Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Day In The Sun and Surf

Click On Photos To Enlarge
Don, Barbara and Ron
The Pink Sand
The Pounding Surf
Rock Carved By The Surf
The Fifty Mile View From The Nepenthe Restaurant
***
Yesterday we spent a part of the day hiking at The Julia Phieffer State Beach. The scenic drive along Highway 1 lured many to the outdoors to create those last memories of 2011. The weather was perfect for that walk on the beach. Children couldn't resist getting close to the water's edge and unable to swiftly scramble beating the rushing tide and wet feet. It is always entertaining to watch when the children are not yours! The final reward was lunch at the Nepenthe Restaurant with a fifty mile coastline view.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Galette des Rois OR King"s Cake

Galette des Rois
From the King's Cakes of New Orleans to the Rascon de Reyes of Spain, food-revelers don't stop at the flip of a calendar page. French revelers enjoy an almond-paste filled Galette des Rois at dinner parties from New Year's to Twelfth Night.
Ingredients:
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup superfine sugar
1 1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 medium eggs, divided
1 tablespoon dark rum
optional
1 tablespoon milk
13 ounces puff pastry
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
*
Blend the butter, sugar and almonds in a food processor, then add the flour and lemon zest, 1 egg, and an egg white, plus the rum. This should yield a spreadable paste.
*
Blend the remaining yolk with the milk to make an egg wash.
*
Thinly roll out half the pastry to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Cut out a 10 inch circle. Spread the filling to within an inch of the edge. Optional, tuck a little figurine into the mixture.
*
Roll out the second half of pastry 1 inch larger than the first circle. Brush the first circle's edges with egg wash. Lay the second circle on top. Press edges together, then trim neatly. Paint the pastry with egg wash, fold in the rim and paint it too. Mark the surface and the rim with the prongs of a fork in diagonal lines. Cut a slit in the top to allow steam to escape.
*
Bake for 20 minutes until golden and risen. Let cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Vegetables In Spicy Cream Sauce

Vegetables In Spicy Cream Sauce
I added this sauce to the vegetables I served on Christmas Day. It was a winner. Don't let the word spicy fool you. The sauce did not have heat.
*
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
*
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup half & half
10 whole cashews
2 tablespoons ketchup
*
1 tablespoon butter
1 1-inch cinnamon stick (not ground)
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch ground cloves
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup peas (shelled fresh or thawed frozen)
1 medium carrot, cut julienne
6 ounces green beans, trimmed, sliced diagonally (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup water - make certain water is needed. I did not add it.
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
***
Directions:
Toast cumin and coriander in a small skillet over medium-low heat until aromatic, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plate.
*
Heat vegetable oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
*
Transfer to blender. Add cumin and coriander, 1/2 cup half & half, cashews and catsup. Blend too consistency of thick cream sauce.
*
Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add cinnamon cardamom, and cloves and cook until aromatic, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add tomato and cook 1 minute. Add all remaining vegetables and stir-fry 3 minutes. (Add water if needed) Add raisins, salt, cayenne pepper, cream sauce and remaining 1/2 cup half & half. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tarragon Chicken Breasts With Mushroom Port Sauce

Tarragon Chicken Breasts
With Mushroom Port Sauce
This is a recipe from Phyllis Carey's class, "Wine Country Cooking". The chicken was served with the Mustard Seed Mashed Potatoes which were blogged December 27.
*
Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 lb. thinly sliced white mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Port wine
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley for garnish
*
Directions:
Trim chicken and pound to an even 1/2 inch thickness. Season well with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
*
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy saute pan over medium high heat. Season with salt and brown chicken 2 minutes per side and remove to plate. Add 1 tablespoon butter and shallots and toss 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and tarragon and sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well and cook until mushrooms wilt and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
*
Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the chicken broth and Port and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, turning to coat in the sauce. Cover and simmer chicken for 5 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. When chicken is firm to touch, it is done. Remove chicken to serving plates. Bring sauce to a boil, shut off heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, adjust seasonings to taste. Serve chicken topped with mushrooms and sauce sprinkled with parsley. Serves 4

