30 December 2006

roasted green beans

1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off
1 T olive oil
salt and black pepper

adjust oven rack to middle position, heat oven to 450 degrees. line rimmed baking sheet with foil, spread beans on baking sheet. drizzle with oil and toss to coat evenly. sprinkle with 1/2 t salt, toss again and distribute in even layer. roast 10 minutes. (if called for, add 1/2" thick wedges of red onion.)

remove baking sheet from oven. using tongs, coat beans evenly with seasoning mixture (see below), redistribute in even layer. continue roasting until dark golden brown in spots and starting to shrivel, 8 to 12 minutes longer. adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and any additional topping, and serve.

seasoning #1: combine 1 T balsamic vinegar, 1 t honey, 1 t minced fresh thyme, 2 medium thin-sliced garlic cloves in a bowl and set aside. after 10 minutes of roasting, toss beans with seasoning mixture, coating them evenly, and redistribute in even layer. continue roasting. after transferring to a serving dish, sprinkle with 1/3 c toasted and chopped walnuts.

seasoning #2: combine 1 T minced garlic, 1 t minced fresh ginger, 2 t honey, 1/2 t toasted sesame oil, and 1/4 t hot red pepper flakes and set aside. after 10 minutes of roasting, toss beans with seasoning mixture, coating them evenly, and redistribute in even layer. continue roasting. after transferrng to a serving dish, sprinkle with 4 t toasted sesame seeds.

seasoning #3: combine 1 t olive oil, 1 T lemon juice, 1/2 c drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped), 1/2 c pitted kalamata olives (quartered), and 2 t minced fresh oregano leaves in medium bowl. after beans are completely done roasting, add to bowl and toss well. adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. transfer to serving dish, top with 1/2 c crumbled goat cheese and serve.

combine all ingredients, set aside.

28 December 2006

orange-cranberry pudding

adapted from Nigella Lawson

For the fruit:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 1/2 c cranberries
3 T sugar

For the batter:
1 1/4 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 3/4 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
few drops orange oil
flaked almonds
turbinado sugar, to sprinkle over
cream or orange juice, if extra liquid is needed

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Melt 1/2 stick butter in a wide saucepan, then add the cranberries and sugar. Cook over a fairly high heat until the fruit begins to pop. This will take hardly anytime if the cranberries are fresh, and about 10 minutes if they're frozen. Remove the pan from the heat.

Combine the flour, baking powder, soda and sugar in a large bowl and add the eggs, melted butter and orange oil. Mix until smooth. It may need a tablespoon or two of extra liquid here. I use orange juice or cream, whatever's to hand. Pour half of the batter into a deep casserole. Cover with the cranberries, then top with the remaining batter; don't worry if the cranberries are not covered completely.

Sprinkle flaked almonds and turbinado sugar over the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is golden brown and set.

24 December 2006

stove-top mac & cheese (from ab)

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 T butter
2 eggs
6 oz evaporated milk
1/2 t hot sauce
1 t kosher salt
black pepper
3/4 t dry mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente and drain. return to the pot and melt in the butter. toss to coat.

whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. stir into the pasta and add the cheese. over low heat, continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

20 December 2006

ginger spice cookies

2 c all purpose flour (do not use high protein flour like King Arthur)
2 1/2 t ground ginger
2 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground cloves
3/4 t salt
3/4 c chopped crystallized ginger
1 c (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 c vegetable shortening, room temperature
1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 c molasses
turbinado sugar

ombine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Mix in crystallized ginger. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, shortening and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and mix just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets. Spoon sugar in thick layer onto small plate. Using wet hands, form dough into 3/4-1" balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 10 minutes. Cook slightly longer for crisp cookies, less for chewy cookies. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Carefully transfer to racks and cool. (Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Makes about 30.

rosemary butter cookies

2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 c) unsalted butter, softened
2 T mild honey
1/2 c confectioners sugar
coarse white sugar

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and rosemary in a bowl.

Mix together butter, honey, and confectioners sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed, then add flour mixture and mix until dough resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it just comes together, about 8 times.

Roll out into logs, wrap in parchment paper or foil. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Unwrap and cut into 1/4" slices. Arrange on parchment paper on heavy cookie sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.

Bake cookies in middle of oven until just beginning to turn golden brown, around 10 minutes. Slide cookies on parchment to a rack and cool.

Basque Bonito del Norte Tuna Dip

Versatile, hard to categorize but with a distinctive Basque identity, this is somewhere between a snack, starter, dip, spread, stick-your-spoon-in-as-you-pass-the-bowl and good to eat any time of day.

Servings: 6-8 as a starter


1 large onion, finely chopped
3 yellow and/or red sweet peppers, coarsely chopped
2-4 fat garlic cloves, minced or pressed
olive oil
6 oz mixed green and black olives, pitted and chopped
1-2 oz capers, drained
1 14-oz can tomatoes in rich juice
10-15 oz piquillo peppers, drained and cut in small pieces
1 tablespoon sherry or white wine vinegar
8-12 oz of bonito del norte tuna in olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Toasted country bread (to serve)


Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil in a deep saucepan for about 10 minutes, add peppers and cook until onions are soft.

Add the olives, capers, tomatoes (plus juice) and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the piquillo peppers and cook for 5 more minutes.

Stir in the vinegar, followed by the bonito del norte. Check the seasoning, (it will probably need no extra salt but quite a bit of pepper), simmer a little longer and leave to cool. Chill in the fridge, preferably leaving overnight for the flavors to settle, before serving with slices of toasted country bread.

17 December 2006

mocha nut balls

1 c butter
1/2 c sugar
2 t vanilla
1 - 1.5 T strongly brewed coffee (preferably French pressed)
1/2 c cocoa
1 3/4 c sifted flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 c nuts, finely chopped

shape in marble sized balls. place on ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 325 for 15 minutes. cool and roll in powdered sugar.

makes 6 dozen

04 December 2006

Brown Sugar Cakes

6 servings

Brown sugar topping/filling:
2 oz butter
2 oz heavy cream
1 c brown sugar

8 oz unsalted butter, very soft
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
3/4 t vanilla
3 eggs
2/3 c almond flour
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder

For topping:
Bring butter and heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour it over the brown sugar and whisk until there are no lumps. Chill. Cover the bottom of 6 (4 ounce) ramekins with brown sugar topping, and reserve the rest for filling the cakes. Place in freezer until ready to fill.

For cake:
Cream the softened butter, sugars, and vanilla extract in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Add eggs and mix well. Take the bowl off of the mixer and fold in the sifted dry ingredients with a spatula. Divide the batter (it will be thick) between the six ramekins. Bake at 325°F for 12 minutes, until the cakes begin to bake around the edges. Remove from the oven and take a small spoon of the brown sugar topping and sink it into the center of each cake. Return ramekins to the oven until cakes are golden brown and firm to the touch, about 7 more minutes. Serve right away, or reheat directly before serving.