Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Basil Lemon Syrup:
Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan
For the Mango Cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.
Blend the cream cheese and ricotta in a food processor. Add the mango puree, eggs, and sugar and pulse until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the mango mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes. Place in the refrigerator and cool completely, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
For the Basil Lemon Syrup: Place the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Cool the syrup completely. In a food processor combine the basil and the cooled syrup. Pulse until the herbs are finely chopped. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Slice the cheesecake and place on a serving plate. Drizzle with the syrup and serve.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I was so excited about today's TWD choice because I love honey, cornbread, and figs. I enjoyed this, though it was a bit sweet. I don't know that the figs added to the cake, next time I might use nuts, like almonds or macadamia. It wasn't really a breakfast food, or dessert, more like an afternoon tea-time pick-me-up dish. It was like cornbread, but much more tender and soft. I like how the corn meal gave it a little texture. Overall, a great recipe, but next time I'd make a few adjustments!
1 c. medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal
½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c. ricotta
1/3 c. tepid water
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. honey (if you’re a real honey lover, use a full-flavored honey such as chestnut, pine, or buckwheat)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10 ½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Check that the figs are, indeed, moist and plump. If they are the least bit hard, toss them into a small pan of boiling water and steep for a minute, then drain and pat dry. If the figs are large (bigger than a bite), snip them in half.
Whisk the polenta, flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the ricotta and water together on low speed until very smooth. With the mixer at medium speed, add the sugar, honey, and lemon zest and beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are fully incorporated. You’ll have a sleek, smooth, pourable batter.
Pour about one third of the batter into the pan and scatter over the figs. Pour in the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary, and dot the batter evenly with the chilled bits of butter.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the panm, and the butter will have left light-colored circles in the top. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.
Monday, April 28, 2008
1/3 cup EVOO
2 tbso. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of sugar
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1. To make the salad: place quinoa in a mesh strainer, run under cold water until it runs clear. Dump the quinoa in a pot of boiling water, cook for 12 minutes until transparent. Drain and rinse, then place back in the pot and cook on low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Place in a large mixing bowl to cool.
2. Add the beans, corn, peppers, onion, scallions, and meat, toss well to combine.
3. To make vinaigrette: add all ingredients to a jar and shake to combine.
4. Toss the salad with the dressing, taste for salt. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
5. Before serving, toss in cilantro. Plate over lettuce, garnish with tomatoes and cilantro.
The South American Table, Maria Baez Kijac. Harvard Common Press: Boston, 2003.
For this week's country challenge, I decided to go back to South America. When I was researching recipes for Argentina, I found many for Bolivia as well. What struck me most were the number of recipes using Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a grain native from the Andes. The Incas spread the use of Quinoa all over South America. Quinoa is naturally bitter, and must be rinsed many times. It declined in popularity in the nineteenth centry due to widespread belief that it was killing pigs owned by peasants. They stopped growing it, and it almost disappeared.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cooked uncovered, stirring frequently, for 2 hours.
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
Pour into ramekins, and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, or until browned on top.
I made my pie crust in the food processor, and rolled it into the pan on Friday night, so on Saturday I just poured in the quiche mixture and baked it off. You can use a premade pie crust, though.
Since JJ's parents live in Florida, we were not able to spend holidays with them. They're here visiting, so I wanted to make a holiday-ish dinner, spring style. I chose to prepare a turkey dinner featuring citrus and fresh herbs. Each dish is very simple to prepare, fresh, and healthy. I hope you enjoy this delicious, light feast!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Jollof Rice is a traditional Western Africa dish, very easy to make and many variations. This version is the author's mother's recipe.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I’ve been trying to come up with a way to use my wonton wrappers in the freezer. A popular appetizer making the rounds is a salad in a wonton cup that has been baked in a muffin tin. I decided to try it out with one of my favorite summery dishes – slaw salad. Since the cups are an appetizer, I made asian style chicken meatballs, another appetizer option. I love taking an appetizer and stretching it into a dinner, or just serving a few appetizers for dinner. This is such a versatile meal though, it can be made into a Mexican style dinner using chili spiced meatballs and a corn salsa in the cups, or Italian with roasted red pepper meatballs and a caprese salad in the cups. If I’ve learned one thing from Rachael Ray, it’s “methods, not recipes,” where she gives you an outline for a meal, and gives you ideas to change it up ethnically or by the meat/veggies in it. I use this “method” cooking often with soup/salad/sandwich nights, as well as pasta and pizzas. I encourage you to try this framework of a meal and switch it up and let me know how it goes!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Mali was one of the Empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade. When European sea trade began to peak, Mali fell under French rule, from 1800 until 1960. Mali gained independence in 1991, after an anti-goverment coup. Mali is currently one of the most stable countries in Africa politically and socially. Mali's main export is cotton, though it also exports rice and gold.
The capital city of Mali is Bamako, the fastest growing city in Africa. Mali's official language is French, though there are close to 50 African languages spoken. Around 90% of Mali is Islamic, however, there is no state religion.
