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Other People's Food

Updated: 2017-03-13T23:06:42.124-04:00


Sliced Mushrooms with Melted Mozzarella and Thyme


This is something of an old recipe. Considering I haven't blogged since September 2008, I have a lot of oldies! I made this last summer after a mushroom impulse by at my Saturday farmer's market. I had no plans for them whatsoever, I just had to have them. Lucky for me, Jamie's Italy had this easy, tasty snack!

His recipe didn't call for the toast, he thought the mushrooms on a plate would be good enough. He's probably right - I mean, he IS Jamie Oliver! However, we're big toast fans... and frankly, why NOT add a toast element? I want to say we made these a half-dozen more times, and not always with market mushrooms (store-bought are just as nice, just get whatever type you like.)

The meatiness of the mushrooms, earthy thyme and creamy cheese played really well together. I'd only lightly oiled the bread, so it had a pleasant crunch and held up nicely to the weight of the toppings.

These toasts made a great weekend afternoon snack, but I could see them serving quite nicely as party fare - with a glass of wine, perhaps?

Sliced Mushrooms with Melted Mozzarella and Thyme
c/o Jamie’s Italy, by Jamie Oliver

This is a great little recipe – it takes no time at all to put together and is perfect for serving at a party. I’ve used mozzarella, but another Italian cheese called scamorza would be good too. As this dish grills very quickly, I actually cook it on the plate I’m serving it on, but if you’re using bone china, think again. (I don’t want any bills through the post!)

2 big handfuls of mushrooms, very thinly sliced
2 5 ounce balls mozzarella or scamorza cheese, torn into small pieces
A sprig of fresh thyme, leaves picked
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Get yourself a large ovenproof platter and spread your mushrooms on it in one layer. Scatter over the cheese and the thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and place the plate under the grill.

Grill for a couple of minutes, checking frequently, until the cheese is melted, bubbling, and golden, and tuck in! Serve with some crusty bread.

from Latin: omne all, everything; vorare to devour


Omnivore.Do you know one? Chances are, you do. Chances are, you ARE one. Likely, you've heard of The Omnivore's 100 - brainchild of Andrew at Very Good Taste. While I've been more than a little mum lately, I thought I would give this a go. (And I'll shortly get that meme to you, Grace, I promise!)While I may not be one yet, I am at least trying omnivorocity on for size (grasshopper taco and kangaroo burger, anyone?) I did strike-through three things on the list below - foie gras, headcheese, and roadkill. No foie gras due to my giant love of gooses; no headcheese because I think it's cooties; and no roadkill for obvious reasons. (Seriously, there are better things I could put in my mouth.)I think exposure is key to broadening your horizons (well duh!). That and trust in the chef you're asking to provide you these delicacies (loosely used on the Big Mac meal, mind you). I wouldn't have had that grasshopper taco just anywhere... and I made the 'roo burger myself... and I tried marrow at Daniel Boulud's place in Las Vegas... I wouldn't get any of those things just anywhere... But you see what I mean? Proximity, trust and a leap of faith that it will all work out... or, at the very least, will make for a great story.Here’s what I want you to do:1) Copy this list into your blog or journal,including these instructions.2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:1. Venison2. Nettle tea3. Huevos rancheros4. Steak tartare5. Crocodile6. Black pudding7. Cheese fondue8. Carp9. Borscht10. Baba ghanoush11. Calamari12. Pho13. PB&J sandwich14. Aloo gobi15. Hot dog from a street cart16. Epoisses17. Black truffle18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes19. Steamed pork buns20. Pistachio ice cream21. Heirloom tomatoes22. Fresh wild berries23. Foie gras24. Rice and beans25. Brawn, or head cheese26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper27. Dulce de leche28. Oysters29. Baklava30. Bagna cauda31. Wasabi peas32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl33. Salted lassi34. Sauerkraut35. Root beer float36. Cognac with a fat cigar37. Clotted cream tea38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O39. Gumbo40. Oxtail41. Curried goat42. Whole insects43. Phaal44. Goat’s milk45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more46. Fugu47. Chicken tikka masala48. Eel49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut50. Sea urchin (does sea urchin foam count???)51. Prickly pear52. Umeboshi53. Abalone54. Paneer55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal56. Spaetzle57. Dirty gin martini58. Beer above 8% ABV59. Poutine60. Carob chips61. S’mores62. Sweetbreads63. Kaolin64. Currywurst65. Durian66. Frogs’ legs67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake68. Haggis69. Fried plantain70. Chitterlings, or andouillette71. Gazpacho72. Caviar and blini73. Louche absinthe74. Gjetost, or brunost75. Roadkill76. Baijiu77. Hostess Fruit Pie78. Snail79. Lapsang souchong80. Bellini81. Tom yum82. Eggs Benedict83. Pocky84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.85. Kobe beef (but I will at my upcoming Hotdog-Off!!)86. Hare87. Goulash88. Flowers89. Horse90. Criollo chocolate91. Spam92. Soft shell crab93. Rose harissa94. Catfish95. Mole poblano96. Bagel and lox97. Lobster Thermidor98. Polenta99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee100. Snake [...]

Dare to Bake a Food Memory?


I wanted to love you... I really did. From the very first announcement of the August Daring Bakers challenge, I wanted to rekindle this romance... but it just wasn't meant to be. It wasn't you, my dear eclair, it was me. I shouldn't have expected my first attempt to measure up to my childhood food memory... it was folly. I'm happy to try another date... just give me time to figure out what happened.You see, I used to love eclairs. My grandpa would come home with a box of them every so often, and I was always so excited. They weren't even fancy - I want to say they were Entenmanns - but they didn't have the traditional pastry cream filling - oh no, it was much lighter and daintier. (I've since learned that this mystery filling is creme Chantilly - a fancied-up whipped cream.) I shy away from eclairs now, because I know I won't like the filling and I don't want to be disappointed.We were allowed to swap out either the filling or the glaze (but something had to stay chocolate - I'm not complaining!), so I wanted to try my hand at a Chantilly cream. Where I got the idea to flavor it with lavender is anyone's guess. I wasn't sure if chocolate and lavender could be friends, but I wanted to try. As someone I polled said, how could something NOT be friends with chocolate?Yes, yes, I waited until the absolute last day to get my challenge on. My kitchen ennui held me back, for starters. I also realized late in the month that my pastry bag, tip, and coupler had been thrown out and I needed to find a new one. When? Oh, yesterday. Ha! My new one is much fancier, so I shouldn't complain.After yoga this morning, I pulled the choux pastry together and popped them in the oven. I didn't catch the part in the thread that suggested a longer baking time (to avoid deflation), so... well... my puffs aren't so puffy anymore. They WERE, I promise, but they all sank. I have to say, there aren't many things as sad as a flat cream puff. :) They needed time to cool and dry out, so I saved completion until after dinner.At which point I steeped some lavender syrup (recipe courtesy of Chockylit), prepared the chocolate sauce and glaze. I then whipped the cream and added the syrup. Now, I think I must have mis-measured, because there seemed to be a high syrup-to-cream ratio that left the resulting cream really really soft. Like, really soft. Tasty as all get-out (and not the least bit soapy, as I'd feared), but just a little too giving in a pastry. (Read: it squishes right out when you bite in to the eclair - messy messy!!)Are lavender and chocolate friends? Heck yes. Would I like to combine them in various other ways? Double yes! (I can't say that lavender will be the new pistachio in OPF-land, though.) Would I made this recipe again? Probably not. The sunken puffs were demoralizing and I found the chocolate glaze overly sweet. Overall, this was a good experience, and I'm more than happy to make more eclairs and cream puffs, just maybe with a different recipe (no disrespect to Pierre Hermes.) Many thanks to Meeta and Tony for yet another terrific challenge!!For eleventy-billion more versions of Mr. Hermes' eclairs, check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll.Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate ÉclairsRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds bypositioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets withwaxed or parchment paper.2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip thehandle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. W[...]

