26 June 2005

white bean soup

1 t olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
8 c low-salt chicken stock
1 T dried or fresh basil, chopped
½ t dried Greek oregano or 1 ½ t fresh
1 16-oz can peeled whole tomatoes, chopped
1 lb white cannellini beans, soaked overnight, quick cooked, and drained (see below)
1 T red wine vinegar
1 beefsteak tomato, chopped, for garnish

The night before, soak the beans to prevent skins from popping. In the morning, or just prior to making the soup, drain the water, and cover them with fresh water. Bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes and lower heat to low and cook until beans are tender. Drain the liquid.

Place a heavy-bottomed stockpot over med heat and when it is hot, add oil. Add onion and garlic, cook until tender. Add the stock, herbs, canned tomatoes, beans, cook partially covered until the beans have fallen apart, about 2 to 3 hours. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate up to three days. Place in a pot, add vinegar and gently reheat. Garnish with fresh whole basil leaves and chopped fresh tomato.

ginger carrot soup

Ginger Carrot with Cream

1 T unsalted butter
1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
2 lbs carrots, peeled if desired and sliced
pinch ground cinnamon
8 c chicken stock
2 t peeled, coarsely chopped ginger root
½ c heavy cream
chopped fresh parsley or chives for garnish

Place stockpot over med heat and when hot, add butter. When butter has melted, add onion and carrots and cook until tender. Add cinnamon, stock, and ginger, raise the heat to high, an bring to boil. Lower heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the solids and place in a food processor or blender. Process until completely smooth, gradually adding the cooking liquid and heavy cream. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate up to three days, or serve immediately, garnished with parsley or chives.

tomato soup with goat cheese

1 bunch leeks, including greens
1 T unsalted butter
2 16-oz cans plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
5 ½ c chicken or vegetable stock
3 T chopped fresh basil leaves
½ lb goat cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Cut off the roots and 4” of green ends of leeks and discard. Quarter them lengthwise and thinly slice. Soak them in several changes of water to get rid of sand. Chop well. Place a heavy stockpot over medium heat and when hot, add butter. When butter has melted, add leeks and cook until wilted, 10 to 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice, stock, and basil, raise heat to high and bring to boil. Lower heat to low and cook, uncovered, 1 ½ hours. ..Turn off heat and gradually stir in goat cheese and pepper. Serve immediately, garnished with basil, or transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Serve hot or cold.

Note: if you reduce the stock to 3 cups, this makes a great sauce for shrimp and/or pasta.

savoy cabbage soup with bacon and cream

¼ lb bacon, finely chopped
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
¼ c all-purpose flour
8 c chicken stock
2 medium potatoes (about ¾ to 1 lb), diced
1 Savoy cabbage, shredded
1 T caraway seeds
½ t black pepper
1 to 1 ½ c heavy cream
crumbled blue cheese for garnish (optional)

Place heavy stockpot over med heat, add bacon, cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set bacon on paper towel and discard all but 2 T of bacon fat. Set aside. Reheat the stockpot. Add the onion and carrots and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 mins. Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables, stirring all the while. Slowly add stock, stirring constantly; raise heat to high and bring to boil.

Lower the heat to low, add potatoes, cabbage, caraway seeds and pepper and cook until tender, about 1 hour. Do not let it boil again. Gradually stir in heavy cream, lower the heat to very low, and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately garnished with the reserved bacon and blue cheese if desired.

oven caramel corn

18 c popped corn
2 c light brown sugar
1 c butter or marg
½ c light corn syrup
1 pinch of salt
½ t soda

Mix sugar, butter, syrup, and salt; boil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add soda and mix well. Pour over corn; stir until corn is coated fairly evenly. Spread on cookie sheets and bake for 1 hour at 200-225º F., stirring every fifteen minutes. Spread on clean countertop to cool, breaking to separate as it cools.

