27 December 2007

ginger cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 T ground ginger
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 c finely chopped candied ginger
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
3/4 c milk

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. prepare a muffin pan with paper liners.

in a small bowl, mix together flour, ginger, baking powder, and salt. stir in candied ginger. in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter until well combined. add eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. alternately beat in flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of milk, beating until smooth.

scoop batter into prepared pan. bake in preheated oven for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown and tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. frost as desired.

ginger cream cheese frosting

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 c confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/4 c finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 t ground ginger
pinch salt

in a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy. with mixer on low speed, beat in confectioner's sugar, 1/2 c at a time so that sugar doesn't fly all over the place. increase speed to medium-high, beating until light and fluffy. add crystallized ginger, ground ginger, and salt, beating until well mixed.

spread frosting over cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to server or for up to 8 hours.

21 December 2007

Penzey's Poppy Seed Cookies

1 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c finely ground almonds
1/2 c whole blue poppyseeds
1/4 t salt

Cream the butter. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, almonds, poppyseeds, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture and beat well. Divide the dough in half and roll into logs. Roll in sugar if desired.

Wrap in waxed paper and chill for a few hours. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Slice logs about 1/4" thick and bake at 325 degrees for about 12 minutes or until the edges start to brown.

15 December 2007

cranberry orange oatmeal cookies

You can leave out the orange oil if desired, but we think cranberry orange is a nice festive combination. Try adding pecans or walnuts.

1 3/4 c all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground cloves
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
10 T vegetable shortening (preferably Crisco butter flavor), room temperature
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t orange oil
1 1/3 c old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1 1/2 c dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two light colored baking sheets (or use cooking spray).

Stir or sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in small bowl to blend. Set aside. Using electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in large bowl until blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Add egg, vanilla, and orange oil, and mix thoroughly. Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated, then stir in oatmeal and cranberries.

Using a tablespoon or a #50 disher, drop dough onto sheet. Bake until tops and bottoms are lightly golden, rotating baking sheets, front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking to ensure even browning, about 10-13 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Will keep for several days in airtight container. Should freeze well.

02 December 2007

cheddar cauliflower soup

2 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 head cauliflower, about 2.5 lb, cut into florets
5 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 c cream
2 t kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper (white and/or black), to taste
8 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded

in large Dutch oven over medium-high head, warm oil. add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. add cauliflower; cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. add broth, cream, salt, pepper; bring to boil. reduce heat to low; simmer until cauliflower is easily pierced with fork, about 10 minutes.

using immersion blender, blend soup to a fine puree, 3-5 minutes. add cheese; stir until melted and well combined with soup. adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. ladle soup into individual bowls and serve immediately with toasted bread.

23 November 2007

skillet penne with tomatoes, cannellini, and olives

2 c low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 c water
8 oz penne pasta
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 c cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives
1/2 c minced fresh basil
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 t extra-virgin olive oil
fresh lemon juice
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

cook broth, water, penne and 1/2 t salt in 12" nonstick skillet over high heat, stirring often, until penne is tender and liquid has thickened, 15 to 18 minutes. while pasta is cooking, cut tomatoes in half and chop the olives. once penne is tender, stir in tomatoes, beans, and olives, and continue to cook until they are heated through, about 2 minutes. remove from heat, and stir in basil, parmesan, and oil. season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

12 November 2007

oven-crisped latkes

1.5 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed and shredded (2 large)
1 medium onion, shredded
2 shallots, minced
1 t salt
2 pieces whole-wheat matzo (6x6”), broken into pieces
½ t white pepper
3 T peanut or olive oil, divided

Toss potato, onion, shallots, and salt in medium bowl Transfer to sieve set over large bowl; let drain for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the mixture a handful at a time, over the bowl, to release excess moisture (don’t oversqueeze—some moisture should remain). Transfer the squeezed potato to another large bowl. Carefully pour off the liquid, leaving a pasty white sediment—potato starch—in the bottom of the bowl. Add the starch to the potato mixture. Stir in egg.