Smokey Pork Pappardelle


Alright, so. My excuse didn't stick. It's been weeks and I'm still on the outs with the kitchen. My foot is better, I've been to the gym every day but one since my last post (and incidentally, am as light as I've ever been as an adult) and I've even tried cooking a bit. It's a measure of how checked out I am, though, that I didn't take one measly photo. Blah.What is carrying me through? Well, let me tell you about my freezer. Because sauce is so.... saucy... we are often left with more than enough leftover for multiple dinners. Out of the freezer and into the pot and we can have a delicious home-cooked dinner in a matter of minutes. I cannot wait to have a garage that I can put a giant freezer in - seriously. (This is how I know I'm grown-up now, I long for appliances.) I am more than happy to make some pasta while the sauce reheats - I find it soothing.So. Three hours in the oven. Don't worry about it. Pop it in and wander off. You won't go far, believe you me, because the smell coming from your oven will intoxicate you. Seriously. It's meaty and deep yet sweet... and feels just like home. I really like that the sauce is strained, because bits other than pork would have been out of place. Smooth sauce, tender pork, and home made pasta - really can't go wrong.The recipe will probably feed 6 at once, but in our case, we ended up with three meals.Smokey Pork Pappardellec/o Food & Wine Magazine, July 2008 the luscious meat sauce here, Gerard Craft braises pork with apples and honey, which adds some unexpected sweetness. Another surprise: He finishes the pasta with a sprinkling of smoked salt.One 2-pound piece of boneless pork shoulderSmoked sea salt2 tablespoons canola oil1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1-inch dice1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch dice1 carrot, cut into 1-inch dice1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch dice2 garlic cloves, crushed3 thyme sprigs1/2 cup tomato paste1 cup dry white wine2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth1/3 cup Champagne vinegar3 tablespoons honey3 tablespoons mascarpone cheeseFreshly ground pepper1 pound pappardelle1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsleyExtra-virgin olive oil, for drizzlingPreheat the oven to 300°F. Season the pork with 1 1/2 tablespoons of smoked salt. In a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the pork and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned on all sides, 15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.Add the apple, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme to the casserole and cook over moderate heat until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it deepens in color, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock, vinegar and honey and bring to a simmer. Add the pork, cover and transfer the casserole to the oven. Braise the pork for about 3 hours, turning once halfway through, until very tender.Transfer the pork to a plate. Strain the sauce into a large bowl, gently pressing on the solids. Pour the sauce back into the pot. Using 2 forks, shred the pork; discard any large pieces of fat. Transfer the shredded pork to the sauce and stir in the mascarpone. Season the sauce with smoked salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer to the casserole with the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and the parsley over moderate heat until well coated, about 1 minute. Transfer the pasta to warm bowls. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with smoked salt and serve.Make ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Wine: Craft’s smoky-sweet pappardelle will pair well with a red that has enough rich fruit not to be overwhelmed by the dish’s luxurious flavors. Southern Italy seems to specialize in reds of that nature, especially the flat, warm vineyards of Puglia and its primary grape variety, Negroamaro. Try the pe[...]

Bacon, Double A and T Sandwiches


I have lost my vim. Have you seen it? I am sure I've left it in a good place...I could say it was the weekend I pulled together my last Daring Baker's challenge - when I did the challenge, tried making homemade chicken stock for the first time, whatever we were eating that weekend AND preparing to have friends over for dinner the next night. I could easily blame that weekend (and I mostly do), because I haven't been in the mood to cook since (but believe me, I've tried anyway, and nothing has tasted right). As I was telling Dave, I need to get a wife to make ME dinner for a while, and then I'll be right as rain. But then I went and sprained my foot. And because of that, couldn't go to the gym, which has left me lethargic. Luckily, I have had two very nice days in a row at the gym, so things are on the up-and up!While I made these sandwiches for dinner in early July, and these photos are of the sandwiches I re-made the next morning for breakfast, I think they would be perfect to break me out of my funk. Seeing as how avocados, arugula and bacon are three of my favorite foods, I don't see why not. Added the second go round is a nice over-easy egg... I know, sneaky of me - but it was breakfast after all!! The mayo was a really nice touch - something I wouldn't have thought of on my own, but was glad to have. You'll end up with plenty for more than the two sandwiches it's supposed to dress, but that's ok, cause you can just make more sandwiches!I cannot say enough good things about this cookbook. It has become my new go-to book for dinner, and I have made almost a dozen things (if not more) and have yet to be disappointed. The recipes are creative and easy to prepare - and are just plain delicious. Prepare yourselves to see many more of Jeanne Kelley's creations - I have a stockpile!Enjoy your weekend!!Bacon, Double A and T Sandwichesc/o Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes, by Jeanne Kelley the double-A – arugula and avocado – to the traditional BLT makes the perfect sandwich! Any leftover mayonnaise can be saved for later use on other sandwiches.Yield: 2 sandwichesMayonnaise:½ cup mayonnaise, preferably organic2 tablespoons Dijon mustard1 green onion, minced1 garlic cloves, mincedSandwiches:6 slices (about 6 ounces) applewood-smoked bacon4 slices country-style white or sourdough bread1 avocado, sliced1 large tomato, slicedSalt and pepper1 cup arugula leaves, lightly packedTo make the mayonnaise: Combine the mayonnaise ingredients in a small bowl. (Can be made several days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)To assemble the sandwiches: Cook the bacon to desired crispiness in a heavy, large skillet. Drain well.Lightly toast the bread. Spread two pieces of toast with a thin layer of the mayonnaise. Top with avocado and tomato slices, dividing them evenly. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange 3 slices of bacon atop the tomatoes. Divide the arugula between the sandwiches. Spread the remaining slices of toast with the mayonnaise and place atop the sandwiches. Press the sandwiches gently to compress. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.[...]

Straw and Hay Fettuccine Tangle with Spring Asparagus Puree


I hate to say that we had this a month ago, at least. I'm even a little sheepish about it. I have a really strong affection to this pesto. Stupid simple to pull together and it was incredibly versatile. I know Ruth will get a laugh at this - yet another pesto for Presto Pasta Night! :)Found in Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking, I chose this pasta dish because I really wanted to showcase the fresh vegetables I found at the market - asparagus and peas. If you are familiar with this recipe, you'll know that it doesn't call for fresh peas... but I had them, and they were green, and I wanted to eat them, so in they went with the asparagus to blanch.Really tasty. Happened to have about a pint of fresh peas from the market, so I tossed those in to blanch with the asparagus. I did cheat and buy my pasta this time. Isn't it weird, how foreign something can be until you're used to it? At this point, I can't imagine not making my own pasta - so long as it isn't anything shaped - which I guess is kinda simple, but still. We have the attachment for macaroni, but my one attempt was a disaster. Pasta sheets it shall be. :)Anyway, the combination of egg and spinach pasta was visually interesting and it tasted quite nice, too. The spinach pasta added an element we aren't normally used to - so much so that I want to try to make my own spinach pasta... but that is a story for another post.The asparagus, spinach and peas played really nicely together in the puree. The flavors blended, leaving them all to be equal players - no one flavor stood among the rest. I think I added a little more than half a lemon, but I really enjoy the extra bite of citrus in pesto.Because I'd added a good cup of peas to the mix, I ended up with quite a lot of puree. I followed Heidi's suggestion in the book and used it everywhere I could: in sandwiches, other recipes calling for pesto, and on pizza.... all in a 10 day period. We even had the pesto pizza TWICE in that time. Why? Because the pesto, on a pizza, with ricotta, goat cheese, or mozzarella, is amazing - and we tried it each way. You'd think that having the same flavor so many times would get old, but it didn't. Our socks were that knocked off.I'm sorry to share this past the asparagus season, but if you're like me a cheat a little and get them at other times in the season, please bookmark this recipe and give it a try. In pasta, it is surprisingly creamy, smooth and tart. On pizza, it is even better.Straw and Hay Fettuccine Tangle with Spring Asparagus Pureec/o Super Natural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson folate-rich asparagus and spinach puree can be made ahead of time; store it in the refrigerator in a jar topped with a layer of olive oil. It’s also great slathered on a grilled vegetable Panini, as a swirl in a simple potato soup, or as a sauce for pizza.Spring Asparagus Puree1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and halved crosswise3 handfuls baby spinach leaves2 cloves garlic1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping1 cup toasted pine nuts¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for toppingJuice of ½ lemon½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt4 ounces dried spinach fettuccine, or 6 ounces fresh4 ounces dried egg fettuccine, or 6 ounces freshBring two pots of water to a rolling boil, one large and one medium. You’ll use the large one to cook the pasta and the medium one to blanch the asparagus.To make the asparagus puree, salt the asparagus water and drop the spears into the pot. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor (preferably) or a blender. Add the spinach, garlic, the 1 cup of Parmesan, and ¾ cup of the pine nuts. Puree and, with the motor running, drizzle the ¼ cup olive oil until a paste forms. It should be the loose cons[...]

