30 September 2007
29 September 2007
Been going a million miles a minute for the past few days, only enough time to get online for a few secs. Definitely no time to post! But: will get a post out soon, promise. Tomorrow. No later.
For the time being, please enjoy this lovely image of my niece Mahni (my sous chef extraordinaire), gettin' her green tea frapp fix the last time we went to Target. She takes after her Aunt Nemmie, obviously.
27 September 2007
Mini Chicken Pot Pies
5 bacon slices
1 ½ c. chopped onion
12-oz. peeled whole baby carrots (about 2 ½ c.)
1 8-oz. package trimmed haricots verts (I used 8oz. of frozen French-cut green beans, thawed)
4 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
1 ¾ c. low-salt chicken broth
2/3 c. crème fraiche (or sour cream)
1 Tbsp. cream or milk
3 c. cooked chicken meat, diced or coarsely shredded
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
Preheat oven to 450 F. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Chop bacon. Add onion to drippings in skillet; sauté until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add next 3 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add broth; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil until vegetables are almost tender and some liquid is reduced, about 8 minutes.
Add Chicken and bacon to the pan, and bring to a simmer. Season with pepper. Remove pan from heat, and stir in 2/3 cup crème fraiche (or sour cream). Divide among four 2-cup soufflé dishes.
Unfold puff pastry onto work surface; roll out to 12-inch square. Cut into 4 equal squares. Top filling in soufflé dishes with pastry; fold edges down onto rims of dish. Brush top of crusts (not edges) with tablespoon of milk/cream. Cut small "X" in center of crusts; pierce all over with fork. Bake until crusts are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 22 minutes.
26 September 2007
Catfish with Cilantro Chutney
24 September 2007
Limey cheesecake chocolate bars– another recipe from the latest issue of Bon Appetit, but much more summery than the other desserts in the issue. I love key lime pie, so this recipe seemed perfect to try this past weekend. I made this with the intent that it would be my"good-bye to summer" dessert (DID YOU HEAR THAT HOT WEATHER?? TIME TO GO!).
I had problems with the crust, though. Two tablespoons of white chocolate just didn't seem like enough to keep the crust together, mine was a big crumbly mess (as you can probably a little in the pics, as much as I tried to mask it). So melt another ounce or two of white chocolate to add to that crust mixture. Also, I love my lime desserts super-tart. Will probably double the lime zest next time.
I loved the taste of this, both tart and creamy, tangy and sweet. Great combination. The chocolate crust is different but goes surprisingly well with the lime filling (the white chocolate might have something to do to help the pairing). This one was simple to pull together, all finished in about 30-40 minutes then popped in the fridge. A perfect dessert when you don't want to slave all day in the kitchen.
White Chocolate and Lime Cheesecake Bars
7 oz. high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt), chopped, plus white chocolate curls (garnish)
27 chocolate sandwich cookies (about 11 oz.)
1/2 c. chilled whipping cream
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. finely grated lime peel
Lime slices or lime twists (garnish)
Line an 8x8x2-inch square baking pan with foil, extending over all sides. Stir chopped white chocolate in small metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water.
Finely grind cookies in processor. Add 2 Tbsp.* melted white chocolate and blend until mixture clumps together. Firmly press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Chill while making filling.
Beat whipping cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Beat cream cheese, sugar, lime juice, and lime peel in large bowl until smooth. Beat in remaining melted white chocolate. Fold in whipped cream in 2 additions; spread over prepared crust. Chill until filling is slightly firm, at least 2 hours. Using foil as aid, lift cheesecake out of pan. Cut into 9 bars. Garnish with chocolate curls, if desired, and lime slices or twists.
Makes 9 servings
* I recommend adding more than 2 Tbsp.! Maybe more like 4 Tbsp., to make the crust stick together better.
23 September 2007
Well, I obviously ran off too quickly, because I totally missed the "pear nectar" needed to make this. Instead, I squeezed pears (yes, squeezed pears. For juice. Yes, it took a long time. Stop laughing). I also minced up the pear to throw into the sauce as well. It still tasted great, but yeah. I totally recommend not forgetting the pear nectar.
This dish was WONDERFUL. We made a simple salad to eat on the side, but the salsa itself is good enough to eat tons of it as a side with the chicken. I can't quite describe the taste: the sauce for the chicken is warm and very autumn-like, with the mustard really rounding things out (love that piquant bite it brings to the sauce). But the salsa is more summery, with the sweet fruit and cilantro and peppers and lemon. All in all a keeper recipe for our household.
2 ripe Anjou or Bosc pears; peeled, cored, and diced
2/3 c. pear nectar
22 September 2007
21 September 2007
Ya know, it's just one of those weeks. I feel like I'm going a million miles an hour and pulled in eighteen different directions. Not like that's necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean I'm light on blog updates. No time to cook new and exciting recipes, let alone post them on the blog!
