Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chocolate Ganache Bread Pudding with Rosemary Port Caramel Sauce


(Photo from Food and Wine)

I think this is the first time I've used a stock photo for a recipe. I feel pretty shitty about it, but I couldn't help it. I made homemade challah bread, added rosemary to the caramel sauce, and created a little bit of chocolate magic that was devoured before a proper photo could be taken.

I had enough ingredients to make this twice... and I still wasn't able to get my own photo.

It was too amazing to wait for. We had to eat it immediately. Photos seemed unnecessary. 


(Adapted from Vicki Wells)

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound challah, crust removed, bread cut into 3/4-inch dice (6 cups)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Rosemary Port Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ruby port
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary


Directions:


  1. Make the caramel sauce.
  2. In a heavy, medium saucepan, cook the granulated sugar over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Continue to cook, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the light brown sugar and stir until smooth. Return the caramel to the heat and carefully add the port; the caramel will harden slightly. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and rosemary. Transfer the sauce to a pitcher and serve warm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  4. Put 2 ounces of the bittersweet chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
  5. Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream in a small saucepan over moderately low heat. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until the chocolate ganache is smooth. Let the chocolate ganache stand at room temperature until set.
  6. Butter an 11-by-8-inch baking dish. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
  7. In a large bowl, toss the melted butter with the diced challah. Spread the bread on a baking sheet in an even layer and toast for about 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. Wipe out the bowl.
  8. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream with the milk and 6 tablespoons of the sugar and bring just to a boil. Remove the heavy cream mixture from the heat. Add the remaining 3 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until the chocolate is melted.
  9. In the bowl used for the bread, whisk the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar with the egg yolks, cocoa, vanilla and salt until a paste forms. Slowly whisk in the warm chocolate cream until smooth. Strain the custard into a clean bowl. Add the toasted bread and toss to coat with the warm chocolate cream. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until most of the chocolate cream is absorbed.
  10. Pour the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish. Using a large spoon, dollop the chocolate ganache on top. Bake the bread pudding for about 35 minutes, or until it is cooked through. Let the chocolate bread pudding stand for 15 minutes, then serve with the Port Caramel Sauce on the side.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Curried Maple-Mustard Chicken Breasts


I'm a picky eater, an curry freaks me out. The title of this recipe freaks me out, actually.

But shit damn, is this delicious.

I may change my ways.

(Adapted from Molly Chester)
Serves 4

Ingredients

  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  2. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  3. 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  4. 1 tablespoon mild or hot curry powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  6. 1/2 c. dark beer or beef broth
  7. Kosher salt
  8. Pepper
  9. Four 12-ounce, boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish, combine the butter with the maple syrup, mustard, curry powder, beer, and cayenne. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the butter is melted. Whisk in a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and let cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the baking dish and turn to coat with the sauce. Carefully spoon some 
of the sauce over the chicken. 
  3. Bake for about 40 minutes, basting occasionally, until the chicken is glazed and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°. Transfer the chicken to a work surface and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Slice the chicken and transfer to plates. Whisk the pan sauce and spoon over the chicken. 
  5. Serve with rice, passing additional sauce at the table.


Grilled Chicken and Corn with Jalapeño-Lime Dressing



(Adapted from Dan Kluger)
Serves 4

Ingredients:

JALAPEÑO-LIME DRESSING

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeños (with seeds)
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

SALAD

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 2 bunches scallions, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Four 6-ounce boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 pint Sun Gold tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
  • Chopped chives and finely grated lime zest, for garnish

Directions:

MAKE THE DRESSING 

  1. In a bowl, whisk all of the ingredients.

MAKE THE SALAD 

  1. Light a grill. Remove all but the last layer of green husk from the corn. In a bowl, soak the corn in water for 10 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a bowl, toss the scallions with 2 tablespoons of the oil; season with salt and pepper.
  3. In another bowl, coat the chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the rosemary; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the corn, scallions and chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the corn and scallions are lightly charred and the chicken is cooked through, 5 minutes for the scallions and 15 minutes for the corn and chicken.
  5. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain.
  6. Chop the scallions into 1-inch pieces.
  7. Remove the husks and cut the corn kernels off of the cobs.
  8. Transfer the scallions and corn to a large bowl; add the tomatoes, basil and half of the dressing and toss.
  9. Transfer the salad to a platter. Top with the chicken and garnish with chives and lime zest. Serve the remaining dressing at the table.

