Archive for December 17, 2013

Taste Test: Is Better Vanilla Extract Worth the Price?

So whats the final word? It depends on your usage patterns. If you use vanilla regularly in baked goods like cookies and cakes, theres no reason to spring for the fancy stuff, or even the real stuff—artificial extract will do just fine. If you drink a lot of nog or make uncooked ice cream bases or cold desserts like panna cotta, you might consider buying real extract. But if all you’ve got on hand is artificial extract? Don’t worry, just add a touch of booze to the mix a teaspoon of vodka or bourbon for every teaspoon of extract works, and you’ll do just fine.

Taste Test: Is Better Vanilla Extract Worth the Price? | Serious Eats: Sweets.

How to Make Ranch Dressing

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

• a 2-cup Mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid

• 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

• 1/4 cup mayonnaise

• 3 tablespoons sour cream

• 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

• 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

• 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice

• 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped

• salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put all of the measured ingredients into the jar or container. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

2. Tightly close the lid and shake the container to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Put the dressing in the refrigerator and let it sit for at least an hour before using—this will allow the flavors to meld. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. The dressing will last up to three days in the refrigerator.

How to Make Ranch Dressing – The Basics – CHOW Food News.

Perfect Roast Chicken

2013-02-07 19.21.27

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe : Ina Garten : Recipes : Food Network.

Chicken-And-Corn Fried Rice With Lemon Spinach

Serves 4

1 pound ground chicken
2 eggs
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 ears of corn when in season, or 1 bag frozen (12 ounces)
1/2 (10 ounces) bag spinach (washed, spun dry, de-stemmed, leaves torn)
2 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
4 cups cold, cooked long-grain rice, brown and white combination, preferably day-old so it’s nice and dry*
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Canola oil

Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat with oil. When oil shimmers add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and brown, breaking up any large chunks with wooden spoon or spatula. Remove chicken to a plate. Add about 1/2-inch oil to wok and allow to heat; add eggs, which will puff up. Cook scrambled eggs and remove to a paper towel-lined plate. If necessary, add more oil to wok to lightly coat, then add onions, garlic, and powdered ginger, and cook until nicely caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add corn, rice, chicken and egg, and toss to combine. Add naturally brewed soy sauce, toss to combine, and check for seasoning. Place mound of raw spinach in center of four dinner plates. Drizzle with lemon juice and season. Top with fried rice to cover. Enjoy!

Chef Ming Tsai Makes $10 Dish His Kids Love : NPR.

Tangy Slow Cooker Brisket With Potatoes and Sweet Peppers

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
3 pound beef brisket
1 medium onion, minced
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
2 pounds small potatoes, such as fingerlings
2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Procedures

1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan until shimmering. Season brisket with salt and pepper and brown on both sides.

2.Transfer brisket to a slow cooker and add remaining ingredients. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours or until tender.

3. Remove brisket from slow cooker and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain. Place on a platter along with vegetables. Spoon sauce on top or place in a gravy boat to pass alongside.

Tangy Slow Cooker Brisket With Potatoes and Sweet Peppers | Serious Eats : Recipes.

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Pascale’s roasted potato magic unfolds thusly: the potatoes are parboiled for five minutes first, drained, and returned to the saucepan. At this point — and this is the crucial step, so pay attention — you grab the lidded pan and shake it vigorously, which not only is fun, but also serves to make the surface of the potato pieces fuzzy from rubbing their hips one against the other.

And wouldn’t you know it, it is this very fuzz that fosters the formation of a splendid crust when you then bake the potatoes, while the parboiling step reduces the baking time and ensures that the flesh inside stays moist.

[…]

Pascale’s Perfect Roasted Potatoes

– 1.2 kilos (2 1/2 pounds) potatoes (waxy or floury — both types will work equally well)
– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or duck fat
– sea salt

Preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F).

If your potatoes are smooth-skinned, scrub them well and peel them in alternative stripes so that strips of skin remain. If, on the other hand, the skin of your potatoes is rugged and grainy, peel it off completely (no need to scrub) then rinse the potatoes well in cold water.

Cut the potatoes into even chunks, about the size of a bite. Place them in a saucepan large enough to accommodate them, cover with cold water, and add a teaspoon coarse salt. Set over high heat, cover, bring to a low boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.

As soon as the water boils, pour the fat into a rimmed baking sheet, and place the sheet in the oven, so the fat and baking sheet will heat up.

After the 5 minutes of boiling, drain the potatoes — they will not be cooked at that point — and return them to the saucepan. Place a lid on the saucepan. Holding the lid firmly shut with both hands (the saucepan will be hot, so wear oven mitts or use dish towels), shake the saucepan vigorously for a few seconds, until the surface of the potato chunks is fuzzy; this will help the formation of a crust.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, pour the potatoes onto the sheet, sprinkle with sea salt, and stir well to coat with the fat.

