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 potatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label potatoes. Show all posts

Friday, March 7, 2014

Potato and Leek Soup

Take two ingredients that are less than glamorous: potatoes, knobby and dirty, and leeks, full of grit, and blend them together and somehow what emerges is a soup that sings with elegance. It's a peasant dish that I would be comfortable serving at the fanciest of dinner parties.

Slowly cooking the potatoes and leeks side by side and then blending them together releases something magical into the soup. It is creamy and decadent--a far cry from it's humble beginnings. Each time I make it I am surprised by the stunning result despite the lack of effort in its creation.

The secret lies in first poaching the ingredients in butter, infusing and fusing the flavors into one. Water is all you need to thin it out, but a bit of cream increases the indulgence. Though it needs no accompaniment a drizzle of basil oil or a green onion pesto can lend contrast.

As winter clings on, head to the kitchen to prepare a pot: for guests or just for yourself. Then settle in and indulge on classy simplicity.

Potato and Leek Soup
serves 6
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 leeks (white and light green parts only), cleaned and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 TB butter
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
3 c. + water
1/2-1 c. heavy cream (optional)

Melt the butter in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the potatoes, leeks, garlic, salt and pepper before it starts to sizzle. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, turning down the heat to low after a moment or two. The goal here is to essentially poach the vegetables in the butter to meld their flavors together. You don't want the butter to start to brown or burn.
Add 3 cups of water to the pot, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat back down to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and leeks are very tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Working in batches, carefully puree the vegetables and broth in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot over medium heat. Add in the cream, if using, and then add in enough water to thin the soup to your desired consistency. I like to keep mine fairly thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Once the soup is heated through it is ready to serve. Garnish with green onion and parsley pesto if desired.

Green Onion and Parsley Pesto
1/4 c. parsley, finely chopped
1/4 c. green onions, finely chopped (white and green parts)
2 TB walnuts, finely chopped
juice from 1 lemon
2-3 TB extra virgin olive oil

Mix together all of the ingredients. Serve a dollop on top of each bowl of potato and leek soup.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Tribute (and Hasselback Potatoes)

There are the teachers that stand out during the course of our educations. Those that make an impact in our minds, our growth, and stick in our memories. Then there are those that rise above even this by somehow transcending what it means to educate and find their way into our hearts.

Dr. Dan Davy was one of these teachers. He was a professor of Theatre History at Kansas State University. He was one of the smartest men I've ever met. His mind was deep and full of layers upon layers of knowledge yet his classes were never dry or boring. His passion for the subject helped to rise above even the difficult scripts we studied. He made it fascinating to delve deep into discussion over Greek dramas or modern comedies. Despite his genius Davy never made it intimidating to speak up in class with your thoughts or opinions. He encouraged us to speak our minds, to even challenge his ideas. It felt like a badge of honor to receive praise from him for a well-constructed thought during a lecture.

Dr. Davy also had an energy about him that I've never encountered anywhere else. When excited by an idea he would hop, or run around the room, crawl on the floor, flip the light switches on and off, run out of the room and slam the door behind him. You were sure to pay attention when he spoke. Something about the way he could turn a phrase was awe-inspiring. It was not uncommon for those in his classes to spend more time writing out his quirky quotes in the margins of their pages than to take detailed notes on the test-worthy information he was giving out. But if you were really listening you wouldn't need those notes to study anyways. You understood the material and the concepts deeply because he taught it so well. He always told us we should know the info "Bob's Diner well" which meant that if we were at Bob's Diner at 2:30am (meaning we had just left the bars and been drinking) we would still remember it. To this day, over 10 years after taking his classes, I still have discussions with my husband and friends over things we covered then. My whole concept of theatre was formed and shaped by this man, and I am far from alone in saying so.

He was kind and obviously loved what he did and loved his students too. I always remember him stopping by to say hello when I was working at Dillons and he and his wife would come in to shop. He gave freely to so many advice on careers and life. He was far more than just our professor.

We lost Dr. Davy unexpectedly this past weekend. It seems so strange that he would be gone--somehow I had the sense that he has always been and would always be. An everlasting force in the world, much like something from some of those ancient plays he taught us. Yet if I consider it, I believe each of us who passed through his classroom holds a bit of his knowledge, his heart, his passion within us. We carry it out to the world, to the art we create, to the students some of us teach. With this, his legacy does, and will, continue on.

Rest in peace, dear Dr. Davy. You are dearly missed.

Hasselback Potatoes
It seems odd to try to blend saying goodbye with a recipe. In a way, though, there are similarities between this dish and Dr. Davy: the layers, the sense of complexity, yet in actuality they are quite approachable. And though I never shared a meal with him, I have a feeling that Davy relished good food and good conversation, and these are definitely the first and invoke the second. Share them with those you love and be sure to tell them how you feel, because you never know if you'll get another chance.

