Saturday, December 13, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
- (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
- 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
- Sea salt.
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
There are no recipes to share, since M. makes things up as he goes along. But this meal was truly excellent, both in taste and in the fact it was prepared for me. Being cooked for mid-week was truly a delightful treat.
Top left - rainbow chard chopped and cooked in a little olive oil with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Top right - sliced portabello mushrooms glazed with basalmic vinegar and red wine.
Bottom right - M explored millet for the first time. He toasted the grains dry, and then created a pilaf by cooking them in vegetable broth, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper as well as a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
Bottom left - Heirloom (Good Mother Stollard) beans that were soaked, and cooked with a little salt.
We (particularly M.) are all about cooking heirloom beans lately. They are uniquely delicious, and have helped us realize that the merits of cooking dried beans from scratch. Cooking dried beans does take planning and forethought, but the results blow canned beans right out of the water. We got our first batch from www.ranchogordo.com, but a quick google search for heirloom beans will bring up a variety of sources from which they can be obtained. Heirloom beans cost a little more, but taste so much better!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
This recipe yields a lot of soup. Sometimes I'm really great at making it through a recipe before getting sick of it. This was not one of those times. I hate wasting food, and try very hard to keep it from happening. But sometimes it does. So, if you're cooking for two (or fewer then the 8-10 servings in the recipe, I would consider making a half batch. Or getting one's act together soon to freeze portions. That was my plan, but the act getting didn't quite happen.
So, here's a tried and true which gets made at least once a year in my kitchen. I often forget to say this, but I always sub veggie broth. And doing so would also make it vegan. Enjoy!
Barefoot Contessa's French Lentil Soup
Recipe by Ina Garten
Serves - 8 -10
- 1 pound French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
- Boiling water
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large leeks, white and tender green parts only, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 8 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 6 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- In a large heatproof bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, garlic, leeks, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper and the thyme and cumin and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add the celery and carrots and cook until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste and lentils to the pot. Increase the heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 1 hour. Stir in the red wine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
Note - Lentil soup often thickens as it stands, so it can be helpful to add additional broth to leftovers.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Now, I love oatmeal. It's a nice and hearty breakfast that is both filling, whole grain and healthy. But, sometimes too much of a good thing is still too much. And I reached that point this week. Breakfast had to change.
When I read through food magazines, recipes will often jump out at me but will be put aside until the time is right. This muffin recipe was one such example. I thought it sounded intriguing when I saw it in January. But the mood didn't strike me to make it until this week. These muffins are cool. There's no other way to describe them. Quinoa in muffins - brilliance! The quinoa provides a nutty, chewy texture which is complimented by the sweetness of the brown sugar. And because quinoa contains a lot of protein, one muffin with a swathe of light cream cheese did quite well at keeping the hunger monsters at bay.
Two thumbs up, both as a recipe for an interesting whole grain muffin, and for keeping me from drowning in oatmeal monotony.
Every Day Food Magazine - January 2008
Prep - 25 minutes
Total time - 1 hour
Every Day Food's notes - Instead of oat or bran muffins, try these moist breakfast treats to fuel your morning. Substitute other chopped dried fruit for the raisins, if you like.
My notes - I baked the muffins in liners sprayed with a quick squirt of PAM because I'm too lazy to do the greasing and flouring step called for in the recipe. And they came out great.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup vegetable oil plus more for pan
2 cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled) plus additional for pan
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 1 cup of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender. 11-13 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, brush a standard 12 cup muffin pan with oil, dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins and 2 cups cooked quinoa. Reserve any leftover quinoa for another use.
3.In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, egg and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.
4.Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to five days.
Additional Every Day Food note - Be careful not to overcook the quinoa or to use more then the required amount of water. The grains of quinoa should be tender but separate, rather then mushy and clumped together.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Still, I hope the backlog of pictures and recipes I have will enable to me to move forwards, dragging my unwilling technology partner as I go. Today's offering is a delightful poundcake encrusted with a delicious vanilla-y sugary crust. I made the recipe as written, although I did not take the time to make the vanilla sugar called for in the recipe. Ms. Hesser's instructions are to place a vanilla pod into a pound of sugar and allow to sit for several days. Easy enough to do, but not fast enough for my "I want to bake this cake NOW!" mood experienced on Saturday. Between the tablespoon of vanilla also in the cake, not to mention frequent applications of a vanilla steeped simple syrup to the cooling cake, I did not find this cake lacked vanilla-ness in any way. But, if you are a purist then I suppose a little vanilla sugar will never hurt.
