Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Heirloom Tomato Pizza

Heirloom Tomato Pizza
 Ingredients:
1 recipe pizza dough:
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons 
  bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
*
Place 3/4 cup lukewarm water in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Rain in the yeast, stir and set it aside to activate for 5 minutes.  
*
Add the flour to the yeast mixture and sprinkle the yeast on top.  Fit the mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine on slow for 1 minute, until all of the ingredients come together.  Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes.  Then increase the speed to high for 2 more minutes.

Immediately turn the dough out on a floured surface and divide it in half.  Roll each ball into a tight round.  Place the balls on a floured baking sheet.  Place the baking sheet in a plastic bag and tie the bag loosely.  Refrigerate overnight (or for two nights).
*
The next day. about 1 hour before baking the pizzas, pull the baking sheet out of the refrigerator and leave it in a warm area until you are ready to use the dough.  Makes two 12-inch pizzas.
 *
Follow the chosen pizza recipe.
***

4 tablespoons tomato sauce
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 medium assorted heirloom 
   tomatoes, sliced
8 ounces (2 to 3 balls) buffalo
   mozzarella, sliced into rounds
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 fresh basil leaves
*
Directions:
One hour before you start baking, adjust the oven rack to the lower position, put a baking stoneon it, and preheat the oven to 450^F.
*
Generously dust the surface of a pizza peel (a flat wooden or metal shovel with  a long handle) with bread flour.  Lightly flour a work surface.
*
Working with one ball of the pizza dough, dip your hands and the dough in the bread flour to make them less sticky, and pat the dough down to a disk shape with the palm of your hand.  Once the disk is large enough, drape the dough over your fist and carefully start stretching and expanding the dough underneath to form a round that is 10 to 12 inches in diameter.  (If you're feeling lucky, try tossing the dough over your head in a circular motion.)
*
Place the dough on the prepared peel and spread 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce evenly over the surface, leaving a 1/2-inch border uncovered.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan over the tomato sauce.
*
Before you put the pizza in the oven, do the "stick test": Shake the peel slightly to make sure the pizza is not sticking to the peel.  If it is, carefully lift the section that is sticking and sprinkle a bit more flour underneath.  Then slide the pizza directly onto the baking stone and bake it for 4 to 6 minutes, until the pizza is slightly browned.
*
Using the peel, remove the pizza from the oven.  Arrange half of the tomatoes on top of the pizza, and then arrange half of the sliced Mozzarella over the tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, put it back in the oven, and bake for another 4 to 6 minutes until the pizza is browned.  
*
Using the peel, remove the pizza from the oven.  Arrange half of the sliced tomatoes on top of the pizza, and then arrange half of the sliced mozzarella over the tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, put back in the oven, and bake for for another 4 to 6 minutes-the mozzarella should melt but still maintain its shape and the tomatoes should be warmed through.  (Do not over bake-the tomatoes will start to release too much juice and the pizza will be soggy.)
*
Use the peel to remove the pizza and place it on a cutting board.  Let it cool for 2 minutes.  Then top it with half of the basil, slice and serve immediately.
*
Prepare second pizza the same way.
 

   

Monday, December 30, 2013

Artichokes and Asparagus With Almonds and Grapefruit Dressing

Artichokes and Asparagus 
With Almonds and
Grapefruit Dressing

For the Artichokes:
4 artichokes
1 lemon
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 small carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 Bay leaf
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
Directions:
Start the artichokes first as they will take the most time and the longest to prepare.  When cleanng your artichokes your goal is to remove all of the exterior leaves, leaving just the heart. To do so with a serrated knife, cut off one-third of the top of the artichokes' tops.  Working around the artichoke in a circle remove the rough green leaves until only the soft yellow leaves remain.  To clean the stem, peel it with a paring knife and trim off about 1/4 inch.
*
 Immediately put the cleaned artichokes in a large pot filled with cold water.  Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the pot, then toss in the rest of the lemon (this will prevent oxidization and turning brown).  Add the onions, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and salt.  Put a heavy plate over the artichokes to keep them submerged as they cook.  Bring the liquid to a lazy simmer until you can easily insert a paring knife through the center of an artichoke, about 30 minutes.  Let them cool in the water as that helps to preserve their color and flavor.   
 ***
Dressing:
Ingredients:
Juice of 1 Ruby Red Grapefruit
1 tablespoon white or golden Balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons canola oil
*
Directions:
Put the grapefruit juice in a small pan.  Reduce over high heat until syrupy, about 5 to 7 minutes - you should be left with 1 tablespoon.  Whisk together the reduced the grapefriut juice, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl until combined.  Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking until the dressing is thick and emulsified - it should come together pretty quickly.  Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
***
For the Almonds:
Ingredients:
1/2 cup unblanched almonds
1 teaspoon canola oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
*
Directions:
Place the almonds on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle them with the oil, season them with salt and pepper, and toast them until they are golden brown through the center, about 12 minutes.  (To check if they're done, cut one to check the color in the center.)  Let the almonds cool, then roughly chop them.
***
For the Asparagus:
Ingredients:
8 asparagus spears, ends removed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper 
*
Directions:
Increase the oven temperature to 450^F.  Place the asparagus on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle them with the oil, sprinkle them with thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until the asparagus are fork tender.  Allow to cool to room temperature.
***
To Finish:
Freshly ground black pepper
2 handsful baby greens
***