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mustard Seed Mashed Potatoes


Mustard Seed Mashed Potatoes
This is another recipe from the cooking class I recently took with Phyllis Carey. The photo is the sample plate we were served. Wednesday I will blog the chicken recipe
*
Ingredients:
2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 to 1 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons whole grain or coarse grain mustard
*
Directions:
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and add the salt. Continue cooking until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
*
Drain potatoes and let air dry 5 minutes. Place 1 cup sour cream and butter in the bottom of a large bowl. Press potatoes through a ricer into the bowl. Stir to combine, adding more sour cream as needed. Stir in mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
*
Note: Phyllis cooked potatoes in a kettle with a strainer much like a spaghetti cooker. When the potatoes were cooked the top was raised to drain the potatoes but tipped to have the heat of the water under the potatoes to keep them hot while draining. She also riced the potatoes. Phyllis said using a mixer increases the starch.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Best Crystallized Ginger or Candied Ginger


Best Crystallized or Candied Ginger
I recently attempted a different recipe for crystallized ginger and did not feel the end result was satisfactory. Today I looked this recipe over and felt that it too lacked some specifics to determine the length of time the ginger should be cooked in the syrup. My first attempt was a little more brittle than I like as the syrup reached too high of a temperature. My suggestion is to cook the ginger in the syrup until a thermometer tested in the syrup reaches 220 degrees.  Also After a third batch recently, I have added a few tips experience has taught me.
***
Peel and thinly slice 1 pound (500 grams) fresh ginger root.  Place sliced ginger in a heavy saucepan and cover with water.  Cook gently until tender.  Time varies due to size of slice and size of rhizome.  Drain off water when tender.

Weigh drained sliced ginger.  Weigh sugar to equal weight of ginger.  Place sugar and ginger slices in heavy saucepan.    Stir to mix well.  Cook over a med-low heat until the syrup reaches 220 F.

Drain the ginger.  I save the syrup for use with baking, flavoring, or sweetening tea.  Place about 1/2 cup sugar in a deep bowl.  I use a Rubbermaid 2 cup refrigerator container.  With a swirling action with the bowl, drop single pieces of ginger in the bowl to coat.  When I have several pieces coated I move them to a strainer or colander with a large mesh or holes, shaking the ginger again to remove excess sugar.  Place the coated ginger on a cooling rack over a baking sheet to dry.  When dry place in an air tight container.  Keeps fresh for up to 3 months.



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ginger Creams


Ginger Creams
My friend Claudia shared this recipe which is her family favorite. Ginger has recently became a favorite flavor of mine.
Ingredients:
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
½ cup Grandma’s unsulfured molasses
½ cup water
2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*
Directions:
Cream sugar, shortening; add egg, molasses and water. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Heat oven to 400 Degrees. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until almost no indentation remains when touched, about 8 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool; frost with Vanilla Butter Frosting. About 4 dozen cookies
***
Vanilla Butter Frosting
1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 1 tablespoon milk
Mix butter and powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla and milk until smooth and of spreading consistency.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Zinfandel Chocolate Cake With Whipped Cream

Zinfandel Chocolate Cake With Whipped Cream
This cake must be baked in a Bundt pan. Serves 12
*
2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup California Zinfandel (with berry flavors)
Powdered sugar for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream for serving.
*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12 cup Bundt pan well and coat with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
*
With a mixer beat the butter with sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat 2 minutes longer. Working in batches, alternately add the dry ingredients and the wine, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated.
*
Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, turn out onto the rack and let cool completely. Dust cake with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream.
Phyllis Carey Wine Country Cooking Class

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mushroom and Kalamata Olive Tapenade On Parmesan Toasts

