Off The Menu
Spring Rolls from Chef Charles Phan, author of The Slanted Door, Modern Vietnamese Food PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament & Carole Kotkin   
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 00:00

rolls

Spring Rolls
                                     Makes 10 rolls; serves 10                                        

Ingredients:

 

15 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces boneless pork shoulder
1 egg yolk
1⁄2 cup canola oil
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups cooked rice vermicelli
Ten 12-inch round sheets of rice paper
1 head red leaf lettuce, leaves separated, washed, and dried
30 mint leaves
1 1⁄4 cup peanut sauce, for dipping

 

Preparation: Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and blanch until the shrimp have turned bright pink, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a spider, transfer the shrimp to a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain the shrimp on paper towels and cut each shrimp in half length- wise. Set aside.

Return the water to a boil and add the pork. Turn the heat down to low and simmer until the pork is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Check for doneness by removing the pork from the water and poking it with a chopstick; the juices should run clear. Let cool completely, then cut against the grain into slices 1⁄4 inch thick.

To make the mayonnaise, put the egg yolk in a large mixing bowl and whisk well. Pour the shallot oil into a measuring cup with a spout and begin adding the oil to the egg yolk a few drops at a time, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and emulsifies. Continue to add the oil in a slow and steady stream, whisking constantly, until all the oil is incorporated. The mixture will be very thick. Whisk in the salt and set aside.

Fill a large bowl with very hot water. Dip one sheet of rice paper halfway into the water and quickly rotate to moisten the entire sheet. Lay the wet rice paper on a flat work surface. Arrange one lettuce leaf over the bottom third of the rice paper, flattening the lettuce to crack the rib. Spread a generous teaspoon of the mayo over the lettuce, then top with three mint leaves placed end to end and a few slices of pork. Top with about 1⁄2 cup of the noodles.

Fold in the left and right sides of the rice paper, then fold the bottom edge up and over the filling tightly and roll toward the top end one full turn, enclosing the filling completely. Place three pieces of shrimp, cut side up and end to end, in a row on the rice paper, then roll another turn to enclose the shrimp. Continue rolling as tightly as possible toward the top edge, tucking in the sides, until you have a tight cylinder. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and ingredients.

The rolls can be made up to two hours in advance. Cover with a damp towel until serving. Just before serving, cut each roll crosswise into thirds. Serve with peanut sauce.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 February 2015 21:54
 
Gluten Free Olive Oil Muffins from Nancy Harmon Jenkins "Virgin Territory" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament & Carole Kotkin   
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 00:00

gluten free olive oil muffins 

Gluten Free Olive Oil Muffins

6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups almond flour (very finely ground blanched almonds)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries and/or walnuts or dried fruit

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease 6 to 8 wells of a standard muffin pan with a little oil, or line the wells with paper baking cups.

Use a fork to whisk together the almond flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.

Combine the eggs, the 2 tablespoons of oil, the vanilla extract and yogurt in a separate bowl. Gently stir that mixture into the flour mixture; the batter will be fairly stiff. Gently fold in the fruit and/or nuts.

Divide the batter evenly among the 6 to 8 wells, filling them almost to the brim. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the muffins are lightly golden and thoroughly dry on top.

Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 February 2015 22:04
 
Raspberry Cream Pie from Nick Malgieri's Pastry Foolproof Recipes for the Home Cook PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament & Carole Kotkin   
Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:00

nick raspberry-cream-pie 

Raspberry Cream Pie

from Nick Malgieri's Pastry Foolproof Recipes for the Home Cook Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups/315 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry-measure cup and level)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 ounces/2 sticks/225 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large eggs

Filling:

  • 3 half-pints of fresh raspberries, picked over but not rinsed (I rinsed mine anyway)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Pastry Cream

  • 3/4 cup whole milk (Reduced fat milk worked for me)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar, divided use
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)

Topping

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (I used 1/4 cup powdered sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste

