cool, beat with an electric mixer for 6 to 7 minutes, until the icing lightens in color just a bit, and thickens just slightly. Allow to set, then store airtight in a single layer. Makes 24 cookies


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

French Casserole Potatoes

3 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
4 onions, sliced
2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
2 cups beef stock

Preparing the potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Melt half the butter with the olive oil in a saute pan, and gently fry the onions until soft and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Spread half the onions in the bottom of a casserole. Lay a layer of sliced potatoes on top, season with salt and pepper, and scatter with thyme leaves. Build another layer of onions, then a final one of potatoes, and finally pour over the stock. Cover the pan with foil, and bake until all the liquid has been absorbed, 2 to 3 hours, removing the foil for the last hour for a crisp top.

Serves 6


Swiss Chard and Gruyere Quiche

1 T oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces bacon, cut into lardons
1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, ribs removed
3 eggs
1 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream and sour cream combined
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
handful raisins
handful toasted pine nuts
1 deep tart shell, pre-baked in a 9-inch springform pan or a frozen deep dish pie dough, thawed

Preparing the quiche:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a saute pan and fry the shallots until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove to a plate. In the same pan, fry the bacon until the fat has rendered and the lardons are crispy. Remove to the plate with the shallots. Divide the chard leaves from the ribs: chop the ribs quite small and shred the leaves. First, fry the ribs in the bacon fat until tender. Add the chard leaves to the pan, cover, and wilt, about 3 minutes.

Beat the eggs together with the creme fraiche, and season with salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the shallots, bacon, chard stems and leaves, cheese, raisins, and pine nuts, to combine evenly. Taste, and season. Fill the tart shell with the vegetable mixture, and pour over the cream mixture. Bake until the tart has set, about 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven, and cool. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8


A Nonna's Pizza Dough

4 cups all purpose flour
1 t fresh yeast, crumbled
3/4 cup white wine
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups lukewarm water

Optional: A pinch of sugar to feed the yeast

Preparing the dough:
Mound the flour on a smooth work surface, and create a well in the middle of the flour. Break up the cubes of yeast with your hands and add it to the well, along with the white wine, olive oil and a portion of salted lukewarm water. Add sugar, if using. Work the flour slowly, adding the rest of the salted lukewarm water as needed until it turns into a uniform dough.

Cover the dough and let rest to rise for about 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients for the topping:
1 cup sugar, divided in half
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oats or quinoa flakes
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of salt
6 T cold unsalted butter

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the filling:
juice of one lemon
3 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped strawberries
3 T cornstarch
2 teaspoons kirsch or brandy

Crème fraîche, whipped cream or ice cream

Preparing the crisp:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the middle. Lightly butter the inside of ramekins and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of the sugar, flour, oats, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt and the cardamom. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until crumbly. Cover the cover and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and lemon juice with the chopped rhubarb and strawberries. Add the cornstarch and liqueur and fold well with a wooden spatula.

Divide the fruit mixture in between the prepared ramekins. Divide the crisp topping equally over each portion. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the topping is browned. Top each crisp with a dollop of crème fraîche, thick cream of ice cream.

Serves 6 to 8


Friday, April 13, 2012

Potato Chips with Brie Cream and Vanilla Olive Oil

300 grams ripe, creamy Brie
100 grams milk
3 grams agar
2 cups olive or grapeseed oil
1 vanilla bean
potato Chips (Pringels brand, preferred)
ground coffee

Preparing the cream of brie:
Remove the rind from the Brie and cut into small cubes. Place the Brie cubes in a cup. Mix the milk with the agar and bring to a boil. Pour over the Brie and mix until smooth. Pour this mixture onto a plate and let gel. Cut into pieces and blend again until a fine cream is obtained. Put the cream in a piping bag

* * * * *

Preparing the vanilla oil:
Cut the vanilla bean in half. Scrape the seeds out and put it together with the bean in the oil. Let the vanilla oil marinate for 1 day.

* * * * *

Pipe some cream of Brie in the middle of a potato chip. Shake the vanilla oil before use. Place 3 drops of vanilla oil on top of the cream and sprinkle with a pinch of ground coffee.