Return to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes halfway through, until cooked through (when you insert the tip of a knife in one of the pieces, it should meet no resistance), crusty, and golden. If you want a little more color on them, you can switch to grill mode for the final few minutes.

Serve immediately.

* I normally plan to serve about 200 to 250 grams (7 to 9 ounces) of potato per person, but these are so good people tend to want a little more.

Adapted from Pascale Weeks’ pommes de terre rôties.

Perfect Roasted Potatoes | Chocolate & Zucchini.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili

 

1 small pie pumpkin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 oz) plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cans (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bottle (300 ml) stout (such as Guinness or Dragon)
2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp each cinnamon and oregano
2 chipotle peppers, finely minced (that’s two *individual* peppers, not cans)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

To make the pumpkin easier to cut, pierce with a fork a few times and microwave on high for 1 minute. Set aside to cool.

Once pumpkin is cool enough to handle, cut in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds (or save them to make toasted pepitas), then cut each half into six wedges. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the peel from each wedge, then chop into 1/2″ cubes.

Pour the olive oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and squash, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until onion is golden. Stir in tomatoes, beans, beer, brown sugar, spices and chipotle peppers.

Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Stir in red pepper and corn, and continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes or until corn is bright yellow and peppers are soft.

Serve piping hot with your favourite chili garnishings – grated cheddar, sour cream, chopped cilantro, green onions or all of the above (which is my personal preference).

Trick or Treat – Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili – Crumb: A Food Blog.

 

Sopa de Fubà (Collard Greens, Cornmeal, and Sausage Soup) Recipe

INGREDIENTS

½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp. canola oil
6 oz. kielbasa sausage, cut diagonally into ¼”-thick slices
7 cups chicken stock
4 oz. collard greens, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 scallions, thinly sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat cornmeal in a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat and cook, swirling pan constantly, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 3–4 minutes. Transfer cornmeal to a bowl; set aside. Heat oil in skillet and add sausages; cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a 6-qt. pot over high heat. Whisk in reserved cornmeal, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, whisking often, until cornmeal is tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in reserved sausages and collards and cook, stirring occasionally, until collards wilt, 15 minutes. Place eggs in a medium bowl and add 1 cup cornmeal mixture; whisk until smooth. Return mixture to pot and stir until incorporated; cook for 1 minute more and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into 6 serving bowls and garnish with scallions; serve hot.

Sopa de Fubà (Collard Greens, Cornmeal, and Sausage Soup) Recipe | SAVEUR.

Dutch Meat Loaf (off the Hunt’s Tomato Sauce can)

dutch meat loaf by enrevanche
dutch meat loaf, a photo by enrevanche on Flickr.

DUTCH MEAT LOAF (adapted to double sauce recipe)
from HUNT’S COMPLETE TOMATO SAUCE COOKBOOK (Hunt-Wesson Foods, 1976)

1.5 lbs (675 g) lean ground beef
1 cup (250 ml) fresh bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
2 8 oz. (226 g) cans Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
1 egg
1.5 teaspoons (8 ml) salt
0.25 teaspoon (1 ml) pepper
1.5 cups (360 m) water
4 tablespoons (60 ml) brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons (60 ml) prepared mustard
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vinegar

In medium bowl, lightly mix beef, bread crumbs, onion, 1/2 can Hunt’s Tomato Sauce, egg, salt and pepper. Shape into loaf in shallow baking pan. Combine remaining 1.5 cans of tomato sauce with rest of ingredients; pour over loaf. Bake at 350F (175C) for 1 hr 15 minutes, basting loaf several times. Makes 5 to 6 servings.

Recipe: Dutch Meat Loaf (off the Hunt’s Tomato Sauce can) | ITINIDKWI.

Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Garbanzos and Feta

In Turkey this dish is called Menemen (where the eggs are usually scrambled) and in most of North Africa and Israel it’s called Shakshuka.  Even Italy has its version called Uova al Purgatorio (but without the garbanzos).

It’s not hard to have almost every ingredient on hand to make this dish on the fly; canned tomatoes and garbanzos are staples in my pantry, as are the spices. Onions, eggs, and even feta cheese are almost always in my ‘fridge. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, cutting it in half to serve two, and adding a few spices (the addition of sumac really enhances the middle eastern flavor for me and I prefer the smoked paprika to sweet).

This dish would be a great brunch item for a crowd. If you want to do that, I’d recommend making a large batch of the sauce (recipe x 4) in a pot on the stove and then transferring it to a large baking dish (like for lasagna or casserole) and then adding the eggs and baking it in the oven. Not only is this a great breakfast/brunch dish, but I think it would make a delicious quick weeknight dinner and would be perfect for Meatless Mondays.

Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Garbanzos and Feta — Former Chef.