20 December 2008

Russian tea cakes

from Epicurious.com

2 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1 c butter, room temperature
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
3/4 c finely chopped husked hazelnuts, toasted
powdered sugar for rolling

Sift flour and salt together. using electric mixer, cream butter in large bowl until light. Gradually add 1/2 c powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients in three batches. Mix in hazelnuts. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Form dough into 1" balls. Space 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until just firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool slightly. Roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Roll cookies in powdered sugar again. Store in airtight container for at least a few days.

19 December 2008

cranberry orange oatmeal cookies

adapted from several similar recipes to suit our tastes

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. Grease two light colored baking sheets.

Stir dry ingredients in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars in large bowl until blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Add egg, vanilla, and orange oil, and mix thoroughly. Stir in flour mixture and just incorporated, then stir in oatmeal an 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 November 2008

quick italian breaad

makes 1 loaf

2 1/4 t yeast, active dry
7/8 c warm water
2 1/2 c bread flour
1 1/2 t sugar, divided
1 1/2 t salt

Proof yeast and 1 t sugar in 7/8 c warm water for 10 minutes in a warm place. In food processor fitted with dough blade, mix flour, remaining 1/2 t sugar and the salt for 20 seconds. With processor running, pour in the yeast mixture in a continuous stream. Dough should combine and pull away from the sides of the bowl within a few seconds. Add more warm water by the teaspoon if necessary. After dough combines, let processor run for 30-40 seconds to knead.

Remove dough and roll it with your hands to about 18 inches long. Place on baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent dough from sticking. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 minutes. Remove plastic and diagonally slash loaf with sharp knife at about three-inch intervals. Put in middle of the oven. Spray loaf with water and bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

04 October 2008

rustic shrimp stew

from wholeliving.com

makes 4 servings

2 T olive oil
1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, halved and thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, quarted and sliced crosswise
2 links (3 oz each), fully cooked Italian-style chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 T all-purpose flour
2 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 c parsley leaves, chopped
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add potatoes, carrots, garlic, onion, sausage, and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are crisp-tender, 15 to 17 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over potatoes and vegetables. Stir in broth, bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes more. Top mixture with shrimp. Cover and simmer 3 to 4 minutes until shrimp are opaque throughout. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

30 September 2008

chicken and white bean soup with greens

from health.com

1 T olive oil
2-3 thinly sliced leeks, white parts only
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 c carrot, cut into 1/4" thick slices
6 c low sodium low fat chicken broth
1 1/2 c shredded rotisserie chicken
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 19oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 c packed roughly chopped fresh kale
1 c packed baby spinach
1 T chopped fresh parsley
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes or until tender but not browned. Add carrots and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add broth, chicken and rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans and kale, and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Add spinach and cook 2-3 minutes more or until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove rosemary sprig (and garlic cloves, if desired). Ladle soup into 6 warm bowls; sprinkle each with fresh parsley.

6 servings, 209 cals, 6 g fat, 20 g protein, 21 g carbs, 5 g fiber

10 September 2008

oriental chicken salad

this is our attempt to recreate the chinese chicken salad from california pizza kitchen

1/4 c teriyaki sauce
2 t olive oil
1 t minced garlic
1 t minced fresh ginger
1 to 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

greenleaf or iceberg lettuce, washed, dried, and cut into 1/8"-wide strips
romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and cut into 1/8"-wide strips
1 c shredded carrots
1/3 c sesame seeds, toasted
1/3 c minced fresh cilantro
1 red or yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 cucumber, seeds scooped out and julienned
12 large fresh basil leaves, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 large bunch scallions, thinly sliced, both green and white parts

1 c bottle hoisin sauce
3 oz red wine vinegar
2 T minced fresh ginger
2 T Dijon mustard
1 1/2 t Vietnamese chili sauce
1/2 c olive oil
2 T toasted sesame oil

Put all the dressing ingredients except the 2 oils in a mixing bowl. Blend thoroughly with a handheld electric mixer or a whisk. Then, mixing or whisking continuously, slowly pour in the olive an sesame oils, stirring until thoroughly blended. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Preheat a stovetop grill or the broiler. In a mixing bowl, stir together the teriyaki sauce, olive oil, garlic and ginger. Coat the chicken with the marinade and leave them to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature. Grill or broil the chicken until cooked through, 5-6 minutes per side. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, then cut crosswise into 1/4" strips. Cover and refrigerate.