Tangy Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Purple Cabbage Slaw



Ingredients:

  • ½ red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 c. cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dijon
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 c. beef broth
  • 1 bottle Stubbs smoky mesquite
  • 4 pork loin chops
  • Purple Coleslaw (recipe below)
  • Soft Brioche Buns


Directions:

  1. Make Brioche Buns!
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Set a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Sear pork chops for 1-2 mins on each side and place them in a dutch oven.
  5. Using the skillet that the chops were seared in, sauté onions and sugar until softened.
  6. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  7. Add cayenne, Dijon, and vinegar.
  8. Add broth and bottle of sauce and stir until combined.
  9. Add sauce mixture to dutch oven, bake covered at 300 F for 3 hrs



Coleslaw (Tyler Florence)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 head purple cabbage, finely sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced on mandoline
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. While the pork is cooking, prepare the slaw. Combine the mustard, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar. Mix well and add finely sliced savoy cabbage, purple cabbage, green onions and carrots. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.



Honey-Lime Tequila Shrimp Tacos with Avocado, Purple Cabbage Slaw, and Chipotle Crema


We have a taco place around the corner from our place that has some of the best fish tacos I've ever had (and that's saying a lot, since I'm a Mexican that grew up near the ocean!). 

We've been trying to eat healthier lately, so I decided to try their shrimp tacos instead of the fish, since the fish is deep-fried. They were pretty bomb. And that inspired me to make some at home.

I wanted to make shrimp tacos that were slightly different, and I came across this recipe.

It was so good that we made it twice in one week. The second time, we made it for Robodice (Bestfriend and her boy, aka, our roommates. Aka, Candice and Robin...). Bestfriend isn't a huge seafood person, so the fact that she liked these is a pretty huge deal.


(Adapted from Tartine and Apron Strings)
Serves: 4 to 6 people

Ingredients:

TACOS:

  • 2 pounds (454 g) raw shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • juice of 2 limes + 1 lime
  • ½ cup tequila
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • corn tortillas
  • cilantro, finely chopped


PURPLE CABBAGE SLAW:

  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice [about 2-3 limes]
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

CHIPOTLE CREMA:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) sour cream or créme fraîche [low fat can be used]
  • 1 to 2 pieces of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce [canned]

Directions:


  1. Wash, peel, devein, and dry raw shrimps. Season with salt.
  2. In a bowl, combine honey, lime juice, tequila, onion, cumin, and chipotle powder (if using). Mix well and toss shrimps in marinade. Chill up to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat grill to 400 F (205 C). Make sure to oil the grilles well. Skewer shrimps in soaked wooden sticks (this will make it easier to handle on a grill).
  4. Grill shrimps until bright or just opaque, about 2 minutes each side. Flip the shrimp skewers and cook for another 2 minutes or until they turn bright orange. Alternatively, you can also pan fry the shrimps. Set cooked shrimps aside.
  5. Dice the avocados and squeeze juice from the remaining 1 lime.
  6. Thinly slice the red cabbage using a sharp knife or a mandolin.
  7. To make the dressing for the red cabbage slaw, put the lime juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt, pepper and oil in a jar or bowl. Whisk vigourously until it emulsifies.
  8. Toss the red cabbage with the lime vinaigrette. Set aside.
  9. Meanwhile, to make the chipotle crema, place the chipotles in the bowl of the food processor and give it a good whirl until it is smooth.
  10. Stir in the sour cream or créme fraîche, mixing well until the colour is even. Transfer chipotle crema in a squeeze bottle (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off!).
  11. To assemble the tacos, heat tortilla in a dry pan, about 1 minute per side or until lightly browned or charred. Wrap tortilla in a cloth to prevent from drying out. Set aside, covered.
  12. Place some diced avocados in the middle of the tortilla, followed by the red cabbage slaw. Remove skewers from shrimps and pile on the taco.
  13. Drizzle with the chipotle crema and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.


Steak With Sage Vermouth Sauce and Parmesan Vermouth Risotto



(Adapted from epicurious)
Serves 4

Ingredients:

Steak

  • (4) 5 oz strip steaks
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil


Sage-Vermouth Sauce

  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 4 medium fresh sage leaves, each torn in half
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • salt & fresh ground pepper



Directions: 

STEAKS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Set an oven-proof skillet on the stove over medium-high heat.
  3. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Brush with olive oil.
  4. Sear steaks for 2 minutes per side.
  5. Finish steaks off in the oven, about 6 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 130 for medium rare.
  6. Transfer steaks to a plate and tent with foil to rest. Don't wash the pan yet.

