Thursday, March 10, 2022

Cheat's Souffle with Three Cheeses

Here's a little something that makes a truly delicious Lenten Friday meal. Serve it with rolls and a salad.

This is from Gordon Ramsay and has become a regular, especially on our meatless Fridays. It heats up really well for breakfast too!

Cheat’s Soufflé With Three Cheeses  

1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup cottage cheese
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/3 cup cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9x13" baking dish.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the beaten eggs, milk nand a pinch of salt and pepper.

Stir in cottage cheese and grated cheese. Dot small lumps of cream cheese over the egg mixture and then mix in with a spoon.

Pour into the greased baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and set all the way through.

Thursday, March 03, 2022

Mushroom Galette

Meatless Fridays are here! If you're looking for something different and meatless, try this. This is from Taste of the South magazine and has a sophisticated taste and look without being difficult.

Mushroom Galette

Step 1:

2 tablespoons olive oil
16 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 cloves minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 10 minutes.

All all else. Cook until aromatic, about 1 minute more. Drain any excess moisture.

Step 2:

1 cup whole-milk ricotta
1 cup shredded Gruyére cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 piecrust, whether packaged or homemade
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Gruyére, and salt.

Roll piecrust into a 9" circle or unroll packaged crust. Spread 1 cup cheese mixutre onto crust in a think layer, leaving a 1-1/2-inch border. Top with mushroom mixture and reamining Gruyére; gently fold edges of dough over filling.

Brush dough with egg; bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 25 minutes.

Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Classic King Cake

Traditional for Mardi Gras, this is worth spending the time on. 

A couple of years ago Taste of the South magazine published this recipe. I'd only had store-bought King Cakes and they were no treat, believe me. So I gave this a whirl. Not only was it easier than I thought it would be, but it was absolutely delicious. In fact, my friend Patsy, who grew up in Dallas, said she'd never had one that tasted so good. 

 I hereby pass it along to anyone who wants the real reason to celebrate right before Lent begins.

 I didn't have the traditional purple colored sugar to go along with the green and yellow, but red makes a nice display also! After all, it all tastes the same.

Leftovers freeze well. Or you can look at it as the perfect opportunity to share with friends and family. Everyone likes it when I make King Cake!

Also a 12" wreath is quite large. I always vow to make two smaller wreaths. Maybe this is the year!

CLASSIC KING CAKE
 
Yields: 1 (12-inch) wreath
 
Ingredients
  • 4 to 4¼ cups bread flour, divided
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Almond Cream (recipe follows)
  • Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: colored sanding sugar

    Almond Cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1⅓ cups almond meal
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

    Cream Cheese Icing
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups flour, granulated sugar, yeast, and salt. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat ½ cup water, milk, and butter over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120° to 130°. Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture, beating at medium speed until combined and cooled slightly, about 2 minutes. Add 1 egg and egg yolk, beating at medium speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 cups flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, about 6 to 7 minutes, stopping to scrape dough hook and sides of bowl as needed. (Add up to remaining ¼ cup flour, adding 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough is too sticky.)
  4. On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into a smooth ball. Place dough in prepared bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 egg and remaining 1 tablespoon water.
  6. Lightly punch down dough. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 24×2-inch rectangle. Spread Almond Cream onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on one long side. Brush border with egg wash. Starting with other long side, roll up dough, jelly roll style; pinch seam to seal. Using a serrated knife dipped in flour, trim ½-inch off each end of log. Form into a circle. Brush ends with egg wash and press together, pinching dough to seal. Carefully place wreath on a piece of parchment paper.
  7. Using a serrated knife or kitchen scissors, makes cuts three-fourths of the way through the dough, 1 inch apart, leaving the center of wreath intact. Gently pull and turn each slice onto its side, slightly overlapping with the previous piece. Slide parchment onto a rimless baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°) until puffed, 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350°.
  9. Brush dough with egg wash. Bake until lightly golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°, 30 to 35 minutes, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool on pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Spread with Cream Cheese Icing. Garnish with colored sanding sugar, if desired.
For Almond Cream
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in almond meal until combined. Add egg and almond extract, beating on low until combined. Beat in flour and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until smooth. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, beating on low until smooth.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Chicken-Rice Soup with Garbanzos and Green Chile

This is from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison. It was easy, homey, and perfect for a cold night in Texas. It makes a huge batch and, based on my breakfast the next day, the flavor improves over time.

