I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bread. Show all posts

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls

I don't know that there is any breakfast more comforting or that makes you feel more loved than cinnamon rolls. Especially when homemade, soft, large, and topped with just the right amount of glaze. Is this just the Midwesterner in me or is this a universal feeling?

This is another recipe  pulled from my childhood and my grandmother's recipe box. Cinnamon rolls are something that I only seem to crave in winter, remembering the warm treat offered up Christmas morning, or whenever we stayed the night with my grandmother, or alongside a bowl of chili (again: who else has this tradition? I seem to know some people who insist on the cinnamon roll and chili pairing and others who have never heard of such a thing). Since the husband shared the tradition of the Christmas morning cinnamon rolls in his family, it is one that we have made part of our small celebration every year as we hunker down in New York City, trying to ward off the homesickness of being far from family on this special day. To be honest, our first couple of years we popped open a refrigerated can the morning of to satisfy the craving, but the last couple of years, as my kitchen and bread skills improved, homemade rolls graced the table.

Doing our best to not look completely hung over on Christmas morning.
The best part of making a batch yourself is the ability to share and spread the love. This year I made a 1 1/2 sized portion and divvied it up to 3 pie pans to hand out to fellow friends stuck in the city far from family. A treat that hopefully made them feel more at home.

Cinnamon Rolls
This recipe is based off of my grandmother's dinner roll recipe. It creates a barely sweet, flaky, soft dough that is only improved by the addition of a bit of butter/sugar and glaze. This recipe makes 12 large rolls, but it never hurts to multiply the recipe to share a bit of winter cheer with those who may need it. 
photo courtesy of The Husband
for the dough:
1 package yeast dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. warm water
4 c. flour

for the filling:
1/2 c. (8 TB) butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 TB cinnamon

for the glaze:
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 TB milk

Add all the dough ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix until well combined--dough will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Then place the covered bowl into the refrigerator to cool the dough about 30 minutes-1 hour.
Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar.
Lightly flour the counter and dump the dough onto it. Roll out into a 9x15" rectangle (you want the dough to be about 1/2" thick). Spread with the butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Starting with the long side, roll up the dough fairly tightly. Once rolled, pinch the seam to the roll to close off the roll.
Use a sharp knife or a long piece of string to cut the log into 12 rolls (you may want to slice off the very end pieces first to make for more even rolls). Place 2" apart in a 9x13" baking dish. Cover and rise for about 30 minutes-1 hour. (Note: at this point you can also cover the rolls and then place in the refrigerator to rise slowly overnight to bake off in the morning. OR you can place the rolls on a sheet pan in the freezer at this point. Once frozen, wrap carefully in wax paper and place in a freezer bag. When ready to cook, place the frozen rolls 2" apart in a 9x13" pan and let rise and thaw for about 2-3 hours. Bake as directed below.)
Heat the oven to 350.
While the rolls are rising, make the glaze. Mix together the ingredients, adding more powdered sugar if necessary to thicken or more milk if necessary to thin.
Bake the cinnamon rolls for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer doughy. Cool slightly, then drizzle with glaze.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Dinner Rolls (or, The Secrets of a Family Recipe)

The dough was pliant, heeding my demands as I rolled it into small rolls on the counter top. It didn't fight back, it let me have my way, its smooth surface rising slowly telling me I'd done it right.

It was not so six years ago when I moved to New York City and prepared my very first Thanksgiving, a small affair just for the husband and I. The dough was sticky, unforgiving, unwilling to form itself into the round balls that the recipe called for. I was sure I just needed a bit more flour to get it right, so kept adding it bit by bit to make a pliable form to work from. Once out of the oven the rolls looked just right--perhaps a little more misshapen or browned than my grandmother's, yet close enough for my first timer's eyes. Yet a bite into one revealed not a soft, pliant dinner roll ready to make every leftover turkey sandwich a star, but a tough, dry, crumbly impostor of the Thanksgiving dinner rolls I'd been raised to love.

The first attempt.
Every year my grandmother turns out a multitude of these rolls: slightly sweet, tender, piled high underneath a kitchen towel. They soak up a pat of butter, begging for a drizzle of honey at one time or leftover turkey shreds drowned with gravy at another. I could not imagine a Turkey Day table without them. Yet somehow the seemingly simple recipe from my grandmother's pen never turned out quite right for me, no matter how many times I tried.

I asked my grandmother for tips. She stated that it was pretty simple, nothing to it really. Nothing overly special about the recipe. Yet my inexperienced hands would not turn them out in her style. I added less flour the next year, let them rise even longer the following, used the stand mixer instead of kneading, didn't knead, added the ingredients hot and then cold. I was convinced that the problem was my hot hands or in a kneading trick I hadn't yet learned. The years passed, each turning out a version of rolls that never quite had the elegance of my grandmother's.

Getting closer.
A recipe is written from the hands of the creator, but it never conveys the nuances that make it sing. You can pluck out those notes, but the song feels lacking and lackluster without the vibrato of the master. There's the possibility of an ingredient left out, on purpose to keep the recipe secret, or without thought because it seems second nature. There a fear that the recipe will never be made whole in your own hands, those missing notes gaping so large that they create a void of sound (or taste). Yet hope keeps one struggling through, year after year, wishing somehow, with a little luck, that the undertones of the recipe will revel themselves and lead it to sing with perfection.

Somehow this year, thankfully, this recipe transformed to the latter for me. Practice, practice, experiments and internet searches for similar recipes (and more practice) finally yielded answers to my sticky dough problems: a stint in the fridge after the first rise. So simple, yet makes all the difference.