Instructions

  1. Make the crust first. You'll only use half of this recipe (1 round ) for the pie.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor; pulse several times at 1-second intervals to mix.
  3. Add the butter and pulse again 3 or 4 times. Use a metal spatula to scrape the side of the bowl and mix the butter pieces throughout the flour. Pulse again 3 or 4 times.
  4. Using a fork, beat the eggs to break them up, and add to the bowl. Pulse again until the dough almost forms a ball; avoid pulsing too much, or the pieces of butter needed to make the dough flaky will become too small.
  5. Invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, carefully remove the blade, and quickly press the dough together.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, form into thick disks, and wrap each in plastic. Chill for a couple of hours before rolling.
  7. Prepare your pie shell by rolling it into a 12 inch circle, laying it over a 9 inch pie pan (not deep dish), trimming and crimping. At this point, it’s a good idea to freeze the shell for an hour or until ready to use. This will help prevent shrinkage.
  8. To bake the pie shell, prick the frozen crust with a fork, then cover the frozen crust with parchment paper. Weigh down the middle with pie weights or beans and let the parchment loosely cover the edges. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then remove weights and parchment and bake uncovered until golden brown.
  9. To make the raspberry filling, combine 1/3 of the berries and the sugar in a nonreactive saucepan and mash. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the water and cornstarch together. When the berries begin to boil, stir a third of the juices into the cornstarch mixture. Continue stirring until the juices thicken, return to a boil, and become clear. Stir in the lemon zest off the heat, than scrape the thickened raspberry mixture into a bowl . Press plastic directly against the surface and let the mixture cool. When the mixture cools, you'll stir in the remaining fresh raspberries.
  10. For the pastry cream, combine the milk, cream and half the sugar in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Place over low heat and bring to a full boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the yolks and the remaining sugar. Sift the flour over the mixture and whisk it in.
  11. When the milk mixture boils, whisk it into the yolk mixture. Strain (I just poured) the pastry cream back into hot pan and place over medium heat. Use a small pointed end whisk to stir constantly, being sure to reach into the corners of he saucepan until the cream come to a full boil and thickens. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the vanilla.
  12. Scrape the cream into a glass bow and press plastic wrap directly against the surface. Chill until cold.
  13. To finish the pie, whip the cream the sugar and vanilla to a soft peak.
  14. Evenly spread the cooled pastry cream in the bottom the full baked pie crust. Fold the fresh raspberries into the cooled, thickened cooked berries (if you haven't already) and spread the fruit on top of the cream. Re-whip the cream if necessary and spread it over the berries.
  15. Keep the pie at a cool room temperature until serving time (I put it directly in the refrigerator). Refrigerate the leftovers.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 February 2015 22:05
 
Radicchio and Pumpkin Risotto PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament & Carole Kotkin   
Thursday, 30 October 2014 00:00

mclagan-pumpkin-risotto- 

Radicchio and Pumpkin Risotto

A recipe from Jennifer McLagan’s book: Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, with recipes

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

6 oz. pumpkin (winter squash), cut into 1/2-inch dice, about 1-1/4 cups

Sea salt

5-1/4 oz. radicchio leaves, rinsed and trimmed

1/2 cup risotto rice (Vialone nano, Arborio, or Carnaroli)

2 Tbs. white wine or dry vermouth

Freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the stock barely simmers.

In another saucepan, melt half the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until translucent. Add the diced pumpkin and stir to coat the pieces with the butter. Season with salt, and cook until the pumpkin starts to soften slightly at the edges, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the radicchio leaves in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. You should have about 4 cups.

Add the rice to the pan, stirring to warm the grains and coat them in butter. Stir in the radicchio and continue stirring until it wilts and changes color. Pour in the wine and cook, stirring until it evaporates; season with black pepper. Now add a ladleful of hot stock and keep stirring the simmering rice constantly until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, when the previous liquid is almost completely absorbed.

