Monday, February 3, 2014

Shrimp Skewers with Feta Dill Sauce and Grilled Vegetables

This is something that is normally not my style. I am a notoriously picky eater, and yogurt seriously grosses me out.

Trying this recipe was an attempt to branch out, as well as an attempt to try to eat healthier.

It was so worth it! I could have eaten twice as much!!

(Adapted from Grace Parisi)


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 scallion, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 2 lemons, each cut into 12 wedges
  • 2 italian zucchini, cut into 1/4" disks
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into 1/4" disks
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • olive oil
  • cayenne pepper


Directions:

  1. Light a grill. In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt with the scallion, 1/4 of the garlic and 1/2 tablespoon of the dill. Stir in the feta, mashing it slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining minced garlic and 2 tablespoons of dill with the olive oil. Add the shrimp and lemons, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
  3. In another large bowl, combine zucchini and squash. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Toss to coat.
  4. Thread 4 shrimp and 2 lemon wedges onto each of 12 skewers. 
  5. Thread veggies on separate skewers.
  6. Grill vegetables, turning several times, until they have grill marks and are cooked through. Cover with foil and set aside.
  7. Season shrimp skewers with salt and pepper and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until the shrimp are charred and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer the skewers to a platter and serve at once with the feta sauce and veggies.

Soft Brioche Hamburger Buns


I'm kind of a cheeseburger addict. I mean, I have actually had to make a pact with boyfriend to not eat cheeseburgers if I can help it. 

But when I mentioned that I'd be making them myself, and that they'd be served on homemade buns, he really couldn't argue.

And to be honest, I think this perfect brioche bun recipe will win my case every time I want a cheeseburger.

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)



Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Sesame seeds (optional)


Directions:
1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours. (In my freaky, warm apartment this only took an hour.)

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours. (Again, this only took one hour in my apartment and I suspect, you’ll also only need an hour for a second rise.)

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns.



Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Hoagie Rolls


When I first started Babybakes, I was brand new to bread making. There is a recipe for hoagie rolls on this blog from when the site first began, and I will keep it there for nostalgic and historical value. But if I'm being perfectly honest, that recipe is terrible.

I have been searching since then for the perfect authentic hoagie roll recipe, and baby, this is it.

(Adapted from The Kitchen Whisperer)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 3/8 cups warm water (110-115F degrees)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp cold butter, cubed


Instructions:

  1. Add the yeast, sugar and 3/8 cup warm water in a bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Using a whisk or spoon, mix and set aside for 5-10 minutes or until the yeast has bubbled quite a bit.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (this would be the same bowl your yeast mixture is in) add in the flour and water. Start off on low.
  4. Mix for 4 minutes.
  5. Add in the salt and mix for 5-6 minutes until the dough is slack. At this point your mixer should be at medium speed.
  6. Add in the butter and mix for 1-3 minutes or until the dough comes back together.
  7. Remove from bowl and transfer to a greased, covered bowl until doubled in size. ~1 hour.
  8. Divide into 8 pieces and shape.
  9. Transfer to a sprayed, parchment lined tray and cover.
  10. Allow to rise again. ~30-45 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 16-23 minutes or until golden brown.

Fleur de Sel Caramels



(Adapted from Ina Garten)

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Directions:

  1. Prep the pan:
  2. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over 2 sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil.
  3. Boil the sugar:
  4. In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Don't stir -- just swirl the pan.
  5. Heat the cream:
  6. In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  7. Finish the caramel:
  8. When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful -- it will bubble up violently.
  9. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.
  10. Fill the pan:
  11. Very carefully pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.
  12. Cut the caramel:
  13. When the caramel is cold, pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the square in half.
  14. Roll it up:
  15. Starting with a long side, roll the caramel up tightly into an 8-inch-long log.
  16. Cut into pieces:
  17. Sprinkle the log with fleur de sel, trim the ends and cut into 8 pieces. (Start by cutting the log in half, then continue cutting each piece in half until you have 8 equal pieces.) It's easier to cut the caramels if you brush the knife with flavorless oil like corn oil.
  18. Wrap the candies:
  19. Cut glassine or parchment paper into 4-by-5-inch pieces and wrap each caramel individually, twisting the ends.
  20. Store in the refrigerator and serve the caramels chilled.



