Sunday, January 20, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Emeril's Smothered Pork Chops with Apples, Onions and Cabbage
INGREDIENTS: 4 double cut pork chops (I used thick cut)
2 tsp. Essence, recipe follows (I recommend reducing to 1 tsp. for 4 chops)
2 tsp. kosher salt (I recommend reducing to 1 tsp. for 4 chops; Essence has salt in it)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick wedges
2 cups thinly sliced onions
3 lbs. savoy or napa cabbage, shredded or thin sliced (1 head) (I used regular green cabbage)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup Calvados (Calvados is a French apple brandy; I used Bols Triple Sec because that's
what I had)
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds (I didn't have any, so these were eliminated)
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt (this is for the cabbage; I recommend reducing to 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. freshly chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp. freshly chopped marjoram (I didn't have any, so this got eliminated)
DIRECTIONS: Season both sides of the chops with the Essence and kosher salt. Lightly dredge in the flour.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over high heat. Add the chops, 2 at a time, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the chops and transfer to a platter. Repeat with remaining chops; set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium-high, and add the apples and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples and onions are golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, Calvados, caraway seeds, bay leaves, salt, pepper and herbs. Cook uncovered until sauce comes to a boil. Add the chops; cover; reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the pork chops are fork-tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Serve the pork chops with the cabbage and pan juices.
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast)
2-1/2 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking," by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William Morrow, 1993.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Potato Leek Soup
INGREDIENTS: 1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 lb.
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns
4 springs fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. butter (I used Smart Balance buttery spread)
2 strips uncooked bacon, chopped (consider substituting 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Barefoot Chardonnay)
5 cups chicken stock
1 to 1-1/4 lbs. russet potatoes, chopped small (6 medium potatoes or 4-1/4 cups)
1-1/2 tsp. salt (preferably sea salt -- it has minerals)
3/4 tsp. white pepper (I used black)
1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream (I used 1/3 cup heavy cream)
2 Tbsp. snipped chives (I used cooked crumbled bacon)
DIRECTIONS: Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)
My Note: This is easier to do than it sounds. I just laid the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme on top of the green leek leaves and folded the leaves over them and around, making a cylindracal package tied with kitchen twine. It amazingly all stayed together; there were no peppercorns in the soup, and none of the thyme leaves fell out either. Photo below shows the package at the end of the cooking time, all neat and together.
In a large soup pot (I used a 5-quart stockpot) over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes more. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful. (My note: Cook the soup uncovered, and it took longer than 30 minutes; probably more like an hour.
Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender; or pureee the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender. (My note: I left some potatoes in the pot to mash coarsely and put the rest of the soup into my blender in one batch.) Stir in the creme fraiche or cream and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately with some snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup. (or some cooked crumbled bacon, as I did.) Yield: about 1-1/2 quarts without the cream
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Here's a look at the Wilton mini-bundt pan. I bought it online. These little cakes are about the size of a large cupcake.
Here are the mini bundt cakes after they have been turned out of the pans. Although the instructions for the bundt pans always seem to be to brush them with melted butter, I sprayed with the flour-added non-stick cooking spray and had no trouble with release. I think the real trick is to let the cakes sit in the pan for at least 10 minutes. They pop right out.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Now, about the sauce: another winner -- excellent flavor and texture, easy to make.
I hope you have some equipment to help you make pizza. I would be lost without my pizza stone and pizza board. They are both well-worn from years of use. I also use the pizza stone for pastry crusts and pies. If you don't have these tools, they're not expensive; go buy them. Photo below shows my pizza stone and board.
Make the pizza sauce and dough first; refrigerate or freeze till needed. When you want to make the pizzas, prepare your other topping ingredients. The pizza doesn't take long to put together and bake; it's all the other components that take the time, and they can be done in stages -- hours, days or even weeks ahead of time. BTW, this recipe is from Wolfgang Puck, Food Network. Since I've changed it considerably, you might want to see the original, which is on the Food Network website.