Combine lettuces, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, and basil. Add most of scallions and some dressing. Toss to combine. Transfer to serving plates. Arrange chicken strips on top of each salad. Drizzle a little salad dressing on top and garnish with remaining scallions.

05 September 2008

French Tuna Salad

(From the New York Times Magazine 9/5/04)

10 to 12 ounces good-quality solid tuna packed in olive oil, well drained
2 scallions washed, trimmed and chopped fine
6 pepperoncini peppers, destemmed and julienned
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup roasted or smoked almonds, chopped roughly, or a small handful toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil (or the oil the tuna was packed in)
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or more to taste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Mix all the ingredients well with a fork in a medium-size, nonreactive bowl. Taste and adjust the lemon juice and pepper. The salad can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.

Yield: About 2 cups.

24 August 2008

chicken broccoli ziti skillet dinner

from America's Test Kitchen

cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces on the diagonal, season with salt and pepper.

heat a tablespoon of veg oil in a large nonstick skillet, when pan is hot add chicken, leave for a few minutes to brown on one side, then stir to cook other sides.

mince half a large onion and three cloves of garlic. when chicken is mostly cooked, remove it, add another tablespoon of oil, the onion, and 1/2 t salt. cook for 3-5 minutes until onion begins to soften, then add 3 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 t oregano, 1/8 t red pepper flakes, 8 oz ziti, 1 can low sodium chicken broth (1 3/4 c), 2 c water. turn up heat to high and simmer uncovered.

meanwhile cut broccoli into evenly sized bite sized florets. rinse 3-4 oil packed sun dried tomatoes, then chop them finely.

once liquid is almost completely absorbed, add 3/4 c water, the broccoli florets, and the sun dried tomatoes. cover and steam for 2-3 minutes.

meanwhile, shred 1/2-3/4 c asiago cheese. uncover skillet, add the chicken, 1/2 c heavy cream and the shredded cheese, and simmer for a minute or two until the sauce starts to thicken. serve with a little shredded asiago on top.

28 July 2008

brown rice crispy bars

adapted from Alton Brown

3 oz puffed brown rice
3 T flax seed oil, plus extra for the pan
1 T honey
7 oz mini-marshmallows
3 oz toasted slivered almonds
4 oz dried chopped fruit (cranberries and cherries)

Lightly coat the inside of a 13x9x2" metal pan wiht oil and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Spread the brown puffed rice evenly on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the rice is toasting, prepare the marshmallow mixture. Place the oil, honey, and marshmallows in a large mixing bowl set over a port of gently simmering water. Stir until the marshmallows are melted, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Once the marshmallows are melted, quickly add the toasted brown rice, almonds, and fruit; stir to combine. Coat your hands or a spatula with oil and spreadh the mixture evenly in the pan. Once the mixture has cooled completely, cut into squares and store in an airtight container for a few days.

22 June 2008

ginger-infused rice pudding

makes 10 small servings

1/2 c water
2/3 c cup plus 2 T brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar

3 T grated peeled fresh ginger
3 c low-fat milk, divided
3 c plain soy milk
1 c short-grain rice
1/4 c heavy cream
sliced fresh strawberries and crystallized ginger, for garnish

To make the syrup, combine water and sugars in a medium saucepain. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Turn heat to low, stir and simmer about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Combine milk, soy milk, and ginger in a large saucepain. Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Occasionally skim top. Pour milk/ginger mixture through a sieve to separate out ginger.

Stir rice and syrup into milk (you may not want all the syrup if you don't want it quite as sweet). Cook on high until mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until pudding thickens and rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Add heavy cream.