Serve with a dry, fruity, lightly spiced beer, full and creamy beer, like Leffe Blonde (delicate and light, malty aroma and a subtle, sweet finish)


Chocolate Panini

1/4 cup fat-free evaporated milk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 T whipped sweet butter, softened
8 slices of Brother Juniper's Struan bread
3 T bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

Optional: 2 T chopped toasted hazelnuts

Preparing the panini:
Heat evaporated milk just until boiling. Add chocolate, let stand for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly.

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Divide the chocolate mixture on the unbuttered side of 4 slices, leaving a little border. Press chocolate chips and nuts, if using, into the chocolate. Cover with the remaining slices of bread, buttered-side up, and press lightly.

Place the sandwiches in a panini press and grill at medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes or until nicely browned and the chocolate is barely melted.


Fig and Goat Cheese Panini

2 slices walnut or multigrain bread
3 ounces soft mild goat cheese, like Laura Chenel
3 T fig preserves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preparing the panini:
Spread cheese on both slices of bread. Top one slice with preserves, pepper, and balsamic. Lightly oil outside of bread.

Place in panini press and close. Cook over medium-low heat for 4 minutes. Flip press over and cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until bread is crisp and cheese has melted.


Grilled Cheese, Ham and Jam Panini

brioche bread slices
ham, thinly sliced
gruyere, thinly sliced
1/2 cup strawberry jam, with 2 T red wine mixed in
whipped sweet butter, softened to room temperature

Preparing the panini:
Lightly spread one side of brioche slices with the softened butter. Spread the red-wine strawberry jam on the other side of brioche slices. Layer ham and cheese on one slice of the brioche (jam side) and place the other slice of brioche on top, buttered side up. Grill until gruyere melts, about 2 minutes each side.


Chocolate Parmesan Panini

2 slices country bread or artisanal bread, like ciabatta
2 ounces dark chocolate (64%), coarsely chopped
6 thinly shaved slices parmesan cheese
cooking oil spray

Preparing the panini:
Layer one slice of bread with the chocolate and then with parmesan cheese and top with second slice of bread. Microwave for 30 seconds.

Heat a panini press, grill pan or skillet. Spray the surface and the outside of the bread with cooking oil spray. Grill until bread is golden brown and chocolate and cheese are oozing.


Whiskied Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 T vanilla extract
1 T whiskey
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
1 12-ounce package mini semsisweet chocolate chips

Preparing the cookies:
Cream the butter with the brown white sugars. Add salt, vanilla, whiskey, baking powder and blend thoroughly. Add eggs and blend thoroughly. Add chocolate chips. Blend than add flour.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes.


Sweet and Salty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

14 T unsalted butter, sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 T vanilla
1 T sea salt [fleur de sel, Hawaiian sea salt, or other coarse salt]
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips [Ghiradelli bittersweet, 60%, preferred]

Preparing the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Stir together sugars, eggs, vanilla and salt. Brown the butter. Put 10 tablespoons of sliced butter into a hot skillet. As the butter starts to melt, it will foam up. Watch closely as the foaming starts to subside. You are looking for a caramel color and a nutty aroma. If the butter starts to burn, toss it out and start over. Add the browned butter into a bowl with the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and stir. Add the brown butter to the ingredients in Step 1 and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in flour and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate chips. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and move cookies to a cooling rack.


3-Star Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 T vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour, unsifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups semisweet or other dark chocolate bars, chopped into chunks

Optional: 4 cups of coarsely chopped walnuts

Preparing the cookies:
Beat sugar, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until well blended. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Beat just until mixed. Stir in chocolate chunks and walnuts, if using. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours. This enhances the flavor significantly. [The dough can also be freezed for up to a couple of weeks, either in a large ball or after scooping out the individual cookies.]

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drop cookie dough by 1/3 to 1/2 cup balls onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of space in between. For larger, flatter cookies, use the bottom of a glass) to flatten each cookie slightly. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. [The cookies continue to cook a bit after you take them out of the oven.]