After 20 to 25 minutes, the pumpkin should be cooked and the rice should be creamy and cooked but still slightly al dente. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes. Check the seasoning, stir in the remaining half of the butter, and serve in warm bowls. Grate Parmesan over the top.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 23:35
 
Mangria with Malbec, Cruzan Coconut Rum, Mangos and Key Limes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament & Carole Kotkin   
Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00

jen2 

jen 

 

Mangria with Malbec, Cruzan Coconut Rum, Mangos and Key Limes

The trick to making this sangria is freezing the mangoes first. Mangoes from your supermarket’s freezer section will work fine. As they defrost, they add their juices to the wine. For best results, allow the fruit to soften and separate before serving. If you like the taste of coconut, you can substitute coconut rum.

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

2 (.75-liter) bottles Malbec red wine or Malbec rose wine, chilled

1 cup Cruzan Coconut rum

2 key limes, juiced

2 key limes, sliced

2 oranges, sliced

1 liter club soda, chilled

1 quart frozen mango, cut into bite-size chunks

Ice (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Make a simple syrup by combining 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat to cool. Refrigerate until chilled.
  2. Combine wine, rum, 1/2 cup chilled simple syrup and key lime juice in a punch bowl. Float lime and orange slices on top. Just before serving, add club soda and frozen mango. If the Mangria isn’t cold enough, add ice. Serve in punch cups with at least one or two chunks of mango per serving.

 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 October 2014 20:47
 
Aarti's Massaged Kale Salad PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Thursday, 02 October 2014 00:00

aarti kale salad 

Massaged Kale Salad  -  Serves 4 to 6

 

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
Small handful toasted pepitas ( pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons

Preparation:
In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.
Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.
 
Per Serving: Calories 269; Total Fat 17 grams; Saturated Fat 2.5 grams; Protein 6 grams; Total Carbohydrate 28 grams; Sugar: 14 grams; Fiber 4 grams; Cholesterol 0 milligrams; Sodium 170 milligrams
From AARTI PAARTI--An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 October 2014 16:40
 
Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese and Mint PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Friday, 26 September 2014 00:00

 

chickpea  Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese and Mint

Makes about 6 cups

Two 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 cup very thinly sliced red onion (about 1 small onion)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
¼ cup slivered black olives
2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise, including part of the green (¼ cup)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the chickpeas in a medium-size bowl. Add the tomatoes (hold these aside if making ahead of time so they don’t get mushy), onions, cheese, olives, scallions, mint, and garlic; stir to mix. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pour over the chickpea salad and stir to mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving; if you held the tomatoes aside, mix them in about 30 minutes before serving.

From The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Rcipes for Traditional Dishes Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray with David Hagedorn (St. Martin’s Press, 2013).

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 17:42
 
Farro-Chickpea Salad with Sunflower Seeds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Friday, 29 August 2014 20:36

 Listen to the interview with Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian, authors of  In a Nutshell--Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds 

farrosalad 

 

“Excerpted from In A Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Photography by Gentl & Hyers/Edge. Copyright © 2014 by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Gentle & Hyers/Edge. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.”

The Umbrian countryside is filled with sunflowers turning to face the arc of the sun over the course of the day. Although in Italy the seeds from these sunflowers are usually pressed for their oil, it seemed logical to us to pair them with farro, a nutritious hearty grain seen throughout that country. It can be found in most Italian grocery stores. The colors of the Italian flag are tossed into the mix—bright green asparagus, rosy red grape tomatoes, and creamy white ricotta salata.
PREPARATION: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour standing  COOKING TimE: 20 to 25 minutes
8 to 10 servings

2 cups farro
1 cup (5 ounces) sunflower seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups (8 ounces) crumbled or chopped ricotta salata
11⁄2 cups cooked chickpeas  or one 15-ounce can drained & rinsed
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
1⁄2 cup sunflower oil
1⁄2 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half  lengthwise
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, cut into small dice
  1. Place the farro and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 4 inches. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a serving bowl large enough to hold the remaining ingredients.
  1. While the farro is simmering, cook the asparagus in a pot of boiling water with 1 table­spoon salt for 2 minutes. Drain well, rinse in cold water, and add to the cooled farro.
  1. Add the remaining ingredients and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Keep the salad at a cool room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 20:46
 
