Sunday, November 30, 2008

Parlsey and mint pesto

1/2 cup whole almonds
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 T. crumbled ricotta salata cheese
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a baking sheet; bake 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant and golden. Let cool.

Place garlic, salt, almonds, parsley, mint, basil and olive oil in a food processor and whirl until blended. Transfer to a bowl.

Stir in ricotta salata and pepper; can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for several days topped with a film of olive oil.

Delicious as dressing on a new potato salad; cook small red potatoes, toss with the pesto when warm, along with 2 stalks thinly sliced celery, 1/4 cup grated ricotta salata, 2 T. olive oil and 2 T. red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Arugula and Walnut Pesto

one small clove garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cups fresh arugula leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
two T. grated Parmesan cheese
one T. fresh lemon juice

Place garlic, salt, walnuts, arugula, basil and olive oil in a food processor and whirl until blended. Transfer to a bowl.

Stir in parmesan and lemon juice. Makes one cup. Can be stored in a covered jar in the refrigerator for several days, with a thin film of olive oil covering the top.

Delicious served tossed with whole wheat pasta, 1/3 cup fresh ricotta cheese, halved cherry tomatoes, and a little lemon zest.

Katie's Mac-A-Cheese

Two cups macaroni (or any small pasta)
Two eggs, beaten
Two cups evaporated milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. cayenne
3 cups sharp cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup parmesan

Cook pasta. Beat eggs, milk, cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup butter. Grate cheddar, stir into the mixture along with the cooked pasta.

Mix paprika, bread crumbs, parmesan and the rest of the butter.

Spread on top of pasta.

Bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees, uncovered.

Two-Tone Potatoes Anna

Makes 8-10 servings

If making up to one day ahead, let cool, cover airtight and chill. Reheat, covered, in a 425 degree oven until hot in the center, 25 to 30 minutes

One-and-a-half pound of yams or sweet potatoes

One-and-a-half pound russet potatoes

Ten T. melted butter (I use less)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (also good with gouda)

Two teaspoons crumbled dried rosemary

Salt and pepper

Peel yams and russet potatoes. Cut yams and potatoes into uniformly thick 1/16" slices. As cut, immerse russets into water to prevent browning.

Put two T. butter into a 10 " ovenproof nonstick frying pan and spread to cover bottom

Drain russet potatoes and pat slices dry. neatly overlap 1/4 of the russet slices to cover pan bottom. Drizzle with 1 T. butter and sprinkle with 1 T. cheese and 1/4 tsp. rosemary. Neatly overlap 1/4 yam slices over russets; repeat butter, cheese adn rosemary. Repeat layers, alternating russets and yams, until all the vegetables are in the pan. Drizzle with any remaining butter. Cover pan tightly with foil.

Bake on the lowest rack in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until potatoes are tender when pierced and edges are brown and crips, about 35-45 minutes longer. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Drain off excess butter. Run a knife between pan sides and potatoes. Invert a platter over pan; holding together, invert both to release vegetables...

Artichoke-Parmesan-Sourdough Dressing

Serves 10-12

Cut one loaf (1 lb.) sourdough bread into 1/2 inch cubes

One T. butter

two sweet onions, peeled and chopped

one cup chopped celery

Two T. minced garlic

Two cups vegetable broth

Two jars (6 oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

One and a half tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves or 3/4 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary

salt and pepper

One large egg

Spread bread cubes in a single layer on flat pans or cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes or until toasted golden brown. Turn cubes with a spatula occasionally, and switch pan positions after 15 minutes.

In large frying pan, combine butter, onions, celery and garlic. Stir often until vegetables are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Pour into large bowl. Add a little broth to the pan, and scapr up brown bits, add to the bowl.

Pour two cups of broth into the bowl, add the bread cubes, artichoke hearts, cheese, rosemary and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make a well in the dressing, add the egg, beat with a fork to blend, then mix egg into the dressing.

Spoon mixture into a shallow 3 quart casserole (9 x 13 inch pan) For moist dressing, cover with foil; for crusty dressing, do not cover. Bake at 325 degrees until hot or lightly browned, about 50 minutes (at least an hour if chilled).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Alice Waters's Pie Crust

This recipe makes two 11 inch tarts, or one double crust nine-inch pie. It's easily doubled or halved.

Have measured: 1/2 cup ice cold water

Mix together:
2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. salt (if using unsalted butter)

12 tablespoons (one and one-half stick) cold butter, cut into small (1/4") cubes

Cut or work the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or your fingertips, leaving some of the butter in fairly large, irregular pieces. This will take 1-2 minutes. Pour in three quarters of the water, stirring all the while with a fork until the dough begins to form clumps. Keep adding water if needed. Divide the dough in two, bring each part togethe rinto a ball, and wrap each ball in plastic wrap. Let rest, refrigerated, for one hour or longer.