Once the artichoke have cooled completely, cut the artichokes in half through the stem.  Take each half and remove its fiberous center with a spoon, making sure to leave the heart intact.  Gently toss the artichoke hearts and asparagus with 1/4 cup of the dressing, anad season them with salt and pepper.  Right before serving, dress the greens lightly with a couple of teaspoons of the dressing and combine with the vegetables.  Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Meyer Lemon Dressing

This is a very universal dressing.  It can be used on shell fish, grilled fish, roasted or grilled veggies, like asparagus and beets.  The reduction of the orange juice gives it the viscosity.  It will keep several days in the refrigerator.  Makes 1 cup.
***
Meyer Lemon Dressing
Ingredients:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons golden or white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
Grated zest of one Meyer lemon
3/4 cup canola oil or rice bran oil
*
Directions:
Pour the orange juice in a small pan and reduce it over medium-high heat until syrupy, about 5 to 7 minutes.  You should be left with about 1 tablespoon.  Put the orange syrup, vinegar, mustard, salt, lemon zest and juice in a blender.  With the blender running slowly add the oil in a slow and steady stream until the dressing is thick and emulsified.  Transfer the dressing to a plastic container or glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.  Recipe from The Big Sur Bakery. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread

Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread

This is the alternative to english muffins served for breakfast at the Big Sur Bakery Restaurant. It must be toasted or will have a raw taste.
*
Ingredients
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra flour for dusting
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 cups oat bran
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup amaranth, quinoa, millet, or poppy seeds (or any combo of these)
2 tablespoons dulse flakes, or 1 teaspoon kosher 
salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons beer
2 1/2 cups buttermilk, half-and-half, milk, or water
unsalted butter, softened for serving
*
Directions:
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper if desired.

Place all the dry ingredients in an (extra-large) bowl, stir them together, and make a well in the center. Add the beer and the buttermilk. Mix with the handle of a wooden spoon until a thick, wet batter forms. Sprinkle a layer of flour over the top. Turn the batter onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a loose log about 2 inches in diameter. Cut it into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices and par them down with your hands to form patties. Place the patties on the baking sheet and bake them for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cook completely.


To serve, slice each patty in half, toast it well, and smear with butter (hs note: a sprinkling of salt works wonder here as well). And seriously, make sure to toast it. Hide bread is similar to an English muffin in that if you don't toast it, it'll taste raw.


Makes about fifteen 4-inch patties.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage  German Style
Render out a few slices of bacon, cut in chunks
Remove the bacon and set aside
Saute chopped red cabbage in bacon fat with:
   a little water,
   3 tablespoons brown sugar
   3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Add to taste:
Pensy's Bavarian seasoning & Salt
*
Add bacon, cover and steam until cabbage is tender.

Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries

Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 head cauliflower
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1 whole scallion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper
*
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350^F.
Place the pine nuts on a cookie sheet and toast them until lightly golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Let them cool completely.  

Cut the cauliflower in florets, making sure they are similar in size.  Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt, the vinegar, and the cauliflower and cook until the cauliflower is fork tender, about 12 minute.  Strain the cauliflower in a colander.