10 small potatoes (about 2" long)
4 TB butter, melted
2 t. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Scrub the potatoes clean and pat dry. Take a thin slice out of the back of each of the potatoes along the length so they lie straight without rolling. Take a pair of wooden chopsticks and place one on either side of the potato (this will help keep you from slicing all the way through). Cut many thin slices along the width of the potato and then pull them slightly to spread the slices out. Place on a baking sheet.
Mix together the melted butter and rosemary and baste this over all of the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until slightly browned and tender, about 40-45 minutes, basting with the butter from the bottom of the pan every 10 minutes or so. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Papas Bravas

Inspiration hits from so many angles. From the vibrations ringing through my body as I pound the pavement on a run. Experiencing the product of months or years of work by a group of dear friends. A phone call from mom. The glossy pages of a favorite food magazine, flipped through for the first time. Even from the disappointment of a missed opportunity.

Anymore it seems easy to miss these bits of creative energy reaching out to us. Social media needs updating, the text messages buzz in the pocket, a digital game hooks you in. That tiny piece of technology riding around with your every move has taken up a disproportionate amount of time in your life. I know I let myself get sucked into it all. Instead of writing first thing in the morning when the drive and the focus is there, I check into each site, not wanting to miss a post. By the time I’m done my brain has been jumbled past the ability to reach a zen-like creative state, missing the opportunity a good night of sleep has given me. Occasionally missing the moment while in it for the desire to let everyone else know that I’m in the moment.

It’s a struggle to stay up-to-date and in-the-know and to let up a bit of control over that crutch, the smart phone (and the internet in general). There are great things to be had within these, but in this year I hope to set it aside a little bit more. My goals are to spend less time mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and actually utilize it to be a better, more consistent friend by truly checking in on the people that mean the most to me. To use Instagram to explore photography and food, but not let it get in the way of conversations. To read articles that bring me knowledge and understanding and growth in place of just dumb humor. To spend less time in the digital and more time in the now. To let the tiny moments of inspiration out there wash over me and give me a push as I live them with every sense alert. To be present in the here and now. And to savor my food as I eat it.

Papas Bravas with Garlic Aioli
These simple roasted potatoes are always a go-to at any tapas joint. The smoky paprika takes them up a notch from the ordinary and the creamy aioli adds a hit of brightness. These are sure to please a crowd so are the perfect side for a winter dinner party.

serves 6 as side
3 lb. small, waxy potatoes
2 TB olive oil
2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

1/2 c. mayonnaise
zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic

Heat the oven to 425. Scrub the potatoes well and pat dry. Cut into 1" cubes and place on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss together until well coated. Roast for about 40-45 minutes, flipping and tossing the potatoes about half way through, until the potatoes are browned and tender.

Place the mayonnaise in a small bowl with the lemon zest. Use the zester to finely grate the garlic into the sauce. Stir together.

Serve the mayonnaise sauce drizzled over the potatoes.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Potato Gnocchi with Sage and Shitakes

It's a snow day for many after a windy, brisk storm dropped 6+ inches of snow over our concrete city. The sun is shining, but the temps outside are in the teens, making me want to stay inside and be productive. Unfortunately I've got to head out later and face the cold to trek to work.

If I could get out of it I would hunker down with a book, my journal, and a tea for a few hours before spending the evening in the kitchen preparing a dinner that takes a little more effort. This kind of day is perfect for such an undertaking. If you are lucky enough to have the time and the energy today, I have just the dish for you: homemade gnocchi.

I find gnocchi to be more fool-proof than regular pasta once you've figured out the proper consistency. Plus it never seems to take as long to get together (especially if you skip the rolling for grooves step). It creates a base that compliments many flavors from bright pesto to hearty ragu. This time around I went somewhere down the middle with a brown butter, sage, and shitake sauce to give it depth but still keep it on the lighter side. It's just the thing I want to curl up with as the snow blows against the window panes.

Potato Gnocchi with Sage and Shitakes
serves 3-4
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
3/4-1 c. flour
8 oz. sliced shitake mushroom caps
1 TB olive oil
4-5 TB butter
10 sage leaves, chopped
2 TB parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until they are tender and fall off a fork when pierced. Strain out the potatoes, reserving the cooking water in the pot.
Push the cooked potatoes through a potato ricer onto a counter-top. Cool for about 10 minutes. Then sprinkle 1/4 c. of flour over top of the potatoes. Use a bench scraper to "chop" and mix the flour into the potatoes. You want to try to incorporate the flour without overworking the dough too much. Once the first addition of flour is almost mixed in, add another 1/4 c. of flour and repeat. Then add a third 1/4 c. of flour and chop and mix again. Now the dough should almost be pliant and ready to roll. To test, roll a small piece into a 1/2" tube and drop into a pot of boiling water. It should pop to the top of the water in about a minute or so. If the piece does not fall apart the dough is ready. If the dough does fall apart, add the remaining 1/4 c. of flour and test again.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces and roll out each one into a snake about 1/2" in diameter. Cut into pieces about 3/4" long. Sprinkle with a bit of flour and toss using the bench scraper to cover the gnocchi and help keep them from sticking. Then roll each piece on a gnocchi board or along the back of a fork to create grooves. Place the gnocchi onto a wax paper lined sheet pan as you repeat with the remaining dough.
Once the gnocchi are prepped, start on the sauce. Heat the 1 TB olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add the shitake mushrooms once hot and saute until browned all over. Add the butter. Once it is melted and starting to sizzle, add the sage leaves. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes until the sage is fragrant and the butter is slightly browned. Turn off the heat and set aside until gnocchi is boiled.
Return the potato cooking water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, probably in two batches to avoid sticking. Cook until the gnocchi bubbles to the top and let boil for about 30 seconds before removing from the water and straining. Be sure to reserve at least some of the pasta cooking water for the sauce.
Once the gnocchi have been boiled and strained, return the mushroom butter sauce to a medium-high heat. Stir in about 1/4 c. of the pasta cooking water and let boil for about 30 seconds until it thickens up a bit. Add the gnocchi and toss. Add a bit more pasta cooking water if necessary. Remove from heat, toss with parsley, and grate on Parmesan cheese to serve.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Wedges with Dill Creme Fraiche

Once summer hits, the number of things to do in New York City rises exponentially. The city that never sleeps is pumped full of exciting things to do, see, experience and I get overwhelmed at the thought of trying to fit it all in before the cold sets in again come fall.