M. and I both liked the crunchy crust created by applying the sugar syrup to the cooling cake. That stuff got everywhere, but the results were worth the sticky fingers (and tables, and utensils, and books and....). I used all of it (although I will admit the last application was primarily dumping the syrup onto the cake because I'd grown a bit weary of delicately applying it with a brush). The cakes were baked on Saturday, sampled and then refrigerated in multiple layers of Saran Wrap. Sunday's tasted was denser but still tasted fresh and delicious. This is a dense and sweet cake, a little definitely goes a long way. Small portions are key to not suffering a tremendous sugar high! But, served with a touch of whipped cream, this was a delicious and easy dessert. Since the recipe makes 2 loaves, this is a perfect cake to make for yourself and a friend (or in my case, M.'s coworkers).
Vanilla Bean Loaves
Cooking For Mr Latte by Amanda Hesser
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
2 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 large eggs, room temp.
3 cups All Purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
for the syrup:
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
1. Heavily butter two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Scrape the vanilla bean and flick the seeds into the mixer, along with the vanilla extract and eggs. Beat to mix.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix just until smooth. Take the bowl off the mixture and scrap the bottom with a spatula and fold the batter a few times. Divide the batter between the two buttered pans. Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pans. Bake an additional 25 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out almost clean.
3. While the loaves are baking, prepare the syrup. In a small pan dissolve the sugar in one cup water over medium heat. Add the vanilla beans and stir a little so the seeds and fragrance disperse. When the sugar mixture is completely dissolved, remove from heat.
4. When the loaves are done, cool for 10 minutes on racks and then turn them out of the pans onto racks over parchment paper. Brush generously with the vanilla syrup on all sides and tops and bottoms. Brush a couple of times as the loaves cool. These cakes store well. They may be wrapped and frozen.
2 fragrant cakes
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Golden Winter Soup
Cooking Light's Notes - Leeks and potatoes provide the base for this hearty vegetable soup, and butternut squash adds a hint of sweetness. Gruyere toasts add a salty note.
My notes- I used Yukon Gold potatoes, and vegetable broth.
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Place half of potato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Stir in half-and-half. Cover and keep warm.
Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil bread slices 2 minutes or until golden. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with about 1 teaspoon chives. Serve 2 bread slices with each serving. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
And you sit down to eat. The first bite is filled with sagey goodness, and the luscious thickness of the beans is comforting on a cold January night. The carrots add a touch of sweetness, and the soup as a whole has a complex flavor that belies the simple ingredients. Both you and your husband enjoy the warmth of the easy yet filling Tuscan Bean Soup.
As the leftovers sit in the fridge, they do absorb a fair amount of liquid. I found that if I wanted to enjoy them as soup, then I had to add water or broth. But, I also found the drier leftover soup made an excellent quesadilla filling. Just throwing that out there, if you're feeling adventurous.
Tuscan Bean Soup
Moosewood Daily Special
2 c. diced onions (about 1 large)
1 c. peeled and diced carrots (2-3 medium)
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 T. olive oil
15 large fresh sage leaves (or other herbs)
6 c. cooked pinto, Roman, or small red or white beans*
3-4 c. vegetable stock, bean-cooking liquid, or water
salt and pepper to taste
*Beans: 3 15 or 16 oz. cans, undrained. Or, 2 c. dried beans yields about 6 c. cooked.
In a soup pot, saute the onions, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil on medium-low heat until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Stack the sage leaves and cut them crosswise into thin strips. Stir the sage into the vegetables. Add the cooked beans and 3 c. of the stock or other liquid. Continue to cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup is hot and simmering, 5 to 10 minutes.
Carefully ladle about 3 c. of the soup into a blender and puree into smooth. Stir the puree back into the soup. (Using an immersion blender sparingly also works.) If you wish, add more liquid for a less thick consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, gently reheat the soup. Serve hot.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Still, Wavy kept me busy and was a great project for me, a new knitter. The hardest part was getting going, and then once I did that the hardest part was keeping going. The pattern is quite repetitive, and so I found I got bored easily. Hence the frequent breaks. If you are a new knitter and plan on trying Wavy, I do recommend that you write out all of the repetitions. The actual written pattern is short, and full of "as row 5" lines which are hard to keep track of. I wrote out each of the 42 lines of the pattern, and then drew ten little empty boxes next to each one. As I finished a line, I checked off a box. Otherwise I would have been hopelessly confused.
