January 8, 2011

Osso Buco with Fennel and Blood Orange Sauce


Osso Buco with Fennel and Blood Orange Sauce
from Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore by Jennifer McLagan

Four 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces veal shank, about 12 oz each
2 TBSP flour
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 cup White Veal Stock*
2 blood oranges
1 large fennel bulb with leaves
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut in 2 x 3/4 inch batons
1 cup blood orange juice (from about 3 oranges)
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

*My substitution for this was 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1/2 cup beef stock, 4 TBSP veal demi-glace, all warmed in a small sauce pan to get a smooth texture.

Preheat the oven to 325. Pat the veal dry. With shears, cut completely through the membrane surrounding each veal shank in two places to prevent the meat from curling as it cooks. Ties a piece of butcher's twine around each shank to hold the meat in place while it is cooking. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the veal shanks in the flour, shaking off the excess.

In a large Dutch oven or flame-proof casserole, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the veal and brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate. Discard the fat from the pot, and pour in the vinegar and stock. Bring to a boil, deglazing the pot. Remove the pot from the heat.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest in long strips from 1 orange and add to the pot; reserve the orange. Return the veal shanks to the pot, with the wider end of the bone facing up (to keep the marrow from escaping). Cover with a damp piece of parchment paper, then the lid, and braise in the oven for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the feathery leaves from the fennel, set aside. Trim any coarse stalks or outside layers. Cut the fennel lengthwise in half, then cut into 1/4 inch slices.

After the veal has cooked for 45 minutes, add the fennel, carrots, orange juice, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, covered, with the paper and lid, for another 45 to 55 minutes, or until the veal is very tender and the vegetables are cooked. Transfer the veal, fennel and carrots to a serving platter. Remove the strings from the veal and keep warm, loosely-covered with aluminum foil.

Discard the orange peel from the pot and bring the cooking juices to a boil; boil hard for 5 minutes to reduce. Grate the zest of the remaining orange and place it in a small bowl with the fennel seeds. Remove the pith from the two zested oranges and cut them into segments. Add the segments to the sauce and check the seasoning. Keep warm.

To make the gremolata, finely chop the reserved fennel leaves. Add the fennel leaves and garlic to the zest and fennel seed and mix. Serve the veal and vegetables with the sauce spooned over and pass the orange gremolata separately.

Notes: As with many New Year's dinners, I wanted to choose something I hadn't attempted before. These veal shanks came pre-cut at Cato Corner Farm. I'm a devotee of their cheese and on a recent visit noted they were also offering various cuts of veal.

This is a variation on the usual osso buco. Traditional gremolata is parsley, garlic, and lemon. The blood orange and fennel variation had a bright flavor and also incorporated the fennel greens. Overall, the citrus was perhaps a touch too pronounced here giving it a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. But the veal was tender and the vegetables still had some bite to them. The bone marrow was a luscious treat.

Served with Val de la Pierre Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2008, decanted.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:30 PM | Comments (2)
September 25, 2010

Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms


Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms
a Jennifer original

2 TBSP pine nuts, toasted
1 TBSP heavy cream
3 oz. goat cheese
1/2 tsp thyme
6 squash blossoms
olive oil
1 egg
panko

Immediately upon purchasing, check the squash blossoms and be sure to remove the stamen and any bugs. Store in closed container on paper towels in the 'fridge. Best if used same day, of course. Wash gently before using and dry thoroughly on paper towels.

Let the goat cheese come to room temperature. Blend with the cream and then add the pine nuts and thyme. Stuff each blossom, twisting the petals closed gently.

Beat egg in a bowl and spread panko on a plate.

Most recipes call for deep-frying, but I decided to go with pan frying. Use a frying pan big enough to accommodate the blossoms, fill it with 1/4 inch olive oil and heat to 350 degrees.

Roll each stuffed blossom in the egg wash and then in the panko and then fry until crisp and browned -- about 2 minutes per side.

Notes: I'd never attempted fried squash blossoms before but the farmers' market had such lovely and colorful ones that I decided to give it a try. It went more smoothly than I expected and for my first attempt, I was more than pleased. The panko gave it a lovely crunch, though perhaps the thyme was a bit too strong. Overall, quite tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:51 AM | Comments (2)
April 12, 2010

Easter Dinner

Lamb Rib Chops with Mustard-Thyme Crust

5 TBSP dijon mustard
1 TBSP minced garlic
2 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
1 TBSP olive oil
6 lamb rib chops
1 cup panko


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Season lamb chops with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Sear chops in olive oil, 2 minutes per side. Reserve oil and pan.

Whisk together dijon, garlic and thyme. Press onto one side of chops.

Add panko to skillet in olive oil; stir until crumbs begin to crisp. Add more olive oil if too dry. Press mustard-side of chops into panko and place in oven-safe dish, mustard/panko side up.

Roast 20 minutes. Finish with broiler to crisp the crust.


Accompanied by asparagus:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Trim and clean asparagus. Spritz with olive oil and lemon juice. Roast for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.


Served with Vina Zaco 2006, bottled by Bodegas Bilbainas: a well-balanced Tempranillo wine that stood up to the flavors well. A rich nose of dark berry with a hint of chocolate in the finish.


Notes: This was well worthwhile. A great Easter dinner, and something to repeat. Having now had rib chops, it seems a challenge to go back to shoulder chops as these had much better texture (so tender) and depth. I hadn't previously roasted asparagus and this really brought out a lovely flavor - I especially loved the crispiness of the heads.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:44 PM | Comments (3)
March 29, 2010

Pork Mole with Cilantro

I'm still rather put out that Conde Nast decided to discontinue publication of Gourmet and finish out my subscription with issues of Bon Appetit. I've been trying to decide whether I will renew it or not and actually tried a recipe from a the most recent one I received. I was looking for a way to use up some leftover cilantro....

Pork Mole with Cilantro
based on a recipe
from Bon Appetit (April 2010)

2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
2 boneless pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo or chipotle hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
Fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rub 3/4 teaspoon cumin on each side of meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat to skillet and brown, about 6 minutes per side. Remove pork chops to oven to finish cooking. Add onion to skillet. Cook until onion is brown, stirring onion, 6 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, chocolate, chipotles, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin to skillet. Stir 2 minutes. Add orange peel; season with salt.

Drizzle meat with sauce; top with cilantro leaves.

Notes: The original recipe at Bon Appetit is for steak. My version here also reduces the red onion. And I chose not to puree the sauce instead having something a bit more robust in texture, though I did allow it to reduce a bit longer before adding the orange peel. Should I make this again, I think I want to add some extra cinnamon to rub into the meat at the same time as the cumin. All the same this came out pretty well.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:22 PM | Comments (1)
January 6, 2010

Torno di Coniglio


AKA Rabbit Braised in Oil Piedmont Style
from Fiamma by Michael White

4 young rabbit hind quarters or 1 young rabbit, cut into serving pieces
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound fresh porcini or cremini mushrooms, wiped, stems trimmed, and quartered
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice (3/4 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice (1/3 cup)
1 medium rib celery, trimmed and diced (1/3 cup)
2 shallots, chopped
1 head garlic, loose papery outer skin removed and sliced in half horizontally
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
3 large sprigs fresh sage
1/2 TBSP whole juniper berries
1/2 TBSP whole black peppercorns
2 to 3 cups olive oil, for covering the rabbit

4 cups mixed salad greens, washed and dried
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Season the rabbit liberally with salt and pepper. Put the rabbit, mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery, shallots, garlic, rosemary, sage, juniper berries, and peppercorns in a heavy pot just large enough to hold the rabbit in a single layer. Pour on enough olive oil to cover. Transfer to the oven and cook until the rabbit is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Begin testing after 1 hour. Remove the pot from the oven and let the rabbit cool to room temperature.

Spoon the mushrooms and vegetables over the rabbit and serve immediately.

Toss the mixed greens in a bowl with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the olive oil from the pot used to cook the rabbit. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, and toss.

Notes: 2009 New Year's dish. Served with Centine 2006, a blend of 60% Sangiovese; 20% Cabernet Sauvignon; 20% Merlot (aged an additional year in the wine cabinet) -- a bright fruity taste with medium to full-bodied mouth-feel. Bottled by Banfi (Montalcino).

I'd never done oil-braising before and had a brief moment of trepidation after settling on the recipe. The big surprise, however, was that the rabbit needed to be further butchered. In the past, it had come already cut into pieces. Despite wishing I had a boning knife, it turned out alright in the end. In any case, it came out really well -- infused with flavor and succulent. First recipe tried from this cookbook, and it bodes well for future applications....

As suggested in the cookbook, the leftover oil is also great to use for frying potatoes.

Also, leftovers re-heated a couple days later were really delicious; especially flavorful were the roasted mushrooms (should put more in the next time).

The leftover roasted garlic (if it doesn't entirely disintegrate) is good mixed into a spread or used to doctor up a pasta sauce.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:02 PM | Comments (3)
November 10, 2009

Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake


Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake w/ Raspberry Coulis
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, less 1 tsp
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream

Frosting:
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 F. Butter a 9 1/2 by 5 inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet.

Stir together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Working with the stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minutes after each one goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream. Still working on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until they disappear into the batter. Give the batter a last stir with a sturdy rubber spatula and scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. If, after about 45 minutes, the cake looks as if it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for about 5 minutes before turning it out onto the rack. Cool to room temperature.

To make the frosting; Fit a heatproof bowl into a pan of gently simmering water, add the chocolate and warm, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. Still working over the hot water, stir in the sour cream. Don't be concerned if the cream tightens -- just keep stirring gently and the frosting will become smooth and glossy. Remove and cover the heat and cover the sidesand top of the cake with the still-warm frosting.

Raspberry Coulis:
1 cup red raspberries
1 1/2 TBSP sugar

Put the berries and sugar in a blender or food processor and whir until pureed. Taste and mix in more sugar if needed. Press the coulis through a strainer or a food mill to eliminate seeds.

Notes: The original recipe calls for a raspberry jam-based filling to be layered into the cake. Instead, this had a raspberry coulis, also from the same cookbook. This was a dense cake with a rich texture. The espresso powder was also an addition to give it a richer, deeper flavor. Yum.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:04 PM | Comments (3)
November 9, 2009

Duck Breast with Orange Chipotle Sauce


Duck Breast with Orange Chipotle Sauce
adapted from Gourmet (October 2005)

For sauce
1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
1/8 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably dark amber or Grade B)
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1/2 (3- to 4-inch) cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

For duck
2 (7- to 8-oz) Long Island (also called Pekin) duck breast halves with skin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Boil all sauce ingredients in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, skimming foam occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to about 1/2 cup, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand until duck is ready.

Preheat oven to 300 F. Crosshatch skin of duck breasts. Sprinkle duck with salt and pepper. Heat heavy large skillet over high heat. Add duck breasts, skin side down, to skillet. Cook until skin is well browned, about 4 minutes. Turn duck breasts over; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Set rack in roasting pan. Transfer duck breasts to rack (reserve drippings in skillet). Roast duck to desired doneness, about 20 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from pan and let rest 5 minutes.

Before serving, deglaze skillet with sauce and add any drippings from the roasting pan.

Notes: I wanted something a little different for my birthday dinner. I'd settled on duck breast as a treat, but though I love Duck Breast with Orange Tea Sauce, I wanted to spice things up a bit. And this did the trick. At first bite, this is a little sweet and tangy (the lime juice), but then the heat starts to kick in. The recipe originally calls for the duck to be broiled, but I prefer this method. Served with Alton Brown's Perfect Fingerling Potatoes.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:50 PM | Comments (1)

Alton Brown's Perfect Fingerling Potatoes

Alton Brown's Perfect Fingerling Potatoes

1 1/4 pounds kosher or rock salt
2 quarts water
2 pounds small fingerling potatoes, cleaned
4 tablespoons butter, optional
Freshly ground black pepper, optional
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives, optional

In a large pot, combine the salt, water, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pot to a cooling rack and let stand for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve as is or with butter, pepper, or chives.

Notes: The lovely thing about this recipe is the good clear taste of the potatoes. These came from a local farmers' market, and this was a great way to appreciate them.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:45 PM | Comments (2)
October 24, 2009

Torching Creme Brulee


Creme Brulee
from Glorious French Food
by James Peterson

3 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, or 2 tsp vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar (for the custard)
2/3 cup granulated sugar (for the glazing)

Preheat the oven to 325 F

Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed nonaluminum pot with the vanilla bean halves (if you're using extract, don't add it yet). Let the cream sit, covered, for 15 minutes to infuse the flavor of the vanilla. Spoon the vanilla halves out of the hot cream. Scrape out the tiny seeds with a paring knife. Put the seeds and the pod back into the cream.

Lightly whisk the egg yolks with the 3/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. If you're using vanilla extract instead of the bean, whisk it into the egg yolk mixture.

Strain the hot cream, a bit at a time, into the egg mixture. Don't use too fine a strainer or you'll strain out all the specks of vanilla, which look great in the creme brulee. Discard the pod. Stir the egg mixture with the whisk for a few seconds after each addition of cream so the hot cream doesn't curdle the yolks. Don't whisk the egg mixture or you'll make it frothy and it won't be smooth on top when you bake it. Just stir gently, making sure you're incorporating the egg yolks into the cream.

Ladle the cream mixture into one medium-size gratin dish, or six 5- or 6-ounce individual gratin dishes or ramekins. Arrange the dish or dishes in a baking dish with high sides and place it on the oven rack. Use a teakettle or ladle to pour in enough hot tap water to com halfway up the sides of the molds. Cover the bain-marie with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent the custards from forming a crust on top.

Start checking the custards after about 45 minutes by peeling back the foil and wiggling them very slightly back and forth. If they're not done, the surface will ripple. As they continue to cook, the ripples will appear only in the smaller area near the center of the custard. When there's no rippling at all, take the bain-marie out of the oven, and then take the custards out of the bain-marie. Let them cool for at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate them for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight. At this stage you can leave them, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for several days.

When you're ready to glaze the custards, which should be cold, glaze them within a couple hours of serving. Use a spoon to sprinkle them with a thin layer of granulated sugar just thick enough so you can't see the top of the custard.

It's easiest to glaze the creme brulee by waving the flame of a small propane torch over their surface, until the sugar melts into a shiny caramel glaze. Allow them to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: Creme brulee is one of my most favorite desserts but I have never previously attempted to make it at home. Then some brave person decided to give me a plumbers' torch as a gift. After all, it's something every girl should have in their kitchen, as I learned from watching Julia Child. With that obstacle removed, it was only a matter of time. I opted to try this recipe as I found the instructions for the bain-marie (on the previous page, not included here) and the cooking of the custard more detailed than some. Now that I've done it, I might try some variations from elsewhere. I need to concentrate on getting a smoother texture for my custard, but the overall flavor and the glaze came out quite well. And, oh yeah, the torch was fun.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:55 PM | Comments (1)
October 19, 2009

Spicy Eggplant is Spicy

At a recent farmers' market, I ran across -- and bought -- Japanese eggplant, which I had never cooked with before. In fact, I haven't consumed any variety of eggplant in a very long time after an unfortunate eggplant parmesan encounter when I was quite young. This recipe may have broken that block...

Spicy Eggplant
from Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking

For the Sauce:
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 TBSP hoisin sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp plum sauce

4 Asian eggplants (about 1 pound), stems removed
vegetable oil for deep-frying

2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 jalapeno chili, sliced into rings
pinch of ground Sichuan peppercorns

basil leaves
chopped cilantro or sliced green onions

Prepare the sauce: Stir the chicken stock, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice and plum sauce together in a small bowl until blended.

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces.

Pour enough oil into a 2-quart saucepan to come to a depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium heat to 350 F. Deep-fry the eggplant in batches until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels. Reserve the oil.

Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Add 1 TBSP of the reserved oil and swirl to coat the sides. Add the garlic, ginger, chili, and Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the sauce and bring to a simmer.

Add the eggplant and stir to coat. Scoop onto a warm serving platter. Serve garnished with basil leaves and cilantro or green onions.

Notes: As per the recommendation in the book, this was served with strips of pork marinated in char siu sauce and also stir-fried. This nicely complimented the spicy flavor of the eggplant dish, and that was even with the fact that I ended up leaving out the sliced jalapeno.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:50 PM | Comments (3)
July 31, 2009

Salmon with Agrodolce Sauce


Salmon with Agrodolce Sauce
from Gourmet April 2008

3 TBSP olive oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (1 inch thick) with skin
2 medium red onions (about 1 pound total), each cut into 8 wedges
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 TBSP unsalted butter

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then cook, skin side up, until undersides form a golden crust, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn fish over and cook until just cooked through, about 3 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onions until golden brown and crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until sauce is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Spoon onions with sauce onto plates and top with salmon, skin side down.

Notes: Somewhat reminiscent of Tuna Trapani Style. I tried this because I scored the Sockeye Salmon on sale again. Still very impressed with the texture of the fish. This had a lovely, tangy taste. Will definitely try again.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
July 6, 2009

Broiled Sockeye Salmon with Citrus Glaze

4th of July weekend, Part II

Broiled Sockeye Salmon with Citrus Glaze
recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

1 side, skin-on, sockeye salmon, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, pin bones removed
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 TBSP lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Position a rack in the oven 3 inches from the broiler. Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil and place the salmon on the pan.

Place the sugar, zest, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a small food processor and process for 1 minute or until well combined. Evenly spread the mixture onto the salmon and allow to sit for 45 minutes, at room temperature.

Turn the oven on to the high broiler setting for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, place the salmon into the oven and broil for 6 to 8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the salmon from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Notes:Having recently caught part of Alton Brown's salmon episode of Good Eats, when I spied the Sockeye Salmon on sale, I could not resist trying it out. And the texture and depth of flavor in the fish made me really understand why this is so much better than the regular farm-raised salmon. I also cooked it on a cedar plank in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, turning up the broiler at the end to get the crust.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:50 PM | Comments (1)

Rib-Eye Steaks with Mexican Barbecue Sauce

4th of July weekend, Part I

Rib-Eye Steaks with Mexican Barbecue Sauce
from Weber's Real Grilling
by Jamie Purviance

Sauce
1 large ancho chile pepper, about 1/2 ounce, stem and seeds removed
3 plum tomatoes, cored and cut in half lengthwise
2 slices red onion, each about 1/2 inch think
extra virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, smashed
3 TBSP cider vinegar
2 TBSP light brown sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves

4 rib-eye steaks, about 12 ounces each and 1 inch thick
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

To make the sauce:
In a small bowl, cover the ancho chile with 3/4 cup boiling water and allow the chile to soften for 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Lightly brush or spray the tomatoes and onions with oil. Grill over Direct High heat until slightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. Place the chile and soaking water, tomatoes and onions in a blender or food processor. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and process until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the sauce into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook from 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour half of the sauce into a small bowl to brush on the steaks as they grill; reserve the rest to serve with the steaks.

Allow the steaks to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling. In a small bowl, combine paprika, salt, brown sugar, and pepper. Lightly brush or spray the steaks on both sides with oil; season with the spice mixture. Grill the steaks over Direct High heat until cooked to desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare, brushing with sauce and turning once. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm with the reserved sauce.

Notes:The ancho chile hunt was formidable. If I'd decided on this sooner, I would have ordered them from Penzey's but instead a grocery-store crawl ensued. I was so pleased to be finally successful. Since I was making the sauce the night before, I broiled the vegetables rather than grilling them. As for the sauce itself, it was well worth the effort. A nice roasted heat that built slowly over the course of the meal and an under-current of the more complex flavors from the spices. Definitely a winner.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:20 PM | Comments (1)
May 4, 2009

Steak with Mole Marinade

from Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2007

Mole Marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 TBSP dark brown sugar
4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
4 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 TBSP lime juice

Combine soy, oil, sugar, chiles, cocoa, oregano, garlic, and pepper in medium bowl. Remove 1/4 cup marinade and combine with lime juice in small bowl; set aside.

Place remaining marinade and steaks in zip-loc bag and seal. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (I did mine overnight), flipping bag to make sure steaks marinate evenly.

Remove steaks from marinade and discard excess marinade. Grill steaks as desired, basting with reserved marinade. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: Good for about 1 pound of steak. The original recipe calls for a short-term marinade and then using the excess in the cooking process in an attempt to shorten the time required to get the steak properly infused with flavor. While I can appreciate the time constraints, I prefer planning ahead and getting enough lead time to give the flavors a chance to really work together. And it pays off. This was just lovely.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:09 PM | Comments (1)
March 22, 2009

Corned Beef in Bourbon-Brown Sugar Sauce

Corned Beef in Bourbon-Brown Sugar Sauce
from the LA Times

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion
1 pound corned beef
1 large clove garlic
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
Dash ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup Bourbon

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Slice the onion in half lengthwise, then thinly slice each half crosswise. Add the onion to the skillet, stirring well to coat the slices with oil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onion is light gold, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, slice the corned beef against the grain on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside. Mince the garlic.

Add the garlic and the brown sugar to the onion, stirring well. Cook until the brown sugar is bubbly and the onion is coated with the mixture, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the cloves, allspice and mustard. Add the beef broth and stir well. Carefully place the corned beef slices in the skillet. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until the mixture thickens and is almost syrupy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and turning the slices over once.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the orange juice concentrate and the Bourbon. Return the pan to the heat just long enough to warm the Bourbon, about 1 minute. Do not boil. Divide the corned beef among serving plates and spoon the onion and sauce over the top.

Notes:Happy belated St. Patrick's Day -- this was the dinner for that evening this year. It was an attempt to do something a little bit different than the usual boiled method. However, it didn't come together as well as I had hoped. It took too long to cook down the beef broth so the sauce wasn't as thick as it needed to be before it risked making the meat tough and inedible. Also, the bourbon was just too strong and overpowered many of the other flavors, though the onions by themselves had more going for them. A worthy experiment but likely not one I'll repeat.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:17 PM | Comments (2)
March 6, 2009

Roasted Tuna with Grapefruit


Roasted Tuna with Grapefruit and Tarragon
from Bon Appetit February 2004

1 white grapefruit

2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 6-ounce tuna steaks

Preheat oven to 475F. Grate 1 teaspoon grapefruit peel; reserve. Cut off peel and pith from grapefruit; cut fruit into six 1/4-inch-thick slices and discard seeds.

Mix shallots, tarragon, and grated grapefruit peel in small bowl to blend. Drizzle olive oil over bottom of medium roasting pan; heat pan in oven 3 minutes. Sprinkle shallot mixture over oil. Place tuna steaks in single layer atop shallot mixture; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 5 minutes. Turn tuna steaks over. Top each with 1 slice grapefruit. Roast tuna to desired doneness, about 5 minutes longer for medium.

Notes: Other than the fact that I used ruby red instead of white, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I thought roasting the tuna was an interesting approach -- most of the recipes I have tried have gone for searing it in a skillet on the stovetop. I did think the grapefruit was a bit too bitter, but then I had also recently had a grapefruit salsa over fish at a restaurant and I think that was the taste I was looking to evoke. I might try combining these flavors in a different way next time to lighten it up and bring out more of the citrus.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:30 PM | Comments (1)
February 13, 2009

Shanghainese Five-Spice Fried Chicken

Shanghainese Five-Spice Fried Chicken
Essentials of Asian Cuisine : Fundamentals and Favorite Recipes
by Corinne Trang

vegetable oil or peanut oil for deep-frying
2 tsp five spice powder
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup tapioca starch or cornstarch
4 to 6 chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks joined

Heat enough vegetable oil for deep-frying in a pot over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, mix together the five-spice powder, salt, pepper and tapioca starch (or cornstarch) in a bag. Add the chicken legs and seal and shake the bag until the pieces are evenly coated.

When the oil reaches 360 to 375 F, carefully add the chicken legs and fry until golden crisp on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Variation: Substitute 4-6 1/2-inch thick pork chops (bone-in) and fry five minutes per side. Or use 4-6 small squabs and cook 15-20 minutes.

Notes:The author talks about a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in New York's Chinatown. I wish she'd said the actual name of the place, so I could go try it out. She calls this Chinese soul food.

Remember Shake-n-Bake(tm) before they added all the salt and ruined it? Well, this is basically shake-n-fry, but with an Asian flare. And, of course, one could use any number of spice variations on it for different styles (cumin for one? or ancho chile powder?). I actually did this with boneless chicken breast, and cooked about 7 or 8 minutes per side. And the crispiness came out pretty well on this attempt -- the key is to let the oil get hot enough before you begin. I got this cookbook as a Christmas gift from my family, and I'm looking forward to trying out more things in it. And I'd really like to try the squab variation above.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
January 12, 2009

Lamb and Fennel Bread Soup


Lamb and Fennel Bread Soup from Sardinia
aka Agnello con finocchi selvatici alla sarda
from Italian Slow and Savory by Joyce Goldstein

olive oil as needed
2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed into 1 1/2 inch pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 TBSP chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted in a dry pan and crushed
pinch of chile pepper flakes (optional)
3 cups meat stock or water
3 fennel bulbs
6 or 7 pita breads
2 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese

Place a large deep saute pan or Dutch oven over high heat and film the bottom with olive oil. Working in batches, add the lamb and brown on all sides, adding oil as needed and seasoning with salt and pepper. Each batch should take 8 to 10 minutes. As each batch is ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate.

Return the pan to medium heat and add the onion, garlic, parsley, fennel seeds, and chile flakes (if using) to the oil remaining in the pan, adding more oil if needed. Saute until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add 2 cups of the stock or water, return the lamb to the pan, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lamb is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning.

While the lamb is cooking, cut off any stalks and fronds from the fennel bulbs if still attached, and reserve the fronds for garnish, if desired. Cut the fennel bulbs in quarters or eighths and cut out the tough core from each piece. Peel off any discoloured outer leaves. Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Salt lightly, add the fennel, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain well, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Select a large earthenware baking dish, about 10 by 12 by 3 inches (3-quart capacity).

Line the bottom of the dish with pita bread, tearing or cutting as necessary to fit. Spoon the lamb stew evenly over the bread and scatter half the cheese evenly over the top. Top with the fennel. Drizzle the remaining 1 cup stock or water evenly over the top, adding more as needed to moisten the fennel and bread lightly. Scatter remaining cheese evenly over the surface, and dot with the 2 TBSP butter pieces.

Bake until cheese melts and is tinged with gold, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with chopped fennel fronds if using. Serve immediately.

Notes: This was my experiment for this year's New Year's Eve dinner. And I must say it was worth all the time and effort. The lamb was so tender it was ridiculous, and the flavor of the fennel infused the entire dish.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:21 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
December 30, 2008

Blue Hubbard Pie


Blue Hubbard Pie

1 blue hubbard squash, baked and pureed (see below) - 15 ounces of puree will be needed for one pie

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
2 eggs
1 can (12-ounce) evaporated milk

1 10" pie crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the hubbard squash into several large chunks and arrange on jelly roll pan. Spritz with olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until fork easily pierces flesh. Scoop flesh from peel, and puree.

Prepare pie crust in 9" pie pan.

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in squash puree and spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour pie filling mixture into shell.

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 2 hours.

Notes: The blue hubbard squash was another product of this summer's farmer's market. By reputation, the blue hubbard squash makes a better pumpkin pie than pumpkin. According to tasters, the pie sure seemed to prove the case. This was my first pumpkin pie.

from wisegeek.com : The hubbard squash is said to have a mysterious origin, possibly named after a Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard in the 1840s, who gave seeds of it to friends, thus increasing its popularity. It is not known exactly where the hubbard was first grown, but most winter squash varieties are known to be New World foods. This particular variety is often tear-shaped, and like the pumpkin can grow quite large. Some reach 50 pounds (22.68 kg) in weight.

Posted by Jennifer at 6:58 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
November 12, 2008

Hazelnut Cake


Heavenly Hazelnut Cake

For my birthday, a very good friend made this: Heavenly Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Rum Glaze from The Baker's Dozen Cookbook

Cake
1 cup (4 ounces) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt, at room temperature

Chocolate Rum Glaze
2 TBSP unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBSP hot water, or as needed
1 tsp dark rum

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch (12-cup) fluted tube pan and tap out the excess flour.

To make the cake, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process 1/4 cup of the chopped hazelnuts with 1/4 cup flour until the hazelnuts are finely ground, almost a powder. Transfer to a medium bowl. Sift the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl and whisk to mix. Set aside.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it is lighter in color, about 45 seconds. Add the granulated sugar in a steady stream, then stop the machine and scrape down the bowl. Return to medium speed and beat, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, 4 to 5 minutes.

Gradually, about a tablespoon at a time, beat in the eggs. Continue beating until the mixture is ivory-colored. The entire process of adding and beating the eggs should take 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla toward the end of mixing.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. In four additions, add the flour mixture, alternating with three additions of the yogurt. After each addition, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of the remaining hazelnuts. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake until the top springs back when pressed lightly and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the cake to a wire cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto the rack and remove the pan. Place the cake on the rack over a sheet of wax paper.

Meanwhile, to make the glaze, melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa onto a piece of wax paper. Add to the saucepan with the water and rum. Mix until the consistency of heavy cream, adding more water as needed. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the warm cake.

Coarsely chop the remaining 1/4 cup hazelnuts. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the cake. Cool completely to set the glaze.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 1, 2008

Twice-Baked Acorn Scquash


Twice-Baked Acorn Squash
a Jennifer original

1 acorn squash
3/4 cup portabello mushrooms, diced
1 green apple, diced
2 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 TBSP butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Cut the acorn squash in half length-wise. Bake face-down on a cookie sheet with raised sides for 45 minutes.

Scoop out the meat of the squash and mash with a fork. Mix with the mushrooms, apple, brown sugar, nutmeg and nuts. Spoon back into the shells. Drizzle with butter. Return to oven for 30 minutes and serve.

Notes: This made me feel so autumnal. And it came out with a nice combination of flavors.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
September 19, 2008

Chicken with Creole Mustard Sauce

Chicken Thighs With Creole Mustard Orange Sauce
from Bon Appetit (September 1998)

4 small skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 12 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup Creole or whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp thyme

Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add chicken and saute until brown, about 6 minutes per side. Add orange juice and broth to skillet. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate. Add mustard, honey, pepper sauce and thyme to skillet. Increase heat and boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, whisking occasionally, about 7 minutes. Return chicken to skillet. Simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer chicken to plates; top with sauce and serve.

Notes: When using bone-in thighs, increase cooking time during simmering to 25 minutes. The added garlic and thyme are also part of my own interpretation of this recipe.

This was very tasty but I think a spicier mustard than the dijon I had on hand would be more true to the cuisine.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 15, 2008

Peach Lambic Sorbet

Peach Lambic Sorbet
Recipe adapted from Apple Pie, Patis, and Pate
adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
3 cups peeled, sliced peaches (about 8 medium)
1 cup peche lambic

Heat the sugar, honey, and water in a small saucepan just until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside and cool completely.

Slice the peaches, being sure to discard the pit and starchy centers. Puree in blender until smooth. Mix in the syrup and the lambic.

Pour slowly into already-churning ice cream maker. After about 25-30 minutes, remove to freezer to firm up. At least 4 hours.

Notes: The version I read online was for a raspberry mix but as peach ice cream had been recently mentioned to me by the same dinner guests for whom this was prepared, I decided to go that route instead. It was just the thing for a hot summer evening, with a creamy, smooth texture and taste that was light on the tongue.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
June 23, 2008

Strawberry Prosecco Jam


Strawberry Prosecco Jam

4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 package pectin
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup prosecco
6 cups sugar

Bring boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot water. Pour boiling water over flats lids -- let stand in hot water until ready to use.

In nonreactive pan, combine berries, pectin, lemon juice and prosecco. Over high heat, bring to a roiling boil. Add sugar. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a roiling boil again. Boil, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately ladle into clean jars. Screw on pre-boiled lids. Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. After jars cool, check seals. Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Refrigerate open jam up to three weeks.

Yield: 4 pints

Notes: Picked the strawberries fresh in a nearby patch. There is nothing like picking them yourself - yum. Also, used prosecco instead of traditional champagne because it's slightly sweeter.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
May 30, 2008

Grilled Spicy Citrus Ribs


Grilled Spicy Citrus Ribs
courtesy of elise.com
adapted from Andrew Schloss' and David Joachim's Mastering the Grill

Ribs
2 racks of ribs (about 4 pounds), St. Louis-cut spareribs or baby back ribs*
2 1/2 cups spicy citrus brine
Oil for the grill grate
1 cup spicy bourbon syrup

* St. Louis Style ribs are spareribs that have been trimmed of skirt meat and excess cartilage. More meaty than baby back ribs. Baby back ribs are smaller and leaner than St. Louis Style ribs and may cook more quickly (and dry out more easily).

Spicy Citrus Brine
1 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2 limes)
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

Spicy Bourbon Glaze
1 cup bourbon whiskey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tbsp butter

Prepare the brine. Combine the juices and water and measure in a measuring cup. You should have exactly 2 1/2 cups liquid. If you have less, add enough water so that you have 2 1/2 cups of liquid, if you have more, discard the excess. The correct ratio of liquid to salt is important for the brine to work properly. Place liquids in a medium sized bowl, add other brine ingredients - salt, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Stir for half a minute until the salt has completely dissolved.

Prepare the ribs. If you want, remove the thin membrane that lines the concave side of each rib rack. This will make it easier for the brine and spices to penetrate as well as easier to cut and eat when the ribs are done. Insert a dull knife edge between the membrane and ribs to loosen. Grip the loosened membrane and pull away to remove. Cut the racks in half. Put in a plastic ziplock freezer bag. Add the brine to the bag. Squeeze the excess air out of the bag and seal the bag. Massage the brine into the ribs. Place the bag of brine and ribs into a bowl (in case there is leakage) and place into the refrigerator. Refrigerate in the brine for 3-6 hours. Note that brining too long can over-saturate the meat with the brine. So stick within the 3-6 hour time frame.

Prepare bourbon glaze. Heat bourbon with sugar, peppers, and salt. Whisk in butter until melted. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Warm before using. You can also prepare while the meat is cooking in the next step.

Prepare the grill for indirect heat. On a gas grill, heat the grill to medium heat 300-325F with the middle burners turned off (if a 3 or 4 burner grill) or one burner turned off (if a 2 burner grill). For a kettle grill with charcoal, use 3-4 pounds of briquets pushed to one side of the grill. An aluminum disposable drip pan set next to the briquets, underneath where the meat will be, will help keep your grill easier to clean.

Remove the ribs from the brining bag. Pat dry the ribs with paper towels. Brush grill grates with olive oil or canola oil. Place the ribs on the side of the grill away from the source of heat, either gas or briquets. Cover the grill. If you are using a gas grill, lower the burners so that you are maintaining a temperature of about 300F-325F in the grill. If you are charcoal grilling, cover the grill so that the air vent on the kettle top is directly over the ribs. This way smoke from the charcoal will waft its way over the ribs on the way out of the grill. Adjust the vents so that the air flow is much reduced. Reducing the size of the air vents is a way to help control the temperature in the grill and keep it low. Fire lives off of oxygen, so if you reduce the oxygen, you reduce the amount of burning and heat. If you close the vents too much, the charcoals will put out too little heat, so the trick is to maintain a balance - enough air flow to keep the coals alive, but not too much or the grill will run too hot and your ribs will overcook. Try to maintain a temperature of about 300F-325F in the grill. If you are using a charcoal grill that doesn't have a built-in thermometer, you can put a meat thermometer through the grill air vent to take a reading of the temp.

After 20-25 minutes of cooking, use tongs to flip the rib racks over. If you are charcoal grilling, shift the ends of the ribs as well so that the end that was facing the coals now faces the edge of the grill. Check for doneness using a meat thermometer after 15-20 more minutes. They are done and ready to pull off at 155F, but you want to get to them 10 minutes or so before they are done to apply the glaze. So at about 145F start applying the spicy bourbon glaze. Brush the ribs with the glaze syrup, turning and basting the ribs until the syrup has been used up. When an instant read thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the ribs reads 155F, the ribs are ready to take off the grill.

Note that depending on the amount of heat in the grill and the size of your ribs, the ribs could be done in as little as 45 minutes or as long as 1 1/2 hours. If the grill temperature stays more at about 350F, then the ribs will be done faster. It's hard to maintain a charcoal grill lower than 350F, though ideally for these ribs you do want the temp lower, closer to 300F. Also note again that baby backs are smaller than St. Louis style and will cook faster.

Notes: I actually used country style boneless pork ribs which increased the cooking time by about 10 minutes both before and after the flip. In any case, these came out really incredibly good. Tender, juicy and full of flavor. And the leftovers got used in Mediterranean Tacos.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
May 25, 2008

new London Broil marinade

Grilled Marinated London Broil
courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

For marinade:
5 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry red wine (or sherry)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey

a 1 1/2 pound top-round London broil (about 1 1/4 inches thick)


Make marinade: Mince and mash garlic to a paste with salt and in a blender blend with remaining marinade ingredients.

In a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag combine London broil with marinade. Seal bag, pressing out excess air, and put in a shallow baking dish. Marinate steak, chilled, turning occasionally, at least 4 hours and up to 24.

Prepare grill. [Note: The charcoal grill was used for this.]

Bring steak to room temperature before grilling. Remove steak from marinade, letting excess drip off, and grill on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals 7 to 9 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes. Holding a knife at 45 degrees angle, cut steak across grain into thin slices.

Notes: The holiday weekend means that it's time to really get the grill going. This was a nice variation from my usual marinade (which uses Raspberry Thunder Sauce). It was tangy and really was a nice compliment to the flavor of the steak.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
May 19, 2008

Seared Tuna Burgers

Seared tuna burgers with ginger-garlic mayonnaise
Bon Appetit (January 1998)

Serves 2, can be doubled.

2 3/4-inch-thick tuna steaks (each about 5 to 6 ounces)
2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 oversize sesame-seed sandwich rolls, toasted
1 bunch arugula, stems trimmed

Sprinkle tuna with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add tuna to skillet and cook until brown outside and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer tuna to plate.

Add ginger and garlic to same skillet; stir 30 seconds. Scrape into small bowl. Mix in mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread bottoms of rolls with mayonnaise mixture. Top with tuna, arugula and tops of rolls.

Notes: Looking for a variation from the traditional beef burger? This was quick, lite, and savory. Even though I'm generally not a big fan of anything mayonaisse based, I still thought this was a keeper.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
May 5, 2008

fried shrimp with chili and lime leaf


fried shrimp with chili and lime leaf
from Vatch's Thai Street Food
AKA chu chee gung

2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 TBSP red curry paste
2 TBSP stock
16 extra large shrimp (31-40 count)
2 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
1 long red chili, finely slivered

Heat oil in wok or frying pan, add the garlic, and fry until golden brown. Stir in the curry paste and cook together for a few seconds. Add the stock and mix thoroughly. Toss in the shrimp and stir-fry for a few seconds until opaque.

Add the fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice, lime leaves, and chili, stirring after each addition. Cook together for 2-3 seconds, then turn onto a serving dish. The dish should be quite dry.

Notes: The original recipe calls for 6-8 king tiger shrimp, so I estimated based on number per pound sizes. Other than that, this recipe was served as above, and it was H.O.T. -- Very Spicy. I think if I make it in the future, I might actually take the chili paste back to 3/4 TBSP and only use half the red chili pepper. Served with spinach vermicelli.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
April 15, 2008

Recipe Remix

Middle-Eastern Meatloaf Roll

I was never a fan of meatloaf despite its regular appearance as a staple meal while I was growing up (sorry, mom). The tomato paste or ketchup sauce congealed in an unappealing way and the texture of the loaf itself was often mealy and heavy. I don't think that was mom's fault. I had it at a variety of church potlucks and friends' homes as well and it never became a sought-after meal for me.

So, when I saw the challenge for Recipe Remix for April, in which participants were invited to take an old standby recipe from their list and attempt to apply some creativity, I decided it was time to take advantage of how my own cooking skills have developed over the last few years and also of my food interests that now range into various ethnic cuisines that I never sampled as a child. And, so, I present a new and original recipe: Middle-Eastern Meatloaf, garnered from the review and use of types of kibbeh and other similar dishes.


Photo by: Michael Curry

Middle-Eastern Meatloaf Roll
a Jennifer original

Meat:
1/3 cup bulgur, rinsed in cold water
1 lb. Ground lamb
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 shallots, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
salt, pepper to taste

Filling:
4 oz wilted baby spinach
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled

Mix all ingredients for meat mixture together. If possible, do one hour before baking and allow flavors to meld.