Croque Monsieur - Grilled ham and cheese sandwich PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Lebovitz in My Paris Kitchen, Recipes and Stories   
Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:53

 Listen to the interview with Chef David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen, Recipes and stories

croque monsieurIngredients:

1 tablespoon salted or unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons
(2 ounces/55g) salted or unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
Pinch of sea salt or kosher salt &  Pinch of cayenne  pepper
4 slices sourdough or country-style bread
4 slices prosciutto or thinly sliced dry-cured ham, or 2 thick slices boiled ham
2 thin slices Comté  or Gruyère cheese
3/4 cup (60g) grated  Comté  or Gruyère  cheese

Preparation:

1   Melt the  1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir  in the  flour.  Cook until the mixture starts to bubble. Continue to cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1/4 cup (60ml)  of the milk,  stirring to discourage lumps, then whisk in the  remaining 1/2 cup (120ml) of milk.  Cook the  béchamel for about 1 minute more,  until it’s thick and creamy, like runny mayonnaise. Remove  from  heat and stir  in the  salt and red pepper; set aside to cool a bit and thicken.

2    Spread  the  béchamel evenly  over the  four slices of bread.  Lay a slice of ham  over two  of the  slices, top them with slices of cheese,  and then top with the  remaining ham  slices. Finish with the  two  remaining slices of bread,  béchamel side down (on the  inside),  and brush the  outsides of the  sandwiches without restraint with the  4 tablespoons (60ml)  of melted butter.

3   Turn  on the  broiler and heat a large ovenproof frying  pan or grill pan over medium-high heat on the  stove  top. (Make sure to use a pan with a heatproof handle, for broiling later.)  Place the sandwiches in the  frying  pan, drape  with a sheet  of aluminum foil, and then rest a cast-iron skillet  or other heavy pan or flat object  on top. Cook until the  bottoms of the  sandwiches are well browned. Remove  the  skillet  and foil, flip the  sandwiches over, replace the  foil and skillet,  and continue cooking until the other side is browned.

4    Remove  the  cast-iron skillet  and foil and strew the  grated cheese on top of the  sandwiches. Broil the  sandwiches until the  cheese melts  and serve.

variation: To make  a croque madame, while  the  sandwiches are broiling, cook a sunny-side up egg for each sandwich. Slide the eggs onto the  sandwiches  after  you plate  them up.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 August 2014 21:50
 
Eggplant Napoleon. A recipe from Chef Rawia Bishara of Tanooreen, Brooklyn, NYC and author of Olives, Lemons & Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 21:47

eggplant napoleonEGGPLANT NAPOLEON

(listen to an interview with Chef Rawia Bishara)

MAKES 8 TO 10 SERVINGS
3 medium eggplants (21/2 to 3 pounds total), stem and root ends trimmed , sliced into
1/2-inch-thick rounds
Sea salt for sprinkling
1/4 cup Basil Pesto (page 191)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Juice of 3 lemons
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg whites, beaten
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Corn oil for frying
3 cups Baba Ghanouj (page 40) or Mutabal (page 41)
For the Salad
8 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
7 tablespoons Basil Pesto (page 191)
Juice of 2 lemons
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch sea salt
 