The summer, just beginning, already seems to be slipping away too quickly (especially as I will be out of town for a full month towards the end of it. Details on this to follow). However, I have been able to check a few items off of my should-do list: a concert with friends, margaritas sipped by open windows, a trip to the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, long walks along Brooklyn Bridge Park and through my favorite neighborhoods, the Big Apple BBQ, mint juleps while cooking dinner, and trips to 2 exhibits at museums that I didn't want to miss.

First up was a trip to the Rain Room at the MOMA. Basically it is a giant black box that has a huge square of rain inside, but the technology used makes it stop raining where you are standing. So you are surrounded by the rain but have your own personal "umbrella" of sorts that follows you around (as long as you move slowly enough--little kids do not seem to have this ability when judged by my visit here :). I wasn't quite sure if it would be worth the long wait in the hot sun to get in, but once finally enveloped by the cool, black room with it's single spotlight I felt refreshed and invigorated. And I wanted to dance.

After exiting the Rain Room we made our way up to the Park Avenue Armory (with a quick side trip for lunch to the King of Falafel's Street cart for the best falafel in the city) for the Paul McCarthy exhibit "WS."

Close to a week later and I'm still not quite able to put into words the effect that the exhibit had on me. I'm not sure I liked it, but it definitely left me thinking. The overwhelming experience of sounds, videos, environment left me feeling more wiped out than I have in a long time. It took hours (and a few cocktails) before I was able to feel back to normal again. Though I feel this is a sign of good art, I'm not quite sure I could ever go back.

The mental workout that this exhibit gave me left me with the need for something uncomplicated for dinner. Something that wouldn't require excess thought but would comfort me as well. Luckily the husband had begged to pick up some sweet potatoes from the greenmarket last weekend. So after a quick wash and a few slices, into the oven they went while I whipped up a simple dipping sauce out of dill and creme fraiche. These are hearty enough to hold up as an entree if served with a simple side and a bit of bread but are excellent as a starter or side dish as well.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Dill Creme Fraiche
serves 3
3 large sweet potatoes
2-3 TB olive oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. piment d'espelette (or paprika)

4 oz. creme fraiche
2 TB fresh dill
1 clove garlic, finely minced
zest of 1 lime

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the sweet potatoes length-wise into 8 wedges each. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil on all sides. Sprinkle half of the salt, pepper, and piment d'espelette on the potatoes and then flip and repeat on the other side. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, place the creme fraiche, dill, garlic, and lime zest into a small bowl. Stir together. Dollop onto cooked potatoes to serve.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Entertaining Meal Prep Tips

I am so very late on this post, but as there are other holiday entertaining opportunities to come, I figure it can't hurt to go ahead and post it. Plus, I redo this for myself every year so why not just put it down it a place I can come back to. So here are my steps to preparing Thanksgiving dinner (plus the recipe for the Cran-cherry Sauce and Garlic Roasted Mashed Sweet Potatoes and my favorite Roast Turkey).

Step 1: Menu Planning.
The first thing I always do when hosting a gathering is to decide what to serve. These days I usually have a few vegetarians in the mix so I need to make sure there is enough for everyone to eat. I gather up all of the recipes I will need into one place. This step also includes deciding what you would like to have others bring/contribute to the meal. This year I had one friend volunteer to make the desserts (3 unbelievable pies) and everyone else brought wine (lots and lots of wine).
Thanksgiving 2011 Menu
Roasted Peanuts
Chips and French Onion Dip
Maple Bourbon Pickles

Entrees and Sides
Fall Vegetable Patties (vegetarian option)
Green Bean Casserole
Spinach in Beurre Blanc
Grandma's Dinner Rolls
Mashed Potatoes
Garlic Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Cran-cherry Sauce

Eggnog Ice Cream

Step 2: Shopping Lists and Purchasing
Here I go through all the recipes I have compiled and list which ingredients I am going to need to pick up. This gives me the chance to go through the pantry and double check that I have all of the staples that I need as well.
I usually end up doing a couple of shopping trips to pick everything up. I start with drinks and non-perishables the week or so before the event, and buy the perishables about 4 or so days before.
There are certain items you need to think of even farther in advance--like the turkey or ham for the big holidays. I ordered my turkey this year towards the end of October/beginning of November from Brooklyn Victory Garden. They brought in turkeys from the local Oink and Gobble Farms.