I didn't serve it with a lot of extras but the recipe notes say you can add various extras like shredded Monterey Jack, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and avocado. Everyone said this made them think of a variation of Chicken Tortilla Soup, especially if you had the extras to add.

My cooking notes:

  • This was a super-thick soup. I think that next time I will try using half the rice and see what a less solid version is like.
  • I used about 3 cups of chicken instead of the amount below, just because that is what I had on hand.
  • If you don't want to use rotisserie chicken: cook the chicken in the way I do for Chicken Tortilla Soup. I include it here for anyone who is interested. Simmer 1-1/2 - 2 pounds chicken thighs in 8 cups chicken stock until done. Let cool on a plate and then discard skin. Pull meat off the bone in bite sized pieces. This enriches the broth and gives good moist chicken that will stand up to the later simmering. Reserve broth and chicken.
  • I skipped the bay leaf
  • I used 1 tablespoon cumin
  • I used poblano chiles, skipped the roasting, and just chopped it up to add with the chicken, etc.
  • We served it with grated Monterey Jack (hand grated so it would melt well, not like the pre-shredded kind). The cheese added a great layer of flavor.


Chicken Rice Soup with Garbanzos and Green Chile

1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked rice
8 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
15 ounce can garbanzos (chickpeas), drained
3/4 cup chopped roasted mild green chiles
1 cup cubed cooked chicken
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper

In a heavy sauce pan, warm the butter over low heat. When melted, add the onion and garlic. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice and saute it briefly until the grains become opaque. Pour in the stock, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until rice is very soft. Serve hot.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Oven-Fried Chicken

I've made this so long that I no longer remember where I got it. It's easy and delicious and has become our family standard. I can't believe I haven't included it here before now. 

Once you're used to the basic recipe, play around with adding a teaspoon or two of spices or spice blends. You really can't go wrong.

OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN
Whole chicken, cut up OR 6-8 chicken pieces as desired
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Additional seasoning or dried herbs, if desired
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted or room temp

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper together and put in a bowl or shallow pan for dredging. (I use a pie pan.)

Dredge chicken in seasoned flour and arrange skin side up, 1 layer deep, on rimmed baking sheet. Brush butter onto skin. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or so until fork tender and browned.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Classic Chess Pie

This is from Pie Academy by Ken Haedrich. It's a great book because he's got so many solid recipes and interesting flavor combinations. We bought it for ourselves after testing out a number of recipes.

However, you've got to keep an eye on him. For example, his basic streusel is surprisingly tasteless. His fruit pies are made with frozen fruit (which has worked out great) but you've got to keep an eye on the cooking times. For example, we have found that we need to let the fruit fully thaw to get good results, as opposed to Haedrich's "partially thaw" instructions. So if you go in ready to be flexible and adapt occasionally, it's good. 

I trust Haedrich enough that I made this pie for the first time for my book club. It has a lovely lemony flavor and several people had two pieces. Naturally they wanted the recipe. So here it is, paraphrased by me.

CLASSIC CHESS PIE
8-10 servings 

Pie crust dough for a single-crust pie (I used a half recipe of easy Perfect Piecrust

Filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon

Prepare pie dough. Roll into a 13-inch circle and line a 9- to 9-1/2-inch deep pie pan with it, fluting the edge. (My pie didn't need a deep dish pan. Next time I'm going to try my 9" regular pan.)

