Thursday, December 30, 2010
At our weekly couples therapy session (which just happened to fall on the day after Christmas. How opportune.) My thighs and I had something that can only be characterized as a skirmish. (Although one might also call it a quarrel, World War III, a debate of apocalyptic proportions...)
At first, I thought it was going to be a pretty low-key session.
We used "I statements".
We refrained from throwing things.
It was all going very well, really. Until my thighs issued an ultimatum.
"It's either us or the rainbow cookies," they said, in the coldest, least emotionally involved manner possible.
So I looked down at them. Skeptically. Ready to scream some platitude along the lines of "it's not me, it's you" or "just wait, you'll be crawling back" (oh the irony).
Then I remembered the ease and rapidity with which my calves up and bit the dust. (And yes, we are still in physical therapy trying to work through our "issues" and a few seriously large knots.)
And so I caved.
I went home. Whipped up this black bean soup, thinking it was a good healthy compromise. But, after eating it, I think "compromise" sounds too...demeaning. Downright delicious? That's more like it.
With a hint of subtle sweetness from the mango juice, a bit of spice from the cayenne, and a truly fabulous texture, this soup is one that I will glad make over and over again. And when my roommates ask me why I'm drinking it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'll just explain the thigh situation. They'll understand.
So while 2010 was the year that I got injured and sunk into a deep dark black hole in which I convinced myself that if I couldn't run, I might as well eat brownies in monstrously large quantities (bad plan). 2011 is going to be the year in which I make myself look like a rock star again. They say that whatever you do on the first of the year sets the stage for the 364 days that will ensue. So join me. Make this soup. And let's make 2011 a year to remember. In the healthiest possible way.
Brazilian Black Bean Soup
Serves 4-6, adapted from The Tropical Vegan Kitchen
1 cup dry black beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
3/4 cup mango juice
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1. Drain the beans and place in a medium stockpot with water to cover by 1 inch. Add the 1/2 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to between low and medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours (unless you have weird freaky beans like mine which cook in 30 minutes...I think it's because I soak them for almost 24 hours). Set aside and do not drain.
2. In a medium, deep-sided skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion, bell pepper, and carrot. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the veggies to the stockpot containing the cooked beans and their liquid. Add the broth, orange juice, tomato, sugar, cumin, thyme, cloves, cayenne, and black pepper as well. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth and pureed. (OPTIONAL - if you want a more chunkier soup, remove about 1/3 of the beans and puree in a blender, then add them back in.) Return to the pot and stir in the cilantro, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Return to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with additional salt. Stir in the vinegar. Discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf and serve warm.
I am submitting this to REGIONAL RECIPES: BRAZIL as well as to Souper Sundays, which is hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Yesterday I decided to snow myself into my apartment.
I put on my snowflake pajama pants. Covered myself in a blanket. And called my brother to commiserate about how this white wall of snow outside my window was impinging on my life plans.
However, after hearing that while he had spent his entire day shoveling my parents house out from under 3 feet of snow, I had spent mine watching Bethenny Getting Married? Well, he wasn't so keen on listening to me gripe after that.
I tried to explain to him that after being ravaged by the wind on Sunday night and hyperventilating for the entirety of my six block walk to the gym because I was sure that the cold air was somehow going to suffocate me and that I would die, alone and childless on 1st Avenue, I needed to be comforted in a way that only Bethenny can manage. (After all, I will probably be her in 20 years and it is nice to know that even when I am 39, single, and childless, there will still be a chance that I will get married at the Four Seasons and have a child. All before the age of 40.)
Daniel didn't truly understand. I know, because he hung up on me. Or I hung up on him. Or we got disconnected. It's hard to say what really happened. Let's leave it at that.
Anyways. Then I had my entire day ahead of me! So I decided to tackle this week's Symon Sundays recipes.
After all. I've yet to make a single recipe out of Live to Cook that didn't involve at least 5 hours of simmering. And this one had the words "slow-roasted" in it. So that meant it would probably take 8.
Well, well, well. Mr. Symon. You, like every other man in my life, have let me down. 12-15 minutes? Since when is that slow? And if that is slow. Please. Explain how exactly you would characterize your Italian Braised Beef with Root Vegetables. Which entailed a good two days of slow cooking. Is there even an adjective to describe such a process?
You are an enigma.
I love you. I hate you. Marry me.
Even though this halibut took up far too few minutes of my life to make, it was absolutely delicious. Then again, you could cover anything with capers and lemon juice and I'd be pretty damn content. The chickpeas and skordalia? Well. I liked it but I'm just not really sure what to do with it. Mr. Symon recommends using it as a sauce for all sorts of meat. (Really. Every kind of meat.) But if anyone has any more specific suggestions. I'm all ears.
Slow-Roasted Halibut with Fried Capers, Caramelized Lemon and Almonds
Serves 4, adapted from Symon's Live to Cook
4 (6-8 oz) halibut fillets
3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 (1/4-inch thick) slices of lemon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
4 tbsp capers
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 1/2 tbsp thinly sliced garlic
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 225. Season the halibut on both sides with salt. Spray each side with olive oil cooking spray or rub with some olive oil. Put the fish in a cold, nonstick ovenproof saute pan or small glass baking dish. Place into the oven and cook until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 130-140 and flakes easily when prodded with a fork, 12-15 minutes.
