Monthly Archives: February 2010
|February 27, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Desserts, Indulge, Italian, Vegetarian or Vegan, Weekend Meals|
When it’s done right, I love tiramisu. But when it’s not done right, it can be pretty disappointing – too sweet and too sloppy. So it goes without saying that I had mixed feeling when I saw that the February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month.
Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession. As part of the challenge, Aparna and Deeba also required that we make our own mascarpone and lady fingers. It seemed like a lot of work for such an iffy outcome, and since I’ve been so exhausted lately I seriously considered not participating in the challenge. But some of my friends on twitter were encouraging, promising that despite the length of the recipe and the time involved, the dish wasn’t complicated to make and that it was some of the best tiramisu they’ve ever had.
I’m glad I took their advice – this was hands down one of my favorite daring bakers challenges to date. The tiramisu was surprisingly easy to make and it tasted fabulous! Not too sweet (though I did cut down on the sugar slightly) with the perfect balance of cream to cake. It also freezes really well, which is great because keeping it readily accessible in the fridge would be way too dangerous! Keeping it in the freezer allows me to thaw just the amount that I want – and makes it difficult to go back for a second slice! I would definitely make this recipe again – it would be the perfect ending to a dinner party.
The one downside of this recipe is that is does take some advance planning if you’re making it completely from scratch. The cheese itself takes a day to make. Then you’ll want to make sure that the creams have time to chill before you assemble the cake (a half hour in the freezer was enough for mine). Once assembled, you’ll want to let the tiramisu rest for at lest a day to allow the flavors to meld together. I promise you though – it’s worth the wait!
This recipe is different from a lot of other tiramisu recipes in that it uses a zabaglione (an egg custard) and pastry cream in the filling. He flavors his with marsala wine, but I didn’t have any of that, so I used kahlua. I really liked the extra coffee flavor that this gave the final dish. You can use whatever you want though – and it doesn’t need to be alcohol. Extra coffee would be great, as would a fruit puree if you want something less traditional.
This is a long one, so the recipes are after the jump.
|February 26, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fall, Fruit, Lent, Vegetarian or Vegan, Winter|
You read it right, meat-free Friday is back!! And this time around I’m going to do my best to really keep it meat-free – including no seafood. Vegetarian recipes will, as always, continue to be tagged as both vegetarian and as lent.
Have you ever wished that you could eat apple pie for dinner? This galette stuffed with sauteed apples and fennel, caramelized onions, and blue cheese is pretty close! Just like apple pie, this dish is great either warm or at room temperature; just be sure to store any leftovers in the fridge.
I don’t know where the idea came from, but while I was doing my weekly menu-planning, I decided that I wanted to make an apple and blue cheese galette. Thinking about it more I decided that, while it sounded great, it needed more – both to add bulk and make it filling as well as to add some sharpness to the flavor. I decided that caramelized onions would be perfect. Then I saw fennel while I was shopping and decided to grab that too. Apples and fennel pair perfectly, and together, the onions and fennel moved this dish squarely from the dessert column to the dinner column.
In order to prevent the bottom of the crust from getting too soggy, I sauteed the apples and fennel to remove some of the liquid. I also waited until the end before adding the cheese. Blue cheese tends to give off a lot of water when it melts, so you don’t want to leave it in the oven too long or let it come into direct contact with the unbaked crust.
Despite leaving it in the oven a little too long (note the dark pictures), the resulting dish was fabulous. It was hearty and rustic and perfect for the cool weather. I could have easily eaten the whole galette (which would have been far from healthy!) but paired with a salad it made a filling dinner that I’m looking forward to having again.
Apple and Fennel Galette with Blue Cheese
1 pie crust2 baking apples (such as northern spies), peeled, cored, and cut into wedges1/2 fennel bulb, chopped1 onion, sliced1 Tbs butter4 ounces blue cheese, crumbledPreheat oven to 350.Set a medium sautee pan over medium heat. Add the apples and fennel and cook until just softened. Remove from heat.Roll out your dough into a 9-inch circle and transfer to a baking sheet. Arrange the apples and fennel on the center of the dough, leaving a border of at least 1 inch all the way around. Fold this border up and over, covering some of the filling. (See top photo for example). Bake for 30 minutes.Meanwhile, melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the onion and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become soft and golden – about 20 minutes.Sprinkle the onions and cheese over the center of the galette and return to the oven. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust if fully cooked.Cut into 8 wedges and serve.Serves 8.