Saute the spinach in a non-stick pan with a splash of olive oil. Spread meat on sheet of foil in large rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cover the surface with the pine nuts, then feta, then spinach, and use the foil to roll like a roulade or jelly roll. Brush the top with melted butter. Bake it on a broiler pan at 350 until thermometer reads 160 degrees F, about 55 minutes. Let set 10 minutes before slicing and serving with yogurt sauce.

Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp allspice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 TBSP water
Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix well. Can be done 4 hours ahead.

Notes: There were actually three versions of the yogurt sauce: (1) with 2 TBSP tahini paste, which did not work, and then (2) as above, but without the allspice, which was fine but needed something else, and so (3) the choice above came to be. I liked the seasoning of the meatloaf as well as the filling. Will very likely make this again sometime.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
April 6, 2008

Duck Breast with Mushrooms, Dried Apricots and Almonds


Pan-Grilled Duck Breast with Mushrooms, Dried Apricots and Almonds
from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook

1/2 pound fresh trumpet mushrooms, quartered
1 boneless duck breast
coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 TBSP butter
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup diced dried apricots
1 large shallot, chopped
1 TBSP lemon juice
15 whole blanched almonds
1 TBSP minced fresh chives

About 1 hour before serving, rinse duck breast and pat dry. Trim of excess fat. Score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern without piercing the flesh. Sprinkle the fat side generously with salt and half the pepper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Set a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp of butter and duck breast, flesh side down, and sear well, about 2 minutes. Add 2 TBSP stock to deglaze the pan and boil until thick. Turn the duck over, reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly cook the duck breast, fat side down, without turning, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large straight-sided skillet set over medium-high heat, sear the mushrooms, stirring until you hear them squeak, about 30 seconds. Add the apricots, shallots and remaining butter and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add half the stock and simmer until mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Turn the duck breast over and finish cooking on the flesh side. To test for doneness, use your thumb and finger to pinch the flesh. If it springs back quickly, it is rare. Remove to side dish, cover with foil, and allow to rest at least 5 minutes. [Note: For rare this took about an additional 7 minutes.]

Pour off all the fat from the pan. Deglaze with the remaining stock. Scrape the mushroom mixture into the pan and bring to a boil. Heighten the flavor with the lemon juice and correct seasoning, if desired. Fold in the almonds and chives. Serve at once with duck.

Notes: The original recipe called for chanterelles but I ended up with royal trumpet mushrooms because they were fresh instead of dried. Other wild mushrooms that were recommended included oyster or porcini. The trumpet mushrooms were much larger, so had to be quartered prior to cooking. The directions for the chanterelles includes: cleaning them early in the day by dropping into boiling salted water for 2 to 3 seconds and then dipping into cold water before draining, wrapping in paper towels and stashing in the 'fridge. I took none of those steps with regard to the trumpet mushrooms.

Also, I felt the salt was over-pronounced in the dish and would likely use it only sparingly in the initial seasoning if I were to make this in the future, which I probably will because it was quite good.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 29, 2008

Birthday dinner for Mr. Curry


Kouneli Stifado AKA Molyvos Rabbit Stifado
Rabbit Stew with Pearl Onions in a Two-Wine Sauce
From: The Foods of the Greek Islands by Aglaia Kremezi

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Stifado, which has its origins on Corfu, is an intensely flavored stew, usually of rabbit or hare, cooked slowly in both sweet and dry red wine with tomatoes and pearl onions. Seasoned with bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and allspice, the fragrant stew can be served over homemade egg noodles, fettuccine or tagliatelle.

This recipe is adapted from Jim Botsacos's version of the classic dish.

1 3 1/2-to-4-pound rabbit, cut into 4 leg/thigh joints and
the loin, with the loin tied (have the butcher do this,
or purchase the rabbit in pieces from a specialty market)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sliced red onions
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 cups dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup sweet red wine, such as Mavrodaphne or sweet Marsala,
or more if needed
1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 cups Chicken Stock (page 267) [which says main difference
is that it uses bay leaves rather than celery]
Bouquet Garni: 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 1
allspice berry, tied in a piece of cheesecloth with
kitchen twine
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 pound pearl onions, blanched and peeled, or 1 1/2 cups frozen
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water

For optional garnish:
Olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons diced and drained tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Season the rabbit pieces on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven and cook the rabbit, in batches if necessary, over medium-high heat, turning frequently, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the rabbit to a platter and discard the oil.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and saute the red onions until wilted and lightly colored, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Pour in both wines and boil over medium-high heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine, then return the rabbit to the pot with any juices from the platter, pour in the stock and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the bouguet garni and bring to a boil. Cover, place the pot in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a medium skillet, add the pearl onions, sprinkle with sugar and saute, over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the onions are golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Add the water and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions are easily pierced with a knife. Remove from the heat.

Add the onions to the Dutch oven, and cook for 30 minutes more, or until the rabbit is tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer the rabbit to a warm serving platter.

Discard the bouquet garni and bring the cooking juices to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the remaining 1 teaspoon butter. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt, pepper and/or a little more sweet wine if necessary. Ladle the sauce over the rabbit and serve.

For the garnish, if using: In a small skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil until it shimmers. Add the sliced onion and fry until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Garnish the rabbit with the crispy onion rings and diced tomatoes.

***

And for dessert -- cupcakes with sprinkles!
Posted by Jennifer at 7:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 22, 2008

Pork Carnitas


Pork Carnitas
from Kitchen & Cook, July/August 2006

3 lbs pork shoulder, skin and bone removed
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 medium white onion, medium dice
2 tsp ancho chile powder

Cut the meat, with the fat, into 1-in cubes. Barely cover the meat with water in a heavy, wide pan. Add the salt, cumin, and half the cilantro; bring to a boil, uncovered. Lower to a simmer and cook undisturbed, until all the water has evaporated and meat is tender, but not falling apart, about 1 hour.

Lower heat and cook to render the fat, adding a few drops of oil, if necessary to get it started, keeping the fattiest parts of the meat near the bottom of the pot. Keep turning the meat until it is lightly browned all over, about 10 minutes. Some will stick to the bottom. Stir in the onions garlic, and chile powder, trying not to break up the meat too much.

Deglaze with 1/4 cup cold water. Cook for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits.

Can be made 5 days in advance.

Notes: I took the advice of this much-lamented newsletter of the Culinary Institute of America (I curse the day they discontinued my subscription) and used this as a filling with grilled tortillas (right on the stove burner) with tomatoes and cheese and fresh cilantro. OMG - good.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
February 12, 2008

Pan-Cooked Vietnamese Quail


Pan-Cooked Quail, Vietnamese Style (Before)
from the New York Times, October 18, 2006

8 quail
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon or more freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup lime juice or rice vinegar
1/2 cup nam pla or soy sauce
4 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
Chopped fresh cilantro, mint or Thai basil leaves (or a combination), optional
Lime wedges, optional.

1. Cut along each side of breastbone of each bird, then straight down through where thigh meets body to get 2 semi-boneless halves from each bird. (Don't worry if skin holding thigh and drumstick together separates.) Combine other ingredients except oil, herb and lime wedges and marinate for at least an hour, or overnight in a refrigerator, if you have time.

2. Drain quail of marinade and strain and reserve marinade. Pat birds dry. If you have a skillet large enough to hold quail in one layer, put oil in it; if not, put 2 tablespoons of oil in each of two skillets. Turn heat to high and, when oil is hot, saute quail, skin-side down, until nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Turn and brown other side for 2 or 3 minutes, or until quail are cooked through. Remove to a platter and keep warm.

3. Lower heat and remove any excess fat from skillet (there may not be any). Add strained marinade, along with 1/4 cup water, and raise heat to high. Cook, stirring and scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan, until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Spoon over quail and serve immediately, garnished, if you like, with herbs and lime.

Yield: 4 servings.


Pan-Cooked Quail, Vietnamese Style (After)

Notes: As you can see from the "after" picture, these were rended and devoured. Leftovers are good too. And since I didn't have fresh herbs on hand this time of year, I added about 1 tsp of dried cilantro leaves to the marinade. This had a very savory flavor which I most enjoyed.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:30 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack
February 4, 2008

Tom Yum Goong


Tom Yum Goong
adapted from a recipe courtesy of A Suitable Spice

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 TBSP dried lemongrass
5 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 TBSP fresh ginger, sliced
2 Thai red or green chilies, sliced
1 TBSP fish sauce, such as nam pla
3/4 tsp sugar (optional)
4-ounces canned straw mushrooms, rinsed
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled with tails on
1 lime, juiced
1/2 handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Bring the stock and water to the boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and chiles. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes to let the spices infuse the broth. For convenience, I remove the lemongrass and lime leaves from the liquid before adding the shrimp. Authentic versions of the soup leave them in, you are expected to avoid eating them in your soup bowl.

Uncover and add the fish sauce and sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes. Toss in the shrimp and cook on very low heat (so the shrimp stay tender and juicy) for about 8 minutes until they turn pink. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, green onions, mushrooms and cilantro. Taste for salt and spices; you should have an equal balance of spicy, salty, and sour. Keep tasting and adjusting with salt, fresh lime juice and if its not hot enough, one or two finely minced green chillies. Serve hot.

Notes: I also consulted Thai Foodby David Thompson (a 2003 IACP and James Beard award-winner) and Vatch's Thai Street Foodby Vatcharin Bhumichitr. I think next time I would like to use two stalks fresh lemongrass (sliced on a bias in 2 inch pieces). My taste probably runs to more lime than some, too. Overall, this came out rather well, I thought.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
January 11, 2008

Angry Chicken

I have long admired Morimoto. He is always one of my favorites to watch on Iron Chef and comes up with so many amazing variations. So, with coupon in hand for a significant discount, I could not resist this cookbook while I was holiday shopping last month. I was then determined to make something from it sooner rather than later, so my New Year's Even dinner was as follows:


Angry Chicken
from Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking

2 whole bone-in chicken legs
spicy yogurt marinade*
1 cups chicken stock
assorted fresh hot green and red chile peppers
1 TBSP oil
lime wedges for serving

*Spicy Yogurt Marinade
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp coriander seeds
1/8 tsp cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups hot sauce, preferably Frank's
2/3 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 TBSP soy sauce

Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Rinse and pat dry. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Measure out 1/2 cup of marinade and reserve for sauce; refrigerate in a small container.

Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken. Turn the pieces to make sure they are well-coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

About 1 hour before you plan to serve the chicken, preheat oven to 450 F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange the pieces on a baking sheet. Discard the marinade.

Roast for 40 minutes, until the chicken is tender and lightly browned and the juices run clear when pricked with a knife. Transfer the pieces to a platter and keep warm.

While the chicken is roasting, make the sauce. Boil the chicken stock in a medium saucepan over high heat until reduced to half. Whisk in the reserved marinade and cook until just heated through. Do not boil or the yogurt will separate. Keep the sauce warm.

As soon as the chicken is done, preheat the broiler. Toss the chiles with oil to coat lightly and spread them out on a broiler rack or small baking sheet. Broil the chiles about 4 inches from the heat, turning them a couple of times until they are blistered and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

To serve, layer the chicken and chiles in a large platter. Pour the sauce around the chicken. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over chicken.

Notes: This is supposed to be Morimoto's version of tandoori. Apparently he was influenced by frequent visits to his restaurant in Mumbai. The hot sauce gives it an enduring heat but his recommended brand isn't as sharp as some others. Very yummy. And, then, because I wanted to, I made Molten Chocolate Cake for dessert.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
January 4, 2008

Tuna with Lemongrass Sauce


Tuna with Orange, Ginger, and Lemongrass Sauce
from Bon Appetit (April 2000)

2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass*
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce

4 6- to 7-ounce tuna steaks
Additional olive oil
8 teaspoons sesame seeds

Whisk 2 tablespoons orange juice and cornstarch in small bowl to blend. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, lemongrass, garlic and crushed red pepper; sauté until onion is light golden, about 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup orange juice, stock and soy sauce and boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 4 minutes. Whisk in cornstarch mixture; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Brush tuna steaks with olive oil. Coat each side of each tuna steak with 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, pressing gently to adhere. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tuna and cook until opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. Bring sauce to simmer. Transfer tuna to plates. Serve with sauce.

*Available at Asian markets and in the produce section of some supermarkets.

Notes: This was good, but I wanted it to have a more pronounced citrus flavor. I'm thinking of adding some lemon zest next time around.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
December 30, 2007

Sweet Potato Streusel Squares

Sweet Potato Streusel Squares
from Bon Appetit (July 1995)

Filling
3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
2 eggs
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
preparation

For Filling:
Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain; return to same pot. Stir potatoes over medium-high heat until excess liquid evaporates. Remove from heat. Add butter and sugar and mash potatoes until almost smooth. Mix in half and half, eggs, ginger and vanilla. Season with salt. Spread in prepared dish (filling will be about 1 inch thick).

For toppings:
Rub together sugar, flour and butter in medium bowl until moist crumbs form. Mix in pecans and coconut. (Filling and topping can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle topping over filling. Bake until filling is set and topping is brown, about 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Notes: Made to contribute to Christmas Dinner this year. Very different from some of the other sweet potato dishes I've tried -- sweet, almost more like a dessert than a side dish.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
December 14, 2007

New York City: Markt

A classic Belgian brasserie, located in the heart of the Chelsea district, Markt has very comfortable food with an air of European home-cooking. I started with the lobster bisque - it tasted rich but the texture was overly smooth and lacked the chunks of lobster that give the soup substance. The shrimp croquettes were perfect -- breaded and fried lightly with evocative taste. I split the creme brulee with a co-worker and it was quite enjoyable.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 7, 2007

Scallop Risotto


Scallop Risotto
based on a recipe from Off the Hook

1/2 pound bay scallops
1 TBSP oil
2 TBSP minced shallot
1/4 cup minced leek, white part only
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
parsley

Saute the scallops in a little bit of oil until just opaque.

Heat the remaining oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Gently cook the shallot and leek until they are completely tender, but not brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the rice and coat well with oil and vegetables. Deglaze the pan with the wine and bring to a gentle boil. Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until just absorbed. Repeat until stock is almost gone and rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.

Stir in reserved scallops, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Notes: An interesting variation. Sweeter than the usual versions I've tried. Might need some kind of herb addition.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:25 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
December 1, 2007

Shiitake Potato Soup


Shiitake Mushroom and Yukon Gold Potato Soup with Bacon
from CIA Book of Soups

1 1/4 inch thick piece pancetta, chopped finely
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 yellow turnip, diced
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp dried marjoram
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pancetta in a soup pot over low heat, until all the fat is melted and the meat begins to crisp, about 6-8 minutes.

Add the carrot, celery, onion, and turnip. Cover and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add the mushroom, potatoes, and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.

Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls.

Notes: Last winter I very much intended to get into making soups and freezing leftovers for quick meals. For various reasons, it didn't happen, so I was more determined this winter. This was my first attempt and I think it came out pretty well.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
November 26, 2007

Whopper Drops


Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops
from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup malted milk powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick plus 3 TBSP (11 TBSP total) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups chocolate-covered malted milk drops, coarsely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Sift together flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Beat butter and sugar together until very smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla. Add half the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear in the batter. Mix in the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. The batter will look more like fudge frosting than cookie dough. Mix in the malted milk balls and chopped chocolate.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between spoonfuls. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 6 minutes. When done, the cookies will be puffed and set but slightly soft to the touch. Let the cookies rest for 2 minutes before using a wide spatula to transfer them to racks to cool.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Notes: I'm not sure whether I cooked these sufficiently since the cookbook recipe does not include a temperature for the baking. But they came out chewy and didn't fall apart, so it was probably close enough. These are my dad's favorite candy. And so when I found this recipe I knew I had to make them for him. The cookies are good. However.... they don't have much whopper taste to them and are more like chocolate chocolate-chip cookies. Maybe they need less cocoa and more malted milk powder.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
November 23, 2007

Butternut Squash Gratin

Butternut Squash Gratin with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts
Bon Appetit (November 2007)

3 1/2 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium), peeled, seeded, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (8 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
ground pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
3 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 5.5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place butternut squash cubes and olive oil in large bowl; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and ground pepper and toss to coat. Spread out squash cubes on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until just tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add sliced leeks and chopped sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until tender but not brown, about 15 minutes. Coat 11x7-inch baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Spread half of leek mixture over bottom of prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of squash and half of cheese. Repeat layering with leeks, squash, and cheese. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Pour cream evenly over gratin. Sprinkle with toasted chopped hazelnuts. Bake uncovered until gratin is heated through and cream is bubbling, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if previously chilled).

TO GO: This gratin is a good choice for transporting because it travels well.

Notes: I am, I must admit, something of a fanatic about goat cheese. I will eat it straight out of the packaging. That was one of the reasons this caught my attention. Also, that it claimed to travel well. Plus, the last two years for Thanksgiving I've made a sweet potato dish and wanted to stray slightly further into the realm of vegetables not generally liked by my family. Well, this one seemed to go over well. I had one sister who commented that she'd prefer it without the hazelnuts, but someone else at the table argued they added interesting texture. So, that's a draw. As for me, I liked the mix of flavors and found it really dressed up the squash. Of course, it had nothing on grandma's stuffing recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Jennifer at 12:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
November 9, 2007

Coconut Lemon Tea Cake


Coconut Lemon Tea Cake
from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (stir well before measuring)
1/2 stick (4 TBSP) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp dark rum
3/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted or not
grated zest of one lemon
juice from 1/2 a lemon

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 to 10-inch (or 10 to 12 cup) bundt pan.

Pour the coconut milk in a small saucepan, add the butter and lemon juice. Heat until the milk is hot and the butter melted. Remove from the heat, but keep warm.

Rub the grated zest of lemon into the sugar. With a hand mixer at medium-high beat eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until pale, thick and almost doubled in volume, almost 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and the rum. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed and stopping just when the flour disappears.

Keeping the mixer on low, add the coconut, mixing only until it is blended, then steadily add the hot milk and butter mixture. When it's smooth, stop mixing and give the batter a couple turns with a rubber spatula, just to make certain that any ingredients that may have fallen to the bottom of the bowl are incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and gie the pan a few back-and-forth shakes to even the batter.

Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until the cake is a golden brown and a think knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding.

Notes: My BFF made me this cake for my birthday. First one he ever made from scratch. It's amazing. Light with just a touch of lemon and the coconut gives it texture. Perfect. And that's two for two in this cookbook. Definitely a keeper.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
October 29, 2007

Steak with Shallot Sauce

Steak with Shallot Sauce
from The Steak Lover's Cookbook

3/4 pound boneless sirloin steak
freshly ground black pepper
2 TBSP butter
3 TBSP minced shallots
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 TBSP chopped parsley
1/2 TBSP steak sauce
1/2 tsp rosemary

Season the steak generously, patting the pepper into the meat.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1 TBSP butter. When melted, add the steak and sear until well-crusted on one side, approximately 6 minutes. Turn and cook 6 minutes more for medium rare. Remove and cover loosely with foil.

Pour the fat from the pan and wipe clean with a paper towel. Return the pan to medium heat and melt the remaining TBSP butter. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 2 1/2 minutes. Add vinegar and simmer for 3 minutes more. Add parsley, steak sauce and rosemary and simmer 1 minute longer. Pour any juices from the steak into the sauce and then serve over meat.

Notes: Last night I intended to make Siam Country Steak but missed the fact that I needed to marinade at least all day. So, this was the improv recipe, and I must admit that I was not at all disappointed. It turned out quite well - perfectly crusted. Accompanied by Sweet and Spicy Noodles from this recipe, which served as a nice counterpoint.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
October 28, 2007

Armenian Chicken in Yogurt Tumeric Sauce


Baked Chicken in Tumeric Sauce
adapted from The Armenian Table

Sauce:
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 whole chicken legs
1/3 cup peas, steamed

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a baking dish or oven casserole large enough to hold the chicken pieces without overlapping. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate overnight (but remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking).

Preheat oven to 375

Cover the baking dish, place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the pieces over and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, depending on the size of the pieces, until the juices are golden.

Stir the peas into the sauce and pour over chicken.

Bulgur and Walnut Pilaf

1 TBSP butter
3 TBSP walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 TBSP white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarse bulgur
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add walnuts and onions and saute, stirring for 3 minutes, until walnuts are slightly golden. Stir in the bulgur, decrease the heat to medium, and continue sauteing for 2 minutes, until bulgur is lightly toasted. Add the broth and salt, stir to mix, and bring to a boil. Decrease heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes, until fluffy and no longer moist.

Notes: Tasted very good even though the yogurt separated. Served with Bulgur and Walnut Pilaf from the same cookbook. The pilaf was excellent and would make a good side dish in many cases.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 12, 2007

Apple Risotto


Green Apple Risotto

2 TBSP butter, divided
1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup apple cider
2 cups chicken stock
1/8 cup grated parmesan

In a saute pan, heat 1 TBSP butter and virgin olive oil until melted together. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft and not yet browned. Add apples and rice and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until rice has acquired a pearly opaque quality. Add the wine and cider and simmer until evaporated. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and cook until absorbed. Continue 1/4 cup of stock at a time, stirring constantly, until rice is al dente. Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter and the parmesan cheese. Serve with additional grated cheese on the side.

Notes: This was really interesting because most of the risotto recipes I've tried previously have been more towards the savory side, and this one was slightly sweet. And very good. I might be tempted to try adding some shiitake mushrooms to give the dish a bit more volume.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
October 5, 2007

Tuna, Trapani Style


Sweet and Sour Tuna Steaks, Trapani Style
from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

2 1/2 pounds tuna, cut into 1/2 inch thick steaks
3 cups onions, sliced very thin
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt
1 cup flour, spread on a plate
fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 TBSP chopped parsley

Remove the skin circling the tuna steaks, wash them in cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Choose a saute pan broad enough to accommodate later all the steaks in a single layer without overlapping. Put in the sliced onion, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 or 2 pinches of salt, and turn on the heat to medium low. Cook until the onion has wilted completely, then turn up the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring from time to time, until the onion becomes colored a deep golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the onion to a small bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, turn the heat up to medium high, dredge the tuna in flour on both sides and slip them into the pan. Cook them for 2 or 3 minutes, depending on their thickness, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the sugar, vinegar, wine, and onions, turn the heat up to high, and cover the pan. Cook at high heat for about 2 minutes, uncover the heat, add the parsley, turn the fish steaks over once or twice, then transfer them to a warm serving platter.

If there are thin juices left in the pan, boil them down and at the same time scrape loose with a wooden spoon any cooking residue sticking to the bottom. If, on the other hand, there is no liquid in the pan, add 2 tablespoons of water and boil it away while loosening the cooking residue. Pour the contents of the pan over the tuna, and serve at once.

Notes: I made this for two tuna steaks that weighed in around 10 oz. and did the rest of the ingredients in half. It turned out really well. And it was a nice variation from some of the other recipes I've tried.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 28, 2007

Cider Braised Chicken


Cider Braised Chicken with Apple Compote and Balsamic Reduction
a Jennifer original

4 chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 apple, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I used a Greening)
1 shallot, diced
1 tsp sage
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Warm cider over medium heat in skillet. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Braise chicken in covered skillet for 25 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove chicken and cover to keep warm.

Add apple, shallot and sage to same skillet. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes until nearly all liquid is reduced. Add balsamic vinegar and simmer one minute more. Serve over chicken sprinkled with toasted pecans.

Notes: It was a bit more balsamic tasting than I had planned, so I'd pull that back next time or add it earlier. Overall, though, I really liked how this came out. And I got use up another apple from the orchard trip. Only 20 or so to go!

Posted by Jennifer at 9:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
September 24, 2007

Apples and more Apples

Pastry Cups with Blue Cheese and Apples

1 package Athens pastry cups
2 oz. cream cheese
2 oz. blue cheese
1 green apple, diced
walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted

Blend cream cheese and blue cheese with electric mixer until whipped and smooth. Place one dallop in bottom of pastry cup and cover with apple and sprinkle with walnuts.


Cinnamon Apple Chips (adapted from a recipe in Gourmet, August 2001)

3 TBSP confectioners sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium Green apple

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line baking sheet with baking pad or parchment. Sift together sugar and cinnamon twice to evenly incorporate. Sift half of cinnamon/sugar onto baking sheet. Cut apple crosswise into very thin round slices, about 1/16th of an inch. Arrange slices nearly touching each other and evenly sift remaining cinnamon/sugar over slices. Bake in middle of oven until golden and beginning to crisp, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool on rack.

Notes: This was an experiment for Bear's birthday party. They were supposed to go with the sauteed apples (see below). But the didn't turn out as crisp as they were supposed to and so it all got eaten separately. The chips were just good by themselves (there were none left) and the sauteed apples made a good topping for icecream. I'm not sure why these weren't as "chippy" as I wanted -- it's been suggested that when I try them again, I use a higher temperature. At least I got to play with the mandoline.

Sauteed Apples
from Bon Appetit, September 2005

3 TBSP butter
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 TBSP golden brown sugar
1 TBSP honey
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated orange peel

Cook butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to brown. Add apples and saute until tender, about 9 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, stir to blend. Cool. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Posted by Jennifer at 8:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 5, 2007

Herb-Glazed Cornish Hens


Herb-Glazed Cornish Hens
from Bones by Jennifer McLagan

2 small Cornish hens, about 1 pound each
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
1 TBSP tarragon
3 TBSP olive oil
1/2 TBSP rosemary leaves
1/4 cup white wine (or vermouth)
1 1/2 TBSP maple syrup
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 TBSP chopped sage leaves
1/2 TBSP thyme leaves

1. Pat the birds dry and season them inside and out with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon into quarters and squeeze the juice from 1/2. Place 1 lemon quarter inside each bird along with 1 garlic clove and 1/2 TBSP tarragon. Truss the birds and place in a dish or on a platter.

2. Mix 2 TBSP oil with the lemon juice and the rosemary and pour over the hens, turning so they are well-coated. Season them with salt and pepper and leave to marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pour the remaining TBSP of oil into a roasting pan and add the birds, breast side up, along with the marinade. Roast, basting them every 10 minutes with the pan juices, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden and the thigh pieces run clear when pierced; the temperature of the thigh should register 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

4. Transfer the birds to a warmed platter, breast side down and keep warm, loosely covered with aluminum foil. Discard the fat from the roasting pan, set pan over medium-high heat, add the white wine/vermouth and bring to a boil, deglazing the pan by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Boil to reduce the wine by half, add the maple syrup, mustard and any juices from the birds and continue to boil until syrupy. Taste the glaze, adding a little more lemon juice and/or maple syrup if necessary. Remove from the heat and add the herbs.

5. Place the birds, either whole or cut in half, on dinner plates, and brush with the glaze.

Notes: OMG good. That is all.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
August 6, 2007

Armenian Lamb Chops


from The Armenian Table
by Victoria Jenanyn Wise

2 shoulder lamb chops
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom seeds, smashed
2 tsp orange zest
1 TBSP olive oil

Sauce:
2 TBSP butter
4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Combine the garlic, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and orange zest. Rub into lamb chops and let sit 15 minutes at room temperature or at least one hour in the refrigerator.

Add oil to a heavy saute pan and heat over medium heat. Saute lamb chops, approximately 4 minutes per side. Set aside and tent to keep warm.

Melt butter over medium heat in same pan. Add the tomatoes, salt, Aleppo pepper, stir to mix and saute until tomatoes soften. Stir in the cilantro and then add the lamb chops back to the pan. Reheat and serve hot.

Notes: If you look this up in the actual cookbook, you'll need to find "Spicy Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Cilantro Sauce." Since I didn't have ground lamb, I opted to adapt this to shoulder lamb chops and it worked out pretty darn well.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 18, 2007

Albondigas de Camaron

Albondigas de Camaron (Shrimp Meatballs)
from Dishes from the Wild Horse Desert

Sauce
1 pound ripe tomatoes
2 or 3 serrano chiles
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste

Albondigas
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 egg
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

Heat a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over high heat with oil. Add the tomatoes and chiles and roast until they have blackened in a few places (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, peel and core the tomatoes, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Remove the stems from the chiles. Place the tomatoes and chiles in a food processor and add the garlic. Process until the sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce into a small skillet, season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, and reduce the liquid to thicken the sauce - about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Place the shrimp in a food processor and pulse just until they become a chunky paste. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the egg, bread crumbs, cilantro, salt and pepper. Stir to combine well. The mixture will thicken slightly once the bread crumbs have absorbed some moisture, so let the mixture stand 2 or 3 minutes.

Add approximately 1 inch of oil to a 10-inch skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Form walnut-size balls with the shrimp mixture and carefully place in the hot oil, cooking a few at a time, in batches. Fry one side until the shrimp turns pink, about 3 minutes, and then flip to the other side and fry for another 3 minutes. Remove the cooked albondigas to drain on paper towels. Serve hot with the sauce.

Notes: The spicy flavor of this one makes it a lovely way to use shrimp and get a little variation into the menu.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
May 29, 2007

Malaysian Fried Chicken


Nyonya-Style Spiced Fried Chicken
from Cradle of Flavor

3 pounds chicken wings, thighs, drumsticks

for the marinade:
1 6-inch cinnamon stick, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
2 to 5 small red chilies, such as arbol, stemmed
1 TBSP coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
5 shallots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

Now make the marinade. Place the cinnamon, chiles, coriander, cumin, fennel, pepper, and turmeric in a small food processor. Pulse until ground to a dusty powder, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar, salt and shallots to the ground spices and pulse until you have a smooth paste the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes. If the paste won't puree properly and repeatedly creeps up the side of the processor instead of grinding, add 2 TBSP of water, 1 TBSP at a time, periodically turning the processor off and scraping the unground portions toward the blade.

In a large nonreactive bowl roomy enough to hold all the chicken, combine the ground paste with the coconut milk. Stir the mixture well to combine, making sure that there are no lumps of paste. Add the chicken pieces and stir well to cover every piece of chicken with the marinade.

Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator at least 3 hours, stirring once or twice to make sure that the marinade coats every piece. (If you can spare the time, marinate the chicken overnight.) About 30 minutes before you're ready to deep-fry the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator so it can come to room temperature.

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and thoroughly pat them dry with paper towels, gently squeezing each piece to remove excess liquid. Set aside.

Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch into a 12-inch skillet and place over medium to medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. When the oil is ready, stand back from the stove and gently slide as many of the chicken pieces into the hot oil as will fit without touching (you can do this in batches). Fry on the first side until golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes; the timing will depend on how hot the oil is. Turn the chicken pieces over with 2 forks or a pair of tongs and continue to fry them. You may need to raise and lower the heat a few times to maintain the proper frying temperature. The oil should always be bubbling vigorously. It should take 20 to 25 minutes total to fry the chicken. If you're not sure if the chicken is cooked through, test it by poking a fork into the thickest portion and then pressing down on it. The juices that are released should run clear, not pink. Be careful not to overcook the chicken to the point that the bits of marinade clinging to the surface start to blacken or the dish may taste bitter.

Remove the chicken pieces to wire rack or paper towels and let drain for a few minutes before transferring them to a serving platter. Serve promptly along with dipping sauce.

Serve with dipping sauce made with Worcestershire and lime juice: 2 TBSP Worcestershire, 1 1/2 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp sugar, 1 chile diced; all mixed together.

Notes: Spices. Yum. That is all.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
May 14, 2007

Green-Grape Rosemary Pan Sauce

Sauteed Pork Chops with Green-Grape Rosemary Pan Sauce
from How To Cook Without a Book

1 TBSP butter
1/2 TBSP oil
2 boneless center cut pork chops
salt and freshly ground black pepper
flour

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over low heat. While the pan is heating sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt and pepper, then dredge them in flour. Just before sauteing, increase the heat to medium-high. When the butter stops foaming, arrange the chops in the skillet. Cook until a rich golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet to warm oven.

1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup green grapes, halved
1/2 tsp minced rosemary
2 TBSP heavy cream

Deglaze skillet with chicken broth. Add grapes and rosemary to pan. Reduce liquid to about 1/4 cup. Whisk in the cream, and spoon a portion over the top of each chop before serving.

Notes: I have wanted to try this out for a while and never seem to have the ingredients on hand. Finally, I did. It was somewhat of a departure from the other reduction sauces I've made. The sweetness of the grapes was an interesting counterpoint to the rosemary. I don't know if I'll make it again. It liked it, but it didn't blow me away.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
May 7, 2007

Baklava


Baklava
from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

For the syrup

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP honey

1 pound filo
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups pistachio nuts or walnuts, ground medium-fine

Prepare the syrup first. Dissolve the sugar in the water with the lemon juice and smimer a few minutss, until it thickens enough to coat a spoon. Add the honey and simmer for 1/2 minute. Allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.

In a greased baking pan, a little smaller than the sheets of filo, lay half the sheets, one a time, brushing each with melted butter and letting the edges come up the sides of the tray or overhang.

Spread the nuts of your choice evenly over the sheets. then cover with the remaining sheets, brushing each, including the top one, with melted butter. With a sharp knife, cut diagonal parallel lines 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart into diamond shapes right through to the bottom.

Bake the baklava in a preheated 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes, or until it is puffed up and golden. Remove from the oven, and pour the cold syrup over the hot baklava along the slashed lines.

When cool and ready to serve, cut the pieces of pastry out again, and lift them out one by one onto a serving dish.

Notes: Baklava is one of my most favorite desserts. It and creme brulee are constantly duking it out for supremacy. Now I've made the former and hope to someday attempt the latter. Actually, I did make baklava once as part of a group effort in a class in 7th grade. But I have only vague memories of the layering being quite detailed and time-consuming. Those memories are now less vague. This was certainly worth trying and I'm happy to have been enjoying this treat for several days.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
April 12, 2007

Roast Duckling with Raspberry Sauce

Roast Duckling with Raspberry Sauce
from Better Homes and Gardens

1 4- to 6-pound domestic duckling
Salt and black pepper
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons blackberry brandy or orange juice
1 cup fresh or frozen lightly sweetened raspberries
1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage

1. Rinse inside of duckling; pat dry with paper towels. Skewer neck skin to back; tie legs to tail. Twist wing tips under back. Place duckling, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Using a fork, prick skin generously. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Roast, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for 90 minutes to 2 hours or until the drumsticks move easily in their sockets (180 degrees F). Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

3. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small saucepan combine orange juice, broth, and brandy. Bring to boiling. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat about 8 minutes or until sauce is reduced to 1/4 cup. Stir in 1/4 cup of the raspberries, the raspberry preserves, ginger, allspice, and dash salt. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in butter until melted. Stir in remaining raspberries, the walnuts, and sage. (If using frozen raspberries, heat until raspberries are thawed and sauce is heated through.)

4. To carve ducking, if desired, remove the skin. Using a sharp knife, cut duckling along the backbone. Cut downward, removing meat from ribs. Cut the wings and legs from the duckling. Slice breast meat. Serve with raspberry sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Notes: Never made a whole roast duckling before and started off being a tad intimidated. But this really came out so well. In honor of my father on Easter Sunday. My family completely devoured this.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
April 10, 2007

Spinach and Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

Spinach and Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
from Flora's Recipe Hideout

1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
1 1/4 cups onion, chopped, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed dry
2 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup onion; saute 6 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Add spinach and saute 3 minutes.

2. Combine spinach mixture, cheese and 1 teaspoon mustard in a small bowl. Stir well; set aside. Wipe pan dry with a paper towel. Cut horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 2 tablespoons spinach mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken with pepper. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from skillet. Set aside, keep warm.

3. Add 1 cup onion to pan, and saute 5 minutes. Add wine and thyme; cook 3 minutes or until reduced by half. Add broth and 2 tablespoons mustard; cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.

4. Return chicken to skillet; cover and simmer 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve sauce with chicken.

Notes: Made on Easter weekend for the family and it came out quite well. I'm not used to cooking for so many people so that took a bit more coordination than anticipated. I had to do multiple batches so it took a lot longer.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 19, 2007

Irish Stout Ginger Cake

Guinness Stout Ginger Cake
from The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern
by Claudia Fleming

1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup molasses
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh gingerroot

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9- X 5-inch loaf pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment, and grease the parchment. Alternatively, butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan.

In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda. Allow to sit until the foam dissipates.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Whisk in the oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom.

Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture, half at a time. Add the fresh ginger and stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the top springs back when gently pressed. Do not open the oven until the gingerbread is almost done, or the center may fall slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Notes: Made this weekend in honor of St. Patrick. I didn't have Guinness. I had Murphy's. The beer and molasses mixture looks truly frightening when the baking soda is added to it. It looks like there are quite a few steps in this recipe, but it's really fairly straightforward. And in the end, this comes out spicy and moist and very, very, very worth it. Gramercy Tavern has been on my list of places to someday eat in NYC for quite a while. This dessert has only convinced me that I don't want to pass it up.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 25, 2007

Asado de Puerco

Asado de Puerco
Pork Roasted in Chiles
from Dishes from the Wild Horse Desert
by Melissa Guerra

1/2 pound dried ancho chiles
4 pounds bone-in country style pork ribs
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch ground cloves
2 TBSP salt
1 head garlic, unpeeled
2 sprigs fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 stick cinnamon
2 TBSP cider vinegar

Prepare the Chiles For Pureeing

Always use a large cooking vessel for rendering chiles, as the dried peppers have a tendency to float and jump out of the pot if the water level is too high. In an 8-quart stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the chiles. When the water returns to a boil, partially cover and boil for 30 minutes.The chiles are ready when they are soft and have changed from a raisin color to dark red. Drain, reserving the cooking water. Using rubber gloves, remove the stems, seeds, and veins. Put the chiles in a blender. Add about 1 cup of water to facilitate blending and puree. Don't worry about being precise with the amount of water. Pour the puree into a mesh strainer to remove any seeds or skin particles and discard the seed pulp.

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and position a rack in the lower third of the oven to accommodate a large casserole. Heat a 6-quart lidded Dutch oven or other oven-proof casserole over medium heat. Add the pork in 2 batches and brown each batch on both sides, about 10 minutes per batch. As the pork begins to render its fat, add the onion to brown as well.

Add the chile puree, pepper, cloves, salt, whole head of garlic, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, vinegar, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to distribute the seasonings. Cover, place in the oven, and roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The asado is ready when the meat is tender, pulling away from the bone, and permeated with the flavor and color of the thickened ancho chile sauce.

Notes: This is by far one of the most time-consuming recipes I have ever tried. I would really love to know if there was some trick to getting the seeds out of the boiled peppers because that took simply an age. However, it was more than worth it. Many thanks to those who procured the peppers for me so I could make this attempt.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:43 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
February 24, 2007

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs

1 shallot, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg
2 TBSP dried parsley flakes
2 TBSP romano cheese, freshly grated
2 TBSP bread crumbs
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
8 oz. ground turkey

Add the shallot, garlic, egg, parsley, cheese, bread crumbs and pepper tp a bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape into meatballs. Heat oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium heat. Transfer meatballs to pan and brown on all sides. Pour off excess oil and add tomato-based sauce to pan. Return meatballs to pan. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Serve over pasta.

Notes: Having been only able to obtain ground turkey in too large an amount for just the burger recipe, and being in the mood for pasta, I decided to attempt something along these lines to be both healthier and tasty. And it worked.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 23, 2007

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken, now with Cast Iron
recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
Vegetable shortening, for frying

Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it's a gas oven.


Notes: I got a cast iron chicken fryer for my birthday. It's really heavy. And it makes really great fried chicken, though I need to try one of those fattening piles of chicken parts that still has all the skin and bones since I actually made this with boneless chicken breast and cooked it 20 minutes. It was great, but I think the other way might be better. I've never fried in shortening before. Yum. And it was really keen to use the cast iron. I must find more recipes for it.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 16, 2007

Honey-Coated Fried Tuna


Honey-Coated Fried Tuna
from La Cocina de Mama by Penelope Casas

3 small tuna steaks (about 12 oz. total)
kosher salt
1 egg
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
olive oil
honey
flour

Sprinkle the tuna on both sides with salt and let sit for 10 minutes. In a dish, beat together the eggs and parsley.

Pour oil into a skillet to a depth of 1/8th inch and heat. Spread a light coating of honey on each side of the tuna steaks, dust with flour, then coat with the egg mixture and transfer directly to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until the coating is golden and the tuna cooked to taste, 5 to 8 minutes.