2. A few minutes after you put the fish in the oven, heat 1 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over high heat. When the butter is hot and foaming add in the lemon slices and cook until they begin to caramelize, about 2-3 minutes. Flip them over and add in the almonds and capers. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the shallots and saute for 30 seconds. Add the garlic, parsley, and the remaining 2 tbsp butter. Continue to cook until the lemons soften and the butter and almonds begin to brown, about 2 minutes.
3. Place the halibut fillets on warm plates and spoon the sauce over them.
Chickpeas and Skordalia
Serves 6-8, adapted from Symon's Live To Cook
2 cups 1/2-inch cubed day old bread
1 cup almond milk
4 garlic cloves
grated zest and juice of one lemon
1 cup almonds, toasted
2 tbsp olive oil (**Symon uses 3/4 cup)
1 cup cooked chickpeas
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1. Place the bread and milk in a bowl and let soak for 30 minutes.
2. Using your hands, wring excess milk from the bread. Put the bread in a blender with the garlic, lemon juice, almonds, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Puree until smooth. Add some of the reserved milk to bring it to a thick, hummus-like consistency.
3. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chickpeas, parsley, and lemon zest. Season to taste. Serve under fish, chicken, or steak, or use as a spread.
This is my submission to this week's Hearth and Soul Blog Hop! And also to Symon Sundays, which is hosted over at Veggie By Season!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
My father has a very competitive spirit. Which is why last year, when it began to dawn on him that I might in fact be able to out-cook him with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back (yes, I have mastered the art of telepathic cooking. Be afraid. Be very afraid.), he decided to abandon the decade-long lasagna Christmas dinner tradition. And declared that he was going to be making manicotti.
There was an outcry, of course. But he stood his ground and insisted that tradition be thrown to the wayside just so that he could one up me. He really is just full of Christmas spirit.
But manicotti? you say. Really?
Yes. Really. You see, real traditional manicotti is made not with pasta noodles but with super thin crepe-like pancakes. That you have to make. By hand. One at a time.
Which he did. For many hours.
I'm not sure that he truly realized what he was getting himself into that first year. But he soldiered on, crepe by crepe, exclaiming all the while that every joint in his body ached and that his knees would never be the same again and that really, he only did these things because he loved us so much. Each time, turning to give me the evil eye. As if I had somehow brought this upon him.
Nope, dad. This was all on you.
So this year. When he declared that he was going to take on manicotti again.
I realized I had to retaliate somehow. (Especially after the stuffing debacle of 2010. My heart, it still aches.)
I called my mother and told her in unequivocal terms that I would be cooking the meat.
Did I hear someone call for a throwdown?
When my father heard that, especially after he was informed that rainbow cookies would be involved (and is not bribery the sincerest form of flattery?). Well, to say that he was shaking in his boots. Is an understatement.
He was ridden with so much anxiety he took the entire week before Christmas off from work. Sure, he said that it was because he had to use up his vacation days before the new year. But I think we both know what was really going on.
Dad. I'm onto you.
So I walked into the house on Christmas morning. Guns ablazin'.
Organic, grass fed standing rib roast in tow.
Prepared to cook like I've never cooked before. (Ummm. Literally. I've never cooked a standing rib roast before.)
I roasted. I simmered.
And, in the end. I conquered.
When I tasted the first tender succulent melt-in-your-mouth slice of beef. I walked into the dining room where everyone was waiting to be served. And I said. I deliver unto you a Christmas miracle.
And after years and years of being served dry, flavorless roasts with the consistency of shoe leather. A miracle, it was.
Even my father conceded that it was possibly the best beef he'd ever eaten. (Although he was a bit miffed that my mother kept praising the meat instead of his manicotti. What can I say? All's fair in love and war.)
Although I did hear him grumbling something about attempting to make his own ricotta next year.
To which I reply. You're on.
Standing Rib Roast with Porcini and Bacon Sauce
Serves 12, adapted from Bon Appetit
6 large garlic cloves
3 tbsp fresh thyme
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp coarse kosher salt
1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 9 lb beef rib roast
1. DO AHEAD: Puree the garlic cloves, thyme, olive oil, salt and black pepper in a food processor until it forms a paste. Pat the roast dry. Place roast, bone side down. in a roasting pan. Cut several shallow slits in the fat. Press some garlic paste into the slits. Rub the remaining garlic paste over the roast. Let sit, covered, in the fridge overnight. (Or up to 3 days ahead.)
2. DAY OF: Remove roast from fridge at least 2 hours before you want to cook it, letting it come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 450, positioning a rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven. Roast the beef at 450 for 20 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 350 and roast until the beef reaches an internal temperature of 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1 hour 50 minutes. Transfer to a platter, reserving the juices in the pan for the porcini and bacon sauce.