Vietnamese Chicken Sandwiches




(Adapted from Marcia Kiesel)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, plus more for spreading
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, halved crosswise and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup pickled cocktail onions, halved, plus 1/4 cup of the pickling liquid from the jar
  • One 10-ounce baguette, split lengthwise and toasted, or four mini baguettes or rolls
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce, for spreading
  • 1 Kirby cucumber, very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Cilantro sprigs

Directions:
  1. In a bowl, toss the chicken with the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise and the shallot. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix the carrots with the pickled onions and their liquid and let stand for 1 hour.   
  3. Heat a grill pan. Grill the chicken and shallot slices over high heat until charred and the chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
  1. Spread mayonnaise on the cut sides of the baguette, then spread with Sriracha.
  2. On the bottom half, layer the carrots, onions and cucumber, then top with the chicken and shallots.
  3. Lay cilantro sprigs over the chicken and close the sandwich. Cut crosswise into 6 pieces and serve.

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Remoulade and Shaved Lemon



(Adapted from Annie Miller)

Ingredients:

  • 4 thin chicken cutlets (1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 slices cut from a round loaf of semolina bread, or 4 mini baguettes
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cornichons
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced paper thin, plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 bunch watercress (6 ounces), large stems discarded


Directions:


  1. Light a grill or preheat the broiler.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the orange juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, brush both sides of the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and grill until toasted, turning once.
  4. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the parsley, cornichons, mustard, scallion, garlic, capers and lemon juice.
  5. Grill the chicken over high heat until lightly charred and cooked through, about 6 minutes.
  6. Spread the remoulade on the toast.
  7. Top with the chicken, a few slices of lemon and the watercress. Close the sandwiches, cut in half and serve.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rosemary Gouda Beer Bread


I love beer. I love bread. I love rosemary. I love butter.

If you love all of those things, you'd better make this bread. 

Ingredients:



  • 3 cups bread or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) can of beer
  • 1 cup shredded gouda cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover the bottom of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly butter the sides; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Add beer; stir until just combined. Fold in 3/4 cup of the gouda cheese and rosemary.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Pour melted butter evenly over top of bread.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.
  5. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.
  6. Serve warm.



Autumn Chicken Pot Pie



(Adapted from Anne Burrell)

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 stick butter, cut into pea-size pieces
  • 1 (8-ounce) container cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 3 pounds skinless chicken legs and thighs (We used a pre-made rotisserie chicken from Costco!)
  • 4 cups rich chicken stock, (preferably homemade)
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch pieces haricots verts (Or green beans!)
  • 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of water, for egg wash


Directions:

To make the crust: 

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, cream cheese, flour and salt. Pulse to combine.
  2. Pulse until the ingredients start to come together and resembles Parmesan. Add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water.
  3. Pulse a couple of more times until the ingredients start to form a ball.
  4. If the mixture is exceedingly wet, add some more flour. Or conversely, if the mix is dry, add in a few more drops of water.
  5. When the mixture has come together into a ball, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead it a couple of times to help it come together.
  6. Dust it with flour, form it into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to use. This can be done a day ahead. (If you're going to refrigerate it before using it, make sure you take it out about a half hour before you use it to allow it to warm up so it's easy to roll out.)


To make the filling:


  1. Coat the bottom of a stock pot lightly with olive oil put over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and the carrots and sprinkle with salt, to taste.
  2. Saute the vegetables for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Season with salt, then add the chicken and the chicken stock. If the stock doesn't cover the chicken, add water until it does.
  4. Bring the stock to a boil, over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  6. While the chicken is simmering, add the butternut squash to a large bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and add salt, to taste.
  7. Toss to coat the squash with the oil and transfer to a baking sheet.
  8. Roast until the squash is cooked but still has some texture, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve. Leave the oven on.
  9. Add the roasted squash to the chicken and vegetables. Stir to combine and season with salt, if needed. Stir in the haricots verts and the chopped sage.
  10. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir to combine with melted butter. Cook stirring frequently until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand and is starting to turn a little beige, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  11. Gradually whisk in the reserved chicken stock. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
  12. When the stock is combined into the roux, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until it has a gravy-like consistency, about 20 to 25 minutes. If the gravy reduces too much and becomes too thick, whisk in a little more chicken stock or water.
  13. Add the chicken mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish or 4 individual (2 cup) crocks.
  14. Ladle the "gravy" over the chicken mixture until the dish(es) are 3/4 filled.
  15. Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll the dough into the shape of the casserole dish or large enough to cut circles to cover the individual casserole dishes.
  16. Whichever dishes are being used the dough needs to have generous overhang of dough on the edges of the dish.
  17. Brush the outside edges of the dish with a little of the egg wash to help "glue" the dough to sides of the dish. Fold the edges of the dough under and press it onto the edges of the dish.
  18. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining egg wash.
  19. Cut a couple of vents in the top of the dough to allow the steam to escape.
  20. Bake in the preheated oven until the dough is golden brown and the inside is hot and bubbly, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  21. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tangy Sort-of Jerk Chicken




(Adapted from Steven Brown)

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1 small habanero, stemmed
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Coke
  • 1/4 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing

Directions:


  1. Arrange the chicken on a large baking sheet and season generously with salt. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the onion, scallions, habanero, garlic and ginger until chunky. Add the allspice, thyme, sugar, cayenne, black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon and puree until very smooth.
  3. Transfer the puree to a large bowl and whisk in the vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, Coke and liquid smoke, then whisk in the 1/4 cup of oil. Add the chicken and turn to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate overnight (I have also done the marinade for two hours, and it worked just fine!).
  4. Light a grill and brush the grates with oil.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a large plate.
  6. Transfer the marinade to a medium saucepan and boil until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  7. Brush the chicken with oil and grill over moderate heat for 25 minutes, until lightly charred and cooked through. 
  8. Brush the chicken with some of the marinade and grill for 1 minute. Serve the chicken with the remaining reduced marinade.


Spice-Rubbed Steak Tacos with Corn Relish


I love me some grilled corn. 

I found this recipe on Bon Apetit and I decided to alter the spice rub mixture to add more flavor. I'm pretty proud of how fucking delicious it was.

(Adapted from Bon Apetit)

Ingredients:
  • 2 ears fresh corn, husked
  • 1 lb sirloin steak
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/8 tsp New Mexico chile powder, plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 6 green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 chiles in adobo, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
  • 8 5-to-6-inch corn tortillas

Directions:
  1. Turn on grill to medium-high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cayenne, paprika, smoked salt, pepper, cumin, ancho chile powder, 1/8 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder, and garlic powder.
  3. Sprinkle skirt steak on both sides with spice mixture and rub it in well.
  4. Whisk 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon lime juice in 11x7-inch glass dish.
  5. Add meat and turn to coat; place in single layer. Marinate 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, brush green onions and corn with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes for green onions and 7 minutes for corn. 

  7. Working over bowl, cut corn from cob directly into bowl. Coarsely chop green onions and add to corn.
  8. Stir in cilantro, lime peel, 1/4 teaspoon chile powder, 1/2 tablespoon oil, chiles in adobo, and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Season relish to taste with salt and pepper. 
  9. Grill skirt steak to desired doneness, about 2 1/2 minutes per side for medium. Transfer to work surface; let rest 5 minutes. 
  10. Place tortillas at edge of grill to warm and soften, about 1 minute.
  11. Arrange 2 warm tortillas on each of 4 plates.
  12. Thinly slice skirt steak across grain.
  13. Divide skirt steak and juices equally among tortillas.
  14. Spoon relish over each and serve.

Catfish Po'Boys with Pickle Roumelade


       I've never been that big on fish, but these sandwiches were so good, I actually ate the leftovers the next day. The tangy deliciousness  of the remoulade is so perfect that we made extra!