Put matzo pieces in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs and pepper over the potato mixture and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until the matzo is softened, 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425ยบ F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Stir the potato mixture. Cook 4 latkes per batch: place ¼ c potato mixture in a little of the oil and press with the back of the spatula to flatten into a 3 1/2 –inch cake. Cook until crispy and golden, 1 ½ to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the latkes to the prepared baking side. Transfer the latkes to the prepared baking sheet. Continue with 2 more batches, using 1 T oil per batch and reducing the heat as needed to prevent scorching. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Makes 12 latkes.

Per latke: 108 calories, 4g fat, 18mg chol, 16g carb, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 204mg sodium.

28 October 2007

bacon wrapped pork with cider sauce

We prefer natural to enhanced pork (pork that has been injected with a salt solution to increase moistness and flavor), though both will work in this recipe. Begin checking the doneness of smaller medallions 1 or 2 minutes early; they may need to be taken out of the pan a little sooner.

Serves 4 to 6
12-14 slices bacon (1 slice for each pork medallion)
2 pork tenderloins (1 to 1 1/4 pounds each), trimmed of fat and silver skin, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces; thinner end pieces scored and folded (see steps 1 and 2 below)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Place bacon slices, slightly overlapping, in microwave-safe pie plate and cover with plastic wrap. Cook in microwave on high power until slices shrink and release about 1/2 cup fat but are neither browned nor crisp, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels until cool, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Wrap each piece of pork with 1 slice bacon and secure with 2 toothpicks where ends of bacon strip overlap, inserting toothpicks on angle and gently pushing them through to other side, (see illustration of Bacon 'Twine' below).

3. Season pork with pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add pork cut side down and cook, without moving pieces, until well-browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn pork and brown on second side, 3 to 5 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium. Using tongs, stand each piece on its side and cook, turning pieces as necessary, until sides are well browned and internal temperature registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 8 to 14 minutes. Transfer pork to platter and tent lightly with foil; let rest while making pan sauce, then serve.

Makes enough to sauce 2 pork tenderloins
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 4 pieces
2 large shallots , minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tart apple , such as Granny Smith, cored, peeled, and diced small
1/4 cup Calvados or apple-flavored brandy
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Combine cider, broth, vinegar, and cinnamon stick in medium saucepan; simmer over medium-high heat until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Set sauce aside until pork is cooked.

2. Pour off any fat from skillet in which pork was cooked. Add 1 tablespoon butter and heat over medium heat until melted and foaming subsides. Add shallot and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and add Calvados. Return skillet to heat and cook about 1 minute, scraping bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Add reduced cider mixture, any juices from resting meat, and thyme; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until thickened and reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 3 to 4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over pork and serve immediately.

20 October 2007

savory zucchini muffins

3 cups unpared zucchini, cut in quarters lengthwise, and thinly sliced)
1 c Bisquick baking mix
1/2 c grated parmesan or romano cheese
1 t seasoning salt
1/2 t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t marjoram
dash white pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c salad oil
1/2 c chopped onion
2 T chopped fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients except zucchini. Add zucchini and put immediately in well-greased muffin pans (oil or Pam), 1/2 c per muffin. If using silicone muffin pans, there's no need to grease the pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. You can also use mini-muffin tins, adjust cooking to 15-20 minutes.

22 September 2007

Ginger Carrot Soup

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.

