Friday, February 27, 2009
But it's fun to come up with ideas. First, we sent a few recipes in to Mississippi Magazine's annual recipe contest. Then, Kaytie found a Top Chef slash Quaker Oats contest, and the brainstorming began. It could be anything, as long as the recipe involved oatmeal.
Kaytie dismissed my peanut butter-cinnamon apple-cranberry-white chocolate pie with an oatmeal-gingersnap crust idea. She said it was (1) too rich and (2) too expected. I think she was right, but on the second point only.
Kaytie's idea was savory oatmeal, topped with a fried egg and pork debris. (She'd read that oats can be treated like rice or grits.) We haven't worked the kinks out on the pork, but the oatmeal was great with a fried egg.
We made a couple variations. Kaytie did a truffled mushroom and onion oatmeal, which was great. Here's what I did.
Onion & Gouda Ris-oat-o
(I'm so clever.)
1.25 cups oats
3/4 cup liquid (half chicken broth, half water)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup Gouda, grated
2 Tbs parsley, chopped
Put the liquid, bay leaf, salt, and butter in a pan, and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add the oats, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.
This is the point when you could add anything your heart desires. I sauteed red onion in a bit of olive oil with some salt and pepper, then mixed the onion, cheese, and parsley into the oatmeal.
Top it with a fried egg, and have brunch.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Kaytie makes fun of me because I have a massive sweet tooth, and I am irresistibly drawn to the most ridiculously overblown desserts that usually make my stomach hurt. (I recently purchased "Chocolate Seduction" ice cream, and I have had several stomachaches already.) I think what frustrates Kaytie most is that I always know when I'm going to feel sick, but I eat the dessert anyway. I'm a little stubborn.
Anyway, I wanted cookies, so I threw these together. They're fairly light and thin, a little crispy on the edges but chewy throughout. Yum. I do not, however, recommend eating (or even making - the temptation will be too great) these cookies unless you have a large quantity of milk on hand.
(I call these Billionaire Cookies because, like billionaires, they're rich. And they fly around in their own private jets. And have butlers. And golden toilets. I could keep going...)
1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup Nutella
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs self-rising flour
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350.
Combine everything but the white chocolate chips in a bowl and stir well. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Roll the cookie dough into balls that are roughly an inch in diameter. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and press them flat. Leave about 2-3 inches between them; they'll spread.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving the cookies to a cooling rack.
Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Kaytie and I did this ridiculous "cleanse" where we didn't eat anything for ten days and only drank a water/lemon/cayenne pepper/molasses mixture. Needless to say, it was hell. The entire time all I craved was tomato basil soup, so Kaytie was nice enough to create this fabulous recipe for me when it was all over. It puts all the tomato basil soup in this town to shame. And as an added bonus, it is easy enough that even I can make it, and I am not the world's best cook...best eater in the world, maybe. Especially when it comes to this soup. So make and enjoy!
1 onion, diced
3 slices of bacon, diced
1 really big can of diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 ½ cups of cream
½ can beef broth
¼ cup basil, chopped
1 bay leaf
½ cup shredded parmesan
Melt a small amount of butter or olive oil in a large stock pot. Add onion and salt. Add bacon. Saute onion and bacon until bacon gets crispy and onion is golden. Add can of tomatoes, beef broth, ½ of the basil, and the bay leaf. Stir until everything gets hot. Add cream and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes or so. Fish out the bay leaf. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth. (This step is optional—if you don’t blend it, it will just be more rustic). Add parmesan and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with remaining basil or green onions and serve.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Once I master these (and master them I will) I will post a recipe. But for now, you can just revel in your schadenfreude.
But don't revel too long. . .for behold, I give you chocolate-coated marshmallows.
While they are a little Sandra Lee-ish for my taste (in that they are a little overly precious, not that they are semi-homemade; I assure you that these are fully-homemade), I forgive them because of how well they photographed. See?
Drew and I made these together Valentine's night, because we had experienced quite enough excitement for the weekend, thank you. Okay, here's how you can make them, too:
(Warning: You need a stand mixer to make these. But what a good excuse for getting one if you haven't already! We were blessed enough to get one from my in-laws. )
3 packets of unflavored gelatin
1 cup of ice cold water, divided into 2 halves
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
Put the gelatin in the stand mixer along with ½ a cup of the water. Let it sit. Now combine the rest of the water, the sugar, the corn syrup, and the salt in a pan. Stir it, turn the heat up to medium high, cover, and let it cook about 4 minutes. Then uncover and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees, then immediately take off the burner.
