Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Turkey Burgers

From Dining for Two (recipe is easily doubled or tripled); makes excellent turkey burgers that are very juicy and filled with vegetables. Very kid friendly.

1/2 lbs. turkey: ground breast
1 small zucchini coarsely shredded
1 tbsp. onions (yellow) finely grated
1 tbsp. cilantro finely chopped (I use more--PKS)
1/2 small pepper (jalapeño or serrano) (sometimes I use red pepper flakes instead--PKS)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cups yogurt: Greek low-fat
1/3 cups cucumber finely diced
1 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp. lime zest grated
1 1/2 tsp. lime juice

To make the burgers, combine the turkey, zucchini, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño pepper in a bowl until well mixed. Shape into 4 patties.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook until golden and cooked through, about 12 minutes, turning the burgers halfway through and adding the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil to the pan after turning them.

Meanwhile, to make the tzaziki sauce, stir together the yogurt cucumber, garlic, lime zest, and juice in a small bowl. Serve with the burgers.

Serve with either pita bread or buns.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tarragon Sauce

From Grill it!

1/4 cup dry white wine (or vermouth)
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled and buised (may omit if desired)
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
mayonnaise (reduced-fat or regular)
tarragon (fresh or dried), finely chopped or crushed

Combine wine, vinegar, and garlic in small saucepan. Boil over high heat until liquid is reduced by half. Discard garlic; whisk in mustard, lemon juice, and pepper.

When cool, add a little of this mixture and some tarragon to some mayonniase (reduced-fat mayonnaise and dried tarragon was delicious).

Store extra liquid in refrigerator for future use.

Excellent on Marinated Salmon Seared in a Pepper Crust (see recipe on blog) or artichokes.

Steak au Poivre

from Dining for Two

2 (3-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks (1 1/2 inches thick) trimmed of all visible fat
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup preepared demi-glace sauce*
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Season steaks with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Press pepper onto both sides. Spray medium nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-hgh heat. Add steaks and cook about 5 minutes on each side (this will be medium-rare if the steaks are 1 1/2 inches thick and 3 ounces each). Transwer steaks to a plate; keep warm.

Spray same skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat and add brandy. Return skillet to heat and cook about 1 minute. Add the demi-glace sauce and mustard; cook, sitrring, until mixture begins to thicken, 2-3 minutes. Whirl in the butter and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt (if needed--taste first).

1 or 2 servings

*I used Demi-glace Gold, veal & beef resconstitued at a proportion of 4 to 1.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Grilled Garlic and Chipotle Hamburgers

Makes 3 hamburgers

1 1/4 pound ground chuck
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespooon olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled (leave whole)
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon minced scallion (optional)

Put the ground chuck in a bowl with the salt and pepper. In a small skillet, add olive oil and saute garlic until golden brown over medium heat. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, mince it and add it to the meat along with the chipotle chile and scallion. Mix thoroughly.

Divide the meat into three portions and shape into patties that are about 3/4 inch thick and 4 1/2 inches across. To prevent burger bulge, make an indention in the center of the patty (the divot should be about 1/2 inch thick).

If using a gas grill, turn all the burners to high, and close the lid. Heat the grill until it is very hot (about 15 minutes). Grill the burgers, divot-side up, uncovered (do not "press" the burgers as it will force the juice out of the meat...and you'll end up with dry burgers). When the first side is well seared (about 2 1/2 minutes), flip the burgers with with a wide metal spatula. Continue grilling until desired doneness (2 minutes for rare, 2 1/2 minutes for medium-rare, 3 minutes for medium, and 4 minutes for well-done). If you like well-done burgers, poke a hole in the center of the burger before cooking...this will help the center cook more quickly, avoiding dry edges.

Roroc and I love to serve these on toasted buns with any combination of melted cheddar cheese, mayonaise, barbecue sauce, and/or mustard. The smoke and the heat of these burgers will "wow" any burger-junkie.

Lemon Cake

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Ina pre-sliced these for her beach picnic and put them in individually wrapped packages...

Alton Brown's Coq au Vin

Heidi & I made this together. We thought the results were fantastic. This dish is great for company because most of the work (and the dishes!) are done the day before. Be sure to use low sodium chicken broth if you aren't using your own homemade saltless stock.

24 to 30 pearl onions
4 chicken thighs and legs, or 1 (5 to 7-pound) stewing chicken, cut into serving pieces*
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
6 ounces salt pork, slab bacon, or lardon, cubed
8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 (750-ml) bottles red wine, preferably pinot noir
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium onion, quartered
2 stalks celery, quartered
2 medium carrots, quartered
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken stock or broth

*We used 8 thigh-leg quarters without changing the proportions, except that we added extra mushrooms.