As I laid out my Thanksgiving table this year I felt full of pride and accomplishment as I set forth the kitchen towel covered basket, filled with a bit of my family's (and my own) culinary history: warm, soft, sweet rolls of perfection.

Holiday Dinner Rolls
makes 24 rolls
1 package yeast dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. warm water
4 c. flour

Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix until well combined--dough will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Then place the covered bowl into the refrigerator to cool the dough about 30 minutes-1 hour.
Once cool, work quickly to form rolls so the dough does not return to its sticky state. Dump onto a lightly floured counter and cut the dough into 4 pieces, then cut each quarter into 6 pieces. Fold each piece in on itself a few times to form the round shape, then roll it with a rounded hand and slight pressure on the counter to smooth out the top. Place the rolls 3" apart on baking sheets. Cover with a towel and let rise again about 1 hour.
(Note: if you are making the rolls in advance, freeze them after forming into rolls but before the second rise. Place the baking sheets in the freezer and once frozen wrap the rolls in wax paper and place in a freezer bag. When ready to bake, place 3" apart on baking sheets, cover with a towel, and let rise for about 3 hours.)
Heat the oven to 375. Bake the rolls until lightly golden brown, 12-15 minutes.

Monday, April 29, 2013

French Goat Cheese Salad

Sometimes I think it is difficult to talk about a vacation when you first arrive back home. All of the emotions, memories, experiences are piled up on top of one another in your head and seem to be too much to process in a way that would make sense to other people. It takes some time to really let it all sink in, and for the truly memorable pieces to achieve focus so the stories can be told without all of the superfluous details.

And thus, I have not yet been able to discuss our trip to Paris/Dijon here on the blog. There were too many things to say. Now after being back for close to 2 weeks I am finally feeling the ability to put it all into words for you, so will be covering some of the important bits over a couple of posts.

To begin, I mostly want to discuss how truly lovely the French are. Almost every restaurant, bar, grocery store, shop, etc. that we walked into felt like our local neighborhood joint thanks to the warm welcome we received  The shopkeepers would ask us questions, talk about our day, give us suggestions on things to eat or drink. Certain places felt so comfortable that you it was as if we were passing the evening at a friend's home. I can't get over the sense of warmth that the French seemed to constantly exude. How wonderful to feel so welcomed despite my dreadful attempts at their home language.

This warmth carried over to all of the food we were served: how can something not taste delicious when you truly feel that the proprietors of the establishments are so happy to have you there with them. The sense of pride in French food doesn't hurt, either.

There were many dishes that you would see on multiple menus throughout the city, but one that seemed to be on every single menu we saw was the goat cheese salad. Basically the French bread was sliced (and oh, god, the French bread really is that much better than the bread anywhere else in the world) and topped with goat cheese and then baked. This warm, cheesy "crouton" was then served on top of a salad. Simple as that.

When we returned home I knew this easy to prepare yet complex tasting salad must grace our table. My version was also inspired by our side trip to Burgundy by flavoring the dressing with sweet yet tart creme de cassis and Dijon mustard. The sweet and spicy dressing pairs so nicely with a rich goat cheese and figs over top of mesclun greens. I've come back a bit of a cheese snob and knew I didn't want the too mild, boring grocery store goat cheese, so bought a little Le Chevrot which had a little age and more depth. However, I won't judge if the grocery store variety is all you have on hand.

French Goat Cheese Salad
serves about 3-4
8-10 slices French bread
7 oz. Le Chevrot cheese or other goat cheese
6 c. mesclun mix
9-10 figs, thinly sliced

4 TB creme de cassis
2 TB Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the goat cheese and place slices on each piece of French bread. Place the bread onto a baking sheet and bake until the cheese has become gooey and melted a bit and the bread is slightly toasted, about 4-5 minutes.
Meanwhile place the mesclun greens and figs into a large salad bowl.
To make the dressing mix the creme de cassis, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Then toss the dressing with the salad. Top with the goat cheese toasts to serve.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pine Tar Press Round-Up

Prepping for Turkey Day has kept me busy and away from the blog. Promise I have some posts on the way for you soon! Until then, check out what I've been up to over on Pine Tar Press:

Pumpkin Muffins

Radishes in Miso Butter

Cheesy Dip

Edamame Dip

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Smoky Roasted Eggplant with Pita Crisps

One afternoon last year the husband and I met up with an out-of-town friend at a little Italian joint on the Lower East Side. This place has some killer gnocchi, delicious fried zucchini and wood-fire roasted pizzas. We ordered an array of food (really far too much for 3 people, but we are a group that loves their food) including pastas, pizza and vegetables. Slowly items started hitting the table and we dug in as the conversation and the wine flowed freely. After everything else was in front of us and partially consumed, out came our final dish: the roasted eggplant. It had been roasted whole in the wood fire oven. It was presented to us by our server, not unlike a whole fish would be, before he placed it in front of us and cut it in half, allowing the creamy interior to come bursting forth. He drizzled it with both an extra virgin olive oil and a roasted chili oil and told us to enjoy. Already impressed, I dug in, unprepared for the pure joy that was about to enter my mouth. This simple dish remains to this day one of my favorite bites in the city and rarely does a week go by without me craving it.

I have tried to recreate this scrumptious offering in my home a few times. It never quite gets all the way there as I don't have my own wood fire oven (yet--one day I promise myself I will out in my backyard!), but it at least satiates my cravings and is still wonderful in its own right. This last time around I decided to boost up the flavor and richness slightly by adding a good dollop of creamy, thick Greek yogurt and a good sprinkling of chipotle chili flakes, which helped give it a smoky edge. Served up with crispy pita it makes an ideal light, easy dinner or the perfect dinner party appetizer.