Arrange the eggplant slices on two sheet pans, sprinkle with salt, and set aside for
30 minutes or until they begin to sweat. Using a paper towel, pat the slices dry and
set aside.
. In a large bowl, whisk together the pesto, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Toss in the
eggplant to coat and let marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour or overnight
in the refrigerator.
. Dump the flour onto a shallow rimmed plate. In a medium bowl, whisk together the
egg whites and 1 cup of water. Combine the panko, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley
and pepper on a second shallow rimmed plate.
. Spread a sheet of waxed paper on a clean work surface. Working with one slice of
eggplant at a time, dredge it in the flour first, shaking  off the excess, and then dip it in
the egg mixture followed by the breadcrumbs. Gently press the breadcrumbs onto
both sides of the eggplant and place on the waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining
eggplant slices.
. Pour at least 2 inches of corn oil into a small, deep pot. Heat the oil over high until hot
but not smoking. Working in batches, fry the eggplant slices until golden, turning once,
3 to 5 minutes. Do not crowd the pot. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant slices
to a paper towel–lined platter to drain.
. To serve:  Place an eggplant slice on a small plate. Spread with 2 tablespoons of the baba ghanouj, top with a second eggplant slice and spread 1 tablespoon of baba ghanouj on top.
Repeat layering in this order with the remaining eggplant slices and baba ghanouj to
make eight to ten eggplant stacks.
. Just before serving, toss together the salad: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes
and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the pesto, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
Drizzle just enough of the pesto mixture over the tomato-onion mixture to thoroughly
coat.  Spoon some salad around each napoleon and drizzle the napoleons with some of
the dressing left in the bottom of the bowl. Serve immediately.
 
BABA GHANOUJ
Every country in the Levantine region claims this earthy, robust spread as its own.
And, in truth, it might simply be because there are many ways to season “baba.” On the West Bank and in Gaza, most cooks use red tahini made from sesame seeds that are roasted for a longer time than the white seeds. Many cooks use pomegranate molasses instead of lemon juice. Some garnish with parsley, others with pistachios, and still others with pomegranate seeds. And it goes on and on. My version is rather straightforward, intensely smoky and a touch more tart than most. In Nazareth, we call this spread mutabal (I had never heard it called baba ghanouj until I came to New York), a name used in other parts of the Middle East for an entirely different eggplant spread made without tahini.

MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS
3 medium eggplants (21/2 to 3 pounds total)
11/2 cups Thick Tahini Sauce (page 195)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh lemon juice or pomegranate molasses to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Arabic Bread – pita - for serving
COOKING TIP- My dad used to say that the key to making excellent baba is to begin with grilled eggplant made by setting the vegetable directly over hot coals or the flame of a gas stove, imparting a lovely smoky flavor. But if you want a milder flavor, roast the eggplants in the oven; directions are provided for both methods below. You can use any kind of eggplant you like, but ideally choose a variety with few seeds and avoid especially large eggplants, as they taste bitter. I prefer the black Italian eggplant; I find it has the least amount of seeds.
. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for grilling over high heat, or turn a gas burner to high.
Place the eggplants directly onto the coals or one at a time on the flame and grill, using
tongs to turn the vegetables as the skin chars, until blackened all over. Set aside to cool.
Alternatively, to roast the eggplants, preheat the oven to 500°F and line a baking sheet
with aluminum foil. Pierce the eggplants in a few places with a sharp knife, place them
on the prepared baking sheet and roast, turning every 5 minutes or so, until the skin is blistered and begins to crack all over. Set aside to cool.
. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, transferring it directly to a strainer to allow the liquid to release.
. Transfer the strained eggplant to a medium bowl. Add the tahini sauce to the eggplant
and mash them together with a fork, breaking up the larger pieces of eggplant with a
knife, if necessary. Stir in the garlic along with lemon juice to taste. Spoon the eggplant into a rimmed serving dish and, using the back of a spoon, make a well around the circumference of the dip, about 1/2 inch from the edge. Drizzle the oil into the well and garnish with the parsley. Serve with Arabic bread.
 
Basil Pesto
The first time I ever tasted pesto, I was hooked. I remember the first meal I made using it like it was yesterday—linguini tossed with pesto, topped with fried eggplant and served with fresh home-baked bread. When I use pesto this way, as a sauce, I generally make it with pine nuts. If I’m going to incorporate it into a dish, I use almonds, which are less expensive.
MAKES 2 CUPS
3 to 5 cloves garlic
1 cup pine nuts, slivered almonds or walnut halves
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 packed cups chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for storage
Juice of 2 lemons
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

. Put the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Toss in the nuts, Parmesan, if using, pepper and salt and chop until the nuts are finely crushed, about 1 minute. Add the basil, oil and lemon juice and pulse for 1 minute more, until smooth. Stir in red pepper flakes, if desired.