Put the whisk attachment on your stand mixer, then turn the mixer on low. While the mixer’s running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Once all of the syrup’s in, turn up the speed to high. Whip it about 12 minutes—you will be amazed because it will start to really look like marshmallow cream! Add the almond extract during the last minute of whipping.
Put the mixture in a pan that’s been sprayed with Pam and sprinkled with the sugar and cornstarch. Let it sit uncovered overnight. The next day, you can take a heart-shaped cookie cutter and cut out shapes. Then you dip them in more powdered sugar and cornstarch. Then you are ready for chocolate!
Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows
2 cups white chocolate
2 drops red food coloring
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, then spread on top of the marshmallows like icing. Sprinkle with sprinkles and let harden.
These are for those with a serious sweet tooth, because they are tooth-achingly sweet. We got the idea to make homemade marshmallows because of Molly's article in Bon Appetit on the subject. You should make them, too, because people are amazed by homemade marshmallows, even though they're so easy. People think you're magic--until they see your hideous petit fours.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
But I can't lie: I am still a little shaken and dazed from having taken Drew to the emergency room last night. Don't worry, he's fine now, or at least, he feels fine now. We don't know what exactly made him...what to even call it...pass out? faint? have a seizure? a spell? Let's call it a spell. Anyway, we don't know what caused the spell, but it was terrifying.
So I was a little surprised to wake up this morning to Drew busily putting eggs benedict together. Surprised, but oh, so grateful. And not just for the brunch.
He enlisted my help in making the hollandaise for the eggs benedict. He's submitting the eggs benedict recipe to a contest, and he decided that the earlier hollandaise recipe is just too darned difficult. We looked in the Joy of Cooking and saw that there are all sorts of short-cut recipes for hollandaise, and so I modified one and tried it out.
This one is made in a blender, and man, it's really easy. (Don't feel bad; I watched Top Chef this week and Chef Eric Ripert admitted that his restaurant makes their hollandaise in a blender, too.)
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground dried chipotles
First, get some dried chipotles (we found ours at Rainbow Grocery). Put them in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. If you don't have a spice grinder, then I bet you could substitute ground red pepper or, better yet, smoked paprika.
Put the yolks and lemon juice and salt and cayenne in the blender, but don't turn it on yet. Put your stick of butter into a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup along with 1/4 teaspoon of the ground dried chipotles. Zap it for between 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until butter is melted and bubbly and quite hot. Watch it to make sure it doesn't foam over the cup into your microwave, 'cause that would be a serious mess.
As soon as butter is hot, turn on the blender on high and pour the butter in a small stream while the blender is running. Then it's done, and you serve it immediately. Seriously. It's that easy, and it's so good. It's not as bright yellow as the original, but I just don't care when you compare the taste and texture.
Take your hollandaise, pour it over your eggs benedict, and thank God for the people you love. Happy Valentine's Day.
Monday, February 9, 2009
My father provided us with three wild rabbits that he shot last weekend. As previously discussed, my mother thinks all game (and, for that matter, most meat) is disgusting. As my father doesn't cook, that means that we get all of his bounty.
I'd had rabbit before, but I'd never cooked it. I read that you can treat it like chicken, and that gave me comfort. Without further ado, here's what we did:
Stew de la Bunnie
First, soak 3 cleaned and skinned rabbits in buttermilk for at least 1 day, preferably 2. After soaking rabbits, rinse well and put in a bowl. Add 1 bottle of wheat beer, 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, and enough salad oil to cover. Add 3 tablespoons onion powder, 1 tablespoon juniper berries, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 3-5 bay leaves, 5 cloves, 1 teaspoon allspice, 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, and a pinch of salt. Marinate at least 1 day, but no more than 2.