Het a large saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the butter.  Add the cauliflower and brown it lightly, 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add the toasted pine nuts and the cranberries, scallions shallots, chives and parsley, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.  Cook until the liquid reduces and forms a little bit of the sauce, 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.  Recipe from the Big Sur Bakery.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Homemade Marshmallows

Recently I watched Ina Garten make marshmallows on her program.  I thought that was pretty simple.  I have one granddaughter who loves marshmallows.  They are not sold in Italy.  I thought since she is coming to visit in February, we will make a batch during her stay.
Homemade Marshmallows
Ingredients:
1-2 cups powdered sugar, (for coating)
1 cup cool water, divided
3 (1/4 ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
zest from one orange (optional)
*
Directions: 
Line a 8 x 13 inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on the sides.  Lightly grease the foil and any exposed parts of the dish.  Sprinkle entire dish with confectioners sugar.  Set aside.
*
Combine 1/2 cup water and gelatin in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Set aside to soften.  Combine remaining 1/2 cup water, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-hign heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.  When dissolved, attach a candy thermometer and boil without stirring, until temperature reaches 240 degrees F.  Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute.
*
Turn mixer on low speed.  With mixer running, slowly drizzle in hot syrup down side of bowl.  Slowly increase mixing speed to high and whip until marshmallow is very thick and fluffy, and tripled in size, about 15 minutes.  Near the end of mixing, add the vanilla extract.
*
Cover a large spatula in cooking spray and scrape marshmallow into prepared pan.  Smooth top and sprinkle powdered over the surface.  Allow to set, uncovered at room temperature, for at least 3 hours.
*
To cut, transfer foil anad marshmallow to cutting board.  Coat a very sharp knife with cooking spray and slice marshmallow into 1 to 1 1/2 inch squares.  Dredge sticky sides of the marshmallows in remaining powdered sugar.  Store in a sealed container for up to two weeks or eat right away!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Dresden Stollen

Dresden Stollen
Nothing brings in a holiday feeling like Stollen which is a bread so common for the Christmas Holidays in Germany.  Perhaps it could be my German ancestral heritage. 
*
Ingredients:
For the raisins:
2 cups currants, raisins or golden raisins
3 cups dark rum

For the sponge:

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons  milk, heated to 
    lukewarm
1 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
Unsalted butter, softened, for coating the bowl

For the stollen:

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened, plus extra
   for coating the bowl 
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 vanilla bean
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/4 cups candied fruits or candied zest
1/2 cup unblanched almonds
3 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting 
10 ounces almond paste or marzipan


Directions:

At least one day ahead or even a month, combine the raisins and rum in a bowl and set it aside.
*
On Baking day:  Start with the sponge:  In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the lukewarm milk, bread flour and the yeast.  Beat on low speed until a dough is formed, 3 to 5 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a buttered bowl that is big enough for the sponge to double in size.  Cover it with plastic wrap, place it in the warm part of the kitchen, and let it rise until it doubles in size, 30 to 60 minutes.
*
Meanwhile, start the stollen mixture;  In the electric mixer fitted with th dough hook attachment, cream the butter, all the spices sugar and salt together until light and fluffy.  Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife, scrape out the pulp with the back of the knife, and add the pulp to the butter mixture.  Add the egg yolks and almond extract, and mix to combine.
*
Preheat oven to 350^F. 
*
Drain the currents, reserving the rum.  Drain the candied fruit from syrup if homemade.  Scatter the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until very light brown, about 10 minutes.  Cut an almond in half to check the color.  Let them cool completely and then rough chop them.  Toss the candied fruit, currents and toasted almonds together in a bowl and reserve.
*
In the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sponge, the bread flour mixture and the sponge mixture.  Mix on medium speed until the dough is shiny and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 15 to 20 minutes.
*
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface.   Flatten it slightly and then roll it out to form a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.  Add 2/3 of the currant mixture, and fold the dough over it.  Add the remaining mixture currant mixture and roll the dough into a ball, making sure to keep a think skin of dough around the currant mixture so that none leaks out.  Place the dough in a buttered bowl that is large enough for it to double in size and cover it with plastic wrap.  Let it rise in a warm part of the kitchen until it has doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
*
Transfer the dough to a flowed surface and cut it in 4 pieces.  Shape each piece into a football shape, keeping the smooth skin on top and tucking the cut edge underneath so that the currant mixture stays inside,  Let the lave rest for 7 minutes, covered with plastic wrap .  Then working with one piece of dough at a time, flip it over on your work surface.  Punch it to get rid of any bubbles anad fold the dough onto itself, almost as if you were rolling it up, to form a football shape.  Repeat with the other three pieces of dough.  Let them rest on the table , loosely covered with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.