Rolling out:
If the dough has been in the 'fridge for many hours, take it out to warm a bit (no more than 20 minutes). If it's just been in the 'fridge an hour or two, it's ready to roll out.

Choose a surface that is smooth and cool with plenty of room to roll it out. Flatten the gall with your hands while it's still wrapped. Dust the counter lightly and evenly with flour, dust the top of the dough with flour, tap the dough with the rolling pin to flatten it out even more, and then roll from the center of the dough disk out toward the edge with firm but consistent pressure. Don't roll back and forth, continue to roll out from the center as the disk gets bigger.

Brush off extra flour gently with a flour, fold it in half and then quarters, and ease gently into the pie pan. Fill and bake.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Warm Potato Salad

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 small or medium garlic clove, minced or pureed

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or for a low-fat dressing use 1/4 cup low-fat yogurt or buttermilk and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:

1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold, fingerling or red bliss potatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped red onion (to taste), rinsed with cold water and drained

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 ounces soft goat cheese

2 to 3 sage leaves, cut in thin slivers (optional)

1. Make the dressing. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic. Whisk in the olive oil or the yogurt and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings, Set aside.

2. Scrub the potatoes and cut into 3/4-inch dice if large. If using fingerlings cut in 3/4 inch slices. Steam above 1 inch of boiling water until tender but not mushy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss while hot in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste, the onions, parsley, goat cheese, and the dressing. Sprinkle the sage over the top and serve.

cinnamon almond stars

These star-shaped cinnamon almond cookies from Churer, Switzerland, are crisp, chewy and utterly sublime. A sweet meringue serves as both an element of the cookie dough and a baked-on frosting for the finished cookies. The name means cinnamon stars, and the cookies are traditionally no more than a couple of inches across.

Makes 3 dozen

1 ½ cups whole, natural almonds

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1/4 cup egg white

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 pinch salt

1 ½ cups powdered sugar, plus powdered sugar for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.

2. In a food processor, combine almonds, cinnamon and lemon zest. Pulse the motor on and off until the almonds are roughly ground, then leave the motor on and grind the almonds finely, about 30 seconds.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites with the lemon juice and salt until they are very foamy. Continue whipping vigorously until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in the powdered sugar to make a stiff meringue. Set aside 1/3 cup of the meringue, covered in plastic wrap.

4. Stir the ground almond mixture into the remaining meringue mixture until the mixture comes together to form a stiff dough.

5. On a surface coated in powdered sugar, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. (This is thicker than most cookies, so be careful not to roll it out too thinly.) With a 2-inch, star-shaped cookie cutter dipped in water between each cut, cut the rolled dough into cookies and transfer the cookies to lined baking sheets. Reroll any scraps of dough and cut it in the same manner.

6. Add a few drops of water to the reserved meringue to make it spreadable, and brush it onto the tops of the cut-out cookies.

7. Bake the cookies just until they are firm to the touch but still moist inside, 12 to 14 minutes. (Do not overbake, or the cookies will harden as they cool; they should be tender and chewy.) Cool the cookies completely and keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Chocolate Pumpkin Layer Cake

20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) soft unsalted butter, more for greasing
2 cups flour, more for dusting
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain pumpkin purée, canned, frozen or fresh
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
10 ounces unsweetened chocolate, preferably 99 or 100 percent, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use a little butter to grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream 8 tablespoons butter and the granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in pumpkin purée. Mixture may look slightly curdled. Stir in flour mixture about half a cup at a time until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.

3. Divide batter into pans and bake in middle of oven until springy to the touch and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, run a knife around edges, invert onto racks and peel off paper. Let cakes cool completely.

4. In a large bowl, blend remaining 12 tablespoons butter and confectioners’ sugar together. Blend in chocolate and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.

5. Place one cake layer, smooth side up, on a platter. Ice top. Place second layer, smooth side down, on top; ice top and sides of cake.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings.

To make ahead: For fully frosted cake, put in freezer unwrapped; when frozen hard, wrap in plastic, then foil. Remove wrapping before defrosting.

Unfrosted cake layers out of their pans can be wrapped first, then frozen up to three weeks.

Frosting can be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated, then brought to room temperature for at least one hour.