27 August 2007

olive oil brownies

4 oz (115g) finest quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
1/3 c (80ml) fruity extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c (70g) all-purpose/plain flour (if using a soft flour like Italian type 00 or White Lily, add an extra tablespoon)
1/4 t sea salt or kosher salt
2 large or extra large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 c (150g) superfine/caster sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2/3 c (70g) lightly toasted hazelnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

preheat oven to 350F. line an 8" square baking pan with a lightly oiled and floured piece of parchment paper that overhangs the pan on two sides (this aids in removal later).

melt the chocolate over low heat or in the microwave and whisk in the oil. let cool.

mix the flour and salt. beat the eggs and sugar until pale, thickened and billowy, about five minutes. fold in the vanilla and chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour and optional nuts. pour into the prepared pan and distribute evenly.

bake for 20-25 minutes. the top will be dry and crackly, though a toothpick inserted in the center should emerge still a little wet. cool completely, then cut into squares. serve with whipped cream, if desired.

01 August 2007

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Serves 8

12 slices white bread, crusts removed
2 pkgs (16 ounces total) cream cheese
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
12 eggs
2 c milk
1/3 c maple syrup or other syrup

1/2 c sugar
1 T cornstarch
1/2 c water
2 c fresh or frozen blueberries
1 T butter

Cut bread into 1" cubes; place half in a greased 13x9x2" baking dish.

Cut cream cheese into 1" cubes; place over bread. Top with blueberries and remaining bread. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in milk and syrup, blending well. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 25-30 minutes more or until golden brown and the center is set.

In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; add water. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in blueberries; reduce heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until berries have burst. Stir in butter until melted. Serve sauce with French toast.

27 July 2007

blueberry & ginger mojitos

adapted from tyler florence (doom)

for 2 tall glasses:

1-2 c fresh blueberries
1-2 limes, cut into wedges
20-24 fresh mint leaves
4 oz ginger simple syrup
4 oz light rum
5 oz club soda
ice cubes

add the blueberries, lime wedges, and fresh mint leaves to the pitcher. muddle with a wooden spoon so the blueberries are broken and the mint and lime release their juices and flavor. when ready to serve, add the ginger simple syrup, light rum, and top off with club soda. give it a quick stir and then pour into glasses with ice cubes. garnish with fresh blueberries, lime wedges, and/or a sprig of mint.

ginger simple syrup
1/4 c grated fresh ginger
1 c granulated sugar
1 c cold water

peel and grate the ginger and add it, together with the sugar and cold water, to a saucepan. bring it to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. cover and let steep for 10-25 minutes, depending on how strong a flavor you like. strain and cool in the refrigerator when done.

12 July 2007

Coconut Macaroons (from my Italian grandmother)

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.

27 June 2007

crusted chicken breasts

4 chicken breasts
2 T Dijon mustard
1 c white wine
2 crushed cloves of garlic
2 c fresh bread crumbs, preferably panko
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
3 T melted butter
1/4 chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Cover a large baking dish with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix the mustard, wine, and garlic. Put in large ziploc bag, and add the chicken breasts. Squish everything around so the chicken gets nice and coated.

On a big plate, mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, melted butter and salt and pepper. One at a time, take the chicken out of the soak and coat each breast liberally with bread crumbs.

Bake the chicken for 30-45 minutes until thoroughly done and crust is nicely browned.

26 June 2007

shrimp potpies

1 T butter
1 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 c chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2-3 T brandy or tawny port or Marsala
3/4 c half & half
3 T tomato paste
1 (8 oz) bottle clam juice
3 T cornstarch
2 T water
2 T chopped fresh parsley
3/4 lb cooked shrimp, chopped (about 1.5 c)
1 t marjoram
red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper, to taste
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 c oyster crackers, coarsely crushed

preheat oven to 400 degrees.

melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add onion, celery, carrot and garlic; saute 5 minutes or until tender. add liquor; cook for 30 seconds. stir in half & half, tomato paste, and clam juice; bring to a boil. cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. combine cornstarch and water, stir until smooth. add cornstarch mixture, parsley, salt, peppers, marjoram, and shrimp to pan, cook a minute or two, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. taste, adjust seasonings if necessary.

divide the shrimp mixture evenly among 4 10 oz ramekins. top each with 1/4 c cracker crumbs. bake for 10 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned.