Partially prebake — Preheat oven to 375°. tear off a sheet of standard aluminum foil about 16 inches long. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork in a lot of places. Press down on pie shell so it fits like a glove. (Haedrich then has you use beans to weight the foil. His technique is here. Having read somewhere long ago that you just need to be sure the foil is pressed really hard against the crust, that is what I did and it worked out fine.)

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, gradually adding sugar about 1/4 cup at a time. Beat in the flour and salt; the mixture will be quite grainy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well on medium speed after each addition. Blend in the lemon juice and zest on low speed. (The filling may look curdled. That's ok.) Place the pie shell on a baking sheet, near the oven, and carefully pour the filling into the shell, smoothing the top with a spoon.

Bake the pie, on the sheet, on the center oven rack for about 46 minutes. The pie is done when the filling is just set and no longer soupy in the middle. Give it a little nudge to check.

Transfer the pie to a rack and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers, covered with tented aluminum foil.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Cheese Pennies

This recipe is from King Arthur's Flour and is really easy and really a treat. Everyone loves them.

We use the lower amount of cayenne but they are really full flavored.

CHEESE PENNIES

Ingredients

2 cups (227g) grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups (180g) flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
paprika, optional

Instructions
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the paprika to make a cohesive dough, sprinkling in a tablespoon or so of water if the dough doesn't seem to want to come together.

As soon as the dough starts to come together, turn off the mixer and gather it into a rough ball.

Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a 16" log about 1-1/2" in diameter. (We make two 8" long logs. That way one can wait in the freezer while the first is being cut into pennies. If you want to freeze the dough for a longer amount of time, just make sure to remove it from the freezer about 30 minutes before you want to slice it.)

Wrap the log in waxed paper or plastic wrap, and chill it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, slice the log crosswise into 1/8" rounds. Place them on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving only about 1/2" between them; they won't spread much as they bake. Sprinkle them with a bit of paprika if you like.

Bake the cheese pennies in a preheated 400° oven for 11 to 13 minutes, or until they're just beginning to brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan for several minutes before transferring them to racks to cool completely.

Store, well-wrapped, for up a week.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Goodness gracious, I first shared this recipe in 2004. That is so long ago! In the meantime, I've made a number of time-saving changes or those that up the flavor. This soup is so simple and so delicious you've got to try it so I'm rerunning it, revised.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Step 1:
1-1/2 - 2 pounds chicken thighs
6 cups chicken stock

Simmer the chicken thighs in the broth until done. Let cool on a plate and then discard skin. Pull meat off the bone in bite sized pieces. This enriches the broth and gives good moist chicken that will stand up to the later simmering. Reserve broth and chicken.

Step 2:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, chopped (app. 2 cups)
OR instead of the above use 2 cups fresh pico de gallo from your grocery store (if your grocery store does that)

In a large stock pot, heat oil. Saute everything for about 10 minutes.

Step 3:
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder (I've also used ancho chili powder, which my husband loves in this dish)
1 teaspoon salt
Reserved chicken and broth from Step 1

Add all, return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve up in big bowls to make room for accompaniments below.

Step 4:
Lime wedges
Shredded Monterey Jack
Sour Cream
Tortilla chips

Crumble some tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl (or let each person add their own at the table), ladle soup over them. Serve with accompaniments.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Gochujang Chicken and Tortellini

This is from Cook's Country and is a quick meal which totally surprises the palate. I myself couldn't imagine the final dish, coupling as it does the unlikely combination of cheese tortellini with Korean chile paste. And some honey. And some fontina cheese.

But it works. In fact, it works so well that my husband, who usually forgets leftovers are in the fridge, ate it all up in three days running.

NOTE: We did wind up using the Korean sauce instead of the paste just because that's what we could fine. It was tasty but the juice was runny. Having since found the paste we are eager to try it again because a clingier sauce would be very good.

Gochujang Chicken and Tortellini

8 ounces dried cheese tortellini
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons gochujang paste (not the sauce)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (2 cups)
2 scallions, sliced thin on bias

Adjust oven rack 8 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain and return to saucepan.