Notes: I've made two other recipes from this same cookbook and was very pleased with them. This one was no exception. I was after something a bit different to try with tuna steaks because I've been a bit stuck on them lately, as one can see by many of the recent new recipes I've tried. On first reading this recipe, I admit I was skeptical. It just seemed an unlikely match. But it was really lovely. I cooked the tuna a bit less as I like mine on the rare side, about 2 1/2 minutes per side.

The recipe recommends trying the same method with tuna cut into 1-inch cubes instead of steaks for tapas. I have my eye on a tapas cookbook, and think if I get it that I might try to also adapt this one.

Posted by Jennifer at 6:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 9, 2007

Lamb Chops with Pine Nuts and Tomato Sauce

Lamb Chops with Pine Nuts and Tomato Sauce
(a much-adapted variation on Daoud Basha from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food)

2 lamb shoulder chops
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 TBSP oil
1 onion, grated or finely chopped
3/4 tsp garlic, minced
12 oz.tomatoes peeled and chopped
1 tsp sugar

Mix the salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice and rub on the lamb. Set aside for at least 10 minutes at room temperature. Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet and sear the lamb chops on each side. Remove and set aside. Saute the garlic and onions until soft. Add tomatoes and sugar and simmer 10 minutes. Return lamb chops to pan and simmer for 20 minutes more. If necessary, remove lamb and reduce sauce. Serve sauce over chops and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Notes: The original recipe for this calls for ground lamb that is made into meatballs which are baked in the sauce. Not having access to that, I had to improvise. This came out very well and I was quite pleased with it.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
January 27, 2007

Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey
1 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tsp basil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning (used marjoram)
1/2 tsp cumin seed (used ground)
1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 TBSP parsley flakes
1 onion, chopped
1 raw potato, shredded
1 egg

Mix all ingredients. Form burgers. Grill until done. Yield: 8 burgers

Notes: I always say I'm going to switch from beef to turkey, but the beef is so tempting. These were pretty darn good though. Watch out for the possibility of it being too dry and add milk if needed or desired.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
January 22, 2007

Apple Nut Muffin Cake

Apple Nut Muffin Cake
from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup apple cider
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 stick (8 TBSP) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp slat
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3/4 cup old-fahsioned oats
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and cut into small dice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/3 cup moist, plump raisins

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Use an 8-inch square pan, buttered and floured.

Whisk together milk, cider, egg, vanilla and almond extracts and butter in small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and salt to combine thoroughtly. Toss in the brown sugar, making sure there aren't any lumps by running it through your fingers, then add the oats and whisk the dry ingredients a few more times to mix. Switch to a large rubber spatula and stir in the liquid ingredients, stirring just until everything is moistened--as with muffins, less mixing is better than more. Gently stir in the apple, nuts and raisins, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for a couple of minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding the cake; invert and cool until warm or to room temperature.

Notes: Leaving out the raisins since I am not fond of those, didn't hurt this recipe at all. Yum.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
January 17, 2007

Seared Tuna with Sweet & Spicy Noodles


Seared Tuna with Sweet & Spicy Noodles
from Penzeys Spice catalog Early Summer 2001

1 lb. tuna steaks in 4 pieces
1 tsp peanut oil

marinade:
3 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP rice vinegar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp minced garlic

pasta dressing:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp dried cilantro leaves
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 tsp lime juice
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
12 oz. thin spaghetti or your favorite pasta

Rinse tuna, pat dry. Combine marinade ingredients and whisk to blend. Place tuna in a shallow bowl in one layer and pour marinade over the fish. Turn to coat, cover, and refrigerate at least one hour, turning at least once during refrigeration time.

Combine pasta dressing ingredients, whisk to blend, set aside. Make pasta according to package directions. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add oil to pan. Sear tuna (3 minutes per side for medium rare). When the pasta is done, toss with dressing to combine and serve as bed underneath tuna.

Notes: I knew there was a reason I was tearing out the interesting sounding recipes from these catalogs and hanging on to them. This came out quite well, though I must admit that some of the other tuna marinades I've tried are more savory and I'm sure that's not just because I chose to use fresh minced garlic as opposed to the granulated garlic originally listed. I also cooked the tuna only 2 minutes a side because I prefer it more rare. As for the pasta, I could easily see serving it as a side with a number of other combinations - it was very good.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
January 7, 2007

Spiced Braised Leg of Lamb


Spiced Braised Leg of Lamb
from Eric Lecerf

What goes better with lamb than vibrant spices, such as coriander, cumin and curry? Here Lecerf presents one of his most popular dishes, a leg of lamb that is braised ever so slowly with a little stock in the oven until it is very tender.

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon coarsely ground white pepper
One 5-pound half leg of lamb, preferably from the hip section
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

Preheat the oven to 250°. In a small bowl, combine the garlic with the thyme, cumin seeds, rosemary, curry, salt, ground cumin and coriander, coriander seeds and white pepper. Cut 16 slits, each about 1 inch long by 1 inch deep and spaced 1 inch apart, in the meat. Rub the spice mixture all over the lamb, working it into the slits. Set aside any spice mixture that does not adhere.

In a medium flameproof casserole, heat the oil. Add the lamb and lightly brown it on all sides over moderate heat, about 2 minutes per side. Add the stock and any remaining spice mixture. Cover with a sheet of buttered wax paper and a lid. Braise the lamb in the oven for 3 hours, or until very tender. Check the meat from time to time and baste as necessary to prevent it from drying out.

Transfer the lamb to a carving board. Strain the cooking juices through a fine sieve; skim the fat. Transfer the juices to a gravy boat. Thickly slice the lamb and serve with the juices.

Notes: This was for New Year's Eve and I intended to attempt something ambitious with a leg of lamb that I had in the freezer. Which is why, when I saw this recipe on the Food & Wine site and then discovered that Eric Lecerf was a chef of some reknown (Michelin star, worked at Robuchon's kitchen at Jamin in Paris and then at Restaurant de l'Astor in the Paris Hotel Astor), I knew this was the one to try. And all the work was quite rewarding. I've become a big fan of braising lately, even if the prep takes some investment and the waiting takes some patience.

One of the other lovely things about braising meat is the leftovers. Even though I used a partial leg that was about half the size (and reduced the other ingredients accordingly), this provided me with enough that I made a followup risotto dish using the leftover juices as part of the stock and the leftover meat shredded into the dish as well. Very nice.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
December 30, 2006

Roast Cornish Hens with Sage Butter


Roast Cornish Hens with Sage Butter
from Gourmet Magazine

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt

two 1 1/2-pound Cornish hens, rinsed and patted dry

In a small bowl blend together well 2 tablespoons of the butter with the sage,the zest, and the salt. Loosen the skin covering the breast meat on each hen by slipping your fingers under the skin and sliding them between the skin and the meat. Divide the butter mixture between the hens, inserting it under the skin of each hen and smoothing it evenly by rubbing the outside of the skin, and season the hens with salt and pepper. Tie each hen's legs together with kitchen string.

In a large ovenproof heavy skillet or small flameproof roasting pan heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over moderately high heat until the foam subsides, in it sauté the hens, breast sides up, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown, and roast them in the middle of a preheated 450°F. oven, basting them with the pan juices every 10 minutes, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the fleshy part of the thigh registers 180°F. Let the hens stand for 5 minutes and discard the string.

Notes: I was inspired to try this after watching an episode of Jacques and Julia at Home where they roast a whole chicken and rub herbs under the skin. I've never attempted this before and I think I would have liked a more even distribution. But it was very savory and extremely tasty. I need to remember, though, that the packages lie about how long it takes to thaw such things and give myself an extra day or two ahead to leave it sitting in the 'fridge.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
December 29, 2006

Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops


Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops
from the Boston Globe via http://www.elise.com/recipes/

6 pork chops
Oil as needed for browning
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt to taste
Flour as needed to thicken the gravy

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly brown the pork chops in a small amount of oil, then place them in a flat baking dish with sides.

Combine the other ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until warm; pour over chops. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, basting occassionally.

Place the pork chops on a warming platter and pour the sauce into a saucepan. Thicken it slightly with flour to make a gravy, salt to taste, and serve it over the chops.

Serves 4 to 6, depending on the size of the pork chops.

Notes: This is a fairly easy recipe but the sweet and sour taste combination is quite tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
December 26, 2006

Portabello Lasagna

Portabello Lasagna (recipe provided by the sister-in-law and served alongside Christmas Turkey)

Ricotta Filling:
1 lb ricotta cheese
6 oz chopped spinach (1 box) squeezed
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 TBSP dried)
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
1 tsp Italian spice
1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp regular salt)
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp dried tarragon

Combine all ingredients and whisk together. Set aside and keep chilled.


Portabello Filling:
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup diced onion
2 TBSP minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 TBSP lemon juice
parsley, basil, tarragon, Italian spice, salt, pepper (all to taste)
4 or 5 portabello mushrooms, sliced

Melt butter in large skillet. Add onions and garlic and sautee for 5 minutes, until onions are soft. Add white wine and lemon juice. Reduce over high heat for about 2 minutes. Add all spices and herbs and mix well. Add half the mushrooms and mix gently with spatula and allow to cook down several minutes. Add rest of mushrooms and mix until done. Chill if not using immediately.


Lasagna Assembly:

Prepare marinara sauce. Cook 1 lb of lasagna noodles according to package directions. Layer as follows in 14x9x2 dish:

4 oz. marinara
4 lasagna strips
4 oz. marinara
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella w/ 2 TBSP parmesan
4 strips lasagna
4 oz. marinara
mushroom mixture
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella w/ 2 TBSP parmesan
4 strips lasagna
ricotta mixture (spread evenly)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella w/ 2 TBSP parmesan
4 strips lasagna
6 oz. marinara
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella w/ 2 TBSP parmesan

Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Turn pan 180 degrees and bake for additional 25 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Spiced Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar

Spiced Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar
from Bon Appetit (November 2002)

Scented with grated orange peel and spices, this dish is a combination of classic holiday flavors. You can make it a day ahead and reheat it on the stove top or in the microwave.

6 8-ounce red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)

1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cinnamon sticks (optional)
Orange peel strips (optional)

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Pierce sweet potatoes in several places with fork; place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender when pierced with fork, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly.

Cut potatoes in half. Scoop out pulp into large bowl; discard peel. Add brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, grated orange peel, ground cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to sweet potato pulp. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture is smooth; season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, or cover with plastic wrap and rewarm in microwave oven on high until heated through.)

Mound sweet potatoes in serving bowl. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and orange peel strips, if desired.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

This was actually the Thanksgiving dish this year. For Christmas, I revisited Sweet Potatoes and Pears which was fairly well-received. However, Sweet Potato and Orange Puree with Almond Streusel was still voted the current favorite of the experimental sweet potato dishes.

Posted by Jennifer at 6:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
December 8, 2006

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie (based on Nany Neiss' prize-winning recipe for the National Pie Championships)

1 9" pie crust
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 TBSP butter, melted
3 TBSP bourbon
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. in a medium-sized bowl, beat eggs, slightly. Add sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, and bourbon. Stir until well-blended. Stir in pecans. Put chocolate chips into pie shell and cover with pecan mixture. Cover edge of pie to prevent over-browning. bake for 25 minutes. Remove shield and continue baking another 25 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.

9" Pie Crust (from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook)

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
cold water (TBSP by TBSP)

In large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly and shortening is the size of small peas. Add water 1 TBSP at a time until it forms a ball in the bottom of the bowl. Roll out and place in 9 inch pie plate.

Notes: For the future, I will melt the chocolate ahead of time and mix it into the rest of the mixture to get a better consistency. Otherwise, I really liked how this came out.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
November 17, 2006

Risotto with pancetta and saffron

Risotto wth panetta and saffron

2/3 cup beef broth w/ 2/3 cup water
1 1/4 tsp diced pancetta
1 tsp shallot, chopped fine
1/2 TBSP butter
1/2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup Arborio rice
dash saffron
fresh ground black pepper
2 TBSP parmigiano-reggiano

Bring the broth mixture to a simmer in a small saucepan. Put the diced meat, 1/2 the butter, the oil, and the shallot into another saucepan and cook over medium heat until shallot is soft. Add rice and stir to coat. Add 1/2 the broth and then remaining mixture in small doses, letting it absorb into the rice a bit at a time, until rice is al dente. Just before it's finished add the saffron. Remove from heat and season with pepper, remaining butter and cheese.

Notes: I was looking for something a little self-indulgent tonight and this was just the ticket. It came out with a nice balance between the saltiness of the meat and the sweetness of the shallots with the richness of the saffron.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
November 15, 2006

Spiced Panko Pork Chops

Spiced Panko Pork Chops
a Jennifer original
-work in progress-

2 bone-in pork chops

Brine:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple juice
4 tsp kosher salt
1 TBSP brown sugar
2 tsp molasses

4 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp lemon grass
1 tso mustard powder
1 egg
1/2 cup panko
2 TBSP vegetable oil

Heat the brine ingredients until the salt and sugar dissolve and then add a few ice cubes to cool it back down. Pour into a ziploc bag with the pork chops and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Rinse the pork chops and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Mix the flour and spices in one dish, the egg in a second dish and the panko in a third. Dredge the pork chops first in the flour mixture, then the egg, and then the panko.

Fry the pork chops in the skillet approximately 3 minutes per side. Then move to oven for 27-30 minutes.

Notes:The tenderness of the pork and the crispness of the panko was exactly what I was look for here. But the seasoning didn't have quite the kick I was after. I'm thinking about rubbing the spices straight onto the chops before dredging it in the flour the next time.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 20, 2006

Roasted Lamb Chops with Spiced Yogurt Glaze

Roasted Lamb Chops with Spiced Yogurt Glaze
adapted from Bones: Recipes, History and Lore

1 TBSP grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 TBSP sweet paprika
1 TBSP cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup yogurt

2 shoulder lamb chops

Mix all the ingredients except the yogurt in a small bowl, then whisk in the yogurt. Refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Roast lamb chops at 300 degrees for 50 minutes, basting as you go. Serve at once with leftover glaze on the side for dipping.

Notes:This one turned out quite well. The level of spice was just right. I definitely recommend using the leftover glaze as dipping sauce since the tang of the lime comes through more clearly that way. The original recipe calls for 4 racks of lamb ribs which are slow-roasted and then baked further with the glaze. I substituted just a couple of lamb shoulder chops and they came out tender and tasty. This made quite a bit of the sauce though and I could probably make half that amount in the future for the same serving of meat. I'm also debating trying this out on a leg of lamb at some point.

This recipe comes from one of 4 cookbooks that I've bought this year (the others being Sweet Life, Cradle of Flavor, and Dishes from the Wild Horse Desert). Overall, the selection looks very promising and I can hardly wait to try out more recipes from these books.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 16, 2006

Grilled Tuna with Tomato and Caper Dressing


Grilled Tuna with Tomato and Caper Dressing
from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

8 TBSP olive oil
4 tuna steaks
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lemon
2 tomatoes, diced
2 TBSP capers, drained and rinsed

Film a grill pan or heavy nonstick skillet with oil. Put in the tuna steaks and cook over high heat for 1-2 minutes on either side. The flesh should still look dark inside as it pales on the outside.

For the dressing, mix the rest of the ingredients with the remaining olive oil. Heat through to not-quite-boiling point and pour over the fish as you serve.

Notes: Ever so easy and ever so tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 2, 2006

Chicken with Prosciutto, Rosemary and White Wine


Chicken with Prosciutto, Rosemary and White Wine
from Bon Appetit (October 2002)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large chicken breast halves with ribs and skin, cut crosswise in half
3 chicken drumsticks with skin
3 chicken thighs with skin
1 cup 1/4-inch cubes prosciutto (about 5 ounces)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with added puree

Fresh rosemary sprigs

Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, sauté chicken until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter. Add prosciutto, sliced garlic, and chopped rosemary to same pot. Stir 1 minute. Add dry white wine, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes with puree. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Boil 5 minutes. Return chicken to pot, arranging in single layer. Return to boil. Cover pot and place in oven. Bake until chicken breasts are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken breasts. Continue baking until drumsticks and thighs are cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Remove pot from oven. Return chicken breasts to pot. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.)

Bring chicken mixture to simmer. Transfer chicken to platter; tent with foil. Boil until sauce is reduced to 2 cups and coats back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve.

Notes:I made this with four chicken thighs and halved the rest of the ingredients. Very good.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 24, 2006

Roasted Shrimp with Thyme

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.

------- A Midsummer Night's Dream. Act ii. Sc. 1.



Roasted Shrimp with Thyme

from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld

3/4 pound shrimp
1 1/2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 TBSP coarsely chopped fresh marjoram
dash of finely chopped lemon zest
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/8 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Put the shrimp in a mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and toss to coat them evenly. Lay the shrimp split side up in a single layer on a baking sheet. (At this point, the shrimp can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.) Roast until the flesh is no longer translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Notes: The original recipe featured marjoram, but one of the variations listed was thyme, which I had on hand and therefore used. Also, the cookbook calls for fresh shrimp in the shell but I used precooked for the convenience factor. I served it over linguine tosed with a little olive oil and butter and it was excellent. The best part was how simple it was to make.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 22, 2006

Tuna Grilled with Chinese Oyster-Ginger Sauce


Tuna Grilled with Chinese Oyster-Ginger Sauce
from Great Fish, Quick by Leslie Revsin

2 1/2 tablespoons bottled Chinese oyster sauce (supermarket Oriental shelf)
1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
Four 7-ounce tuna steaks, each 3/4"-1" thick
Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper to taste

Start a medium-hot fire in the grill (see Note below). Fifteen minutes before you're going to grill the tuna steaks, put the grill grate 4" or 5" above the glowing coals if it isn't already there. (I also like to brush the top of the grate with vegetable oil just before grilling to help prevent sticking.)

Place the oyster sauce in a small mixing bowl along with the minced onion and chopped ginger. Whisk in the rice wine vinegar, then gradually whisk in the sesame oil and set the sauce aside briefly, or cover and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Place them in a shallow dish and pour 1/4 cup of the oyster-ginger marinade over them. Coat them all over with the marinade, and, if you have time, let them marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, covered with plastic wrap. (Refrigerate them if the kitchen is hot.) Otherwise, grill them right away.

Remove the steaks and reserve the remaining marinade. Place the steaks over the hot coals and grill the first side for 2 or 3 minutes, until browned. Turn the steaks and grill the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. The steaks will be pink inside. Cook them for a few minutes longer on each side if you want them well done. To check, make a small slit with a paring knife in the middle of one steak to check for redness.

To serve: Place the tuna steaks on warm dinner plates, spoon the rest of the oyster-ginger sauce over them, and serve right away.

Notes: I made this with 3 tuna steaks (about 10 ounces) and kept the rest of the ingredients at the same amount. It came out quite tasty. And I used my trusty grill pan.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 19, 2006

Pear Tortetta

Pear Toretta
from the good people at Peppereridge Farm

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 to 5 medium ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut in half
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 of a 17.3 oz. package Pepperidge Farm® Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 425F.

Mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Brush the pears with the lemon juice.

Spread the butter in the bottom of a 10-inch oven-safe skillet. Sprinkle the sugar mixture into the pan. Arrange the pear halves, cut-side up, with the tapered end of the pear towards the center of the pan. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the mixture thickens and the sugar melts. Remove from the heat.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 13-inch circle. Place the pastry over the pears to cover and tuck in the sides around the pears slightly.

Bake for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Place on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Place a serving platter over the skillet and carefully flip the skillet upside down to invert the tart onto the plate.

Notes:The challenge was to come up with a dessert that would transport well and contained no eggs. Also, no peaches and no bananas. And no nuts. Thus avoiding all the allergies of those it was intended to please. Though I found it a daunting task to flip it out of the pan. Also, the glaze didn't thicken quite as I expected it to so the crust underneath wasn't as crisp as I wanted it to be. Evenso, the dish was quite well-received.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 17, 2006

Maple-Glazed Roasted Salmon


Maple-Glazed Roasted Salmon
from Cooking Light (January 1999)

1/4 cup grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 (2 1/2-pound) salmon fillet
6 shallots, halved lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
Chopped parsley (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients in bottom of a large platter. Add fish, skin side up, to ginger mixture. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes. Remove fish from marinade; pat dry with paper towel to remove excess marinade.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place a baking sheet in oven 5 minutes. Place shallots and fish, skin side down, on baking sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush fish with 1 tablespoon syrup. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Brush with 1 tablespoon syrup; bake an additional 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Notes: I made this on a pre-heated and olive-oiled cedar plank. It was cooked at 375 degrees for 10 minutes and then brushed with syrup before being cooked 10 minutes more.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 15, 2006

Veal Scallops with Wild Mushroom, Mustard and Tarragon Sauce


Veal Scallops with Wild Mushroom, Mustard and Tarragon Sauce
adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2003

1 pound veal scallops, about 1/8 inch thick
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
6 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster and stemmed shiitake), sliced or quartered
2 tablespoons tarragon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Sprinkle veal on both sides with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook veal until golden, about 20 seconds per side. Transfer to plate. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in same skillet. Add shallots; saute 30 seconds. Add mushrooms; sauté until brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in tarragon. Add wine; cook over high heat until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring to scrape up browned bits, about 2 minutes. Add cream; boil until reduced by 1/4, about 1 minute. Stir in mustard. Using tongs, return veal to pan; simmer until heated through.

Notes: This was really quite tasty. As I was cooking it reminded me strongly of my mother's stroganoff recipe, which I haven't made in a while and now realize I must soon have again. Meanwhile, I thought there was far too much sauce for the amount of veal and would probably cut that and the mushrooms back by half the next time. I still haven't figured out what to do with the leftover sauce. I sure hate to let something that delicious go to waste, though.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
September 12, 2006

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

Apples make a nice addition to these oatmeal muffins - they are moist and tasty. You can also add some raisins and/or walnuts to these.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups apple, peeled and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Combine remaining ingredientsnd mix well. Add to dry mixture and mix only enough to combine. Spoon into muffin tins that have been greased or lined with paper muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Notes: Every year I try to get up to the orchard for the fun of picking my own apples. Last year I made Spiced Apple Marmalade. This year, it was baking. And now I have a dozen of these in my freezer for easy and yummy snacks.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 3, 2006

Toasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos


Toasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos
from FoodieNYC (link)

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 large cloves garlic
1 bunch mint
1 lime
1 lemon
1 bunch chives (white or red onion instead is great)
2 handfuls or 1 bag washed arugula
3-4 large heirloom or vine ripened tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
1 package small corn tortillas (flour OK)

Make the Salsa

Chop the tomatoes into small bite sized pieces. If you want to be fancy, remove the seeds and inner core. Toss into a bowl. Add any leftover juices from the cutting board. Chop chives or onions into a very small dice (about two tablespoons)into a bowl. Finely chop about 1 teaspoon of jalapeno pepper (1/4 of a pepper)and add to bowl. Leave in seeds and inner white membrane if you like it spicy, otherwise remove them. Squeeze 1/2 of a lime and 1/2 of a lemon into bowl and add a 1 sec glug of olive oil to bowl. Add about 1 tablespoon of finely chopped mint. Season everything with salt and pepper. Mix well and taste. Need more onion? Mint? Salt? Adjust to taste. This simple salsa is best covered and refrigerated for at least a half hour or up to 24 hours to let flavors marinate.

Make the Shrimp

Peel and finely chop 3 garlic cloves. Finely chop about 1 tablespoon mint. Take out your peeled and de-veined shrimp (also remove tails at this point or you'll need to do it later, either way OK) and place them on paper towels. Pat both sides until as dry as possible. This is important in order to obtain slightly browned shrimp that adds lots of flavor to the dish. Season both side of shrimp with salt and pepper. Place one glug of olive oil in a sturdy pan on medium high heat. Wait until the olive oil is very hot, to the point that it just barely begins to smoke. Add all of the garlic and immediately after add the shrimp carefully to the pan to avoid splatter. Add the mint right on top of the shrimp. The key here is not to flip the shrimp for about 3 minutes. Flip the shrimp and squeeze lemon on them and turn off the heat. The shrimp is almost done - the heat in pan will continue to cook them. Set aside onto a cutting board after 1 minute or so, along with all of the garlic and mint and some of the olive oil. After cooling for a minute, chop your shrimp into bite size pieces and reserve.

Notes: Somehow I left the jalapeno off my shopping list, so I tossed in a few red pepper flakes for some kick, but I doubt this was as spicy as it was intended. And, I also served it as a wrap, instead of in toasted tortillas (yes, flour ones - sigh) for expediency. Plus I added a dollop of sour cream in each assembly (shrimp, salsa, arugula). A nicely balanced taste between the different flavors. I think these came out really well, and I applaud the crafter of the original recipe.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 1, 2006

Lamb Chops and Sliced Potatoes with Garlic and Vinegar Sauce


Lamb Chops and Sliced Potatoes with Garlic and Vinegar Sauce
adapted from One Potato, Two Potato by Roy Finamore

3 TBSP garlic, minced
3 TBSP sherry vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds potoates, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
3 TBSP olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 shoulder lamb chops

Combine the garlic, vinegar and stock and let sit for at least 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a shallow casserole dish and arrange half the potatoes in a layer in the dish. Drizle about 1/2 TBSP oil and season with salt and pepper. Repeat the process with a second layer (potatoes, oil, salt and pepper). Cover the dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper. After 30 minutes, remove the foil from the potatoes and spoon in half the garlic sauce. Bake for 10 minutes and then start the chops. Heat the remaining 2 TBSP oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the chops and brown them, about 2 minutes per side. Pour in the rest of the garlic sauce and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, turning the chops once. Add the chops to the casserole and spoon in any sauce from the skillet. Bake for 5 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Notes: The potatoes tasted amazing. I had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. The dish overall reminded me a lot of Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic and since the author of the cookbook mentions this was adapted from a regional Spanish dish, that's not surprising. Quite yummy. Plus I got to finally use the mandoline my god-daughter gave me.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
August 27, 2006

Garlic-Ginger-Sesame Wet Paste


Steak with Garlic-Ginger-Sesame Paste
from Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2005

Paste Ingredients:
4 TBSP toasted sesame oil
2 TBSP vegetable oil
3 TBSP fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 TBSP green onions, minced
1 TBSP garlic, minced

Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth. Makes enough for about 2 pounds of steak.

Place steak in a baking dish and prick on each side. Rub both sides of steak evenly with a little salt (about 2 tsp total) and then rub evenly with paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Prepare grill. Wipe paste off steak and season both sides with fresh ground pepper. Grill about 5 minutes per side for medium rare and then let rest under foil another 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: I was looking to do something a little different than my old standby marinades and this really hit the spot. Wet rubs such as this work similar to marinades and thus the meat is well seasoned and tender.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
August 6, 2006

Lamb Chops with Mid Eastern Influence

Lamb Chops with Mid Eastern Influence
a Jennifer original

2 shoulder lamb chops
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted

Marinade lamb chops in 4 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp cumin, and garlic for 15 minutes at room temperature. Combine yogurt, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp cinnamon to let flavors mingle.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Brown lamb chops, approximately 4-5 minutes per side, or until desired doneness achieved. Pour off excess fat. Add yogurt sauce and heat through. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.

Notes: I drew on three different recipes to craft this, Yogurtlu Basti (seen elsewhere on this blog), Lamb with Cumin and Cardamom (also on this blog) and a recipe for a roast leg of lamb with a yogurt sauce (which I have not yet attempted). And I would say this came out pretty well. For future attempts, I think I need to bump up the spice a little bit or marinade the meat longer -- it was a little too mild. I'd also recommend never skipping the pine nuts. They add a really nice touch to the dish.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
August 3, 2006

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Basil


Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Basil
from Bon Appetit, November 1990

Chicken
4 boneless chicken breast halves, skinned

1/2 cup fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet) (about 4 ounces)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 basil leaves, shredded or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten to blend
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter melted

Mushroom-Wine Sauce
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (I used portabello)
1/4 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into 4 pieces
Salt and pepper

For chicken: Preheat oven to 350 F. Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to thickness of 1/4 inch using meat mallet. Pat chicken dry.

Combine cheese, green onions and basil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread cheese mixture lengthwise over half of each chicken piece. Tuck short ends in. Roll chicken up, starting at one long side, into tight cylinders. Tie ends with string to secure. Dip chicken in egg, allowing excess to drip into bowl. Roll in breadcrumbs, shaking off excess. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Refrigerate.)

Place chicken in 8-inch square baking dish. Pour 2 tablespoons melted butter over. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

For sauce: Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add wine and boil 3 minutes. Add stock and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and swirl in 4 tablespoons cold butter 1 piece at a time. Season sauce with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Remove string from chicken. Cut rolls crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Fan on plates. Serve immediately, passing sauce separately.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 17, 2006

Lamb with Tomatoes and Marjoram


Lamb Shoulder Chops with Tomatoes and Marjoram
from Bon Appetit, May 1990

2 1 1/2-inch-thick round-bone shoulder lamb chops (about 14 ounces total)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, coarsely chopped
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled

Season lamb chops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy skillet over high heat. Add lamb and cook until brown, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic and cook until beginning to color, about 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Return lamb to skillet. Cover and simmer until tender, turning occasionally, 30 minutes.

Transfer lamb to plates and keep warm. Boil sauce until thickened, stirring occasionally and adding any juices accumulated on lamb plates, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over lamb chops. Sprinkle with marjoram and serve.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 13, 2006

Parmigiano-Crusted Chicken

Parmigiano-Reggiano interesting facts:
* one of the earliest literary sources to remark on this extraordinary cheese is Boccaccio's Decameron (in the 1300s) - "...and there was a whole mountain of Parmigiano cheese, all finely grated, on top of which stood people who were doing nothing but making macaroni and ravioli"
* Cristoforo di Messisbugo, a chef at the court of Estense di Ferrara and Martino de' Rossi at the house of Francesco Sforza in Milano described a private dinner held on January 17th, 1543 in which the dessert course included as an accompaniment to pears and grapes, apple, peaches, kiwi and figs, "six platesful of Parmigiano cheese," a combination rediscovered by contemporary gourmets as a perfect finale to a grand dinner.
* it takes 600 kg of milk to make one round of cheese and it has been made essentially the same way for over 800 years
* here is what the Accidental Hedonist wrote about parmigiano-reggiano




Parmigiano-Crusted Chicken

from The Cheese Lover's Cookbook and Guide

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
4 ounces parmigiano-reggiano, grated
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 to 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
8 sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish
1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a baking pan large enough to hold the chicken.

Wash chicken and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour on plate or waxed paper. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, parmigiano, thyme, and lemon zest on another plate or waxed paper. Dredge each chicken breast in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dip in the egg, and finally into the bread crumb mixture. Be sure to evenly coat the chicken at each step. Place in the baking pan. Divide the remaining crumbs equally among the breasts, patting them onto the chicken.

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Brush the olive oil onto the bread-crumb crust. Return the chicken to the oven and cook for 15 to 25 minutes or until the breasts are golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes. Garnish with thyme sprigs and lemon slices and serve.

Notes: I halved the recipe. Also, I didn't have fresh thyme on hand so I used some dried thyme and skipped the garnish. And it came out pretty well and definitely featured the cheese as the primary flavor so the finer the cheese is, the better the dish will be. I recommend a quality import.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 7, 2006

Grilled Pork with Pineapple Salsa


Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple Salsa
adapted from Gourmet, May 2006

1/2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
2 boneless center-cut pork chops
5 oz. fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 fresh jalapeno, minced
1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice

Stir together oil, cumin, pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl, then rub all over pork chops, transferring chops as coated to a tray. Stir together pineapple, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and 1/4 tsp salt to taste in another bowl.

Lightly oil grill rack and grill pork chops (covered only if using a gas grill), turning over once, until just cooked through, 6 to 9 minutes total. Transfer to a clean platter and let stand 5 minutes. Serve with pineapple salsa.

Notes: This is a refreshing dish for a hot summer day. The pineapple gives it a fresh bright taste which contrasts nicely with the kick from the pepper. A keeper.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:28 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
July 5, 2006

Spicy Crockpot Hens


Spicy Crockpot Hens

2 Cornish hens
2 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup of butter, melted
3/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp ground thyme
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Thaw hens overnight. Wash hens in warm water. Mix remaining ingredients together in butter. Baste hens with 1/2 of mixture. Fill crockpot with water and stock. Place hens inside crockpot. Spread remaining mixture over hens. Turn on low. Cook for 8 hours or until done. When removing from crockpot, be careful. Hens will be very tender and tend to fall off the bones.

Notes: This is indeed very tender. And nicely spiced. Leftovers make a good sandwich, or so I've been told. I just ate them straight off the carcass myself. Yum.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
June 5, 2006

Shrimp Cakes with Chili-Lime Cream Sauce


Shrimp Cakes with Chili-Lime Cream Sauce
adapted from Bon Appetit (September 2005)

8 ounces uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 large egg
1 TBSP shallot, minced
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/8 tsp salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
1 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 TBSP vegetable oil

Coarsely chop shrimp in processor. Add egg, shallot, lemon juice, mustard, cilantro, hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Blend in using on/off turns. Add 1/2 cup panko and blend in using on/off turns. Form mixture into four cakes. Roll cakes in remaining 1/2 cup panko; transfer to waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate 10 minutes. (Can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry cakes until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, adding more oil to skillet as needed, about 6 minutes.

Spoon 3 tablespoons Chili-Lime Cream Sauce onto each of 6 plates. Place 2 shrimp cakes on each and serve immediately.


Chili Lime Cream Sauce:

1/4 cup vermouth
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 TBSP chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 TBSP minced shallot
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 TBSP chili-garlic sauce
4 TBSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Combine first 4 ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add cream and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Mix in chili-garlic sauce. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking just until melted before adding next piece.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
May 30, 2006

Fried Vermicelli with XO


Fried Vermicelli with XO Sauce

150g vermicelli
1/3 medium-sized onion
7 pieces Chinese mushroom
150g fresh pork

Sauce:
4 TBSP XO sauce
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP water

Blanch vermicelli in boiling water. Rinse with cold water and set aside. Cut pork, mushroom, and onion into strips. Saute pork in 1 TBSP oil until fragrant. Add onion and mushroom and stir fry until soft. Add vermicelli and sauce mix and continue stir fry until the sauce dries up.

Notes: This was only my second time using XO sauce and this was a recipe with a much more pronounced flavor. I quite enjoyed the spicy kick. Next time I make this, I think I will odd the onions earlier, probably the same time as the pork. They were just a bit too crunchy for me.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:38 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
May 18, 2006

Siam Country Steak

Siam Country Steak
adapted from Steak Lovers Cookbook

8 oz. sirloin
1 tsp spice mix*
1 TBSP oyster sauce
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP lime juice
1 tsp garlic, minced

*equal parts: coriander, black pepper, paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder

Pat steak dry and place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle the seasoning on the steaks and rub into both sides. Drizzle the oyster sauce over the meat and rub it into the surface of both sides. Cover and refrigerate (the book recommends 24 hours, but I only had about 8).

Allow steaks to come to room temperature while preparing grill. Combine the fish sauce and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside. Grill the steaks until seared and nicely browned. About 4 minutes per side. Transfer steak to cutting board, tent, and let rest for 5 minutes, then carve into slices. Drizzle fish-lime mixture over the meat, garnish with the garlic, and serve.

Notes: When I read this I was pretty dubious -- raw fish sauce? uncooked garlic? It seemed as if it would be far too overpowering. But the flavors meld really well and it was quite tasty. And easy to make too.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
May 17, 2006

Portobella Mushrooms with Sausage and Gorgonzola Dressing


Portobella Mushrooms with Sausage and Gorgonzola Dressing
a Jennifer original

1 TBSP olive oil
4 portabella mushrooms
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, loose
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, diced
1/4 cup gorgonzola
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp marjoram
1 egg
gorgonzola cream sauce (see below)
1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted

Saute sausage in olive oil, until brown. Add shallot, cook 3 minutes. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Remove and pulse processs with cheese, bread crumbs, and marjoram. Remove and add egg to bind. Divide mixture evenly on mushrooms. Cook in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Top with gorgonzola cream sauce and toasted pine nuts.

For sauce:
4 TBSP gorgonzola
2 1/2 TBSP milk
1 1/2 TBSP butter
1/4 cup whipping cream

Heat gorgonzola, milk, and butter over low heat until cheese dissolves. Just before serving, add cream over medium-low heat until reduced.

Notes: This came out exactly as I wanted; a nice balance of flavors. I had the leftovers for lunch today, and they don't reheat quite as well. I suspect keeping the sauce separate and adding it after reheating the mushroom with the dressing will work better.

Served with Angelini 2003 Pinot Grigio. A soft, well balanced and dry white wine with flavors of citrus and a clear, fresh finish. It made out better in the glass prior to the meal; the wine was a little over-powered by the strong flavor of the cheese. In the future, this dish might be better paired with a Zin.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
May 14, 2006

Beef and Snow Peas with XO Sauce


Beef and Snow Peas with XO Sauce
from Gourmet (March 2004)

1 lb sirloin steak, sliced 1/4 inch thick against the grain, visible fat trimmed and discarded
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or medium-dry Sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 lb snow peas, trimmed and strings discarded
2 TBSP XO sauce

Toss beef with rice wine, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and pepper in a bowl until well coated, then marinate 15 minutes.

Heat wok over high heat until smoking, then add 1/2 tablespoon oil, swirling to coat, and heat until smoking. Add half of beef and cook, turning over once, until browned, about 1 minute total, then transfer to a clean bowl. Add another 1/2 tablespoon oil and repeat with remaining beef.

Pat snow peas dry if necessary. Wipe wok clean and heat until hot but not smoking, then add remaining tablespoon oil, swirling to coat. Add snow peas carefully (oil may splatter) and stir-fry until bright green, about 1 minute. Add XO sauce and stir-fry until snow peas are coated. If mixture seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Cover wok and cook snow peas until crisp-tender, about 1 minute.

Add beef with any juices accumulated in bowl and stir-fry until beef is heated through and sauce is thickened, about 1 minute.

Makes 6 main-course servings.

Notes: I actually cheated on this one.... the original recipe has the measurements for making XO sauce from scratch but I had received a jar as a gift, so I simply had to guess how much the recipe would reduce to. I might have been a little on the shy side, but this still came out pretty well.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
May 5, 2006

Spicy Salmon with Tomatoes and Star Anise


Spicy Salmon with Tomatoes and Star Anise
from Bon Appetit (January 2006)

Get the freshest ground star anise by making your own. It's as easy as grinding a few star anise pods in a spice mill or a coffee grinder.

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (such as Asian)
4 6-ounce wild salmon fillets with skin

1 cup chopped red onion
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground star anise
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
4 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add salmon, skin side down; cook 2 minutes. Cover pan; cook salmon 2 minutes longer. Transfer salmon, skin side down, to baking sheet. Place in oven; cook until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and next 3 ingredients; saute until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, soy sauce, and sugar. Increase heat to medium-high and cook mixture until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.

Divide salmon among 4 plates and top with tomato sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: This is the first time I used my spice grinder instead of the mortar and pestle. My only regret is how long it takes. Fresh ground sure gave this a lovely taste. Also, I used my cedar plank to roast the salmon rather than a cookie sheet and the smokiness it adds was a nice contrast with the spices. And, I only used 1/4 tsp of the crushed red pepper and think more would throw the flavors off-balance.

Served with Torresella Pinot Grigio 2003. The Torresella Winery is located in Italy’s eastern Veneto region, an area of gentle hills and broad plains along the Adriatic Sea, about midway between Venice and Trieste. Torresella was founded in 1935 by Count Gaetano Marzotto, who created a 4,000 acre cooperative surrounding the winery, ceding the land to tenant farmers from whom he bought the best grapes for his wines. Shows a light straw color, crisp on the palate, mellow citrus aromas, a lemony finish.

Posted by Jennifer at 6:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
May 2, 2006

Pork with Two Vinegars


Pork with Two Vinegars
original recipe

2 boneless pork chops
1 TBSP butter
3 TBSP olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 green apple, peeled, cored and diced

Sprinkle the pork chops with fresh ground pepper and dredge in flour. Melt 1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute pork chops, about 3 minutes per side. Remove pork chops to a 250 degree oven.

Add 2 TBSP olive oil and shallots. Saute for 7-8 minutes. Add vinegars and deglaze. Add chicken stock. Cook until liquid is almost evaporated. Add apple, cook 10 minutes. Serve over pork chops.

