Archive | January, 2012

Beet, Sweet Potato and Fried Goat Cheese Salad

31 Jan

This colorful salad takes from many inspirations– the good fork (restaurant in red hook), barefoot contessa, and my friend who had great idea to throw roast sweet potatoes into a salad. The fried goat cheese- obviously the main attraction- is also versatile- and seems very dinner party appropriate. For the purpose of this picture, I wanted to try what I had seen in a magazine- using cookie cutters (or as I did tracing around a mason jar lid w. a knife)- to make a stack (cookie cutters would have been way easier and prettier). But in real life, what I didn’t use of the beets and potato for the picture- I ended up chopping– and adding to arugula one night and for lunch the rest of the week- I mixed it with lentils, kale and wheatberries. Topped w. a disc of fried goat cheese.

If I could add a note about dark greens- Kale, spinach, broccoli rabe, chard- whatever. However you cook them- when you are done- along w. sprinkle of sea salt at the end– squeeze fresh lemon juice over it.  Makes such a difference in bringing out the flavor- it’s almost absurd.

For my salad I used:
3 beets- medium sized
1 sweet potato
half cup lentils- i use the french green- lentils de puy
half cup wheatberries
1 bunch lacinato kale. W. lemon, olive oil, salt and stock- if handy (if not, don’t worry)

Goat cheese:
1 log goat cheese (or less depending on how many disks you want to make- i only made 1/8 of a log- can scale ingredients below down accordingly)
fresh bread crumbs or panko (1 cup) (i used panko)
2 eggs
fresh parsley- if have on hand

Dressing:
olive oil
spring of fresh rosemary
clove of garlic
salt & pepper
lemon zest

Beets. To roast: Preheat oven to 375. Lightly coat in oil and wrap in foil. Put them in a pan– depending on the size they take about 45-min to an hour to cook. When done, you can stick a fork in and then will come back out easily. The monster pain in the ass thing I hate about beets is the peeling. The way I do it– is using paper towels, hold the beets and rub off the outside skin. (if anyone has any other tricks tho- please share!)
Sweet potato- don’t wrap in foil. Can just place on cookie sheet or directly onto rack. Also took about 45 mins. Test done same way.
Wheatberries- Rinse. 1 1/2 cups water to add 1/2 cup wheatberries. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, uncovered cook about 30 mins.
Lentils- Rinse. 1 1/2 cups water to 1/2 cup lentils. Bring to a boil. Lower and simmer, uncovered 15-20 mins.
Kale– rinse thoroughly. Can rip up and take ribs out (not necessary but some prefer). Heat a large pan over medium heat. W. some excess water still on it, throw kale into hot pain. Cover and cook for a few minutes to cook. I have actually found- if you have it handy- a little bit of stock adds much flavor. Keep cooking until soft. When done, drizzle w. a little olive oil, ream a fresh lemon into it, salt and pepper.

Goat cheese. I tried this two ways— w. flour, eggs and panko. And with just panko and eggs. The flour holds their shape a little more- so good for if you were doing some sort of dinner party and had to pick them up w. your hands? But w. just panko and eggs was a bit more delicate– melty and delicious- so I would recommend that.
Contrary to my initial thought- goat cheese is actually easier to cut while very cold– not soft. So pop in the freezer while prepping everything else. Slice goat cheese into thin disks w. sharp knife or unflavored dental floss. If this is giving you trouble, you can always take off a bit–  roll into a ball- and then press w. palms to flatten. My discs were about 2 1/2 inches wide (to match the size of my cookie cutter vegetables) and maybe 1/2  inch thick.
Lay out two flat bowls, one w. egg lightly beaten and the other with panko and chopped fresh parsley, if using.
Heat olive oil in stainless steel skillet until very hot.
Dip goat cheese in egg, letting excess drip off. Then roll around in the panko mixture.
Cook until golden brown– takes only about a minute on each side.

Dressing (which was vaguely inspired by something Reed concocted to dip bread in at an Oscar’s party some time ago.) I used my fancy new mortar and pestle. Combining a good glug of olive oil– and rest of the ingredients in bowl. And give it a few good smashes to combine and awaken the flavors.