Spoon pudding into each of 10 cups, topping each with strawberry slices and ginger, if desired.

15 June 2008

bistro steak with garlic & olive oil mashed potatoes

using rinse and pat steaks dry on paper towels. season liberally with salt and pepper. place on baking rack set on jellyroll pan and put in 275 degree oven for around 20-30 minutes until internal temperature is 90-95 degrees.

wash 2 pounds of russet potatoes. do not peel or cut out bad spots (you will do this later) put them in a pot and add cold water to cover by about 1". bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

while potatoes are cooking:
put 4 oz olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. mince/press 5 cloves of garlic into oil. cook until garlic is golden. meanwhile, put 6 oz of olive oil in a medium bowl. mince/press one clove of garlic onto a cutting board, then sprinkle a bit of salt on and smear with the side of a knife to make a paste. add that paste to the uncooked oil.

after about 5 minutes of cooking, the garlic/oil mixture on the stove should be ready. add to the fresh garlic/oil mixture. add a squeeze of lemon, a teaspoon of kosher salt and mix.

as potatoes finish (a knife should pierce very easily), remove them from the oil. hold the potato in a towel, and remove the peel with a knife. mash into a large bowl using a potato ricer. repeat until all potatoes are cooked, peeled, and mashed. stir in garlic/olive oil mixture.

unless serving immediately, keep potatoes warm by making a double boiler by turning the cooking water to a very low temperature, and placing the plastic-wrapped bowl on top.

put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a 12" skillet and heat until oil is shimmering. add the steaks, spacing them evenly. steaks will start to smoke quickly. after 60-120 seconds, depending on thickness, the steaks should be ready to flip. after another 45-90 seconds, they should be done (120-125 degrees internally for rareish). remove from the pan and set on clean rack. brown the sides by turning the pan down to medium heat, and using tongs to hold the steaks to the pan, rotating a few times until all sides are evenly browned.

to make a pan sauce, pour the grease out of the skillet, but do not scrape bottom. add a little vegetable oil and 8 oz of mushrooms and let wilt for about five minutes over medium heat. meanwhile, mince a shallot finely. while mushrooms are golden, add shallots and saute until softened. add 1/2 c chicken broth, 1 c red wine and bring to a simmer. cook for about 6 minutes until the liquid is a little syrupy. add a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar, a couple tablespoons of dijon mustard, chopped fresh chives. then whisk in a couple tablespoons of cold butter; sauce should be glossy and somewhat thickened. stir in any juice from the dripping pan.

12 June 2008

Cream of Avocado Soup

1 T unsalted butter
1 very small onion, chopped (about 1/3 c)
2 t peeled finely chopped fresh ginger root
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, scooped out
¼ c fresh basil leaves
¼ c fresh cilantro leaves
¼ to 1/3 c heavy cream
¼ to 1/3 c fresh lime juice
3 ½ c ice water
salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper to taste

Place small pan over med low heat; when hot, add butter. When butter is melted, add onion, ginger, garlic, cook til golden. Cool for at least 5 minutes.

Place the avocados, basil, cilantro, cream, and lime juice in a blender and blend until pureed. Gradually, while the machine is running, add the water and reserved onion mixture and blend until completely smooth. Add seasonings to taste.

Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Garnish with basil and cilantro.

09 June 2008

cheese straws

recipe #1

Into the food processor put 4 oz. grated extra-sharp cheddar, 4 Tbs softened unsalted butter, 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. Then add 1 Tbs half and half and process until it forms a ball.

Now you roll it out into a 8 X 10 inch rectangle on a floured surface.

After that, you cut the dough into long, tin strips 1/4 top 1/3 inch wide. Place on a cookie sheet 1/4 inch apart:

Then bake 12 to 15 minutes in a 350 oven until the ends are barely browned. Take out, cool and eat!

recipe #2:

from the NY Times

Time: 20 minutes

½ pound Cheddar or other hard, flavorful cheese
1/3 pound Parmesan cheese
2 cups (about 9 ounces) all-purpose flour
Pinch cayenne
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into chunks, plus a little more for greasing the baking sheet
Few drops ice water, if necessary
Coarse salt (optional).