Meanwhile, combine chicken, honey, gochujang, soy sauce, oil, garlic, and ginger in 12-inch broiler-safe skillet. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Off heat, stir in tortellini. Sprinkle with fontina. Broil until cheese is melted and just beginning to bubble, 2 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.

Friday, March 05, 2021

Broccoli-Cheddar Rice Casserole

From Taste of the South magazine comes this delicious meatless casserole. It was surprisingly satisfying for such a simple recipe.

Broccoli-Cheddar Rice Casserole

Makes 4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients

2 cups water 1 cup long-grain rice, rinsed (OR 3 cups cooked rice, room temp)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 (8-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 cups broccoli florets
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
¼ cup finely crushed buttery round crackers

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 11×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a 3-quart Dutch oven, bring 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Add rice, stirring for 20 seconds. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, without stirring, until moisture is completely absorbed and rice is tender, 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and moisture is released, 5 to 7 minutes. Add broccoli and cook 3 minutes more. Remove vegetables from skillet and place in a large bowl.

In same skillet, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add flour; cook, stirring constantly, until flour is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cook, stirring constantly, until milk thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly whisk in cream cheese until completely incorporated. Whisk in 2 cups Cheddar cheese, a small handful at a time, until completely incorporated. Pour cheese sauce over vegetable mixture. Add rice and stir to combine. Pour rice mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Cheddar cheese.

Cover and bake until casserole is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and increase oven temperature to broil. Sprinkle casserole with crushed crackers. Broil until cheese and crackers begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Cajun Meatball Fricasee

This is from Cook's Country. It is quite good and makes a nice change from the regular idea of meatballs derived from Italian or Swedish roots.

They say it serves 4-6 but we were able to put half of it in the freezer for another meal later. So I'd say it serves 8 ... and with two pounds of hamburger, that makes sense. Also, we're going to halve the amount of broth called for when we make it again. There was no way that was cooking down enough to be the texture of cream. Even brothy it was good though.


Cajun Meatball Fricasee

Step 1 — Meatballs
22 saltines, crushed finely
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 pounds ground chuck
2 ounces Parmesan
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 425°. Line jellyroll pan with foil, set wire rack in pan and spray with cooking spray.

Whisk saltines, milk and Worcestershire together. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften crackers. Whisk until smooth paste forms. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with hands.

Divide into 24 scant ¼-cup portions. Roll with wet hands into meatballs and evenly space on rack. Roast until lightly browned on top, about 25 minutes.

Step 2 — Roux
1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
1⁄3 cup flour

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir continually for entire roux making: stir in flour and cook until mixture is color of peanut butter, 2-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until milk-chocolate brown, 5-10 minutes.

Step 3
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
6 scallions, white and green separated and sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning
2 cups chicken broth (original recipe - 4 cups)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
White rice, cooked
Tabasco, to taste

Stir in onion, bell pepper, celery and bacon and cook until softened, 7-10 minutes.

Stir in scallion whites, garlic and creole seasoning and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Whisk in broth and Worcestershire. Bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Step 4
Add meatballs to stew; reduce heat to low and cook, covered, about 20 minutes. Uncover; increase heat to medium-high and cook until thickened to texture of heavy cream, 8-12 minutes. Serve over rice, sprinkled with scallion greens, with Tabasco on the side.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Crunchy Onion Burger

These are from the Good Housekeeping grilling cookbook. Simple, delicious, and even my mom who doesn't like hamburgers (which is still hard for me to fathom) liked them.

I made French Onion Dip in the time honored fashion using sour cream and Lipton's Onion Soup Mix. So we had Onion Dip for the rest of the week. A nice bonus!