Step 3: Set Cooking Plan and begin pre-preparations.
Next up I decide which items I can start cooking/prepare in the days before the event and which need to be done at the last minute. Here's what I cooked in the days leading up to Thanksgiving:
2 Days Before:
Make Cranberry Sauce
Make the ice cream base and refrigerate
Make turkey stock from turkey neck
Caramelize onions for dip

1 Day Before: 
Make dinner rolls
Make ice cream
Prep veggie patties
Boil potatoes and rice them
Roast sweet potatoes and mash
Make onion dip
Tie and rub/prepare turkey

Day of:
Cook turkey (once cooked allow to sit before carving and drain juices and separate to use for gravy)
Prep green bean casserole and cook
Set out serving wares
Set out appetizers/drinks

Last minute (the final prep before serving--this is a great time to learn how to delegate and ask for help from you guests!):
Reheat potatoes and mix with milk and butter
Reheat sweet potatoes and mix with milk and butter
Make beurre blanc and add spinach
Make gravy
Fry veggie patties

Step 4: Enjoy!
Don't forget to take the time to enjoy your own meal and your company. Proper planning before the event allows you that time. You can leave the dishes for later after the guests have gone.

Cran-cherry Sauce
1 package fresh or frozen cranberries (12 oz)
1 1/4 c. cherry juice
3/4 c. turbinado sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
zest from 1 lemon
zest from 1 orange
1/2 stick of cinnamon
1/8 c. fresh squeezed orange juice

Mix together the cranberries, cherry juice, turbinado sugar, maple syrup, lemon and orange zest and the cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium-high, bringing the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium to allow the sauce to simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, remove the cinnamon stick, then stir in the orange juice. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Garlic Roasted Mashed Sweet Potatoes
sweet potatoes
whole garlic cloves
fresh sage leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper

milk/heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375.
Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into 1 1/2" cubes. Toss together with a few whole cloves of garlic, whole sage leaves, salt and pepper.
Spread the sweet potatoes, garlic and sage onto sheet pans in a single layer. Roast for about 45-60 minutes, tossing every so often, until the sweet potatoes are tender and slightly brown.
Once the potatoes are roasted, mash together with the garlic and sage and mix with milk or cream and butter. Add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

Roasted Turkey

This is how I've prepared my turkey for the past two years and it has turned out really juicy and delicious. The first thing I do is pull out the neck and giblets. A couple of days before Thanksgiving I use the neck and vegetables to make a turkey stock. I save the giblets for the gravy and use the liver to make a pate (great for  an appetizer or quick, simple dinner).

The day before Thanksgiving I mix together some room temperature butter with fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme), and maybe some minced garlic or fennel pollen. Then I lift the skin of the turkey and rub this mixture underneath, between the skin and meat, avoiding rubbing it on the outside of the skin. Then I salt and pepper the outside of the turkey well (sprinkling some salt and pepper into the cavity of the turkey as well). Then I place the turkey on the roasting rack in the roasting pan and put the whole thing into the refrigerator uncovered overnight (this helps to dry out the skin of the bird, making it extra crispy once roasted).

The next morning I get up and turn on the oven to 475 degrees. Once the oven is preheated I place the bird in for 20 minutes. Then I take about 1/2-3/4 c. of turkey stock and add it to the bottom of the roasting pan and turn down the oven temperature to 275 degrees. I will then allow the turkey to cook until the thigh meat reaches 160 degrees (this takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes per pound. Check the temperature often). 

While the turkey is cooking I heat up turkey stock in a saucepan to a boil, then add the giblets. I allow these to simmer for about 45 minutes, then remove the giblets.

When the turkey has reached temperature I pull the turkey out of the oven and use the roasting rack to tilt it up towards its side to allow the juices on the inside of the bird to drain out. Then I set the bird aside and cover. The juices I place into my pyrex measuring cup and allow the fat to separate from the juices. Once it separates I use a spoon to carefully take off the fat and place into a separate bowl. To make the gravy I will use some of this fat made into a roux with flour, then add the juices, then add the giblet soaked turkey stock to finish it off.

Once the turkey has rested for around 20-30 minutes it is time to carve and serve.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grape and Blue Cheese Pizza and Raclette Potatoes

I am already excited about Christmas this year. Normally I'm not one of those people. I need time to celebrate Thanksgiving, enjoy the fall, and then once December hits, I'm good to go to prep and feel the Christmas joy. I'm not sure what it is, but something is different this year.

It's not that I am not excited about Thanksgiving, because I can't wait for the intimate gathering we are going to be having with friends. And Fall has been absolutely lovely this year, with wonderful weather and the trees having time to turn into an exceptional display of color. Perhaps it's just the fact that last year I never really got into the holiday feeling so somehow it feels like it's been two years since I last had Christmas.

Whatever the reason, I can't wait to put up Christmas decorations, listen to Christmas music (especially She and Him's new Christmas Album!!), and Joe and I may send out Christmas cards for the first time ever this year! The one thing that I'm sad about is the fact that we will be staying in the city this year instead of heading home to be with family. Joe and I have a really nice time doing this (picture starting off the day with breakfast and coffee with Bailey's and then moving on to lots and lots more food, wine, champagne, and maybe even a movie later in the day), but I am missing the family a lot--and will miss seeing my adorable nephew (who is almost 2) experiencing the day.