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Grate cheese by hand or in food processor and place in bowl. Pulse flour and cayenne in processor. Add butter and process until butter and flour are combined. Pulse in cheese.

2. Turn out onto counter or cutting board and knead by hand, adding a few drops of ice water if necessary. (You may wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 days, taking it out for about a half hour before proceeding.)

3. Roll out into a rectangle about ¼-inch thick, on a lightly floured surface or between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, then cut into ½-inch-wide strips as long as you like. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, if using. Bake until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Yield: At least 10 servings.

17 May 2008

Espinacas con garbanzos

adapted only slightly from one of my favorite food blogs, Lobstersquad

1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup tomato sauce ( tomate frito, without corn syrup or dubious stuff, please. Just add a bit of sugar if you like) - I used most of a can of muir glen organic whole tomatoes, whizzed around in my food processor until sauce-like
1/2 tsp of cumin, or to taste
400 gr. fresh spinach
1 can chickpeas, drained
sherry vinegar
Tabasco or dried chili
salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice

In a biggish pan hat has a good lid, sautee the onion in olive oil, and when it´s transparent, add the minced garlic and cumin. Let it cook for a minute, until it´s fragrant.
Now add the spinach, tomato, and drained chickpeas.This is a messy procedure, as the spinach takes up a lot of room, but it will collapse quickly, so just move it around, clamp the lid, and after a minute, shake it around. The idea is that the liquid the spinach gives out is soaked up by the chickpeas, so there´s no sogginess. In no more than five minutes, it will be dark green and soft, but very juicy. Taste for salt and cumin, add a splash of Tabasco, vinegar or a squirt of lemon juice, and you´re in business.
It tastes better lukewarm, so try not to be greedy.

14 May 2008

thai-style chicken soup

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, bottom 5 inches halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
3 shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
8 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk, well shaken
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 pound white mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5-6 ounces each), halved lengthwise and sliced on the bias into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 serrano chiles, sliced thin
2 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until just shimmering. Add the lemongrass, shallots, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce; cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, 2 to 5 minutes (the vegetables should not brown). Stir in the broth and 1 can coconut milk; bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the flavors have blended, 10 minutes. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids in the strainer. Rinse the saucepan and return the broth mixture to the pan.

Return the pan to medium-high heat. Stir the remaining can of coconut milk and sugar into the broth mixture and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, add the mushrooms, and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat.

Combine the lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce in a small bowl; stir into the soup. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cilantro, chiles, and scallions. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

13 May 2008

aglio e olio

1 lb spaghetti
table or sea salt
6 T good quality olive oil
1/4 c minced garlic
3/4 t red pepper flakes
3 T chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 t lemon juice
1/2 c Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof serving bowl on rack and heat oven to 200 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in large Dutch oven or stockpot. Add pasta and 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt to boiling water, stir to separate pasta, cover, and cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta.

2. While water is heating, combine 3 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon table salt or sea salt flakes in heavy-bottomed nonstick 10-inch skillet; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw-colored, 10 to 12 minutes. Off heat, add remaining tablespoon raw garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water to skillet and stir well to keep garlic from clumping.

3. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl; add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining reserved pasta cooking water and toss to coat. Add garlic mixture and 3/4 teaspoon table salt or 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes to pasta; toss well to combine. Serve immediately, sprinkling individual bowls with portion of Parmesan, if desired.

18 April 2008

Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Clove

from the weekly newsletter sent by the The Splendid Table

Excerpted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter, April 8, 2008). Copyright 2008 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift

Serves 4 to 6

5 minutes prep time; 18 minutes stove time
The beans hold in the refrigerator for 5 days; add liquid as needed when reheating.