Daring Bakers July: You Mean I Can't Have Cake for Dinner?


This Pistachio Gateau with Praline Buttercream has a power. The Power of Magnetic Deliciousness. I took my time this past weekend preparing it - and didn't cut into it until Monday night with friends. But yesterday? I spent almost my entire Tuesday thinking about this cake. I wanted to have it for dinner. And then again for dessert. Forking a bite was the first thing I did when I got home. (This obsession is starting to sound a little weird, isn't it?) I am not alone, however. A bite of cake was also on my husband's short list upon arriving home - I got a smooch and then off he went to the cake. At least he got it in the right order. ;)I started this challenge this past Saturday night with the cake. I only have 8-inch cake pans, so I opted to use my 9-inch springform pan instead. The Daring Bakers that braved this challenge earlier in the month suggested using a round of parchment paper in the bottom, so I thought that the springform action would be an added help. I used pistachios instead of hazelnuts (the hazels were twice the cost for half the amount of shelled pistachios at the store - and I want to marry pistachios.) I was more than a little nervous that the cake wouldn't turn out - because the way the instructions read, it seems to indicate that we are to mix the nut flour into the butter - when it really means to fold it directly into the batter... so I ended up trying to delicately fold in the dense buttery nut meal into my light and fluffy egg mixture... A moment of panic, indeed, but it worked out in the end - the genoise seemed no worse for wear and baked up nicely. Cooled and wrapped up, it spend the night in the fridge.Sunday afternoon, I started with the praline - pistachio, of course. Such a simple combination of sugar and nuts created a most delicious brittle. (I even made a second batch to snack on!!) While it cooled, I prepared the buttercream (with its three sticks of butter!!!) I was lucky in that it came together easily for me - I've read countless horror stories of failed buttercreams... I made sure to have extra of everything, just in case. Layering the cake was a little of a catastrophe, because I mangled the middle one - the center of the cake is mostly crumbly bits... I figured if I doused it with enough of the sugar syrup, it would just bond together, right? I'd like to think that worked - and if I slice the cake when it is still cold, it mostly stays put... but whatever - it all tastes the same, crumbly or not! :)Final assembly: glaze, ganache, garnish. I am a big fan of glazing before ganache-ing. It acts like something of a crumb coat, allowing the chocolate to flow a little easier - which is terrific. I don't often ganache a cake, and I'm starting to wonder why. I find it remarkably easier than icing a cake, and it looks so spectacular in the end, too. Consider me a convert. I have also never ever not once used a piping bag and tips to decorate a cake. I own a set, yes, but I'd never used it. I picked a basic star tip and as you can see, went with a basic dot pattern. If this has been any other cake (not a challenge) and if it was only Dave and I eating it (instead of having friends over), I might have been a little more bold... but I didn't want it to be a major flop. I also prefer spare simplicity, so I was happy with the result. I considered using some of the second batch of brittle as garnish, but didn't want the hardness of it to detract from the cake itself. Texture issues and all that. Into the fridge to wait for Monday night.Soon enough, it was time to have some cake! I boldly cut us all giant pieces and we all dug in. I don't think a single one of us finished our slice. Smaller is certainly better. This cake is rich rich rich and a little goes a long way. A long way I'm happy to take for breakfast, lunch or dinner! The buttercream is by far my favorite part. I really enjoyed the flecks of nut/crunch in it and it provid[...]

HHDD #21: The Tiramisu That Won Him Over


I love tiramisu. Love it. Whenever I go into Whole Foods, I make sure to include a little square in my purchase. I adore the creamy mascarpone, the coffee and liqueur-soaked lady fingers, and the barest of dustings of cocoa powder. Tiramisu might be the one dessert I eat slowly, savoring each spoonful (vs. greedily stuffing my face.)How I managed to marry a man that doesn't also share the same love of tiramisu is beyond me. He'll choke it down, sure, but it doesn't sit on quite the same pedestal. Silly man. When Alexandra announced this round of HHDD, I was both elated and worried. I knew I would make it - I knew it - but I wasn't thrilled for the mournful sighs from the hubs ("Can't you make a dessert I like??!?!?!") . How could I make it in a way he would like it, nay, love it??I was staring at the Donna Hay recipe Alexandra provided... that stare one uses when they don't really see the object of their staring?... and it clicked - I would turn the mascarpone cream into ice cream! I would blend the soaked lady fingers into it! It would be brilliant! My brain clicked back and I set to work. I decided to use the recipe provided, and tweak another D. Hay recipe for mascarpone ice cream - I figured, if I'm going to do this, I'm going the whole Donna Hay Way.I was sneaky about it, for sure. I didn't tell Dave what I was up to. I didn't even explain why I was buying the lady fingers very well, "O, I need those for ice cream." Such is his trust in me, however, he didn't even ask for more information. Maybe it isn't trust, but he probably knows by now that he doesn't really need to know. He just eats what I make and is happy - that's enough for him. I made the base Saturday morning and poured it into the machine. Thirty minutes later, and it still hadn't reached the soft-serve stage... cold, for sure, but in no way thick enough to pop into the freezer. I let it go another 20 minutes, thinking more mixing might help. Nope - the opposite happened... my mix was back where I started, cold, but completely liquid. I considered throwing in the towel. Instead, I poured it out of the ice cream bowl and into two containers. I hadn't realized just how much was in the machine - easily twice what I normally run. Perhaps if I let the bowl refreeze and then just process half at a time? Bingo - success!Meanwhile, I soaked the lady fingers in a mix of espresso and coffee liqueur. The delay in getting the ice cream processed meant that the finished product was a little soggy - but it still mixed into the mascarpone ice cream nicely.Maybe too nicely? As you can see, there aren't too many "chunks" of soaked finger - more like swirls. I contend that this is part of the reason Dave enjoyed the ice cream as much as he did. You see, Dave doesn't drink coffee. Doesn't like it, not the smell, not the taste. The benefit of having the fingers so soaked as to be to blended in dispersed the flavor enough that it was never overwhelmingly coffee-flavored. Each bite was a brilliant blend of tiramisu - I think this might always be the method of production in our home going forward. I get my guilty indulgence, and my dear husband can enjoy it with me - except - now I have to share.Tiramisuc/o Modern Classics Book 2 by Donna Hayvia Addicted Sweet Tooth cup (4 fl oz) strong espresso coffee1/2 cup (4 fl oz) coffee liqueur16 sponge finger biscuits, halved widthwisecocoa powder for dustingfilling1 1/4 cups (310 g/10 1/2 oz) mascarpone1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz) (single or pouring) cream3 tablespoons icing (confectioner’s) sugar, siftedTo make the filling, place the mascarpone, cream and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk until light and creamy. Set aside.Place the coffee and liqueur in a small bowl and stir to combine. Quickly dip both sides of half the biscuit halves in the coffee mixture and place in 4 glasses or small bowls. Top with half the f[...]