(Adapted from Jay Foster)


Ingredients:

PICKLE REMOULADE:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup minced celery
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

PO'BOYS:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs), crushed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 large eggs
  • Eight 5-ounce skinless catfish fillets
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 8 crusty hero rolls, split
  • Shredded romaine, for serving

Directions:


  1. In a bowl, combine all of the remoulade ingredients and place it in the fridge to set.
  2. In a shallow dish (like a pie plate), whisk the cornmeal, panko, 1/2 cup of flour, the salt, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, sage, ginger and cumin.
  3. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs.
  4. Dust the catfish with flour, then dip in the beaten egg; coat in the panko mixture, pressing the crumbs to help them adhere. Transfer the fish to a baking sheet. 
  5. In a skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil.
  6. Fry the catfish in 2 batches over moderately high heat, turning once, until the crust is golden and crisp and the fish is cooked through, 4 minutes. Drain the fish on paper towels. 
  7. Spread the rolls with the remoulade. Top with the fried fish and romaine and serve.

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Fricassee


Somehow Andrew Carmellini figured out a healthy way to make a cream sauce.

That's fine by me!


Ingredients:
  • One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup celery leaves
Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, on a rack set on a large rimmed baking sheet; season generously with salt and pepper. 
  3. Roast the chicken in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, until cooked through and the skin is crisp. 
  4. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just softened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms, raise the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, bay leaves and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  7. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, scraping up any browned bits, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the chicken stock and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  9. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream and yogurt. Discard the bay leaves.
  10. Add the chicken to the sauce, skin side up, and simmer until heated through. 
  11. Stir in the celery leaves. Transfer the chicken to plates, spoon the sauce on top and serve.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Topping


This cheesecake/pumpkin pie/pecan pie tri-brid was the best cheesecake I've ever made. 

I LOATHE using water baths for cheesecakes and custards because I am terrible at keeping the water out of my pans. This low temperature, long baking method eliminates the need for a water bath to ensure even baking. It is wonderful. It takes some TLC, but it's totally worth it in the end.

No cracking, no bullshit. Best pumpkin cheesecake ever.


(Katherine Beto)

Ingredients:

Cheesecake:

  • One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups)
  • 8 whole graham crackers, broken
  • 1/2 cup pecans (2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups cream cheese (14 ounces), at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Praline topping (recipe follows!)

Driections:


  1. Set a rack over a baking sheet and line the rack with 2 layers of paper towels. Spread the pumpkin puree over the paper towels and let drain for 2 hours, until the puree is fairly dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter the bottom and side of a 9-inch springform pan. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground.
  3. Add the pecans and brown sugar and pulse until finely ground.
  4. Add the melted butter and pulse just until incorporated.
  5. Press the crumbs onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
  6. Bake the crust for 5-8 minutes, just until it is fragrant and lightly browned. Let the crust cool completely. (Watch your crust carefully! I burned TWO before I got this right. When it's fragrant and darkish…take it out!)
  7. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese until it is very smooth.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar with the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.
  9. With the machine on, add the spiced sugar to the cream cheese and beat until creamy, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl.
  10. Carefully add the drained pumpkin puree and beat until smooth.
  11. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl between each addition. (This process is tedious, but completely necessary for light, fluffiness!)
  12. Beat in the heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla until the cheesecake mixture is smooth.
  13. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 12 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 220° and bake the cheesecake for about 3 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 150°; the center will be very jiggly but not liquify.
  14. Let the cheesecake cool on a rack, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
  15. Run a hot knife around the cheesecake and loosen the springform ring. Carefully remove the ring and transfer the cake to a plate.
  16. Using a warm knife, cut the cake into wedges and serve with the Pecan Praline Topping and whipped cream.


Praline Topping:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pecans (8 ounces)

Directions:


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer just until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Let the caramel cool.
  2. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until they are lightly browned and fragrant.
  3. Transfer the pecans to a work surface and let them cool.
  4. Coarsely chop the nuts, stir them into the cooled caramel and serve.


Beer-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon (The OMG OGB Turkey)





I cannot possibly explain to you the epic deliciousness of this turkey.

