Sunday, July 27, 2008

Salami and Romano Mini Quiches

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makes appx 4 mini quiches

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 c. heavy cream
1-2 oz. salami, sliced into 1/4" rounds, then chopped into small pieces
3/4 c. grated romano cheese
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough
salt and pepper
nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Thaw dough until malleable. Cut into squares. Fit into cupcake tins. Poke bottoms and sides with fork. Fill with parchment paper or foil, weigh down with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until pastry starts to puff up and get dry.

3. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and cream together in a bowl. Mix in cheese. Add S&P to taste. Mix in about 1/8 t. of nutmeg. Fold in salami.

4. Take pastry shells out of oven. Remove parchment/foil and weights. Spoon in egg mixture. Put quiches in oven. Bake another 20-25 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden and quiche is solid in middle (will be soft, but not liquid, will not quiver).

5. Remove from oven. Let cool five minutes in cupcake tin. Remove from tin and let cool on racks. Can be served warm, room temp, or cool. Enjoy.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Sour Cherry and Chocolate Tartlettes



It's been very hot here lately, so I've been baking things I can make in my toaster oven. Even using that small appliance seems make my hot apartment even hotter, but after days of craving nothing but cucumber sandwiches, I got itchy to bake. I made up this recipe for these tartlettes after staring at the beautiful cherries I got at the farmer's market, and used my favorite pastry dough recipe from Martha Stewart for the shells.

I brought these over to my friend's new apartment for our weekly Project Runway date and we gobbled them up with some chilled wine. They softened the blow of Suede's win. Suede is psyched. Suede talks in third person. We love to hate Suede.

Sour Cherry Tartlettes
(makes 6)

Ingredients:

Filling:

1 c. sour cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 c. sugar
6 T. bittersweet chocolate chips

Pastry: (Martha Stewart recipe)

1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. sugar
1 c. butter
1/2 T. white distilled vinegar
1 oz. ice water


1. Put cherries and sugar in bowl together and mix so cherries are coated. Set aside.

2. Pulse flour and sugar in food processor. Add butter (cut into 1" pieces), pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vinegar and half of ice water, pulse until dough comes together. If dough is too dry, add water half a teaspoon at a time, until a ball forms.

3. Gather dough together and form into a round disc. Cover and put in fridge if it needs to stiffen.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

5. When dough can be handled, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper until 1/8" thick. Cut and shape into cupcake pan. Poke bottom and sides of shells with fork.

6. Line each shell with parchment paper (or foil) and weigh down with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake about 10 minutes.

7. Remove shells from oven. Remove parchment (or foil) and weights. In each shell put 1 T. chocolate chips. Spoon sweetened cherries on top of chocolate. If there is a sugar syrup at bottom of bowl, pour a small amount on top of each tart.

8. Put tarts back in oven. Let back for approximately 20 more minutes, until pastry is golden.

9. Remove tarts from oven. Cool for five minutes in pan. Remove carefully from pan and allow to cool completely on a rack. Enjoy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mache, Raspberry, and Goat Cheese Salad




I have refrained from writing about salads for a long time now, because they seem so simple, but the more I go out and the more I read, the more I realize that tossing together ingredients for salad can be just as confusing as making an entree. It's still all about the combination of tastes and textures, and inspiration is inspiration, so... this is the salad I had at my dinner party the other night. Pretty simple, but tasty.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

3 1/2 c. mache
1 pint raspberries
1/3 c raw slivered almonds
3 T. goat cheese
1 lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

put mache, raspberries, almonds and goat cheese in a bowl. Toss. Sprinkle with the juice of one lemon, appx 2-3 T. olive oil, and S&P to taste. Toss and serve.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Angel Biscuits



I'm veering off a little, finding some great stuff to make on blogs and in books and wanting to write about it, so my blog is turning into a mix of both lately. Mostly it will continue to be just my recipes, though, not to worry.

I had some buttermilk in my fridge and was thinking about what to do with it, when I found this recipe at Ezra Pound Cake for Angel Biscuits from The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking, and had to make them.

Some notes:

I cut the recipe in half and I'm posting it below. It yielded 1 dozen small biscuits for me.

I substituted butter for shortening.

The original recipe says to use a biscuit cutter to cut the biscuits. I don't have one, so I used a white wine glass. But after carefully cutting out all the biscuits so they were perfect, the one that came out the best was the one I smooshed together free form out of the left over dough at the end, sort of rolling it in a ball and flattening it down. It came out fluffier and lighter than all the rest. When I make this recipe again, I'm going to form them all like that.

Ingredients:

2 c. flour
1/8 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 c. salted butter
1/2 package of yeast (1/8 oz)
1 t. warm water
1 c. buttermilk

1- Preheat oven to 475 F.

2- Sift flour, sugar, powder, and soda together. Cut in butter.

3- Stir yeast and water together in small bowl until yeast is a paste.

4- Stir buttermilk in with yeast in batches, making sure that yeast is dissolved into buttermilk.

5- Combine buttermilk mixture with dry ingredients. Mix until soft ball forms.

6- Place dough on well floured surface. Sprinkle dough with flour. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness with floured rolling pin, cut out with biscuit cutter (or just free form it).

7- Place biscuits on buttered baking sheet (note: I didn't use butter, but a sheet of parchment instead, with no problems, and no burning of the bottoms). Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown (keep a good eye on them, they bake quickly).