Cool on the baking sheet 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chocolate Covered Macaroons

2/3 cup plus 2 T all purpose flour
1 14-ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate, melted

Preparing the macaroons:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place flour, coconut and salt in a mixing bowl and gently toss together. Stir sweetened condensed milk and almond extract together and fold into the coconut mixture until fully incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Using a small (about 1 1/2 tablespoon) cookie scooper scoop spoonsful of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake macaroons for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the outside shell begins to brown.

Allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes before dipping the bottoms in the melted chocolate. Drizzle the tops with chocolate, and place on wax paper until the chocolate sets.

Makes 20 macaroons


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chocolate Cream Finger Pies

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
8 ounces chopped dark chocolate
1 T unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the topping:
stabilized whipped cream or 1 cup heavy cream whipped and sweetened slightly
grated chocolate or chocolate sprinkles or toasted coconut or other decorative topping

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the pie crust:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 T butter
3 T vegetable shortening
3 T ice cold water
flour for dusting

Preparing the pie crust:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut 4 tablespoons of butter into flour until it looks like coarse meal, and then cut in shortening until well blended. Add ice water and stir with fork. Then use your hands to gently work the dough into a ball.

Flour a rectangular sheet of wax paper, place dough ball in the middle, flour the ball, and cover with another rectangular sheet of wax paper. Roll dough out to a thickness of about 1/8-inch. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough roughly into 1.5-inch by 1.5-inch squares or other shapes

Place dough pieces on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Prick each piece a few times with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees F for 11 to 13 minutes, or until browned on the edges. Remove from oven. Cool completely.

* * * * * *

Preparing the chocolate cream:
In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.

In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk milk and egg yolks until combined. Pour milk mixture into pan while whisking. Whisk until smooth.

Place pan on burner set to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, making sure to scrape bottom and edges of the pan, until mixture starts to thicken, about 7 to 9 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately whisk in chocolate, butter, and vanilla. Transfer hot filling to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap rests in contact with the filling so a skin does not form. Refrigerate filling until cool, 1 to 2 hours.

Once filling and crusts are cool, spoon filling into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip or a quart or gallon size zip top bag. Also place whipped cream into pastry bag fitted with a star tip.

Squeeze about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling onto each little crust. Then top with about a teaspoon of whipped cream. Top it all off with sprinkles, grated chocolate, or toasted coconut. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Makes 60 to 70 bite-sized pies


Stabilized Whipped Cream

1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
2 T cold water
1 cup whipping cream
pinch of salt
2 T confectioners' sugar

Preparing the whipped cream:
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl to soften.

Scald 2 tablespoons of the cream; pour over gelatin, stirring till dissolved.

Refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg white. (This takes about 10-15 minutes.) Then, with a whisk, beat until smooth.

In a stand mixer with a whip attachment, or with a hand beater, whip remaining cream, salt and sugar; whip in the smoothed gelatin mixture, stopping to scrape the bowl twice.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pork Belly Bao

Ingredients for the pork belly:
1 1/2 pounds fresh pork belly, with skin
1 T peanut oil
1 T dark soy sauce

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the sauce:
1/2 cup vegetable stock
4 T light soy sauce
1 heaping T brown sugar
1 T Shaohsing rice wine
1 T peanut oil
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 T Sichuan peppercorns
2 star anise
1 T cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons water (cornstarch slurry)
1 cup salted peanuts, ground or chopped
2 heaping T brown sugar

10 to 12 Chinese bao buns

2 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces, then julienned
4 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the pickle:
1 hothouse or English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 T sugar

Preparing the pork belly:
Bring a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot of water to a boil. Add the pork belly and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the pot, rinse under cold water and then dry with some paper towels. Slice the pork into 3 even pieces and set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat and add the peanut oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the pork pieces and stir-fry for about 1 minute per side to brown. When the pork is browned, add the dark soy and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate that will fit inside a large bamboo steamer with at least a 1-inch margin between the plate and the steamer.