Though Mali has one of the lowest HIV/AIDS rates in Africa at 1.9% of the adult population, many other illnesses exist, largely in part to the fact that around 70% of the population has access to safe drinking water and sanitation services.
About the cuisine, rice is a staple ingredient. Tomatoes, peanuts, and grilled meats are also very traditional ingredients.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Today the Sprint series is off, but the Nationwide series is racing in Mexico City. I saw this recipe in Bobby Flay's cookbook for Yucatan Chicken, and figured I'd make it since the Yucatan Peninsula is in Mexico.
One of the reasons I started this blog was to challenge myself to try new cooking methods and ingredients, and tonight's dinner had both! I've never cooked tamales before, and I've never had jicama. The tamales were outstanding! The jicama was good, too. It tasted like a sweet water chestnut. Kroger didn't have papayas this week, so I subbed mango in the salsa.
I hope you enjoy these two great Bobby Flay recipes!
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp. nutmeg
Salt and pepper
24 dried corn husks, soaked in water for 2 hours
½ recipe of Masa
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels
1 medium onion
2 cups chicken stock
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 tbsp. shortening
1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
1 ½ tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper
About 2 hours before you plan to form the tamales, clean the husks under water, soak them for 2 hours in hot water, until softened.
Puree the corn, onion and stock, transfer to a mixing bowl and cut in the shortening and butter. Using your fingers, mix in the cornmeal, sugar, salt and pepper until there are no visible lumps of fat.
Remove the corn husks from water and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, honey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Add the pumpkin mixture to the masa, marbling it through; do not combine the two mixtures completely.
Lay 2 husks flat on a work surface with the tapered ends facing out and the broad bases overlapping. Place about 1/3 cup of masa in the middle. Bring the long sides up over the masa, overlapping, and pat down to close. Tie each bundle with a strip of corn. Trim the ends to about ½” beyond the tie. Arrange in a single layer in a steamer and steam over boiling water for 45 minutes.
Yucatan-style Chicken Skewers with Papaya-Tomatillo Salsa:
1 cup Yucatan Marinade
9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used tenders)
1 medium jicama, julienned
2 cups papaya-tomatillo salsa
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ cup ancho chile powder
2 tbsp. pasilla chile powder
¼ cup paprika
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
¼ cup EVOO
Combine all ingredients in a blender until emulsified.
1 papaya, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 tomatillos, husked and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. diced red onion
1 tbsp. minced jalapeno
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp. honey
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, May be refrigerated for up to 1 day before serving.
Rub the marinade into the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
Prepare a charcoal grill or preheat the broiler
Thread each piece of chicken onto 2 skewers so the meat stays flat, grill for 4 minutes per side. Arrange on a plate with the jicima and salsa.
(The tamales before I rolled them)
(This is what jicama looks like, as well as the corn husks soaking)
2 1/4" slices of pancetta
1 red onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
20 cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of roasted garlic, smashed
1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered
10 green olives, sliced
1 jar of tapenade (we used roasted pepper and artichoke)
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 cup parmesan, plus extra to pass around the table
Cook pasta according to directions.
Sautee pancetta in a nonstick skillet over high for 4-5 minutes, until brown. Drain onto a paper towel and set aside. Pour out most of the rendered fat. Add onion, peppers, and mushrooms in a the same skillet over medium heat, and saute' for 10 minutes, until softened.
Add artichokes, olives, and garlic, toss to combine.
Add pasta, pancetta and tapenade, season with salt and pepper, gently toss to combine.
Serve warm with parmesan cheese and garlic bread.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
For the sides tonight, I’m making Kartoffelklosse (Potato Dumplings), a traditional German side, and Asparagus. White asparagus is traditional in Germany, but Kroger didn’t have any this week, so I went for regular green asparagus. Potato dumplings are my favorite German food. They’re so delicious, there’s nothing like them! Gnocci are similar, but Potato dumplings have farina, which gives them a different texture. My mom also makes them with a crouton inside, which is the traditional way. She sometimes boils them in gravy from Sauerbraten, and sometimes water. I boiled mine in water, since I’ll have meatloaf gravy for them. Enjoy my last German meal!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Now, for dinner, I’m recreating their Alpine Chicken Spatzle. The menu describes it as, “Grilled whole breast of chicken sliced and served on German spatzel with onions, peppers and mushrooms, topped with creamy garlic-basil sauce.”
These did not disappoint AT ALL!!! They were also very easy to make! One thing that I love about this cookbook is Dorie gives you a few other options with each recipe in her "playing around" section. There was a chocolate option, which I jumped at! The marshmallows were puffing up and growing nicely in the final whipping stage, but as soon as I added a bit of cocoa powder, it reduced in size by half! I was worried I had ruined them, but I carried on and poured them into the pan. They ended up setting nicely. I knew I was going to make s'mores, double chocolate, but now, I'm thinking, "why didn't I buy chocolate grahams and make triple chocolate s'mores?!?!"