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Pancakes!

28 Jan

Pancakes 2 ways. So if you have been to Clinton Street Baking company on the LES, you know how absurdly good their pancakes are. Like so good- and you can even order them at dinner. This recipe is a little more involved than your average pancake recipe (mainly b/c it involves whipping egg whites– which, while not especially difficult, i never quite feel like doing hungover or before coffee). But on New Years day– they finally happened–and man they are fucking good.  Just what pancakes should be. Super fluffy. And it has been agreed– tasting best when eaten w. your hands.  But I didn’t want to just post this recipe— as I wanted to give you, dear reader… the option for a pancake when you got some time- and it is well worth it-  but also a no fuss alternative. So my darling college roommate Alice V. Ely– was kind enough to write in with her pancake recipe from Joy of Baking.

Clinton St. Baking Company Pancake Recipe— I halved this recipe– and it was still a shit ton of pancakes
* = see notes

4 cups all-purpose flour (2 cups)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder (2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup sugar (my 3/4 cup thing has a half-way mark so I just eye-balled it)
1 teaspoon salt (1/2)
6 large eggs, separated (3)
3 cups whole milk (1 1/2 cups whole milk)*
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted (6 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, unmelted for the griddle and lots more for serving
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (more vanilla the better so i kept this at 1 tsp)
Maple syrup for serving

1. Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Slowly whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture just until combined. The resulting should be slightly lumpy yet still combined.
3. Whip the egg whites by hand with a whisk or in the bowl of an electric mixer until they reach medium peaks. You can whip them by hand with a whisk or place them in the bowl of an electric mixer. (Peaks are “soft” when you put your finger in the whites and they fall over. Peaks are “medium” when you put your finger in and they drip over a bit and stand up. “Stiff” peaks develop when you whip the whites longer and they stay up.) You don’t want to over-whip the egg whites.**
4. Gently fold half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Then gently fold the remaining whites into the batter. Remember, this batter should be slightly lumpy and have large parts of egg whites not fully incorporated and should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top. (The batter will last a few hours in the fridge without deflating too much.)***
5. Heat a griddle — either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat skillet — over medium to medium-low heat. Grease the hot surface with a teaspoon or so of the remaining butter. Drop 1/4 cup of pancake batter on the griddle. Now let it set. When you see bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crisp at the edges. If it is, flip the pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a plate with a spatula.
6. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, adding more butter to the griddle as needed and cooking several pancakes at a time. Serve immediately with ample butter and maple syrup.

Variations: If desired, you can sprinkle 1 tablespoon fresh or frozen blueberries or a couple slices banana and 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts onto the pancakes before turning them. Never add the fruit to the batter; always add the fruit to the pancakes once they’re on the griddle. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar for the blueberry pancakes, cinnamon sugar for the banana-walnut.

*yes, i used whole milk. I would not go w. skim. but you can make all sorts of substitutions if you really don’t want to run out for it. Such as combining low-fat milk w. half and half or heavy cream. or even some melted butter
**I overwhipped. man i was pissed. but i added a few drops of milk and it sort of fixed it- and overall still worked.
***I left mine out of the fridge– for maybe 20 mins? and it entirely deflated- the extra batter yielding an entirely different pancake.So you can try in the fridge- but best bet is to make them directly after making the batter.