* * * * * * *

Preparing the sauce:
In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir to combine the vegetable stock, light soy sauce, brown sugar and rice wine; set aside. Reheat the wok and add the peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger, Sichuan peppercorns and star anise and then stir-fry for a few seconds. Add in the sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour the sauce over the pork.

Place the plate of pork into a steamer over a wok or pot filled halfway with water and bring to a boil. Steam the pork over medium heat until the pork is tender, 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Check the pot occasionally to be sure that the water hasn't completely evaporated.

Remove the pork from the steamer and transfer all of the juices from the pork into a small wo k or pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir in the cornstarch slurry. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken the sauce.

In a mortar and pestle, crush the peanuts, or finely chop them with your knife. Combine the peanuts and brown sugar; set aside until ready to serve.

Slice the pork belly. Fill each bao bun with a slice of pork and a few tablespoons of the thickened pork sauce, garnish with the sweetened peanut crumble, the ucumber and shallot pickle, scallions and fresh cilantro.

* * * * * *

Preparing the pickle:
Put the cucumbers and shallots in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, add the mirin, rice vinegar and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and let marinate for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Serves 4 to 6


Almond Cake

1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup almond paste, cut into half-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sour cream

Preparing the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with vegetable spray. An alternative is to butter and flour the cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, cake flour and baking powder and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and almond paste on high speed until smooth, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add confectioners' sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined and light and fluffy. Raise speed to high and add the vanilla extract, whole eggs and egg yolks, 1 at a time. Mix until well combined. Reduce speed to medium and add the sour cream and dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool. Remove from pan and dust with confectioners' sugar.


Savory Palmiers

puff pastry
all purpose flour, for dusting
1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preparing the palmiers:
Put the puff pastry on a well-floured counter and bash it with a rolling pin. Usually we need to be quite delicate with puff pastry, as it needs to puff up a lot, but for palmiers it needs to puff up only a little. Roll the pastry out into a rectangle about 12-inches by 14-inches and 1/8-inch thick. Spread the tomatoes over the puff pastry and sprinkle over the rosemary.

With the shortest end facing you, take both long edges of the pastry and roll them toward each other to meet in the middle. Brush a little egg down the center to stick the two halves together. Carefully lift onto a large baking sheet and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill and harden.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the roll from the refrigerator and, using a very sharp knife, slice it into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Place each piece on the baking sheet and brush well with the beaten egg, then bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until puffed up, crisp, and golden.

Remove the palmiers from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet.

Makes about 30 palmiers


Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers

puff pastry
all purpose flour, for dusting
cinnamon sugar
semisweet chocolate, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preparing the palmiers:
Put the puff pastry on a well-floured counter and bash it with a rolling pin. Usually we need to be quite delicate with puff pastry, as it needs to puff up a lot, but for palmiers it needs to puff up only a little. Roll the pastry out into a rectangle about 12-inches by 14-inches and 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the pastry.

With the shortest end facing you, take both long edges of the pastry and roll them toward each other to meet in the middle. Brush a little egg down the center to stick the two halves together. Carefully lift onto a large baking sheet and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill and harden.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the roll from the refrigerator and, using a very sharp knife, slice it into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Place each piece on the baking sheet and brush well with the beaten egg, then bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until puffed up, crisp, and golden.

Remove the palmiers from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet. When cool, dip the palmiers into the melted chocolate and return to the parchment or silpat lined baking sheet to harden.

Makes about 30 palmiers


Chicken Apple Sausage Rolls with Hot Honey Mustard

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, well beaten
3 chicken apple sausages, cooked and cut into thirds
1 cup spicy Dijon mustard
1 cup spicy whole grain mustard
1/2 cup honey

Preparing the sausage rolls:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper and place 1 sheet of puff pastry on it.
Cut the sheet of pastry into 9 equal squares, each about 3 by 3-inches.

Brush each square with the egg and place 1 piece of sausage in the middle of each pastry square. Fold the corners of the pastry inward to come together in the middle. Pinch the corners together in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to bake.