Smoky Roasted Eggplant with Pita Crisps
serves 1-2 as entree or 3-4 as appetizer

1 large or 2 medium eggplants
3 garlic cloves, chopped into large pieces
olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 TB Greek yogurt
chipotle chili pepper flakes
fleur de sel
extra virgin olive oil

4 pieces flatbread or pita
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Clean the eggplants and pierce the skin in multiple places with a sharp knife. Place the garlic pieces into some of the holes (in my photo you see the garlic sticking out of the skin--you don't want to do this or the garlic will burn. Push the garlic pieces all the way in so they are flush with the skin of the eggplant).

Rub the eggplants all over with a bit of olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Place into the oven and roast until it is soft and starting to collapse (time will vary drastically on this depending on size and freshness of eggplants. It will probably take at least an hour, but check after 45 minutes for the first time and every 15 minutes or so until they are ready). Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a couple of minutes while you prepare the pita crisps.

Cut each piece of pita/flatbread into 6 wedges. Brush on both sides with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place under the broiler to toast, then flip and toast the other side. Remove to a plate.

Finish off the eggplant: Place on a platter and cut in half (leaving the bottom part of the skin that touches the plate intact is fine and recommended). Sprinkle with the zest and juice of the lemon, then dollop on the Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with chipotle chili flakes, fleur de sel, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve. To eat, scoop out some of the eggplant filling with the toppings and eat with the pita crisps (this time around the eggplant skin will go unconsumed).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Garlic Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Today over on Pine Tar Press is my recipe for Garlic Cheddar Drop Biscuits. They are a quick, simple, and utterly delicious addition to almost any meal. Lots of homemade bread around these parts lately! Maybe homemade tortillas are next on the slate...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Naan, Limoncello, and Oscar Goodies

February can be cruel to those who have made New Year's resolutions. After starting off strong in January, if you slack off at all on your goals February will make you pay for it by being a short month with fewer days to get in your efforts. This year I forced myself to stay focused to make sure I came out on top and didn't let this month win.

I actually got in two new things in the kitchen during February: homemade naan and homemade limoncello. Both are items that I have been telling myself I will make over and over again and never quite got around to them. Now that I have I'm not sure why I've put them off so long--they are both so simple and so delicious. The naan especially will wind up in my regular dinner rotation.

I used the recipe found over on Rasa Malaysia. The ingredients are simply mixed together, allowed to rest for a couple of hours, rolled out, and then cooked in a hot cast iron skillet. By covering the dough with a lid as soon as you place it in the pan you are rewarded with many airy bubbles on top, which you then toast quickly by flipping the pan over and holding it upside down over the flame on your gas stove top (the dough sticks to the cast iron with a quick brush of water before placing it there). Then you brush it with butter (I brushed mine with melted butter mixed with plenty of garlic) to finish and serve immediately. One of the easiest "breads" I've ever attempted. (and very tasty served alongside my curried chickpea salad)
Rolling out the dough
Covering the cast iron to help facilitate the air bubbles
Before the naan gets brushed with buttery goodness
As for the limoncello, the only problem with preparing it is having the patience to wait the couple of weeks before it is ready to go (and the patience needed while it is dripping slowly, so very slowly, through the filters to clarify it). I like the Serious Eats recipe for this refreshing Italian drink because I don't have a lemon peeler and it was so simple to just zest all of the lemons (the leftover lemon juice has been used in sauces, pastas, lemonade). This particular recipe is slightly too sweet for my tastes, but part of me believes this wouldn't be the case if I had actually been able to find Everclear instead of just using vodka (the extra sugar is probably a good balance for the high alcohol content/burn factor in the grain alcohol). I can't wait to try this recipe out with different varieties of citrus. And maybe gin instead of vodka?? (lim/gin-cello?? Sounds like a winner to me)

On a final note, I wanted to share the menu for my Oscar Party spread this year, as it turned out to be a hit (despite the party being a small one this time around):
Wild Mushroom Hummus
Baked Camembert (with Rosemary, Honey and Black Pepper)
Olive Sables
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
BBQ Popcorn

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oscar Party Menu

In case you want to know what I made for the fabulous event this past Sunday.

**Ruth Reichl's Gougeres (note that the ingredient list leaves out the 1 1/2 c. flour that is needed)
**Marcella Hazan's Bagna Cauda with Endive and Watermelon Radishes
**Popcorn with lemon zest, smoked salt and extra virgin olive oil
**Serious Eats' French Onion Dip (please make this soon--heavenly!!)
**"Black Swan" Pudding (chocolate pudding layered with vanilla pudding)

**Chive Deviled Eggs with Salmon Roe
makes 24 deviled eggs
 12 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 TB Dijon mustard
juice from 1 lemon
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
3 TB finely chopped chives
1/2 c. salmon roe

Chop the eggs in half. Carefully remove the yolk to a medium bowl and place the whites on a platter. In the bowl with the yolks, mix in the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chives. Mix together well and then scoop the mixture back into the centers of the egg whites. Top with a small spoonful of salmon roe to serve.