Lavender, Orange, and Almond Cake

Source: adapted from Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons by Diane Henry
Serves: 8-10

for cake:
4 teaspoons dried lavender
250g/9oz (1 1/4 cups) sugar
225g/8oz (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
juice from 2 large oranges
finely-grated zest from 2 large oranges
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 eggs
1 scant teaspoon salt
200g/7oz (1 2/3 cups) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup ground almonds

for topping:
1/2 cup flaked almonds
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon dried lavender (optional)

Put the lavender and some of the sugar in a clean coffee grinder (or a food processor) and grind to a powder. Combine this with the rest of the sugar. Cream the lavender sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, then add the orange juice, zest, almond extract and the eggs. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and beat into the wet mixture, along with the ground almonds.

Pour the batter into a 9-inch greased and lined springform pan. Sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top, and sift the powdered sugar over them. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake, unmold and sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of dried lavender.

chocolate delight cookies

12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 ½ c whole-wheat pastry flour
½ c all-purpose flour
½ t baking powder
½ t salt
½ c unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 c sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla
48 chocolate-covered almonds (about 1 cup)

Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave on medium in 30 second bursts, stirring after each burst to ensure even melting, until completely melted.

Meanwhile, whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar until well-combined. Add eggs, and vanilla, beat until creamy. Add the melted chocolate; beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients with a spoon until just combined. Refrigerate the dough until barely chilled, 15 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350º F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Roll tablespooonsful of dough into 1” balls and place on the prepared baking sheet, 2” apart.

Bake the cookies, one batch at a time, until puffed and slightly dried on top, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently press an almond into the center of each cookie. Let cool for 5 minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Allow the pan to cool slightly between batches.

Makes about 48 cookies.

Per cookie: 113cals, 6g fat, 14mg chol, 15g carb, 1g protein, 1g fiber, 33mg sodium

Gramma's coconut macaroons

2 eggs
1/8 t. salt
¾ c. sugar
½ c. flour
1 T. melted butter
2 c. coconut
6 oz. chocolate chips
1 t. grated lemon rind
1 t. vanilla

Beat eggs & salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar, beat until thick and ivory colored (6-7 minutes). Fold in flour and melted butter, stir in coconut, chips, lemon and vanilla. Drop by teaspoons on lightly greased and floured cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees 12-15 minutes.

pecan shortbread

(from the Barefoot Contessa)

1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar, plus 2 T for sprinkling
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 1/4 ounces whole pecan halves, toasted
2 drops almond extract

Cream together the butter, 1/2 c sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer, until mixture is light in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour, salt, pecans, and almond extract, and mix until combined and the pecans start to break up.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator at least 1 hour or overnight. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using 2 1/2" diameter fluted cookie cutters, cut cookies, and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Return to refrigerator 1 hour more. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle cookies with the remaining sugar, and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool.

boiled chocolate cookies

2 c sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 c milk
3 T cocoa
1/2 c peanut butter
2 c quick oats

Combine sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa in a heavy saucepan and boil for 90 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add peanut butter and quick oats and blend well. Drop by spoonfuls quickly onto wax paper and allow to set.

chocolate rum cake

1 package Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake mix
1 small package chocolate instant pudding mix
1 c sour cream
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4-1/2 c cold coffee
1/4-1/2 c dark rum
4 eggs
2 c chocolate chips
1/2 c butter
1/4 c water
1 c sugar
1/2 c dark rum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, cold coffee, dark rum, and eggs. Mix until blended. Beat at medium speed for one minute. Scrape sides of the bowl and beat one more minute. Fold in chips. Pour into greased Bundt pan or tube pan. Bake 40-60 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes, turn onto platter.

While cake is baking, melt butter in pan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Poke small holes in the cake with a toothpick. Pour glaze onto cake. It is best to make this a day ahead of time, so that the chocolate chips harden.

tequila lemon/lime mousse

3 lemons or limes
3 eggs, separated
1/2 c castor sugar
4 t gelatin
3 T tequila
2/3 c cream

Zest the lemons, then juice them.

Put a few inches of water in a saucepan, place over medium heat. In a large bowl over the saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and lemon rind until smooth.

In another large-sized bowl, put tequila and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Leave to soften about 5 minutes. Place over a saucepan and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in the lemon juice.

Stir the gelatin-lemon juice mixture into the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Whip the cream and fold in. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the other ingredients. Transfer to serving bowls. Allow to set in the fridge for a few hours.

