Archive for October, 2009

Recipe: Cornmeal Ricotta Waffles

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Cornmeal  Ricotta Waffles 

Who doesn’t love a hot crispy waffle? This version is a substantial, dense waffle that’s great served with fruit and syrup for brunch or breakfast, but we like this one best for dinner served with creamed chicken, creamed chipped beef or Southern style sausage gravy over the top. 

These are perfect for feeding a crowd. They can be made ahead and reheated directly on an oven rack at 350 degrees until heated through.

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2  cup cornmeal
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup ricotta, drained
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla flavored)
1/4 cup water or milk

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and combine until just smooth (don’t over mix). Bake the waffles in a waffle maker till golden brown. 

Leftover waffles freeze beautifully; just re-crisp in a toaster or toaster oven before serving.

Recipe: Roasted Turmeric Potatoes

roasted turmeric potatoes

Roasted Turmeric Potatoes  

A brief blanching in water laced with turmeric before roasting gives these potatoes a lovely golden color. Brilliantly colored turmeric is a relative to the more familiar common ginger root. Most commonly used as the yellow color in curries and prepared mustards, current news suggests turmeric may have some profound health benefits. Clinical trials are underway to study turmeric as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. The flavor of turmeric in the amounts used in most recipes is mild but the color it imparts is best described as profound. 

These look-and taste great served with a roast chicken. 

2-3  lbs potatoes

1  tsp ground turmeric

6 whole garlic cloves peeled

coarse sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

½ cup cooking oil or drippings from a roast 

Cut potatoes in large chunks. Place potatoes and garlic cloves in a pan large enough to cover with water. Add the turmeric and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and drain well. 

Season with salt and pepper and place the potatoes and garlic in a roasting pan with the oil or drippings from a roast. Gently toss to coat well. Roast for 60-75 minutes at 350 degrees F.  till brown and crusty. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and pepper if desired before serving.

Recipe: Wine Brined Chicken

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Wine Brined Chicken 

Brining poultry and pork for flavor and juiciness is all the rage these days. A brine is nothing more than a sugar and salt solution that penetrates the meat proteins to break them down reducing fluid loss during cooking. Additions to the brine will enhance the flavor and can be any choice of herbs, spices or aromatics such as garlic, onions or citrus peels. This recipe calls for white wine in the brining liquid but sherry also produces a wonderfully juicy & flavorful bird. Because the acid in the wine speeds the brining process up there’s no need for a lengthy brining period. 

 For this recipe, the chicken has been butterflied or “spatchcocked”. This makes for a shorter cooking time than a whole bird and is easier to carve. It also makes a nice presentation. 

Save your best wine for drinking; for this recipe any domestic bargain dry white wine will give great results. For a delicious pork brine, substitute apple cider for the wine called for in this recipe. 

Ingredients: 

1 whole chicken butterflied and backbone removed

2 cups dry white wine

2 cups water

¼ cup salt

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

herbs of choice such as thyme,  rosemary, tarragon or garlic if desired

1 tablespoon oil or softened butter 

Combine everything except the chicken in a large measuring cup to dissolve salt & sugar. Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag or high sided dish large enough to lay the chicken out flat. Pour brine over the chicken and seal the bag. Refrigerate 2-6 hours. 

Remove bird and pat dry with paper towels.  Rub a small amount of oil or softened butter on the skin and season both sides with fresh ground black pepper and any dried herbs of choice. Grill or roast indoors basting once or twice during cooking till chicken is cooked through and skin is crispy (juices will run clear when done). 

Serves 4

Recipe: Candied Orange Peel

Orangerind

Candied Orange Peel 

Great eaten all by itself, as a very pretty addition to a holiday cookie tray or as an ingredient in many holiday recipes, candied orange peel is delicious. One way to use orange peels is to stuff a dried date with a piece of orange peel and almond, then dip the entire thing into dark chocolate. Any variety of citrus peel (lemon, tangerine, blood orange, etc.) can be candied using this method. Candied grapefruit rind is an especially good addition in recipes that call for candied fruit. 

  • 6 thick-skinned Valencia or navel oranges
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Cut tops and bottoms off of the orange and score the orange into quarters, cutting down only into the peel and not into the fruit. Peel the skin and pith of the orange in large pieces, use the orange for another recipe. Using a sharp knife or swivel blade vegetable peeler, cut away the bitter white pith from the underside of the peels. The remaining peel should be approximately 1/8” thick. Do not worry if small amounts of white pith remain.  Cut the peel into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Put the orange peel in a large saucepan with cold water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Then pour off the water. Repeat 3 or 4 more times depending up how assertive you want the orange peels to be. Remove the orange peels from the pan.

Whisk the sugar with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 9 minutes (if you took the sugar’s temperature with a candy thermometer it would be at the soft thread stage, 230 to 234 degrees F.) Add the peels and simmer gently, reducing heat to retain a simmer. Cook until the peels get translucent, about 45 minutes. Resist the urge to stir the peels or you may introduce sugar crystals into the syrup. If necessary, swirl the pan to move the peels around.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool. Once cool, drain the peels in a colander (reserve the syrup for iced tea or cocktails).