Thin Crust Pizza (adapted from Wolfgang Puck)
Rating: 10 out of 10
Cornmeal to sprinkle (I used self-rising)
All-purpose flour to sprinkle
1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated Asiago or Fontina
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup cooked Italian sausage, in small pieces
1 cup sliced cooked mushrooms
3/4 cup sliced roasted red peppers
(any other toppings you desire)
DIRECTIONS: Place oven rack in center position. Preheat oven with pizza stone to 500F. Set out all the pizza toppings on the counter like an assembly line. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper in a circle about 7-8", and place one parchment circle on the pizza board. Sprinkle about 2 tsp. cornmeal over the parchment paper circle. Place one ball of dough on the cornmeal and flatten it with your hand. Sprinkle it with about 2 tsp. flour, and rub it over the top of the ball with your hand. With a rolling pin, roll the ball in a circular motion around the edges, as you would a pie crust. To put it another way, divide the dough into quadrants and work clockwise, starting at 6 and going from 6 to 9, then 9 to 12, then 12 to 3, then 3 to 6. Keep doing this until the dough has become a flattened circle slightly larger than the parchment paper. The photo below is from my last attempt -- I was still trying to work the dough with my hands then. The pie was good, the crust was tender, but when I rolled the dough tonight, it was exceptional. Of course, our friends from Chicago wouldn't think so, because the crust would be just too thin for them. The crust on the pizza below puffed up at the edges, the way most pies do. And here's another little tip: whatever crust you see exposed when the dough is raw will expand in the oven. The dough below really blew up around the edges and there was quite a bit of crust showing on the baked pizza. (Naturally I forgot to take a photo; you know how I am with that.)
Your final toppings are up to you. We're partial to sausage and peppers, especially roasted peppers. The pizza below has gold and red peppers. Also, note the parchment paper -- it's larger than the pie and it did burn somewhat. So tonight I cut it smaller than the pie and it didn't burn. It really helps to move the dough onto and off of the pizza stone. The first night I struggled with the dough and couldn't move it easily. The parchment paper makes it a breeze.
Go back up top and look at the final pizza photo. That's from tonight. See the difference? There's less crust showing. We're so excited! We will be enjoying pizza at home more often. This is especially exciting considering that we have no decent pizza places in New Bern. I mean, how can a southerner make pizza? Did you know it originated in Trenton, NJ? Honest. It was called Tomato Pie back then.
Here's the last bit of instruction: Slip the filled dough onto the hot pizza stone by slightly tilting the pizza board towards the stone. The parchment paper will slide onto the stone, taking the dough with it. Bake for about 9 minutes. You may have to experiment with this. I find 9 minutes to be perfect for my oven. Wolfgang Puck says 7-8 minutes. I hope someone will leave me a comment about how this worked for them.
Wolfgang Puck's Favorite Tomato Sauce, Adapted
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (I use Carapelli first-cold pressed)
1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 lbs. Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced (I used 10 oz. from a can of crushed tomatoes,
and added 6 skinned, seeded and chopped roasted plum tomatoes)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (I used 1 Tbsp. crushed dried basil)
Sea Salt and black pepper to taste -- use sparingly and taste first
DIRECTIONS: In 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onions till soft, about 5 minutes, lowering heat if necessary to keep from burning the onions. Add the garlic and cook another minute. (Garlic burns very easily so watch it.) Add the tomato paste and tomatoes; stir and cook for about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth , basil salt and pepper and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or till sauce thickens, stirring as needed. When sauce is thickened nicely, taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Refrigerate or freeze till needed. Yield: about 1 quart.
Thin Crust Pizza Dough
1 small package active dry or fresh yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees, divided use
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
DIRECTIONS: Dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup warm water. (I used a Pyrex measuring cup for this, but you could also use a small bowl if you prefer.) The water should feel comfortably warm on your wrist. Don't use your fingers or hand to gauge the temp of the water.
