Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Calabrian Lamb chops

I saw this on Nigella Express today. It sounds fantastic, and I'm going to try it soon. Of course, I'll have to substitute something for the black olives, perhaps capers, since Jim won't eat them.

I think that this would be nice served with orzo or roasted potatoes and a salad.


* 12 lamb rib chops
* 4 tablespoons/1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, for frying
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
* 1 teaspoon chili flakes
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 small lemon, zested and juiced
* 1 teaspoon Maldon salt/kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
* 15 black olives, pitted and sliced
* 1 long red chile, deseeded and finely chopped, optional


Layer the rib chops between clingfilm/cling-wrap (plastic wrap) and flatten them gently with a rolling pin or mallet. Place the chops in a large dish so that they all fit in a single layer.

Pour over the 4 tablespoons/1/4 cup of oil and add the garlic, chili, oregano, lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle over the salt and the olives and then turn the rib chops in the marinade so that both sides are coated.

Cover and leave the lamb to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature before cooking.

Heat a large frying pan with the 2 tablespoons of oil, and add the chops scraping off the marinade before you put them in the pan. Fry them for a couple of minutes a side on quite a high heat so that they take on some color.

Turn the heat back down to medium and pour the marinade into the pan over the colored chops. Add 2 tablespoons or so of water so that they cook in a little liquid.

Cook for about 5 minutes for rare cutlets or a little longer if you like your lamb well cooked, (this will also depend on the thickness of the chops).

Transfer the lamb to a serving plate, pour over the juices from the pan and sprinkle with the chopped red chile should you feel like enhancing the dried chili with the pep of fresh.

Double Chocolate-Peppermint Crunch Cookies

yield: Makes about 50 
2 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (do not exceed 61% cacao; 15 to 16 ounces), divided
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon peppermint extract 
2 large eggs 
4 candy canes or 16 red-and-white- striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir 2 cups chocolate chips in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Measure 2/3 cup melted chocolate; transfer to small metal bowl and reserve for drizzling.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Add sugar and both extracts; beat until smooth. Add eggs; beat to blend. Beat in melted chocolate from medium bowl. Add dry ingredients; beat just to blend. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Measure 1 level tablespoonful dough; roll dough between palms to form ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake cookies until cracked all over and tester inserted into center comes out with large moist crumbs attached, 8 to 9 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to racks to cool completely. 
Rewarm reserved 2/3 cup chocolate over small saucepan of simmering water. Using fork, drizzle chocolate over cookies. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over, arranging some pieces with red parts showing. Chill just until chocolate sets, about 20 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 weeks ahead. Store airtight in freezer. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies

yield: Makes about 4 dozen sandwich cookies 
For Cookies
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
White and colored sanding sugars

For Filling
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

Special Equipment:
a heavy-duty sealable bag

Make Cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt.
Beat together butter and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in zest and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture just until a soft dough forms. 
Put sanding sugars in different bowls. Roll a scant teaspoon of dough into a ball and drop into sugar, turning to coat. Reshape if necessary and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls 3/4 inch apart, until baking sheet is filled.
Bake until tops are slightly cracked but still pale (bottoms will be pale golden), 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to a rack to cool completely.
Form and bake more cookies on second baking sheet. 

Make Filling and Sandwich Cookies: Beat together all filling ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined well. Transfer to sealable bag and snip off a corner.
Turn over half of cookies and pipe about 1/2 teaspoon filling on flat side of each. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently.

Recipe Notes
1. The sugared dough balls should be chilled for 30 minutes or frozen for 5 to 10 minutes to help preserve their round shape. Keep the sandwiched cookies chilled.
2. The unsandwiched cookies keep, in a metal cookie tin, at a cool room temperature for up to 4 days.
The Gourmet Cookie Book


yield: Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups finely chopped almonds
3/4 cup finely chopped candied orange peel
1/3 cup flour

In a saucepan, mix together 1/2 cup each of heavy cream and sugar and 3 tablespoons butter and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove it from the heat and stir in 1 1/4 cups finely chopped almonds, 3/4 cup finely chopped candied orange peel, and 1/3 cup flour. Drop the batter from a tablespoon into mounds about 3 inches apart on oiled and lightly floured cookie sheets and flatten each cookie with a wet spatula. Bake the cookies in a moderate oven (350°F) for about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them stand for about 5 minutes. Remove the cookies to a wire rack, let them cool completely, and spread them with chocolate glaze. Chill them.