Crunchy Onion Burger

1 pound hamburger
4 buns
1/4 cup onion dip
1 cup French's canned fried onions

Shape beef into 4 burgers, grill, and put on buns. Top with fried onions. Spread onion dip on buns.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Lime Crinkle Cookies

These are from Taste of the South magazine which we've found to be a great source for simple, tasty recipes. Rose says these remind her of Fruit Loops. They are just plain good.


Lime Crinkle Cookies

Step 1
1 cup sugar
1/2  cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled for 10 minutes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 tablespoons lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice

Whisk together sugar, butter, and vanilla until well combined.

Whisk in egg and yolk. Beat in zest and lime juice. (May look slightly curdled; it’s ok.)

Step 2
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Sift all together and add to sugar mixture in two additions, folding until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Step 3
1/3 granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325° and line jelly roll pans with parchment paper. Put sugars in separate bowls.

Shape dough into 1” balls. Roll in granulated sugar, then roll in powdered sugar.

Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, until edges are set and cracks have formed. Cool completely on pans.

Friday, September 04, 2020

Summer Corn Salad

My mother got this from somewhere on the internet but I can't track it down. However, I share it here as a good, different summer salad.


Summer Corn Salad

Step 1
6 ears of corn, cooked as Corn Off the Cob

Drain and cool.

Step 2
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

Toss the kernels in a medium bowl with the red onions, tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Chocolate Mousse

Hannah asked for Chocolate Mousse for her birthday and I automatically pulled down The Silver Palate Cookbook which has a whole section of them. I've made the Lime Mousse many times but never tried this (which is actually in the chocolate section - so these ladies are all about mousse and put them everywhere).

It was the deepest, darkest, most luscious mousse ever. Also rather solid, not ethereal like some you might think of. The recipe says it serves 8, but I'd say 10-12.

It was really easy, worked like a charm, and, as I said above, delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1-1/2 pounds semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup prepared espresso coffee
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
4 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup sugar
8 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


METHOD

  1. Melt the chocolate chips in a heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring; add the espresso coffee, then stir in the Grand Marnier. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  3. Whip 1 cup of the cream until thickened, then gradually beat in the sugar, beating until stiff. Beat the egg whites with salt until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the cream.
  4. Stir about one third of the cream and egg mixture thoroughly into the chocolate mixture. Then scrape the remaining cream and egg mixture over the lightened chocolate base and fold together gently. Pour into 8 individual dessert cups or a serving bowl. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set.
  5. At serving time, whip the remaining cup of cream until thickened, add the vanilla, and whip to soft peaks. Top each portion of the mousse with a share of the cream.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Shrimp Soup with Cumin

This is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. My mother loves this soup. She says that she feels as if she is in an elegant restaurant whenever she has it. So, in some cases, it literally carries you away from your hum drum life!

It is easy, delicious and ... elegant.

Shrimp Soup with Cumin
Yield - 4 bowls

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 thick slices French or Italian bread
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
5 cups shrimp stock, chicken stock, water or a combination
1 to 1-1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled

PREPARATION
Combine olive oil and garlic in a large, deep saucepan or casserole and turn heat to medium. Add the garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are a very deep golden, almost brown, about 10 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Turn heat to low and brown the bread in the oil on both sides, in batches if necessary; it will take about 5 minutes. Remove the slices and spread each with about 1/2 clove of the cooked garlic. Mince the remaining garlic. (I just use a whole glove on each slice.)

Cut each of the shrimp into 3 or 4 pieces. Put stock into the pan, turn heat to medium and bring to a gentle boil. Add shrimp, cumin, salt and pepper and cook over low heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
Place a piece of bread in each of four bowls, then ladle in a portion of soup with shrimp. Sprinkle with minced garlic, garnish and serve.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Corn Off the Cob

I was making fried chicken the other day (yes, I felt very Southern, farm family-ish). We were going to have corn on the cob (substituted at the last minute at the store when all the green beans had brown spots). At the last minute I realized that my one big pot was going to be used for the chicken so I had nothing big enough for corn on the cob.

