12 April 2006

veal paprika

makes around three servings

1 lb boneless veal, trimmed of as much fat as possible and cut in 1" cubes
1 1/2 cups beef broth
white pepper
olive oil
3-4 slices thick cut bacon, diced
1 onion, sliced into strips or rings
2 cloves garlic
8 oz mushrooms, cut into thick slices

Mix salt and pepper with flour and lightly dredge the veal cubes in it. Meanwhile, heat a large deep saute pan over medium high heat, and add bacon. When pan is ready, the veal cubes, making sure to brown them on all sides as quickly as possible. If bacon does not give off enough fat, use a little olive oil to prevent burning or sticking. Add the onion and garlic; cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.

Turn heat to low, add broth, about a quarter of a teaspoon of white pepper, and around a tablespoon of paprika, stir well. Cover and cook until veal is tender, at least twenty minutes, probably closer to forty, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it cooks because of the flour on the veal, but if you want it thicker, cook it uncovered for a bit, stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms around five minutes before it's finished. Some people like sour cream mixed in right before serving, but it's very good without that too. Serve over egg noodles.

08 April 2006

everyday bread pudding

This is based on the low-fat bread pudding recipe in my new edition of the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. It's good made with a dense Italian or French style bread--the Cuban bread we get around here is perfect. If your bread isn't stale, you can dry the cubes out in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes.

6 beaten eggs
3 c milk
1/2 c sugar
2 T vanilla
2-3 t finely grated orange peel
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground cinnamon
6-8 c dry bread cubes (around 3/4" square)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, orange peel, cardamom, and cinnamon. Put bread cubes in an ungreased baking dish. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture. You want the liquid mixture to come at least halfway up the bread but not to cover the top of the cubes. If you need to mix a little more liquid, use 2 eggs to a cup of milk, adding flavoring at your discretion.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool slightly. If desired, serve warm with Whiskey Sauce or whipped cream or both (this will alter the low-fat attribute somewhat).

If you want, you can put a streusel-style topping on it before cooking: combine 1/3 c all-purpose flour, 1/3 c packed brown sugar, and 3 T softened butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle over pudding before baking.

gingered sugar cookies

For once, I didn't change this recipe at all (except to add a little more ginger). According to the folks at Cooks Illustrated, from whence it came, it's best to use flour with a protein of around 10.5 percent (Pillsbury or Gold Medal) rather than something (like King Arthur at 11.7 percent). The higher protein will result in drier, cakier cookies.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1/2 c sugar, for rolling dough
1 t grated fresh ginger (I use this stuff and press the liquid out in paper towels)
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t table salt
16 T (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still firm (60 to 65 degrees F)
1 c granulated sugar
1 T light brown sugar
1 large egg
2-4 T minced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

In food processor or spice grinder, process 1/2 c sugar and fresh ginger until just combined; set aside for rolling.

Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

With mixer, beat butter, 1 c sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg, crystallized ginger, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Place ginger sugar for rolling in shallow bowl. Fill medium bowl with cold tap water. Dip hands in water and shake off the excess (this prevents dough from sticking to your hands and ensure that sugar sticks to dough). Roll heaping tablespoon dough into 1 1/2" ball between moistened palms; roll ball in ginger sugar, then place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, moistening hands frequently and spacing balls about 2" apart. Butter the bottom of a flat-bottomed drinking glass; dip bottom of glass in remaining ginger sugar and flatten dough balls with bottom of glass until dough is 1/2-3/4" thick.

Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges and just set and very lightly colored in center, 15 to 18 minutes, reversing position of cookie sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on baking sheet about 3 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.