Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pie crust with lard

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chilled lard or frozen nonhydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and lard; using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add 5 tablespoons ice water and mix with fork until dough begins to clump together, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough together. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into disk. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. If necessary, soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Garam Masala

This recipe is from Epicurious and it's very good--much better than store-bought garam masala. I already had all the needed spices, so it was a snap to make. I used it tonight in my beef keema (use lamb if you want it to be more authentic).
  • A 1-inch piece cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • Heat the cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, whole peppercorns, cloves, and chile in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the cumin becomes brown, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or coffee mill, add the nutmeg and mace, and grind until powder fine. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 months.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Chocolate Pie

I made this yesterday for dinner with friends. I based it on The Pioneer Woman's recipe with just a few twists of my own. It's easy and delicious. Cuts perfectly.
  • 1 9" pie crust baked and cooled or graham cracker crust
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 cups Half and half
  • 4 whole Egg Yolks
  • 6-1/2 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate (I like Lindt)  Chopped Fine
  • 1 tbl Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbl instant espresso powder
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

  • Before you get started - make and cool pie crust, chop your chocolate, separate your eggs, reserving whites for another use.
  • Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir or whisk together. 
    Pour in milk and whisk together.

    Stir over medium heat until the mixture just barely comes to a boil and becomes thick, about 6-8 minutes (maybe less, maybe more; just watch it!) The second it starts to bubble and thicken (note: It should be thick like pudding!) remove it from the heat. 
  • Stirring constantly, pour a cup or so of the hot mixture into egg yolks. Add egg yolk mixture back and bring back to the boil. 
  • Add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until everything is beautifully combined. 

    Strain (you can omit this step, but it does make for a silkier filling) mixture into the cooled pie crust (if there is extra, spoon it into small dishes) and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours uncovered. 
  • Serve with barely sweetened whipped cream.  (Beat 1 cup cold heavy cream with 2 tbl confectioners sugar until thick. Add 1 tsp vanilla and mix well. Keep cold til ready to serve.)

Sunday, April 02, 2017

2 egg cake by Joy of Cooking

I wanted a small birthday cake, so I cut the old 4 egg cake in half and baked it in 2 8" pans. It was delicious!


Preheat oven to 325 convect or 350 non-convect.


Take everything out of the fridge, so that it can come to room temperature.


Prepare 2 8"cake pans:  *Cut 2-8" rounds of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of your pans. If you don't have parchment paper, use Release Aluminum Foil or wax paper. Don't skip this step! Spray your pans with Baker's Joy or butter & flour them.  Then place the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.  Then spray it with Baker's Joy. *To cut the rounds--tear off a piece of paper large enough to cover your pan. Fold in 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8, then 1/16.  Set the point in the middle of the pan and eyeball where you need to cut. Crease to mark it and then cut. Unfold, and --this always seems like a miracle to me--you have a perfect circle.  If it's too big, refold and cut it a little smaller.


Sift before measuring:

1 1/2 cups cake flour

Resift with:

1 1/8 tsp double-acting baking powder

1/4 tsp salt


Sift:

1 cups sugar


Beat until soft:

1/2 cup butter (preferably unsalted)

Add the sugar gradually.  Beat until very light and creamy. Beat in, one at a time:

2 egg yolks


Add:

3/4 tsp vanilla or 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp almond extract


With mixer on slowest speed, add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with thirds of:

1/2 cup milk


Stir the batter until smooth after each addition.  Whip until stiff, but not dry:

2 egg whites

Fold them lightly into the cake batter.


Pour into prepared cake pans and bake about 22-25 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove the cake pans to a rack and let cool before turning the cakes out on to racks to finish cooling.  Don't try to ice them until they are thoroughly cool, otherwise your icing will melt and slide off.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Delhi style green beans

  • Kosher salt 
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil 
  • Generous pinch of ground asafetida (available at Indian markets or kalustyans.com
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds 
  • 1 to 3 fresh hot green chiles, such as bird's-eye, Indian long, or serrano, finely chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece) 
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. 

  • Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high; add asafetida. A few seconds later, add cumin seeds and let sizzle a few seconds. Remove from heat; add chiles and ginger. Stir a few times, then return to medium-low heat. 

  • Add beans, 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste), and coriander. Cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 5 minutes more. Serve hot or room temperature.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Best pot roast ever

I've been making pot roast for years, but this recipe was really exceptional. It's relatively fast and totally delicious.

Preheat oven to 325

1 chuck roast
3 tbl olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 - 5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 carrot, cut in 4 pieces
2 tbl flour
1-2 tbl tomato paste
1/4 cup or so brandy (Do not use "cooking" brandy)
1 cup red wine (white wine can be substituted, but the gravy won't be quite as dark)
1 can chicken stock (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tbl worstershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dry thyme or 1 tbl fresh
1 pck Goya chicken bouillon 
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Cut the roast into approximately 3x5" pieces (1-2 pieces will be a serving) and trim of any large chucks of fat. Dry the meat and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat the oil on high in a heavy dutch oven and brown the meat on all sides in batches. Remove the meat, reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions and carrot. Stir the veg, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute another minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring, til brown. Turn off the flame and add the brandy, stirring constantly. Slowly add the wine and the stock, stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, worstershire, Goya. Add the meat back to the pot. The meat should be not quite covered with liquid. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Underseason because the sauce will concentrate during cooking. Bring to a boil, cover, and bake in oven for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Halfway through cooking, turn the meat over and add water, if the sauce is getting too thick. 

Serve with mashed potatoes.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Chicken thighs with kimchi

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

  • 2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces, breasts halved crosswise

  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 10 scallions, trimmed and chopped, plus sliced scallions for garnish

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • One 16-ounce jar cabbage kimchi with juice 
(2 1/2 cups)

  • Roasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

  1. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add half of it to the casserole skin side down. Cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until browned on the other side, 6 to 8 minutes more; reduce the heat to moderate if the chicken is getting too dark. Transfer 
to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.


  2. Add the chopped scallions, garlic and kimchi with its juice to the casserole and bring to 
a boil over moderately high heat. Nestle the chicken in the sauce, cover and simmer over moderately low heat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a piece of dark meat registers 165° (160° for white meat), 
20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with sliced scallions and sesame seeds, if desired, and serve.