However, I also knew all those frozen niblets were once on the cob. I'd read enough cookbooks to have a vague idea of how to cook that corn deliciously when it was off the cob. More than anything this tells me of my dependence on frozen corn, which I've found very unsatisfactory as of late.

I may switch to this until the corn on the cob is out of season.

The New Doubleday Cookbook (1985 - not so new now but a wonderfully dependable overall cookbook) had this dandy recipe which we all loved.

They called it Boiled Fresh Whole Kernel Corn but that name just doesn't cut it.

Corn Off the Cob

6-8 ears sweet corn, shucked
1 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Cut corn from cob. Place in a saucepan with water and sugar, cover, and simmer 5-8 minutes until tender. Drain and season with salt, pepper, and butter.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Pan Bagnat (Provençal Tuna Sandwich)

My parents made a version of this sandwich from the Time Life Foods of the World cookbook series. We loved it. Loaded with different ingredients, bathed in a vinaigrette (the title means "bathed bread"), weighted down and left for all the flavors to meld — it was the perfect summer meal.

So I was intrigued when Cooks Illustrated had their own version and tried it out last weekend. Theirs is more like a Salade Niçoise than the one I grew up with, but I love Salade Niçoise so that was no bad thing!

It was truly delicious, simple to assemble (though requiring about an hour), and perfect for hot weather.

Note: We had extra pieces of this in the fridge for up to a week as we slowly consumed them for lunch (or breakfast!). It held perfectly well and could be made well ahead of time for a party or picnic if you let it come up to room temperature.

PAN BAGNAT

STEP 1
1 vine-ripened tomato, cored and sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced thin
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large baguette, or ciabiatta (18 inches long, 3 inches wide, and at least 2 inches tall), halved horizontally [You can also do this in a large, round loaf as long as it holds the ingredients.]

Heat oven to 350°.

Lay tomato slices on paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Toss onion, vinegar, garlic, and salt together in bowl.

Using hands or metal spoon, remove inner crumb from bread bottom to create trough, leaving 1/4-inch border on sides and bottom Place breat halves cust side up on baking sheet and bake until very lightly toasted, 5 minutes.

STEP 2
3/4 cup niçoise or kalamata olives, rinsed, pitted
1/2 cup fresh parsley
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Pulse olives, parsley, capers, oregano, and anchovies in food processor until coarsely but evenly chopped, 10-12 pulses. Add to bowl with onion mixture. Add oil, mustard and pepper and toss to combine.

STEP 3
1/4 cup olive oil
3 5-ounce cans oil-packed tuna
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced thin

Brush inside of each bread half with 1 tablespoon oil. Place two-thirds of olive mixutre in hollow batuette bottom and spread evenly.

Distribute tuna evenly over olive mixture and drizzle with remaining two tablespoons oil.

Shingle tomato slices over tuna.

Shingle egg slices over tomato.

Top eggs with remaining olive mixture and cap with bread top. Sandwich will be very full.

STEP 4
Press gently on sandwich and slice in half cross-wise. Wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap. Sit on a baking sheet to catch any juices that escape the wrap. Place rimmed baking sheet on top of sandwiches and weight with heavy Dutch oven or two 5-pound bgs of flour or sugar for 1 hour.

Flip sandwiches halfway through weighting.

Wrapped sandwiches can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Serves 4-6. Prep time 1 hour.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Savory (Ham, Mozzarella & Basil) Brioche Couronne

Couronne means "crown" and this is obviously named for the shape. However, it is also fit for royalty. An enriched brioche dough is filled with ham, mozzarella and basil to make a wonderful meal.

This is from Paul Hollywood's book Bread and it looks a lot harder than it is. On one hand it does take a fair amount of time for several dough risings. On the other hand, it is really impressive and really delicious and really basic to put together if you are used to making bread. If you aren't, then Paul Hollywood's description will lead you through it without a problem.

Mom said it was better than pizza. Tom didn't want to make rash statements but he agreed it was at least equal to a very, very good pizza.