Combine the flour and salt in the work bowl of an 11-cup or larger food processor (or use the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook). Add the oil, the yeast mixture and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and pulse till dough forms and is well worked, about 5 minutes. (For electric mixer with dough hook, mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.) Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. (I didn't need to do this, because the dough was worked well enough by the food processor; you will have to judge what your dough needs. You will know by the way it feels. If it's soft, smooth and elastic, it's worked enough.) Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. (I put the dough in a lightly oiled glass bowl, turned it over so both sides would be greased, and covered it with a clean kitchen towel that I dampened. I placed it in my microwave -- without turning it on of course -- and set the timer for 30 minutes.)
Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 oz. each. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then, on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel (the same one) and let rest 15 - 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 2 days (or frozen, if you prefer). Yield: 4 8" pizzas
Friday, January 11, 2008
Did you know that Cook's Illustrated recently tested vanillas and found that the best baking results were obtained when using vanilla beans? This recipe uses a mix of beans and vanilla extract. I had some Madagascar vanilla beans, and I opted to use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla bean paste instead of the vanilla extract (purchase at Williams Sonoma, 4 oz. about $11.00). This product is actually a replacement for vanilla beans in any recipe, because it contains vanilla bean seeds. So by using both the vanilla bean and Nielsen-Massey's vanilla bean paste, this cheesecake had a distinct but delicate vanilla flavor.
If you don't have an 8" springform pan, trot over to Wal-Mart and buy the Wilton pack of 3 springform pans (8", 9" and 10") for around $10.00. Do yourself a favor and make this cheesecake soon.
Food & Wine's Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Walnut Crust, Adapted
CRUST: 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used 1/4 c. brown sugar + 1 tsp. Stevia Plus)
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour (the nutty flavor of the flour complements the walnuts)
SOUR CREAM TOPPING: 1 cup sour cream (I used lite and had no trouble with it setting)
2 Tbsp. white sugar (I used 1-1/2 tsp. Stevia Plus)
1 tsp. good quality vanilla (I used Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste)
FILLING: 16 oz. cream cheese (I used full-fat; it's what I had on hand, but Neufchatel is fine.)
1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar + 1/2 Tbsp. Stevia Plus)
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, good quality (I used Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste)
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350F. Position oven rack in center. Have filling and topping ingredients at room temperature. Place walnuts in a pie plate or other ovenproof dish and bake for about 8-10 minutes, or till lightly toasted and giving off an aroma. Set aside to cool.
Lightly grease bottom and about 1" up sides of 8" springform pan, using butter. In work bowl of 11-cup or larger food processor, combine first 3 crust ingredients and pulse till well combined and nuts are crumbs, scraping bottom and sides as needed. Add the flour and pulse till combined and mixture resembles coarse sand. Press crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1" up sides. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until set and lightly browned around edges. Remove to wire rack to cool slightly while preparing filling.
Reduce oven heat to 300F. (Note: I missed this step and actually started to bake the cheesecake at 350F. It baked at that temp for 15 minutes, then I reduced to 275F for 40 minutes, added the sour cream topping and baked at 5 minutes. There was no harm done, showing how flexible cheesecakes really are and not to be feared. Just remember to check the cake about 10 minutes before expected done time; shake the pan gently to see if the center is set yet. It should jiggle slightly to allow for continued baking upon removal from oven.)
Prepare the sour cream topping by combining the topping ingredients in a small bowl and mixing by hand with a whisk or spoon. Set aside.