And, on to the next challenge. I do have a couple knitting projects waiting to be started in the wings, but first I'm venturing into the world of crocheting. I signed up for a three week beginning crochet class, and the first class was last night. It was great! Obviously challenging, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. On the right you can see my first crochet swatch (the square on the right) and my "homework" on the crochet hook. I'm using the coolest yarn - it's multi-colored purple with strips of blue and pink. Very fun!
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I guess I needed a little bit of a hiatus from blogging. Life happened. But now I hope to get back into it. Back into the kitchen, back into trying new recipes, and back into speaking to the probably now nonexistent people who no longer read my blog since I took so much time off. Helloo!!! (echo, echo!)
Well, this post is definitely for the bakers. I was whiling away an hour at Whole Foods one day last December when I happened across a seat in the cafe with an abandoned New York Times newspaper. Now, I don't normally read the paper during the week but this seemed fortuitous because not only was it a paper which was something new to read, but it was Wednesday which is the Dining and Wine day. So, I flipped through it. There was an interesting article by Mark Bittman about 100 easy to prepare appetizers, an article about one writer's family Christmas cookie tradition.... then I turned the page. There it was in chocolate and raspberry glory - Melissa Clark's Triple Chocolate Brownie Trifle with Raspberries. Up until that point my contribution to Christmas dessert had been in the air, but was now decided. This trifle was too good to pass up.
The trifle involved several steps - making the brownies, making the pudding and making the chocolate whipped cream. Each step was in of itself not too challenging, but all were time consuming especially when considered together. This dessert is truly a labor of love. I had trouble with the pudding. It never really set despite adequate hours in the fridge. But, once mixed into the trifle it wasn't readily apparent and did not hamper anyone's enjoyment of the dessert. The brownies were fudgy, and I did choose to infuse them with rum. The taste was not overwhelming (my brother-in-law who does not drink probably had no idea until I admitted this fact in print) but I would omit were children to be present at the table.
Overall, the dessert was a success. In fact, there were calls from tasters to make this a Christmas family tradition. You never know....
Triple Chocolate Trifle with Raspberries
New York Times, December 19th, 2007
Time: 1 1/2 hours plus 3 hours’ chilling
FOR THE BROWNIES:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
3 ounces finely chopped unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons Cognac, rum or bourbon, optional
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 3/4 cups whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for whipped cream
1 to 2 pints fresh raspberries.
1. To make brownies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
2. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Remove pan from heat and stir in chopped chocolate until fully melted. Stir in cocoa and sugar until combined. Slowly add eggs, whisking chocolate mixture constantly, then whisk in vanilla. Fold in flour and salt.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until just firm, about 25 minutes (do not overbake). Transfer pan to a rack to cool. If using spirits, prick holes in hot brownies and drizzle evenly over pan.
4. In a large bowl, mix together granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in 3/4 cup milk. In a large saucepan, bring remaining 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup cream to a boil over medium heat. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into cocoa mixture. Return to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking gently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. (A simmering bubble or two is O.K., but do not let it boil.)
5. In a medium heat-resistant bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking them constantly, very slowly dribble about half the cocoa-milk mixture into yolks until fully combined. Pour yolk mixture into saucepan with remaining cocoa-milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking occasionally, over medium-low heat, until thickened, about 5 minutes. (Do not let mixture come to a simmer. If pan begins to steam thickly, remove from heat for a few moments and stir well before continuing.) Let cool slightly.
6. Melt 5 ounces chopped chocolate with butter. Stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cool 5 minutes, then fold into thickened egg mixture. Place plastic wrap directly against pudding (to prevent a skin from forming), and chill until set, about 3 hours. (Pudding and brownies can be made up to 5 days ahead, and refrigerated.)
7. Just before assembling, in an electric mixer, beat remaining 2 1/2 cups cream with remaining 5 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar until it forms soft peaks. Scrape down sides and fold in any excess cocoa or sugar.
8. Cut brownies into 1-inch squares. Fit a layer of brownie squares in bottom of a 4-quart trifle, glass, or other bowl. Top with half the pudding, a third of the whipped cream, a third of the remaining chopped chocolate and a third of the raspberries. Repeat layering until all ingredients have been used. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 24 hours before serving.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.