CandiedOrangPeel

At this point, turn your oven to 200 degrees.  Place about one cup of sugar in a small bowl. Dredge the peels in the sugar until they are coated, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add more sugar if necessary. Place the sugar-coated peels in the warm oven and allow them to dry out. This should take approximately one hour, but check them every 20 minutes to ensure that they are not burning or cooking in any way. Alternately, they can be left to sit overnight on a drying rack instead of placed in the oven.

Once peels are completely dry, scrape off any excess sugar clumps. Store them in a dry location and they should keep for at 6 weeks weeks. Candied peels can be dipped in melted chocolate and enjoyed plain, or used in cake, cookie, candy, or bread recipes.

CandiedOraPeel

Recipe: Chocolate “Salami”

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Chocolate Salami
Chocolate ‘salami’ rolls are a traditional dessert popular in Portugal and Italy around the holidays. Using a high quality chocolate will produce a decadent nut studded roll that has the resemblance of meat salami when sliced. When stored refrigerated it will keep for several weeks ready to serve as needed making it very handy to have on hand for entertaining.

3½ cups good quality dark chocolate, chopped
12   amaretti cookies, coarsely chopped
4    egg yolks                              
4    Tbsp. unsalted butter
¼   cup sweetened condensed milk
1    cup toasted crushed hazelnuts
1    tsp vanilla
½   tsp salt
4    Tbsp. brandy or bourbon
powdered sugar for garnish

Add the cookies into large bowl and sprinkle with ½ of the brandy (or bourbon), set aside. 

Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler and cool till just warm to the touch. 

When chocolate has melted, add butter, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks, and stir well to incorporate. Mixture will start to thicken into a dough like consistency and pull away from bowl. Add chocolate mixture to broken cookies. 

Add vanilla, salt, rest of the brandy and ½ of almonds, mix well until incorporated. 

Shaping the Salami:

Lay out a long sheet of wax paper (about 30 inches) 

Roll the mixture onto the wax paper and shape into a salami shape length wise to the paper to about 3-4 inches in diameter. 

Sprinkle remaining almonds around salami and spread out as evenly as possible. 

Bring salami to one side of paper and start to roll paper around log gently but firmly, once completely rolled, twist ends and refrigerate flat on a large cookie sheet for at least 2 hours. 

To serve, bring to room temperature for about 20 minutes and sprinkle the roll with powdered sugar before cutting and serving.

Witches Fingers (diti di strega)

witches fingers

Witches Fingers (diti di strega) 

Kick off the holiday baking season with a popular Italian Halloween cookie. These are seriously delicious cookies, in spite of looking like severed witches fingers. The dough is a versatile cookie recipe-I use the same dough for thumbprint cookies for Christmas filling the centers with chocolate ganache or jam.

 3 cups blanched almonds, divided

4 oz.  cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3/4 cup  powdered sugar

1 tsp. almond extract

1/4 tsp.  salt

1-1/2 cups flour

red food coloring or red cake decorating gel

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Reserve 60 nuts for later use; process remaining nuts in food processor until finely ground. Beat cream cheese, butter, sugar, extract and salt in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in ground nuts. (Dough will be stiff.)

Roll dough into 60  three inch fingers, using 1 Tbsp. dough for each. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray. With a cotton swab dab a thin layer of red coloring on the tip of each finger. Press 1 of the reserved nuts into red dough in 1 end of each finger for the fingernail. Use sharp knife to make 3 crosswise slits in top of each finger for the knuckles.

Bake 15 to 20 min. or until lightly browned. Cool 3 min. on baking sheet; carefully transfer to wire racks. Cool completely.

Recipe: Fondue

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Cheese Fondue

Fondue is a classic Swiss melted cheese dish that was perfect for long cold snowy nights when groups of people with no TV’s or video games gathered to pass the evening actually talking to each other. With no electricity either when fondue was born a few hundred years ago, the first fondue pots were heated in a fireplace. Today we have fondue pots designed to keep the cheese warm  using more modern methods. The cheese should be kept warm and melted but not so hot that the cheese burns on the bottom of the pot.

Wildly popular back in the 50′s and 60′s fondue is making a comeback.  These days vintage fondue pots are being dug out of attics and are fetching high prices at auctions. No fondue pot? You can also use a small crock pot or a hot plate to keep the cheese warm & melty. However you keep it warm, it’ll be a hit at your next party or buffet spread.

Cheese Fondue
1 small garlic clove
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 pound Gruyère cheese grated
3/4 pound Emmenthaler or Swiss cheese grated
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
AND…  a selection of any of the following: crusty bread cubes, Italian breadticks, pretzels, pita triangles, small meatballs, cubed cooked beef tenderloin chicken or turkey, cooked shrimp, small cooked new potatoes, artichoke hearts, asparagus spears, steamed broccoli, cauliflower; carrot, celery, cooked sliced sausage, sliced apples or pears.