Approx. 170 calories, 11 grams fat, 1.7 grams fiber, 4 grams protein
|February 24, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Beef, Lamb, and Pork, One Pan, Shawn's Favorites, Special Occasions, Weekend Meals|
One day last weekend, I was looking for an excuse to not leave the house so I decided to braise something. I feel like although I’ve been doing a lot of braising this winter (thanks to Julie and Julia, which has us all craving Boeuf Bourgignon in August!!), I hardly ever use my oven. I obviously use it when I bake, but it’s so rare that I do something like roast a chicken and the oven just never gets used for cooking. I takes so long! You have to wait for it to preheat, then it takes forever to actually cook your food…. so it’s the stovetop for me the majority of the time. Every once in a while if I’m snowed in (or want to pretend I’m snowed in!) I take advantage of the time at home to make a delicious braised dish. Like these short ribs, which simmer away all afternoon until the meat falls right off the bone and is tender as can be.
Instead of doing a traditional Italian braise, I decided to put a southwestern twist on my ribs, using beer and tequila as my liquids and adding a jalapeno and some chili powder to the pot. The flavor turned out great – it wasn’t spicy or beer-y at all, but it had a nice little southwestern kick. In order to develop the recipe I used the “Create your own” feature on the Fine Cooking web site. The feature walks you through the recipe and lets you drag different combinations of ingredients into the “pot” – then at the end it gives you a recipe that you can follow to recreate the dish n a real kitchen. I always play around with the feature, but I had never actually cooked one of the recipes before. I was impressed! Although you ned to pay attention to what flavors will go well together and make sure you have a good balance of richness and acidity, it’s a great way to put a fun, personal twist on a recipe that you aren’t that familiar with.
For any of you that have never had short ribs before, it’s similar to pot roast with a slightly firmer texture – fork-tender and succulent meat, with vegetables that cook down into a nice sauce. I served these with mashed potatoes (with sour cream instead of milk) to serve with my ribs. They were a great way to soak up the extra sauce!
(Note that this dish isn’t exactly healthy – short ribs are very fatty. If you really want to lower the fat and calories, you could use a leaner cut of beef. But for a special treat, the short ribs are worth it!)
Southwest Short Ribs
4 8-ounce beef short ribs, trimmed
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 medium onion, diced
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 bay leave
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp. ancho chile powder
1/4 cup tequila
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup light beer
Juice from 1/2 a lime
Chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat the oven to 325.
Heat the oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Season the ribs with salt and 1 tsp. pepper, then cook in batches – being careful not to crowd the pan – until browned on all sides (3 to 4 minutes per side). Transfer the ribs to a platter and repeat with the remaining ribs. Pour off all but a thin layer of fat from the pan.
Add the onions and celery to the pan. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the vegetable are soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add bay leaf, garlic, jalapeno, and chile powder. Cook for 1 minute.
Deglaze the pot with tequila, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Cook for 1 minute, or until reduced to about 2 Tbs.
Add all the ribs back into the pot. Pour the tomatoes and beer and 1 cup water over the ribs. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and put the pot in the oven. Cook, turning the ribs occasionally, until they are fork tender, about 3 hours.
Transfer the ribs to a serving platter or dish. Let the sauce and solids sit in the pot for a few minutes to cool and with a shallow spoon, skim off as much of the fat as possible from the surface. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the lime juice. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.<
Approx. 614 calories, 40 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 41 grams protein
|February 21, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fish and Seafood, Fruit, Italian, Lent, Quick Weeknight Meals, Risotto, Special Occasions|
The other day I didn’t have anything planned to make for dinner, so I asked Shawn to pick something up for me to cook. came home to find some beautiful scallops (look at the size of those babies!), arborio rice, pecorino romano, thyme, and peas. It really shouldn’t have surprised me that he bought ingredients for risotto – I’m pretty sure he would be blissfully happy if I made it every day! Plain risotto with scallops seemed kind of boring to me though, so I looked around the kitchen for something else to add. I came across a grapefruit and figured “why not?” I knew that scallops and grapefruit went great together, and even though I was a little nervous about how the flavor would play out in a risotto I figured it was worth a shot.
I shouldn’t have doubted myself. I had forgotten how great lemon zest is in risotto, and the grapefruit acted in the same way. The sharp citrus cuts through the creamy rice and lifts the flavor of the whole dish. I was also nervous about the fruit being to bitter, but the natural sweetness of the scallops – and the little bit of brown butter that I decided to use – provided just the right amount of balance.
1Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, mined
1.5 cups arborio rice
4 oz white wine
5 cups chicken stock, warmed
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
2 Tbs grapefruit zest
1/2 pound scallops
Juice from 1/2 grapefruit
1 Tbs butter
1/2 grapefruit, supremed (cut into wedges, white parts removed)
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add rice and cook 2 minutes or until heated trhough and nearly translucent. Add the wine and cook until fully absorbed by the rice. Add the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing nearly all of the broth to absord before adding more. Continue this process until rice is soft and creamy – it should take about 20 minutes, but you may not need all of the broth. Stir in the romano and the peas. Allow the cheese to melt and the peas to warm. Stir in the grapefruit zest. Cover and keep warm.