I hope you try making these, they're delicious!
About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet -- choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high -- with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup -- without stirring -- until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)
Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy -- don't overbeat them and have them go dull.
As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.
Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won't fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).
Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.
Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you'd like -- into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they're cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you've got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.
SERVING: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish. Sometimes I fill a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table -- it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.
STORING: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don't cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week -- they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they'll still be very good.
RASPBERRY MARSHMALLOWS: Fruit purees are excellent for flavoring these candies.
For raspberry marshmallows, you'll need a generous 1/3 cup of puree; reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon. After the batter is mixed, gently fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. You can use the same measurements and technique for other purees, such as strawberry, mango and passion fruit.
CAPPUCCINO MARSHMALLOWS: Sift 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon together into a small bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and mix until smooth. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon, and add it to the espresso mix. After you add the sugar syrup and gelatin to the meringue, beat in the espresso mixture and continue.
LIGHT CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.
PUMPKIN SPICE MARSHMALLOWS: Whisk together 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the spiced pumpkin with a large rubber spatula.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Posted by Ashlee at 4/14/2008 06:18:00 PM
Sunday, April 13, 2008
For dinner tonight, I wanted to make my favorite classic German dish, Sauerbraten with Spätzle and Red Cabbage. The sauerbraten needs to marinade for a few days, then cook for a few hours, so you'll need some time for this dish. Enjoy!
Saurebrate, Spätzle, und Rotkohl mit Apfeln
(German Pot Roast)
2-3 lbs. boneless beef bottom round
4 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
Add all ingredients in a Tupperware container, place in the fridge for 3 days.
Remove the meat from the marinade, and place on a plate.
Heat 2 tbsp. EVOO in a pot on medium-high, brown the meat on all sides.
Pour the marinade into the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, simmer for 3 hours.
Remove meat from the pot. Pour the cooking liquid through a strainer and back into a pot on high. Bring to a boil, add 1 tbsp. gravy master, and 2 tbsp. flour whisked with ½ cup cold water.
Season the gravy with salt and pepper.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
½ cup water
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt heavily.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.
Spoon batter into a spätzle press, and boil for 6-8 minutes per batch. Use a mesh colander to pull spätzle out and drain well. If you don’t have a spätzle press, you can use a colander with small holes. (Press shown below)
Rotkohl mit Apfeln
(Red Cabbage with Apples)
2 lbs. red cabbage, sliced thin
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 green apple, cored and peeled, and diced
½ cup finely chopped onions
1 bay leaf
1 cup water
Add all ingredients to a soup pot over medium-low heat. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring every half hour.
My sister, Becky, isn't a big fan of German food, except for the Pretzels and Beer Cheese. The pretzels are a Nanny Munchinger recipe, and the beer cheese is a recipe I worked out. We used to make these pretzels with my mom when we were younger, it was so fun shaping them how ever we wanted.
Enjoy these with a nice, cold German beer!
(To all who speak German, I hope this isn't too bad! Please email me corrections!)
Meine Schwester liebt Brezeln und Bierkäse. Das Brezeln Rezept ist meiner Großmutter, und der Bierkäse ist mein. Ich liebe Bier mit mein Brezeln und Bierkase.
Germany was voted #1 for April's Country Challenge! I am so excited Germany was chosen, because it's giving me the opportunity to share some of my family's recipes that have been passed down for years. I am almost 100% German, some of my Great-Grandparents entered America right before WWII, through Ellis Island. They settled on Long Island, New York, which is where I am originally from. My father's side of the family are from Hamburg and Stuttgart, and some family memebers still live there. All of the recipes I'm using this week are from my Nanny Munchinger, who was born in Germany and came over right before the war. She taught these recipes to my mother, who has taught me!
Usually I like to write about the history of a country, but since Germany's history is somewhat well known, I'm going to use this week to talk about the culture and family.
In Germany, Mittagessen (lunch) is the large meal of the day, and Abendessen (dinner) is usually a smaller meal. The dinner's I'm making this week would usually be eaten at lunch, and a common dinner in Germany would be Brot (sandwich) with a beer and of course, big dill pickles!
I've taken 5 years of German through high school and college, so I'll be using many of the German words in my cooking this week.
I hope you enjoy Nanny Munchinger's recipes from Deutschland!
This meal was delicious! It was so flavorful, and had just the right amount of spice. Unfortunately, I forgot to type up the recipe before I brought the cookbook back to the library today, so I can't share that, but if you want it, this is the cookbook it came from:
Bobby Flay’s Bold American Food, Bobby Flay. Warner Books, Inc: New York, 1994.
Finally, Jimmie Johnson had his first win of the season!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Sauerbraten, Spatzle, Red Cabbage with Apples
German Meatloaf, Asparagus, Potato Balls
Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, Potato Pancakes, Applesauce
Alpine Chicken Spatzle