Friday, December 31, 2010
I deviated only slightly from The Joy of Cooking's recipe for Italian meatballs, which start with a German meatball (or Konigsberger Klops), and then get more Italian-y.
Here's what I did:
2010 New Year's Eve Meaty Balls
1 lb grassfed beef, ground
1/2 cup panko crumbs
3 heaping tbsp chopped parsley
3 heaping tbsp parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp nutmeg
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil (I cheated and used leftover bacon fat). Once cooled, add to ground beef in a good-sized bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with clean hands. Form into your desired shape (I made one inch balls) and sautee in a large pan in olive oil, turning so that each part of the meaty-balls is browned. Place in a casserole dish filled with tomato sauce and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
I asked D to do the pasta up right, and that he did. I don't think I'll ever serve pasta without doing it up this way. I had roasted two heads of garlic the day before, and D melted some butter with the roasted garlic and tossed it with whole wheat linguine. He added fresh cracked black pepper and chopped parsley and that's how we served the meat balls....on top of this amazing pasta.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I remember visiting a Russian bar-bistro in the East Village called Anyway Cafe years ago and being transfixed by the number of infused vodkas on the menu (the food an ambiance there are fantastic, too). I chose this spot to celebrate a publication I worked on once with the Open Society Institute and a Ukranian colleague, and we had a really nice time.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tanoreen recently moved to a larger location with a liquor license. I was afraid a move like that might kill the spirit of the lovely little restaurant where the chef and owner, Palestinian and Nazareth-born Rawia Bishawa, would come out from the kitchen and check in with guests to make sure they were enjoying their meal. Bishawa still comes out, and the place is even warmer and more festive than its smaller digs down the street. Bishawa and her team cook up an amazing array of food from all over the Middle East. I am so glad that I've outgrown my childish distaste of lamb, because lamb is a huge part of Tanoreen's menu.
One of my favorite dishes is muhamarra, which is a blend of roasted red pepper, walnut, and garlic. I absolutely love it, and have vowed to make it in the New Year. D and I shared the lamb kafta roll, which the menu noted was featured on ABC news, along with the recipe. It was one of the best entrees I have ever had. We ordered several bottles of this Lebanese wine, which D really enjoyed. Our friend told us he can sometimes find it at Red, White, and Bubbly in Park Slope.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
I couldn't quite visualize how to roll these up, but it was pretty simple. Just stretch the dough out to be large enough to cover one whole sausage, and then roll it up with cheese and fresh ground black pepper, stretching the pastry dough over the sausage. At the last minute, we had the idea of rolling the sausages in parsley.
We popped them back in the fridge and let them sit overnight. About an hour and a half before the party, we cut them into 8 pieces each and placed them on a greased cookie pan. We baked them at 350 degrees until the pastry started to brown. Then we placed them on a tray decorated with red tissue paper.
For the spicy mustard sauce, we brewed a strong cup of coffee and then boiled it down to a syrup. We added that to a 12 oz jar of mustard, added some maple syrup, and seasoned it with a tiny bit of salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. It was very spicy; I think the dijon base we used was a bit too strong (Roland's). In the future, I might increase the amount of coffee syrup, and switch the maple syrup to honey. It was very tasty, though.
I love making little signs for potlucks. I started making little signs with used envelope backs, and then taping them to little toothpicks and sticking them in the food. I think people really appreciate knowing what they're about to eat. There were lots of people who don't eat pork at the party, and I think the sign helped to let them know it was chicken sausage.
I would definitely make this dish again.
Monday, November 29, 2010
After snacking on sourdough muesli bread upon rising late on the first cold day in the country, none of us was particularly hungry for breakfast. Around 2 pm, though, knowing that dinner was a good five hours away, we started getting antsy. I had brought some red Russian kale with us from home that I'd gotten at the farmer's marktet because it looked so good, and I knew we had eggs and cheese in the house, so I wondered if I could make a quiche. I'd never made a quiche before, so I consulted our friends' extensive library and found a book by Julia Child basically describing how to cook everything. Our friend volunteered a frozen pie crust leftover from some other time, and it was on. My first quiche-making experience commenced.