Sher's Scallion-Chicken Noodles


O, the comforting power of food. What could be a more perfect tribute to our friend Sher than to collect and make something from her blog, What Did You Eat? as a show of love and support. Her kind words touched so many of us, and the way her blog was written, I always felt like I'd been welcomed into her home with open arms. You know how you can feel like you just know someone - even someone you've never met? Someone so charming and wholesome and organic of spirit, they allow you to feel as though you've been friends forever? Sher was like that. And I wish I'd told her how happy I was to have known her, even if only through the internet.Sher belonged to many groups. I looked forward to her dishes for Presto Pasta Night, and I felt like I always had something to learn from her posts to Weekend Herb Blogging. What charmed me, too, were her Weekend Cat Blogging posts, and I eagerly sought them out - often the first blog I'd read on the weekend. A fellow Daring Baker, she brought a spirit to our group that will be greatly missed. I am sure I've left a group or two out, but I think you get my point - she was an active member of almost every aspect of the food community, and will be sorely missed.Once Mary and Kalyn put out the call to choose a recipe of Sher's, I immediately chose these scallion-chicken noodles. In fact, I'd had the dish bookmarked since she first shared it with us! Such a simple preparation and yet so delicious. The fragrance alone would knock your socks off. I totally agree with her one and only grievance with the meal - that she had to share it!! I too would have loved to keep it all to myself! This is a curl up on the couch under a blanket pasta dish, especially on a dreary day, as the ginger and cilantro are bright and warming.So too, was Sher. Bright and warming and remembered today across the globe. Her kindness, generosity and friendship will live on.Scallion-Chicken Noodlesc/o Sher of What Did You Eat? pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs3/4 pound fresh Chinese noodles (or dry linguine)1/4 cup peanut oil1 cup finely chopped scallions1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger2 tablespoons soy sauce1 teaspoon Asian sesame oilPinch of sugarSalt and freshly ground pepper1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leavesBring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the chicken thighs and bring back to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Drain the chicken and cut it into 1-inch pieces.Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the linguine until tender, 12 minutes. Drain, shaking out the excess water.Wipe out the pot. Add the peanut oil and heat until shimmering. Add the scallions and ginger and cook over moderately low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the linguine and chicken along with the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until the noodles are coated and heated through, about 1 minute. Toss in the cilantro, transfer to bowls and serve.[...]

Crispy Black Bean Cakes with Sour Cream and Avocado


I don't know what it is about the Summer, but I feel like time just slips away. I can pin some of it down: busy times at work, lazing by the pool, a dozen movies from Netflix. I just don't seem to notice the time. I don't know if that makes sense... but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the last 10 days. Why? Because it feels like it was about 20 minutes. Can it really be so long since I've blogged? Crazy.We are big fans of little veggie cakes. Ever since I tried my first meatless burger at home, we've been big fans. Variations are limitless and they are so easy to toss together (because odds are, you have most of the ingredients in your pantry already!)What sets these black bean cakes apart is their crusty outsides/creamy interiors. Genius. Mind you, it calls for 12 cakes and we probably ended up with 6. C'est la vie. The mix out of the fopo is more than a little sticky, so keep a bowl of cold water nearby to wet your hands slightly - it helps, I promise.Once fried and drained, I served the cakes with a little arugula, scallions, and avocados, as directed. You'll see the sour cream and tomatoes on the side - the husband isn't a fan of either, so I didn't mess with dolloping on both. I sauteed some cubed market potatoes to go with, on a lark, and the combo really worked. Not only that, but the variety of colors on the plate really made me happy.Crispy Black Bean Cakes with Sour Cream and Avocadoc/o Melissa Rubel in Food & Wine Magazine, April 2008 pan-fried cakes are crispy on the outside (thanks to a thin coating of bread crumbs) and creamy in the center. They make an excellent vegetarian meal, especially alongside a green salad.2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice1 large garlic clove, minced3/4 teaspoon ground cumin1/4 teaspoon cayenneTwo 15-ounce cans black beans, drained1 1/4 cups plain dry bread crumbsKosher salt and freshly ground pepper1/3 cup all-purpose flour2 large eggs, beatenSour cream, avocado, scallions and lime wedges, for servingIn a medium skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat just until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the onion mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add 1 1/2 cups of the beans and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped but not smooth. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Mix in the remaining whole beans and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into twelve 1/4-cup patties, about 1/2 inch thick.Put the flour, beaten eggs and the remaining 3/4 cup of bread crumbs into 3 shallow bowls. Dust each black bean cake with the flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the cakes in the egg and then in the bread crumbs, pressing so that the bread crumbs adhere.In a very large skillet, heat 1/8 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the cakes and fry over moderate heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve the black bean cakes with sour cream, avocado, scallions and lime wedges.Wine: Soft, plummy Merlot: 2005 Mia’s Playground.[...]

Lamb Sausage with Lentils and Sauteed Pears


I think this meal is going to become my new go-to dinner for guests. For a while, anytime we had anyone new over, we served this steak. Sure, that goat-cheese topped filet was awesome, but this lamb, lentil and pear dish wins. Dave and I had this for dinner and had enough leftover for lunch the next day. I'd even considered ways to finagle Dave's lunch helping away from him so I could have it all to myself. Greedy? Sure. But make this and you'll understand why.Not only is the marriage of the lamb, lentils and pears a thing of beauty, it is also a lot easier. Yes, the steak was dead simple, but it had so many things going on WITH it (the mashed potatoes, asparagus, and Bearnaise) - that this new favorite simply doesn't. What's more ridiculous? There isn't a darn thing in the ingredient list that's tricky. You'll either have it at home or know where to get it. Although, now that I've written that out, it occurs to me that lamb sausage might not be as easy to find universally. I picked ours up at a local farmers market on a whim. Feel free to substitute what you have.I will say that I soaked my lentils ahead of time. I then drained and covered them and went to the movies. I had been worried that doing so would harm the texture, but it didn't. I simply moved on to the next step once we got home. You know what's lovely about lentils? Packed with protein. Packed. Not only that, but loads of fiber and B vitamins and lentils are good for your heart. It's lovely to know that something so delicious is also incredibly nutritious! If you're interested in more protein-rich recipes, pop over to the Art of Cooking Indian Food for Sangeeth's round-up!I had a red bell pepper in my fridge, so I roasted and sliced it instead of buying a jar of piquillos. I don't know how different the end result would be, but I was thrilled with how it turned out, and when I make this again, I'll probably do it the same way. In fact, I'll probably make double, so I can squirrel some away in the freezer.Now, for those of you that don't like to mix fruit in savory way into your dinner, please try to overlook that aspect. Dave didn't seem too enthusiastic about it at first blush, either, but gobbled this dinner up, pears and all. The recipe calls for the pears to be cut into eighths, but once I had them that way, they seemed too big. I sliced all the larger eighths in half, which got them closer in size to the sausages (and easier to eat!)I cannot tell you enough how lovely this meal was. In the photos, it certainly looks like a rich, heavy Winter meal - don't let that deter you. Each bite was a joy, whether you had a bit of everything on your fork or not. The pears were soft and juicy and mingled brilliantly with the heartiness of the lentils and bite of the sausage. I can't wait to make it again.Shall I set a place for you?Lamb Sausage with Lentils and Sauteed Pearsc/o Food & Wine Magazine, May 2008 of Defne Koryürek’s favorite homemade sausages includes beef, lamb, red peppers and garlic; she loves eating it alongside a creamy salad of lentils, roasted peppers and sautéed pears. The recipe is also delicious when prepared with spicy, rich merguez sausage.2 cups brown lentils (14 ounces)4 cups boiling water3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil2 carrots, diced1 onion, diced1 celery rib, dicedSalt and freshly ground black pepper3 tablespoons cider vinegar1 cup roasted red peppers (8 ounces), preferably piquillo, cut into thin strips1 1/4 pounds merguez sausage2 ripe Bartlett pears, cored and cut into eighthsIn a large heatproof bowl, cover the lentils with the boiling water and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain.In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the diced carrots, onion and celery and c[...]

TwD: Snickery Bar Flashback


(image) This week's Tuesday with Dorie, hosted by South in Your Mouth, is a beautiful blueberry pie.

Neither of my photos look particularly blue or berry-y, so let me explain. I'm still traumatized from my last blueberry pie experience. I just couldn't brave it. I know, I'm a sissy. Instead, I went into the TwD archives and found these rocking Snickery Bars, previously hosted by Dinner & Dessert.

(image) I generally love snickers bars. Especially when they are in their small, bite-sized form. That way, I can have three little nibbles and still feel like I haven't abandoned my better eating habits (see how I dodged the word diet?) Would I still feel the same way about a pan full of them? I did - but only because I could take half of them to work! These bars are nicely sweet, but overly rich - I could only get through a little bit before I was grasping for some cold milk. Which isn't a bad thing, mind you, because at least then I'm stopping myself from shoveling them ALL into my mouth.

I had never used dulce de leche before (and frankly, I still can't pronounce it) and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I know there are recipes to make it at home (I bought mine) that involve sweetened condensed milk, which is already pretty thick. I hadn't expected the dulce de leche to be as thick as it was... in my mind, it was runny, like butterscotch sauce, and I couldn't figure out how it would stay in bar form once I cut them up. Silly me! DDL is thick and easily spreadable. I had no problems smearing it atop the cookie base (which in itself was sweet and dainty.) This recipe wasn't difficult or particularly time consuming, and I think it would be a perfect dessert for a bbq or a bake sale (so long as it isn't too too hot out.)