*
While they are resting, cut the almond paste into four pieces and roll them to form 4 log shaped pieces 6 inches long.  
*
Take one loaf and flip it onto a floured surface.  Using a rolling pin, roll the center of the loaf until it is 1/2 inch thick, creating a cradle about 4 inches wide while keeping the edges thick.  Place a log of almond paste in the center and fold half of the dough over it.  Using the side of your hand, form a crease between the log and two thick pieces of dough.  Doing so should pull the top layer back slightly leaving you with with a loaf of bread if cut crosswise would have three lobes.  Repeat with the remaining loaves anad almond paste.  Place the shaped loaves an two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, apart from each other so they can rise until double in size.  Place the baking sheets in large plastic bags and leave them in a warm part of the kitchen for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the dough has almost doubled in size and is spongy to the touch.
*
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375^F.
*
Bake the stollen for 35 to 45 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.  Remove them from the oven and let them cool 15 minutes.  Once the loaves are cool enough to handle, brush them generously with the reserved rum and the melted butter.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar and dust with powdered sugar.  Eat right away or store at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap.   Makes 4 loaves.  Great for gift giving.












Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lime Marmalade

Lime Marmalade
Yesterday I posted a recipe for a Lime Meringue Tart which called for a dollop of Lime Marmalade as a garnish.  I really enjoy orange marmalade with my breakfast toast and believe the Lime Marmalade will be a welcome change and something to wake up those taste buds in the morning.
*
Ingredients:
10 Bearss limes or 15 conventional limes
4 thumb size pieces of fresh ginger
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 to 3 cups sugar depending on tartness

*
Directions:
Take 3 limes and cut them into halves lengthwise.  Place the limes on a cutting board and slice them into 1/8 inch-thick half moon slices with a sharp knife.  Cut off both ends of the remaining fruit, shave off the rind from top to bottom with a sharp knife,revealing the flesh of the citrus leaving no pith. Throw away the cores and peels.  Cut each lime into quarters and cut away the core.   Place the half moon slices and the fruit segments in a stainless steel pot.  Add 2 1/2 cups  of water and bring to a boil.   Reduce the heat until the rinds of the half moons are soft, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
*
Peel the ginger with a vegetable peeler or a spoon, and place the pieces in a small pot.  Add water to cover and bring to a boil.  Strain and rinse the ginger under cold water.  Place the ginger in a blender, add the lime juice and blend until the ginger is completely pureed.  Add the ginger mixture to the cooked lime and mix to combine.  Refrigerate overnight or until very cold.

Add the sugar to the lime mixture and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture registers 219^F.  To determine if the marmalade is done, spoon a dollop onto a chilled plate.  If it doesn't spread, it's ready.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Clovis's Lime Tart With Lime Marmalade and Ginger Ice Cream

I have a friend in our neighborhood that has a prolific producing Bearss Lime Tree.  I am invited to help myself to the yield.  Each year I take my citrus picker with my bags and tote home a supply.  I juice them and freeze the juice.  When Cinqo de Mayo arrives, I have Margaritas for a group of friends.  Finding this recipe is a boon!  I now will have another use for my abundance of limes.
Clovis's Lime Tart
*
For the shell:
Ingredients:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, 
   plus more for the pan
*
For the filling:
1 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup sugar
6 eggs yolks
1 cup heavy cream
*
Meringue:
6 egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 easpoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

***
Directions:
 Adjust rack to middle of oven and preheat oven to 350^F.
*
Combine graham cracker crumbs with sugar and melted butter in a bowl.  Lightly grease a 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Sproinkle the crumbs over the tart pan and with the bottom of a glass press the crumbs into a crust making sure it covers the entire bottom and sides of the pan.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Then bake for 7 to 10 minutes until the graham cracker crust starts to smell toasty.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
*
Reduce the oven temperature to 325^F.
*
While the tart shell cools, start the filling by adding to  a medium pan, the sugar, lime juice and cream.  Stir over a medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and whisk in egg yolks, one at a time whisking well with each addition.  Return pan to heat and continue to cook until thickened well enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Pour into the cooled graham cracker crust and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the filling is set.  (You can tell if the filling is set by gently touching the center of the tart and if the filling doesn't stick to your finger, it is done.  Let the tart cool to room temperature, then place it in the freezer until the filling is firm to the touch.  This will prevent the filling from overbaking when browning the meringue.
*
While the tart is chilling, increase the oven temperature to 400^F.
*
Meringue:
Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl or double boiler.  Place the bowl in a saucepan over barely simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water.  Whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove the bowl from the heat and place in a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment.  Whisk on high until medium peaks form.  Add the vanilla and continue to whisk to combine.
*
Remove the tart from the freezer. Spread the meringue over the tart but leaving the edges of the shell uncovered.  Place the tart in the oven and bake until the meringue has browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*
Remove the tart from the pan and place on a platter.  To serve run a chefs knife under hot running water and dry with a towel and cut into slices, wiping the blade clean after each slice.  Accompany each slice with a dollop of lime marmalade.
*
The lime marmalade recipe will follow tomorrow.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chicken Marsala