What follows is a tasty adaptation of the spinach-swiss quiche in the Julia Child book.
Red Russian Kale, Cheddar, Bacon and Roasted Onion Quiche
3 tbsp chopped roasted onion
2 tbsp butter
10 oz stemmed, washed, chopped, and stir fried kale
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 large eggs
2 cups milk or cream (or one cup of each)
1 cup grated cheddar
3 strips bacon, cooked, chopped
seasonings: salt, pepper, nutmeg
9 inch pie shell
Bake the pie crust. Best to place pie weights in the bottom and cover the side crust-tops with either aluminum foil, or by placing a cookie sheet on the top rack over the pie shell. You can brush the bottom with egg white to form a kind of seal. Bake at 250. If you don't bake the pie crust first, the quiche will be mushy.
Cook the bacon in a pan and remove the slices, chop and set aside.
Saute garlic and kale in the remaining bacon fat and butter, set aside to cool.
Sprinkle half the grated cheese on the bottom of the cooled pie crust.
Blend eggs and cream (or milk) with the roasted chopped onion, bacon bits, seasonings, and cooked kale.
Pour over the sprinkled cheese into the pie crust. Top the custard with remaining cheese, evenly distributed.
Season the top of the pie with salt and pepper (don't use too much salt!) and bake for 35 minutes at 350.
Slice and enjoy!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup bran flakes
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
15 oz pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin, or line with paper baking liners. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix butter, eggs, sugars, pumpkin, and vanilla until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, and mix gently until smooth. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan, filling three-fourths full. You can press a pecan into the top, or you can add 1/2 cup of chopped pecan. I kept a bunch nut-free for a colleague at work I knew would like them, but is allergic to nuts. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan for 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Makes about 18 nice-sized muffins. I drizzled mine with a cinnamon-sugar glaze made with confectioner's sugar mixed with a little bit of milk and cinnamon, and then tossed some chopped pecans on top.
Pork Tenderloin with Pumpkin-Seed Sauce
4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 2 tbsp. sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 lbs. pork tenderloin
3/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin-seed oil
In a small bowl, combine chiles, sauce, orange juice, and sugar. Put pork in a baking dish and add marinade, turning pork to coat. Cover and refrigerate for up to three days, or just overnight. Preheat oven to 375°. Toast pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet until they have popped and are just starting to brown, 7 to 11 minutes. Let cool. In a food processor, whirl 1/2 cup of seeds into a paste. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill pork, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center reads 160°, about 10 minutes per side. Or you can cook in a cast-iron pan and pop in the oven at 500 degrees until done as well as you'd like it. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Reserve juices. Meanwhile, in a medium pan over medium heat, combine pumpkin seed paste, cream, garlic, chile powder, and salt. Cook, whisking until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in reserved pork marinade juices. Slice pork into 1/2-in. medallions. Drizzle with sauce and pumpkin-seed oil and garnish with remaining 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds.
Monday, October 11, 2010
1 cup lentils
2 bay leaves
2 onions, sliced
5 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup long grain rice
salt and black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
4 tbsp parsley
4 tbsp dill
1 beaten egg
8 oz sliced mushrooms
4 hardboiled eggs
1 cup cooked spinach
8 sheets of phyllo
4 cloves of garlic
Soak the lentils for about 30 minutes; drain and simmer with bay leaves, one chopped onion, and half the stock for 25 minutes or until cooked and thick. Season well, and set aside.
Sautee the remaining chopped onion in another saucepan with some butter for about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and the rest of the stock. Season, bring to a boil, and then cover and cook gently until it's no longer crunchy. Leave stand uncovered once cooked for about 5 minutes before stirring in the fresh herbs. Cool, then beat in the raw egg.