24 June 2007

honeyfire roast pork

3-5 lb pork loin
2 qt water
1/4 c caster sugar
1/4 c kosher salt

trim excess fat off pork. do not worry about affecting the shape of the loin, just go get the fat out. rinse pork and pat dry. put water in a container big enough to hold the loin and stir in sugar and salt. add the pork, and put it in the fridge for 1.5-2 hours.

remove pork from fridge and discard brine. pat loin dry and then tie with kitchen twine, making the knots a few centimeters apart as needed to keep the loin in a nice solid log shape. season with kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

preheat oven to 375 degrees. heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium high and brown loin on all sides. this should take about ten minutes. if oil starts to smoke, your pan may be too hot. once nice and brown, transfer to roasting pan or heavy baking dish (not a broiler pan) and put in oven for 50-70 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. after internal temperature registers 135 degrees, remove the roast and let sit 10 minutes. internal temperature will rise to 145 degrees.

after you put the roast in the oven, make the glaze:

3/4-1 c honey
juice of 4 medium limes
2 T champagne or other good white vinegar
1 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 t cayenne, or to taste
1 t smoked paprika (sweet or hot, to taste)
1/2 t dried thyme

in the pan that you browned the pork, combine the glaze ingredients, scraping up any brown bits. simmer until mixture begins to thicken and become fragrant. you will want to begin basting the pork with this when the internal temperature reaches 110 degrees, about 15 minutes before it's done. if glaze starts to get dry on the bottom of the roasting pan, add some water so it doesn't burn. any leftover glaze can be served on top of pork.

slice, drizzle, and serve.

03 June 2007

cauliflower, cannellini and feta salad

1/3 c olive oil
1 T minced fresh rosemary
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 T red wine vinegar
2 t finely grated lemon peel
2 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground black pepper

1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
1 can cannellini, rinsed and drained
1-2 bulbs fennel, thinly sliced
2 T chopped fresh parsley
4 oz crumbled feta cheese

combine oil and rosemary in small saucepan. stir over medium heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. set aside and let cool.

whisk lemon juice, vinegar, lemon peel, salt, and pepper in small bowl.

combin cauliflower, beans, endive, parsley, and rosemary oil in medium bowl; toss. mix in cheese. add lemon juice mixture and toss to coat. season salad with salt and pepper. refrigerate until ready to serve.

02 June 2007

spinach ricotta pie (quiche)

from the original Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen

1 c flour (a mixture of 3/4 c all purpose and 1/4 c whole wheat is ideal)
1/4 t salt
1/3 c unsalted butter, chilled well and cut into small pieces
3 T buttermilk

working quickly, cut butter into flour and salt until thoroughly blended. add about 3 T buttermilk and combine until dough sticks together in a ball. cover or wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

1 lb ricotta cheese
3 beaten eggs
12 oz chopped spinach
1 small onion, diced
unsalted butter
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t dried basil
3 T flour
1 c grated cheese (a mixture of fontina and cheddar is nice)
dash nutmeg
1 c sour cream
parmesan cheese (if desired)
paprika (if desired)

preheat oven to 375 degrees. saute spinach and onion in butter with salt, pepper, and basil until just wilted. let cool. mix together cheese, eggs, flour, cheese and nutmeg. stir in spinach mixture. roll out dough to line bottom and sides of glass pie plate. spread filling in unbaked crust.

top with sour cream, spread to the edges. sprinkle with parmesan cheese and paprika.

cook for 40-45 minutes until set. serve hot.