Notes: Sauteed the shallots too long up front. Probably would reduce that to 3-4 minutes. Evenso, I rather liked how this one came out.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
April 28, 2006

Warm Scallop Salad with Prosciutto Chips

Warm Scallop Salad with Prosciutto Chips
from Bon Appetit (May 2004)

Slices of prosciutto are fried until crisp for a delicious garnish.

4 paper-thin slices prosciutto
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 5-ounce package mixed babygreens
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
12 sea scallops
All purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Brush each prosciutto slice on 1 side lightly with some of oil. Heat heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 slices prosciutto, oiled side down. Cook until bottom is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Turn prosciutto over and cook until bottom is browned, flattening with spatula, about 1 minute longer. Using tongs, transfer prosciutto to paper towels to crisp. Repeat with remaining 2 slices prosciutto. Reserve skillet.

Place greens and basil in large bowl. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper; dust lightly with flour. Heat remaining oil in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook until brown and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Add lemon juice and lemon peel to drippings in skillet. Bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Pour pan juices over greens and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad among 4 plates and top with scallops. Garnish with prosciutto chips and serve.

Makes 4 first-course servings.

Notes: For the purposes of making this for one person and as a main dish, my ingredient list was actually as follows:

2 paper thin slices prosciutto
2 TBSP olive oil
mixed baby greens
12 bay scallops
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel

I left out the basil. In any case, this came out very well and I really enjoyed the combination of flavors. I particularly liked the proscuitto chips. They made a lovely contrast with the scallops, both in flavor and texture.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
April 27, 2006

Garlic and Lemon Marinated Chicken Kebabs

Garlic and Lemon Marinated Chicken Kebabs
from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
4 large garlic cloves
1/4 tsp coarse salt
2 pinches Middle Eastern spices
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 TBSP mayonnaise
3 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.

Pound the garlic with the salt until pureed. Add the spices, pepper, mayo, lemon juice, and oil and whisk until smooth. Roll the chicken in the mixture to coat. Cover and refrigerate, and let marinate 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat the broiler or light a hot fire in the barbecue grill. String the chicken on long metal skewers. Broil or grill, brushing with the marinade, turning and basting, until well browned and cooked. 8 to 10 minutes. For safety, stop basting 3 to 4 minutes before the chicken is finally cooked.

Notes: I made a substitution of yogurt for the mayonnaise. And for the spices, I used a mixture of allspice, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and ginger. Oh and I used bamboo skewers that had been soaked for half an hour first and did this in the broiler. It came out absolutely amazing - very tender and extremely tasty. I would really like to try it out on a charcoal grill.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
April 23, 2006

Tomato Sauce with Onion, Butter, Marjoram

After reading through several recipes for various tomato sauces, I ended up with the following:

2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up w/ juice
4 TBSP butter
1/4 onion, peeled
1 tsp marjoram
salt
2 oz. spaghetti

Put the tomatoes, butter, onion (all in once piece), marjoram and salt in a saucepan and cook uncovered at a slow but steady simmer for 45 minutes. Stir from time to time, mashing the larger pieces of tomato. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing with cooked pasta. Serve with parmesan cheese on the side.

Notes: I've done one other similar style approach in the past. That one came out rather well, but this was not quite as good; the sauce was a little on the oily side. I would've liked this one to be a bit thicker and creamier (so more experimentation is called for). But it tasted very good.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
April 21, 2006

Gorgonzola Prosciutto Sauce

There's a recipe in Marcella's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking that I've tried a few times for Gorgonzola Cream Sauce. On a few occasions, I haven't had cream on hand and have made do without and made a very sparse Alfredo style dressing for the pasta. Last night I added prosciutto to the mix and it came out fairly well.

1 TBSP butter
1 oz prosciutto, diced
2 TBSP milk
4 TBSP gorgonzola

4 oz penne
parmesan (to be served on the side)

While pasta cooks, melt the butter in a saucepan that will be big enough to accomodate both the cooked pasta and the sauce. Saute the proscuitto for about 2 minutes. Add the milk and gorgonzola and cook until the texture of the sauce becomes creamy and smooth. Just before serving add the pasta to the sauce and toss. Serve with parmesan cheese on the side. Serves 2.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
April 2, 2006

Quick Fried Shrimp with Spices


Quick Fried Shrimp with Spices
adapted from The Complete Wok & Stir-fry Cookbook

1/2 pound large cooked shrimp
1 tsp grated ginger root
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp hot chili powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
seeds from 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
2 TBSP butter
4 TBSP coconut milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pu the ginger, garlic, chili powder, turmeric, mustard seeds and cardamom seeds in a bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat completely. Heat a wok until hot. Add the butter (or ghee) and swirl it around until foaming. Add the marinated shrimp and stir-fry from 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp are heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at once.

Notes: This came out fairly tasty, though I think I might kick up the chili powder a little in the future. I served it with coconut jasmine rice to which I added some veggies (baby corn cobs, pea pods, and carrots).

Posted by Jennifer at 2:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
March 28, 2006

Lamb Risotto with Pine Nuts

Last Thursday I treated myself to Leg of Lamb a la Julia Child -- yum. And then on Saturday I used some of the leftovers for what I've been calling Mediterranean Tacos. Again, very tasty. Tonight I finished off the leftover meat with....

Lamb Risotto with Pine Nuts

1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 shallot, diced
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 oz. left over marinated lamb, cubed
parmigiano reggiano
1 TBSP toasted pine nuts

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a small sauce pan. In another larger saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice, stirring constantly. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time and continue to stir as it evaporates. When rice begins to look creamy, add lamb to heat through. Continue cooking until rice is al dente. Remove from heat and add parmesan to taste and pine nuts.

Notes: I'm getting bold. This is the first risotto dish of my own design. And it came out pretty darn well. The pine nuts really worked in this. I might, if I made it again, be tempted to replace the parmesan with some other cheese, my instinct would be something stronger, perhaps gorgonzola or even feta. I'm also proud of myself for getting three meals out of that leg of lamb.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 20, 2006

Scallop Sauce

Scallop Sauce with Olive Oil, Garlic and Hot Pepper
from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
adjusted for 2 servings

1/2 pound bay scallops
4 TBSP olive oil
1/2 TBSP garlic, minced
1 TBSP chopped parsley
red pepper flakes, to taste
4 ounces spaghetti
1/4 cup unflavored bread crumbs, toasted

Wash the scallops in cold water, pat dry and cut into pieces 3/8 inch thick.

Put the olive oil and garlic in a saucepan, turn on the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until garlic becomes colored a light gold. Add the parsley and hot pepper. Stir once or twice, then add the scallops and one or two pinches of salt. Turn the heat up to high, and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring frequently until the scallops lose their shine and turn a flat white. Do not overcook the scallops or they will become tough. Taste and correct for salt and hot pepper. If the scallops shed a lot of liquid, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and boil down the watery juices. Return the scallops to the pan, turn them over quickly, then turn off the heat.

Toss thoroughtly with cooked drained pasta, add the bread crumbs, toss again, and serve at once.

Notes: Well.... I didn't fall in love with this one. It was okay, but nothing special. The texture from the bread crumbs certainly made it interesting, but I'm not sure it was entirely in a good way. So, I don't think I'll be making this one again.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
March 14, 2006

Corsican Brined Pork Chops


Corsican Brined Pork Chops
from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert

1/8 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp crushed juniper berries
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1/8 tsp dried sage
1 bay leaf, crumbled
2 center cut pork chops
3/4 TBSP olive oil
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 TBSP vermouth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/8 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp finely slivered fresh basil

In a large bowl or container, combine salt with sugar and 1/2 cup hot water; stir until dissolved. Add 2 cups cold water, the thyme, juniper berries, coriander, peppercorns, sage, and bay leaf. Put the chops in the brine, cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

Drain the pork chops. Pick any whole spices off the meat and discard. Pat the chops dry with paper towels.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep nonstick or black cast-iron skillet until it shimmers. Add the pork chops and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a plate and season with pepper.

Pour off any fat from the skillet. Add the chicken stock and vermouth and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, orange juice, and garlic and simmer 5 minutes.

Return the pork chops to the skillet, turn to coat with the sauce, and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the pork is tender and fully cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chops to a platter, cover, and keep warm.

Boil remaining sauce over high heat until the liquid is reduced to about a cup. Stir in the basil and pour the sauce over the chops.

Notes: My version is just a teensy bit altered from the one in the cookbook. I completely left out the olives, and used ground coriander instead of seeds as well as vermouth in place of white wine. But I did get to try out juniper berries for the first time. My only note would be to check the proportion of salt and sugar in other brine solutions as this was just a tad saliter than I wanted it to be. Otherwise, it tasted great and I want to be sure to use this cookbook more in the future.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 12, 2006

Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Basil

The night I got back from a long trip, my good friend Michael surprised me by cooking something out of one of my own cookbooks.....

Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Basil
from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1 large bunch fresh basil
2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, drained and cut up
5 garlic cloves, minced
5 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
salt
freshly ground pepper
1 pound pasta

Pull all the basil leaves from the stalks, rinse them briefly in cold water and shake off the moisture using a colander. Tear all but the tiniest leaves by hand into small pieces.

Put the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and several grindings of pepper into a saucepan and turn on the heat to medium high. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the oil floats free from the tomato. Taste and correct for salt. Turn off the heat and mix in the torn-up basil, keeping aside a few pieces to add when tossing the pasta.

Notes: Marcella warns the cook not to be alarmed by the amount of garlic in the recipe. Because it simmers in the sauce, it is poached rather than browned, and its flavor is subdued. Well, it tasted quite lovely to me, and I very much appreciated the treat. I'll certainly make it again myself sometime.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 3, 2006

Pork Chop with Tomato Compote


Pork Chop with Tomato Compote

1 TBSP oilve oil
5 oz. fresh baby spinach
2 boneless pork chops, trimmed

1 TBSP olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400F. Heat oil for pork in a skillet and saute the spinach in same skillet for about 1 minute, or until just wilted. Cut a pocket in each pork chop and stuff with wilted spinach. On medium heat, brown pork chops in skillet, about two minutes per side. Transfer pork to oven for an additional 8 minutes.

While pork is cooking, add additional olive oil to skillet. Saute shallot and garlic for about two minutes. Add the tomato and saute for two more minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce to a glaze. Serve tomato compote over pork.

Notes: I'm going to say that this was inspired by and somewhat resembles a recipe by Antony Worrall Thompson. There is a similarily named recipe posted on the BBC Food site. However, it is lacking some ingredients and instructions, so I had to make a few things up as I went along. I served it alongisde Tangy Mashed Potatoes (a house favorite) from One Potato, Two Potato. We declared it good (though I may want to season the spinach with something while wilting next time).

Posted by Jennifer at 9:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 2, 2006

Winter-Spiced Molten Chocolate Cake


Winter-Spiced Molten Chocolate Cake
from Bon Appetit (January 2004)

2 1/2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 2/3 TBSP unsalted butter
1/3 teaspoon ground coriander
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/6 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/12 teaspoon ground cloves
1/12 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 TBSP all purpose flour

Generously butter 3/4-cup ramekins or souffle dishes. Stir chocolate, butter, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and white pepper in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. Whisk egg, egg yolk, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Whisk in powdered sugar, then chocolate mixture, then flour. Transfer batter to prepared dishes, filling to top and dividing equally. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 425F. Bake cakes until batter has risen above dish, top edges are dark brown, and centers are still soft and runny, about 15 minutes, or about 18 minutes for refrigerated batter. Run small knife around cakes to loosen. Allow cakes to rest in dishes 5 minutes. Using hot pad and holding dish very firmly, place plate gently atop 1 cake and invert onto plate. Repeat with remaining cakes. Dust with powdered sugar. Served with fresh raspberries.

Notes: Of course, we needed a dessert that would compete with the main course of Rabbit Stifado. I had to adjust this recipe quite a bit as it was originally intended to make 8 cakes, and I only have two of the jade ramekins (my mother gave them to me for Christmas, and yes, I would like more of them). The quality of the chocolate is key here, especially to balance out the kick from the spices. I used Scharffen Berger. I was surprised that these came out so well on my first attempt at something like this. Surprised, and pleased. Not your ordinary molten chocolate cake. I'd definitely make them again.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Rabbit Stifado


Rabbit Stifado

1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
4-6 grains allspice (or ¼ tsp ground)
1 stick cinnamon
4 bayleaves
1 orange, zested
1 large rabbit (or 2 small), jointed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup red wine
1 pound pearl onions, peeled
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp honey
Salt and pepper

In a bowl, mix the vinegar, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, bay and orange zest. Add the rabbit, stir to make sure the meat is well covered, then leave to marinade overnight or for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Take out the rabbit bits and dry on kitchen towel. Heat the oil in a casserole, and fry the rabbit, a few pieces at a time, until golden all over. Once browned, put all the rabbit bits in the casserole, add the marinade, wine, onions, tomato puree and honey, then add water to cover and bring to a simmer on the stove-top. Transfer to the oven for an hour and a half or so, until the meat is falling off the bones. Check the juices for seasoning, and if necessary reduce to an intensity you like.

Notes: The recipe I adapted this from came from the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper. In the article, Matthew Fort claimed to develop this version of the dish after having something like it on Corfu in a taverna. As for me, I first tasted this dish at Molyvos in New York, and have heard that their recipe appears in their cookbook. Otherwise, it appears to be a closely guarded secret as I couldn't turn up any other versions online. Someday I will have to try Molyvos' version and compare the two, but in the meantime this came out very well, and provided that something out of the ordinary which I was looking for in creating a memorable birthday dinner. I also got to christen my Le Creuset casserole dish -- and it came out marvelous. Plus, I ate the leftovers for lunch a few days later, and they were still tasty and tender and quite good.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 26, 2006

Anise Poached Chicken

I've been subscribed to the CIA's Kitchen & Cook newsletter for some time, and mostly I've just read it for the technique articles, though they have a number of excellent recipes in each issue. Finally, though, the time to cook has come.


Anise Poached Chicken

2 star anise
1 qt chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled and quartered
2 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1 TBSP butter
1 tsp chopped chives

Simmer the star anise and the carrots in the chicken broth in a small saucepan until their flavor has infused into the liquid, about 20 minutes. Lower flame to just under a simmer.

Lay the chicken breasts into the pot. They should not touch, and should be covered by at least 2 inches of liquid. Cover the pot tightly. Leave pot over the lowest flame possible for 10 minutes. Turn off flame and leave the pot undisturbed for 20 minutes more.

In a small pan, heat a few tablespoons of the poaching liquid; whisk in the butter and chives. Transfer the poached chicken to serving plates; serve with the carrots and drizzle with the butter-chive sauce, garnished with star anise.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 21, 2006

Shrimp & Orzo, take two


Jennifer Garner's Shrimp and Orzo

This week I took another pass at Jennifer Garner's Shrimp and Orzo. This time I substituted a large shallot for the onion and vermouth for the white wine. With extra feta sprinkled on top. Very good. I'm reminded of how simple and relatively quick this recipe is. And it tastes good too.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 30, 2006

Chicken Makhani

Casting around for a recipe to use with chicken thighs, which I don't normally buy, but they were at a great sale price last week.... I came across several mentions of Chicken Makhani, by turns claimed as an Indian and Pakistani dish. I read several different variations (some with alternate spices), including the one in the Indian cookbook on my shelf, and finally decided to be a little less than absolutely authentic since I didn't have a tandoor oven. Or fenugreek leaves. Hence, the version below. While reading (particularly through an eGullet thread), I saw claims that supposedly, Butter Chicken was invented at Moti Mahal in Delhi during the 1950s to use up leftover Tandoori Chicken. However, there are also some who say that it originated in the Punjab region (which is now part of Pakistan) sans fenugreek and with the added spice of green chilies in the finish.


Chicken Makhani AKA Butter Chicken

14 oz. of chicken thighs (skinless & boneless)
1/2 cup of almonds, ground
1 onion
2 tsp of garlic, crushed
2 tsp of ginger, crushed
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red chili powder
1 TBSP of coriander powder
8 oz. pureed tomatoes (canned is okay)
1 TBSP of tomato paste
1/2 cup of plain yogurt, drained
3 TBSP of butter

Trim and cut the chicken into small cubes, cover and set aside. With a clean knife and board thinly slice the onions.

Heat a large saucepan or frying pan and melt the butter until it is frothy. Add the onions and the cinnamon to the pan and fry lightly. When the onions are soft stir in the crushed garlic and ginger. Then add the turmeric, chili powder and coriander powder, and saute over medium heat (2-3 minute or until the air begins to smell fragrant). The spices are fried first to release their maximum flavour and this really enhances the dish.

Add the cubed chicken and saute stirring constantly until the chicken has turned white. Pour in the ground almonds, pureed tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the yogurt and heat through. Serve over rice.

Notes: I did like how this came out, authentic or not. It had a nice blend of flavors. And the chicken was super tender. I didn't find out about the adding the chilies until it was too late to run back out and get them, so if/when I make it again, I will add those because I think it could use a bit more spice. The other possibility is kicking up the chili powder. I might also try the version from the Desi Cookbook. And I would love to learn how to make roti to serve alongside.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:43 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack
January 28, 2006

Sausage Frittata


Sausage Frittata
a Jennifer original

2 tsp olive oil
1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/4 pound hot Italian sausage
1/4 cup feta cheese
6 eggs
1 TBSP oregano

In a medium frying pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until done, about 4 or 5 minutes. Remove sausage and drain off any fat.

Whisk together eggs and oregano in separate bowl.

In a medium ovenproof skillet, distribute the sausage and feta evenly. Pour the egg mixture gently over all. Cover and cook until eggs are just beginning to set. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Place the skillet under the broiler, 4 inches from heat, until eggs begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

Cut into wedges and serve.

Notes: I've only made one other frittata: Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese. I think that one had a better melding of flavors. If I were to experiment with this current variation again, I think I would use only sweet sausage, bump up the feta to 1/3 cup, and use about 1/2 the oregano. Still, the texture was good, and this initial attempt was tasty enough that the single leftover serving made a nice breakfast the next morning.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
January 20, 2006

Scallop and Shrimp a la Nage

James Peterson's Glorious French Food cookbook has a lot of technique information. However, overall it's not the easiest book for practical cooking. So, when I read about the scallops and shrimps a la nage, but needed a simpler approach, I did some hunting about and studied several other recipes

Cooking a la nage means poaching food, usually seafood, in a court bouillon. There are several different approaches to this style of dish. Jacques Pepin has a version done with red snapper. There are also a number of variations that use salmon. And many with shellfish, including shrimp, scallops, crawfish, and lobster.

Scallop and Shrimp a la Nage

6 ounces large cooked shrimp
6 ounces scallops
1 oz olive oil
1 oz butter
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
1 oz cognac (or Armagnac)
1/2 cup vermouth
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Heat the oil and butter. Saute the shallot, garlic and thyme until shallot begins to soften. Add the shrimp and saute until half cooked. Add the scallops and salt and pepper and saute for 30 seconds. Flambe with the Armagnac and saute for another 20 seconds. Add the vermouth and vegetable broth and let simmer until reduced to half. Lower the heat and add the heavy whipping cream. Season as desired. Serve immediately.

Notes: This came out amazing. Even if I do say so myself. I'm usually one of the harshest critics of my cooking but I was just delighted with this. The texture of the soup, the taste. I'd like to try making it again, but perhaps one of the other versions next time.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
January 19, 2006

Braised Pork Chops


Braised Pork Chops
with Sage and Tomatoes
Modena Style

from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Italian Cooking

2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
2 center cut pork chops, 1 inch thick
6 to 8 fresh sage leaves
black pepper
3/4 cup canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juices

Choose a saute pan that can contain all the chops without overlapping (the recipe calls for 4 chops originally). Put in the butter and oil and turn on the heat to medium high. When the butter foam begins to subside, turn the chops on both sides in flour, shake off the excess, and slip them into the pan together with the sage leaves. Cook the chops to a rich brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Add salt, pepper and tomatoes with their juice. Adjust heat to cook at a slow simmer, and cover the pan. Cook for about 1 hour, until the meat feels tender. Turn the chops from time to time while they are cooking.

By the time the pork is done, the sauce in the pan should have become rather dense. If it is too runny, transfer the chops to a warm serving platter and reduce the pan juices over high heat for a few minutes. Tip the pan and spoon off the fat. Pour the contents of the pan over the chops and serve at once.

Notes: I love braising. It's one of my favorite ways to cook meat. It always ends up so tender and full of flavor. This dish was on the subtle side; none of the flavors were strongly pronounced. But it was quite tasty.

Served with Chimney Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2004.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
January 13, 2006

Shrimp & White Wine

Shrimp, with lemon, garlic, herbs and white wine

1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 pound shrimp
dash marjoram
1 TBSP parsley

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, white wine and garlic. Toss shrimp in mixture. Cover and let stand in refrigerator 20-30 minutes.

in a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 additional TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Remove the shrimp from the marinade, reserving marinade, and add to skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until bright pink. Remove the shrimp from the skillet. Add the marinade and marjoram. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp back to the skillet, heat through and toss with parsley. Serve immediately.

Notes: This came out light and lovely and was very easy to make. It could be served over rice or with pasta, but I had it straight up with some tasty garlic bread on the side.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 12, 2006

Lemon Ginger Cookies

These cookies are much like sugar cookies, but a bit cakier due to the chemical leavening. Lemon and ginger are a refreshing combination.

Lemon Ginger Cookies
from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for rolling
1 TBSP grated lemon zest
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup finely diced crystallized ginger

Sift together flour and baking soda into a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Add the 3/4 cup sugar, lemon zest, ginger and salt. Cream on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.

Add the egg and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, or until fully incorporated. Do not overbeat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On low speed, add the flour mixture. Beat until all the dry ingredients are incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until just incorporated.

Remove small handfuls of the dough from the mixer and plop down the middle of a sheet of parchment paper, creating a log about 2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Fold the parchment over creating a sausage. Chill for at least 1 hour. At this point, the dough will keep nicely, tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month. (Thaw frozen dough at room temperature for 30 minutes.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust the rack to the lower third of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

When the dough has chilled, remove it from the parchment, pour the remaining 1/4 cup sugar onto the work surface, and roll the log in the sugar. Using a chef's knife, slice 1/3 inch thick rounds off the log. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake one sheet at a time for 12 to 15 minutes or until brown around the edges, turing the cookie sheet once halfway through the baking. Remove from the oven and carefully slide the parchment directly onto a work surface. Wait at least 5 minutes before serving or 30 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Notes: For the amount of steps involved, though none of them are individually difficult, I was hoping to get a cookie that was more of an eye-opener. However, the flavors here didn't quite stand out the way I'd hoped. And, even though this cookbook is an award-winning cookbook, I didn't find the recipe particularly readable. I also had some trouble cutting the dough once it was cold and lost several cookies that way before even baking them. In fact, at the moment, I think I'm far fonder of drop cookies...

Posted by Jennifer at 8:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
January 11, 2006

Breaded Pork

This recipe is taken from the author's mother, Clara, who made this during the World War II era while Spain was recovering from their Civil War of the 1930s.


Lomo Empanado de Clara Orozco
from La Cocina de Mama by Penelope Casas

White Sauce
2 TBSP unsalted butter
3 TBSP olive oil
6 TBSP flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

2 TBSP olive oil
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut in 3/8 inch slices
kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 TBSP grated cheese, such as Manchego or Parmesan
1 cup bread crumbs
olive oil for frying

To make the white sauce, melt the butter with the oil in a saucepan, add the flour and cook over low heat for a minute or two. Gradually stir in the chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper to taste, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add as many pork slices as will reasonably fit. Quickly saute, until lightly browned and cooked through, sprinkling with salt and turning once. Remove to a warm platter and repeat with remaining pork.

Dip the meat slices in the white sauce, coating them completely on both sides. Place on a plate or tray and refrigerate until the sauce solidfies, at least 1 hour.

In a dish, beat the eggs, cheese and parsley with a fork. Dip the pork in the egg, then coat with the crumbs. Pour oil to a depth of 1/8 inch in a large skillet and heat to the smoking point. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add as many pork slices as will comfortably fit, and fry until lightly golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels and serve right away, or keep warm in a 200 degree F. oven

Notes: I made a half-batch, and used two thick boneless pork chopes, which I sliced in half, lengthwise. This turned out far more savory than I expected from the simple ingredients. Of course, the same could be said of the other recipe from this cookbook that I've tried: Grilled Lamb with Garlic. I'm beginning to think that I could grow quite fond of Spanish home cooking.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
January 8, 2006

Mango Mustard Seed Sauce

This delicious fresh sauce is great with grilled white meats and fish. Thinned with additional juice or stock, it can also be a dressing for a savory salad. (from the description in the cookbook)


Mango Mustard Seed Sauce
from Cooking One on One by John Ash

2 TBSP yellow or black mustard seeds
1 cup fresh mango puree
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp fragrant curry powder
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp hot pepper sesame oil
1 tsp honey
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Notes: I served this over grilled chicken that was seasoned with a little garlic and fresh ground pepper. The sauce had an unusual taste, and I'm not really sure the flavors melded smoothly together. I'm not convinced this was simply because I ended up using 1/2 tsp hot chile oil and 1 tsp sesame oil separately. This is the second recipe I've tried from this cookbook (the other was Chicken with Vinegar), and, so far, I'm not enthusiastic about it overall. It has a lot of good tips and techniques, but the tastes just don't quite work for me.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
January 6, 2006

Boursin and Fennel Seed Risotto

A number of recipes were considered for trying a new variation of risotto, among them "Champagne Risotto with Scallops", "Walnut Risotto with Roasted Asparagus" (that last ingredient unfortunately not being in season at the moment) and "Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Blue Cheese Risotto". I plan on trying all three at various points in the future.

I've been a big fan of boursin cheese for years. I love its creamy texture and rich taste, so I decided on the "Boursin and Fennel Seed Risotto," especially curious as it included no other cheeses (and I'm quite used to adding Parmigiano-Reggiano in every previous case of cooking risotto). Boursin, a cousin of some of the traditional norman triple creme and unripened cheeses, was created in 1957 by Francois Boursin, a cheesemaker in Normandy, France. His first variety, Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs (which is what I used), was inspired by a long-standing traditional dish: fromage frais (fresh cheese) served with a bowl of fine herbs, which allowed each person to create his or her own personally seasoned cheese. It was also the first cheese to advertise on the french TV in 1968. Its advertising slogan "Du pain, du vin et du boursin" (Bread, wine and Boursin) became one of the most famous of the french advertisement history.

Boursin and Fennel Seed Risotto
from Gourmet (February 1994)

1 shallot sliced
1 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 TBSP unsalted butter
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
3 TBSP dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 TBSP boursin cheese
2 TBSP minced fresh chives

In a small saucepan bring broth and water to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.

In a heavy skillet, melt butter over moderately high heat and saute shallot about two minutes. Add rice and fennel seeds and stir until coated with butter. Add vermouth and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Continue cooking and add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each portion of broth be absorbed before adding the next. When rice is creamy and al dente, remove pan from heat and stir in Boursin, chives, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2.

Notes: The shallots were my addition. The fennel seed did give it an intriguing taste and texture. However, the sense of the boursin wasn't quite as strong as I had hoped and I would probably bump it up to 3 TBSP the next time I give this a try. Served with Cavit Collection Pinot Grigio 2004 (also used in the cooking).

This was very interesting, and I quite enjoyed it, though not as much as some of the others I've attempted. If I had to pick a favorite from among those so far, it would probably be Gorgonzola and Pear Risotto with Jasmine Tea Risotto with Sweet Peas and Shrimp running a very close second.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
December 31, 2005

Guest Cooks!

Over the holiday weekend, my sister-in-law and one of my sisters had occasion to make this scrumptious dessert. I still need to ask her which cookbook she was using. Mom also made her famous apple pie and a pumpkin pie. At my father's request, I made another batch of Sweet-Potato and Orange Puree with Almond Streusel to go with the turkey dinner we had earlier that day.


Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecake



1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 packages of 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
12 oz. of bittersweet baking chocolate, melted and cooled
3 eggs
1 cup ( 8 oz.) sour cream
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Glaze:

4 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
whipped cream and toasted chopped hazelnuts, optional

In a bowl combine crumbs, hazelnuts, and butter; press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9 inch springform pan. In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add chocolate; beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in sour cream, extracts, and salt; pour over crust. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes or until center is nearly set. Cool to room temperature. For glaze melt chocolate and cream in microwave or double boiler; stir until smooth. Add vanilla. Carefully run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan; remove the sides of the pan. Spread glaze over top. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with whipped cream and hazelnuts if desired. Yields 16 servings.

Notes: I'm told the cooks used 8 oz of semi-sweet and 4 oz of bittersweet in the cake, and wholly substituted semi-sweet in the glaze. Also, there were no hazelnuts in the glaze. Were I to make it, I might give it a try with some really high quality bittersweet chocolate, but this sure did come out rich and creamy enough to satisfy any cheesecake lover.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
December 25, 2005

Sauteed Worcestershire Chicken

The not-quite-Christmas dinner.... due to circumstances beyond our control, we've officially moved our family holiday to tomorrow. Actually, some historians suggest that the birth of Jesus did not actually fall in December, so Christmas has been previously adjusted. The early churches celebrated the birth at different times until around A.D. 400, with April being an oft-cited date.


Sauteed Worcestershire Chicken
from Gourmet (April 1995)

2 whole boneless chicken breasts with skin (about 3/4 pound total), halved
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Pat chicken dry and place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. With a meat pounder flatten chicken lightly to about 1/2-inch thickness and season with salt and pepper.

In a large non-stick skillet heat oil over moderate heat and cook chicken, skin sides down, 6 minutes on each side. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, broth, and oregano and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a platter and simmer sauce until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour sauce over chicken. Serves 4.

Notes: Appeared to be well-received by the family. If I make it again in the future, I might substitute something else for the oregano to see if I can get a more vibrant taste. Also, I reduced the amount of Worcestershire and bumped up the garlic slightly.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
December 24, 2005

Molasses-Brined Pork Chops

I've never hired a personal chef (I have too much fun cooking!), but now I've tried a recipe from one. Chef Nancy Ricks came up while I was searching online for a different sort of brine for pork chops. And if you are interested in reading more about what a personal chef does, there's an association of them: USPCA.

Molasses Brined Pork Chops

Brine:
1 cup water
4 tsp kosher salt
1 TBSP brown sugar
2 tsp molasses
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
2 boneless pork chops

Rub mixture:
1/2 tsp dry sage
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced

2 TBSP flour
2 tsp olive oil

Prepare brine by mixing the ingredients in a large zip-lock and let marinate 8 hours or overnight. Remove chops from brine and discard brine. Prepare the rub mixture (I used a mortar and pestle) and rub over both sides of chops and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Dredge chops in flour. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and cook chops 8 minutes per side until done.

Served with Campus Oaks Pinot Noir. (The Campus Oaks Zin is a favorite of the house, but the pinot isn't nearly as impressive.)

Notes: This was certainly interesting to try, and the guarantee that the pork chops would stay moist from the brine was, of course, true. I didn't quite buy into the spice rub. It didn't quite have the right balance and blend of flavors. I think I would stick with the one from Julia's Special blend if I were to try this again. But I also came across a balsamic-based brine and a cider-based brine that will probably get a turn first.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
November 24, 2005

Sweet-Potato and Orange

Sweet-Potato and Orange Puree with Almond Streusel
from Bon Appetit (November 2001)

Streusel
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole unblanched almonds
3 TBSP golden brown sugar
2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces

Sweet-Potato Puree
4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 TBSP golden brown sugar
2 TBSP butter (1/4 stick), at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp grated orange peel

For streusel:
Place all ingredients in processor in order listed. Using on/off turns, blend until small moist clumps form. Transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

For sweet-potato puree:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Pierce potatoes in several places with fork. Place directly on oven rack and bake until very tender, about 1 hour. Transfer to rack and cool. Peel potatoes; place flesh in large bowl and mash. Mix in orange juice, sugar, butter, and orange peel. Season with salt and pepper. Butter 13x9-inch oval gratin dish. Spread puree in dish; smooth top. (Puree can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Scatter streusel over potatoes. Bake until puree is hot and streusel is crisp, about 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Notes: This year's Thanksgiving experiment dish went out to three households (possibly another later this weekend) and I hope to get a variety of feedback on it. It was a lot brighter tasting than some sweet potato dishes, the citrus providing a nice contrast, I think. Last year I made Sweet Potatoes and Pears and I think I may like that one somewhat more, but this one was a winner even with some of the non-sweet-potato-eaters in my family.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
November 18, 2005

Chocolate Raspberry Chips

Chocolate Raspberry Chip Cookies

1 cup butter-flavored Crisco, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 10-oz package raspberry chips (Hershey)

Heat oven to 375 F.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 5 dozen cookies.

Notes: Cooked with the god-daughter this afternoon after we couldn't turn up mom's recipe and had to hunt around online. Very chocolatey and chewy and yummy.

Dinner tonight (cooked by mom) was chicken with a balsamic gorgonzola sauce that looked a lot like chocolate. It was incredibly delicious. I hope she manages to post an approximation of the recipe.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:48 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Lamb Steak

Lamb Steak with Cider and Honey Sauce

Ingredients:
2 lamb leg steaks, each piece weighing 150g to 200g
Pinch of Anglesey salt
Pinch of black pepper
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zest only
1 tablespoon of olive oil

The sauce:

1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
200ml of cider
1/2 tablespoon of Welsh honey

Method:
In a pestle and mortar, grind together the salt, pepper, rosemary and lemon zest and then rub the mixture over the meat.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Cook the meat for around 4 minutes on each side and then place on a clean plate.

The sauce:
Using the same frying pan, fry the onions and garlic until soft.

Add the cider and boil for 2 minutes.

Add the honey to the mixture at the end.

To serve, place the steak in the middle of the plate with the sauce around the steak.

Notes: This came from a website in Wales with a television cooking show that features someone named Dudley. I haven't really turned up any information on his background, but I got to play with the metric side of my measuring cups. As for the recipe itself, I substituted a couple shallots for the onion but otherwise followed it fairly closely.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 31, 2005

Aji de Camarones

Peruvians excel in the preparation of ajies, dishes using their mirasol AKA hot yellow peppers. Of course, I couldn't get those at my local supermarket and substituted red pepper flakes as advised by the cookbook from which the recipe came: The South American Table. I took a few other liberties to make my life easier, such as using pre-cooked shrimp and substituting vegetable broth for making the shrimp broth. Some day I'll have to try this with the genuine ingredients and see how different it might be.

Aji de Camarones
Shrimp in Hot Pepper Sauce

1/2 pound cooked large shrimp
juice of one lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the shrimp in a large glass bowl. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinade in the refrigerator.

1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBSP olive oil
1/8 tsp sweet paprika
3 shallots, minceed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground cumin
2 TBSP milk
1/8 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup vegetable broth
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the paprika, add the shrimp and cook about one minute. Transfer shrimp to a clean bowl. Add the chopped shallot and cook until softened. Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, cumin and cook for one minute. Add the milk, walnuts and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens (a little thicker thean whipping cream). Stir in Parmesan and shrimp until heated through. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and serve.

Notes: This turned out to be pretty interesting and tasty. A little scant for two servings. If I had added the garnishes recommended: potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and olives, that would no doubt have rounded it out. The other dish that I made from this cookbook - Pechugas de Pollo al Cilantro - turned out to be a favorite, though if one doesn't like cilantro, one shouldn't try it.

Paired with Aresti Reserve Merlot 1999 - a medium bodied wine with a (perhaps too) strong fruity finish and a peppery hint. From Chile (Rio Claro).

Posted by Jennifer at 10:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Braised Duck Legs

Braised Duck Legs with Apple Cider, Squash and Rosemary

2 duck legs
1 TBSP vegetable oil
2 sprigs rosemary, 1/2 TBSP thyme, 1 bay leaf, tied in a boquet garni
3 green onions, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
6 garlic cloves
2 cups mixed dice of carrots, fennel (or other hard squash)
1/2 cup apple jack
1 cup apple cider
1 TBSP red wine vinegar

In a large saute pan over high heat, brown the duck legs in the oil. Skim away any fat, and add the herbs, garlic, green onions, and carrot, tossing. Add the apple jack and cider, bring to a low boil.

Cover pan and cook legs, simmering for 75-90 minutes until tender. Remove lid, and skim fat. Reserve legs to a side plate and strain broth, discarding solids. Return the clean broth to the pot, add the diced vegetables and reduce liquid to a sauce consistency, returning the legs to the pot to heat through. Season with the vinegar, salt and pepper (to taste) and serve.

Notes: This turned out quite well, the fennel and carrots being particularly flavorful. Definitely a keeper.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 23, 2005

Pizza Bianca

Americans consume 350 slices of pizza every second, an amount equal to 100 acres a day – that’s 33 billion dollars worth of pizza annually from the more than 60,000 pizzerias in America.

Neapolitans claim pizza was created in Naples during the 18th century, though there are many versions of flatbreads with toppings around the Mediterranean area. In support of their claim, they can point to the earliest official pizzeria, which opened in 1830 at Via Port'Alba 18 in Naples and is still in business today. By the beginning of the 1900's pizza made its way to the United States, thanks to Italian immigrants, most notably in New York and Chicago, due to those cities having large Italian populations. In 1897, Gennaro Lombardi opened a small grocery store in New York’s Little Italy. Their pizza became so popular, Lombardi opened the first US pizzeria in 1905, naming it simply Lombardi's. It’s celebrating its centennial this year and a short review can be had from Vinography who refers us from there to Slice, an entire blog dedicated to eating pizza. Slice also has a review of the famous Pepe's in New Haven (opened in 1925) where customers waiting to be seated form lines down the block (I ate there with some local friends and the trick was apparently to go to the smaller dining room further back in the lot). One of my personal favorite treats are the pizza rolls at Sergi's in Canton, NY.

Sources: wikipedia.org, pizzamaking.com, vinography.com, sliceny.com

This week I attempted my first home-made pizza, and I felt compelled to do something just a little different, which would come as no surprise to those who know me well. Ergo, pizza bianca instead of the old standby with red sauce and pepperoni. And it would have gone fine, too, except for the mutant crust of doom -- I obviously need some more practice with that.

Pizza Bianca with Prosciutto, Arugula, and Parmesan
adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2003

1 batch pizza dough
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
16 thin slices prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
2 cups (packed) arugula leaves
2 cups fresh Parmesan shavings (about 4 ounces)

Made a single pie on a pizza stone. Prepare pizza dough and press out on stone. Drizzle dough with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Top each with prosciutto, arugula, and Parmesan. Bake until crust is brown, about 8 minutes. Using pizza peel, remove pizza from oven (leaving the stone to cool) and slice as desired. Transfer pizza crusts to plates. Drizzle each with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and serve immediately.

Notes: Well, it came out pretty tasty, despite the aforementioned difficulty with the dough. Getting it to cooperate is not as easy as it looks, and if you've ever actually watched someone make a pizza, it doesn't look that easy. Getting the right elasticity to the dough is the trick apparently, and one I've yet to learn properly. More experimentation required.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:38 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
October 16, 2005

Chicken with Spicy Sauce

Chicken with Spicy Tomato Sauce
based on a recipe from Bon Appetit

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
2 TBSP garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 TBSP dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves

Puree first 8 ingredients in blender.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet; saute until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add sauce from blender. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer covered until chicken is cooked through, turning chicken over once, about 10 minutes. Uncover, and continue to simmer sauce until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes longer. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Notes: The sauce was a bit thinner than I anticipated and in typing this up I realized why -- the original recipe called for a can of stewed tomatoes and I suddenly realized that I was going to use pureed but never ended up adding it at all. I guess that means I'll have to make it again and see how that changes things. In retrospect, I don't mind. This was very tasty, and I'd be perfectly happy also making it exactly this way again. Ah, happy accidents. Served with Campus Oaks Old Vine Zinfandel 2001.

9/10/2006: I made this again recently and this time added the tomatoes which gave the sauce a thicker consistency. I also have a new picture:

Posted by Jennifer at 11:20 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
October 9, 2005

Pecan Southern Chicken

Pecan Crusted Southern Fried Chicken

1/4 pound pecans, ground
1 cup flour
1 TBSP + 1 tsp paprika
1 TBSP garlic powder
1/2 TBSP black pepper
1/2 TBSP cayenne pepper
1/2 TBSP dried leaf oregano
1/2 TBSP dried thyme

2 halves boneless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 TBSP milk

Heat vegetable oil, over medium heat, in a large skillet. Combine the pecans with the flour and spices. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk together. Dredge the chicken pieces in the pecan-flour mixture, coating each piece completely. Dip the chicken in the egg wash, coating completely and letting the excess drip off. Dredge the chicken in the pecan flour, for a second time, coating the chicken completely. Lay the chicken in the oil. Fry the chicken for 7 minutes, covered. Turn the chicken over and continue to cook for 7 more minutes. Remove the chicken from the oil and drain on a paper-lined plate.