As we don't post the recipes individually anymore, please click through to Erin's blog for the instructions. You won't be sorry.

Taste & Create Seasonal: Grilling Cheese-Filled Goodness


And here I didn't think the typical made-at-home burger could get any better! For this round of Taste & Create (a special seasonal grilling version), I was paired with the event's creator and lovely hostess Nicole of For the Love of Food. I'm a big fan of Taste & Create, and I was tickled to try a grilling swap - even though I don't actually own a grill (grill pans and broiling were both allowed!)Ultimately, I chose her Cheese-Stuffed Burgers. Why? Because I'd never stuffed a burger before, and I was intrigued by the inclusion of jam in the mix. You heard me. Jam. In. The. Mix. Now, hers specifically calls for apricot, but I didn't have any and couldn't rationalize buying a whole jar for a half-teaspoon. So I used what I had - peach - and I probably used a full teaspoon. I wasn't measuring, but it seemed like a bigger blob. My other modification was to use ground bison instead of beef - both leaner and more humanely raised, more often than not. I was at Wegmans for my shopping, and while I don't normally get my meats there, I also wasn't in the mood for a special trip to my butcher. Lazy, a little, but I tried to swap out smartly. These burgers are so tasty! I had a little bit of cheese seepage (now that's a sentence I bet you didn't expect), but overall, the cheese stayed where it was supposed to. The burgers were moist and flavorful (and not the least bit jammy.) I skipped a bun, but Dave doctored a sub roll, and he liked it a lot.We didn't have dinner until close to 9:30 last night. We'd had a late, large breakfast and shared a pretzel at the mall after our movie (Wall-E - go see it!), so we just weren't hungry earlier. While Dave talked to his parents on the phone, I mixed and filled the patties. I also prepared this little salad of roasted beets, fennel and orange. I wasn't in my right mind, it seems, because it was a salad entirely composed of things Dave doesn't like. See, we received beets in our CSA last week... and we tried beets last summer and decided we didn't like them. I was determined to give them another go and found this recipe in Fresh Every Day. It looked good to me... I just wasn't thinking. In the end, it all worked out, because something about all of those ingredients really clicked, and Dave liked it. We even had the extra for lunch today. Whew, saved!This was a lovely summer grilling dinner. A delicious, easily-prepared burger, alongside a salad that surprised us in its goodness.Cheese-Stuffed Burgersc/o Nicole at For the Love of Food Cup finely shredded Cheddar Cheese1/4 Cup fresh finely shredded Parmesan (originally calls for Gruyere)1 lb. 90% lean Ground Beef (ground Sirloin)*1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce*1/8 teaspoon Fructose (or Sugar)*1/2 teaspoon Fructose-based Apricot preserves1 1/2 teaspoons Paprika1/4 teaspoon Pepper*Soy Sauce, Fructose, and Apricot preserve can be substituted with 1 tablespoons of Worcestershire saucePreheat your grill to medium-high or preheat your broiler.Combine the cheeses in a small bowl and set aside.In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients until the spices are evenly distributed. Separate the mixture into 8 same-size balls of meat. Flatten each into a nice round thin patty.Place 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture in the middle of 4 of the patties, leaving 1/2 an inch free from the edge. Top those 4 patties each with a cheese-less patty and press down the edges to seal in the cheese.To Grill:Grill over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side. It is recommended not to press the burgers while they are cooking or the cheese will ooze out.To Broil:Place the patties on a rack in the oven and broil the patties as close to the top as possible without touching the heat source directly. Broil fo[...]

Pistachio Ice Cream Sammies


Happy Independence Day!! I don't know about you, but our 4th has been quiet and uneventful. Dave and I slept in, watched some tennis, and went for a walk. Weather permitting, we'll go check out the local fireworks after dinner - and if not, we're off to the movies!Now, I had been hoping to share our dinner with you today, but on their current schedule, my 7-hour maple baked beans won't be ready until next Tuesday... so I thought I would share this lovely dessert with you instead!I've said it before, I don't know how I managed so long before pistachios. I have seriously taken every opportunity to work them into some kind of dessert, ANY kind of dessert, that I jumped at the chance when I saw this recipe in Food & Wine magazine. (And I have couple more trapped in Forgotten Draft Land.)I know what you're thinking, how could I abandon David Lebovitz? I am normally so loyal to his book, Perfect Scoop - how could I branch out? Well, I can say that I gave him a chance. After seeing this recipe, I went to the Perfect Scoop and looked up pistachios... but the only ice cream they are featured in also included a bunch of other stuff (apricots and the like), and while I found it appealing, too, I really wanted a simple, unadulterated pistachio ice cream. I hope he'll forgive me. I blame the cream cheese. Jeni Britton does not disappoint. Her pistachio ice cream is exactly what I was looking for. Shining pistachio flavor with a hint of the almond extract, creamy with a wonderful mouth-feel - and not the least bit gritty. I was feeling cheeky, so I baked up some of these butter cookies and made wee ice cream sandwiches. Because we'd nibbled away at a couple of cookies and slurped down so much ice cream, I was only able to put together four sandwiches - which is really sad, because they rocked. For serious. I want to give a quick shout-out to KitchenAid. While making this, my ice cream attachment sprang a leak. The ice cream was ok - thank goodness - but the bowl was toast. I called KA on a Monday and by Thursday, I had a new bowl in hand. No questions asked and they replaced it. I couldn't be more impressed by their customer service. I hate to put it all the way at the end like this, but I'm submitting this ice cream to the lovely Nikki's Ice Cream, You Scream Ice Cream Event. Did you know that July is Ice Cream Month? How kick-ass is that? And Nikki thought it fitting that we celebrate it - from the humble flavor to the most extravagant - all are welcome in her event. Please pop over and check out her site - it is wildly informative and a pleasure to read - and make sure you check back later in the month for her ice cream round-up!Pistachio Ice Creamc/o Food & Wine Magazine, June 2008 cups whole milk1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 tablespoons)1 1/4 cups heavy cream2/3 cup sugar1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup1/2 cup toasted pistachios, very finely ground1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract1/4 teaspoon kosher saltFill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the pistachios, almond extract and salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath[...]

Sesame Roasted Tofu with Satay Sauce and Broccoli


I'm not sure when I talked myself out of worrying about it, but I did. After a handful of failed attempts at Tastespotting, I realized that I'm just not one to individually wrap my cookies and brownies in ribbons... maybe someday (because it certainly makes for a pretty picture.) This is not to say that I'm not still a big fan of Tastespotting - because I am. It is a visually stunning way to meet new bloggers and get dinner ideas.However, with Tastespotting's stall due to legal issues, Food Gawker stepped in to fill the void. Same basic principle, same amazing submissions. Everyone is happy. Except, TS is back. And now with both in my Google Reader, I pop in to "catch up" and find I have 300+ entries! Whoa baby! Both are lovely - and users seem to submit to both... but it leads to duplicates... Which leads me to... who to choose? I feel like need to decide... and I have no idea which way to lean. I know how overwhelming to seems to have so many entries to read (too much pressure!)... Do you have a similar problem? If you are feeling the same way, how would you choose?On to the recipe! I'd never made a satay sauce before - but it read so beautifully in Rose Eliot's Vegetarian Supercook, I just had to give it a try. As much as I know Dave will eat whatever I put in front of him (I love that he trusts me like that), I still worry when I add tofu to the menu. I shouldn't have, though, because as simply as the tofu is prepared (a simple soak in soy sauce and sprinkled in sesame seeds), the satay sauce really makes the dish.I myself was a little worried when I first assembled the sauce in the pot, it didn't taste like much - it even seemed a little bland. (I thought I was screwed.) Have faith, though, because once the sauce heats up and the flavors have a chance to meld, it's amazing. Creamy, with a nice punch of heat from the ginger, garlic and chili flakes. Both the tofu and the broccoli were lovely dipped in the sauce.My resident tofu-squeamish husband liked it so much, he had seconds - so if you're skittish, too - this would be a good way to get your toes wet!Sesame Roasted Tofu with Satay Sauce and Broccolic/o Vegetarian Supercook, by Rose Elliot 4.1 lb tofu, drained4 tablespoons soy sauce2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil2 tablespoons sesame seeds2 medium-sized bunches of broccoli, trimmed and broken into floretsSauce4 heaped tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)1 14-ounce can coconut milk2 garlic cloves, crushed2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root½ teaspoon dried red chili flakes2-3 teaspoons honey4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, to garnishBlot tofu dry on paper towels and cut into thin strips about ¼ inch thick. Put the strips on a plate in a single layer, pour the soy sauce on top, then turn the strips so that they are all coated.Heat the sesame oil in a grill pan or shallow roasting pan under a preheated hot broiler. Put the tofu strips in the pan in a single layer and scatter with half the sesame seeds. Immediately turn them over and coat with the remaining sesame seeds.Put the pan back onto or under the heat and grill or broil for about 10 minutes, or until the tofu is crisp and browned, then turn the pieces over and broil or grill on the other side.Meanwhile, make the satay sauce. Put the peanut butter into a saucepan and gradually stir in the coconut milk to make a smooth sauce, then add the garlic, ginger, and chili. Heat gently, taste, and add honey to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside until required.About 5-10 minutes before the tofu is ready, heat ½ inch depth of water in a large sauce[...]