. To store, transfer the pesto to a sterilized jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto, seal and refrigerate up to 10 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 August 2014 21:56
 
Who Made That Whisk? PDF Print E-mail
Written by PAGAN KENNEDY for the NYTimes   
Monday, 15 October 2012 23:19

Who Made That Whisk?
By PAGAN KENNEDY for the NYTimes


whisk 
In 1963, Julia Child appeared on a television show called “I’ve Been Reading,” to promote her book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” While most guests chatted primly about their new releases, Child brandished a bulb-shaped whisk and then performed magic, inflating egg whites into snowy peaks of foam. “She told the audience that you needed a soft balloon whisk if you were trying to get air into a meringue, and a stiff whisk for mixing,” says Stephanie Hersh, who worked as Child’s assistant for 16 years. After Child’s bravura performance that day — 27 viewers wrote in to the station to demand more — she was given her own show and became one of America’s most-recognized TV celebrities. The whisk, with its soignée curves and the jazz-brush sound it made in the bowl, proved to be just as telegenic.


Of course, Julia Child did not invent this kitchen tool. Its origins can be traced to a handful of twigs. In the 1600s, European cooks improvised with wood brushes – one early recipe calls for a beating with a “big birch rod.” And by the 19th century, the gadget-loving Victorians popularized the wire whisk, which was just coming into vogue. Still, Child deserves credit for teaching American homemakers how to buy the right whisk and wield it with a snap of the wrist. “Before Julia, we used that little egg beater — the one that you wind up — or a fork to beat egg whites,” Alice Waters told me via e-mail. “My family never had a whisk.”

Waters went on to say that she procured some of her first whisks from Chuck Williams, founder of Williams-Sonoma, who outfitted cooks for their maiden adventures with soufflés during the ’60s and ’70s. He “brought in a lot of things that were recommended by Julia,” Waters noted.

As for Child herself, she collected whisks during her travels. “Any size, shape, color, she wanted to try it,” Hersh says. “She had hundreds of everything — vegetable peelers, ladles, whisks, you name it. She was a freak about utensils.”

WHISKED INTO THE PAST

Alexandra Cervenak, a historical interpreter at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, spends her days cooking in the style of a 1627 housewife.

How do you fluff up eggs? I usually use my knife. But there’s one recipe from the 17th century — or “receipt,” as they called it back then — that says you should mix stuff together with your hands.

So hands were the first whisk? Yeah, I suppose so!

It sounds as if you end up using your knife for everything. I do. Yesterday we had a little get-together of interpreters, a potluck. We were all reaching for the knives at our waists. Even when we’re not in costume, we keep wanting to use the knife. It’s like a phantom limb.

Of course, in a 17th-century settlement, you wouldn’t own many tools made of metal — so a whisk would have been unthinkable. Yes, anything that would have been made from metal, like a knife, would have to come out of England.

Read story: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/who-made-that-whisk.html?ref=magazine&_r=0

Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 23:23
 
Why have tomatoes lost their taste PDF Print E-mail
Written by NYTimes   
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 00:51

A gene mutation that breeders latched onto because it makes a tomato uniformly red also stifles genes that contribute to its taste, researchers say.  

tomatoeshttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/science/flavor-is-the-price-of-tomatoes-scarlet-hue-geneticists-say.html

 
How to make your own Crème Fraiche PDF Print E-mail
Written by www.food52.com   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 20:33

How to make your own Crème Fraiche by http://www.food52.com/blog/3781_making_crme_frache_at_home

Creme Fraiche at grocery stores can be both difficult to find and expensive. Not to worry because making it in your kitchen is so simple.