**Fregola Vegetable Soup
10-12 servings
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 TB olive oil
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 large leek, cleaned and chopped
1 10oz. package frozen spinach, thawed, with the water squeezed out as much as possible
1 1/2-2 quarts vegetable stock (depending on how brothy you want the soup)
3/4 c. fregola
1 can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the carrots, celery and leeks and continue to cook until these vegetables have softened as well, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute. Then add the vegetable broth, raise the heat on the stove to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Add the fregola and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the cannelloni beans and cook until the fregola is al dente and the beans are cooked through, about 6 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Homemade Butter and Radishes

It's so funny how sometimes growing up you want to be anywhere but home and be doing anything but what your parents are doing--and then you become an adult and wish you could go back home and do those things. I always fought against having to work in the garden, go feed and take care of the pigs and sheep, or spend long days canning and preserving fruits and veggies. Now these are things that I wish I could do more of now. I feel like I am so lucky to have this knowledge. So many people don't understand or get to experience first hand where our food comes from, and these days I'm realizing how very important it is that we start going back to those basics and regain the understanding.

In light of this, I am trying to get back to a way of life that isn't really simpler, but is definitely more rewarding. I am buying things in season from local growers. I am much more conscious of where my food is coming from. In this vain I also want to learn some of those skills that our generation hasn't had to use so these skill sets don't get lost. I'm learning to knit, for one, but I have decided I also want to make more of my own bread and pasta. I want to find a plot of land next year somewhere (anyone know a community garden in Prospect Heights that will let me plant?) and get a garden of my own started. And now I want to start trying my hand at butter and cheese.

I found this recipe for butter in "The Butter Issue" of Saveur. If you haven't seen this issue, I urge you to find it--so many fascinating stories about butter! The recipe is so simple. Find a local dairy and purchase your cream from them--the butter will taste even more of home. I decided to serve up my first batch of butter in a simple French way: with radishes. Basic, unadorned, and just perfect for showcasing the flavors of your butter.
(Oh, and if you want a great, easy bread recipe try this one out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTY4WJRSzY8).

Homemade Butter

Butter and Radishess
Homemade butter
Sea Salt
Smoked Sea Salt
Crusty French Bread (optional)

Place the butter in a bowl and let come to about room temperature. Clean the radishes and chop in half. Spread the radishes with butter and sprinkle with good quality sea salt and, if desired, smoked sea salt and serve on good French bread.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Easter Dinner: Sides

Ok, I promise to try to finish this up in the next day or so so I can finally move on to something else. But at least updates are happening, despite the snail's pace. After this, it's just dessert.
I have to confess that I used canned mandarin oranges for the salad. The thought of supreming all the oranges I would need was just too overwhelming on top of everything else. I recommend using fresh oranges instead (since you probably won't be serving 15 with this :).

Focaccia (not made into pizzas, obviously)
Fennel, Citrus, Sherry Salad
4 heads fennel, sliced
3 cans of mandarin oranges
2 grapefruits, supremed
blue cheese, crumbled
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. dry sherry
1/8-1/4 c. sherry vinegar
1/4 t. season salt
1/8 t. celery salt
1/2 c. olive oil

Toss the fennel, oranges, grapefruit, blue cheese and walnuts.
In a separate bowl mix together the sherry, vinegar, season salt, and celery salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Toss the dressing with the salad and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Focaccia Bread Pizzas

Pizza is probably our favorite meal around this house. We'll eat delivery, frozen, homemade, thin or thick crust, many different toppings (but mostly pepperoni :) ). Sometimes, though, you want to take a classic and change it up a little.
I decided to take focaccia bread and make it the main course by topping it with some pizza toppings, making it a heartier dish. The thicker "crust" of these pizzas is full of flavor and would be great on it's own, but really comes together with almost any toppings you want to throw on. We took this recipe and made two smaller square pizzas with it, using two different sets of toppings (we HAD to have one with the traditional pepperoni/mozzarella topping!). This meal would make a perfect treat on the go or would be great for a picnic as well.

Focaccia Bread Pizzas

1 c. warm water

3 TB olive oil (plus more for drizzling)

1 1/4 t. salt

3 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

2 pkg. dry active yeast dissolved in 1/2 c. warm water for 10 minutes

1 TB fresh rosemary, chopped

1 TB fresh thyme, chopped

For two pizzas: Drizzle 2 9X9" baking dishes with 1 TB olive oil in each one. Combine all of the ingredients with an electric mixer and mix for 60 seconds.

Scoop 1/2 the sticky batter into each pan, cover, and let rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, or until it becomes puffy.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Poke the dough all over with your index finger and top with toppings of your choice (do not go overboard on topping, though! this isn't a traditional pizza), pushing the toppings slightly down into the dough. Bake the bread until the toppings begin to brown, about 35-40 minutes.

for toppings:

mushroom/goat cheese/truffle oil pizza

2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

2 oz. mushrooms (mixed works well: shitake, baby bella, crimini)

1/2 c. baby spinach

1/4 stick butter melted, mixed with 1 clove minced garlic

1 TB truffle oil

Spread the garlic butter mixture onto the prepared, risen focaccia dough. Place the spinach leaves, mushrooms and goat cheese on the dough. Bake as directed. After finished baking, drizzle the pizza with truffle oil and serve.

pepperoni pizza

4 large or 10 small slices pepperoni

1/2-3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Sprinkle the cheese on the risen focaccia dough. Top with pepperoni slices and bake the focaccia accordingly.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Fruit Panzanella Salad

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to make my way up to Williamsburg to The Brooklyn Kitchen. It's not only a great, cute kitchen supply store. They also offer up classes on everything from ice cream to canning to pig butchering. And they host a foodie book club. It's my ideal gathering: a bunch of people who love to read and love to cook/eat/talk about food picking a book, reading it, and gathering together to discuss it. The conversation may steer away from the book at times, but never strays far away from food. One of my favorite parts about the book club is that at each meeting the members are asked to bring a dish that is inspired by the book that has been read.
Last month's book happened to be "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbera Kingsolver. It was a book I had been wanting to read for a while now and Joe had brought it home for my as a surprise before I even knew it was the book club book. I was very excited about the coincidence.

