Posts Tagged ‘butter’

Unrecipe of the Week: Cacio e Pepe

March 24, 2016

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Just like in fashion, some foods suddenly take on a life of their own, as every menu, magazine and blog seems to be gushing over the same dish. Lately, that dish is Cacio e Pepe.

Translating from Italian, “cacio e pepe” means cheese and pepper. It is just a slight upgrade from the children’s plate of pasta with butter and parmesan cheese, but the simplicity of the dish, and the purity of the ingredients make it one that you will go back to again and again.

The preparation varies from recipe to recipe, but all agree on the ingredients: pasta, some of the water in which it was cooked, Parmesan, Romano, and or Pecorino Cheese, butter, and of course, pepper.  You really can’t go wrong here.

Cacio e Pepe:
Cook pasta a minute or two less than stated in the directions, reserving about a cup of the cooking water.

In a large pan, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter, and add a liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper, swirling until the pepper is “toasted.”
Put the drained pasta into the pan, and add about a cup or more of the grated cheese, ( you can use all of one kind or mix the Pecorino with the Parmesan) and another tablespoon of butter, and toss until the pasta is coated. Slowly add some of the pasta cooking water, while continuing to mix and toss the pasta, until a smoother consistency is reached. You will likely only need 1/2 of the water. Place in a bowl and enjoy!!

Photo: Bon Appetite

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Unrecipe of the Week: Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

August 5, 2015

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Summer berries seem to be at their peek right now. They are plump, juicy and sweet, and don’t need much to turn them into a delcious dessert. We love making these little mini sweet biscuits, which we fill with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. They are just sweet enough to make the transition into dessert territory, and the perfect foil for the rich cream and fruit. They are like your very own miniature strawberry shortcake, and we bet you’ll opt for more than one!

Mini Shortcakes | a.k.a. Sweet Dessert Biscuits:(adapted from Ina Garten)

Sift together 2 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar,1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt and place it in the bowl of an electric mixer.

Add 1- 1/2 sticks of butter, diced into small pieces and mix until the butter is the size of peas.

Add 2 eggs (slightly beaten with a fork ) and 1/2 cup heavy cream. With the mixer running on low, add them to the flour/ butter mixture and mix until combined and a sticky dough forms.

Dump the dough onto a well floured surface and knead so that it comes together and is workable. Roll until the dough is about 1/2″ -5/8″ thick. Using a lightly floured round cutter, or a drinking glass with a diameter of about 2″, cut the dough into rounds and place on sheet pan. Brush with an egg wash (beaten egg and a little milk or water) and sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Allow to cool.

To serve, slice open and fill with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. You can substitute ice-cream or frozen yogurt for the whipped cream, and use any fruit you like. If you want to get “fancy,” marinate the berries in Grand Marnier or a little aged balsamic vinegar before serving, and enjoy!!

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Miso Butter

April 28, 2014

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Just as there are finishing salts, there are also finishing butters. These items are meant to provide a flavor blast at the end of the preparation, after the food is nearly cooked. This delicious miso butter, is not for sautéing. Try brushing it on seafood, vegetables or even chicken at the end of the cooking process, and watch how it ramps up the simplest of dishes.

I used this on shrimp and scallops, but I also sautéed them with some shallots, garlic and ginger in a little neutral oil before adding the miso butter. Since this is an unrecipe, feel free to toss some of these into the mix to suit your taste.

Miso Butter:

Take 1 stick of unsalted sweet butter and a couple of generous tablespoons of miso paste, and mix it together in the food processor. Add a bit of  soy sauce, and a splash of sake if you have it on hand, and blend until smooth. If you like, toss in a clove of garlic, and a little peeled ginger and blend until minced. Brush the miso butter on fish, seafood, vegetables or chicken during the last minutes of broiling, sautéing, or roasting and enjoy!

This keeps well when placed in a sealed container in the refrigerator for at least a week.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Scones

February 17, 2014

It was my favorite Brit’s birthday, and a cold, snowy one at that. In other words, the perfect day for tea and scones.