Chicken Marsala
Pounding the chicken breasts thin helps to tenderize and also eliminates a lengthy cooking time.
*
Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb. chicken cutlets, pounded until 1/4" thick, (about 8)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup flour
5 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 oz. white button mushrooms
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry Marsala wine
1/3 cup chicken stock 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Flan

Flan Recipe

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk (about 1% or 2% fat)
*
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F.
*
Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a large baking dish, and place a 9-inch cake pan in the center.
*
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, swirling the pan gently until the sugar has dissolved (about 3 minutes).
*
Reduce to a simmer and cook, swirling the pan occasionally (but not actually stirring) until the mixture has caramelized and turned a deep mahogany (7 to 10 minutes).
Slowly pour the caramel into the 9-inch cake pan. Let caramel cool until slightly hardened.
*
Bring a large saucepan of water to boil.
*
Meanwhile, whisk eggs and egg yolks together in a medium bowl until combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in the zest, vanilla extract, condensed milk, and low-fat milk.
*
Pour the mixture into the cake pan, then transfer the roasting pan with the cake pan inside to the oven. 
*
Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until the water reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan.
*
Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the custard has just barely set and is no longer sloshy. You want the center of the custard to be 170 to 175 degrees. Don't worry if the flan hasn't entirely set, it will finish setting during cooling.
*
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the cake pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 2 hours.
*
Wrap the cake pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the custard is completely chilled (between 2 hours and up to 24 hours).
*
Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen the custard, then invert a large serving platter over the top of the cake pan. Holding both the plate and pan, flip the custard over onto the platter. Drizzle any extra caramel sauce over the top of the flan and serve. (You may want to make extra caramel sauce for the flan, just repeat steps 3 and 4 of the recipe to create more).  Enjoy!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Black Walnut Butter Cookies

Black Walnut Butter Cookies

This is a recipe for those lucky enough to have black walnuts available to them.

MAKES ABOUT 6 DOZEN
Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter, softened (no substitutes) 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup cornstarch 
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 
1/2 cup chopped black walnuts 
Additional confectioners’ sugar
*
Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease baking sheet.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar; add to butter and mix well. Stir in walnuts. Roll into 3/4-inch-balls and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until set. Cool on wire racks. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lemon Snow Eggnog


This is a recipe I garnered from a calendar the Willard Dairy gave to customers annually with home delivery.  It is my recipe of many years, tried and true.  

We lived in the wonderful community for 40 years.  I would describe it as a community where integrity had the highest value and people were concerned about each other and always ready to help in need.  I do miss the wonderful people back home.
Lemon Snow Eggnog
Ingredients:
6 eggs separated                               
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar                                    
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind            
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 quarts chilled milk                            
1 pint whipping cream, whipped
6 egg whites, stiffly beaten
***
Directions:
Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and lemon colored.  Add lemon rind, stir in the milk, salt and flavorings.  Fold in whipped cream and stiffly beaten egg whites.  Chill and serve.  Makes about 2 1/2 quarts or 20 1/2 cup servings.  Add rum if you wish!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Burbon Soaked and Chocolate Dipped Figs


Burbon Soaked and
Chocolate Dipped Figs
This recipe comes from Southern Spain where figs play a big part of confections during the holidays.
*
Makes two dozen.
Ingredients:
2 dozen dried figs
1 cup bourbon whiskey
1 pound dark chocolate, chopped
    (not chips)
***
Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring bourbon to a simmer over medium heat.  Add dried figs, turn off heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes.  Strain and set figs aside in the refrigerator to chill.  
*
To Prepare Chocolate For Dipping:
Prepare and set aside a medium bowl with water and ice for an ice bath.