SAUCE: 

  1. Add shallot to the pan the steaks were cooked in. Set skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until shallot is softened, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth, vermouth, and sage; increase heat to high and simmer rapidly, scraping skillet bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until slightly thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour accumulated steak juices from the plate the steaks are resting on into skillet, reduce heat to medium, and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and discard sage.
  5. Spoon sauce around chicken breast and serve immediately.

Parmesan Vermouth Risotto


PROCEED WITH CAUTION: This Risotto is addicting. 

That is all.


(Adapted from Elizabeth Minchill)
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper
  • 1- 1/4 cup dry white vermouth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups rich chicken broth, warm


Directions:

  1. Chop onion finely. Add to pot big enough to hold all the risotto, along with 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil. Saute at low heat until the onion softens. About 10 minutes or so.
  2. Add about a tsp of salt, stir, and add the rice. Turn up the heat a bit, and stir the rice until it is well coated.
  3. Add the vermouth, and stir, until evaporated. Add about a cup of broth, and stir. Keep adding more broth and stirring until the rice is almost done. When it only has about 4 more minutes to cook, add the rest of the butter and stir. Then add the cheese and stir.
  4. Serve topped with freshly grated pepper.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Beignets with Vanilla Dipping Sauce

 


(Adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli)

I've made these baby donuts a zillion times since Boyfriend got me Alex Guarnaschelli's book, Old School Comfort Food

Boyfriend and the roommates lose their shit when I mention that I feel like making them.

Boyfriend told me "I didn't have to make them if I didn't want to" while giving me puppy dog eyes.

Kinny told me that she'd dip a shoe in the vanilla sauce and eat it.

I was considering making them on Monday and Robo made a whole speech about how "beignets and Mondays go together." Pretty sure that was a ploy to get me to make them right then and there.

But I was tired (or maybe feeling a little sadistic?) yesterday.

So here I am, on a Tuesday, frying up donuts in the middle of the  night.

Maybe I should get those three to cover my rent next month in exchange for late-night donuts.

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • Extra flour, for rolling the dough (about 1 cup total)
  • 1 gallon fryer oil



Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast and the water. Set aside to proof.
  2. After 10 minutes, stir in the all-purpose flour, cover with plastic, set aside in a warm place and let it double in size.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, with the mixer on low speed, one by one. When the mix is smooth, add the vanilla and salt. Stir to blend. Add the bread flour and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
  5. Change the electric mixer attachment to a dough hook. Continue mixing the dough until it becomes a ball.
  6. Then, stir in the yeast mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic and allow to proof, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
  7. Lightly flour a cool surface and roll the dough out to about 1 1/2-inch thickness.
  8. Using a pizza cutter, cut them into 1.5 in. x 1.5 in squares, and turn them onto a floured baking sheet to rest, 20 to 30 minutes, before frying.
  9. Heat the oil in a large pot to 365 to 370 degrees F.
  10. Drop the beignets in the hot fat and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon. Dust with powdered sugar.
  12.  Serve immediately with Vanilla Dipping Sauce.





Vanilla Dipping Sauce


Directions:
  • 1 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract



Directions:
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer and add the vanilla beans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they become a pale yellow color, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. When the milk/cream simmers, pour it gently over the egg yolks and whisk to blend.
  4. Pour the entire mixture back into the pot and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens slightly, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. The sauce should register about 170 degrees F on a thermometer and still be smooth. Strain into a bowl, stir in the vanilla and allow to cool slightly before refrigerating.

Chile-Steamed Mussels with Green Olive Crostini



(Adapted from Mario Batali)

I'm going to be completely honest here and say that if you are an animal or creature lover at all, this is not the dish for you.

I had NO IDEA that the mussels I purchased would be ALIVE when I brought them home.

The guy at the store weighed them out for me, put them in a package with plastic wrap, and proceeded to poke holes in the plastic while explaining that "the mussels get claustrophobic, so you'll need to take them out of the package and put them on ice when you get home."

The personification of shellfish makes me very uncomfortable.

I was afraid of seeming like a rookie chef, so I said nothing, brought them home, and then tried really hard not to name each one that opened and closed when I touched its shell. 

After a whole day of mildly panicking, I realized that I had to cook them, or they would die anyway. ( It's not like I could set them free in the ocean....I live in the Inland Empire.)

After all of that, I feel a little guilty saying that they were damn delicious.