Makes 1 cup

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons buttermilk

 

  1. You'll want to seek out a good quality heavy cream that is pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized. If you can only find ultra-pasteurzed, it will work, but will take longer to thicken.
  2. To start, you want to pour 1 cup of heavy cream into a non-reactionary container (basically, any container that isn't made from iron or aluminum).
  3. Next, add two tablespoons of buttermilk to the heavy cream. Cover the bottle with a lid and shake until everything is thoroughly combined.
  4. Loosely cover the heavy cream mixture and allow it to sit out on your kitchen counter for 12-24 hours. Ideally the temperature in your kitchen will be from 72 to 78 degrees. My apartment tends to be on the cooler side, so it always takes mine a full 24 hours to thicken. After it's at the perfect consistency, transfer it to your fridge. The creme fraiche will be good for up to 2 weeks.

 

 
Pasta Graduates From Alphabet Soup to Advanced Geometry PDF Print E-mail
Written by KENNETH CHANG, NYTimes   
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:31

Pasta Graduates From Alphabet Soup to Advanced Geometry

By KENNETH CHANG, NYTimes

Most people eating pasta might enjoy the taste or appreciate the texture of noodles cooked al dente.

Sander Huisman did, too — and then he wondered about what mathematical equation would describe the undulating shapes he was eating.

Mr. Huisman, a graduate student in physics at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, spends much of his days using Mathematica, a piece of software that solves complicated math problems and generates pretty pictures of the solutions.

“I play around with Mathematica a lot,” he said. “We were eating pasta, and I was wondering how easy these shapes would be recreated” with the software.

So that evening after dinner, Mr. Huisman figured out the five lines or so of Mathematica computer code that would generate the shape of the pasta he had been eating — gemelli, a helixlike twist — and a dozen others. “Most shapes are very easy to create indeed,” he said.

He posted one of them to his blog, thinking he would do a sort of mathematical-pasta-of-the-month for the next year. But he then forgot about them until someone asked for the recipes of the other pasta shapes, and he posted those to his blog, too.

Mr. Huisman, who studies fluid dynamics, is not the only who has been mathematically inspired by pasta. Several years ago, Christopher Tiee, then a teaching assistant for a vector calculus class at the University of California, San Diego, included in his notes a pop quiz asking students to match pasta shapes with the equations.

Meanwhile, in London, two architects, Marco Guarnieri and George L. Legendre, independently experienced a similar epiphany, also while eating pasta (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil, cooked by Mr. Guarnieri). Then Mr. Legendre went many steps further: He turned the idea into a 208-page book, “Pasta by Design,” released in September by Thames & Hudson, a British publisher specializing in art books.

“We were interested in, if you like, the amalgamation of mathematics and cooking tips — the profane, the sacred,” Mr. Legendre said. “I was actually speaking to someone in Paris last week who said, ‘This might have been a project by Dali.’ ”

The book classifies 92 types of pasta, organizing them into an evolutionlike family tree. For each, the book provides a mathematical equation, a mouthwatering picture and a paragraph of suggestions, like sauces to eat it with.

Mr. Legendre calls trenne, a pasta with the rigid angles of triangular tubes, a freak. “It’s a mirror universe where everything is pliant and groovy, and in that universe there’s someone that stands out, and it’s the boring-looking trenne with its sharp edges,” he said.

Mr. Legendre has even designed a new shape — ioli, named for his baby daughter — which looks like a spiral wrapped around itself, a tubelike Möbius strip.

“I thought it might be nice to have a pasta named after her,” he said.

He is looking to get about 100 pounds of pasta ioli manufactured, but that is still probably months away, because of the challenges of connecting the ends together.

 

 
Buffalo Chicken Shake. PDF Print E-mail
Written by www.lunchblogkc.com   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 17:22

 

A kindergartner's yucky wet dream... can turn into a jackpot for tomorrow's daring chefs

Watch as 30 Rock SuperFan Robert Bishop (of Lunch Blog KC) and 30 Rock writer Tracey Wigfield conquer one of the show's most bizarre edible concoctions.

