Saturday, July 22, 2017

Peaches & Cream Prosecco Cake from Better Homes and Gardens

Directions

  1. For cake: Allow eggs to stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and flour three 8 1 1/2-inch round baking pans. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In an extra-large bowl beat eggs with a mixer on high 5 minutes or until thickened and light. Beat on medium an additional 5 minutes while gradually adding sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. (Batter will be light and fluffy.) Beat in flour mixture on medium-low until just combined.
  3. In a small saucepan heat and stir milk and butter until butter melts. Add to batter, beating until combined; beat in almond extract. Divide batter among prepared pans.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Dates stuffed with blue cheese

The night before last we ate at the 3 Muses on Frenchmen street. We ordered a number of small plates, and one that I want to try at home was dates stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped with bacon and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. They were served warm and were delicious. They would also be good made with figs. 


Ingredients
20 to 24 Medjool dates (12 to 16 ounces)
4 ounces goat cheese or blue cheese
12 to 16 ounces bacon, preferably of medium thickness
20 to 24 toasted almonds, optional

1 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a baking liner and set aside.
  2. Cut open the dates: Use a paring knife to cut a slit in the side of the date. Use your thumbs to open the date slightly. Remove the pits if your dates still have them inside.
  3. Stuff with cheese: Use a spoon to stuff a little goat cheese or blue cheese into each date. Use the back of the spoon to press the cheese into the date. If you're adding almonds, press an almond or two into the cheese. Press the date closed.
  4. Wrap the dates with bacon: Cut the strips of bacon in half. Wrap each date with a half-strip of bacon. Secure the end of the bacon with a toothpick.
  5. Arrange the dates on the baking sheet: Space the dates a little apart and lay them on one side.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the dates to the other side.
  7. Continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes: Keep an eye on the dates and remove from the oven as soon as the bacon is as crispy as you like it.
  8. Transfer the dates to a plate with a paper towel to drain. If the dates seem greasy, blot the sides as well as the bottoms.
  9. Combine vinegar and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer til thick.
  10. Arrange the dates with toothpicks and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Recipe Notes

  • The dates can be prepped and refrigerated for up to a day before baking. Keep covered.
  • Recipe can be doubled or tripled as needed.



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer berry pie with lemon pastry cream

I made this last night for dinner with friends. I thought it was spectacular! 

1 9" pie crust, blind baked
1 recipe, lemon pastry cream
1 1/2 pints of berries (I used 1/2 pint raspberries, 1/2 pint blackberries, 1/2 pint blueberries), washed and dried
Raspberry or strawberry jelly

Pastry cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbl cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 eggs, beaten
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp l real lemon extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 tbl butter

In a saucepan, whisk together dry ingredients, slowly whisk in milk to make smooth mixture. Add lemon juice and cook over medium high heat til boiling. Whisk some of the hot mixture into the eggs. Then add egg mixture back and, stirring constantly, cook til it boils again. Add zest,extracts, and butter. Place a piece of plastic wrap down onto custard and let cool.

Heat some jelly in the microwave for 15-30 seconds til liquid. Paint the pie crust with the jelly. Fill the crust with the pastry cream and top with berries. Glaze berries with more jelly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Piña colada icebox pie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecan shortbread cookie crumbs (about 16 cookies)
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups cream of coconut, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Garnishes: lightly toasted shaved coconut, pineapple wedges, fresh pineapple mint sprigs
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 3 ingredients; firmly press on bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely (about 30 minutes).

  • Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a small heavy saucepan; stir in pineapple. While stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook (keep stirring!) 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; cool completely (about 20 minutes).

  • Beat cream cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, using whisk attachment, until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup cream of coconut, beating at low speed just until blended. (Chill remaining 1/2 cup cream of coconut until ready to use.) Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.


    1. Spread cooled pineapple mixture over bottom of piecrust; spoon cream cheese mixture over pineapple mixture.

    2. Bake at 350° for 38 to 42 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 4 hours.

    3. Beat whipping cream at high speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup cream of coconut, beating until soft peaks form; spread over pie.

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.

Gnudi with butter tomato sauce

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • One 28-ounce can diced Italian plum tomatoes, juices reserved
  • Salt

  • 2 cups spinach, stems discarded
  • 2 pounds fresh ricotta
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  1. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic, onion, bay leaf and red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 1 1/2 hours. Discard the garlic, onion and bay leaf. Season the sauce with salt and keep warm.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, and stir over moderately high heat until wilted; transfer to a colander; let cool slightly. Squeeze the spinach dry and finely chop it.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a food processor, combine the spinach with the ricotta, eggs, nutmeg, and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and process until blended. Add the flour in 3 batches, pulsing between additions, until almost incorporated. Scrape the gnudi dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 5 to 10 times, until smooth.