This meal would be a very nice one for Holiday entertaining. It's very simple, especially since the dough doesn't need time to rise (although you could also just purchase the pizza dough to make it even easier). The grapes I used were from my local farmer's market, where we get in a bunch of fun varieties (like Mars) from a local winery, but again you can use any seedless variety. The pizza is essentially a play on the fig and blue cheese combo, but the grapes are juicier and have a slightly brighter flavor than figs, giving a burst of flavor in every bite. The potatoes served alongside are just cooked through then tossed with a crunchy grain mustard and then topped off with creamy raclette cheese and broiled to make them gooey and fabulous.

Grape and Blue Cheese Pizza
makes 1 12" pizza
dough recipe (from Robbie's Recipe collection):

.25 oz. pkt. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
3/4 cup 110 degree water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
pizza sauce - of your choice, as needed
shredded cheese - of your choice, as needed
toppings - of your choice, as needed

-Dissolve yeast and sugar in water; allow to rest for 8 minutes.
-In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt.
-Pour yeast mixture over flour mixture and mix well with a heavy spoon.
-Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes.
-Working from the edges to the center, press dough into a 12" circle.
-Place dough on a lightly greased pizza pan and stretch dough to edges.
-Spread sauce over crust and top with cheese and desired toppings.
-Bake in a 500 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, or until edges are golden.
Notes: To answer the most frequently-asked question I receive about this recipe: No, the dough does not have to rise - if it did, it wouldn't produce a thin crust.

For the pizza:

1 pizza dough
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/3 lb. crumbled blue cheese
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 c. seedless grapes
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Once you have formed the pizza dough into a 12" round, use a pastry brush to brush on the extra virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle on the blue cheese, then the bacon, grapes and top with the Parmesan cheese. Bake the pizza for about 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crusts are browned. Allow to cool for about 4-5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Raclette Potatoes

potatoes (preferably 1-1 1/2" small round potatoes, or larger potatoes cut into smaller pieces)
whole grain mustard
raclette cheese, grated

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until they are tender and cooked through (varies depending on size of potatoes).
Drain the potatoes and cool for a few minutes. Then toss with a good helping of the grain mustard and spread onto a baking sheet.
Sprinkle the grated raclette on top of the potatoes. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbling slightly. Remove from the broiler and serve.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Potatoes and Broccoli au Gratin

Having a bit of a rough day today. An acquaintance passed away this morning. He wasn't someone I knew very well, but every time I was around him he brightened my day. He was always full of life, his spirit shining joyously onto all those surrounding him. Despite not knowing him well, I can feel a gaping hole in the city today that won't ever be filled in. But all those who had the chance to cross his path are better for it. Monte, dear, you are missed deeply already. May you rest in peace.

A simple, comforting recipe that maybe can't take away our pain, but perhaps can at least make us feel at home:
Potatoes and Broccoli au Gratin
about 6 servings
3 russet potatoes
1 1/2 c. chopped broccoli
4 TB butter
4 TB flour
1 pint heavy cream
salt and pepper
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

3 TB butter
3/4 c. panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Peel the potatoes and thinly slice (about 1/8" thick). Toss together with the broccoli.
In a large saucepan melt the 4 TB butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk together. Cook for 2-3 minutes to cook out some of the raw flour flavor. Add the heavy cream and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens to a saucy consistency (about 4-5 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Then add the cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Then remove the cheese sauce from the heat.
Mix together the cheese sauce and the potatoes and broccoli. Add to a greased 8X8 baking dish.
Melt the 3 TB butter and mix together with the panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the potatoes. Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil from the dish and return to the oven for another 15 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 8-10 minutes before serving.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fennel Pollen Rubbed Pork Chops

When I first began to create my own recipes I was so overwhelmed. I really didn't know what I was doing 90% of the time, hadn't had enough practice in the kitchen and I felt the need to really mix, match and add seasonings and flavors to whatever I was cooking. It took a while to learn that usually the best meals are those that are the most straight-forward, simple, and feature ingredients that are of high quality (which doesn't mean the most expensive--just those that are grown/raised/prepared with care). These lovely pork chops are just the thing.

I purchased the pork chops at the greenmarket from Flying Pigs Farm, which I've mentioned before. Seriously, their pork chops are one of the greatest things I've ever eaten. Melt-in-your-mouth tender, full of porky flavor, there is no need for fuss with these babies. They are just sprinkled with fennel pollen, salt and pepper and seared. That's it. They were served alongside Diner's Potatoes, recipe found on The Wednesday Chef blog (isn't her blog just lovely?).

The fennel pollen came from my new favorite store on the planet: Bklyn Larder. I could spend my monthly salary here without blinking and not feel bad about it. Along with the fennel pollen this trip I also bought some of their fruity extra virgin olive oil (which they dole out in refillable bottles that you can bring back with you when you are ready for more), some crusty bread and rabbit rillettes (I'm melting in my chair just remembering how good these were). They sell cheeses, imported and house cured meats, homemade gelato and pickles, and a few different dry goods. It's the kind of place I'd love to open myself one day...

