29 October 2006

vichyssoise (from ab)

1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
3 T unsalted butter
Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
14 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 quart organic vegetable broth
1 c heavy cream
1 c buttermilk
1/2 t white pepper

Chop the leeks into small pieces. In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Be careful that the leeks do not brown at all during this time. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir the cream and buttermilk together, and add to soup. Stir in white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Serve hot or cold.

25 October 2006

quick cassoulet

2 T olive oil
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 lb kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch coins
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3/4 lb) cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 c dry red wine
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper

In a large heavy-bottom pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides for about 4 minutes. Remove pork to a plate and reserve. Add kielbasa and cook for 4 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until nicely browned. Remove to another plate and reserve.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pot and cook chicken for 4 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Break up tomatoes and add along with garlic, cook for 3 minutes, stirring to loosen up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add wine, simmer for an additional 2 minutes.

Add in beans, salt, cayenne and reserved kielbasa. Simmer for 5 minutes. Just before serving, stir pork back in pot and heat through.

panna cotta

buttermilk panna cotta [with blood orange spread]

1 envelope gelatin
1/4 c cold water
1 c heavy cream
1 c sugar
2 c buttermilk
1 T vanilla
[1 jar Blood Orange Spread]
[2-3 T Grand Marnier, Tuaca, or other liqueur for flavoring]

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water until dissolved. Let stand for 3 minutes. In a saucepan, heat cream and sugar over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir the gelatin mixture, vanilla and buttermilk into the cream until well-combined and smooth in texture. Brush the sides of 8 6oz. shallow deep cups with oil. Pour into the prepared cups and let chill for 4 hours or overnight, until set.

When ready to serve, unmold by running a warm knife around the edges of the panna cotta, and unmold onto a plate. [Whisk Blood Orange Spread until smooth. Top each panna cotta with a dollop and garnish with sprigs of mint leaves.]

If using Grand Marnier or other liqueur, decrease the amount of cream or buttermilk by an equivalent amount.

lemon panna cotta with blackberry sauce

Vegetable oil
1 c whole milk
1 c whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

5 T fresh lemon juice
2 t unflavored gelatin
1/2 c sugar
1 c crème fraîche
2 T grated lemon peel

3 c frozen blackberries (about 12 ounces), thawed, drained, juices reserved
3 T light brown sugar, packed
3 T crème de cassis (black-currant-flavored liqueur; optional)

Lightly oil six 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups. Mix milk and cream in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Cover; let steep 30 minutes. Remove vanilla bean.

Pour lemon juice into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes. Stir sugar and gelatin mixture into milk mixture. Stir over low heat just until sugar and gelatin dissolve, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in crème fraîche and lemon peel. Divide among ramekins. Cover; chill until set, at least 6 hours or overnight.

For sauce:
Puree 2/3 of blackberries and all reserved juices, brown sugar, and crème de cassis, if desired, in blender. Strain mixture into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids in strainer. Stir remaining blackberries into sauce. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Run small knife around each panna cotta. Place bottoms of ramekins, 1 at a time, in bowl of hot water 45 seconds. Place plate atop ramekin. Hold plate and ramekin together; invert, shaking gently, to turn out panna cotta. Serve with sauce.


2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 T ground ginger
1 T finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground black peppre
1/2 t ground allspice
3/4 c butter, softened
1 c brown sugar, packed firmly
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
1/2 c granulated sugar (for coating)

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, both gingers, cinnamon, black pepper, and allspice. Set aside mixer, cream butter until fluffy and lightened in color. Add brown sugar and beat until well-blended. Add egg and molasses. Beat until thoroughly combined. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well. Dough will be sticky. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degress. Shape dough into balls 1 1/2" in diameter. Dip tops in granulated sugar. Place balls, sugared side up, about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 12 to 16 minutes until cookies are firm to the touch and the edges are beginning to brown. Let stand 1 minute. Remove from baking sheets to rack.

Makes about 48 cookies.

02 October 2006

ab's chewy chocolate chip cookies

8 oz butter
1/4 c white sugar
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 T milk
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/4 c bread or high-protein all-purpose flour
1 t kosher salt
1 t baking soda

melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan. meanwhile, sift together 2 1/4 cups bread flour with kosher salt and baking soda.

combine melted butter and sugars in mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy. add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and combine well. slowly add the flour and beat until thoroughly combined, then add the chips.

chill the batter, then scoop onto parchment paper, and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, remove parchment/cookies immediately and finish cooling on a rack. store in ziploc bags for up to a week, or freeze for up to three months.