These little biscuits are flaky, with just the right amount of sweetness. Eat them alone, with butter, or slathered with English clotted cream and jam. Put the kettle on, and your’e good to go!

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Scones:
Sift together 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 cup of sugar. Stir in 1 1/3 cups of currents. Add 1 cup of heavy cream and use an electric mixer on a low speed to combine all of the ingredients.

Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead the mixture until it comes together with a rustic texture.
Roll dough to a 1″ thickness, and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter, or the rim of a wine glass. Re-roll scraps until all of the dough is used.

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Place the rounds on a parchment covered baking sheet, and brush the tops liberally with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes until they are a light, golden brown.

Enjoy!

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Substituting Chocolates

December 17, 2013

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When baking, different recipes call for different types of chocolate. Recipes that call for unsweetened chocolate for example,require more sugar, than those calling for bittersweet chocolate. Substituting chocolates requires tweaking other ingredients to compensate for the change in consistency or sweetness. Below of a few basic substitutions for those days when you have the urge to bake and the wrong type of chocolate in the pantry.

1 ounce of semisweet chocolate=1/2 oz. of unsweetened chocolate + 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate = 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon of butter

6 oz. of semisweet chocolate chips = 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder +1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar + 3 tablespoons of butter 

Happy Baking!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Accordion Potatoes

July 29, 2013

For awhile, it seemed like we were bombarded with photos of beautiful accordion-like potatoes, often referred to as Hasselback Potatoes, in honor of the Swedish restaurant The Hasselbacken, which created them. Tonight, I thought I would give them a try, as the accompaniment to a rack of lamb.

I used small Yukon Gold potatoes, but any kind will do.

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Peel the potatoes. (confession: I didn’t.) Cut small slits into the potato, leaving it still attached at the bottom. You can place chopsticks on the cutting board on both sides of the potato to stop the blade of the knife from going all the way through. Be sure to cut deeply enough, or the potato will not fan open while baking.

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Brush the potato liberally with melted butter or olive oil, allowing it to seep between the cut. Sprinkle it with coarse salt and any other seasonings you wish to use. Place the potatoes in a greased  pan, cover with foil and bake in a hot, 400 degree oven for about 30  minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Uncover, and brush with more butter or oil, and cook another 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Enjoy!

Some recipes call for cheese, garlic, or any other topping that catches your fancy. If you are using cheese, add it to the last 15 minutes of roasting.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Chocolate Chip Cookies

June 12, 2013

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Sometimes simple things are best.  Every time I make Toll House chocolate chip cookies, they get gobbled up. The recipe has been around forever, and it never disappoints. The rich buttery dough with almost melted chocolate chips is so easy to make, that there really isn’t a good reason to buy packaged cookies. The dough actually improves if left in the refrigerator for a few hours, or even overnight. It can also be frozen in a log, and a few cookies can be sliced off and baked so that you can have a fresh out of the oven experience at a moment’s notice.

Trust me, these are so easy, you can make them with one hand. I did!

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Toll House Cookies

Beat together 2 sticks of butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar and ¾ cup brown sugar. Add a teaspoon of vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Add 2 eggs and mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl mix 2 ¼ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. With the mixer running, slowly add it to the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

Stir in 12 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips. **

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Drop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, using a tablespoon* and bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes, until they are golden brown. Allow them to sit for a minute or two in the pan before transferring them to a rack to cool. Enjoy!

* I use a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto the pan. It is so much neater, and the cookies tend to be more uniform in size.

** If you want to experiment with variations, try using white chocolate, peanut butter or butterscotch chips in place of the chocolate chips, or use a combination.

Replace the chips with M&M’s for a fun look. If you like nuts, add a cup of the chopped nuts of your choice to the batter.

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Like Buttah

June 10, 2013

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Paula Deen, the first lady of fatty foods has embarked on a new venture. Her line of flavored butters launched this week, and will be sold at Walgreen’s and Walmart stores across the country.

It’s only fitting that Ms. Deen would offer designer butter as one of her early forays into the packaged food market.

The butters come in a variety of flavors and are meant to add the finishing touch to cooking, or to be spread on baked goods.