Chocolate Glaze Melt 1 ounce each of unsweetened chocolate and sweet cooking chocolate over simmering water. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon honey and stir the glaze until the butter is melted. For an easier glaze, use melted bittersweet chocolate.

Recipe Notes
1. Use a small offset spatula to spread the dough into thin rounds on the baking sheet.
2. Use 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted, for the glaze.

Toffee Squares

Oh my these are delicious! I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips and Ghiradelli dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

7 to 8 ounces milk chocolate, broken into pieces, or 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment.
2. Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. On low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until mixed. The dough will be stiff. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the baking pan.
3. Bake in the center of the oven until pale gold on top, about 20 minutes. 
4. Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chocolate pieces evenly over the crust. Return the pan to the oven for 1 minute. Remove the pan again and, using a knife, spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the almonds.
5. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares, then carefully remove from the pan with a small offset spatula or an icing spatula. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Spiced Cookies

These are awful. I made them this weekend, and no one likes them, including me. A tremendous waste of good ingredients! The recipe is from

yield: Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

For cookies:
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts (9 ounces), toasted , loose skins rubbed off in a kitchen towel while still warm, and nuts cooled completely
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur (preferably Frangelico)

For icing:
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur

Make cookies: Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle. Butter a large baking sheet.
Pulse hazelnuts, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped, then add butter and zest and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Add juice and liqueur and pulse until dough comes together into a ball but is still crumbly. Form level tablespoons of dough into balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, arranging 1 inch apart on baking sheet.
Bake cookies until puffed and slightly cracked, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Make icing while cookies cool: Whisk together all icing ingredients until smooth.
Dip tops of cooled cookies into icing and transfer to a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Let stand until ici

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Curtido de Repollo (Yucatecan cole slaw)

I first ate this in Yucatan at our neighbor's house.  Dona Ela had an enormous glass crock filled with this beautiful and delicious relish.  I found a recipe on Gourmet and adapted it, so that it was easier. This is delicious on tostadas or tacos, especially fish tacos, or you can eat it like a salad . Adapt this to your taste buds by altering the proportion of acid to oil, and the number and type of chiles.  I made this with Habanero chile and it was very good, but too spicy for many people.

  •  1 pkg cole slaw mix with carrots
  • 1.2 large red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 fresh jalapeƱos, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
  • 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons  brown sugar
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • Mix all together and let stand at least 1 hour. Taste and correct seasoning.

Mexican Brownies

My friend and great cook, Kathleen Erickson, made these Friday night for a cinco de mayo party.  She used her own brownie recipe, but I'm sure that this would work any recipe.  She added 3/4 tsp of chipotle chile powder and 1 tsp of cinnamon to the brownie recipe.  They were fantastic! Then she topped the brownies with Dulce de Leche ice cream. YUM!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

4 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 sticks of butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 tsp cinnamon
if desired:
add 2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans;
or 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels and 1/4 cup broken pieces of good quality bittersweet chocolate

Spray pan with Baker's Secret or similar product.

Dulce de Leche ice cream

Melt 4 squares of unsweetened chocolate and two sticks butter in a heavy saucepan over very low heat.

Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Add the eggs , 2 at a time; stirring just until mixed. Add vanilla.

Stir in the flour and salt. Add nuts, if desired, chocolate morsels and bittersweet chocolate.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes. If you test with a toothpick, it will not come out perfectly clean, but they will be done with a soft fudgy center. Let cool in pan for a few minutes but cut while still somewhat warm. If knife blade is sticky, wipe with a clean dishcloth dipped in warm water after each cut. Place brownies in cupcake liner for ease of handling. (Ama B is now using heavy stoneware pan from Pampered Chef and finds that it works really well for these brownies and does not let the edges get to dry.)

Serve brownies in a bowl with a scoop of Dulce de Leche ice cream.

You can double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 pan.