Notes: The tenderness of this was perfect. The crust meant the chicken was juicy and tasty. I thought the seasoning just a touch too mild though and will probably increase the garlic powder and cayenne next time.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:58 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
October 5, 2005

Apple Cardamom Bread

Sour Cream Apple Cardamom Quick Bread

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups grated apples (I used Cortland)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour loaf pans and reserve.

In a mixer, cream together the butter, oil and sugars. Add the eggs, vanilla and sour cream. Sift together the cardamom, salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour. Mix into the creamed ingredients, a little at a time, until incorporated, taking care not to overmix. Stir in the walnuts and apple. Divide batter between the prepared pans.

Bake for approximately 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack and turn right-side-up to cool completely.

Makes two 9 by 5 inch loaves. (Or four smaller loaves if you own the same Nordicware pan that I have.)

Notes: This comes out very moist (the sour cream) and tastes rather more of cardamom than apples. I find it goes very well with a piece of quality cheddar on the side. A yummy way to continue to use up my supplies from the orchard.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
September 30, 2005

Lamb Pitas

There's this great lunch stop in Toronto called Pita Break, and because there was no ACN this year, I won't be making my annual pilgrimage. Nevertheless, it's that time of year and apparently that mental yearning showed up this week. It's really too bad that I have no idea how to make crispy spicy baby octopus, though, because that's the other dish I'm really missing about now.


Photo Credit: Michael Curry

Lamb Burgers in Pita with Yogurt Sauce
adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit (April 1995)

2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 medium red onion, grated
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 pound ground lamb
2/3 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
1/4 medium red onion, grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 TBSP olive oil
4 pita bread rounds, top 1/4 trimmed from each (tops reserved)
diced tomatoes
assorted greens

Mix first 4 ingredients together in medium bowl. Season yogurt sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix lamb and next 7 ingredients in large bowl until well blended. Season generously with salt and pepper. Shape mixture into 8 evenly-sized patties. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in skillet and pan-fry patties, about 4 minutes per side.

Open pita bread rounds; line bottoms with trimmed tops, if desired. Place greens, tomatoes, burger, then large spoonful of yogurt sauce in each round. Serve, passing sauce separately.

Notes: The lamb burgers could still use a bit more spice, I think, so I plan on bumping the cinnamon and cumin up to a full teaspoon the next time I make this. Also, I'd intended to add some feta cheese as one of the fillings and completely forgot to do so. Evenso, very yummy, if not quite as versatile as the choices at Pita Break.

Posted by Jennifer at 6:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
September 28, 2005

Spinach Lasagne Rolls

Those who know me well and have heard tales of my personal foodie history will no doubt be shocked to learn that I made lasagne this week. Naturally, I couldn't use the traditional method. That would've just been going too far.

Spinach Lasagne Rolls
adapted from Bon Appetit (March 1990)

1 tablespoon olive oil
10-ounces fresh spinach
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella
1 egg, beaten to blend
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
3 cups prepared spaghetti sauce
8 lasagne noodles, freshly cooked

Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and saute until tender. Cool. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, egg, parsley, and garlic in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce over bottom of 8-inch square baking dish. Pat 1 lasagne noodle dry with paper towel. Set on waxed paper sheet. Spread about 1/3 cup ricotta mixture over noodle. Carefully roll up noodle, starting at 1 short end, to enclose filling. Arrange seam side down in prepared dish. Repeat with remaining noodles. Top with remaining 1 1/2 cups sauce. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.) Bake 35 minutes, sprinkle with additional fresh grated Parmesan cheese, and bake 10 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Notes: Despite a few mishaps due to my lasagne-phobia, this came out pretty darn tasty. For example, I used fresh mozzarella and ended up just chopping it up into the mixture. I might even keep this recipe that way. And the leftovers that I had a couple days later worked out well too. I did use spaghetti sauce from a jar - Prego roasted garlic and herb - I really must develop my own sauce some day in the not-too-distant future....

Posted by Jennifer at 5:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
September 27, 2005

Quick Chicken Cacciatore

Quick Chicken Cacciatore

1 boneless chicken breast, halved
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vermouth (or white wine)
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
handful chopped parsley

Brown chicken in 1 TBSP oil. Remove from pan and season with salt and pepper.

Add remaining oil to pan. Put in pepper flakes and garlic. Saute 2 minutes. Add wine and scrape up chicken bits. Stir in tomato and parsley. Cut the chicken into chunks and add to sauce. Simmer 10 minutes or until thickened.

Serve over noodles (used farfalle) with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Notes: This had a bit more kick than I expected, but it worked out fine, though the sauce was a bit on the thin side.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 24, 2005

Spiced Apple Marmalade

Autumnal signs were everywhere: the air turned cool and crisp, roadside stands have begun to sport pumpkins and squash, and it was time to have the furnace cleaned. As always, I am tempted by childhood memories to go to the apple orchard nearby and wander through the trees, occasionally picking fruit until I've had my fill of the sun and scent.


Photo Credit: Michael Curry

Last year my experiment thereafter was to try a couple of new quickbreads, including Fresh Apple Bread. I must have been feeling more brave, or more crazy, or perhaps even more bitten by nostalgia because I wanted to try and make a jam or jelly of some sort. I've never attempted it without parental guidance. But I thought I'd give it a whirl. It sure smelled wonderful while it was cooking, but I'm still awaiting the verdict from my chief taster on flavor and consistency.

Spiced Apple Marmalade
recipe from thatsmyhome.com

One 2-inch cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp cloves
6 cardamom pods, cracked
1 fresh lemon, unpeeled, quartered, seeds removed, thinly sliced
6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (6 cups)
2 cups water
1/4 cup orange juice
5 cups sugar

Combine spices in a cheesecloth bag. In an 8- to 10-quart kettle, combine spices, lemon slices, apples, water and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apples are tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove spice bag. Add sugar. Boil for 15 minutes, until the mixture is thick and clear, or until it sheets when poured from a metal spoon.

Remove from heat and skim off foam. Pour at once into hot, sterile jars. Wipe jar rims clean and seal.

Makes 3 pints.

Notes: I used Jona Gold apples for this one. Had a very hard time following the directions in my canning and preserves book to figure out what they meant by sheeting. I think I might be game to take another shot at trying something else along these lines, though. So many of the recipes sound appealing.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 14, 2005

Guest of the Cook

Every once in a while I get to go to a fellow-foodie home and receive the fine gift of being cooked for and indulged in high-class fashion. On this occasion I was treated to Lamb Ragu with Lamb Risotto, and it was very fine indeed. I grumbled a teensy bit about the stock from cube (gentle ribbing, really) but the home-made oil used in the recipe more than made up for it. Unfortunately, I didn't take notes on either the white wine that went into the recipe (which was also taste-tested) or the red we drank with the meal. In any case, bravo -- all hail the cook.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 12, 2005

Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake (from Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
6 eggs
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp lemon peel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat butter 30 seconds with electric mixer. Gradually add sugar. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. Add dry ingredients gradually.

Flour pan and spread batter evenly. Cook for 65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


Lemon Glaze (from the Pillsbury Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice

Remove cake from oven. Blend glaze ingredients. Spoon 1/2 glaze over hot cake in pan. Cool 10 minutes and invert onto server. Cover with remaining glaze.

Notes: I've done this particular combination in a number of shapes but never recorded the recipe before. This time around I used a brand new cake pan and was quite amazed at how well the cake released considering all the nooks in the pan itself. But even with brave (and pretty) Valentin defending, the cake was thoroughly devoured by the ravenous ATD group.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 9, 2005

Pecan Cornbread Dressing

In chorus: "Stuffing is Evil!" But luckily this ends up being a very tasty dressing and there is no making of pockets in pork chops or stuffing involved.

Pork Chops with Pecan Cornbread Dressing and Cider Gravy
adapted from Gourmet (November, 2002)

2 1/4 cups coarsely crumbled (1/2-inch pieces) corn bread
1/2 celery rib, coarsely chopped
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 oz. fresh shiitakes, stems discarded and caps coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 center cut boneless pork chops
1/3 cup unfiltered apple cider
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Lightly toast corn bread in a shallow baking pan in middle of oven until dry and pale golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

Increase oven temperature to 375 F.

Saute celery and shallots in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in shiitakes and saute, stirring, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth and deglaze skillet by boiling, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Add corn bread, pecans, sage, parsley, and pepper and toss well, then transfer to a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or large baking pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in cleaned skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Pat dry pork chops and season with salt and pepper. Brown chops, turning once, about 6 minutes total, then arrange on corn bread. Reserve skillet.

Roast chops on corn bread in middle of oven until pork is just cooked through, 18 to 22 minutes. After pork has roasted 10 minutes, pour off fat from skillet and heat skillet over moderately high heat until hot. Add cider and deglaze skillet by boiling, stirring and scraping up brown bits, then add remaining broth. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to hot cider mixture. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, 1 minute and season with salt and pepper.

Serve chops and dressing with sauce on the side.

---------------------------

If you don't have day-old corn-bread, you can use the following recipe for a drier version that can be baked just ahead and used as soon as it cools enough to handle.

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (not coarse)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together egg, milk, and oil in another bowl, then add to cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.

Pour batter into a greased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a rack, then turn bread out onto rack to cool completely.

This makes enough for 4 1/2 cups of crumbled cornbread (ergo, I used only half for my version of the recipe above).

---------------------------

Notes: In my version, there's double the cornbread dressing per pork chop, and I was pretty happy with that since I really enjoyed the mix. I think I might make a separate batch to add to the Thanksgiving table this year. For reference the next time I make this one: may replace the gravy with a reduction sauce that tastes more strongly of the cider. Found that gravy a touch too mild. Also, this is a recipe that definitely needs time to prepare. Though the steps are individually simple, there are many and the mise en place is time-consuming. Very, very good though. Will make again sometime.

Served with Rock Rabbit 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, which we found surprisingly a bit too sweet.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 6, 2005

Homefries with Duck Fat

Attempting ingenuity. I had about a tablespoon or so of duck fat left over from making Duck Breast with Orange, Ginger and Balsamic Sauce and a half a potato from the night before.

1 TBSP duck fat
1/2 russet potato, scrubbed and diced
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Copping instructions from One Potato, Two Potato's recipe for Potatoes Fried in Goose Fat: Melt the fat in a skillet over medium heat. When it starts to shimmer, add potatoes. Cook for a couple minutes and add pepper. Reduce to medium-low, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes (shaking pan a couple times during cooking). Remove cover, increase heat to high and cook another minute or two until crisp and brown.

Notes: Homefries are not my forte. My sister does pretty well with them, but mine never quite come out right. These, though, were lovely. Tender and warm on this inside, crisp on the outside and very tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 5, 2005

Duck Breast with Orange, Ginger, Balsamic Sauce

Duck Breasts with Orange, Ginger and Balsamic Sauce
adapted from recipe on http://www.globalgourmet.com/

2 boneless duck breast halves, about 1 pound
For the sauce:
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup chicken or veal stock
1 1/2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 TBSP orange peel

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat an oven-safe skillet over high heat. Crosshatch skin of duck breasts. Add duck breasts, skin side down, to skillet. Cook until skin is well browned, about 4 minutes. Turn duck breasts over; cook 2 minutes. Move pan with duck into oven; cover and roast for 8 minutes (medium-rare). Remove duck from pan and cover to keep warm. Pour off fat from the pan and reserve for other use.

Return pan to stove-top over medium-high heat, and deglaze with orange juice and chicken stock. Reduce by one-half, about 15-20 minutes, uncovered. Add balsamic vinegar and ginger, cook 2-3 minutes then add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time while whisking constantly. After butter is completely integrated add pepper and orange peel. Turn off heat, cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Notes: I was surprised to realize as I was typing this up that I completely forgot to cross-hatch the skin on the duck breasts before searing. Evenso, this came out quite delicious and the flavors were well-balanced (though the Duck with Orange Tea Sauce still reigns supreme). This was adapted from an existing recipe in which the duck was grilled rather than seared and roasted.

I also took this opportunity to thaw and reheat the Carrot, Honey, and Ginger Soup that was one of my entries for Is My Blog Burning #14. Spiced up with an extra dash of freshly ground black pepper as it was served, it turned out rather well. I think I can foretell more experiments with making and freezing soups this winter.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 31, 2005

IMBB #17 - tasteTea

This month's host for Is My Blog Burning is A La Cuisine who has cited "tea as ingredient" for the theme. As those who know me can easily confirm, this was not something I was even remotely interested in resisting, regardless of my busy schedule. My morning cup of tea is a long-established ritual, which has only become more and more embellished over the years.

I'm not sure entirely who to blame for the beginnings of this habit, but there are certainly those who have encouraged it and continue to do so. I've had High Tea in London, New York, Boston, and (most recently) Toronto. That last was at the Windsor Arms Hotel Tea Room, and I rarely feel more self-indulged than when I dress to the nines and partake in such events. I'd like to do more of these in different cities. And also sometime a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Unfortunately, a recently planned outing to Harney's Tasting Room, had to be postponed, but I'll get it back on the calendar sometime this autumn, and in the meantime, a lovely gift of three tins arrived as compensation, including my current favorite, Golden Monkey.

An oft-requested recipe from this blog is actually a recipe using tea as an ingredient: Duck with Orange Tea Sauce. However, I wanted to do something different for this month's challenge. I looked at a few different recipes, including some desserts (truffles.... icecream.... I'll probably have to try those out later), but eventually settled on:



Jasmine Tea Risotto w/ Sweet Peas and Shrimp

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly brewed jasmine green tea
1/2 cup white wine
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup sweet peas
1/4 pound shrimp (about 20 in size 71/90)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Bring broth, tea, and wine to a low simmer.

In a separate pot slowly simmer the shallot and the garlic in the butter, until shallot is soft and translucent. Remove from the heat. Add shrimp and saute until firm. Remove the shrimp. Add the rice, and mix very well with the shallots coating the rice with the butter and juices.

After a minute or so start adding the broth a ladle full at a time, in order to allow the rice to absorb it. To make risotto creamy, continue to stir as it cooks.

When risotto is almost done (not crunchy) Add peas and mix in until peas are cooked NOT MUSHY. Add a handful of Parmigiano and mix well. Risotto should be soft enough to spread and cover the entire plate when served. Garnish with shrimp.

Notes: This came out very tasty. The tea, stock and wine mixture seemed odd when I began but really combined to give this a different and refreshing taste that contrasted well with the shrimp. I ended up steaming the peas ahead of time and adding them at the last minute to be sure that I maintained the right consistency for both the rice and the vegetables and that seemed to work out well, so I'd recommend that to those who are not certain of the timing of this one. Served with Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

Edited to add:
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part I
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part II
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part III
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part IV
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part V*
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part VI

*This is the one in which my entry appears.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 25, 2005

Grilled Lamb with Garlic

Chuletas de Cordero Con Ajo y Perijil de Candida Acebo
AKA Candida's Grilled Lamb with Garlic and Parsley
from La Cocina de Mama

4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
kosher or sea salt
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP dry red wine
8 loin lamb chops, about 2 pounds

In a mortar mash to a paste the garlic, parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in the oil and wine.

Brush the chops on both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill, preferably on a covered barbecue, and when almost done to taste, spoon the mortar mixture over the chops, give a brief turn, sprinkle with salt and serve.

Notes: As part of my determination to cook at least one dish from each of the myriad of cookbooks I've accumulated over the last couple of years, I tried this out. I made it in my trusty cast-iron grill pan, with two shoulder lamb chops as that's what I had standing by. It seemed to me that brushing on the wine mixture so close to the end would diffuse the effect, so I had it on both sides somewhat earlier in the game (and probably will need to be very careful in the future to monitor it so as to keep the parsley from burning). I was amazed at the keen taste of the meal, despite its simplicity. Definitely a keeper.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 8, 2005

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken
Gourmet (April 1999)

Tandoori chicken gets its name from the clay oven (heated by wood or coal) it is traditionally cooked in a tandoor which bakes meat, fish, poultry, and bread at temperatures upward of 500 F. In our version, the chicken is broiled and the signature yogurt and spice marinade contains only ingredients that are readily available on supermarket shelves.

For spice paste
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 small fresh red or green chile such as serrano or cayenne
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh gingerroot
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For yogurt sauce
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
a pinch cayenne

Make spice paste:
Mince garlic with salt and mash to a paste. Wearing protective gloves, mince chile (including seeds for a spicier paste) and in a bowl stir together with garlic paste and remaining spice paste ingredients.

Make 3 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep in each chicken breast and rub spice paste into cuts and all over chicken. Marinate chicken, covered, 30 minutes at cool room temperature.

Preheat broiler and line broiler pan with foil. Halve onion through root end and reserve 1 half for sauce. Thinly slice remaining onion half, separating layers, and in a small bowl soak onion slices in ice water to cover while broiling chicken.

Arrange chicken without crowding on rack of broiler pan. Brush chicken with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and broil about 3 inches from heat 8 minutes. Turn chicken over and brush with remaining teaspoon vegetable oil. Broil chicken until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 6 minutes more.

Make sauce while chicken is broiling:
Mince enough reserved onion to measure 1 tablespoon and in a small bowl stir together with all sauce ingredients.

Drain soaked onion and pat dry between paper towels. Top chicken with onion slices and serve with yogurt sauce. Each serving, including yogurt sauce, about 222 calories and 5 grams fat.

Notes: Tasty, but too many steps. Overly complicated. Would rather go back to Poached Chicken with Curried Yogurt Sauce. It still was worth trying, and the chicken was juicy. However, I'm not really convinced the iced onions added anything special either.

Served with Reynoso Vineyards 2001 Sauvignon Blanc

Posted by Jennifer at 9:14 PM | Comments (3)
July 1, 2005

Leg of Lamb a la Julia Child

Leg of Lamb a la Julia Child

2 1/4 pound leg of lamb, butterflied

Marinade (from Julia Child, The Way to Cook):
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS dijon mustard
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp thyme
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Puree garlic into a small bowl and mash to a paste with the salt. Whisk in the mustard, soy, herbs (one may also use rosemary or oregano, or a mixture of all three), lemon juice. Add the oil slowly, still whisking, to make a mayonnaise-like cream.

In a dish large enough to accomodate the leg of lamb, coat with the marinade. Let sit at least 8 hours, overnight if possible.

Preheat oven to 325. Roast lamb in a roasting pan until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees (approximately 45 minutes -- as determined from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, it should be about 24 minutes per pound). Let rest under foil tent for 15-20 minutes and serve.

Served with Campus Oaks Pinot Noir 2001 and herbed french loaf from my brand new bread machine!

Notes: I've never cooked leg of lamb before. Now that I've tried it, I can see there will be no turning back. Resist the urge to cook this more quickly and at a higher temperature as that will make the meat tougher. This was a lovely medium rare, pink and tender. Very tasty (I ended up having it in the marinade for a day and a half), and I kept eating until I was thinking I could eat no more. Luckily, there are leftovers that I will probably use in a version of Mediterranean tacos, so the deliciousness will continue.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:29 AM | Comments (3)
June 24, 2005

IMBB #16 - Eggs

This month's Is My Blog Burning? is being hosted by Seattle Bon Vivant, who chose the theme.... eggs! Having long thought of them as a sort of comfort food (my mom always used to make the most perfect poached eggs over toast when I was ill), it seemed an appealing and familiar theme ingredient. But I wanted to do something a bit different. First, I looked at several different variations on deviled eggs, including one that used whipped goat cheese. Despite being a fan of eggs, I've never really appreciated this particular dish and so thought it might be an interesting experiment. However, I also realized that I had, somehow, never attempted a frittata. Ergo...

Smoked-Salmon and Cream Cheese Frittata

8 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 TBSP basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil or vegetable oil
2 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon, chopped


Whisk together eggs, milk, chives, basil, pepper, and salt in a bowl.

Preheat broiler.

Heat oil in a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet (if handle is plastic, wrap it in a double layer of foil) over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Pour egg mixture into skillet and scatter cream cheese pieces on top, then cook, lifting up cooked egg around edges using a spatula to let raw egg flow underneath, until frittata is set on bottom and egg is almost set but still moist on top, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle salmon all over frittata, then press on salmon lightly and shake skillet to allow salmon to settle into top.

Broil frittata about 6 inches from heat until set, slightly puffed, and golden in patches, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Cool 5 minutes, then loosen edge with spatula and slide onto a large plate. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes: Though this is approximately four servings (or more with additional dishes, such as muffins or mini-bagels on the side), I polished it off with only the help of one taster.



Edited to add: Seattle Bon Vivant's Round-Up of the Event (Part I, Part II)

Posted by Jennifer at 10:49 AM | Comments (1)
June 18, 2005

Gorgonzola and Pear Risotto

Gorgonzola and Red Pear Risotto
based on a recipe from Bon Appetit (December 1997)

1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter
1 shallot, diced
1 cup arborio rice
4 cups (about) canned chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 ripe unpeeled red-skinned pear, halved, cored, diced
2 ounces, shiitake mushrooms, sliced

Bring broth and white wine to simmer in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; keep mixture warm.

Heat oil and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and rice and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of broth/wine mixture to rice. Simmer, stirring often. Mix in sage. Cook until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, adding remaining broth mixture 1/4 cupful at a time if risotto is dry. Mix in mushrooms, Gorgonzola and pear. Cook until cheese melts and pear is heated through, about 1 minute.

Notes: I didn't quite get the correct consistency on this one but it was very tasty and will be well worth trying again. With respect to the original recipe, I substituted chicken broth for the vegetable broth and bumped the amount of cheese up for more enriched taste. Also, the mushrooms added a nice texture contrast.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:19 PM | Comments (1)
June 15, 2005

Moroccan Rub

Moroccan Rub

2 TBSP paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne

For 1 1/2 pounds steak. Mix spice ingredients, except olive oil, in bowl. Using 3 TBSP of mixture, coat steak(s) well. Whisk olive oil with the rest of the rub and set aside. Cover steak(s) and refrigerate for one day. Heat the grill to medium-high and brush steaks with oil rub. Cook (five minutes per side for medium rare) and continue to baste with oil. Let rest 10 minutes under foil and serve.

Notes: This spice rub is from Marinades: the Secret of Great Grilling by Melanie Barnard. I used the same method here as in Spicy Steak Rub. A mild and complex taste, but it was agreed that the earlier recipe was the better of the two. Still, this was nice and easy cooking on a hot summer day. I might try the same mix with lamb burgers at some date in the future.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:42 PM | Comments (2)
June 14, 2005

Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili
based on a recipe from foodnetwork.com

1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP grill seasoning (used McCormick's Mesquite)
1/2 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP hot sauce (used Dumb Ass)
1 large onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup beer (used River Horse Summer Blonde Ale)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 cups frozen corn kernels (optional)

Heat a pot over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, and the turkey meat. Season the meat with: chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon into small crumbles.

Brown meat 5 minutes, then add onions and chopped peppers and cook 10 minutes more. Add beer and deglaze the pan, scraping up the drippings and cooking off the alcohol. Add tomato sauce and barbecue sauce and bring to a bubble. If using corn kernels add them now. Let chili simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and heat level to your taste. Remove from heat and serve with tortilla chips.

Notes: This was pretty darn spicy. It ended up setting up a steady burn that lasted many minutes after my serving had been consumed. So far I've had one other taster; they claimed it was too hot. I'm waiting on another opinion as I saved a couple servings worth in the freezer for a later date.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:10 PM | Comments (6)
June 8, 2005

Ginger Lime Shrimp Stirfry

Ginger Lime Shrimp

Asian Ginger Lime Marinade
(adapted from Marinades: the Secret of Great Grilling by Melanie Barnard)

3 TBSP lime juice
1 1/2 TBSP fish sauce
1 1/2 TBSP hoisin sauce
1 1/2 TBSP samba oelek
1 1/2 TBSP grated fresh ginger

In a small bowl combine the above ingredients. Place 1 pound medium shrimp in a single layer in a shallow glass dish. Add marinade, turning or stirring to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Stirfy in a little vegetable oil with carrot strips and snow peas. Serve over rice.

3 servings.

Notes: This was simple and quick. Fairly tasty though not fancy.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)
June 6, 2005

Spicy Steak Rub

Spicy Steak Rub

1 1/2 pounds steak

2 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBSP olive oil

Mix spice ingredients, except olive oil, in bowl. Using 3 TBSP of mixture, coat steak(s) well. Whisk olive oil with the rest of the rub and set aside. Cover steak(s) and refrigerate for one day. Heat the grill to medium-high and brush steaks with oil rub. Cook (five minutes per side for medium rare) and continue to baste with oil. Let rest 10 minutes under foil and serve.

Notes: This was actually my Memorial Day recipe but things have been very busy of late and I haven't had time to update the blog. In any case, I had in mind that I wanted to do some sort of Mexican-influenced spice rub for steak, but wasn't turning up what I was after exactly. I turned to Nick at The Original Hot Sauce Blog and Joe and Linda of The Hot Zone Online for advice, hoping their interest in all things spicy would be of assistance. I got some good suggestions, and eventually settled on the recipe above. And it turned out marvelous, if I do say so myself.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:44 PM | Comments (4)
May 29, 2005

Spiced Pork Chops & Peaches

Spiced Pork Chops & Peaches
from Eating Well (Summer 2003)

An exquisite spice blend of cardamom and curry dresses up pork chops and spotlights fresh peaches in this easy family supper.

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Four 4- to 5-ounce boneless loin pork chops (1/2 inch thick), trimmed of fat
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups thickly sliced peeled peaches (3 medium peaches)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

In a small bowl, stir brown sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice, soy sauce, cardamom, curry powder and pepper until the sugar dissolves. Lay pork chops in a 7-by-11-inch (or similar) shallow glass dish. Pour the spice mixture over the chops and turn to coat both sides. Let marinate for 10 to 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Shake excess marinade off the chops and place them in the skillet (reserve marinade). Cook until the chops are browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Meanwhile, add peaches to the reserved marinade and stir to coat.

Add the remaining 1/3 cup orange juice to the skillet and bring to a simmer, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, turning chops occasionally, until the chops are just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pork chops to a plate and set aside, covered loosely with foil.

Add the marinade and peaches to the skillet; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid is reduced to a light sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in any juices that have accumulated from the pork chops. To serve, spoon sauce and peach slices over the chops. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

Notes: The cardamom was decidedly more pronounced in this than I anticipated, but in a good way. Also - my pork chops from the local butcher were thicker, so I used just three and also let them simmer a few minutes longer. Plus, I didn't have mild curry powder on hand, having ordered the hotter version from Penzey's - so I used a generous 1/4 tsp. Personally, I liked the extra kick it gave and think it contrasted nicely with the citrus from the orange juice and the peaches (which got nice and soft and sort of roasty). A definite keeper and great for pre-summery weather.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:17 PM | Comments (4)
May 15, 2005

Cardamom-Crusted Pork

Cardamom Recipe #3

Cardamom Crusted Pork with Mushroom Sauce
adapted from Bon Appetit (November 2001)


3/4 cup chopped shallots
2 1/2 TBSP olive oil
1 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 boneless pork chops (about 1 pound)
1/2 lb. baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 TBSP flour
1/2 TBSP butter
parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Puree 1/4 cup shallots, 1 TBSP oil, 1 tsp cardamom and garlic in processor. Spread 1/4 cup of shallots in center of roasting pan; top with pork. Sprinkle pork generously with freshly ground black pepper; coat with puree mixture. Toss mushrooms, remaining shallots and 1 1/2 TBSP oil in bowl; sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper; arrange around pork.

Roast pork 15 minutes. Spoon mushrooms into large saucepan. Add 2/3 cup broth to roasting pan. Roast pork until cooked through, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer to platter and tent to keep warm.

Scrape juices from roasting pan into saucepan. Add cream, remaining 1/3 cup broth, and 1/8 tsp cardamom to pan; bring to a boil. Blend flour and butter in a small cup; mix into mushroom sauce. Cook sauce, stirring often, until reduced enough to coat spoon, about 5 minutes. Serve with pork, sprinkling whole dish with parsley.

Serves 2.

Notes: The original recipe calls for onions and is made with a pork rib roast. Since I was going for a smaller version and suspected that onions wouldn't have enough time to cook through and might give the dish a more bitter taste, I switched to the shallots. Overall, an interesting dish with a lot of texture, but some conflicting flavors. To be honest, I ended up liking the mushrooms and sauce more than the pork with its topping.

Served with Solaris 2003 Pinot Noir.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:30 PM | Comments (1)
May 13, 2005

Thai Shrimp Curry

Notes: Having been warned that focusing on one spice per month was a bit over-zealous on the tastebuds, this was attempted between stops on the cardamom trail. I think, perhaps, I was somewhat generous with the shrimp, a 1/2 pound would likely have been better. Served over rice. Tasty and spicy -- if you don't like heat, I'd take the thai green curry paste back to 1/2 TBSP.

Thai Shrimp Curry
adapted from Bon Appetite (February 2004)

1/2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 TBSP thai green curry paste
7 oz. coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
3 oz snow peas
3/4 pound cooked shrimp
1 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliceed


Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; stir-fry until soft and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add green onions and curry paste; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, fish sauce, and sugar; bring to boil. Add tomatoes and snow peas, and boil 2 minutes. Add shrimp and mushrooms, and cook just until shrimp is opaque in center, stirring often, about 3 minutes.

2 servings

Posted by Jennifer at 9:54 PM | Comments (1)
May 6, 2005

Cardamom and Black Pepper Chicken

Cardamom Recipe #2

There are many versions of this recipe floating around London's Indian restaurants, and it was probably created by a British-Indian chef. It is a quick and really delicious dish, perfectly geared to restaurant cooking since boneless chicken breasts are convenient to buy and prepare. The marination can be done ahead of time and individual orders take just minutes to cook.

Cardamom and Black Pepper Chicken
from from curries to kebabs

For marinating the chicken:
6 TBSP finely chopped onion
2-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound boned and skinned chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices

For cooking the chicken:
3 TBSP corn, peanut, or olive oil
1 medium stick of cinnamon
8 whole cardamom pods
1 cup onion, sliced into fine half rings
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4 TBSP plain yogurt
5 TBSP grated tomato
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garam masala
2 to 3 tsp lemon juice

To make the marinade: Put the onion, ginger, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper and 3 TBSP water into a blender. Blend to a smooth paste, pushing down with rubber spatula when needed.

To marinate the chicken: Put the sliced chicken in a bowl. Add the marinade and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

To make the dish: Pour the oil into a wide, nonstick pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cinnamon and cardamom. Stir for 10 seconds. Put in the onion and fry, stirring at the same time, for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the onion turns a reddish-brown color. Add the cumin and coriander. Stir once. Add the yogurt, 1 TBSP at a time, and stir until it is absorbed. Add the tomato and stir for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium, add the chicken, together with its marinade, and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the chicken pieces turn white. Add 3/4 cup water, the salt, and garam masala. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring now and then.

Serves 4.

Notes: I keep ginger in a jar in the fridge for ease of use, and used about 1 1/2 TBSP in this recipe, and might kick it up to 2 TBSP next time around. I ordered both black and green cardamom pods from Penzey's for this month's expeirments. I've never cooked with whole pods before. For this recipe, I used the green ones, even though the book didn't specify, as they are more common. I had the chicken in the marinade for the full three hours.

Mise en place is very important for this recipe as the ingredients are at first added in such quick succession. I also learned (after a quick online search) that grated tomato means exactly what it says - using the coarsest side of a box grater, which leaves just the pulp in your hand, but watch out for your fingertips. I served it over cous-cous, and the juices soaked down through. Very tasty. Though the book claims this serves 4, two of us shared this and had very little in the way of leftovers.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:04 PM | Comments (2)
May 1, 2005

Grilled Cardamom-Cumin Lamb Chops


On the weekend of April 30th-May 1st, was visiting tryslora's place for my first game of Dogs in the Vineyard (details over on Flaming Monkey). Saturday night, for dinner, we had a version of Cardamom-Cumin Lamb Chops that we grilled rather than sauteed. Naturally, it had a smokier taste, but the spices still came through. Served with a mix of carrots and french-cut green beans and sliced french bread. And thus, unofficially, cardamom month was begun.


Cardamom Recipe #1

Posted by Jennifer at 10:10 AM | Comments (1)
April 24, 2005

Carrot, Honey, and Ginger Soup

Carrot, Honey and Ginger Soup
from Hors D'Oeuvres by Erick Treuille & Victoria Blashford-Snell

(ingredients for 1/2 batch)
1 TBSP butter
3 cups carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 celery sticks, chopped
1/2 garlic clove, chopped
2 in piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 TBSP honey
2 TBSP heavy cream
chopped chives for garnish

Melt butter in pan over low heat. Add carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and ginger with a pinch of salt. Continue cooking covered, until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add stock and increase heat to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots cooked through, 15 minutes. Cool slightly, then place in blender; pulse to a smooth puree. Place a fine-mesh strainer over the rinsed-out pan and press the puree through. Discard remainder left behind. Add 2 TBSP water to the puree at a time to adjust the soup's thickness to the consistency of light cream. Heat soup through over medium heat. Add honey, cream, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. Sprinkle with chives to garnish.

Notes: The book this comes from calls for it to be served in demi-tasse cups (the ingredients above would make about 10 servings in that amount) and have a light cream consistency. I opted for something a little more substantive as I was serving it as a first course. Also, since ginger can come in various sizes, I had estimated a generous tablespoon to be an appropriate amount, but in retrospect should have increased it by at least half as much again. Still, it had a lovely texture and a refreshing taste (which was oddly not very carrot-y in the end).

Posted by Jennifer at 12:28 PM | Comments (1)

Sauteed Pheasant with Orange Gravy

Sauteed Pheasant with Orange Gravy
a Jennifer original

2 leg/thigh pieces pheasant (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/8 tsp pepper
1 TBSP cooking oil
1 TBSP butter
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
2 TBSP brown sugar, firmly packed
2 TBSP granulated sugar
2 TBSP orange peel
1 1/2 TBSP vermouth
1/4 cup water mixed with 1 tsp corn starch

Season pheasant with pepper. In a skillet over medium heat, melt oil and butter. Saute shallot until soft - about 2 minutes. Add pheasant for browning, about 3 minutes per side. Add chicken broth, cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, turning pheasant at the halfway point. Remove pheasant and keep warm. Add orange juice, brown sugar, sugar, orange peel, vermouth. Increase heat and reduce mixture in pan by about 1/2 the volume. Add water/corn starch mixture and stir to thicken.

Notes: Yum. Fresh Penzey's orange peel made this a very bright sauce. I was very pleased with how this came out and will certainly make it again at some point.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)

Cantaloupe Sorbet

A fresh, sweet melon is the only kind of melon that transforms into a fine sorbet...

Cantaloupe Sorbet
from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

1 small ripe cantaloupe
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Remove the rind and seeds from the melon. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes. You should have about 2 heaping cups of fruit. Place the cut-up melon in a blender with the orange-juice, sugar, and salt. Blend until the melon is pureed and the sugar has dissolved, about 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Stir the chilled mixture and then freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, the sorbet will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer sorbet, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Notes: At the recommendation of several other recipes, I also added a 1/2 tsp of lime to the mix. I have another recipe with the method which involves making and cooling syrup instead of just blending ingredients and I'd like to give that a try sometime in the future. This had a crisp taste which was quite a lovely way to clear the palate at the end of a food-filled evening.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:59 AM | Comments (7)
April 17, 2005

Chicken w/ Mango, Ginger, Cilantro

Broiled Chicken with Mango, Ginger and Cilantro
from Bon Appetit (February 1996)

Recipes with Cilantro #4

2 boneless chicken breast halves with skin
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup chopped peeled mango
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp lime juice

Preheat broiler. Lightly oil broiler pan. Using mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken lightly between sheets of waxed paper to even 1/2-inch thickness. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken, skin side up, on prepared pan. Broil until skin is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn chicken over and broil until cooked through but still juicy, about 3 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Add mango; saute until heated through and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cilantro and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Place chicken on plates. Top with warm mango mixture and serve.

Notes: Paired with Tohu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003. If compared to the original recipe in the magazine, one will find that I decreased the white wine vinegar above and added the lime juice. I don't think I got my chicken pounded quite thin enough as it took an extra 4 minutes to cook through. But, in the end, it came out juicy and I found the sauce had a nice mix of flavors.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:31 PM | Comments (1)
April 16, 2005

Grilled Steak with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

Grilled Steak with Spicy Cilantro Sauce
based on a recipe from Gourmet (June, 2001)

Recipes with Cilantro #3

Marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP medium-dry Sherry
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP minced garlic
1/2 TBSP Asian sesame oil
1/2 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes

Sauce:
6 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
2 1/2 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 TBSP lime juice
1 1/2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chili oil

3 blade steaks, about 1/2 pound each

Stir together ingredients for marinade in a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish until sugar is dissolved, then add steaks, turning to coat. Marinate steaks, turning once, at least 1 hour (preferably longer).

Prepare grill for cooking. When fire is medium-hot, grill steaks on a lightly oiled rack 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Let steaks stand on a cutting board 5 minutes.

While steak is resting, process ingredients for sauce in blender or small food processor. Top steaks with sauce. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Notes: This came out really well. I only ended up marinating the steaks about 3 hours, and would have been happier if I'd had longer. Regardless, well-seasoned. The sauce was such a hit that the rice served alongside became a conveyance device for eating more of it. Based on the taste, I think the sauce would also do well with chicken, and perhaps tuna.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:11 AM | Comments (6)
April 11, 2005

Cornmeal and Cilantro Crusted Pork Chops

Cornmeal and Cilantro Crusted Pork Chops
work-in-progress

Recipes with Cilantro #2

2 boneless pork chops
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk w/ 1 TBSP lemon juice)
3 TBSP fresh cilantro
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

Soak pork chops in buttermilk for 30 minutes. Wash and dry cilantro. Place on clean paper towel and microwave on high for 30 seconds (a trick I saw in a recent issue of Cook's Illustrated and decided to try out). Crumble into shallow bowl. Add cornmeal and parmesan; mix thoroughly. Remove chops from buttermilk and roll in cornmeal mixture.

Heat approximately 1 inch of oil in skillet over medium heat. Fry pork chops (covered) - about 7 minutes per side. Rest for 5 minutes on paper towel prior to plating and serving.

Notes: I set with a country-fried pork chop recipe in mind, and found several. However, since I am tentatively attempting to use cilantro as this month's cooking theme, I started hunting around for a more spicy alternative. Since I didn't find anything, I concocted this. I was pleased with the texture of the dish - crunchy coating and moist, tender meat. However, the taste wasn't quite what I'd been going for. I think the cilantro might need something else to contrast and balance it -- I had thought the cheese might serve in that capacity but it barely came through at all. Overall, I wouldn't be ashamed to serve it to guests but personally I think it needs further development. Oh, and I didn't love the microwave method for the herbs this time around, though I may give it another shot at some point in the future.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:44 AM | Comments (1)
April 8, 2005

Shrimp with Ginger-Herb Butter

Recipes with Cilantro #1

Shrimp with Ginger-Herb Butter
Bon Appetit (October 2003)

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil
24 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
Lime wedges

Preheat broiler. Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl until well blended; season to taste with salt and pepper. Brush 13x9x2-inch metal pan with some of seasoned butter. Arrange shrimp in single layer in prepared pan; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Spread all of butter mixture over shrimp, dividing equally. Broil shrimp just until opaque in center, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to plates. Spoon butter from pan over shrimp. Serve with lime wedges.

Makes 8 appetizer or 4 main-course servings.