Method:
Rub cut side of garlic on inside of large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add wine and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, toss cheeses with cornstarch. Add a handful at a time to simmering wine, stirring until first handful melts before adding next. Stir constantly until cheese is completely melted. Heat until mixture comes to a boil, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt, & pepper.

Serve with crusty bread and other accompaniments.

Yield: 6 main course servings or 10 appetizer servings

Recipe: London Broil with Mushroom Sauce

London Broil

London Broil with Mushroom Sauce 

Meaty and flavorful, a London Broil prepared simply will please any beef lover. Leftovers are great sliced thinly served on a Caesar salad or in a Thai beef salad. They also make a great roast beef sandwich on crusty rolls with horseradish mixed with sour cream the next day. 

London Broil is a thick cut of top round. Approximately 2 inches thick is perfect for grilling. It’s a very lean cut of beef and is best cooked to medium or medium rare for tender, juicy meat. 

1   2 lb top round London Broil

2   cloves garlic, mashed

½  teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2   teaspoons brown sugar

½   cup soy sauce

2   tablespoon vegetable oil

1   lb fresh white mushrooms

2   tablespoons butter

2   shallots finely minced

¼   cup sherry or red wine

½   teaspoon salt

pepper to taste 

Place the London Broil in a baking dish large enough to hold the entire piece of meat. Combine the garlic, pepper, sugar, soy sauce and oil and pour over meat. Turn meat over several times to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and let meat marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator turning occasionally. 

Remove meat from marinade and let excess marinade drain off. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high heat. Grill for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Cook meat till slightly less than desired doneness, medium to medium rare is recommended. This lean cut of meat can be tough if overcooked. Remove meat from broiler to a cutting board and let rest uncovered for 15 minutes. Meat will continue to cook slightly while resting. 

While meat is resting melt butter in a sauté pan. Add shallots and cook till translucent. Turn heat up to medium high and add sliced mushrooms. Sauté till cooked through. Add the sherry, salt and pepper and cook till wine is slightly reduced. Remove from heat. 

Slice meat across the grain and serve with the mushroom sauce. 

Serves 6-8.

Recipe: Chicken Wings

There are thousands of great chicken wing recipes; these are a few of our favorites. Other chicken parts can be substituted for the wings in these recipes by adjusting the cooking time to assure larger pieces cook all the way through.

Thai Flavor BBQ Wings

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Thai Flavor BBQ Wings 

2 lbs chicken wings

¼ cup fish sauce

2 cloves finely minced garlic

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Thai chile garlic paste 

Wash & pat wings dry and place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over wings. Seal bag and massage to coat wings well. Place bag on a large dish and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight, flipping occasionally. 

To grill, drain off the marinade and grill over medium high heat for 30 minutes turning frequently to prevent burning.

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Garlic Lemon Wings

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Garlic Lemon Wings 

2 lbs chicken wings

1 cup lemon juice

4 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

½ teaspoon black pepper 

Combine the lemon juice, garlic, sugar, soy sauce and pepper in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Wash and dry the wings and place in a large zip top freezer bag and pour the marinade over the wings. Zip up the bag and place in a dish in the refrigerator to marinate for 4-6 hours. 

To grill, drain off the marinade and grill over medium high heat for 30 minutes turning frequently to prevent burning.

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Chesapeake Bay Wings

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Chesapeake Bay Wings 

A different use for the classic seasoning mix that hails from Maryland makes these oven baked wings Baltimore’s answer to Buffalo’s wings. 

2 pounds chicken wings

¼ cup vinegar

½ cup beer

½ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup Old Bay Seasoning 

Wash & pat wings dry and place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over wings. Seal bag and massage to coat wings well. Place bag on a large dish and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight, flipping occasionally.

 

Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Remove wings from marinade and spread out into a single layer on each baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until wings are browned and the skin has become crispy. 

Serve with a creamy Caesar dressing for dipping.

Recipe: Roast Chicken and Vegetables

roastchicken potatoes

Roast Chicken & Vegetables

This a great recipe for feeding a crowd-everything is baked in one dish. Makes the house smell wonderful as it cooks.

6 whole chicken/thigh quarters
3 medium potatoes
1 large red onion
1 red bell pepper
2 small zucchini
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
fresh thyme sprigs
salt
pepper
¼ cup olive oil

Cut the potatoes, onions, bell pepper and zucchini into 1 inch pieces. Place in a large 9×12 baking dish along with the whole garlic cloves. Season well with salt & pepper, drizzle with the olive oil and toss well to coat everything with the oil. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes turning the vegetables after 30 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting wash & dry the chicken quarters and season with salt & pepper. Brown both sides well and place over the vegetables along with the sprigs of thyme. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees or until chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

Serves 4-6

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