When ready to bake remove the plastic wrap from the trays and brush the pastry with the remaining egg-wash. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl mix the mustards together with the honey until well combined. Serve the sausage rolls hot from the oven with a bowl of the honey mustard on the side.

Makes 9 rolls


Sausage Rolls

puff pastry
all purpose flour, for dusting
1 egg, beaten
8 uncooked sausages, cut in half crosswise
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of thyme leaves

Preparing the sausage rolls:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll the pastry out on a floured counter to a rectangle of about 19-inchs x 12 1/2-inches and bash the pastry with the rolling pin a bit. Puff pastry is made of fine layers and normally you have to be very delicate with it. For sausage rolls the pastry needs to be slightly puffed but not too much, so bashing it with a rolling pin reduces the amount it puffs up.

Cut the large rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut both smaller rectangles into eight equal sections. You now have 16 rectangles in total. Brush one end of each rectangle with a little of the beaten egg and lay a piece of sausage at the other end, then season the sausage with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Roll the sausage up in the pastry to enclose and repeat with all the sausages. For a flavor variation add sage, parsley, or chopped rosemary. Put the sausage rolls in the refrigerator for 20 minutes for the pastry to harden.

Once the pastry is hard, remove them from the refrigerator and score the tops with a sharp knife for decoration or prick with a fork. Brush well all over with the rest of the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry has turned a golden brown and looks crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Makes 16 rolls


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo balls can be made 2 days ahead and cooled uncovered in broth, then chilled, covered. Reheat over medium heat.

Ingredients for matzo balls:
1 small onion, peeled and finely grated
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 T melted chicken fat or vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 T finely chopped dill
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup matzo meal

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the soup:
2 quarts homemade chicken soup
2 T chopped celery leaves
1 T finely chopped fresh dill

Preparing the matzo balls:
Stir together all ingredients until well blended and chill, covered at least 1 hour.
Bring an 8-quart pot of salted water to a simmer. With wet hands, roll matzo mixture into 8 balls and simmer, covered, until cooked through, about 35 minutes -- The matzo balls expand.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken soup until simmering in a wide 5-quart pot and transfer matzo balls with a slotted spoon to soup. Gently simmer with celery leaves and dill for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.


Iced Molasses Cookies

Ingredients for the dough:
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup dark molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 T ground ginger
1 T ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 T ground allspice
1 cup buttermilk

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the icing:
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparing the dough:
In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, molasses and vanilla. Combine the flour ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and allspice; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 to 9 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

* * * * * *

Preparing the icing:
Cream shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and ginger. Add milk; beat until light and fluffy. Spread over cookies. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. Store in an air tight container.

Makes about 7 dozen cookies


Baked Penne Rigate with Pork and Pancetta

6 T extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
9 ounces pancetta, cubed
18 ounces ground pork
2 T freshly chopped rosemary
1 14-ounce can cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
2 3/4 cups (11 ounces) penne rigate
4 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preparing the baked penne:
In a large saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté the onion and carrot for 5 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Add the pancetta with the ground pork and rosemary and cook, stirring continuously, until colored all over, about 5 minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the meat sauce. Stir well and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Break the eggs into the pan of cooled pasta and sauce, then add the grated parmesan. Mix together.

Brush the remaining oil over the side and base of an 8 1/2-inch round non-stick baking dish with sides about 2 inches deep. Pour in the pasta mixture and spread out evenly.

Cook in the center of the preheated oven for 20 minutes until crispy and set.
Once cooked, let rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Serves 6


Flatbread With Yellow Split Pea Spread

Ingredients for flatbread:
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked pepper
1/2 cup non-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water

* * * * * *

Ingredients for split pea spread:
1 T canola oil
1/2 cup yellow split peas
1/3 cup water
juice of 1 small lemon or lime
1 medium tomato, diced
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2 T fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Preparing the flatbread:
Thoroughly combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, chopped rosemary, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Pour buttermilk over the flour mixture and quickly stir it in. Pour a few tablespoons warm water over the flour, stirring it in as you go. Repeat, adding more water a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough comes together to form a soft ball. The dough should be very soft, close to being slightly sticky (so if you add an extra tablespoon or so, it won’t hurt it).