Notes: I decreased the amount of butter to 4 TBSP. Also, the shrimp I had on hand were size 71/90 (for ease of repeating the recipe it ended up being a generous 1/2 pound). In retrospect, this is much more suitable to an appetizer or first course, possibly a meze menu. It needed something more substantitive than just crusty bread to accompany it. Perhaps a salad or soup prior to serving it as a main dish. Regardless, a very tasty dish with a hint of cilantro coming out in the mix of flavors and a bright taste that went well with the Villa del Borgo Forchir, Pinot Grigio, Friuli, 2002.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:07 PM | Comments (1)
April 7, 2005

Spinach and Orzo Salad

Spinach and Orzo Salad

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta
1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spinach, feta, onion, pine nuts, basil and white pepper. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Notes: This year I experimented with packing a dinner to eat en route to ACUS. I had a cooler that plugs into the car (with an extension for use with regular outlets). Our menu consisted of the recipe above, along with homemade bruschetta on garlic toast crackers, and smoked salmon. The salad worked out pretty well, though I discovered I had made far too much (even at just a half batch; a full is probably 8 healthy servings I'd guess) and more had to be eaten (and shared) upon arriving at the convention. A nice dish, though, and simple to make. Very pleasantly blended flavors and not at all your average pasta salad. It lasts about 3-4 days before the vinegar starts to turn it south. I expect it would be great for picnics.

For a lighter version, I've seen it recommended that one use low-fat feta and reduce the amount of pine nuts to to 6 TBSP (and toast them for more flavor).

Posted by Jennifer at 9:28 PM | Comments (2)
March 26, 2005

Salmon w/ Pecan Herb Crust

Made a version of Salmon with Almond Herb Crust. Replaced the almonds with pecans. And the basil with tarragon. Ended up needing to cook it 20 minutes at 325 degrees, and 10 more minutes at 375 degrees. An interesting alternate, but not as good as the almond version. Served with Monterey County 2003 Pinot Noir by Castle Rock.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:28 PM | Comments (1)
March 24, 2005

Cornmeal and Cumin Coated Pork Loin

Cornmeal and Cumin Coated Pork Loan
from Gourmet (March, 2000)

1 1/4 lb boneless pork loin, trimmed
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
3/4 tsp ground cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Pat pork dry and season with salt. Stir together cornmeal and cumin and transfer to a plate. Turn pork in cornmeal mixture to coat well and discard any remaining mixture.

Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet until hot but not smoking and brown pork, turning, about 3 minutes. Transfer pork to a shallow baking pan and roast in middle of oven until a thermometer inserted diagonally at least 2 inches into pork registers 155 F, 30 to 45 minutes. Let stand, loosely covered, 10 minutes. Cut pork into 12 slices (about 1/4 inch thick).

Notes: I rubbed the pork loin with just a bit of coarse salt (the original recipe calls for seasoning with salt and pepper). The cayenne above is my own addition to the recipe, and gave it a nice little zing. Simple to prepare (and I got to use my mortar and pestle on the cumin seeds - fun!). Tender and just a teensy bit pink in the middle; very tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:59 AM | Comments (4)
March 21, 2005

Ginger Beef

Ginger Beef
via Rogi's Giant Iron Wok

1 lb. lean beef, cut in thin strips across the grain
2 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP sherry
1/4 cup soy sauce
6 mushrooms thinly sliced
1 8 oz. can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1 chunk ginger, size of a walnut, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 stalks green onion, cut in 1 inch pieces
3 TBSP oil
3/4 cup beef stock

Marinate the beef in 1 TBSP cornstarch, 1 TBSP sugar, soy sauce, 1/3 of the ginger, and the sherry (or water) for 15 minutes. Place in small bowl 1/2 tsp cornstarch and 1/2 cup beef broth, set aside. Heat wok over high heat. Add 1 TBSP oil to wok after it is very hot. Stir fry mushrooms and green onions until barely tender, about 1 minute. Add bamboo shoots, stir fry 1 minute. Add 1/2 tsp sugar, and 1/4 cup beef broth. Stir fry 1 minute. Remove from wok. Add 2 TBSP oil to wok and heat. Stir fry the ginger, garlic and beef 1 minute, or until barely browned. Add sauce mixture and stir until thickened. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and green onions. Serve with rice.

Notes: I've been meaning to try something out from Rogi's site for a while. The dishes always look so interesting. But often they have an ingredient or two that isn't easy for me to come by. The directions on his site didn't list an amount for the soy sauce so I made my best guess and have edited that in above, and left out the salt elsewhere in the recipe to compensate. Also, for my mushrooms I used shiitake. I might've tried oyster as well, but they weren't available. I think it came out pretty well, though it was a very beige dish and I might at some point in the future want to find a way to give it more color. Still, very tasty and I'm glad I gave it a shot.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:39 PM | Comments (2)
March 16, 2005

Orange-Soy Braised Pork Ribs

Orange-Soy Braised Pork Ribs
from Gourmet (January 2005)

A long, slow braise is the secret to tender meat that falls off the bone.

4 lb country-style pork ribs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Special equipment: an 11- by 17-inch flameproof roasting pan

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325 F.

Sprinkle ribs evenly with salt.

Bring orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and pepper to a boil in roasting pan over moderately high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add ribs in 1 layer using tongs, turning to coat, and cover pan tightly with foil.

Braise ribs in oven until very tender, about 2 hours. (If making ahead, see cooks' note, below.)

Before serving:
Reduce oven temperature to 200 F.

Transfer ribs to a baking dish, arranging them in 1 layer, and keep warm in oven.

Skim fat from cooking liquid if desired, then make glaze by boiling liquid, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Brush glaze generously on ribs.

Cooks' note:
Ribs can be braised 5 days ahead and cooled completely in cooking liquid, uncovered, then chilled, covering them once they are completely cold. To reheat, set roasting pan with ribs and cooking liquid over moderate heat, covered with foil. Simmer, covered, turning once, until they are heated through, about 15 minutes, then transfer ribs to a baking dish and keep warm. Make glaze as directed.

Notes: Easy to prepare, but very hard to clean up after (I was still scrubbing the stove-top off this morning). But quite well-received and tangy in a mild way not at all like traditional BBQ and very interesting. I'm debating adding just a touch of red pepper flakes to the recipe the next time for a bit of contrast. I recommend using a low-sodium soy sauce as otherwise I suspect the dish will come out too salty.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:25 PM | Comments (2)
March 13, 2005

Spiced Biscotti

Spiced Biscotti
from Baking Illustrated

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground white (or black) pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vaniila extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spice and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk the sugar, eggs, and yolks in a large bowl to a light lemon color; stir in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the egg mixture, then fold in until dough is just combined.

Halve the dough and turn each portion onto the prepared baking sheet. Using floured hands, quickly stretch each portion of dough into a rough 13 by 2-inch loaf. Place the loaves about 3 inches apart on the baking sheet; pat each one smooth. Bake untli the loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Remove the baking sheet from oven and place it on a wire rack.

Cool the loaves for 10 minutes; lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the loaves to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut each loaf diagonally into 3/8-inch-thick-slices. Lay the slices about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet, cut-side up, and return them to the oven. Bake, turning over each cookie halfway through baking, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely. Store in airtight container up to one month.

Makes about 50.

If you like, macerate 3/4 cup currants, chopped rasins, or dates in 1/4 cup brandy or Marsala for about 1 hour. Drain and fold into dough in step 2, adding a teaspoon or so of the macerating liquid.

Notes: Only my second attempt at baking biscotti. The first was Chocolate Chip Biscotti made about a year ago. This was quite different and a non-butter recipe, which according to the very informative article included in the cookbook, will also give it a longer shelf-life and a more enduring taste. But the additional yolks provide it with a rich taste that can compete with the butter-based style recipes. I took half a batch to ATD yesterday and they didn't last long, which I'll take as confirmation that the group agreed with my opinion that these were quite tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:07 PM | Comments (1)
March 12, 2005

Chicken in Tarragon Cream

Chicken in Tarragon Cream
from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld

If you're an herb lover, this dish, which takes 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish, will become a standard in your repertoire.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 3 TBSP)
1/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 TBSP coarsely chopped fresh French tarragon
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken about 1 minute each side until they begin to brown slightly. Transfer to plate.

Reduce the heat in the skillet to low. Add the shallot and cook, stirring continuously, until softened but not browned, less than 1 minute. Add the vermouth and cook 30 seconds, then add the cream and half the tarragon. Return chicken to pan and adjust heat so cream gently simmers. Cook until chicken is just cooked through (the cookbook says 4-6 minutes, mine took about 8).

Transfer the chicken to a warmed serving platter or individual dinner plates. The sauce should be thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. If it's too thin, continue to simmer for about 1 minute. Stir in remaining tarragon and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken and serve right away.

Serves 4.

Notes: It's actually been two to three weeks since I made this. I have quite a backlog of posting to do at this point. However, I know this cookbook has never let me down yet, and that still holds true. Though my memories of this dish are not as clear and vital as I'd like, I know it was good. Just perhaps not as remarkable as some others. Faint praise, perhaps. Mise en place is particularly germane in this case as the ingredients are added to the skillet in quick succession. Otherwise, the ease of making this recipe has much to recommend it as well.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:32 AM | Comments (1)
March 9, 2005

Pear Stuffed Pork Chops

Pear Stuffed Pork Chops
a Jennifer original

2 boneless pork chops, about 1 inch thick

Stuffing:
1 TBSP olive oil
1 shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Anjou pear, diced
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/3 cup blue cheese
1/3 cup pecans

Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Saute shallots and garlic for about 2 minutes (until soft). Add pears, sage, salt and pepper (to taste). Saute until pears are soft -- about 5 minutes. Remove to a separate dish to cool. Reserve skillet. Add blue cheese and pecans to stuffing and stir to combine.

Make pockets in pork chops and fill with stuffing, using toothpicks to secure the openings. Grill 2 boneless pork chops 6 minutes per side (these were done in a cast iron covered grill pan at medium heat). Tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. While waiting, make sauce.

Sauce:
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
6 TBSP white wine
1 TBSP butter

Deglaze skillet with balsamic vinegar and white wine. Reduce liquid by half and thicken with TBSP of butter. Plate pork chops and spoon sauce over top. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

Notes: This was inspired by the winning entry created by Paige Mahaney in the "Garden Meets Grill" cookoff, which was judged by, among others, Alton Brown. I hadn't quite the same access to ingredients and accoutrements, so my dish is decidedly different. However, it was agreed that it was the best adaption to a "Jennifer Original" yet witnessed by this kitchen. A definite keeper and one I don't know how to improve! Served with Monkey Bay 2004 Sauvignon Blanc.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:13 PM | Comments (2)
February 9, 2005

BLT Smashed Potatoes

BLT Smashed Potatoes
by Rachel Ray, as cooked by Peter Wheeler

2 1/2 pounds small red skin new potatoes
1 leek, trimmed of tough tops
4 slices thick cut smoky bacon, chopped, such as applewood smoked bacon
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1 vine ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
1 cup sour cream, to pass at table

Cut larger potatoes in half, leave very small potatoes whole. Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook potatoes 12 to 15 minutes until tender. Cut leek in half lengthwise. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Place leeks in big bowl of water and release all the dirt from them with a good swish, separating all the layers. Drain leeks in a colander. Put a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil into a hot nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Cook bacon 3 to 5 minutes until it begins to crisp and has rendered most of its fat. Add leeks to the skillet and cook 3 to 5 minutes more until the leeks are tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Smash the potatoes with the chicken stock. Add the BLT: bacon, leeks and tomatoes to the potatoes and continue to smash. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to your taste. Top potatoes with a dollop of sour cream.

Notes: These were made for me by a good friend and great cook. I had three helpings and would have kept going except that I thought my tummy might not appreciate such over-indulgence later. Excellent and I hope to make them myself soon.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)
February 2, 2005

Shrimp & Orzo

Jennifer Garner's Shrimp and Orzo

1 cup dry orzo
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 can (28 oz) whole, peeled tomatoes
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1 TBSP capers
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 lb medium shelled and deveined shrimp
1/2 cup feta

Cook orzo in boiling water according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add wine and cook 1 minute. Toss in drained tomatoes (reserve 1/2 cup juice). Break tomatoes into chunks. Add reserved juice, parsley, capers, oregano, basil, black pepper, and red pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes or until shrimp become opaque. Add cooked orzo to skillet. Mix well. When pasta is thoroughly heated, stir in feta. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: It wasn't the fact that I've been watching ALIAS on and off that attracted me to this one. I was looking for something simple with pasta but a little out of the ordinary. This fit the bill. And proved to be quite tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:01 PM | Comments (1)
January 31, 2005

Crab Stuffed Salmon

Crab Stuffed Salmon
(cobbed together from various sources)

8 oz. salmon filet

4 oz. crabmeat
3 TBSP Butter
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 egg
1 tsp Dijon mustard
dash Worcestershire
pinch Pepper
pinch Salt
1/2 cup Bread crumbs

Saute green onions over medium high heat in the butter until tender. Beat egg then add mustard, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, bread crumbs. Add to pan. Mix in crab until well combined and refrigerate until ready to stuff the salmon. (Stuffing should be allowed to cool before inserting in uncooked salmon.)

Place stuffing in salmon filet, fold over, and secure. Cook in pre-heated 400 degree oven, 10 minutes for every inch thickness of folded fish.

Notes: I think I've decided the stuffing is a bit on the bland side and I'm not entirely sure how to dress it up. Most of the recipes I found are for stuffed flounder, but most whitefish or flat-fish types aren't popular in this household (well, except with me), so I decided to try it out on salmon. Tonight's filet took 25 minutes to cook through. Oh - and note to self, remove plastic top of glass Pyrex dish prior to putting in the oven. Sigh. Just not my night, apparently.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:44 PM | Comments (17)
January 28, 2005

Gorgonzola Penne

Gorgonzola Sauce
from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1/4 pound gorgonzola at room temperature
1/3 cup milk
3 TBSP butter
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 pounds pasta
1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano

Choose flameproof serving ware that can subsequently accomodate all the pasta. Combine gorgonzola, milk, butter and salt over low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon, mashing the cheese and incorporating it with the milk and butter. Cook until sauce has a dense, creamy consistency. Take off the heat until you are nearly ready to drain the pasta.

Just before draining the pasta, add the heavy cream to the sauce and stir over medium-low heat until thickened. Add the cooked drained pasta and toss. Add the grated cheese and toss until melted. Serve immediately from the pan with additional grated cheese on the side.

Serves 6.

Notes: This really did turn out rather yummy, but if you compare what I've written above with what is actually written in the cookbook, you'll see I took some liberties in approach. I was once again reminded that I'm not pleased with how this cookbook is written. The language isn't always clear (for instance, she says you reduce the sauce, not that you thicken it, but over medium-low heat it's not really going to do much in the way of reduction). Her instructions were also very particular about the gorgonzola, especially in the type (which I didn't really have much choice about) and in not using it cold (which was helpful). Since I was cooking for two, I only made about 1/3 pound of pasta (I used penne) and didn't end up with much extra sauce (perhaps I'm too generous, but I would have felt I was stretching the sauce with almost 4 times the pasta).

Served with rosemary olive oil bread and my roasted tomatoes (with cheese and oregano). Parker Station Pinot Noir 2003 was the accompanying wine, medium-bodied with a smooth texture; a bit fruity on the palate with a hint of something sharp and spicy in the finish. By my estimation, a pleasant but not challenging beverage.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:39 AM | Comments (2)
January 21, 2005

Veal & Gorgonzola

Veal Scaloppine with Gorgonzola Sauce
Bon Appetite (April, 1999)

1 cup beef stock or canned beef broth
1 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 pound veal scaloppine
All purpose flour
3 tablespoons (about) olive oil

1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup chopped seeded plum tomatoes
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Boil both stocks in medium saucepan until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle veal with salt and pepper. Dredge veal in flour to coat; shake off excess. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add veal and saute until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer veal to platter; tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining veal, adding more oil to skillet as necessary.

Add reduced stock mixture, cream, 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 4 tablespoons basil and tomato paste to skillet. Simmer until reduced to sauce consistency, whisking frequently, about 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup Gorgonzola; stir until melted.

Pour sauce over veal. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons basil and 1/3 cup Gorgonzola.

Serves 4.

Notes: A relatively easy recipe. The preparation time was minimal -- more of it taken up by waiting for the broth to reduce than by chopping up ingredients. The sauce came out somewhat thinner than I anticipated. Perhaps I'll let the second stage reduce a bit longer next time before adding the cheese. Still, it was tasty -- though I feared the gorgonzola might overpower the dish, that wasn't the case, and the tomatoes provided a nice contrasting brightness, both in flavor and color. Definitely worth revisiting.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)
January 16, 2005

Marinated Rabbit Stew

Marinated Rabbit Stew

3-4 lb. rabbit, cut up
1/3 c. olive oil
3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. dried rosemary - or - 1 TBSP fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2-3 TBSP. butter
1/4 c. Madeira or dry sherry
3 c. chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
Parsley for garnish

Rinse rabbit and pat dry. Place into deep bowl or plastic bag. Set aside. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, lemon rind, garlic, rosemary and fennel. Pour over rabbit. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Drain and place rabbit pieces on waxed paper. Sprinkle on both sides with salt, black pepper and flour.

Heat butter in heavy skillet and brown rabbit until golden. Transfer to deep casserole. Add Madeira or sherry to pan. Heat to boiling. Add broth. Boil and scrape pan clean. Pour over rabbit. Add bay leaf. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until rabbit is very tender. Remove rabbit to serving dish and keep warm.

Add flour to skillet. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons juices to make a paste. Gradually add remaining juices. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Pour sauce over rabbit and garnish with parsley.

Notes: I made this about two weeks ago, and I still remember how marvelous it tasted. I don't come by rabbit very often, but I'll be sure to use this recipe again when I do.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:38 PM | Comments (1)
December 27, 2004

Green Bean and Portobello Casserole

Green Bean and Portobello Casserole

4 slices bacon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic
1/3 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon white pepper
2 (15.5 ounce) cans French cut green beans, drained
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Place bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and fry until crisp. Remove from the skillet to drain on paper towels. Pour olive oil into the skillet, and reduce heat to medium. When oil is hot, add mushrooms and onion; cook, stirring frequently until the onions start to become translucent. Add garlic, and fry for a couple of minutes, just until fragrant. Stir in the mushroom soup and almonds, and bring to a boil. Season with white pepper and paprika, and crumble in the bacon. Gently stir in the green beans, then transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle Cheddar cheese over the top. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: For those who read this and know me personally, yes, this was really a casserole and it was actually all mixed together. Despite this, I found it -- not bad. And except for my youngest sister and my uncle (who has very particular tastes), it was well-received. Not a bad score in my huge clan. It was made in substitution of the dish usually provided by my sister-in-law at the holiday dinner as she could not attend this year.

Also -- I made it ahead up to the point where the cheese is added. It transported easily in the casserole dish, and when we were ready to eat, we reheated it and then finished the last step.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:41 PM | Comments (0)
December 20, 2004

Veal Scaloppine with Tomato, Oregano and Capers

Veal Scaloppine with Tomato, Oregano, and Capers
from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

2 1/2 TBSP vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves peeled
1 pound veal scaloppine
flour, spread on a plate
salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, chopped with juice
1 TBSP butter
1 tsp fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
2 TBSP capers, rinsed and drained

Put the oil and garlic in a skillet, turn on the heat to medium, and cook the garlic until it becomes colored a light brown. Remove it from the pan and discard it.

Turn up the heat to medium high, dredge the veal in flour, and brown quickly on both sides, about 1/2 minute per side. Transfer to a warm plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Over medium high heat, add the wine and deglaze. Add the chopped tomatoes with their juice and stir to coat well. Add the butter and any drippings that have accumulated on the veal plate. Adjust heat to cook at a steady, but gentle simmer.

After 15-20 minutes, when fat floats free of the tomatoes, add the oregano and capers, stir thoroughly, then return the veal to the pan and turn in the tomato sauce to reheat. Serve at once.

Notes: I must admit - I'm just not in love with the organization of this cookbook. I've written out all the instructions here. However, in the book itself, one is often required to flip back and forth between several recipes for earlier methods that have already been applied. Still, despite this, I've yet to make a recipe from this collection that I didn't like. Indeed, this was very tasty, though the sauce didn't quite have the consistency that I expected from the description of the dish - if it were a different type of cuisine I'd call it more of a warm salsa. In any case, the capers were certainly a nice contrast to the tomatoes and I think I'll likely make this one again sometime.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:36 PM | Comments (0)
December 19, 2004

Braised Lamb in Yogurt Sauce

Braised Lamb in Yogurt Sauce
-a work in progress-

2 shoulder lamb chops
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP water (or maybe, white wine)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 small shallot, diced
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes with liquid

Rub coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and garlic powder into chops. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Brown lamb chops, about 3 minutes per side. Remove chops and pour off fat. Add 1 TBSP water and deglaze. Saute shallot. Return lamb to skillet and cover with tomatoes and yogurt. Braise 20 minutes, turning once about 1/2 way through.

Notes: My idea for this came from reading several recipes for braised lamb shanks and the memories of one of my favorite dishes at the Istanbul Cafe, finest Turkish restaurant in Connecticut. It didn't come out quite the way I envisioned. Though the chops were certainly tender and the seasoning was delicious, the tomato/yogurt concept didn't work out as anticipated. Because, of course, the yogurt separated - so I didn't end up with the sauce I wanted. Rather tasty anyway, and I have a couple ideas for "fixing" it the way I'd like it to be: (1) braising it in just the tomato, perhaps with some wine or water for extra liquid and adding just a 1/2 cup of yogurt towards the end to thicken things up and make them creamy, and (2) cooking the lamb chops a bit more on the first phase so that I can get rid of more of the fat so that it doesn't have so much of an effect on the consistency of the sauce.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:28 PM | Comments (2)
December 6, 2004

Pheasant in Mustard Sauce

Pheasant in Mustard Sauce

2 leg/thigh pieces pheasant (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

Sprinkle pheasant with pepper. In a skillet over medium heat, brown pheasant in oil and butter on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Combine onion, garlic, broth, lemon juice, mustard and marjoram; add to skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until pheasant juices run clear.

Notes: This was adapted from a recipe from backwoodsbound.com -- and though the portions were small it turned out fairly well. I think it could be used on boneless chicken breast to good effect, and in fact, I measured the doneness of the meat by inserting my digital thermometer set to it's "chick" parameter of about 180 degrees.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)
November 27, 2004

Sweet Potatoes and Pears

Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Pears
Bon Appetit (November, 1994)

5 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large firm but ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/3 inch-thick slices
3/4 cup (or more) pear nectar

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (generous) ground cardamom

Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2 - inch glass baking dish. Pierce potatoes in several places with fork. Place on baking sheet; bake until very tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Reduce temperature to 350 F.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pears; saute until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup nectar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until pears are very tender, adding more nectar if mixture sticks to skillet and stirring often, about 4 minutes. Transfer to processor and puree.

Peel sweet potatoes; place in large bowl of electric mixer. Add 4 tablespoons butter; beat until smooth. Mix in pear puree, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to prepared dish. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Bake potatoes uncovered until just heated through, about 20 minutes.

Notes: I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes but they are a staple, of course, at Thanksgiving. So, I set out to find a recipe that might be a bit different than the popular marshmallow-topped one. Though I was nervous about finding pear nectar (but it turned up in the local Stop'n'Shop), this was my pick. And it proved quite popular - the pears contrasted nicely with the sweet potatoes and made the texture of the dish more appealing to me. Plus, the cardamom and cinnamon gave it a more complex taste.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:48 AM | Comments (1)
November 26, 2004

Cranberry Apple Chutney

Cranberry Apple Chutney
Gourmet (November, 2004)

2 lb Gala apples (about 4)
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 lb fresh or frozen cranberries (2 cups), thawed if frozen

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 400 F. Peel, halve, and core apples, then cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Stir together with remaining ingredients except cranberries in a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish and spread in an even layer.

Roast apple mixture, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Remove dish from oven and stir in cranberries, then continue roasting until cranberries are softened and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Serve chutney warm or at room temperature.

Chutney can be made 3 days ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered.

Notes: Made this one up on Tuesday for the Thursday Thanksgiving feast. We actually ended up with three different cranberry dishes being donated by various attendees. This one proved most popular, and I was complimented on the combination of the tastes of the cranberries and apples and people seemed pleasantly surprised by the little bursts of flavor from the mustard seeds. I'd judge this one a success.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:36 PM | Comments (4)
November 19, 2004

Salmon w/ Mustard Maple Sauce

Salmon with Mustard Maple Sauce
from Gourmet (January 2003)

4 (6- to 7-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (1 1/4 inches thick), skinned
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/4 cup chopped scallion greens

Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute salmon in 2 batches, starting with skinned sides up and turning over once, until just cooked through, 6 to 9 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter and keep warm, covered.

Remove skillet from heat and cool 1 minute. Whisk in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over salmon.

Notes: Came out fine. Though it was a dish lacking in complexity and had a sameness of taste throughout that made it less challenging than some others I've attempted. And the scallions quite overwhelmed the other flavors, so I might put in less of them. The best part was the scraped up salmon bits from the pan that ended up in the sauce and gave it a more interesting texture. Someone recommended adding a dash of lime juice to the sauce and, should I ever make it again, I might try that in an attempt to give it a little more depth.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:33 PM | Comments (3)
October 25, 2004

Porcini Risotto

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms
derived from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

1/2 cup canned beef broth diluted with 2 cups water
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP chopped shallot
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted
the filtered water from mushroom soak
black pepper (to taste)
3 TBSP freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Soak 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms in 1 cup barely warm water for 30 minutes. Lift out the mushrooms and squeeze as much water as possible back into the pan. Reserve water for later use. Rinse the mushrooms several times in fresh changes of water and then let dry on paper towels.

Bring the broth to a very slow, steady simmer.

Put 1/2 TBSP butter and 1/2 TBSP oil and chopped shallot into a broad, sturdy pot and turn on heat to medium high. Cook and stir until shallot becomes translucent, then add the rice. Stir quickly and thoroughly until grains are well-coated.

Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly until there is no more liquid in the pot. Add the reconstituted mushrooms and 1/2 the filtered water. Continue to stir until there is no more liquid and then add remaining filtered water. When that is used up, add broth 1/4 cup at a time until rice is finished cooking. It should be tender, but firm to the bite.

Off heat, add a few grindings of fresh pepper and the grated Parmesan. Stir until cheese is melted and clings to rice. Serve with additional grated cheese on the side.

Notes: The stirring, the stirring... But always so worthwhile. One must remember to start the mushrooms soaking well before one wishes to eat so dinner is before 8:30pm. Also, the recipe in the book called for onion, but I substituted shallots as I prefer them. This is not a well-organized cookbook either -- better for reading than for following a recipe as this required references to two other sections of the book that I have here combined into one convenient location. This makes two very generous portions; perhaps three reasonable portions.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
October 23, 2004

Pollo Almendrado

Chicken in Almond Sauce
Gourmet (March, 2004)

Ground almonds create texture and thicken the sauce of pollo almendrado in homage to New York's large Mexican and Central American population.

1/4 cup + 1/8 cup sliced almonds
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican), crumbled
1 Turkish bay leaf
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bacon slices, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Toast 1/8 cup almonds in non-stick frying pan until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely grind remaining 1/4 cup almonds in a food processor about 1 minute (don't grind to a paste).

Pat chicken dry and season with salt (if desired).

Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then toast ground almonds, cinnamon stick, oregano, and bay leaf, stirring constantly, until almonds are pale golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe skillet clean.

Heat oil in skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute chicken, turning over once, until golden, about 5 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add bacon to skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until bacon begins to render fat and turn golden, about 1 minute. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in ground- almond mixture and chicken broth and boil, scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Stir in pepper and salt (to taste). Add chicken, turning to coat, then reduce heat to moderate and simmer, covered, until chicken is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and sliced almonds. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Serve chicken with sauce spooned on top.

Notes: This recipe adjusted for two servings (rather than the 6 in the original) -- the amount of "sauce" generated in my version would probably also work for 4 chicken breast halves, but more than that would require doubling. I toast my almonds on stove-top instead of in the oven as the magazine preferred. Personally, I wouldn't add any salt when seasoning as the bacon already provides plenty. The sauce ends up being a fairly thickly textured mix with not much liquid. This wasn't like any of the other dishes I've prepared of late (or even in recent history), and I enjoyed trying something a bit offbeat. Tasty and surprising. While it looks like it has a lot of steps, it's actually quite simple to make.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:05 AM | Comments (1)
October 21, 2004

Pork Chops and Dill

Pork Chops with Sour Cream-Dill Sauce
Bon Appetit (April, 1995)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large sirloin pork chops (each about 1/2 inch thick)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons paprika
1 small garlic clove, crushed
3/4 cup (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Place 1/3 cup flour in shallow bowl. Coat pork chops with flour, shaking off excess. Add to skillet and cook until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Drain all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Add onion to skillet and saute until light golden, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and crushed garlic clove and stir 30 seconds. Mix in 3/4 cup chicken broth, marjoram and caraway seeds. Simmer 3 minutes. Return pork chops to skillet. Cover and simmer until pork chops are almost cooked through, adding more chicken broth by tablespoonfuls if liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low.

Whisk 1 cup sour cream, chopped fresh dill and remaining 1 tablespoon flour in small bowl to blend. Add to skillet and stir until pork chops are tender and sauce thickens, about 5 minutes (do not boil).

Transfer pork chops to platter. Spoon sauce over and serve.

Notes: Don't try this one if you're not a big fan of dill. I don't mind dill, but I found it rather drowned out a lot of the other flavors. Next time I'll probably take the dill down a notch - maybe even half the amount. And Michael suggested that a bit of acidity would off-set the sauce and give it a more complex taste -- so, perhaps a dash of lemon juice next time, too.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)
October 20, 2004

Not-Stroganoff

When I went to visit Deb over the weekend, she and her better half decided to experiment upon me and made not-stroganoff (as she has so aptly named it). Her recipe is here (and I put it behind the cut for my own reference later). It was exceedingly tasty, but I found the basil at the end perhaps a bit mild and had suggested the possibility of trying tarragon, but wonder if it's too strong. Glancing through the Penzey's catalog has not yielded a better suggestion, however.

Not-Stroganoff

Step 1
1 lb ground beef or buffalo

Spice Mixture:
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp rosemary

Sprinkle the beef with spice mixture and brown. Drain off fat, remove from skillet, and keep warm.

Step 2
1 onion chopped small
2 T garlic
3 T horseradish mustard
1/2 c red wine
2 cans beef broth (chicken stock'll do in a pinch)
4 small cans mushrooms (or equivalent sliced fresh)
more rosemary and basil to taste

Add 2tsp olive oil to pan. Sweat onions and garlic together until translucent. Add mustard. Deglaze with wine, then add broth and mushrooms and herbs. Simmer while cooking a pound of spaghetti.

Step 3
6 oz goat cheese
1/2 c feta cheese
fresh basil (or tarragon?)

Stir in cheeses until melted. Drain away any more fat that has collected in beef, and add the beef back to the pan. Stir to heat through.

Add fresh herbs. Toss with pasta and serve.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:26 AM | Comments (2)
October 19, 2004

Chicken with Vinegar

Saute of Chicken Breasts with Vinegar
from Cooking One on One by John Ash

4 skin-on boneless chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
5 TBSP butter
3 TBSP chopped shallots or green onions
1 TBSP finely chopped garlic
1/3 cup cider vinegar (or red or white wine vinegar)
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 TBSP tomato paste
2 tsp freshly chopped tarragon leaves
2 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Lightly season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a saute pan large enough to hold the breasts in one layer, heat the olive oil and 2 TBSP of the butter over medium heat. Place the chicken in the pan skin side down and cook until golden brown. Turn over and cook until just done - about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter and keep warm.

Add shallots and garlic to pan and saute until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the vinegar and stock, stirring to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and reduce the liquid over high heat until lightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the tomato paste and and chicken juices from the platter, then take the pan off the heat and whisk in the remaining 3 TBSP of butter. Stir in the herbs and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the pan sauce around the chicken and serve immediately.

Notes: This came out fine, but I found it rather too mild for my palate. I wanted the herbs to have a bolder impact. I'm not sure I'll end up making it again since I have so many great pan sauces to choose from.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:51 PM | Comments (0)
October 11, 2004

Fresh Apple Bread

It must be autumn. Baking has begun. I already have a double batch of peanut butter cookies into the freezer. Last week I went and picked up some apples from the local orchard, but wanted to try something other than pie. I made this for the folks at ATD, though there's another in my freezer for later.

Fresh Apple Bread

1 c Sugar
1 ts Baking soda
1/2 c Shortening
1 c Broken pecan pieces
2 Eggs; beaten
1 1/2 tb Buttermilk
1 c Tart apples; ground or grate
1/2 ts Vanilla
2 c All purpose flour; sifted
3 tb Sugar
1/2 ts Salt
1 ts Cinnamon

Cream sugar and shortening; add eggs and apples. Sift dry ingredients together. Mix with sugar mixture; add pecans. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Pour into greased 10x6x3 inch loaf pan. Mix sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over top. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Notes: Nice taste but perhaps a bit on the dry side for me. I have a few alternate recipes to try, though, and plenty of apples left, so I'm sure I'll hit on the one I want eventually. Oh, and we used walnuts instead of pecans.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:00 PM | Comments (0)
September 17, 2004

Chicken with Lemon and Spices

Chicken with Lemon and Spices
from Bon Appetit (October, 1999)

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sour cream

Mix chicken, lemon juice and turmeric in medium bowl. Marinate 30 minutes.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and cumin seeds and saute until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken with marinade; saute until most of marinade evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices, chili powder, salt and paprika. Cover; simmer 7 minutes. Uncover; simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens, about 8 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Mix in sour cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: The only thing I did differently in this one was not chop up the chicken since we were serving it as the main dish with bread on the side (the recipe recommends basmati). One of the reasons this was chosen was that my last order from Penzey's included turmeric, which I had never cooked with before (hence, why I purchased it). In any case, this came out just right - with a complex flavor of the blended spices and an undertone of lemon that was a nice accent. And it was delightfully simple to make. Plus, as a one-pot dish, it becomes a candidate for cooking at ACUS.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:51 AM | Comments (3)
August 6, 2004

Hoisin and Honey Glazed Pork Chops

Hoisin and Honey Glazed Pork Chops
from Gourmet (January 2004)

1 bunch scallions
1/4 cup Asian oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 (1-inch-thick) pork chops (2 lb total)

Accompaniment: cooked rice

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400 F.

Cut scallions diagonally into 2-inch pieces.

Whisk together remaining ingredients except pork in a large bowl. Add scallions and pork, turning pork to coat generously with sauce.

Arrange pork in 1 layer in a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan (1 inch deep). Spoon remaining sauce with scallions over pork and roast until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Turn on broiler and broil pork 5 to 6 inches from heat until top is slightly caramelized, 2 to 5 minutes. Let stand, uncovered, 5 minutes. Serve pork topped with any pan juices.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: Either my oven is starting to go, or this definitely needs the full 20 minutes. Of course, the pork chops from my local butcher are also pretty thick. In any case, with a little judicious help, it was cooked through. The taste was interesting, but not especially imaginative or challenging. It was easy to make, though, and I could certainly appreciate its simplicity after a long work day.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:26 PM | Comments (2)
July 25, 2004

Chicken with Shiitake

Braised Chicken with Shiitakes and Snap Peas
from Blue Ginger by Ming Tsai

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
8 chicken thighs
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger root finely chopped
4 scallions white and green parts sliced 1/8 inch thick and reserved separately
2 cups shiitake mushrooms (caps) cut in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup chicken stock

In a medium baking dish, combine the sesame oil, oyster sauce, and cornstarch and mix. Add the chicken, turn to coat, and allow to marinate, covered, about 30 minutes.

Fill in a bowl with cold water and add ice. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the snap peas to the boiling water, and cook until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and transfer the peas to the bowl. When cold, drain and set aside.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and season with the salt and ground pepper. Heat a large work over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic, ginger, and the white parts of the scallions and stir-fry until fragrant and lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and shiitakes and saute, turning as necessary, until both are brown, about 8 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Add the reserved peas, stir until heated through, about 2 minutes, and correct the seasonings. Divide among 4 plates, garnish with the cracked peppercorns and green scallions, and serve.

Notes: Finally posted after Julia asked about it last night. This is the one with which I made myself a touch ill the week before last. I think I've determined that since I was using just an ordinary skillet and Ming's directions call for a wok that what probably happened is I didn't cook the chicken quite enough. So, next time I'm either going to use the wok or up both the quantity of chicken stock and the cooking time. After all, it's hard to overcook chicken when braising. All the same, at least it tasted good, even if I had to pay for it later.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)
July 14, 2004

Lemon-Garlic Lamb Chops

Lemon-Garlic Lamb Chops with Yogurt Sauce
Gourmet (January 2000)

For yogurt sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

For chops
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (1/2-inch-thick) shoulder lamb chops
1 tablespoon water

Make sauce:
Drain yogurt in a sieve lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth at room temperature 20 minutes. Stir together with garlic, mint, and salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare chops while yogurt drains:
Stir together lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and 2 tablespoons oil in a shallow baking dish. Add lamb chops, turning to coat, and marinate 20 minutes. Remove lamb from marinade, reserving marinade, and season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute chops in 2 batches, without crowding, about 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer to plates. Boil reserved marinade in skillet with water 1 minute and pour over chops.

Serve chops with yogurt sauce.

Yogurt sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serves 4.

Notes: A fairly simple recipe and easy to make. Nice for summer when one doesn't want to spend too much time over the stove. Not complex or challenging in taste either.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:28 PM | Comments (1)
July 2, 2004

Risotto with Spicy Sausage

Risotto with Spicy Sausage
Bon Appetit (March 1999)

1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/4 cups medium-grain white rice (such as blue rose)
4 to 5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Saute sausage, onion and garlic in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until onion is tender, breaking up sausage with spoon, about 8 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add 4 cups broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Continue to simmer until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more broth 1/4 cup at a time and stirring frequently, about 6 minutes longer. Mix in 1/4 cup cheese and 1/4 cup parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer risotto to large bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Pass remaining 1 cup cheese separately.

Serves 8 as a first-course or side, 4 as main dish.

Notes: I made a half-recipe of this and instead of using just spicy sausage, got a half-spicy, half-sweet mix and served this as a main dish for two. This was, amazingly, the first time I've ever made risotto (not counting assisting Deb on this last Christmas Eve). So, I was quite pleased with how it turned out - creamy and quite tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:44 PM | Comments (1)
June 12, 2004

La Genovese

I'm starting on developing a new original recipe based on something called La Genovese. I always have a pound of ground sirloin in the freezer and since I'm not a big meatloaf fan, it typically will sit until some night when I need something quick - usually tacos (though there was that one time I made Lebanese Kibbeh). The other day this struck me as very peculiar somehow, so I started hunting down recipes that used ground beef. And I found this:

La Genovese
(Serve over bow tie or penne pasta.)

1/2 cup olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
3 carrots, diced
1/2 onion, minced
1 tsp salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
3 TBSP white wine

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook beef, stirring to break up until it begins to brown. Stir in carrots, onion, salt and pepper. Continue to stir and cook until vegetables begin to soften and meat juices run clear, about 5 minutes. Pour in wine and cook 1 minute more. Serve.

Notes: Based on other similar recipes, I determined that the carrots should be about 1/2 cup and I also added 1/4 cup chopped celery. Other adjustments included 1 TBSP garlic (added with the onion), 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (my Official Taster insisted that wasn't enough so I added more, and proved him incorrect, so we'll go back to my original instinct on the next run), 1 tsp dried marjoram leaves, and 1/2 tsp fennel seed. We grated fresh parmesan over the top.

Though this was good, I decided it still needs something more. So, next time I'll probably add some parsley and work my way towards some sort of creamy parmesan sauce. I'm not sure if that's what it needs, so I'm going to keep hunting for other ideas to try on it as well.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)
June 4, 2004

Salmon w/ Lemon-Ginger Butter

Sear-Roasted Salmon Fillets with Lemon-Ginger Butter
(mentioned on an eGullet forum and subsequently googled at Taunton Press)


6 TBSP butter, well softened at room temperature
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice, warmed slightly
2 TBSP minced fresh ginger
2 TBSP snipped fresh chives
Olive oil for the pan
4 salmon fillets (5 oz. each), skinned if you like, patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, blend the butter, lemon juice, ginger, and chives well. Set aside at room temperature.

Heat the oven to 500 F. Set a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to make a light film. Sprinkle the salmon lightly with salt and pepper. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon, skin side up, and cook until nicely browned, about 1 min. Flip the fish over and put the skillet in the oven. Roast for 2 min. for medium rare; 4 min. for medium well. Check for doneness with the tip of a knife. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the fish to serving plates, and immediately top the salmon with a dab of the lemon-ginger butter.