Fennel Pollen Rubbed Pork Chops
2 servings
2 thick cut pork chops (mine were around 1.4 lbs. for both, bone-in)
2 t. fennel pollen
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
olive oil

Remove the pork chops from the fridge about an hour before cooking to bring to around room temperature.
Heat a large, thick skillet over medium-high heat. Grease lightly with olive oil.
Sprinkle the pork chops all over with fennel pollen, salt and pepper. Once the pan is almost smoking, sear the pork chops, about 3 minutes on each side, until they are cooked between medium rare and medium. Remove from the pan and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 17, 2009

BBQ Beef Brisket, Bok Choy Cole Slaw, Lime-Basil Potato Salad

It really is finally starting to feel like summer around the city. The endless rain stopped and we've had some beautiful weather. Great weather to spend outdoors enjoying the parks and barbecuing. If I only had a grill.
We do take picnics to the park often, though. Some coffee and pastries or sandwiches. Then we'll lounge around and enjoy the clouds, smell of the grass and the breeze. Some days in Prospect Park, you can almost forget that you are in the big city.
The coming of summer has brought about that craving for BBQ. As Kansas City-ans, it's hard to find BBQ that lives up to our standards, but this meal was a pretty good substitute with a couple of new takes on old themes. I'm especially in love with the Bok Choy Cole slaw and have been devouring the leftovers like mad.
I want to send a quick shout-out to the new Franklin Ave. flea market open on Saturdays this summer. If you live in my neck of the woods, check it out! It's where I found the BBQ sauce for the brisket, courtesy of the Pour Gourmet.

BBQ Beef Brisket
1 1.75lb beef brisket
salt and pepper
2 TB cooking oil
1/2 c. chopped carrots
1/2 c. chopped celery
3/4 c. chopped onions
2 bottles lager
1 1/2 c. BBQ sauce

Preheat the oven to 325.
Salt and pepper all sides of the brisket well. Heat the cooking oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat and when hot brown the brisket on all sides (about 3-4 minutes each). Remove the meat from the pan and add the carrots, celery and onions to the hot oil. Cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Return the brisket to the pan and add the 2 bottles of lager. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover then pan tightly and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour, then flip the brisket over and return to the oven. Cook until fork tender, about another hour to hour and a half. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then remove the meat to a platter and shred. Place shredded meat into a large saute pan and add the BBQ sauce. Cook over medium heat until heated through. Serve over toasted country bread.

Bok Choy Cole Slaw
3 small heads of bok choy
3 carrots, shredded
1/2 c. finely minced onions
6 garlic scapes, chopped
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 t. celery salt
1/2 t. ground mustard
1 t. sesame oil
1 TB sugar
1/4 t. pepper

Chop the bok choy into thin shreds. Toss with the carrots, onions and garlic scapes. In a separate bowl mix together the vinegars, celery salt, ground mustard, sesame oil, sugar and pepper. Combine the dressing and the vegetables and then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Lime Basil Potato Salad
3 c. small red potatoes
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. lime basil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Scrub the small potatoes and cut into large bite size pieces. Place in a large pan of boiling salted water and cook until tender, about 12-14 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
While the potatoes are cooking, blend together the olive oil, lime basil, salt and pepper in a food processor. Toss this oil with the potatoes to serve.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sides: Sesame Cucumber Salad, Potato Pancakes, Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Side dishes have a bad rap. They are often overlooked and only given a cursory second--or fourth--thought (entree, dessert, beverages...oh, yeah. We should have something green, too...). We will plop down some canned green beans or a side of rice with very little actual planning going into these dishes. However, with a little bit of forethought and planning, a great side dish will take your meal to the next level. When you are considering what to make for dinner think about the side dish right along with the entree: what flavors would pair well? How can you use one to compliment the other? When you match them together well you will feel as if you are eating in a restaurant instead of at your dining room table.

I think one of the reasons people give sides less thought is because they spend so much time on the entree and they don't have the time to fuss with extravagant extras. A perfect side dish, though, does not have to be complicated. For instance, you could just use the cooking juices from the meat to make up a sauce to drizzle over some steamed veggies. Also, there are many dishes where you can cook the vegetables/grains in with the proteins, saving time and dirty dishes.

Here I have a few side dishes to get you started on your side dish revolution. The Sesame Cucumber salad is simple, refreshing, and a perfect compliment to many summer favorites. The potato pancakes are a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes and a fun way to play around in the kitchen--the flavor combinations are endless. And finally a Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette that is not only good on salad greens, but is excellent tossed with tuna, hard boiled egg, capers and greens for a tasty snack or lunch.

Sesame Cucumber Salad
2 TB white wine vinegar
2 t. sesame oil
2 TB olive oil
1 cucumber, sliced
3 heads Belgian Endive, chopped
2 TB chopped wild onions (chives will work as well), minced

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, sesame oil, and olive oil. In a separate bowl toss the cucumber, endive, and wild onions. Toss the vegetables with the dressing and serve.