* Good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 large onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice

* Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

* 4 garlic cloves, fine chopped

* 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and fine chopped
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

* One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained

* Two 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

* 1-1/2 cups water

* 2 Tablespoons butter

1. Generously film the bottom of a 10-inch skillet with olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Saute the onions with salt and pepper to taste until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. You want to hear a sizzle as they cook.

2. Add the garlic, jalapeño, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook the mix until it is fragrant, about 1 minute, taking care not to burn the spices. Add the tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pan. Saute for another minute.

3. Stir in the beans and water. Bring to a fast simmer, crushing the beans with a potato masher (or the back of a large spoon) as they cook, and scraping the bottom of the pan as the beans begin to thicken. Simmer until the beans are thick, about 10 minutes. Blend in the butter, and taste for seasoning just before serving.

13 March 2008

Chocolate-Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries

[these might be the best cookies ever, we highly recommend doubling the recipe]

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (flour should total 6.25 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups rolled oats, old-fashioned, (3 1/2 ounces)
1 cup toasted pecans (4 ounces), chopped
1 cup dried tart cherries (5 ounces), chopped coarse
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped into chunks about size of chocolate chips (about 3/4 cup)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces), preferably dark
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large (18 by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries, and chocolate.

  3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until just incorporated. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.

  4. Divide dough evenly into 16 portions, each about 1/4 cup, then roll between palms into balls about 2 inches in diameter; stagger 8 balls on each baking sheet, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using hands, gently press each dough ball to 1 inch thickness. Bake both baking sheets 12 minutes, rotate them front to back and top to bottom, then continue to bake until cookies are medium brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will seem underdone and will appear raw, wet, and shiny in cracks), 8 to 10 minutes longer. Do not overbake.

  5. Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

    25 February 2008

    freezer biscuits

    This is a light and fluffy cut biscuit that can be made well in advance and stored in the freezer, just like the frozen biscuits sold at supermarkets--only better. The biscuit dough will not bake well unless it's frozen. Makes about 24 biscuits.

    6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons baking powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    4 1/2 cups heavy cream

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (if your baking sheets are small, you may need to use 2); set aside. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until a dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball. Knead the dough briefly until smooth, about 60 seconds, adding extra flour as needed if the dough is too sticky.

    Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut out the biscuits using a 2 1⁄2-inch round biscuit cutter. Lay the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. Gather up the scraps of dough and reknead them briefly to combine, then pat the dough again into a 3/4-inch-thick round and cut more biscuits; repeat this process again for a third time. You can either discard any remaining bits of dough or gently pat them into rustic hand-formed biscuits.

    To Store: Wrap the baking sheet tightly with greased plastic wrap and freeze the biscuits until frozen solid, about 6 hours. Transfer the frozen biscuits to a large zipper-lock bag and freeze for up to 1 month. (Do not thaw before baking.) The unbaked biscuit dough cannot be stored in the refrigerator.

    To Serve: Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Lay the desired number of biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart, and bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. (If baking a large amount of biscuits, spread them out over 2 baking sheets and bake the sheets separately; do not bake both sheets at the same time.) Serve hot.

    03 January 2008

    Smoked Paprika-Roasted Salmon with Wilted Spinach

    adapted very slightly from McCormick Recipes

    The only thing I'd change next time is maybe to use a little less cinnamon than the recipe calls for, but it's really terrific as-is.

    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
    2 teaspoons thyme, divided
    2 pounds salmon fillets
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1 tablespoon smoked paprika (I used bittersweet pimentòn)
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon grated orange peel
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 bag (10 ounces) fresh spinach leaves
    1 garlic clove, minced

    Mix orange juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1 teaspoon of the thyme in small bowl. Place salmon in glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat. Cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix brown sugar, smoked paprika, cinnamon, orange peel, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and sea salt in small bowl. Remove salmon from marinade. Place in greased foil-lined baking pan. Discard any remaining marinade.

    Rub top of salmon evenly with smoked paprika mixture. Roast 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

    Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in large skillet on medium heat and sauté garlic until golden. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes or until wilted. Serve salmon over spinach.