Wipe work bowl and blades with damp paper towel. Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla bean seeds and pulse till well combined and smooth, about 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, pulsing just till each is combined. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl as needed. Add the cream, flavorings, salt and cornstarch and pulse till combined, maybe another minute. Pour batter over crust and place pan in oven on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or till lightly golden and slightly jiggly in center. (Note: my cheesecake never got lightly golden, so look more for the slightly jiggly center as your guide.) Remove the cheesecake from the oven; immediately pour the sour cream topping over the cheesecake and smooth the surface. Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer, or till the topping is set and no longer glossy on top. Transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating for 3 hours. Cover the cheesecake loosely with plastic wrap or with tinfoil over top of pan and allow to ripen overnight. Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the cheesecake to loosen the sides -- you can do this while it cools. This cheesecake yields about 8 servings.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Judy's Turkey Burgers
INGREDIENTS: 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, or Smart Balance buttery spread + 1/4
cup for frying
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1.3 lb. pkg. ground turkey (breast or 93% lean, or mixture)
2/3 cup whole wheat or white fine bread crumbs + extra bread crumbs
for coating patties
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or chipotle chile pepper)
1 egg white
1/3 cup milk or lite sour cream (approx.)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp. tomato paste or ketchup
DIRECTIONS: In medium heavy fry pan, saute the onion in the oil till transparent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, till the garlic is soft. Set aside to cool thoroughly. In large bowl, combine all ingredients, including the cooled onion/garlic mixture. Mix thoroughly. Form into 5-6 patties. Sprinkle extra breadcrumbs on wax paper or paper plate and coat each pattie with crumbs. Refrigerate till cooking time.
When ready to cook patties, heat a large heavy fry pan over medium-high heat and add about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. When oil is hot, add patties and reduce heat to medium. Cook on each side about 4-5 minutes, or till turkey is cooked through and patties are nicely browned. If they are cooking too fast, reduce heat to avoid burning them. When you flip to the second side, you can also cover the pan and reduce heat to low. (Our Thai friend/neighbor made us some delicious collards to go with the turkey burgers -- see photo above; and I cooked some sweet potatoes with onions and garlic as another side.)
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
And, although the cheesecake is wonderful as is, a drizzle of chocolate sundae sauce followed by a drizzle of caramel sundae sauce would really top it off nicely. I'm watching my sugar, so I didn't add the drizzles. You'll notice that I used whole-wheat flour for the crust. We have to add those whole grains wherever we can, right? The crust is wonderful on this cake, and no one will know it's whole-wheat flour unless you tell them.
Pecan Pumpkin Butter Cheesecake
CRUST: 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
FILLING: 24 oz. cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese (3 8-oz. pkgs.)
3/4 cup white sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 cup spiced pecan pumpkin butter
3 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. flour
DIRECTIONS: CRUST: Preheat oven to 350F. Set out a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil and an 8" springform pan lined with parchment paper that has been cut to fit the bottom. Have all ingredients at room temperature before starting.
In work bowl of 11-cup food processor, combine butter, brown sugar, and pecans. Pulse for a minute or two, or till well combined and pecans are ground. Scrape down sides and bottom as necessary. Add flour and salt and pulse just till combined. Set aside 1 cup of dough for topping. Press remaining into bottom of springform pan, and about 1 inch up sides. Bake 12-14 minutes, or till golden, slightly puffy and set. Transfer to wire rack to cool slightly while filling is prepared.
FILLING: Using same work bowl (not necessary to clean it), combine the cream cheese, pumpkin butter (and peanut butter and cocoa if adding) and sugar and pulse about 2 minutes or till well combined, scraping sides and bottom as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, pulsing just till combined after each one. Add cream, cinnamon, vanilla and flour and pulse till combined. Pour over crust, sprinkle with reserved topping, and place in oven. Immediately reduce heat to 325F and bake 55-70 minutes, or till center is almost set. Turn oven off, leave door halfway open, and let cheesecake sit in half-opened oven for about 20-30 minutes, or till center is about set. Transfer to cooling rack to finish cooling (at least 2 hours), then place in fridge, covered, to ripen overnight. (You can run a knife or spatula around the edges of the cheesecake to loosen the sides while it's cooling.)
If desired, drizzle each cheesecake slice with some chocolate sundae sauce and/or some caramel sundae sauce. Yield: about 8 servings.