Mushroom And Kalamata Olive
Tapenade On Parmesan Toasts
These toasts would preform alone as an appetizer as well as an accompaniment to this great salad. Phyllis Carey provided this recipe in her California Wine Country Cooking Class. Her tips: to quickly infuse olive oil use a mini-food processor. To make toasts ahead, freeze and rewarm. Also toast the sliced bread lightly golden not toast brick hard (8 minutes)!
*
Toasts:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 thin diagonally cut baguette slices
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine olive oil and garlic and let stand for 1 hour to blend flavors. Brush on baguette slices and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake 8 minutes or until crispy and cheese has melted.
***
Tapenade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups thinly sliced white mushrooms
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup chopped Kalmata olives
Salt and pepper to taste
*
Heat olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat: add onions and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are very tender and most of the liquid has cooked away. Stir balsamic vinegar, chives and olives and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon on toasts just prior to serving.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wine Poached Pear Salad With Blue Cheese and Mustard Vinaigrette

Wine Poached Pear Salad With
Blue Cheese and Mustard Vinaigrette
This is another wonderful recipe from the class of Wine Country Cooking with Phyllis Carey. The recipe for the Kalmata Olive and Mushroom Tapenade on Parmesan Toasts recipe will print tomorrow. They are a wonderful accompaniment for the salad or to serve as an appetizer. Serves 4
***
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
(merlot, pinot noir, 2$ Chuck)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger
1 3-inch cinnamon stick (not powdered)
2 firm Bosc pears, peeled,
halved lengthwise and cored
***
Directions:
Place wine, orange juice, sugar, ginger and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Add pears and return to to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until pears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in syrup. (Can be done completely one day ahead.)
*
Drain pears. Leaving top1 inch in tact at the narrow end of each pear, cut each lengthwise into thin slices. Gently press on pear to fan slices.
*
Salad With Mustard Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 cup tosted walnuts
1/2 cup freshly crumbles Pt. Reyes Blue cheese
*
Directions:
Vinaigrette: Whisk shallots, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
*
Salad: Place greens in a large bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Mound greens on plate. Arrange one pear half on top and sprinkle with toasted walnuts and blue cheese. Drizzle with more vinaigrette if desired and serve immediately.
***
Check tomorrow for the Kalmata Olive and Mushroom Tapenade Toasts recipe.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Filets and Spinach Cakes With Pinot Noir Sauce

Bacon Wrapped Fillet Mignon on
Spinach Cakes With Pinot Noir Sauce
Tuesday morning I took another class with my favorite cooking instructor, Phyllis Carey. Her classes are delivered with such a relaxed style but so creative. We get to sample the recipes of the day and needless to say, dinner was lighter than usual. The interesting method Phyllis used with preparing the fillet was that the bacon was wrapped not around the circumference of the fillet but the top and bottom. When you taste the fillet, you too agree that it does make a very tasty fillet. This menu will make a great holiday choice. Serves 4
*
Ingredients:
Spinach Cakes:
2-10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
*
Directions:
Defrost spinach and squeeze dry; place in a medium bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small nonstick skillet and cook shallots over medium heat until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add to spinach along with bread crumbs, cheese, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Combine mixture with a fork and then make into 12 small flat patties.
*
To cook spinach cakes, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and cook spinach cakes for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Keep warm. TIP: When removing from skillet, place on a cooling rack over a baking sheet for any oil to drain, but keep warm until serving.
***
Steaks:
Ingredients:
4 thin slices of bacon (thinnest possible)
4 fillet mignon steaks,
1 1/2 inches thick
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup Pinot Noir
1/2 cup beef stock or broth
*
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap bacon slices over the top and around the fillets with overlap at the bottom. Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat; set steaks in pan, bacon seam side down. Sear 4 minutes per side or until well browned on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet, bacon/seam side down and roast 8 to 10 minutes.
*
While steaks are in the oven, pour off any excess fat from the skillet and melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and then wine and finally the broth; bringing to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, cooking until thickened.
*
When the steaks are ready, reheat the sauce, shut off the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange 3 small cakes per plate over lapping in a circle on each serving plate. Set one steak on top and spoon sauce over all; serve immediately.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Beef Tenderloin With Bourbon Pecan Beurre Brun