Sautee the mushrooms in butter until they are just soft. Set aside to cool.
Sautee spinach with chopped garlic until just soft. Set aside to cool.
Chop the four hardboiled eggs and set aside.
Brush the inside of a large round ovenproof dish with more butter. Lay the sheets of phyllo in it, covering the base and making sure that enough of the pastry overhangs the sides so that you can fold it over the center. Brush well with butter in between overlapping the pastry. Use no less than 8 sheets of phyllo.
Into the pastry lining, layer rice, lentil, egg, spinach, and mushrooms at least twice.
Bring sheets of pastry over the filling, scrunching the top into attractive folds. Brush all over with the rest of the butter and set aside to chill and firm up.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When ready, bake kulbyaka for about 45 minuts until golden and crisp. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before you cut and serve it.
We serve ours with a yogurt sauce seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin and chopped herbs.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
D and I recently hosted a "Kicking Summer to the Curb" party. It didn't work--we've still had too many hot and humid days here in New York. But the food was good, the company excellent.
Inspired by a wonderful dinner party we went to in the country last weekend, we made a slow-roasted pork shoulder, a Puerto Rican dish called "pernil." People raved about it, we loved it, and we had plenty of leftovers. Here's how we made it.
1 pork shoulder (about 10 pounds), with the skin on
15 garlic cloves
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
The first thing you want to do is brine the pork shoulder about two days before you need to eat it. Place the raw pork shoulder in a pot, bag, or bin of water mixed with salt, pepper, sugar, and garlic. I recommend 4 tbsp of each. Submerge the shoulder in the water and keep for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. This will make it really juicy.
Put the garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in a mini chopper and chop chop until it forms a kind of paste. Remove from the chopper and place in a bowl. Stir in the olive oil and vinegar.
Take a knife and separate the skin and fat from the meat, leaving it attached so you can fold it back over the meat. Stab the meat with a sharp knife in 1/2 inch incisions, 1 inch deep so that the paste can penetrate the meat. Rub the garlic paste on the meat, and cover the coated meat with the skin again, securing with a skewer so that it doesn't pull away while cooking.
Cover the pork and let marinate for at least three to six hours. Depending on how long you let it sit, and how warm it is out, you might want to consider refrigerating it. Make sure you allow enough time to let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before you roast it.
Preheat the oven to 350 and roast for about 10-12 hours. Some recipes will tell you to roast it at different temperatures for a shorter amount of time, but this length of time worked for us and we had nicely falling-off-the-bone pork, which is how I like it. If you want to get the skin crispy brown at the end, you can put it back in the oven and roast it for about 20-30 minutes at 450.
Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 20 minutes before slicing.
I used a recipe from epicurious, found here.
We served this on a big platter with pico de gallo, corn tortillas, rice, and beans, with a cilantro-lime-garlic viniagrette dressing to drizzle on top. I also froze about three sandwich bags full to make pork tacos at some point in the future. Tonite, we're having leftovers of this pork cooked with some BBQ sauce.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce
3 lbs off-the-vine tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
2 medium onions
3 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
handful of basil
Saute chopped garlic and onion in olive oil until browning and fragrant. Chop tomatoes into small cubes and add to the garlic and onions. Bring to a boil and then simmer for up to an hour as it thickens. Season it anytime you want with the salt and pepper. Add chopped basil at the end.
We served it over some angel hair pasta with more chopped basil, fresh ground pepper, and parmesan cheese.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I spent last weekend in the Catskills at a friend's country house catching up with two friends I hadn't spent time with in over a decade. The last we saw each other, we were all living in Buffalo, New York. They both agreed to drive over five hours to meet at this house, and we had a great time. One of my friends has an apple tree growing in her yard. Even though she apologized for how funky they looked, she brought a big bag of apples with her, and we used them in oatmeal and pancakes. At the end of the weekend, there were still a lot left, so I spent the last day I was at the house making applesauce. I froze it because there were too many leftovers to eat before they all went bad. I expect thawed applesauce in the fall will be a nice reminder of the time we shared.