  4. Add one-fourth of the gnudi dough to a large, resealable plastic bag; with scissors, cut a 1/2-inch corner from the bag. Working over the boiling water, squeeze the dough through the corner opening and use a knife to cut it into 1-inch pieces. Cook the gnudi over moderately high heat until firm, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer the gnudi to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  5. Carefully transfer the gnudi to the tomato sauce and stir lightly to heat through. Spoon into shallow bowls and serve at once, passing more Parmesan at the table.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Recado para Bistec

    • Recado para bistec is used in escabeches, to season poultry, and beef.

  • 8 cloves of garlic, roasted
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 tbl oregano
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1  tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbl black pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Directions

    1. In a mortar or electric spice grinder, grind peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin, oregano,and salt. Add garlic, spices, and vinegar to blender and blend well.
    2. NOTE: Although the Spanish meaning of the name of this seasoning is "a seasoning for steak", its uses are much broader. It is added to pickling solutions and marinades for poultry, seafood, and fish and is also used to flavor broths.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Faux demiglace

If you can't get veal demiglace, here's a homemade substitute. Be sure to use undalted stock, or you'll end up with a salt bomb.

2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 cups unsalted beef stock
2 fat slices of onion, or a small shallot, or 2-3 green onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped

1 pkg unflavored gelatin, softened in 2-3 tbl white wine or dry vermouth

Place all except softened gelatin in saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Add gelatin and stir. Let simmer uncovered until reduced to 1 - 1 1/2 cups. The more you reduce it, the more concentrated the flavor will become. Strain. If not using immediately, cool and refrigerate. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Quick Bordelaise Sauce

Jim absolutely loves Northshore Brasserie's butcher's steak with bordelaise sauce. Here is my pretty delicious faux bordelaise.

1 32oz carton NO SALT beef stock (I used Kitchen Basics)
2 thick slices onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1big clove garlic, smashed
1 small chopped tomato or 1 tbl tomato paste

Place all in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until reduced to about 1 cup. 

1-2 tbl brandy
1 packet unflavored gelatin softened in 2-3 tbl white wine
2 cups good red wine
1/4 tsp thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 tbl raspberry jelly

Add all to reduced stock and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat and cook til reduced to about 1 cup.

1-2 tbl butter

Strain sauce. Return to pan. Bring back to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Swirl in butter and serve with your steak.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Vegetarian Chili from Emeril

6-8 servings

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespooon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cups cooked black beans, or canned beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable stock, or water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Cooked brown rice, accompaniment
Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
Diced avocado, garnish
Essence,  garnish
Chopped green onions, garnish

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

To serve, place 1/4 cup of brown rice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the chili into the bowls over the rice. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado. Sprinkle with Essence and green onions and serve.

Essence 
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients.


Red Velvet Crackle Sandwiches from Southern Living

  • 3 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 tablespoon red liquid food coloring 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, divided 
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • Preheat oven to 375°F with oven racks in the top third and bottom third of oven. Melt chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe glass bowl on MEDIUM (50% power) until melted and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Whisk in granulated sugar, eggs, and food coloring until smooth.
  • Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to butter mixture, stirring gently just to combine.
  • Place 1 cup of the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into powdered sugar, rolling to coat, and place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Using the heal of your hand, gently flatten domed tops of dough. Bake in preheated oven until cookies are almost set and outsides are crackled, 10 to 11 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks, and cool cookies completely, about 30 minutes.
  • Beat cream cheese and remaining 1 cup powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons cream cheese filling onto flat side of half of the cookies. Cover with remaining half of cookies, flat side down, and gently press.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Coconut Bars

Yield: 12

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour *

Filling Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or brown rice flour
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Instructions 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Grease an 8x8 pan with butter or line with parchment. Combine the butter, sugar, and flour for the crust in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined. Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes while finishing the rest of the recipe.

Mix together the filling ingredients and pour over the crust. Bake 20 minutes more (25 minutes for the doubled recipe). Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mascarpone Cheese

2 cups heavy cream
1 tbl lemon juice

  1. In a saucepan, slowly bring the heavy cream to a low simmer (the temperature should climax at 180° F and the goal is to try to keep it around there).  
  2. Let simmer at 180° F for about 3 minutes then add in the lemon juice. 
  3. Simmer for another 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. 
  4. Fill a small strainer with several layers of cheesecloth (I use three) and put a small bowl under the strainer. 
  5. Pour the cooled mascarpone mixture into the cheesecloth and stick the entire bowl in the fridge overnight (mine only strained a few tablespoons of whey, but the mascarpone came out thick and creamy in the morning).