Deen says of her Sweet Citrus Zest butter:
“My Sweet Citrus Zest butter is hard to practice in moderation – it’s so good on a biscuit or cornbread and it’s the perfect butter to have in the morning – it feels so fresh and clean on your palette.”

She also offers Garden Herb, Lemon Dill, European Style with Sea Salt, and something called “Southern Grillin’.”

Deen has been touting using butter at the end of the recipe to moderate butter consumption. Instead, she has been cooking with other fats, such as bacon fat and using the butter at the end to add flavor and a slick finish to meats and vegetables.

While a bit contradictory to her recent bid for healthier cooking, we have no doubt these will be a great success with her fans.

Portions of the proceeds go to The Bag Lady Foundation, which helps families in need.

That’s a good thing Y’all!

 

Unrecipe of the Week: Winter Comfort

February 15, 2013

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The weather in New York has been cold and miserable. Last night’s blizzard left us thankfully unscathed, but we are in the mood for hunkering down at home. What is more soothing on a lazy winter night than the all-American classic, tomato soup and grilled cheese?
This simple soup has few ingredients and lots of taste. The grilled cheese croutons offer an unexpected twist. It is quick enough for a weeknight meal tomorrow’s lunch, with a little Parmesan cheese, instead of the croutons.

For the Tomato Soup:

Saute a diced onion and a few diced cloves of garlic in olive oil until soft and transparent. Add about 52 oz. (2 tetra packs or large cans ) chopped tomatoes and about 36 oz.vegetable or chicken stock. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and herbs. I added a bay leaf, and some cayenne pepper for a little heat. Oregano and basil are also nice touches. It’s an unrecipe…use whatever flavors you like to season the soup. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Puree the soup at return it to the pot. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a little cream to the soup if desired. Enjoy with grilled cheese croutons.

Grilled Cheese Croutons:

Butter the bread of your choice. Fill sandwiches with cheese. Gruyere adds a sophisticated jolt of flavor, but good old cheddar is fine too. A used a shredded 4 cheese blend that I had on hand. Grill the sandwiches on both sides until they are golden brown, and the cheese is melted inside. Cut into 6 or 8 squares and serve in the soup.

Enjoy!

Unrecipe of the Week: The Salvage Operation

December 17, 2012

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Last night, I finally got around to assessing the vegetable situation in my refrigerators. I tossed out an entire garbage bag filled with stalks of wilted Brussels sprouts, rotting greens and herbs; some too far gone to identify. I did manage to salvage some things, and set about using up what I could.

I roasted 2 large bunches of golden beets, and trimmed them up for salads.

I found 4 tiny heads of cauliflower, and a large head of garlic.
Inspired by a recipe I saw, I seized the opportunity to create a dish to put it good use. I pureed the cauliflower for a base on which to scatter sautéed bay scallops and roasted cauliflower florets. It was delicious, and surprisingly hearty.

Sautéed Bay Scallops with Cauliflower Two Ways:

For the cauliflower:
Separate cauliflower into florets and divide it in half.

For the roasted portion:

Toss the florets in olive oil, sea salt and a little black pepper and roast in a hot oven for about 20 -30 minutes until soft and golden brown. For the last 5-7 minutes of roasting, toss in some pignoli nuts.

For the pureed portion:

Boil the florets in water for about 20 minutes until soft. Add a little butter, salt and pepper, and puree until smooth.

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For the scallops:

Heat some olive oil and a little butter in a pan until the butter is melted. Add 2 cloves of diced garlic and stir. Add the scallops to the pan in a single row and let them start to caramelize before turning them. You can do this in batches if necessary. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Remove the scallops, and add a little white wine or lemon juice to deglaze the pan.

To assemble:

Place a large dollop of cauliflower puree on the plate.
Spoon the scallops over the puree. Sprinkle the roasted cauliflower and pignoli nuts around the scallops. Pour the remaining pan juices over the scallops. Garnish with finely chopped parsley or the fresh herbs of your choice.

Enjoy!

Now, what to do with the 2 heads of cabbage I have left…


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