Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
So, leeks. Wow, they are pretty awesome. You don't ever find them in restaurants, which is kind of weird. (At least not around here.) And prior to this weekend, I never acknowledged them either. They look like an oversized onion and I assumed they wouldn't taste much different. Wrong. They are so flavorful! They turn the brightest, prettiest shade of snappy spring green when sautéed . In fact, smelling the sweet, oniony aroma they give off is actually soothing. I feel calmer just talking about them. And the best thing is, they can really knock a pizza's socks off. I'm proud to announce that Leeks and I no longer have a difference of opinion. Now time to crank out a paper revision...
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1 1/2 pounds pizza dough, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 large leeks, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 pound ground lamb
- 32 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 pound truffled pecorino cheese, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 500°. Heat a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes. (Alternatively, heat a large inverted baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven for 5 minutes.)
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 7-inch round. Oil 3 large baking sheets and place the dough rounds on the sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Add the lamb, season with salt and pepper and cook until no pink remains, about 5 minutes.
- Generously flour a pizza peel. Place a dough round on the peel and brush with olive oil. Top with some of the leeks, lamb, tomatoes and pecorino cheese. Slide the dough round onto the hot stone or baking sheet and bake for about 4 minutes, until bubbling and crisp. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and serve.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Yesterday, via Cup of Joe, I discovered this website, which is all about cupcakes. However, these are not just any cupcakes. They are special. Click through to see why. Anyway, last night I made the Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting which were beyond heavenly. John and I ate three (and a half) each. What does that tell you?
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
P.S. Bookish jewelry, anyone? Genius!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
One tip for making cocktails on a budget is to buy inexpensive vodka and then run it through a water filter. Our bartender friend told us about this trick, which, when filtered through a few times, can make cheap vodka taste as great as Grey Goose. If that news doesn't make your Friday, I don't know what will...
Here's the recipe.
1.5oz Vodka (Ciroc seems appropriate but we used a local Pennsylvania vodka)
1.5oz Lillet Blanc
1oz Lavender Syrup (recipe below)
1oz Lemon Juice
2oz Chilled Soda Water
French Lavender Flower for Garnish
Pitcher (makes 4 glasses):
3/4 Cups Vodka
3/4 Cups Lillet Blanc
1/2 Cup Lavender Syrup
1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Chilled Soda Water for each glass
French Lavender Flower for Garnish
Add equal parts sugar and water to a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Add fresh organic French lavender to taste (or 1/2 cup dried food grade lavender for every 4 cups water/4 cups sugar) and boil for one minute over medium/high heat. Remove from heat and let steep for an hour.
Mix first four ingredients with spoon, pour over ice, add chilled soda water and garnish with lavender flower (or lemon wedges if you can’t find fresh organic lavender).
Enjoy this and your weekend!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Have you seen the latest issue of Fine Cooking magazine?
Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass
2 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 3/4 lb.), butterflied (cut horizontally almost all the way through and then opened like a book)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 medium shallots (about 4 oz.), peeled and thinly sliced into rings
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, outer layers discarded, halved lengthwise, and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
5-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
3-1/2 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (1-1/2 cups)
9 oz. fresh udon noodles
1 Thai bird chile (or 1 small serrano pepper), sliced into thin rings
8 large fresh torn basil leaves; plus sprigs for garnish
1 medium lime, half juiced and half cut into wedges
1 Tbs. soy sauce; more to taste
2 medium scallions, trimmed and sliced, for garnish (optional)
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks, for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
Tip: This soup is also a great destination for shredded, leftover roast chicken in place of the chicken breast. Just add it to the soup along with the chiles, basil, lime juice, and soy sauce.
Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook without disturbing until it’s browned and releases easily from the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is browned and almost firm to the touch (just short of cooked through), 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool.
Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and the shallots to the pot. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the shallots start soften, about 2 minutes. Add the lemongrass, ginger, and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the ginger and lemongrass sizzle and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and raise the heat to medium high. Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the noodles, stirring, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander and run under cold water to cool slightly. Drain well.
Use your fingers or the tines of a fork to shred the chicken. Add the chicken and noodles to the broth and cook until the noodles are completely tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Discard the lemongrass. Stir in the chiles, torn basil, lime juice, and soy sauce; season with more soy to taste. Divide the noodles among 4 large, deep bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles, and garnish with the basil sprigs and scallions, carrot, and cilantro, if using. Serve with the lime wedges for squeezing.
My sister just called to tell me that the above recipe is "not practical." I think she's right. All you busy ladies/mom's out there... make this instead!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Adapted from Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s Splendid Table Weeknight Kitchen e-mail newsletter
This salad is very versatile, and you can't go wrong with any variety of ingredients. Try using shrimp or roasted tofu in place of the chicken and roasted salted almonds instead of peanuts, or substitute basil for the cilantro. If you like, add slivered fresh spinach leaves, diced jicama, blanched and slivered snow peas, or a bit of julienned mint. The recipe makes quite a bit of dressing, so you’ll have some left over; it will keep in the refrigerator for several days and can be used to marinate poultry, beef, pork, or seafood before grilling.
1 pound thin rice noodles (roughly the thickness of linguine)
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
2/3 cup water
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ to ½ cup brown sugar, to taste
1 to 2 hot chilies (red bird, jalapeño, or serrano), seeded and minced, or to taste
6 to 8 leaves Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
8 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded or julienned
½ cup tightly packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 grilled or roasted chicken breasts, shredded
1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Drain the noodles into a colander, rinse with cold water, and then place them in a large bowl.
Place the garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to mince. Add the fish sauce, water, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, and chilies, and purée them together. [The mixture will get quite frothy.] Taste, and if necessary, add more chile and adjust the sweet/tart balance. Pour the dressing into a serving bowl, and set it on the dining table.
Toss the vegetables and cilantro with the noodles, and mound the mixture on a platter. Scatter the chicken and peanuts over the top, and serve. Traditionally, this salad is eaten in individual bowls, so invite your dining partners to scoop their own portion from the platter and dress it as they see fit.
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.
2 teaspoons sesame oil
12 ounces tofu, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned**
4 celery stalks, julienned
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
4 green onions, thinly sliced into long strips
2 small mangoes, thinly sliced into strips
8 ounces rice or soba noodles
2 tablespoons dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 minced jalapeno chili, or to taste (the more the seeds, the hotter the flavor)
1-2 tablespoons fresh mint, thinly sliced, for garnish
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Once hot, add tofu and saute until browned and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, place all other salad ingredients (except noodles and peanuts) in a medium bowl and toss gently. Set aside.
To make the dressing, in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together sugar, vinegar, and salt until sugar dissolves. Turn off heat, and whisk in remaining ingredients. Set aside.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, and add to the bowl of vegetables. Add cooked tofu and dressing, and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and sliced mint. Serve at room temperature or chilled.