3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples
5 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup of organic sugar
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Put all ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and process to desired consistency in a food processor, or mash by hand with a potato masher. Enjoy over yogurt, vanilla ice cream or as a side dish to pork chops.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Chicken and Hominy Soup
From antojitos: festive and flavorful mexican small plates
3 dried ancho chiles, seeded with membranes removed
2 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 15 oz can of hominy, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped radishes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped avocado
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
In a small saucepan, combine chiles and water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. While that is simmering, sautee the onion in a cast iron pan and set aside when the onion is carmelized. Drain the chiles, and reserve the water. Transfer the chiles to a blender or food processor. Add the tomatoes and sauteed onions to the food processor and proces until smooth. You can add some water to make it smoother, but I didn't.
In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute, or until the garlic begins to soften. Add teh tomato-chile paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Cook the chicken either by roasting it or by searing it until it turns golden brown in a cast iron pan. In a small stockpot, combine the broth, the tomato-chile paste, and chicken and bring to a boil. Add the hominy, return to a boil, and cook until heated through. Add the cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick for you, thin with a little bit of water.
Ladle the soup into bowls and allow your guests or loved ones to add whatever garnishes they want. Best served with a margarita. : )
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
We aspire to cultivate this tradition in our own local soil. We gather our ingredients from farmers, ranchers and fishmongers we know and admire, and we draw upon the time-honored practices of the osteria and tapas bar as we cook for our friends and neighbors.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves here, the decor and ambiance; the food and drink; and the professional and resposive waitstaff were all lovely.
We started by sampling some local beer, and I settled on a New Belgium Fat Tire from Fort Collins. The staff set out tasty hummous, bread, and really delicious oysters wth homemade horseradish. At the table, we found dishes of vegetable anti-pasta (green pepper, onion, and olives) and marinated lentils.
I enjoyed the way the staff did the party for us: they just sent stuff out and we didn't have to choose from the menu. I have a very hard time making restaurant decisions, particuarly with a new place, and it was nice to sample a variety of things sent from the kitchen. I read a review of the restaurant online after the meal, and I love the way the chef creates little treats for the table from kitchen leftovers: :
Dakota Soifer's chicharrones, seasoned with a dash of chile oil and salt, are crispy puffs that crack between the teeth and dissolve on the tongue almost instantly, leaving behind nothing more than the sweet smokiness of pork. They're not on the menu at Cafe Aion, but they're sent, along with other scraps-turned-tapas, to diners as thanks for their business, and as a way to use every part, even the skin, of the pig the chef buys to make sausage and ribs and pancetta.
For our main courses, the kitchen staff sent out a nice paella with squid, shrimp, and chorizo. For me, the dish was a bit heavy on the rice and a touch bland--but I like fiery dishes. I might have put a dash of hot sauce on it, but I didn't ask for hot sauce and none was on the table. They also brought us plates of rare and medium-rare strips of beef, perhaps a london broil or a flank steak, with roasted vegetables. Best of all was that I recogznized the baby white turnips on the plate as those I saw on display at the farmer's market the day before. I so wanted to buy a bunch and prepare them back in our kitchen hotel, but we didn't have the time.
Dessert was a slice of fresh strawberry tart with a luscious cream base. They also brought us a plate of biscotti, iced ginger snaps, and caraway-seeded shortbread to go along with coffee or espresso.
What a wonderful find in Boulder. I definitely recommend putting Cafe Aion on your agenda if you visit the Boulder area.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
The waiter was kind enough to ask the chef to give me the recipe.