3. Let roast stand at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving.
Porcini and Bacon Sauce
Makes about 2 1/4 cups, adapted from Bon Appetit
2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
1/4 lb sliced bacon, chopped
9 garlic cloves, sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 lb button mushrooms, sliced
3 cups dry red wine
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 large fresh rosemary sprig
Reserved roasting pan juices
1/4 cup chilled butter, diced
1. Place porcini mushrooms in a small bowl. Add the 2 cups of boiling water. Stir. Let soak until mushrooms soften, 30 minutes to 2 hours.
2. Saute bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until golden. Add garlic and shallots and cook for 3 minutes. Add fresh button mushrooms and saute for 8 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to the pan, RESERVING the porcini liquid. Add the red wine. Boil 15 minutes. Mix in the broth. Add the porcini liquid, leaving the sediment at the bottom behind. Return mixture to a boil and simmer until it is reduced to 5 cups (about 1 hour 30 minutes). Skim fat from the top. Add rosemary. Simmer 3 minutes. Discard rosemary.
4. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into the sauce, scraping the bottom to get all of the browned bits as well. Bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until reduced to two cups. Whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale
Serves 8, adapted from Giada's Kitchen
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/4 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 lb green beans, trimmed
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 cup white wine
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
freshly grated parmesan, to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, 6-8 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and the kale, cooking until kale has wilted. Add the parmesan cheese (I used about 3 handfuls of it), tossing, until desired taste is reached.
This is my submission to I Heart Cooking Clubs and to Chaya's Meatless Mondays!
Also, head over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen as she counts down the days to 2011 with a lot of great foodie round-ups!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
On Tuesday, my brother called me to ask if he could come over and help me make cookies.
Yes. I was shocked, too. And suspicious. Mostly suspicious.
After all, the boy doesn't even like cookies (unless they are vanilla with vanilla frosting). It's almost like we don't share half of a gene pool. Or look anything alike. Both. False.
Sigh. I need to get more realistic siblings.
Being that it is the holiday season and all, I put my doubts and misgivings aside and said, "Yes! Absolutely! Come forth!"
And then do you know what he did?
He came over and slept in my bed.
He slept through me caroling at the top of my lungs. Into his ear. He slept through me "accidentally" dropping a few pots and pans on the floor. Next to his ear. And he even slept through the heady scent of almond that immediately pervaded my apartment when I put these in the oven.
However. The joke was on him.
Because when he finally came to and managed to meander his way into the kitchen. And asked, "So where are the cookies?"
I smiled. Coyly. And cackled. Just a teeny tiny bit.
And said, "Oh, you know. They're in the fridge. Chilling."
"But they'll be done soon, right?"
A stare down ensued.
Finally. Just when tensions got thick enough that you could cut them with an offset spatula. "Let me answer your stupid question with another stupid question," I replied. Fight fire with fire. Good call. "How many milliseconds are there in eight hours?"
It was at this point, I think that smoke started to come out of his nostrils. (This is how you know that he is related my to my mother. They both have this nostril flaring thing that happens when they're mad.)
Because, you see. The boy does not like cookies. But these? These aren't just cookies.
They are rainbow cookies. They are the most coveted cookie out of the entire Italian cookie gamut. I know this because whenever my family orders a tray of Italian butter cookies. There are only approximately two of them on it. And we all know that things are more desirable when they're harder to get. (That's why I refuse to sleep with anyone on the first, second, third, or sixteenth date. Supply and demand, people. Or "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free", as my mother likes to tell me. Daily.)
Why are these cookies so great, you ask? Well obviously, you haven't tasted them (or at least not really good ones) if you're asking that question. I'll expand.
You see, you bite into them and you get chocolate, followed by an intense rush of almond, followed by a hint of sweet tangy apricot jelly. Your tastebuds dance. Everything feels right in the world. And then you realize that there are no more left because Italian bakeries tend to be very stingy with their rainbow cookies. Until this year, that is.
Because this year, you know me. And so you are either receiving a box of these. Or you are reading this recipe and are going to run off to your kitchen immediately to make 'em. Right? Right. I'm so glad we see eye to eye on this kind of thing. That's why I love you.
Anyways, this shall be my last post before Christmas! I want to wish you all a happy holidays filled with love, happiness, good food (although that falls into the "love" category, right?) and some really awesome presents. You guys are the best gift a girl could ask for, so thank you for always being so amazing. I already got everything I want for Christmas. Really. Thanks.
Italian Rainbow Cookies (Seven-Layer Cookies)
Makes about 5 dozen, depending on how small you cut them, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 (10 oz) can almond paste
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
red and green food coloring gels
1 (12 oz) jar apricot preserves, heated and strained
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Scharffenberger)
1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350. Butter a 13x9 inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper with 2 inches hanging off either edge. Butter/grease the paper.
2. Beat egg whites in mixer fitted with whisk attachment at medium-high speed until they just hold stiff peaks. Slowly add in 1/4 cup of sugar, beating at high speed until stiff glossy peaks form. Transfer egg whites to another bowl.
3. Switch to paddle attachment and beat together the almond paste and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add butter and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks and almond extract and beat until combined well, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low then add flour and salt and mix until just combined.