Roasted Garlic Potato Pancakes
1 1/2 c. mashed potatoes, cooled
4-5 cloves roasted garlic
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 TB butter
1 TB olive oil

In a large bowl mix together the mashed potatoes, roasted garlic, parmesan cheese. Taste to see if you need to add any salt and pepper. Form the potato mixture into patties, about 2" in diameter and about 1/2" thick.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oils are hot add the potato pancakes and cook to a crispy brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
2 cloves roasted garlic
1 TB white wine vinegar
2 TB lemon juice
1/4 t. ground mustard
1/4 t. season salt
1/3 c. olive oil
salt and pepper

In a small bowl mix together the roasted garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, ground mustard and season salt. Add the olive oil in a slow drizzle while briskly whisking the roasted garlic mixture. You may need a little more olive oil to make a creamy, thick vinaigrette, and that is ok. Once the mixture is whisked together well taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Spanish Tapas Night: Tortilla Espanola, Aioli, Croquetas

There are some days when I walk out of the door in the mornings, take a deep breath, and smell Spain. It's something about the crispness in the air, but a little bit of an acidic, bitterness as well. It transports me right back to Ronda, walking over the gorge, looking out onto the mountains where the sun is rising on my morning walk to school. Or to the gazebo overlooking the cliff where my friends and I would hang out, play chess, write in our journals, and watch the sun set. God I miss it there.
Someday I will go back and show my husband around the town and country that helped me to learn a lot about who I am. But for now, I've got to be content with traveling in a little simpler way...via food.
When I moved back home from my semester abroad, one of my Christmas gifts from my little brother was this cookbook:

I absolutely love it. It is nothing fancy, and the recipes aren't either, but they are truly Spanish. There are tapas that I actually ate at the little bars and not just someone's updated/fancy ideas of what Spanish tapas are. But there are also the recipes for things that I would eat every day in my host mother's home. Just by opening it's pages I feel like I'm stepping across the ocean.

So this night I decided to make a couple of my husband's favorites from the tapas restaurants we've been to, but are also the two things that I remember most from the bars and from my home away from home in Spain: Tortilla Espanola and Croquetas. They are simple but so full of flavor and definitely full of memories.

Tortilla Espanola
(from Cooking in Spain)
Note: I have had to "translate" the quantities a little because they are in metric.
4 medium Potatoes
3 TB chopped onions, optional (in my humble opinion, onions shouldn't be optional in this recipe ;)
1/4 c. olive oil
4-5 eggs
1/2 t. salt

Peel the potatoes and either cut them in dice or into very thin slices. Heat the oil in the frying pan until very hot and add the potatoes, and onions if desired. Stir and continue frying without letting the potatoes brown, stirring them frequently. With the edge of a metal spatula or skimmer, keep cutting into the potatoes, dicing them as they cook. When they are quite tender (about 15 minutes) place a plate over the frying pan and drain off the oil into a heat proof container. Place the potatoes in a bowl. Beat together the eggs and salt until very well combined an stir the eggs into the potatoes and mix well.

Return the oil to the frying pan and let it reheat. Now pour in the egg and potato mixture. Let it set on the bottom, regulating the heat so it doesn't brown too fast. Use the spatula to firm the edges of the tortilla all around it's circumference. Shake the pan frequently to keep it loose on the bottom. Place the plate over the pan, drain off the oil and turn the tortilla out onto the plate. Return the oil to the pan, adding a little more if necessary and slide the tortilla back in to cook on the reverse side. Remove the tortilla when it is golden by sliding out onto serving plate. Serves two as a main dish or four to six as an appetizer or first course.

(recipe from my grammar teacher in Spain)
1 egg
1 TB sunflower oil (I used canola)
juice from 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
about 3/4-1 c. olive oil

Mix together the egg, sunflower oil, lemon juice, salt, and chopped garlic in a food processor or using a hand/immersion blender (I prefer to use an immersion blender because that is how I learned). As you continue to blend, add the olive oil very slowly, one drop at a time, so the mayonnaise doesn't break. Continue adding until the aioli is the desired consistency.
(This time around I let my aioli be thinner than a traditional mayonnaise so I could use it easier as a sauce for my tortilla. It still is great tasting this way and isn't quite as thick.)

(from Cooking in Spain)
3 TB oil
1/2 small onion, minced
4 TB flour
1 c. milk
1/8 t. grated nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
2- 7oz. ham steaks, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten with a little water
1 1/2 c. dried breadcrumbs
oil for frying
for half of my croquetas I also used 4 oz. of goat cheese

Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the minced onions until they are transparent. Do not let them brown. Stir in the flour and let them cook briefly, then whisk in the milk. cook, stirring constantly until this sauce thickens. Season it with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in the ham (and the goat cheese if using. I did half with and half without.) Spread the mixture in a dish and refrigerate it until solid. Place the beaten eggs in a dish, the breadcrumbs in another. With moistened hands, form the croquette mixture into balls, cylinders or cones. Dip each croquette first in breadcrumbs (or flour), then in beaten egg, then again in breadcrumbs, taking care that they are well covered. Allow to dry in a cool place for 30 minutes. Heat oil in deep fryer and fry the croquettes, a few at a time, until they are golden, about 3 minutes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garlic Pork Chops with Sauvignon Beurre Blanc, Crash Hot Potatoes, Sour Cream Veggies

As much as I love coming up with new recipes or taking old recipes and changing them around, there are some nights where I want a really good meal that I don't want to have to think about. This is when I love turning to my fellow bloggers.

Yesterday I was really ready to actually cook again (and even to deal with the heat in my kitchen for a while to have an actual meal). When I opened up my google reader one of the first recipes I came across was Nemmie's Garlic Pork Chops with Sauvignon Beurre Blanc. Just the sort of thing I love (lots of butter and garlic and pork! my favorite things). I also have been dying to try out Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes. I served these alongside of my mom's sour cream veggies.