The Kitchen's Tomato Soup
1 can quality tomatoes (the chef used organic tomatoes from California canned with basil)
2 medium onions
Salt & Peper
Sweat down the chopped onions in butter. Combine with the canned tomatoes and cook over low heat. Finish with cream and blend in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I'm looking forward to making this with both canned and fresh roasted tomatoes to see if there's a difference. I'll report back. : )
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sourdough Mixed Berry Pancakes
1 large egg
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup granulated sugar
Mix together all; drop 3 tbsp plops into a smoking cast iron griddle with melted butter. Watch carefully and turn once when the pancake top starts to bubble; turn again and watch even more carefully 'cause the second side burns quickly. Turn to make sure the pancake is a golden brown. If it is, place it on a plate, top with a prudent pat of butter, and pour some maple syrup over them to taste. Enjoy!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
I debated over what cupcake to use, and finally settled on an Apple Spice Cupcake from the book "cupcakes" that D and I received for our wedding. (cupcakes: Luscious bakeshop favorites from your home kitchen by Shelly Kaldunski). The finalists were carrot, zucchini, and french vanilla. If it were Fall, I might consider a pumpkin cupcake. The cupcakes came out a little too tender; D suggested baking them a little longer than the recipe called for. I already baked them for about 15 minutes more than the recipe below called for because our oven's temperature is a little bit off.
I also used silicone baking cups that my sister in law gave me a few months ago, but I don't think I will use them again. The cupcakes stuck to them too much, and they weren't as convenient as the paper ones. I'm not convinced that the paper ones are so bad for the environment anyway that you have to use re-usable ones.
3 large eggs
1 cups pure maple syrup, preferably grade A dark amber
3 tbsp bourbon
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour maple syrup into a medium saucepan. Place pan over medium-high heat; bring syrup to a boil. Cook syrup for about 15 minutes as it begins to thicken. When done, it will start to harden on the spoon when you stir and remove the spoon with some syrup residue and let sit for a moment.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. While the electric mixer is running, pour the syrup in a slow, steady stream down the side of the mixing bowl into the egg-yolk mixture (it is essential that the syrup touches the side of the bowl as you pour it in so the sugar will be very evenly incorporated and not splatter onto the sides of the bowl and harden into candy) until the syrup has been completely incorporated, about 1 1/2 minutes. Beat until the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add butter, one piece at a time, until all of it has been completely incorporated and the frosting is fluffy, about 4 minutes more. Use immediately, or keep refrigerated for up to a week. Makes 2 cups.
Apple Spice Cupcakes
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
5 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks
4 tbsp plus 1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose or cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 pinch of cloves
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 4 tbsp of butter. Add the apple chunks and the 2 tbsp of sugar and cook, stirring often, until the apples start to turn brown and carmelize, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, mix with an electric mixer the remaining 12 tbsp of butter and the 1 1/2 cup of sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
Slowly add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add the sour cream and the cooled apple mixture, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely for about an hour.
Frost the cupcakes and serve.
I decorated mine with candied ginger.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
We're desperate to figure out how to make our own, but no online recipes work out well, and I don't know anyone who's willing to share their favorite recipe. A colleague of mine has a roommate who started Mother In Law Kimchi based on her MIL's restaurant in LA--the company has been pretty critically acclaimed, but they don't sell in some of the key places...like Trader Joe's, which has some of the best pre-prepared bulgogi I've ever tasted. Unfortunately, MILK doesn't market itself very well, and despite the fact that the kimchi is very good, the website offering it for sale is horribly designed and misleading. Nor do I think the owner would share her recipe with me.
We served the kimchi with TJ's bulgogi over some organic jasmine rice. Definitely one of our favorite dinners.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Toasted Walnut & Quinoa Stuffed Eight Ball Zucchini
4 Eight Ball Zucchinis
1 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup currants
3 tbsp chopped parsley
3 tbsp chopped basil
1 medium onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped
spice mix (I used a Yucatan Spice mix described here; but you can use cumin, paprika, cinnamon . . .)
Cut the zucchini heads off like you were cutting out a pumpkin for Halloween. Scrape out the insides, chop them up into little pieces, and set them aside. Set the empty zucchinis into a baking dish with a bit of broth on the bottom.