4. Fold half of egg white mixture until almond mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
5. Divide batter equally among three bowls. Dip the back of a metal fork into the red food gel and then use that to mix one bowl of the batter. Food coloring gels are super potent and this is all you will need for that pretty in pink color. Repeat with the green food gel and another of the bowls of batter. Put the green batter in the fridge. Pour red batter into prepared pan and spread with offset spatula. I would recommend using a really small offset spatula and then kind of roughly spreading the batter as far vertically and horizontally as you can without worrying too much about thickness. Then when it's basically where it needs to be, even it out more carefully. This was the hardest part of the whole thing for me so don't feel bad if it takes you a while!
6. Put in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until just set. It is important to UNDERCOOK these. They will look like they're not done but a toothpick inserted will come out clean.
7. Using paper overhang, transfer layer to a rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Clean pan, then grease and line again. Fill it up with the white layer and bake until just set. While the white layer cooks, take the green layer out of the fridge to return it to room temperature. Transfer white layer to a rack. Clean pan, then grease and line again. Fill it up with the green layer and bake until just set. Transfer to a rack to cool.
8. When all layers are cool, invert green layer onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Discard paper from layer and spread with half of preserves. Invert white on top of green layer, discarding paper. Spread with remaining preserves. Invert red on top of green layer. Discard remaining parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and weight with a large baking pan. I weighted with a large baking pan, and the two Mark Bittman tomes - How To Cook Everything and How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. Chill at least 8 hours. (Although I think I only waited 5. And they still turned out fine.)
9. Remove weight and plastic wrap. Bring layers to room temperature. Melt 3.5 oz of the chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, keeping the chocolate over the water.
10. Trim edges of assembled layers with a long serrated knife. Quickly spread the chocolate in a thin layer over the top of the cake. Chill, uncovered, until chocolate is firm, about 15 minutes. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and place another baking sheet on top. Invert cake onto baking sheet and remove parchment paper. Melt another 3.5 oz of chocolate and spread in a thin layer over the top of the cake. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
11. Cut lengthwise into as many strips as your heart desires. I think I ended up cutting seven or eight. As I said before, it depends on how small you want em! Cut strips crosswise into small squares.
Cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks. They'll keep even longer in the freezer (and will be easier to cut, according to Smitten Kitchen!)
These are linked up to the 12 Days of Bloggie-mas over at A Moderate Life!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Before you dive into this post, please vote for my salt photos and pumpkin pancakes with a maple cinnamon greek yogurt topping over at MarxFoods, I would really appreciate it! ALSO, remember to send me your entries for Regional Recipes: Brazil by the end of this month! The winner of the Tate's Bake Shop Giveaway is KIM of MO' BETTA! Kim, please contact me with your mailing address!
Sometimes medical school gets in the way of my real life.
It imposes itself in all sorts of obtrusive, inconvenient ways. It's clingy. Like a bad boyfriend.
Without even offering up any of the perks of having a bad boyfriend. Like having someone to sleep next to at night. I guess I could curl up next to my anatomy textbook. But I've been using it as a platform on which to roll out my calves every night. (And truly, that's the most useful it's been since I've obtained it. Money well spent, I suppose?) And as such, it causes me so much pain that I don't really think it's "imaginary boyfriend material". You know?
My point being that sometimes I want to do things. Things like make pasta from scratch on a meandering Tuesday night. Things like eat lunch at Le Bernardin. Things like go to the Union Square Farmer's Market on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Just because I can.
Except when I can't. Like when I have an exam the next day. Or when I have class the next day. Or when I am exhausted from having to trek up to the Bronx to "see patients" and "physically diagnose" them. Or when I have to study. Which occurs on approximately any day that ends in "y".
You see what I mean? Medical school can be quite imposing. In a severely unattractive way. Totally not date-able. Not for a million bucks.
Not even in exchange for a cookbook deal. (Okay. Maybe in exchange for a cookbook deal.)
Case in point.
I have a cousin (hi Mia!) who has a roommate (hi Nicole!) who does PR for all sorts of cool food-related things. Like Bravo's Top Chef. For example.
I'll wait while you hyperventilate just a little. I know. Me too.
Anyways. Nicole contacted me way back in November asking me if I wanted to go to a brunch hosted by Kraft Foods and Marcus Samuelsson in celebration of their new iPad app Big Fork Little Fork, which includes a whole slew of globally-inspired recipes and cooking lessons.
I said a loud and resounding YES because, really, meeting Marcus Samuelsson truly takes precedent over learning about cardiovascular disease (especially because our heart exam was so hard that being in class wouldn't have made a dent in my abominable score).
Then, I looked at my schedule. And said a loud and resounding NO because on that day of all days, I was scheduled to see patients. And patients take precedence over brunch with truly swoon-worthy chefs. Or so I was told. By my mother. She's my voice of reason at times like these.
Nicole was sweet enough to offer to have Marcus video record himself answering any food-related question of my choosing. (Notice that she specified "food-related". That's how I know that she reads my blog. I had many other questions. None of which were food-related. None of which were family friendly. Look at Marcus. You understand.) Given that it is the holiday season and that there is tons of holiday turkey/chicken roasting going on, I asked Marcus for some tips for how to roast the perfect bird without having it be dry and gross and unappealing. See the bottom of this post for his answer!
And then. To console myself for not being able to make it to brunch and meet Marcus in person. I decided to take it upon myself to recreate the experience in the comfort and warmth of my own kitchen.