Beef Tenderloin With
Bourbon Pecan Beurre Brun
*
The French are known for having one of the more complex and time consuming cuisines, however they have given us one of the simplest and quickest sauces possible with their classic Beurre Brun, which is literally browned butter. A splash of bourbon and some crunchy pecans make this Beurre Brun even more intriguing while still letting the tenderloin be the focal point of the dish. Serve with boiled fingerling potatoes and some wilted spinach.
*
Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. beef tenderloin
(Whole piece, not fillets)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
***
Directions:
Season tenderloin generously with salt and pepper. In a thick-bottom saute pan (that just fits the meat) heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place beef in oil and brown well on all sides, about 9 minutes. Be sure not to burn the bottom of the pan as this pan will be used to make the sauce.
*
Place the browned beef in a baking dish (set saute pan aside) and continue cooking beef in a 400 F oven to desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer for proper internal temperature, medium is 140F.
*
Pour excess grease out of saute pan, turn off the heat and add bourbon and sage to the pan. Over medium high heat reduce the bourbon by half, about 2 minutes.
*
Add butter and pecans and a pinch of salt, and cook over medium-low heat until the butter melts; continue to cook until the milk solids in the butter begin to toast and turn golden brown. Take off the heat immediately so as to not burn the butter. Carefully warm through just before serving.
*
Remove cooked beef from oven, let rest for 8 minutes covered with foil. Slice into 4 pieces and serve with butter drizzled overtop.
*
Serves 4

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Candied Ginger



Candied Ginger
My favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's, sold candied ginger last year but decided this year not to carry the product. I searched out a recipe and found Alton Brown had a wonderful recipe on the Food Network website. I thought it would be a fun afternoon project to try the recipe. Mistake #1, not reading the directions thoroughly, I added sugar to the water used to boil and cook the ginger. I dumped that water and sugar and started over. Mistake #2, I thought it not necessary to add 5 cups of water to cook the ginger. I was distracted by my computer and soon smelled smoke. My yield was greatly reduced. The moral of the story: you need all of the water the recipe calls for, so add 5 cups to the one pound of ginger root and watch the boiling pot!
***
Ingredients:
Nonstick spray
1 pound fresh ginger root
5 cups water
Approximately 1 pound granulated sugar
*
Directions:
Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a pan lined with parchment.
*
Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandolin. Place into a 4 quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.
*
Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. 

 Weigh the ginger and measure an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. 

 Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently until the sugar looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes. 

 Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces.  ( I coat my ginger by putting in a small bowl with a rounded bottom and swirl to coat.  Then I put it on a cooling rack.)

 Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  (Very important to make sure the ginger is dry.  Otherwise you may experience mold.)

 Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top ginger snaps, sprinkled over ice cream or to sweeten coffee.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Birthday Girls

Birthday Girls
Today is a special day for my neighbor Arlene (in the orange top) and myself as we celebrate growing older with another dear neighbor Ruth and my husband Don. My wish is that we all grow older together. They are dear neighbors!
Last year I received a new MKZ for my birthday and this year I was happy to settle for breakfast. I still am in love with my car!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Broccoli Bisque With Gremola ta Garnish

Broccoli Bisque With
Gremolata Garnish
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and lt. green parts only
1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stems peeled and roughly chopped, about 4 1/2 cups
1/2 cup peeled and Yukon Gold potatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
*
Gremolata:
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
***
Directions:
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and saute 3 minutes or until limp. Add broccoli and saute another minute. Add potatoes and toss together. Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. or until broccoli and potatoes are very tender.
*
Using a hand blender, process vegetables until smooth. Add cream, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes to amalgamate flavors.
*
Combine parsley, garlic and lemon rind in a mini chop or food processor. Process until well combined. Dot on top of soup before serving.
*
Serves 6

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advent Calendar of Cookies

This is a clever Advent Calendar with 25 days of cookies. Each day the calendar reveals a new recipe. Enjoy!
Cookie Advent Calendar - SAVEUR.COM (click on Cookie Advent Calendar)
‎25 holiday cookie recipes from all over the world. Visit every day this month to uncover our favorite cookies.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Almond Cookies


Almond Cookies
The newest addition to my kitchen is a Vitamix. I often heard of the many benefits of a Vitamix. I am a bit of a laggard with converting to either expensive or new kitchen gadgets. I live in a comfort zone! I am truly amazed that every praise given happens to be 
true! This recipe sounded to good to not post.