Pancakes! Post by Alice

For a straight-forward, no-fuss pancake, I head straight to Joy. You can easily mix the dry ingredients and keep them in a ziploc in the fridge, making these just as easy as Bisquick to throw together (and way better). Contrary to Joy, and due to my electric stovetop, I usually mix the dry ingredients first and mix in the wet ingredients while the griddle is heating up. Also, note that the butter must be melted, so pop that on the stove or in the microwave while you’re mixing the dry ingredients.
Whisk together: 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
.5 teaspoons salt (though, if you are out of unsalted butter as I frequently am, you can skip the salt here and use salted butter later)
Heat the griddle – not smoking hot, but enough so a spritz of water from your fingers skitters across the top.
In another bowl, whisk together: 1.5 cups milk (whole is best, but whatever you have in the fridge will work in a pinch)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
half teaspoon vanilla (Joy says this is optional, I say it’s mandatory)
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing until just combined. Fold in any toppings you like.
Ladle batter onto griddle for each pancake – the best results will be either silver dollars (~3 in diameter) or mid-sized (~5 in across), otherwise flipping becomes arduous, messy, and disappointing. Cook pancakes until they are speckled with bubbles, some of which have burst, and the edges have just started to cook (slightly longer than you expect). Flip to cook the other side – DO NOT PRESS DOWN (this makes your lovely fluffy pancakes flat and chewy and awful. Don’t do it), and cook approximately 3-5 minutes more. Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup (which is best if you warm it – 10 seconds in the microwave does the job).

Chicken Schnitzel w Fried Egg and Crispy Capers

23 Jan

Last April, I went to London. I met up w. my friend Justin— and he introduced me to his friend Cliff. Cliff could not  not have been nicer and his house- was just so homey- and he had this amazing garden outside w. fresh herbs etc. To top it off, he had worked on these British cooking shows! Could anything be more up my alley? We all watched a bunch- and I flipped through a cookbook from one of the shows–Cookery School? I took a bunch of pics w. my iphone (my favorite way to copy a recipe). Last wknd ending up making 2 of them– this and sticky toffee pudding (post to come.) And in a word— I’d call this dish satiating.  Made for a great meal- brunch and dinner.

People always talk about being so sick of chicken– but I will tell you that I rarely make it– and certainly not more than any other meat. True story– an acupuncturist told me that I should eat less chicken and turkey–because they were highly neurotic birds– and that might be, taking effect so to speak. So she advised to diversify. But this was so good- I will definitely be making again and again– neuroses be damned.

For the schnitzel: [i halved the recipes below]
4 boneless chicken breasts, butterflied
1 cup plain flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs (or I used half fresh wheat breadcrumbs (piece of bread pulsed in food processor) and half dried panko- Japanese breadcrumbs)
6 tablespoons olive oil

for the crispy capers and fried egg:
2 tablespoons olive oil
50g capers.. which is pretty much 2 oz or a handful of capers… I used 6 tablespoons. drained
4 eggs
8 fresh anchovies (anyone?)
1 lemon, cut into wedges

I served w. 1 bunch broccoli rabe w lemon.

Line cutting board w. a piece of saran wrap. Put a chicken breast down. Lay another piece of saran wrap on top. Using a rolling pin– or if you don’t have can use a heavy pan– bang down on chicken to flatten out (you will be surprised how easy this is). You want chicken to be about 1/2 an inch. Remove from saran and repeat w. other 3 breasts.
Prep your counter w. 3 shallow bowls or plates (see below). One w. flour. One w. breadcrumbs. One w. eggs.
To bread chicken. Dip in flour, shake of excess. Dip in eggs. Cover w. breadcrumbs. And into the pan. (you don’t really want to let your breaded chicken sit around, so if cooking in two batches, wait until first batch in pan to coat second.)
[Depending on the size of your pan- you can either cook one or two at a time- i could only fit one- you want to give it space to breath- adjust oil accordingly.]
Heat a large skillet. When hot, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil (enough for 2 breasts). Fry chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Flip over and cook another 2 mins.
Meanwhile, in a small pan fry capers. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add capers and fry for 3-4 minutes until they get crispy.
Reusing one of the pans- heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil (obviously use less if making less eggs). When oil hot, crack eggs into pan. Cook 2-3 minutes. If you want to be pretty- you can use a cookie cutter to perfect the edges.
To serve. Lay chicken down. Egg on top. Sprinkle capers over. If using, lay anchovies over egg.
Lovely served w. wedges of lemon or simple salad. I served w. broccoli rabe. In large skillet, heated some oil and I threw broccoli in whole. Cover for a few minutes- maybe 5. Finish w. extra olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh squeezed lemon.
Obviously, if you have leftovers– fry the egg before you serve. Chicken and capers reheated nicely in oven– on cookie sheet for 500.