Toast the quinoa in a cast iron pan and then cook with one cup of water and one cup of broth. Season with salt and pepper.
Sautee the onion and garlic in a cast iron pan. Once the onion starts to brown, add the zucchini and sautee until tender. Add half of the chopped herbs, the currants, and the walnuts. Once everything is mixed and heated through, add to the quinoa with the rest of the fresh herbs. Mix thoroughly. Spoon into each of the eight ball zucchinis and bake at 400 F for about 30-45 minutes.
We served this with a dollop of lebne and a bit of sriracha sauce on the side (you could substitute plain yogurt or sour cream and hot sauce), and a Middle Eastern Beet Salad with parsley, toasted walnuts, and rosewater.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Apparently, this epicurious recipe that I adapted myself was adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe. I used a Martha Stewart recipe to alter it.
Whole Wheat Seeded Sourdough English Muffins
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour for dusting and rolling
1 tsp. instant yeast
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 Tbl. honey
2/3 cup lukewarm milk
For the topping
Seeds (I use a variety of poppy seeds, black and white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and sea salt)
Mix together the the starter, flour, yeast and salt, then add all the rest of the ingredients and mix together until it starts to form a ball around your spoon. At that point, start kneading the dough until it's a well-defined ball that's tacky but not truly sticky.
Lightly grease a plastic or wooden bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and cover it loosely. Let it sit until it's doubled in size, about two hours. Deflate and let rest for 15 minutes.
Oil a cookie tray and sprinkle with semolina. Roll the dough out onto a well floured surface and using a bisquit cutter (or cooker cutter or the mouth of a glass), divide the dough into eight to 12 pieces (depending on how big you want your muffins). Lift each muffin up and set it on the cookie tray. Let them sit for about 30 minutes.
When they've puffed up a bit, use an egg wash to brush the tops of the muffins and sprinkle with seeds.
Heat up an unoiled cast-iron skillet and cook each muffin in olive oil on both sides until lightly browned. It should take about 1-2 minutes per side. When they are nicely browned, take them out of the pan and place them on a cleaned, oiled, and semolina-ed cookie sheet and pop them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the insides of the muffins are about 190 degrees F.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Last year, D and I were given a gift of venison meat cubes from a friend of D's who is a bow hunter. At that time, we were venison virgins and had no idea what we would do with the meat, or what to expect. I think we were both a little afraid of a "gamey" taste. We decided to do a tagine with it, and it's now one of our signature dishes. I wrote a blog entry about the recipe I adapted here.
This year, my new brother-in-law, also a hunter, brought over a bag of deer meat just before our May 1st wedding. We didn't have the time to look at it, much less do anything with it, before the wedding. We got a tagine as a gift, and the first thing I thought about was taking the venison out of the freezer and making a stew as our first tagine. When I defrosted it over the weekend, I realized to my dismay that what we'd been given was cutlets, which would certainly not work in the tagine. I'm not sure why I felt stymied by cutlets, but I did. I decided to marinate two servings of it in some olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme and pop it back into the fridge until I could decide what to do.
I decided to cook it in a cast iron pan and top it with a black currant sauce with a side of sugar snap peas that I picked up at the Farmer's Market over the weekend. I couldn't find a black currant sauce that I liked, so I made this one up:
Black Currant Sauce
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup black currants
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups water
Sautee chopped onions until starting to brown. Add the brown sugar, cornstarch, and dry mustard. Stir for about a minute, add vinegar, currants, lemon juice, and water. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until thick. Turn the heat off and let cool for a bit. Blend 3/4 of the mixture in a blender and add back to the saucepan. Reheat and spoon over the meat when heated through.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The blog suggests a way to make your sourdough starter from scratch, but I've used a sourdough starter that a friend from Sweden gave me: it's a hearty wheat-grain sourdough that's been going for 25 years! I feed it about once every two weeks with 1/2 cup of warm water + 1/2 cup of wheat or rye flour. Sometimes I throw a drop of honey or a tsp of flax into the mix.
