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.

Peppermint Bark


(Adapted from Food.com)

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces chocolate chips
  • 1 lb white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candy, crushed


Directions:


  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, letting it hang over the sides. Spray foil.
  3. Pour the chocolate chips in an even layer on the foil. Place in oven for 5 minutes or until almost melted.
  4. Remove from oven, smooth with a spatula.
  5. Place in refrigerator until cold and firm, about 20 minutes.
  6. Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a metal bowl over simmering water (don’t let bottom of bowl touch water), until chocolate is almost melted.
  7. Remove bowl from water and stir until completely melted, stirring in extract.
  8. Let cool a little bit so it doesn’t melt the chocolate layer when you pour it on top. Pour this over chocolate layer, and, working quickly, spread to cover.
  9. Sprinkle with crushed candy (I pressed the candy in just a bit). 
  10. Chill until both layers are firm. Lift foil out of pan and shake off excess candy.
  11. Trim edges. Peel away foil and break into pieces. Makes about 1 pound.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bacon, Onion, and Sourdough Stuffing



(Adapted from Melissa Rubel Jacobson)

Ingredients:

  • One 9-inch-long loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used a pre-sliced loaf!)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion (Vidalia, Walla Walla, etc.)
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/2 inch thick and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toast the rye bread cubes for about 15-20 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until lightly golden and dry. Transfer the bread to a large bowl.
  3. In a skillet, melt the butter.
  4. Add the onion and celery; cook over moderate heat until tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the sage and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape into the bowl with the bread.
  6. Wipe out the skillet. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 10 minutes.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the bowl with the bread.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the egg. Pour over the bread mixture and add the kosher salt and pepper.
  9. Toss until the bread soaks up the liquid. Scrape into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. 
  10. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  11. Bake the stuffing for about 30 minutes, until hot throughout.
  12. Remove the foil and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly golden.
  13. Serve hot or warm.

Quick Asian Pickled Cucumber


Pickled cucumbers can be used for all kinds of things. You can use them for salads, chicken dishes, and if you're like Boyfriend and you love all things pickle-related, you can eat them by themselves as a snack.

A few nights ago, I wanted something to spice up a salad, so I browsed the internets for some recipes and created my own version of a quick-pickled asian style cucumber.

I must say, I think I did pretty well. =]


Ingredients:
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • a pinch of salt

Directions:
  1. Scoop seeds out of each cucumber quarter with a spoon.  
  2. Slice cucumbers thinly. Since you scooped the seeds out of each cucumber, you'll have thinly sliced half moons.
  3. Dry cucumber slices in paper towels. Squeeze to drain liquid.
  4. Combine vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, and salt in a small bowl.
  5. Place cucumbers in a mason jar, or a small ziplock bag.
  6. Pour vinegar mixture into the jar or bag with the cucumbers.
  7. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to one week.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fresh Pumpkin Spice Pie




Boyfriend and I moved to our new apartment almost nine months ago. Since then, we've had two parties, countless kickbacks, and I've made dinner at least three nights a week (and when I make dinner, I try to make things I haven't made before!). 

However, we have never had anyone over for dinner.

Of course, I've made dinner for our roommate (Mah Bestfriend), and for other close friends. It's never been a big deal, and usually we're all drunk. I just make food, and people I live with eat it. The end.

So I've been really excited/terrified to make dinner for people who aren't drunk roommates.

A girl I've worked with for years and her boyfriend are coming over for dinner tomorrow night. She's someone who I consider to be a close friend in an unusual way. We've been through so much together-- hated each other, appreciated each other, related to one another, and somehow became unlikely friends. But all of these experiences have been at work. It's been a crazy ride, and we're both busy with school and work, so it's been hard to hang out.

This dinner has been a long time coming.

Boyfriend and I finally get to have an actual sober adult dinner party thing in our new-ish apartment, and we finally get to hang out with a couple we've been needing to kick it with for years!

And damn, was it a great night!!





(Adapted from AllRecipes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 sugar pumpkin (A sugar pumpkin, or pumpkin pie pumpkin. For more info, check out Baking Bites)
  • 1 recipe for My Favorite Pie Crust
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (If you don't have it, you can make it REALLY easily from the recipe here!)
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk


Directions:
  1. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds.
  2. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil. 
  3. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork.
  4. Cool until just warm.
  5. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel.
  6. Either mash, or puree in small batches in a blender.
  7. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C.)
  8. In a large bowl, slightly beat eggs.
  9. Add brown sugar, flour, salt, 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and evaporated milk. Stir well after each addition. (Don't be alarmed by the runniness of the filling!)
  10. Put the whole mixture in the food processer again and process until smooth, in batches if necessary.
  11. Pour mixture into the unbaked pastry shell.
  12. Place a strip of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust to prevent over browning.
  13. Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  14. Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  15. Remove the strip of foil about 20 minutes before the pie is done so that the edge of the crust will be a light golden brown.
  16. Cool pie, and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Braised Beef Short Ribs





Last week was Boyfriend's 31st birthday! He came home to cupcakes and beer glasses...




...and he asked me to make him a special dinner. 

I do believe I delivered.

With the help of Roommate/Beyestfreyend, I made my first attempt at braising.

It went well.

(Adapted from Anne Burrell)

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in short ribs (about 5 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3/4 cups tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 cups hearty red wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions

  1. Season each short ribs with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. (We were using a mini food processor, and it took several batches. If your ribs get done browning before your paste is ready, they're totally fine to sit for a few minutes!)
  4. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan.
  5. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables.
  6. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes (Don't stir too much or it won't form the "crud"). Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. 
  7. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.
  9. Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. 
  10. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves.
  11. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time.
  12. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce.
  13. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart.
  14. Serve with the braising liquid and Perfect Mashed Potatoes!