Cut off the root end of each pearl onion and make an "x" with your knife in its place. Bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a boil and drop in the onions for 1 minute. Remove the onions from the pot, allow them to cool, and then peel. You should be able to slide the onions right out of their skin. Set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the chicken pieces, a few at a time, into a large (1 or 2-gallon) sealable plastic bag along with the flour. Shake to coat all of the pieces of the chicken. Remove the chicken from the bag to a metal rack.
Add the 2 tablespoons of water to a large, 12-inch saute pan over medium heat along with the salt pork. Cover and cook until the water is gone, and then continue to cook until the salt pork cubes are golden brown and crispy, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the salt pork from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, using the remaining fat, add the pearl onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute until lightly brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Next, brown the chicken pieces on each side until golden brown, working in batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan. Transfer the chicken into a 7 to 8-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven.

Add the mushrooms to the same 12-inch saute pan, adding the 1 tablespoon of butter if needed, and saute until they give up their liquid, approximately 5 minutes. Store the onions, mushrooms and pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pour off any remaining fat and deglaze the pan with approximately 1 cup of the wine. Pour this into the Dutch oven along with the chicken stock, tomato paste, quartered onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Add all of the remaining wine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is tender. Maintain a very gentle simmer and stir occasionally.

Once the chicken is done, remove it to a heatproof container, cover, and place it in the oven to keep warm. Strain the sauce in a colander and remove the carrots, onion, celery, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Return the sauce to the pot, place over medium heat, and reduce by 1/3. Depending on how much liquid you actually began with, this should take 20 to 45 minutes.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the pearl onions, mushrooms, and pork and cook for another 15 minutes or until the heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, remove from the heat, add the chicken and serve. Serve over egg noodles, if desired.

Cook’s Note: If the sauce is not thick enough at the end of reducing, you may add a mixture of equal parts butter and flour kneaded together. Start with 1 tablespoon of each. Whisk this into the sauce for 4 to 5 minutes and repeat, if necessary.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Popular Waffles

from Betty Crocker

This recipe produces very good waffles, and it is easy.

2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted butter

Combine eggs and buttermilk, add butter, then mix in remaining dry ingredients, stirring only enough to combine everything--lumps will remain. Let rest for 10 minutes while you heat the waffle iron. Add blueberries, if desired, before closing the iron.

Makes about 6 4-inch waffles.

Oven-Fried Chicken

Everyone loves fried chicken. I wanted to find a way to fry it in advance so I wasn't standing at the stove, covered in grease, while everyone waited for dinner. Parker Hodges at Barefoot Contessa solved the problem brilliantly. Now I fry each piece for about 10 minutes, and then cook the chicken on a baking rack in the oven, which makes it crisp on the outside and tender and juicy inside. It's so much easier and you don't need to scour the kitchen after you're done! Just remember that the chicken needs to marinate overnight.--Ina Garten

I think this method produced as good a fried-chicken as Alton Brown's method, and Ina is right, it is "so much easier". You don't have to marinate the chicken overnight; two hours is enough.

1 or 2 chickens (3 to 3 1/2 pounds each), cut into eight serving pieces
1 quart buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour*
1 tablespoon kosher salt*
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper*
Crisco oil (the liquid type doesn't have any trans-fat)

*If you make 2 chickens you need to double the flour-salt-pepper mixture.

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cmobine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot (I used my large Le Crueset). to the delpth of 1 inch and heat to 360º.

Working in batches, carfully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown ( it will continue to brown in the oven). Don't crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360º before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 mintues, until the chicken is no longer pink insidel. Serve hot.

Real Meatballs & Spaghetti

This is an excellent and easy recipe. I made it for Kevin's double-nickel birthday.

This is not something my mother made when I was growing up, so I had to do some research about spaghetti and meatballs. the best idea came from the famous New York Italian restaurant call Roao's; they add water to the meatballs, which keeps them moist and delicious. I may not be Italian, but this has definitely become a staple in my house. --Ina Garten

For the Meatballs

1/2 pound ground veal (I didn't have any veal so I used 3/4 pound of pork and 1 pound of ground round)
1/2 pound pork
1 pound ground beef (ground round)
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs (I used plain Panko)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teasopoon ground nutmeg (I omitted this)
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the Sauce

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion, chopped fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped*
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I didn't use this much salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For Serving

1 1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente (I found 1 pound was almost too much for the amount of sauce)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet--I used my big Le Crueset pot--to a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat the oil. Very carfully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meaballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.

For the sauce, heat the oilve oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until transulcent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, utnil almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsely, salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 mintues, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan cheese.

*I like to use D.O.P. tomatoes; they're expensive but worth the price.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Jam Thumbprints

Recipe courtesy Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Family Style

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry and/or apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 5/8 of an ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

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