*
Ingredients:
1/2 cup (115 g) heart-healthy butter spread 1/4 cup (60 ml) egg substitute or 1 egg 
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar 
1 tablespoon milk 
1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
3/4 cup (94 g) all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup (90 g) whole wheat flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 cup (50 g) slivered almonds

*
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C).

Place butter spread, egg substitute, sugar, milk and almond extract into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.

Select Variable 1. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 4 or 5.  Blend for 10-15 seconds or until ingredients are creamed. Remove the lid plug.

Add flours, salt, baking soda and almonds.  Blend 10-15 seconds or until well mixed.

If necessary, use tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.

Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

***

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes


<span class=
SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

4 lb. (about 5 large) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks

2 ¼ cups heavy cream
14 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
2 slices (about 3 oz.) crustless white bread, torn into small pieces
12 oz. ground pork
12 oz. ground beef
¼ tsp. ground allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ small yellow onion, minced
3 tbsp. flour
3 cups beef stock
Lingonberry preserves, for serving
*

Directions:

1. Make the mashed potatoes: Place potatoes in a 4-qt. saucepan and cover with water by 1″; bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and pass through a ricer or food mill set over a bowl; set aside. Meanwhile bring 1 ½ cups cream and 12 tbsp. butter to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan; pour over potatoes and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and keep warm until ready to serve.
*
2. Make the meatballs: Place ½ cup cream and bread in a small bowl; let sit until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl along with pork, beef, allspice, egg, and onion, season with salt and pepper, and mix until evenly combined. Shape mixture into about thirty 1-oz. balls, about 1″ in diameter. Heat remaining butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat; working in batches, add meatballs and cook, turning as needed, until browned all over and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to a plate and set aside.
*
3. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add flour, and cook, stirring, until smooth and light brown, about 4 minutes. Whisk in beef stock until smooth, and then bring to a boil; stir in remaining cream and return meatballs to gravy. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring gently, until meatballs are warmed through, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Serve meatballs and gravy over mashed potatoes with a generous dollop of Lingonberry preserves.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chocolate-Caramel Ice Cream Sauce

Chocolate-Caramel Ice Cream Sauce
This is the third recipe published in the San Diego Tribune of November 30 in the Food section as a suggestion for a gift.
Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces dark semi-sweet chocolate, Hershey's Special Dark or Lindt, finely chopped.
*
Directions:
In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Without stirring, melt over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally. When the sugar is melted, increase the heat to high and boil until it turns golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.
*
Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the cream with a wooden spoon. Be careful as the caramel will bubble up when hit with the cream. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce, stirring constantly, until it thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, salt and chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth. If desired, add the nuts and / or bourbon, rum, or Kahlua at this point. When cooled but still pourable, transfer sauce to jar. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
Makes one 12 ounce jar.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Salted Butter-Peacn Toffee


Salted Butter-Pecan Toffee
Makes about 2 pounds.
This is another recipe from the Food section of the San Diego Tribune newspaper this week featuring gifts from the kitchen.
Ingredients:
2 heaped cups pecan halves
1 1/4 cups salted butter
3 tablespoons water
2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
*
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until nuts are very warm and fragrant. Cool completely. Spray a metal 9 x 13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
*
In a large (2 quart) saucepan, combine butter with water, sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until better is melted. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When the mixture starts to boil, stop stirring and cook until it reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer (the hard crack stage) about 5 to 8 minutes.
*
Immediately remove thepan from the heat and stir in baking soda, salt and the pecans. The syrup will boil and foam when the baking soda is added; just contine to stir until the foaming recedes. Pour the candy mixture on the prepared 9 X 13 inch baking pan. Cool candy completely. When the candy has cooled and hardened, break into medium shards and package into smallboxes or bags for gift giving.
*
Packaging: Seperate pieces between waxed paper or parchment paper in flat candy boxes. Toffee tends to get sticky in humid environment. For longer storage keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.