So instead, you get a recap. Last night we attended the Left Hand Brewery Beer Dinner at the Eldridge Hotel (held in the same ballroom where Hubs and I got married, how sweet!). No I didn't get any pics, although I wish I had because whew, those were some great beers paired with awesome food. The Eldridge staff never disappoints, that's for sure. The third course was a sticky braised short rib with roasted baby porcinis and a Maytag cream sauce. Mmmmmm.
Anyhoo, if I was just going to rehash an old post from my old blog, I thought this Restaurant Review would be perfect. Without further ado, my review of the 2007 Free State Beer Banquet.
Oh and P.S.: sorry for the crappy shots, my camera was dying and the flash was a nightmare in that place...
Free State Beer Banquet, 2007
First, a little background. Free State Brewery in Lawrence has an annual Beer Banquet to celebrate the brewery's birthday, and we've been lucky enough to attend for 6 years. Free State is a consistently good restaurant anyway, but they bring it all out for the annual banquet: Four courses plus an intermezzo, with all courses matched to hard-to-find brews. They throw a few of their own special brews in there as well; it's three hours of wonderful beer, great food, and lots of fun. Tickets sell out in a day: People come in from all over (JoCo, KC, Hays, we even met a retired couple from GA who RVs here in the winter for the Beer Banquet) and there's only 40 people allowed per night (over 3 evenings), so you need to be quick to get a seat.
On to the Banquet! First off: Dulle Teve and Pomme Lambic beers, the first a tart/sour Tripel-style beer and the second tasting EXACTLY like green apple cider . They were paired with a chicken liver mousse, served with microgreens, smokey bacon, toasted country wheat bread, and a molasses malt reduction. Very yummy! A bit of a secret: I absolutely adore liver and onions. My dad used to make it occasionally for me and Beah when we were younger and still living at home, we'd gobble it up. This liver was just as good, and the beers delicious too. Great match.
Second course was the salad: Frisse and arugula with coriander oil, tamari shitake relish, dried fruit, and smoked pistachios. Not bad, but my goodness: Salty! I think it was the tamari. Anyhoo, served with Duvel. I've had this before and forgot how good it was, a perfume-y light brew, very crisp. Didn't really cut through the salt though. Gah, that salad was salty.
On to the entrée and beer! The beer was McChouffe, the dark counterpart to La Chouffe. You could taste molasses and fruit. The entrée was pork tenderloin with a porcini/ancho crust and Mexican cocoa demi-glace. Served with wilted greens and celery root custard (like mashed potatoes), all with organic orange coulis. Oh, yum. The pork was tender but crispy outside; the sauces were both perfect with it. I absolutely loved the celery root, so much flavor. My second-favorite of the night (see dessert below).
What an awesome meal. We left and met back up with friends, for a nightcap at The Bourgeois Pig. Then off to bed for us, as it was late. Again: if you ever come across the Beer Banquet, you must go.
19 September 2007
18 September 2007
17 September 2007
16 September 2007
14 September 2007
So obviously, I used gobbetti instead of penne. Also? The darling Hubs got home from work a wee bit later than usual, so this beauty was sitting on the stove on super-low for an extra half an hour, waiting for his arrival. Hence the kinda chunky look to the sauce.
But! It was still quite delicious. I love the taste of lemon in dishes, it sure wakes things up, but it seemed overpowered by the cream in this dish. Next time, I'll probably add more zest and a wee-bit more juice.
Chicken in Lemon Cream with Penne
(from Everyday Pasta, Giada deLaurentiis)
16 oz. penne pasta
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, diced
1 tsp. herbes du Provence
Pinch of salt, plus 1/2 tsp.
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 tsp.
1 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 c. heavy cream
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season the cubed chicken breast with the herbs de Provence and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside. Pour off any excess oil from the pan.
Add the chicken broth to the pan and cook over medium-high heat, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the cream, lemon zest, and cayenne. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the pasta, chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, chopped parsley, and lemon juice. Toss to coat the pasta and chicken with the sauce and serve.
12 September 2007
Busy, busy week. Not much time to post, or cook for that matter. This recipe comes together quickly and surprisingly (for English muffin pizza) it's pretty tasty. Ten minutes tops, no joke, to get these things pulled together and on the table. Rock on.
More and better posts tomorrow, I promise.
Pepperoni English Muffin Pizzas
4 English muffins, split
1 c. tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, etc.), chopped
2 oz. pepperoni slices
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
Preheat the broiler. Toast the English muffins in the broiler or toaster until they are golden brown and crisp.
Arrange the muffins, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Stir the chopped herbs into the tomato sauce and spread 2 Tbsp. of the sauce over each English muffin half. Top off the pizzas with pepperoni, cheese, and oregano.
Place pizzas under the broiler for about 2 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the pepperoni is sizzling. Serve warm.