We actually like this with lime just as well as with lemon. Use decent tequila if you can, but nothing too aged.

Aunt Beatrice's Dinner Rolls

1 c lukewarm water
1 rounded T yeast

Mix gently and let set 5 minutes.

3 rounded T sugar
2 T melted crisco
1 beaten egg
about 3 c sifted flour (White Lily bread flour)
1 t salt

Combine sugar and crisco, add a small amount of the sifted flour, then the beaten egg. Add flour a little at a time with a wire whip, then with your hand. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours or til doubled. Punch down. Knead a little bit. Roll out and cut. Let rise, covered. When transferring to the pan, dip the bottom half in butter. Put in the pan, fold over, and mash with your finger to keep from popping up. Be careful not to use too much flour when rolling out to cut. Bake at 450 degrees, when they start browning, brush the tops with melted butter.

savory zucchini muffins

3 c unpared zucchini, cut in quarters and thinly sliced
1 c Bisquick
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1 t seasoning salt
1/2 t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t marjoram
1/4 t white pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c chopped onion
2 T chopped fresh parsley

Grease muffin tins thoroughly with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients except zucchini. Add zucchini and put immediately in muffin tins (1/2 c per muffin, if using full-sized pans). Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 muffins until golden brown.

crescia al formaggio (easter cheese bread)

from The Baker's Catalogue newsletter, April 2006

Crescia al Formaggio, Italian Easter cheese bread, is still mostly unknown in this country, and that's a pity. This light-textured, golden egg bread, loaded with Parmesan and Romano cheese, perfumes the kitchen with its wonderful savory aroma as it bakes. A nice change from the usual Easter sweet breads, it goes wonderfully well with the Easter ham-both at dinner, and later, when you're making those yummy ham and cheese sandwiches (plain, or even better, grilled).

Note: The dough for this bread is very soft and sticky, and it's best made using a mixer or bread machine.

2 1/2 c (10.5 oz) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose flour
1 1/4 t instant yeast
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, white reserved
1/4 c water
1/4 c (2 oz) butter
1 t salt
1 t ground pepper, black or white
1 1/2 c (6 oz) freshly grated Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese, or a combination

reserved egg white (from above)
2 t water

To make the dough in an electric mixer: Combine all of the dough ingredients except the cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat on medium speed for 10 minutes, until the dough becomes shiny and satiny. Add the cheese and beat until blended. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and set it aside to rise for 1 hour. Gently deflate the dough, turn it over, return it to the bowl, and allow it to rise for an additional hour, or until it's nearly doubled in size.

To make the dough in a bread machine: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. Check the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or water; it should be shiny and elastic. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

To shape the dough: Oil or flour your hands. To make one large loaf, form the dough into a ball, andplace it in a greased pandoro (star) or panettone pan, large souffle dish, or other round, deep pan; the pan should be about 6" to 7" wide and 3" to 4" deep. To make two medium loaves, divide the dough in half, shape it into two logs, and place it in two greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans. Cover the loaf or loaves lightly, and allow them to rise for 2 hours (or longer, depending on the warmth of your kitchen); the bread should have beecome noticeably puffy, though it may not have doubled in size.

To bake the bread: Put your oven rack in a lower position, just below the middle, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk the reserved egg white with the water and brush the top of the loaf/loaves. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, tent the bread lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190 degrees F.

Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Use a knife to loosen the edges, if necessary and turn the loaf/loaves out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Airlie's Onion Herb Bread

1/2 c milk
1 1/2 T sugar
1 t salt
1 T butter
1 pkg yeast
1/2 c warm water
2 1/4 c flour--white, wholewheat, or combination
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 t dill (1 1/2 t chopped if fresh)
1 t rosemary (1 T chopped if fresh)

Scald milk and dissolve in it sugar, salt, butter. Cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add cooled milk, part of the flour, onion, and herbs. Add rest of flour and stir til smooth. Cover with towel and let rise til triple in bulk (45 min). Stir down and beat vigorously for a few minutes. Turn into greased loaf pan. Let stand 10 min in a warm place. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 min to 1 hour (until golden brown).