TwD: Apple Cheddar Scones


(image) It's been a few weeks since my last Tuesdays with Dorie entry... June was a bit of a busy and stressful month. Not even knowing what this week would hold, I promised myself and my fellow TwDers that I would participate (well, I whispered, so if you guys didn't hear me, that's why!) I couldn't have been more pleased that Karina chose these scones. Don't get me wrong, I love pies and brownies as much as the next baker, but I have a lot of love for everything breakfast food related - and these scones strike a nice balance between sweet and savory... just can't be beat.

(image) These scones are close to drop biscuits, but denser. The dried apple provided a nice, thoughtful chewiness that I found really appealing. Now, I don't normally like cheddar - but it worked really well in the scones. It wasn't the least bit over-powering - and I didn't even notice it in each bite - in fact, I rather liked it. Shocking, I know. The dough was wicked sticky - so be prepared. I didn't want to go with the traditional triangle, so I tried to use a biscuit cutter... it mostly worked (not that you can tell), but it made for a sticky fun experience.

As an added crunch, I substituted polenta for the cornmeal (as I found I didn't have any). The polenta-crunch was certainly different, but enjoyable. I sometimes find store-bought scones to be a little uninspired and boring, and these were neither of those things.

Please see Karina's blog, The Floured Apron, for the recipe, and head on over to Tuesdays with Dorie to see other marvelous ways to make a scone!

Daring Bakers June: Success with Yeast (Finally!!)


My word. I knew if the Daring Bakers pushed long enough, I would make friends with yeast. (At least, I'd hoped so.) My comfort level rose a bit with this pizza dough (especially since I've made it half a dozen times since), so I went into this challenge confident... at least as far as the yeast was concerned.I'll be honest, when Kelly and Ben announced this Danish braid, I did shiver in my flip-flops. Laminated dough? Fold and turn, what? O dear. I felt like the potential for disaster was strong. However. This is clearly something I've never done before - and something I've always wanted to try... what better opportunity than with the Daring Bakers? With such a level of support, I knew it would be fun.The month of June really got away from me. Middle of last week it finally sank in that I HAD to get this challenge done! I did a quick search for fillings and decided on this hybrid of cream cheese/peach filling, and then a second easy one - nutella and chocolate. So Saturday night, I made the dough, chilled it, added the butter and performed all the turns, setting the dough up for a relaxing nap in the fridge overnight.I wish you could have been there, during all that rolling out. I wanted to make sure it was the right size, so I pulled out my trusty tape measure. Imagine a kitchen in disarray, flour coating most surfaces, sprinkled on the cat, a girl feverishly rolling... only to grab her dusty industrial tape measure and mutter to herself... ah, good times. I even used it for the flap creation... I know, I know, I have a problem. :)Flapped, filled and folded, my babies got their proof on - and you know what? They actually rose! Hurray! This is usually the part in the story when I have to admit that my yeast defeated me... but not this time! Friendship has been forged! Awesome! Two and a half hours of resting and I popped the braid and little danish rolls into the oven.Let me tell you, if I could bottle how wonderful my apartment smelled while the danishes baked... Not only would I be like this chick, but I could make a small fortune in sales. Sweet, slightly fruity, warm and cozy... that was my apartment yesterday morning. Before my first bite, I was completely in love with the danishes. While neither Dave nor I could place why, the flavor was familiar to us - the spices involved (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, orange and lemon zest) were heavily reminiscent of Fall, but didn't seem out of place. I don't make coffee at home anymore, but I can't wait to have a slice with my morning tea!!These Daring Bakers are amazing people. I have learned so much month-to-month and made so many new friends... I can't imagine food blogging any other way! To see this wonderful group in action, check out the other Daring Bakers' wonderful creations!Daring Bakers June: DANISH DOUGHMakes 2-1/2 pounds doughIngredientsFor the dough (Detrempe)1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast1/2 cup whole milk1/3 cup sugarZest of 1 orange, finely grated3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped2 large eggs, chilled1/4 cup fresh orange juice3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon saltFor the butter block (Beurrage)1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter1/4 cup all-purpose flourDOUGHCombine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until [...]

Poached Eggs with Arugula and Polenta Fingers


(image) Never been as angry at a dish as I was at this one. (I mean, as angry as you can get making dinner, I guess.) Either I don't know what I'm doing with polenta, or instructions to fry polenta are mean and evil. Polenta explodes... all those little bits of corn pop pop pop in the hot oil, causing much cussing and consternation. I had a dish towel covering the arm of my spatula hand, and a piece of aluminum foil in my other hand as a shield for the rest of me. Add the danger to the fact that the polenta rectangles don't stay in one piece, rendering themselves unpretty plate additions... bah. Hateful.

Other than that, I was pretty happy with dinner. The poached egg oozed dreamily over the lightly-dressed arugula and the polenta blobs provided nice texture and heft. Speaking of the polenta, this was the first time I'd made it with coconut milk and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. The coconut flavor was a nice twist - I wouldn't do it all the time, but it made for a nice change.

So. If you have an outfit made of silicone and gloves on, make this tasty salad for yourself!

Poached Eggs with Arugula and Polenta Fingers
c/o Bon Appetit Magazine, May 2008

From Oliver Maindroult of Urbane.

1 13.5 to 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup water
½ cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
2 cups arugula
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Fleur de sel

Butter 13x9x2-ince baking pan. Bring coconut milk and ½ water to a boil in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in polenta; reduce heat and simmer until polenta is very thick and tender, about 7 minutes. Mix in cheese. Pour polenta into half of pan; spread to form 9x6-inch rectangle. Press plastic wrap onto surface of polenta and chill until firm, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Turn polenta out onto cutting board. Cut into 3x1 –inch rectangles. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add polenta fingers; cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet; keep warm in oven.

Add enough water to large skillet to reach depth of 2 inches; bring to simmer. Mix in 1 teaspoon coarse salt and white wine vinegar. Crack each egg into separate custard cup. Slide eggs into water and cook until whites are set but centers are still runny, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss arugula with ½ tablespoon oil and balsamic vinegar in medium bowl; divide among 4 plates.

Top each salad with poached egg. Break yolks with tip of knife. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Serve with polenta.