I had many ideas about what to bring along with me, but finally I decided to go with something that I have been really wanting to try out: a dessert panzanella. I love traditional panzanella salad, and just thought that some cinnamon and fresh, in-season fruits would be a great accompaniment to the crispy bread. What's really nice about this dish is that it is incredibly flexible: you can throw anything in. Try it with some plums or mango or substitute rosemary or sage for the basil. And it's sweet enough to be dessert, but not so much that it can't be served as a side.

Fall Fruit Panzanella Salad

1 stick butter

2 1/2 TB sugar

1 1/2 TB cinnamon

8" round loaf tuscan/country style bread

4 peaches, chopped

3 apples, chopped

3 TB sugar

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the bread up into cubes about 1" on all sides. In a large bowl melt the stick of butter and mix together with the cinnamon and sugar. Toss in the bread cubes until evenly coated. Spread the coated bread cubes on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook until toasted, about 15-20 minutes, stirring a couple of times to cook evenly. Once toasted, set the croutons aside and allow to cool.

While toasting the croutons, toss the peaches with the 3 TB sugar. Allow this to sit for at least an hour to let the peaches juices flow. Then mix together with the chopped apples and the basil. Finally mix the fruit mixture together with the bread croutons. Allow everything to sit together for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This recipe makes a huge amount of this salad! It probably feeds a good 10 people, so keep that in mind if trying it out yourself.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chicken Roll-ups with Vermouth Sauce, Corn Risotto, and Gougeres

Or, the very, very yellow meal.

I have made gougeres many, many times. I have posted them in my blog a few times, although until recently I didn't realize that was what I was making. The very first time I made them they puffed up beautifully and were light and fluffy. The second time around they turned out just about as nice. But every single time since then they have turned out flat and slightly dense. I have no idea what I was doing wrong. It was infuriating that they weren't turning out. Luckily they still tasted good.

This time around, I actually knew what I was making, and decided to give a slightly different recipe a shot. I went with Ruth Reichl's from "Garlic and Saphires". (now that I think about it, though, I may have tried this recipe before but I couldn't find gruyere so I used something different...maybe the consistency of the cheese has something to do with my puffing issues...) Whatever it was--the cheese, the recipe, the temperature in my kitchen, the smiling down of the gods--they came out perfectly. And tasted heavenly. Let's hope the next time around they turn out just as well!
I do have one question about these: how in the world do you pronounce them? I have read the name so many times but have no idea how to say it out loud.

Along with these (although I truly think I could eat a whole meal of just gougeres), I also made Corn Risotto from the very first issue of Edible Manhattan. If you have an "Edible" publication for your neck of the woods I suggest you pick one up immediately! And finally the meal was rounded out by some chicken rolled up in prosciutto, cheesy goodness. Not too shabby.

Chicken Roll-ups with Vermouth Sauce
3 chicken breasts
6 slices prosciutto
5-6 provolone cheese slices
salt and pepper
2 TB olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. dry vermouth
1/4 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper

Butterfly the chicken breasts, cutting them open longways to make a thinner, larger piece of chicken. Using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or canned good, pound the chicken until it is an even width, about 1/2". On the inside of the chicken, layer on two slices of prosciutto and 1 1/2-2 slices of provolone cheese. Roll up the chicken, salt and pepper the outside, and place seam side down.
In a saute pan, heat 2 TB olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, place chicken in the pan, seam side down. Brown the chicken on all sides. Then turn the heat down to medium and cover the pan. Cook until the chicken is done and the juices run clear, about 8 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to sit while preparing the sauce.
In the same pan that the chicken just came out of, add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown. Then add the dry vermouth. Stir to pick up all of the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Finally, add the heavy cream and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly. Serve over top of the chicken.

Corn Risotto
(Sara Jenkins, from Edible Manhattan)
I did cut this recipe back and didn't follow it down to every single detail, just took the basics of how I usually cook risotto and went with it. I used arborio rice, shallots instead of onions, didn't put the cobs in the stock, but I wish I would have! I think the chicken stock totally overpowered the corn flavor of this dish. Next time I may use some water in place of the stock)
2 TB olive oil
2 TB unsalted butter, divided
2 slices thick bacon, cut into 1/8" pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
4-6 ears fresh corn, kernels sliced off and cobs reserved
2 c. carnaroli rice
1 c. dry white wine
5 c. homemade chicken or pork broth heated to a simmer with the reserved cobs
1 1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or grana padana
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and 1 TB butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, until melted. Add bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until bacon starts to crisp, about 2 minutes.
Add onions and pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until onions start to wilt and turn translucent. Add corn and cook until starting to brown and caramelize. Add rice and, stirring constantly, cook for 5 minutes. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 c. broth and cook, stirring constantly, until mostly absorbed, about 3 minutes.
Add 1/2 c. of broth and, stirring, cook until mostly absorbed, 2-3 minutes. Continue adding the broth by 1/2 cupfuls, stirring constantly, until you have 1 c. broth left. Add 1/2 c. of the remaining broth, stir another 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining 1/2 c. broth, and cook, stirring for 1-2 final minutes. Risotto should be tender yet slightly firm. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and remaining butter; cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper and extra Parmigiano, if desired.