I made English muffin bread. Soft. Holey. Delicious.
I made pumpkin pomegranate butter. It tastes like Christmas spirit. I break out into carols whenever I eat it. Sophie has taken to wearing earplugs. It's a safety measure.
I made Marcus's homemade peanut butter. It is the best thing on earth. I shall never buy peanut butter again. I shall probably gain twenty pounds from eating it out of the container with a spoon. I shall have to hide it from myself.
And then I sat down to watch Marcus's video. It was an experience. Let me tell you. One that I highly recommend. Especially if you are hosting a holiday brunch yourself. This bread combined with these butters. Revelatory. Life changing. Do it.
English Muffin Bread
December's Bread of the Month at the Artisan Bread Bakers Group
3 cups AP flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp instant yeast
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave until it is between 120 and 130 degrees (about the same temperature as the hottest water from your faucet...warm but not warm enough to scald you). Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients. Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be VERY soft and VERY sticky. It is supposed to be this way.
2. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. Sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Pour and/or scrape the dough into the pan, trying to level it as much as possible. Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rise someplace warm for about 45 minutes or until it's just barely crowned over the roof of the pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Remove the cover and bake the bread for 20-22 minutes or until it is golden brown and its interior is 190. Remove the bread from the oven. After five minutes, turn it out of the pan and onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Let it cool completely before slicing.
This has been yeastspotted!
Pumpkin Pomegranate Butter
Makes about 3 cups, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 (29 oz) or 2 (14 oz) cans of pumpkin puree (about 3 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup pomegranate juice
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
juice of half a lemon
1. In a large saucepan, combine the pumpkin puree, pomegranate juice, ginger, cardamom, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice, or more to taste.
2. Once cool, keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
I am submitting this to All Through The Year Cheer!
Homemade Peanut Butter
Makes about 2 cups, adapted from Marcus Samuelsson's New American Table
2 cups unsalted, roasted, skinless peanuts lightly crushed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup peanut oil
1. Heat a dry saute pan over low heat. Add the peanuts and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add the cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Saute until the sugar melts and starts to bubble, about 4 minutes. Be careful not to burn the sugar!
2. Transfer to a blender/food processor and puree. With the blender running, add the peanut oil in a thin, steady stream, scraping down the sides as needed. Puree until emulsified. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
And here's Marcus himself giving you guys some tips about how to roast the perfect holiday turkey!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Before you dive into this post, feel free to check out my Tate's Bake Shop cookies and a cookbook giveaway! ALSO if you could please vote for my salt photos and pumpkin pancakes with a maple cinnamon greek yogurt topping over at MarxFoods, I would really appreciate it!
I have needs.
Sometimes, those needs involve dancing around my room to Lady Gaga. Possibly in my underwear. Possibly not. And no, I am not going to clarify exactly what I mean by "not". And yes, mom. I know that you are not going to like that I wrote that. But sometimes, the truth is embarrassing. There's just no way around it.
Sometimes, those needs involve eating peppermint swirl Hershey's kisses like they're going out of style. Especially because come January 1st, they most certainly will be going out of style and so you'll have to special order them from some retailer on Amazon who has potentially laced them with LSD. You can just never tell about these people who hoard candy for the sole purpose of selling it on Amazon. I mean, really, what kind of person has the self control to let mounds of these sit in their house without eating them. A psychopathic killer. That's who.
(What I'm trying to say is. Please. Go to Target. Stock up. Your life depends on it.)
And sometimes. These needs involve getting home from an 11.5 mile run. (Yes. I said run. Slow run. But run nonetheless.)
Taking an ice bath. (Sorry Alan, I had to do it.)
And eating fresh ricotta, courtesy of your local Italian grocer, out of the container with a spoon.
More than a need, I'm entirely convinced that this is a basic right. It's up there with oxygen. Water. Shelter. Indoor plumbing.
Actually, I think that this ricotta cheese. Especially when swirled into this pasta dish. Laced with parmesan cheese and sausage crumbles and big wide fresh noodles that also came from the aforementioned Italian grocer's and that really have the perfect texture - soft with just a hint of a bite to them.
Well, it might just surpass indoor plumbing. Especially when you are in the midst of a 1000 calorie deficit and it's all you can do prevent yourself from eating your own hand. Really, you feel yourself starting to nibble, you just stick a spoonful of ricotta in your mouth. It works wonders.
And, at the least, it will make your day seem entirely worthwhile, all in under 30 minutes. Even if you haven't run 11.5 slow but steady miles. That seems like a pretty good deal to me.
Pappardelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage, and Ricotta Cheese
Serves 4, adapted from Giada's Kitchen
1 lb fresh or dried pappardelle or tagliatelle
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 links Italian sausage, I used chicken sausage
1 lb frozen peas, thawed
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1. Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, just a bit firm to the bite. That should be about 8-10 minutes for dried pasta and 5 for the pappardelle that I used. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
2. While waiting for the water to boil, start making your sauce. Heat the olive and garlic in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. When the garlic becomes fragrant, remove the sausage from it's casing and add the meat to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to try to break the sausage in to small pieces. When the sausage has browned, push it to one side of the pan and add the peas to the other, smashing them with the back of the wooden spoon.