Turkey and Pork Meatballs with Orecchiette Pasta and Spinach-Almond Pesto


I know this pasta dish looks completely ridiculous. I was in something of hunger-induced hurry to get to the eating part of the evening, and I didn't take the time I should have to photograph what ended up being a wonderful meal.Dave and I had my lovely new friend Jessi over for dinner a few weeks ago, and if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that means we had to eat something both New and Interesting. I'd recently brought the Top Chef cookbook home, and Dave promptly picked this recipe. (You can see the second recipe chosen from this book here.)I am lucky to work across the street from where I live, so I popped home at lunch to mix the meatballs and ball them and make the pesto. I like getting as much as possible done before we have company, makes for easier chatting and whatnot.The meatballs came together perfectly well. I always find it funny when making balls of things. You try to make them uniform, and you think you are, until you're done and you can see the ball progression.... little by little, they all get bigger and bigger. This leads me to....Holy Garlic Whoa. Did you see how much garlic is in the pesto? Whoa 12 garlics, whoa. It wasn't too much flavor-wise (at least, I didn't think so), so don't let it scare you. Honestly, you only use enough pesto to coat, and that small amount needs to do the job of flavoring the vegetables and pasta - so it should be strong. But man, 12 garlics is scary. I don't know why we planned to serve our guest so many garlics her first night over, but she's still nice to me, so I guess I'm safe.I will tell you that the recipe lies. Yes, it was on Top Chef, and they have time limits and all that, but its still television - and television is often fibbing. The mass of vegetables need more than 5 minutes to cook. Maybe more like 20. And while the big carrots are charming, their bigness makes it really difficult to stir the vegetables around with the pasta and meatballs. Just my two cents - these two grievances are easily manageable and don't detract much from the overall experience.And that overall experience? Very good. This was a nice, wholesome dish. The possible heaviness of the pasta and vegetables is easily brightened by the pesto. The pasta, in fact, provided a nice bite as compared to the vegetables. Lots of steps, sure, but uncomplicated ones, and well worth it.I am excited to be able to share this pasta with Ruth of Once Upon A Feast. She is the creater of Presto Pasta Nights (check out its new home!!) and one of the nicest people in the blogosphere. She is hosting PPN this week, so make sure to look for her round-up tomorrow!Turkey and Pork Meatballs with Orecchiette Pasta and Spinach-Almond Pestoc/o Top Chef: The Cookbookrecipe by Casey and Dale, Season 3, Episode 6Turkey and pork meatballs:½ pound ground turkey½ pound ground pork1 garlic clove, minced¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese1 tablespoon all-purpose flour1 tablespoon minced onion1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano1 teaspoon lemon zest2 tablespoons white wine1 large egg, lightly beaten½ teaspoon red pepper chile flakes½ teaspoon salt2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as neededVegetables and pasta:2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil4 cups cauliflower florets1 cup baby carrotsOne 14-ounce jar artichoke hearts, each cut in half1 packed cup fresh spinach leaves1 tablespoon white wineSalt and freshly ground black pepper1 pound orecchiette pasta, cooked al denteSpinach-Almond Pesto, recipe followsFor the meatballs:In a large bowl, stir together all the meatball ingredients except the[...]

Danish Pork Burgers


(image) I haven't uploaded any photographs of dinner this last week (and there is one in particular I'd like to share, because it really ticked me off), but I was scrolling through my drafts for something to share. I cannot believe I haven't sung from the mountain-tops about these burgers yet. Let me do so now. Ahem.

Delicious but different. Knock-your-socks-off tasty. Warm and cozy. Easy to prepare. Easily one of my top five favorite burgers. Maybe even top three.

Elise over at Simply Recipes posted about these in February 2007. I don't know when I happened upon them, but I didn't make them until December... which, now that I think about it, is a damn shame. All those months this recipe was available to me and I overlooked it.

You may wonder to yourself, "Do I want a pork burger with saltines in it?" My answer is a resounding YES! The red onion and saltines impart a delicate... something... to the burger that is plain addicting. I can't explain it, but the combination is fantastic. I don't remember how many burgers I ended up with, but between Dave and I, we ate them all. Seriously. All of them in one night. It was crazy. (Which, in retrospect, makes me hope there weren't a lot of them!)

Now, I didn't serve these babies on a bun. It was the middle of winter and I was longing for egg noodles. Once the burgers were done, I poured a little chicken stock into the pan and scraped up the bits. To that I added the mustard, forming a little sauce to go over the burgers and noodles.

Now that it's burger season, I implore you to give these a try.

Danish Pork Burgers
c/o Elise at Simply Recipes

1 pound ground pork
1 red onion, finely diced
16 saltine crackers, crumbled
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for cooking
Dijon mustard for serving

Combine the pork, onion, saltines, milk, eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix well together.

Lightly brush a large, nonstick skillet with vegetable oil. Heat on medium high heat. Divide the pork mixture into 8 equal portions. Working in batches, drop them from a spoon into the hot pan, spacing them evenly. Pat down with the back of a spoon to form into patties. Cook each patty, turning once, for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Serve the burgers hot with a dollop of Dijon mustard.

Serves 4.

Creamy Quinoa with Dried Cranberries


(image) Caution: The breakfast above is hotter than it looks!!

I burnt the inside top of my mouth like nobodies business with my first bite. Admittedly, it was a bite while it was still in the pot, so it was my own silly fault. Take it from me, blow on it first. :)

Now, I didn't have maple sugar, so I used brown and a squirt of maple syrup. I also didn't have soy milk, so I used skim. (Between making it and having leftovers, though, I'd picked up some soy milk - and the leftovers were amazing with some poured on top.)

Earthy. Sweet. Wholesome = three words I use to describe this. "Tastes like camping" is what my husband said. I don't know what that means, but I hope it was a compliment. We are very much bacon and eggs for breakfast people, so this quinoa was a nice change. The dried cranberries plump up and the nuts are a nice contrast, both in flavor and texture. Maybe not the best choice for a summer breakfast, but believe you me, I'll be pulling this recipe out come Fall.

Creamy Quinoa with Dried Cranberries
c/o Vegetarian Times Magazine

Serves 4.

1 ½ cups vanilla soymilk, plus more for serving
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
½ cup dried cranberries
2 Tbs. maple sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground allspice or cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted, for sprinkling

Bring soymilk, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in quinoa and cranberries, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and grains are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in maple sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Serve warm, topped with more soymilk and pecans.

Per 1-cup serving: 362 calories, 10 g protein, 15 g total fat, 50 g carbs, 0 mg cholesterol, 185 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 17 g sugars

Tilapia with Parmesan Crab Sauce


This will be a funny story, I promise. (Mildly amusing at the least.)I saw this recipe on 28 Cooks a while back and bookmarked it. We've had frozen tilapia in the freezer (I don't know what possessed me to buy the bag of a million fillets) and this looked like an unusual yet delicious way to use them up. Not to mention, it is specifically mentioned that this recipe will garner compliments, and everyone needs those, right?Now, as I mentioned, I had the tilapia in hand. In fact, I had all the ingredients I needed, save for the 8 ounces crab. This posed something of a dilemma. 8 ounces is a cup, a half-pound - really, not much. I went to two stores (three if you count checking while at Costco - but you shouldn't, because their products are bulky to begin with) in my search for a humble 8 ounce package of crab. In both places, 16 ounces was the smallest amount available. I wasn't up for finding something to do with the remainder (obviously, I was out of my mind), so I took this is a personal challenge.While at Wegmans, I asked the clerk at the seafood counter if she could repackage a smaller portion for me. She said no. I stood there and looked sad. Still no. And then I asked the million dollar question:"Um, well.... what's in your crab cakes?"You see, each of the prepared crab cakes was 8 ounces. The perfect amount. She stated that they pride themselves on having each cake be 98% crab, minimal filler. While I don't necessarily agree with their 98%-ness, it was still more crab than not, and I rationalized that the filler itself would help the sauce thicken up. Sure, it would be weird and a little trashy to use a crab cake in lieu of normal crab, but I was desperate. All was not lost.I prepared the sauce otherwise as written and it came together easily. I pulled the crab cake apart and added it to the sauce. Rather than just take it off and serve, I kept it on the heat for a minute or two, just to let the crab cake bits incorporate fully. The sauce was glorious and creamy and well worth the measures I had to take to make it!Served with some wild rice and green beans, this was indeed a love-inducing dinner. Thanks to Fiber for sharing it with us!Tilapia with Parmesan Crab Saucec/o Fiber at 28 Cooks 44 tilapia filets1 tbsp butter2 tbsp flourA scant 1/8 tsp nutmeg2 tbsp soy milk1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce1/8 c dry white wine3/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded8 oz fresh crab meat (I use claw)Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and nutmeg. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue whisking and cook until smooth. Add in Worcestershire, white wine, and Parmesan cheese. Add crab, mix well, and remove from heat. Season tilapia filets with salt and pepper. Place in well oiled baking dish. Pour sauce over tilapia. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve and enjoy![...]