Rich People's Oat and Flax Sourdough Bread
1 3/4 cup starter
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
1 ¼ cup bread flour
1 cup oats
3 Tbsp flax seeds
2 ½ tbsp honey
1 ½ cup water
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/3 cup walnut pieces
Warm water to body temperature. Pour in oats and flax and let soak for 5-10 minutes. Then mix all ingredients EXCEPT walnuts until mixture comes together. Add walnuts. It should be fairly sticky but not runny, and have good strength when tugged. Let dough ferment for 2 hours, folding after the first hour. After the second hour, shape into a compact ball and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes. Shape dough ball into two oval loaves and place in two 9×5 loaf pans. Oil and dust pans with some kind of a dusting agent (I've used oats, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and pysllium husks) Allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours. After 1 hour preheat oven to 400. Brush the top of the risen loaves with an egg wash and sprinkle with oats or seeds. Bake for 30-35 mins until very dark in color and interior hits 190.
This bread is delicious with fried eggs and smoked salmon, which is how we ate it this morning! It's also delicious toasted with butter, or all by itself. The author of the original blog recommends french toast, which sounds intriguing.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The week before the wedding, David decided we needed a new stove. It stopped working two days before the wedding, which sent me into a bit of a panic. Thankfully, a friend called and said she was going to make the cupcakes for me (from my own blog recipe!) and have her husband deliver them to D so that I didn't have to worry about it. Making everything for this dinner was a real source of pride for me, but I let it go on the dessert and it really was a godsend. I will forever be grateful to Deb.
This is what was on the menu:
Cheese and crackers
Green salad with homemade sprouts
Roasted vegetable couscous
Kalamata olive sourdough bread
Grass-Fed Beef Shishkebabs served with either Teryaki Sauce, or Chipotle Sauce (homemade)
*made with beef cubes, pineapple chunks, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, and green peppers
I think folks enjoyed the food and appreciated the effort.
Fresh Dill and Radish Potato Salad
6 medium potatoes (I used some butter potatoes from the farmer's market)
6 large cherry tomatoes
2 stalks of celery
4 nice sized radishes
2 hard boiled eggs
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
healthy dash of salt and pepper
Make two hard boiled eggs and pop in the fridge to cool down. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and pop in the fridge (or freezer, depending on how quick you chop!) Chop up the vegetables. Chop the potatoes into at least six pieces each. Chop up the hard boiled eggs into small pieces, Mix the whole lot together really well. Refrigerate for at least a day.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Our meal only looks like it took a lot of work, but it didn't. The weekend before, we picked up a brined brisket from Trader Joe's (I meant to make my own this year, but . . . well, next year). I stuck that in a crock pot with some Guinness Beer, carrots, and onions this morning and let it cook for 8 hours. Then I boiled cabbage with caraway sees, heated up some aging carrot puree, and baked some sliced baby potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary.
The most unique thing about this year's meal was the whole wheat soda bread. I found a recipe that claimed to produce little confetti shamrocks when you sliced the bread. And it did! The sunflower seeds react somehow to the dough when it sits and then bakes in such a way that the seeds turn green! Totally fun. And it was very tasty. I will definitely make this bread again next year.
Shamrock Soda Bread
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour or graham flour, plus more for shaping
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup untoasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons flaxseed
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 large egg
About 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a heavy baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray or line it with a silicone baking pan liner or aluminum foil.In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the fat particles are very fine. Stir in the baking soda, salt, sugar, wheat bran, oat bran, wheat germ, flaxseed, and sunflower seeds. Beat the egg lightly with a fork in a 2-cup glass measure. Add enough buttermilk to come to the 2-cup line and stir with the fork to combine well. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough gathers into a thick, wet-looking mass.