3. Turn off the heat. Add the ricotta cheese and stir to combine. Add in the cooked pasta and toss. Add the pasta water in 1/4 cup increments if necessary to make a sauce. I ended up adding about 1/2 cup pasta water. Add the basil, parmesan cheese, and salt. Toss well to combine.
**For the vegetarians out there, I think this would actually be just as delicious without the sausage. Just saying.
This is my submission to next week's I Heart Cooking Clubs! I am also submitting it to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Before you dive into this post, feel free to check out my Tate's Bake Shop cookies and a cookbook giveaway!
ALSO if you could please vote for my salt photos and pumpkin pancakes with a maple cinnamon greek yogurt topping over at MarxFoods, I would really appreciate it!
ALSO if you could please vote for my salt photos and pumpkin pancakes with a maple cinnamon greek yogurt topping over at MarxFoods, I would really appreciate it!
School field trips used to have allure.
You would file onto a yellow school bus. One by one.
You would fight over who gets to sit in the back with all of the cool kids. You would secretly hope that the guy you've had a crush on for the past decade or so would ask you to sit next to him. You would stare down the girl who he eventually did end up sitting next to. If only looks could kill. If. Only.
You would eat your lunch out of a brown paper bag (and didn't that somehow make it taste so much better than when it came out of your hard plastic Barbie lunchbox? Why did mom spend money on that hard plastic Barbie lunchbox anyway, when a paper bag truly would have sufficed? Well, that ends that. My future children are not getting hard plastic lunchboxes. Even if they have Barbie on them. ESPECIALLY if they have Barbie on them!)
Well, let me tell you. When you get to med school, all of that glitz and glam? Gone.
Instead, you find yourself on a bus in the middle of east Harlem (on which you just saw two people get arrested, mind you) heading to a sewage treatment facility.
I wish I could tell you that I was making this up. But I couldn't make stuff like this up. Even with my vivid imagination.
And did I mention that it is ten degrees outside? Did I mention that you are wearing the puffy hot pink jacket that makes you look like a puffy hot pink cotton ball that you probably haven't worn since your last school field trip. In the 90's.
This is sounding more and more like a human rights violation, don't you think?
And as I wandered around that sewage treatment facility. My hair becoming semi-permanently saturated with the smell of dust. (And trust me, I was profusely thankful that it only smelled like dust.)
All I could think about was this risotto. And how I got to come home to it. In all of it's salty creamy carbalicious glory.
It makes even sewage bearable. Glorious.
Serves 4, adapted from Symon's Live To Cook
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz prosciutto, cut into strips
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1 generous pinch of saffron
1/2 cup dry white wine
4-6 cups chicken broth, warmed
12 oz wild Alaskan salmon fillets, cut into small chunks
1/4 cup sliced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1. Heat the olive oil in a 4-qt saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat it for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat it for 2 minutes more. Add the prosciutto and cook it until it crisps, about 1 minute. Add the rice and let it toast slightly in the hot fat, about 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon.
2. Reduce the heat to low and add the saffron and wine. Stir continuously until most of the wine has cooked off. Add 1 cup of the stock and stir continuously until the liquid has cooked off, about 3 minutes. Add another cup of stock. Repeat. Taste. Continue to add stock in 1/4 cup increments until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy.
3. Add the salmon and continue to stir for 2 minutes, or until it is cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley, butter, and cheese. Serve immediately.
This is my submission to this week's Symon Sundays, hosted by Ashlee over at Veggie By Season!
And remember to send me your entries for Regional Recipes: BRAZIL by December 31st!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Before you dive into this post, please go over and vote for my Grasshopper/Creme de Menthe Bars over at My Baking Addiction/Good Life Eats! I would really appreciate it!
Giveaway details at the bottom of the page!
I am feeling a little bit like a wholsesale retailer today.
Providing you with things you never even knew you wanted. In bulk. A five pound jar of mayonnaise. Or a 62-pack of juice boxes.
Or two cookie recipes and a giveaway. Get em while they're still hot.
Have you started your holiday baking yet? Because I have done no such thing. No, no, no.
While all of the intelligent food bloggers/cookie extraordinaires's on this earth are whipping up batch upon batch of cookie dough and then storing it safely in their freezer, I have been walking around my apartment saying things like, "I am going to lose five pounds before Christmas!" And then immediately heading into the kitchen to bake some cookies.
It's the stress of dieting. It's compelling me to do crazy and irrational things. Like immerse myself in butter and sugar. Oy.
But you can break the cycle! You can make these and put them in your freezer so that they will be rip rarin' to go when you need to fill up your cookie tray in two weeks.
Or you can bring them to a Christmas party. And stand by the snack table. Eating them.
(Is it tacky to eat your own Christmas cookies at a Christmas party? Opinions. I want them.)
It's your choice.
The kind sweet wonderful folks over at Tate's Bake Shop contacted me earlier this month about taste testing some of their cookies and reviewing their cookbook. (It is a strenuous life us food bloggers lead.) I pondered this proposition for approximately two milliseconds before I hit the reply button and answered with a resounding YES. I had actually had Tate's cookies before, in Boston of all places, which is odd because I spent every single summer of my childhood in the Hamptons and did not encounter them ONCE even though that is where they are based. That seems tragic in hindsight.