31 May 2007

stir fried thai style beef

beef and marinade:
3/4 t ground coriander
1/4 t ground white pepper
1 t light brown sugar
1 T soy sauce (should be fish sauce but i hate fish sauce so there)
1 t rice wine
1 t white wine vinegar
1-2 lbs blade or flank steak

stir fry:
2 T soy sauce (again should be fish sauce)
1 T rice wine
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T light brown sugar
1 T chili-garlic paste
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 T vegetable oil
3 serrano or jalapeno chiles, halved, seeds and ribs removed, cut crosswise 1/8" thick
3 medium shallots, trimmed of ends, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and layers separated (green onions also work in a pinch)
1/2 fresh mint leaves, large leaves torn into bite sized pieces
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

combine marinade ingredients and then toss with beef to combine; marinate 15 minutes.

in a small bowl, combine soy, rice wine, vinegar, sugar, chili-garlic paste until sugar dissolves; set aside. in another small bowl, mix garlic with a little oil; set aside. heat 2 t oil in 12" non-stick skillet over high heat until smoking; add part of the beef to skillet in one even layer. cook, without stirring, until it begins to brown on the bottom, then stir and continue cooking to desired doneness. transfer beef to bowl; repeat with additional oil as needed and the beef in however many batches needed.

after transferring last batch of beef to bowl, reduce heat to medium; add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to now-empty skillet and swirl to coat. add chiles and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. push chile-shallot mixture to sides of skillet; add garlic to cleared area and cook, mashing garlic with spoon, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. stir to combine garlic with chile-shallot mixture. add soy sauce mixture to skillet; increase heat to high and cook until slightly reduced and thickened, about 30 seconds. return beef and any accumlated juices to skillet, toss well to combine and coat with sauce, stir in half of mint and cilantro.

serve immediately, sprinkling individual servings with remainder of herbs, chopped green onions, peanuts, and/or lime wedges. excellent with jasmine rice and ginger roasted green beans.

28 May 2007

salmon with mustard dill crust

2 8 oz salmon fillets, skin-on, about 1" thick
1 c panko
1 oz thick-cut potato chips, crushed into rough 1/8" pieces
1 green onion, white part only, minced
1 1/2 T chopped fresh dill
1/2 t olive oil

adjust one oven rack to 3-4" from heat source and second rack to upper middle position. toast panko in 300 degree oven on lower rack until light brown. combine with crushed chips, dill and green onion. set aside.

increase oven setting to broil. line baking sheet with foil and place salmon on foil. rub each fillet evenly with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. broil salmon on upper rack until surface is spotty brown and outer 1/2" of thick end is opaque when gently flaked with paring knife, 7 to 9 minutes. remove fish from oven, spread each fillet evenly with mustard, and press bread crumb mixture onto fillets. return to lower rack and continue broiling until crust is deep golden brown, about 1 minute longer. use spatula to transfer salmon to serving plates, leaving skin behind on foil.

creamy peas with tarragon

2 T unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 T minced fresh tarragon, or 1 t dried tarragon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c heavy cream
1 lb frozen peas
2 t sugar
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

melt butter in 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add shallot, tarragon, and garlic, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. stir in heavy cream and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. add peas and sugar. cover and cook until peas are heated through, about 4 minutes. season with salt and pepper to taste.

25 April 2007

african ginger soft drink

6 cups boiling water
1 cup grated fresh peeled ginger root (yes, 1 cup. that is not a typo)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup lime or lemon juice
1 cup orange juice (or pineapple, or guava)
8 cups cool water

Pour the boiling water over the grated ginger root, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon in a large pot or bowl. Stir. Cover and let sit in the sun for an hour.

Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Add the juices and water. Throw all that grated ginger your worked so hard on into the garbage. Let the mixture sit for another hour. Store in fridge.