Sweet Potato Corn Soup

19 Jan

My mother used to make this soup— a great, thick and hearty soup. A few weeks ago, my sister  recreated it and had Terry and I over for dinner. Just as good as I remembered. It doesn’t make a huge batch- maybe 4 bowls, so feel free to double. Quick enough for a weeknight. The recipe comes from Moosewood low-fat cooking– so it is healthy but still flavorful. Don’t skimp on the lime garnish- it is the perfect finish. Cilantro garnish good too.

(Can we go entirely off topic for a moment and talk about Vita Coco– this coconut water fad. There must be some brooklyn brainwash b/c I literally cannot go to the co-op w. out hearing a page– “do we have any more half gallons of Vita Coco?” My sister- who doesn’t like coconut was drinking some- i asked her if she liked it- she just shrugged and kept drinking. so i thought i would give it another try– and i don’t really like it either. but some reason- it is totally addictive- it says it is more hydrating than water, more electrolytes than gatorade and more potassium than bananas. so yesterday when i was driving- and felt like shit– i was like what i could really use a VitaCoco (what has become of me?) and somehow they have it in the Plattsville(?) rest-stop and it really made me feel better. So I ask– is this some magic elixer– or is it some like brainwash cocktail? do they sneak some crack in there? who’s with me?)

And now back to the recipe…
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 small fresh chile, seeded and minced
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups veg stock (I use chicken instead b/c i think it has more flavor)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 medium sweet potato, diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (no need to defrost)
salt to taste

lime wedges
finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

in a covered soup pot, simmer onions, garlic, chile and salt in 1 cup of veg stock for about 10 mins, or until onions are soft. In a small bowl, make a paste w. the cumin and 1 tablespoon of stock, stir into pot and simmer for another 1 or 2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and remaining stock and simmer for about 10 mins, until sweet potatoes soften. Add bell pepper and corn and simmer, covered for another 10 mins or until all the vegs are tender.
Puree about half the soup in a blender, food processor or using immersion blender. And return to put. The soup will be creamy and thick. Add salt to taste and gently reheat on low heat. Serve w. lime and cilantro garnish.

Great served w. Kale Caesar- as Sam did- recipe to come.

Swordfish w. Roasted Red Pepper & Caper Relish

12 Jan

Quick, healthy and delicious week night meal. I made the red pepper and caper relish the day before, so all I had to do when I came home from my run w. Jess P. was to cook the fish for 10 minutes. Served w. an arugula and broccoli sprout salad and roasted fennel. The shallots/onions give a nice bite and crunch to the relish, and they mellowed  a bit overnight too- but don’t use too much- and if you have a raw onion aversion- leave out. By the way– when buying fish– I go to counter w. an idea in mind, but then just pick out the one that looks the freshest. Take it home and you know it’s fresh when it doesn’t smell fishy. (after some slow months of posting– i have quite a backlog- so many posts!- so hope you enjoy)

1 swordfish steak
2 red peppers
red or white wine vinegar
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 of a shallot or red onion, optional
rosemary, if you have it. Take a couple leaves off the spring- hit w. a mortar and pestle, pan or knife to bruise and release the flavor
lemon

To roast red pepper: Preheat to 400. Line baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat whole red peppers with olive oil, sprinkle w. salt and pepper. Cook for 30-40 mins. Flip over once during. The peppers will get charred and black on outside- that’s what you want. When done, take the peppers out and cover w. foil while cooling– or put in brown paper bag- tupperware w. lid or bowl w. seran wrap– you get the idea. This makes them a world easier to peel. When cool, using hands, slide off skin, seeds and top.
Chop red peppers, put in bowl. If using onion/shallot, chop finely and add. Add generous tablespoon of capers, teaspoon vinegar, teaspoon olive oil, and generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Let sit for a few mins while you cook the fish so flavors can blend. Also works if make a day ahead.