Anyways, so I received a box containing their white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies. I am normally a chewy cookie kind of gal and these were crispy. But between me, Sophie, Adam, and Anu. They disappeared in approximately a week. All 36 cookies. One week. And I wish I could say Adam, with his hypermetabolic self, had eaten most of them. But I can't lie to you this close to Christmas. Let's just say. They were good.
And THEN, just when I was choosing which recipe to try from the cookbook, two Hachiya persimmons basically fell into my lap. Really. They dropped from the sky, into a fruit basket that my aunt brought over for Thanksgiving. And since no one in my family actually knows what a persimmon is, I smuggled them out of my parents' house without even a trace of guilt. And put them into these cookies. Which are splendid. They are cake-like and rife with the flavor of the holiday spirit. I chose to also douse them in Greek yogurt frosting, which I was sent a whole case of by the lovely and wonderful folks over at Chobani. Because I have a propensity for taking healthy things and infusing them with confectioner's sugar. I can't help it. Stress baking compulsions and all.
As for the snowball cookies, they are part of an International Cookie Recipe Exchange that I'm taking part in. And while I completely adulterated them by omitting the dried coconut (mainly because Sophie has a serious aversion to dried coconut and I couldn't in good faith make cookies that I knew 1/3 of our apartment would not partake in). They were truly delicious. Crunchy on the outside. Soft on the inside. White chocolate goodness delicious. Make them. Now.
Persimmon Cookies with a Greek Yogurt Glaze
Makes 34, adapted from the Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook
1 1/4 cups Hachiya persimmon pulp (2-3 persimmons, pureed)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped fine (original calls for walnuts)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease two cookie sheets or line them with Silpats.
2. Cream the butter and sugars until creamy and fluffy. Add the orange rind, egg, vanilla and persimmon pulp and mix in. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix. Add the hazelnut and cranberries and mix until just combined.
3. Drop the dough, using an ice cream soup or two tbsps, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes. They should spring back when done.
For the Glaze
1 container Greek yogurt (I used Chobani plain, 2%)
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup
Mix away in your stand mixer/beat with a hand mixer until combined. Place in fridge for a half hour (it should firm up a bit). When cookies are completely cool, drizzle the glaze over the top of the cookies.
I am submitting these to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything.
Makes 2-4 dozen depending on how small you like your cookies, adapted from Melissa of My McDonald Meal
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (not in original recipe)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries (original called for dried cherries)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (original called for dried sweetened coconut)
1. Heat oven to 375. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, butter, and egg and beat until smooth and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and milk to the butter/egg/sugar mix. Gradually add the flour mix to the butter/egg/sugar mix and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Mix in the pecans, cranberries, and white chocolate chips.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop dough onto sheet, about 2 tsp per cookie. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
This is my submission to the International Cookie Recipe Exchange hosted by Lori of Fake Food Free and Adrienne of Gastroanthropology. And also to the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop!
This giveaway is open only to US residents. (Sorry to my international readers!) The prize is a copy of "Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook" and a cookie gift pack containing Tate's Bake Shop favorites - oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.
Enter by leaving me a comment telling me what your favorite holiday cookie is. I need cookie tray ideas. So that I can do some more stress baking next week. In the hopes of losing five pounds. Right.
There are 2 ways to get extra entries.
1. Become a fan of Tate's Bake Shop on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me that you did so.
2. Tweet about this giveaway mentioning Eats Well With Others and making sure to mention my Twitter handle, @joanneeatswell, so that I'll know that you did it!
The deadline for this giveaway is Monday, December 20. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, December 21st.
You don't have to wait to see if you won free cookies as Tate's Bakeshop is providing a 15% discount on all online orders through December 31st. (Go to the website and use the code "cookie" at checkout to get the discount). It's a great way to check off those difficult to buy for people on your holiday gift list!
Mega thanks to the wonderful folks over at Tate's Bake Shop for giving me this opportunity!
Disclaimer: Although I received these products for free, I did not receive any monetary compensation for doing this review. My thoughts and feelings on them are entirely my own.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Before you dive into this post, please go over and vote for my Grasshopper/Creme de Menthe Bars over at My Baking Addiction/Good Life Eats! I would really appreciate it!
It was every man, woman, and Santa for himself yesterday morning as I weaved my way through the depths of Chinatown, trying desperately to get over to the FDR Drive so that I could finish out my 11 mile long run/walk/run-walk in some semblance of a rational amount of time.
My run-walking buddies and I had already been through many an ordeal at this point. We had throttled tourists on the Brooklyn Bridge. Pointed a few choice fingers at a number of bikers who, in true biker fashion, attempted to run us off the road in an ugly manifestation of what can only be described as compensation for the fact that they aren't/haven't been/will not get any for an indeterminate and excruciatingly long amount of time. (Bikers. I'm sorry. I don't make the rules, I just live by them. Don't hate the player, hate the game.) Informed our bladders that we were deeply sorry. They were just going to have to wait until we got back to the starting point. (Okay, maybe I was the only one talking to my bladder. Carol had the common sense to eat some salt before we left. So she was retaining water in a truly efficient manner.)