Now, it's stew time. Butcher your rabbit into pieces. (This does not have to be pretty, because you're going to take the meat off the bone later). Heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a big, deep pot. Salt and pepper the pieces, and brown on both sides. Remove and reserve. Add 6-8 pieces of chopped bacon. Brown. Add 5 chopped onions, 1 bag of chopped baby carrots, 2 bunches of chopped celery, and 5 smashed cloves of garlic. Saute until all the veggies are soft. Add 1 cup of dried currants. Then add 1 cup of dry white vermouth and the juice of 1 lemon. Add in spices as the alcohol cooks off. Add 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1/2 tablespoon juniper berries, 2 bay leaves, 1 pinch of allspice, 2 teaspoons dried thyme, 1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns, and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Once alcohol has cooked off, add rabbit back in and add 7 cans of chicken broth (or enough to cover). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook around 30 minutes and then check on your rabbit pieces. If not cooked through, cook longer.
Once rabbit pieces are cooked through but not tough, remove from the broth. Strain your broth and reserve. Let one person remove the rabbit meat from the bone and chop while the other person makes a roux of about 1/4 cup of flour & 1/4 cup of butter. Combine butter and flour over medium-low heat and cook around 4 minutes, stirring constantly. When roux looks blonde and thick (like me!), add about half of the stock to the roux, a little at a time, stirring constantly so that it stays smooth. Let it simmer for maybe 10 minutes.
To serve, add rabbit back to this gravy-type sauce, add parsley, and serve over white rice.
(If you are anti-eating-bunny, then you could do this exact recipe with chicken thighs. But just know that the game train is leaving the station with or without you.)
I woke up Sunday morning in a panic. Okay, that's a bit hyperbolic, but I did want to make some bread for dinner, and I hadn't started any dough rising the day before. I went straight to The Bread Bible. Beer bread could be made quickly and allowed to rise while I was at work. I had to change the recipe slightly to allow for what I had on hand, but it turned out great. It did not taste like beer, and it was a denser bread, good for slicing for sandwiches or for use as a vehicle for butter.
Bake for 15 minutes. Drop the heat to 400 degrees and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Our oven tends to cook hot, and my bread was done in 20 minutes. Let the bread cool on a rack.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I have been a little quiet about the Super Bowl party. I am a little sheepish. I made a few things, and they were pretty good, but they were no andouille corn dogs.*
*(They are "corn dogs," NOT "corny dogs." 'Cause "corny dogs" just sounds silly.)
Well, okay, so the chicken nuggets were really good. They certainly all got eaten. I used this recipe as a starting point. I took two packages of chicken thighs, trimmed them up (I'm saving the fat for making homemade schmaltz one of these days), and marinated them in something similar to the original recipe--lime juice, soy sauce, rum. I added honey and sriracha (Thai hot red chili and garlic sauce). I should've let them marinate longer--if I could do this over again, I'd let them sit over night. Then I dredged the bite-sized pieces in flour and added them to the much-beloved and over-worked deep fryer.
Yeah, so they turned out hideous, which I'm sure is my fault and not the fault of the lovely lady who authored the original recipe. I have no idea why they look like little fried turds, but it didn't stop the crowd from devouring them. Drew says it's because I used dark meat, but everyone knows dark meat is the best. Especially because you can cook it to death and it won't dry out. It's like buying insurance.
But what are chicken nuggets without dipping sauce? This is what I am slightly proud of. I took some leftover blue cheese butter from the Christmas party (what? it's not like it goes bad) and mixed it with mayonnaise, buttermilk, and more sriracha. I think that if I had to recreate this without the leftovers, I'd do it like this:
1 cup mayo
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 small package of cheap crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 cup buttermilk (maybe less)
salt & pepper
Blend all together until smooth. I'd mix the butter and mayo together first, then add everything else a little bit at a time, because I am really not sure about the proportions at all. Wow, what a helpful recipe, huh? Look, the important thing is that these flavors together rock, and they really rock with fried chicken. So take away the lesson and do with it what you will.
Monday, February 2, 2009
The first task was potato chips for the onion dip. (Two Christmases back, we made sweet potato chips, seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg, covered with melted marshmallows.) No problem. Martin became the chip master, dropping them one by one, stirring to keep them from clumping, and seasoning them with Tony Chachere's. (Use a light hand; Tony's heavy on the salt.) Martin's verdict: just buy potato chips next time.
Andouille Corny Dogs
We only used about 1.5 pounds of andouille, so there was plenty of batter left over, and the oil was still hot. Well, one thing led to another, and hush puppies were born. They were excellent, less dense than I normally expect from hush puppies, and if I ever have a fish fry, I'll be serving these.