Gather the ball, picking up any dry flour in the bottom of the bowl, and knead it in the bowl for a minute or two to form a smooth, soft ball of dough. If it’s a little too sticky to handle, dust your hand with flour, but do not add any more flour to the dough if possible.

Cut the dough into 4 equal portions. Lightly coat a large plate with cooking spray. Shape each portion of dough into a round the size of a hamburger bun and put it on the plate. Coat the tops with cooking spray or brush with oil, cover with plastic wrap or a slightly dampened cloth, and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Place a pizza stone or large cast iron skillet on the lowest oven rack; preheat to the highest bake setting (500 to 550 degrees F).

Lightly flour a small work area. Press a piece of dough down to form a patty. Roll out or pat the dough into a round roughly 6 to 8 inches in diameter, dusting with flour as needed. Make sure the round is evenly thin, with no tears on the surface. Place the round onto the hot pizza stone or skillet. Within seconds, it will start to bubble in spots. Close the oven door and cook until golden brown on the bottom and light brown patches appear on the top, 3 to 6 minutes. Remove and slide the flatbread between two pieces of foil to keep warm.

Repeat with the remaining dough rounds, stacking them in the foil to keep warm. Serve the spread alongside the flatbreads.

* * * * * *

Preparing the split pea spread:
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add yellow split peas and toast until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the peas and any remaining oil to a blender. Add 1/3 cup water, lemon or lime juice, tomato, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and puree, scraping down the sides as needed, to make a slightly gritty puree.

The spread can be prepared and refrigerated one day ahead, but serve at room temperature.

Serves 4


Egg McBiscuits

To turn these biscuits into breakfast sandwiches, preheat a griddle. Cut the biscuits in half and spread with butter. Cook the biscuits, cut side down, until golden, then fill the biscuits with ham, cheddar and fried eggs. Spread with raspberry or strawberry jam.

4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 T kosher salt
1 1/2 T baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled, plus more for spreading
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
10 ounces sliced country ham
10 ounces sliced cheddar cheese
10 fried eggs, for serving
raspberry jam, for serving
Preparing the biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, baking powder and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until it is the size of small peas. Add the buttermilk and stir until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface; knead until it comes together. Pat the dough 3/4 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out as many biscuits as possible. Reroll the scraps and stamp out more biscuits.

Transfer the biscuits to the baking sheets and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and risen, shifting the pans halfway through baking. Let the biscuits cool.

Serves 10
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Whole Kernal Corn Muffins

Ingredients for the batter:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup whole kernel corn

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the honey butter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 to 3 T honey

Preparing the muffins:
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, combine egg, egg yolk, buttermilk and oil. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in corn.

Fill greased muffin cups three-quarters full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18 to 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack.

In a small bowl, beat butter and honey until blended. Serve with muffins.

Makes 12 muffins


Fresh Strawberry Almond Scones

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
2 T turbinado sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 T buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Preparing the scones:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the all purpose and whole wheat pastry flours with the granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk and carefully fold in the sliced strawberries.

Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, scoop the dough into 16 mounds on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the scones are golden and cooked through; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Let the scones cool on a rack for 30 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden.

In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar with the buttermilk, almond extract and salt. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Drizzle the scones with the glaze, then top with the almonds, pressing to help them adhere. Let dry for 10 minutes, then serve.

Makes 16 scones


Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 T sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/4 cups shaken buttermilk, plus more for loosening batter if necessary
2 T butter, melted and slightly cooled
melted butter for cooking pancakes

Preparing the pancakes:
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and whisk until just combined; batter will be slightly lumpy.

Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and brush griddle with additional melted butter. Measure out pancake batter 1/3 cup at a time and pour in batches into griddle or skillet. Cook until edges brown and bubbles form around edges and center of pancakes, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Flip and continue cooking.

[If batter becomes too thick, loosen with additional buttermilk, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. If you like sweeter pancakes, add an additional tablespoon of sugar to the batter.]

Serves 4


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