In a medium pot or double boiler, bring water to a boil.  Turn off heat, then rest a clean bowl atop filled with 3/4 of the chopped chocolate.  Stir to melt, bringing chocolate to 115 F. degrees.  Do not let the chocolate exceed 119 degrees F.  Once temperature is reached, remove from heat and add the remaining chopped chocolate to the bowl, stirring to melt.  Put bowl of melted chocolate atop the ice bath, careful not to let any water into the chocolate.  Stir and cool chocolate to 80 degrees F.  Return Chocolate to double boiler and stirring, bring temperature of the chocolate to 88 to 91 degrees F.  Remove from heat.
*
To dip figs in chocolate:
Arrange a medium sheet of waxed paper on the counter and set the figs and melted chocolate to its side.  Holding the fig by the stem, dip into melted chocolate to completely coat.  Gently swipe excess chocolate from the bottom of the fig onto the edge of bowl.  Arrange dipped figs upright on waxed paper to set.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lavender Sea Salt Caramels

Lavender Sea Salt Caramels
Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lavender flower
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt
1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter,
   cubed, at room temperature
***
Directions:
Line a 9-inch loaf pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.  Set aside.
*
In a small pot bring cream and lavender to simmer.  Turn off the heat and allow to steep 15 minutes.  Strain and discard the lavender from cream, then add the vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and 2 tablespoons butter to the cream.  Bring the mixture to a soft boil, then immediately remove from the heat.  Set aside covered, keeping it warm while you cook the syrup.  
*
In a medium pot, bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil stirring gently to incorporate and melt the sugar.  Once the sugar is melted refrain from stirring the mixture.  Cook the syrup to 310 degrees F, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Once reached, turn off the heat and add the warm cream, stirring until smooth.  Return to medium heat and cook caramel to 260 degrees F, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, stirring until smooth.
*
Pour the caramel into the prepared loaf pan.  Let it rest 10 minutes,
 then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt.  Allow to cool completely,  Once cool, lift caramel sheet out of the pan and peel away the foil.  With a hot, sharp knife, slice caramel into rectangles. Wrap caramel pieces in waxed paper, twisting each side to close.  Store in an airtight container and they will last for about a month.









Monday, December 16, 2013

Kale and Citrus Salad



Kale and Citrus Salad

After long days of making pastries and rich foods in the SAVEUR test kitchen, our team craves lunches that are bright, flavorful, and not too heavy. This winter salad, created by associate test kitchen director Farideh Sadeghin, combines some of the best cold-weather flavors—kale, orange, and pumpkin seeds—with sweet honey and airy ricotta.

INGREDIENTS:
4 large oranges, peeled and supremed, trimmings reserved
4 tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
8-10 cups baby kale (or mature kale, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces)
3 tbsp. hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted
2-3 medium shallots, peeled, thinly sliced, and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
1½ cup ricotta cheese


Directions:

Squeeze juice from orange trimmings into a large mixing bowl to make ¼ cup juice. Add honey, salt and pepper, and whisk in oil. Add kale, pumpkin seeds, shallots, and supremed orange segments, and toss to coat with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add small dollops of ricotta cheese and very gently toss to combine before serving. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ginger Oat Bread

A delicious and healthy white bread, ginger oat bread has a soft ginger flavor and is the perfect bread for breakfast toast. Ginger oat bread tastes great when buttered with whipped honey butter.
Yield: 1 loaf

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1/4 cup milk, room temperature

3/4 cup warm water (100 degrees F)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1-1/2 tsp ground ginger

1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast

2/3 cup rolled oats

1-1/2 cups bread flour, approx.

Preparation:

  1. In medium bowl, stir together milk, water, and vegetable oil. Add salt, sugar, ginger, and yeast. Stir until dissolved. Mix in enough bread flour to form a thick dough that can be kneaded. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead until dough is soft, adding more flour if necessary.
  2. Grease medium-size bowl. Put dough into bowl and turn dough over so that the top of dough is also lightly greased. Cover with clean cloth and let dough rise in warm place for about 45 minutes or until double in size.
  3. Turn dough out onto board and knead out air bubbles for about 3 minutes. Shape into bread loaf. Grease bread pan. Sprinkle cornmeal on bread pan, if desired. Place loaf in bread pan. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes or until double in size. Bake bread at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool. Cooled bread can be frozen in a sealed freezer bag for up to 3 months.