8- Remove from oven, let cool on rack. Enjoy warm or cooled.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Birthday Dinner Desserts



I don't usually write about other people's recipes, but I made two desserts for my birthday dinner that I really enjoyed, and wanted to share the sources:

Pistachio Petit Four Cake:

I found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen, but the recipe is from a book called Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne . The original recipe is for a three layer cake baked in 8" pans, but for my birthday I made a single layer cake and was able to skip odd measurements by using a 10" pan and cutting the recipe in half. I actually made the same cake as a double layer for my mom's birthday, and while it looks awesome it's a lot to eat, and I didn't want to be left with that much cake.



It's a pistachio cake with a layer of apricot preserves, a layer of marzipan, covered in chocolate ganache.

Pistachio Petit Four Cake Recipe


I also made Pistachio Ice Cream. The recipe is from Food and Wine Magazine, from an article about Jeni Britton, an artisan ice cream maker of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream shops in Ohio.
I made a few changes: I didn't grind the pistachios that fine, and didn't strain them out. I left them to set in the ice cream. I also don't have an ice cream maker, so I used the stand and freeze method (whisk every half hour or so).

You can see the recipe here: Pistachio Ice Cream

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto


For my birthday dinner the other night I also made this risotto.

Serves 8-10.

Ingredients

3 1/2 c. arborio rice
1 lemon
5-6 c. vegetable broth (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
2 c. white wine (I ended up using green wine, 'cause, um, it was what was open)
1 bunch of pencil asparagus
3 c. assorted mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2/3 c. shredded fontina cheese
1/2 c. shredded romano cheese
3 T. butter
olive oil
salt and pepper

1- Chop two inches off the bottoms of the asparagus. Discard. Chop off asparagus tips, set aside in bowl. Chop the rest of the stems on a diagonal into 1" pieces. Put all in boiling salted water for 2 min, then blanche in ice water. Set aside.

2- In a large pot, heat 4 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, stir til translucent. Add rice. Stir 'til all the grains are coated and start to become translucent. Add 2 cups of white wine. Stir until absorbed.

3- Add enough stock to cover rice by two fingers. Stir until absorbed. Continue adding stock and stirring until absorbed until rice is creamy and cooked through, seasoning with S&P.

4- While rice is cooking, heat 1 T. olive oil in a frying pan. Add mushrooms. Season with S&P. Saute for appx. 4 minutes. Add asparagus. Saute another 3 minutes. Take off heat.

5- When rice is cooked, turn off heat. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, stir through. Add in cheese, stir through. Stir in butter. Stir in mushrooms and asparagus. Season with S&P to taste. Serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Caramelized Onion, Chicken, and Fontina Cheese Tart



Yesterday was my birthday and I had a bunch of friends over for dinner. One of the things I made was this tart with caramelized onions, chicken and sweet basil sausage, and fontina cheese.

I made enough to feed eight, but this recipe serves 4 to 6.

More birthday posts to come.


Ingredients

1 large vidalia onion
2 chicken sausages, raw (mine were from Whole Foods, sweet basil)
1 c. shredded fontina cheese
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. brown sugar
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Chop onion into thin strips. Put in saucepan with 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Cook about 20 minutes, stirring. Add balsamic vinegar, sugar, S&P. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and caramelized.

2. While onion is caramelizing, squeeze sausages out of their casings. Discard casings. Put meat in large skillet with some olive oil. Cook over medium heat, making sure to break up large pieces, until cooked through.

3. Put pastry dough on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Score a 1/4" border around the edge of the pastry. Poke holes in pastry with a fork. Within border, layer cheese, onion, and sausage. Place in oven. Bake until puffed and golden, and baked all the way through, about 25 to 30 minutes.

4. Let cool on sheet five minutes. Transfer to plate and serve. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Papaya Sorbet



I am a luddite. To some degree anyway. I do not own a large number of gadgets, refuse to update my cell phone because the one I have still has analog signal (what if I want to call for help or pizza while camping?) and don't have a lot of kitchen appliances like deep friers, bread machines, or ice cream makers.

But it has been quite warm out lately, and there have been so many lovely recipes for homemade ice creams and sorbets all over the internet that I was just itching to make some myself. Unfortunately, after some point, the instructions all read: "follow the instructions on your ice cream maker"... is this something that every household has? Did I somehow miss this while buying my basic kitchen needs? Good knives, cutting boards, pots, pans, ice cream maker? There had to be another way.

I looked around and there were suggestions involving ziplock bags and coffee cans... mmm... I don't think so. So yeah, actually there is a way to make sorbet that does not involve shelling out a bunch of cash on an appliance you may only use three times and then wonder where to put it, and one that does not involve buying instant coffee or freezing your hands. Instead it involves a bowl, a whisk, and some time. Yay.

Papaya Sorbet:

makes appx 1 1/2 c.

Ingredients:

1 small papaya (yields appx 1 c. of puree)
1/4 c. sugar syrup (see below)
1 t. fresh lemon juice
juice of 1/2 lime

1. Half papaya, scoop out seeds and discard. Scoop out flesh, place in blender. Puree.

2. Add 1/4 c. sugar syrup, 1 t. lemon juice, and juice of 1/4 of lime to papaya puree in blender. Blend.

3. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, place in freezer. About every half hour or so, for about 3-4 hours, take out and whisk. Let freeze 8 hours or overnight.

4. Eat and enjoy.

Sugar Syrup

this sugar syrup is Jeni Britton's recipe, of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream (see full article at Food and Wine)
makes 3/4c.

1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. water

In small saucepan, combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat 'til sugar dissolves, appx 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool, appx 30 minutes.


All the half hour intervals seem like a pain, and I guess you could time it with something that beeps, but it's not that precise. I made it in the evening and was watching TV and reading and stuff... who needs a timer, when you have sitcoms?