Notes: I actually had two 8 oz. salmon filets, but went ahead and made the same amount of the butter. And we were more generous than a dab, probably putting a couple tablespoons worth on each filet. It came out pretty well, and I liked the play of flavors, especially between the ginger and lemon.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:26 AM | Comments (0)
May 31, 2004

Chicken Saute with Armagnac

Chicken Saute with Armagnac
from James Beard's Theory & Practice of Good Cooking

8 TBSP unsalted butter
4 half chicken breasts, wings attached
salt, freshly ground black pepper
6 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Armagnac

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet and when the foaming stops add the chicken and saute over medium-high heat on both sides until golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste, reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken breasts are just cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a hot flameproof serving platter, or put in the top part of a chafing dish, and pour a little (about 2 TBSP) of the melted butter over it.

Add the shallots to the pan and cook them in the remaining butter until just limp and golden, stirring them so they do not brown. Beat the eggs and cream together lightly in a measuring cup or small bowl and stir into them a couple of tablespoons of the hot pan liquid, which tempers the yolks and prevents them from curdling when added to the pan. Pour the mixture into the pan and stir constantly over low heat until the sauce is well blended and slightly thickened. Do not allow it to get too hot or to boil or the eggs will curdle. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Heat the Armagnac in a small pan, ignite with a match, and pour blazing over the chicken. When the flames die down, spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: This would be the first time that I ever intended to set something in the kitchen on fire. And it went beautifully. Plus, it was lots of fun. Of course, since we were only two for this meal, I made roughly half the amount of sauce and used a single whole chicken breast sans the wings.

I'm curious about whether doing something flambe actually changes the taste of the food. Or is it all just for show? Googling on it came up with some cautionary comments, at least: (1) Never pour from the bottle (the flame can follow the stream of alcohol into the bottle and cause it to explode), and (2) always ignite the fumes and never the liquid (this is why it needs to be heated first). And a search on the eGullet forums suggested that it's largely a fixture of culinary theatrics.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)
May 19, 2004

Tequila-Lime chicken

Grilled Tequila-Lime Chicken
Bon Appetit (August 2002)

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup orange juice
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeno chilies
3/4 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 boneless chicken breast halves

Mix first 8 ingredients in bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat. Cover; chill overnight.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush grill rack with oil. Grill chicken until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 18 minutes. Transfer to platter.

Notes: Simple. Yummy. 'nuff said. Goes nice with a crisp white wine. As always, I used my trusty cast iron grill pan.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:28 PM | Comments (0)
May 16, 2004

Rabbit With Mustard Sauce

Rabbit with Mustard Sauce
Gourmet (April, 1998)

1 medium onion
a 3-pound rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (13 3/4 fluid ounces)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Finely chop onion. Pat rabbit pieces dry and season with salt and pepper. In a deep large heavy skillet heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and brown rabbit pieces on all sides in 2 batches. Transfer rabbit as browned to a large bowl.

In skillet cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced by about half. Return rabbit to skillet and add broth. Simmer rabbit, covered, until tender, about 40 minutes.

Transfer rabbit to cleaned large bowl and boil sauce until reduced to about 2 cups. In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup sauce and mustard and whisk mixture into sauce. In another small bowl stir cornstarch into 1 tablespoon cold water and whisk into sauce. Simmer sauce, whisking, 3 minutes, or until thickened. Whisk in remaining tablespoon butter, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Return rabbit to skillet and cook over moderately low heat, turning rabbit to coat with sauce, until heated through.

Notes: As has become usual lately, I'm behind in posting updates. I actually made this two weeks ago. For reasons unknown to me, my local grocery store has suddenly added rabbit to their meat department. I'd never cooked it before, so I decided to give it a shot. I had only a partial rabbit, so I made about half the amount of sauce as well. I was quite pleased with how it turned out, very savory and extremely tender. This recipe is relatively simple compared to some of the others I'd found, and I think it was a good choice for a first attempt. But I'll likely try something a bit more complex the next time the opportunity presents itself. I may even get my hands on the recipe for the "Rabbit Stifado" at Molyvos, which is a very yummy dish.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:38 PM | Comments (0)
May 11, 2004

Chicken Gorgonzola

Chicken Gorgonzola
a Jennifer original

1 TBSP vegetable or olive oil
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 shallot, minced
garlic, minced (to taste)
dried basil (to taste)
rosemary (to taste)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup sour cream
4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 TBSP dijon mustard

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add basil and rosemary. Place chicken in pan. Cook covered 7 minutes. Turn chicken, and cook another 7 minutes, covered. Remove chicken and keep warm.

Add chicken stock to same pan along with mushrooms. Deglaze and reduce liquid to 1/4 cup. Add sour cream, gorgonzola, and mustard. Cook until thick and smooth.

Notes: This recipe was actually originally crafted by combining four or five others that I found in various sources some months ago. But I always felt it was missing something. I'd made a note last time I attempted it (which was simply ages ago) to try adding a little dijon or maybe some mushrooms. I did both last week and it came out the best it's ever been. I think I'll keep it.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:16 AM | Comments (6)
May 1, 2004

Steak Marinated in Scotch Whiskey

Steak Marinated in Scotch Whiskey

1/3 c. Scotch whiskey
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. soy sauce
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
4 New York strip sirloin steaks

In a container large enough to hold the steaks, combine all ingredients for marinade. Place steaks in marinade and leave in refrigerator overnight. Remove steaks from marinade and broil as desired.

Note: I didn't use the good Scotch - so, Speyside 10 year, it was. Which worked out fairly smoothly in this. Very nice. Though, I chose to use my favored cast iron grill pan rather than broil - 4 minutes per side, covered, and resting for another 4 minutes for a wonderfully rare steak.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:54 PM | Comments (0)
April 28, 2004

Brined Rosemary Pork Chops

Brined Rosemary Pork Chops

For the brine:

3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole branches fresh rosemary
4 bone-in loin pork chops, about 1 inch thick each
Extra-virgin olive oil

To prepare the brine: In a medium bowl combine the salt and sugar. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the bowl, and whisk to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add 2 cups of cold water along with the remaining brine ingredients.

Place the pork chops in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the brine. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the brine, place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

Remove the pork chops from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine. Lightly brush or spray both sides of the chops with oil. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before grilling. Sear the pork chops over direct high heat for 6 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Continue grilling over indirect medium heat until the juices run clear, 6 to 8 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: Came out *very* tender. I was a little shy with the rosemary (since our hearty plant is getting on the huge size and I wasn't sure how long an average branch tended to be). I might put in a bit more the next time. Also - since the weather was being threatening, I went with the indoor grill pan - medium high heat, about 6 minutes per side (turning it at an angle about halfway through each side to get those lovely looking grill marks *g*).

Posted by Jennifer at 3:51 PM | Comments (1)
April 27, 2004

Hoisin Ginger Lamb

Ground Lamb with Ginger, Hoisin, and Green Onions
from Jim Barrick's Alcohol-Free Recipes

1 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon Oriental sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced gingeroot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced orange peel
1 green onion bunch, chopped
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Saute lamb in Wok (or large skillet) over high heat until cooked through, breaking up with spoon or spatula, about 5 minutes. Pour lamb with its juices into a colander; drain.

Heat sesame oil in same Wok over high heat. Add ginger, garlic and orange peel; stirring 30 seconds. Add green onions and stir-fry 1 minute. Add hoisin sauce and lamb to Wok; stir until blended.

Combine orange juice and cornstarch in small cup. Add orange juice/cornstarch mixture to Wok; stir until thickened, about 1 minute.

Serve with hot rice.

Notes: For some reason in the last few months, my local butcher (where I get the meat if I can afford to because it is really so much better than the stuff at the supermarket) has started carrying ground lamb. So, when the whim strikes me I've been picking up a pound and tossing it in the freezer to give me another choice for meals once in a while. It sure makes for an interesting alternative to ground beef. My previous attempt was Lebanese Baked Kibbeh, so I was looking for something completely different.

As for the website where I got this -- completely an accident of google as I never would have expected to find such an extensive collection of recipes on an insurance company web page. For those of you who keep track of such things, he declares a single serving of the above recipe to be worth 8 points.

In any case, this was relatively simple to make and has a really nice, if not particularly challenging, taste. I have to admit that after a few bites, I began to think it needed something to spice (or herb) it up. Any suggestions? Anything I can get from Penzey's is fair game.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:24 AM | Comments (1)
April 23, 2004

Javanese Roasted Salmon

Again with the slacking off on posting. I blame all my travel of late. In any case, last week I was bored, bored, bored and wanted to do something that I hadn't tried before. Here's what I found, and it was good:

Javanese Roasted Salmon and Wilted Spinach
adapted from Bon Appetit (September, 2002)

Spicy sauces with sweet-and-sour flavors are popular in Javanese food and, in this case, pair deliciously with salmon.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) plus 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon water

2 7-ounce salmon fillets

1 6-ounce bag baby spinach

Preheat oven to 400 F. Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sugar; whisk until mixture is melted and smooth and begins to bubble, about 4 minutes. Whisk in lime juice and soy sauce. Increase heat and boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and boil until thick, about 3 minutes. Set sauce aside.

Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over high heat. Cook salmon until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon sauce over each fillet. Roast until fish is opaque in center, about 5 minutes.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach and toss until wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using tongs, divide spinach among plates. Top each with salmon fillet; drizzle with remaining sauce and serve.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:58 PM | Comments (2)
April 9, 2004

Parsi Murgh Farcha

I believe this might be my first attempt at cooking a dish from India... I got it off eGullet from a class by Monica Bhide, the author of The Everything Indian Cookbook. She did one dish each from various regions of India. Of the Parsi she said: "Their cuisine is a tantalizing marriage of Persian and Gujarati styles. Flavoring their curries with nuts and apricots, they brought the richness of Persia to the simple Gujarati food. Parsi food is not hot with chilies but has complex flavors and textures."

Parsi Murgh Farcha

6- 7 tender chicken breasts
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 tablespoon of minced fresh mint
1 tablespoon coriander powder
½ tablespoon cumin powder
2 Serrano green chilies, minced
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, minced
½ cups dried plain breadcrumbs
Oil to panfry

Make slits in the chicken breast. Marinate it with a mixture of the Garam masala, mint, coriander powder, cumin powder, green chilies, sugar, salt and vegetable oil. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

In a bowl combine the eggs and cilantro leaves. Create an assembly line – marinated chicken, eggs, breadcrumbs (placed on a flat plate). Now first dip the chicken in the breadcrumbs and then the egg wash. Panfry it till done. (The best way to tell if the chicken is cooked is to poke a knife through it. If no water seeps out from the chicken, it is cooked.)

Notes: There wasn't a specification for how much oil to use in the pan, and I think I ended up with about an inch or so. It took roughly 15 minutes for the chicken to cook on medium high heat, and I turned it once about halfway through. It's mentioned in the class that doing the eggwash on the outside seals in flavor and juices, and I can believe it because the chicken sure was tender. Of course, I really wanted to serve this with garlic naan (one of my favorite things) but decided homemade naan would have to wait for another time, so instead we just had a roasted garlic baked bread.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:17 AM | Comments (2)
April 5, 2004

Orange Carrot Cookies

These were unexpectedly popular at ACUS. But I'm mostly posting the recipe for Jack because these are not-death.

Orange Carrot Cookies

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of mashed cooked carrots
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Cream sugar and butter. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add mashed carrot. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:12 AM | Comments (7)
April 2, 2004

Greek Lamb Chops

Greek Style Lamb Chops

1 clove garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp each, pepper and grated lemon peel
2 (5 ounce) lamb shoulder chops
1 small plum tomato, cut into 4 slices
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled

Mash together garlic and salt to form a paste; add lemon juice, oil, thyme, pepper and lemon peel and continue to mash until well combined; set aside.

On rack in broiling pan broil lamb chops until browned on top, about 5 minutes. Turn chops over and spread each chop with 1/4 of the thyme mixture; broil until browned, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Set 2 tomato slices on each chop, then top each with 1/2 ounce feta cheese and remaining half of the thyme mixture. Broil until cheese softens and is glazed, about 2 minutes.

Notes: This went really well with the olive oil and garlic couscous I served alongside. However, I do think I might reduce the salt the next time I make this one. Also -- discussed the possibility of doubling the liquid/spice ingredients and doing a 15 minutes marinade in them at room temperature before cooking.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:21 PM | Comments (1)
March 31, 2004

Lemon Garlic Chicken

I've been traveling a lot, so my online spaces have been overly quiet the last couple of weeks. Hopefully that'll correct itself with a little time actually spent at home -- and in the kitchen! I did - however - cook once while at ACUS.

Crockpot Lemon Garlic Chicken with Wild Rice
Recipe courtesy Kathleen Daelemans
via Pete Wheeler via Foodnetwork

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded (3 to 4 ounces meat per person)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup wild rice blend
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/4 cups water
10 fresh parsley sprigs

Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the garlic and rice. Add the lemon juice to the water and stir. Pour this mixture over the rice and chicken. Stir once to coat. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours. To plate, place a serving of the rice on each plate and top with 1 chicken breast. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.

Notes: I skipped the parsley. Oh, and added about 1/4 cup of green onions instead (at the same time as the garlic). Also -- I would've preferred to substitute a can of chicken stock in for some of the water, but had limited access to a decent grocery store. I'll have to try that next time. I had also wanted to toss a couple of fresh rosemary sprigs on top and just let them sit during the cooking. But that wasn't available either. I got a comment that it was too garlicky, a comment it was too lemony, and a comment that it was just right. Go fig. Many thanks to Pete for making this for me (and I thought it was great) a couple weeks ago so I'd have something new to try out on my ACUS victims, er.... dinner guests.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)
March 11, 2004

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Chocolate Chip Biscotti
also from Mrs. Fields

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 TBSP unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 TBSP grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Gradually mix in dry ingredients and orange zest until fully incorporated. Mix in chips.

Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a log 9 inches long and 3 inches wide. Place on prepared baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes or until set. Transfer to rack and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 200 F.

Place still-warm logs on cutting board and slice with serrated knife on a diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Lay slices on baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes. Turn biscotti and cook another 10 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to rack to cool.

Notes: You may be sensing a theme here... can you say chocolate? I knew you could. Yes -- it was a very chocolate weekend. And normally I don't have much of a sweet tooth -- or at least not a very deep one. In any case -- this was the first time that either of us had made biscotti and we had some trouble with the dough. It came out far too crumbly and we ended up adding about 4 TBSP of water at the end to get it to stay together for the first baking. Subsequent research revealed that most other recipes in my cooking library had twice the amount of butter in them. So, I think that's what we'd try the next time. Still, they came out fairly well, and we had some fun dipping about half the batch in the Ghiardelli melting chocolate.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:36 AM | Comments (0)
March 10, 2004

Double-Dipped Shortbread

Double-Dipped Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
from Mrs. Fields I Love Chocolate Cookbook

3 ounces semisweet chocolate -- minced
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt

4 ounces white chocolate -- minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces semisweet chocolate -- minced

Melt semisweet chocolate over hot (not simmering) water in double boiler. Set aside to cool to lukewarm. In large bowl, cream butter with mixer. Beat in melted chocolate. Beat in vanilla, flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Wrap and chill dough 30 mins or until firm enough to roll into balls. Preheat oven 350 F. Roll dough into 1" balls, then roll each ball into a thick log. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; press dough into a 1/4" thickness with the tines of a fork, keeping cookies oval in shape. Bake 8-10 mins or until just set. Do not overbake. Transfer to wire rack.

Dipping Cookies:
In small bowl set over a saucepan of hot water, melt white chocolate with 1/4 cup cream, stir until smooth. Keep mixture over hot water so it will be liquid for dipping. In another small bowl set over a saucepan of hot water, melt semisweet chocolate with the remaining 1/4 cup cream; stir until smooth. Keep warm. Dip one end of a cookie in the white chocolate and the other end in the dark chocolate; return to cooling racks so the chocolate can set. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Notes: Due to our own predilections we switched the dipping ingredients and used melted raspberry chips for one side and the lovely Ghiardelli melting chocolate that Deb brought along for the other.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:24 AM | Comments (3)
March 9, 2004

Fudgey Raspberry Brownies

I was lucky over the weekend to get a visit from Deb AKA Tryslora and her daughter AKA my god-daughter, Dani. We made it a girls only club and everyone else was banished (or kept) from the household on Saturday. Among other things (like painting each others nails - Dani's first time; and making Deb the Pecan Crusted Pork Chops by request), we baked. Here's one of the recipes, with more to come....

Fudgey Raspberry Brownies
from Hershey's Bake Shoppe Cookies

1 2/3 cup (10 ounce package) Raspberry Chips
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350F. Grease 8 inch square baking pan.

In medium saucepan, combine raspberry chips and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted. Remove from heat. Add eggs and vanilla; stir until well blended. Add flour, sugar, and baking soda; stir until well blended. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Notes: God-daughters are phenomenal at stirring constantly. We tempered the eggs a bit before adding them in, and in retrospect would have let them come to room temperature first anyway because they reconstituted some of the chocolate. We also added a 1/2 cup of Ghiardelli dark chips to the final batter (instead of nuts).

Dani (6) and Michael (not 6 except when it comes to baked goods), both declared them too raspberry, and it was decided in the future to melt 1/2 the quantity of raspberry chips along with 5 ounces of Ghiardelli double dark chips together with the butter.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:40 AM | Comments (0)
February 20, 2004

Pecan Pork Chops

Pecan Pork Chops

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon crushed dried tarragon
2 pork chops
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat broiler.

In a bowl combine mustard, honey and tarragon. Coat pork chops with honey mixture and sprinkle with pecans; salt and pepper (to taste).

Place pork chops on a broiler pan and broil 10 minutes per side, or until cooked thoroughly. Place on a warm platter and serve.

NOTES: Fantastically easy and more delicious than it had a right to be.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:19 PM | Comments (4)
February 18, 2004

Chicken with Orange-Dijon Pan Sauce

Chicken with Orange Dijon Pan Sauce
modeled on recipe from How to Cook Without a Book

1 TBSP butter
2 boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper
flour (for dredging)

Heat 1 TBSP butter in skillet over low heat. While the pan is heating, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Just before sauteing, increase heat to medium high. When butter stops foaming and starts to smell nutty, arrange chicken in skillet. Cook, turning only once, about 7 minutes per side. Remove chicken to 250 degree oven.

Sauce:
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 TBSP butter

Combine juice with mustard and rosemary in same skillet. Reduce liquid to 1/4 cup. Whisk in butter to thicken sauce, and spoon over chicken before serving.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:54 AM | Comments (3)
February 16, 2004

Risotto-Style Orzo

Last week, all the main dishes were repeats of things already blogged hereon (just hit the search function or go read the recipes category if you want to try something out). So, instead, I made an experimental side dish. I'd been saying I wanted to branch out into such things, so perhaps we'll have some more of that at some point... In any case:

Risotto-Style Orzo with Tomatoes and Asiago Cheese
Cook's Magazine (April 1990)

1 1/2 cups orzo
salt
1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium minced onion
3 large cloves garlic -- minced
3/4 cup chicken stock or canned chicken broth
3 medium tomatoes, peeled -- seeded, diced
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
3 TBSP minced fresh parsley
ground black pepper

Bring 3 quarts water to boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until orzo is just tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and cool orzo slightly.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and garlic; saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in orzo, chicken stock, and tomatoes; bring to boil and simmer, stirring often until liquid is absorbed by the orzo, about 5 minutes. Stir in grated cheese and parsley. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper -- or to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

NOTES: Since I can never leave anything alone these days, it seems.... I made a half recipe of this. Being that I'm not overly fond of onions if their taste is going to be noticeably sharp, I substituted in a couple diced shallots. We also added extra asiago sprinkled on top which really brought out the sharp flavors of it. Really enjoyed this. Will very likely make it or other variants again.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:56 AM | Comments (0)
February 7, 2004

Chicken with Lemon-Shallot Sauce

Spice-Rubbed Chicken with Lemon-Shallot Sauce
Bon Appetit (June 2002)

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/8 tsp ground allspice
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 TBSP minced shallots
1/2 tsp ground thyme

Mix salt, pepper, and 1/2 of allspice in small bowl. Rub spice mixture over both sides of chicken. Heat 1 TBSP oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to work surface. Tent with foil to keep warm. Add 1/4 cup wine and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in broth, 1/2 TBSP lemon juice, and lemon peel. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Whisk in shallots, thyme, remaining oil, 1 TBSP lemon juice, and remaining allspice; season sauce with salt and pepper.

Notes: Not your ordinary lemony chicken. This had a much more complex melding of flavors. And it was easy to make too. Of course, I made a few adjustments since the original recipe is for a much larger quantity than I was making. Also, I wouldn't add the later bit of oil next time -- the sauce broke far too quickly.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)
January 30, 2004

Sesame Crusted Chicken

Sesame Crusted Chicken
Gourmet (September 2003)

2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 large egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sesame seeds
vegetable oil

If chicken breasts are more than 1/2 inch thick, put them between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin until 1/2 inch thick.

Whisk together egg white and salt in a shallow dish until whites are loosened but not foamy. Put sesame seeds in another shallow dish. Pat chicken dry. Dip chicken, 1 piece at a time, in egg white, letting excess drip off, then dredge in sesame seeds.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce heat to moderate and cook chicken, turning over once with tongs, until coating is golden and chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, then transfer to a plate.

Notes: I found this a very bland recipe. It definitely needs some changes -- that is, if I ever make it again. Perhaps some spice/herb that would prove complimentary to the sesame. And maybe cooking it in sesame oil instead of plain olive oil. Oh, well -- at least I got to get medieval on the chicken with my cool meat pounding thingy from my Christmas loot.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)
January 28, 2004

Salmon w/ Almond Herb Crust

This is another recipe where I'm unsure of the source. I had a text printout in the pile of things I wish to try at some point. So, try it I did.

Salmon w/ Almond Herb Crust
(source unknown)

4 six-ounce salmon filets
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 TBSP chilled butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Coarsely chop almonds in food processor. Add basil, butter, salt, and pepper and blend well. Place filets on light greased baking sheet. Top each filet with almond mixture. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Notes: As usual, I can't exactly follow directions. So, I cooked this on my cedar roasting plank at the lesser temperature of 325 degrees, which should have taken about 20 minutes (except for the fact that the salmon was stll frozen in the middle). Even so, this proved a ridiculously easy and tasty recipe, and a nice alternative to my usual dijon sauce.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:40 AM | Comments (1)
January 23, 2004

Lamb w/ Roasted Mushrooms

Tuesday night....

Lamb Chops with Roasted Mushrooms and Onion Sauce
a Jennifer original

2 lamb chops, trimmed, 3/4 to 1-inch thick

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, roasted
Non-stick vegetable spray
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt/white pepper

1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 TBSP shallot, diced
1/2 tsp hot English or brown mustard
1/4 tsp thyme, crushed
1/16 tsp salt
1/16 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sourcream

To roast mushrooms, clean mushrooms and place in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan which has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to coat evenly. Roast in 425 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender and golden.

Meanwhile spray a large skillet with non-stick spray. Over medium-high heat, pan-broil chops for about 3 to 5 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Remove chops; keep warm. Add wine, shallots and onions to skillet, deglazing to pick up bits from chops. Add mustard, thyme, salt, cayenne, and broth. Cook until onions are tender. Stir sour cream into mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Serve chops with roasted mushrooms and onion sauce.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:31 PM | Comments (0)
January 16, 2004

Stuffed Chicken Breast

Stuffed Chicken Breast
a Jennifer original

(liberated from/inspired by Paul Rankin in order to try out the new nasty meat flattening kitchen gadget Michael gave me for Christmas)

1 boneless chicken breast - split
1 TBSP olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2oz shiitake, chopped
2oz feta, crumbled
1/2 TBSP basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP almonds, chopped and toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a small fry pan. Add the shallots and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the shiitake and saute for 2 minutes. Add the feta and basil and stir until the feta has melted. Season and remove pan from heat.

Take the chicken breast and flatten it to 1/4 inch. Spoon the shallot mix onto meat and roll and secure; return the breast to the pan used previously. Fry the chicken breast for 2 minutes, either side. Transfer the chicken breast to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Remove the chicken breast from the oven and place on a plate.

Return the frying pan to the heat and add the white wine and chicken stock. Stir well so as to collect the chicken juices. Thicken with 1 TBSP butter (or cream or sourcream). Pour the white wine reduction over the chicken breast before topping it with the almonds. Serve immediately.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:05 AM | Comments (1)
January 9, 2004

Apple and Pork Curry

Apple and Pork Curry
(found somewhere online but unsure of source)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound pork chops
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 apple, sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground curry
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook pork chops until browned on both sides and almost cooked through; remove from skillet and set aside.

In same skillet saute (over medium heat) sliced baking apple for 2 minutes or until softened. (Note: I used a Granny Smith as those are my favorite and cooked them a bit longer - closer to 5 minutes; also cut sections into smaller chunks.) Blend chicken broth with cornstarch; add to the skillet with curry, cumin, cinnamon; salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, or until slightly reduced and thickened. Return pork chops to skillet and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, or until heated through.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:29 AM | Comments (0)
January 7, 2004

Steak with Balsamic Cilantro Sauce

Steak with Balsamic Cilantro Sauce
a Jennifer original

2 blade steaks (at least 1/3 pound each)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup vermouth
3/8 cup diced canned tomato
1 tsp cilantro
1 TBSP butter

Spray skillet with olive oil. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Heat pan over medium-high heat and sear steaks. Reduce heat, cover, and continue to heat steaks until desired doneness, about 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove steaks to plate and keep warm.

Add chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, and vermouth to same skillet and deglaze. After a couple minutes add tomato and cilantro, raise heat and reduce to approximately 1/4 cup (or until sauce is thick). Stir in any beef juices that have accumulated on the waiting plate, and then whisk in butter. Serve immediately.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:18 AM | Comments (1)
January 5, 2004

Gai Yang

This wasn't the recipe I thought it was. I'm still looking for what I intended to cook (something with chicken and chilies that I'd made a few months ago but seem to have misplaced the recipe for). But this turned out pretty darn interesting anyway.

Broiled Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce (gai yang)
from Vatch's Thai Street Food

for the marinade
2 TBSP sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cilantro root, finely chopped
2 small fresh red chilies, finely chopped
2 TBSP fish sauce
1 tsp granulated sugar
14 oz. boneless chicken breast

for the hot and sweet sauce
6 TBSP rice vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 small fresh red chilies, finely chopped

In a large bowl, mix together ingredients for marinade and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the hot and sweet sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the salt and simmer, stirring until the liquid thickens. Remove from heat, pour into small bowl and let cool. When the sauce is cold, stir in the chopped garlic and chilies.

Preheat the broiler. Broil the marinated chicken for about five minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve with sauce.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:57 PM | Comments (0)
January 3, 2004

Christmas Eve

It's not that I haven't been cooking over the holidays - though, oddly enough, it seems I do less than usual since I didn't host anything, but rather visited others. Being frequently away this year has prevented me, however, from spending much time at all online. I will attempt to catch up on entries of those things that I have had occasion to make over the next couple of days.

In any case, spent a delightful evening at my friend Deb's place. Details on the menu can be found here. The cake mentioned was based on the same recipe as the Pecan Sour Cream one; the change being subtracting the pecans entirely and adding a cup of chocolate chips (in this case Ghiardelli double chocolate) to the mix before baking. It was, indeed, well-received.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)
December 19, 2003

Pecan Sour Cream Pound Cake

I made this last weekend for a gaming session/holiday celebration with some friends, where it was very well-received. I'm not entirely sure of the source of the recipe.

Pecan Sour Cream Pound Cake

Pecans are ground to a fine consistency, contributing to the dense texture of this rich, buttery cake. You may serve individual slices topped with sugared berries and lightly sweetened whipped cream.

1 1/4 cup finely ground pecans - divided use (see Cook's Note)
2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 300*F (150*C). Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt or tube pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup pecans on bottom of pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 1 cup pecans, flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well mixed. With mixer at low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the sour cream to the creamed mixture just until fully incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes (use the toothpick test to check for sufficient baking). Cool for 15 minutes in pan on wire rack before removing. Cool completely on wire rack.

Serves 12.

Cook's Note: Easily process the pecans in a food processor with short pulses at a time until the desired texture is reached. Adding a teaspoon or so of flour will help to keep nuts from sticking together.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:52 PM | Comments (3)
December 17, 2003

Pechugas de Pollo al Cilantro

From earlier on last week (and yes, the lack of posting is not a lack of cooking, but an overabundance of Christmas cheer illustrated by far too many demands on time). So, before time gets away from me again:

From a brand new book that just arrived last week, The South American Table

Pechugas de Pollo al Cilantro
AKA Chicken Breasts with Cilantro Sauce
(as prepared for two servings)

2 skinless chicken breast halves
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 TBSP oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 scallion (white part and 1 inch of green, chopped)
1 clove garilc, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, tops only, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of cayenne pepper

Place chicken between two pieces of plastic and pound to get an even thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator about 1 hour.

In skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Pat chicken dry and cook about three minutes per side. Transfer to platter and set aside.

Add onion, scallions, garlic, oregano, and cumin to skillet. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Transfer to blender, add the cilantro and chicken broth, and process until smooth. Return to skillet and add chicken and cayenne. Simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning chicken halfway through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and thicken with cornstarch slurry if necessary.

Notes: It's green! But very tasty.... (however, if you're not a big fan of cilantro, don't try this one).

Posted by Jennifer at 8:16 AM | Comments (2)
December 5, 2003

Five-Spice Duck

Served last night with wild grain rice, tossed salad and the very lovely Wallace Brook Cellars Pinot Noir (as recommended to me by my local wine-seller) -- very nice, an exceptionally affordable bottle.

Five-Spice Duck

10 ounces boneless duck breast with skin
1 tsp five-spice powder
1 TBSP finely chopped ginger root
3 scallion heads (white part only), finely chopped
salt and pepper
4 ounces sesame oil

Marinate the duck breast with five-spice powder, ginger root, scallions, salt, pepper, and sesame oil for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat skillet on moderately high heat, do not add any oil. Sear duck breast, skin side down (about 5 minutes). Brown other side (about 1 minute). Transfer to oven proof plate and cook 10 minutes for medium.


Notes: I really must remember the wine selection. It was excellent. Also -- I like my duck not quite as done so I'd only had it in for 6 minutes. It was agreed that 8 minutes would likely have better considering the size of the breast (I ended up with just over a pound and did a roughly time-and-a-half recipe). Not exactly a Jennifer original but no attribution as I cobbled it together from a few different recipe sources.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:33 PM | Comments (0)
November 29, 2003

Green Beans with Coriander and Garlic

The last couple of years I've been assigned the squash dish for Thanksgiving dinner. However, this year green beans were requested. I always have an interesting time finding things that are intriguing taste-wise but will travel well (I have the furthest to go usually in transport) and be easy to serve without taking up too much oven or stove-top space prior to dinner. In any case, here's this year's choice, which was both well-received and easy to make as well as to serve.

Green Beans with Coriander and Garlic
(as seen on Sara's Secrets on the Food Network)

2 pounds tender young green beans, washed and tipped
3 quarts boiling water, with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt added
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
5 to 6 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
3 to 4 TBSP cider vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cook the beans in the boiling salted water in a large covered saucepan over moderate heat 10 to 12 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, place the garlic and coriander in a large heatproof bowl. As soon as the beans are done, drain well, return to moderate heat, and shake the pan 30 to 40 seconds to take out all the excess moisture. Place the hot beans on top of the garlic and coriander and let stand 10 minutes. Add 5 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss well to mix; cover and marinate in the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours, or better if overnight.

About 45 minutes before serving, bring the beans from the refrigerator and let stand still covered, on the counter. Just before serving, add the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the vinegar, and the pepper. Toss well, and add more vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, if needed.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:59 AM | Comments (0)
November 27, 2003

Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops with Spicy Chili-Cilantro Sauce
from Bon Appetit (June 1998) - adjusted

2 TBSP chili powder
1 1/2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 TBSP dried oregano
1/2 TBSP ground cumin
3/4 tsp garlic powder
2 lamb shoulder chops (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef stock or canned beef broth
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Combine chili powder, cilantro, oregano, cumin and garlic powder in small bowl. Coat lamb chops with spice mixture. Place lamb chops in glass baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add red wine and beef stock. Boil until sauce is reduced to a bit less than 1/2 volume, about 30 minutes. Remove sauce from heat. Add butter 1 piece at a time, whisking until melted after each addition.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Grill or broil lamb chops to desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Notes: I made one goof-up while following this one. I neglected to reserve any chili powder for the sauce (as per the magazine's instructions) and instead put the entire amount in the rub. It worked out just fine (actually quite yummy), but obviously I'll have to try it the other way to see if there's any noticeable difference.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:39 AM | Comments (1)
November 26, 2003

Yogurtlu Basti update

Last night, by request, I made Yogurtlu Basti, which seems to have become something of a favorite around here. In fact, it's popular enough that it surprised me to discover that there was a way to make it even better. Because I was busy making couscous at the time, I ended up letting the chicken and onions braise a bit longer, indeed there was the barest amount of water left in the bottom of the pan. The onions were browned and had started to roast so when I swirled in the yogurt sauce it came out darker and with a more complex flavor. From the reaction, this is apparently the way I'll be making it from now on.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:07 AM | Comments (1)
November 24, 2003

Pork Chops w/ Five Spice Apple Dressing

Inspired by Ming Tsai's "Asian Marinated Pork Loin with Gingered Sweet Potatoes and Five-Spice Apples", I put this together the other night.

Pork Chops with Five Spice Apple Dressing
a Jennifer Original

2 center cut boneless porkchops (at least 1-inch thick) fresh ground black pepper

2 TBSP olive oil
1/3 cup chopped red onion
3/4 tsp five spice powder
1/2 TBSP brown sugar
1 Granny Apple, diced
1/3 cup baby 'bella mushrooms
1 1/2 TBSP apple juice

additional 1/2 cup apple juice
1 TBSP butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onion in olive oil (approximately 8 minutes or until they start to turn brown). Add five spice powder, brown sugar, 2/3rds of apple, mushrooms, and 1 1/2 TBSP apple juice. Heat through (about 2 minutes).

Season pork chops with black pepper. Make a pocket in the pork chops and stuff spiced apple-mushroom mixture inside. Secure pockets with toothpicks. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, return remaining unused stuffing to heat. Add 1/2 cup apple juice and reduce by about 1/2 liquid volume. Just before serving, whisk in 1 TBSP butter. Serve sauce mixture over top of baked pork chops.

Notes: The difference in texture between the interior and exterior mixtures made this complex in the mouth. Oh, and what to do with the remaining bits of apple? Actually I never diced them and just munched on them while cooking.

10/1/05 - edited to add photo from meal on 9/28

Posted by Jennifer at 8:59 AM | Comments (1)
November 15, 2003

Lebanese Baked Kibbeh

Thursday night's menu....

Lebanese Baked Kibbeh

1 pound lean ground lamb (or beef)
1/2 cup bulgur
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 TBSP walnuts
2 TBSP water
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Rinse and soak bulgur: Place bulgur in small bowl and cover with water. Pour off through a sieve (or cheesecloth). Repeat until water runs clear. Cover bulgur and let soak about 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess water.

Combine meat, bulgur, onion, and spices. Process by hand (similar to kneading meatloaf) until doughy.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8 inch square baking dish. Press half the meat mixture into the pan. Sprinkle in nuts. Cover with remaining meat. While still in pan cut into 1 1/2 inch squares. Brush oil over top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until firm and browned well. Serve from pan or invert onto platter.

Notes: There are other variations of this common Mediterranean dish, including a fried version. And a raw one. The first few bites of this were odd to me. I think I was expecting it to taste differently. But then the spices started to mingle in the back of my mouth and I liked it better with each bite. Also, I served it with a cucumber yogurt sauce that I think helped make it more complex. Otherwise, it might be better as a first course and not a main course.

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP garlic, minced
1 tsp ground white pepper

Mix all ingredients and let sit at least 1/2 hour.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:20 AM | Comments (2)
November 7, 2003

Djaj Matisha Mesla

...which apparently translates as "Chicken with Tomatoes and Honey." This is a Moroccan tagine.

Djaj Matisha Mesla
from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

3 1/2 - 4 lb chicken, cut into quarters
3 TBSP peanut or vegetable oil
1 large onion, grated
2 pounds tomato, peeled and cut into pieces
salt and plenty of pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp powdered saffron
2 TBSP clear honey
3/4 cup blanched almonds, toasted
2 TBSP sesame seeds, toasted

Put all the ingredients except honey, almonds, and sesame seeds in a large pan. Cook gently, covered, turning the chicken occasionally, for about 1 1/4 hours, or until the flesh is tender and can be pulled off the bone easily.

Remove chicken and continue to cook the sauce over medium heat until reduced to a thick sizzling cream. Stir as it begins to caramelize, and be careful it doesn't stick or burn. Now stir in the honey, return the chicken to the sauce and heat through. Serve hot, covered with sauce and sprinkled with almonds and sesame seeds.

Notes: I made this with four generously sized chicken legs, and since I didn't have the saffron on hand, I left it out. The work is in the waiting as the delicious scents fill the kitchen. But after a plate full of tender chicken, it was well worth it.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:26 AM | Comments (2)
October 28, 2003

Spiced Brined Porkloin

Note to self: When you plan a dinner party with relatives and the baking element on your oven burns out three days prior, change the menu. It sure made cooking this last Saturday quite a challenge.

In any case, this was the main dish (cobbled together from about 4 different recipes):

Spiced Brined Porkloin

Brine:
8 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 pound boneless pork loin (or two 2 pound loins)

Bring 1/2 of the water to a boil and stir in salt, sugar, and maple syrup until dissolved. Remove from heat and add remaining volume in cold water. Bring back to room temperature. Sumberge pork in brine and refrigerate 18-24 hours.


Spice:
Julia's Special Spice Blend (once again sans the savory and the bay leaf, which I just ordered from Penzey's yesterday)

Spices to add in equal amounts (1 tsp or 1 TBSP): ground bay leaf, cloves, mace, nutmeg, paprika, thyme. Spices to add in equal amounts (1/2 tsp or 1/2 TBSP): allspice, cinnamon, savory. Spice in double amount (2 tsp or 2 TSBP): ground white pepper.

Remove pork from brine and pat dry. Rub 1 TBSP Julia's Special Spice Blend into each side of the meat, and return to refrigerator for at least 4 hours for greater flavor.


Roast:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 1 TBSP vegetable oil and 2 TBSP butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown the pork on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Place in roasting dish (fat side down) and roast for about 1 hour or until internal temperature of meat reaches about 150 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes, carve and serve.


Comments: My dad did a great job carving, and everyone was really patient with the fact that my oven took almost twice as long to cook the pork through as it should have. The pork was exceedingly tender and very tasty. I was very pleased with how it came out.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:49 AM | Comments (0)
October 21, 2003

Marinated London Broil

On Sunday, Mike and Allison came down for dinner. When they arrived, their surprise at finding furniture in the living room and bathrooms that were finished (and working!) except for a coat of paint, revealed just how long it had been since their last visit. Anyway, here's what was served:

Grilled Marinated London Broil
from Gourmet (May 1994)

For marinade:
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 TBSP balsamic vinegar
4 TBSP lemon juice
3 TBSP dijon mustard
1 1/2 TBSP Worcestshire sauce
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp dried basil, crumbled
1 tsp dried thyme, crummbled
1/2 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
2/3 cup olive oil

a 2 to 2 1/2 pound London broil

Whisk marinade ingredients until combined. Put meat in large resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over it. Seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Let marinate, chilled, turning bag once or twice, overnight.

Grill meat, marinade discarded, on oiled rack about 4 inches over coals, 9 to 10 minutes on each side. Transfer to cutting board and let stand 10 minutes. Cut diagonally into thin slices.

Serves 6.

Notes: I opted to broil since it was an unfavorable day for outdoor cooking. Meat themometer should reach around 135 degrees for medium-rare. Make sure to turn it at least once. I would've liked the marinade to have a little more kick so next time I might up the spices since the garlic seemed to overpower the other flavors.

Served with roasted garlic bread and roasted tomatoes (with garlic, fresh parmesan and basil). So, a very garlic-y night!

Posted by Jennifer at 3:32 PM | Comments (1)
October 17, 2003

Duck Breast with Raspberry Wine Sauce

My first time cooking duck and as I hunted around for a recipe to try, I ended up taking bits and pieces from several and ultimately experimenting on my own. Nothing like the deep end....