Sprinkle your work surface with whole wheat flour and scrape the dough onto it. Dust the dough with a bit more whole wheat flour. Pat the dough into a circular shape about 7 inches across and 2 inches high and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Don't be concerned about evenness—the loaf should look rustic. Make a cross-shaped indentation on top of the loaf going right to the edges. I use a plastic bench scraper and press it into the dough very gently; don't actually cut the dough. During baking the indentation expands, giving the top of the loaf an attractive pattern.
Bake the bread for about 40 minutes, until it is well browned and sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf should register 195° to 200°F. Cool the loaf on a wire cooling rack, and serve warm or at room temperature. Cut into quarters and slice each quarter with a sharp serrated knife. Delicious with butter.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
A couple of years ago, I started cooking really nice meals in celebration of American Idol-watching. That tradition has kind of fallen off with wedding planning, trying to go to the gym more, and just general busy-ness at work, but last night was an exception. I found a recipe I wanted to try from the March 2010 edition of Saveur magazine, and made it this Wednesday night. D said it was "an orgasm of flavors." I think that's a good description.
Moroccan Chicken with Carrot Puree
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth
2 lbs carrots
1 large white onion
4 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 cup orange guice
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 peeled and seeded oranges, segmented
3/4 cup harissa*
2 tsp sherry or champagne vinegar
2 cups salad greens
1/2 cup pitted, oil-cured black olives, roughly chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
*Harissa is a North African pepper paste. I'm a very lucky person, as my friend S brought a jar of homemade Tunisian harissa over last month. This is the first I've had a chance to use it. (Clicking on "harissa" above will bring you to the Wikipedia page describing it).
Start by boiling roughly chopped carrots until soft in order to make the puree. I started this the night before, and while the carrots were boiling, I placed the chicken breasts in a container with olive oil, salt and pepper to sit overnight. I then sauteed the onions and garlic until carmelized, added the carrots and sauteed until they started to carmelize as well. Then I put the mixture in a food processor and made the puree. I set that aside for the next day.
The next day, I browned the chicken in a pan with olive oil and then placed them in the oven topped with most of the harissa at about 400 degrees F. While the chicken was finishing, I made the orange sauce by reducing 1 1/2 cups of orange juice in a pan, adding 4 tbsp butter, salt and pepper. As the mixture started to thicken, I added the orange segments.
I then tossed the greens with olive oil, vinegar, shallots and chopped olives.
I heated up the carrot puree, and plated the dish by putting a dollop of carrot puree on the side of the plate, and arranging the greens on top. I then placed one chicken breast on the bed of greens and topped the whole thing with orange sauce.
The whole thing was both festive looking and delicious.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
This is the most simple recipe I've found for sourdough, and the cinnamon-raisin bread that I made pictured here is the best loaf I've made so far. I'll keep practicing, though, and someday I'll make "the perfect loaf."
Basic White Sourdough Bread
1 cup sourdough starter (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil)
6 cups bread flour
1 tsp yeast
1/4 cup of warm water
2 tbsp whole wheat flour or oat bran
1 tsp honey
Mix sugar, oil, salt, water, and 1 cup of sourdough starter together in a large bowl. Sift the flour and add to the mixture. Grease or oil the dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise overnight.
The next day, stir the 2 tbsp of flour or bran and 1 tsp of honey into warm water and sprinkle with 1 tsp of yeast. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes. While you are waiting, grease & dust two bread pans with either oat bran, semolina, or corn meal. When the yeast mixture starts to look a little frothy or bubbly, pour the mixture into the bread dough and knead for 10 minutes. Allow the dough to double in size. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 to 45 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and taps hollow. Turn out to cool on wire racks.
To adapt to a cinnamon-raisin bread, make a mixture of cinnamon-sugar by mixing 2 tbsp sugar with healthy dashes of cinnamon. Add 1 cup of raisins right before you knead the bread. Divide the bread in half, and roll out each half into a long, narrow rectangle. Sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon over the rectangle and then roll up into a compact shape to place into your bread pans. Bake as directed above.