 

 

Full recipe text: http://www.lunchblogkc.com/2011/11/30-rocks-buffalo-chicken-shake.html
Lunch Blog KC: http://www.lunchblogkc.com/

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 17:32
 
Pupusas and chicken Loroco stew, recipes from the InterContinental Doral Miami, for Columbus Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Monday, 26 September 2011 19:45

To celebrate Columbus Day or Dia de la Raza on October 12, The InterContinental at Doral Miami is giving Miamians a culinary tour of Mexico and Central America. Pupusas, baleadas, and gallo pinto all come together for the hotel’s forthcoming Mexico and Central American Festival. For a foretaste:  Pupusas from El Salvador, and Chicken stew with Loroco*  from Guatemala.

The Armillary Grill, InterContinental at Doral Miami, 2505 N.W. 87th Avenue Doral, FL 33172 305-468-1400  ext.4318 www.intercontinental.com/atdoralmiami

Ana Rivera’s Pupusa

Recipe from El Salvador. This looks like a Flat Bread, however the taste is totally different. Makes 4 to 6 pupusas.

Ingredients

2 pounds                      Maseca (Corn Flour)

1 Quart                         Water

Preparation:

  1. Combine the Maseca and water together in a mixing bowl until smooth; knead well.
  2. Shape the dough into 2 inch round balls. On a lightly floured surface, flatten each ball into 6 inch diameter disc.
  3. Place 2 Tablespoons of filling in the center (Suggestions for fillings follows) of a disc. Spread   evenly leaving an empty margin for sealing. Top with second disc and press the edges together to seal in the filling.
  4. Heat ungreased skillet over medium heat. Place one tortilla into the skillet at a time, and cook until the rounds/ tortillas are lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve with a side of Cabbage salad.

Fillings:

Pork

Ingredients

2 pounds                      Pork Cooked - Fine Chopped

6 each                          Plum tomato

2 each                          Bell pepper

1 each                          Onion

As needed                    Salt

Preparation: In a blender combine and puree Plum Tomato, Bell Pepper, and Onion. In a pot over medium heat simmer for 25 minutes. Cool and Reserve

Queso Blanco

  1. pounds                         White Cheese.  Grate. Reserve in the cooler.

Cabbage Salad

Ingredients

2 Pound                        Cabbage - Shredded

1 each                          Carrot- Peeled and Grated

1 Cup                           vinegar

  1. teaspoon                      Oregano Dried

As needed                    Salt and Pepper

Preparation: Combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Aura Cameron’s Stewed Chicken with Loroco Flower*

Typical Guatemalan Recipe serves 2

*Loroco is a delicious exotic flower, native of El Salvador. Touted to be a natural aphrodisiac it contains vitamins A, B and C, besides calcium and iron. It is rich in fiber, very aromatic and pulpous and can be purchased at ethnic markets.

Ingredients

2 each                         Chicken Leg quarter

2 each                          Plum Tomato - Diced

1 each Medium             Onion - Diced

1 tablespoon                 Garlic - Chopped

½ Each                          Bell Pepper Red - Diced

½ Each                          Bell Pepper Green – Diced

1 ½ cup                         Loroco Flower - Roughly Chopped

½ Teaspoon                 Achiote Paste/Annatto Paste

2 Tablespoons                Olive Oil

2 Cups                         Sour Cream

½ Cups                        Heavy Cream

As Needed                    Salt and Pepper

Preparation:

  1. Make a Sofrito; in a large pot over medium heat add the olive oil, plum tomato, onion, garlic, Loroco, bell peppers red and green. Cook for approximately 10 minutes till the onions are translucent and the vegetables are soft. Incorporate the Achiote paste.
  2. Add the Chicken, Sour Cream and Heavy Cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium low heat for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, (keep checking and occasionally stir) till the chicken is cooked.
  3. When the chicken is cooked serve with steamed white rice.

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 26 September 2011 19:55
 
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