(Ruth Reichl)
Servings: 8 as an appetizer
1 c. water
1/4 lb (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
5 eggs
1 c. diced Gruyère cheese
Pepper to taste
1/2 c. grated Gruyère cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Combine the water, butter and a teaspoon of the salt in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool slightly, stir in the flour, and mix well. Return pan to the heat and stir with a wooden spoon over high heat until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Add the diced cheese, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper, stirring well.
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a well-buttered baking pan. Smooth the top and sides of each gougère with a knife, and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake in batches for 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs, Buttermilk Cornbread, Creamed Spinach

I know that most people use their slow cookers in the winter. They turn out hearty, rich, comfort foods that are perfect for those cold winter nights. But for me, the slow cooker is a lifesaver in the hot summer months. I can turn it on, throw in some ingredients and keep myself out of the sweltering kitchen.

Thus the inspiration for slow cooker ribs. And what better sides to accompany the BBQ than some homemade cornbread and creamed spinach? There aren't any, I tell you. I do have to say the last cornbread recipe I posted on here was just ok. This one (from allrecipes) is perfect. I'm in love. (it is a sweet version, though, so those of you who are in the "cornbread shouldn't be sweet camp beware).
I did make my own homemade BBQ sauce to use on these ribs and it was just ok, so I'm not going to post it. Once I perfect the art of BBQ sauce, I will let you all in on the secret, though, don't you worry.

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
2.5 lb pork short ribs (cut into individual ribs)
2 1/4 c. BBQ sauce, divided
1 bottle beer (I prefer Stella)
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the ribs on all sides. Place into slow cooker with 1 1/2 c. BBQ sauce and beer. Turn on cooker to high and cook for 2 1/2 hours. Turn to low and continue cooking until the meat is very tender and pulling away from the bones (about another 1 1/2-2 hours). Remove ribs from cooker (without the cooking liquid)

Place the ribs with the remaining 3/4 c. BBQ sauce into a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook on all sides of the ribs, about 3-4 minutes per side. Serve with the sauce.

Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread
1/4 pound butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Creamed Spinach
(Emeril Lagasse)
2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and tough stems removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (I used onion instead)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside.
Melt the butter in medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until the liquid is released. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shrimp Scampi and Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

When you grow up in an incredibly small town in the middle Kansas, in the middle of the country, a trip to Red Lobster is a really fancy, big deal meal. It may be a little hick-sy and back woodsy to think so, but there it is.

When you grow up in the middle of a large continent there isn't a large quantity of fresh seafood to be found (unless you count the catfish. I do love me some good catfish, though). You end up eating a lot of steak. And chicken fried steak. And chicken. And fried chicken. And chicken fried chicken (I don't know why you need to clarify that it's chicken fried chicken, but again, there it is). I seem to remember even pork being a little bit of a luxury. So when you get the chance to try out some seafood, regardless of where it's from, it's a big treat. Plus, how can you beat those biscuits?

There are days when I still crave super buttery shrimp scampi and even more days when I crave those cheddar garlic biscuits. I don't give in very often, but when I do it still feels a little like a special occasion.

Shrimp Scampi
1 stick butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/16 c. dry vermouth
1/8 c. lemon juice
1 lb shrimp, cleaned, peeled, deveined, and rinsed
1 TB parsley

In a saute pan heat butter over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute until soft. Add vermouth and lemon juice and heat until barely boiling. Add shrimp. Stir the mixture carefully, but not too frequently, until shrimp is all pink. Do not overcook! This will only take about 4-5 minutes. Toss in parsley at the end of cooking. Serve shrimp with juices and bread to sop them up!

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
(multiple sources)
2 ½ cups baking mix (I only used 1 small box of Jiffy and cut back milk to 2/3 cup)
¾ cup cold whole milk
4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese
Bush on Top:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
pinch salt

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or a large fork. You don't want to mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in there that are about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and ¼ teaspoon garlic. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix.
3. Drop approximately ¼-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop.
4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.
5. When you take the biscuits out of the oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter is a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in ½ teaspoon garlic powder and the dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. Makes one dozen biscuits.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter Dinner

I love having people over for dinner. There is just something great about the conversation and the comfort of sitting around the apartment nibbling on food and drinking wine. I enjoy making new things or sharing tried and true favorites and seeing people's faces when they love something I have made. It's also nice to be able to take your time and not rush through the evening. For Easter our guests arrived around 4 and didn't leave until about 11:30. You just can't do that at a restaurant (and I don't know that you'd want to). And it doesn't hurt when the food is pretty darn good, too.

For our Easter feast I decided to go with a few favorites, but I threw in a couple of items that I'd never tried--including risking a chocolate souffle for the first time (which amazingly turned out right). For the main course I decided to try out the Pernil recipe that my friend made a couple of months ago, and once again I'm going to rave about it. So simple and so tender and full of flavor. It may be one of my favorite dishes.
Unfortunately, since we had guests (and since I was drinking wine while cooking) I do not have pictures of the food. But you do get some pics of my friends and I hanging out, including this amazingly unflattering one of me gnawing on the pernil bone:

So here is the menu:
Enchilada Dip (recipe below)
Pesto Pinwheels (recipe below)
Crostini with Goat Cheese, red wine reduction, and strawberry jam (brought by our friend Des--and it was brilliant)

Main Course
Herb and Vermouth Potatoes (recipe below)
Chocolate Souffle with Frozen Lavender Honey Whipped Cream (recipe below)

And now for the recipes:

Enchilada Dip
(from my friend, Julie)
2 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded (I cheated and used 2 cans of chicken breast)
2 8oz packages of light cream cheese, softened
4 green onions, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped cilantro (dried is OK)
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
(I also added about 3/4 c. cheddar cheese--because who doesn't like cheese? I also may try adding a couple of spoonfuls of enchilada sauce next time, too)

In a non-reactive bowl, combine all ingredients. I find it best to shred the chicken in a food processor so that the pieces are really small, making it easier to dip. Or you can just shred with forks if you like the chicken pieces bigger. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips - I like the lime flavored ones the best with this dip.