And then. Just minutes after we stepped off the Williamsburg bridge, thinking that we were really and truly in the home stretch with only a mere 2-3 miles left to go. We looked up and found ourselves in a sea of red.
Otherwise known. As SantaCon.
One of New York's largest and most conspicuous bar crawls, SantaCon is this city-wide event where masses upon masses of people dress up in Christmas/holiday-related (mostly Santa) costumes and travel in a large throng from bar to bar starting crazy early in the morning and ending crazy late at night. I went with my roommate at around 10PM to the bar that she had left her credit card at the night before. And they were still out. Ready. Raring to go. After over fifteen hours of drunkenness.
And for the record. Watching Santa dry hump a scantily clad elf in the middle of a bar on the upper east side of Manhattan is just as disturbing at age 23 as I would imagine it to be at age 5. Even more so, perhaps.
Which is why my future children and I are going to spend our future SantaCons in a bomb shelter. Biding our time. Waiting until the danger passes.
My eyes can't handle going through this again.
And when that happens, I'll be sure to have a pan full of this bread pudding raring to go. So dense and carbalicious that it is truly the perfect thing to sustain you in the wake of a national disaster (such as SantaCon). Or to fuel you before a long run.
Or, now that it's all good and healthy, to eat on a lazy Sunday without any guilt at all whatsoever. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
One of my darling and lovely readers, Elizabeth of Crossword City, sent me an email a few weeks ago asking me if I could healthify Thomas Keller's absolutely luscious leek bread pudding for her. I took one look at the recipe, saw just how much bread it called for, took a cold shower (necessary), and replied with a loud and resounding ABSOLUTELY.
So I set to it. After some rumination and because I am just crazy enough to bake a loaf of bread for the sole purpose of tearing it up to put in bread pudding, I decided to make a potato chive bread to go in the pudding. You've all heard of potato leek soup, right? (I mean, really. It's a classic. If you haven't, then please crawl out from under your rock and do a google search.) I thought this would be an interesting play on that. Potato leek soup DECONSTRUCTED. If you will.
A loaf of bread and a few healthy substitutions later. And you are left with a decadent bread pudding that you will not even feel guilty about serving to your holiday guests. Most of whom (given the current state of America) are probably on the verge of having a myocardial infarction with each bite they take. How's that for holiday spirit, good will towards men. And all that jazz.
Potato and Chive Bread
Makes 1 big loaf or 2 small loaves, adapted from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 cup cold mashed potatoes
1 cup almond milk
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp minced fresh chives
1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and 1/4 cup water. Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Let the mix stand for 10 minutes or until foamy. Stir in the remaining 3/4 cups water, the vegetable oil, and the salt. Stir in the potato, followed by the almond milk. Add about half the flour, stirring to combine, then work in the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. I needed to add more flour than this because my dough was EXTREMELY sticky. Transfer to a lightly floured board.
2. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl and turn so that it becomes covered in oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1-2 hours.
3. Punch the dough down and knead lightly for a few minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle with the chives and knead until the dough is elastic and the chives are evenly distributed, 3 to 5 minutes. Place dough onto a Silpat or onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Flatten slightly and cover with a clean damp cloth. Set aside in a warm place and let rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 400. Use a sharp knife to cut an X on the top of the loaf. Bake on the center oven rack until golden brown - 35-45 minutes. Tap on the bottom of the loaf (or percuss, as we say in the medical field) - if it sounds hollow, it's done. And it also isn't suffering from hepatosplenomegaly. Nice. Remove from the sheet and let cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing.
Savory Leek Bread Pudding
Serves 8 as a main dish, 16 as a side, adapted from "Ad Hoc At Home"
3-4 cups 1/2-inch thick sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
1 tbsp unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper
12 cups bread (I used potato and chive bread, recipe above)
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh chive leaves
3 large eggs
6 cups almond milk
freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded Emmenthaler or Swiss cheese
1. Place a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Drain excess water from leeks and add to pan. Season with salt and saute until leeks begin to soften, about five minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft, about 30 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
2. Preheat oven to 350. While leeks are cooking, spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and pale gold, about 20-30 minutes, turning pan about halfway through. Transfer to a LARGE bowl, leaving the oven on.
3. Add leeks, chives, and thyme to the bowl with the bread and mix well. In another large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.
4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan. Top with half of the bread cube mixture. Sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Top with remaining bread. Sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough milk mixture to cover bread and gently press on bread so that it gets soaked with the milk. Let rest for 15 minutes.
5. Add remaining milk mixture, letting some bread cubes protrude. Sprinkle with salt and remaining cheese. Bake until pudding is set and top is brown and bubbling, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot.
Calories BEFORE: (1/16 of recipe) 246, Sat. Fat - 9.5 grams, Cholesterol - 89 mg.
Calories AFTER (1/16 of recipe) 141, Sat. Fat - 2.1 grams, Cholesterol - 48 mg.
This has been yeastspotted! And it is also being submitted to Chaya's Meatless Mondays! This has been linked to the 12 Days of Bloggie-Mas hosted at A Moderate Life!