Grill swordfish. Heat a grill pan on medium. Let it go for a few minutes until really hot. Brush w. olive oil. Rinse fish, drizzle w. olive oil,salt and pepper and rosemary. When sizzling hot, lay fish down and cook for 5 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 5 mins. You will have lovely grill marks. Finish w. a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Top fish w. roasted red pepper & caper relish and enjoy.

Scotch Shortbread

10 Jan

Yummy buttery shortbread…oh so buttery. I’ve made this William Sonoma recipe a bunch- it was first given to me by Megan Doyle Carmody. The other day Rach pointed out that I didn’t have shortbread on Snacko Backo- so when Rach’s bday came around– seemed like the perfect opportunity. Plus, these come together super quickly. Basically, there are two shortbread recipes I use- this one and Doris Greenspan’s sandies, which are a french round version and just a touch more involved and slightly different texture, I think. Maybe a month or two ago I went to a Doris Greenspan demo– and she demoed the sandies- so I kept a couple things in mind. Next time I make those, I’ll be sure to post- or just ask me if you want it.

1 1/2 cups flour
butter, room temperature (2 sticks = 16 tablespoons)
1/4 tsp salt. (but I wanted to check out this salted butter that Doris Greenspan recommended- called Vermont Culture- pretty tasty- she said it was the closest to french butter she can find over here. B/c using salted butter, eliminated the extra 1/4 tsp salt)
1/4 cup white sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup confectioner sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 inch square pan– ungreased. Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and continue beating until the mixture is no longer gritty when rubbed between your thumb and finger (mine is never completely smooth- but as close as you can get.) Beat in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour and salt (Dorie  said that shortbread are the only ones that she sifts the flour for– so I thought I would go ahead and do it too. Note– make sure you sift the measured flour– don’t sift then measure.) Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed or stir with a wooden spoon just until blended- don’t overmix.
Using floured (or wet) fingertips, press the dough evenly into an ungreased 8-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle evenly with the 1 Tbs. granulated sugar.
Bake the shortbread until the edges are golden, about 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately use a thin, sharp knife to cut the shortbread into bars. Use a toothpick or the tines of a fork to decorate the shortbread with a pattern of dots. Let the strips cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before transferring them to the rack to cool completely.

Popovers

8 Jan

Popover Post by the best sister I’ve ever had, Samantha. “I have some friends who claim that they had no major cravings during pregnancy.   That was not me.  From the moment I found out my news, i had one major thing on the brain – steak, steak and more steak!!!  Its too bad that BLT establishments don’t offer frequent flyer cards bc in my first trimester, my husband and i would have racked up major points;)  After a few meals at various BLTS around town and on vacation, we realized that the restaurant leaves the recipe for their delicious popovers (that they serve instead of bread), on the table.  Along with my steak fad, “nesting” at home was my new favorite hobby so I quickly ran out to bed and bath for a popover pan – what could be better – BLT food.. in the comfort of my own home!  the popovers were fantastic.  and, the hardest thing about the recipe is getting the pan and making sure you time the 50 min baking time with whatever else you are serving.  Guests love these and are always impressed.  One thing – definitely use way more than 2 tablespoons of Gruyere on each popover – you will not be disappointed.  I hadn’t made these in a while but recently I had tessa (of tessas tiny kitchen) and our father over for a dinner- we were celebrating a very special person and – popovers seemed like the right food for the occasion.  Hope you enjoy.”

BLT Popover recipe

4 Cups Milk, Warmed
8 Eggs
4 cups flour
1 1/2 heaping tbsp salt
2 1/4 cups grated gruyere cheese
Popover Pan.

Makes 12. Place the popover pan in the oven. Heat oven and pan to 350 deg. Gently warm the milk over low heat and set aside. Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (so as not to cook the eggs). Set the mixture aside. Sift the flour with the salt. Slowly add the dry mixture to the eggs and combine until mostly smooth. Once combined remove the popover pan from the oven and spray with non stick vegetable spray. Fill each popover cup 3/4 full and top each with 2 1/2 tablespoons of gruyere cheese. bake at 350 deg for 50 minutes, rotating pan half a turn after 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

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