Pesto Pinwheels
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 TB pesto (I used 1/2 sun dried tomato and 1/2 regular--one on each half of the pastry)
1/2- 3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll puff pastry and lay out flat. Spread with pesto all the way to the edges. Sprinkle on cheddar cheese. Starting along the long edge, roll up the puff pastry until you reach the center. Turn the pastry 180 degrees and roll up the other side to the center (it should look like a roll of parchment or a scroll). Chill for at least 30 minutes to make easier to cut. Cut pastry into about 1/2" pieces and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.

Herb and Vermouth Potatoes
for 4 servings
6 medium sized potatoes
1/2 stick butter
1/3 c. dry vermouth
2 TB Italian seasoning

Clean potatoes and chop into approx. 1 1/2" cubes. Place in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Cook potatoes through, until they fall off a fork when pricked. Drain the potatoes and place back into pan. Turn on heat to medium and add butter, vermouth, and Italian seasoning. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until butter is completely melted.

Chocolate Souffle
(from Epicurious)
1/3 cup sugar plus additional for sprinkling
5 oz bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
6 large egg whites
Special equipment: a 5 1/2- to 6-cup glass or ceramic soufflé dish

Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter soufflé dish and sprinkle with sugar, knocking out excess. Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and stir in yolks (mixture will stiffen). Beat whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add 1/3 cup sugar, a little at a time, continuing to beat at medium speed, then beat at high speed until whites just hold stiff peaks. Stir about 1 cup whites into chocolate mixture to lighten, then add mixture to remaining whites, folding gently but thoroughly. Spoon into soufflé dish and run the end of your thumb around inside edge of soufflé dish (this will help soufflé rise evenly). Bake in middle of oven until puffed and crusted on top but still jiggly in center, 24 to 26 minutes. Serve immediately.

Frozen Honey Lavender Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy cream
2 TB powdered sugar
4 TB honey
1 TB dried lavender

Place metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment into freezer for 5 minutes. Make sure the heavy cream is cold (keep in fridge until ready to use). Remove mixing bowl and add heavy cream and beat until cream begins to form soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and continue beating. Slowly beat in honey and continue beating until cream reaches stiffer peaks. Stir in dried lavender. Place in an airtight container and freeze. Serve on side of souffle.
Cooks'note: • Soufflé can be assembled up to 30 minutes before baking. Keep, covered with an inverted large bowl (do not let bowl touch soufflé), at room temperature.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

"Tender at the Bone" and Cocount Bread

There are books that keep you entertained. There are books that you can't put down. And then there are books that inspire you. Ruth Reichl's "Tender at the Bone" is all of the above. This isn't only a book about food, it is about the fellowship involved with food and shows how food isn't just nourishment for the body, but nourishment for the soul.

This is the first of Ruth Reichl's books that I have read and already I am in love. Through these stories you can see that she holds herself open and is ready to inhale all adventures and sensations that come her way. Everywhere she goes she meets someone new who isn't just an acquaintance, but becomes a friend and she somehow finds a way to open these people up and learn so much from each of them. It is an amazing reminder to look around yourself and not let opportunities and experiences get away--even the small ones because there is always something new to learn.

Within the book are recipes that help to mold the stories and give you more insight into Ruth's life and the lives of all of those she encounters. Recipes like this are a more clear and insightful look into someone's life than a photograph. You can smell their smells, taste their flavors and feel their sensations of kneading the dough or breading the cutlet of meat. If you close your eyes you can almost imagine yourself cooking alongside them.

This recipe is from Ruth's college roommate, Serafina. The coconut bread is just slightly sweet--not nearly as so as banana bread. It is a wonderful accompaniment to the Garlic Lime Chicken and Spicy Corn Casserole that I made (both also recipes from friends). It's also nice with a little butter and a good book.

Coconut Bread
(from "Tender at the Bone")
1 c. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
2 pkg. active dry yeast
4 c. white flour, plus extra for kneading
1/2 pound butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 medium sized fresh coconut (I was feeling particularly lazy and used 1 c. of shredded coconut instead. I am sure the bread would taste better with fresh, but the shredded still tasted good)
Put water in a large bowl. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add yeast, stir, and let sit a few minutes until it foams.
Add 1 1/2 c. of the flour and mix until smooth.
In another bowl, cream butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla until very well mixed.
Remove coconut from shell, chop and put in a blender. Grate finely and add to butter mixture.
Add coconut-butter mixture to flour and mix until in forms a smooth dough. Add remaining flour, a little at a time. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead until it forms a smooth, elastic ball, about 10 minutes.
Put dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.
Punch down, shape into a free form loaf, and set on an ungreased baking sheet. cover with a towel and let rise 1/2 hour more. Preheat oven to 350.
Bake for 50 minutes to an hour. Let cool on a rack.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

My grandma's cinnamon rolls are another one of those foods that bring me such comfort. I have always been intimidated by them, but decided since the winter will soon be coming to a close (meaning my kitchen will soon be a burning inferno) it was time to give them a shot.
The recipe is very simple. It is my grandmother's dinner roll recipe (here) covered with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Since I still have not perfected the roll recipe, it gave me another opportunity to see what I have been doing wrong. I think the next time I give the rolls a try they will be perfect!
These cinnamon rolls turned out really well, but just a little dry. I find that I think I knead too much flour into my breads whenever I have to knead them. Every time I make a bread that needs to be kneaded, it is a little too dry. I plan on keeping at it until I get it right, though. I will force myself to be a better baker!
Anyway, on to the cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls
(my grandmother's recipe)
1 package yeast dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup warm water (I haven't tried it yet, but I suggest starting with 3/4 c. of water instead)
4 cups flour, +more for kneading
1/2-3/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. sugar
3-4 TB ground cinnamon