Spicy green salad with manchego and pears

  • 1/3 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas; not toasted)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mild honey
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 4 cups packed spicy salad greens, such as radish greens, watercress, and/or arugula, tough stems discarded
  • 4 cups packed frisée (French curly endive), torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (1/2-lb) piece Manchego cheese, rind removed and cheese shaved into 32 thin slices (preferably with a cheese plane)
  • 8 small red or yellow Bartlett pears (preferably with stems)
  • Cook seeds in 1 tablespoon oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until puffed and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels and reserve oil. Season seeds with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add remaining 1/3 cup olive oil and reserved oil from skillet in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
  • Divide greens and cheese among salad plates. Cut off 2 opposite sides of each pear (reserve for another use), leaving a 1/2-inch-thick lengthwise center slice with stem and core. Arrange a pear slice on each plate and drizzle dressing over salads. Sprinkle with seeds
Cooks’ notes: Serves 8
Pumpkin seeds can be toasted 2 days ahead and kept separately from oil, covered, at room temperature.
Greens can be washed and dried 1 day ahead and chilled, wrapped in paper towels, in a sealed bag.

LIme and Pecan Shortbread Snowballs

Recipe: Lime and Pecan Shortbread Snowballs
Makes 4 dozen 1 cup butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest 1 ¾ cups unbleached white...

We've always been fond of the powdered-sugar-covered shortbread balls known as Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Teacakes. And this cookie belongs to that same family of buttery goodness. Here, pungent lime zest and toasted pecans lend the cookies extra character; cornstarch replaces some of the flour to make the cookies extra-tender.

Makes 4 dozen

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest

1 ¾ cups unbleached white flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup lightly toasted pecans, cooled and chopped

1 cup powdered sugar for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with baker's parchment.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together butter, powdered sugar and lime zest. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Add flour mixture and pecans all at once to butter mixture and stir just until mixture comes together to form dough.

3. Divide dough into four parts and shape each into a 3x4-inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle into 12 1-inch cubes. Arrange cubes of dough 1 inch apart on cookie sheets and bake 10 minutes.

4. As soon as cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Allow the cookies to cool completely, then roll in powdered sugar again.

Bainbridge Island Molasses Cookies

Soft and chewy on the inside and slightly crisp on the surface, these dark and spicy cookies evoke the era of cookie jars and grandmothers in the kitchen. We think the smell conjures the spirit of those wonderful gingerbread men we used to make. But we like these better. The large crystals of turbinado sugar, available in the bulk section of some grocery stores or under the brand name "Sugar in the Raw" on the baking aisle, provides these cookies with extra holiday sparkle, but you can roll them in regular granulated sugar if it's all you have on hand.

Makes 2 dozen large cookies

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar, plus additional sugar for rolling

1 medium egg

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup blackstrap (dark) molasses

Turbinado sugar for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with baker's parchment. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt; set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk oil and 1 cup sugar, then stir in egg, water and molasses. Add dry ingredients all at once to oil mixture and stir just until mixture is combined. Divide dough into 4 pieces and chill.

3. Roll each piece of chilled dough into 6 balls, and roll the balls in turbinado sugar. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet, allowing plenty of room for the cookies to spread, and bake 8 minutes, or until cookies are crackled and lightly browned.

Christina's Brown Sugar Shortbread

One pound of butter
One pound of flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound of brown sugar, packed (about one cup)
1/3 cup of cornstarch
1 tsp of salt if the butter is unsalted
1 Tablespoon of vanilla.

Combine dry ingredients in a food processor. Add butter at refrigerator temperature, vanilla, and process until a clump forms.

Chill in flat rounds. Roll out chilled circles (not too think) cut into shapes and freeze before baking. Warm the oven to 350 degree, put the frozen shapes on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 15 minutes.

NYT Wild Rice Salad

For the salad:

1 quart vegetable stock

1 cup wild rice, rinsed

Salt to taste

1/3 cup lightly toasted broken walnut pieces

3 celery stalks, preferably from the heart, thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 1 1/4 cups)

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage (2 good-size leaves) (optional)

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar

1 small garlic clove, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 tablespoons walnut oil

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt

1. Bring the water or stock to a boil in a large saucepan, add salt to taste and the wild rice. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the rice is tender and splayed. Drain and toss in a large bowl with the remaining salad ingredients.

2. Mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk in the walnut oil, olive oil, and buttermilk or yogurt. Toss with the wild rice mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Advance preparation: You can assemble the salad several hours before serving. If you wish to toss it with the dressing so that the rice marinates for a while, do not add the parsley. Add just before serving, or the color will fade.

Greg Atkinson's Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Makes 4 dozen cookies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup canola oil

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa nibs

1 cup powdered sugar

1. Melt the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl set over barely simmering water. Mix in the oil and granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in the vanilla extract.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With a rubber spatula, stir the flour mixture and cocoa nibs into the chocolate mixture just until the ingredients are combined. Cover the dough securely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with baker's parchment. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into the powdered sugar. Roll the dough in the sugar and shape into balls. Place the cookies at least 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Serve warm with cold milk.