10 September 2007
My favorite things to eat Zen Zero downtown are the curries. I love love love curries, and here is my first attempt to make it at home. This curry - creamy from coconut milk, simmered with shallots and garlic and ginger, and fragrant with spices - is very good. Don't be intimidated by the number of ingredients, it's actually very easy to pull together. I found a lovely rice recipe as well, both courtesy of my trusty copy of "The Gourmet Cookbook" (Ruth Reichl is a god). See both below.
I no longer have a fear of making my own curries, in fact I'm already looking for new recipes to keep trying. Now all I have to do is find a good Tom Kah Gai recipe, and I'll never need to go to Zen Zero again...
Malaysian Style Chicken Curry
3 shallots, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2-in. piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. water
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 c. chopped yellow onion
1/2 c. chopped carrot
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 Tbsp. curry powder
7 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 c. chicken stock
1/2 of a jalapeno chile, slit lengthwise
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole clove
1 star anise
Garnish: 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
Finely chop shallots, garlic, and ginger in a food processor, scraping down sides frequently. Add water and puree to a paste.
Season chicken with salt. Heat oil in a 5-quart wide pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown chicken pieces, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Add onions and carrot to the pot, and saute about 5 minutes as well. Transfer to large plate.
Reduce heat to moderately low, add shallot paste, and cook (stirring constantly) for about 1 minute. Add curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add chicken, onion, and carrot back to the pot. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes.
Remove lid and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened (about 10 minutes). Discard jalapeno, cinnamon stick, clove, and star anise.
Serve over rice. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
Basmati Rice with Cilantro
1 c. basmati rice
1 3/4 c. water
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Place rice and water in a saucepan. Soak for 20 minutes. Bring to a boil on stovetop, then cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes. Toss rice with remaining ingredients, and serve.
09 September 2007
08 September 2007
Yes, Krispy Kreme bread pudding. With a rich sauce to pour on top, to boot. Yes, I realize your arterties are already hardening in horror. Just go run a few miles and come back to read.
I bought some on-sale Krispy Kremes today because I can't pass up a super bargain, but then again they were a wee-bit dried out. And on a sad note, this afternoon when I went to pick up Hub's and my joint Birthday Cake of Delight (Ben and Jerry's-style), the store told me that they unfortunately lost the order, and never made the cake. So I moped my way home, but then cheered up when I remembered the el-cheapo donuts plus a bread pudding recipe I read about once long ago.
This is kind of a culmination of a few different recipes. There was a Krispy Kreme bread pudding recipe I read about years ago in Food & Wine magazine that I never forgot about, and used that recipe as a base. I decided to add dried cherries, to add a touch of tart to cut through all that sugar. And, I found a buttered-rum sauce by Paula Deen that sounded divine for topping.
This recipe turned out rather well. It definitely has the components of a classic bread pudding: custard-like yet spongy, nice and thick. The sauce tastes just like rum butter LifeSaver candies. But I will warn you: this is terribly sweet. I am not used to eating a bread pudding that is this sugary; if you make this, you might want to try evaporated milk instead of condensed milk. This recipe is made for 3-4 servings, and Hubs and I barely made a dent in it (we will be eating off it for a LONG time). So good luck my pets!
Krispy Kreme and Cherry Bread Pudding with Buttered Rum Sauce
8 glazed doughnuts, cut into sixths
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. milk
3 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/4 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. dried cherries
Preheat the oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the doughnut pieces on baking sheets and bake for about 30 minutes, until dry on the outside and semifirm in the center. Raise the oven temperature to 350°.
In a large bowl, whisk the cream with the milk, egg yolks, whole egg, condensed milk, and cherries. Add the doughnut pieces and let soak until the pieces are softened, about 1/2 an hour; stir half-way through soaking.
Lightly butter an 8X8-inch baking dish. Spoon the doughnut mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Set the dish in a roasting pan and add enough water to the pan to reach halfway up the side of the baking dish. Bake the bread pudding for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for about 20 minutes longer, or until the bread pudding is set.
Preheat the broiler. Broil the bread pudding for about 2 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Let cool for 30 minutes.
Buttered Rum Sauce:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 pound confectioners' sugar
Rum, to taste (I used 1 shot)
Melt butter and slowly stir in confectioners' sugar. Add rum and heat until bubbly. Pour over each serving of Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.
A few handfuls of frozen peas
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain and toss into a large bowl.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the large pot of salted water used to cook the peas, and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally (about 12 minutes). Drain pasta and toss into the bowl with peas. Add the Basil Aioli and toss well. Plate and lightly dust with grated parmesan cheese.
Place the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry the eggs to your liking (I love over-easy for this recipe). Place the eggs on top of the pasta and serve immediately.
Combine the garlic, egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor and run the machine to mix. With the machine running slowly drizzle in the vegetable and olive oil. Basil Aioli can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.