Savoury Brioche Couronne

Ingredients
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10g salt
10g instant yeast
170ml tepid whole milk
4 medium eggs (we used 3 large eggs)
250g unsalted butter, in small pieces, at room temperature
1 pound buffalo mozzarella (we used regular fresh mozzarella)
8-10 slices Parma ham (turns out this is proscuitto - we didn't know that and used applewood smoked ham - mmmm)
Small handful basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 medium egg, beaten
Pinch salt
Handful grated parmesan

Put the flour into a food mixer fitted with a dough hook and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the milk and eggs and mix until well combined. Add the butter, bit by bit, as you mix for a further 5 minutes. It’s important to add the butter very gradually.

Tip the dough into a large oiled plastic container or bowl and covered with an oiled lid or cling film [plastic wrap]. This dough can rise greatly and needs room to expand. Leave until at least doubled in size — at least 1 hour.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, without knocking the air out of it. Roll out to a rectangle, just under 1½cm (3/4 inch) with the long side facing you. Lay the ham slices over the dough. Tear the mozzarella into pieces and scatter over the ham. Sprinkle basil on top.

Roll up the dough from the long side furthest from you to enclose the filling. Roll into a sausage, 40-50cm [16-19 inches]. Cut down the entire length of the roll to reveal the filling [leaving you with two long strips side by side]. Hol the pieces firmly at each end and twist quite tightly together, moving your hands in opposite directions. Now coil the twisted dough into a circle and press the ends firmly together.

Put the crown on a parchment-paper lined baking tray. Put the tray inside a roomy plastic bag and leave to rise for 1-1½ hours, or until at least doubled in size. [We just covered the baking sheet with a towel, as per always.]

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Brush the top of the couronne with beaten egg and scatter with grated Parmesan. Bake in oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool slightly and serve warm or cold.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Eggplant with Molten Mozzarella

The Wall Street Journal ran a story yesterday tellingly titled "No Lucky Charms, Plenty of Okra — What's Left at the Grocery Store."

That is one of the boxes I checked when I was caught up in last week's grocery panic. The most deserted place in the store was the produce section, where I had wandered in search of lemons. (Hey, you need those for cocktails and I was fairly sure cocktails were on our family's emergency list.)

I gravitated to the fully stocked eggplant — some of the most beautiful I'd seen lately — remembering this recipe, which I'd planned to make so the ingredients were fairly top of mind. To be sure it doesn't take many ingredients and is easy, so it's perfect just for an easy meal or for a food panic day when everyone else ignored those gorgeous eggplants.

This is a wonderfully easy and delicious pasta dish from Pasta: Every Way for Every Day. It's also perfect for meatless meals and Fridays in Lent.

I doubled the eggplant (which practically disappeared in the original dish) and the red pepper flakes, tomato paste, and oregano (to keep the sauce flavoring ratios the same for the eggplant).

The molten mozzarella part is a variation to the original recipe, so I'm putting both the original (adapted) and the variation below.

Eggplant with Chili and Garlic
Serves 4

Step 1:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch dice (originally 14 oz.)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (originally 1/2 t.)

Heat oil in a skillet. Add eggplant, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently over high heat, until golden, 5-7 minutes. Turn down heat to medium low.

Step 2:
1/4 cup tomato paste (originally 2 T)
2 teaspoons dried oregano (originally 1 t.)
salt, black pepper

Stir in tomato paste and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant dice are soft and cooked through, 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons hot water to the pan if the eggplant begins to stick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3:
1 pound dried pasta, tubes or shapes: penne, rigatoni, orecchiette
Parmesan

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, until firm to the bite. Drain. Add pasta with 2 tablespoons additional olive oil to the hot sauce. Toss well to coat. Serve immediately with Parmesan to sprinkle on.

Variation: Eggplant with Molten Mozzarella

Stir 8 ounces diced, part skim mozzarella into the finished sauce and pasta right before serving, omitting the additional olive oil.