Duck Breast with Raspberry Wine Sauce
a Jennifer Original

2 duck breast halves
1/8 cup diced shallot
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup red wine
1 TBSP butter
1/2 TBSP dijon
1 TBSP seedless raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a very sharp knife and being careful not to cut into the meat, score the skin of the duck breasts in a crossmark pattern. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat. Place duck breasts in pan, skin side down, and cook about 3 minutes. Turn and cook 3 additional minutes. Place breasts in a baking dish and put in oven for 8 minutes. Remove, tent with aluminum foil, and allow to rest.

Pour off duck fat. Deglaze the sauce pan with 1/2 TBSP of the butter. Add shallots and cook about 1 minute. Add stock and red wine, then dijon and preserves. Bring to a boil and reduce until thickened. Whisk in remaining 1/2 TBSP of butter, and serve sauce over duck.

Notes: This came out really well for my first attempt at cooking duck, and I was pretty darn pleased with it. As a point of self-indulgence I poured off the duck fat and refrigerated it to eat on crackers with lunch today. Yum.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:06 PM | Comments (7)
October 15, 2003

Pork Chops with Mango-Basil Sauce

Last night's dinner....

Pork Chops with Mango-Basil Sauce
from Bon Appetit (June 1997)


1 small mango, peeled and pitted
1 TBSP plus 2 tsp vegetable oil
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP soy sauce

4 6-8 oz center-cut pork chops

Puree mango in food processor. Set aside 1/2 cup puree.

Heat 1 TBSP oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, then basil; saute just until basil wilts, about 1 minute. Add broth, brown sugar and soy sauce. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup mango puree. Simmer until sauce thickens and coats spoon, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, brush pork chops with oil. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Grill or broil pork chops until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

If necessary, rewarm sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over pork.

Serves 4.

Notes: Very complex flavor. This was very different from anything else I tried. In fact, my first time putting a mango in anything. I really liked how it came out.

9/23/05 - edited to add picture from another try at this recipe by request

Posted by Jennifer at 9:49 PM | Comments (1)
October 3, 2003

Pork with Green Beans Stir-Fry

Wednesday night's dinner....

Which perhaps should rather be titled.... green beans with pork stir-fry. The whole time I was slicing and dicing for this one I thought it was quite a lot of green beans to be putting in proportionally. But it turned out nicely, so I'm glad I didn't short the servings on them.

Pork Stir-fry with Green Beans and Peanuts
from Bon Appetit (August 2003)

12 oz. pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into strips
4 TBSP soy sauce
1 1/2 TBSP honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper

1 pound green beans, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
1 cup matchstick-size strips peeled carrots

2 TBSP canola oil
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 TBSP minced peeled fresh ginger
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts

Mix pork, 1 TBSP soy sauce, 1 TBSP honey, half of garlic and crushed red pepper in medium bowl. Mix remaining 3 TBSP soy sauce and remaining 1/2 TBSP honey in small bowl. Set aside.

Cook green beans in large saucepan of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add carrots to green beans; cook 1 minute. Drain. Heat 1 TBSP oil in wok over high heat. Add pork mixture, stir-fry one minute. Transfer pork to dish. Add remaining 1 TBSP oil to wok. Add bell peppers; stir-fry 1 minute. Add green beans, carrots, ginger, and remaining garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Return pork to wok along with reserved soy sauce-honey misture; stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with green onions and peanuts.

Note: I cut out the bell peppers because we're not that fond of them, and the flavors were still nicely balanced. Also, I had the leftovers today for lunch and just ate them cold straight out of the bowl, and found it quite tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:06 PM | Comments (1)

Steak with Relish

Tuesday night's dinner....

Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks with Cucumber Relish
from Gourmet (September 1994)

For relish:
1 1/2 cups diced seeded cucumber
3 TBSP chopped red onion
1/2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp lemon juice

2 1-inch thick ribe eye steaks
freshly ground black pepper

Prepare grill. Mix all relish ingredients in bowl with salt to taste. Season steaks with salt and generously with pepper. Grill on an oiled rack about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes. Serve with relish.

Note: I used chuck eye steaks and they came out perfect. I didn't expect to like this as I'm not a big fan of onions and these weren't even being cooked. But the flavors mingled together nicely in the relish, and I quite enjoyed it. This was the first relish I've made and the dish as a whole had a clean, crisp, summer-just-past taste.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)
September 28, 2003

Poached Chicken with Curried Yogurt Sauce

Last night I got to reassure my kitchen once again that I had not in fact deserted it to run off to the lovely culinary experiences available in Toronto (more on those anon).

Poached Chicken with Curried Yogurt Sauce
from Bon Appetit (August 1996)

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp curry powder
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Arrange chicken in a single layer in heavy medium skillet. Add enough broth to cover chicken and bring to boil. Cover skillet and turn off heat. Let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate, cut crosswise and spoon sauce over chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: Since we like things spicier, I bumped the curry powder up to 3 tsp, but after tasting probably would've prefered 2 1/2 tsp. Also, I did not use low-fat yogurt, as I'd rather deal with the extra calories and have the creamier sauce. Plus, I used homemade chicken stock out of my very own freezer (starting to run low already -- must soon make another batch).

Posted by Jennifer at 4:02 PM | Comments (1)
September 26, 2003

Pork Chops w/ Sage, Onion, Prosciutto

From one of my favorite cookbooks so far this year: The Herbfarm Cookbook, adjusted for 2 servings

2 bone-in loin pork chops
salt, fresh ground black pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 oz. thinkly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4 inch strips
3/4 cup homemade chicken stock
1 tsp dijon mustard

Generously season both sides of pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat until it begins to smoke. Sear pork chops, approximately 3 minutes per side. Remove to plate.

Reduce heat to medium low and add onion and sage. Cook uncovered, stirring often, until onion is softened and light brown -- about 4 minutes. Stir in prosciutto and cook until it loses its rosy color, about 1 minute. Add stock and mustard.

Return pork chops to pan, reduce heat to low, cover. Very gently simmer about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer chops to serving plate. Increase heat to high and reduce sauce until slightly thickened. Spoon over pork and serve.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:19 PM | Comments (2)
September 5, 2003

Choron Sauce

eGCI's class yesterday was for Cream Sauces. Choron Sauce is a derivation of Bearnaise Sauce, which is itself an alternate on Hollandaise Sauce. According to Larousse Gastronomique, Choron was a French cook from Caen who invented a hot emulsified sauce. By crossing a couple cookbooks with the instructions online, I came up with the following. I'm not sure what Choron Sauce is supposed to taste like, but I liked this, and the consistency (despite my great fear of scrambling the egg) was creamy and smooth.

Choron Sauce

1 TBSP white wine vinegar
1 tsp chopped shallot
2 oz stalks of tarragon
salt, pepper to taste
2 tsp cold water
1 egg yolk
4 oz unsalted butter
2 TBSP tomato paste

Boil vinegar, shallot, tarragon, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and whisk in the water. On low heat setting (just enough to melt the upcoming butter), whisk in the egg yolk until thickened (be careful not to scramble the egg!). Whisk in the butter 1/2 oz. at a time. Sauce should reach a "shiny" appearance between each bit of butter. Strain through a fine mesh (this will also catch any bits of overcooked egg plus the shallots and the tarragon bits). Whisk in tomato paste.

Though this seemed incredibly daunting when I was first reading about it, it went quite well and I was very pleased with the results, which I served with lightly salted/peppered baked chicken. Steamed snow pea pods on the side.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:23 AM | Comments (0)
September 4, 2003

Spicy Orange Marinade

Grilled Beef Blade Steaks with Spicy Orange Marinade
adapted from Gourmet (August 1992)

three 1-inch-thick boneless beef blade steaks, pierced or scored
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

Arrange steaks in shallow baking dish in one layer. In blender, combine marinade ingredients until smooth. Pour over steaks, coating them thoroughly, and let mixture marinate, covered and chilled, overnight.

Grill the steaks. In my grill pan, five minutes per side, and four minutes of resting on a side plate was sufficient for a lovely medium rare.

Assessment: The consensus at the table seemed to be that it was too mild. Certainly not spicy enough, and the barest hint of tang from the citrus. While the dish was fine, I doubt it will make a repeat appearance on the menu.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)
September 2, 2003

Baking At Last

The baking bug bit me nigh on three weeks ago, but the weather was just so uncomfortable heat and humidity-wise that contemplating hours in the kitchen with the stove running was clearly insane. Not that it always stops me. Yesterday, though - with it officially now September and so psychologically, if not actually, the end of summer - I finally got to appease the cookie god with a double batch of peanut butter cookies and a double batch of apple spice cookies. The weather cooperated nicely - it was cool and rainy, and very autumnal-seeming - as the smell of fresh baked goodness filled the house.

Spiced Applesauce Drop Cookies
(from a much-xeroxed 4-H handout)

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream shortening. Beat in sugar gradually. Add egg, beat until light and fluffy. Sift dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients alternately with applesauce to egg mixture. (If you like, add 1 cup chopped nuts at this point. Or, as we sometimes do, put in cinnamon chips.) Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until top springs back when pressed lightly with finger.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:51 AM | Comments (1)
August 11, 2003

Now With Scallops

I had some leftover Allemande Sauce from the batch I made, and decided not to let it go to waste. So, last night, I sauteed some sea scallops in a bit of olive oil, and served it with rice, and the reheated sauce. It was quite different, the sauce taking on some of the aspects of the seafood, where the chicken was much more neutral. Not quite as good as the fresh sauce, the consistency was not as creamy, and the taste muted. But, overall, still quite good.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)
August 9, 2003

Allemande Sauce

I've been meaning to post this for a couple days... When I got done making the chicken stock from scratch, which was quite an interesting experience, I had several cups of the stuff. Approximately, seven cups of it now reside in my freezer for later use, some in one cup containers and some in a muffin pan. However, after all that effort, it would have been a shame not to use some straight away, so I followed along on the sauce-making portion of the course at eGCI. This required several steps to get to the final sauce, which I served over chicken baked with a dash of salt and black pepper on Wednesday evening.

Step One: Veloute Sauce

1 oz. butter
1 oz. flour
2 cups chicken stock, heated

I started with about three cups of stock and reduced it somewhat, and then went ahead. Note that the measurements are by weight, not volume, for the first two ingredients. Make a roux with the butter and flour, and cook over low heat about 4 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Gradually add the hot stock to the roux, beating constantly until it boils. Simmer the sauce very slowly for 1/2 hour, skimming the skin off the surface as needed. Strain to remove the thickened bits.

Step Two: Sauce Allemande

2 cups Basic Veloute Sauce (about what you just made)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy cream
juice from 1/2 lemon (to taste)
salt (to taste)
white pepper (to taste)

In a heat-resistant bowl, whisk egg yolk and cream. Bring your veloute back to a simmer temperature (not boiling). Temper your egg mixture by slowly beating in 1/2 cup of hot sauce. (This is an important step which avoids causing the egg/cream mixture to curdle.) Stir this mixture back into the sauce pan. Stir slowly and bring up to a simmer (do not boil). Add lemon juice, salt, and white pepper. This should yield about 2 cups of sauce.

At this point, one can personalize the sauce in a variety of ways. Since this was the first time I made it, I took the instructor's suggestion and added the following ingredients:

1/4 cup capers
1 TBSP fresh tarragon
dash of white wine vinegar

Posted by Jennifer at 11:34 AM | Comments (2)
August 6, 2003

Steak with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

So on Tuesday night, with the chicken stock cooling in the 'fridge, I wanted something a bit more on the simple side...

Steaks with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
from Bon Appetit (April 1996)

2 boneless rib eye or other tender cut steaks
(about 6 ounces each)
3 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup chopped shallots
2 tsp fresh rosemary
3 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Rub 1 tsp of olive oil over bottom of skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Add steaks to skillet and cook until desired doneness (about 4 minutes per side for rare). Transfer steaks to plate and let rest, covered to keep warm.

Add remaining olive oil to same skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add shallots and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar and cook until reduced to glaze. Mix in any juices that have collected from the steaks. Spoon glaze over steaks and serve.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:11 PM | Comments (0)
August 5, 2003

Lamb Apple Bake

Even though I had stuff simmering on the stove all day as I worked on learning to make home-made chicken stock, I still found my way back to the kitchen for dinner. For Monday night, another experiment...

Lamb Apple Bake
a Jennifer original

2 shoulder lamb chops
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sage
olive oil
1 Granny Smith apple
1 TBSP molasses
1 TBSP flour
2/3 cup hot water
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 TBSP butter

Season the chops with the salt and sage. Film the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and brown the chops over medium heat. Remove chops to a shallow baking pan. Cover with slices of apple and drizzle with molasses.

Add flour to the drippings and cook until brown, stirring occasionally. Gradually add water and stir until smooth. Bring to boil. Stir in vinegar, dash of salt. Remove from heat and thicken with butter. Pour mixture over chops. Cover the entire dish with foil, and cook in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)
July 31, 2003

Julia's Sauteed Pork Chops

I've long been an admirer of both Julia Child and Jacques Pepin so naturally I just had to own Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, the companion cookbook to their television series of the same name. I was glad to get the chance to put it into use last night.

Julia's Special Spice Blend

Spices to add in equal amounts (1 tsp or 1 TBSP): ground bay leaf, cloves, mace, nutmeg, paprika, thyme

Spices to add in equal amounts (1/2 tsp or 1/2 TBSP): allspice, cinnamon, savory

Spice in double amount (2 tsp or 2 TSBP): ground white pepper

I didn't happen to have either the bay leaf or savory on hand, but it came out very well in any case, and I made more than enough to use it again.


Julia's Sauteed Pork Chops

2 center-cut pork chops
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Julia's Special Spice Blend
1/4 cup dry white French vermouth
1/2 cup flavor brown stock
a sprig of fresh savory or thyme or pinch of dried herbs
1 tsp chutney
1 TSBP butter

I used beef stock (Julia has a recipe on page 42, but I didn't have time to do that), and for the pinch of dried herbs tossed in some herbs de provence. I also replaced the chutney with 1 tsp of raspberry jam.

At least 1/2 hour in advance of cooking, trim chops of excess fat. To season the chops: rub lightly with a few drops of vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt, and then rub in the spice blend, using about 1/2 tsp of the mixture in all. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Set the frying pan over moderately high heat and film the bottom with oil. Pat chops dry and saute until brown - about 4 minutes per side. Pour the vermouth and stock into the pan, add herbs, cover and adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook about 5 minutes, turn chops, and cook another five minutes. Remove chops to side dish and boil down the pan juices until syrupy. Add chutney, simmer a moment, and then return chops to pan for basting. Remove pan from heat, plate the chops. Swirl butter into sauce, pour over chops, and serve.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:20 PM | Comments (2)
July 28, 2003

Chicken with Tomato and Feta

Saturday night's main entree... (which I served minus the olives and made the stock from a bouillon cube)

Chicken with Tomato and Feta Cheese Sauce
from Bon Appetit (March 1996)

2 TBSP olive oil
3 large shallots, chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
4 boneless chicken halves
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes with added puree
1 14-1/2 ounce can low-salt chicken broth
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped brine-cured olives (such as Kalamata)

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and oregano and saute until shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken and saute until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate. Boil sauce until thickened, approximately another 5 minutes. Mix in cheese and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.


And I served it with....

Sesame Orzo with Charred Scallions
from Gourmet (August 1995)

1 TBSP sesame seeds
3/4 cup orzo
2 tsp sesame oil
1 bunch scallions cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces

In a dry small heavy skillet cook sesame seeds over moderate heat until golden brown - about 4 minutes. In a 3-quart saucepan bring 2 quarts salted water to boil. Add orzo and cook until al dente. Drain orzo and rinse under cold water. Drain again and add sesame seeds. In an 8-inch non-stick skillet heat oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Saute scallions until lightly charred and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir into orzo and season with salt and pepper.


Addendum:
The next afternoon I had the remaining sauce over the leftover orzo. While the sauce buried the sesame, it was still quite tasty. I recommend trying the sauce as an alternative on pasta.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:00 PM | Comments (0)
July 26, 2003

Stir-Fried Beef in Oyster Sauce

For Thursday night's meal, I tried out something from a cookbook that my parents gave me for Christmas a couple years back: The Complete Wok & Stir-Fry Cookbook edited by Linda Doeser.* At first glance, this book looks rather unprepossessing. In this case the old adage is true....the cover doesn't in any way represent the quality of the recipes and techniques inside.

Stir-Fried Beef in Oyster Sauce

1 lb rump steak
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP cornflour
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 TBSP chopped ginger
8 oz mixed mushrooms (straw, oyster, shiitake)
2 TBSP oyster sauce
1 tsp granulated sugar
4 spring onions, cut into short lengths
freshly ground black pepper
2 red chillies, cut into strips

Slice the beef, on the diagonal, into long strips. Mix together soy sauce and cornflour, stir in beef and marinate 1-2 hours. Heat half the oil in the wok (or frying pan). Add garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant. Stir in beef. Cook about two minutes and set aside in separate bowl. Heat remaining oil, add mushrooms, and cook until tender. Return beef to wok. Add oyster sauce, sugar, and pepper. Mix well. Add the spring onions. Mix together. Serve garnished with strips of chilli.

Serves 4-6.

*I tried to find this cookbook online and had little luck, though the editor appears to have a significant backlist of other work. I have absolutely no idea where my parents stumbled across it. The best I can do is Ultimate Wok & Stir-Fry Cookbook, perhaps an updated version?

Posted by Jennifer at 9:54 AM | Comments (1)
July 24, 2003

Lamb Chops with Balsamic Sauce

Finally back in the kitchen! Here's what I made last night. I'm not exactly sure where this recipe came from originally - it's in my folder of online printouts, so I suspect I picked it up at a recipe site about a year or so ago. I wish I could take credit for it myself as it turned out to be lovely.

4 shoulder lamb chops
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme
salt & pepper, to taste
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 TBSP butter

Rub lamb chops with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Sear chops 3 minutes per side and remove to warm oven to finish cooking. Add shallots to skillet and cook 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, then broth; cook until reduced by half - about 5 minutes. Remove and swirl in the butter. Pour over chops and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.

Serves 4.

Of course, I just happened to have fresh rosemary and fresh thyme on hand, so I used those instead. And I also thickened the sauce with a spoonful of sour cream rather than using the butter. I must admit I rather expected it to be tangier due to the vinegar, but the shallots cooked down so nicely that the sauce came out sweeter than anticipated. It went with the lamb wonderfully.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:10 PM | Comments (0)
July 10, 2003

Roasted Salmon

Seems to me that I've been making the same salmon dish for quite some time now: an appealing recipe with a dijon and garlic sauce. It's certainly popular around here. But tonight I felt like doing something different. So I hunted around and found a dish purportedly from Chef White of Canada's New Brunswick Algonquin Hotel. Since he's a Scot, I can well believe that he'd create a Scotch-based recipe like this.

Roasted Cedar Plank Salmon

2 pound salmon filet
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 1/2 TBSP soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup scotch whiskey
1 TBSP brown sugar

Place salmon in a long shallow dish. Mix together all ingredients and pour over the salmon filet. Marinate 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the cedar plank (I got the chance to use the one that Deb gave me) directly on the oven rack and bake for 8-10 minutes (wood will smell toasty). Remove the plank and rub with a thin coating of olive oil. Place salmon directly on plank - skin side down - and roast for about ten minutes. Serves 4-6.

I really like how this came out. However, I don't know whether it was my oven, my plank, or what -- but it took me closer to 25 minutes for the salmon to bake sufficiently.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:58 PM | Comments (0)

Spiced Steak with Feta

Last night's experiment was another Jennifer Original...

Spiced Steak with Feta

2 blade steaks about 1/3 lb. each
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 oz. feta cheese

Combine seasonings, and press onto both sides of steak. Shake lightly to remove excess. Spray grilling surface (I used my grill pan) with olive oil. Grill steak - about five minutes per side (cover if possible). Remove steak from heat and lest rest an additional five minutes. Slice thinly across the grain. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and serve. 2 servings.

Assessment: Too much oregano; not enough garlic -- but still thought it quite tasty. Next time, will try 3/4 tsp oregano and 2 tsp garlic powder. Basil was just right. Another idea: mix in a diced shallot with the feta. Also, may try a marinade version with diced garlic, basil, oregano, and olive oil instead of using a spice rub.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:55 PM | Comments (0)
July 9, 2003

Chicken in Balsamic

Chicken with Herbed Balsamico in Foil
a Jennifer Original

1/2 boneless chicken breast per serving
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
portabello mushrooms, sliced
dried basil
garlic
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Wrap all ingredients for individual servings in foil. At present, I'm still fudging all the measurements. I'd guess it's probably a TBSP each of the vinegar and oil, a handful of mushrooms, maybe a tsp of basil, 2 tsp of garlic, and 1/8 cup of cheese (all per serving). Place foil packets in baking dish in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

I particularly like this one because wrapping everything up in the foil to bake keeps the chicken extra-moist and cooks all the flavors in.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:09 AM | Comments (2)
July 3, 2003

Lamb Chops in Parmesan Batter

Last night's dinner came from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. Of course, her recipe calls for the tiny yet tasty rib lamb chops. I find them far too dear at the local butcher's, so I opted to use shoulder chops instead, and thus had to adjust the cooking slightly - rather than simply frying them, I moved them to the oven afterwards. Here's my version of the recipe:

2 shoulder lamb chops (about 1 lb)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten lightly in pie dish
1 cup plain bread crumbs
olive oil
salt
black pepper

Turn the chops on both sides in the grated parmesan and knock off excess. Dip meat in the egg and then turn in the bread crumbs, once again shaking off extra crumbs.

Pour oil about 1/4 inch deep in skillet. Once oil is hot, fry chops about three minutes per side to get a crispy golden crust. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove to a 350 degree oven for approximately 12 minutes baking for a medium-rare finish.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:58 AM | Comments (2)
July 1, 2003

Flank Steak with Oregano Marinade

Tonight...another one from The Herbfarm Cookbook...

1 large bunch oregano sprigs
12 3-inch sprigs English thyme
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 2-pound flank steak

Marinating: Roughly strip the large stems from the fresh herbs. Stir all ingredients but steak together. Turn steak in marinade to coat. Cover and marinade (minimum 6 hours).

Grilling: Remove steak and wipe off excess marinade. Grill over very high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Assessment: Very yummy. But maybe just the tiniest touch too salty for me. Might not need salt in addition to the soy sauce, perhaps. But it got better with every bite, so really can't complain. If you're a carnivore, this is definitely one to try out.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:27 PM | Comments (1)
June 20, 2003

Pork Chops with Parmesan-Sage Crust

Hadn't done anything new with pork chops in a while (except for that very delicious Smoked Maple Chipotle Finishing Sauce), so last night I went hunting for a different taste... (And, yes, once again I adjusted measurements and so forth slightly; no surprise.)

Baked Pork Chops with Parmesan-Sage Crust
from Bon Appétit February 2001

3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 TBSP dried sage
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1 large egg
3 boneless center-cut pork chops
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP oil

Preaheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, sage, and lemon peel in a flat dish. Whisk egg in a small bowl. Season pork chops with salt and pepper as desired. Dredge pork chops in flour and shake off excess. Dip in egg, then coat generously with breadcrumb mixture.

Melt butter and oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook until golden brown - about two minutes per side. Transfer pork to oven and cook approximately 20 minutes (or until meat thermometer reads 150 degrees).

Plate and garnish with lemon and/or orange wedges, if desired. Serve immediately.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:28 AM | Comments (1)

Veal with Tomato Goat Cheese Sauce

Wednesday night's meal....Had veal. Had no idea what to do with it at the time. Had goat cheese (just because I like the stuff). Decided to experiment based on cooking techniques learned about reduction sauces and came up with the following:

Veal Scallopini with Tomato & Goat Cheese Sauce
a Jennifer Original

1/2 lb veal scallopini
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp basil (approximately)
1/2 tsp salt (approximately)
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 oz. goat cheese

Spray skillet with olive oil and cook veal a couple minutes per side. Remove to oven to keep warm. Bring broth, wine, basil, salt, and tomatoes to a simmer and reduce to approximately 1/4 cup. Once tomatoes begin to soften, mash somewhat. Whisk in goat cheese to thicken sauce.

I plated this with a dollop of fresh goat cheese on top. I think I would have rather used plum tomatoes as they tend to cook down better but I didn't have any on hand. Also, I might add a couple tablespoons of diced shallots the next time to offset the sweetness of the tomatoes. But, all in all, I was quite pleased with the attempt.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)
June 18, 2003

Lamb Chops

Made these last night.... at ACUS, I tried the same recipe with pork chops since one of those partaking wasn't fond of lamb. I feel it comes out much better with lamb, as the taste of the meat is more complimentary to this type of spicing.

Lamb Chops with Cumin, Cardamom, and Lime
from Gourmet (November 2002)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 TBSP plus 2 tsp olive oil
2 shoulder lamb chops (about 1 lb.)

Whisk together garlic, cumin, cardamom, lime juice, salt, pepper, and the 2 tsp of oil. Put lamb in a sealable bag with marinade, and let set for 15 minutes at room temperature, turning bag occasionally and massaging the lamb.

Heat remaining oil in a skillet over moderately high heat and cook lamb for approximately 5 minutes per side. Move meat to plates and let rest for a few minutes before serving. Makes 2 servings.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:13 AM | Comments (1)
June 13, 2003

Shrimp with Hoisin Sauce

Muggy last night, so wanted something quick, but still delicious. Came up with the following:

3/4 pound shrimp
some green onions
some snow peas
some oyster mushrooms
1 TBSP minced garlic
2 TBSP hoisin sauce
1 TBSP oyster sauce

Stir fry shrimp, green onions, and garlic for about two minutes. Add hoisin sauce and oyster sauce. Stir through. Add peas, and then a couple minutes later, mushrooms. Stir fry until vegetables reach desired consistency (I like mine still on the crunchy side).

Assessment? Could've used a bit more sauce or spice or something. It was good, but perhaps a bit too mild in the savory department.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:38 AM | Comments (0)
June 11, 2003

Cornmeal Chicken

I used to travel quite often to work-related conferences (not so much anymore which leaves me quite a bit more time for cooking), and I'd gotten in the habit of collecting local/regional cookbooks of every area I visited. I think this started when I went to Worldcon in Glasgow in 1995. This particular recipe is from Drop Dumplin's and Pan-Fried Memories. If I remember correctly, I picked this one up while attending the Heartland Writers' Conference in Missouri; confirmed by the inclusion of the recipe for Lambert's famous Throwed Rolls -- yes, they really do toss them at you across the room, and they are hot! This was also the conference where I first met Laurell K. Hamilton and Jim Butcher. In any case, last night, per request, I made yet another version of fried chicken... This time around I made it with homemade cornbread - something I think I've only made once before. It was tasty, but perhaps not quite as moist as I wanted so I guess I'll have to try a different recipe than the one I got from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.


Crunchy Cornmeal Battered Chicken

1 cup white cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup milk

1 cut-up chicken (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Dip chicken pieces in milk, then roll in cornmeal mixture until well-coated. Let stand 10 minutes to dry. Heat approximately one inch of oil in skillet to medium high. Brown quickly on all sides. Reduce heat and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper and serve. (4 servings)

Posted by Jennifer at 10:25 AM | Comments (4)
June 6, 2003

Prosciutto and Cream

Usually Friday night is a spaghetti with tomato sauce night (and usually I don't even have to cook it). But tonight proved to be a somewhat abberant version, since I decided to experiment. Very reminiscent of Carbonara. It was quick to prepare and wonderful to consume. Just be careful not to overload on the proscuitto as it's generally quite salty.

Proscuitto and Cream Sauce
from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1/4 pound sliced proscuitto
3 TBSP butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound pasta
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Recommended pasta: The sauce works equally well with fettucine or tonnarelli, or with green tortellini, and with short tubular macaroni such as penne or rigatoni. (Penne this time.)

Shred the proscuitto into narrow strips. Put into a saucepan with butter, and cook over medium heat for about two minutes or until browned. Add the heavy cream and cook, stirring frequently, until you have thickened and reduced it by at least one-third. Toss the sauce with the cooked drained pasta, add the cheese, toss again, and serve with additional cheese on the side. (And I chose to add a bit of fresh ground black pepper also.)

Posted by Jennifer at 9:23 PM | Comments (1)
June 3, 2003

Jamaican Spice Rub

About a year ago or so, when, as I recall, Sarah and friends were coming over for dinner, I turned up this recipe in Cook's Illustrated, one of my favorite cooking magazines. Per request, I dug out the leftover spice mix this weekend, and we had another go at it on Sunday night. The article suggests that the spices will only remain potent for three months, and while it wasn't quite as spicy as I remembered, it was still tasty. And I got to use my grill pan again too!

Jamaican Spice Rub (makes about 1 cup)

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 TBSP kosher salt
3 TBSP ground coriander
2 TBSP ground ginger
2 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP ground allspice
1 TBSP ground black pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Grilled Chicken:

Brine and season the chicken breasts -- For each pound of chicken, dissolve 1/4 cup kosher salt (or 2 tsp table salt) and 2 TBSP sugar in 1 quart cold tap water. Submerge chicken and refrigerate 45 minutes. Remove chicken from brine, rinse under running water, and dry thoroughly. Rub all sides of each breast evenly with 1 TBSP spice rub. Refrigerate chicken, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours. Remove and grill until meat is no longer pink, or internal temperature is 160 degrees.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:04 PM | Comments (0)
June 1, 2003

Tarragon Pan Sauce

And....dinner last night....

Sauteed Boneless Pork Chops with Tomato-Tarragon Pan Sauce
from How to Cook Without a Book

This was the first pan sauce I ever made. It now seems like a long time ago. It's a very versatile sauce - other spices can be substituted to achieve different tastes. This comes in especially handy if one wants to experiment with using other meats: chicken, turkey, scallops (which I have yet to try) and so forth. This cookbook has become one of my favorites -- first for the title I find ironic, and then because it really is a great book for internalizing some popular cooking methods.

Being me, I've once again slightly amended the recipe. For the original version, and more background on creating pan sauces, check out the cookbook.

The Pork Chops

2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP oil
1 1/2 pounds of 1-inch thick pork chops
salt and pepper
flour

Melt the butter and oil in a skillet large enough for the chops. I like to cut the chops in two pieces (or sometimes into thirds if they're very large). While the pan is heating, sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper to taste and dredge them in flour. Just before sauteeing, increase heat. When butter starts to brown, arrange chops in skillet and cook about three minutes per side. Remove to warm oven.

The Sauce

1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry vermouth
3/4 cup diced canned tomatoes
1 tsp fresh tarragon minced (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 TBSP butter

Whisk together all ingredients except butter and reduce to approximately 1/4 cup. For best results, tomatoes should start to take on a roasted color and smell. Whisk in butter to thicken and spoon a portion over the chops before serving.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

Gashouse Eggs

Lunch yesterday...I ran across this in the March 2003 issue of Saveur Magazine. Since poached eggs over toast were one of the great comfort foods of my childhood, I had to try these out. Simple, but very tasty, and great for an under-the-weather afternoon.

The recipe in the magazine calls for using a skillet, but I opt to use my small griddle instead:

Spray griddle lightly with non-stick spray. Butter bread lightly and pan-toast both sides on the griddle. As the second side starts to brown, use an inverted glass to cut out a circle in the middle of the slice. Set cutout aside on the griddle. Melt a small dollop of butter in the hole, crack an egg into the hole, and cook until set, about 2-3 minutes. Lightly flip if you prefer your eggs over easy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with cutout for dipping. Serves 1.

Of course, I gather they're not supposed to be called gashouse eggs...According to the article, it's a mispronounciation of Gasthaus eggs, perhaps popular to serve at German bed-and-breakfasts or inns. They've apparently also been dubbed: eggs in a bonnet, bird's nest eggs, knothole eggs, one-eyed jacks, and many other unusual names.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:22 AM | Comments (13)
May 29, 2003

Curried Lamb Chops

No cooking tonight. Instead, I was off to the Iron Horse to see the Cowboy Junkies!

However, last night I tried out a recipe that I picked up ages ago from the San Francisco Chronicle - Curried Lamb Chops. Assessment? They were fine - but aren't going to make my top ten list. Now, of course, the recipe calls for chops off the rack and I only had shoulder chops. And I didn't have white wine, so I used cooking vermouth. Plus, there was no peanut oil in the house, so I just went with regular vegetable oil. Perhaps those ingredients would make a significant enough difference to really set this one apart. In any case, here's the recipe:


8 Lamb chops, preferably from the rack, about 2 lbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 TBSP Curry powder
1 TBSP Peanut oil
1 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP Finely chopped shallots
1/3 cup Dry white wine
1/2 cup Fresh or canned chicken broth
1 tsp Tomato paste
1 TBSP Finely chopped parsley

Sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Rub them on both sides with curry powder to coat evenly.

Heat oil in a skillet large enough to hold the chops in one layer. Add the chops and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and brown on second side, about 2 minutes. Turn onto the fatty rims and continue cooking until the rims are rendered of fat, about 2 minutes.

Turn the chops flat side down and cook, turning them occasionally. The total cooking time should be about 15 minutes. Transfer the chops to a dish and pour off all the fat from the skillet.

Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet and heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, about 15 seconds. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute and then add the chicken broth and tomato paste. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced to about 1/3 cup. Swirl in the remaining butter and pour the sauce over the chops. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Serves 4.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:53 PM | Comments (2)
May 28, 2003

Almonds and Herbs

Just recently, the Good Cook (a cookbook club which should by now like me very much) had a 50% off sale, and there were a few books I just couldn't resist, among them The Herbfarm Cookbook.

Last night I tried out Almond-and-Herb-Breaded Chicken (p. 202) and was quite pleased by the results. Described as: "Skinless chicken soaked in buttermilk to tenderize it and baked with a savory coating of almonds, rosemary, thyme, and parsley..." It goes something like this:

Marinade:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 TBSP dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 4-pound chicken, cut and skinned

Crust:
3/4 cup almonds, blanched and sliced
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 TBSP coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
2 TBSP fresh thyme leaves
1 cup fresh parsley sprigs
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp salt

About 1 cup all-purpose flour

1. Marinate the chicken: Whisk together buttermilk, mustard, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. Toss chicken pieces in mixture and refrigerate 1 hour.

2. Crust: Whirl crust ingredients in food processor until finely chopped. Dredge buttermilk-soaked chicken pieces in flour, and then once more in buttermilk mixture, and then in crust mixture.

3. Baking: Bake 45-55 minutes at 400 degrees.

Serves 4.

Since boneless chicken breasts were available already in the freezer, they were used instead. Baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. It was juicy and tender and the crust was crunchy and evocative. Best of all, fresh thyme and rosemary were used from the herb garden.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:58 PM | Comments (1)
May 12, 2003

Flamenquines

Sunday night dinner.... After eating out at Coyote Blue on Thursday, having dinner made for me on Friday night, and having pizza on Saturday, I finally got back to cooking!

The Menu:
Andalusian Pork Rolls
Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Green Beans

Andalusian Pork Rolls
(inspired by a recipe from Bon Appétit)

Described as "a delicious tapa that is called flamenquines in Spanish...related to the term flamenco, which refers to any colorful dish from Andalusia."

2 TBSP minced fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 boneless pork loin chops (about 18 oz. total)
6 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 oz.)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with 2 tsp milk
1 cup plain dried bread crumbs

Mix parsley and garlic in small bowl. Flatten pork to 1/4-inch thickness. Top each piece of pork with a slice of prosciutto and sprinkle with parsley/garlic mixture. Roll and secure with toothpicks. Dip into egg mixture, then coat with bread crumbs. In skillet, heat approximately one inch of olive oil to 375 degrees and then fry pork rolls until cooked through (about 13 minutes), turning every few minutes.


Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
(from One Potato, Two Potato)

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
coarse salt
4 TBSP butter, softened
4 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream (I prefer sour cream)
3 TBSP freshly chopped chives
salt and pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes in water seasoned by a pinch of coarse salt until potatoes are tender. Mash the potatoes. Cut the butter into pieces and beat in. Cut the goat cheese into bits and beat in. Pour in cream 1/4 cup at a time and stir until absorbed. Season with chives, salt, and pepper, and serve.

Posted by Jennifer at 6:49 PM | Comments (1)
May 8, 2003

Yogurtlu Basti

With the leftover ribs taken care of, yesterday I decided that now it was time to take care of the leftover yogurt. My friend Michael was coming by for dinner, and he's pretty open to culinary experiments and my first attempt at a new recipe, so I pulled out my copy of The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, figuring they'd have something that would use up more of the yogurt (something just not commonly used in my house.....yet). They had quite a few recipes actually, but I settled on Yogurtlu Basti AKA Chicken with Spiced Yogurt. Of course there were a couple of unexpected adjustments....

Yogurtlu Basti Recipe (according to the book)

A Turkish dish... Serves 4

2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tsp ground cardamom (or crushed seeds)
1 1/2 inches fresh gingerroot, grated
1 large onion, chopped
2 TBSP olive oil
a 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into quarters
salt and pepper
1/4 cup blanched almonds, toasted and chopped

My first attempt at buying almonds (at the local IGA) didn't work out, so I went off to the Highland Market (a more upscale place). I'd looked up various methods for blanching almonds and discovered that the reason was mostly to get the skins off. I remembered seeing slivered almonds in the baking aisles, and, sure enough, they were pre-blanched. That was a time saver. During the cooking, I quickly discovered that toasting them in a non-stick frying pan works much better than the oven. I had one other slight upset. I keep minced ginger in a jar in the 'fridge, much like minced garlic. I guess it must have been a while since I used it because there was an entire space-faring civilization of not-ginger growing in the jar. To put it succinctly: "ew." So, I decided to use ground ginger instead. Also, since I was only cooking for two, I didn't want to fuss with a whole chicken, so I used boneless chicken breasts. Here's how I cooked it. And I quite liked it too!

Adjusted Recipe

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
1 small onion, chopped
2 TBSP olive oil
1 boneless chicken breast (split)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup blanched almonds, toasted and chopped

In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the cardamom and ginger and let them infuse while you cook the chicken.

In a large skillet, fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the chicken pieces and saute until the onions are golden and the chicken pieces lightly browned. Add salt and pepper and 3/4 cup water (the original recipe actually calls for a cup but with the smaller amount of meat, it took too long to cook down) and cook over low heat -- 12 minutes for breast meat, 20 minutes for dark -- until the chicken is very tender and the sauce reduced, turning the chicken pieces over and adding a little water if it becomes too dry.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Serve sprinkled with almonds.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:54 AM | Comments (1)
May 6, 2003

Mediterranean tacos?

So, I had these very tasty leftover ribs, and was inspired to try out the following (which came out pretty nice, if I do say so myself)....

Ingredients:
Feta-Yogurt Sauce (recipe below)
Leftover Ribs (or possibly marinated lamb, beef, or chicken)
Diced Tomatoes
Diced Cucumbers
Pita Bread

Assembly:
Similar to tacos -- insert ingredients in pita bread. And eat. Yum!

Feta-Yogurt Sauce
from Bon Appetite, December 2001
via epicurious.com

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 1/2 TBSP chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano

Using fork, mash feta cheese in small bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. (Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Makes about 1 cup.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:50 PM | Comments (0)
May 5, 2003

BBQ Sauce

Last night, we had some really tasty country style pork ribs. To begin, I let the ribs sit in the BBQ sauce (ingredients listed below) for 4-5 hours in the 'fridge. Since warm weather is finally more consistent, we decided to pull out the gas grill. Turning on two out of three burners as low as we could get them, and propping the lid about half an inch open kept it at the temperature we wanted, around 250-300 degrees. We left the ribs on the grill approximately two hours. Every half hour we turned them, basted them, and rotated their position with respect to the burners, so they'd cook as evenly as possible. They were juicy, tender, and perfectly cooked.

The recipe is still in development. Here's the current version:

BBQ Rib Sauce (for about 4 lbs meat)
1/2 cup favored BBQ sauce (I use KC Masterpiece Original)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP single malt scotch
2 tsp hot chili oil
2 tsp hot sauce (e.g. Tabasco)
1 TBSP brown sugar
minced garlic (to taste)
ground ginger (to taste)
cayenne pepper (to taste)
cilantro (to taste)
onion powder (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
salt (to taste)

Last night was the first time the brown sugar and the Scotch were included; welcome additions to the complex flavor.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:03 AM | Comments (2)