07 April 2007

strawberry rhubarb cobbler with gingered biscuit topping

adapted from Sara Moulton

4-5 pints strawberries, hulled, rinsed and quartered
1-1.5 lbs rhubarb, peeled and cut into .5-1" wide pieces
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
2 T all-purpose flour
2 t finely grated lemon zest
generous pinch of salt
1 T unsalted butter, cut into slivers

1 c all-purpose flour
3 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
4 T very finely chopped crystallized ginger
4 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c buttermilk, plus more for brushing

Put rhubarb in a large, heavy saucepan. Add a tablespoon or two of the sugar and stir over high heat until the sugar has started to dissolve, 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the fruit has exuded some of its liquid, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the strawberries and sugar, then add the rhubarb mixture (if the rhubarb has given off a lot of liquid, you may not want to add all the liquid here), lemon zest, the rest of the sugar, and the salt. Let cool a bit, then pour into a lightly buttered baking dish, and dot with the slivers of butter.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. use a pastry blender or your fingertips to mix in the ginger and to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles the texture of small peas. Quickly stir in the buttermilk to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a well-floured work surface, knead into a ball, and roll out to a thickness of about .5". Cut out biscuits using a cookie cutter or thin rimmed glass about 2" in diameter.

Arrange the biscuits tightly over the fruit. Brush lightly with additional buttermilk, sprinkle with demarera sugar, and bake until cobbler is bubbly and biscuits are golden brown, 35-45 minutes. Serve hot, possibly with vanilla ice cream.

12 March 2007

Almost any variety of brined or oil-cured olive works in this recipe, although we preferred a mix of both green and black olives. Instant yeast is commonly labeled rapid-rise yeast. Use a spray bottle filled with water to mist the loaves. The bread will keep for up to 2 days, well wrapped and stored at room temperature. To recrisp the crust, place the bread in a 450-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes. The bread will keep frozen for several months when wrapped in foil and placed in a large zipper-lock bag.

1 3/4 c water (14 oz, room temperature)
2 t instant yeast
2 T honey
3 1/2 c bread flour (19.25 oz), plus extra as needed for dough and counter
1/2 c whole wheat flour (2 3/4 oz)
2 t table salt
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 c pitted olives (6 oz), rinsed, chopped roughly, and patted dry

Whisk water, yeast, and honey in bowl of standing mixer. Add flours and mix on low speed with dough hook until cohesive dough is formed, about 3 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap; make well in center of dough and add salt and rosemary. Knead dough on low speed (speed 2 on KitchenAid) for 5 minutes (if dough creeps up attachment, stop mixer and scrape down). Increase speed to medium and continue to knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 1 minute. If dough is very sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour and continue mixing for 1 minute. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and pat into 12 by 6-inch rectangle. Press olives evenly into dough. Starting at long side, roll rectangle into tight log. With seam side facing up, roll log into coil. Transfer dough, spiral side up, to oiled container or bowl, at least 2 quarts in volume, and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm, draft-free location until it increases in size by 50 percent, about 1 hour.

Fold partially risen dough over itself. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl again; fold once more. Cover with plastic wrap (illustration 5) and let rise 30 minutes. Repeat folding, replace plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface, being careful not to deflate. Divide dough in half (illustration 6), loosely shape each piece into ball, and let rest 15 minutes. Flip each ball over and, starting from top, roll into tight oval shape (illustration 7). Using palms, roll each oval (seam side down) from center outward until 12-inch loaf is formed (illustration 8). Poke any olives that fall off into bottom seam, then pinch seam closed. Transfer each loaf, seam side down, to 12 by 6-inch piece of parchment and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (dough is ready when it springs back slowly when pressed lightly with finger). Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking.
Slide parchment sheets with loaves onto peel or back of inverted baking sheet. Starting and stopping about 1 inch from each side, use razor blade or sharp knife to cut 3 1/2-inch-deep slashes on diagonal along top of each fully risen loaf (illustration 9); spray loaves lightly with water. Carefully slide parchment with loaves into oven using jerking motion. Bake 15 minutes, spraying loaves with water twice more in first 5 minutes, and then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue to bake until bread is deep golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 210 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack, discard parchment, and cool loaves to room temperature, about 2 hours.