It was genius.

It was miraculous.

It was life-changing.

It was bacon.

Turkey is scary for a few different reasons:

Number one, it is usually associated with forced awkward family gatherings that require a lot of wine to maintain sanity (for me, at least).

Number 2, turkey is a damn intimidating, huge fucking bird (Or reptile, if you're an animal nerd, like me).

And number 3, turkey has a huge tendency to come out dry and flavorless. Turkey is the bird from which holiday dinner nightmares come. 

Unfortunately, the first two issues are pretty impossible to resolve. BUT….I've acquired a handy trick for combatting the awful, nightmarish dry/flavorlessness of this typical holiday main dish.

Brining. Brining is the answer. And brining will change your life.

(And let's be honest. So will bacon.)

I give you….the Oh My God Onion Gravy Bacon Turkey.

(Adapted from Grace Parisi)


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 8 bay leaves 
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 onions, cut into thick wedges
  • 1 pound slab bacon, skin removed and meat sliced 1/3 inch thick
  • Six 12-ounce bottles Guinness stout
  • One 12- to 14-pound turkey
  • 1 cup turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Directions:

The Brine:

  1. In a very large pot, combine the mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves and toast over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Add the brown sugar and salt and remove from the heat. Add 4 cups of water and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved; let cool completely.
  3. Pour the brine into a lidded container large enough to hold the turkey and the brine, and small enough to fit in your fridge. We were able to use a small file storage bin and it worked perfectly.  
  4. Add the onions, bacon, Guinness and 16 cups of cold water to the pot.
  5. Add the turkey to the brine, breast side down, and top with a heavy lid to keep it submerged. 
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The Baking: 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and position a rack on the bottom shelf.
  2. Lift the turkey from the brine, pick off any peppercorns, mustard seeds and bay leaves and pat dry.
  3. Transfer the turkey to a large roasting pan, breast side up.
  4. Scatter the onion wedges in the pan and add 1 cup of water.
  5. Using toothpicks, secure the bacon slices over the breast.
  6. Roast the turkey for about 2 hours, turning the pan occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted deep into the turkey thighs registers 150°.
  7. Remove the bacon and return the turkey to the oven. Roast for about 1 hour longer, until the breast is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thigh registers 170°.
  8. Transfer the turkey to a carving board to rest.
  9. Pour the pan juices and onion wedges into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 5 minutes.
  10. Add the turkey stock and return to a boil.
  11. In a small bowl, mash the butter to a paste with the flour.
  12. Whisk the paste into the gravy and boil until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.**
  13. Meanwhile, cut the bacon crosswise 1/2 inch thick.
  14. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes.
  15. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy and bacon.

**If gravy is too salty, add some half and half or heavy cream and reduce until you reach your desired consistency.

Grilled Steak with Poblano Corn Salsa


Over the summer, I rediscovered corn. I mean, I've always liked it, I guess I just forgot about it. Since it's rediscovery, I can't get enough of it. I know it's fall now, and corn is supposed to be dried up and used as a centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner. I know that it's starting to get too cold to grill outside. 

But you know what?

I don't care.

I love steak and I fucking love corn, and I will eat them both whenever I damn well please.

Especially when the recipe is super simple, super healthy, and damn delicious.

Thank you, again, Grace Parisi.


(Adapted from Grace Parisi)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • 1 large poblano or pasilla chile
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • (4) 5-7 ounce sirloin steaks
Directions:


  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Rub the corn and poblano lightly with oil and grill over high heat, just until the corn is lightly browned and the poblano is lightly charred all over but still firm, about 3 minutes.
  2. Peel and core the poblano, then finely dice it. Cut the kernels from the corn cobs.
  3. Transfer half of the poblano and corn to a blender. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water and puree to a chunky sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a small bowl, toss the remaining poblano and corn kernels with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Rub the steaks with oil and season them generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Grill the steaks over high heat, turning once or twice, until lightly charred, about 6 minutes.
  7. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain.
  8. Spoon the sauce onto plates and top with the steak. Spoon the salsa on the meat and serve right away.