Coconut-Lime Chicken & Snow Peas Salad


I wish I could say that I've been on some kind of world-tour (or maybe following Bon Jovi around on HIS tour!), and that's why I haven't been blogging. I wish. And not just because it would be cool, but because it is way more interesting than the real answer: I've been lazy. Still cooking, still photographing, even still uploading said photos and recipes into Blogger.... just too lazy to share. I know, right? Silly! I can't promise to be back on track, but I'll certainly try - and this salad is the perfect way to get started.Why? Because it's wicked H-O-T outside. So hot, I feel like the word "hot" should be a dirty word. Seriously - it's only early June! This is ridiculous! If your heat index is anything like mine (105°), you will love this salad. Now, you will have to use the oven, but not for very long, and you don't need to stand over it, I promise.Whisk together the dressing, set some aside, and toss the chicken in. Bake it for 20 minutes and you're done with the heat. Chop up the lettuce, cabbage (great color, btw), peas and herbs and toss with the dressing. Top with the chicken. Relax with your tasty, healthy, not hot dinner. Sigh with relief.Great flavor, this salad has. Usually, I shun lite coconut milk... it isn't as thick or as coconut-y as its full-fat kin. That said, the lite really is perfect for this salad. I think the more flavored regular coconut milk would have been too overwhelming and too thick for a salad dressing.While I followed the recipe as-was, you may want to increase your chicken to a full pound. Four ounces each didn't seem like very much, especially considering the amount of actual salad. I have every intention of making this again, and I will use more chicken. Your call, really. The salad is great on its own, it doesn't need the chicken, but it makes the salad a bit more substantial and dinner-ready.Coconut-Lime Chicken & Snow Peas SaladEating Well Magazine, Online Version 2 servings1 cup lite coconut milk (see Tips for Two)¼ cup lime juice2 tablespoons brown sugar½ teaspoon salt8 ounces chicken tenders4 cups shredded romaine lettuce1 cup shredded red cabbage1 cup sliced snow peas3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro2 tablespoons minced red onionPreheat oven to 400°F.Whisk coconut milk, lime juice, sugar and salt in an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Transfer 1/4 cup of the dressing to a large bowl; set aside. Place chicken in the baking dish; bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.Meanwhile, add lettuce, cabbage, snow peas, cilantro and onion to the large bowl with the dressing; toss to coat. Divide between 2 plates.Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and thinly slice. Arrange the chicken slices on top of the salads. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the coconut cooking liquid over each of the salads.The dressing (Step 2) will keep for up to 2 days.Tips for Two: Refrigerate leftover coconut milk for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Use to make extra Coconut-Lime Dressing; drizzle on sliced fresh fruit; use as some of the liquid for cooking rice; make a Pineapple-Coconut Frappe.Per serving: 186 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 67 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 4 g fiber; 191 mg sodium; 473 mg potassium.[...]

TwD: French Chocolate Brownies


These are the most amazing, gluttonous chocolate brownies in the History of Ever. And I mean that. You know you are in trouble when you lick the spoon, and then use the spoon to lick the bowl, and you end up needing a tall glass of milk. Trouble that starts with T, that rhymes with B, and you get holy-crap, the best brownies ever!Di, of Di's Kitchen Notebook, chose for our TwD gustatory pleasure Dorie's French Chocolate Brownies. I don't know what makes them French, but I don't care. These are that good that I don't care about anything other than eating them. Short-sighted, maybe. But make these yourself and you'll understand. I would almost suggest you NOT make these, they are that dangerous. That, and I don't really want to share the world's chocolate resources with you - I want them all to myself so I can make these every day.Well, not every day. My doctor would probably kick my ass. With 12 tablespoons of butter per pan, I would swiftly turn into a solid. My plan is ruined. I shall come up with another. World domination can come about another way: Dorie for President.You heard me right. When we go to the polls this November and are given the opportunity to write-in our candidates, rather than vote for Mickey Mouse or Ronald McDonald, we should all vote Dorie into office. She would sooth the leaders of the world, not just with her famous World Peace cookies, but with these brownies. She could fight to lower food prices around the world and lead us all into a Chocolate Age of Happiness. Who's with me?Before I move on to another topic, these brownies remind me a lot of Orangette's Winning Hearts and Minds cake - and you know how much I loved that cake. I skipped the inclusion of the rum and raisins. We neither care too much for each in our brownies.I am sure you have all heard of Blake Makes. Blake is charming and hysterical and best of all, he loves giving away free stuff. Not long ago, he had some Amano Chocolate to give away. I wasn't one of the initial winners, but the fabulous folks at Amano decided to graciously send samples to everyone that expressed interest. A short week later, a package with three (three!!!) different chocolate varieties arrived in my hot little hands. Dave and I immediately popped them out of their classy packaging and sampled a tiny bit of each. I've left my notes regarding each at home, but I will update with our thoughts this evening. Overall, the chocolate was amazing. Superb mouth-feel and clean chocolate taste. We marveled at how different each one was from the other. It is so easy to think about how different coffee or wine tastes from different regions, and chocolate is no different. I can't wait to share our thoughts on each with you!Now, each package was 2 ounces - together totaling 6 was the perfect amount for these brownies. I melted all three to use their chocolatey goodness to Dorie's recipe and the chocolate did not disappoint. The brownies are rich (seriously rich) and moist and fudgy. Make sure you have a gallon if milk on hand, because you will need it.Remember what I said about this November. :)French Chocolate Brownies(adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 92-93)1/2 cup all-purpose flour1/8 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/3 cup raisins (dark or golden)1 1/2 tablespoons water1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, at ro[...]

Olive Oil-Poached Shrimp


I cannot tell you how excited I am to share this lovely dish with you as my 200th post! Yay 200th post! I don't always have the best follow-through with things, so it pleases me to not only have been blogging for over a year, but to have actually learned from and shared so much with you - fantastic!And fantastic is the perfect way to describe these olive oil-poached shrimp. This was a new technique for me, and I'm not entirely sure I would have attempted it, but my fabulous husband (and sous-chef) requested it. I am so glad I did, because Dave and I had an awesome time pulling it together. He peeled and deveined the shrimp, infused the oil, took lots of pictures and did a ton of dishes - and kept me laughing the whole time. Collective cartoon bird-sigh, Everyone - "Awwwww!" Sappy, but true. This was a blast to make.This recipe has a lot of steps, but don't be discouraged - nothing is tricky. It wasn't even especially time consuming, if you want to get right down to it. The oil infused while I prepared the lime syrup and roasted the poblano. The poblano steamed while I prepared the veg. The tomatoes marinated while we tidied up. Everything was ready to go by the time our friends Jeremy and Liane came over, so we were able to have quality friend time with no worries about our starter!I did have reservations about the poaching. Would it work? Would the shrimp be oily? Would we like it? In short, it did, they weren't, and OMG, they were delicious!! Next time we make this (because we will be making this again), we'll do way more than 8 shrimp - two per person just wasn't enough! The shrimp were tender and flavored delicately with coriander and red pepper flake - and not the least bit oily!As much as we loved the shrimp, they weren't the only stars of the show! Neither Dave nor Jeremy particularly care for tomatoes, but the marinade brightened them up to the point they didn't even taste like tomatoes - but in a good way. The cucumber salad was sweet and crunchy, crisp and smoky. The cucumber, lime zest and roasted poblano melded together in a most beautiful way. The brightness in both the tomatoes and cucumber salad was balanced deftly by the sliced avocado and mellow lime syrup. I couldn't possibly give you enough positive adjectives to explain how terrific every part of this plate was singularly, much less blended together. I can just say that it was a symphony of flavors, and each flavor came together beautifully as a whole.Elegant and delicious, this appetizer was. A blast to create and a joy to share. Thank you for sticking with me for 200 posts. I hope I have 200 more, just as tasty as this one.Olive Oil-Poached Shrimpc/o Top Chef: The Cookbookwinning recipe by Lia, Season 3, Episode 42 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed1 tablespoon red pepper flakesOne 750-ml bottle olive oil1 lime½ cup sugar1 ½ teaspoons cornstarchSalt1/3 English cucumber1 large poblano chile2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantroZest and juice of 1 Meyer lemonJuice of ½ navel orange1 tablespoon sherry vinegar1 vine-ripened tomato8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined2 Hass avocadosIn a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, toast the coriander seeds and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the oil. Heat until just hot to the touch, then remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and transfer to a medium saucepan.Using a vegetable peeler, r[...]