04 March 2007

salt roasted salmon

adapted from a recipe by Virginia Willis

2 c coarse Kosher salt
3-6 cinnamon sticks, broken into 1" pieces
1-2 T whole fennel seeds
1 T black peppercorns
4 6 oz salmon fillets

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the salt, cinnamon, fennel, and peppercorns in a medium bowl. Spread spice mixture evenly over the bottom of a heavy-duty or enamelware baking dish. Place the salmon, skin side down, one inch apart on spice mixture. Cover salmon with parchment paper, cover dish with aluminum foil to seal. Bake until desired doneness. Remove salmon from oven, allow to rest 3 minutes. Remove the foil and parchment paper. Using a spatula, remove fillets, leaving skin behind, serve immediately.

[try adding whole cloves, or whole juniper berries. also try sprinkling some of the spice mixture over the top of the filets before baking]

18 February 2007

chocolate-orange Guinness cake

8 oz butter, room temperature
8 oz dark brown sugar
10 oz self-rising flour
1 t baking powder
pinch of salt
2 T cocoa (heaping)
grated rind of one orange
4 eggs
1/2 c Guinness

8 oz icing sugar
4 oz butter
freshly squeezed orange juice

preheat oven to 375F. grease two 8" cake pans. cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa into a bowl. add the orange rind to the creamed butter and beat in the eggs, one at a time, including a spoonful of the measured flour mixture with each one, and beating well between additions. gently mix in the Guinness, a tablespoonful at a time, including another spoonful of flour with each addition. if there's any flour left over, fold it in gently to mix; blend thoroughly without over-beating. divide the mixture between the tins, smooth down, and put the cakes into the center of the preheated oven. reduce the heat to 350F and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cakes are springy to the touch and shrinking slightly in the pans. turn out and cool on a wire rack.

meanwhile, make the icing. cream the softened butter and icing sugar together thoroughly, then blend in the grated orange rind and enough juice to make an icing that is soft enough to spread. when the cakes are cold, use half the icing to sandwich them together, and spread the rest on top.

12 February 2007

polish raspberry treats

2 c all-purpose flour
1 c brown sugar
1 c rolled oats
3/4 c walnuts, ground
1 c coconut
3/4 t salt
12 T unsalted butter, melted
1 lb raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large rectangular pan (13x9" or thereabouts) with foil and butter the foil.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Break up any clumps of sugar with your finger tips and work the ingredients to mix them. Add the melted butter and work with fingers to combine well (if the mixture is too dry and doesn't stick together easily, add up to 2 T butter). Press half of dough in the foil-lined pan, working well into edges and pressing down to compact. Spread out the jam evenly to within 1/2" of edges of pan.

Take handfuls of remaining dough mixture and crumble it over pan, distributing evenly. Press down with palms of hand to compact - but not too hard. Bake until golden-brown, about 45 minutes.

Cool completely before cutting. Cut into 12 pieces.

caramel corn

18 c popped corn
2 c brown sugar
1 c butter or margarine
1/2 c light corn syrup
1 pinch salt
1/2 t baking soda

mix sugar, butter, syrup, and salt. boil over medium heat for 5 minutes. add soda and mix well. pour over corn, stir until evenly coated. spread on cookie sheets and bake for 1 hour at 205-225 degrees F, stirring every 15 minutes. spread on wax paper sheets on counter to cool.

11 February 2007

refried beans

2 15oz cans pinto beans
3/4 cup chicken broth
3-4 strips bacon
1 small onion, minced
1 medium jalapeno, minced
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t salt
2 cloves garlic, minced

food process pinto beans and broth for 15 seconds, then a series of 1 second pulses to achieve desired consistency

brown bacon in non-stick skillet, remove all but one tablespoon of fat, add the onion and jalapeno, cumin, salt. add garlic after onion begins to soften, cook another couple of minutes.

add the bean mixture and continue to cook, mixing it all together with a wooden spoon. if mixture is too thin, just continue to cook the extra liquid off.