Mix together yeast and water and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes until yeast is dissolved. Mix together yeast, eggs, sugar, salt, butter, water and flour until sticky (and it will be very sticky). Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover. Place in a warm place with no draft and allow to double (about 1 1/2 hours). Turn onto floured surface and knead a little flour into dough, then roll into a rectangle approx. 24" X 15". Spread on melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Starting along the long edge (the 24" side) roll up the dough, being careful to not push all of the butter off as you roll. Cut slices of the dough about 1 1/2" thick. Place in a greased baking dish, with space between each roll. Cover and allow to double in size again.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rolls in oven and cook 25-30 minutes, or until tops of rolls are lightly golden brown.
Top cinnamon rolls with a powdered sugar frosting (mix together powdered sugar, milk, and a little vanilla extract until it reaches the desired consistency).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Latkes, Cajun Roasted Endive, and Herb Garlic Baguettes

Sometimes I will spend days planning a menu. I will spend so much time thinking about it and then spend a lot of time prepping and preparing the meal and I work myself up and expect it to be amazing. And every once in a while it doesn't taste nearly as great as I expected. And then comes the major letdown and disappointment from all of the wasted time. But then there are other times where I spend hardly any time at all thinking of a meal and it's basically just thrown together and it turns out as one of the best meals we've had. This was one of those times.

I remember a great stuffed chicken that I had at a restaurant so long ago and wanted to try to recreate it. I don't know if this tasted exactly like the restaurant's, but I do know that this was amazingly creamy and delicious and have already received a request from Joe to make it again. The latkes and spicy roasted endive were a great pairing with the rich chicken.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts
5 Chicken Breasts
4 oz. goat cheese
1/2 package cream cheese
1 t. chopped chives
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried rosemary
for baking:
1 stick butter, divided
1/4 t. celery salt
1/4 t. taragon
1/4 t. rosemary
1/4 t. oregano
1/4 t. thyme
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. season salt
1 TB worcestershire sauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice each chicken breast down the side almost all the way through so you can fill it, but it is still held together along one side. Mix together the filling: goat cheese, cream cheese, chives, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Fill each chicken breast with 1/5 of the filling.
In a skillet, heat 2 TB of the butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Quickly sear the chicken on both sides and then place into a greased baking dish.
Melt remainine 6 TB of butter and mix in taragon, celery salt, rosemary, oregano, season salt, thyme, garlic powder, and worcestershire sauce. Pour sauce over the chicken breasts in baking dish and place in oven. Cook until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear, about 25-30 minutes.

(recipe from Saveur.com)
1 medium yellow onion3 large yukon gold potatoes (about 2 1⁄2 lbs.), peeled
Kosher salt, to taste
6 tbsp. finely chopped chives
3 tbsp. plain matzo meal (I just used bread crumbs)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Canola oil for frying
Sour cream or applesauce

1. Working over a bowl, grate some of the onion, followed by some of the potatoes, on the large-hole side of a box grater. Repeat until all the vegetables are used up.
2. Sprinkle mixture with salt and transfer it to a sieve set over a bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from mixture, allowing it to collect in bottom of bowl. Transfer mixture to another bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap; set aside. Set reserved potato liquid aside to let the milky white starch settle. Pour off liquid from starch. Transfer starch to mixture along with the chives, matzo, eggs, and salt and pepper. Gently mix.
3. Pour enough oil into a skillet that it reaches a depth of 1⁄4"; heat over medium-high heat. Working in small batches, form mixture into balls, using about 1⁄4 cup of the mixture for each, and place them in the oil. Flatten each ball gently with a spatula to form 3"–4" pancakes. Fry, turning once, until golden brown, crisp, and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pancakes to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Serve the potato pancakes with sour cream or applesauce.

Cajun Roasted Endive
4 heads of Belgian endive, cleaned
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 TB cajun seasoning

Heat oven to 450. Slice each endive, lengthwise, into 4 pieces. Place endive on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle cajun seasoning over top and place in oven. Roast until endive is cooked through and slightly crispy, about 12-15 minutes.

Herb Garlic Baguettes
(from KA Mixer instruction book)
1pkg active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
¼ cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
3 1/4-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried oregano
2tsp chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dries thyme
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp salt
¾ cup cold water
1 egg 1tsp water

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water Place 3 1/4 cup flour, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic, and salt in bowl. Attach bowl and power knead spiral dough hook to mixer turn speed to 2 and mix 30 seconds stop and scrape bowl Continuing on speed 2 slowly add yeast mixture mixing about 30 seconds if dough is sticky add remaining ¼ cup flour. Knead on speed 2 about 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in greased bowl turning over to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free of draft, 11/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size. On lightly floured surface punch dough down several times to remove all air bubbles. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 12-inch long loaf. Place each loaf on greased baking sheet or in greased baguette pans. With sharp knife make 3 to 4 shallow diagonal slices in top of dough. Beat egg and 1 tbls of water together with a fork. Brush each baguette with egg mixture cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place, free of draft, about 1 to 1 ½ hours or until doubled in bulk.
Brush top of each baguette again with egg mixture. Bake at 450 for 15-18 minuets or until deep golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
Yield: 36 servings (18 slices per loaf)