Dry the scallops as much as you can with a paper towel. Heat a frying pan over high heat. Add half the scallops and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and repeat with remaining scallops. Add butter to the pan – allow it to melt, then continue cooking until it is a golden brown color. Whisk in the grapefruit juice. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Add the scallops back into the pan, and toss with the grapefruit glaze. Add the grapefruit wedges and cook until just warmed through.
Spoon the risotto into 4 bowls. Top with the scallops and grapefruit.
Approx. 560 calories, 14 grams fat, 1.5 grams fiber, 23 grams protein
|February 16, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Lent, Light, Mexican and Southwestern, Reviews, Special Occasions, Vegetarian or Vegan|
Spinach, Poblano and Cheese Enchiladas
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 chili pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 ounces frozen spinach
12 ounces queso quesadilla, or other mild melting cheese, shredded
12 6-inch corn tortillas
1 jar Good Food Mexican red sauce or enchilada sauce
Add the peppers and garlic to a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the peppers begin to slightly soften. Remove from heat. Combine peppers, spinach, and cheese in a large bowl and toss to combine.
Spoon a little bit of enchilada sauce into the bottom of a baking dish – just enough sauce to create a very thin coating.
To form the enchiladas: Place a small hand full of the spinach and cheese mixture onto each tortilla. Fold up the ends, then fold over one of the sides. Use your fingers to press any filling that needs it back into place, then roll the whole thing over itself so that you have a neat little package. Place in the baking pan and repeat with other tortillas. Cover with the rest of the sauce, and top with a light sprinkle of cheese if you didn’t need it all for the filling.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Serves 6. Approx. 325 calories, 14.5 grams fat, 6.5 gras fiber, 16 grams protein
Can you believe that it’s Ash Wednesday already? I can’t! If you’re looking for dinner ideas for Friday, this recipe would be perfect. You can also find tons of other Lent-friendly recipes HERE.
|February 14, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Breads, Greek/Mediterranean, Light, Quick Weeknight Meals, Sandwiches|
I’m baaaaack!! I apologize for the severe lack of posts over the past few weeks. I was on an extended business trip and even though I had photos and recipes ready to go, I was just too tired to actually write up posts while I was away. But I’m home and rested now and life is slowly getting back to normal – which means I’m ready to resume my regular posting schedule! And what better way to jump right back in than with a Daring Cooks challenge?
The 2010 February Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford, and Naomi Dugid. Mezze is a bunch of small dishes that are all served at once – sort of like a Middle Eastern tapas. The required parts of the challenge were to make pita bread and hummus. I also chose to make kafta (spiced meatballs) and taboule salad.
I’ve made pitas before, but I really loved this recipe and will definitely be making it again. Homemade pitas are so much better than what you can buy in the store – they’re soft, fluffy pillows of goodness. I found this recipe to be really easy to follow and the result was pure perfection. They tasted just like the pitas that I get at my favorite Middle Eastern restaurants! They were really cheap to make too, and I loved how they puffed up in the oven. Since I was planning to use them as a wrap, I flattened them while they were still warm. But if you want a pocket that you can fill, Leave them in the balloon shape to cool. The inside will be hollow, so you can cut them in half and fill just like a store bought pita pocket. As written, the recipe will yield 16 breads. I halved it and had no problems.
- 2 teaspoons regular dry yeast
- 2.5 cups lukewarm water
- 5-6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
In a large bread bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, and then stir 100 times, about 1 minute, in the same direction to activate the gluten. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes, or as long as 2 hours.
Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add more flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic (I found that after 10 minutes of kneading by hand the dough still wasn’t ready, so I transferred to my Kitchen Aid with a dough hook for another 5 minutes). Rinse out the bowl, dry, and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Place a pizza stone, or two small baking sheets, on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving a 1-inch gap all around between the stone or sheets and the oven walls to allow heat to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450F.
Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough in half, and then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide the other half into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick. Keep the rolled-out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.
Place 2 breads, or more if your oven is large enough, on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn’t puff up, don’t worry it should still taste delicious. Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled-out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.
The hummus that was required for the challenge was also a great recipe, although some people felt that it was too lemony. I love lemon though, so I couldn’t complain! I thought it was great – very smooth and creamy. Instead of adding the garlic that the original recipe called for, I threw in 5 garlic-stuffed olives. The olives gave the hummus a great flavor, and we both loved it! I was worried about the proportions, but it was just right – not too much garlic and just enough olive so that it was a predominant flavor without being overpowering.
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 2-2.5 lemons, juiced
- 5 garlic-stuffed olives (or 5 cloves garlic and 5 large green olives)
- a big pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons tahini
Puree the beans in a food processor adding water as needed until you have a smooth paste. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp corriander
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tbs olive oil
Combine all ingredients (except the olive oil) in a large mixing bowl. Roll 1 tablespoon of the mixture in your hands to form a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and fry the balls until they are browned on the outside and medium-well on the inside.