Thanks so much ladies for an amazing meal. I have to say that the white wine sauce over top of the crash hot potatoes is maybe one of the tastiest things ever. You must give it a try.

Garlic Pork Chops with Sauvignon Beurre Blanc
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 thick pork chops
2 Tbsp. virgin olive oil
8-10 cloves garlic, in crosswise slices
2 c. sauvignon blanc or other dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Salt and pepper pork chops on each side. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute garlic until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to a small bowl and set aside.
Put pork chops in hot pan, cover, and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown, 10-15 minutes per side, adding a tablespoon or two of wine to pan if it starts to smoke. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
Add wine to pan and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Cook to reduce liquid by half. Reduce heat to low and add butter, stirring until melted. Turn off heat.
Place pork chops on warmed plates. Garnish liberally with garlic and drizzle with pan sauce. Pass any remaining sauce at the table. Serve with sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, riesling or gewürztraminer.

Crash Hot Potatoes
The Cast of Characters: New Potatoes (or other small, round potato), Olive Oil, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, and whatever herb you like. I’m using Rosemary (I used basil).

Begin by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make, and cook them until they’re fork-tender.
Next, generously drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan. This will mean the difference between the potatoes sticking and not sticking, so don’t be shy here.
When the potatoes are tender, place them on the cookie sheet……Giving them plenty of room to spread out. Next, grab your potato masher and gently press down on the potato until it slightly mashes…Then rotate the masher 90 degrees and finish flattening it. Of course, you don’t want to absolutely smash it into the pan—you want it almost to resemble a cookie. Repeat until all are flattened. And really, I don’t know why you couldn't use the bottom of a glass for this step if you don’t have a potato masher. The surface might not be as textured and interesting, but I think it still might work.
Next, brush the tops rather generously with olive oil. Next, grab some Kosher salt. You can use regular salt, but I’d really recommend using kosher. It adheres to the potatoes more easily and really flavors them nicely without getting too salty. Be ye ever as generous with fresh ground black pepper. Now, you can grab some chives…or thyme…or whatever herbs you have available. Whatever herb you use, just chop it pretty finely and sprinkle over the top.
Now throw them onto the top rack of a very hot (450-degree) oven, and cook them for 20-25 minutes……Or until they’re golden and crispy and sizzling.

Sour Cream Veggies
(from my mom)
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 c. sour cream
salt and pepper
2 c. of frozen veggies (I prefer a broccoli, cauliflower, carrot blend)

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the sour cream. Add the frozen vegetables and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are cooked through, around 8-10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stuffed Mushrooms, Grilled Pork Chop Rub, and Baked Potato Soup

Yes, perhaps this combination of food for dinner is a little weird. But when it tastes so good does it matter?

I have recently started running. I would like to run the New York Marathon. Maybe crazy, but it is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. It is one of those things I really want to do even more after living in the city. Last year I was leaving a bar after watching a Chiefs game and all of these people were walking down Ninth Avenue after finishing the race. It was so inspiring and I haven't been able to rid myself of the drive and desire since that day. Plus, how cool is it that the race goes through all five boroughs? Since I started training/running again a couple of weeks ago it feels really good. I have more energy, my stress levels are lower, and I actually feel happier and healthier. But it is giving me weird cravings, which result in pairings for dinner that maybe I wouldn't normally do. Like a hearty soup that could be dinner in itself paired with grilled meat and stuffed mushrooms that are usually an appetizer as a side.
Stuffed Mushrooms
2 lb. Large Mushrooms
2 cloves garlic finely diced
1/4 cup butter
8 oz. bulk pork sausage
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley (finely chopped)

Remove stems from mushrooms, reserve caps. Finely chop stems and saute' in butter with garlic until both are golden. Add sausage and saute' until brown. Stir in bread crumbs, cheese and parsley. Stuff each cap with mixture. Place in broiling pan that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Broil 3-5 minutes until mushrooms are bubbly and brown.

Grilled Pork Chop Rub
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 t. ground coriander
1 t. chili powder
1/4 t. dried sage
2 t. dried rosemary
1 t. dried oregano
1 1/2 t. dried onion flakes
salt and pepper
2 TB olive oil

Mix together all ingredients. Rub on pork chop and allow to sit for at least 2 hours. Let pork chop sit at room temperature for 45 minutes before grilling.

Baked Potato Soup
3 large russet potatoes
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 TB butter
2 TB flour
2 c. milk
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
4 green onions, chopped
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Clean and peel potatoes and cut into medium sized chunks. Boil in salted water until cooked through. Pour into a sieve (you do not need to retain the cooking water).
In a large soup pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for 2 minutes. The add the flour and whisk briskly for about 5 minutes, forming a roux. Whisk in the milk. Cook for another 5-8 minutes, stirring often, until milk thickens slightly. Add the potatoes to the pan. Using a potato masher, carefully mash the potatoes in the soup to desired consistency.
Add the sour cream, cheddar cheese, and green onions to the soup and continue to let cook.
When soup is heated all the way through, add salt and pepper to taste. Right before serving, stir in the crumbled bacon. Extra green onions, cheese, sour cream and bacon can be used for garnish.

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.

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)