Serves 4

Ingredients:


  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 habanero, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cups dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Green Olive Crostini



Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and habanero. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and boil over high heat for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the mussels, cover and cook, shaking the pot a few times until the mussels open, about 5 minutes; discard any that don't open.
  4. Divide the mussels and broth among 4 bowls; sprinkle with scallions and serve.

Green Olive Crostini



Green Olive Crostini




  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 1/4 cups large green pitted olives, such as Sicilia (3/4 pound)
  • 1 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large slices of crusty bread

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, process the garlic, olives, capers and olive oil to a coarse paste.
  2. Toast the bread on the oven rack for 6 minutes, or until crisp and browned. Spread the olive paste thickly over the toasts and serve.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mexican Chicken Soup



It's a gloomy, rainy day in sunny Southern California! Our weather's ADHD never fails us. So, naturally, after a 90 degree day, there will likely be a 50 degree day.

That's cool with me. I like soup.

I like soup a lot.

(Adapted from Jane Coxwell)

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups water
  • One 3 1/2-pound chicken
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 small flour tortillas, halved
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Directions:


  1. In a saucepan, combine the water, chicken, tomatoes, carrot, onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and the 1/2 cup of cilantro. Add a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat for 30 minutes, skimming as necessary.
  3. Discard the cinnamon stick and continue simmering until the chicken is cooked through, 30 minutes longer.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, toast the tortillas over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp in spots, 3 minutes. Cut the tortillas into thin strips.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool slightly.
  6. Shred the meat; discard the skin and bones.
  7. Return the chicken to the saucepan and reheat the soup.
  8. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with the tortilla strips and cilantro and serve.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Catfish Sandwiches



(Adapted from Food and Wine)

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 4 soft baguettes (about 7 inches long), split lengthwise (Mini Baguette Recipe!)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, 2 very finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or other Asian red chile sauce
  • 2 large, thick, skinless catfish fillets (about 10 ounces each), halved lengthwise
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • Thinly sliced cucumber and cilantro sprigs, for serving

Directions:


  1. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6 inches from the heat. Brush the cut sides of the rolls with the butter.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the honey with the soy sauce, ginger, scallion and chopped garlic. Season the honey glaze lightly with salt and black pepper.
  3. In another small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the honey with the vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the carrots and toss to combine.
  4. In a third small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the sambal oelek and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of honey; season the sambal mayonnaise with salt.  
  5. Arrange the fish fillets on a baking sheet; brush with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Broil for about 6 minutes, until the fish is just beginning to turn opaque.
  6. Brush the fillets very liberally with the honey glaze and broil for 8 minutes longer, until browned and cooked through.
  7. Spread baguettes with the sambal mayonnaise. Using a slotted spoon, lift the carrots from the pickling liquid and spread them on the toasted bread.
  8. Top with the glazed fish fillets, cucumber slices and cilantro sprigs and close the sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve right away.

Perfect (4-hour!) Mini Baguettes


I have been looking for the perfect at-home baguette recipe for a very long time. Most of them are extremely complicated and require way more time than I usually have. The one I found on Fine Cooking is a very good recipe, but I tweaked it to make it easier and more do-able for the average home cook!

This is my go-to recipe for baguettes. They are chewy, soft, crispy, delicious-- perfect. 

WARNING: You may want to make a double batch since you'll probably be eating these right when they come out of the oven...

(Adapted from Fine Cooking)

(Makes six loaves)

Ingredients:


  • 1 lb. (3-1/3 cups) bread flour; more for dusting
  • 2-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt 
  • 3 cups luke-warm water, divided
  • fine cornmeal for sprinkling on the baking sheet
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water


Directions:


  1. Combine 1-1/2 cups warm water with yeast in a small bowl. Let stand for ten minutes. The yeast should begin to foam/bubble. (The water should be neither hot nor cold. You want to wake up the yeast! If it's too hot, it'll kill the yeast!)
  2. Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and mix on low to combine.
  3. Add 1-1/2 cups luke-warm water to the yeast mixture. 
  4. Gradually add the yeast/water mixture to the flour mixture, mixing on medium-low.
  5. Mix on medium-low speed for 1 minute. With a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the dough hook; the dough will be very sticky. Mix, scraping down the bowl and hook every 2 minutes, until the dough looks smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes more. The dough will be sticky! 
  6. Remove the dough hook and scrape any dough clinging to the hook into the bowl.
  7. Scrape all the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the dough and your fingers.
  8. Remove the dough from the work surface, using the bowl scraper to loosen it if necessary, and put it seam side down in a medium bowl. 
  9. Cover with a linen or other flat-weave towel and let the dough rest in a draft-free spot until roughly doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. 
  10. Line a large (17-1/2 x 13-inch) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 
  11. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface, smooth top side down. Fold one side of the dough into the middle and press down firmly along the length of the seam. Fold in the opposite side and press again firmly along the length of the seam, forming a rectangle.
  12. Turn the dough over so the smooth side is up. With the bowl scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces by making one lengthwise and two crosswise cuts. Weigh them; they should each be about 4-3/4 oz. Equal them out by cutting a bit off the heavier pieces and tucking it under the lighter pieces. 
  13. Make a line of flour on your work surface to dredge the baguettes. Working with one piece of dough at a time, put it smooth side down on a lightly floured work surface.
  14. Fold a long edge of the dough into the center, pressing firmly with your fingertips along the seam all the way down to the work surface, folding with one hand and pressing with the other, working from one end to the other. Fold the other long edge into the center in the same way. 
  15. Continue to fold and press alternate edges until the baguette is 11 to 12 inches long, 5 to 6 folds.
  16. Dredge the smooth side of the dough (the seam is on top) in the line of flour.
  17. Set the baguette floured side up (seam down) on the baking sheet. 
  18. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover with a linen or other flat-weave towel that has been dredged in flour and let sit until roughly doubled in size, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. 
  19. While the dough sits, position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F (if you have a convection oven, use it). Have ready a small spray bottle of water.
  20. When the baguettes are ready, cut slits in the tops of them. With a thin, very sharp knife, make 4 to 5 slashes on a sharp diagonal, 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep, on the tops of each baguette.
  21. Mix egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush the tops of each baguette with the mixture. 
  22. Open the oven and quickly spray about 10 squirts of water into the bottom and sides of the oven to make steam. Put the baguettes in the oven, spray again into the bottom and sides of the oven, and quickly close the door to trap the steam. Reduce the oven temperature to 475°F. Bake the baguettes for 6 minutes and then quickly turn them over on their baking sheets. Swap the sheets’ positions and bake for another 5 minutes.
  23. Remove the baguettes from their baking sheets and put them scored side up directly on the oven racks. Bake until the baguettes are dark golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Salted Fudge Brownies


(Kate Krader)

I'm gonna be totally honest here and tell you that I have never made these myself. I try to give Boyfriend opportunities to make things that seem easy-ish whenever I can so that he can build his kitchen skills and so I can save myself some time! Every time we need these, he makes them.

They're so fudgy and delicious, that he makes them regularly. They're as close as you can get to licking the bowl without getting salmonella from the raw eggs. 


Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. 
  2. Line a 9-inch square metal cake pan with foil, draping the foil over the edges. Lightly butter the foil.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from the heat.
  5. Whisking them in one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, add the cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
  7. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the salt into the batter.
  8. Bake the fudge brownies in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, until the edge is set but the center is still a bit soft and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out coated with a little of the batter.
  9. Let the brownies cool at room temperature in the pan for 1 hour, then refrigerate just until they are firm, about 1 hour.
  10. Lift the brownies from the pan and peel off the foil.
  11. Cut the brownies into 16 squares. Serve at room temperature.

MAKE AHEAD The salted fudge brownies can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, and frozen for up to 1 month.

Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Polenta and Red Wine Sauce


(Adapted from Cooking Light)

This recipe comes from yet another semi-desperate attempt to use only ingredients we already had at home to save some money. Also, our refrigerator is ridiculously over-loaded. =]

Boyfriend and I have also recently started calorie counting with an app called LoseIt!. It's an app that allows to input your current weight, your activity level, and how much you want to lose. From that information, it calculates how many calories you can have each day, and it allows you extra calories if you input exercise! So far, it's been working quite well, and is actually really fun to use! (It's also kind of depressing, because it sort of forces you to think about how many calories are in certain things and how many calories you were consuming before you started counting...).

ANYWAY...from now on, my posts are (probably) going to be a lot healthier and I will also include the calories per serving. (Which means I did math! And I hate math!) I hope my change will help those of you out there in cyberspace get motivated to change some shit, too!

(Serves 4)
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoon fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 ounce blue or gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Preparation

  1. Combine 2 cups broth and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Gradually whisk cornmeal into broth mixture, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover; let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle steak evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer to a cutting board; cover loosely with foil.
  5. Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 1 minute.
  6. Add wine, thyme, and honey; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half .
  7. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons broth and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to skillet; cook 1 minute or until sauce slightly thickens.
  8. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices.
  9. Spoon sauce onto each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 1/2 cup polenta and 3 ounces steak.